Sunday, November 3, 2013

CrossFit's Dirty Little Secret

CrossFit's Dirty Little Secret
Posted: 09/24/2013 10:32 am
We did not write this but felt consumers should know about the danger of Crossfit.

Everyone has an uncle they'd rather you not meet.
Please allow me to introduce you to Uncle Rhabdo, CrossFit's unofficial and disturbing mascot. Uncle Rhabdo is a cartoon commonly referenced in CrossFit literature and representative of a troubling trend among CrossFitters.
He's a clown. Literally.
The "Uncle Rhabdo" cartoon depicts an exhausted, yet well-muscled clown, connected to a dialysis machine standing next to some workout equipment. Concernedly, his kidney has fallen out and lies on the floor underneath him, along with some portion of his bowel. He's left a pool of blood on the floor below him, but it's not clear if this is from the disembowelment, the kidney's arterial supply, or the collection of fasciotomies he appears to have endured. Uncle Rhabdo, of course, has rhabdomyolysis.
Rhabdomyolysis, apart from being a subtly pleasant and melodic sounding word, is an uncool, serious and potentially fatal condition resulting from the catastrophic breakdown of muscle cells. We'll get more into the specifics in just a bit, but first let's begin with a story.
A Tale of Rhabdomyolysis
One day, a very fit, young, physical therapist colleague of mine went to CrossFit. She had been many times before. On this warm Texas evening, she performed a partner workout, where each would trade off performing sets of 10 for each exercise. The workout consisted of pushups. Lots of them. Copious amounts of overhead press were also included.
She performed hundreds of repetitions of each. She was a champ!
"I didn't want to not match my partner. Normally I may have rested a little, but the partner workout kept me going."
Both of these activities heavily involve the triceps muscles and so she wasn't surprised to have her beautiful, sculpted arms feel like poorly set bowls of JELL-O on the way home from CrossFit. Perhaps it was the heat. Maybe it was the sheer number of exercises she did. Her muscles were in crisis. She iced and hydrated when she got home, like a good little exerciser, but the damage was already done.
As physical therapists, we're finely tuned detection machines looking for normal versus abnormal response to exercise and activity. "Is this supposed to hurt?" is a question we respond to hundreds of times in a week. Sometimes the answer to this question is yes and we encourage the individual to press on, and other times it's a signal to initiate some rest and recovery. This signal detection is one of the things that's deeply embedded into physical therapists. We can't help it. And so when my friend awoke the next morning, her abnormal response alarms were blaring. She couldn't bend her elbows! She couldn't even reach her mouth to brush her teeth.
Still entrenched in the CrossFit culture of deplete, endure, repeat, she quieted the alarms and stoically pressed on to go to work. It didn't take long to realize she not only couldn't bend her arms, they also had no strength. She wasn't able to treat her patients. By that evening, her slender arms had continued to swell into plump hotdogs of ache and regret, and she was starting to come to the realization that the morning's danger alarms were legitimate.
Unbelievably, it took another 24 hours for her professional sense to break through the grip of the CrossFit culture, and seek medical attention. She was diagnosed with acute rhabdomyolysis, and ended up in the hospital for over a week. While in the emergency department they tested her creatinine kinase (CPK) levels. Normal is about 100. Her CPK levels were more than 45,000, a number that indicated damage to the kidneys.
While in the hospital, she called to cancel her CrossFit membership. As is standard when something is cancelled, the CrossFit coach asked the reason for her decision. She replied, "I'm in the hospital." The instructor quickly asked, "Is it rhabdo?"
And here we have arrived at CrossFit's dirty little secret. The coach was unusually familiar with what is normally a very rarely seen disorder. It's so rare that one study reported the overall annual incidence of rhabdomyolysis to be 0.06 percent. That represents single digits of cases out of hundreds of thousands of patients. How, I wondered, is it possible that the layperson exercise instructor is on a first-name basis with a serious, yet rare medical condition? Is this a thing with CrossFit? It turns out it is.
Rhabdomyolysis: As Told By CrossFit?
A quick search of the Interwebs reveals copious amounts of information about rhabdo purveyed by none other than CrossFit trainers. Scouring the scientific literature in mainstream medical journals, however, reveals a only a few peer-reviewed papers. The science confirms that exertional rhabdomyolysis, as this form is sometimes referred to, is uncommon and normally reserved for the elite military trainee, ultra-endurance monsters, and for victims of the occasional psychotic football coach. Rhabdomyolysis isn't a common condition, yet it's so commonly encountered in CrossFit that they have a cartoon about it, nonchalantly casting humor on something that should never happen.
So what is rhabdomyolysis exactly? Under extreme conditions your muscles cells explode. They die. They leach protein out into the blood stream, including one form called myoglobin. Ever stalwart, your kidneys take up the job of clearing these dangerous proteins from the blood. Why? It's just what they do. Unfortunately, myoglobin proteins aren't designed to be in the blood in the first place and they can easily overload the kidney. This can produce injury or death to all or part of the kidney in a short amount of time, and is potentially lethal. Locally, the muscles are left damaged and dying. Swelling ensues and weakness occurs as pressure builds around the remaining muscle cells. Your body's systems that normally can assist with this local muscle damage are now offline trying to help you not die. If you get to this stage, you're in serious trouble.
In some cases, acute compartment syndrome ensues, which is an emergency condition that can result in loss of a limb unless your connective tissue is slashed open to release the swelling , a procedure called a fasciotomy. None of this is something that people should be handling in such a cavalier manner.
So what gives? As early as 2005, the New York Times documented rhabdomyolysis associated with the culture of CrossFit in a piece entitled, "Getting Fit, Even If It Kills You." The article included this gem of a quote:
"Yet six months later Mr. Anderson, a former Army Ranger, was back in the gym, performing the very exercises that nearly killed him. "I see pushing my body to the point where the muscles destroy themselves as a huge benefit of CrossFit," he said."

What does CrossFit's founder, Greg Glassman think of this?
"It can kill you," he said. "I've always been completely honest about that."
Fast forward to 2013 and this culture has changed little, perhaps even accelerated. As Jason Kessler pointed out in "Why I Quit CrossFit," the elitist, push yourself to the limit culture of the discipline has increased in light of commercial interests taking hold. Regarding culture, Jason points out:
"If you ask a CrossFit coach, the injuries were all my fault. In a culture that drives you to go as hard and fast as possible, it's difficult not to get caught up in the hype. You're supposed to push yourself to the limit, but when you hit the limit and pay the price, you're the idiot who went too far."

In another psychotic example of how the overwhelming culture of CrossFit can diminish professional common sense, one gynecologist was quoted dishing this nonsense:
"Ladies, in my professional opinion, it is okay to pee during double unders."
No, peeing during a workout is not alright. Ever.
To underline the point,, the official consumer information website of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), hosted an online radio show specifically responding to CrossFit's irresponsible glorification of stress-induced urinary incontinence.
The Impact of Rhabdomyolysis
Sometimes rhabdomyolysis gets better with treatment. Sometimes it lingers. Sometimes your kidneys are never the same again. One message board commenter remarked:
"I seem to "flare" after any resistance training. I came into this by over training -- I was in phenomenal shape. I have gained weight. I get swollen and puffy. I feel as though the quality of my muscle tissue decreases on a daily basis -- more so than the lack of weight training -- seems to be disintegration."

My friend experienced a similar, though thankfully less severe long term effect. It's been several months and her triceps strength is not back to normal. Her sculpted arms are gone, replaced by semi-swollen jiggly tissue. Once a muscle tears, damaged, fatty scar tissue replaces the injured muscle tissue. The result is a permanently damaged muscle, and a decreased ability to strength train. The irony of pushups causing flabby arms underscores the age-old mantra: There really is too much of a good thing.
CrossFitters, largely unaware of the rhabdo risk, will continue to charge ahead, pressured and happily coerced into exercising to depletion and exhaustion. My prediction: in a few years, the peer-reviewed scientific literature will be ripe with articles about CrossFit and rhabdomyolysis. Health providers will be there to scoop up the pieces, but who is there to protect those people unknowingly at risk?
Exercise is just about the best thing you can do for your body, but in the case of CrossFit, we're left to ponder the question, is this workout worth the risk? Can the culture adapt to one that embraces safe training principles? Do coaches truly have the ability to detect what a proper training load is for their athletes? Only time will tell, but the future of CrossFit may depend on it.
Eric Robertson is assistant professor of physical therapy at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. He operates and writes for the website This piece first appeared on Medium.

Friday, October 4, 2013

CrossPIT Fitness Ranking

We are proud to announce that soon we will be starting our CrossPit Fitness Ranking system!

This will be another first for Indiana Pit Kokomo's leading edge martial arts and fitness studio. The ranking will be scaled by age for Men and Women. This is a comprehensive and standardized ranking system used for gauging individuals fitness levels. This is not a system based on how long you have been  at our studio or how much your trainers think you have improved.

Over the years Indiana Pit has helped it's members get into the best shape of their lives. Now we are about to introduce a new ranking system for those who are ready to set new goals and face new challenges that will allow our students to proudly display their current fitness rank. Some asked if we were awarding belts, no, we are not doing a martial arts belt to recongize your rank. This is going to truly be a unique system that each of our students can proudly display to their team mates, family and friends.

Members soon we will let you know if your interested in earning rank on how this process will work. Oh and one last thing, your rank testing is FREE!

The Cold, Hard Truth

The Cold, Hard Truth

Throw out the myths and gimmicks—get real on self-defense.
Author: Michael Janich  

There is a big difference between the martial arts and practical self-defense. Which of these kicks should be a priority in practical self-defense training?
A major shortcoming of the self-defense world is that it is full of misinformation, untested theory and gimmicks. Like the fitness world’s “blink your way to washboard abs” type of quick-fix programs, the personal-defense market has always been littered with “declassified” courses, secret systems, high-speed devices and other assorted schemes that promise the average desk jockey that he or she will be able to defeat a platoon of Navy SEALS.
If you’re truly serious about personal protection, you need to do your homework and approach everything with a healthy dose of skepticism. Here we’ll guide you through the process of separating fact from fantasy, and lifesaving gear from money-wasting gimmicks.
Fighting is Physical
Let’s start with the basics: If a self-defense situation ends up with actual physical violence, you will have to do something physical to solve your problem. While that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be a UFC-level athlete, it does mean that you need to break contact with your couch if you want to have any real capabilities. Yes, there are experienced martial artists out there who can destroy people with movements so subtle they appear effortless. The talented folks who can really do this possess a set of skills, knowledge and timing that has been developed over a lifetime of study. They didn’t learn what they know in a week, and you won’t be able to either, no matter what the bold print says.
If you want to learn to defend yourself, don’t look for someone who wants to teach you a few self-defense tricks. Real skills take real time and effort to develop. Also, don’t fall prey to the other end of the spectrum, which insists on taking perfectly functional methods of hurting people and turning them into an aerobics or gymnastics routine. Fitness and endurance are definitely assets in a fight, but they are not prerequisites or replacements for skills training.
Good self-defense technique should make sense to you the first time you see it and you should be able to understand and perform the mechanics of it with enough power and intent to hurt someone within a couple of hours of practice. If not, you’re probably not going to be able to use it if you need it.
Things To Look Out For
Let’s face it: People have been fighting for as long as we’ve been people, so there really isn’t much about fighting technique that hasn’t been done before. Sure, somebody may “discover” a technique that he or she didn’t know about previously, but that doesn’t mean it’s new. (It just means the “discoverer” was previously unaware of it.) Look long and hard enough and some fighting art has probably already employed the technique.
Similarly, the idea of “secret” fighting methods is overblown. In my martial arts research, most things that qualify as secrets are, in fact, an individual instructor’s ability to finally explain something that his predecessors couldn’t or weren’t willing to teach properly. Everything is a secret if the person who knows it is incapable of or unwilling to explain it.
Learning respect and gaining insights into another culture are good things and very positive elements of the traditional martial arts. Unfortunately, when the systems of respect of the Asian martial arts migrated to the West, some instructors got carried away with them and took them a bit too far. The market is now filled with masters, grandmasters, sensei, gurus and dozens of other honorifically titled instructors. While many of them are worthy of their titles and have the skills and integrity to back them up, the sad truth is that there are also a significant number of marginally qualified practitioners who have bestowed themselves with lofty titles, 10th-degree black belts and shiny uniforms full of patches. They have also used their minimal knowledge to “invent” new arts and manipulate Asian cultural traditions to demand far more respect than they deserve.
There are many reasons to study the martial arts. If your primary goal is self-defense, be honest about that when you look for an instructor. Observe several classes, watch how the instructor interacts with students and see if what is taught really meets your needs. Be prepared to compromise a little bit to get what you want, but remember that you’re the customer and this is America. You shouldn’t have to settle for or put up with a learning experience that doesn’t meet your needs.

There is a big difference between the martial arts and practical self-defense. Which of these kicks should be a priority in practical self-defense training?
Even The Odds
There are very few things that a smaller person can do to an attacker that a larger person can’t do better. That’s why there are weight classes in professional combative sports. If two people of equal skill fight, the larger, stronger one will typically prevail because he can express the same level of skill with greater force. Does that mean smaller people can’t defend themselves effectively? Absolutely not. It does mean that they need to understand the limitations of their strength and power and have the commitment to use vicious, ruthless tactics much sooner than a larger, stronger person does. It also means that they should embrace the idea of carrying and using weapons to help even the odds.
Classical martial arts weapons were the height of combative technology—several centuries ago. If the samurai were alive today, they’d be toting M4s and Glocks. And, yes, a broomstick can be wielded like a sword, but that’s not enough reason to invest your self-defense training time in sword-fighting or any other training that focuses on archaic weapons that you won’t ever have with you on the street.
Self-defense weapons are another area of great confusion and misinformation. Like the quick-fix programs that promise magical fighting skills without any effort, there are a plethora of gadgets and gizmos available that are supposed to enable you to defeat any attacker with virtually no training. On the low end of this scale, you have the “tips and tricks” approach, such as the famous keys-between-your-fingers tactic. According to this tip, you simply grab your key ring and place a key between each of your fingers to create a no-cost spiky fist of death. Although this sounds great in theory, there is a major problem with this approach: You’ll most likely do more damage to your hand than to the attacker if you actually hit with force.
During an attack, your body’s sympathetic nervous system kicks in and some very significant changes occur to help empower you to fight or flee. When that happens, complex, finesse-based tactics will be overcome by caveman-style, gross-motor-skill actions. You will be hitting as hard as you can, probably with instinctive, hammer-like movements. Attempting that with keys gripped tightly between your fingers is a sure-fire way to mangle your hand. Add to that the fact that positioning keys between your digits takes time, and that you may be damaging the keys you need to drive your car to escape, and it’s pretty clear that the keys-in-the-fist thing is not highly recommended.
Moving up the scale a bit, we have all the many variations of the “pocket stick.” Whether you call it a Kubotan, yawara, tabak maliit or any other name, it’s basically a short stick or other object that you can hold in your fist and use to strike with. Since it doesn’t have nerves, it doesn’t feel pain, so you can hit harder than you can with your fist alone and concentrate the force of those hits on a smaller, harder surface. The pocket stick is a great weapon and has been used very effectively in personal defense. It works best if you don’t use it as a keychain, since hitting with it is far more effective than flailing at someone with a few keys at the end of a stick. You do need some skill to use it effectively and it must be combined with other unarmed fighting skills to form a reliable, fight-stopping strategy, but it’s not a bad choice.
The downside of the pocket stick is that it has become recognized as a purpose-designed weapon and is often prohibited in non-permissive environments. As such, it doesn’t enjoy as low a profile as it used to, so you may not be able to carry it in as many places, or with as much freedom, as in years past. To make this problem worse, a number of martial artists and inventors have decided to take a good, simple thing and make it even more complicated. Their claim is that you now have an even more potent and versatile weapon than a simple pocket stick and—you guessed it—that you don’t need any special training to be able to use it effectively. In most cases what you really end up with is a pocket stick with spikes, probes, rings and other unnecessary protuberances that make it stand out even more as a purpose-designed weapon and make it very inconvenient to carry. The additional features that are supposed to increase its effectiveness typically work best with finesse-based techniques—exactly the type of stuff that falls apart under stress and actually requires more training than does a conventional pocket-stick design.
So what’s the solution? Carry a high-quality tactical flashlight. Get one big enough so it sticks out of both ends of your fist when you grip it and sturdy enough that you can hit things with it full force. Also, get one bright enough to blind a potential attacker and illuminate areas of potential danger from a distance, and one that has a pocket clip so you can carry it conveniently.
Pen Your Destiny
For decades self-defense instructors have recommended high-quality production pens, like steel Cross pens, as improvised self-defense weapons. Several years ago this simple concept grew into a whole new genre of pen-like objects with striking points, replaceable tips, knurling, fluting and other modifications. Often retailing for well over $100 each, these pens became a cult favorite among the tactical-gear crowd because, yet again, it mistakenly believed that a cool, expensive, complicated object would eliminate the need for training. I do believe in pens as improvised weapons, but only when they are not so obviously weaponized that they draw undue attention and only when their use is backed by solid physical skills. No matter how cool and expensive a pen might be, unless it actually makes an attacker explode when I stick it into him, it’s still a limited weapon that must be wielded with a well-balanced skill set.
The very fact that you’re reading this means that you’re reasonably serious about self-defense. That’s good, but it’s not enough. You need to take action to develop a solid personal-defense strategy and a simple, reliable skill set that you can use now. If you choose to carry a weapon, get the training to use it properly and effectively and practice your skills on a regular basis. Most of all, be objective in your consideration of your self-defense options. If you’re honestly not confident that you can use a particular weapon, tactic or technique to defend yourself against a real violent attack, find something else that you can trust and don’t fall prey to the gimmicks.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

TMI - Is This You??

I recieved an interesting email from my Final Option Tactics partner today that I must share with each of you. Below is an excellent example of someone we all probably know, heck it may even by YOU!

This article certainly applies to Tweeting, Facebook, blogging, myspace, pininterest, etc. When it comes to social networking think before you post!

Bob is a concealed carry, pro-gun guy who thinks he is protecting his family.  BUT, his truck displays NRA stickers and his mini-van has “family” type stickers, which advertise where I can find a gun to steal, potential victims to rob from, steal, etc.
His wife blogs endlessly about everything they do.  Right now, they are in Texas and are detailing all their activities.  While they are away, their kids are at home being watched by his wife’s elderly father.  Pictures of each of their kids and their home (interior and exterior floor plans – to show off all the work they have done to it) are posted on their public blog and Facebook. 

Sally (wife) might as well post her social security number online. They unknowing give all the intell to ruin their lives in a 1,000 different ways.  From the blog alone anyone can know everything about their schedule so someone could do a home invasion, hold a kid hostage, force the old man to expose all their valuables to steal.

So, what is the point in home security and carrying a gun when you publicly gush endlessly about every intimate detail about your family for ALL the world to see!

Unfortunately there have been too many people seriously hurt by sharing too much information via the internet. Remember just like good guys use all the great technology to help find criminals; criminals also know how to use modern technology to commit crimes of varying degrees on innocent citizens.

There is no telling how many lives have been affected by criminals who used the very information either you or a family member posted on internet. Put some thought into what you put out on the internet as once it's posted it's out there forever and cannot be taken back.

I personally would rather not give someone all the details of when I'm on vacation and a nice detailed blueprint of my home or personal belongings via social networking. Next time you post ask yourself how could this information be used by a criminal to take advantage of you and your family.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Travel Tips

With summer fast approaching and vacation time upon us instead of just a hazy dream, we’re going to list some travel tips to take along wherever you go to minimize the annoyance of travel and effects of lost time. You spend plenty of time working your hardest to look, feel, and perform your best, now look, feel, and perform your best when it’s time to rest and relax.

1. Bring a Towel
One of the biggest complaints people have about traveling? Sore necks. Whether you’re on a plane, bus, boat, or sleeping in a foreign bed on a strange pillow, you’ve probably felt the discomfort and soreness that comes with being outside of your comfort zone. While a sore neck is annoying enough but probably won’t cause serious damage, the loss of sleep and inability to turn your head can compound each other to make you one seriously unhappy camper.
If you have a ring-shaped travel pillow you know it’s worth is several times it’s price. What some people find works just as well and is much more versatile is the ordinary towel. Fold it in half, roll it up, and you can mold it support your neck whether you are sitting upright on the plane, lying down on your side, relaxing at the beach… Essentially anywhere you can go. For people heading into a hot climate, it also serves as a handy sweat towel. Next time you’re on the road throw a towel into your carry on and reap the benefits of a simple but useful neck-saving technique.
2. Fuel Accordingly
Travel itself can be hectic and stressful because schedules constantly fluctuate and change in strange places and at random times. If you’re not sure of when the next regular meal is coming or simply don’t want to consume airline food (who does?), prepare for your journey by packing wise snacks to take with you and stay alert when you need it most. Going hungry for long periods of time isn’t a smart weight loss strategy, and if you’ve been training on a HIIT routine for some time you’ve felt the difference of fueling properly and regularly. Don’t let your work go to waste now.
Aside from the actual travel portion of your vacation, take into consideration if you’re taking a low activity, sedentary holiday or if you’re going to be active and engaging in physical excursions. It’s perfectly acceptable to park yourself on a scenic beach or pool and vegetate under a sunbrella. After all we encourage a week off  so take advantage but make sure to adjust your diet accordingly. Low activity? Lower your overall calorie intake, avoid processed and high fat, high sugar foods. Higher activity? Continue fueling like you normally do. This won’t make or break your vacation, but it could be the difference between coming back feeling great and coming back with an extra 5 pounds of personal carry-on fat. The airlines won’t notice but your friends will.
3. Stretch Out
We hear about people’s best laid plans to workout when they’re traveling. Some plan to get up early and run, others pledge to use the hotel gym. Realistically most hotel gyms are incredibly small rooms with a few pieces of outdated equipment with no space for any functional movements. Running in foreign cities can dangerous and intimidating, not to mention unrealistic if you’re on a set schedule.
If you want release the stress of travel and tension resulting from remaining in one position for long periods of time, MAKE SURE TO STRETCH. Before travel, after travel, each night before bed… It will help you relax, sleep better, and give your metabolism a slight bump. As usual you don’t want to stretch cold so give the ancient exercise bike in your hotel a whirl, take a brisk walk around your hotel, or simply march up and down a few flights of stairs with your suitcases. The point is to do a light warm up and a light stretch because it doesn’t take long to make a big difference.
4. Hydrate
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Airlines serve water in paper cups fit for elves, and depending on where you travel there may not be a reliable, clean water supply. Bringing a bottle of your own to fill up can help, but remember to start hydrating the day before to get a head start and continue throughout your day.
A common misconception is that people in hot climates need to worry about hydration more than people in cold climates. They are BOTH equally in need of hydration. Certainly people in hot climates may sweat more than they are used to, but cold weather strips your skin and breath of moisture very fast. Use meal times as easy reminders by starting and finishing each meal with a glass of water and you should be fine.
5. Pick a Destination & Get Moving
This last point is entirely up to you but many people will pick a destination where the majority of the vacation involves an activity. Skiing, hiking, diving, and many other activities are a great way to relax, enjoy your time off, and still see amazing parts of the world you otherwise only hear about. Some people may keep it domestic by going to other parts of their country for an adventure race and extend their vacation afterwards, attend a UFC match for inspiration… Whatever you chose and wherever you go there is usually a sight to see, a bike to rent, or some kind of outing that is the perfect opportunity to kick yourself into a high gear even for just one day. Near or far one of the best ways to visit other places is to get out and get moving. Happy vacation!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Top 5 Benefits of Morning Workouts

Top 5 Benefits of Morning Workouts

We’ve been asked over and over when the best time for working out is and normally we tell people to workout whenever it fits into their schedule. Today we look at the benefits of working out in the morning and how it can raise your performance, increase the fat loss, and maximize the results of your hard work. Wake up and smell the benefits!

By jump starting your day and kicking your body into high gear you’re actually setting yourself for a more energetic day. Raising your heart rate and pumping oxygen through your body means your metabolism will be elevated for hours after your workout is over. Compare this with the other routine of waking up slow and sluggish and building your way up to feeling awake. It’s not just about your muscles and heart; your entire system benefits from the jump start. Improved focus, memory, and endurance levels are just a few instant benefits of working out in the AM that last for hours.

Elevating your metabolism in the morning burns more calories throughout the day, but did you know it also regulates your appetite? The hormones in the body that stimulate hunger are suppressed during exercise so you are more likely to eat only when genuinely hungry. From pre-workout snacks to your post-workout meal, fueling your body properly first thing in the morning makes it easier to follow proper nutrition throughout the day. Portion control and appetite frequency are more accurately controlled by hunger hormones in a healthy body that cycles regularly through workouts and downtime than one that spends most of the day in low energy levels and spikes late in the day.

Which do you think is better for burning the most calories, when you’re running on fumes or a full tank? HIIT is as much a physical demand as it is a mental focus. Wake up fresh to take down your workout and take on the rest of your day or wait until you’ve been on your feet for 12 hours and have a hundred problems on your mind. The point is you’re at your strongest when you can focus your energy and dedicate your full effort to the workout rather than dragging yourself through it. You want the most results from your HIIT, right? Then give it your best effort when you have everything working on for you.

One of the reasons many people love working out in the morning is that it eliminates the possibility of distraction and schedule interrupting your plans later in the day. This might be something as simple as getting stuck at work/in traffic/ at your kid’s soccer game to something like accidentally skipping a pre-workout meal which will cause you to skip your workout or simply feeling worn by a really busy day. Get up, get your training session out of the way, and relax both physically and mentally knowing that you took care of your body and your health first thing in the day. All the distractions in the world won’t undo your training, so give yourself the best chance at success.

Training in the morning means you will sleep better at night. If you aren’t sure of the benefits of a full night’s sleep and the direct benefits on weight loss. More sleep means better recovery for your body and more weight loss. Adrenalin, the same hormone elevated by morning exercise, interferes with sleep. Another reason is that since your metabolism and all your muscles have been up and running at a higher level since the first hours of your day you will be more tired and fall asleep much quciker. This means you will wake up feeling more refreshed, and have more energy for your workout, which will… Go back to #1 and restart the great cycle of benefits all over again.

Realistically the best time to workout is whenever you can. It’s most important that you find a schedule that works for you and stick with it to complete the workouts in your training calendar. That said it’s undeniable that working out in the morning has many benefits that compound the positive effects of HIIT and get better results faster with the same amount of effort. The other CRUCIAL important reminder is to FUEL PROPERLY BEFORE your WORKOUTS. Even if it’s a small snack, you need a quick shot to get you started properly. Working out on an empty stomach is dangerous and doesn’t burn more fat. You work hard and endure a lot to boost performance, shred fat, and lose weight so that you can have the best body available. Now make your body and your workouts work for you after you’re done working for yourself. Makes sense? Give it a shot, you’ll understand and feel the difference instantly. Ready? Pit Up!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Goodbye diets, hello portion control

Common Mistake #1: IGNORING DIET
Sorry, but it just can't be swept under the rug.
No matter how much effort you exert in the gym, you are wasting your time if you don't have a diet that supports it. You'll be taking one step forward and two steps back.
Many of the greatest bodybuilders/fitness experts claim that 80-90% of your success hinges on your diet.
80-90%!!!??? I know it sounds crazy, but its true.
The specifics of your diet will vary depending on your objective (gain mass or lose weight), but those who achieve their strength and physique goals are as intentional about their diets as they are about their workout program.
This is easily THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE I see.
Being intentional actually relates to a second very common mistake I see over and over again...
Common Mistake #2: WINGING IT
Fail to plan and you'll plan to fail...its cliche but true.
If you have no consistent and incremental strategy to support your goals, then you will lack results and lose motivation.
After you get a diet plan that supports your goal, and a workout program designed to achieve your objective, you absolutely MUST do this....
Keep a fitness journal to track everything: your workouts, reps, weekly increments, meals, and supplements.
This speaks to one of the most basic aspects of goal setting - your goal must be measurable. Well, it doesn't do you any good if its measurable and you don't measure it!!
It really is the ONLY way to know if you are making any progress.

Monday, February 25, 2013

How to Cardio: A Quick Start Guide

How to Cardio: A Quick Start Guide

One of the aspects of the Crosspit program many people love is the fact we leave you to decide what kinds of cardio to do. The benefits of this flexible program are that you can work current activities into your training and you will always have more familiar activities to perform your cardio with. In response to some of the other training primers we’ve presented that summarize and index many or our blog topics, we present you with this primer on how to make cardio an efficient part of your HIIT program.

Cycling is a very efficient and low impact exercise that allows you to burn calories at a high rate with very little stress and impact on your joints. The legs are the largest muscle group in the body making them the prime mover is a good way to involve a lot of muscle work. Some people use cycles for transportation which means more calories burned throughout your day. 

We’ve skipped over basic walking and running because they are well known and rather inefficient forms of cardio. Running up stairs is an entirely different stories. The incline and force of gravity load your muscles up and kick your lungs into high gear to keep up. If you’ve got knee or back issues and fear the impact will cause damage, fear not because you can still walk up stairs.

Swimming is a great way to torch calorie and preserve your body because it requires the participation of every muscle head to toe. The suspended nature of your body in water relieves you of any impact concerns, and for those of you who want the added challenge, learning to hold and control your breath will increase cardio and the ability to focus through physical stress like nothing else.

We agree that running on a treadmill can be incredibly dull and discouraging, that’s why we’re telling you to Crosspit the outdoors. Many challenging obstacle based races such as Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, and Warrior Dash combine the beautiful elements outside to challenge you endurance, strength, speed, agility, cardio, and just sheer determination. These events take advantage of much of the training done with Crosspit and are a great opportunity to show off your new performance capacity.

Yoga is not just a fad for those seeking enlightenment or extreme flexibility. It’s a great way to raise your heart rate and burn calories while relieving muscle tension and increasing range of motion. That’s two birds with one simple stone. 

One question we receive regularly is how people can monitor how much work they do while completing cardio on their own. A great way to track your in-session pace and work is to use a heart rate monitor. They are much easier and inexpensive to use than ever before and will help you find a quick sense of pace that you can use in your Crosspit workouts and your own cardio sessions. Calories counts down to the minute and weekly results at the tip of your fingers.

One of the biggest myths we’ve busted is the one says training on an empty stomach burns more fat or training on an empty stomach is a short cut to burning fat deposits. STOP! IT IS NOT! This very dangerous and misinformed practiced is based on a very simple assumption that if your stomach is empty your body is forced to use fat as a direct source of fuel. Well it doesn’t and this practice is not only a waste of your time and effort, it’s a serious health risk that can cause short and long term problems. Do yourself a favor and never practice on an empty stomach again. If you want your body to look good and perform great… STOP HURTING YOURSELF.

The endless options available for cardio exercise extend way beyond our discussion but you can see we’ve given you a lot to work with and send you down the road to success. If you’ve got any other favorites you want to share with us feel free to hit us up at Facebook or Twitter and let us know, otherwise we’ll see you back on the training floor...PIT UP!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

How to Cope with Muscle Soreness

You know the feeling too well… The morning after an intense workout you wake up to discover someone put your legs and butt through a shredder while you slept and set your core section on fire. MUSCLE SORENESS strikes again.  You know it’s perfectly normally and can’t be completely avoided but what the heck is making your muscles so sore anyway, RIGHT!? Relax, we’ll break it down for you.

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the official name for the aches you feel the day after a workout. Especially if it’s the first day in a new program or after a long layoff.  Soreness sets in 12-24 hours after a workout and peaks 24-48 hours after. Hurts so good, doesn’t it?
High intensity exercise routines and exercises cause micro tears and inflammation in the muscle fibers, which result in soreness, fatigue, stiffness and reduced range of motion. Your body retreats into a state of recovery and is under repair while your mind forms a love/hate relationship with serious training programs.
While there is no proven method to completely prevent soreness after an intense workout, there are many ways to reduce the impact after it sets in.
  • ICE bath
A cold bath after your workout for a minimum of 5-25 minutes can help reduce muscle soreness by up to 20%
  • Active Recovery
A low-impact cardio exercise such as jogging or swimming helps because it forces blood to circulate throughout your body, not only warming the muscles but delivering oxygen and nutrients to increase rate of healing and allowing  you to perform…
  • Gentle Stretching
Stretching after a warm up (see above ) relaxes the muscle and reduces stiffness without over loading the muscles (making them worse).  It also increases basic flexibility as it speeds up the return of full range of motion and prevents cramping. ( You DO NOT want cramping. Repeat, DO NOT.)
As with many physiological changes, your body will adjust to the new workouts and soreness should decrease significantly after future sessions.  The more often you workout the less sore you’ll be as the body continues to get stronger.  The first two workouts are the toughest in term of soreness, after that the body handles the physical demands much better. This is a process scientists refer to as “toughening up.” Not to be confused with over training.
There is actually a benefit to the soreness you feel.  Any activity by the body (in this case the repair of muscle tissue) requires energy so that soreness you feel is your workout still working for you. Calories are burned in the process of rebuilding muscle tissue, and while this seems minimal in one day, over the course of 8 weeks it adds up. Another example of how workouts pay off after they are over and why nutrition is just as important on days off as it is on training days.
It is a proven fact that high intensity training for improvement in a program will cause soreness.  There are several ways to cope that allow you to maximize gains while minimizing pain.  Though soreness may be a nuisance, it’s actually a reminder that your body is hard at work strengthening itself and all the while burning more energy in the process. As always, if your soreness turns into intense pain or persists for more than 5 days check with a doctor as you may have injured yourself. Otherwise smile and be glad you’re sore, you earned it!