The CrossFit Open can be a very powerful goal setting tool. I prefer to speak from experience when I can. Personally, I’ve had a different goal for each of the 5 Opens that I’ve participated in:
• 2012: Make top 60 in the region, make the gym regional team – check
• 2013: Make the top 60 in the region – fail
• 2014: Make the top 60 in the region – check
• 2016: Lose 10lbs and get back to a body weight power snatch – check
• 2018: Use the Open competition to kickstart a consistent training regimen – check
• 2019: Make the top 1000 (US) in the men’s 35-39 age group – TBD
As you can see my goals have varied over the years, but I still make sure to set a goal. That doesn’t always coincide with the Open. For instance, I once set a goal of getting my bodyfat below 12% at 3 months out from a trip to Hawaii in early 2017. This gave me the incentive to train 5x/week for 3 months, while working full time.
Setting fitness goals is a powerful tool to help some people get into a consistent training and nutrition routine. You can use the Open competition to help you identify goals, like I’ve shown above. For example, if you finished 1,011th in Colorado last year in the 40-44 age group, then a great goal would be to finish in the top 1,000 in Colorado this year. Another example is if you’ve done multiple Opens, you’ll see a workout repeated. Shoot for a better “score” the next time you repeat an Open workout.
Also, don’t let the Open competition intimidate you into a negative mindset toward your fitness goals. Obviously not everyone has to do the Open, and our coaches at CFFV don’t pressure anyone into it. BUT, if the sole reason you are not doing the Open is because you feel that you should be in better shape to participate, you are approaching it wrong. It’s a great opportunity to test your current level of fitness and create a plan to improve in the coming year; approach/use it as such.
It’s very important for most people to set goals, otherwise you may find a reason to stop pursing better health through exercise and proper nutrition. Talk with a CFFV coach if you need help setting a goal while using the Open competition as a measuring tool. Also, no matter if you’re registered for the Open or not, come cheer on your fellow CFFV athletes on Friday nights beginning at 5:30pm (22Feb-22Mar). Bring your own snacks or refreshments as desired. We’ll email a link to the digital Open heats signup sheet to everyone on Thursday night or Friday morning. We’re so excited to host the first CrossFit Open season workouts at CFFV! Get ready, it begins tonight with the live announcement at 6pm MST!
“I’ve been thinking about taking up a meditation practice.”
“I really need to drink more water…”
“I feel so good when I exercise, I want to go to the gym more often, but can’t find the time!”
If you’re like most people you probably have considered starting a new daily routine to optimize one or more aspects of your life. In a world where time has become more and more valuable, distractions are at an all time high, and to-do lists are as long as ever – people are looking for ways to better themselves. One of the most common ways that folks use to make a change is by adopting a new routine.
Routines are actions or a combination of actions that yield a specific outcome or result.
They are the surest way to make an impactful change in our lives. By the end of this article you will be familiar with the 3 key steps to consider if you want to start an effective daily routine!
“Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.”
Step 1: Keep the end result in mind.
As humans we have hundreds of little routines we practice each day. Most of these we don’t care to or need to focus on, they simply happen. Adopting a new routine is usually in pursuit of something new that we wish to attain. The benefit of successfully completing the routines could improve us physically, mentally, or emotionally.
Make sure to keep the end result in mind as you select your routine. This life changing benefit will keep you motivated and excited to stick with your routine!
Some common results people shoot for with their routine include:
Improved mental clarity
Better performance at school/work/sport
Routines to achieve these outcomes might look like:
Take 10 deep breaths before beginning a new project at work.
Exercise at least three times each week.
Turn my phone to airplane mode 1 hour before bed.
Make a list dividing each job into its constituent parts.
Plan out my daily schedule every morning while I drink my coffee.
Visualize what a successful outcome would look like for my upcoming event.
a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.
Routines are most effective when practiced daily. Sometimes we need to focus extra hard on following through with a new routine until it becomes a habit. This is an important factor to consider in both the selection and implementation of your new routine.
Dr. BJ Fogg, a behavioral scientist from Stanford, has a basic behavioral model he uses to describe the steps to change. He claims that in order for a behavior change to happen you need to have the right mix of motivation, ability, and a trigger.
If we are highly motivated to complete a task then the odds are that when a trigger occurs we will produce a successful outcome. Likewise we tend to be successful at tasks that are easy to complete even if we are not so motivated to get them done.
Makes sense right?
The challenge many of us face is that we fail to set up routines that take into account the motivation required to complete a task requiring a higher level of ability. We shoot for the stars and quickly burn out after our initial gusto wears off.
Does this mean that we shouldn’t aim to make big dramatic change with our new routine?
Kind of…not exactly…but yes.
At least Dr. Fogg would advise against it. Instead he suggest focusing on the smallest possible change available to you in your new routine. Consistency wins the long term change game so you should pick a routine that you know you you can complete every single try. This will generate momentum and a new skill that you can apply later to more challenging target areas.
Action Step: Get out a pen and paper and spend 5 minutes brainstorming some ideas of areas you would like to implement a routine. Think about the end result you would like to achieve and make note of the top 2 or 3 new routines that would be a first step on the path. Then let’s move on to step 2!
Step 2: Determine the lay of the land
This is a chance to take inventory of your assets and keep an eye out for potential pitfalls. Implementing a new behavior is challenging because it requires knocking our brain off of autopilot. Rather than coast through our day following the usual agenda we are throwing a strategic interruption to our thought pattern that lets us try something new. This step can be split into two categories:
Supporting Factors, things that can help you implement your routine. Some examples could be:
A supportive partner or best friend
A commute to work that offers some alone time
Sticky note reminders you place all over your house
A trainer, coach, or mentor who wants you to succeed
Distracting Factors, barriers, or common faults that would get in the way of you completing your daily routine. This might look like:
Social settings where you may feel awkward practicing your new routine.
People who interrupt you and take up your time (EVEN IF YOU YOU LOVE THEM)
Physical struggles with things like exercise or waking up early.
Bad influences on your diet, behaviors, or actions.
Action Step: List the top 3 assets you have that could help you start your routine and then the top 3 distractions that may keep you from succeeding. For the distractions, find a solution for how you could overcome it (eg. Coordinate workout schedules with a friend, sign up for a class the night before, or prep healthy lunches for the week on Sunday afternoon)
Step 3: Track Your Progress
Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the founding father of using routines for personal development knew the importance of tracking and measuring his daily practices. Each morning Franklin asked himself, “What good shall I do today? And in the evening, “What good did I do today?” Taking the time twice each day to check in on his progress created more opportunities for growth and self-improvement.
Not only that but Ben cycled through a list of 13 virtues he chose to improve his morality. He would focus on one for a week at a time and document any infractions to the redeeming quality. He noticed significant improvement in his adherence cycling through each virtue four times a year.
As you prepare to start your new routine you want to keep track of your progress. Having clear defined parameters will make you more likely to succeed and recreate the process again for future habits.
Action Step: Make a plan to track your progress. What is the the key aspect of the routine are you measuring. What time of day will you log your results? Are you writing it in a notebook or on your phone or laptop? What will you write on days when you forget to adhere to your routine?
“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”– Archilochos
So now that you have the 3 key steps to starting an effective daily routine how are you going to implement them?
As a living, breathing, blog reading individual you’ve probably learned the basics around how food provides the body with energy. There are actually several different ways that this can occur and they depend on the activity being performed. Your sport or activity, nutrition, genetics, and level of training will each play a role which energy system is primarily utilized. As you can see in the pictures above, these athletes have trained to optimize a certain energy system in their body to improve performance at their respective sport. Regardless of which energy system is predominantly used, all energy is stored in the form of ATP.
Adenosine Triphosphate or “ATP” is the energy currency of the body. Each of the energy systems in the body have their own way of producing ATP to power our daily activities. There are pro’s and con’s to each energy system but ultimately having a better understanding of how our body uses energy can help us make informed decisions on diet and exercise. Let’s learn about each energy system…
Alactic System aka the Creatine Phosphate System
Lactic Acid System aka Glycolytic
Aerobic System aka Fatty Acid Metabolism
“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.” —Tony Robbins
(aka the Creatine Phosphate System)
What is it: The alactic system utilizes creatine phosphate (CP) as an energy source. It fuels high intensity efforts. Creatine is able to donate its phosphate molecules to the the Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP) molecule allowing it to return to ATP, with potential energy stored in its chemical bonds. Creatine comes from the food that we eat with the highest levels in red meat, pork, poultry, and fish. It can also be supplemented for vegetarians and vegans.
Time domains: This energy system is exhausted in 8-12 seconds for most individuals and you will fatigue when your CP and ATP stores have depleted. It is great for quick bursts of energy.
Efficiency: It requires 30 seconds to 2 minutes to replenish energy stores.
By products: Heat released from the breaking of chemical bonds.
Examples of activity: You may see this energy system in action through the short powerful bursts seen in weightlifters, powerlifters, pitchers, and shot putters.
What training looks like: Training the CP system means using short time domains with long rest periods in between. In the gym this means keeping rep ranges to sets of 6 or fewer reps.
Lactic Acid System
(aka Glycolytic system)
What is it: The lactic acid system utilizes glycogen (glucose stored in the muscles and liver) as a fuel source. It is for longer lasting high intensity activities. Our body is able to store about 500 total grams of glycogen in the muscle and liver tissue which provides around 2,000 calories worth of energy. Running out of this fuel source is commonly referred to as “bonking.” Some athletes consume carbohydrate foods, drinks, and supplements during training and competition to prevent running out of this valuable fuel source.
Time domains: It is the primary fuel source for activities lasting from 30 seconds to about 3 minutes. You know you have fatigued this energy system when hydrogen ion accumulation causes a burning sensation in the muscles.
Efficiency: The lactic acid system is very efficient at providing fuel but fatigues quickly. Due to the long recovery time it is favorable to alternate levels of intensity between glycolytic and aerobic dependence to sustain high output.
By products: The byproduct of this system is pyruvate. Which must be cleared from the blood to continue to utilize this energy system. This can take 30-60 minutes.
Examples of activity: This energy system would rule during a 400 or 800 meter sprint, a hockey lines time on the ice, or most CrossFit workouts. It is seen in mixed use with the aerobic system during longer workouts or soccer and basketball games where the players alternate between a slower jog pace with periods of intense sprinting and jumping.
What training looks like: To train this energy system you can utilize interval style training. Intense bursts of energy followed by a recovery period that allows you to stay at a threshold of high output. These athletes tend to have increased muscle mass and ideally lower body fat percentage.
(aka Fatty Acid Metabolism aka Krebs Cycle aka Citric Acid Cycle…)
What is it: This is the creation of energy from fat, glycogen or protein in the presence of oxygen used to power low and moderate intensity activities. The mitochondria present in muscle cells takes the available fuel source through a variety of reactions to produce ATP. Since fat molecules packs 9 calories per gram they tend to be the main choice for this energy system. Even the leanest individuals carry enough body fat to fuel many days worth of activity.
Time domains: Any activity lasting more than 3 minutes in duration.
Efficiency: This system produces energy much more slowly than the others. The good news is it can utilize an unlimited fuel supply of fat.
By products: The aerobic system only produces water and carbon dioxide when generating ATP.
Examples of activity: This energy system is your predominant fuel source for jogging, cycling, swimming long distances, and most of your daily activities.
What training looks like: Athletes who have become efficient at using fat as a fuel source are able to convert the energy from fat more quickly, allowing them to sustain higher levels of work capacity for activities with long durations. These athletes are usually easy to spot as they have exceptional muscle definition and extremely low body fat.
As you can see from the graph, our average work capacity is dictated by the length of time we are performing an activity. By training in all three energy systems (aka “metabolic conditioning”) we can become more efficient in all areas, thus increasing our work capacity across the board. Individuals who only try to utilize cardio or lifting heavy weights to improve work capacity will fall short of their well rounded counterparts. If you’re an individual who wants to improve general health it is beneficial to train each of the energy systems.
If you’re ready to increase you work capacity and become more fit contact us to help you get started!
Nutrition is an individual journey. We owe it to ourselves to determine which foods and what style of eating works best for our bodies. Just like learning any new skill, nutrition takes practice.
The goal should be to develop an approach to eating that makes you feel great, maintain a healthy body, and achieve your goals. We all run into moments of weakness around food, but if your current diet makes you feel angry or sad on a daily basis it’s time for a change.
Let’s take a look at some different ways that eating better can make you feel better:
Improved mental function
Our brain is the control center of the body and just like our muscles and organs it requires fuel to keep it going. In fact, some studies have shown that the brain uses up to 20% of our body’s daily energy.
Focusing on eating to improve our brains function is a great way to feel better. The brain loves wild fish like salmon and mackerel. That’s because these fish contain omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA. DHA helps our brain send signals to our body and improves our memories. Try adding 1-2 servings of wild caught fish each week to get an optimal dose.
The foods we eat determine the way our body and mind perform. Next time you reach for that donut try to picture how your brain will run using the donut as fuel. Instead look for some fresh veggies and hummus, a handful of nuts, or a stick of turkey jerky to give your brain some jet fuel to run on.
Add Muscle, Burn Fat
The battle to fit back in those jeans from college starts and ends in the kitchen. No amount of exercise can overcome an unhealthy diet. Figuring out the right foods in your diet is the key to unlocking your ideal body composition. Imagine how good it would feel to go out on your anniversary wearing the suit from your wedding rehearsal! Protein is known for building muscle but it can do more for your body than help you recover after a workout.
Set the bar at breakfast. A high protein breakfast is one of the best ways to improve body composition. Studies have shown that consuming 30g of protein at breakfast helps with satiety and improves glycemic control. This means less desire to snack on high carbohydrate or sugary snacks later in the day. One study showed that participants who ate a high protein breakfast on average consumed 441 calories fewer each day!
Foods that light you up
Eating is often thought of for fueling performance, but food plays another important role as the building block of our cells. Certain foods help build healthy hair, skin, and nails.
If you’re looking for a youthful glow and to get carded until you’re 50 try these 3 superfoods:
Avocado. Rich in vitamins A, D , E, and many phytonutrients; avocado promote supple skin, help prevent environmental damage and prevent signs of aging.
Bell peppers are high in vitamin C, an essential nutrient for forming collagen which holds hair particles together.
Lentils contain Folate, a B vitamin needed to repair cells in your fingernails and skin.
Preparing meals from whole foods can be a fun and relaxing part of the day. Learn how to season dishes using herbs, spices, and complementary pairings. This eliminates “empty calories” from your diet that show up in sugary sauces and dressings.
Eating is a time for bonding and camaraderie, get together with family and friends to create a new dish. Focus on great conversation, chewing your food, and turning off the TV and electronics. By giving new meaning and tradition to your meals, eating can be a source of enjoyment beyond just the food.
Hey there motivated individual! I have a new challenge for you. Guess what? It’s harder than any whole-food-eating, gallon-of-water-drinking, couch-to-5k challenge you’ve ever tried.
Not only that, but if you complete it successfully I promise you’ll never want to stop.
That’s why I’m challenging you to 1 month of restful nights sleep!
So why is that so hard? Because for some reason our culture idolizes the overworked, overtired, puffy eyed stories of grinding day in and day out with insufficient sleep. We seem to overvalue sacrifice and undervalue our bodies. Not only that, but I think we all forget what it feels like to operate as our 100% rested and ready to go selves. I promise that if you invest in your rest you’ll never want to go without it again.
Let’s dig in to some techniques to help us prepare for an awesome night’s sleep!
Optimize Your Environment
Do more of this:
Make it dark
Our bodies sleep cycle is regulated by a hormone called Melatonin, produced in the Pineal gland. Melatonin is released as the day grows dark and tells our bodies to begin shutting down. Any exposure of our bodies to light will reduce the release of Melatonin and could potentially disrupt the sleep cycle. Try blackout curtains, removing any sources of light in the bedroom, or even a sleep mask to really turn out the lights!
Turn down the thermostat
As drowsy as it makes us to sit by the fire, it actually isn’t ideal to be in a hot environment for a good night’s rest. According to Dr. Peter Attia, “the lowering of our body temperature at night is a cue for our brains that it’s time to go to sleep and increases the proportion of time we’re in delta-wave (translation: deep) sleep.” So what’s the ideal temperature? Most studies show that 68 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal for sleep.
Don’t do that!:
Checking email before bed
Technology and sleep appear to be mortal enemies. A very “neither can live while the other survives,” Harry Potter/Lord Voldemort type of scenario. Staring at a screen make our bodies think we still need to be alert, active, and ready for action. AKA not drowsy, calm, or relaxed. Best practice: No screens in the bedroom. Turn off phones, computers, and television 30-60 minutes before bedtime to let your body know it’s time to shut down.
Do more of this:
Eat protein before bed.
To ensure a restful night of sleep it is important to be aware of how we’re fueling our bodies throughout the day.Some studies have shown that eating a high protein snack before bed
resulted in significantly fewer wake episodes compared to carbohydrate based snacks or a placebo. Try a protein shake, a late night omelette, or some greek yogurt and peanut butter to fuel your slumber.
Don’t do that!:
Drink coffee after 12pm.
Caffeine can have seriously disrupting effects on your sleep.Try to avoid alcohol, tea, and any beverages that alter your state, dehydrate, or have you running to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Develop a Routine:
Do more of this:
Set a bedtime alarm.
We are creatures of habit and our routines have a profound effect on how our bodies behave. By scheduling out a bedtime routine each night our bodies will be primed for a great night of sleep. Try setting a bedtime alarm 8 or 9 hours before you wish to wake up. This is the cue to start your bedtime routine. Put your cellphone away, take care of your bathroom business, and settle down in bed with a fictional book or a journal to reflect on your day.
Pro tip: If you have pet get them in a routine that helps you stay on track!
Don’t do that!:
Wait until you’re tired.
Consistency is king when it comes to a good night’s sleep. If you want to wake up rested you have to exercise the discipline to shut down at a reasonable hour each night. Whether it’s turning off the TV or signing out of work emails, it has to be an active choice. If you continue to stimulate your mind, it won’t be able to recognize that it has to shut down for the night.
Use your physiology to unwind
Do more of this:
Stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system
Our bodies respond to the environment and are always in one of two modes.
Sympathetic aka “Fight or Flight”
Parasympathetic aka “Rest and Digest”
We can hack our parasympathetic nervous system to initiate the healing benefits of our rest and digest state. Try taking a hot bath before bed, gently massaging or foam rolling your muscles, or practicing long slow deep breathing.
Don’t do that!:
Exercise is incredible and will often help promote a deeper sleep. However don’t try to squeeze your workout in too close to bedtime. Training will ramp up your bodies Fight or Flight response and it may take some time to wind down after the fact. Try to wrap up your workout 2 hours before bed and you’ll be sleeping like a baby in no time.
Come get fit with us! Schedule your free consult here
Our construction permit has been approved! We hope to officially open the doors in 1 month, but we need to verify a final timeline with the contractor. In the meantime, we have started signing up members for the Founder’s Club. Founder’s Club members do not require a fundamentals course and will receive a free Founder’s Club T-shirt with your member number on it, as well as a free PT (personal training) session with me (Robby). If you are interested please book an intro appointment here, or contact us at 719-400-8793 and we will meet at the gym to discuss your fitness goals and who we are at CFFV.
We’re working hard to get CrossFit Falcon View open as soon as possible, but there have been some obstacles regarding permitting and zoning that we are having to deal with along the way. This is no surprise, fortunately we know five different gym owners who have had to go through similar processes and they have given us sound advice and put our minds at ease while dealing with these build-out hurdles. We hope to officially open the doors in Late July or early August. We will be taking pre-sales for Founder’s club beginning at least 2 weeks before we open. In the meantime, we’ll keep everyone up to speed on the progress via Instagram and Facebook, and here on the CFFV website.