When it comes to everyday heroes, nurses are among the top. They usually work long 12-hour shifts in a very high-stress environment (which increases cortisol levels). They see the worst of us, and usually bear the brunt of our discomfort; they see death and usually very little sunlight. All these obstacles make it very tough for someone to stay healthy and in shape, even when the very thing they do in their profession is make people feel healthier. As healthcare professionals your health needs to be a priority even when motivation (because of the high stress) and scheduling make it tough to do so. Here are some tips for keeping your workouts going and your nutrition in check.
Supportive community. Sometimes, the days and nights in the ER get stressful…who am I kidding this is EVERY day. Having a great group to work out with makes it a lot easier to keep going in. Group classes are the solution for this. When you do group classes at CrossFit 1Pulse and you haven’t shown up in a week, you’re getting texts and calls from everyone motivating you to come in. You almost feel part of a team that you don’t want to let down and it’s a huge motivator for going in.
Schedule. We can all make excuses about not having enough time, but we all have an hour. If you don’t, we have to make room for it. The best thing to do here is plan ahead! Check out the calendar with your work shifts and plan out when you want to come in during the week. Be realistic, do you feel better working out before/after your shift? The same goes with your nutrition. On your day off, make some healthy food in bulk and meal prep for the days you work. Grill some chicken breasts and you have great fuel for the week to come. Make sure you get it all in Tupperware so you don’t have to worry about it later on.
Look, we’re not saying it’s easy. I see it every day with the nurses at our box. What I’m saying is that it IS possible to take control of your body even under the most stressful of careers. If you have any questions or want to learn about how we can help, shoot us a message or set up an appointment to meet with us about your goals.
We’re starting a little series called “Progressions” where we include different progressions for practice after class or on your own. Today, we’ll start with the one movement we get the most questions for, the pull up!
Usually when talking about the pull up and what’s keeping you from getting your first one we talk about both pulling strength and grip strength. When we scale pull ups in WODs we usually go with jumping or banded pull ups. Although you do get a good conditioning stimulus, you don’t get much pulling or grip strength benefits from doing them. Here are a few exercises that we can work on to get the necessary strength for these strict pull ups (remember take your time and make the variations as tough as possible for optimal strength):
The Dead Hang
With palms facing away from you, jump on the bar and hang with a timer. If you can’t hang on a bar for 30 seconds, there’s a good chance you can’t perform a strict pull up either.
The Ring Row
Start with the rings by your hips. Walk back to full arm extension and then lean back so that your feet start creeping back towards the rings. The lower you go, the harder the pull will be so play around with this. Make sure when you pull your body up to the rings you maintain a nice hollow position with active shoulders. Our goal will be to get as horizontal as possible while still maintaining perform form.
Sitting Pull ups
These are great for simulating even closer what a pull up feels like. You’ll set up the kids bar or a barbell to a height where you’re hanging or your butt barely touches the ground. You also want to be behind the bar so that it allows you to pull straight up and not horizontally. Start with your feet on the ground and knees bent and as you pull your chin to the bar, use your feet enough to barely make it up. As you get stronger you’ll be able to put a plate or a box underneath your feet so that the pull is even more demanding.
This is the finisher. Jump yourself as high as you can and lower yourself with control over 4 seconds. Start by getting your eyes to the bar and then lowering with control and eventually get to the point where your chest touches the bar and then lower down.
Sitting Pull ups 3×6, Rest 1:30 between sets
Negatives 5×4, Rest 1:30 between sets
Ring Rows 4×8, Rest 1:30 between sets
Dead Hangs 3 x FAILURE, Rest as needed
Sitting Pull ups 3×5, then 1 x FAILURE, Rest 1:30 between sets
Negatives 5×5, Rest 1:30 between sets
Talk to your coaches and they’ll point you towards the right direction with the movements and progressions. Happy pulling!
Here at CrossFit 1Pulse we love success stories. Whether you just got your first pull up, ran your first 5k, or lost 20 pounds, we celebrate it all. Today’s success story includes a more unique story of a first year law school student named Andres and how CrossFit has helped him stay on track during his first year. We know he’s very busy with school all day so we decided to keep it to two questions:
How has CrossFit benefited you on your first year of law school?
This is very easy for me! Law school is a lot of work, and if you don’t manage your time correctly you won’t make it. You have to prioritize the things you want the most and for me that 1 hour where I can get away from the books and focus solely on getting through a tough workout is huge. So, my time management alone is one of those things that has greatly improved. Mentally, these workouts leave you feeling great. You come in mentally exhausted from the school grind all day and come out feeling refreshed and with a great sense of mental clarity. I like to start my day with a great workout at 7am because the energy it gives me throughout the day is like no other. Is it always easy waking up at 6am to get ready for a workout? Of course not, but the feeling afterwards is well worth it!
Would you recommend CrossFit to your fellow students?
Oh, definitely! You just have to try it and see for yourself! Is it easy? Nope. I’ve learned that you have to work for all the good stuff in life. Are there days where you just don’t want to move out of bed? Sure, but the community at CrossFit 1Pulse is always pushing me to get in there and to get better! I try to bring CrossFit up to all my friends because I’ve seen all the benefits from it. At NSU we have a great facility but I enjoy clearing my mind from everything that is related to school which is why I head on over to CrossFit 1Pulse down the road.
The poor kid had to go finish writing a paper but as you can see, there are a lot of benefits to getting a good workout in for you students out there. If you’ve been feeling tired all day and are looking to get a great workout in less than an hour, then come check us out and workout with Andres for free (we want you to try it first)!
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 754-223-4163 for more info.
I’m always amazed at how well our athletes perform on a daily basis. We have some really developed athletes and some a little underdeveloped newer athletes but they all always surprise me. I was sitting around thinking about who our best athletes and members are and realized that they’re almost all moms! I started jotting down some of the qualities these moms possess that has made them such great athletes. Check out my top 3:
3. Humble and ready
These women are the leaders of their household and are the ones that are looked upon to fix and lead everything. So with this in mind, you would think our moms would be full of pride and not be as open to listen to me. This is absolutely not the case. These ladies put their pride aside, stay humble and are always trying to listen and learn. Taking in knowledge and applying it is one of those qualities that has made them such great athletes and people. They understand that they will only get better if they continue this and they’re a joy to teach because of it.
2. Nutrition habits
When our ladies first joined I told them that to maximize results, they need to eat right. They listened and are reaping the benefits from it. Not only are they making strength gains but they’re also leaning out. Maybe it’s the fact that they want their kids to eat well so they want to be a great example, but they all eat for the most part very well. Jennifer and Amber for example both understand that they can’t eat junk food every day and get away with it at the gym. They both stick to a paleo-ish diet and both count their macronutrients pretty consistently in order to keep themselves accountable. It’s no surprise that they’re both consistently at the top of our leaderboard in every category. Learn from these ladies and make good nutrition habits a priority if you want to maximize results.
1. Time management
Yeah, sometimes life happens and you can’t make it to the gym but it can’t always be the excuse. This is probably the best trait our fit moms possess. Their day consists of getting their kids ready for school, going to work, taking them to baseball/band practice, picking them up from school, cooking dinner and going to school all at the same time. With such a long day, they could easily throw in the towel and take the day off from the gym that day but they don’t! The gym actually ends up being a little sanctuary for them where they can get away and just focus on working out for a little bit. Making the gym and their health a priority is the first step to securing a time slot in the day for it. They all have big goals they want to reach and they know that they need to set aside 1 hour a day for this. Planning ahead of time their day is what gets them consistently at the gym and performing well.
I think these are great habits and qualities that you as an athlete can learn from. Whether you do CrossFit or not, you will only benefit from following the foot steps the moms at our gym follow. These ladies inspire me to be a better coach and athlete, so be humble, eat well, and show up. Seems very simple and if our busy busy moms can do it, then so can you!
As a coach, I see this daily. The bigger classes always seem a little more motivated and a little more competitive than the one individual who comes for a private session. There’s a reason for this. The benefits to working out in a group setting are well documented and researched. Two things get elevated when in a group setting: your performance (via the Kohler effect) and endorphin levels. Increasing both of these will help you reap the benefits of your workouts so let’s talk about them!
The Kohler effect
In the 1920s, Otto Kohler suggested that a person works harder in a group rather than alone. Kohler studied the German rowing teams and examined how their motivation would change when having to do a task alone compared to in a group. The group setting always out performed the individual setting and now there’s scientific proof of it.
A study out of Kansas State University says we work harder when working out with a partner we perceive — rightly or wrongly, it doesn’t matter — to be just a bit better than we are. The study builds on what’s known as the Kohler motivation gain effect — the idea that less-capable individuals perform better in a group setting — and found hitting the gym with someone thought to be better than ourselves boosts endurance and intensity by as much as 200 percent. Full Study.
Whether you like it or not, we compare ourselves with others to some degree. In a workout, this has shown to improve performance by almost 200% which speeds up results. Optimizing your atmosphere by including yourself in a group setting will ultimately help you reach your goals quicker.
Notice how working out helps relieve some of that stress or anxious feeling you had lingering all day? Yep, endorphins. You’ve all heard about how physical exertion releases endorphins in the body that give you an almost euphoric sensation after the workout. This release of endorphins is actually heightened when in a group setting as well. Researchers from Oxford concluded that endorphin release was greater in group training than individual training when the power and physical exertion remained constant. We all enjoy the feeling, so why not elevate it?
As you can see, working out in a group is great for your motivation and social being. We love our group classes at CrossFit 1Pulse for this very reason. Like-minded individuals working together and pushing each other towards their goals. Can’t beat that, it’s science.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!