13 Jun
2013

Hormones-Why You Might Not Be Getting the Best Results

HormonesweightlossThere are many people who start working out. There are many that also start new diets. There are many that get fantastic results. Months or maybe even weeks after starting a new fitness plan they are losing fat, gaining muscle, and setting PRs all over the place. There are also many others who start the same fitness plan. They’re doing the same workout, eating the same foods, and are getting no where. They might lose a few pounds and get a little stronger but their results are negligible compared to Mr. and/or Ms. Fitness over there. 

It’s not fair, right?! WTF!  It makes one want to ask “WHY DO I SUCK?” “What am I doing wrong?” Guess what, you may not be doing anything wrong!

Often times, if you ask your doctor or your trainer, they might tell you exactly the opposite thing. You must be doing something wrong. You’re eating too much or maybe it’s just your genetics. And yes, sometimes people do eat more than they think or maybe they are genetically predisposed to be a little softer. However, no one is genetically destined to be unhealthy. That’s just not the way things work. You may not be “meant” to have a rippling six pack but a health level of body fat and strength are within everyone’s genetic code. And yes, sometimes we might be eating more than we think. But, if after closely evaluating your diet you’re still at a loss for your less than awesome results… it’s time to get some lab work. You probably have some hormone issues! 

Having suffered from this problem and after seeing clients with the same issue, I can almost pick out a person with “messed up” hormones without even drawing blood. And what kind of hormones am I talking about? Estrogen, Testosterone, and Thyroid to start. There are others that come into play but these are players that are most commonly out of whack. Common symptoms of low testosterone, high estrogen, and underactive thyroid include:

-Fatigue (no matter how rested you are)

-Mood problems like irritability, mood swings, frequent crying spells, depression, and anxiety.

-Insomnia

-Low libido/sexual drive

-Decreased strength and stamina

-Low motivation and interest

-Inability to concentrate

-Poor memory and a “foggy brain” feeling

-Inability to lose weight or change body composition

-Trouble putting on muscle

-Cravings for sweets and carbohydrates

-Heavy or painful cycles

-Irregular cycles

-Bloating and edema

-Constipation

And that’s just to name a few! Often times, these problems occur as we get old but I’ve had patients (and myself) who have had hormone panels that looked like that of a person 30 years older. Stress, lack of sleep, too much exercise, genetics, pregnancy, the foods we are eating, and so many other things can impact our hormones! If you feel like this article is speaking to you I HIGHLY recommend finding a great doctor to test levels for you!Blood samples

Here’s what you should ask for:

Thyroid: TSH, Free T3, Free T4, TPO antibodies, Reverse T3

Sex Hormones: FSH, Estradiol, Estrone, Free and Total Testosterone, SHBG

If you can’t find someone to check these for you, shoot me a message at theeperfectcouplet@gmail.com and I’ll be  happy to help you find a way to get these evaluated. Don’t continue to bang your head against a brick wall!

 

 

 

11 Jun
2013

Attitude Nation Certification Review

attitudenationHere I am, sitting on Delta flight 1753 heading to Seattle to coach for CrossFit Gymnastics. Here I am, listening to another old Weightlifting Talk podcast; Adapt – November 08, 2012, for those who are interested. In that episode, there is a caller who references being on the phone with Jon North as, “being on the phone with The Attitude Nation.” Without missing a beat, Jon stops the caller and clarifies, “You’re not in the presence of The Attitude Nation, you’re always in the presence of The Attitude Nation, because you are The Attitude Nation!”

That mindset, mentality, and attitude is what transitions this collection of words into my review/write up/recap of one of the best days that I have had, not just in the fitness and exercise world, but in a VERY long time. We’re talking years. That day was May 26th, 2013 at the 42nd Attitude Nation Certification at CrossFit Pinnacle.

For those of you who don’t want to read past this paragraph, here’s the Cliff Notes: It was awesome and you would be doing yourself a huge disservice to not take advantage of spending a day with Jon and Jessica.

Now for the rest of you, let me tell you why this was such an amazing experience that will forever impact not only how I lift and coach, but how I navigate through the maze of life (mostly other people’s views of what’s “right”).

My (now) wife (Vanessa) and I met through the CrossFit community back in 2008. One of our first “dates” was actually going through our CrossFit Level 1 Certification together. Several months later, we went through a CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting Certification as another weekend long date. I guess you could say that our idea of fun attitudenationblackandwhitetogether is a little outside of the norm, but if you’re reading this, you probably fall into that same camp. In the years that have passed since that first cert, we’ve both finished school, gotten married, made 6 moves, started 2 businesses, and traveled a TON. Most of that travel was in the name of fitness and involved attending education pieces, competitions, and functioning as coaches. In that time, our interest in weightlifting as a sport, rather than a piece of CrossFit has continued to grow. So, to continue our “exercise date” tradition, I decided to surprise my wife with a trip to an Attitude Nation Certification.

Now, I’m a massive Jon North and Attitude Nation fan and am in the process of bringing my wife into The Dark Orchestra. That being said, heading into the morning, I was super excited while she was a bit anxious and nervous. Making our 2.5 hour drive to CrossFit Pinnacle was mostly full of morning talk radio and small chat. Upon arriving at the gym, it was obvious that there was a tangible anxious tension in the air. Within minutes of Jon and Jessica arriving, the mood began to change as they walked the room to shake hands, make introductions, crack jokes, and drink coffee; the jokes and coffee would be a constant through the day.

Soon after Jon called us into a tighter group for he and Jessica to begin their opening lecture, it was obvious that this would be a different than the fitness industry “standard” cert/seminar model. In the first 10 minutes of the lecture, Jon had named no less than a dozen weightlifting coaches that had guided, influenced, molded, and contributed to his own style of weightlifting. This referencing and crediting of other coaches is not something that is common in an industry full of self proclaimed “experts,” but Jon and Jessica were continually paying homage and giving respect to a huge number of coaches through the entire day; even coaches with whom they disagreed about technique, coaching, and theory. I have never been through an education piece of any type, fitness related or not, where so much credit was given to individuals other than the instructor.

As we moved further into the lecture piece, we rode an emotional roller coaster through Jon’s storytelling. Fantastic stories of training experiences transitioned into explorations of past drug and alcohol addictions. Celebrations of lifting competitions he had dominated drifted into discussions of time spent homeless. The openness and honestly shared by this amazing husband and wife team was inspiring and motivating. Next time you’re bitching about a workout because you left your jump rope at home, realize that there are people that have slept in cars and scrounged up change to eat off a dollar menu, but have still shown up to battle a barbell in the snatch and clean & jerk.

Immediately following the introduction lecture, it was game time. Lifting shoes and knee sleeves on. Thumbs taped up. Grab a barbell and find some space. There was no time spend looking at lifts on a white board or trying to “figure things out” with a piece of PVC. Every drill, cue, and correction happened with bar. This practical application was fantastic because it sped up the learning process dramatically. It was never a matter of “try to imagine X,” it was, “do Y, think of W, and feel Z.” Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Now, I won’t go discuss all the movements and drills that we went into and dissected, you’ll need to pay for the cert for that. Which, by the way, is a freaking bargain at $200! I will say that some of the cues that they used to create and correct movements were fantastic. Some of the subtle ways to think about and mentally frame what is happening during a lift were pure gold. One of the key things that stood out to me was that everything we did had a reason. Now, most fitness education pieces  tell you, “this is just how it is, trust me.” The reasons and “why’s” for the AN methodology were continually explained to us through stories of Jon’s failures, rather than successes. For any of you that have been around this industry for a while, you’ll realize how unique it is to have the lead instructor to illustrate coaching cues and points of performance by explaining his own failures, misses, and poor performances as they related to technical breaks in what they were teaching. Hearing these things was very refreshing and did much more to drive the point home than the standard, “everybody listen to how great me and my athletes are.”

slambarsOh yeah, the PRs. Can’t leave those out! Look, we’ve all had bad days, weeks, or months in the gym where you would literally pay money to make a lift or to have some sign of progress. I’m virtually certain that every person in the room had a PR, some had 2 or 3. My wife and I both hit PR C&Js and PR Cleans. Feel free to look at the price of the cert like that: Pay for a PR. $200 is nothing to make some serious progress in a single day.

Moving to wrap things up: here was the kicker, here was the piece that has stayed with me, here’s what other coaches need to learn from, and here’s what matters outside of the weight room: If you don’t like pieces of the technique, that’s okay. Do what works for you. The same goes for every other facet of training and life. Eat what you want. Lift how you want. Do what you want. Be yourself. Again, do what works for you.

I could keep going for another several hundred words, but I’ll end on that note. Just go and just be you. Windows down, A/C up. Black sheep. Johnny Cash. Slam bars. Kill PRs. Attitude Nation 2016.

3 Jun
2013

EASY Blueberry Tasty Cakes (Paleo)

 

image

 

When it comes to cooking, I require fast and easy unless it’s a weekend day when I can take my time. Even then I get inpatient and frustrated with complicated recipes. So, this is an example of a very simple, easy breakfast or snack recipe.

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup blueberries

1 tbs coconut flour

2 tbs water

2 eggs

stevi and salt to taste

 

Mix everything except the blueberries together until smooth. Fold in blueberries carefully. Cook in a skillet (I sprayed with olive oil prior to heating) over medium-medium high until the top os bubbly and edges are set. Flip and finish cooking. Voila- easiest blueberry pancake ever. It doesn’t even need toppings!

 

31 May
2013

Confidence

lion-tongue_1396604i(Naughty language coming, don’t read if it offends you.)
*In all seriousness: Ladies, get some fucking over-sized, alpha ass confidence. You know, what the illiterate children are calling “swag” these days. Stop for a second and relish in what bad bitches you are. Less than 2 decades ago (1982-1995), Jane Fonda ruled the women’s exercise scene with a bunch of dumb aerobic bullshit. Now, that stupid dipshit Tracy Anderson says that, “women shouldn’t lift more than 3 pounds.” Fuck that and fuck her. You know what, women shouldn’t lift more than 3 pounds, they should lift a shit load more than 3 pounds. Aggressively. Violently. Frequently.

Don’t confuse this with having a big ego or misplaced arrogance. Proud. Confident. Secure; those are the internal PRs. Embrace the beauty of strength in a physical context. Be very fucking proud of the blood and sweat that you pour into becoming better versions of yourselves than social custom tells you that you can and should be. Enjoy actively participating in a social and fitness revolution.

28 May
2013

Positivity and appreciation in 2013

positivity_quote_small-680x485Hey ladies,

I’ve ranted on getting yourself some overall confidence plenty of times. It’s all fine and good, but it’s not supposed to come across like some Pinterest “fitspiration” bullshit. Stop and look in the mirror. Stop and look in your workout logs. Don’t just be proud of your inclusion in a worldwide shift in fitness, be damn proud of your own personal growth and journey. Look at the scars you’ve accumulated through perfecting your bar path and building that false grip. Look at how far your Snatch, Clean & Jerk, and Squats have come since you started lifting. I’ve worked with enough of you that didn’t know if that pullup would ever come, it did, along with 2, 3, 4, etc… I’ve worked with enough of you that didn’t know if you’d ever “understand” Cleans, then body weight Clean & Jerks came and went.

Every consumer industry that sells products to women is banking on you never celebrating these accomplishments or recognizing your progress. Your magazine subscriptions want you to keep searching for that article that will have the magic solution to whatever bullshit woes you have convinced yourself exist. Your favorite makeup brand is banking on you thinking your skin looks like shit now and forever. The entire clothing industry relishes in you hating yourself more when you’re outside of their products than when you’re wearing them.

In 1848 the first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York. I fucking promise in the time since then, you’ve gained more than the right to vote. I fucking promise that on May 21st, 2013 you’re allowed to think that you’re more than just “worthwhile.”

You know why guys seem so damn happy? Because we can flex in the mirror and convince ourselves that we’re the sexiest fucking creatures on the planet. Most of you could learn a thing or two from that and I promise that confidence in a woman is something that is VERY noted and significant.

Make the decision today to kill the fucking mentality that endlessly searches for everything that’s wrong with yourself. Make a paradigm shift that searches for everything that is right. Search for every positive quality, every goal met, and every accomplishment smashed.

If all that you focus on is what is wrong, what you don’t have, and what you want for, I promise that you will always suffer and be unhappy.

Positivity and appreciation in 2013.

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