The 4 Horsemen will usher in a new age of fitness. The traditional versions of Conquest, War, Famine and Death are represented in our focus on Goals, Competition, Nutrition and Metabolic-conditioning. We firmly believe that strength, power and fitness are best achieved by utilizing CrossFit methods and the 4 Horsemen of Lifts: Squats, Presses, Deadlifts and O-lifts.
Friday, February 27, 2009
After finally getting the rings up I decided to put them to good use in a WOD. Today called for a Metcon of 10min of less so I did half "Nate".
AMRAP in 10 min of:
2 Muscle Up's
8 KB Swings (2 pood)
Managing 7 rounds + 2 MU's. Certainly not epic but my progress like everyone else in the gym is certainly coming along.
Props to Dani for the great picture taking!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Sugar is like crack! Plain and simple, when you're addicted to it you need it to function. As a recovering sugar junkie I know all about the sugar highs and lows. From the need to have a can of coke as soon as I got home to the mid-afternoon crash I experienced after I slammed down my carbo-loaded lunch. Like any good drug, after a hit of sugar (the pancreas releases the hormone insulin into your blood and) the brain releases "feel good" chemicals (increased serotonin levels = euphoria) into your blood stream, making that brownie taste even better. The problem is that eventually we build up a tolerance to this like every other drug as our body was designed to adapt to change to minimize deviations from homeostasis. What this means is that the can of coke you had isn't as sweet anymore and you need two cans to satisfy your sweet tooth. Your body beings to increase it's tolerance to insulin in the blood stream and it takes more and more sugar to hit the "high" and release those feel good chemicals, this high also starts to decrease in length. Before you know it you are just plowing through a bag of skittles and a Fruitopia just so you can make it to lunch. Your cells have actually become increasingly resistant to insulin and your blood sugar levels begin to elevate. This constant state of elevated blood sugar and insulin levels result in hyperinsulinism and is correlated to almost every disease you can think of (diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc) and obesity. Now all those calories are floating around in your blood stream and the massive amount of insulin that goes along with it is telling your body to "store, store, store" it all as fat! The good news is that this sugar addiction can be cured. With a slow tapering of refined carbohydrate foods (sugars/grains) towards more natural sugar sources (vegetables/fruits/berries) you can start to get the situation under control. This is followed by monitoring not only the quality but more importantly the quantity of sugar you are ingesting everyday. I recommend "the Zone" diet for this sort of portion control but the easiest way is to just start eating natural foods mainly vegetables. The result is that by monitoring the type and amount of sugar (carbohydrates) you put into our body you can start to control the amount of insulin your pancreas releases. You will slowly decrease your cells insulin tolerance and get back to normal levels of function. You will begin to find out what it's like to not have 11pm sugar cravings and to be alert and not feel hungry throughout the day. You will have essentially kicked the sugar habit!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Cheating while doing paleo or zone is almost human nature and is neccessary. Every once and a while we need to indulge and we should, but there are ways to do it wisely. Today’s lesson is all about Pizza, my favourite treat/drunk food. First and most important tip – don’t eat the crust!!! This is by far the easiest way to minimize the carb intake for your cheat meal (remember carbs are the enemy). By not eating the crust (See above Pic) you cut out a good 20-40+ grams of carbs (about 1-2 slices of bread worth depending on how thick the crust is) for a typical 8-10” personal pizza. Remember the crust is just there so you don’t get grease on your fingers. Tip #2 always, always get thin crust! This is another way to keep all the taste and lose upwards of an excess 600 calories (for a 12”) from the meal. Tip #3 say no to dipping sauce – you aren’t eating the crust so you don’t need the dipping sauce (and you don’t even want to know what it’s made of). Tip #4 don’t drink pop with your pizza. This seems to be a big thing, as almost every pizza vendor has a pizza and pop deal it might seem a little economical to grab a can of pop (40g carbs) with your slice but it isn’t worth it. If you absolutely have to drink a soda then at least grab a Diet soda but remember although it doesn’t have any sugar it will still spike your insulin levels and that is what we are trying to minimize. The Last tip is mozzarella is always better than cheddar as it has more protein and less fat, plus everybody likes the stringy cheesy pizza that only mozzarella provides. It makes eating the pizza fun and that’s what cheats are supposed to be all about. As far as toppings go nuts, the more the better! Believe it or not the toppings are the best part of the pizza because that’s where all the good meat and vegetables are. I’m not going to say one is better than another because taste is why we have the cheat if it didn’t taste just the way we wanted it wouldn’t be a satisfying cheat. So on your next cheat day, go grab a slice of heaven!
Monday, February 16, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Keys to Success:
- Sleep a minimum of 9.5 hours a night in a completely dark room
- Reduce exposure to light as much as possible after 6pm during the winter
- Keep Fruit intake low during winter months
- STOP EATING SUGAR!
Caution: If you do have trouble sleeping NEVER take over the counter melatonin! Stop your exposure to light and your body will produce the melatonin needed by itself. If you begin to rely on supplementing melatonin your body's natural production will decrease significantly even when you are off it.
This is a calling out of all those wanna be bench pressers. You know who you are! You are the ones that spend hours sitting on the bench with at least 2 plates on each side of the bar (225+) talking to your buddies more than actually lifting the damn weight. Now I really don’t have a problem with you having a social life at the gym, what I do have a problem with is that 225# you have on the bar. The problem is not in the weight itself, as 225# is not really that much, but rather the fact that you can’t even use it. Now I say use it as opposed to lift it because I know you can lift it. I see you lift it off the rack, lower it an inch and rack it again. That’s right, I have a problem with your range of motion. You are the bench press equivalent of the 1/4 squat. To be straight up with you, what you are doing is completely useless. I don’t know where you got the idea that you should stop at the point when your arm make a 90 degree angle. Yes it is true that at 90 degrees and above you can lift more weight and when people tell me this my reply is usually “Really! No shit!” it’s all about leverage and common sense. But here is the problem, you are missing the most useful part of the moment! The most useful aspect is to strengthen the muscles at their weakest points (the point of lowest mechanical advantage). The only way to efficiently do this is to work the muscles through their full range of motion. I promise I will hammer this point over and over and over again – FULL RANGE OF MOTION. That means on the bench press the bar comes off the rack, travels down to the point where it just touches the chest and then travels back up to the top and is racked. Now the bar just “kisses” off the chest before it travels up, don’t bounce the weight off the chest as you could break/crack a rib that way. Now why does it matter that you go all the way to your chest? First like with the squat if you don’t go all the way to the bottom it is impossible to compare one workout to the next. You think you are stronger because you lifted 5# more than the last workout, but as it turns out you just didn’t go down an extra 1cm from the time before, this mechanical advantage means you could move the larger weight but didn’t actually get any stronger. Now if you always touch the chest then the distance is fixed (basically your arms aren’t going to change length from week to week) so any increase in weight lifted means a direct increase in strength. Second, say you are walking down the sidewalk on a windy day and a tree falls over and you are trapped underneath it (see picture). It is not a big tree and some of the tree is touching the ground so it’s more like a lever system. Now to lift the tree up at the point it is touching your chest requires say a 205# push. This is great because your bench is a big 225#, but wait, that’s only to 90 degrees. That extra ~6 inches (from chest to 90 degrees) in your range of motion is not 225# strong it is only about 185# strong at best. Meaning you will die trapped under the tree! So much for your “big” bench press. On the other hand if I put myself in a similar situation back when I could only bench 205#, I would be able to lift the tree up and off my chest, take a breather and thrust it out of the way and live. Why? Because I do my bench press right to the chest so my muscles are strong through the entire range in which I might need to use them. Basically all I’m saying in this rather long rant is that I don’t care what you have on the bar just as long as you do it right. You are only as strong as your weakest link. So if you are in the gym to get stronger, why not work at it properly and get stronger. Now, in case I haven’t gotten through to some of you as to you would want to start lifting properly. Well… doing a movement right increases efficiency (through better mechanics etc.) and results in an increase in strength (max weight you can lift) and more reps at a given weight. This increased strength means that you are able to perform more work in the same or less time, so you therefore have increased your power output and thus increased your intensity. This increased intensity will make you fitter, and being fitter makes you a better athlete and it also means you’ll look better naked! Now get fit and have fun!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Just a few of my favourites so far.
I’m sitting here in Italy and it’s raining so I have a bit of time on my hands and of course I’m thinking about Crossfit as it is one of my most favourite pastimes. The question on my mind is how to maximize my results or what is the best way to make improvements. I’ve been thinking about this for a few hours throwing ideas out there, thinking about them, and then rejecting them. There are four things that time and time again pop out at me as the way to best improve my fitness. Recovery, Nutrition, Deficiencies (what I suck at ie. situps), and INTENSITY, all of which I’ll try to write a post on. This post will be on the aspect of intensity because in my mind it is the clear leader in maximizing my results. When thinking about intensity and how it relates to my workouts I looked at a few things. First, what is intensity? The answer is Power! (Intensity = Power), and therefore to increase intensity I have to increase power which basically means doing more work in less time (more pushups in 2min, or 50 pushups in less time than the last time I did it). Now this is all a physical definition of intensity there is also a mental definition which is a perception of the level of exertion. But I have come to the conclusion that by maximizing the physical you will definitely maximize the mental. When doing say 100 pullups the question becomes, should I breaking it up into manageable chunks or go for broke ie. balls out! till I max out and die off. It is my thought that you should always go balls out on any task that fits in the anaerobic arena (phosphogenic and glycolytic pathways). The time frame for workouts that take less than ~10min require that you go as hard as possible the whole way through.(author side note: these workouts are composed of components which require only ~30s - 1min to perfom and therefore are at the peak power position of the glycolytic pathway. It’s not 10min on one excercise). Most people take too much rest during the workout. Taking a 15 sec break will not give you enough rest to make up the 5sec that you wasted when 10 sec rest would have been enough. When you go for broke it is better to minimize the rest that is needed and go right back into the exercise. This requires an enormous amount of mental intensity to push your body when it wants nothing more than to just stop doing everything. It is my opinion that when you break the exercise or workout into chunks you spend more time then you actually need resting. When I go balls out I know at the end of the workout I could not have gone any faster, when I break it up I usually finish and go I should have done 15’s instead of 10’s. Mentally it is easier to break things up because it is physically easier to not have to continuously push through the pain. A great quote from the legendary OPT on the subject relating to which is better for improving work capacity:
“…Go as hard as possible, all the time, under perfect form and if you break a little bit on intensity throughout then, that’s fine that can be fixed, but I’d rather see intensity first. When people start strategizing, they immediately get into pacing and when you pace you don’t push and when you don’t push you don’t create power. If you don’t create power you don’t create success, long term. So if you are strategizing I’d suggest drop it and focus on basically just hitting the workout as hard as you can and managing the pain when you do get into it and then getting out of it you’ll feel a whole lot better…”
-James FitzGerald “OPT” on Crossfit Radio - episode 27 (Jan. 30, 2009)
The more intensity you bring to the workout the more “intense” it will be and the fitter you will become. As Coach Glassman says “Intensity is where the good stuff comes from. It is almost always the independent variable most commonly associated with favourable adaptations.” It will maximizing your results and greatly improves your fitness level.
*Note: Intensity is relative to the individual and their abilities, don’t kill yourself! Just go as hard as you reasonably can. I’m an idiot and try to push myself to the extreme, but hey I’ll crush you at almost any workout!
Monday, February 9, 2009
Two rings to rule them all, two rings your weaknesses they will find them. Two rings for unbelievable strength and in your training you won’t mind them. The still rings or gymnastics rings are a great tool for improving overall strength, in particular core strength just from stabilizing yourself on the rings. You can take ordinary movements like the dip and push-up and greatly increase there difficulty by performing them on the rings. The average person that can perform 20 dips on parallel bars will be lucky to get 10 dips on the rings. This is because of the “speed wobbles” you get while trying to stabilize yourself. At first your body is not used to such an intense stimulus and in order to keep holding you up it starts firing all the muscles in your core randomly. Just holding yourself up on the rings is an extraordinary challenge and should be attempted regularly with goals of 30sec, 1min and 2mins. One must always control the rings or they will own you! Close attention to form is a must and the rings must always be kept as close to the body as possible, as the further away from the body they venture the difficulty in terms of strength and stability increases exponentially. Through time and practice your body will become familiar with being on the rings and your training on them can progress. There are a variety of moves that can be done on the rings as evident by anyone who has watched a gymnastics competition but some beginner movements are: pull-ups, push-ups, dips, L-sits, handstands, handstand push-ups, levers and muscle-ups. The muscle-up is a favourite of mine and is the combination of a pull-up and a dip going from hanging under the rings to supporting above the rings. The muscle-up is a great power movement and shares similar beneficial qualities with the clean & jerk (C&J you start above the bar and finish under it, in the MU you start under and finish over top). The muscle-up will allow you to surpass any obstacle you can get your hands on. The rings of power are a great addition to your strength training just give them a try and soon you'll be the Lord of the Rings.