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Ted Dreaver

WARNING: Cocaine (Stimulants) and Exercise don’t mix well

“Supplementing your supplements”

2 years ago I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman named…oh, let’s call him Tim! Tim was an Airline pilot. He traveled all over the world flying private and commercial flights, enjoying elaborate parties with some high end clients now and then. One afternoon(4p.m.) Tim got involved with a pretty nasty workout involving Thrusters, Burpees, and Toes-To-Bar; immediately after he had arrived from a prior flight around 10 that morning.

The volume was pretty high, but not uncommon for his level of fitness.

He pushed through the workout; squeezing out every rep he could. He was walking around and talking normally right after the workout ended, but obviously taxed from the training and showing no real signs of overtraining. After being at home for several hours, he started developing severe cramping, his urine was the color of Coca-Cola, and he was feverish. Tim was experiencing the onset of Rhabdomyolysis.

3 weeks later he came walking back in to the gym for his next workout. Because I saw him so infrequently, I waddled on over and asked how life had been; flying, exercise, the ladies..you know, normal gym talk. 🙂 Tim proceeded to tell me about his 7 day stint in the hospital recovering from Rhabdomyolysis. I was shocked that he had not mentioned it before, seeing as our training staff at the time may have been able to at least come visit him at the hospital. After all, we did this….right? Our irresponsible programming almost killed this guy…right? WRONG!!

Tim neglected to disclose that he had been involved in an “epic party sesh” with some clients. His drug of choice; Cocaine, and not a small amount!

The reason he didn’t tell us about the case is because, and I quote: ” I was stupid and did not realize the implications that such actions would have. It was completely my fault, as I chose not to tell anyone about the use, in fear of judgement.” How modest.

That was two years ago, but important. As a fitness professional, part of our job is to keep you safe. As a student/client/athlete part your job is to inform your trainer of anything that could be affecting performance; even drug use. It’s tough to talk about, but we need to know everything you are taking…EVERYTHING. Even if you don’t like disclosing that information, it could keep you from DYING ONE DAY!! Seriously….

Because this topic was brought up the other morning, I figured I would post this warning about stimulant (not over the counter) use and exercise.

“Cathinone use can also cause rhabdomyolysis, which is a melting of the muscle tissue and the release of muscle fibers into the blood stream. This can lead to kidney failure and result in a user needing permanent dialysis.”

(That’s without adding exercise!)

If you did not study chemistry…..do not try and practice it on yourself; especially during an intense exercise routine. Some of you guys and gals are starting to get deep down the Rabbit Hole in exercise supplementation and it’s looking scary.

Most of you have some sort of pre-workout supplement that has about 30 different chemical names on the back; 3 of which you can identify. That’s a problem! What is the other stuff in their doing?

For one, it could be actually hindering your progress. Especially if you are not eating properly to facilitate the necessary recovery of certain chemicals in the body. Your kidneys might be wasting precious time filtering out a bunch of garbage that you do not need to take. You may also be sprinting down the road to overtraining. Not overtraining from too much exercise, but depletion of proper nutrients. Remember overtraining encompasses several factors; Nutrition, whether it’s too much or too little; sleep; and daily activity(read exercise).

It is crucial that we have a better understanding about what’s going on with our body, and how to exercise and eat properly.

Take supplementation seriously – talk to a coach about what you are using. Not a “sales guy” at the McVitamin store.

Be smart about what you put in your body.

  • Coach Jason Philyaw

CrossFit and Intensity – When and How to Scale Properly

Whether you are new to the CrossFit or general fitness scene – or an OG athlete, there will be times when scaling a workout may be the right thing to do in the pursuit of your goals.

Here is a great way to “scale” your work for success!

Regulating your Volume and Intensity:

On Volume:

As beginners we all tend to be very mindful of coaching, and listen to every minute detail regarding each exercise that is placed before us on a daily basis. We try and soak up every bit of information on proper technique, breathing correctly, and mobility issues that may be hindering us from correct movement.

 

Congrats to those of you who fit in this category, you will lift safely for a long time; but you may never get as far as you could by LOGGING your workouts down on paper -or even an app.

 

Proper logging requires that you note warm-up sets and reps; weight you used; belts or strap usage on a movement; nutrition for that day; perhaps even logging the mood you were in, or even the song you played(I know..lame), during your workout.

 

This doesn’t mean for Olympic lifting Classes only, but for your Crossfit Workouts as well. It’s an easy way to determine if you should go for that “100 pull-up” workout or not; you know, the one that has everyone walking like a T-rex for a few days…

 

Example:

Workout: 100 Pull ups

100 Push ups

100 Situps

100 Air squats

 

If you’re logging properly, and this workout shows up on your whiteboard, it might be a good idea to take a glance back and see what your last pull up intensive workout was. If you look back and see that you have only ever completed 50 pull ups in a workout…EVER, then most trainers might recommend that you try and go for 60 reps; hell lets even say 75 reps, just to push it a bit.

 

This can keep you from an potential overuse injury, that can set your training back by weeks, if not months. Don’t even THINK of scaling to 100 reps of Rack Rows, because the issue is still the same; total overall volume of the workout. Even 100 Rack rows might get you those nasty, sticky, bicep and forearms; especially when coupled with 100 push ups.

 

For weightlifting, it’s no different. You can log your total Volume during a workout and see how many pounds you’ve actually managed to move around in a given training session. This is a great way to regulate intensity, especially while training sick, or nursing an acute injury.

 

If a workout required you to squat for 4 reps x 4 sets @ “X” weight, but you’re feeling great; you may not need to add anymore weight, but maybe just another set…heck, maybe just a set of 2 extra reps. Thereby increasing Volume.

 

It’s the little battles that help you win the War. You don’t need to add 30 pounds and go for 4 more reps, just enough to stimulate the body so there is no accommodation. This also means Volume can be increased by heavier warm-up sets. It’s a small change, but it’s still a change.

 

This should be especially important to you Crossfit Individuals, as most people tend to cater their warmup with higher skill movements, and push the volume up that way. This way their WODs can stay regulated, and more focused on weaknesses, or strengths.

 

Example:

“General CF Warmup”

400m Run or 500m Row

30s x Samson Stretch

10 x Air Squats

10 x Pull ups

10 x Situps

10 x Push ups

 

Could be:

 

“Skill Transfer Warmup”

400m Run

5/leg x Overhead Walking Lunge w/ Plate (45/25)

10 x C2B Pull Ups

10 x Russian KB Swings (70/53)

10 x Wall Balls(30/20)

10 x GHD Situps

10 x GHD Hip ext.

 

This is a very general idea, but you could always seek the advice of a coach to help you fine tune your warmup. They don’t have to have as many reps as your previous warmup progression, because you are adding difficulty.

 

Some athletes love bringing up weaknesses through their warm-ups. Muscle Ups, Strict Pull ups, and Strict Toe-2-Bar; are examples of Skill movements that could be thrown in to your warm-up, to help increase strength before you start kipping around like a monkey having a seizure. Websites like Gymnasticswod.com have great strength progressions that could act as a warm-up before your WOD’s. Obviously, you want to consult a coach first.

 

On Intensity:

Sometimes you can walk into the gym feeling amazing, with no real pain or stiffness to speak of, and a full 8 hours of beauty sleep under your belt. Unfortunately, even that will not be enough to FULLY recover from a previous days training; say after a 1RM for instance.

 

There are several ways you can check yourself, before you wreck yourself – I really love the Vertical Jump test, after a warm up, to see how the central nervous system is firing. Find a “target” in your gym so you can test the height of your jump. It doesn’t have to be every day, but maybe those special days where everything just hurts, and your joints feel like they are bonded together with super glue.

 

Jump to your previous target and see how close you get. If you’re within an inch, or you’ve jumped higher, then it may be a good day to keep the intensity level up in the workout. If you jump 6 inches lower, it might be a sign to reduce the intensity.

 

This can be done several ways, typically by reducing the load you are working with in any given workout. It could also mean taking longer rest periods between sets, or even turning a Crossfit workout that is “For Time”, into an Interval workout.

 

Example:

5 Rounds for time:

5 x Hang Power Clean

10 x Handstand Pushups

400m Run

 

…could be changed by stopping after the round, and resting the exact amount of time it takes you to complete each round. This would give you a work-to-rest ratio of 1:1, allowing you to recover more adequately between efforts.

 

Intensity could also be reduced by changing high skill movements, such as HSPU’s, into their less coordinated counterparts, DB Presses or BB presses; changing the speed at which you run; and even modifying Hang Power Clean to an RDL, or Deadlift.

.

Reducing Volume also helps with keeping intensity low, but if you’re looking to keep your conditioning level up, try and keep sets and reps as is, and work on reducing weight.

 

Make sure you consult a coach before adjusting your own intensity in a workout. It may be true that a coach wants to really push you through some mental barriers, especially if you tend to shy away from more intense workouts; so please, don’t just give yourself an excuse to be soft:)

 

I hope this helps! Keep training hard and I’ll see you in the gym!

 

-Coach Jason

If you have been a member of a gym or sports team for longer than a few weeks, you know what it means to be sore the following day. The experienced athlete has a general idea of how sore they will be following a particular workout, where as the novice athlete is caught completely off guard by their inability to sit on the toilet the next day.

 

This is a normal process and even a healthy one believe it or not. The next day sore you feel is often referred to as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) in fitness circles. DOMS is an important biological response to the stress of exercise.

During an intense workout, the repetitive contraction of muscles under load creates small microscopic tears in the fibers that make up our muscles. Lots of little microscopic tears sounds like a bad thing! In reality it is the only way for our muscles to elicit a growth response. In order to grow bigger more resilient muscle tissues, we must first show the body that our previous level of strength was not totally sufficient.

 

This micro damage dealt during your workout provides signals to the body to begin the repair process. The exact reason for DOMS is unknown but many speculate that it is there to act as a warning to our body not to stress the same tissues to the same intensity. If we don’t allow our bodies to repair the damage done in the gym then the build up of waste and microtrauma can accumulate and cause more issues down the road.

DOMS is our bodies built in recovery reminder. Without it, we would continue to push ourselves harder and harder each day until the result was an injury or mental burnout. The body does a good job of moderating our intensity, for a little while.

 

As our training experience increases, the amount of work necessary to cause soreness the next day also increases! The novice athlete of only 4 months will continue to be sore after each new day of stimulus where as the veteran of 4 years may train an entire week straight and never experience that pain signal from the body.

Once we adapt to the stimulus of training everyday, the signal to take some time off comes in a different form and is subtle until enough training damage has accumulated, then the effects can be very noticeable and sometimes harmful to the athlete. Over training, the term used to describe training beyond what ones body is able to recover from, is an easy trap to fall into and it can begin to affect much more than just your ability to sit on the toilet the next day.

 

While over training can leave you feeling sore, it usually will begin to manifest in the experienced athlete as decreased subjective strength, poor performance, low energy, low sex drive, or prolonged aches and pains. If left unaddressed for a significant amount of time the athletes likelihood of injury sky rockets.

All of this to say, your body needs to REST. It needs time away from the stresses of life in order to rebuild and replenish it’s stores. How and when do we provide our bodies with adequate rest?

How to properly recover:
  

Recovery is going to look a little different for everyone but it takes on the same basic principles. Without diving too deep into the weeds, here are Iron Legion’s recommended recovery strategies.

75/25- For someone who has been in the sport of crossfit for an extended period of time, they should be breaking their training week up by spending 75% of their days training and 25% of them recovering. This would simply be a 3 days on 1 day off approach to the training week. For beginner athletes this number may need to look more like 50/50 until their bodies begin to adapt to these new changes.


Sleep- If you take one thing away from this paper, let it be this. Sleep is the most important variable when it comes to healing your body. All of the body’s major recovery mechanisms are either turned on for the first time or hiked up to another level when you fall asleep and stay asleep. Our bodies produce hormones like HGH and testosterone when we sleep. Our brain washes away harmful wastes that contribute to the development of Alzheimer Disease when we sleep. Damaged muscle fibers are repaired and enhanced while we sleep. The definition of recovery should be: “Sleeping a lot! And then some other stuff.”


Low Intensity Movement- On those days when you aren’t going to the gym (Every 4th day or 25% of the week), the best way to prepare your body to come back to training is to continue moving. A rest day does not imply no activity. On the contrary. Adequate rest for your body would come in the form of exercising those same exact muscle groups that were trained during the week. The only difference is, this activity needs to happen at a very LOW INTENSITY.

 

Examples of low intensity exercise include yoga, walking/jogging, swimming, biking, hiking, playing a recreational sport, or even a body weight workout done with no timer and no sense of urgency. Active recovery should keep you moving but the goal is not to exhaust yourself, merely to stimulate the body’s repair processes!


Nutrition- Everything we eat is either used to create new cells and structures in the body or to fuel old ones. This is especially true in the window of time following a workout. As soon as you finish training your bodies repair mechanisms jump into action and they will be in action for the next 12-24 hours.

 

Anything you eat in that time you can pretty much guarantee will be used to replenish used energy or literally become the tissues we just broke down. With that being said, after you workout, do you want a small percentage of you becoming fried chicken and macaroni? Or would you feel more comfortable knowing you just replaced some muscle tissue with steak and broccoli? The food you put into your body following training is so important in ensuring you recover well. Make smart choices.


Limit Stress- Maybe you are so exhausted that the only thing this recovery day is going to entail is watching netflix in bed. That is ok too. The main component of recovery is just an absence of stress on the body.

 

If doing the above things seems like you are still training and might as well just be at the gym, then do whatever is going to make you feel fulfilled and happy. Our body needs to be in a parasympathetic state in order to repair itself.

 

If your idea of a rest day is spent working 12 hours at a desk job getting yelled at by your boss –  Sure, you aren’t training, but there is no way your body is going to be able to relax enough to elicit a repair response in a stressful situation like that!

 

Sometimes its good to get out of the gym, spend some time outside, sleep well, keep moving, eat high quality food, and relax! Think of it as charging your batteries for your next “all out” training session!

 

Coach Alex Ford

Weight loss using CrossFit is entirely possible!

Tune in as we interview Lakisha Carpenter and talk about how she used our methodologies at CrossFit Iron Legion to lose over 100 pounds! Lakisha takes the time to talk about her struggles with her weight loss in the past, as well as what happened in her life to push her to make the changes she so desperately needed to make for her own health and wellness.

She discusses learning how to prioritize herself and her health and in doing so she wants to be a better role model and example as a mother for her children to follow as they grow up. What better role model can a child have than their mother? Its so important for us to show the way.

Aligning herself with CrossFit Iron Legion and our programs on how to lose weight she found success and support she’d never had before. Here in Ocala, Florida she found a team of people that encouraged her, supported her and kept her on track as she took each step towards her goal.

That team wasn’t only the staff of coaches at CrossFit Iron Legion – but an entire community of people holding each other accountable and set on living life at a higher standard. Our community wants what you want – for you to reach your goals in fitness and in health!

Staying connected these days is pretty easy. A quick check of our phone gives us access to numerous social channels that help us stay connected to friends, family and the brands we love. We can stay up to date by the minute on our favorite sports team, companies, topics – whatever we are into, we can get access to it.

 

This smartphone world we live in is actually kind of amazing. Having the amount of access we have is staggering, but it can also hurt our abilities for growth if we are not careful. It becomes so addicting to have instant access to info, to instantly respond, to feel like we are engaging and getting stuff done – when actually we are really face-down in a phone, ignoring the world that’s right in front of us.

 

I do a lot of work on my social media channels, and I do my best to stay on task. It’s a challenge sometimes – i can’t tell you how many times I head down a rabbit hole on something and an hour later I pick my head up and am amazed and annoyed at how relentlessly I pursued some meaningless something or another.

 

These smartphones and the information that is available can very easily steal so many real moments from you.The little stuff, the stuff that matters. While these phones can provide you every answer – they are also a huge source of anxiety and stress and if not properly managed, can lead to depression and more.

 

Let’s get this straight before we continue: I get the irony that you are reading this on a social feed somehow – I’m not telling you to “stop”, only suggesting that we all need to find a balance with this new addition to our lives that’s only growing stronger.

 

I’ve always made conscious efforts to do things from time to time that require the phone to be turned off – or go to areas where it doesn’t work at all. Leaving the phone off as I have morning coffee with a book, or an occasional afternoon offshore fishing trip where the phone can’t find a signal – these short times have always been enough to balance out the stress.

 

Lately, however I took a week to go to the my family’s hunting Camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Our camp is pretty remote and the trip to get there is an adventure by itself. Once you are there – real life begins.

 

Life without electricity. Life without running water. No plumbing. And yep – you guessed it, no phone service or wifi.

 

All that and a foot of snow on the ground and 2 degree lows. Life gets pretty real up there.

 

The sense of calm I felt when we got  there was familiar. I’d felt it before on my quick afternoon trips without being connected. It was a couple days in when it really started to settle in.

 

I stopped looking for my phone. I stopped waiting for the dings, or grabbing for it to kill the time. After a couple days I had completely forgot about its capabilities and started calling it my “expensive camera”.

 

I lived in the moment. I connected with the hunt, with my family, my surroundings. I got into it 100%. And I loved it.

 

When I got back to the Detroit Airport for the flight home is when I knew it had really affected me this time. Airport bartender looked dead at me and said – “you’ve been in the woods for a while haven’t you?” To that all I could say was “yes ma’am – I’ve been hunting for the better portion of  week”.

 

She replied – “You don’t have that nervous, twitchy, anxious, hustle and bustle that all these other travelers have – my brother was hunter, he would come home with that look too after a week in the woods”.

 

“Maam – I’ll take that as a compliment”.

 

“You should”.

 

I came home refreshed and reset. It was like a switch went off and my primal self got to run shit for a while. I feel like that’s important.

 

It’s very important if we want to live in this new world, with this new technology. Sometimes you are going to have to shut it off and reconnect. Reconnect to your base self – your primal self. Strip away the trappings of society and just be in the moment.

 

I don’t think you have to travel to do it – but it sure makes it more interesting.

 

This technology isn’t going away – as much as some of us would like it to. Finding a way to always use it to your advantage – and not let it control you is key to a better future. Turning it all off works for me – I hope you get an opportunity to see if it works for you too.

Halloween and Thanksgiving just rolled by – like a steam roller to our fitness goals. It’s typically this week right here – the week after Thanksgiving where that voice in your head starts getting louder.

 

And it’s getting easier to listen – the kids are on and off school, work is crazy chaotic this time of year, gift buying, relatives coming, family travels- it all gets out of control.

 

“Let’s just wait until all of this commotion is over”.

 

“Let’s just wait until January”.

 

And guess what? I actually feel the same way. That voice is in my head too. And let me tell you – it’s been making a lot of sense lately. So much so that I’ve been feeling sluggish, lazy. It’s a natural response to being off my schedule – out of routine, and prioritizing holidays over my goals.

 

I decided to reign it in. Yesterday. I didn’t work this hard to get here to let it slip.

 

Like anything in life – fitness is literally a game of numbers. Inches, pounds – numbers. If you are like most – and decide to stall your fitness until January you will be going backwards.

 

It’s nice to think you’ll just “maintain” by staying “busy” or “working out at home” – but, let’s face it. That doesn’t happen.

 

Here’s a pretty typical example – If you decided to pause your goals before Thanksgiving – let’s say November 20th, and not start back until January 7th – thats a 49 day pause on your goals.

 

During those 49 days – you will be off your schedule, eating poorly, sleeping irregularly, gaining weight and inches and generally sliding backwards. Kinda like those last 10 days…

 

Now. I’m not sitting here telling you to ignore your holidays. I am – however,  going to hit you with the common sense stick though.

 

This week isn’t a holiday week. Neither are the next 27 days. 27 of those 49 days we talked about are more than half of the “holiday season” – that are actually not the holiday season.

 

Consider those 27 days (or less based on when you are reading this) your holiday safety net. If you’ve gained a little over Thanksgiving, get it under control over the next few weeks before the next big event. Remember – it’s a numbers game. When you carry or add inches / pounds over the next few weeks, January is going to be tough.

 

If you maintain – and better yet, lose over the next few weeks – you will be setting yourself up for a pretty amazing January. Not to mention you will feel better from December 24th thru the New Year as well.

 

Let’s look at these next few weeks differently this year. Lets buckle down and focus on getting in some gym time and making some good nutritional choices. Prioritize your health from now until December 24th at a minimum. It will make a difference on the rest of the year – and set you up to crush 2019.

 

And remember – you can always swing by and chat with us at Iron Legion. We get it. Holidays are tough. We are going to make it as easy as we can for you. Ask us about our FREE Travel Workout Guide or take advantage of our FREE 10 Day Gym Pass.

 

Believe it or not – it’s not too late.  We love finding ways for you to stay on track – give us a call, shoot us an email, or swing by and chat with any of our Staff. We want you to be prepared for January!!

We all see a these memes around that do a great job of making you feel like shit if you aren’t fit. So many actually that it becomes an unconscious rebellion and rejection of even attempting to try.

 

Let me put it this way. That shit bugs me too.

 

I get it – life is extremely fast paced these days for most of us. Those smug little fitness memes aren’t encouraging me to hit a gym anytime soon. And here’s why:

 

I think we all actually know that being healthy is probably a pretty good idea, but we also know – deep down inside, that it’s going to take some work. A lot of work. And work takes time. And time – we only have so much of.

 

Our time is precious. Our work and our families are important – and paramount to how we conduct ourselves each day. We also know that our work and our families need us to be healthy to stay on top and be able to provide 100% to both.

 

That said – carving time away from those two priorities can be disastrous if its done wrong. It can be risky choosing a fitness gym or program these days. There are so many. And some of them are just straight up garbage – chock full of gimmicks and marketing flash. Or just outright boring.

 

We get that. Our time is valuable too. We have kids, we work with people who have the craziest of schedules and we understand that their time is so valuable. We do not take that lightly.

 

We have created a team of coaches and an assortment of programs here at Iron Legion designed specifically to give you not only the best value for your hard earned dollar – but the best value for your TIME.

 

We have coaches here that can train athletes at any level in their fitness journey. They recognize human movement and potential through not only the various certifications they have – but through hours and years of working with athletes and folks just like you. Our coaches come from all walks of fitness and love what they do.

 

So what?

 

How does it pertain to you?

 

Your TIME.

 

There are no shortcuts – we do believe this needs to embraced before starting any fitness program. But have you ever heard the phrase “if you’re gonna be dumb you better be tough”? That applies here. Choosing a fitness program based on convenience and price – is dumb.

And a dumb choice is time consuming. And it’s frustrating. It sends you back to that mistrustful circle of maybe someday you’ll try to get healthy. All the while eating up your TIME.

 

If you value your time and respect commitment, you’ve come to the right place.

 

Our members see results faster here because our coaches know what works, and what doesn’t. We see members begin fixing imbalances and start moving correctly more and more each day. And each day builds on the next.

 

Members progress faster here than they do anywhere under the careful guidance of our coaches. And it’s not just because of our coaches. It’s also our members. Surrounding yourself with people who actually move well helps YOU move better. Sooner. Safer.

 

This even applies to outside personal trainers that work in our facility. We rented some time to a local trainer here that brought their own clients. It was interesting to watch the quick progression of what started out as, lets just say – “hard to watch”, and the evolution of his program as he spent time around our members and coaches. His clients are moving so much better these days – and kudos to that trainer for raising the bar to meet our level of coaching for his clients.

 

Our community has that kind of impact. An impact so valuable when time is so important.

 

Your time is valuable to you. I’m not about to try and force goofy fitness memes or flashy gimmicks on you. I just want to introduce you to a place where we take your time seriously. A place where you can get to your goals just as aggressively as you can commit to them.

 

Surround yourself with a staff of coaches that respect your time and understand your goals. And be a part of a community that is reaching their fitness goals faster than they ever thought possible.

 

  • Coach Ted

So.

You’ve decided to make a change in your life – here, with us. This is a decision that we do not take lightly. We know the journey is hard. We know it requires discipline and focus. We know that in this world of over-marketed comforts and dangerously made foods and “nutrition gurus”, you need a guide.

We are that guide.  We can help you embrace the work that it will take to get you to your goals. We never promise a quick fix – and learning that reward takes effort – a lot of effort, is what we are all about.

Your decision to change is your decision and it’s important to embrace that right away. It may be a decision that your family and friends do not share – or they would be here with you. You’ve decided to move forward without them and that’s ok. Lots of family and friends are supporting – but there are times when, sadly – they are not. Here is how that version of the story typically goes:

You actually start enjoying the healthy direction you are headed down. A few weeks / months later you even begin to see some changes. Changes you didn’t think were possible. The slippery slope usually begins with a comment:

“You still going to that crazy gym with those crazy people…?”

You laugh it off. You actually see it as a badge of honor at first. You’re a bad ass now and they can see it!

What they see is that you are moving away from their acceptance of conformity and complacency. And the comments continue. The sly comments, irresponsible suggestions, facebook articles and videos start rolling in from all kinds of untold sources. Your friends and family are “just concerned”. So they turn up their “concern”.

Then you decide to try and balance it out. These guys are your friends and family right? They mean well all the time. So – You start being irresponsible with your diet again, You miss a day here, a couple days there – and before you know it you are back with the easy lifestyle you had before. All changes eroding away.

Goals not attained. Sheep status reengaged. Frustration, confusion – nothing ever works! Don’t blame them. They are just being who they are.

At some point – you need to make a decision to save YOU. You do not need everyone’s approval in the pursuit of your goals. You made the choice to make a positive change in your life. It’s not an easy task. If it was – everyone would be fit and healthy.

Obsessed. Crazy. Over the top.

All words that anyone in pursuit of a personal goal will hear. It’s so easy to look at someone on a different journey than yours and dismiss them as crazy.

There are a few things in my life that I am passionate about. My family first of course, but my business and my training I pursue with relentless passion. Anyone who’s gotten remotely close to me will find that it’s these two things that have defined me in my later years.

I’ve recently heard the comment – in jest of course, that there should be more to me than “just lifting weights”.  It hit me kind of sideways for a moment. While it was a dig at the amount of time I put into my training – to me it was a clear attack on my character.

Most would laugh uncomfortably and probably throttle back, slow down. If people are making fun of you – you must be doing something wrong, right? You should never do anything to rattle the sheep – to spook the herd. Get in line, do what everyone else is doing. How dare you do something different than me?

Me however – I’m not a herd animal. My eyes are on the front of my face for a reason. I have goals – huge f@#*ing goals.

I learned a long time ago that if you want anything in this life – you are going to have to fight for it. Especially if it’s worth having. No one is going to give it to you. And if its free and easy – its probably disguised shit.

The parallels between building a reputable business with a thriving community, and training at a top level for competition performance are exactly the same. They require sacrifice. Sacrifice of time. Sacrifice of relationships. Sacrifices of comfort. More often than not you will find yourself relentlessly training or bettering your business while the rest of the world carries on with their lives. I spend a lot of time alone working on both – and applying everything I have to gain ground. I live for the little victories, celebrate the big victories, but also relish the mundane steps it takes to get there. I mess up, and learn great lessons from it. I understand it’s not an overnight process. It takes aggressive patience to keep moving forward often times at a snail’s pace – but forward nonetheless. You have to be Obsessed. Crazy. Over the top.

To me its sacrifice that is worth it. It’s a fight worth having everyday. There is nothing easy about it. I want more from this life than cruise control is going to give me. Sacrifice and work are life to me.

Believe it or not – you are going to need this type of passion to reach your goals. You are going to have to make sacrifices that make you uncomfortable. If you want anything better from your life – you are going to have to fight for it. Day by day, everyday. Align yourself with a team of people on the same mission. The Staff and the community here at Iron Legion understands the level of dedication and commitment it takes to get where you are so wanting to be.

The journey is worth it. Embrace the work, enjoy the process. We will be there for the wins – and we will be there for you even on the darkest of days. Because we get it.

DISCLAIMER, THIS IS A COPY AND PASTE OF AN ARTICLE IN MY NASM BLOG. Since the darker months have come we might want to be aware of how it affects our moods so that we can combat them effectively. I would also like to point out that these “mood boosters”are relevant all year long.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a combination of biological and mood disturbances typically occurring in the autumn and winter months. SAD is characterized by recurrent episodes of depression, hypersomnia, carbohydrate cravings and weight gain.

About 5 percent of the U.S. population experiences SAD, with symptoms present for about 40 percent of the year, depending on where you live.

Light therapy, pharmacotherapy (antidepressants) and cognitive behavior therapy are common mainstream treatment options, but there are also a number of lifestyle changes that can be “affective” by increasing serotonin, a mood stabilizing neurochemical.

(Kurlansik, S. L., & Ibay, A. D. 2013) (Lurie, S. J., et al. 2006) (Young, S. N. 2007)

MOOD BOOSTING STRATEGIES:

  1. Diet
  2. Exercise
  3. Sunlight
  4. Supplements 

DIET

Individuals with SAD frequently report carbohydrate cravings and note that carbohydrate ingestion energizes them.

In a study by Rosenthal, et al. 16 depressed SAD patients and 16 matched controls were fed two different isocaloric meals, one rich in protein and one rich in carbohydrates. The SAD patients reported activation following carbohydrate ingestion, whereas normal controls reported sedation.

(Rosenthal, N. E., et al. 1989)

Simple carbohydrate consumption can result in a temporary elevation in mood, however, elimination of the simple carbohydrates and refined sugar from the diet may result in a more permanent solution for mood stabilization.

The proposed mechanism by which carbohydrates exert their mood altering effect is through their influence on serotonin metabolism.

(Christensen, L. 1993)

Intake of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids found in cold water fish such as wild salmon, can affect mood via modification of neuronal cell membrane fluidity and the consequent impact on neurotransmitter function.

(Rogers, P. J. 2001)

Polyphenols, natural compounds found in plant-based foods that possess antioxidant properties, can reduce oxidative stress and aid in synaptic function. Because polyphenols have numerous mechanisms in the brain that can affect cognitive and mental health, a diet high in polyphenols (fruits and vegetables) can be used as a strategy to combat cognitive and psychiatric disorders.

(Gomez-Pinilla, F., & Nguyen, T. T. 2012) (Rechenberg, K. 2016)

EXERCISE

Exercise is an effective tool to ease depression due to:

  • The release of “feel-good” brain chemicals including serotonin, endorphins and endocannabinoids
  • The reduction of specific immune system chemicals, such as cytokines
  • An increase in body temperature, which can have calming effects

The psychological effects of regular exercise include:

  • Increases in self-confidence- Getting in shape can make you feel better about yourself
  • Provides a distraction from the cycle of negative thoughts that can fuel anxiety and depression
  • Facilitates social interaction, which can improve your mood
  • Provides a healthy coping strategy

Utilising moderate to intense aerobic activity has a large and significant antidepressant effect and is strongly supported as an evidence-based treatment element for depression.

(Schuch, F. B. et al. 2016)

Middle-aged women participating in resistance training exercise have lower levels of depression and anxiety in relation to sedentary counterparts.

(Araújo, K. C. D. M. et al. 2017)

NATURAL SUNLIGHT

Outdoor light exposure is a potential alternative or adjuvant to conventional artificial light therapy in SAD.

Individuals with seasonal affective disorder were treated for 1 week either with a daily 1-hour morning walk outdoors or low-dose artificial light. The latter treatment did not improve any of the depression self-ratings, whereas natural light exposure improved all self-ratings.

(Wirz-Justice, A. et al. 1996)

SUPPLEMENTS

Fish Oil

A meta-analysis of 13 randomized clinical trials concluded that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, found naturally in fatty fish, has a beneficial effect in patients with major depressive disorder.

(Bastiaansen, J. A. et al. 2016)

Hypericum

Hypericum perforatum (HP) is one of the oldest used and most extensively investigated medicinal herbs. Various clinical trials have shown that HP has a comparable antidepressant effect as some currently used antidepressant drugs used in the treatment of mild to moderate depression and certain forms of anxiety.

(Russo, E. et al. 2014)

Probiotics

In the last decade, research has revealed an extensive communication network between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system, known as the “gut–brain axis.” Advances in this field have linked psychiatric disorders to changes in the microbiome, making it a potential target for treating mood disorders.

(Wallace, C. J., & Milev, R. 2017)

Vitamin D

SAD is prevalent when vitamin D stores are low. A prospective, randomized controlled trial found that increasing serum 25-OH D to more optimum levels was associated with significant improvement in depression and that vitamin D may be an important treatment for SAD.

(Gloth 3rd, F. M.,et al. 1999)

SUMMARY OF TIPS TO BEAT SAD

  • Increase omega-3 fats and vitamin D rich foods (e.g., salmon, tuna, sardines, egg yolks and mushrooms)
  • Eat foods high in B6, B12, folate and magnesium to support serotonin production (e.g., leafy greens, avocados, asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers, chickensalmonsardinesshrimplambbeefliver, non-fortified brewer’s yeast, and dark chocolate)
  • Enhance immune health with selenium rich foods (e.g., Brazil nuts and tuna)
  • Focus on foods high in polyphenols (e.g., organic blueberries, cranberries, blackberries and raspberries, organic dark cocoa, and antioxidant spices, such as cinnamon and turmeric)
  • Eat more animal protein for the tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin (e.g., grass-fed beef, free range poultrywild seafood and pastured eggs)
  • Consume foods high in probiotics to support the gut-brain axis (e.g., sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha and grass-fed cultured dairy products like kefir and yogurt)
  • Eat low glycemic carbohydrates and avoid white bread, pasta, rice, sugar and processed foods that cause a sugar “high” and subsequent crash
  • Incorporate high intensity aerobic training and resistance training
  • Get outside for a walk 30-60 minutes during the day
  • Consider supplements as an alternative to pharmacotherapy, under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider

References

Araújo, K. C. D. M., Deus, L. A. D., Rodrigues, F. B., Bezerra, M. E., Sales, M. M., Rosa, T. D. S., … & Simões, H. G. (2017). Resistence exercise improves anxiety and depression in middle-age women. Journal of Physical Education28.

Bastiaansen, J. A., Munafò, M. R., Appleton, K. M., & Oldehinkel, A. J. (2016). The efficacy of fish oil supplements in the treatment of depression: food for thought. Translational Psychiatry6(12), e975–. http://doi.org/10.1038/tp.2016.243

Gloth 3rd, F. M., Alam, W., & Hollis, B. (1999). Vitamin D vs broad spectrum phototherapy in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging3(1), 5-7.

Gomez-Pinilla, F., & Nguyen, T. T. (2012). Natural mood foods: the actions of polyphenols against psychiatric and cognitive disorders. Nutritional Neuroscience15(3), 127-133.

Kurlansik, S. L., & Ibay, A. D. (2013). Seasonal affective disorder. Indian Journal of Clinical Practice, Vol. 24, No. 7, December 2013

Lurie, S. J., Gawinski, B., Pierce, D., & Rousseau, S. J. (2006). Seasonal affective disorder. American Family Physician74(9).

Rechenberg, K. (2016). Nutritional interventions in clinical depression. Clinical Psychological Science4(1), 144-162.

Christensen, L. (1993), Effects of eating behavior on mood: A review of the literature. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 14(2) 171–183.

Rogers, P. J. (2001). A healthy body, a healthy mind: long-term impact of diet on mood and cognitive function. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society60(1), 135-143.

Rosenthal, N. E., Genhart, M. J., Caballero, B., Jacobsen, F. M., Skwerer, R. G., Coursey, R. D., … & Spring, B. J. (1989). Psychobiological effects of carbohydrate-and protein-rich meals in patients with seasonal affective disorder and normal controls. Biological Psychiatry25(8), 1029-1040.

Russo, E., Scicchitano, F., Whalley, B. J., Mazzitello, C., Ciriaco, M., Esposito, S., … & Mammì, M. (2014). Hypericum perforatum: pharmacokinetic, mechanism of action, tolerability, and clinical drug–drug interactions. Phytotherapy Research28(5), 643-655.

Schuch, F. B., Vancampfort, D., Richards, J., Rosenbaum, S., Ward, P. B., & Stubbs, B. (2016). Exercise as a treatment for depression: a meta-analysis adjusting for publication bias. Journal of Psychiatric Research77, 42-51.

Wallace, C. J., & Milev, R. (2017). The effects of probiotics on depressive symptoms in humans: a systematic review. Annals of General Psychiatry16(1), 14.

Wirz-Justice, A., Graw, P., Kräuchi, K., Sarrafzadeh, A., English, J., Arendt, J., & Sand, L. (1996). ‘Natural Light treatment of seasonal affective disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders37(2), 109-120.

Young, S. N. (2007). How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience : JPN32(6), 394–399.

This morning I was reading a story about how a professional trainer died three times in the process he lost allot of his more complicated formulas for results. He suffered some memory loss, which caused him to go back to his early simplified questions. I don’t have his questions because I didn’t buy the book but I do like his idea of letting the client be their own fitness evaluator.

I would like all of my Get Up & Move people to post their scores as 1=, 2=, etc with the total scores divided by 8 for your average fitness quotient. If you want to be part of Get Up & Move, find us on Facebook. We are a very fitness dedicated group that add extra support for each other.

Please leave a comment with your ideas or if I missed something?

  1. Training frequency
    1. Have you worked out 3 times this week? Score 80
    2. Have you worked out 4 times this week? Score 90
    3. Have you trained 5 days this week? Score 100
  2. Activity frequency
    1. Did you take part in other activities such as yoga, Judo Karate, sports, swimming etc. 1 time =80
    2. Did you take part in other activities such as yoga, Judo Karate, sports, swimming etc. 2 time =90
    3. Did you take part in other activities such as yoga, Judo Karate, sports, swimming etc. 3 time =100
  3. Stress relief exercises
    1. Did you partake in de-stressing exercises, meditation etc…
      1. Once = 90
      2. Twice = 100
  4. Did you smoke this past week? Yes = 0 and no = 100.
  5. Alcohol? 1 beer/wine/cocktail counts as one for all of you cheaters.
    1. Did you consume alcohol more that 7 times this week? Score = 0
    2. Did you consume alcohol 5 to 7 times this week? Score = 70
    3. Did you consume alcohol 3 to 5 times this week? Score = 80
    4. Did you consume alcohol 1 to 3 times this week? Score = 90
    5. Did you consume alcohol less than 1 time this week? Score = 100
  6. Did you eat out this past week?
    1. More than or equal to 3 times score = 50
    2.  2 times? score = 80
    3. 1 times? score = 90
    4. 0 times? score = 100
  7. Did you meet your nutrition macros this past week?
    1. Less than or equal to 5 days? = score 0
    2. 6 days? score = 90
    3. 7 days? score = 100
  8. Did you eat processed or non-organic foods, drink sodas such as Coke this week?
    1. More than or equal to 5 days? = score 0
    2. 4 days? score = 70
    3. 3 days? score = 80
    4. 2 days? score = 90
    5. 1 day or less? = 100