Most of us have an area in our life we wish we were performing better in. That part of us that doesn’t quite fit into our own skin. It could be a touchy subject that our spouse and friends know to steer clear of, the elephant in the room. It could be the promotion you still haven’t received, the credit card you haven’t paid off, or the weight you were supposed to lose by the beginning of summer… in 2012.
And because you’re wearing this very uncomfortable skin that’s not quite your size I am happy to tell you that you are exactly where you chose to be today.
I can already hear the objections rising up so let me explain why.
You see I totally understand your story. I understand because it’s yours, mine, and everyone else’s. Sometimes having a new baby, a busy time at work, or the worst timing for a medical emergency/broken down car/economic depression can happen. There are a million and one events in life that can derail us. They are not always fair and can seem impossible to overcome when they show up knocking at our door.
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.”
At that point we do an admirable thing. We give up on our dream. We set it aside to go fix the problem. We change our identity and become the superhero who knows exactly how to work overtime and take care of a sick parent. We do it because we want to make sure the story has a happy ending. We do it out of love.
And life goes on.
And sometimes the situation gets better. And sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, the situation that called for a superhero 6 months ago no longer needs a hero to save it. But there you stand in cape and tights committed to action. Except now it’s time to go home. Time to write a new story.
Where you stand today is a result of many choices. Some of your hero moments were the big decisions that shaped your trajectory. Like I said, I’m proud of you for doing that. But now it’s time to get back on the path. Your path. The one you stopped telling yourself that you wanted because it hurt too bad to think that it may never come true.
You might think it’s too late (it’s not).
You might want to try, but feel that you strayed too far (you haven’t).
You have to remember you have the power of choice. And it’s a good thing that you do. It gives you the power to turn your greatest adversity into your greatest strength. You always have the option to shy away or to stand and fight.
It’s time for a new story. You’re the hero and you’re at the turning point in the movie of your life. So what are you going to do next?You’ve endured hardship, learned tough lessons, and fallen time and time again. Wouldn’t this be a great time for everything to turn around?
Maybe you can recruit someone to help you get there, a long lost friend or a wise old mentor. Maybe you need to crank up “Eye of the Tiger” and experience the training it will take to achieve your success.
The time to act is now. Don’t slip back into your old story. You are the hero. The power of choice brought you here. Your choice decides what happens next.
So what are you going to do?
Nutrition is an individual journey. We owe it to ourselves to determine which foods and what style of eating works best for our bodies. Just like learning any new skill, nutrition takes practice.
The goal should be to develop an approach to eating that makes you feel great, maintain a healthy body, and achieve your goals. We all run into moments of weakness around food, but if your current diet makes you feel angry or sad on a daily basis it’s time for a change.
Let’s take a look at some different ways that eating better can make you feel better:
1. Improved mental function
Our brain is the control center of the body and just like our muscles and organs it requires fuel to keep it going. In fact, some studies have shown that the brain uses up to 20% of our body’s daily energy.
Focusing on eating to improve our brains function is a great way to feel better.
The brain loves wild fish like salmon and mackerel. That’s because these fish contain omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA. DHA helps our brain send signals to our body and improves our memories. Try adding 1-2 servings of wild caught fish each week to get an optimal dose.
The foods we eat determine the way our body and mind perform. Next time you reach for that donut try to picture how your brain will run using the donut as fuel. Instead look for some fresh veggies and hummus, a handful of nuts, or a stick of turkey jerky to give your brain some jet fuel to run on.
2. Add Muscle, Burn Fat
The battle to fit back in those jeans from college starts and ends in the kitchen. No amount of exercise can overcome an unhealthy diet. Figuring out the right foods in your diet is the key to unlocking your ideal body composition. Imagine how good it would feel to go out on your anniversary wearing the suit from your wedding rehearsal! Protein is known for building muscle but it can do more for your body than help you recover after a workout.
Set the bar at breakfast. A high protein breakfast is one of the best ways to improve body composition. Studies have shown that consuming 30g of protein at breakfast helps with satiety and improves glycemic control. This means less desire to snack on high carbohydrate or sugary snacks later in the day. One study showed that participants who ate a high protein breakfast on average consumed 441 calories fewer each day!
3. Foods that light you up
Eating is often thought of for fueling performance, but food plays another important role as the building block of our cells. Certain foods help build healthy hair, skin, and nails.
If you’re looking for a youthful glow and to get carded until you’re 50 try these 3 superfoods:
- Avocado. Rich in vitamins A, D , E, and many phytonutrients; avocado promote supple skin, help prevent environmental damage and prevent signs of aging.
- Bell peppers are high in vitamin C, an essential nutrient for forming collagen which holds hair particles together.
- Lentils contain Folate, a B vitamin needed to repair cells in your fingernails and skin.
4. Get Creative
Preparing meals from whole foods can be a fun and relaxing part of the day. Learn how to season dishes using herbs, spices, and complementary pairings. This eliminates “empty calories” from your diet that show up in sugary sauces and dressings.
Eating is a time for bonding and camaraderie, get together with family and friends to create a new dish. Focus on great conversation, chewing your food, and turning off the TV and electronics. By giving new meaning and tradition to your meals, eating can be a source of enjoyment beyond just the food.
Let’s face it, trying to find a personal trainer ranks up there with some of life’s most difficult decisions. Choosing a college…starting a family…what to watch on Netflix this weekend?
A good personal trainer should always be a good listener, explain why you are doing specific workouts/exercises and will always prescribe a plan that will help you reach your fitness goals. Daunting as it is to choose a trainer, there are a few key areas to help you start your search.
Experience is an important factor in choosing a trainer, but first you have to define the specific experience needed for YOU. Because a trainer has been “in the business” for years doesn’t mean they’ll know the area you’re looking to improve. Instead consider some other forms of experience:
- Look for experience showed by happy reference-able clients. Each trainer should have stories of past clients they helped.
- Ask yourself, has this trainer worked with people who look, act, or sound like me?
- Look for experience outside the fitness environment. This could mean a trainer who has proven success in business, academics, military service, or personal endeavors. Top performers tend to bring their work ethic and attitude to all areas of life.
- Look for shared experiences or similar backgrounds. A trainer who happens to be a mother of 3 children can offer invaluable experience to a new mother who is nervous about returning to training.
Experience can take many forms, but you want to make sure that your trainer is in fact knowledgeable. The best trainers are lifelong learners and their resume should speak to that. If you are having a hard time locating their credentials, it’s important to ask. Most trainers will open the floodgates about their inspirations and influences. Some leading questions could be:
- How did you start your fitness journey?
- What are your biggest influences in health and fitness?
- What certifications do you hold?
- Do you recommend any websites or articles where I could learn more?
- What systems or progressions do you use to help clients achieve their outcomes?
3. The 5 Chimps Theory
In zoology, you can predict the mood and behavior patterns of any chimp by which five chimps they hang out with the most. What does this have to do with choosing a trainer? It means find a trainer who you want to be like. Consider what personal characteristics would best help you on your fitness journey:
Do you need a trainer who is serious and intense? Or are they quirky and can always lighten your mood? Keep in mind that you aren’t selecting the trainer you WANT, but the trainer you NEED!
Once you feel that a trainer has a background that aligns with your goals it’s time to explore how they engage with you.
4. You’ll know how much they care!
The initial meeting is the perfect time to gauge your trainers level of caring. A good trainer takes interest in your needs and listens to your concerns. They inquire about your health and fitness background as well as relevant personal information. Expect questions about injuries, conditions, and athletic background as well.
The trainer/client relationship involves more than planning a workout routine. It involves building trust, addressing challenges, and working together towards a recognized goal. Now the trainer should set clear expectations for what you can expect from training. The approach they use should have a clear progression and benchmarks to track your progress along the way.
5. Persistence trumps Intensity
As author Derek Sivers says, “If more information was the answer, we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.” Most people have an idea of what they SHOULD do, but generally struggle with what they WILL do. When you begin a new routine, adherence is key. For your first month or two, your trainer should be helping you develop habits around fitness and other healthy practices. When you choose a trainer consider the factors that will encourage your training as well as remove potential roadblocks.
- Is it a convenient commute to the gym or park?
- How often will you be able to meet? What times?
- Is this a price that I am able to pay for each month/week/session?
- Is this an environment that is safe and comfortable?
It’s easy to find an excuse why you shouldn’t call, but let’s face it, you’re still reading this for a reason. You’re reading because you care. Because you have a goal. Because you’re ready to do what it takes.
So instead of justifying why you can’t right now. Why it’s not a good time. Why next month would be better. Think about what your life would look like if today you made the choice that changed everything.
“I didn’t know how to do anything, I didn’t know how to do a squat, I couldn’t do one pull-up, I could not do one thing when I started CrossFit, and what I saw was that there was a path and there was a way, and there is always a scaled movement that will move you further into the proper movement that you’re aiming for. Then I figured out that if you don’t abuse yourself, you won’t quit, and then if you don’t quit, you will get there”
We were lucky enough to get to know April over the years when she when she was visiting Phoenix. Here’s her story.
If you haven’t met Jilly Bee then, well… you’re missing out. Not only is she a great mom (just ask her daughters) but she’s the epitome of humble.
When you see her, give a wave… a high five… maybe even a hug!?
Shoulders play such a KEY role into front squats and overhead squats (OHS). Coach Melissa walks us through mobility movements to hit the shoulders… and the best part is that she explains why we do it and gives us parameters to work with.
Watch me squirm on the foam roller as I attempt to move as coached. NOTE, I found a few spots that really gave me the feels!
Coaches Melissa and Sam from Back Alley Crossfit show you proper squat technique in this video.
Coach Melissa walks us through the Shoulder Press, Push Press and Push Jerk with both dumbbells and a barbell. Press… Dip, Drive, Press… Dip, Drive, Push Under, Stand Shoulder Press/Push Press/Push Jerk Points of Performance
Shoulder Press/Push Press/Push Jerk Points of Performance:
Shoulder Press Points of Performance:
- Neutral spine
- Weight in the heels
- Bar moves in a straight line
- Full range of motion
Push Press Points of Performance:
- Position: Vertical torso
- Timing: Speed up after the dip
- Timing: Core/hips to extremity
Push Jerk Points of Performance:
- Full hip extension
- Receiving position
In this video I sit down with Coach Melissa to talk about Nutrition, Hydration, Sleep & Mobility. She sheds some light on hitting the stimulus of the workout and drops this little gem on us… We’re not professional athletes, we’re professional life livers.