Kipping it Real with Abe!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. October’s Athlete of the Month is Abe Eller. Abe was chosen because since he joined the gym in April, he has made a ton of progress, which has been really cool to watch! He possesses the willingness to learn and take cues from his coaches which has helped him improve his weightlifting movements. He has patiently worked on developing his gymnastics skills and has greatly improved his toes-to-bar and kipping pull-ups. He also brings a positive attitude to every single class and is very encouraging to the other members he works out with. His hard work is paying off and we love having Abe as a part of our OPCF community! Learn more about Abe below!

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? 4 or 5 months.
What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was? I know I was extremely nervous going in. It was a Foundations class and Jeremy and Jesse were the coaches. I think ‘relieved’ was my first thought. I felt like, “I can do this.” I remember texting Tony immediately after – I was hooked.
What has been your favorite workout so far? Believe it or not, I loved the 100 burpee workout we did several weeks ago.
What is your favorite cheat meal? Ice cream (if that’s considered a meal)!
What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? I always wanted to be a sports agent until I realized I wasn’t cut out for law school:) I am now the owner and president of ETEK.

What do you like to do outside of work? I love love love playing with and helping coach my kiddos. Driveway drinks are also usually on my list of things to do on weekends 😉
What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? If you’re new, don’t be intimidated. Literally, the members/coaches at OPCF are the best group of people you will meet.
What is your favorite/least favorite movement? I love me some burpees. My least favorite movement is the snatch.
What’s one CrossFit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? Currently, my 3-month goal is to do a 25′ handstand walk. After that, I’m really going to focus on muscle-ups, while also trying to get better at the Olympic movements.
What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? I am definitely more committed to my workouts than I have been in years. I am setting goals for my fitness, which is something I haven’t done in a really long time.
What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? Getting kipping pull-ups and double-unders! Also, my back is stronger than it’s been in a long time too; all thanks to Leah making me take off the belt 😉
How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? It’s really a juggling act. My first choice is the noon class because there seems to be a dead spot in my day. If that doesn’t work, then I usually go to 4:30. If that’s not available, then I do my own variation of something at home or at the track. Regardless, I try to do something 6 days per week.

What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? I really want to go to Scotland. (I love scotch!)

Intermittent Fasting: Diet Trend or Lasting Lifestyle Choice?

There are a lot of “buzz words” out there and diet trends that constantly claim to be the best method for losing weight, gaining muscle, getting leaner, etc. One such “trend” that’s been circulating the health world is the phrase ‘intermittent fasting’. The idea of fasting has been around hundreds of years, but the idea of ‘intermittent fasting’ first burst on the scene in 2012 with the TV documentary Eat Fast, Live Longer and has subsequently grown in popularity in the years that followed. 

Fast-forward to the present, and intermittent fasting has become a staple in the CrossFit community. In fact, one of the most famous CrossFit athletes of all time, THE Rich Froning himself, has found great success with intermittent fasting. So, if it’s a method of eating adopted by the greats, is it something that you should be doing as well? Let’s look at the basic facts and then you can determine if intermittent fasting is right for you. 

First of all, it’s important to note that intermittent fasting differs from other dieting methods because the focus isn’t so much on what to eat, but when to eat. A very simple definition of intermittent fasting is that it is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and fasting. Therefore, the focus isn’t so much on what types of foods to eat or avoid, but the timing of meals throughout the day. 

There are actually several different types of intermittent fasting, but the following three methods have become the most popular:

  • The 16/8 Method: this is also known as the Leangains protocol and involves skipping breakfast and keeping your daily eating period to 8 hours (such as between 1-9pm). Then you fast for the next 16 hours until your next eating period.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: This method involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week. An example of this would be to not eat from dinner one night to dinner the next day. 
  • The 5:2 Diet: For this method, 5 days of the week follow a normal eating schedule and on the other two days, you only consume 500-600 calories (however, these should be two non-consecutive days). 

All of these methods do involve reducing your caloric intake (whether it be by purposely eating less calories on a couple days a week or restricting the time you take in meals) which should cause weight loss as long as you don’t compensate by over-eating during the eating periods. The 16/8 method is the most commonly used because it is the simplest and often fits into peoples’ lives the best. 

Finally, it is important to note that there are several health benefits to intermittent fasting. For starters, intermittent fasting can reduce blood pressure, markers of inflammation, oxidative stress, insulin resistance, and risk of cancer. It can also increase cellular turnover and repair, fat burning, growth-hormone release, and metabolic rate. It also improves appetite control, blood-sugar control, cardiovascular function, and neurogenesis and neuronal plasticity. 

Sources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/intermittent-fasting-guide#what-it-is 

https://journal.crossfit.com/article/my-experiments-with-intermittent-fasting-2 

 

Kipping it Real with Ashlyn!

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 Ashlyn Carruth. Ashlyn was chosen because since day 1, she has been hungry to learn, she is always asking for extra accessory work to improve her weaknesses, and she is very enthusiastic and encouraging towards other members! Her hard work is paying off and we love having Ashlyn as a part of our OPCF community! Learn more about Ashlyn below

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? I have been at OPCF for just over 3 months!
What were your thoughts after your first Crossfit workout? Do you remember what it was? Driving to the gym, I was initially freaking out. However, right when I walked in, everyone was extremely kind and very welcoming! The workout was a run/front squat amrap. It was KILLER, but I absolutely loved it. From that first day at OPCF, I knew that CrossFit was my new passion and I was extremely excited to come back for workout #2!
What has been your favorite workout so far? I don’t think I can pick a favorite, but anything with power cleans, ghds, rowing, and handstand walk, I love!
What is your favorite cheat meal? Either ice cream or Tropical Smoothie!
What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? Growing up, I wanted to be a nurse of some kind! I am unsure of what I will be, but I do know I want to help people, whether that’s medically, physically, or mentally!
What do you like to do outside of work? I love being with friends and family, walking my dogs, playing violin, dance, and when not at CrossFit…. watching CrossFit videos!
What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? First of all, my advice is to show up, and have a good time!! Once you walk in the door, everyone WANTS you there! You are going to get so much more out of this journey than just working out. Everyone starts somewhere, and you will only grow and become stronger, so really, ENJOY the process!!
What is your favorite/least favorite movement? My favorite is rowing/ski, and least favorite is running!
What’s one CrossFit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this year? I think it would be awesome to get a consistent 25’ handstand walk, and overall just improve gymnastics skills! Oh, and I have been told I need to learn barbell math 😉
What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? CONFIDENCE. I am overall just a happier human being, and walk with confidence, ready to take on all and any challenges the world has to throw at me! I stopped working out for the way it makes me look, but workout for the way it makes me FEEL, which is strong and powerful!
What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? My proudest accomplishment is seeing how far I have come, which is so far, on this incredible journey! I surprise myself every day with what I can accomplish at the gym, whether that’s a simple movement or finishing a tough workout!
How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? At the beginning of the week, I go through my schedule and plan out the days and times I can be at the gym!
What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? Travel outside of the country!

 

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. August’s Athlete of the Month is Tony Clodfelter. Tony was chosen because of the extra time and effort he puts into working on his weaknesses, his willingness to patiently let his body heal from an injury, his desire to learn and improve his technique on the snatch and clean and jerk, and his overall positive attitude that he carries with him to the gym! His hard work is paying off and we love having Tony as a part of our OPCF community! Learn more about Tony below.

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? 3 years

What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? This is more challenging than I thought and I will be back. Do you remember what it was? Sadly, I don’t.

What has been your favorite workout so far? Anything with an Assault bike

What is your favorite cheat meal? Minsky’s Pizza

What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? I wanted to work with computers and now I work at Cerner working on computer software.

What do you like to do outside of work? If I’m not at the gym, then I’m walking my dog or going fishing.

What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF?  Take your time to enjoy the experience and as you put in the time on the movements, they will get better.

What is your favorite/least favorite movement? Favorite movement is the Assault bike; least favorite movement is the burpee.

What’s one Crossfit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? Get my T2B to be more efficient.

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? Just being overall happy in all walks of life.

What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? Biggest improvement would be my consistency coming to gym.

How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule?  I look over my weekly schedule and see what time works best for me (usually 4:30 or 5:30 after work).

What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? Sky diving

 

Kipping it Real with Amanda!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. June’s Athlete of the Month is Amanda Ice. Amanda was chosen because she always has a very positive attitude and cheers on the other members in her class. She has already made a ton of progress when it comes to being able to complete many of the more difficult skills (such as pull-ups, rope climbs, double-unders, etc.) since having her baby and it’s very exciting to see! She has an incredible work ethic and inspires those who get to watch her work out. Her hard work is paying off and we love having Amanda as a part of our OPCF community! Learn more about Amanda below.

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? Since December 2020

What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was? My first CrossFit workout was in February 2015 and it was an AMRAP of burpee box jumps and thrusters. I remember wanting to throw up and thinking how unfit I was!

What has been your favorite workout so far? My favorite workout is DT! I love any wod that includes a bunch of weightlifting!

What is your favorite cheat meal? Chips and queso

What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? I honestly had no idea what I wanted to be or do when I was younger. Now I’m a project manager at Cerner.

What do you like to do outside of work? I love to hangout with my family, go to Chiefs and Royals’ games, take my dog for walks, and play volleyball.

What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? CrossFit becomes less intimidating the more you do it. You may not see changes day by day, but after 6 months or so, you will be able to look back and see how much stronger you’ve gotten and healthier you feel.

What is your favorite/least favorite movement? My favorite movements are snatches and double-unders and my least favorite is running. I would rather do ANYTHING than run haha!

What’s one Crossfit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? Coming back from giving birth in Sept. 2020, my goal in 2021 is to regain my midline/core strength that I had pre-baby.

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? Since starting at OPCF, I have become stronger both mentally and physically.

What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? My biggest improvement has been the strengthening of my core. I still have a ways to go, but I’m already seeing improvement and it’s really encouraging! I have also hit my max clean and close to my max snatch so that’s been exciting as well.

How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? I love working out at the 4:30pm class because it’s right after I get done from work and it’s such a great time to de-stress after a long workday! I try to get in at least 3, usually 4 CrossFit sessions a week.

What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? I’ve always wanted to be able to do a muscle-up! Some day it’s going to happen!

 

Protein? Why You Need It and Genius Ideas to Get It

If you are an avid gym-goer, you’ve probably been asked the question “What kind of protein powder do you use?” This is a common question among most exercisers because of the common knowledge that protein is an important part of one’s diet. But sometimes it can be difficult to find healthy ways to get enough protein in order to keep up with your ever-increasing gains. Protein bars and shakes can be a good option to help increase protein intake, but oftentimes these also contain large amounts of sugar and other ingredients that our bodies could do without. Before we talk about some ingenious ways to get more protein without relying on unnecessary supplements, shakes, or bars, let’s quickly discuss why protein is so important for your body.

Protein is one of the three main macronutrients (carbohydrates and fat are the other two). Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks for almost everything in our bodies. They can be broken down and re-assembled in many different ways. However, our body does not store extra amino acids so the protein that we intake is always getting used and recycled. Therefore, if we don’t get enough protein, our body will start taking it from other parts that we actually need (like our muscles) so it’s important that we replenish lost protein by eating enough of it. 

Most people know that they need protein every day, but they’re unsure of just how much. The answer to this question can be a bit complicated and depends on several different factors. A good to place to start is the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), which can be calculated using the following formula: 0.8 g/kg (0.36 g/lbs). For example, a 150-lb person (68kg) would need 150 x 0.36 (or 68 x 0.8) or approximately 54g of protein per day. This generally works out to be about 10% of an individual’s daily caloric intake. However, the RDA is a very broad recommendation and doesn’t take into account many important factors, such as one’s carbohydrate intake, biological sex, age, when protein is eaten, what kind of activities are done, etc. For a more accurate protein recommendation, a nutrition professional can calculate the correct macro breakdown based on an individual’s weight, activity level, age, fitness goals, etc. 

Once you have a more accurate macro number for how much protein is needed daily, trying to actually meet that number can become difficult. Oftentimes, athletes have no issue getting enough fat, and can usually get enough carbohydrates as well, but usually struggle to find ways to eat enough protein. Here are several ingenious ways to add more protein to your diet:

  • Add Greek yogurt to your eggs – seriously. If you like to eat scrambled eggs for breakfast, add a serving of Greek yogurt for some extra protein. Added bonus: it will make your eggs more fluffy!
  • Use Greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute!
  • Eat more beans! That’s right…black beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, etc. can be added to a salad, soups, a burrito bowl, or even a veggie scramble. 
  • Snack on hummus. This is great to dip vegetables and/or pita chips in. 

Sources:

https://www.americansportandfitness.com/blogs/fitness-blog/the-importance-of-protein-for-athletes

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/will-a-high-protein-diet-harm-your-health 

https://www.thehealthy.com/nutrition/how-to-eat-more-protein/

Resting Heart Rate: All You Need to Know

In this day and age with all the advancements in technology, emerging ideas in sports psychology, improved sports equipment, etc., athletes are trying to do what they can to gain whatever kind of edge they can over their opponents. One such method that can be used to heighten an athlete’s training and fine-tune their workouts is paying attention to their resting heart rate and working to try to improve it. This is important because your resting heart rate can be a useful way to measure your fitness and overall health. 

Resting heart rate is the measure of your average heart beats per minute (bpm) while your body is in a state of rest. In general, a lower resting heart rate is a good thing. So, what is a normal resting heart rate? Well, according to the American Heart Association, a normal resting heart rate is usually between 60 and 100 bpm. However, for many athletes and people who are consistently active, their normal resting heart rate can usually dip closer to 40 bpm. Some other factors that contribute to an individual’s resting heart rate is gender (typically females have a higher resting heart rate than males because their hearts are smaller, which produces less blood flow with each beat so the heart must beat faster to get the same output) and age (one’s resting heart rate usually increases as they get older). 

As discussed above, many athletes will do whatever it takes to get the edge on their opponents. And one way they do this is by working to decrease their resting heart rate. This is because “when your heart rate goes down, it means that each heart beat is more effective”. A low resting heart rate is an indicator of a strong heart muscle that can then pump out more blood with every beat so that it doesn’t have to beat as frequently. Your physical fitness is directly related to how strong your heart is. Therefore, when your heart is stronger and doesn’t have to work as hard to push blood throughout the body or deliver oxygen to your muscles, your fitness level increases. 

So, if having a lower resting heart rate is the goal, what are some things that you can do to accomplish that? First and foremost – and this is probably a given – exercise! More specifically, aerobic exercise (like running or biking that you can maintain for longer periods of time at 70-80% of your max heart rate) is ideal for building cardiovascular strength. Furthermore, the following list of behaviors can also help you decrease your resting heart rate:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Drinking enough water
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Limiting caffeine intake

Sources:

https://www.whoop.com/thelocker/normal-resting-heart-rate-improve-fitness/#:~:text=A%20low%20resting%20heart%20rate%20is%20an%20indication%20of%20a,the%20strength%20of%20your%20heart

 

Rest Day v. Active Recovery Day

As you roll over in bed to press the snooze button on your alarm, a quiet groan escapes from your lips. Every muscle in your body hurts, even muscles you didn’t know existed, and you think to yourself, ‘What did I do?’ You do a quick review of the past week’s worth of workouts and quickly realize that you haven’t had a day off for a couple of weeks. It hits you: ‘maybe it’s time to take a rest day’. 

It can often be difficult for athletes to convince themselves that they need to take a day off every once in a while. Sometimes taking a rest day makes them feel like they are going to get behind their peers training-wise or maybe taking a rest day is difficult because you feel sluggish or lethargic the day after when you come back to the gym. Whatever the reason, it’s important to give your body rest, whether that’s with a complete rest day or through an active recovery day. In order to decide which one is best for your body, let’s take a look at what these two different recovery days look like and their benefits.

Taking a rest day does not mean that you have to sit on your butt all day and remain immobile. This is actually a common misconception about rest days: you have to act like a couch potato. This is not the case. When taking a rest day, you can still participate in your normal, daily activities such as going grocery shopping, cooking in the kitchen, etc., but you should avoid doing more rigorous activities like yard work, cleaning the house, etc. The objective of a rest day is to boost mental and physical recharging. This occurs when you provide your body with enough time to rebuild and replace what’s been lost throughout the week – muscles, fluids, mentality, etc. During your rest days, you should place more emphasis on sleep, which is extremely important to the recovery process. Getting a couple extra hours of sleep and reducing one’s activity level can go a long way to keeping the body, and mind, healthy.

An active recovery day differs from a rest day in that it does involve some sort of physical exertion outside of your regular day-to-day activities. Active recovery is anything low-intensity that still causes you to break a sweat, but doesn’t leave you collapsed on the floor gasping for air. Active recovery activities should leave you feeling better than you did before and ready to tackle the next day’s workout. Therefore, avoid anything that will ramp up your heart rate or leave you with aching muscles. Some possible activities include: taking a long walk, going for a slow jog, or riding your bike. 

So, how often should you take a rest day and/or active recovery day? It is best to try to schedule at least one active recovery day and one rest day per week. A common weekly schedule followed by many elite CrossFitters is to hit their workouts hard Monday-Wednesday, take an active recovery day on Thursday, hit their workouts hard again on Friday and Saturday, and then take a full rest day on Sunday. Of course, this depends on your schedule, but it gives your body time to recover after several days of intense training so that you can finish out the rest of the week strong. 

Sources:

https://www.openfit.com/difference-in-rest-days-and-active-recovery

https://www.crossfitinvictus.com/blog/active-recovery/

 

30 Minute Butter Chicken Meatballs

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

Calories: 212 kcal

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 T. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 can (14 ounces) full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup plain greek
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • steamed rice and naan, for serving

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Add the turkey, egg, bread crumbs, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to a bowl. Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil, and roll the meat into tablespoon size balls (will make 15-20 meatballs), placing them on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are crisp and cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add the garlic and ginger, cooking another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in the garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the tomato paste, coconut milk, and 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine, bring the sauce to a boil, cook 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Stir in the yogurt and butter. Add the meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.
  6. Serve the meatballs and sauce over bowls of rice with fresh naan. Enjoy!

Source: https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/30-minute-butter-chicken-meatballs/

Kipping it Real with Ricardo!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. January’s Athlete of the Month is Ricardo Perdomo. Ricardo was chosen because ever since he made the transition from Bootcamp to CrossFit, he has started coming to CrossFit classes 5-6 times per week; he continues to push himself in every workout; he has completed several workouts RX; he always brings a positive attitude to class and rises to the challenge of conquering movements that he doesn’t like or that are difficult for him. His hard work is paying off and we love having Ricardo as a part of our OPCF community! Learn more about Ricardo below.

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? 6 months total: 2months of bootcamp and 4 months of CrossFit.

What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was? It was a Saturday morning bootcamp class and it kicked my butt, but I knew I wanted to sign up immediately. 

What has been your favorite workout so far? The first RX metcon I finished.

What is your favorite cheat meal? I have several but the one that stands out is fried chicken. 

What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? Anything with computers. I work for Carmax as a CXA II on the Transaction Support Team. 

What do you like to do outside of work? I draw, paint and love to spend time with my family. 

What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? Be consistent. Research the sport by looking at videos, podcasts, competitions etc. You will find great motivation in that and then listen to your body. When is time to slow down, slow down. You want to keep it fun.

What is your favorite/least favorite movement? Favorite: bear crawl; Least favorite: overhead squats 🤢🤮. 

What’s one Crossfit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? To do “Murph” (#scaled4life).

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? I’ve gotten stronger, faster and have more energy throughout the day.

What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? My blood pressure is normal now without medication. 

How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? I make it a priority.  It’s a lifestyle. Your health is important. 

What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? Travel to an Asian country and experience their culture.