Level 4 Crossfit Seattle

We believe everyone is capable of something greater.

“Why Choose Level 4 CrossFit Seattle?”

At Level 4 CrossFit Seattle our mission is helping people. We help people through teaching movement. We are here to help you learn to move your body with grace, with power, with control.

Come visit us today.

We love to talk to people so give us a call if you have any questions:  206-992-7360.

You will find us on: 4201 9th Ave NW, Seattle WA 98107, USA

Latest from our blog

back injury

Moving Beyond An Injured Back: Lessons Learned On The Path To Recovery

Trainees (and potential trainees) with back pain are often skeptical that exercise can help them. “My back hurts so much that I can’t even tie my shoes. How do you expect me to work out?” they ask. This article describes how I rehabilitated my own severe back problems and what I learned along the way. In 1999 I had such severe back pain and associated problems that I seemed headed for a life of disability. Career-ending injuries and surgery made it hard to imagine regaining the high level of fitness I had maintained as a Navy SEAL. But today I’m stronger and healthier than I was at my earlier best.

Physical decline and pain

Things had been getting worse for weeks. I had gone to the doctor a few times and had gotten strong pain drugs. After a while those didn’t work. The chronic, round-the-clock ache that I had grown used to had now reached a level of intensity which drove all other considerations from my mind. Sitting down brought blinding flashes of pain which left me gasping. Standing back up was even worse. It finally got to where I couldn’t do anything without severe pain. My wife, Nancy, was frustrated to the point of tears at being unable to help. When I couldn’t even stand without help, we went to the emergency room. Just getting me into the car was a big ordeal. I hobbled into the hospital, leaning on the door and on Nancy, ashen with pain. After hours and hours of waiting while people with cut thumbs or running noses were treated and moved along, I hobbled over, chewed out the nurse behind the counter, and we went home. The next morning I had no use of my right leg. I couldn’t even feel it; nothing worked. I stayed in bed. Over the course of a few days I became able to swing my leg around like a stump. I still couldn’t feel the leg at all, but I could stand on it. Walking involved swinging the damn thing under me like a pirate’s wooden leg.

Career-ending back injuries

This state of constant pain and near invalidism was a long drop from my physical peak. Lean and fast, I had spent twelve years as a Navy SEAL, thriving on the hard work and the joy of physical competence under arduous conditions. Long ocean swims, extended back-country ski marches in Arctic terrain, slipping quickly through woods and mountains at night—these were the activities that I loved and was good at. It was difficult to comprehend my current reality of shuffling through a sedentary life. My time as a SEAL had ended in 1991 with three ruptured lumbar discs and an operation. Although the triple hemi-laminectomy “worked” and allowed control of my right leg, the surgery also caused problems. Missing intervertebral disc tissue left me half an inch shorter and very sensitive to impact. Scar tissue at the surgery site interfered with nerves and caused permanent damage to the function of my right leg. My many doctors were all saying the same thing: if drugs and surgery hadn’t helped, nothing else could be done.

Self-help through strength

The realization that no help was forthcoming from the medical field was a call to action. I would have to help myself. It dawned on me that as I had become weaker over the ten years of inactivity since my surgery, my back problems and pain had gotten worse. A light bulb went on. Getting stronger again would help! It seems painfully obvious now, but that realization directly contradicted the medical advice I’d been given. We are fortunate to live in a time of unprecedented access to information. The first new idea I found was kettlebells. It was early 2001 and Pavel Tsatsouline had just released his book Russian Kettlebell Challenge. I bought a kettlebell and started swinging. It helped. Not long after that my friend and workout partner, Robb Wolf, pointed out an interesting little website which listed daily workouts. Robb and I decided to follow the workout suggestions posted daily on CrossFit.com. My recovery went into overdrive as I regained strength and work capacity. Seven years later, life has changed dramatically. I still have damaged nerves which cause loss of control and feeling in part of my leg and foot. Chronic pain, however, is a thing of the past. Weeks and months go by when I don’t think about my back damage at all. By most measures, my strength, fitness and ability to move is better than it ever was.

Lessons learned through return to movement

It is not necessary to have ever heard of “neutral spine” to understand its effects. When bending to reach for something, I would frequently lose control and—gasping in pain—fall, unless something was nearby to grab. Aside from feeling quite silly for causing all that drama, this loss of control was annoying. I learned to keep my back straight. Train to avoid movements that cause pain. CrossFit founder and coach Greg Glassman wrote a piece called “A Costly Biomechanical Fault: Muted Hip Function (MHF)” (CrossFit Journal, January 2003). This article and the accompanying illustration gave me a powerful insight into why some movements cause pain and how to train to avoid those movements. After absorbing the muted hip function article, I understood why the kettlebell training had helped and what further training might be useful. A five-stage approach can resolve back pain and malfunction. My understanding of neutral spine, spinal health, and proper hip function was given another boost in 2004. Dr. Stuart McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics and chair of the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, released a book titled Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance. Dr. McGill lays out a five-stage approach to resolving issues with back pain and malfunction: Stage 1. Develop and improve basic movement patterns, enhance neuro-muscular coordination and motor recruitment patterns. Stage 2. Build joint stability and whole body stability. Identify and correct areas of inadequate and/or excessive mobility. Stage 3. Increase cardiovascular endurance and specific muscle stamina. This will lay the foundation for development of strength and allow you to maintain proper movement patterns at all times. Stage 4. Build strength. This is not done by training muscles, but by training movements! Multi-joint movements executed by the body in 3D space without external support are a crucial training tool for developing “functional strength.” Gradually increasing the load and/or speed demands placed on the body during movement training allows development of strength-coordination as well as the proper timing and steering of strength. Stage 5. Develop power and agility. Dr. McGill’s guide to developing a healthy functional hip/spine structure is an excellent way to prepare for the high intensity which CrossFit workouts demand. These five stages are also the same progression Coach Glassman has recommended. The difference between training people with back trouble and healthy athletes is simply that the former require slower progress with an even more careful emphasis on excellent movement patterns at all times.

Recovered health and new performance benchmarks

At the time of this writing, my physical health and ability has recovered beyond anything I would have dared to hope. Careful, consistent practice has resulted in performances at age 46 that I didn’t have as a 25-year-old SEAL. A 2x bodyweight deadlift, 44 pull-ups, 9-minute Helen, 500 meters on the Concept II in 1:30—none of these feats are very noteworthy except that they would have seemed pure fantasy to me not very long ago. CrossFit trainers can use the knowledge from Coach Glassman’s articles on hip function, Dr. McGill’s Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance, and, I hope, from my experience to talk to potential clients who are afraid to exercise because of back problems. With safe exercise, and an understanding of what makes it safe, we have the tools to help people improve their own back health and enjoy life more.
belly fat

Best Belly Fat Burner For Men

If you are a male and if you have a bit of extra weight around the stomach area and you aren’t able to get it off through exercise, then you should try the best belly fat burner for men. This is the easiest and fastest ways to get rid of the additional weight while still being able to do what you want to do and enjoy your life. Here is everything that you need to know about this and what causes it along with the various ways to get rid of it.

What Are the Causes of Belly Fat?

There are so many ways that you can build up the extra weight around tummy area and you should be aware what they are. If you know what they are, then you would be able to avoid these in the future and even keep off the extra weight. Here are just 6 of the main causes, such as:

  1. Poor and unbalanced diet by eating sugary drinks and junk food
  2. Consumption of too may alcoholic beverages regularly
  3. Living an inactive lifestyle without sufficient amounts of exercise
  4. High levels of stress, which can release cortisol that can affect your metabolism
  5. Genetics that influence metabolism, genetics and even weight
  6. Low quality of sleep or not sufficient amounts of sleep

These are only a few of the main things that you need to think about and if you are dealing with any of these issues, then you need to consider how to fix it. Gaining weight can be something that you don’t see coming and it can hit you like a bag of bricks, but you should also ensure that you are aware of how to get rid of the fat in the tummy area.

How Men Can Get Rid of Belly Fat?

get rid belly fat

There are plenty of ways that you can get rid of the extra weight in the stomach area, including by trying out one of the best belly fat burner for men. There are, however, other ways that you can try to get rid of the extra weight in this area and some of the tips include:

  • Improvement in your diet – The first thing that you are going to want to try is improving the diet that you have on a daily basis. You should cut out all sugary foods as well as drinks and try to consume more vegetables and fruits, complex carbohydrates and even lean proteins.
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink – If you are drinking alcohol on a regular basis you should make sure that you are cutting back on how much you are having. This is just going to add to the sugar that you are consuming, so slowly cut back or stop drinking altogether.
  • Increase the exercise levels – You also need to be increasing the amount and style of exercise that you are doing on a daily basis. You should be undertaking both strength and aerobic exercises in order to lose the weight in the stomach area.
  • Stress reduction – Also, try to reduce the amount of stress that you are facing since this can release the hormones called cortisol that would increase your appetite. The more appetite you have, then the more you are going to eat and the more you would gain.
  • Sleep pattern – Another thing that you are going to want to consider doing is improving the pattern of sleep. You want to make sure that you are getting enough sleep, so go ahead and rest as much as possible.
  • Medication – There are also some medications that you can use that would help you to get rid of the weight where you don’t want it to be. You should make sure that you are talking to your doctor if you think this is an option and make sure that you are doing the required research about each and every drug before making a choice.

These are just a few of the main and more traditional ways that you can try to lose weight from the stomach area. However, these might not always work, which is when you are going to want to get the right medication for your needs and you need to know about the reviews and recommendations of each.

Best Belly Fat Burners for Men

There are plenty of fat burners that you can use when it comes to eliminating the weight around the tummy area if no other options are working. Here are a few reviews of the top ones that we have tried out, so keep reading to know more.

1. Instant Knockout

Instant Knockout

This fat burning supplement was created by Roar Ambition and it was originally created for professional boxers and MMA fighters. This option is supposed to help with the stubborn areas, increase your metabolism, reduce your hunger and increase the level of energy that you have. This works by first boosting your current metabolism rate so you can burn more stores and then reduces your appetite so you aren’t consuming as much and then fuels the energy you are using.

This is the best way that most people have found to lose the weight and it works like a charm and most people have lost around 5 kilograms in a short amount of time. However, there have been some reports from others that they haven’t achieved the same goal as others and that this fat burner didn’t work for them like it did for us.

2. Fast Burn Extreme

Fast Burn Extreme

This fat burning supplement improves libido, heart rate and energy levels by using natural and healthy ingredients that target the stored areas rather than keeping off the weight. This one can also help you with keeping your appetite in check and you can make sure that you aren’t eating more than is required and having a good exercise.

This is an extremely safe option that would work for anyone who is looking for a good way to lose weight. This can also replace your current diet plan if you are using it for a longer period of time. However, the only problem that most people have with this fat burner is that you can only purchase it directly for the brands online store rather than any other location.

3. PhenQ

phenq

This fat burner is a few supplements that have been merged into a single pill that helps with getting rid of the stores, suppresses and lowers your appetite, blocks the production of new fat and improves the energy levels. This will also help to improve your mood over time, which makes you happier and less stressed, which can also have an indirect affect on how much you lose or gain.

There are many ways that this weight loss supplement can help you over time and it will make your life healthier and you can find that you are becoming more and more active. However, the one problem with this pill is that you have to remember to take it 2 times daily, including in the morning as well as the afternoon, which can be problematic at the beginning.

4. Clenbutrol

clenbutrol

This is another entirely healthy option when it comes to fat burning supplements and you can use this when you want to increase your mental clarity and focus, have a faster burning process, higher energy levels and a suppressed appetite. It can also help when it comes to stimulating your metabolism and enhancing your performance levels and even increases your endurance and stamina.

This is a great option if you are looking for something that you can take within an hour or so before you are heading to the gym without having to worry about taking it at set intervals. However, this fat burner is extremely expensive and you can only purchase it from their official website, but it can be shipped anywhere all over the globe.

5. Nutrigo Lab Fat Burner

nutrigo lab fat burner

If you are looking for something that is a bit more price friendly, then this fat burner the best option and it has plenty of natural ingredients as well. It is designed to reduce the amount of weight that you are gaining along with suppressing any increase in appetite while improving your metabolism rate at the same time. This would also work even if you aren’t going to the gym daily, but it would require some lifestyle changes if you want it to work effectively.

This fat burning supplement is a great option since you would only need to remember to take the pills either after you have had your lunch or dinner. This is an easy to take dose, but it can be extremely pricey for just a month supply, but you can purchase it at various locations.

Which One to Choose?

Go ahead and make sure that you are looking at these reviews to decide which one of these supplements is going to be ideal for you. They all have different things that one would like about them, but for the majority they all increase your energy, help to keep your appetite under control and even help with increasing your metabolism. Think about which one is going to fit the way you are interested in losing weight as well as the price and much more.

What is a Fat Burner?

fat burning pills

When you are searching for the best belly fat burner for men you should make sure that you know what they are. These are a nutritional supplement that is supposed to help your body to increase the functions that are not up to par. This will help in increasing the amount of energy that you are getting and making sure that you aren’t getting as hungry as before, which means eating less and gaining less weight over time.

There are so many fat burners that work in different ways that you need to make sure that you are doing the research to decide which one is going to be ideal for you. You want to pick the one that will work in the way that you need it to work, including by suppressing your appetite or increasing the amount of energy you get. Go ahead and find the right one for your needs, including your budget and what your goals are.

What are the Benefits of Fat Burners?

If you are going to start taking some of the best fat burner for men supplements you should also make sure that you know what the benefits are. There are plenty that you should know about, including:

  • Reaching your goals faster – If you have some goals set for how much weight you want to lose by a certain time, then these supplements are going to help you get there.
  • Increased energy – Also, while you are consuming the supplements on a regular basis you are going to find out that you have more energy since the ingredients used are targeted towards increasing the energy for better exercise and general well-being.
  • Increased metabolism – Another advantage that you can enjoy is a higher metabolism rate, which means that your food is going to be digested, which means more calories would be burned during your workout and you won’t gain any extra weight.
  • Better performance during exercise – If you are getting the extra energy that comes from the supplement ingredients, then you are going to have a better performance during your workouts. You are going to be able to exercise for a longer period of time without getting tired, which means more calories are being burned.

These are only some of the top benefits that you should be aware of when it comes to taking these weight loss supplements, so go ahead and know what they are so that you can make the right decision for your body and your needs.

What Ingredients You Should Look For?

green tea herbs

There are going to be a wide variety of ingredients that you are going to be looking for when you are searching for the ideal and best belly fat burner for men. A few of the most common ingredients that you want to look for are:

  • Caffeine since it will help to increase the amount of energy you are getting and will make you feel alive and ready to go exercise
  • L-Carnitine is another great ingredient that you need to look for since this is one of the many amino acids that your kidneys and liver already makes. This helps to move the long chain of fatty acids into the mitochondria for the cells, which creates more energy.
  • Green tea is another great ingredient that you need to make sure you are looking for when it comes to the supplements you are taking. There are catechins in the green tea and this is well-known for burning the stubborn build ups.
  • 5-HTP has been shown to decrease the levels of food that you would need to feel full and it can also help with increasing the levels of seratonin and melatonin production in your body. This would help you with both stress levels and sleeping, which can help you to lose the weight too.
  • L-Tyrosine is another amino acid that creates noradrenaline and adrenline, which moves the stores and boosts your metabolism at the same time. This amino acid can help increase the thermogenesis levels, which is the process of burning calories and it can also lower your hunger cravings.

These are just a few of the main ingredients that you need to make sure that you are looking out for when you are looking for the fat burning supplements. Look at what each ingredient can do and make sure that you are picking the one that would meet the requirements and desires that you might have for your body and goals

Do Fat Burners Cause Any Side Effects?

Any fat burning supplement that you are going to take might have some side effects and you should make sure that you are aware of what they are before you start them. Due to the side effects you are going to want to talk to your doctor in advance or make sure that you talk to them if any of these ones occur, such as:

  • Increased and higher heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Diarrhoea
  • Problems sleeping
  • Agitation
  • Problems with the kidneys
  • Damage to the liver

These are only a few of the side effects that one should be aware of and these don’t always happen. However, if the more severe ones start to happen you should make sure that you are talking to your doctor immediately to get treatment.

Final Words

weight loss men

You can find a wide variety of fat burning supplements that will help you to lose the stubborn weight that you have collected around the stomach area. However, you should make sure that you are picking the right one that would fit your needs, including what you are trying to achieve along with the ingredients. You should also make sure that you are aware of how these work and what you can do when you take these properly as well as make the other adjustments that would be necessary to your lifestyle and diet.

training tips

Training Tips By Duncan Sailors

SHOES

“Take your running shoes off!”

If you’ve trained with me in either a class or an intro session you’ve no doubt heard me say this, which usually brings a confused look and two questions.

“Why should I take off my brand new $100 running shoes/cross trainers?”

And,

“What kind of shoes should I be wearing?”

I intend to answer both questions. And…..No, it’s not because I want to see if you can match your socks.

Contrary to what the athletic shoe salesperson might recommend: greater cushion, more support, and higher stability. I recommend a less is more approach. Running shoes are fine for the high impact activities they are designed for, but the cushy floating feeling they create can be troublesome in our training room, especially under heavy loads.

Essentially, you want to be able to make a positive nerve connection from your brain to your feet.

Being able to stabilize your body properly under load begins with your contact with the ground. If you are standing on a surface that feels unstable or squishy, you are less likely to feel comfortable performing exercises that require you to focus your weight in your heels while taking a heavy load through a big range of motion.

Furthermore, the modern running shoe/cross-trainer with a lot of heel cushion for “stability” puts the foot in a toe down/forward slant. This position tends to turn off the muscles in the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, and lumbar spine musculature), and transfers a large percentage of the work to the quadriceps (front of the legs). The posterior chain is the primary driver in strength building movements like back squat and deadlift and the source of explosive power in the clean and snatch. It is essential that the posterior chain stay active.

When asked what shoes I recommend, I tell people to look for a shoe that has a flat stable sole and a low heel with minimal cushion. Asics Tigers work well, and are worn by a number of Level 4 trainers. Merrell, New Balance, Brooks, and Inov-8 make minimalist running shoes that work well. Believe it or not, skateboarding shoes (with the laces tied) make excellent CrossFit shoes, as well as indoor soccer shoes like the Addias Samba. You could just kick it old school with a pair of Converse Chuck T’s. The Vibram Five fingers have become popular recently, and certainly have their place, but please don’t feel you have to go that minimal. For Olympic and Power lifting (Squat, Dealift, etc), there is no better shoe than a shoe for that purpose.

Remember: Flat sole. Low heel. Minimal cushion. Less is more.

HYDRATION

HYDRATE OR DIE!

I’m sure Camelbak sold a lot of hydration packs with this threat, but it’s not something too many of us need to be concerned about. Or is it?

  • Are you interested in having energy and feeling great?
  • Are you interested in performing well in the gym?

Living in Washington State, water is plentiful and abundant. But despite all this water, I would be willing to bet that most of you are not getting the water you need (75% by current statistics). Lack of proper hydration can cause a significant loss in performance, decrease metabolism, and affect many vital functions.

If we were to use the popular car analogy, you know, the one where if you were a car, food is the gas you put in your fuel tank, junk in equals junk out, that whole business. Well, water in your body is like the oil, anti-freeze, and windshield wiper fluid. Try driving your car without any of those things. No go!

So, if water serves a number of critical functions that are directly influential to your athletic goals, how do you make sure you’re getting enough? The common prescribed solution is to either drink eight 8oz glasses per day or drink when you are thirsty.

“But I do that, why do you think I’m dehydrated!”

Those recommendations are acceptable for a sedentary person in a controlled environment. Perhaps you work in such an environment, but you are not sedentary! You are a CrossFit Seattle athlete. Your fluid loss is greater, so your needs are greater. You require a better hydration plan.

1. Let’s begin by throwing out the 8 glasses of water idea, especially, if you have trouble counting your rounds during Cindy. Everybody has different requirements.

2. Get yourself a 32oz BPA free water bottle. Put water in it. Start drinking.

3. Take half your body weight in ounces. That’s how much water should go through your water bottle, into your body, everyday as a baseline. YES! That’s a lot of water. NO! I don’t care how much you have to pee. Remember, as your weight changes, so does your water requirements.

4. Now weight yourself before and after exercise. Add 16oz of water to your baseline per pound of body weight lost. Again, remember to recheck as your activity level, outdoor temperature, and environment change.

“But what about coffee, soda, tea, beer, wine…blah, blah, blah.”

NO! Doesn’t count. That stuff will put you in a deficit. Drink water.

“But plain water is booorrrrrrrrringgg.”

True. But do you notice how good you feel when you just drink water?

“Huh?”

Ok, I get it. Plain water can be boring. So here’s a tip.

In your 32oz water bottle put one Emergen-C packet, and one Nuun tablet with water and ice.

  • Emergen-C is a powder loaded with vitamins and minerals. It comes in a ton of different flavors. You can find it at any grocery store.
  • Nuun is an electrolyte supplement that comes in a tablet form, which dissolves in your water. It also comes in many flavors. I have seen it at QFC, but you can find it at REI or any bike shop.

Using both products together, you are getting vitamins and minerals, and electrolytes with your water. Both of which become very depleted during exercise. You could probably make Black Cherry (Emergen-C) Cola (nuun) if you wanted. I promise you, with this mixture you will suck your water right down, especially after a workout. Careful, it’s not an inexpensive drink.

One more thing.

Before you start chugging gallons of water, you should know about hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is caused by the dilution of sodium from excess amounts of water in your body. This is like hydration to the extreme. Drink too much water and DIE! Kidding aside, it really is a dangerous condition. But, like life threatening dehydration, probably not something to be concerned with in your daily life.

FREQUENCY

I often get asked the question from new people just starting on their Level 4 CrossFit journey,

“How many times per week should I come to the gym?”

My answer is always,

“As many times as you can recover from…”

What we’re talking about here is what’s known as frequency in the trainer world. Or, how many times you workout in a given amount of time. It’s commonly known that anything you do frequently you will get better at or adapt to, which is in essence change or a result. Any change for the better when it comes to health and fitness is a positive result.

So, more frequency, equals more positive results.

The frequency commonly known to crossfiters who follow the main site is a 3 days on, 1 day off schedule.

A few problems arise from a 3 on, 1 off frequency. The first and most obvious problem is that it does not fit well with a typical work week. The second problem with a 3 on, 1 off frequency is that it can be brutal on beginners without proper scaling. For beginners following a main site style frequency; 1 on, 3 off would be more appropriate, but you still have the 5 day work week issue to deal with.

Level 4 clients for the most part are working professionals, typically on a 5 on, 2 off work week. Level 4 programming is aligned with the standard work week and planned accordingly. With proper scaling, and thoughtful progression, a person could come in as many times as their schedule would allow, provided they were recovering from their workouts. To aid recovery, light/easy days, following hard/heavy days are programmed into the week.  And yes, (before I hear the collective whine) Level 2 programming also has both relatively easy, and really hard days.

I will usually recommend a beginner start with 2 days per week, with plenty of rest in between days. After a month or so, if you are recovering well from your workouts, add another day. Your goal should be to work up to at least 3 to 5 classes per week. When you work up to a frequency of 3 or more classes per week, your results will really start to present themselves.

Currently, if you are only at the 2 classes per week mark, it’s really important that you try to stay active outside the gym on your off days. This will help you recover from intense days in the gym, allowing you to increase your frequency.

With regard to a Level 2 client and above, your 5/3/1 strength cycle should determine your frequency. That’s not to say that you would needlessly skip a non-strength day, but in order to continue producing gains in that program, it’s imperative that you not miss critical lifting days in your cycle.

The next question from the new crossfiter is usually,

“How do I know if I’m recovered enough to workout again? When I’m not sore anymore?”

It is more than a matter of being sore. Being repeatedly sore the next day, or sometimes the second day, is common and expected at first. Being sore for more than 4 days or a week is either a recovery skills issue or a scaling problem.

By recovery skills I mean:

  • Are you eating enough (of the right foods) to fuel your frequency and intensity?
  • Are you getting adequate rest/sleep/downtime?
  • Are you stressed out with work/money/relationships?
  • Are you adequately hydrated?
  • Are you doing any mobility work?
  • Are you using recovery tools like the Mobility WOD, Yoga, foam rollers, lacrosse balls, jumpstretch bands, or ice?

“No”……. “Maybe”……. “Kinda”…….. “Sometimes”

The skills of recovery are the subject of another article entirely, my point here is that getting good at being able to recover quickly will allow you to increase your frequency, which will in turn get you the results you’re looking for.

Remember: Work smart, recover hard. Repeat. Frequently.

Senior woman having rehabilitation in gym

When put to the test, CrossFit training pays off in unexpected ways

Susie Davis has been a member of CrossFit Seattle for over six years. Maybe you’ve seen her around the gym. She’s tall, blond and energetic, and is ready for whatever the trainers throw at her.

She’s also 73 years old. Which is just part of the reason her tale of fighting off muggers in Argentina is so impressive.

Last year, she and a friend arrived in Buenos Aires, game for exploration. Her friend, Pat, is strong and fit—a yoga instructor—who’s two years Susie’s junior. The two of them spent one day with a guide, then the next day decided to set off on their own, walking about 2 miles to a lively neighborhood known as La Boca.

They were getting their bearings at a busy intersection when suddenly, Susie noticed a big guy, running in the crosswalk.

“I thought, I don’t know hat’s going to happen, but he’s coming at me,” she recalled.

A guy on a bike was heading towards Pat. And he had a gun.

“There was no time to think or anything,” Susie said.

When the man on foot grabbed Susie’s backpack, instinct took over. She just held on.

“I ended up on the ground,” she recalled. “He was wheeling me around and I was screaming my head off. I was kicking. I didn’t know where he was but I just kept trying to kick him.”

When the man on the bike approached Pat, she dropped her backpack.

“He got so excited he dropped and gun–and it was plastic,” Susie said.

The two men took off empty-handed, and a half-dozen women and children came to Susie and Pat’s aid, making a circle around them.

They were safe.

As Susie reflected on the incident, she realized a few things. Despite the falling and flailing, she wasn’t hurt. Despite the initial shock, there was no lasting trauma. And despite her age, she didn’t back down.

“I just thought, I’m a fighter. I feel fit and nobody’s going to mess with me.

“And that’s because I’ve been to CrossFit,” she said. “Dave talks about the fight-or-flight response, and how he was taught to respond almost without thinking. “

Susie is quick to say that it wasn’t strength, per se, that got her through this incident. It’s how strength plays into the way you see yourself, the way you see the world.

“The mental part is really important,” she said. “I feel confident.”

Last year, when she went to Tibet, she carried her own pack. That’s something she wouldn’t have done before. And she could whip it on and off her shoulders, no problem. She had neither the muscle nor flexibility to do that before. When she started, she couldn’t lift her arms over her head. She couldn’t squat. Now, she’s able to press and squat and lift like never before.

Susie’s son, who convinced her to see Dave in the first place, has made her a promise: if she deadlifts her bodyweight, he’ll throw her a party.

The festivities are imminent.

food endurance

Eating For Endurance

In everyday life, eating is easy–too easy. We overeat. We eat mindlessly. We eat poorly, yet we still muddle through our day reasonably well.

But if you’re interested in doing an endurance event–like a marathon, a 50-miler, an Iron Man or riding a century–muddling through isn’t going to work so well. Turns out something as simple as getting enough calories becomes a lot harder when you’re pushing your body for longer than a couple of hours.

As a Registered Dietitian with a Masters degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University, trainer Jess Mullen has thought about this more than most. As an ultrarunner, recently returned from a successful 135-mile race at Badwater, she’s learned how to put it into practice.

The first thing to know, she says, is that nutrition is part of a good training plan. And like the rest of your training, you need to start thinking about this long before race day.

Start with some basic math, she says.

About how many calories will you expend? Depending on your size and other factors, figure on burning upwards of 500 calories an hour.

Then think about how much you’re taking in. A gel? That’s about 100 calories. A sports drink? That’s about 200.

Now subtract. After a few hours, you’re bound to be well into the negative. The longer the event, the bigger the deficit.

While you may be tempted to see this as an opportunity to shed some excess pounds, this is not the time to diet, Jess says. When you’re pushing your body, you’ve got to keep eating and drinking or you could wind up not finishing your race—or worse, in the hospital with dehydration.

Not to say it’s easy. While you may burn 500 calories an hour, you can’t eat that much. Your body just won’t digest it when you’re in endurance mode.

Jess suggests having a goal. For most people, that means taking in 150-300 calories per hour.

“And eat frequently,” she says. “It’s easier on the body to have 100 calories two times an hour rather than 200 calories all at once. “

To some people, the very thought of eating while running is nauseating.  Eat anyway, Jess says.

“In really long events if you can’t eat when you’re nauseous, you’re not going to finish the race,” she says.

In fact, feeling nauseated can actually be a sign you’re low on calories or salt.

“Most people underestimate how much they can tolerate and it’s like a death walk at the end,” she says. “That’s what they call hitting the wall.”

So what do you eat? Jess is ordinarily a big proponent of Paleo eating. But not on race day.

“When I perform athletically, I like to be a competitive as possible,” she says. A Paleo diet isn’t going to provide the type of calories–the carbs–you need during endurance events. Not only that, all that protein is tough to digest.

In normal life, her sugar comes from fruit. Not when she’s running an ultrarace.

“You have to be careful because it can cause stomach upset,” she says.

Instead, Jess turns to things like Rice Krispee Treats or potatoes.  Even candy, like Gummi’s. And gels like Gu or Clif Shots have become a staple. They’re quick, portable, and easy to digest.

In events that will last more than four hours or so, she says you need to supplement that sugar with small amounts of fat and protein, too.

The most important thing to do is experiment beforehand, during training. See what you can stomach, and how much.

“What you’re trying to find is what range works for you, where you can maximize the calories you can take in,” she says.

You’ve also got to think about your fluid intake during long events. Shoot for 15 ounces an hour, she says, more if it’s hot. And while plain water is good, you’re also going to need to replenish the salt and electrolytes that you’re losing to sweat. Try V-8.  Broth. Sports drinks. Even salt tablets. See how you feel. See how much you’re peeing. See whether you still have energy towards the finish line.

And when you’re done with the race, she says, the best thing you can do is return to a healthy diet. A Paleo diet.

Is Drinking Alcohol Sabotaging Your Workouts?

What I’m about to say shouldn’t come as a shock: Alcohol and fitness do not mix. Common sense would lead you to know this, but you might not realize to just how much of an extent the two are incompatible.

It’s not a question of only drinking certain types of alcohol or alcoholic beverages; it’s not a question of only drinking at certain times, or only drinking a certain number of times per week, or volume of alcohol; if you’re trying to build muscle and burn fat, you shouldn’t drink at all. With the exception of one or two beers or glasses of wine per month, no alcohol should touch your lips if you have fitness goals.

Motivation

Before I even get into all the health stuff, let me just talk about motivation for a minute. Working out and getting results takes discipline. It’s not always fun and some days you aren’t going to want to do it, but if you want good results, you just have to make yourself do it.

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I know from personal experience how much alcohol gets in the way of this. When you’re hung over, the very last thing on your mind is exercise. There are no easier times to blow things off than when you’re drunk or hung over. Just keep that in mind.

Dehydration

Alcohol is a diuretic – a substance that flushes fluids out of your body. The more alcohol you drink, the more dehydrated you become. You need to drink at least one glass of water to replace the water lost from every alcoholic beverage you drink.

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Your muscles thrive on water. They need it to grow and repair themselves. Being dehydrated is one of the easiest ways to sabotage your workout program.

Alcohol is Poison

Rarely do we refer to alcohol as what it really is: poison. Literally. Alcohol is a toxin and your body treats it as such. It treats it like poison. This should just be common sense. You don’t need a doctor or a medical journal to know that putting poison in your body is one of the worst things you can do, whether you’re an athlete or not.

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Estrogen Dominance

Testosterone plays an important roll in muscle growth. Alcohol not only reduces your testosterone levels, it increases your estrogen levels. Obviously, men should be concerned about this, but so should women. If you’re a woman with estrogen dominance – an abnormally high level of estrogen – you should not drink.

Human Growth Hormone

Human growth hormone (HGH) also plays a vital roll in muscle development. That’s why many athletes (illegally) take HGH supplements – to get bigger and stronger with less effort. Alcohol can suppress the production of HGH by as much as 70%.

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Alcohol is Catabolic

Catabolism is the opposite of anabolism. When your body is in an anabolic state, it is repairing and growing muscle tissue, making your muscles bigger and stronger. When your body is in a catabolic state, it is atrophying muscle tissue, make your muscles smaller and weaker.

Alcohol eats muscle. If you want to throw money and time down the drain, go spend your hard earned cash on protein powder and a gym membership, and then go out drinking.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re drinking a few drinks every day, ever other day, or binging on the weekends, you’re erasing your workouts. Say you workout hard Monday through Friday, and then Saturday night you go out and drink enough to leave you with a hangover on Sunday… you virtually erased any and all gains you made that week.

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Beat the Heat With Easy, 20 Minute Summer Workouts

There really is nothing better than busting out a workout in the summer heat. Living in Austin, TX, however, I have to pick my spots and workout accordingly. If I’m not able to get my workout done early in the day or later on in the evening, I know I’m going to have to scale it down in the unrelenting sun and go with one of my easier workouts.

My first easy summer workout starts off with the typical five minute warm up jog and stretch. Next is a five minute jump roping session, which provides for a low impact and low demand workout. Jump roping is a great way to work your arms, butt, and quick twitch muscles in your legs while also providing a great cardiovascular workout.

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Next I target my core with an intense ab regimen. I start off with planks for one minute, then leg scissors for 1 minute, a minute of bicycle crunches, the Jack Knife for one minute and I finish with the Russian Twist. During the ab portion, I never take a break; I just want to rip my abs up as best as possible and go seamlessly from one exercise to the next.

The last five minutes I work on my upper and lower body, combining push-ups with burpees (or squat thrusts), by alternating between the two, ten at a time. I do this until I hit the wall or the 20 minute mark. This circuit training type of work out is easy to do in the summer heat, but still packs a punch.

Workout #1:

5 Mins – Warm up

5 Mins – Jump Rope

1 Min – Planks

1 Min – Scissors

1 Min – Bicycle Crunches

1 Min – Jack Knife

1 Min – Russian Twist

5 Mins – Push-ups/Burpees (Alternating 10x each)

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My other easy workout is an ode to my childhood. Again, I start off with the five minute warm up. The next block is a five minute hula-hoop session. I know what you’re saying, but hula-hooping is a fantastic ab work out and is a fun way to work out in 100-plus degree weather, especially if you have kids.

My upper body is up next, I start off with 30 seconds of push-up claps followed by 30 seconds of regular push-ups. I then use extremely light dumbbells and do lateral raises for the next 30 seconds. I repeat these three exercises again two more times. The last part of the workout, I use dumbbells and knock out some lunges to give the lower body some love too, performing them slowly and draining the clock with every step.

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All of these exercises are simple to perform and won’t overheat you in the summer as long as you stay hydrated.

Workout #2:

5 Mins – Warm up

5 Mins – Hula-hoop

30 Sec – Push-up claps (x3)

30 Sec – Push-ups (x3)

30 Sec – Lateral Raises (x3)

5 ½ Mins – Lunges

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Intensify Workouts With Creative Pushups

Pushups are a classic exercise that targets the arms, chest and shoulders. No special equipment is needed for this bodyweight workout and pushups can be performed virtually anywhere. Although effective, pushups can sometimes get monotonous and boring. Creative pushups make upper body workouts more fun and challenging.

Scorpion Pushups

Scorpion pushups may look a little strange but this exercise is an intense upper body workout. The exercise is performed by getting into pushup position and lifting one foot off the floor. The goal is to bring that foot across the back toward the opposite shoulder as the pushup is performed.

The feet should be switched with each repetition. This “scorpion” position increases the workload on one arm at a time. This exercise can also build strength for the eventual performance of one-handed pushups.

Diamond Pushups

Diamond pushups are a particularly effective exercise for developing the triceps. This exercise is performed by putting the hands together in a diamond shape on the floor. The tips of the forefingers should touch and the tips of the thumbs should touch.

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While doing this type of pushup, the diamond shape should be lined up directly below the chest. The elbows should be kept in and not flail outward.

Partner Pushups

Training with a partner often adds fun and motivation to a workout. A variety of types of pushups can be performed with a partner. For example, training partners can slap hands while practicing this exercise.

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This workout is executed by both partners getting into pushup position across from each other. After a repetition is completed, the training buddies lift their right hands off the floor and slap their hands together. Upon the completion of the next pushup, the left hands are slapped together. This routine motivates both partners to complete their pushups.

Elevated Pushups

Elevated pushups are performed by getting into pushup position and elevating the feet. For example, the feet can be placed on a small step, a couch or a exercise ball. The workload placed on the upper body increases with the increase in elevation of the feet.

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The intensity of a pushup is decreased if the hands are elevated. For beginners, pushups can be performed against a wall while standing.

Plyometric Pushups

Plyometric pushups are an extremely challenging version of this exercise. These pushups are performed by pushing the hands and upper body up into the air during each repetition.

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A quick clap of the hands is typically performed before returning the hands to the floor. The difficulty of this exercise is increased by pushing the entire body into the air, including the feet.