The Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Squatting More

The truth about squats

A common misconception that I hear from numerous athletes, trainers, and doctors is, “I can’t do squats because they are bad for me.”  There are many myths about the squat.  I have heard everything from, “they are bad for your knees” to the notion that “they will make me a slower runner” all the way to the audacious statement that they are just flat out dangerous. This is entirely inaccurate.  Performing squats properly and on a regular basis will improve knee stability, strengthen and tighten the connective tissue around your knees.  Squats are actually safer and put less stress on your knees than machines that were thought to be safer for you.  This includes the leg extensions and smith machine squats. Here are some interesting facts about squats.

  1. Squats are a movement that people do every day.  Whether it is getting in and out of the car or rising from a chair, we squat every day.  It is a natural, functional movement.
  2. The overall best total body strength move is the squat.  It promotes more muscle growth across the whole body than any other movement. This is why it is referred to as the KING OF ALL EXERCISES!
  3. Leg strength is critical to maintaining strength and mobility as we get older.  Many people end up in nursing homes because they can’t get in and out of chairs or on and off a toilet.  If you are an elderly person and can still squat you won’t have a hard time getting out of bed or getting up from that chair.
  4. The benefits of squats are numerous and include: improving your running, sprinting, jumping, endurance, balance, flexibility, posture.  This single move can do all this PLUS prevent injury and provide a full body workout!
  5. Squats are the most primitive movement pattern known to man, people used to do their daily routine in a full squat position.  Go to many other countries, and you will find people eating dinner while squatting.  Think about it; you spend 280 days while in the womb in the fetal position, basically a full squat, and we don’t come out having any knee or back problems.
  6. Squats will not only help you build lean muscle mass but will in turn raise your basal metabolic rate and you will burn more calories throughout both the day and night.
  7. Squats make your whole body stronger.  This includes everything from your muscles, to connective tissue, to your bones. By performing squats you can increase mineral density which helps fight diseases such as osteoporosis.
  8. Performing squats produces endorphins in the body which are your body’s natural way to relieve pain.  This way you can help avoid the use of pain killers and NSAIDS for joint pain and other injuries.
  9. An important fact: perform squats with good technique.  Any exercise done improperly can lead to injury. Make sure you perform full range of motion.  These do not mean you squat like most people I see at the local “globo-gym”: don’t do partial squats, these can limit your range of motion and increase your risk of injury.  This means the hamstrings should hit the back of your calves at the bottom of the squat.
  10. Your general physical fitness and work capacity will be improved, mental and physical energy levels will raise, your body will experience improved hormone production and ultimately, get stronger, having a better looking physique, and improves your life wellness.

There are numerous studies out there explaining how squats will help any person whether it be a professional football player, a police officer, or even an soccer mom.  If you’re a marathon runner and want to improve your time or prevent injury, squat. If you’re a basketball player and you want to have a higher vertical jump, squat. If you just want to lose weight and look and feel better, squat.

We should all be squatting more, so find a coach who can teach you proper technique and get squatting!  Next time a trainer at your gym or your doctor or anybody for that matter says that squats are bad for you, just ask them why and let’s see what their excuse is.

Now go out and squat!

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!

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!