3 Reasons why you should NOT stress about the gym being closed


So the gym is closed and you don’t have weights. Most of us can’t do our normal routine and may be getting frustrated or stressed that our progress will come to a halt.

If you’re stressed because you don’t want your training to go to waste but you also can’t do anything about your current circumstances what do you do?

Keep training you silly goose!

We’re about to uncover the most important things to remember about taking time away from weights and what you can do to make sure you keep those gains you’ve worked so hard to attain* (*it rhymes so it must be true).

Here’s 3 reason why you should not be stressed about the gym being closed:

1.Your strength is not going away overnight.
It takes several weeks for your body to lose strength and muscle mass. Muscles are constantly undergoing cycles of stress (exercise) and recovery. They don’t have to be constantly under stress in order to be maintained, in fact constant stress without adequate recovery will actually

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

-Marcus Aurelius

2.You have so much opportunity to attack weaknesses

Whether it’s taking time to focus on bodyweight exercises to keep strength, jumping rope and running for your conditioning, or stretching and mobilizing there is so much opportunity to attack your weaknesses! Not only that but you also have more time to dial in your nutrition and eat in a way that supports your goals. You can even practice your exercise technique without moving a muscle. Studies of athletes have shown that mental rehearsal, running through a movement, lift or routine has been shown to cause electrical activity in the muscles involved in the movement. Close your eyes and practice your technique. You might be surprised at what you can do when you get back to it!

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

-Abraham Lincoln

3.Focus on what you want, not what you don’t
The most important piece when you’re unable to go to a gym is to remain calm. Nothing widdles away those hard earned muscles like cortisol. Stress levels are probably high enough with our jobs and daily routines being flipped on their head so do your best to stay calm and persevere.
If you focus on all the things you fear or worry about your brain will only find more fuel for that fire. If your internal dialogue is “I’m going to get fat or weak” then you will probably act in a manner that supports that story. If your story to yourself is “I’m going to say health no matter what” then you will most likely act accordingly.

“For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

-William Shakespeare

Times can be hard, but we will stick together as a community and come out on top. If there is anything we can do to help please let us know!

Just Not Your Type


Ever feel like all the hard work you’re putting in isn’t paying off? Maybe you are sticking to a diet that one of your friends swears by and you haven’t lost a pound. What gives?!

You may be struggling to achieve results if the plan you’re on doesn’t best line up with what your body actually needs. Knowing your body type could help you bring your nutrition game to the next level. There are three different body types known as somatotype.

The 3 somatotypes are ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. They are each characterized based on body shape and composition. I bet you will be able to quickly identify which somatotype you must align with.

Ectomorphs are generally leaner and long limbed folks. If you are an ectomorph you may have a more slender build and find it difficult to put on muscle or gain weight at all. Many ectomorphs find themselves drawn to endurance activities like running due to their bodies natural proclivity to endurance events.

Mesomorphs are naturally muscular folks. They tend to have broader shoulders and gain muscle easily when training without putting on fat. Mesomorphs may be the classic build you picture of a gymnast or football player.

Endomorphs tend to have a larger build and may put on muscle, but also body fat easily. Classically “big boned,” these folks may remind you of a powerlifter, strong man competitor, or football lineman.

Knowing which type you are can be useful when it comes to your eating choices and may help you identify which exercises you may perform best at. Your body type helps give insights to how your genetics and body may react to certain foods. For example, are you insulin resistant or sensitive and how can you determine this?

If you are an ectomorph you may thrive off of a higher carbohydrate diet even consuming over 50% of your calories as carbs. Endomorphs who tend to store fat will do better on a lower carb diet and would do better to consume a higher protein and moderate fat diet. Mesomorphs fall into the middle and can do well with a balanced diet like a zone diet that is 40% carbs, 30% fat, and 30% protein. As you perform more strength training you may find that you are able to better tolerate carbs in your diet, because your insulin sensitivity improves.

Body types aren’t all about looks. You can also use this approach to eat in ways that support activities where certain body types thrive. For example, if you’re an ectomorph body type, you’ll thrive doing endurance activities more than heavy weightlifting. That doesn’t mean you should limit yourself though. Most of us are not purely one somatotype and you can always train in the direction that align with your goals. Just because you aren’t naturally inclined to a certain activity or style of heating doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your goals.

Body types are not a one size fits all approach, but can be a good place to start if you’re struggling with fat loss, muscle gain, or even fatigue. Knowledge is power and hopefully you can use this to improve your decision making around your training and diet. If you have questions just let us know!

Stop Doing It For The ‘Gram


More and more often these days we encounter folks living life through the lens of their smartphone. Ever since becoming a social influencer turned into a real career it has become increasingly difficult to know what is real and what is staged. Not only that, but how often are you interrupting your own life in order to capture a moment that is sure to get you attention on social media. Is it really worth it though? Stop and ask yourself…

How many beautiful sunrises get missed?

How many meals are really tasted and enjoyed?

How often do you dance just to let loose and blow off some steam?

Knowing that any, most, or all of what you do is being captured on camera changes the way you act. Every birthday party is a performance. Brunch is a photo shoot. A relaxing hike is #themountainsarecalling.

John Muir is rolling over in his grave.

This is not an article to just hate on people making a living off of instagram. It’s to bring awareness to the fact that what you see on Instagram is NOT real life. What you see most folks doing is playing a character in their own life. Showing a highlight reel that contains the settings, outfits, and activities they want you to see.

Ryan Holiday, author of Ego Is The Enemy says it well.

Almost universally, the kind of performance we give on social media is positive. It’s more “Let me tell you how well things are going. Look how great I am.” It’s rarely the truth: “I’m scared. I’m struggling. I don’t know.

Social media can be great for learning, sharing, and capturing memories. Just know that it is usually the opposite of social and it can often take away from the moment to pull out your phone.

You are worth so much more than likes and comments. Don’t get it twisted.

And if you do, be sure to tag us 😉

@noriskcrossfit

Where does alcohol fit into your training?


Since about 7000 B.C., alcohol has been a staple for gatherings in many cultures. You may have heard that wine can actually be a healthy beverage for your heart, or that a hot toddy when you’re sick makes you get better quickly. Are these claims true? Like most answers: yes and no. It depends on a myriad of things like your genetics and the way your body processes alcohol, additives and the quality of the booze you’re consuming.

So where does this fit into your life? If you’ve ever wondered if you should avoid it all together, or can have a glass or two of your favorite red or microbrew, this article is for you.

Let’s talk about the science of alcohol. What’s in it that gives us that fuzzy feeling? The answer: ethanol. This substance absorbs into our bloodstream and causes a “depressing effect” on the systems in our bodies.Our reaction times slows, stress and anxiety are reduced, and the body altogether slows down.

Weightlifting and exercise in general generate metabolic waste for the body to process. The liver is instrumental in clearing these waste byproducts from the body. If you are working hard in your training you may be putting a hefty load of work on your liver. Make sure that if you are exercising and enjoy a few drinks you are getting ample rest and recovery to keep your body in balance.

There is also the additional calories to consider when it comes to alcohol. If you are trying to lose fat then there is most likely no room in your diet for excess calories. You want your primary calories to come from lean protein, fibrous vegetables, and heart healthy fats. Replacing some of those calories with alcohol put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies. Not only that, but after a few drinks you may become tempted to reach for foods that don’t support your body compositional goals.

Consuming alcohol doesn’t make you unhealthy or a bad person. Just like anything else you consume, it should have can have a place if you are responsible and keep it in balance with your health and wellness goals.

Choose an Environment that Supports You


The environment you place yourself in is arguably the most important decision you can make at any given moment. The actions the environment supports will shape your life and the decisions that you make. Sounds like a big statement but let’s think about it for a minute. Compare a few different potential options of environments you could spend your day in.

On one hand, you could spend your day throwing around heavy weights and being bold, focused and confident in an activity like weightlifting or CrossFit. Think about how you feel after lifting a barbell, or doing pull-ups. How do you feel? Maybe strong, determined, more powerful?

Now let’s consider another way your day’s activity could go. You go to a yoga class where you focus on your breath. Stillness and peace is a common feeling people get. You’re stretching, creating space. Think about how different that feels from the weightlifting you would do at the gym. The feelings you experience from doing yoga may be uplifting, and open. The gestures your and stretches you take your body through in a slowed down type of activity like yoga impacts the way your brain perceives your life.

Let’s analyze a third option. You go to an old friend’s house. You end up sitting on the couch having a few drinks and snacking. You watch a mindless TV show while your friends complains about work and how unhappy they are at their job.

Which experience do you think will make you grow? Which environment will contribute to the person you want to be?

Ding. Ding. Ding. It’s an easy choice right?!

“Surround yourself with people who remind you more of your future than your past.”
-Dan Sullivan

Put simply, you become what you do. Your body communicates who you are to your brain. If you spend your time doing hard work and lifting heavy weights, you start to think how strong you are and how you can do hard things. This will translate into your life. You become the type of person who is strong and can do hard things. In a place like yoga, or maybe running outside, you may experience those feelings of freedom, space and peace. You become a person who experiences these things.

It’s incredible how much how body influences how we think. Activity is so important to everyday life. The next time you’re working out, whatever activity it is that you choose, notice the messages your body sends your mind. Feeling weak in your life, like you can’t do anything right? Get under a barbell and do some hard shit. Feeling like you need more space in your life? Try some yoga or running. With your body as a tool you can create the environment you most need in your life.

The Best Exercise You’re probably Not Doing for Your Elbow Health


Still have that nagging elbow pain that won’t go away? It can prevent you from even picking up your coffee cup if it is really aggravated and will keep you out of the gym for days at a time.

This type of pain often occurs as inflammation due to overuse of the forearm muscles. THe symptoms of “tennis elbow” or “lateral epicondylitis” can be mitigated with ice or NSAIDs, but your goal should not be to deal with the symptoms.

Prevention is always the best measure and there are exercises you can do that will act as a rehab and prehab. Here is the best exercises you’re probably not doing for your elbow health. Adding this exercise in to finish your workout is a great way to combat elbow pain and prevent it from coming back! Enter the Zottman curl.

The Zottman Curl:

The Zottman curl is one of the best and most efficient exercises that you should be doing if you care about performance in grip heavy workouts with rope climbs, kettlebell swings, and deadlifts. This is also a great movement to prevent elbow pain from occurring.

You won’t need much weight to start ( especially if you’re rehabbing an injury). These curls are extremely hubbling and are very challenging on the biceps and extensor muscles in your forearms if performed correctly.

Start with a pair of dumbbells and a supinated grip. Perform a bicep curl and pause in the top position or :01-:02 with your biceps fully contracted. Slowly rotate your hands into a pronated (palms down) position before lowering the weight. In the bottom position rotate your palms back to a supinated position before performing your next rep.

Pro tip:
Performing these from a tall kneeling position on both knees will help you activate your core and glutes simultaneously and prevent you from cheating on the curl.

Perform 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps of this exercise with a light to moderate load. You should be able to perform these curls at the beginning or end of your workout 2-3 days each week. Give the Zottman Curl a try and bulletproof those elbows today!

Squats vs Deadlifts


Squat versus Deadlift

Which lower body movement is “King of the Lifts”?

The squat and deadlift are the two staple movements of a lower body training program. The squat and hip hinge are also two fundamental human movement patterns and are important for normal daily function. They also require a large percentage of muscle recruitment making them essential for developing muscle mass as well as increasing neurological capacity and hormonal output.

The squat and deadlift are also both elegantly simple in theory yet technically complex in application which can make them intimidating for new lifters. The human body is capable of moving tremendous loads with these movements and to stay safe you must master the basics. After all, strength training should always be performed with the proper coaching, equipment, and environment to keep you safe as an athlete.

When it comes to strength training many athletes tend to prefer one lift over the other. There are many reasons for this. Comfort. Body type. Skill level. To name a few. Some people may have stayed away from performing either the squat or the deadlift from a negative past experience or injury.

Let’s take a look at:

  • Who should be training squats and/or deadlifts,
  • The benefits and muscle groups worked, and…
  • The Volume and Intensity you should be using.

General Population versus Athletes

If you are a recreational athlete or utilizing strength training to stay healthy and fit then it is essential that you learn the basics of squatting and deadlifting. After all the ability to squat and hinge are components of everyday life. The human body is an adaptation machine and responds to the demands that are placed upon it. When we spend a lot of time sitting in chairs instead of moving We begin to lose these human movement standards. Don’t worry, the gym is the perfect place to bring them back. When you first learn these lifts make sure to work with an experienced coach who can give you the visual, audible, and tactile cues to perform these lifts.

Athletes also need to hinge and squat to develop explosive power, muscle stiffness, and joint stability for their sport. They may prioritize either the squat, deadlift, or a derivative like the trap bar deadlift based on the demands of the sport on their muscles. Working with a strength coach on sport specific training will be key to choosing the right lifting program for you.

Benefits and Muscle Groups Worked

The ability to perform a basic body weight squat should be the first goal of a training program. The squat requires mobility of the ankles, knees, hips, and spine as well as the motor recruitment patterns to properly extend at the knee hip and ankle simultaneously. The primary muscles worked are the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Depending on the squat variation being used as well as the depth and other variables you can increase or decrease specific muscle activation. Low bar back squats and box squats achieve greater posterior chain activation. Front squats and overhead squats require a more upright torso and are quad dominant.

The deadlift is the most effective exercise for working the posterior chain. The posterior chain is essential for developing strength and power as an athlete. Powerful hamstrings and glutes will make you run faster, jump higher, and lift more weight. The muscles of the back also benefit from deadlifting due to the powerful isometric contraction required to maintain a neutral spine during heavy pulls. The rear delts, lats, and erector spinae all will grow as a result of deadlifting.

Volume versus Intensity

As a general rule of thumb strength training programs should have an inverse relationship between volume and intensity. Since squats and deadlifts are both total body lifts that require intense focus and neural activation it is important to vary loading patterns, volume, and intensity.

Deadlifts tend to be great for intensity but can be problematic in large volume. One fix for this is to train the hinge movement pattern with other implements that remove the need for heavy loading. Kettlebell Swings, Romanian Deadlifts, and Glute Bridges all train this movement pattern and are great.

Squats on the other hand seem to respond better to higher training volume. With that said you can still grind yourself down with too much high intensity work in the rack. Sticking to Prilepin’s chart for percentages is a great way to stay on top of loading parameters to ensure progress without burning out!

There you have it. A breakdown of the squat and deadlift as well as the reasons you should train them. If you’re looking for help learning these movements and building a movement practice to change your body or get stronger we have a team of coaches who can help you reach your goals.

What It Means To “Go Vegan”


Documentaries like “Game Changers” have caused quite a stir in fitness and nutritional circles. The documentary advocates that plant-based diets are optimal for health. Using a variety of athletes as examples they promote that a vegan diet is the reason these athletes are successful.
But what does it really mean to go vegan? Is it the best choice for you? How do you even begin to decide?!
Going vegan is a choice to avoid all animal products in the diet. This choice could be for health, environmental, religious, financial, or personal reasons.
Many people may want to make the switch if they are experiencing digestive issues, low energy, or a health condition.
Others who may have food intolerances or sensitivities turn to a vegan diet to avoid GI distress and other unwanted symptoms.
Generally, the initial choice of going vegan makes people feel great. They may feel sharper mentally, less bloated, and energetic.
There are several potential reasons for this. By eliminating meat, poultry, fish, and dairy from the diet there are fewer options to choose from. But as time goes on some people tend to struggle with a vegan diet. One of the chief reasons for this has to do with protein consumption.
It can be difficult to consume enough protein from plant sources such as grains and legumes. You have to consume a tremendously high amount of carbohydrates to get adequate protein and this may not always be achieved by new vegan eaters.
Building muscle on a vegan diet can also be very difficult. You have to get enough amino acids, the building blocks of muscle, to grow. Since plants have lower amounts of certain amino acids they must be eaten in the right amounts and combinations to get what is known as a complete protein.
Most protein options for vegans are processed. This is the biggest problem. The main goal in nutrition is to stay away from packaged and processed foods for optimum health. As a vegan, it can be hard to get the full essential amino acid profile from foods. It requires a lot of pairing with different foods to get your required amount, and an extremely varied diet to avoid deficiencies.
The main point here is to make sure you are getting enough whole food sources as a vegan and you can be as strong and fast and any of your omnivore friends.
The best thing any vegan athlete can do is keep an eye on their blood work with their doctor to address any deficiencies early on and work with a dietician or nutritionist to accomplish any athletic goals to ensure a healthy body and mind.
One particular essential nutrient is B-12 which is found in meat. This must be supplemented if you go on a vegan diet long term.
Going vegan isn’t bad for you. It is actually a great way to give your digestive system a break. You also have the opportunity to consume more nutritious fruits and vegetables that contain vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber. Consider going vegan for a few days as a way to de-load your body’s digestive organs every so often.
If you are already vegan. Consider experimenting with high-quality meat and animal products in the diet and see if that makes a difference. Wild-caught fish and game may be handled very differently in your body than commercially farmed meats you may have eaten in the past.
Everyone human is different and it is up to use a combination of science and trial and error to make decisions for your health. If you need help getting started then get in touch with one of our coaches today!

Tips For A Balanced Lower Body


After an intense workout of front squats or thrusters, you may have felt that burning pumped up sensation in your quads. Your pants are tighter and you can no longer put your phone and keys in your front pocket for fear of getting them stuck. 
The quadriceps and hip flexor muscles on the front of your legs are responsible for extending the hip and knee joints. They have tremendous potential for growth and get a great workout from movements like front squats, step-ups, and walking lunges.
Having powerful quads is not a bad thing by any means. In fact, the greatest Olympic weightlifters, cyclists, and speed skaters have huge powerful quad muscles. 
Some folks have very powerful quads but have issues recruiting the muscles of the posterior chain.  They allow the quads to handle all lower body movement. Having poor form can also contribute to you being quad dominant. If you are an athlete who notices that your weight is often in your toes you may be prone to this imbalance. If the coaches are always telling you to “get in your heels’ this is probably the correction they are cueing. 
The top priority in a training program should always be safety and function. That’s why using compound movements like squats and deadlifts provide excellent returns. In terms of strength building and promoting lean body mass they provide the most bang for your buck. People who focus too much on a single movement like squatting may be neglecting movement patterns that would keep them strong and healthy.
You should have an equal ratio of squat and lunge workouts to hinge and deadlift workouts. If you are quad dominant or lacking in the posterior chain department then that ratio should be 2 to 1 in favor of the hinge and pulling movements. As you are able to better recruit and develop the glutes and hamstrings then you can start to balance out the program you are following. Not only that but building a stronger posterior chain will make all of your lifts more powerful and you will look and feel better too!
Deadlifts, RDL’s, Kettlebell Swings, Good Mornings, Reverse Hypers, and Hip Thrusts are all excellent for beefing up those glutes and hamstrings. You can also adapt movements to make them more favorable to the posterior chain. Low bar back squats and box squat variations recruit more posterior chain than front squats do. Reverse lunges instead of forward or walking lunges will also be a better option to help you stay in your heels.
If it looks like you have a second kneecap then you might be in the running for quad dominance. Our training programs contain constant variance to make sure you are improving in all areas and eliminating weaknesses. Our coaches can help you through a series of assessments to determine what to focus on and how to get your body strong, healthy, and balanced.

4 Ways to Save Your Joints


When you are dedicated to your training and putting in the hours to achieve your goals then there is nothing more frustrating than joint pain and inflammation. It almost feels like your body is punishing you for working hard. No fair, right!

Rather than make excuses about your pain or backing off on your training you may want to consider some new techniques to mitigate the damage from these patterns of overuse.

1. Focus on form
2. Make intensity your new volume
3. Recover Harder
4. Hit the Supplements Aisle

1.Focus on form
If you are training often and hard then even the slights inefficiencies in your movement can turn into nagging injuries over time. Before you put in all that hard work you owe it to yourself to work with an experienced coach to refine your movement. You will make progress faster and stay healthy in the process. Slow down, not every day is a competition.

2. Make intensity your new volume
Sometimes the body simply needs a break from volume. All athletes in any sport go through periods of alternating intensity and volume throughout the year. They have different rhythms and protocols for preseason, in-season, post-season, and off-season training. Try backing off on the volume of your training and focusing on higher intensity pieces instead. For lifters, this could mean performing fewer sets or reps and using a higher load, shorter rest times, or a faster tempo. Runners might try lower mileage with weeks and adding a sprint workout 1-2 times per week instead.

3. Recover Harder
Training hard without the proper recovery techniques is bound to beat you up and becomes unsustainable long term. Make time for massage, foam rolling, stretching, yoga or mobility sessions, sleep, and any other recovery methods that can improve your performance. Sometimes the most beneficial thing you can do is stimulate your parasympathetic nervous with these recovery techniques to let your body’s natural healing mechanisms kick in.

4. Give your body what it needs to repair itself
There are tons of great supplements that can help with joint health. Fish oil and omega 3’s provide a healthy inflammatory response in the body amongst many other health benefits. Glucosamine and Chondroitin provide the building blocks for joint repair. Tart Cherry Juice extract has been shown to reduce muscle soreness after a workout. Give those a try to start!

Don’t let joint pain stop you from moving and doing the things you love!