Continuing To Make Progress

After you have been working out for a while (for many of us, years), it can be tough to continue make progress. This often leads to feelings of discouragement and can bring our training to a halt. Plateaus, burnout, and disillusionment. Veteran Southpaw member, Rim, has been there. She has also persevered through. 

 

Rim has been active and working out since her mid-20s, which continued until she gave birth to her son. As her son got older, Rim lost her motivation to workout. 

 

Shortly afterwards, she began having anxiety: her eyes started twitching and she was experiencing heart palpitations. Since she didn’t want to take medications, her doctor suggested that start an exercise program to help combat the anxiety. 

 

That’s when she found CrossFit. At first Rim was hesitant because, like many others, she thought that CrossFit was scary. However, since Rim had done bootcamps before, she decided to try it out.

 

She fell in love with CrossFit right away because it was different from anything she had tried before. It was a humbling experience – there was always a challenge. However, she realized that no matter what your fitness level was, there was always a way to push yourself – to continue to grow. This allowed her to set different types of goals for herself. Setting goals is one of the keys to success as it helps you stay focused along the way. 

 

Rim recalls that her experience with bootcamps was quite different from her experience with CrossFit. She went to the same bootcamp class for four years and had the same instructor, yet her instructor didn’t even know her name; at CrossFit the coach and other members knew her name after day one. Rim also liked that CrossFit offered the opportunity to build on your strengths and attack your weaknesses. 

 

Rim didn’t consider herself a morning person but she quickly began working out in the morning because of the close friends she made at the CrossFit gym. This is one of the many reasons it’s important to have a good workout community a supportive group of people who will encourage you and help keep you accountable. 

 

Although she liked the workout at boot camps, Rim found that they began to be repetitive and she didn’t push herself the way that she did at CrossFit. She also likes the workout tracking software (like this one that we use at Southpaw) because it allows her to measure progress.

 

Rim insists that having a good coach will set you up for success. She would encourage you to find someone who helps you build awareness of your body and who encourages you to balance work and rest so that you don’t overtrain.

 

Rim also realized that being a perfectionist is a double-edged sword. However, if you can learn to harness perfectionism correctly it can become your superpower. 

 

To continue making progress in your fitness journey, you need to figure out what type of support network & workout methodologies help you thrive. For some, that may be running alone with headphones in. For many, however, it’s an encouraging community, professional coaches, and exciting workout routines.

 

If you would like to learn more and set up a time to chat with one of our coaches, visit crossfitsouthpaw.com/get-started to schedule your Free Consultation today!

Get Your Edge Back With Group Fitness Classes

As any parent knows, one of the best ways to get your child to move fast is to challenge them to a race. At the count of “3, 2, 1, go!” they bolt into action and spring to life with a speed that seemingly comes out of nowhere.

When challenged to a race or contest, we are biologically programmed to push ourselves harder than we otherwise might. The added competition motivates us to move a bit faster to win. The same mindset applies in group fitness class.

Research suggests this could have to do with the KöhlerEffect – the idea that in a group setting, no one wants to be the weakest link. This study found that when participants did a plank beside a more-fit partner, the participants increased their plank times by 24 percent. This suggests that we push ourselves harder when working out with others.

Whether you’re still a beginner or the most fit in the class, group fitness classes offer many benefits. According to a study published in The Journal of American Osteopathic Association, working out in a group lowered perceived stress by 26 percent and significantly improved quality of life. Those who exercised individually also saw a boost in quality of life, but no significant changes to their stress levels.

Everyone has reasons why they enjoy a particular style of workouts. Maybe you are looking for an extra push of motivation or something that is just more fun. Here are some reasons to consider trying a group fitness class:

  • Motivation: Pumped up music and enthusiastic instructors rev up your energy and may push you harder than you would push yourself.
  • Accountability: Meeting your friend at the gym holds you accountable when you otherwise might not go. Some classes even have you sign up for the class beforehand to reserve a spot – so there’s more pressure to follow through.
  • Variety: Instructors, music, and exercises vary. The change is good to keep things exciting and to work different parts of your body.
  • Structure: After a long day at work, the thought of thinking about what exercises to do can feel overwhelming and make you avoid the gym completely. But group fitness classes guide you through your workout from beginning to end – no additional planning required.
  • Fun: And of course, group fitness classes are meant to be fun. Whether it’s joking around with your friends or hearing that one throwback song you used to love, coaches at CrossFit Southpaw plan their classes to be enjoyable, social and fun.

If you find yourself in a rut or not wanting to workout anymore – consider trying a group fitness class. At CrossFit Southpaw, we have found that our members experience the incredible benefits listed above and more. Schedule your Free Consultation with one of our coaches today by visiting crossfitsouthpaw.com/get-started. What do you have to lose?

Benefits of Learning & Using the Olympic Lifts in Your Fitness

When we consider weightlifting, it can be frightening because it is a totally new experience. However, if you want to tone your body, increase your stamina, and strengthen your muscles, incorporating strength training, specifically Olympic lifting, into your fitness program is a way to do this quickly and efficiently.


What is Olympic Lifting?

Olympic lifting precludes exerting maximum effort for a few bursts of rapid, precise, and intense force. Olympic weightlifting is categorized into two types of lifts: clean & jerk and snatch. Both are lifts that require a full range of motion and the goal is to use a barbell to lift the most weight at the fastest possible speed.

Clean & Jerk

It consists of two parts: the clean, which involves lifting the barbell from the floor to the shoulders, and the jerk, which involves moving the bar from the shoulders to overhead.

Snatch

The barbell is lifted from the floor to overhead in a single, continuous and explosive movement. The lifter is allowed to move their feet or squat under the barbell as they lift it before returning to a standing position.

Why Olympic Lifting?

It involves the integration of strength, power, speed, and mobility with highly technical movements performed at a rapid pace. Thus, it is more advanced than the usual powerlifting which fixates only on strength in three main lifts: the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Power lifts, while beneficial, do not offer the speed, mobility, and muscle recruitment that olympic lifting does.

 

Why should you include Olympic lifts in your fitness program? Let’s take a look at the potential benefits

  • Involve the entire range of motion. Olympic lifts are beneficial to more than just your core as they also work your back, arms, shoulders and extremely effective at assisting individuals in utilizing multiple muscle groups simultaneously because involving several large muscle groups in a short timeframe results in the highest caloric expenditure. Therefore, muscle contraction requires the formation and breakdown of ATP on a regular basis.  The energy released from the breakdown of ATP fuels skeletal muscle contraction, increasing the body’s energy requirements and increasing caloric expenditure.
  • Establish Dynamic Stability. According to a study, short-term core stability training improved dynamic balance and trunk muscle endurance in weightlifters learning Olympic lifts. Since the core is the foundation to the strength of the body and Olympic lifting involves a lot of core stability and strength, it helps to keep the body upright and gives a source of balance. 
  • Improves Endurance & Enhance Coordination. These are full-body movements that involve exact coordination, rhythm, and timing. Therefore, incorporating a snatch or a clean and jerk session into your routine will help you improve your high-intensity exercise endurance. You’ll be able to recover faster and complete more hard exercises and intense sessions as time go on. It increases an individual’s longevity by increasing their muscle threshold.
  • Increase Lean Muscle Mass. To build muscle mass, it is required to lift heavy weights with few reps as this helps the person develop the capacity to lift in a short period of time as it is a great way to decrease body fat. 

 

Olympic lifting has many huge benefits but cannot do so in isolation. Research and anecdotal evidence shows a strong correlation between the introduction of the Olympic Lifts into a fitness regime and decreased body fat and increased lean muscle mass.

At CrossFit Southpaw, our experienced coaches teach you how to perform these lifts safely and incorporate them into a well balanced fitness program that helps working professionals get in the best shape of their lives without needing to spend extra time at the gym!


Want to learn more? Contact one of our coaches today to schedule your Free Consultation and see if CrossFit can help you become your strongest, leanest, and happiest self! Click here to reach out today!

How To Increase Accountability

Do you accept accountability for your actions, or do you get defensive and start pointing fingers?

Being accountable isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary and valuable. Accountability fosters teamwork, builds trust, and enables you to DO something about the problem!

“Accountability doesn’t happen just by chance. It has to be implemented.”

What is Accountability?

Accountability is the willingness to accept responsibility and embrace the consequences for one’s actions, decisions, and choices. You take ownership of situations that you’re involved in.

The Accountability Ladder is based on Roger Connors; Tom Smith; and Craig Hickman’s bookThe Oz Principle – Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability“, which is a fantastic tool for learning about being accountable.

This ladder depicts a spectral range of behaviors from the least accountable (level 1) to the most accountable (level 8).

Level 1: Being unaware. This represents someone who is completely unaware that there is a goal to achieve.

Level 2: Blaming others. This represents someone who is informed but refuses to accept accountability for anything and instead blames it on someone else.

Level 3: Rationalize things. This represents someone who will defend himself for not being accountable.

Level 4: Stand by. This represents someone who chooses not to act, hoping that the issue will be resolved by itself.

Level 5: Acceptance. This represents someone who admits that there is a problem and that action must be taken.

Level 6: Recognizing the role. This represents someone who is not only embracing whatever needs to happen, but also willing to accept their part in it.

Level 7: Look for solutions. This represents someone who seeks solutions to problems.

Level 8: Take action.  This represents someone who takes all appropriate measures to accomplish the work.

How To Improve Accountability? 

Here are some pointers to help you build accountability!

  • Establish Realistic Expectations. 

Accountability gaps are created by a lack of clarity and unrealistic expectations. The first step is to understand your role. You’ll need to know what your responsibilities are and what you’re accountable for. The expectations must be clearly defined in order to achieve your goals and objectives.

  • Recognize Mistakes. 

If you make a mistake, admit it, set aside your pride, and demonstrate what you are willing to do to make things right. Most of us must find it difficult to admit being wrong, but it’s a necessary step toward learning, growing, and improving ourselves.

  • Include Someone in the Goal-Setting Process. 

Engaging others in the work is an important part of accountability and contributes to a healthy, positive work environment. It does not imply having someone take on the responsibility, but rather having someone provide feedback on your progress and areas where you can still improve to achieve the goal.

In conclusion

Accountability must be practiced. It begins with awareness and ownership. It begins with you. When there is a clear and consistent strategy for implementation and validation, it will have a significant impact on performance and results.

 

The Importance of Stress For Your Health

 

 

Did you know that a little bit of stress can actually maximize your performance?

IF you’ve ever been in a flow state and totally lost track of time immersed in the task at hand – then you know know how astounding it can be to snap out of it. You were so focused that you couldn’t worry about your bills, external relationships, and the little worries in life.

It turns out that time spent in a flow state is one of the highest corollaries to a fulfilling life. The more time you spend in flow the happier you are. It also turns out that flow is the best way to get good at a particular skill– assuming the activity meets some key criteria.

The Yerkes Dodson Law examines how as arousal increases so does performance. Being pushed slightly beyond your comfort zone you get hooked. Locked in flow you will continue to push yourself, just barely keeping up with the challenge that is inches from your grasp. They even assigned a specific value to the degree of difficulty. If the level of the challenge is approximately 4% greater than your current skill you will be most likely to get into a flow state.

If you think about great athletes, musicians, artists and other high performing individuals you will see countless examples of them rising to the occasion. Completing the game winning drive as they march their team down the field and scoring with just seconds left on the clock. Playing a guitar lick faster and faster immersed in sweat and the roar of the crowd. These folks are locked into what they are doing to a place that is beyond what conscious mind and ego can interfere with. They are fully present and immersed in the task at hand.

It is important to find the thresholds in your life where you can push yourself and grow. If you feel like a task is too easy you will quickly lose interest and find yourself bored. If it is too difficult, you will feel like it’s hopeless and not actually give your best effort. Find the challenge that is engaging and challenging yet attainable if you truly want to get the most out of yourself.

If you want to find a gym that will meet you where you are at – and help challenge you to become better – feel free to reach out and schedule a Free Consultation with on of our coaches!

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!