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The CrossFit prescription for eating.

April 1st, 2012 by Phil Brown

Someone asked me about nutrition the other day. I was at my local big chain health club, saying hi to people and using the free weights section to practice some stuff (we have yet to install our new floor at The CrossFit Place. He got me thinking about how many people at my gym – paying clients, giving their money over monthly to the man – are simply not seeing any visible change in their body composition. The man who asked me advice was clearly somewhat overweight, yet he is a regular in the gym, putting time and effort into his training and simply not achieving the goal he wants. Yes, there are questions to be asked about the quality of  training in many people’s programs. Intensity, variety and frequency play a contributory role in affecting our body composition. However, putting ALL of that aside for now, let’s look at it very very simply: what you are eating is the most influential factor affecting your body composition. Look at what you are eating, change what you are eating, see change..

At CrossFit, we have a very simple prescription that can be used as a basis for good eating. If followed, change will occur. These guidelines have no reek of what many would term a “diet” (in fact, a we are all on a “diet” – the word simply describing what we eat). They simply offer a guide for those who don’t want to make things difficult  or complicated for themselves. For those who want to take things further, they provide a simple jump off point.

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.

There you go. Boom. Try it. See the difference over a couple of months.

Eat meat
Get your protein from the best quality meat you can: lamb, beef, pork, chicken. It’s all good.

Vegetables
Leafy greens. Yum. Get your quality carbohydrates here, rather than from starchy foods like pasta, rice, sketty, spuds. Definitely avoid refined sources such as white bread, cakes, biscuits etc.

Nuts and seeds
Get yummy fats and oils from these babies. Good for snacks instead of chocolate or “low fat” crud that comes in a tub of some kind with lots of labelling (that’s another article)

Some fruit
One thing our government seem to have forgotten in their 5 – a – Day recommendation: fruit is sugar, albeit with added natural vitamins and nutrients……however, go easy. Think SOME. 1 or 2 pieces a day. An apple here or there…..berries rock.

Little starch
See above. Our bodies simply won’t use the amount of starch found in a “supermarket-based” diet – avoid starchy, dense carbohydrates. Think green, think lean.

No sugar
Our. Bodies. Don’t. Need. All. The. Sugar. We. Feed. Them.

Try it and see. Think 40/30/30 as a ratio for protein/carbohydrate/fat and give it a couple of months. For amounts, you could simply look at a standard dinner plate and fill  just under 3/4 with veggies, a 1/4 with meat and add a bit of fat for good measure.
If you want to look at nutrient balance in more detail, try Barry Sear’s Zone Diet books – a pretty simple way of learning how much is how much without the nightmare of unnecessary calorie counting.

Interestingly, I feel it is worth adding that before I discovered CrossFit, I was eating pretty near to the prescription. It works. What CrossFit suggest is nothing new. Many others before have proven that eating this way leads to good health.

More study:

Check out this interview with CrossFit founder Greg Glassman.

 

CrossFit beginner’s WOD #3

March 14th, 2012 by Phil Brown

Run 1 mile

50 0r 75 or 120  box jumps or jumps to a static object – around 16″ high will work fine to begin with. 12″ if you find that too difficult.

Run 1 mile

NOTE: box jumps options for reps are scaled from beginner to more advanced in number. Pick what will enable you to keep going without ending up taking a big break between each single rep!

You can also scale the distance of the run if you wish, to 0.5 mile

Box jump video worth a look here

box jumps

 

CrossFit Beginner’s WOD #2

March 8th, 2012 by Phil Brown

OK chaps – here is another basic WOD for you to try at home or at your gym. Again, it requires no equipment except your body.

3 rounds of:

20 tuck jumps

30 sit ups

Tuck jump: Jump up from a standing position, bringing your knees as high as possible towards your chest each time.  When you land, you must straighten up to full hip and knee extension, then repeat the jump.

Sit ups: Anchor your feet under a static object and extend fully to touch the floor with your hands behind your head. Bring your arms back over and lift your chest up towards your knees until you can easily touch your shins. Keep your abdominal muscles tight throughout to stabilise your lower back.

 

NOTE: this WOD will take you by surprise as it works the abdominals and the hip flexors intensely. SCALING options include lowering the number of repetitions by five or even half, if you are very unfamiliar with sit ups or not confident with tuck jumps.

 

 

CrossFit beginner’s workouts

February 29th, 2012 by Phil Brown

As promised at last night’s community class class, the first of the beginnner’s CrossFit workouts. These WODS are bodyweight workouts for everyone and are designed to simply get you used to the basic mixture of the WOD without having to go to the gym or try to find weights. I will post options if you have a set of dumbbells at home.
If you are a complete beginner or returning to exercise after a long period, try to fit one of these into the week alongside our class at Friars. If you are used to circuits and have a reasonable level of conditioning, try 2  and see how you go.

WOD 1

3 rounds for time of

10 burpees – or, if you have a real struggle with burpees to begin with, try up and downs

20 squats (weight into the heels!)

30 sit ups (as practiced in class first week)

A good burpees video here – go to the burpee demo on the list

Up and downs are demoed in this video

Post your times/comments in the Facebook entry.

 

A window of opportunity

October 19th, 2011 by Phil Brown

Treating people at Muscle and Movement Health Anglesey involves two things: The first is soft tissue therapy to release tight muscles and stretch connective tissue. This treatment brings new freedom to clients as they find movements that were restricted by pain restored. The effect can be immediate and the feeling of relief wonderful.

The second thing is movement retraining. Everyone who comes for treatment will be given their own exercises to do. These are usually two or three movements or stretches that are given to help “reprogramme” your body into more efficient movement patterns. Without establishing these longer term changes, the older, non – optimal movement patterns will simply reassert themselves. It is these movement patterns that, in many cases, have led to the ultimate expression of pain and limited movement.

Old habits…..

In this way, soft tissue therapy is the window of opportunity for a client. Treatment opens up movement again, where it was restricted. Once that movement is regained however, the body needs to be taught to use that freedom in new ways. Old habits die hard and formal retraining is required to lay down new “pathways” of movement that the body will eventually keep to in a more intuitive way. These new patterns, if movement retraining is successful, become new habits.

Willpower is not enough

It is not enough to tell someone to “sit up straight” or to keep their shoulders back or their chin higher. Postural habits that have become established over years cannot be overridden by willpower alone, just as lifting a barbell from the floor in perfect form cannot be done without consistent practice.

Imbalances in posture and movement involve inhibitions in the neuromuscular system – the system made up of the relationship between the brain and the muscles of the body. A common example is tightness and pain in the upper shoulder muscles. Very often, this is due to the mid and lower muscles of the upper back and shoulder girdle being inhibited. Simply put, it is as if they have forgotten how to work effectively. The result is that the muscles in the upper shoulders and neck end up doing the extra work to compensate.

Sleeping Beauties….

Inhibitions like this establish themselves all the time and can only be re-established by a kind of  ”rote learning” achieved through repetitive movements and muscle contractions that will “wake up” the “sleeping” muscles and bring them back to life.

Use it or lose it

Once these muscles become more responsive again, training must be maintained, otherwise regression occurs: the muscles will return to being lazy. Here, the old saying really is true….if you don’t use it….

Onward and upward

The second stage of movement retraining is actually the ground for a long term, life changing choice for many people. The choice is whether to make progress from here by building on a more balanced foundation of movement. Once range of movement and postural balance has begun to be restored, regular and appropriately scaled exercise can gradually increase and improve these elements as well as increasing strength, cardiovascular fitness, agility, co-ordination, balance and muscular reaction time. These qualities make re-injury and pain less likely, make physical work easier and improving performance in sport.  There are also far reaching, beneficial effects on the heart, lungs and blood pressure.

Duracell Bunnies

The one single basic reason for many, many of the injuries and pain syndromes I work with at Muscle and Movement Health is this: a lack of regular physical exertion that stresses the body enough for it to adapt by becoming more durable and maintaining that durability.  As we get older, if we do not have some form of regular physical activity to encourage upright posture, balance, co-ordination and strength, we will become bent, ungainly and weak.  As we do, risks of falls become greater and our confidence begins to drop.  Aging is unavoidable, but maintaining the fitness of our muscles and our movements can help see us into old age with far more vitality.

An end of pain but only the beginning of the cure

When a client comes for their last treatment at the studio, it is more and more common for us to spend at least as much time on exercises and movement as it is on the treatment couch. My aim with all my clients is to see them walking out of the door, upright and balanced and ready for making exercise part of their lives.

If you want to discuss how Muscle and Movement Health can help you improve your fitness and vitality, for life and sport, visit us at the website and read more about what we do, or call to chat with Phil Brown on 01248422260.

 

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