A Food’s Purpose

A Food’s Purpose

By Adam Moore


In the fitness industry, it’s common to shame ourselves into eating healthy or try to outwork poor food choices. I think it’s unhealthy to tie your food to feelings of shame or insecurity. Food and the nutrition choices we make have the power to enact amazing results and changes in our physique, mood, hormones, and health. Hopefully those changes are positive, but of course, we humans are often our own worst enemy. To get the most out of our food, we need to ensure it has a purpose.

Food and meal choices can have any number of purposes, though gym culture tends to steer people into the limited domains of either supporting muscle growth of enabling fat loss. But there are countless reasons to eat the food you’ve chosen: a flavor you want to savor, a dish that reminds you of your mother’s cooking, a meal that gets your whole family to sit down without their phones for an hour, a food high in antioxidants to relieve inflammation, and on and on and on. Eating mindfully, regardless of the purpose, is typically a great way to enjoy the food you’re eating and allow your body to digest it well and absorb all those nutrients and benefits that come with your meal.

In my life right now I focus my food choices on having enough protein to promote muscle growth and enough carbohydrates to fuel my workouts. I also want my food to sustain my physical health, so 95% of my meals are made at home and completely under my control. That being said, for breakfast today I had a meal called “Hot Tots” that consisted of tater tots smothered in cheese, peppers, crumbled bacon and poached eggs. Plus I had a Bloody Mary. For dinner tonight I had a double cheeseburger, fries and a vanilla milkshake with Oreo crumbles in it. And I don’t feel guilty at all! What purpose did this food have and why don’t I feel guilty about the choices I made?

Today was Father’s day, and I was looking forward to having some fun with Remy, my son. Every day of the week, every week of the year I cook breakfast at home. My breakfast, Remy’s breakfast and, on the weekend, Andrea’s (my wife) breakfast. Breakfast today was an opportunity to do something different, to have something other than eggs and turkey sausage with broccoli slaw and sweet potatoes. It was a chance for us both to relax and have someone else serve us. That “Hot Tots” meal and a Bloody Mary was a great change for me but also a great time to bond with Remy as the two of us had a table to ourselves with lots of food to share and crayons to draw with and generally make happy memories.

In addition to it being Father’s Day, Remy and I haven’t seen Andrea in four days as she’s been at a conference. I wanted to surprise her by taking her someplace we could all just relax and feel like a family after picking her up from the airport, so I took her straight over to Five Guys. We both enjoyed a delicious burger and a milkshake, a happy treat for each of us that was also fun to share with Remy. It was a great opportunity to just sit down, share stories from our days spent apart, and just relax in a casual environment without having to worry about making dinner, doing dishes, or all the little things we do the other 364 days of the year.

I wasn’t thinking about muscle gain and fat loss during my meals today. I wasn’t thinking about anything other than the moment I was in and the people I was sharing it with, and that WAS the purpose of my meals today, that bonding with my son and fellowship with my family. I could allow myself to feel shame. I could use those meals to guilt myself into an extra workout tomorrow. Would that make me any healthier? Would that make me any happier? Feeling guilt or shame would only lead me to feel stressed, to lying awake at night, to producing cortisol instead of healthy hormones that should come with a good night’s sleep. Instead of that, I’m happy for the time spent with my wife and son, and I know that it was two meals out of the roughly 1,800 I’ll eat this year. I hope that when you have a meal that may not have a “gym purpose” you allow it to still be purposeful for you so that it either nourishes your body or your soul.

The Process: Part 1: Find Your Mountain, Climb Your Mountain

The Process: Part 1: Find Your Mountain, Climb Your Mountain
By Coach Michael Garrity

My father was in the room with me. He sat in a chair at the end of my bed; I could see immense anguish in his eyes, almost despair. He searched with his eyes to know what I was feeling: pain, fear, hope… or none of the above.

Until this point (at least from the event of my injury), I had been mostly hopeful; with almost a sense of gratitude that this had happened — knowing that I would no longer feel a pain of such magnitude, and would never have to fear the pain again. It had happened. I had survived; the sun rose the next day.

But seeing my father — my first coach, my loving critic, my most loyal fan — look at me with such a grasping yearn for understanding, I broke. Holding onto optimism for the week that had passed since my injury I was quickly cut down by the sheer effect of it all, and the subsequent magnitude of waves it would send through my life. The last decade of my life had a sole purpose and pursuit; now that purpose was in immediate question and doubt.

So yes, I broke. Completely. My stoicism that had long been rooted in accepting pain and struggle now turned to vulnerability, rushing fear, and the purest uncertainty. I broke down in that bed, still drugged up five hours after surgery. Looking down at my leg in an immobilizer, where it would remain for four weeks, left me at a loss of words. All I could think about was the process back to recovery; the hours, days, months even years it would take to reset my body back to square one — the fading of a life’s work and a boy’s dream. Shedding tears I said three words when my dad asked what I felt.

“It’s so daunting.”

I was immobile for four weeks. I wasn’t able to walk without two crutches let alone drive or even fit my braced leg in most cars. But I did what I could to better myself each day; with a sharp decline in my physical progress and the inability to train, I turned to my mentality and knowledge. That meant four weeks straight of reading and sharpening my training knowledge so I could approach my pursuit with intelligence and without doubt. I digested everything I could find to plan my comeback; I mapped out my entire next year in the gym.

Admittedly, during those weeks I watched a good amount of television too. One of the movies I watched was ​Everest ​ . There is a scene in which the characters are discussing the reasons why they originally wished to reach the summit Mount Everest; one of the character’s response instantly struck me and opened up my heart to what was ahead:

“I’m climbing Mount Everest… because I can… because to be able to climb that high and see that kind of beauty that nobody ever sees, it’d be a crime not to.”

That’s when it hit me. During the previous weeks I had been balancing on an edge; my mind almost sinking into completely destructive doubt and into the undermining questions repeating in my head: Why do I want to come back so bad? Why risk failure? Why risk another, more serious injury? Why voluntarily put yourself on the racks of physical pain and psychological anguish for my foreseeable future? Why do I train?
I rewound this scene in ​Everest ​ multiple times, even writing it in my journal — because that ​was ​ my why. I found my mountain. I had my mantra.
After four weeks of no physical training, I returned to the gym. I began the program I had so meticulously planned while I was home — the first step on my mountain’s incline.

During my first workout I was pissed. Everything was terribly hard and a set of ten reps on the bench press felt like a 2,000. Still, even though I had lost much of my physicality, my mind was on fire. I was boiling with anger and sincere dedication to something I loved, a passion visible in my eyes and in my drenched t-shirt.

Today as I write this, I vividly remember myself saying out loud between sets “Climb the mountain.” The volume would rise and curse words were carefully placed to update the phrase as I threw my weights down after each set. (Thankfully the music was loud so no one heard me. I wanted to train, not embarrass myself!)

But the truth is, that mantra saved me. And it continues to save me today.
So, now I implore you to find your mountain. Find the reason ​why ​ you do this. We all have various stories and completely different lives. Find what is unique to you; find that personal goal, that sliver of a moment that first brought you through our doors. Make it a battle. Fill it to the brim with passion and pure discipline in pursuit of reaching your own proverbial summit. Once you have found it, once you have your mountain in your sights, don’t veer your eyes from the top.

Because once you find your mountain, you have to climb it. What other option is there? To stop and turn around? Go back to base camp? All that will do is give you temporary comfort, and you should never desire fleeing comfort in life. Your summit holds the ability to bring you a new sense of comfort and confidence into your life. So make it your mission to do away with the pull of a temporary escape from the harshness of your summit attempt. You know the pain, and you love it. More than that, you want it. That’s why you found this mountain. You want a life of impassioned turbulence in pursuit of a noble, clear-eyed, full-hearted goal.

On the mountain you do not want relief from the crushing winds of a pursuit. You do not want relief from the rising and broken steps and valleys of progress. You want to be on the incline, in the breach of your battle; you want impassioned turbulence.

You found this mountain. You brought yourself here. Now it requires everything you got.

7 Rules for Fat Loss Training

7 Rules for Fat Loss Training
By Coach Jeremiah Treadwell

1. Prioritize Nutrition

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: nutrition is the single most important thing for fat loss. If you’re serious about stripping off body fat, you must make time for grocery shopping, cooking, meal prep, doing dishes, and keeping a food journal. If you don’t have time for this, make time; cut down on time wasters like social media, web surfing, playing on your cell phone or watching television.
If you have truly eliminated every possible time waster and are ​still ​ pressed for time, it’s perfectly acceptable to train less to have the time to take care of your nutrition. You heard me, train less! That’s how important good nutrition is. For example, in my fat loss programs, I have Tuesdays and Saturdays as shopping/meal prep days.

As far as what to eat, there’s no rule that says you have to perfectly follow a particular diet; certain aspects of certain diets are worth emulating. For instance, you can take aspects of the paleo diet (natural, single-ingredient foods, meats, fish, whole eggs and vegetables) without unnecessarily restricting other foods that are not paleo; while still supporting your training goals, like quality supplements such as fish oils, BCAA’s, protein, peri-workout nutrition and some starchy carbs such as rice.

2. Pick Big, Hard Exercises

Regardless of your goals, effective training starts with picking the right exercises. The best exercises for fat loss are the best exercises for almost any goal. The big, hard compound movements are the ones you should be doing.

3. Get Stronger

While most people understand that getting stronger is important for building muscle and enhancing performance, its relevance for fat loss is often overlooked. When your goal is fat loss, you want to burn as much fuel as possible; to do this, you want your body to be as fuel inefficient as possible. One of the huge problems with cardio for fat loss is that the more you do, the better you get at it and thus the more fuel efficient you become; with resistance training the opposite is true. The better you get at strength training, the more weight you can lift and the more it takes out of you. Spending some of your training time getting stronger allows you to do all your other forms of training (e.g., metabolic resistance training, conditioning) at a higher/faster level, and this makes them even more effective for shedding unwanted body fat.

4. Build Muscle

Virtually everyone trying to lose body fat should gain some muscle. Most people know this, but it bears repeating again and again. Even a few extra pounds of lean muscle means a lot more calories burned each day.

5. Jack Up Metabolism Post Training

Years ago exercise scientists told us to perform long sessions of slow cardio to burn fat. However, this answer was a response to the wrong question. Fat loss training isn’t about what burns the most amount of fat during a training session, it’s about what burns the most amount of fat in a 24 hour period. In other words, short, high-intensity exercise creates an oxygen debt (known in “bro talk” as E.P.O.C., or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and ​this ​ results in a metabolic boost long after the training session is over.

6. Rotate Strategies

As with any goal, following an effective program will only work for so long before you hit a plateau. Too often people trying to lose body fat just use intense metabolic resistance training and HIIT (high intensity interval training). While these are excellent methods, they won’t work forever. With fat loss programs, it’s imperative to switch to different strategies such as the following:

1. Metabolic resistance training: Using moderate weights for moderate reps while alternating upper/lower body exercises or doing whole body circuits

2. Strength training: Using more traditional strength training methods to allow you to lift more weight when you return to metabolic resistance training

3. Bodybuilding: Focusing on building lean muscle to raise metabolic rate and doing brisk walking to burn a few extra calories

4. Strength plus conditioning: Focusing on getting stronger in the weight room by undergoing challenging forms of conditioning to boost EPOC (that “after-burn” effect).

The trick is to not only periodize your training, but also periodize your diet. When some people try a lower-volume strength training program, they tend to gain fat; this isn’t because of the training. Obviously, strength training doesn’t cause fat gain. However, if you switch from higher volume training (i.e. typical fat loss / metabolic stuff) to a lower volume training (i.e. powerlifting program) and don’t drop down your carbs and total calories, you’ll gain fat. Period.

7. Get Outside

We’re made to be outdoors. While it’s not always practical to haul a whole barbell set outside or train at Muscle Beach, it’s indisputably beneficial to partake in an outdoor physical activity. This can include everything from running sprints at the track, finding a hill and doing uphill sprints to pushing a prowler and pulling a sled. You can even grab a sledgehammer and try to beat an old tire to a pulp.

Consider bringing minimal equipment like kettlebells to a park and having an outdoor session. Or, do what I do, which is train with barbells in my basement gym and then do farmer’s walks up and down the sidewalks of my neighborhood. Additionally, doing other activities such as sports or outdoor recreation is great to not only burn a few extra calories, but also to have fun, reduce stress, and enjoy the benefits of the finely conditioned machine you’re building in the gym.

The Other 23 Hours

By Coach Jeremiah Treadwell

Recovery begins the second your workout ends. While it’s obviously important to bust your ass day-to-day at the gym, I would argue that when it comes to achieving goals and living a healthy lifestyle, what you do outside the gym has just as big of an impact as what you do in the gym. Don’t let your hard work go to waste by being lazy and negligent with your life choices.

I have outlined below what I feel are the key components people of all fitness levels should focus on when maintaining a healthy lifestyle; while not everyone’s’ goals may be the same, each of these factors have a profound impact on both overall fitness and wellbeing.

The topic of nutrition related to fitness and working out is a beast. So, let’s keep it simple. Ideally, a moderate to large size meal should be consumed post-workout; amounts of macronutrients (protein / carbohydrate / fat) will vary depending on specific goals and the nature of the workout completed. Regardless, this arguably the most important meal of the day as it will help replenish your body’s energy stores as well as aid in building muscle mass. Naturally, eating whole foods is your best bet; if it’s packaged with a bunch of hard-to-pronounce ingredients, drop it. And remember: eat enough to support your physical demands of the day, nothing more.

Truth time: most of us aren’t drinking enough water throughout the day. While top athletes weigh themselves before and after training to see how much water they need to replace, most of us need to go to this extent. That said, ensuring you drink plenty of water after your workout is hugely important; more so if you drink a protein shake post-workout. People tend to wait for their brain to alert them that they’re in fact thirsty; however, this is a poor indicator to follow as it means you’re likely already dehydrated.

I like to recommend drinking one gallon of water throughout the day. This may seem like a lot, but if you spread it out it’s absolutely doable; you should avoid drinking too much water too quickly as this isn’t good for the levels of sodium in your blood (Google: hyponatremia). If you’re really going for it and drink more than one gallon of water per day, it may be beneficial to supplement with an electrolyte mix.

● Pro Tip #1: Down 12-24oz of water as soon as you roll out of bed. This is an awesome way to jumpstart your day.

● Pro Tip #2: Stop drinking your calories.

Repeat after me: Sleep is underrated! The magic happens when we sleep; in fact, I honestly wouldn’t be offended if you paused right now, mid-article, to go take a nap. That’s how important sleep is. Here’s why: Hormones supporting muscle growth and recovery are released as we sleep, which means obtaining 7-9 hours of uninterrupted quality sleep per night in a dark and cool room is optimal. If you can’t manage that much sleep during the night, work a nap in mid-day if possible. Sleep is essentially an opportunity to recover more quickly. Plus, who doesn’t love sleep?

● Tip: No screen time one hour before bed. The blue light suppresses the pineal gland in the brain; this gland is responsible for secreting the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that promotes drowsiness. You do the math.

One thing that definitely makes me a sad panda is knowing a lot of people hit the gym hard, and then don’t move much the rest of the day. After exercise, muscles and tissues are still warm and pliable. This is a perfect time to hit some stretching and mobility (or yoga).

Walking is also an important aspect of recovery and staying active. Our muscles aid in flushing out byproducts via the lymphatic system when we move and walk, which helps promote recovery. Aim to hit at least 10,000 steps per day; set a timer at work and shoot to get up and move around every 20-30 minutes to get your hips and legs stretched out. Believe me, your ass is not made to be laminated to a chair all day.

As silly as it sounds, your mindset plays a pivotal role in achieving goals. First and foremost, celebrate the fact that you even made it to the gym! You had the time and energy to make it, while many others chose the easy way out and stayed at home on the couch.

Reflecting on what went right and what you can improve on is also beneficial. Did you give it 100% during the workout, or did you feel like you slacked a little bit? Use the small day-to-day victories as positive reinforcement and show up tomorrow with a positive attitude ready to kick some ass!

These strategies may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how much they’re ignored — and they’re imperative when it comes to getting the most out of your workouts! Remember: it’s not about forcing huge change right now, but rather making small changes and creating habits for the long-term.

“Even though you may not feel or look the part now, you must envision yourself in your ideal state. There is no such thing as perfection, only perfect effort. Through practicing a “perfect” version of ourselves mentally, we’ll slowly become that person in real life.” – Mark Devine of SealFIT.

Recovery Strategies

Simple and Effective Recovery Strategies for Increased Work Capacity
by Coach Michael Garrity

Ever since I became a strength coach and a personal trainer the most common question I receive from clients and athletes is “I want to see results fast, is it okay if I do extra workouts?”

This question is a loaded one; it takes more than just a simple post-WOD conversation to quench. The fact is, whether it be adding an extra strength session, cardiovascular workout, or an extra sports practice — people want to do everything they possibly can to hit their goals fast. However, in this age of instant gratification, it’s difficult for many to understand how physically and mentally taxing training at high volumes can be.

My first piece of advice for the athlete hoping to add extra credit to workouts would be this: TRUST THE PROCESS. Your coach or trainer has a curated plan for you; one he/she knows will garner results. And while you may not see them right away, if you are training consistently and doing your homework outside of the gym (proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle), you are going to achieve greater results than you expect over time; it just takes hard work and consistency. So before you start adding two-a-days into your schedule, stick to your current program as best as you can with as much devotion as possible to healthy choices outside of the gym. The results will come, I promise.

On the flip side, there are people who just flat out love training and want to push themselves to be better every day. If you truly wish to add in extra workouts, I am fully supportive of it. In fact, I know first-hand how effective training at high volume can be and, most importantly, how much fun it can be if executed properly. The key is ensuring it’s done properly and attention is paid to the strategies of how to maintain both the lifestyle and substantial physical commitment.

In order to become more fit and/or improve in your sport, the body must be exposed to the stresses of training. Once this has happened the body then needs time to adapt to the stresses, meaning the body must recover properly. Once recovery is dialed in, the athlete will begin to see his/her results.

Recovery is just as important as training when it comes to seeing results, but it is often neglected and overlooked because it is much more passive than the actual training. This is the foundation needed to be able to train consistently at a high volume; all while attempting to avoid overtraining and the nemesis of all fitness and athletic goals: injury. The following are some simple and extremely effective recovery strategies for the everyday athlete looking to add in an extra workout to not only increase their work capacity, but also see results faster.

1. Rest and “Deloading”
Training is designed to progressively overload the body systems and fuel stores, placing stress on the body. The more efficiently you recover from training stresses and fatigue (and the
fresher you are at your next training session) the better chance you have at improving and seeing results. One of the most important strategies for recovery? Sleep. It provides time for the body to adapt to the physical and mental demands placed on it through intense training. At least 8 hours of sleep per night should be sought after by an athlete in an intense program. However, one must ensure that these hours include ​quality ​ sleep. Additional helpful strategies for passive recovery include reading or listening to music; these help the mind and body relax between sessions and recover from the physical and mental stresses of intense training. Also, simply occupying your mind with other activities or hobbies than training aid in the recovery process. People need time to focus on more relaxing activities where they are not worried about hitting a new weightlifting personal record or beating a certain time in a workout.

Another helpful strategy to increase recovery is to plan rest days and “deload” weeks throughout your program. Deloading entails scaling the loads and volume of training back from the prescribed amounts to let the joints decompress and allow the body to adapt. Plan recovery days within your training week to allow for rest and adaptation between heavy sessions. A simple format to follow is two days on and one day off. One can also plan and set up “deload” weeks for which the athlete still trains, but at far less intensity than usual — this allows the body to adapt to the stresses of the previous weeks. A strong format for deloading is three weeks on and one week off. It’s important to remember that during a deload week, you should continue to follow the same movements and exercises to keep the body active and help maintain commitment to the program.

2. Hydration
In the pyramid of recovery, rest is the foundation — but hydration is the cornerstone that allows for the pyramid to stay intact. Athletes within an intense training program would not be able to maintain training at a high intensity without proper hydration, nor would they see the same results. Since you sweat during exercise, it should come to no surprise that Intense training will increase your fluid needs. Some people naturally sweat more than others but even small sweat losses can cause fatigue and impair recovery. What’s more, many people don’t realize just how dehydrated the body can become during training; especially if he / she isn’t drenched from head to toe post-workout. It’s imperative to be aware as hydration can impair many physiologic functions. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, effects of dehydration include: decreased blood pressure, increased core temperature, increased heart rate, decreased blood flow to the muscles, and increased perceived exertion — all of which leads to a tough time trying to recovery between sessions. Properly hydrating before, during and post-workout will help your body adapt to the stresses of intense training by regulating temperature, transporting nutrients and oxygen, detoxifying the liver and kidneys, and also dissolving vitamins and minerals which leads to better recovery by replenishing nutrients lost during exercise. Drinking the proper amount of water while training at high intensity also returns your muscles to the more supple/elastic state at which they were meant to move, allowing them to stretch and contract at a more efficient rate. This in turn allows you to move pain-free and with a decreased sense of exertion. In other words, less muscle soreness and enhanced recovery times between sessions.
The best way to estimate how much fluid you lose during a session (and how much fluid should be consumed) is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. Each pound of weight lost is equivalent to one liter of fluid lost. (Just a 2% loss in body fluid can lead to 10% decrease in performance.) These fluids must be replaced during and after exercise. In general, we need about 2-3 liters of water to function properly while adhering to an intense training program. However, if you are looking to add in extra sessions, I’d recommend aiming for at least a gallon of water per day.

3. Active Recovery Strategies
Within the realm of recovery strategies are some more active forms of recovery that allow the body to adapt to the stress of training and maintain performing at a high level. The first and easiest of these active strategies is mobility and flexibility training. Just like strength and conditioning training, mobility must be regarded as a pillar of fitness that will help the athlete see results quicker and continue to train at a high level with less risk of injury. Anyone can improve flexibility with consistent training. When you’ve finished your session is a great time to stretch. Your muscles are warm and therefore there is less chance of damaging them. A light stretch after a session will help prevent injury and is a great way to wind down from the stresses of training. This will also kick start the recovery process for next session. Flexibility improves posture, prevents hip and low back pain, releases muscle tension and soreness, and increases your range of motion which all in turn decrease your risk of injury. A more exciting active recovery strategy is the dreaded ice bath. My advice? Grin and bear it. The ice bath is probably the most infamous recovery tool in the entire arsenal for a reason: they work. Upon plunging into the cold water, the blood vessels constrict and the blood will be drained away from the muscles that have been working, which removes lactic acid. Upon exiting the ice bath the capillaries in the muscles dilate; after which, fresh blood flows back into the muscles bringing with it oxygen and other nutrients vital to recovery. An ice bath should be no longer than 20 minutes. Since the sensation ice baths provide is often intense and uncomfortable for most people, first timers should “test the waters” for at least 5 minutes. Make it a goal to increase the time spent in the water each time to eventually hit the 20 minute mark. You will feel instantly refreshed after an ice bath and your ability to recover will be enhanced.

There’s no question that reaching fitness goals is just as contingent with recovery as it is with training. They must both be shows the same commitment and respect.

Good luck!

The Growth Trigger

The Growth Trigger
By Coach Isaac Vaisberg

George is a pretty strong guy. He’s 5’10 and 170lbs soaking wet — a stud by all counts. Every day, George walks into the gym and quickly completes the following: 100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups and 100 squats. He then wipes the sweat off his brow, chugs a protein shake, and leaves. He repeats this routine daily; week after week, month after month. George is strong, but he doesn’t seem to be getting any stronger. “The workouts are the same as they have always been,” he says in frustration. “Why have I stopped growing?!”

George answered his own question.

Remember in physics class when your teacher would have you memorize the definition of Newton’s Third Law? Well, it’s finally about to come in handy! Newton’s Third Law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Now, let’s apply that same formula to George: George’s body has become incredibly capable of handling the massive amount of reps that George throws at it. But herein lies the problem: as long as George continues to do that same workout, his body will stay the same.

Why? Because it doesn’t NEED to grow. His body is perfectly capable of the tasks that George gives it, and therefore it will remain the same. Think of it as muscle memory: as long as the level of demand remains at equilibrium with what his body can handle, there is no need for change.

So how can George progress? The answer is simple: he needs to ​trigger ​ growth. Triggering growth is straightforward in theory, but can become incredibly complicated at a cellular level. For the sake of this article, let’s stick to theory — which is this: ​In order to force your body to grow, you need to put it up against stimulus it cannot handle.

Think back to your first workout. For me, it was the following: 1000m row, 50 thrusters at 45lbs, and 30 pull-ups. Up until this workout, I had never really pushed myself to my limits. I had always given it my all until I hit about 80% of my cap, and then paced for the rest. Well, after the 1000m row, it took every fiber of my physical being to keep thrusting that bar upwards and every shred of determination I had left to keep me from putting it down. A few minutes later, I was on the ground with my vision fading and struggling to find a position on the floor which didn’t hurt. It was AWFUL, and awesome at the same time.

And here’s the best part: You know what I did that day? I grew! I grew ​a lot ​ . Every day after that I was able to push myself to that point, if not a little past it. Thrusters at 45lbs became easy; before I knew it, so did thrusters at 65lbs, 75lbs, 95lbs and 115lbs. (You get the idea.) Every time I leveled out, I increased the stimulus and forced my body to grow. There were days when I listened to my body and rested; there were days when I was not able to do more than
the previous day. But if you pick a day in March of last year and compare it to a day in August, you bet your ass I was either doing more work in August — or at the very least, amping up the intensity.

Being complacent is easier than ever these days. We live in a society from which struggles have been almost completely removed. We don’t have to hunt or forage for our food, defend ourselves or our families from predators, or take ourselves where we need to go. We have supermarkets, fancy houses and cars — we don’t even have to drive ourselves anymore (right, Uber?!). All of the challenge, or stimulus if you will, that used to trigger growth in our bodies has faded. Unfortunately, this means the same things that would have made us stronger, faster, and healthier have now been replaced with things that make us lazier, slower and complacent. It’s almost too easy to fall victim to our way of life; remove all struggle and never grow.

I urge you to fight it! Take the few hours a week you spend at the gym and really challenge yourself. This means pushing yourself! The fact is, you really can do more than you think you can.

And this doesn’t always translate to more weight or more reps. It could be as simple as just performing these exercises faster and with more intensity in your breath. The most important thing to remember is, you’re doing this because it will make you better and trigger growth — both physically and mentally.

Remember: You’re only as strong as what you put yourself up against. In other words, the struggle is not only real — it’s worth it!

The Hardest Part

The Hardest Part
By Coach Isaac Vaisberg

It’s 5:45am and I feel like death. My legs are sore from the hiking I did over the weekend; I didn’t get enough sleep and I know I have a twelve hour work day ahead of me. By the time I get in the office and open my computer, I have six voicemail messages as well as one-hundred and six unread emails; not to mention, a to-do list the size of my desk. It’s going to be a long day.

Regardless, when 2pm hits the clock, I know I have two choices: I can collapse on the comfy couch in my office until it’s time for me to coach at 5:30pm. Or I can suck it up, drink a little pre-workout, and go show the gym floor I am stronger than anything my day decides to throw at me. While some days it’s harder than others, I always pick the latter.

Potential clients approach me every day and ask, “Isn’t Sasquatch training hard?! You guys do pull-ups, push-ups and deadlifts! I don’t think I can do any of those things. Is this going to be too hard for me?”

My answer has always been, and will always be, “No.”

Training is easy. Doing pull-ups and deadlifts, thrusters and double unders, these are all things we get better at over time. And let me assure you: one day you will wake up, and 225lbs on the bar won’t feel quite so heavy. It will be faster than you think.

But here’s what ​is ​ hard: Showing up. Pulling yourself together to walk into the gym after a long day or a long week. ​That’s ​ hard.

When it comes to the fitness world, there’s a reason the mantra is “consistency is key” — it has always been what separates the ones who do from the ones who don’t. For whatever reason, there is a rampant misconception that in order to improve physical fitness you need to push yourself to the brink of death every time you are in the gym. While pushing limits and increasing intensity are certainly great tools in our fitness arsenal, they are ​far ​ less important than simply just showing up. And this goes for everyone from the first time gym-goer to Olympians. Showing up is and always will be the first and most important step in making progress. It sounds obvious, but I have a dozen clients I can think of right now that are dissatisfied with their progress; these are the same ones who show up only twice a week to work out for one hour.

Our habits define us. The people who make fitness a priority are the ones who will not only make the most progress, but retain it over the longest period of time.

So what action can you take to be more consistent in your pursuit of fitness?
● Schedule your classes like a meeting — an important one! — to work on you
● If you already show up to class regularly, schedule in some recovery time every week to make sure you are ready for the next phase in your training.
● Make it a priority. I promise you the results will shock you!

What is one simple action you can take to improve your consistency? Leave your response on the comments below.

USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Certification

Sasquatch Strength is hosting this two-day course 4/13/19 and 4/14/19 where participants will gain practical information from top-level coaches about weightlifting technique, assessing movement, motor learning, biomechanics, effective coaching, and programming training.

In addition to covering scientifically based concepts to optimize training and skill learning, a large portion of the course will be hands-on teaching and application of the complete technical progressions of the snatch, clean and jerk, and assistance lifts.

This course balances hands-on learning, in-depth discussions of technical progressions, and science-based programming information.

You will also gain access to proven training plans to get your athletes or clients started with Olympic lifting and enjoy the support of USAW to help you further your knowledge about training and coaching athletes.

At the end of the course, participants should feel comfortable understanding and implementing a training plan, teaching beginner and intermediate athletes how to perform weightlifting movements, quickly correcting common technique errors, and employing best practices in coaching.

Whether you are looking to get started coaching weightlifting, refine your coaching skills, or apply the weightlifting movements to other sports, this course is a valuable investment in your career.

For more details and registration follow the link: https://bit.ly/2WlHHa3

Sasquatch Open WOD #4

Issaquah, Redmond, Sammamish – Fitness

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Warm-up (No Measure)

Mobility/ Dynamic Warm Up

10 Plank Ankle Mob (Sport and Spine Video)

30ft High Knees

30ft Butt Kickers

10 Scap Push Ups

10 Scap Pull Ups

10 Tricep Push-Up Forearm Shift (Sport and Spine Video)

60ft Side Shuffle

60ft Karaoke

30ft Bear Crawl Out

30ft Bear Crawl Backwards Back

30ft Crab Walk Out

30ft Crab Walk Back moving all directions,sideways etc..

10 Primal Pull Through

6ea Direction Kettlebell Goblet Squat into Halo Circle (Sport and Spine Video)

30 Jumping Jacks

10 Jump Squats

5 Inchworms with Push Up

Snatch Prep Barbell Warm Up

3 Rounds

3 Eccentric Deadlift

3 Dip Drive Shrug

3 Elbows High and Outside

3 Hang Muscle Snatch (Hip)

3 Hang Power Snatch (Below the Knee)

Warm Up to Snatch weight


Movement Practice for Muscle Ups and Scale Option/ Pullups

Energy System Prep Pre WOD 321Go

3 Rounds

5 Power Snatches (Below the Knee)

5 Up Downs

5 Beat Swings

CrossFit Games Open 19.4 (Ages 16-54) (AMRAP – Reps)

3 rounds of:

10 snatches 95lb/65lb

12 bar-facing burpees

Then, rest 3 minutes before continuing with:

3 rounds of:

10 bar muscle-ups

12 bar-facing burpees

Time cap: 12 minutes, including 3-minute rest


Scale: CrossFit Games Open 19.4 Scaled (Ages 16-54) (AMRAP – Reps)

3 rounds of:

10 snatches 65lb/45lb

12 bar-facing burpees

Then, rest 3 minutes before continuing with:

3 rounds of:

10 chin-over-bar pull-ups

12 bar-facing burpees (may step over bar)

Time cap: 12 minutes, including 3-minute rest


CrossFit Games Open 19.4 Masters (55+) (AMRAP – Reps)

3 rounds of:

10 snatches 65lb/45lb

12 bar-facing burpees

Then, rest 3 minutes before continuing with:

3 rounds of:

10 chest-to-bar pull-ups

12 bar-facing burpees

Time cap: 12 minutes, including 3-minute rest


Scale: CrossFit Games Open 19.4 Masters Scaled (55+) (AMRAP – Reps)

3 rounds of:

10 snatches 45lb/35lb

12 bar-facing burpees

Then, rest 3 minutes before continuing with:

3 rounds of:

10 jumping chest-to-bar pull-ups

12 bar-facing burpees (may step over bar)

Time cap: 12 minutes, including 3-minute rest


CrossFit Games Open 19.4 Teens (Ages 14-15) (AMRAP – Reps)

3 rounds of:

10 snatches 65lb/45lb

12 bar-facing burpees

Then, rest 3 minutes before continuing with:

3 rounds of:

10 bar muscle-ups

12 bar-facing burpees

Time cap: 12 minutes, including 3-minute rest


Scale: CrossFit Games Open 19.4 Teens Scaled (Ages 14-15) (AMRAP – Reps)

3 rounds of:

10 snatches 45lb/35lb

12 bar-facing burpees

Then, rest 3 minutes before continuing with:

3 rounds of:

10 chin-over-bar pull-ups

12 bar-facing burpees (may step over bar)

Time cap: 12 minutes, including 3-minute rest



Issaquah, Redmond, Sammamish – CrossFit

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Choose Your Own Adventure (No Measure)

EMOM for 28 MIN (7 Rounds)

MIN 1 – Barbell

MIN 2 – Core

MIN 3 – Monostructural

MIN 4 – Skill

Choose Your Own Adventure!

Whatever you Pick you need to be able to do 10-15 Reps or Work for :40 seconds.

Barbell – Choose any Barbell Movement you want to work on.

Core – Plank Holds, Hollow Rocks, etc.

Monostructural – Assault Bike, Row, Run, Double Under.

Gymnastics Skill – Handstand Walk, Muscle Up, Pull Up, Toes to Bar, etc.
Use notes to record everything you did