Top 3 Reasons Build Strength With Kettlebells

If you could only buy one piece of equipment to accomplish all of your training what would you buy? Treadmills and bikes are great for cardio but definitely won’t get you stronger. A barbell is great but where do you have room to store it & use it? Total gym style machines always feel awkward: the cables never work and they seem to be built for someone else’s body (pro tip: they also aren’t very effective). So what exactly can use to transform your body, build strength, burn fat, and improve your cardio?

Enter the kettlebell.

Kettlebells are a great and diverse tool that you should implement into your training. Kettlebell swings train the total body and can be a low impact way to build muscle. They can be used to improve performance as well as make you look and feel strong and capable. Of course, a tool is only useful as long as you know how to use it. Consider learning the basics with a certified coach who can show you the ropes. 

Today let’s dive into the top 3 reasons to train with kettlebells so you can see if they are a good fit for your fitness regimen. 

    • Carry Over To Life
    • Add Variety To Your Training
    • Quick And Effective Way To Train

1. Carry Over To Life

Kettlebell swings have a tremendous carry over to athletic goals and lifestyle activities. They teach you how to hinge at the hip, one of the most important movement patterns for health and optimal function. A strong and healthy lower back, as well as a tight core, will be developed rapidly when you train kettlebell swings with good form. You will also develop an iron grip. Grip is one of the best indicators of a healthy human and Harvard has found a strong correlation between grip strength and cardiovascular health

Swings will also improve your performance with the Olympic lifts and power lifts and any other hip dominant movement like jumping. Kettlebell swings teach the dynamic hip extension that is the foundation of a powerful lifter and athlete. When you become strong and proficient with swings you can continue adding load becoming stronger and more explosive in the process.

2. Add Variety To Your Training

You can train Kettlebell swings more often than many other strength movements. Performing swings 2-3 times per week can really improve your strength and endurance and shake up your typical workout routine. By adjusting the weights , the number of sets, repetitions, and how long you rest you can get totally different responses from your kettlebell workout. 

A typical Monday workout could focus on strength and power. You would use fewer reps and a heavy weight taking 2-3 minutes between sets to fully recover. 

Wednesdays workout could be focused on building cardio. Use a light kettlebell and swing it for a long time. Pick a number like 20, 50, or even 100 reps and see how quickly you can get there. Or set a timer for 5:00 and see how many swings you can get in that amount of time. 

On Friday you could train kettlebell swings in a high-intensity interval workout. Use light to moderate weights and focus on explosive efforts followed by bouts of recovery.

3. Quick And Effective Way To Train

Learning swings comes easier for some and harder for others. They are also easier to learn than the olympic lifts and far less technical. Swings are a great alternative for individuals who are focused on fitness for their health and young athletes. They also require less time to prepare the body for in terms of warming up the joints, muscles, and nervous system. They can be a fast and fun way to fit in a workout if you don’t have much time.

The kettlebell swing is such an effective tool because it trains both the eccentric (lengthening of the muscle) and concentric (shortening of the muscle) in a dynamic fashion. The snatch and clean both require a focus on a strong concentric contraction as the weight is lifted, Swings offer a different stimulus that may better suit athletes in sports like basketball or soccer or folks whose goal is not to lift maximal weight overhead. 

Kettlebell swings are a fun and effective way to train. Just like most exercises, it’s best to learn from a certified coach so you know you are performing them properly. If you are interested in getting in shape and training in a fun new environment come in for a free consult and we can show where you how training can be fun and get you results!

4 Fitness Models That Don’t Make Sense

Think about your workout. How does it help you achieve your goals? What is the “theory” behind what you do? Exercise makes intuitive sense (I think we can all agree on this) – if we are more active, we will burn more calories and our bodies will adapt to the increased workload, etc.

However, there are a number of fitness models that claim to maximize general physical preparedness (GPP) training but have faulty logic. They don’t make sense. I’d like to break them down:

  1. Color Based Training: Some gyms tell you that wearing a heartrate monitor and keeping your pulse in a particular zone – some mystical tangerine-colored place in between red and yellow – will lead to optimizing your fitness. While this sounds catchy (and their marketing is fantastic) – does it really make sense that “working hard, but not too hard” is the best way to optimize fitness?
  2. Duration Based Training: Others suggest that the only way to get results is by slowing down your movement – claiming that duration and “time under tension” are the only metrics that you need to worry about. Actually, they aren’t completely wrong. Incorporating tempo into your movements can make them much more challenging.But think about this in practical terms: if you lift 50 pounds one time (really slowly) or 100 pounds 3 times (really fast) which one do you think will help you develop more strength, cardiovascular capacity, or power?
  3. Competing-Models Based Training: Then there are gyms that claim the best way to get in shape is to pick two DIFFERENT models – like yoga and interval training – and slap them together. Let’s break this down:Each fitness modality has a unique goal. And each goal requires you to fine-tune your body in a specific way to get there. It’s like simultaneously trying to make your car fast, and capable of going off-road. The goals are inherently at odds with each other.Many would argue that CrossFit does this: borrows elements from different fitness methodologies and puts them together. And they are correct. The difference is that CrossFit’s methodologies line up with it’s goals. I’ll explain more later.
  4. The “We Don’t Have A Model” Based Training: At least the training methodologies listed above tell you SOMETHING. Because you also have these big globo-gyms that don’t tell you how to get in shape at all… Literally, does their marketing say ANYTHING about how to get in shape?Go to any homepage or ad for a big gym and look at the language that is used. It will talk about: 1) How cheap their membership options are 2) The sheer size & number of amenities their facility has 3) Some limited-time deal they are offering that has a lot of fine print.This is akin to taking you child to the playground and just dropping them off. You walk in and are staring at a million different gym equipment options, but have no idea what specifically you should be doing to reach your fitness goals. If you want to lose weight, would it be better to run on the treadmill for 30 minutes, do 3-minute intervals on the elliptical, or do a combination of burpees and squats in the corner? If you are trying to build muscle, do you use dumbbells, machines, or barbells? What movements/rep-schemes should you do to maximize your results?

Southpaw’s Fitness Model

At Southpaw we believe that fitness is primal. Our bodies are designed to move. It doesn’t have to be complex, and it doesn’t require fancy technology. In fact, it’s pretty simple: the more work you can do, and the faster you can do it, the better your outcome is going to be.

But just because it’s not complex, doesn’t mean that it is easy. For years we have been hunched over at desks, looking down at our phones, and slouching at the table. We have ingrained a number of unhealthy movement patterns into our bodies and we need to unlearn these bad habits while we develop new ones.

Our coaches are experts in the field. They have boiled down all of the exercise science and competing theories to find the ones that actually work. They have helped hundreds of people get out of pain and into the best shape of their life by using functional full-body movements and guiding them through a variety of different workouts that are designed to maximize results. People become faster, stronger, leaner, and more confident in their lives.

If you don’t remember anything else, remember this: pick a gym based on the results it will help you achieve – not because of some fancy theory or shiny object. So, when you are ready to start a program that is built around results, click the link below to schedule a Free Phone Consultation and learn about the benefits of professional coaching, effective workouts, and an encouraging atmosphere!

**Note: ANY fitness program is better than a sedentary lifestyle. And most of the gyms mentioned above have good intentions. However, we believe that the model we have crafted at Southpaw is the best model for well-rounded fitness and general physical preparedness that leads directly to the transformations people need!

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Schedule your Free Phone Consultation today by clicking here!

What’s Keeping You From Achieving Your Goals?

If you currently want something in your life that you don’t have then there is a 100% chance that you are human. How you define yourself is by the action you take towards bringing those into your life. Some people make declarations about how they are finally going to make the big change
Generally, if you have a goal you haven’t achieved yet you fall into one of these three camps. 

  • You don’t know what to do and you don’t know how to do it.
  • You don’t think you deserve it.
  • You haven’t put in the work.

So what’s really keeping you from achieving your goals? Let’s find out…

1. You don’t know what to do and you don’t know how to do it.

This is generally the first challenge you encounter when you have a new goal. Luckily it is also the easiest barrier to address when it comes to making positive changes in your life. Whether you seek to earn more money, improve your health, or find your soulmate there are websites, coaches, books, podcasts, and more resources than you know what to do with. Success leaves clues and in the information age we live in you have access to the tools and resources you need to get started on the path to your goal.

“When action is our priority, vanity falls away.”  Ryan Holiday

Let’s say your goal is to lose 10 pounds and keep it off. Like forever keep it off. Many adults find themselves at a weight they don’t feel comfortable and confident at. The problem is that if you have only ever gained weight since you were a kid and never seen the scale go (and stay) in the opposite direction then you are a total novice. Being a professional weight gainer is easy for you, you’ve done it your whole life. If you want to lose weight then you have to start fresh. It’s time to throw out what you think is true about nutrition and exercise because all of the information you have is through the lens of a person who has only ever gained weight. Let go of ego. Let go of pride. If you want to make the change then you have to start with fresh eyes.

2. You don’t think you deserve it.

This could be thought of as self-sabotage. Maybe since you were a child you have been conditioned to think a certain way. Many of the long-standing beliefs humans hold are instilled by parents, environments, or traumatic experiences. Long ago the brain accepted as fact that “this is the way it is”. If you have a long-held belief that is clashing with one of your current goals then your first order of business is to remove that roadblock. No amount of will power or strategy can overcome a fixed mindset. You are an adult and you are responsible for your own life. You have the power to change any condition that you don’t want. 

“How have I been complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?” -Jerry Colonna

Executive coach and author Jerry Colonna asks a powerful question to himself and his clients. “How have I been complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?” Ask yourself this question in the context of your current goal. If you are struggling to lose weight, what are the things that you have been “okay with” lately? If it’s the food in the fridge that you snack on, skipping your workout, or surrounding yourself with people who have unhealthy habits then that is entirely on YOU to change. That starts by demanding more of yourself. You have to consider yourself worthy of the goal you claim to want. When you are mentally ready to be the person who achieves this goal you will be able to receive it.

3. You haven’t put in the work.

This can be the most frustrating camp to fall into when it comes to not achieving your goals. You may be doing everything right. You hired the coach, you have a strategy, and you’re executing on it every day. So why haven’t you accomplished your goal yet?! 

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” -Vince Lombardi

Whether growing a business or growing your biceps it can be tough when the results haven’t shown up yet. So what should you do? KEEP GOING! 

Constantly ask yourself: What else could I be doing? Continually revisit camps one and two in this post. Are there any additional resources or tools that could be getting you to your goals faster? Could you work with someone who has proven results in the exact area you are trying to grow? Are there any roadblocks you are creating for yourself? Is there an area where your behavior is inconsistent with the outcome that you seek?
Frustration or anger can itself be a powerful tool. If you are fed up with your lack of progress then you should use that as fuel for your fire. If you have the bandwidth to be upset about your situation then you most likely have the bandwidth to work harder (or smarter!)

If you still don’t know why the results won’t come then you should consider working with a mentor or coach (like ours at Southpaw… hint hint!) who can help you get there. A great coach will help you set up a framework for success. They will help you develop a SMART goal that aligns with your mission and current state. Understanding the time frame and order of steps necessary to achieve a goal can dramatically improve your mindset and the way you tackle each day. You can break your goal down into manageable chunks and as you check them off you will build momentum towards your big goal. The best coaches will be clear and neutral in their feedback about what it takes to get to you to your goal. 

You want to surround yourself with people who will be supportive and honest your path to success. Avoid the detractors. That includes anyone who tells you they support you, but that you can’t achieve what you want and to “get real”. This life is yours to choose and you can’t waste time with the people that will only hold you back. 

Get Fit, For A Change…

If you have ever tried to start a new healthy habit or perhaps eliminate an old one you know difficult change can be.

Our bodies are adaptation machines however and will adapt to the stimulus they experience most frequently. One way to prime your body for change is to exercise. Exercise causes a whole host of changes in your physiology that can make learning a new habit or skill easier. It is also a great replacement for bad habits you are trying to eliminate. Whatever your goal may be fitness can play a huge role in your transformation. The most important part of change is starting, taking action towards your goal. Even if you slip and fall it is way better than never having tried at all.

“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly” -G.K. Chesterton

That’s why if you are interested in pursuing a new career, relationship, or habit you should make it a priority to dedicate time each week to rigorous physical exercise. Exercise has numerous physical benefits but it goes beyond that. The way you eat and the way you move your body has a direct impact on the way you think, your mood, and how you make decisions.

Improving cognitive function can give you the energy and mental stamina to make other great changes in your life. Numerous studies have shown significant brain benefits as a result of both cardiovascular and resistance training routines. Exercise has been proven to increase the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin and other neurohormones like the endorphin dopamine. These act on the opiate receptors in our brain to reduce pain and boost pleasure.

“Nothing will work unless you do.”John Wooden

Exercise has also been shown to stimulate the growth of the hippocampus, synapses, and glial cells in your brain. The hippocampus is responsible for memory and individuals who exercise are able to better recall information.

Synapses are the junctions where our cells communicate with one another, sending signals throughout the body that guide our actions. Exercise stimulates the growth of synapses which helps reinforce learning. The stronger we develop neural pathways through our synapses the stronger we reinforce the pattern. If you are trying to learn a new routine or information exercise can help.

Glial cells provide support and protection for cells in the brain and central nervous system. Exercises stimulates the growth of these cells helping you literally build a bigger brain. It is believed that a bigger brain leads to enhanced cognitive function.

Exercise also increases blood flow, improves our hormonal balance, and aids digestion and insulin sensitivity. These are all tremendous factors in our ability to be alert and energetic. If you are looking for the attitude, attention, and focus to make positive changes in your life then exercise will help you.

If you don’t know where to begin when it comes to fitness or any other change you want to make in your life get in touch with a coach who can help you. A coach will help you evaluate your situation and come up with a plan that fits your needs and lifestyle. A community that is focused on fitness and self-improvement will also help you stay dedicated to your goals.

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If you are new to fitness or if you have done CrossFit before, learn more about CrossFit Southpaw by clicking here!

5 Health Metrics That Are More Important Than Weight

For some strange reason, American’s have chosen the scale as their favorite way to track progress around their health. People derive their sense of self-worth based on the number facing up at them from between their feet. If you’re someone who draws any sort of emotional reaction, positive or negative, from the scale then you may want to self reflect and consider if there are better options out there. 

The funny part is that weight is such an inconsequential and ambiguous predictor of substance. Just consider this. If you have three avocados-one freshly picked and hard as a rock, one brown soft and ooze, and one firm ripe and tender-which one are you going to slice open to make your guacamole with? It shouldn’t matter if they all weigh 170 grams…

What you are made of, how you feel, and what you are able to produce are all factors of way greater significance than your weight. 

What you weigh is going to constantly fluctuate. You may lose weight and be less healthy. You may be well hydrated one day and performing well then get totally thrown off because your weight went up a pound or two. This number doesn’t say who you are as a person or how healthy and fit you may be. It’s just an arbitrary number. Stop letting the pounds run your life and change the way you feel about yourself. Instead, try one of these alternative ways that measure success off the scale!

Body Fat Percentage

Body fat percentage is an alternative way to track your progress and provides much more actionable information than just your weight in pounds. This takes into account your lean muscle mass. In this way you can actually gain weight in muscle which would consequently reduce your percentage of body fat. This is a clear example of how gaining weight would make you healthier. Plus as you add more muscle to your frame you will burn more calories at rest. The fat will disappear faster and faster on it’s own!

Measurements

Taking specific measurements is a great way to achieve the goals around the way you want to look. Measuring neck, arm, waist, hips, thigh, and calf circumference can help you transform your body without ever worrying about the scale. Losing two inches off your waist will make you look and feel like a whole new person!

Habit Tracking

One of the best replacements for weighing yourself is to instead track daily health habits. If you track metrics like sleep, hydration, servings of vegetables, daily walking, and other relevant habits you can focus on the right behaviors to make you look and feel great in the long run. This takes discipline but it is essential to long-lasting transformation.

Performance Metrics

Switching your focus to the weight on the bar is a great alternative to the scale. People will often train harder and longer in pursuit of strength and performance goals (objective) than solely for aesthetic purposes (subjective). Coincidentally, this is how we measure progress when you get started at a CrossFit gym! If you push yourself more in training the results will speak for themselves!

How You “Feel”

Based on appearances this may be harder to measure than the others: “How do I know if I’m feeling better?” However, you will find that when you focus on your daily habits and performance metrics that you will, without a doubt, begin feeling better. There is still another way to measure this that you need to experience to believe: what other people say. When you get started with CrossFit, you will be shocked by what other people say after even a few short weeks of training. “Have you been doing something different recently, you seem to glow!”, “You seem so much happier” or “I don’t know what you are doing but keep doing it. I wish I felt like that!” (click here to read how this metric helped give birth to Southpaw!)

Conclusion

Is it “bad” or “wrong” to track weight? Absolutely not. It is part of your journey. But as we approach a new year – after a chaotic 2020 – it is important that we recalibrate how we measure and view success. What we have found at CrossFit Southpaw is that focusing on these 5 metrics allows you to feel happier, experience success, and build the life of your dreams.

Interested in getting started? Click here to schedule your Free 15 Minute Phone Consultation today!

Is Boutique Fitness Right for Me?

 

If you’re ready for results it’s time to ditch the health club…

There was a time when we got all the exercise we require from our daily activities. But as hunting and gathering lead to farming and eventually the industrialized world we live in today the need for human “labor” has been nearly eradicated. Now that we work desk jobs, eat our meals from the hot bar at Whole Foods, and enjoy a generally sedentary lifestyle we are required to reintroduce this missing physical activity. For some reason, the question of how to add physical activity, or work, back into our lives is one that has proven to be puzzling, controversial, and difficult terrain to navigate.

In response to the demands of the market the fitness industry has grown tremendously, particularly in North America where an estimated $28 billion was spent in 2015. Much of this industry is dominated by health clubs and large gym franchises that offer a sampling of strength equipment, cardio machines, TV’s, massage chairs, and minimal staffing. Granted how many staff members do you need when your members don’t actually attend the club? In a study done by students at UC Berkeley found 67% of gym memberships are never used in the population they surveyed.

“If you are not going to the gym, you are actually the gym’s best customer.” -Stacey Vanek Smith, NPR

The savvy marketers at big box gyms know how to target their marketing towards individuals who won’t actually come to the facility. As humans, we often get a rush of excitement by a new fitness undertaking. “This is it, the time I actually change, no looking back,” you say. The challenge is that the health club has made zero commitment to you. They don’t care if you show up or not. Luckily there is someone out there who does.

Boutique fitness is the alternative to the traditional health club model. Boutique gyms offer specialized classes based on the expertise of the owners, teachers, or coaches. CrossFit boxes, Barre studios, Bikram yoga, parkour facilities, spin classes are all great examples of the boutique fitness model.

These communities succeed when all parts are working together; the owner, staff, and clientele all succeed when they each meet their goals. This synergistic effect leads to faster results and more satisfaction from all parties. As a client you have a team of coaches and fellow members who are all rooting for you, teaching you, and most importantly holding you accountable. Becoming fit doesn’t have to be a chore, a challenge, or a pain point. In fact, it can even be fun!

Boutique gyms have been seen rapid growth in the past decade as clients recognize that when it comes to fitness, not all gyms are created equal. Some of the most common excuses sound like:

  • “I have a hard time sticking to a routine”
  • “I’m just too busy to exercise”
  • “I get bored with going to the gym, it always feels like work”
  • “I don’t know how to lift weights/choose a routine/eat the right food”

These are great excuses, but since you’re ready to make a change it’s time to ditch the excuses and focus on RESULTS. By implementing a system that counters your excuses you’ll be left with the only option, the results that you want to achieve.

If you struggle with sticking to a routine you will benefit from the coaches, friends, and community members that you’ll meet at each class. A group of people that will ask you about your day, learn about your goals and life, and most importantly encourage you to show up consistently to your workouts.

If you claim to be too busy then you should sign up for classes ahead of time. The wide variety of classes that are available each day at time frames that are consistent with your schedule make it easy to squeeze in an hour-long workout.

If boredom is your challenge then a workout that changes every day is exactly what you need. Not only that but the different coaching styles and friends you’ll make at different times of the day make each class a totally unique experience.

If information is the enemy then relax, because that’s already been taken care of for you. Your coach has put a lot of thought into a training program that will improve your fitness and will be by your side to instruct you on form, breathing, and what weights to use. Keep an eye out for group nutrition challenges to boot!

To get the results you want sometimes you need to try a new approach. If that trip to the gym feels more daunting than Frodo walking the ring to Mordor then it’s time to see what a boutique gym has in store for you!

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If this piqued your curiosity, consider joining hundreds of others who have made the switch! Click Here to book a free 15-minute phone consultation to learn more today! 

 

5 Reasons To Get STRONG

Fitness trends come and go and most fall to the wayside for good reason.

Most flashy new programs fail to produce consistent results. It’s no wonder why so many folks stray away from them and feel “burned out” on fitness. The most effective fitness protocols aren’t complicated or fancy. They are tried and true. They are hard. And if you are willing to take the time to master them, you will see phenomenal results in some surprising parts of your life.

“The rule is: the basics are the basic, and you can’t beat the basics.” -Charles Poliquin

Despite what your goals may be, every individual can benefit from physical resistance training. Not only that, but the health benefits extend far beyond your short term fitness goals. Regardless of why you train, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should incorporate strength training into your fitness regimen.

1. Training for strength produces results.

Whatever your goals, muscle will help you get there. Some companies in the fitness industry has made a fortune around buzzwords like “tone”, “lift”, and “sculpt.” The problem is there’s no way to measure those loose terms. If you want to change your body composition there is only the ability to gain or lose muscle while simultaneously gaining or losing fat. If you are looking for the most efficient way to do make a change then strength training is your best option.

Strength training, or physical resistance training, can be defined as a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. When you gain muscle you increase your bodies basal metabolism (the amount of calories you burn each day before factoring in physical activity). It’s kind of like putting a bigger engine in a car. The car is capable of moving faster or pulling a heavier load (more muscle), but it also uses more fuel (fat) whether it’s cruising down the freeway or idling in the driveway. Strength training helps us “tone” through this muscle gain/fat loss trade.

2. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” -Peter Drucker

Training for strength provides a clear path for success. You can set training goals that are specific, measurable, and produce desired outcomes. A good coach will help you design a plan towards these goals with checkpoints along the way. Your strength training program is a road map to success with clear directions. Sets, reps, and weights lifted safely through the full range of motion are the signals that you’re on track. Many people find that a more detailed plan helps them stay motivated as they experience progress.

3. Age gracefully with more muscle mass.

As we get older strength training is one of the most important things we can do for our health. Physical independence is a key factor in a great quality of life.

A comprehensive study of strength training has been proven to:

  • Improve motor function
  • Lower resting heart rate
  • Increase stamina
  • Prevent sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss)
  • Improve bone mineral density
  • Prevent and help rehab injuries

Functional strength training will be an asset in daily life too. From picking up grandchildren or bags of groceries to climbing stairs with confidence.

4. You’ll experience epic brain gains.

Did you know that lifting weights can strengthen your brain just as much as it does your body?
Dr. Yorgi Mavros from the University of Sydney has found that high‐intensity physical resistance training (PRT) results in significant improvements in cognitive function, muscle strength, and aerobic capacity in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Adults who followed a resistance training routine in addition to cognitive training performed significantly better than control groups on a series of mental tests. A couple key factors to note:

The participants exercised 2x/ week working to at least 80% of their peak strength.
The benefits lasted one year after the exercise prescription had ended.

What does that mean? According to Yorgi, “The stronger people became, the greater the benefit for their brain.” Let that sink in for a minute. You actually grow your brain by training to become stronger! It makes me wonder if Einstein developed his Theory of Relativity in between heavy sets of back squats…

5. Strong moms have healthy babies.

During pregnancy, the question always arises of what does fitness look like for this stage of life? With so much on the line, it’s important to consult with a doctor before beginning any fitness routine. Luckily, there is a tremendous amount to be gained by incorporating a strength training routine under normal circumstances. Resistance training can help alleviate symptoms and improve health outcomes for the mother and child. According to the Mayo Clinic, women who follow a consistent strength training routine during pregnancy can experience:

  • Reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling
  • Boosted mood and energy levels
  • Better sleep
  • Prevent excess weight gain
  • Maintain levels of muscle strength and endurance
  • Reduced incidence of gestational diabetes

Not only that but women who train during pregnancy report enhanced body image and better psychological well-being!

We would love to help you live a healthy strong life.

CLICK HERE to schedule a Free Phone Consultation to learn more!

The Top 3 Myths About Joining a Gym in a Post-COVID World

 

As he stood there gasping for air after finishing a tough workout, a new member describes a realization that occurred to him a few months prior. While working from home he would spend more time on Facebook and Instagram than he traditionally did at the office. Sitting there one afternoon he became acutely aware that feelings of jealousy and resentment would creep up whenever he scrolled past people on his newsfeed talking about their workouts during his social media breaks. These feelings weren’t new, but it was the first time that he had acknowledged them. As he tells the story, it wasn’t that he disliked these people, rather, it was that he wished he was more like them.

At this point in his life, the quarantine had recently ended but he was still sitting and staring at a screen for most of his waking hours: using instacart for groceries, grubhub for meals, and opting for sweatpants instead of khakis. “I felt run down and lethargic, and I knew that I was putting on some weight,” he told me, “I wasn’t proud of who I was becoming.” He needed something to change. This began his search for a gym.


“I felt run down and lethargic, and I knew that I was putting on some weight,” he told me, “I wasn’t proud of who I was becoming.”


His first stop? Google. “Gym near me” he typed in. He was inundated with advertisements and websites – more information that he could possibly know what to do with. He had to start somewhere, and so he filled out contact forms from some of the gyms that looked like places he could see himself. One of those was CrossFit Southpaw.

During our initial talk on the phone and subsequent free consultation at the gym, he described the journey that got him to this point and where he was hoping to go. He also told me about some of the reasons he had put this process off for so long. The fears that he shared are common among people who are hoping to join a gym and so today I am writing to help dispel some of the common myths people use when they are in the process of joining a gym:

  • MYTH#1: “I need to get in shape before I join a gym” I get it – all over social media and the interwebs, people are taking pictures of themselves with six-packs, defined biceps, and wide smiles. The message seems to be “I need to look like that before I can join a gym.” Unfortunately, the messaging is backward. You join a gym to BECOME leaner, healthier, and more confident. Not the other way around. As coaches, we expect people to walk into the gym with little to no previous experience. In fact, every other member started at exactly the point you are at now. It doesn’t matter where you are, it matters where you want to go. This is easy to say but hard to do. We are human and frequently our ego is louder than our logic. This is why reaching out to make contact with a gym is one of the most courageous steps you can take.
  • MYTH #2: “If I don’t know what I am doing, I should join a gym where I can blend into the crowd” None of us want to look incompetent. However, that is EXACTLY why you need to find a gym with coaches who can help teach you how to exercise correctly. Think about it this way: before you had your driver’s license, did you just get thrown the keys one day and told to “go figure it out” or did someone take you out and teach you how to drive? When you were trying to learn math, did you hide in the corner with an abacus or did a teacher help break it down in a way that helped you understand? Contrary to what our egos tell us, if we don’t know how to exercise, we need to find a gym where we can be taught. Don’t waste years trying to teach yourself something you don’t know. Find a gym that will help you become the strongest and most confident version of yourself now so that you don’t have to repeat this process again later.

Find a gym that will help you become the strongest and most confident version of yourself now so that you don’t have to repeat this process again later.


  • MYTH #3: “I need to find the gym with the most features and cheapest price” This myth is great for people who want their gym membership card to function as a decoration on their dresser or an accessory on their keychain. Don’t select a gym for the features IT has, select a gym based on the results YOU will receive. By “features,” I mean saunas, tanning beds, machines, lifting platforms, locker rooms, etc. Features aren’t inherently bad but they are a distraction from what really matters: the results that you will receive from the gym. By “results” I mean getting stronger, losing weight, fighting depression/anxiety, and feeling confident. I would encourage you to trust your intuition when you are visiting a gym: Do they try to pressure you into membership? Can you see yourself enjoying it there? Does it feel welcoming? And most of all, is the process about THEM or about YOU (“this is what we have” vs. “this is what we can do for you”). Someone greeting you by name or giving you a high-five after a workout will end up meaning a hell of a lot more than that sauna you will never use.

Someone greeting you by name or giving you a high-five after a workout will end up meaning a hell of a lot more than that sauna you will never use.


 

At the end of the day, ANY form of physical activity is better than none. Too frequently, however, we see people invest in home gyms that become coat racks, sign up for discount gym memberships that only serve to take up space in their wallet, or put off the entire process altogether – letting their health and happiness continue to decline – because they don’t know where to begin their search for a gym. Whether it is at Southpaw, or somewhere else, we want to help you become “Yourself 2.0” – the strongest, healthiest, and happiest person you are capable of being. As our new member so eloquently stated: “Now that I am taking care of myself, I feel a new sense of ‘potential.’ I feel confident and strong for the first time in a long time and I can’t wait to see where life goes next.”


Whether it is at Southpaw, or somewhere else, we want to help you become “Yourself 2.0″ – the strongest, healthiest, and happiest person you are capable of being. As our new member so eloquently stated:”Now that I am taking care of myself, I feel a new sense of ‘potential.’ I feel confident and strong for the first time in a long time and I can’t wait to see where life goes next.”


 

 

Are you interested in learning more about CrossFit Southpaw? Click Here to leave your information and one of our coaches will reach out to you with more information!

 

Physical Fitness in an Automated World

Do you remember the kid who proudly pulled on their jersey? Who laced up their shoes before the big game? Who couldn’t fall asleep because they were envisioning the upcoming competition? Who lived and breathed sport because it was the purest way to express their identity?

Fast forward fifteen years and we find ourselves in a different stage of life: cinching up a tie before opening up a spreadsheet, glancing at the clock praying for 5:00pm to come sooner, meeting up with friends to reminisce about the glory days.

Someone still lives deep inside of us who hungers for competition. Who wants to be pushed outside of their comfort zone. Who misses the purity of physical exertion that cannot be replicated by the white-washed rows of machines in L.A. Fitness.

Feeding these natural impulses of competition and physicality allows us to build confidence and feel a sense of completeness. Humans are physical, mental, and spiritual beings and we cannot feel complete unless we have an outlet for all three. Too often, we find ourselves out of balance: we attribute behavioral or emotional outburst to an imbalance in this triangular relationship between body, mind, and spirit.

At work, we find ourselves challenged intellectually. From the mundane tasks to the more theoretical undertakings, we often seek income from a job that challenges our intellect.

At home, we find ourselves challenge spiritually. This could be a religious tradition that we choose to practice or it could be the more existential questions we find discussing with our significant others. I often find myself sitting there, pondering the more subjective questions in life, while my son falls asleep at night.

However, it seems that society increasingly demands less and less from us as physical beings. Jobs are being automated, we can hit the drive-thru for lunch, groceries can be delivered, and sidewalks are destroyed to make way for larger roads. Obesity rates, diabetes, and most other chronic/acute illnesses are on the rise. Our ability to treat symptoms with a pill has never been higher, yet the prevalence of declining physical capacity has never been higher.

CrossFit has interjected new life into this system. Rather than making exercise easier: adding complicated and expensive machines that make a movement “dummy-proof”, installing TV’s around so you can catch up on the news while you job, and keeping a coke machine sitting in the hallway – CrossFit has started a revolution by returning human physicality to its roots. We are born to jump, throw, lift, hang, swing, and celebrate the incredible physicality our bodies are capable of.

What we have found, anecdotally, is that people who allow themselves to engage in this unbridled expression of human movement show markedly higher performance in other areas of their life. They get promoted at work, they inspire their families, they feel happier, and they find more peace with the existential questions that plague so many of us.

 

None of the three: mind, body, or spirit can exist perfectly in a vacuum. At Southpaw we encourage you to work hard, to spend time with your family, and to engage with your local community. And we also encourage you to find an outlet where you can express your physicality – to satiate that inner voice inside of you who hungers for the purity of physical exertion.