Don’t Be Scared To Try!

Ever see the CrossFit Games on ESPN and think, “I would really like to try that but I can’t do what they are doing or I’m too out of shape to workout with people on that level”?  The truth is you aren’t!  In reality, the athletes you see on TV and/or competing at competitions are elite athletes just like professional football or basketball players.  These are the 1% of 1% of CrossFitters.  Most CrossFit athletes are just like you and me.  We just want to be healthy and make our exercise routine less of just that, a routine.   Below are some tips to help you get over the fear of trying CrossFit because we’ve all been there.

We all started somewhere and nobody is going to judge you.  One of the first things that I hear when I talk to people about joining a CrossFit gym is “I’m too out of shape for that” or “those workouts are too much for me”.  I agree, CrossFit workouts are going to challenge you, and the best thing about the workouts are that they will not only challenge a beginner, but also a veteran.  This is because all of our workouts are scalable.  Whether this means reducing weights, number of reps, distance, etc., every person in the class will be able to challenge themselves at the same time.  If you wait until you “are in better shape” to come try it out, I will probably never see you.

I can’t do all of the movements that everyone else is doing.  This is completely understandable and we don’t anticipate that every member is able to jump in and be able to do everything.  At our gym, we offer a bootcamp class to go over the movements so that all members have at least seen them before being thrown into a workout.  You might not be able to do all of the movements before you leave bootcamp, such as pullups, but you should have a good understanding of ways you can scale each of the movements until you develop the proper strength or movement patterns.  If you are looking at a gym and they don’t do an on-boarding of some sort, word of advice, keep looking.

Compete against yourself.  One of the biggest mistakes that new members make is to try and compete against the top performers or go too heavy because that is what was prescribed for the workout.  This leads to rushed reps and poor form, which leads to injury.  The goal, at least for beginners, is to be a fitter, better version of yourself, and not go to the CrossFit games.  You have to build a solid base before you can grow.

Listen to your body.  CrossFit is tough.  You are going to get sore, especially if you have not been working out previously, this is normal and perfectly ok.  What is not ok is trying to work through injuries.  You should not be in pain when doing a workout or after a workout.  If you are starting to feel an injury coming on, get with a coach before it gets to the point where you can’t workout.  This is one of the benefits of a CrossFit gym.  The coach is there to help you try to avoid injuries and but can also provide stretches or options to help treat the ache or pain before more drastic measures are required.

Don’t be scared.  We all started at the beginning.  It takes time to build a solid base.  Be patient, have fun, and enjoy the journey.  Being healthy is a lifelong project and not something that happens overnight.

Protein, It’s What’s for Dinner

Have you ever been at the gym and heard someone talk about needing to have their protein shake or needing their midafternoon protein bar? Normally it’s the muscled out beefcake, and well they need it right, because they want to be huge and jacked? WRONG, we all need it! Whether your goal is to eat healthy and lose a few pounds, or get some new PRs, protein is an essential part of that process.

Building Muscles

With every weight you lift in the gym, your muscles and tissues are breaking down. This may sound scary, but the truth is you must do this to build them up stronger. Protein is the nutrient you need to re-build that tissue and muscle. Because your muscles are primarily made of protein, it makes sense that increasing your protein intake can help build muscle and gain strength.

Satisfying Your Hunger

Have you ever had a large dinner followed by dessert, but then an hour later you are hungry again, but can’t believe how that could be possible because of all you ate? Think back, did you eat any protein or just a bunch of nutrient-less foods that, at the time, tasted great but now have left you hungry. If you were to fill your plate with more protein vs. the second dinner roll, you would stay fuller longer because protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates.

Improves Mood

We all have stressors outside the gym, and sometimes inside with a bad lifting day or WOD, which can affect our mood. Eating high protein foods can provide your body with amino acids that are needed to balance your hormones and help reduce anxiety. Protein can also help steady your glucose which can help with your moodiness and irritability.

So How Much Protein Do You Need?

The recommended dietary reference intake (DRI) according to the Institute of Medicine is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight for an average sedentary person. For a woman weighing 135lbs that’s close to 49 grams and for a 200lb man, that would be about 73 grams. Keep in mind this is based off of relatively sedentary people. For your own target number, you need to keep in mind your active lifestyle and your goals aka to lose weight, gain muscle, etc..

So take a minute to go online to a calculator such as the IIFIYM one, and take a look at how much protein you should really be getting. I think you might be shocked and need to head out for a steak dinner ASAP!