How Your Mindset Affects Performance


How Your Mindset Affects Performance

There is a lot going on when you step on to that lifting platform or competition floor. Some days you feel strong and focused. Others you can’t quite seem able to connect the dots. You feel slow and foggy or the weight feels heavy.

The mind and body are in constant fluctuation. Our thoughts can instantly change our physiology. Just think of a time when your were made or scared. Your muscles tensed, heart rate quickened, and pupils dilated ready to react.

And the converse is just as true. Our body influences our mental state and thoughts. Think about how chill and carefree you feel after a long walk in nature or how amped you get when exercising or dancing to your favorite song.

Controlling the stressors and other stimuli in your environment is essential when it comes to controlling your mind and body for performance. Stress can have significant impact on performance and can seriously get in the way of your competitive goals if you don’t have a strategy to manage it.

Let’s take a look at why stress is so damaging to performance and some key strategies to combat it…

The Cortisol/Testosterone Relationship

A study of 109 male olympic weightlifters was set up to determine the effects of cortisol as a moderator of the relationship between testosterone and performance in olympic lifting. The study measured pre and post levels of serum cortisol and testosterone to see if there was any effect on performance. It turns out that pre-competition levels of cortisol or testosterone had a significant effect on olympic weightlifting performance. The inverse relationship between testosterone and cortisol shows that the level of stress an athlete experiences before training or competition can significantly impact their testosterone levels and subsequent performance.

Whoop Dee Doo. But what does it all mean Basil?!

Getting stressed about before a competition or intense training session is a surefire way to negatively impact performance. There are several techniques you can utilize to prepare your mind making it an asset rather than a liability. Top athletes all develop their mental game through practices involving goal setting, visualization, and routines.

“The Ultimate Measure Of A Man Is Not Where He Stands In Moments Of Comfort And Convenience, But Where He Stands At Times Of Challenge And Controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is essential to achieving any specific outcome you want in life. When you focus on a specific outcome your mind will constantly be searching for ways to bring the object of focus into being. That can be for the good or the bad. Say you are a weightlifter competing in your first meet. You should set a goal involving the successful completion of a lift at a weight you feel optimistic you can hit. When you set this metric for success you will be determined to achieve the outcome and take confident action towards achieving it. Odds are you will outperform your goal and be able to raise the bar for your next meet.

Visualization

Visualization is the formation of a mental image. As an athlete you want to visualize a successful outcome you desire. Picture yourself achieving your goals with as much detail as possible. From the clothes you are wearing to the sound of the crowd. The way you move, powerful and strong. The sweat on your brow and the heartbeat in your chest. When you get to gameday it will feel like you’ve been there before. Visualization of success also lends itself to positive self talk that will reinforce your mindset and confidence when it comes to competition.

Routines

Routines are extremely useful when it comes to athletes and performance. They help reduce decision fatigue and providing fewer distractions and less to think about on game day. Decide ahead of time your warmup, clothing, equipment, music, and anything else you would use in competition. Practice with it and make it comfortable and familiar. One important consideration with routines is not to get too superstitious or hung up on these items being responsible for your success. You and only you are responsible for your success. Not your lucky sneakers…

If you want to accomplish your goals working with a professional coach is one of the best ways to develop a strategy and system for results. If you want to work with someone to help you create a game plan for your fitness goals get in touch with one of our qualified coaches for a free consult and discussion on how we can help you!

5 Superfoods To Boost Your Training


As an athlete, businessman or super mom you are always looking for a competitive edge. When it comes to your diet you should employ the same strategy. Superfoods are foods that have more benefit than the energy they provide from carbs, fat, and protein. Superfoods contain vitamins, minerals, and other key phytonutrients that support your training make these foods even more worth your while to eat. By incorporating these foods in your diet you are giving yourself an advantage in your training and recovery.

1.Reduce Soreness and Improve Healing with Tart Cherry

Tart Cherry extracts, powders, and juices have proven to be beneficial for athletes.

Studies have found numerous benefits including reduced muscle soreness after training,

Tart cherries are also naturally rich in melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle in our body. Consuming tart cherry extract in the evening after a training session should promote sleep and recovery.

Studies have shown benefit with doses of 16oz (480mL). Use that as a starting point and see if you can enjoy the benefits of tart cherry!

2. Metabolize Estrogen with Broccoli

High estrogen levels is not ideal whether you are a male or female athlete. Estrogen can promotes the gain of fat mass. Broccoli contains a substance called 3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM) that is capable of metabolizing free estrogen. Consume broccoli at any of your main meals. Just make sure to cook it properly to optimize digestion and absorption.

3. Recover Post Workout with Kiwi and Pineapple

Kiwi and pineapple are two great choices for a post workout carbohydrate. These fruits are high glycemic and will quickly replenish muscle glycogen and hydrate the body after training. They also contain high levels of antioxidants that help eliminate the waste generated from exercise. Pineapples contain enzymes that can aid digestion and compounds that benefit eye health. Both of these benefits very important to consider if you are training hard. Shoot for 1-2 cups of these superfood fruits immediately after exercise.

4. Control Cravings and Boost Your Health with Cinnamon

Cinnamon contains a powerful compound called cinnamaldehyde which follows into a class of antioxidants called polyphenols. Cinnamaldehyde has been shown to effect ghrelin secretion and gastric emptying of the stomach making it a great tool to support healthy weight maintenance. Cinnamon may improve insulin sensitivity, helping the body store more carbohydrates as glycogen, and preventing a sharp rise in blood sugar. It is also a powerful antioxidant that may help eradicate bacteria, viruses, and possibly even cancerous cells in the body. Cinnamon goes great on so many foods and is an easy way to incorporate its valuable benefits into your diet.

5. Gain Lean Muscle with Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are a superfood and can truly be a meal in themselves. They contain healthy fats, essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and are a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids. Brazil nuts are high in the antioxidant and mineral selenium. Selenium has been found to improve levels of luteinizing hormone, which is required for testosterone production. Consume 2-3 of these nuts daily to get the required dose of selenium and all the other benefits of this supernut.

There you have it, 5 amazing superfoods for athletes. If you want to learn more about eating to improve your health and performance we would be more than happy to help!

 

Debunking 3 Big Stretching Myths


Debunking 3 Big Stretching Myths

Stretching is one of the most misunderstood practices in the realm of fitness and sports performance. A long standing staple in many training sessions, it is commonly performed incorrectly, performed at the wrong time, or avoided for the wrong reason.

By the end of this article you should be able to see the benefits of stretching and how to place it into your routine. Let’s take a closer look at what stretching is, when to do it, and debunk 3 of the most common myths about stretching.

    • Myth #1 Stretching makes you weak.
    • Myth #2 Stretching should not be performed before exercise or sport.
    • Myth #3 Stretching increases risk of injury.

 

Myth #1 Stretching makes you weak.

Stretching is sometimes avoided entirely. Especially by athletes who are concerned with losing strength or experiencing a decrease in performance. Holding long static stretches before executing a high intensity lift or movement may have an impact on the stretch shortening cycle of the muscle.

Most folks however, are not going hold a long passive hamstring stretch and immediately pop up into a heavy set of back squats or deadlifts. Proper stretching of the muscle requires breathing, relaxation, and a parasympathetic state to be performed correctly. Odds are that what most folks consider stretching is more like jamming their connective tissues, ligaments, and joints into aggressive end range of motion and uncomfortably holding them there until the pain is overwhelming. The positions are wrong. The intensity is too high. The body doesn’t relax. Stretching is not achieved.

Performing proper stretching has actually been shown to IMPROVE strength as the muscle is able to contract properly and generate force through a greater range of motion. But when and how should it be done? Let’s move on to myth #2.

Myth #2 Stretching should not be performed before exercise or sport.

Stretching before exercise or sport can actually increase performance. The key is knowing how long to stretch. A meta-analyses of studies around stretching and the ability to generate strength or power in subsequent effort found some pretty clear data.

Holding stretches for less than 30 seconds had no negative effect on the ability to jump, sprint, or produce force in resistance training movements. Holding stretches for 30 seconds or longer lead to decreases in the ability to produce force with longer stretch times leading to more significant decrease.

Key Takeaway: Perform dynamic stretching and short duration static stretching before exercise or sport. Take the muscles through a progressively increasing range of motion to improve circulation and prepare the body for performance.

Myth #3 Stretching increases risk of injury

Based on the first two myths being debunked you probably know where this one is heading… The idea that stretching increases risk of injury is tied in with the lack of knowledge around proper timing and execution of stretching protocols. In fact in today’s society where we spend more time sitting, in poor positions, with our shoulders hunched and necks cranked forward as we peer at our cellphones and computer screens.

We’ve already established a dynamic stretching and short duration (< :30 seconds) static stretching routine can help prepare the body for performance, but there is a huge benefit to longer duration static stretching post workout and during active recovery sessions. By addressing some commonly tight muscles like the pectoralis or psoas we are able to correct our bodies posture and alignment. Stretching these two muscles helps provide stability to the hip and shoulder joints and can significantly decrease injury risk.

So now that we’ve debunked some of the common myths around stretching you should feel confident about incorporating stretching into your training. If you need help with stretching, mobility, or any other training needs consider connecting with one of our trainers to find a plan that works for you.

5 Common Mistakes in Low Carb Diets


High fat or low carb diets are a popular choice when it comes to styles of eating. Electing to eat more fat and minimize carbohydrate intake can be a great choice if you are trying to promote lean body mass, increase insulin sensitivity, and easily maintain health.
It is important that you consult with your doctor before beginning any new approach to your nutrition. Eating a diet higher in fat, with moderate protein, and lower in carbohydrate is beneficial for most people but may not be right choice for you under certain conditions. Healthy individuals however should consider the benefits of this eating approach. By avoiding these 5 Common Mistakes in your Low Carb Diets you will set yourself up for success.

Eating the same foods over and over.
Insufficient Carbohydrate Intake.
Missing Out on Key Vitamins and Minerals
You aren’t able to hydrate properly.
You don’t fuel before or replenish after a workout.

1. Eating the same foods over and over.
Lack of diversity is one of the most mistakes that can occur in many diets. With low carb diets this usually is a result of a limited range of choices for fats and a relatively small amount of carbohydrate consumption that limits the amount of foods you eat in that macronutrient.

For fats it is important that you include fats from a wide range of products including nuts, seeds, plants, meat, and fish. You should especially focus on including high quality polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that will give your body a healthy dose of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

For carbohydrates you should focus on getting most of your intake from vegetables, low glycemic fruits and starches, and unrefined whole grain foods. This will help you meet nutrient requirements and the fiber will help prevent spikes in blood sugar that can lead to cravings and fat storage.

2. Insufficient Carbohydrate Intake.
Another common mistake in low carb diets is actually going too low carb. Consuming healthy amounts of vegetables and low glycemic fruits will provide you the energy needed to get through your day. Unless you are trying to enter ketosis your body is running on glucose to fuel the brain. Unless you are practiced at fasting or burning fat as a fuel source you may experience swings in mood and energy levels by simply chopping carbs out of your diet. Most low carb diets still recommend 10-20% of intake from carbs. That means 200-400 calories throughout the day and leaves room for healthy foods like broccoli, carrots, and blueberries!

3. Missing Out on Key Vitamins and Minerals
When carbs are restricted it can be difficult to consume adequate levels of certain nutrients. One study looked at the Atkins diet, a popular low carb diet and found it delivered 100% of the RDI for only 15 out of 27 essential micronutrients. Incorporating a wide range of healthy carb choices will ensure you eat a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial phytonutrients. Low carbohydrate intake may not be the best long term plan without proper supervision and supplementation of certain micronutrients.

4. You aren’t able to hydrate properly.
Each gram of carbohydrate in the body can hold 2-3 grams of water. When we stop consuming carbohydrates it can be difficult for the body to maintain adequate hydration levels. Consuming salt, potassium, and other trace minerals becomes even more important when you choose low carb. Focus on high quality sea salt that will help replenish stores after sweating.

5. You don’t fuel before or replenish after a workout.
The final pitfall of a low carb/high fat diet is improper fueling before and after exercise. During bouts of intense activity the body demands more fuel to sustain intensity and output. Many folks who don’t consume carbs before a workout tend to feel weaker and sluggish during exercise. They then try to fuel their performance with caffeine and stimulants which further deplete them and place additional strain on the central nervous system. Consuming carbs before a workout will help boost performance and allow the body to train longer and harder.

After exercise the body needs to refuel glycogen stores. Any carbs consumed after a workout are going to be shuttle into muscle cells and stored as glycogen for energy later. By refueling your body during this time you set the tone for your next workout.

Have you made one or more of these mistakes in your nutrition? No worries. Information is key and working with a coach who has the right information is the best way to get the results you want!

Invest. Drive. Prosper. Our Core Values.


After listening to a podcast six months ago, that resonated deeply with me, I started to really look at the values of No Risk.  Many values came to mind. A recent podcast rekindled this discussion in my head, and the wheels were set into motion, and what No Risk means to me, and I hope to all of you.  

Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization. Core values also help companies to determine if they are on the right path and fulfilling their goals.  Here are our Core Values.

Invest: Many people think of investments only in the terms of financial gain. The work their whole lifes to get money set aside for retirement. They buy real estate as financial investments.  But they don’t take care of themselves. My father died of a heart attack 20 years ago, because all he did was work.  He did not invest in taking care of himself. He was a smoker, worked long hours, was constantly stressed, and it ended his life.  While he was always there for his kids, rarely did he take time for himself, his health, or his fitness. There was always an excuse.  Not only did he miss out on everything that has occured in his family’s life these past 20 years, his family lost out, not a day goes by where I don’t feel that.  

Health and Fitness is an investment in you.  It is an investment of your time, and it is an investment of your money. To eat healthy is not cheap, but neither are medications, and time out of work for being sick.  Like any investment, if you dedicate to investing to your health and well being, it is going to pay off. You will have a higher quality of life both today, as well as in the future.  I would rather spend an extra $100 cash and 5 hours a week on taking care of my health and well being, and get 5 years of extra life with a high quality on the back end, while not having to spend countless dollars on medications.

We also want you to invest not only in yourself, but in the community when you are here.  Our community is amazing. We are like-minded in nature in that we have made this investment in ourselves, have made health and fitness a priority. When you lean on other people, you become better than you ever believed possible. That is a huge part of the power of community. We encourage, support and push one another to be better than yesterday, we motivate and inspire each other and when there is a community, there is accountability to both the community and yourself.  It all comes from making the investment in yourself and in the community of No Risk. Once you make the investment into you, it leads us to our second core value.

Drive: Two years ago, I was at a Tony Robbins Experience, and there was a board of pins with many different words on them.  The idea was to pick the one which resonated most with you. Most people around me saw an opportunity to gather as many free pins as they could with all different positive character words.  I chose one. The word on it was Driven. It was the word which resonated with me the most about who I was.

If you walk into my office there are two pictures of me from 20+ years ago, when I was not healthy.  One morning I woke up and was driven not to be that obese anymore, and I went to work. Four years ago I was miserable and downtrodden (some of you may remember) from being in an unhealthy marriage and feeling trapped.  While the path wasn’t easy, I was driven to change who I was, and make my life better for both me and my kids.

Any SMART goal is attainable, whether it be in your health, fitness, personal goal, nutrition, getting off medication, losing weight, etc.  All it needs is for you to be driven. And if you share the goal with the community and they hold you accountable it is even easier to be driven.  If you make the investment, create goals for yourself, and drive towards your goals, then our last core value becomes possible.

Prosper:  Prosperity takes many shapes and forms.  If you make an investment, and you drive towards your goals, prosperity usually occurs. If this is directed towards your health and well being, than you will become a healthier and happier you.  The investment in your health and well being, will provide returns many fold of what you invest. This prosperity will not necessarily be financial, but your life will be prosperous. This prosperity will be found in the people you surround yourself with, the people who you find around you who you can depend on, the friendships you made from your investments.  You will prosper in the quality of your life, you will prosper in your health, your happiness, all of which may lead to financial prosperity because your medical bills are down, today and in the future. Everything becomes better when we are fit, healthy and well. Our goal here is to inspire and empower you so that you kick ass in your life outside the gym. To us this is what prosperity is!

Time Under Tension


We are well underway in our NC Fit Experiment, and we have come upon our first round of Level Method Re-tests since fully implementing the NCFit program.  So far, the results are speaking volumes.

As a gym we seem to be moving better, we are stronger, and we are fitter.  We have improved across broad time and modal domains, which is what CrossFit is.  We went from a strength centric focused gym, to a coaching centric gym. Our program has much more structure to it, creativity, and inclusiveness of all movements, with proper progressions used in CrossFit.  

How can it be we are getting stronger across the board, if we are not strength centric?  There are a couple of reasons why I believe this is true.

  1. If you haven’t noticed you may actually getting MORE work in each class.  The warm up is an actual full fledged warm up. It is making you move (and with coaches cues, move correctly) and use your muscles, your core, and truly increases heart rate.  The warm up is putting our muscles under tension. The longer time we have a muscle under tension, the stronger that muscle becomes. While the degree of tension may overall be less, the total time under tension has increased, and we are expanding our training longevity, helping to reap the strength benefits while sparing our joints and helping to prevent injury.
  2. More Core Work.  The core is the center of every lift.  The stronger our core, the stronger our lifts.  Whether it be in the warm up, or in the finishers, we have more ab and core work.
  3. More Accessory work.  Buns and Guns and Rump work is being done.  All of this accessory work built into the program helps put muscle groups under tension and stronger, as well as gets muscle groups working in general.  The glutes are one of the most untapped regions of our body when we lift. With all the glute activation, we are getting the maximus bang for the buck!
  4. Movement patterns are better.  The more reps we do correctly with light weight translate into more efficient and optimal movement patterns under heavier weight.

So what can you do if you are not progressing like you feel you should?

First off, you can self evaluate.  How is your sleep? How is your nutrition and protein intake?   What is your recovery strategy? What is your approach when you come to class?

If you want to make strength gains, you must sleep 7-8 hours.  Sleep is the biggest ergogenic aid. Want to get stronger, you need to sleep.  Hormones are released at night that make muscles grow. Have some excuse why you can’t sleep that long, that is fine, however, do not be upset with any perceived lack of progress.  Until this is in check, gains will be not as great and you can stop reading here, as the rest doesn’t matter. If you do get this much sleep and still not progressing, read on!

Nutrition besides sleep is the second biggest factor is you are not progressing and training regularly. Are you eating at least  1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight. If you are not doing this, start doing it daily, give it a month, and see where you are at.  Can’t eat that much protein? That is where supplementation comes in. Drink it! Nutrition plays a key part to recovery and progress in any training regimen.  You cannot build a house without the building blocks, and you can’t build or repair muscle without the building blocks. Give your body the blocks it needs. Need help with nutrition, see Courtney!

Recovery.  Are you taking days off when you are feeling beat up?  Are you modifying workouts and going easier when you don’t feel 100% or are you insistent at being the RX athlete day in and day out.  Going balls to the wall every day is not the best strategy for sustainable progress. It may work in short periods of time but it is short sighted.  Take a day off, take some weight off, do more mobility or stretching/foam rolling.

Mindset and approach.  Do you come to class, half heartedly do the warm up and the teaching section and just want to get to the nitty gritty of the day?  This is the wrong mindset and approach. Listen to the coach at the board and the points of performance of a movement and workout intent.  Go through the warm up movements with intent and purpose, even if you are doing a lift for the upteenth time, listen and work through the teaching and movement section.  There is always something to be tweaked and fixed. More repitition with light weight builds and solidifies solid movement patterns which helps at heavier weight. You will progress faster when you do!  

 

If you feel you do all these things and are still stuck, then set up a Goal Setting session.  First thing is maybe your goals are not SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Oriented), and a session with Tyler or James, to go over your goals may help you figure out a plan to meet them.  From here, maybe you may need some one on one work with a coach, or some individualized accessory programming to do on the side of the regular class program, or maybe you’ll realize you need to do one of the above better.

We are dedicated to each of you and your progress and want to see you become the best you can be, and attain any individual goals.  We are all here to help you on your journey, and know we have the best program for you to attain the goals you want to attain, and do it in a safe and effective manner, so that you can have lifelong fitness!

Exercise your NO muscle


We talk a lot about building healthy habits like meal prep, drinking water, scheduling time for exercise and going to bed earlier to get at least 6 hours of sleep, and making these part of our daily routine.

Many of us can stick to these healthy habits short term, and once progress starts to slow down, it becomes difficult to celebrate those micro-changes as we start to approach attainment of long term goals. Micro-changes would be things like celebrating 0.5# gains in muscle mass, or a 0.5% loss in body fat. These are still amazing accomplishments.

But, when progress starts to slow down, sometimes our minds lose some motivation, and we may find that we start to engage in more unhealthy habits, like adding in more desserts, skipping a workout, or opting not to meal prep for the week ahead.

This is when it’s more important than ever to exercise your NO muscle. This NO muscle is one of the more powerful muscle groups in your body. It’s your mindset. As you work hard to make routines when it comes to nutrition, and make things like meal prep and eating real food part of your foundation, it’s important to challenge your mindset to stay focused on the ultimate goal of long term health.

When we make a point to say NO to things that will keep us off track, enjoying things like the occasional dessert in true moderation, that is where we win. When we create more mental toughness, we accomplish our long term goals, maintain our progress, and carry a decreased risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes as we age.

So, what are some exercises to strengthen your NO muscle? Here are 3 ideas:

  1. Change your terminology: Practice using more empowered “I don’t eat” statements rather than “I can’t eat” statements to improve your odds of making more healthy food choices.
  2. Challenge yourself to stand up for yourself. If someone offers you a choice that you know is not healthy, its ok to practice self care and respect your own feelings rather than fearing that you may offend someone by saying no to their offer. Its ok to stand up for yourself to stay on track with your goals, and politely say “No thank you.”
  3. Go into a situation with a plan. Whether it’s going to a party with a healthy snack like a bunch of cut up vegetables, or scoping out a menu before you head to a restaurant, go into a situation with a plan to stay on track with your goals. Your mind is primed to make those good decisions, and say no to temptations when you go into a situation with a plan.

Be on a mission to create the healthiest version of yourself. Create a consistent mission for yourself to do something healthy each day. Have a motto of “Just show up and make good choices” and make that part of who you are. The more you practice, the more this becomes a routine that will feel effortless over time. Exercise your NO muscle and BE WELL!

 

Eliminate shoulder pain once and for all!


Shoulder pain is one of the most troubling ailments that can interrupt any avid gym goer.

Exercise should be a place to relieve stress, build, confidence, and of course improve your health. Dealing with one more painful problem to work through is probably not going to be a big motivator for you.

The good news is that you don’t to make training with shoulder pain a part of your life. In fact if you dedicate yourself to the process you can eliminate shoulder pain once and for all.

Let’s talk about where this shoulder pain can come from, address what actions need to be taken and the potential irritants that should be avoided. Finally we’ll take a look at some movements that can help mobilize, activate, and strengthen your shoulders. Dedicate part of every workout to improving the functionality of this crucial joint and you will change your athleticism and quality of life.

“It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.” -Julius Caesar

Poor technique may load up the shoulder joint in a way that it cannot stabilize. This could cause strain and overuse of muscles around the shoulder. One common example of this is an overworked pec minor and underworked rotator cuff. This leads to rounded shoulders, and weakens the ability to stabilize the glenohumeral joint during pushing and pulling movements from the shoulder. By stretching the pec it will allow your shoulder to sit in a more stable position. By activating and strengthening the rotator cuff and scapular muscles on the back of the shoulder you ensure healthy, balanced stability and function.

Overuse could be another culprit of shoulder pain. Whether your volume (total amount of reps) or frequency (sessions each week) is too high or you are simply trying to lift too much weight can all cause problems. If you go heavy or perform maximal effort sets you may need up to 5-7 days to fully recover. If you work at lower intensity you may be able to work this muscle group 2-3 times a week. Find the right balance of volume and intensity to ensure consistent progress in your lifts.

If you are constantly running into the same shoulder pain issues then technique may be the true problem. The shoulder is the most freely movable joint in the body. This puts at the greatest risk of injury when it comes to repetitive movement with poor form. Even one session with a coach or trainer can revolutionize your upper body pressing ability.

Finally if you experience pain when performing a certain movement it may simply not be a good fit for you. There are infinite ways to scale the load and form of resistance to provide your body with a similar stimulus to the painful movement. Perhaps the most commons movement replacements are those that replace a fixed circuit movement such as a barbell bench press or overhead press with single arm variations using dumbbells or kettlebells. Training the arms unilaterally allows you to have more “play” in the shoulder and adopting a movement pattern that better suits your body. No compromises in strength or performance are necessary.

So let’s move on to some strategies to actively prevent your shoulders from injury. Through activation, self myofascial release, strengthening, and stretching.

1. Activate

Activating the muscles for a workout or “prehab” helps your body prepare for the more demanding movements it is about to perform. It will both aid performance and mitigate risk of injury. When it comes to the shoulders

To help activate your shoulders before a workout perform these 3 upper body exercises, band pull aparts, scapular pushups, and face pulls. Perform 3 rounds of this circuit with 10 seconds rest between each movement. Keep the band resistance light enough to move with a slow controlled tempo but make sure it still challenges you. You should feel the blood flow and a warm sensation in the shoulder joint by the end of this circuit.
Perform 3 rounds with :10 of rest between movements.

2. Roll Out

Self Myofascial Release (SMR) is a fancy name for “rolling out.” The goal is to mobilize soft tissue allowing greater range of motion and improved muscle function. You can use a foam rollers, lacrosse balls, tennis balls or any other device that allows you to access the desired body part at pain level you can withstand. Focus on breathing and eliminating abdominal pressure while you roll out to ensure the tool can work its way into the muscle.

Rolling out helps our body get “unstuck” from tightness due to sitting and positions we spend long amounts of time in. It is important to move and mobilize our tissues as often as possible to mitigate this tightness. Imagine if you were going to run a marathon with a rock in your shoe. You would never run 26 miles with that rock digging into your foot each step of the way! There’s no reason to treat your shoulder in that manner either. Stop pushing through the pain and fix the sticky points.

3. Strengthen

Like any muscle group it is important to strengthen the muscles of the shoulder. The exercise you choose should strengthen the weak muscles that are necessary for optimal shoulder stability. Performing these strength building movement for 5 rounds alternating back and forth between movements

3×8 Bottoms Up Kettlebell Press: Take 3-4 seconds to lower the weight from the top position. IF you struggle with balancing try working from a kneeling or seated position, train one arm at a time, and keep the kettlebell light.
3×8 alternating Turkish Get Up: Try breaking this complex movement into smaller pieces or work with a coach to master the technique. Your shoulders will thank you!

4. Static Stretching

Part of your cool down routine should also include some static stretching. There are many debates around when and how static stretching should be performed. One study has shown that static stretching can improve flexibility by increasing passive fascicle length. Performing a static stretching routine after your workout or anytime that is not immediately preceding an event requiring maximal force production by a muscle.

Stretch the primary movers of your days workout-chest, lats, and traps are some of the key muscles to stretch since a heavy bout of training will leave them tight and could cause a temporary imbalance if not addressed. Hold stretches for about 30 seconds to ensure your brain sends a signal to your muscles that they need to stop firing and allow lengthening to occur.

5. All in One, Biggest bang for the buck!

3 x 60 second Arm Bar each side!  This all inclusive shoulder pre-hab/rehab stretches the shoulder capsule, putting the head of the arm bone in its correct anatomical position, while also strengthening the small stabilizing muscles of the shoulder/rotator cuff.  It is a static hold but dynamically acting as the kettlebell will shift positions, forcing your the stabilizers to fire.  Start off light weight and increase.

If you have questions about building strong healthy shoulders don’t be afraid to get in touch with one of our coaches. We have many tricks up our sleeve to get you active and healthy and back at it!.  We will find a safe and effective program to meet your needs!

When did “Fruits and Vegetables” become 1 word?


Fruits and vegetables seems to have become one word when it comes to giving advice on a healthy diet. However these two different food groups must be approached with different strategies. When it comes to optimizing health you need to choose the foods that best support your health and training needs.

Fruits and vegetables have varying macronutrient and fiber contents and can also contain different types of vitamins, minerals, and other key micronutrients. They contain different types of carbohydrates that affect their digestion and effect on blood sugar.

“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” -Michael Pollan

In America most folks are still missing out on many essential nutrients and simply do not consume enough vegetables. In schools kids are encouraged to have either fruits or veggies. The fact is that 8oz of orange juice is not going to provide the same nutrients as 1 cup of broccoli. Whole fruits do contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals but when turned into concentrated juices they are not much different than drinking a soda.

Even as an athlete you may be guilty of eating 2 or 3 bananas in a day but neglected consuming foods like green cruciferous vegetables that have true health benefits.

Fruits are higher in sugar and unless you are a high level athlete training multiple times per day you probably do not need to consume that many carbohydrates in your diet. A piece of fruit to fuel your workout and some fast digesting carbs post workout should be the majority of your “carb” intake. Fill the rest of your meals with vegetables that will make you feel full and contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

A healthy diet should consist mostly of healthy fats, high quality proteins, and complex carbohydrates from vegetables which are nutrient dense and have a minimal effect on insulin.

If you are consuming fruits focus on fresh seasonal fruit that will have a low impact on blood sugar. Dark berries are one of the best fruits in this regard and contain high levels of antioxidants. Kiwis and pineapples are a great choice that is ideal for post workout recovery.

If you are looking for a more natural approach to eating, feeling better, and looking great then we can help you get there. Reach out to one of our friendly staff members today to see how!