FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Why the scale is important, but also doesn’t matter

When working with nutrition clients, one of the metrics that we like to track daily is weight.

The main reason for this is we want to see the general trend of their weight to ensure that their average weight is headed the correct direction and toward their goal.

Daily weight tracking also helps highlight good and bad decisions made throughout the day in terms of food quality, water intake and exercise.

(We also track our client’s chest, waist, and hip measurements and have them take progress photos weekly. I’ll get into why later)

Unfortunately, one of the most common things we have to do is tell our clients to STOP tracking their weight.

And this often stems from our inability as a population to stick with a plan that doesn’t deliver instant results the way we expect them.

We’ve all seen thousands of ads and hours of informercials touting ridiculously fast weight loss if you just take this pill, drink the drink, follow this crazy cucumber and lemon only diet, or use this weird crunch contraption to get a six-pack in 30 days.

I hate to break it to you, but IT’S ALL BULLSHIT!

NONE OF IT IS SUSTAINABLE OR HEALTHY

But all of that BS and non-sense has reshaped the way we think and our expectations.

And when we don’t see the scale (again, only one of our three check-in metrics) moving the right direction daily, we often see our clients get discouraged and immediately begin to self-sabotage or start losing trust in the coach or the process.

Well, this is my own personal story of how I stepped on the scale a couple days after returning from vacation to a bit of a surprise.

How after years of retraining my brain to think more logically about weight and body composition, I didn’t have a knee jerk reaction.

I didn’t freak out and immediately give up and overeat.

I also didn’t immediately decide to starve myself to get right back to where I was comfortable.

Because I knew that it was impossible to actually gain that much weight (fat) in a week and that everything would be just fine if I just got right back to eating consistently.

A few weeks ago our family went to Hawaii for a week.

While we were there I did zero tracking of my food or alcohol consumption, I just enjoyed my time.

I did a few workouts, but nothing crazy.

I also did some walking and playing on the beach and in the ocean, so I wasn’t just sitting around for a week straight.

When I left I was weighing 183 lbs pretty consistently.

Some days up to 185 and other days down to 181 or 182.

When we returned from Hawaii on July 3rd and then I enjoyed July 4th weekend I stepped on the scale on Monday, July 8th and I weighed 191.6 lbs.

191.6!

From before we left for Hawaii until 11 days later I gained 9 lbs.

When I looked in the mirror I didn’t think I looked like I weighed 9 extra lbs, but I stepped on the scale again and it read the same thing.

At that moment I made the decision to do five things that day:

1. eat a “perfect day” meaning to hit my macros exactly
2. to drink a sufficient amount of water
3. to ride the Peloton while my daughter was sleeping (just a 30 minute ride, nothing crazy)
4. to take a nap that day
5. to get a good nights sleep that night to catch up a little.

After executing on this plan I knew that I would be headed the right direciton and I’d be more likely to do the same the next day and I’d be back to pre-vacation form in no time.

And guess what happened…

I woke up the next morning, and I weighed…

186.2

I lost 5.4 lbs in 24 hours.

with NO magic pills
NO special drinks
NO weird food combinations
NOT starving myself
and, NO extra exercise

Now, at that weight I was still a couple lbs above where I was when I left, but I probably earned that weight.

I enjoyed myself.

I ate food that I wouldn’t normally eat

I had alcoholic beverages daily, which I do not do while at home.

But in the long run, none of it will matter because consistently eating a healthy quantity of carbohydrates, protein and fat to support my body and activity level and staying properly hydrated will outweigh a week of less than optimal decisions.

The moral of the story here is that weight loss or gain or maintenance is NOT linear.

And the scale is only one metric that we track and it might be the least dependable.

So we all need to stop letting it control our thoughts and influence our decisions, but just take it for what it is, a number…

If you want more information about counting your macros or flexible dieting or are interested in nutrition coaching, shoot us an email at nutrition@crogacrossfit.com or check us out on instagram at @CrogaNutrition.

We’re more than happy to schedule a free 15-minute phone call or in person meeting to chat about your goals and to see if our coaching style might be a good fit for you.

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Food for Thought: Gaining Muscle While Losing Fat Including Data To Back It Up

For anyone that has been a dedicated CrossFitter for a significant period of time, this blog post is going to come as no surprise, but it’ll still be awesome, I promise.

For people with traditional weight training backgrounds, you’ll probably think I’m lying until I show you the data.

For those of you that do circuit training classes that say they’re having you lift weights, but you never actually seem to get stronger or more fit, this is my “you should try CrossFit and see what happens” argument because what you’re doing now is just making you sweat a lot and not much else.

A couple of days ago I received an email from one of our members, Ton Men, with the subject “Progression”.

At first, I thought this was going to be an email where she asked for some advice on how to achieve a high-level gymnastics movement through a progression of easier movements.

When I opened the email and started reading I realized this was not at all what it was about.

It was an email that outlined some pretty incredible results in her first 9-10 months of CrossFit, most notably the most recent 4 months and it included some significant and extremely accurate data.

Over the last 10 months, Ton Men has slowly increased her average monthly attendance, time spent doing extra credit and focus on her nutrition and boy does it show!

As is not uncommon for female athletes new to CrossFit and serious weight training, it took some time to figure out what her actual limits were on strength movements and to then be able to attack them and push herself, but once she got going there was no looking back.

What you’ll see here is the results of four BodySpec body composition tests that Ton Men has had done since she started CrossFit (the first scan was less than 1 month into joining Croga).

What you’ll see as you look at the data is that over her first seven months of CrossFit, Ton Men gained .8 lbs of body weight, but did so by losing 2.6 lbs of fat and gaining 3.5 lbs of muscle.

There might be some people out there that would like slightly quicker results than that, but I doubt anyone would be complaining about those results.

But wait until you see what happened next…

Check Out Those Arms

As Ton Men started doing some extra personal training, really pushing herself on her strength training by lifting heavier weights as her quality of movement improved, attending 1-2 extra classes a week and often staying after to work on some extra credit she started to see RAPID improvements.

In the most recent three and a half months, Ton Men has gained another 4.8 lbs.

Something that almost all women, and men, would not be happy about if they were working out harder and eating better.

But here’s the beauty of it…

She did that by LOSING 2.2 lbs of FAT!

While GAINING 7 lbs of MUSCLE!

In just 16 weeks.

Oh, and to add to the significance of this result, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all fell inside this 16-week block.

So, when most people were spending their time making excuses and gaining weight making poor health decisions, Ton Men was absolutely CRUSHING IT.

https://media.giphy.com/media/8pMS5BXOUVZyo/giphy.gif

So, ladies and gentlemen, I’d love it if you took a couple of key points from this blog post.

1. You, 100%, can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time with a well-rounded training program that INCLUDES heavy lifting.

2. Gaining weight isn’t always a bad thing if you know your nutrition is on point.

3. You can lift heavy weight and gain weight and still be “long and lean”. Don’t believe all the BS marketing you’ve been fed that is packaged as “expert research”.

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Food for Thought: Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional

A couple weeks ago I was riding our Peloton and I heard the coach, Emma Lovewell, say “Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional”.

She said this in the final 10 minutes of the ride when she was asking her riders to crank up the resistance and also speed up their cadence, meaning make the pedals feel heavier and ride faster.

As I immediately did what was asked of me and then proceeded to willingly, but painfully, suffer through the next couple intervals she had programmed I couldn’t stop thinking about how perfect the timing of this quote was.

It wasn’t a way of saying that if you don’t crank it up and ride harder anything bad will happen, but more of a way of saying that if you do choose to do the hard work, you will improve.

She was giving her riders the opportunity to take the path less traveled, to choose the hard work, and to come out the other side better for it.

And in the handful of tough intervals that followed that statement, it became increasingly clearer to me that there are moments like this throughout our day in the gym, at work and at home where we’re faced with decisions and options and we have the ability to choose the one that will help us grow as a human.

They’re as simple as, should I watch another episode of some 30-minute Netflix show that I don’t even really pay much attention to while it’s on or should I go to bed 30 minutes earlier and do some reading?

Should I try a new recipe from the cookbook that has been collecting dust in the corner of my kitchen or should I order a burger on DoorDash?

Should I take my dog for a walk and listen to a book/podcast or should I watch halftime commentary during a random NFL Sunday game that I just watched the whole first half of?

Should I do 3 more burpees in the final 10 seconds of a workout or should I just do 1 super slow so the time runs out and I don’t have to do anymore?

Should I choose 10 lbs heavier than I normally do for a Power Clean workout and push myself to struggle through, but get stronger, or take the easy road and finish first in my class?

When you’re faced with small decisions, but one that provides you with the opportunity to be a better human, I want you to think about this very simple idea.

“Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional.” -John C. Maxwell

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Will Lifting Weights Make Me Bulky?

Cróga PSA: For the Ten-Thousandth Time…Lifting Weights DOES NOT make you “bulky”

Before we get started, I must warn you, hearing someone say “I don’t lift weights because I don’t want to get bulky, I just want to be toned” is probably the number one thing that makes my skin crawl when chatting with people about fitness.

So, with that said, don’t be surprised if I’m a tad animated in my post below.

For months now I’ve followed a guy named Ben Bruno on Instagram, you can check out his account here: @benbrunotraining

I’m not exactly sure how I started following him, but if you sift through his profile you’ll see that he trains some professional athletes.

The thing that might stand out to you though, and how he relates to this blog post, is that he is a bit of a “celebrity trainer” and he works with a few ladies you might recognize, @kateupton, @barbarafialho1, & @chelseahandler.

What might also stand out to you is that his approach with these ladies is one that we strongly believe in, but is not the norm or what most people would expect. He has them squatting, deadlifting and moving heavy weights.

One of his recent posts is spot on with a conversation we’ve had with prospective and existing clients (male & female) hundreds, if not thousands, of times and we almost always answer the same way as Ben Bruno does.

So, ladies, and gentlemen, please stop falling into the cardio web of lies you’ve been fed for years and lift some weights.

And I’m not talking little tiny weights while sitting on a bike at the end of a spin class, they’re just doing that to trick you into thinking they offer weight training too.

And I’m also not talking about high rep, low weight circuit training thrown into your workout between trips to the treadmill, you’re not getting any stronger or leaner by doing that.

I’m talking about squatting, deadlifting, pressing and pulling things that feel heavy and doing it weekly.

Getting stronger WILL NOT make you bigger or bulkier, just see the girls below who do this if you don’t believe me.

Kate Upton:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bfd2HhXBDzN/?taken-by=benbrunotraining

Barbara Fialho:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BcC1-oABa6A/?taken-by=benbrunotraining

Chelsea Handler:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BW8AQ-mB48f/?taken-by=benbrunotraining

 

P.S. If you want to come learn how to lift weights correctly and safely, we’d love to have you at @CrogaCrossFit. If you don’t live here or you don’t want to come to Cróga, please, find someone else to teach you how to move correctly and safely and lift something heavy. For the 1,000,000th time: YOU WILL NOT GET BULKY.

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Food For Thought: CrossFit Nutrition Poster

To continue the Poster Series I started last week with the CrossFit Theoretical Hierarchy of Development, this week we’re going to chat about the base of the pyramid, Nutrition, in even more depth.

Nutrition is of paramount importance because it changes us on a molecular level and without proper fuel, the body can only accomplish so much.

The original nutritional prescription laid out by CrossFit Founder, Greg Glassman, in his “Fitness in 100 Words” (seen below) is one that is quite simple, but very hard for many to follow.
It falls in line with what a lot of people would consider a Paleo diet, but I’d say it’s less restrictive and most likely just as effective.
Starting from the top and working your way down we go from the most important pieces to make sure you include at each meal and what should make up the biggest chunk of most meals (Meat & Veggies), to worst for you and what should absolutely be excluded (all processed sugar).
By being focused on eating real, quality foods and not allowing the urge to have too many processed carbs/sweets, most people can get pretty damn close to lean, strong and healthy, which is what will make you live longer.
So, in the interest of one of my favorite acronyms KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).
We always encourage our members to eat REAL foods.
Meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and NO sugar.
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Food For Thought: CrossFit Theoretical Hierarchy of Development

If you’ve been in to Cróga in the last week or so, you may have noticed a handful of new posters by the front desk and around the corner by the plates.

With those posters in mind, I’ve decided to do a weekly “poster series” where I chat about the different posters around the gym and their significance to our methodology and instruction.

So, first stop, the CrossFit Theoretical Hierarchy of Development.

When you look at this pyramid, you need to think about how each level depends on the support of the level below it.

So, level one of being happy, healthy and more fit is to eat right.

Nutrition is the foundation for all athletic development.

Poor nutrition will sabotage any amount of training and you will never reach full potential without your diet locked in and consistent.

This does not mean you have to be the guy/gal eating chicken and broccoli at Thanksgiving while everyone else is enjoying Turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie, but you do need to keep those bad meals and alcohol consumption to a minimum to make any serious impact on your health.

Level two on the pyramid is metabolic conditioning aka “cardio”.

To keep it simple here, you need to be able to breath well and circulate blood to your muscles well to be able to perform any of the movements above this step of the pyramid in any significant quantity.

You might be able to hit a 1 rep max back squat or do a couple pull-ups without being able to breath well, but if we start asking you to work for more than 30 seconds, you better believe having a aerobic engine will be important.

Level three is gymnastics and this is the one that I think most people don’t pay enough attention to.

Gymnastics movements are ones that involve you moving your own bodyweight or parts and pieces through space.

The better you are at knowing where you are in space, creating tension throughout your body and moving accurately, the better you will be at all other skills.

So, spend the extra time to work on your movement and fine tune the way you move so that you move more efficiently, which will help you last longer in workouts and move yourself and external objects with ease.

Level four is weightlifting & throwing aka moving external objects.

This could be cleans, snatches, wall balls, KB swings, deadlifts, weighted squats, etc. you get the idea.

It should go without saying that moving a barbell is a lot easier if you’re bodily aware and can move efficiently, which is why gymnastics falls below weightlifting and can help so much.

I once heard Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit, on a podcast talk about how working on a freestanding handstand will help you snatch more weight at a significantly faster rate than all the barbell accessory work (snatch pulls, drop snatches, hang snatches, etc.) we come up with because it’s more fun.

Level five is sport.

“Sport is the application of fitness in a fantastic atmosphere of competition and mastery.”

It is the pinnacle of the pyramid because sports are your opportunity to express your fitness and excel at a specific task that requires excellence in all the levels of the pyramid below it.

Finally, when you think of the five levels of the pyramid together, you start to get a full picture of what we mean when we say “A Theoretical Hierarchy of Development”.

“This hierarchy largely reflects foundational dependence, skill, and to some degree, time ordering of development.

The logical flow is from molecular foundations, cardiovascular sufficiency, body control, external object control, and ultimately mastery and application.

This model has greatest utility in analyzing athletes’ shortcomings or difficulties.

We don’t deliberately order these components but nature will. If you have a deficiency at any level of “the pyramid” the components above will suffer.”

I copied that last piece from the What is Fitness? article on the CrossFit Journal because the words are so eloquent and succinct that there is no way I could summarize them and do them justice.

So, with all of that said, I know we joke sometimes about “trust the process” at Cróga, but we’re very serious about that process.

We do breathing work daily, we teach gymnastics progressions or scale gymnastics pieces more than half the week, we move barbells more than half the week, and we encourage all our members to get out there and use their fitness by participating in sports or other athletic endeavors.

So, next time you’re worried about your progress in one of these levels, take a look at yourself and evaluate yourself on the levels below it.

Chances are, you need more work on your nutrition or breathing or gymnastics, not just to move more barbells…

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Food for Thought: My Why for 2018

Every year when January rolls around we all feel the need to create New Year’s resolutions and to set goals for the year ahead.

Inevitably, some goals we reach and others we do not, but the people that are often most successful throughout the year are those that have a deeper motivation than just hitting a 30 lb PR on their back squat. They have something that makes them enjoy the process and the journey, not just the end goal.

When I talk about a deeper motivation, I’m talking about something that really speaks to you.

Something that pulls at your heartstrings or something that you can be true to deep in your soul.

And this is where I think many people’s yearly goals end up failing them. They pick things that don’t really matter to them and try to accomplish them, only to fail to achieve whatever benchmark they arbitrarily chose because they don’t really care that much.

So, for 2018 I want to propose that we do things a little different.

If you already set tangible “goals” for the year, that’s great, don’t change them.

However, I want you to think about WHY you chose those goals.

What is your deeper motivation?

When you don’t really feel like going to the gym or your squat number isn’t increasing quite as quickly as you had hoped, what motivates you to get to the gym and try to improve yourself that day?

With that info, I want you to come to Cróga and write it on our goals board.

Put it out there.

Let everyone know.

On those days where you get to the gym and you’re feeling a little sluggish, look at your why and recalibrate.

And on those days that you have a little tougher workout or it doesn’t go quite the way you planned, take a peek at your why on the way out the door and remind yourself of the bigger picture.

Finally, if you’re not a member of Cróga, we’d love to hear from you about what your why is.

Shoot me an email, david@crogacrossfit.com, and let me know what is driving you to be a better version of yourself this year.

And let me know if you can use our help, we’d be happy to work with you in person or remotely with coaching, programming or just friendly email motivation.

P.S. My why for 2018 is: To stay happy and healthy so I can be a good dad, husband, business owner and coach.

 

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Don’t blame the holidays, it’s not their fault

I saw this photo of a Snapple bottle top the other day and I couldn’t help but write a Food For Thought blog post about it because it hit the nail on the head.

The weather here in San Jose, CA has officially shifted to cold. Well, cold for us…

It seems like we’re going to work in the dark and getting off when it’s dark too. We’re only 13 days away from the shortest day of the year (December 21st)…

Even though we’ve gotten through Thanksgiving, Christmas is right around the corner and the end of year holiday party invites seem like they’re coming fast and furious…

Although I acknowledge all of these “facts”, I’m here to tell you that it’s not their fault.

Sure, they all make it a little less appealing to get to the gym, but acknowledging them and making the decision to not let them derail you is the true path to success.

The best way to avoid having to make the traditional “get fit” New Years resolution is to not stop training in the final three months of the year when all the excuses above become easy to use.

The coaches and other athletes at Cróga will greet you with a BIG SMILE when you walk in the door.

We’ll make it fun, get you warm, and make you feel good when you’re done.

We’ll give you a high five and possibly teach you something new about fitness or a random fact about the world.

I can promise you that when you stop at the gym instead of driving by because it’s cold and dark outside you won’t regret the decision you made.

After all, you’re the one in control.

So, don’t blame the holidays, it’s not their fault.

PS. If you’re looking for some help with accountability, we recently launched an awesome program called Uplift. It’s the perfect program to help you set a goal, come up with a plan to reach it, and be held accountable with weekly check-ins and monthly personal training included. AND, this program is available to Cróga Members and Non-Members.

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Food for Thought Friday – Moxie Madness 2015

This week’s blog post is a little different, it’s more informative for this weekend than anything, but hopefully it’ll result in some great community support.

This weekend we have two teams competing in a local Throwdown called Moxie Madness (http://moxiemadness.com/teamchampionship/).

NOTE: Cróga will be CLOSED to encourage our community to attend and cheer our teams on.

For those that don’t know or weren’t around last year at this time, Moxie Madness is a team of 4 (2 men, 2 women) 2-day competition that is held each year on the East Fields of the stadium at San Jose State (Spartan Stadium).

There are 150 teams of 4, so there will be 600 athletes and a couple thousand spectators!

Some fun things that you can look forward to if you decide to attend (besides cheering on our teams) are:

vendor village with all the equipment and apparel you could imagine
multiple individual and team CrossFit Games athletes competing
a fun social atmosphere (our teams will have a couple pop-up tents and will be hanging out all day)
a beer garden for those 21+ that want to enjoy a cold brew while watching some fitness.

Our two teams and the heat times we have for them for Saturday are below:

The 290’s:

Steve Smith

Kristi Smith

Todd Leal

Allie Upland

Workout #1 – 9:52 am

Workout #2 – 12:00 noon

Workout #3 – Time TBD – Later on Saturday afternoon

The Good Guys:

Catherine Chambers

JohnBoy Lubisich

Megan Toeniskoetter

Drew Escarcega

Workout #1 – 10:30 am

Workout #2 – 12:36 pm

Workout #3 – Time TBD – Later on Saturday afternoon

One day tickets are $15 and two day tickets are $20. They can be purchased online (http://moxiemadness.com/teamchampionship/team-championship-spectator-tickets/) or at the venue.

If you plan to attend, we suggest that you make a day of it. Bring your lawn chairs, picnic blankets, coolers with food and refreshments, and wear your Cróga Green to support the team!

We look forward to seeing you all out there. Good luck Cróga Athletes!

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