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!

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!