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Archive for the ‘Rest & Recovery’ Category

Sleep Mobility

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Here’s a very good MobilityWOD video that Narendra R. pointed me to a few months ago.  Sleeping like this makes a huge difference.

Good luck!

Sleep Deprivation

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Here’s an article from the BBC News about why sleep is so important.

effects_of_sleep_deprivationsvg

We’ve known for a long time that all kinds of bad stuff happens when you don’t sleep well.  This article points out some new research that suggests that the detriments are quite profound and are caused by alteration of up to 700 different genes.  One of the main things that happens during sleep is tissue repair.  When you don’t get a good night of sleep, you can’t fully repair your systems which might lead to increased inflammation and degenerative diseases.

In the study, people were allowed less than 6 hours of sleep for a week, and the article points out that many people are already getting less sleep than the people in this study.  I know plenty of people in the gym who don’t get enough sleep.  Sleep is just as important as working out and eating well.

Try cutting out the caffeine and making your sleep schedule a priority!

Sleep and Weight Loss

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Maybe a couple of you remember this image:

Sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise.

Sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise.

Despite the discussion about Venn Diagrams that this image started last time it was on the blog, the information is still important.  Sleep is just as important to your health as nutrition and exercise.

For those of you looking to lose weight, sleep is extra important.  This is nothing new, my grandparents knew how important sleeping was, though they probably had no idea why.  More recently, though still a few years back, Stanford did a study on weight loss and sleep, and linked some cases of obesity to hormonal changes caused by lack of sleep.

More recently, another study out of Laval University in Quebec showed that individuals on calorie restricted diets lost more weight when they got a good night’s sleep when compared to people who only got 5.5 hours of sleep.  Another study showed that sleeping can actually change the influence of our genes on our metabolism, meaning that you can make diet and exercise more easily overcome a genetic predisposition to being fat.  And all by doing something that we all want to do anyway: sleeping.

Here’s a short article on the subject, from the Huffington Post.

Turn off the TV and go to bed!

“Power Poses”

Friday, January 4th, 2013

When Narendra Rocherolle sent this to me, I figured it was some hippy stuff about yoga.  But there’s actually some pretty good research about “power poses” and the effect they have on hormones.  TED talks are always good, so I encourage you to watch this one.

As interesting as this is, you might not immediately see the relevance to fitness.  Well, testosterone and cortosol are two hormones that greatly effect the quality and speed of recovery.  Cortosol is one of the major stress hormones and actually suppresses your immune system, increases inflammation, and decreases your ability to rebuild damage and make new tissue.  Testosterone is partly responsible for maintaining and building muscles, boosting the immune system and provides other useful benefits such as preventing osteoporosis.  Having a little more testosterone and a little less cortosol would probably be good for all of us.

Why Your Excuse Sucks

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

I’m going to talk about excuses for a few minutes.  Some people are going to be offended.  Sometimes the truth hurts.  Your excuse sucks.  That’s the truth.  Whatever excuse you have, it just sucks.  An excuse is a lie that you tell yourself to make you feel better about limiting yourself.  I’m not talking about a legitimate reason for not doing something, that’s a different thing.

No excuses in here.

No excuses in here.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Kyle Maynard, go look him up.  I don’t reference him to try to make you feel guilty, I reference him to show you an example of a guy who doesn’t have excuses.  Kyle might have thought, when he was younger, that he had a legitimate reason to avoid physical activity; what could he actually accomplish without arms and legs?  But he realized that his disability was just an excuse to avoid hard work, and that his disability didn’t mean he got a free ride.  It meant he had to work harder than everybody else just to keep up.

The same is true for you and me, whatever our excuses are, and I’ve heard tons of them.  Here are some of the most common:

  • My back/ knee/ foot/ shoulder/ etc. is messed up, or my body just doesn’t move that way.
  • I’m too old.
  • I just don’t have the time because I have work/ pets/ kids/ obligations.

These are excuses that you use to limit yourself.  Let’s talk about them one at a time.

Injuries.  If you have an acute or chronic injury, you have to work harder to keep up with everybody else.  That does not mean that you need to run on your busted foot, or do heavy lifts with the herniated discs in your back.  What it does mean is that you have to put in the work to rehabilitate yourself.  It might mean seeking out doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists.  It might mean doing rehab and mobility work multiple times every day.  It might mean changing your diet and sleeping patterns, or changing how you do basic activities.  It might mean that you have to do things that are harder than the thing you need to avoid.  Just because you’re injured or immobile doesn’t mean you get a free ride, it means you have to work harder to keep up.

Age.  If your excuse is that you’re too old, then you might as well just give up and die.  Getting older is normal, it’s how you know you’re still winning at life: the difficulty setting increases.  There is or there will be a time when you feel like you’re not as good as you used to be.  That’s okay.  But it’s not okay to use it as an excuse for not doing something or for not trying as hard as somebody younger than you.  If you’re old and stiff and messed up, then you need to put in more work to maintain yourself.  Fix your diet, do your stretches, break your bad habits.  Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you get a free ride, it means you have to work harder to keep up.

Obligations.  If you’re using your kids as an excuse for not taking care of yourself, maybe you should consider how your kids would do without you, or with a you that is constantly tired, injured and sick.  Your family should be the reason that you take care of yourself, not your excuse to slack off.  (Ask Bill Berry about that).  Work is a bad excuse too.  Guys, this isn’t 1890 and none of you are mining coal or laying railroad.  Whatever you’re doing isn’t that bad.  You just have to change your habits and learn to stand up from your desk and stretch 3-4 times per day, do a workout at home or in the hotel while you’re traveling, pack your lunch, go to bed early, take an actual rest day, or whatever it is that you need to do.  It isn’t easy, but you don’t get a free ride just because you have kids, a hard job, or other obligations.  You have to work harder to keep up.

Now that you know why your excuse sucks, go do hard work.  See you in the gym.

Gloves Better Than Steroids?

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

A few years back I read about a cooling glove that had been developed by some researchers at Stanford. This glove uses the fact that our bodies radiate heat through our hands to help regulate core temperature. It seals around your wrists and draws a partial vacuum to prevent vascular constriction, then it circulates water to draw heat out of your body. This helps rapidly lower your core temperature.

There was a surprising recent result that the recovery effects of doing this are profound. Possibly on par or better than steroids. We may have to look into getting a few of these. Increase training volume, improve recovery, dramatically increase rate of improvement. No negative side effects?

Read:

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2012/august/cooling-glove-research-082912.html?view=print

Little Info Graphic About Sleep

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

We all know we need sleep, but most of us don’t get enough or our sleep patterns are so messed up that we do not efficiently sleep. We work really hard to make sure our training is efficient, that our work is done well and effectively but often neglect our sleep. Even if you get enough sleep, if your sleep schedule is sporadic you will be sleeping inefficiently. Make sure your sleep schedule is as regular as it can be. Take a look at the info graphic below and you may find some ways to improve your sleep.

How often do you “Test” yourself, and how often do you just go for a good workout?

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

How often do you “test” yourself and how often do you go at a percentage of your full all-out effort?  Here, testing can be thought of as your absolute, nerve-wrecking hardest attempt. (You’re going as if your life, family and posterity depended on your 100% performance. )  Do you think it’s optimal to give it that much effort with every workout?  Does it have to do with how much stress you’ve been experiencing in  you life,  or how much rest you’ve had?  Perhaps younger athletes can give 100% more often than older ones?   Do you go all out periodically and  for a “good workout” more often?  Have you ever experienced a difference in your injury rate?  Or do you think that CrossFit wouldn’t be crossfit if you held back at all?  Does it partly have to do with age or youth?  Maybe you can test your absolute limits more often when you’re younger but you have to be more careful as you age?  Testing is certainly important at times to see where you’re at as well as for the workout.  I personally don’t find myself going “all out” as often, but it may have to do more with being absorbed by a myriad of training mechanisms that have kept me from specializing on any one and therefore it’s harder to get PR’s in what I previously used to specialize in.  (I’m referring to a variety of training mechanisms even when compared to CrossFit.)  Please post thoughts to comments.

Rest Days and “Active” Rest

Sunday, August 14th, 2011
Rest day activity? It depends.

Rest day activity? It depends.

We talk about rest days and active rest pretty regularly, but what exactly do we mean. So, to optimize fitness we’re recommending generally 3 days on 1 day off, 2 days on 1 day off. This is to fit in with a regular 7 day week and come pretty close to approximating 3 days on 1 day off.

So what do you do on the one day off? A lot of this depends on your goals, current level of fitness and just what you like to do for fun. The key is in how you think of what a workout day is. When you come in to our facility for a workout, we expect you to lay it all out on the line. Regardless of the discipline, we want you working hard, VERY hard. If you were to do this every day it would likely result in overtraining. This is a state where your body’s recovery systems can not keep up with the stress caused by training. Sleep factors, food and external stress can greatly affect how much rest you need, but those details are for another post (and have been).

So, assuming you are truly training at capacity on your workout days you need a recovery day to continue to progress well. This does not mean a day on the couch lounging around. Doing nothing active will actually slow your recovery. Keeping active on your rest days will greatly aid recovery. How active should you be? Obviously our normal workouts exceed what should be done on a rest day, but where is the line. This depends a lot on a wide variety of factors. It comes down to level of intensity relative to your workout days. If you are a runner a slow 5K can be a good rest day activity. I can do a 2 hour gymnastics skill session on a rest day. Playing tennis, going skiing, taking a hike, going on a bike ride, playing with your kids. All of these things are great ways to spend your rest day. Keep the intensity and load of the activity to a level that you could sustain for a long time. You can come into the gym on a rest day, just do the warm up and the skill work and don’t do the WOD. Just keep working on technique and mechanics. Keeping your rest days active will speed your recovery and enable you to maximize the efficacy of your workouts.

MELT Introduction This Monday

Saturday, August 13th, 2011
Looks like the aftermath of a workout without the sweat angels

Looks like the aftermath of a workout without the sweat angels

Sue Hitzman, creator of the MELT Method will be running an intro session at CrossFit Marin this Monday Aug 15th starting at 7pm. It is a 90 minute session and will go over the basics of the MELT Method.

This is a self treatment method designed to induce some of the benefit of manual body work sessions. Mobility and recovery are greatly benefited by this type of work. Sue has been working and studying in this field for a couple of decades. Come in and give MELT a try. You can register for the Monday session online on Sue’s site here.