Coaches’ Corner

Article from March 2013 Fitness Journal regarding exercise and nutrient timing:  Optimal Recovery After Exercise:  Nutrient Timing

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Coach’s Corner – courtesy of Lars, February 2013

Are you looking to optimize your results and performance when it comes to doing your daily WOD?   Here are a few ideas to help you get the most out of your training.

1.  Know what you’re doing.   It surprises me when someone comes into a class and has no idea what they’re doing on that day. I want to know what I’m doing as soon as possible, so that I can mentally prepare and decide what weights I want to use, how many rounds I plan on doing etc. Right from the get go, I am planning out my strategy as to how I want to tackle a workout, what sort of pace I want to go at and think about how this is going to feel. Having a goal and plan going into a workout is key to how well you perform and to making progress. If you’re coming to the gym I know that you are looking at improving what you can do, how you feel and you’re looking for a challenge. So, why not make the most of it and start prepping for your workout as soon as possible. Does having a plan and a strategy always yield you the results you’re looking for? No, you’ll often do far worse than you expected to do, however this will help you learn how to plan better for the next WOD. The better you get at planning out your method of attack and how well you expect to do, the better you’ll know yourself as an athlete. You’ll soon know your body, strengths and weaknesses far better than ever which will allow you to work on your weaknesses, see improvements and have a better overall experience every time you come out. Knowing when and where you can push things, and when to hold back is vital to better performance and overall development. You may also find that sometimes you held back too much and found things to be easy, that’s okay too. Again learn from your past experiences and move forward. Recognize when one workout is similar to another and draw from your previous workouts as to what to expect. Which brings me to one other point – MAKE NOTES! How will you ever know what to expect, what you should do, how much weight you should move if you’ve never taken the time to write down some of this key information? Make a routine out of completing your workout and writing down your time, weight, how you felt, any issues you had etc. This will allow you draw from what you already know you can and should be doing and see the improvements you are making. Now I’m not saying that you need to sit at your desk all day drawing up plans and thinking of every possible outcome and scenario that could happen, but spending a few minutes during the day to think of what your expectations are is a good idea…try it!  The coaches are also here to help you so if you don’t know, ask.
2.  Get warmed up.   Show up 10 minutes early if possible.  The first thing you should consider doing is getting your blood moving, and that means get your heart rate up a bit. That doesn’t mean sitting down on a box and chatting with someone you saw 2 days ago. I’m not against socializing in the gym, but try to get prepared while you catch up with everyone. Move around, stretch, run, row while you see how someone’s day went. The goal of a warm up is to warm you up and prepare you for the workout. If you’ve sat at a desk all day, drive 15 minutes to the gym, and try to jump into a workout with virtually no warm up, your risk of injury is much higher, your performance will be much worse and you’ll feel much worse during and after the workout. So here are a few basics to getting warmed up
A. Do 5-10 minutes of cardio at 50-60%, to get your heart rate up above 100 beats per minute. This will get your blood moving, your joints warmed up and should get you sweating just a bit. This is a lot easier to do in the summer than in the winter. You may need to leave an extra layer of clothing on during the winter, and go for a little longer.
B. Move your body! Do some basic mobility drills and movements to check over your whole body. This includes arm circles, leg swings etc. The key here is to go through your full range of motion to see if there are any aches and pains that will prevent you from doing things, as well as getting your body and joints ready for what you’re about to do.
C. Practice and rehearse the movements in the workout. Take the time to go through a full set of all the movements you’re planning on doing. This will allow you to see how your body is feeling and what to expect on that given day. If you’re going to do lots of squats…do some! If you’re going to do pull ups…do some OR something very similar in order to mimic your workout. For example I may do ring rows instead of doing pull ups as my warm up. I may also do wall balls instead of thrusters as a warm up. Also keep in mind some days will be better than others.
D. Build up your weights gradually. If you expect to do near your max in a workout, it’s unrealistic to just put 80% of your max on the bar and start moving that comfortably. It will feel terrible if you do that. Build up accordingly and slowly feeling out several weights along the way. Lets say that I wanted to do deadlifts at 315lbs for sets of 3 during my workout, I would likely build up as follows. 95lbs x 15 reps, 135lbs x 10 reps, 225lbs x 5-7 reps, 275lbs x 3-4 reps, 315lbs x 2-3 reps….start.
A few final thoughts on warming up. Look at what your going to be doing and get ready for that. If you’re going to be doing a lot of legs, get them ready, spend more time on your lower body getting it prepared for the session. You may also want to consider how hard your going to be working. If all you’re doing is lifting heavy, you should be preparing differently than if you are going for a 45 min run. 2 different energy systems and 2 different approaches.
So, as you can see there’s a lot behind doing better and getting ready for a workout (other things to consider would be cool downs, eating, sleep, and stress). This is really just the tip of the iceberg, but if you take some of these basic principles and apply them you’ll not only feel better, but perform better on a regular basis. It takes some planning and preparing in order to do well. So show up early and “get your sh#t together.”  We want you to succeed!

Coach’s Corner – courtesy of Murf, January 2013

SETTING GOALS – Strategies for Success

It’s that time of year again when a lot people make resolutions. Many of us start with great intentions, but find it hard to stick to our plan.
This year think about setting specific goals and set yourself up to succeed. Whether it’s changing your diet, perfecting a movement or running a 10k race, setting short term goals will help you reach your long term goals.

For example, if your long term goal is to run a 10 km race in June, break your goal down into shorter distances and time periods. Each month set a short term goal, which could look like this:

  • first month – run 2km
  • second month – run 4km
  • third month – run 6km
  • fourth month – run 8km
  • fifth month – run 10km
  • final month – maintain distance and increase speed

Make your goals realistic and know your limitations. I’m not going to set a goal of matching Lars on the Clean & Jerk. My goal should be to increase my C&J by a certain percentage. Making unrealistic goals breeds frustration and failure.
Partner up.  Find someone who has the same goal and work on it together. It’s a lot easier with someone else keeping you accountable and encouraging you along the way.
Plan it out and write it down.  Keep track of your achievements and modify your plan when necessary.
Visualize it.  You have to see it in your mind’s eye.  For example, if your goal is to increase your Jerk by 20 lbs, visualize yourself doing the lift in the gym and succeeding.
Stop negative thought processes.  The power of positive thinking cannot be underestimated.  If a negative thought threatens to derail you, focus on something positive in your efforts.
Ask a trainer for help All of the trainers are more than willing to help you with a progression, or chat with you about goals.

These are just a few tips that will help you on your way. Good luck and train hard!

Coach’s Corner – courtesy of Lars, Dec 2012

The holidays are coming and it’s important to keep moving in order to stay healthy and keep off that extra holiday weight. With the added stress of travelling and drastic temperature swings it can be tough on the body and your health. Here are 10 basic tips to keep you happy, healthy and on track for the New Year.

  1. Keep moving.  Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you should stop exercising.  It’s a great time of year to show your commitment.
  2. Get your family involved.  Try getting your whole family to go out for a walk together after those big holiday meals.  You’ll feel better and create some great bonding time.
  3. Watch what you eat.  Skip the gravy, dressings and big desserts. Commit to eating healthy over the holidays.
  4. Exercise anywhere.  No gym; no problem!  There are lots of things you can do to stay active and strong by just using your own bodyweight:  burpees, lunges, jumping squats, push ups, sit ups, etc.
  5. Feel like a kid again.  Get outside and make a snowman, fort or snow angel.
  6. Sleep.  Keep your sleep cycle as close to normal as you can and you’ll feel much better throughout the holidays.
  7. Drink up.  Don’t forget to drink water throughout the holidays, it’s important to stay hydrated.
  8. Relax.  Take time for yourself and don’t get too wound up or stressed out.
  9. Listen to music.  Music is a great way to de-stress and boost your mood.
  10. Plan ahead.  The holidays are a great time to set some new goals and look at what you want to do in the coming year.

By doing these things you’ll feel better, put on less weight, and you’ll be a lot less likely to end up sick over the holidays.

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