Remember that New Year's Resolution?

New Year's resolutions have a reputation for being hard to achieve, but people have a tendency to make them every winter anyway. For a majority of people, those resolutions fall by the wayside before the spring season hits, just to be tackled again the following New Year. However, success is possible when it comes to resolutions to improve your physical or mental health and the spring season is the perfect time to make adjustments and try again.

Recommit to New Year's resolutions by reassessing and strategizing

Fox 4 KC notes that it is not unusual for those who make New Year's resolutions related to their physical fitness or mental health to falter by late January or mid-February. Most fitness centers and gyms are packed at the beginning of January, but the crowds typically thin out within a matter of weeks. If you are ready to recommit to your resolutions to create a healthier life, tackle things in manageable pieces rather than try to overhaul your entire life at once.

As you approach your resolutions with a renewed determination, take stock of what did or didn't work the first time you set these goals. For example, if you want to become more fit and exercising is new to you, break the overall goal of working out into small pieces and consider trying new activities if you had a hard time committing the first time. Trying a group class, hiring a personal trainer, or finding a workout buddy are great ways to get motivated and stay committed, as then there's someone else helping to keep you accountable.

Write down a specific plan and focus on the positives

New Year's resolutions related to healthier eating can feel overwhelming in the early stages. There are numerous benefits to eating a cleaner diet, but trying to tackle it all at once can be a recipe for failure. Vogue suggests putting together a specific plan and focusing on positive steps rather than negatives. Detail what you will gain by achieving your goals instead of looking at the resolutions in negatives ways, such as spelling out what you're trying to avoid. For example, rather than dictate that you will cut out junk food, set a smaller goal to eat at least three servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

 

Take the time to assess your progress along the way and make adjustments as needed. Try not to be too hard on yourself if your progress isn't as steady as you'd like, as forming new habits and ditching bad ones can be a challenging process. Huffington Post notes that it's important to make time to work on achieving your resolutions, and people often feel as if they simply don't have time to exercise or make healthy eating choices. Schedule time to work on your goals just as you would schedule anything else that is a priority and set dates to work toward in accomplishing goals that you set.

Succeeding with health and fitness resolutions brings big benefits

People have varying reasons for setting New Year's resolutions related to health and fitness, but there is no doubt that creating a healthier life will improve not only your physical health, but your mental state as well. The American Psychological Association indicates that physical activity improves your mood not just in the short-term, but exercise makes a significant impact on long-term issues such as depression too. The benefits that you feel from exercise and positive dietary changes can go a long way toward combating not only depression, but issues such as stress, anxiety, and even addiction as well.

When your enthusiasm for your New Year's resolution fades, take a step back to evaluate your goals and develop a strategy to tackle and conquer them. The spring season can be a great time to work toward health and fitness changes and succeeding with those resolutions is possible with some strategic planning. Sort through the specifics regarding what did or didn't work, break your objectives into manageable goals, and reap the rewards to both your physical and mental health when you experience success.

**Paige Johnson loves offering her advice on weight lifting and strength training. She is part fo the team in Learnfit.org where they are dedicated to sharing their passions.

Programming Philosophy

In a recent survey, we received a bunch of questions asking for more information regarding  how I program and the WHY of what we do here at Crossfit Primal Energy. I wrote a blog post about my personal philosophy last summer (read it HERE), and I will take this opportunity to address this topic from a different perspective, in an effort to add a bit more detail.

 

Crossfit HQ offers a theoretical template for fitness programming, and if you are interested, I suggest you check it out (HERE). You will definitely see similarities between the way I program for Crossfit Primal Energy and this template. To delve into a bit more detail, I’m going to address three aspects of training I always try to incorporate into my programming. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and programming can be quite complex, but my effort is always to find the most simple, most efficient method for achieving the most broad, most inclusive “fitness”.

 

Safety

If a strength and conditioning program produces negative results, it isn’t working. If a strength and conditioning programming only offers “exercise” and makes no mention of recovery practices and injury prevention, it isn’t working. An effective training program must first seek to improve quality of life, whether through improved function or decreased pain/dysfunction. Therefore, an effective training program must be SAFE before it is anything else.

 

What does this look like? How does this take place in real life at the gym? In my programming philosophy, there are two specific ideas that help me create a safe training program. They are Progression and Transferable Skills.

 

Progression

In my mind, one thing should ALWAYS lead to another. There should always be a step-before and a step-after. That way, we always know where we were, and where we want to go. I’m sure you can find a metaphor-for-life somewhere in that last sentence, right? You should always have something that you are working on. You should always be seeking to improve. Progression is the perfect recipe for never getting bored with training.

 

/Singles, double unders, triple unders/  /Push-up, dip, ring dip/  /Deadlift, clean, snatch/

 

Progression also encourages safety because you don’t move on to the next step until you achieve proficiency at your current ability level. Progression allows your body to adapt to the rigors of physical  training by making it a stepwise process. If you aren’t aware of movement progressions, I’ll leave a nifty flowchart right….HERE   If you are familiar with Kelly Starrett, he offers a Crossfit-specific movement hierarchy in his book, “Supple Leopard”, and I suggest you check that out as well.



 

An effective training program produces observable change. To do this, an effective program must be based on a system of progression that allows an athlete to avoid “plateauing” and hopefully avoid boredom. An effective strength and conditioning program must apply the principle of progression in terms of load, duration and movement complexity. This helps reinforce safety a priority, and allows a training program to remain as varied and complex as necessary to develop a broad, general, inclusive fitness.

 

In my perfect world, progression is reinforced by the principle of skill transferability, so that when you practice to get better at handstands you get better at jerks and get better at pullups and get better LIFE! You start to find similar positions and movements, you begin to understand the larger picture of using your body in as many ways as possible, because that is what we are built to do!!

 

Transferable Skills

LIfe is short, right? Especially if you have a “real” job, a family or dog to take care of, a social life and all that other stuff. If you only spend 1 hour a day training, you need that time to provide a physical stimulus that is effective as possible at making you as fit as possible. This kind of training creates another level of connection and awareness, greatly increasing an athlete’s ability to improve on a broad range of skills without being forced to spend time working on each specific skill individually. If I can teach you how to engage your core and brace your spine, then you should be able to apply this skill while performing a pushup, while performing a deadlift, while performing a sled push. If I can teach you how to properly organize your shoulder then you should be able to apply this skill while performing a ring dip, a handstand or a split jerk.

 

Making skills transferable to other skills reduces the risk of injury and improves safety because you actively work to make yourself better at something without “really” working on that thing. Do you understand what I mean? If you work to achieve a perfect squat, you will get better at jumping, EVEN IF YOU NEVER PRACTICE JUMPING. If you work to achieve a perfect push press, you will get better at handstand push-ups, EVEN IF YOU NEVER PRACTICE HANDSTAND PUSHUPS. It is imperative that athletes understand this principle. Another way to put it, is to say we should never practice “moves”, but rather we should always be practicing MOVEMENT.

 

Eventually, the movements and positions begin to blend together, and you attain Virtuosity. Even the most complex movements feel smooth and strong and natural. You no longer “think” about holding a hollow body position, you just DO it. We’ll talk more about this later, but for now, please understand that VIRTUOSITY should be your biggest goal, beyond how strong you are or how fast you are, or trying to get your “summer abs” to reveal themselves ;).

 

I’m sure you can see, at this point, how the trifecta of safety, progression and transferable skills create an infinite feedback loop that an athlete can follow FOREVER, making the pursuit of fitness no longer a hobby, but rather a lifestyle. For those of you who have more questions about why I program the way I do, or why our program is constructed the way it is, I hope this has provided some sensical rationale you can understand. Thank you all so much for the hard work you do every day at Crossfit Primal Energy, and thank you for reading my words! Until next time…

 

Peace.Tobias.

CrossFit PE Summer Meltdown

You are about 2 months away from getting into that swimsuit.  Are you ready?  We've had an AWFUL winter and if you were anything like me, you stayed inside eating Pho next to the fire.... maybe with a hot toddy too.  

BUT we have seen a glimpse of the sun and what is to come in the next few months.  Get ready for summer with us in this fun team challenge.  

We will create teams of four lead by a CrossFit PE coach to keep each other accountable, workout together and win some prizes!  Here are the details and what you get:

  • One month of specific meal plans and grocery lists that are customized to each individual

  • Strength program to increase your back squat, deadlift and Press

  • Weekly weigh-in's/check in's to make sure everyone is on the right path

  • Support of a coach to help motivate you, answer questions and help your team WIN!

  • Summer Meltdown T-shirt

Already a member?  It's only $199!  

Not a member but want to participate?  It's only $50 for your first month!!

 

Sign up HERE and if you don't already have a team we will happily put you on one!

Spring into a New Mindset

We made it through the dark months, SPRING IS HERE and we are rolling right along in 2017! 

To everyone who started a new process, started chasing a new dream, or found their passion this year, I commend you, and I encourage you to keep up the good work! What changes have you made? What data do you have now and how are you going to use that information to continue your process and build on your success in the coming months? 

Lifestyle change isn't always simple, and sometimes change can be challenging. To be successful, we need to develop positive strategies and behaviors that contribute to, rather than detract from, our success. To that end, I want to you to think about how we make choices, how we prioritize our time and energy and the "sacrifices" we make to achieve our desired results.

As a frequent observer of human behavior, I am often struck by how people make decisions, and how people react to the choices they make. I see people in the gym all the time who show up 10 minutes late to class, socialize instead of pay attention, and then whine about how sore they are or what they see on the whiteboard. They seem generally unhappy and their presence greatly disrupts the flow and tone of my class. I am always curious about how these people function in other aspects on their lives, and I wonder if they consider the fact that while it is a positive behavior to show up to the gym, the rest of that negativity and unpleasantness greatly detracts from any forward progress that may have been achieved.

By contrast, I also see people who arrive 15 minutes early, spend 10 minutes mobilizing before class, encourage other members through their workout, and generally contribute positive energy whenever they attend my classes. These people aren't always the fittest, they aren't always the fastest, they aren't always on top of their game. But they don't let the challenges they face break their spirit. They don't let their struggles and problems bleed in to all aspects of their lives. They recognize the beauty of the process, they recognize the value of discipline, they understand how to prioritize their time, and they show a willingness to "make sacrifices" to achieve their goals.

When we think about sacrifices, we typically think about giving up something we really want to get something we are trying to convince ourselves we want. This is a silly premise to start with, because every choice is a "sacrifice". Every time we choose something, by default we can't choose something else. The words we use to describe this equation are what get us in some serious trouble. 

When we talk about living a healthy lifestyle, or changing behavior in any way, we talk about "giving up" something (sugar, caffeine, etc.) because that object is preventing us from getting something we really want. It may taste good or feel good, but you know you can't do what  you REALLY want to do if this "something" stays in your life. 

Using this terminology immediately imbues this conversation with a negative connotation, and we convince ourselves that it really is a "struggle" to avoid cookies, or to drink black coffee instead of a 36oz mocha, or to read a book instead of surfing the web for porn. You tell yourself it will be "hard" to do without these things, but you tell yourself you can manage because you REALLY want to lose a couple pounds, or not be such a hyper spazz. People fail at this all the time, and I think it is because instead of turning their attention towards their new PRIORITIES, they refuse to shift their mindset from focusing on sacrifice, and they get stuck.

When we prioritize something, we put our attention toward that thing. We focus, we concentrate, we engage, we emphasize. Take a quick minute right now and look up "sacrifice" and "prioritize". Go ahead, I'll wait... 

Isn't it interesting that these two words are basically opposites that mean the same thing? If we prioritize any behavior, by default we can't do anything else. Placing value on priorities allows you to look forward in a process, rather than constantly looking back to remind yourself all the stuff you "sacrificed" to be where you are now. Instead of focusing on what we are giving up (sacrificing), we put our energy towards the choice we made and the behavior we choose to perform. If we talk about things we want to do, then those words must be expressed in action, or the words are null and void.  If we choose to make something or someone important, then we make time for them. Period

We have so many opportunities to pay attention to how we live and what we do.  How does each decision build on the previous? How do patterns present themselves and repeat themselves? How do those little parts of the process add up to something larger or more profound? 

What I'm talking about here is complex and it requires effort and it forces us to enthusiastically choose our priorities, and it forces us to live what we believe. Here's an idea: let's make choices in life based off what we want and what will bring us the most happiness. Try it

Pursue activities that make you feel alive.  Do stuff that makes you use your body and mind in all the myriad ways Nature intended. Choose to interact, choose to reach out, choose to connect.  When we focus on the joy in the decisions we make, rather than decrying all the stuff we are missing out on, we are able to find happiness easier. 

Yes, it is true there will be stuff you miss out on. We can't do everything, all the time. However, we can PRIORITIZE what will bring us happiness. We can choose to be happy with our struggle, let go of our "sacrifices", and relish the small accomplishments that add up to large success.

Here is a cool article that ties in well with what I'm talking about, check it out: The Brutally Honest 6 Reasons You Are Still Overfat It is long, but worth it, and especially pay attention to #6 :).

I'd love to hear how you are progressing in the New Year so drop me a few lines and let's start a conversation! What are you prioritizing this year? Let me know! As always, thank you for reading my words, and for participating in our community at Crossfit Primal Energy! Until next time...

Peace.Tobias.