Kipping it Real with Brad!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. September’s Athlete of the Month is Brad Claycamp.  Brad was chosen because of how hard he works in the gym and his positive attitude. Brad instantly became a part of the OPCF community the moment he walked through door.  Learn more below about Brad!

 

 

  1. What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout?

 Immediate thought was “What have I gotten myself into?” followed by “This feels pretty awesome, I’m coming back tomorrow”.

  1. What has been your favorite workout?

I have always been a fan of grunt work style workouts that involve just gritting down and doing the work. Lately though, I have really liked the rope climb workouts that Cody has been programming, the rope climbs have started to really click into place.

  1. What is your favorite cheat meal?

This is a tough one because I love food. First go to would probably be chinese food followed up with a brownie and ice cream for dessert(huge sweet tooth).

  1. Where do you work?     

I am a System Engineer with Cerner working at our Legends campus.

  1. What do you like to do outside of work?

I’m a big fan of golfing although I haven’t made time to get out on the course lately. I also try to take the dogs to the dog park as much as I can. I also like to feed the child part of my heart with a little bit of video games here and there.

6. What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF?

Stick with it, the workouts don’t necessarily get easier but they will feel better as you get better at the movements and increase your strength. Also don’t forget the accessory/mobility work, they will pay off big dividends in the long run.

  1. What is your favorite lift?

Although we don’t do it too often I am a huge fan of the bench press. Pressing of any sort has always been a strength of mine.

  1. What’s your biggest “GOAT”?

HSPU and double unders. I have my double unders but I get shin splints really easy so when that flairs up it is pure struggle bus to string together more than 5 in a row.

 

  1. What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF?  

The biggest change has been my outgoingness. Usually I’m pretty introverted and just do my own thing but the community at OPCF is like nothing I’ve experienced before. Everyone is super friendly and encouraging/inviting so it makes it really easy to talk to anyone.

 

 

  1. What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far?
As some people may or may not know or have seen the top of my head, I had to
take a year off of CrossFit due to needing brain surgery(feel free to ask about my story when you see me, love sharing my experience). And since AJ only communicates in memes.
So I’m extremely proud to say that I’ve battled back and consider myself to be in better shape physically and mentally then I was even before the surgery.

 

  1. What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet?
Bar muscle up. I am still working on getting the pulling strength where it needs to be so I can do them properly and string multiples together.

The Top 10 Reasons We Love Kettlebells!

“What is that weird looking thing with a handle on it… You want me to do WHAT with it?”  That was probably your first reaction to seeing a kettlebell, but once you get used to them you see how versatile and useful they are.  They can be used during workouts, warmups, mid-line focus, heck even during mobility!  It’s not hard to see why we use them often.

Before we go into depth on why we like kettlbells, a little background.  Kettlebells are flat-bottom cast iron balls with handles.  They were first used as a unit of measurement on market and farming scales and later in the Russian military for strength and conditioning work.  They are often measured in “pood” (no laughing!).  One pood is about 16 kilograms or 35 pounds.  Kettlebells are unique from other free weights like dumbbells and barbells because their center of mass is away from the handle.  This means kettlebell movements often require more coordination as well as recruitment of your stabilizer and primary muscles simultaneously.  This is especially true for the kettlebell swing, which is the foundation of kettlebell training.

Kettlebell training isn’t limited to swings though.  They are excellent for Olympic Lifting skill transfer exercises like cleans, jerks, and snatches as well as strength movements like farmers walks, presses, thrusters, and rows.

Here are ten benefits of kettlebell training:

  • Enhances athleticism due to required coordination and balance
  • Increases mental focus and physical stamina
  • Improves proprioceptive breathing development
  • Multi-joint total body conditioning compared to isolation exercises
  • Total recruitment of posterior chain (calves, hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors)
  • Increases core stability and muscular endurance
  • Develops body awareness and hip flexion/extension
  • Improves grip strength
  • Teaches you how to control weight eccentrically
  • They are fun to use!

Although you can do much more than swings with them ,here are five basic checkpoints for in a kettlebell swing:

  • Feet – shoulder-width apart and pointing no more than 10-15 degrees out
  • Knees – tracking over toes, NOT caving inwards or driving way out
  • Hips – level with your lumbar spine and neutral
  • Shoulders – shoulderblades back and down (yes, I’m a broken record but there’s a reason!)
  • Head – neutral position with chin tucked in

There aren’t many better tools that develop strength, teach you how to control your body through a large range of motion, build coordination, require mental focus, and are just plain fun to use!

We’re Not Fish, But We Might As Well Be!

We’re Not Fish, But We Might As Well Be!

As many of you know, drinking water regularly is good for the body and general health. It plays an even bigger role than you might imagine and makes up anywhere from 50 to 60% of a your body. Other than oxygen, it is the most important substance our bodies needs to survive. There are reports of people living up to 30 days without food yet we can’t survive more than a few days without water. Your skeletal muscles (the muscles which you have control over) consist of approximately 72% water, so being hydrated is a huge determinant of strength. In a recent study from The National Strength and Conditioning Association it was shown that there was a 19% strength loss with a mere 3% drop in water levels of men. This means that there is a major decrease in maximal strength that occurs from being dehydrated.

Here are some major benefits for drinking water regularly and staying hydrated:

  • Improves your body’s natural ability to fight off illness
  • Improves function of your endocrine glands (thyroid, pancreas, testis, ovaries, pituitary, adrenal and even parts of your stomach)
  • Will improve the ability of your body to regulate its internal temperature
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight and promotes fat loss
  • Makes up a significant portion of the material used to cushion your joints, vertebrae, eyes and brain
  • Improves liver and metabolic function
  • Aids your body in getting rid of harmful waste through bowel movements, sweat and urine
  • Increases the percentage of fat used for energy
  • Suppresses your appetite
  • Hydrates your skin
  • Regulates blood pressure

We have talked about the benefits of drinking water and staying hydrated, but what about the effects on your body when you are dehydrated? Extreme dehydration can ultimately kill you, but the effects of less severe dehydration causes multiple problems and symptoms such as, but definitely not limited to: muscle weakness, headaches, back pain, fatigue, dizziness, increased heart rate, decrease blood pressure, decrease cardiac output, slowed recovery from workouts, increased core temperature as well as decrease your general health and performance.

You might be saying, “That’s great, water is important, but how much water do I really need?” The general rule of thumb is drink half of your body weight in ounces of water a day. This means a 200 pound man should consume at least 100 ounces of water in a day and also ingest 16 to 24 ounces of water for every pound of body weight lost that day from exercise. A common misconception is that any liquid, because it may contain water, counts as a person’s water intake for the day. Juice, coffee and soda do NOT count and actually end up contributing to dehydration.

The moral of this story: keep a water bottle near you all day and stay hydrated to stay healthy!

Kipping it Real with Courtney!

 Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. August’s Athlete of the Month is Courtney Oddo.  Courtney was chosen because of her work ethic in the gym and how fast she has progressed because of it.  Over her short time at OPCF, we feel she is already a big part of our community.   Learn more below about Courtney!

  1. What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout?

I was proud myself for making it through the work out and not dying or throwing up. However, I realized how out of shape I actually was (I couldn’t breathe after the 400 m ‘warm up’).

  1. What has been your favorite workout?

Probably the one from 7/27. It was a 1K bike, 100 DU (SU for me), 1 mile run, and 100 DU (SU). I had very little hope for completing this one. It was the first optional mile I have ran to date, it really showed me the progress I’ve made.

  1. What is your favorite cheat meal?

BEER and chick-fil-a nuggets.

  1. Where do you work?     

I work in the accounting department at City Wide Franchise. I am also in school full time at UMKC studying Business with an emphasis in real estate.

  1. What do you like to do outside of work?

With the limited amount of free time, I like having Disney music dance parties with my daughter.

6. What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF?

Feed your body. Make sure you are eating properly and drinking enough water. Also, don’t get discouraged because you can’t do the heavy weights or certain gymnastics movements. If you want to improve, stay after and practice!

  1. What is your favorite lift?

It’s a toss up between the split jerk and power snatch. The split jerk was easy to learn! However, the power snatch, I never know what is going to happen. It has been a challenge to learn.

  1. What’s your biggest “GOAT”?

Muscle Ups and the rowing machine. I’ll blame my height for rowing.

 

  1. What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF?  

I gained ten pounds (I’m hoping it’s muscle). When I started CF, I was looking for an outlet for stress and to stay in shape; but, what I found was so much more than that. I gained confidence in myself, I am doing workouts that I never thought I would be able to complete. Everyone has been so helpful and kind! Thank you for that! I feel like the gym is one big team and it is amazing to be apart of it.

 

  1. What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far?

Being able to do more than the 35 lb. bar weight across the board and running a mile.

 

  1. What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet?
Muscle ups and double unders!

Move Better. Live Better.

Humans were made to move.  Our primal ancestors survived by moving.  They had to forage and hunt for food, build and seek out shelter, and of course they played.  To live, they had to move:  Walking, running, lifting, jumping, throwing, crawling, chasing, and climbing were not considered “exercise”, they were considered survival.  These activities allowed them to eat, to provide for their families, to sleep well.  In short, the more they moved, the more they thrived.

Fast-forward to today.  Many of us sit in chairs all day, staring at computer and phone screens, then we drive home (more sitting!) and when we get home, we slouch on couches and stare at more screens. After all that, we sleep poorly and get achy when we move.  What happened to thriving like our ancestors, and how did we start living such a sedentary life?

I’m not saying we have to go off the grid, and become hunter-gatherers, but we should at least break the cycle and learn how to move better.  After all that’s what our bodies are made to do!  At Overland Park CrossFit, this is our goal:  We focus on a fitness that you can take outside of the four walls of our gym, and we accomplish this by teaching you how to move better!

Want to have the energy and ability to play with your kids in the park?  Kids are going to want you to lift them up and pretend like they’re flying — no problem, you’ve been putting barbells over your head.  They’re definitely going to want to race you to the water fountain — you got this because you’ve been sprinting!  And no day at the park is complete without climbing a tree — no problem, you’re stringing together pullups all day!

When you go to the grocery store, do you have trouble picking up that heavy bag of dog food out of your car trunk and then strain with all your might to drag it into the house?  Not anymore!  You’ve been deadlifting, plus you’ve been running with sandbags.  You’ll be throwing fido’s chow over your shoulder and sprinting into the house in no time!

Do you avoid the stairs like the plague because when you walk up them your knees ache and you’re out of breath?  You’ll be racing your elevator-riding friends to the 15th floor all day, heck, you’ve been jumping on 30-inch boxes and bounding around like an NBA player!

We believe in functional training — training that allows you to go out and tackle whatever you want to in everyday life, whether that’s running a 5k with friends, lifting those heavy moving boxes up your basement stairs, or dominating your family football game at Thanksgiving.

We want every single person in our Overland Park CrossFit family to find a better fitness and that means being able to take on any task in life by learning how to move better in a community of people who work hard, play hard, and have fun!

Want to join the fun?  Contact us to get started!

Myth Busting: 5 Excuses for Not Working Out

Are you sitting there thinking that you can’t workout.  Here are 5 excuses that we hear for not working out and why they are just that, excuses.

I’m not fit enough:  Everybody has to start somewhere.  No matter if you are coming off of P90x and looking for to take things to the next level or are still sitting on the couch and looking to lose weight, CrossFit works for you.  At Overland Park CrossFit, our coaches strive to program every workout in a manner that allows modifications for each and every individual athlete, so everyone from the most athletic to those just starting out can get a great workout.

I don’t know how:  Perfect, we do.  At Overland Park CrossFit, we have coaches for every class.  We are here to help you with each and every move in a workout, each and every every step of the way.  If you’ve never done it before, we will show you how.  If you need assistance during a workout, we will make sure you are progressing safely and efficiently so you get the most out of your effort!  The beauty of CrossFit is that everything is scalable so you can start at the place that is right for you and keep progressing.  If you ever have a question, just ask!

I tried but then I lost motivation:  That’s because you didn’t have a group to push you.  If you haven’t done CrossFit before, you probably don’t get it yet, but we are a close group of people who work together towards a healthier lifestyle.  You can’t help but make new friends.  You don’t want to get that text from your workout asking, “Where are you? We missed you today!”

I don’t need to lose weight:  Fitness isn’t just about weight loss.  Living a fitness-oriented lifestyle decreases your risk for heart disease, diabetes, lowers blood pressure, decreases your cholesterol, and prevents osteoporosis.  Everyone needs to be fit.

I just don’t like to:  Our brand of working out is a lot different than what you might be used to.  Beyond that, CrossFit isn’t just about exercise.  We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: It’s about living a healthier, more complete life, and It’s about the community!  We have fun at CrossFit.  We laugh, joke, try new things, and share in each other’s accomplishments.  If you don’t believe me, come try it out!

Kipping it Real with Tony!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. July’s Athlete of the Month is Tony Long.  Tony was chosen because of his awesome work ethic in the gym!  He shows up consistently, stays late to do accessory work, and all that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed!  Learn more below about Tony!

  1. What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout?

This is a workout and I don’t think I need to stay in bootcamp! Then I ended up throwing up at the next bootcamp class and decided I should stay in bootcamp for a little longer.

  1. What has been your favorite workout?

Fat Amy Gets Fit. It was the first actual Crossfit workout I did when I started in January.

  1. What is your favorite cheat meal?

The All Meat Pizza from Imo’s Pizza or any Milk Shake from anywhere that sells them :).

  1. Where do you work?     

I have been a real estate agent for the last 14 years. I run my own real estate team Long Real Estate. We are the #1 Keller Williams team in the KC Metro.

  1. What do you like to do outside of work?

In the very little free time I have, I love to hang with my 2 girls, my wife Tara and our 10 month old daughter Lucy Grace! I also have a motorcycle that I try and ride as much as I can.

6. What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF?

When you get started and you see everyone lifting heavier weight then you or finishing workouts faster then you use that as motivation and something to work towards. Set monthly goals for yourself inside and outside of CrossFit. Don’t be shy, introduce yourself to people and also ask the coaches for help.  Get your butt to CrossFit, no matter what the workout is show up and try your best, and then stay after and do the accessory work, Cody puts it there for a reason and you will see gains from doing it. Last but not least come to 5:30am CrossFit class its what all the cool kids are doing.

  1. What is your favorite lift?

Probably overhead squat because I could not even overhead squat the bar when I got started and now I am slowly increasing weight and my form is getting a lot better.

  1. What’s your biggest “GOAT”?

I have 2. Being able to do 5 strict HSPU’s consistently and finally being able to do some RX workouts.

 

  1. What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF?  

I have lost 25 pounds, I have so much more energy throughout the day, and my eating habits have totally changed for the better.  I want to truly thank the coaches that have pushed me and helped me to get to where I am right now. I am in the best shape of my life and I still have a long ways to go. I also want to thank my 5:30am crew, I look forward to seeing you guys every morning and I appreciate the friendships that have been made.

  1. What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far?

Competing with Angie Hickox in the Summer Swolstace. It was a goal of mine to compete in a CrossFit competition within 6 months of starting CrossFit.

Source:  Photo credit to Valerie Anderson

 

  1. What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet?
In life, I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar.  In CrossFit, Muscle Ups!!! I will accomplish this before the end of the year!

If Regina George Met Black Betty

If you thought Regina George was mean, then you clearly haven’t met Overland Park CrossFit’s “Black Betty”.  Black Betty was the first assault bike we ever bought and then slowly her “crew” of additional assault bikes grew.  They look harmless enough right?  I mean most of parents in the 70’s & 80’s owned some type of stationary bike or airdyne.  Let’s be serious, even Jane Fonda was talking while riding it in her leg warmers.  But then again, Jane Fonda was an unstoppable fitness queen, and those bikes are no joke!

In all seriousness, assault bikes are a great addition to an athletes programming.  The bikes are equipped to provide Tabata training to help increase your overall aerobic capacity.  They are a great substitute for rowing, running, swimming, etc..  But there is no hiding on that assault bike!  Every drip of sweat is earned and rest is begged for as this machine works your entire body including your mind.  Just like in CrossFit you learn to work through the pain and find what you are capable of.

Now, we don’t want assault bikes to get a bad rap!  Yes, they can rock your world, and give you one hell of a workout, but they can also be used for recovery and rehabilitation.  It can be a safe haven for those with injuries providing a no impact exercise.  It can also aid in recovery for not only an injury but on your rest days.  On rest days, you may not be doing a high intensity workout, but you need to keep your blood pumping to those muscles you have torn down that need to rebuild.  You’d be surprised how a cool down on the assault bike will drastically help with your recovery and decrease how sore you could be the next day.

Whether you are looking for a workout that will leave you on your back at the end or just for a nice recovery ride, we recommend you jumping on Black Betty & crew and seeing what they’ve got to offer!  They might even get you singing “Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)”.

Post-Workout Nutrition: What Is It and Why Should I Care?

The importance of post-exercise nutrition often gets overlooked. It is easy to think that when the clock runs out after a hard workout that signals the end of the benefits that you will reap from your exercise.  The focus on recovery post-workout will allow for better recovery by decreased soreness, less fatigue and lethargy and an increase in performance in future workouts.

The post-workout window is often thought of as the most important part of nutrient timing. Mainly for the reason that after exercise, a significant portion of stored fuels in your body in the form of glycogen and amino acids, are depleted. Therefore, consuming proper nutrients will allow you to restore your energy reserves and initiate muscle tissue rebuilding.

Post workout carbs are also required to facilitate sodium absorption in the gut after a sweaty workout that leaves you in need to replace electrolytes. Sandra Fowkes Godek, a doctorate in exercise physiology and director of the Heat Illness Evaluation Avoidance and Treatment (HEAT) Institute at West Chester University in Pennsylvania, explains the need for carbohydrates for electrolyte replacement and proper hydration balance “If you drink a special high-sodium beverage to replace electrolytes, it’s essential to pair that drink with carbohydrates. Gatorade’s carbohydrate content is 6 percent—not enough to facilitate sodium absorption. A true sodium-replacement drink is anywhere from 10 or 12 percent carbohydrate. Without a carbohydrate, the majority of the salt you put in your stomach ends up in the toilet within two hours because your body has a protective mechanism against a (mass) of salt”.

Most recovery drinks have low carbohydrates and high sugar content. An ideal recovery drink should have protein with carbohydrates for proper post workout recovery. Combining protein with fast acting easily digested carbohydrates quickly replenishes glycogen levels and acts as a catalyst carrying nutrients that were lost during training.

Need ideas on how to get these post workout carbs? Driven Nutrition offers a great post workout recovery product, “POST WOD” that combines a 1:1 ratio of protein (20 grams) and carbohydrates (20 grams) that can facilitate proper recovery. Other alternatives include protein bars with a good amount of carbohydrates (~20 grams) or a serving of fruit (1 cup of blueberries is ~20 grams of carbohydrates).

Understanding post workout nutrition leads to better recovery and allows you to know what your body needs to achieve to be more effective inside the gym.

References

  • Top 5 Hydration Myths Busted. Hilary Achauer. The Crossfit Journal, May 5 2017.
  • PostWod, Recovery Salvation just in time for the Open! Sean McQueary. Driven Coaches Newsletter. Feb 22, 2017.
  • American College of Sports Medicine; American Dietetic Association; Dietitians of Canada. (2009). Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 709-731.
  • Cordain, L., & Friel, J. (2005). The Paleo Diet for Athletes. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Inc.
  • Aragon, A., & Schoenfeld, B. (2013). Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window? Journal of the International Society for Sports Nutrition; 10: 5.

Don’t Be a Hero

Every now and then, we have people call and ask if we have a sauna.  Our typical answer is “Yes, it’s available May through August” ;).  As with many CrossFit gyms, at Overland Park CrossFit we only turn on the air conditioner when the temperature gets excessive for the safety of our members.  In saying that, there are still many days when it’s not quite hot enough for AC so you will most likely leave in a pool of sweat.  Due to everyone’s body regulating their temperatures differently, we want to go over a few things to look out for during this summer heat because elevated temperature and physical activity are the perfect mix for heatstroke, and ain’t nobody got time for that!

Nausea – You may feel sick to the stomach with an inclination to vomit.

Confusion – Heatstroke can cause confusion, slurred speech and even seizures.

Hot Skin – As your body temperature elevates, you skin may feel hot to the touch.

High Body Temperature – A body temperature of greater than 104F is one of the first signs of heatstroke.

Racing Heart Rate – As you continue to physically exert yourself, you heart rate can continue to rise to a very high level.

If you feel any of these, or just don’t feel right, the first thing to do is stop your physical activity and try to cool down.  If you continue to have symptoms, here are some additional things you can do to reduce the signs of heatstroke.

Use Evaporative Cooling – Stand near one of the fans while misting your body with water.  This will cause the water to evaporate, which will cool the skin.

Apply Ice Packs – If you are still having issues cooling your body, you can place ice packs on your body, specifically to your neck, back and armpits to help cool.

Go To The Hospital – If you continue to have issues, you should seek medical attention from a doctor.

As you should always do, try and keep yourself hydrated and be cautious if you have an elevated risk of heatstroke from a previously diagnosed medical condition or medication.  Heatstroke is very serious and can cause organ failure and even death.  If you are showing symptoms, don’t be a hero, listen to your body, try to cool yourself down and stop working out.