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10 Sep

And we’re back! In part 1 of our how to breathe articles we discussed a little about how to properly push through your diaphragm when you inhale and exhale. We also discussed a few different exercises that you can perform throughout the day to help you out with this. Today, we’re going to talk a little more about getting into a rhythm or pattern while under stress (running or hitting a WOD).

Want to run faster and further? Let’s focus on your breathing patterns. Picture yourself doing a mile run. How is your breathing looking throughout it? If you can’t picture it, then you’re probably being very inefficient. Remember a mile run for most of us will take over 6 minutes so for those 6 minutes you need to be breathing at a consistent pace. The last thing you want is to start the run, have your breathing go all over the place and feel like you’re just trying to hold on. Better yet, picture yourself doing the WOD “FRAN” followed by a half mile run. You just went hard and fast on Fran, your heart rate is elevated and you’re gasping for air while you’re running the half a mile. This is the perfect time to bring your heart rate down, focus on your breathing, and gain some control.

Next time you do a longer duration run, try this breathing pattern. Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts (filling up the lungs as much as possible), and breathe out for 4 counts. You can get into a little rhythm with this and your running stride so every step you can do a breathing count essentially. If you feel like you’re losing a little control or can’t handle doing a 4 count then bring it down to a 3 or 2 count. For shorter duration runs or in the middle of WODs I like to use a 2 count because I know I’m going to be trying to breathe heavy. Doing this during your runs will get you focused on bringing that elevated heart rate down and under control while keeping a great pace. Practice this without music so you can hear yourself breathing. Sometimes with music blasting, you get in to a great song and forget about your breathing pattern.

Watch this explanation on the breathing counts.

Remember, read part 1 on how to breathe correctly because you should be applying that as well when you’re running. If you overextend and run with a big chest you will more likely be unable to breathe using your diaphragm correctly, so focus on keeping your core active and rib cage down so you can engage it.

Next time we have running in a workout, I want to see everyone using some sort of breathing pattern. You shouldn’t be trying to survive in a run, it should be a time to get your body under control!

Read part 1 here.

09 Sep

Whether you’re running or in the middle of a workout, breathing and staying calm are key to your success. In this two part series on how to breathe we’re going to show you how to use your diaphragm (or your stomach) efficiently, and then we’re going to show you how to apply it during running and other workouts in part 2.

Ever wonder how Rich Froning and other high level athletes get through workouts and look as if they didn’t even break a sweat? Yes, they’re strong and have great engines, but staying calm and efficiently using oxygen play a huge part in this. Let’s first analyze how you’re currently breathing. Lay down on your back and place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach.
Diaphragm just laying
Slowly breathe in through your nose. What are your hands doing? Is one hand moving higher than the other? If so, which one? Your goal here is to get the hand placed on your stomach to move up when you breathe in and down when you breathe out through your mouth.
Diaphragm inhale Diaphragm exhale
At the same time, the hand on your chest should be either still or moving very slightly. Practice taking a couple of breaths and focus on pushing out through your stomach when you breathe in.

Now that we know how to properly breathe in and out using your diaphragm, let’s move into an exercise we can apply throughout the day to help you out. The exercise is known as box breathing. The goal is to relax you and get you focusing on your breathing technique.

This technique is very simple. While focusing on your diaphragm, breathe in through your nose for 2 seconds, hold your breath for 2 seconds, breathe out through your mouth for 2 seconds and hold your breath again for 2 seconds. From here on out, repeat. Once your body gets used to 2 seconds, work your way up to 4 seconds!
box breathing
When can you apply this? ALL THE TIME! Use it as meditation in the mornings and at night, before workouts, after workouts, while you sit at the office or in the car, literally whenever as often as possible.

Another great addition to this is to add crocodile breathing to your box breathing. Simply lay down face first on the ground with arms on the side and push your stomach through the floor to feel the diaphragm opening up. Using the same technique with the box breathing, continue this for 5 minutes or so.

This exercise will:
Strengthen the diaphragm
Decrease the work of breathing by slowing your breathing rate
Decrease oxygen demand
Use less effort and energy to breathe

Focus on this during your next workout. Use your diaphragm more effectively by pushing out through your stomach during your WODs and even during your running. You’ll be putting up faster times and bigger strength numbers immediately. If you have any questions, ask your coaches!

On the next article we will focus a little more on running and breathing counts while maintaining this new breathing technique. Check out PART 2.

08 Sep

In CrossFit, we all love to kip so we can get work done faster. What happens when strict handstand push ups are programmed into a workout though? What we see as coaches is a lack of shoulder strength and stabilization. Here are a few exercises that you can perform so we can get you stronger upside down!

1. Handstand Holds – 1 or 2 max holds, increase by 10 seconds every week
This is our home base. Shoulder stability and balance are the two main things worked here. Make sure you’re staying in a hollow position and when you see that go away, kick out of the handstand.
HS Hold
2. Negative Handstand Push ups – 5 sets of 5 reps @ 3 seconds, increase to 4 and then 5 seconds
Make sure you set a towel or abmat underneath before we start this. You’ll begin in the handstand position and you will descend slowly and controlled over 3 seconds. Once your head hits the abmat, kick out. This will help develop the strength and balance you need for full range push ups.

3. Shoulder Press – Go heavy!
We usually take care of these in our classes, but the stronger we are in the shoulder press the stronger we will be in the handstand push up. The motion is very similar.
Press Bottom  Press Top
4. Partial Handstand Push ups – 3 to 5 sets of 5 reps, lower target as you progress
Set up a series of towels or abmats and lets get you pushing away with partial reps. You will lock out but you only go down as far as you have the towels and abmats set up. As you get stronger, you will remove some of these so you can get lower and lower.
HS Neg Bottom  HS Neg Top

Your goal is to practice this consistently. Three days per week, nailing these exercises will get those handstand push ups in no time! Good luck everyone!

07 Sep

Eat More

We’ve been asking you guys a little about your diet so we can make you better athletes and just about everyone is under eating. Yes, we all want to look lean and ripped but not eating enough will affect your life in more than just the gym. If you fall under some or most of these, then we need to have a little sit down and chat about your nutrition/sleeping habits:

1. Lack of energy
2. Always hungry
3. Not gaining muscle
4. Slow recovery
5. Not losing weight
6. Moody

Now, what’s the solution? COUNT CALORIES! There’s nothing more annoying but it’ll change your life if you just do it for 2 weeks. The 2 weeks will give you a great idea on the portions you need to be eating throughout the day.

How much should you be eating? On training days we like to do:
Fat: 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight
Carbohydrates: 1 gram per pound of bodyweight
Protein: 0.85 grams per pound of bodyweight

For example, if you weigh 200 pounds. You’ll be eating: 100g Fat/200g Carbs/170g Protein per day. On none training days I eat the same minus the post workout shake.

Remember! You still want to eat clean foods and if you can stick to the paleo diet then even better. Your body will thank you when you start eating like you should be!

07 Sep

Your body needs protein to recover the muscles that break down during our time here in the CrossFit classes and throughout the day. Even though we preach that you eat whole meals to meet your macronutrients, a whey protein drink is exactly what you need after a workout to recover and rebuild!

The taste in both the vanilla and chocolate flavors are great, although I prefer the vanilla. The vanilla flavor lets you mix it with your coffee in the mornings and with your orange flavor Recovery BCAAs (think creamsicle), so in that regard it is more versatile.

This all natural protein is sourced from American cows that are hormone free (not treated with those nasty rBGH/rBST hormones). A lot of protein supplements are currently being outsourced to China and although some are a little cheaper, we always chose quality over anything when it comes to our bodies and what we put in them.

Whey protein isolate (WPI) is the highest yield of protein available. WPI is a natural byproduct of cheese production, but WPI’s special manufacturing process removes excess fats and lactose. Since protein is not stored and needs to be ingested, this low-sugar/low-fat 3:1 isolate and concentrate blend ensures immediate protein release to your muscles followed by the slow release concentrate to make sure you don’t miss a beat.

Why To Take

Protein is one of the most vital nutrients to the human body, especially to athletes and health enthusiasts. Think of whey protein as food for your muscles.

When To Take

Take post workout, during breakfast (mix with your coffee), or anytime during the day to up your protein intake.

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