Growing up vegetarian I had to get creative with holiday meals, now as a vegan with three vegan children we must think even more out of the box.
It is my belief that we should treat our body as our temple, therefore, binge eating rarely happens and I see consistent results over time rather than losing weight fast and gaining it back just as quickly. That isn't to say I don't indulge in delicious vegan chocolate bars and sticky date pudding made by CFC's "Nonna".
Here is my guide to staying healthy and happy throughout the festivities.
Non - negotiable health rituals:
Let us know if you have any other top tips for Christmas!
Something that came up recently, while we were running a Weightlifting comp scored via the Sinclair system, was the difference between looking at weight and performing in CrossFit. I wanted to explore the link between body weight, nutrition and performance as well as the body image issues that come with calling yourself an athlete.
Many of us actively seek out CrossFit for its benefits. One of the benefits of CrossFit, as I see it, is the deemphasis on what you weigh and look like aesthetically. It is refreshing to walk into a gym where main goals are increasing weight on the bar!
However, there are many of us that want to look good as well as enhance our performance. The elite CrossFit athletes do have a certain body type. These athletes have minimal body fat year around, as well as very defined and big muscles. This helps the top competitors move efficiently, float through gymnastics movements and achieve heavier lifts. Most elite athletes come from other sporting backgrounds, though I know this will change as the popularity of CrossFit increases in the younger generations.
It would be safe to assume that most athletes want to achieve an ideal body weight and body fat percentage to increase their strength and perform movements with speed and agility. We've seen the popularity of the paleo diet decline amongst CrossFitters as athletes need to eat more carbohydrates to support their recovery, and I think most athletes get tired of weighing and measuring their food so the Zone and IIFYM is not ideal and has produced varied results.
Within most sports there is an off season and a natural cycle which is harder to identify in Crossfit. Most of us want to peak during the Open, however it's local comp season through Spring/Summer in Australia. I love that CrossFit allows us to be fit and strong throughout the whole year, and I love that there is always more to learn and achieve. However, some elite athletes are back in training soon after the CrossFit Games, and I wonder about the effect of overtraining vs adaption (another blog post perhaps?*).
Everyday athletes need to eat a diet that promotes vitality, health and recovery. Elite athletes definitely require more of a performance enhancing diet and need to nail their recovery systems in order to decrease inflammation and allow them to train at peak through most of the year.
Does everyone need supplements? It depends on the athlete in question. Most people in the general population can eat for wellness and health without using supplements, but whether or not they actually eat this way is individual. Intermediate to Elite athletes often need supplements to support their performance and recovery, and they should be willing to invest in organic, non GMO products. The diet of the elite is insane, you see so many different approaches (if you watch Road to Regionals or A Day in the Life of...) from absolutely no planning, to meticulous preparation. As a female coach who identifies as an everyday athlete I have found this confusing, and I have a Bachelor in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology!
What tends to come up for me is recovery, eating enough food to enhance my training and balancing my body weight so that I feel and look the way I want to. Personally, I want to look lean and feel fit. So coming from a dance background with a mesomorphic body type and a history of an eating disorder, I have to manage my expectations with the demands I put on my body. This is not a situation unique to me, and many of my clients and athletes express the same confusion when trying to reach their goals.
The every day athlete should train a minimum of three days each week and no more than six days. No athlete should be restricting calories, but rather striving for a balance between eating when hungry and feeling energised by food (not over-full). Our bodies use starchy carbohydrates like pasta, rice and bread most efficiently when they are eaten 30mins before a WOD and 30mins after (this is called nutrient timing). As for everything else, simply aim to consume a rainbow of vegetables and fruit, good fats and high quality protein.
Consistency is key, and if the goal is weight loss then you may need to look at additional help and preparation. I would always encourage people to look at why they want to loose weight in the first place. It takes a little longer to achieve sustainable weight management than it does to buy into the cycle of losing weight fast by restricting calories or cutting out food groups.
If you want to lose 10kg in four weeks, sure thing you can stop eating! Then at week five, you gain back 5kg, at week seven you gain another 7kg, we start the process again. This leads to nutrient deficits and a hopeless mentality. This cycle only repeats for so long.
If you give your body a year to lose 10kg however, you can much more easily manage your nutrient intake, feel energetic through the whole experience and be sure that you won't be seeing those kilos creep back on (because you'll be CrossFitting and loving your newfound health).
Then we need to touch on the whole #strongnotskinny movement...because absolutely you can be strong AND "skinny", imagine if the hashtag was #fitnotfat there would be public outrage! It's no bodies business what body shape and type you have but yours (see what I did there?!). And what is of interest to me as a coach is not whether you are skinny or fat or ripped or whatever, what is of interest to me is how you FEEL. If you feel comfortable in your own skin, if you are eating in a healthful way most of the time and can perform well as an intermediate athlete or have the energy to train every week as an everyday athlete. The message I want to share is HEALTH, wellness and sustainability, it makes us feel great.
*some are starting to take a longer off season and periodise their training to focus on weaknesses in this time.
This post is aimed at new athletes, or those that have taken some time off. We will discuss the best (and the worst) things you can do after your WOD.
To assist recovery:
1. Eat well. You can time your carbohydrates and protein according to when you train, if you wish to maximise building lean muscle mass and muscular repair. For more on this please see
link.springer.com/article/10.1186/2193-1801-3-369 and www.theboxmag.com/box-nutrition/nutrient-timing-for-optimal-performance-9616
2. Stay hydrated. Yes we do lose some fluid when we WOD therefore,, athletes require more water than a sedentary person. We like to aim for about 3lt daily.
3. Take a magnesium supplement. Magnesium is important for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and our soil content has drastically decreased. We love Biocueticals Ultramuscle ease in forrest berry and take it before bed. We also spray our Salt Lab liberally! www.saltlaboratory.com/
4. Keep moving! We offer yoga to help our athletes recover post WOD, however there are many places to get your Om on and theres always ROMWOD. If you have a desk job and sit for extended periods of time, try to stand up every half hour and stretch as much as you can through the day.
5. Be consistent. Get up at the same time each day and if you need more sleep, go to bed earlier. If you trained on Monday, show up again on Wednesday at the latest. Consistency and habit will yield results. Smashing out one WOD each fortnight, simply wont.
We all fall out of routine at times, but nothing worth having ever comes easily. We believe that health is possible for everyone in our local community and that the fastest way to achieve fitness and strength is through CrossFit.
CrossFit is for everyBODY.
Every year during June and July I receive about five cancellation forms due to people lacking motivation. So here are my three top tips to keep you getting your fine booty in to the gym:
1. Make it a habit - motivation wont outlast a habit. If you need to sleep in your activewear to ensure you get out of bed and off to the box for an early session, do it. Make it easy for yourself and after about two weeks of making your new routine stick, you will have created a habit.
2. Set a goal - find a goal that fits your reason for training, something that is achievable and rewarding. I trained every week doing the boring strict chin ups and ring dips and practicing transitions for five years, but when I got that muscle up it was SO worth it. I bet when you can feel confident taking your shirt off at the beach this Summer, you wont regret making it to the box three times a week. Even if you just want to make your life a little easier and be able to achieve a day on the tools without pain, there will be a goal and a path to achieve it.
3. Surround yourself with support - studies continually show that you are more likely to attend the gym if you make an appointment with a personal trainer, a friend or a whole community of people that you know will cheer you on. Topics of discussion can include how many layers of clothing to wear to training :)
The CrossFit Croydon tribe is ready to keep you on track to reach your goals, feel amazing and consistently deliver the best hour of your day!
We believe that you'll love it so much that we are offering YOU a winter warmer special of training with us for TWO weeks FREE. This is something we have never offered before! On July 3rd, 5th and 7th you can attend an On Ramp class at either 7am or 6.30pm. From Saturday the 8th to Saturday the 18th, you can attend a WOD each day and get a great feel for our community and exceptional service.
To book in please visit: crossfitcroydon.sites.zenplanner.com/freeTrial.cfm and book in on the 3rd, 5th and 7th at your preferred time or call me today on 0423618308.
Attending your first WOD or your sixth year, we find its best to have a training bag packed and ready to go.
1. Shoes - we are big fans of the innov8's www.againfaster.com.au/athlete-essentials/inov-8-training-shoes/ and Nike metcon's
2. Water - please bring a reusable plastic free drink bottle and aim to drink 2-3lt daily
3. Skipping rope - you will receive one in your CFC goodie bag, and once you can string some double-under's together the RPM ropes are great quality thewodlife.com.au/products/rpm-speed-rope-3-0-comp-1?variant=19843022021
4. Tape - tape is awesome for protecting your joints and also preventing tears on your hands
5. Activewear - our go to is movementmecca.com/ supporting Australian brands and sending inspiration with each package
6. Stance socks - you can never have too many! Long socks protect your shins from the barbell and climbing ropes, they also keep your feet warm in winter.
7. Supplements - we take our greens pre WOD www.activatednutrients.com/ and our Prana Intrastrength during and Phyto fire afterwards pranaon.com/ both of these products are in stock at CFC
8. Magnesium Oil - from our friends at www.saltlaboratory.com/
Muscles of the lower back:
Most Common Causes of Pain
Most effective treatments:
Book in to see our preferred Chiropractor or for a personal training session with one of your coaches
½ cup dry oats
Scoop vegan protein
⅛ cup dried cranberries
⅛ cup sunflower seeds
⅓ cup almond or peanut butter
2 Tbs maple syrup
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes/chia seeds
1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl
2. With clean hands, roll into bite-sized balls.
3. Roll balls in unsweetened coconut flakes/chia seeds
4. Store in fridge
Post WOD smoothie
Juice of 1 apple
Juice of 1 carrot
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Vegie Head Classic
According to the ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal, Yoga is one of the top ten fitness trends of 2017. This won't surprise the many of us CrossFitter’s that regularly attend our local power flow class to get our OM on. The rest of you may be wondering what it’s all about. Yoga today is not necessarily the yoga that has been traditionally practiced; however, yoga is based upon eight limbs or key principles (Ashtanga). The third limb is Asana or the postures you will find yourself doing in each class. This article will also discuss how the fourth limb, pranayama (breath), can aid each and every CrossFit athlete. It is my personal opinion that the most benefit is found in the other six limbs, but we will just touch on the most common practices today.
Yoga for CrossFit
In Greg Glassman’s own words CrossFit athletes require “Cardiorespiratory endurance, stamina, strength, power, speed, flexibility, agility, accuracy, balance, and coordination: you’re as good as your weakest link.” What exactly can yoga help us improve? Most athletes can benefit from increased strength, flexibility, core stability, alignment, efficacy and a decrease in recovery time. Yoga offers us all this plus the additional benefit of mindfulness or the connection we have to our own body, which can be vital when pushing through a challenging WOD. It allows us to face our dark places, release our ego and relax under enormous pressure.
Strength is the foundation for both power and speed. Training your strength endurance at lower intensities, where muscles spend time under tension, builds more than just muscle. The connective tissue is strengthened as is the central nervous system capacity, allowing you to apply force more rapidly and minimise your injury risk. Yoga also teaches us that true strength is more than just musculature; it is the limitless potential in every one of us. This is expressed through love, light, wisdom and beauty, the stronger we believe ourselves to be, the more likely we are to hit that body weight x2 back squat. Strength in combination with flexibility, allows athletes to create more torque (rotation) and strain on the joints safely and efficiently.
Building a strong core
The core musculature comprises the transverse abdominis (TVA), rectus abdominis (six pack muscles), erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, illiocostalis, multifidus, spinalis, longissimus, obliques, quadratus laborum, gracilis, gluteus maximus and medius, hamstrings and rectus femoris. There are many muscles involved with midline stability, the athletes’ capacity to maintain a neutral spinal alignment during a foundational or functional movement, and yoga gives us clear physical landmarks to align the body whilst engaging these muscles throughout the class. In yoga, we do this by creating co-activation of muscles at the navel, uddiyana bandha, and pelvic floor, mula bandha. The asanas are also practiced evenly through the body, allowing balance and coordination without favouring a particular side. Each pose will be held for a number of breaths, usually through the nostrils, and the transitions are coordinated by the breath.
Pranayama, or breath control helps us to relax by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, the opposite to our fight or flight response. We are taught to consciously deepen the breath to master the postures, which helps us to breathe efficiently and deeply when we are struggling. This is most helpful when getting up from the bottom of a 1RM clean or controlling your heart rate during Fran. Breathing this way also prevents us from over- using our intercostal muscles (between the ribs) allowing us to increase our cardiorespiratory output.
What it’s all about
Yoga is not about being bendy, just as CrossFit is not about having the best score on the board. It is about showing up to your mat or the bar consistently; not knowing what is going to happen and being ok with that. It can be about rehabilitating or pre-habilitating yourself and not believing that you are too old, too injured, too fat or too weak. It’s about believing that you can do anything, even if it’s the most scariest, impossible thing you could ever imagine…like Murph. It’s about stripping back the ego to uncover who you truly are, nurturing yourself so that you can then show kindness to others. It is about health without bulldozing your own limits, slowing down to build strength. It is about breathing and moving, connecting and grounding yourself. It’s finding your inner smile.
While exhaustion has become rather a status symbol these days, more and more elite athletes are tuning in and turning to yoga to improve their performance and avoid common injuries or training plateaus. While “there is no single sport or activity that trains for perfect fitness. True fitness requires a compromise in adaptation broader than the demands of most every sport’” (Greg Glassman), a combination of yoga and CrossFit can help to create a more balanced athlete.
Postures for CrossFit
Four essential postures for the everyday or advanced CrossFit athlete are adho mukha svanasana, Urdhva Dhanurasana, gomuksasana and supta virasana. Downward facing dog stretches the hamstrings and the calves while decompressing and neutralising the spine. It can help correct poor movement patterns in kettlebell swings, snatch, deadlift and pressing series. Wheel pose increases thoracic range of movement, lengthens the torso, stretches the chest and lungs while strengthening the arms and wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen, and spine. Cow face pose helps to target the piriformus in the glutes which is quite hard to isolate, it stretches the hips and iliotibial band. Reclining hero pose lengthens the psoas and quadriceps which benefits our squatting immensely.
We can clearly see the parallel between CrossFit and yoga; we can see that CrossFit athletes require mobility, midline stability and focus, that yoga can give us this. Yoga provides consistent and smooth transitions which translate well for lifting and gymnastics in terms of both timing and alignment. As with seeking a coach for your training, not all yoga teachers are the same, find someone that can communicate with you and attend your needs…and don’t be surprised if you find yourself Om-ing alongside a regionals athlete.
Years ago when we were taking the jump to open our Affiliate, some people scoffed at us...telling us that CrossFit was just a fad. While we may have dived in a little naively, believing in our success when we opened the doors of our first affiliate four years ago with not one single member...we have failed spectacularly and succeeded as a result. Now, many would say that CrossFit has HAD it's hey day...though we are growing more rapidly than ever before.
Our location is surrounded by at least four other training studios, a few 24hour globo gyms and sporting clubs. Today I would like to take the time to highlight WHY we are different and share WHY you should invest in yourself with us.
1. an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived; a craze.
"some regard green politics as no more than the latest fad"
synonyms:craze, vogue, trend, fashion, mode, enthusiasm, passion, infatuation, love, obsession,mania, rage, compulsion, fixation, fetish, weakness, fancy, taste, novelty, whim, fascination,preoccupation..
"CrossFit is a fitness regimen developed by Greg Glassman over several decades. Glassman, CrossFit's Founder and CEO, was the first person in history to define fitness in a meaningful, measurable way: increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. He then created a program specifically designed to improve fitness and health.
CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. These are the core movements of life. They move the largest loads the longest distances, so they are ideal for maximising the amount of work done in the shortest time. Intensity is essential for results and is measurable as work divided by time—or power. The more work you do in less time, or the higher the power output, the more intense the effort. By employing a constantly varied approach to training, functional movements and intensity lead to dramatic gains in fitness.
The community that spontaneously arises when people do these workouts together is a key component of why CrossFit is so effective, and it gave birth to a global network of CrossFit affiliates that number over 13,000. Harnessing the natural camaraderie, competition and fun of sport or game yields an intensity that cannot be matched by other means."
1. officially attach or connect (a subsidiary group or a person) to an organization.
"they are national associations affiliated to larger organizations"
synonyms:associate with, be in league with, unite with, combine with, join with, join up with, join forces with, ally with, form an alliance with, align with, amalgamate with, merge with,coalesce with, federate with, confederate with, form a federation with, form a confederation with, team up with, band together with, cooperate with.
1. a person or organisation officially attached to a larger body.
"the firm established links with American affiliates"
What makes CrossFit Croydon different?
Every single CrossFit Affiliate is different. We each have different values, a different mission and different ways that we want to impact the community. We have different programming, different interiors, different communities.
Community, mobility (i.e functionality), ordinary people doing extraordinary things (i.e virtuosity), staying true to ourselves and our mission i.e integrity, and sustainability.
We believe that CrossFit accelerates fitness for everyone and that our specific programming is suitable and scalable for everyone. We know each of our athletes on a personal level, including their individual goals, strengths and whether they are actually doing mobility at home. We believe that yoga perfectly complements strength and conditioning, which is why we include two yoga classes each week with our unlimited membership. We believe that everybody is different and that that is a really GOOD thing. We take the focus away from asthetics by having no mirrors in our space, this ensures that our athletes focus on what they can DO, rather than how they look. We stay up to date with current research, train to prevent injury and periodise to protect our muscles and bones. We enjoy qualifications and require our coaches to be exceptional at what they do.
We break the rules...everyone says it's impossible to be a good athlete and a good coach. Everyone says that girls should stay behind the desk because the big boys aren't impressed with qualifications but with a "coach bro". Everyone says that you cannot have it all and that you cannot make a living by running an Affiliate full time. Everybody said that you cannot be a vegan and have muscles. Most people believe they are not worthy of healthy, that they will never be able to squat more than their body weight above their head. We believe the impossible is possible.
We believe that people will remember how you made them feel and we aim to deliver an exceptional experience in each and every class, event or collaboration.
We believe that screens have their place in modern lives but that our community deserves to be COACHED by someone that gives a shit about them, cares about improving the way they move and is not instructed from a generic video. We believe that coaching is not just standing at the front of a class motivating, but that it is fixing, helping, empowering and growing our athletes knowledge.
We believe in being better. So don't jump on the fads, seek sustainable lifestyle improvement, you deserve to measure and test your fitness. You deserve to see what your body is truly capable of.
It is said that the first day of the year sets the tone for that entire year. Others say it's the first twelve days, representing the calendar months.
This time of year is supposed to be quieter, more reflective, restful even as we gear up towards a new year. It is not a reason to stop training and start increasing your intake of processed foods, alcohol and cheese (everyone is obsessed with cheese at the moment!)...though if you choose to do these things then you may need to spend some time planning how to get into a new routine and back to your "normal/healthful" self. Theres no need to beat yourself up!
Building a consistent exercise habit starts with knowing why you want one in the first place.
Many people start training programs just because they think that they’re supposed to and those people don’t often stick with their training.
If we can be clear about what we want, we are much more likely to set our alarms, wake up, train, eat a delicious and nourishing brakfast and start our day inspired. Or to pack our training wear to take to work and instead of sitting on the couch afterwards, we smash out a session, ending the day feeling complete and ready for the next.
To identify your underlying reasoning for living a healthy lifestyle, your why, ask yourself what you really love and value, be specific as possible. Then ask yourself how your fitness can benefit the things that you love and value.
For me I love my husband and children, while I value feeling my best self, strong and fit. My training, a combination of CrossFit, yoga and dance obviously helps me to feel my best but it also benefits my family as I am able to run around with my kids, to carry them (all the time), to have the energy to attend to them even when sleep seems like a distant memeory. This is why I do it, and this is unwavering, intrinsic motivation.
So, how do we set our goals for 2017?
Decide what exactly needs to happen by next December to make you feel proud, healthy and successful.
Decide what needs to change for you to get there.
Commit to taking the actions you need for the results that you want and INVEST in yourself.
Set goals to inspire you, to be your best self, from a place of love. Set goals rich in possiblility and positivity, that empower you.
We can almost guarantee that 12 week challenge you start with the goal of losing 10kgs is self-sabbotage. This is a goal set from a place of fear, a goal set to punish yourself. And 99% of the time you will put on the weight you lost within a year, only to repeat this cycle again next December.
My goals for training in 2017 include nailing consistent Muscle Up's, hitting a 100kg deadlift and snatching 50kg (body weight). There is nothing to do with how I look and thats ok because I do have external motivating factors to be lean and fit, for my job its important that I set an example, and for my family its important for me to be comfortable in my own skin. I dont set goals around my appearence because that would be fruitless, and training hard while eating well helps me look the way I want to anyway.
This past year has been tricky for many many people and if you managed to keep up your health routine through 2016 then you deserve a huge pat on the back! Take the time to reflect upon what you have learnt, if and how you have grown, what you are most grateful for over the past year and what you might like to let go of in order to live your best life.
We like to look at what our ideal day/week would be like, and work backwards from there, in 2016 we were all about chasing the sun and that will most likely repeat itself this year. We work hard to create a lifestyle that suits our family and would encourage you to do the same. What is the lifestyle that you desire? How can you get there? How can your fitness and health help you achieve this?
So...on Sunday January 1st 2017 (or from the 1st-12th Jan) what will you be doing to set up your year?
No amount of sitting back and wishing will make your dreams manifest. You have to show up and take inspired action daily for your dreams to become a reality.
We have our next On Ramp program commencing on Monday 2nd Jan to help you achieve your fitness goals, and begin your CrossFit journey with us.
Wishing you health and happiness as you welcome the new year,
Coach Sares writes most of our posts in her spare time ;)