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Preparing for the Open (even if you aren't doing it)

There is a lot of buzz right now about the CrossFit “Open". Rightly so, because its fun! It’s a time for our gym to all come together, get to know others from other classes that you may not know, and have a good time cheering each other on in workouts. The Open is great, but its just 5 workouts that we use as an excuse to create a community bonding event at the gym. For some around the world who compete at the games it’s a very important event that they train for all year, but not us. We just have fun with it!

If you are on a CrossFit There Open Team

We know you want to do well, and we want that too! We’ve gotten a lot fo questions the past couple of weeks about how to prepare for the workout on Friday so I wanted to address them and hopefully prepare everyone to perform their best.

  • Don’t change up too much. If you are use to working out 4+ days per week, then don’t change that just because you are trying to be “fully recovered” on Friday. The worst thing you can do is lay around and do nothing for the 2-3 days leading up to the workout.

  • Taper off on the heavy weight towards the end of the week. If you want to be 100% on Friday, don’t find a new 1rm Deadlift on Thursday.

  • I will NOT be programming according to the Open ( light day Wednesday, recovery day on Thursday), so its up to you to be smart and make sure that you are recovered.

  • Monday & Tuesday - Full speed.

  • Wednesday - Full speed but light weight.

  • Thursday - Get your heart rate up. Maybe some very light weight exercise but nothing extremely taxing. Just don’t let yourself become mentally lazy

  • Friday - Full Speed but faster

This is what I do leading up to competitions and it seems to work well! Also, It’s a similar schedule that Ben Bergeron gets his athletes to follow leading up to the Open and he’s pretty smart too.

But I’m not doing the Open…

Awesome! The last thing we want is for you to feel left out or pressured into it. Like I said, it’s just workouts. So because I like bullet points, here’s some if this is you

  • Keep working out like normal and killing it! Don’t taper off. Like I said, I won’t be changing programming for the Open so don’t change your schedule at all.

  • Come watch! We want you to come on Friday afternoons to be a judge or just to watch and cheer other athletes on.

  • You will be doing the workouts if you come on Friday. At the end of the day, they are just workouts much like the ones we program daily. So they will be the programmed workout each Friday for the next 5 weeks.

Let’s have fun and keep getting better. It never fails that the Open pushes us to want to learn new skills and many in the gym do things that never thought were possible for them. Thats the awesome thing about it and the reason that we do it every year. Also, we aren’t requiring anyone to sign up online this year, but I still encourage it. It’s a good way to keep up with progress from year to year.

What is Healthy? And how CrossFit is the answer

I am by no means a Doctor. But through a degree in Kinesiology and years of experience with people in the fitness industry, I am confident in my knowledge in the subject of health and what defines it from a practical stand point.

We have many different ideas of what “Healthy” is suppose to appear like. Shredded abs, toned legs, and flab-less arms are a few of the images that pop into our heads. We also hear about blood pressure, high-cholesterol, and other internal factors that we know can be unhealthy. Although some of these ideas are false, a lot of them are true. But I believe there is a little more to it than just what we commonly see or hear.

Let’s break health down into 3 different categories. I believe all 3 play a very important role in an individuals overall health, and each can be discussed individually. Although, as we will see, they all affect one another.

  1. Moving & Moving Well

  2. A Diet that Supports Health

  3. Attitudes, Stress, & Enjoying Life

Moving & Moving Well.

We all know that exercise is important. But there seems to be a push for simply burning calories. If burning calories is our only goal in a workout, we are largely missing the point. Burning calories should be a mere by-product of our work. Overall health and fitness is much more than that. Greg Glassman says it well, “Develop the capacity of a novice 800-meter track athlete, gymnast, and weightlifter and you will be fitter than any world-class runner, gymnast or weightlifter.” Specializing in one of these three isn’t our goal in terms of health. But if we could develop the aerobic capacity is requires to be a runner, the strength and range of motion in our joints that it requires to be a weightlifter, and the body control and core strength that is requires to be gymnast, even at on a smaller scale than professionals, overall we will be very fit! To move well, we must be able to do all of these. Without range of motion, strength is not as impressive. Without being able to pick up something heavy and confidently, running a mile is not as impressive. Without being able to run a mile, doing a pull up is not as impressive. You get the point. Are we really healthy and fit if we have large holes in our capabilities? We must be able to move and move well, emphasis on “well”. Without learning to do things properly, when we move it is inefficient and we increase our risk for injury which is the opposite of healthy. Proper movement and range of motion isn’t the most flattering part of moving there is, which is why most people don’t prioritize it. But it’s more important and creates a healthier person that anyone who simply has shredded abs but lacks in understanding how to move well. Although, with a healthy diet, luckily you can achieve both!

A Diet that Supports Health.

Oh boy, this can get messy. Why is diet so complicated? There are hundreds of different diet plans and philosophies about what works best, so its no wonder that us average joes without a PHD in nutrition are so confused. Think of your diet a way to show how hard you have been working. Can you be healthy and not have abs and toned legs? Absolutely. But you are putting in a lot of work to move well and be healthy, why not eat in such a way that reveals that to everyone who sees you even outside the gym. Physique is achieved largely through your diet. Are carbs bad? No. Are fats bad? No. Are you eating enough protein? Probably not, but thats not why you aren’t losing weight. The simple fact of the matter is to lose weight and tone up, eat less calories than you burn. So simply put losing weight = eat less. “But I want to keep my muscle.” Thats a discussion for another day. Right now, lets prioritize weight loss. “But what about hormones?” “But what about starvation mode?” Forget it. Eat less. “But I swear I’m barely eating anything and i’m still not losing weight!” I don’t believe you. Remember a weekend of over eating & drinking by 2000-3000 calories (easy to do) will ruin a good week of dieting at a 500 calorie a day deficit and you will still gain weight or stay the same. The substance of your food does matter too. Externally, eating healthy, real food (food that expires a week or 2) is generally less calorie dense than other foods. So eating these foods allows to get full on less calories making it easier to maintain a calorie deficit. Internally, there are innumerable benefits to eating healthy foods. Weight loss, blood pressure, cholesterol, joint recovery, muscle recovery, brain health, skin health, and many others are all largely effected by what we eat. What are healthy foods exactly? Greg Glassman says it well again, “Eat Meat and Vegetables, Nuts and Seeds, Some Fruit, little Starch, and no Sugar.” Is this practical in every setting? No, i don’t think it is. But do this 80% - 90% of the time, and it will change your world. It comes down to a balance of controlling calorie intake while eating healthy foods. “Eating healthily is important! But even the healthiest diet in the world cannot save you from the ill-effects of a calorie surplus” - Dr. Spencer Nadolsky

Practical Tips for a healthy diet

  • Shop around the outside of grocery store, only purposefully walk the isles for specific food items

  • Don’t feel guilty over enjoying a great meal just because it wasn’t exactly in your food plan. But you can plan ahead!

  • Plan you “cheat meals"“. I only call them this because it helps you understand what I mean. If you know you are going to eat a large amount of calories that weekend or later that day, adjust you earlier meals to accommodate for the extra food you will eat later.

  • No snacking. Eat 3 meals a day, each with a good source of protein, carbs, and vegetables. Stick to that. Snacking in between is a quick way to pile up on calories.

Attitudes, Stress, and Enjoying Life.

We don’t talk about this one near as much, but I believe it is as important as any of the others. If you aren’t enjoying life to some extent and our life is strangled by stress and anger, are you really healthy? Even if you did have shredded abs and could squat clean 300#, an angry, stressed individual cannot be a healthy person. Luckily, exercise and diet are here to help! Stress is an inevitable part of life, but having a place to come forget about responsibilities and other stressors for an hour can make all the difference. I hear it more than anything else, “this gym is my place to come sweat and forget what I was stressed about. I come in stressed and leave feeling 100x better when I walk out as compared to when I walked in.” It’s a proven through trial fact, working out reduces stress. Diet does this as well. Diet effects our hormones which in turn effect our energy levels and mood. When we are moving well, energized, and in a good mood, it’s a lot easier to enjoy life.

How CrossFit is the answer.

Is CrossFit the be-all end-all of fitness and health? No. But does it touch all parameters of fitness and being healthy? You bet it does! 1 hour classes are just enough time to put in a good workout, yet not so long that it takes you away from your family and other important things in your life for long. You get to see your friends that you have made from pushing hard and becoming athletes beside since you started. Friendships = Happier people. Happier people = healthier people. You have a coach who cares about your fitness. Your coach is there to cheer you on, help you learn movements and move well (reference the “moving & moving well paragraph for importance). And, although we have no nutritionist on staff in the gym yet, we have resources freely available to you to get you on the right track with your diet. We care about you and your health.

"But I've been doing so good!"

You're right, you have been "doing so good!" So keep doing it.

"But I've been doing so good!" If I had a dollar for every time I heard this since the New Year, I'd have quite a few more dollars. Thats just it isn't it? It's the New Year. New Year, New You so we make a resolution, eat right, workout hard, and join the New Year's Fitness Challenge because we are in it to win it baby!! That is until 2 weeks in and we feel weak, tired, and sore. We miss our pizza, and McGriddles. And start to question whats the point of this whole diet thing anyway if I didn't hit a PR this week or even my 85%? It felt so easy 2 weeks ago before I started eating healthy. And I don't see the weight falling off yet either. And thats when I hear it "But I've been doing so good! Why can't I do this?" So we start to doubt what we set out to accomplish and think one cheat meal won't hurt, I need something to get my spirits up...

I see this way too often. It's sad to watch when someone won't buy in to the process, and expects changes to happen quickly. They don't happen quickly. There is no secret diet or workout program. Like I've quoted before, changes comes from boring, old habits. 

So to help keep us from falling into this trap, I thought it would be beneficial to make of things that might help you push through when you don't feel like continuing on the path you started out on towards where you want to be; more specifically what you want to look like. 

  1. It's been less than 3 weeks since the New Year and less than 2 weeks since we started our fitness challenge. Stop being weak, you haven't even given your body enough time to start adjusting to the new things that you are doing. It takes at least 3 weeks or more of consistent diet and exercise to start to see the physical changes. Be patient and hang in there. The changes will comes. Just trust the process.
  2. Changes require discomfort. This is the root of it all isn't it? We want to change, but we don't want it to hurt. Listen, your body doesn't want to change. But last time we checked, the way your body is isn't the way you want your body to be. So you are going to have to hit the override button sometimes when your body tells you it doesn't like what your doing. You feel weak? Maybe your body was use to an unhealthy 250g carbs a day, and now it only gets 100g carbs. So it has to adjust. That adjustment causes discomfort. Get through it, your body will adjust. Trust the process.
  3. Find ways to enjoy it and Meal Prep. Meal Prepping can be a drag, but it can also be a lot of fun! On Saturday or Sunday afternoons, Kaitlyn and I will spend 3-4 hours in the kitchen cooking (mostly kaitlyn cooking). We make enough Enchiladas, Pasta Nests, Chicken, Chili, Boiled Eggs, and Frittata's to last us at least until the next weekend. The food is all healthy and incredibly delicious. And we have fun cooking it. We turn on some TV  or music and  start cooking away. Then during the week we never have to worry about what we are going to eat. Our fridge is stocked.
  4. Be okay with a routine, in fact enjoy the routine. Routine is your enemy in some aspects of fitness such as programming and the workouts that you do. But leave that up to me to keep your workouts constantly varied. Get in a routine of healthy eating, eating on time, and showing up consistently to the gym. 
  5. An occasional cheat meal is okay. It's going to happen, but don't just let it happen. Make a decision to have a cheat meal, and make sure it's worth it! Valentines Day is coming up for example. It may be your favorite holiday and you plan on going to the Cheese Cake Factory with your significant other. Great! Do it. Order whatever you want, order the Triple Chocolate Cheese Cake and enjoy it! And then get right back on track the next day. Those cheat meals are acceptable. What isn't acceptable is having a week moment driving by McDonalds and swings through for a quick Apple Pie and McFlurry on your way home from the gym. That never ends well. 
  6. Remember other factors that affect your performance and don't get discouraged. I don't know if you've been outside in the past 2 weeks, but its freezing. The barbells and pull up bars feel like icicles. And the cold definitely makes the joints a little more achey. So it's nearly impossible to perform at your best when the temperature is so cold. Thats okay though! The cold isn't something that we can control. What we can control though is that we are still working inspite of the fact that we can't feel our fingers. That we are pushing hard, and doing the best that we can to get better. 

So don't get discouraged! Just because we start to eat right doesn't mean that everything immediately gets better. We don't immediately feel better, we look better, or get stronger. In the long run, yes, those things are true overall. But sometimes, at the beginning, things get a little worse before they start to improve. Especially when its -5 degrees. Trust the process! Stick to your plan, and the result will come. You're right, you have been "doing so good!" So keep doing it.

- John Mayfield, Owner of CrossFit Thelo - 

Pregnancy and CrossFit

 

"CrossFit is for everyone. Pregnancy and Postpartum are no exception."

 

There are a lot of different scenarios you could be coming from. You might have been doing CrossFit for a while and are going through your first pregnancy. You might be the partner of someone who is working out while pregnant and wanting to know if what they’re doing is helpful. You might be pregnant and wanting to continue working out safely. You might be a seasoned mom who’s gone through multiple pregnancies while CrossFitting. You might be wanting to have a baby in the future and wondering how that would mesh with your current fit lifestyle. Or you might have had a baby years ago and still feel the effects of it (postpartum is forever, right?). 

 

So many view points, but one thing is true, CrossFit is for everyone. Pregnancy and Postpartum are no exception. 

 

Across our lifespan our bodies are constantly changing. That could be natural physiological changes or unexpected injuries. The beauty of practicing a lifestyle of fitness that prepares us for the unknown and unknowable, is that, no matter the change, we are mentally and physically prepared to walk down that path. CrossFit gives us the tools to do this with it’s scalability, mental strengthening, and of course the community it allows us to surround ourselves with. Pregnancy is one of these changes that a woman might be experiencing and can seem a little scary, especially for the first time mother. People are constantly bombarding women with frightening scenarios and things that they are potentially doing wrong while they are pregnant. 

 

Let’s not forget that a women’s body was physiologically made to be able to create life. That’s not scary. Thats awesome! 

 

So, as women and men and coaches and friends, how to we best navigate this stage of life? Let’s be informed and have the right tools, know how to listen to our bodies, and always keep our eyes focused on the big picture. 

 

Some physical changes are obvious during pregnancy and some are not. One huge change that we cannot see is a huge shift in hormones (no I’m not just talking about the emotional ones). You know, those little chemicals in your body that basically tell everything what to do? They change to help our bodies accommodate growing a human. One of the results is slightly looser ligaments and joints. We need to keep that in mind as we’re used to jumping and running and moving quickly. Obviously, a huge muscle group impacted by a growing baby is the core. When we talk about the core, we’re talking all the way from the top to bottom (think of a can). So, core includes diaphragm, abdominal wall muscles and connective tissues, and the pelvic floor muscles. When a pregnant women works out they should be keeping all of these changes in mind. Yes, you CAN do what you’ve been doing, but how is it serving your long-term function and athletic performance? 

 

That brings us to our next, and probably most important point, mindset and listening to your body. At any time in your life, when approaching your fitness, you should be looking at the big picture. It’s not so much about what you do but how you are doing it. This matters exponentially more in pregnancy and postpartum. It requires a huge mindset shift. Athletes are generally programmed to push through certain levels of discomfort and this serves them well most of the time. When pregnant, we need to tune into that little voice of doubt or question in our head and learn to really listen our bodies. There are obvious signs that we should stop doing certain things like hip/tailbone/back pain, leaking urine (incontinence), pelvic pain/pressure, coning of the abdomen, breath holding, pulling/sharp pain in the pelvis, or nausea/weakness. Aside from these, we can develop our ability to tune into what our body needs by paying careful attention to how we feel day-to-day (yes, it changes daily). Pregnant women are no longer in their “normal” state so body awareness is very valuable during this and the postpartum period. If your pregnant, start asking yourself questions like, “WHY am I wanting to do this movement?” and “Is the risk worth the reward?”. Are you just wanting to keep doing kipping pull-ups or maxing out on olympic lifts for your own ego or is it benefitting your overall pregnancy and future athletic performance? Each day, you need to be able to take an honest assessment of where you’re at and how you’re feeling then go from there. 

 

So, now that you’re a little more aware of what’s going on during pregnancy, let’s talk about some practical application for CrossFit. Of course, having a knowledgable doctor who is aware of and supportive of your fitness goals is very important. We’ve also talked about the guiding factor, altering our mindset and listening to our bodies. This is most helpful in knowing when to alter movement patterns. You know your body the best. In general, throughout pregnancy, loads decrease and strict movements are done more often. How you breath while lifting and in your day-today life also impacts your body from the inside out. Holding your breath can predispose you to incontenence, prolapse, and diastasis recti. Learning to breath effectively and using a “ribs over hips” positioning throughout the day are simple ways to correct many movement patterns. 

 

There is little to no change during the first trimester then throughout the second and third trimester we generally feel the need to slightly decrease our weight (a good general guideline is to be around 70% of what you normally do) and scale certain movements like pull-ups, toes to bar, handstand push-ups, burpees, and sit-ups. Most women notice a change in their bar pathway during olympic lifts as their baby and belly grow. You can easily switch to dumbbell work and not have to worry about going around or possibly hitting your belly. Don’t worry, your incredible muscle memory in your brain will hang on to the way it was trained to olympic lift even if you take a few months off from it. As you scale these movements, we want you to preserve the intended stimulus of the workout (still feel like you’re getting a great workout) but not necessarily at the same intensity level that you were used to pre-pregnancy. That’s going to mean that you pay attention to how you feel during the workout and keep an intensity level relative to your current stage of pregnancy and athleticism. 

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many things to learn about CrossFit during pregnancy and we all want to constantly be learning and improving together. This period of time in a woman’s life demands that she train with intention. What she does and doesn’t do during this chapter will have lasting effects. The more knowledge we can obtain and apply to our fitness, the better our long-term function and athletic performance will be. 

- Lydia Ryan (Coach at CrossFit Thelo, Mother of 6, & Pregnant)

 

Wanting some more in-depth resources? Here are some that we love: 

 

https://journal.crossfit.com/article/cfj-pregnancy-a-practical-guide-for-scaling

https://www.birthfit.com

http://www.briannabattles.com

http://www.juliewiebept.com

Why do you CrossFit?

"When you know all the in's and out's of your goals, you are better prepared to tackle the challenges that might come against you and you remembering why you do CrossFit. Find your why, take one bite at a time, and become a nerd about it."

 

Why?

For most of us, the answer to the question "why do you CrossFit" is going to be different. Some of us started because we saw the CrossFit Games and want to compete, even if it is on the small, local competition level. Others, we saw ourselves and decided we were tired of not being satisfied with the way we look and feel, and wanted to make a change. So CrossFit seemed like the way to go. Even still, some others decided that there were things that we couldn't do physically that we wanted to be able to do, and we had heard of CrossFit doing so much for our friends so we gave it a shot. Other reasons might be peer pressure, or the fact that you don't like "meathead" gyms. The list goes on and on. But no matter the reason that we started, we all have a "why" we started and a "why" we still do it. And remembering that "why" is what keeps us going.

Losing our "why"

The first day you started CrossFit, it was exciting and slightly scary but you left motivated and ready to put in the work. Whatever reason you walked in the doors, was even more crystal clear when you walked out. But over time, we lose sight of why we started and why we do this. The PR's don't come as often, and the weight you were losing so fast comes to a halt. Your friend that you made in the 5:15PM class got a new job and moved away, and you don't feel like going as much anymore. Losing our "why" can be easy if we aren't careful. But it can be prevented. 

Remind Yourself Why

Something I like to do each day is think to myself, or even write down "Why am I doing this?" Why do I put in all this work each day? My "why" started as wanting to prove to myself that there is nothing I can't do, and to compete. And a lot of days I still think about that and it helps me push in my workouts. But on other days, my answer is simply to stay healthy, to make myself feel better, or beat Matt McElroy in the workout. And that's okay! Why's can change from day to day. But as soon as we forget why we are doing CrossFit, it becomes a struggle and we start to always find something better to do that come workout. 

Do Everything to Accomplish Your Why

One reason we forget our why, is because we don't see ourselves actually reaching our goal. Your goal was to lose 50lbs, but 5 months in and you've only lost 20. It's just taking too long so you lose motivation and quit. Or your goal might have been to get a muscle up. You thought surely you could have gotten one in your first year of CrossFit, but 1 year in and a muscle up is no where in sight for you. I get that this is frustrating, but I have to ask you. Are you actually pursuing your goal, or just wishing that it would happen? Do you really believe it can happen?

See losing weight is easy at first. Your body isn't use to the workouts, so as a adaptation it starts to shed some weight without you having to change your diet at all. So we change out diet and try to start eating better, but its hard and in a week we've actually gained 2lbs so obviously it isn't working! (I say this sarcastically.) So we go back to eating what we want, because we were doing that in the beginning anyway and losing weight then. 

Coming in to the gym being able to do a pull up surely means that a muscle up is in the foreseeable future, right? Everyone says "give it time, it'll come" so if you are just patient that muscle up will happen... Yes, but no. Sure, having the strength to do just one strict pull up is great! And it's definitely a great start to accomplishing a muscle up. But time doesn't make you any better. Working on the necessary skills to get your muscle OVER TIME makes you better. And are you doing that? How are your hollow rocks? How are your kipping swings? Your ring dips? Can you even hold a false grip? What is a false grip? You see where I'm going with this?

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time! Sometimes, focussing on your goal as a whole is deflating. It seems like such a huge task. Don't take on too much at one time.  Enjoy the struggle a little bit, but be proud of yourself for even the smallest of victories. Choose one thing that you can accomplish that will help you work towards your overall "why" and get after it! Accomplishing small tasks gets your closer and closer to you goal, while providing a huge moral boost simultaneously. 

Prioritize it and Understand it

If something is important to you, then you make it a priority. You set your sights on it, and set off on a the journey of accomplishing it. Yes, it's a journey, a hike even, with big hills, and obstacles of things that are going to get in your way. Understand this going in, and get to know what you are up against! When you start to struggle losing weight, don't bail. Don't go back to old habits. You've heard it said "If you always do what you always done, you'll always get what you always got." And it's no secret that going back to old habits will only get you back to your old un-satisified self.

Understand what it takes to lose weight. 

- Persistance

- Consistency

- Trial and Error (You are going to mess up or get it wrong. Make an adjustment and get back on track)

- Time (Meal Prepping)

- Un-comfort (there is no easy way)

- Working hard in the gym

- Knowing your weaknesses (McDonalds, Doughnuts, etc... and stay away)

- Enjoy the process (make it fun, get an accountability partner, learn to love cooking, etc..)

Understand what it takes to get your muscle up or other skill

- Overall Strength (Get stronger)

- Break the movement down and work on the skills individually (for example: Muscle Ups = Pull Ups + Hollow Rocks + Levers + Transition + Ring Dip... Master all of them!)

- Lose weight (It's a lot easier to do a muscle up when you are 20lbs lighter)

- Gain weight (It's a lot easier to pull 300# on a clean if you don't weigh 140#)

- Time (Developing skills takes time)

- Enjoy the process (This makes it doable, do it with friends and do it to the best of your ability)

 

When you know all the in's and out's of your goals, you are better prepared to tackle the challenges that might come against you and you remembering why you do CrossFit. Find your why, take one bite at a time, and become a nerd about it. 

John Mayfield - Owner of CrossFit Thelo

Simple Nutrition - Just in time for the Holidays

"Simply eat a full serving of meat protein, a serving of starches or fruit, and a good portion of vegetables. Eat this 3-4 times a day (3 for girls/4 for guys). Eat real food! No snacking in between meals. That's it. Yes, it's that simple. Do this and you will see results!"

This is for those of us who want to be able to see in our physical bodies, how hard we have been working in the gym. If you are trying to gain weight, this article is not about you. If you are successfully following the RP Strength Diet or something similar, and enjoy it, this article is not for you either. Keep that up! 

Nutrition is a topic that seems to get overlooked far to often when it comes to exercise, in our case CrossFit. We think that if we just keep eating the way we always have and start this exercise program, we will lose weight, right? Thats possibly true, to an extent.  But what happens when you stop losing weight or stop seeing changes to your body a few months into it? Many of us try to simply work harder and end up over training. I've said this before, but coming in 4-5 days a week and working out for an hour IS ENOUGH to get you looking the way you want to look IF you take your diet as seriously as you take your workouts. Working out without changing your diet to compliment it is like rowing a boat with only one paddle in the water. You just seem to go in circles. Think of the way you eat as a way to show off how hard you have been working; your diet is the way to reveal the hard work that you've been putting in at the gym.

The Problem

The problem is that we don't want to change the way we eat. We like starches, and sugar, and fried foods, and we don't want anyone to tell us that we can't have it! And on top of that, it can get way too complicated trying to count calories and macros, and figure out what time of the day to eat, and whether fats or carbs are bad, and when is it okay to eat carbs, and can I eat before I go to bed? And then we mess up and decide its okay to fall off the deep end with our diet because we gave in to the one Cinnamon Roll so we might as well spend the whole week enjoying Ramen Noodles and Captain Crunch because that will somehow help us get motivated to do better next week. And 2 months down the road, we still haven't seen changes and get discouraged because we've "tried so hard." There has to be a simpler way, right?

The Simple Way

I'm a huge advocate of the RP Strength Diet. Many of our athletes have done it, including myself, and had some amazing results. It works, no doubt. And if you enjoy the process of the RP Diet, by all means keep doing it! But if you don't enjoy counting macros and meal prepping, it can get a little complicated. So let's simplify it. Let's simplify eating into something that can be done fairly easily without all the calorie counting, timing, and stress. Eating should be enjoyable, not stressful. 

Simply eat a full serving of meat protein, a serving of starches or fruit, and a good portion of vegetables. Eat this 3-4 times a day (3 for girls/4 for guys). Eat real food! No snacking in between. That's it. Yes, it's that simple. Do this and you will see results!

Meats - Try to eat chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, or plant based protein. Eat 4oz for Women and 6oz for Men

Starches/Fruit - Each meal should have a serving of carbs. Good starches include rice (brown and white), potatoes (sweet and non), whole wheat bread or pasta, and any kind of fruit. Keep these serving portions to about the size of your fist

Vegetables - There are almost no limitations to the amount of vegetables that you consume. Eat them and eat a lot of them!

NO SNACKING! - This is where you get into trouble. This also throws your body's metabolism off. Eat your meals, avoid snacking in between. 

This sounds too simple to work, I know. But it does. Just try it, and enjoy the process.

But what about...

What about my workout carbs? Don't I need carbs for energy?... Yes you do. But you don't need an excess amount of them if you are looking to burn body fat. Keep it simple. Eating like this will give your body enough to keep it from starving, but not too much to where you don't burn any fat.  

What about protein? Is that enough for me?... Yes, it is enough protein. Is it enough to maximize athletic performance? No. But we aren't concerned with your athletic performance right now as much as we are your body composition. And in the long run, lowering body fat to improve body composition is going to improve your athletic performance more than making sure you get your protein goal each day. 

What about my protein shakes?... Sure. A protein shake after your workouts is good! This is the only acceptable snack.

What about my strength? Won't I lose my strength?... No, if you lose 30lbs and are finally able to do a pull-up, I would consider that getting stronger. Even if you can't deadlift the same weight as before, the idea here is about being a well-rounded athlete. 

Amplify your Life with CrossFit

We were going to tell you how CrossFit is an investment into increasing your longevity and your quality of life.

We were going to tell you stories of how spending the additional money on CrossFit is one of the best investments you can make.

We were going to tell you that, since your investment goes directly toward fighting off metabolic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, in addition to dramatically lowering your risk of suffering a stroke, joining the CrossFit community is one of the best investments you can make.

But we didn’t tell that story...

...at least not in this article.

We actually began our research by taking a look at the costs of a traditional gym membership and comparing our findings with the value gained from a membership at CrossFit Thelo.

We were shocked at the results! Seriously.

First though, a little more about us and our local environment...

We are blessed to operate CrossFit Thelo in an area of the country that has one of the lowest cost of living rates in the U.S.

Gym memberships are as cheap here as you will find them anywhere, and even our own membership rates are significantly cheaper than the industry average.

In our neck of the woods, most boutique gym memberships cost between $20 - $40/month. So, for as little as $240/year, you can buy access to a facility with workout equipment, free
weights, showers, cardio machines, and very often, a sauna or steam room.

By any measure, that’s a steal – unless you happen to live close to a fitness center franchise chain, in which case, joining that franchise gym may be even cheaper.

But is it really cheaper?

Let’s take a look at the numbers...

If we use the average cost of a local gym membership (and as we’ve already mentioned, gym memberships are generally cheaper here in the local area than in a more populated locale), we can estimate that the average gym goer will pay around $360 for an annual gym membership.

Still seems pretty cheap, right?

But let’s also consider that the average gym goer also only steps foot inside the gym twice a week, which means that each visit costs around $3.75.

Another important thing to note here is that there is no one holding you accountable to whether you’re showing up to the gym – and even more specifically – whether you’re getting in a good workout while you’re there.

With these things in mind, achieving lasting results is unlikely, and many well-meaning people with a gym membership end up gaining weight, getting slower, weaker, and enjoying life even less than they did before starting their budget gym membership.

But let’s take a look at CrossFit Thelo...

CrossFit Thelo will run you around $100/month for unlimited gym time.

In other words, if you came to CrossFit Thelo every day the doors were opened (or 6 times/week), you’d be spending around $3.85 per workout session.

FULL DISCLOSURE: CrossFit is about so much more than the workout – it’s about the community, and it’s about the relationships you develop while you’re there.

And that accountability we mentioned earlier? With CrossFit, it’s built in. Your friends are at the CrossFit class, and guess who’s going to text you if they see you’re not showing up? That’s right. Those same friends you’ve developed lifelong friendships with will be holding you
accountable, not only for the times you decide to skip the gym, but also to your own goals.

We admit it though – there’s even more than this – CrossFit is addictive. If you’ve never done it, it’s hard to describe the feeling of setting a new PR (personal record) or overcoming fears or achieving your fitness goals.

But once you’ve done it, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.

And let’s not forget that, for $3.85 per class, you’re also getting invaluable advice from coaches who build the fitness programming for you (so you don’t have to spend additional time and energy trying to figure out what muscle groups you’re going to work for the day). Our coaches care and ensure you are safely completing each workout and having fun while doing so.

I don’t know about you, but investing less than a dollar per week more than what you would spend going to a traditional gym, and considering the value you get from being a part of the CrossFit community – it’s a no-brainer!

So, if you’re spending an average of $360 on an annual gym membership, but you rarely darken the entry to the gym, how much are your good intentions really coasting you?

Look, we get it. We’ve been there. We understand that quality of life is important, and one of the ways we all ensure we have a higher quality of life is by investing time, energy, and resources into things that are important to us.

Why not invest in yourself? You’re going to spend the money on something anyway – why not invest it in something that will pay greater dividends not only today, but in the future as well?

You Next steps

Now is the perfect time to take the next step and join us at CrossFit Thelo.
You’re already here at the website. Why not come check us out at our location for a week? We have classes to accommodate just about every schedule, to include times for open gym.

And did we mention that your first week is free?

Still not convinced? Then you won’t want to miss our next blog, where we uncover even more findings in our research — things like how CrossFit can save you nearly $14,000/year in medical costs and how CrossFit significantly reduces your risk of stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and a number of other metabolic diseases.

River Kiener: “CrossFit is for everybody”

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Last week, we had the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with River Kiener, one of our #TheloStrong members.

Thelo: “Who is River Kiener?”

Sitting at a table in Java Jolt, our local coffee shop, River told us he had been married for nearly 7 years and recently turned 27 years old. Our chosen meetup spot actually worked out perfectly since he works at Java Jolt as a full-time manager, but he also does graphic design work in his spare time.

Originally from just down the road in Alexandria, River now calls Jacksonville home.

When asked if he and his wife have children, he gave a telling smile. “Not yet,” he responded.

Had our interview with River been conducted a couple of years ago, he would definitely not have added this last moniker to his own description of himself, but with a little shrug and a wry smile, he readily admitted, “I’m a CrossFitter.”

River’s younger brother and sister actually began CrossFit long before he decided to give it a try.

“I couldn’t stand CrossFit,” he told us, “because [my brother and sister] talked about it all the time. I was avidly against CrossFit.”

“But I had another friend,” he began – and from this point forward in our conversation, a pattern began to emerge – and the conversation shifted ever-so-slightly from “River’s CrossFit Journey” to “CrossFit? It’s about the community.”

Over the years, River had lived a fairly active lifestyle, getting involved in cycling and weightlifting in high school, but once he got married in his sophomore year of college, he began packing on the pounds.

River, who once weighed in at a healthy 170 pounds and had successfully avoided gaining the “Freshman 15” in his first year of college, ended up gaining that 15 pounds in his first year of marriage.

Then his job situation changed, and he went from a job where he was on his feet and burning calories most of the day to a job like many of us have – sitting behind a desk.

18 months later, River had hit a whopping 210 pounds!

“I felt winded going up the stairs,” River told us, a look of reflection in his eyes, and it was then he knew he had to make a change.

But River didn’t start CrossFit right away. In fact, he went back to what he already knew – cycling.

“There are some really great trails around here, and I already had some friends who were into it, so I decided to get back into cycling again.”

And River pedaled his way down to 190 pounds, but he wanted even more.

When we asked River what he wanted people to know about making the transition from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one, River didn’t miss a beat.

“You have to really want the change,” he told us.

Thelo: “So, why CrossFit? What was it about CrossFit that made you choose it over other programming?”

River sat back in his chair, contemplating the question a bit, but then told us, “I need somebody to tell me what to do. I can’t just go in the gym and work out on my own.”

Indeed, that’s one of the key elements of CrossFit, where a highly skilled, qualified coach designs the programming around members’ fitness goals.

River mentioned another aspect of his fitness journey though, and this one really gets to the heart of what CrossFit is all about.

“Community – it’s really nice to have that support around me,” he told us.

Now, we didn’t count the times River said the word “community” during our chat, but it was a thread that wove its way through our conversation from beginning to end.

In fact, the community aspect of CrossFit was another key element in River’s decision to start CrossFit.

“Community is intensified in CrossFit,” and there’s a common bond formed when you embrace challenges with people who are going through the same things you are.

Thelo: “When did you realize that you are a success story?

With a humble smile, River told us he wasn’t sure if he would consider himself a success story, but that he is definitely progressing to greater levels of fitness.

But he did admit that about a year into his CrossFit journey, he realized how good he felt, how much better his quality of life had become, and what a change CrossFit had made in his life.

Thelo: “What keeps you motivated?”

It was almost as if River had studied for the test before we even asked some of these questions.

“The people keep me motivated,” he said without an ounce of hesitation. And there was that theme again – community.

In addition to the CrossFit community, River also noted that accountability to others has been key to his success on his fitness journey.

River has intentionally surrounded himself with people at CrossFit Thelo who will keep him accountable to his personal fitness goals. Additionally, he has also created his own community of accountability partners who keep him accountable on his nutrition.

Thelo: “What would you say to people who are nervous about trying CrossFit?”

“The workouts can be modified to any fitness level,” River told us with all the authority of someone who has been there and experienced it firsthand.

If you want a high intensity workout with friends in your local community, CrossFit is for you, but as River told us, “If you just want to get in the gym and move, [you] can do that [as well].”

Thelo: “Who is CrossFit for?”

River nodded knowingly, “CrossFit is for everybody,” he told us. “We have grandparents, moms, dads, and CrossFit Kids and Teens.

And indeed, he is right. CrossFit is for everybody.

That’s right – even you.

Whaddaya say?

Wanna be the next success story?

P.S. You can find River on Instagram and Twitter @river_kiener.