Such a simple little word. Sleep. As adults, we take this little, five letter word for granted. When was the last time you got a solid, uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep? I see you over there, wishing you still had nap-time!
Getting enough sleep is super important. Catching those Z’s will decrease your risk for serious health conditions, will help manage your hunger levels, will keep illness at bay and will help your memory. Running on little sleep and lots of Red Bull could cause you to eat more, exercise less and gain weight as a result. Fight diabetes and obesity with consistently sleeping 8 hours. Fight inflammation, infection, and boost your immune system by getting that head on that pillow!
While working toward a healthier life, you’ll hopefully increase the amount you exercise (see our next point). In doing so, you’ll need more recovery time. If you don’t give your body time to repair itself, your performance will suffer and you’ll be putting yourself at risk for injury. Make sleep a priority if you want to make gains a priority.
“A well-rested body is a healthier, more efficient, more capable one. This could be the hardest thing to accomplish on my to-do list, but it always makes a difference.” – Kerri Walsh, Professional Beach Volleyball Player and Olympic Gold Medalist
WORK OUT 5-6 DAYS A WEEK AT HIGH INTENSITY
Walking around the block every Thursday night after work is cool. Look at you, out there, breathing fresh air, not sitting on the couch, stretching your muscles. While being able to carry on a conversation with your bestie from next door, you’re also preventing injury, burning some calories and keeping your heart healthy. However, low intensity work performed only once in a while provides only so much benefit. While any amount of exercise is better than none at all, most of us need more.
People who are serious about being prepared for the unknown (can you fall and get back up? It’s that simple of a concept…), those of us who are athletes, those of us who have jobs that are physically demanding need more. Training five to six times a week at high intensity will provide you with those strength gains you’ve been looking for, will help you lose those last few pounds that are still sticking around from Christmas, and may even help reduce your need for interventions or supports (like blood pressure medications).
High intensity workouts are incredibly efficient. You don’t need a lot of time or equipment to get it done, so HIIT workouts can be done practically anywhere. Attacking your workout in this fashion will allow you to burn more fat, increase your metabolism, fight injury and illness, increase motivation, and increase your strength and general capacity for badassery outside of the gym. Shameless plug for our Dragonfire Bootcamp- YOU’LL LOVE IT! Yes, we’re a CrossFit Affiliate. No, our bootcamp isn’t a CrossFit class. But we’re sneaky, so Bootcampers might do the WOD from our CrossFit classes, but without the scary, and often intimidating equipment or complex movements. Just come. And thank me later. Work hard, breathe heavy, sweat like a pig, and make your heart pump so you know you’re alive! Then repeat that another 4-5 times this week!
EAT WHOLE, HEALTHY FOODS
By “whole foods”, I don’t mean seeing if you can fit a whole slice of pizza in your mouth. Whole foods are those that have not been processed, and are free from additives/artificial garbage. This type of food lives on the outside of the grocery store. The perimeter is where you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and dairy. These are the things you should be fueling your body with; the healthy proteins, fats and carbs.
Stay out of the aisles! Boxed foods, full of preservatives and words listed in the ingredients that you can’t pronounce, are a no-go! Some frozen items are ok- but read the ingredients. Frozen fruits and veggies are cool and super convenient. Frozen fruits with added sugars, or frozen veggies with “cheese” that you can steam and dump in a bowl… not so much. Opt for frozen things like- “Ingredients: broccoli”.
Eat the rainbow. Eat lean proteins. Eat good fats.
EAT THE RIGHT AMOUNT
Eating the right amount has benefits beyond weight loss. Having 5-6 small, quality meals a day will increase energy, strength and performance. Athletes require a lot of energy and fuel to stay in shape. Fueling your body with healthy, whole foods is a must, and eating clean is the easiest way to start. Once you get your fitness schedule down, and start eating quality foods, you’ll see immediate progress. Eventually though, you’ll plateau.
At some point you’ll need to think about dialing in your nutrition in order to properly fuel your level of activity. At some point, “clean eating” alone won’t sustain you. Athletes don’t diet; they eat. They eat with purpose. Are you getting enough protein? Are you eating “good fats”? Are you controlling your portion sizes or cooking enough pasta to feed the military? You need to plan and prep. You need to decide what your goals are (to lean out, to lift more, to drop a pant size, to walk without your knees hurting, etc) and then eat to achieve that goal. And you need to hydrate properly too. Something as simple as making sure to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight could prove to be a huge change! We’re big fans of macros because they’re specific enough to get you where you want to be, but also flexible enough that you could eat that donut in the break room (#iifym) and not completely derail your plans. It’s not rocket science, but it is a science, so let us help you reach your next level of fitness and performance.
CrossFit HQ’s- Fitness in 100 Words
Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: deadlift, clean, squat, presses, clean & jerk, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.