6 Week Challenge Finisher
Xomir lost 12lbs and 3% Bodyfat.
What did she learn:
“I lost my mom and aunt to breast cancer within the last 11 months and I was very sad.
I found that I need to keep myself healthy because breast cancer runs in my family.
I also found the ability to go through life with a positive attitude, happy, and healthy. This definitely changed my life.”
Both seasoned athletes and gym neophytes know that the cocktail of choice when working out is a protein shake. Lots of these powders are designed to serve different purposes, which means there are so many to choose from it can make your head swim, Phelps style. If you feel overwhelmed when shopping for a protein supplement, don’t fear, there are answers to all of your questions. Nutrition School is in session and your first class, Protein 101 will teach you all you need to know.
Why should you choose protein powder? Whether you are a gym rat or a couch potato you need protein. Protein is composed of amino acids, which are the fundamental building blocks of muscle proteins and enzymes, making it a crucial part of a daily diet. According to Men’s Health, protein also prevents blood sugar spikes and boosts the hormones that tell your body you’re full and should put the fork down. We believe that the biochemical mechanism responsible for preventing sugar spikes is gluconeogenesis. Basically, when a protein is broken down to amino acids, these amino acids can be used to make proteins such as muscle proteins or biochemically changed to sugars. This transformation is called gluconeogenesis. What is interesting is that gluconeogenesis is a way to slowly adding sugar to your energy system without spiking sugar or insulin.
Protein powder can be a great way to up the health quotient to your favorite recipes. Bodybuilding states that whey protein is a good addition to your menu if you are looking to build muscle and lose fat. When you combine whey with a health regimen like a workout routine, this protein supplement can help pump you up with lean muscle and increase your strength, as well as help you maintain the hard body you already have. A study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism stated that 35 grams of protein per meal is a target amount for a healthy diet.
You should always read the Supplement Facts information on labels When choosing a protein powder, checking out the fine print is a smart idea. Finding a high-quality protein will not only taste better but offer you more benefits and a healthier shake. When weighing which kind to buy, whey comes out on top as far as nutritional value. The ‘biological value’, or the proportion of absorbed protein you get from your food, is generally higher with whey products. The other types of protein powders: casein, egg white, soy, hemp, and others are lower biological value. Furthermore, in the case of soy protein, there is the chance that you are getting protein derived from a GMO source. Be on the lookout for powders with a limited amount of added sugar and carbohydrates as well as little in the way of additives. Beware of the blends, suggests Oxygen magazine, powders that have “concentrates” or “solids” which can be hard on the digestive system and might cause problems like bloating or gas.
If you are using shakes to shed pounds, according to the Cleveland Clinic, choosing a powder with no added sugars or sweeteners is key.
When is the best time to throw back a protein packed shake? Some people use their shakes as a meal replacement, having one at the beginning of the day or as their lunch when they don’t have time for a mid-day meal. That said, protein powders shouldn’t replace real food, as a rule. Many bodybuilders and fitness fanatics like to imbibe before or after a workout. Some sip during their sweat session too. According to a study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, there is a small window of time when a shake is optimal for your body. About thirty minutes after a gym session, these amino acids will have the most impact on your muscles, bringing you a bit of extra strength and muscle gain. It also helps to repair muscles and recover after exercise. For weight management, the Cleveland Clinic suggests a steady supply of protein at meals to keep you constantly satiated.
In the SFH supplement world, some powders are created to take before a workout. Fuel is a great option if you aren’t going home after the gym or you need something to get your get-up-and-go going before your exercise routine. FUEL contains coconut milk, which is a natural source of coconut fat. This is considered an energy fat burns quickly, providing a burst of energy rather than being stored as fat. FUEL is a fantastic way to get your energy revved without having a heavy meal sit in the pit of your stomach and weigh you down.
How can you mainline your protein powder in the most delicious way? Shakes are the most popular way of getting your powder boost. There are many recipes, from simply adding water or milk and shaking, to combining a variety of fruits, vegetables, nut butters, and ice and blending into a creamy, frothy frappe. Depending on your favorite foods, you can mimic the taste with different shake recipes. If you’re a fan of chocolate covered strawberries, try making a protein smoothie with chocolate protein powder and blended strawberries. If you like pina coladas, you can go for a run in the rain with your smoothie made from coconut and pineapple blended with vanilla whey protein powder.
There are other ways to get your amino acids in powder form. You can use protein powder like flour and make protein-rich pancakes, waffles, muffins, cookies, muffins and more, making those treats and sweets a little more nutritious. Maybe add some powder to your coffee for a protein-infused latte. Make a batch of quick overnight oats with added protein powder for a complete meal, which will hold you over until lunchtime. Using unflavored powder can also enhance your cooking. Adding a scoop to your appetizers, like hummus or guac, could mean you will fill up faster and dip fewer chips. Or perhaps sprinkle the powder in a soup or sauce you are making for extra oomph. The powder will be undetectable to the taste buds, but the addition of protein in your diet will be duly noted by the rest of your body.
We all face times in our lives where our anxiety is a little higher but as with all things that are uncomfortable, growth and strength comes from it. Progression truly begins at the end of our comfort zone. Only by constantly seeking that which puts me out of my comfort zone have I been able to develop correctly. By facing what I fear I have learned what is on the other side of that fear.
The fear of being judged
The overriding number one concern I hear is from people worrying about what others think of them. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it and it’s a very real concern to the individual but that’s where it stays. I often say to people, within a few weeks you’ll realize that absolutely no one judges you, no one is looking at you thinking you look silly, slow or out of shape. They are too busy worrying about their own workout and technique to worry about yours. And if anyone does finish a workout before you, not one of them will put their kit away, because their workout is not done until the last person is done. That is the way it is at Sweat Factory, purely supportive, progressive and constructive and they will come and help you. They will help you because they started once too. They used to find it hard to walk through the door. They needed that early moment of community support and it changed them. Even one of my coaches said to me today that he got so nervous he used to sit outside the box for a good 20 mins. You are not alone in what you think, it is natural to think it but just because it’s natural, doesn’t make it right. CrossFit to me is all about acceptance.
It’s you against you.
I remember very early on in my fitness career competing in Cross Training competitions deciding that the only person I could ever compete against was me. Every time you walk in the door it’s you against you. The only thing you can control is your effort.
You can look at the leader board if you like, feel disappointed or pleased with your performance if you like but is it a true reflection of the effort that you gave when you were training? An effort is the only thing you should judge. Walk away knowing you had nothing left to give.
When coaching at all levels of competition I often find myself shouting to the athlete, ‘Stop looking around, race your race! Looking around won’t help unless its close but you should rely on the words of your coach to help you with that. At any level, look in the mirror, there is your biggest challenge and critique.
‘Hardest thing is walking through the door. Once that’s done, the rest is done for you’
‘Walk your path, not someone else’s.
If you are always concerned with what others think of you to the point that it affects your behavior or stops you going after your goals, you are literally living your life for other people’s expectations of what they think you should be. You are not living your life. The hardest path to choose often leads to the most beautiful things. Lose the concern of others opinions and live your life. We often find that those that care the most for us are the ones that want to hold us back the most, to be safe and not go out of your comfort zone but if you’re like me, the most motivational speeches I have ever heard have been from those that say I couldn’t or shouldn’t do something. It is not where you are right now on your path that matters, but where you go from here.
But everyone in there is so fit!
Not so, in fact, you will find every level of fitness in there! You will find every fitness level in our gym. I say it’s more like Walmart than the Crossfit Games. We love them all because they are here to improve themselves and the athlete’s around them.
Am I going to have to compete?
Absolutely not!! You really have two types of CrossFitter (with a million different reasons for doing it). Those that CrossFit for the love of competitions at weekends, and those that CrossFit for health. Think of it as your recreational swimmers wishing to stay active and those that go off and compete every weekend. The beauty and unique thing about CrossFit is that it doesn’t matter about your reason or drive, we can all train next to each other and do the right workout for us.
We manage to train alongside each other, doing the same workout but by changing some of the variables. There are so many ways to achieve this and some of them could be: Reducing the weight
Reducing the repetitions
Reducing the complexity of the movement
Reducing the time of the workout.
You must also realize that this works both ways too. We may also give you a confidence nudge that you can do a few more repetitions, you can increase the complexity of what you are doing or increase the weight. Your coach will guide you safely on all of this. You don’t need to be able to do a pull-up or a push-up, we will show you your path.
It’s really not a cult!
After a few months of starting CrossFit, you’ll start to realize you won’t shut up about it! Crossfitters love it so much that they shout their passion!! They have found something that they truly love, can see and feel their progress and are around a group of like-minded people that bring you in and bring you up. It’s now becoming more and more mainstream with some of the national Globo gym chains attempting to adopt some of the equipment into their spaces. It’s not a cult, it’s a lifestyle, a lifestyle that prioritizes your health.
HINGE VS SQUAT
Arguably the two most essential movements a human being can do, the hinge and the squat often get misunderstood. It is not uncommon to see people squatting when they should hinge and vice versa. In CrossFit, many exercises are built upon these two movement patterns. Even though they are simple movements, many people have trouble figuring out how and when to do which. So it is very important that we understand the difference between the two, both for your safety and for your efficiency.
Two things are necessary for correct implementation of these movement patterns: body awareness and mobility. You might have the knowledge of what is a hinge and how to do it but if you don’t know where your body is in space or have the mobility to go through the range of motion, it will be hard for you to perform the movement. If you are having trouble with squats, for example, awareness and mobility might be the issue, but it might also be that you are hinging instead.
These two movement patterns can be easily distinguishable by this one rule of thumb: if the joint going through the biggest range of motion is the knee, you are squatting. If the joint going through the biggest range of motion is the hip, you are hinging.
Going a little further into it, hinging recruits primarily your posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes and lower back) while squatting is mainly done with the quads. Or think about it this way, on a squat, you bring your hips toward the ground vertically, on a hinge you bring your shoulders toward the ground in a forward motion. You will still bend at your hips during a squat, and you will still bend your knees during a hinge, but that’s not the primary movement going on.
A squat, a dip, a hinge, bending of the knees and lowering of the hips are all different cues. So when I ask you to bring your hips down when you are about to deadlift I do NOT mean “squat a little”. Or when you dip, you are NOT just “bending the knees”.
The most basic movement we can relate to the hinge is the deadlift. Most of the times, when you are trying to move an object from the ground upward, you will be performing a hinge. Cleans, kettlebell swings, and high pulls are all hinging movements. Therefore, to maximize your efficiency on these movements, make sure that you are using your posterior chain when performing them.
The squat first has to be differentiated between the exercise and the movement pattern. The exercise “squat” is usually referred to a full, or partial, squat pattern done for reps or load. Front squats, air squats, overhead squats are all squatting exercises. “Squat” as a movement pattern refers to the act of bending at your knees while maintaining an upright chest. Wall balls and thrusters are movements that require a squatting pattern.
So why do athletes have a hard time separating these two movements?
Let’s first look at the hinge. Many people end up doing a more squat pattern movement when they should be hinging because of body awareness. It can be hard for some people to know if they have a straight back as they hinge, so to overcorrect that they may keep their chest upright and squat down. Another option could be that their core isn’t that strong yet. So when they perform a hinge their back round. Again, to overcorrect that, they might keep their chest more upright so it will round less.
Regarding the squat, there are more factors at play. Ankle, knee and hip mobility play a big role in squatting. So, as athletes want to get lower in their squat and a joint, or multiple joints, is at its current full range of motion, they tend to bring their chest down to create the illusion of being low (or maintain balance). Another reason could be that their posterior chain is much stronger than their quads, causing their hips to come up first during a squat and turning the movement into a hinge.
Finally, a big factor limiting your movement could be the strength imbalance. Like mentioned above, if you are way stronger on one type of movement, it might influence you when you are trying to perform another pattern. Especially if you have gone through an injury and have been avoiding a certain range of motion for a while.
So if you are stuck in one of these exercises, make sure that you are performing the correct movement patterns. Also, make sure that nothing is keeping you from doing the correct movement patterns. And as always, if you have any questions on the form or how to improve your hinge, or squat, ask your Sweat Factory CrossFit coaches!