Top 5 Supplements to Consider Taking

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Before I get into vitamins, minerals, and other supplements, let me preface with the fact that supplements should be just that - SUPPLEMENTS!  They should not replace your diet, they cannot fix a broken diet, and they should simply be a beneficial addition.  Although, even with a great, well-balanced diet, there can still be some glaring holes that vitamins and supplements can help with.   So here are my top 5 supplements that I would recommend to most people out there that are weight training and don’t eat organ meats on a regular basis J  
  1. Vitamin D -
For those of us that live in this great city of Chicago, we don’t always experience ‘sunny’ winters.  This means we probably get an inadequate amount of sun, and unfortunately our seafood isn’t the “freshest”.   Seafood and sunshine are two of the only ways to get Vitamin D and it’s an important one!  It helps us absorb calcium, promotes bone growth, and protects against multiple diseases.   Brand: NatureMade Vitamin D3 (eat it with fats) Dosage: 2,000-5,000 IU/day depending on how much seafood you eat!  
  1. Magnesium -
Needed by enzymes in our body for ATP (energy) production.  It helps support your immune system, and it can help you sleep at night!   Brand: LifeExtension Magnesium Dosage 300-500 mg/day  
  1. Vitamin A -
Vitamin A is only found in organ meats, which most of the population don’t eat on a daily basis.  Which means most of us are probably deficient in it and it is an important catalyst for a lot of biochemical processes in the body.  It helps your immune system, reproductivity health, and many other major organs.   Brand: Nature’s Way Vitamin A Dosage: 3,000 - 10,000 IU/day  
  1. Zinc -
Zinc is found in every tissue of the body and is important for cell division, preventing cancer, and maintaining proper hormone levels.   Brand: Garden of Life Raw Zinc Dosage: 15-30mg/day
  1. Whey Protein -
If you are weight training and are consistently breaking down muscle tissue, you need help repairing it.  Whey protein is quickly absorbed, it contains all of the essential amino acids (which are the building blocks of our muscles), and it is easily digestible.  Which is great to take post-workout to bump up that protein intake!   Brand: Driven Nutrition Dosage: 1-2 scoops (post-workout is best for recovery!)       So if you are looking to take your health and body to the next level, consider these.  Even though we work hard, sometimes it’s nice to have a little ‘help’.      

Intensity: Your Limiting Factor

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People have so many types of fitness goals:
Fat loss
Weight loss
Body Composition Changes
Strength Gains (Including Gymnastics) 
Endurance Gains
Anaerobic Threshold 
Now that we have listed out the ideal results we can dive further into the reasons for not achieving them. 
In order to achieve results you need intensity.  
Here is the definition as it pertains to physics - magnitude, as of energy or a force per unit of area, volume,time, etc.
So how is this the reason you are are not getting results? 
You may currently be working with intensity less than 1-2 times per week. I am not saying you should have high intensity workouts every session; however, pushing yourself more often will yield greater results.  Not every session requires maximum intensity; however, not every session requires you to workout within your comfort zone.  You must push out of this zone and get acclimated to the discomfort.  
By NO means do I think you should be at full intensity every session, for that would be a recipe for burnout and injury.  however, choosing two sessions out the week say to allow yourself to have a bit more intensity whether that be loading or speed will help you get your results faster.
If you training is merely a check in the box or a check-in on Facebook, you are in for futile journey. Be present and constantly strive to push your limit at the appropriate time.

Coach Angelo’s 2017 In House Competition Recap

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The 2017 OCF In-House Competition was an amazing weekend.  This past weekend marked the 5th  In-House Competition that we have had.  Each year, I can honestly say they get better and better, and 2017 surely set a new standard for next year.
First, I would like to thank Rocio and Susie for running the entire weekend so smoothly; they kept everyone on time and organized.  They did everything from judging  and scoring to laying out equipment; the weekend could not have taken place without them. Thank you both so much for making this special for us.
To the athletes, I hope you left this weekend with two things running through your minds: I had a great time and grew closer to like minded people, and I allowed competition to push me to further levels of discomfort.  Your potential is limitless and for some moments this weekend I hope you were able to taste that.
A special congratulations to all the podium finishers.  Your hard work before the competition day has proven to be the preparation you needed to excel this past weekend. Keep it up!
Thank you all for such an amazing weekend.  I am still trying to recall all of the special moments that happened. I am so grateful for you all.

What to Eat Post-Workout

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So, imagine this: we are in a high-volume, high-intensity week of the cycle and you just finished a grueling workout that had a lot of reps and a lot of weight.  Is the first thought what should I eat to help myself recover?  Well, it should be…   After a workout, our body is depleted of its energy (glycogen aka calories) and our muscles have little micro-tears in them that need repairing!  Guess what helps us repair and recover our body…?  That’s right, CALORIES!  But the right type of calories is going to be more beneficial than just any old combination that you can find.   Your muscles like both proteins and carbohydrates after a workout, so how much of these should we give our body?!   Depending on your weight and your goals: 15-35g of Protein 30-100g of Carbohydrates   Keep fats minimal because fats tend to slow down absorption of carbohydrates and protein to your body aka they slow the process of recovery.  So those beloved Perfect Foods Bars post workout?  Not the best idea…save them for another time in the day.   What types of foods can this be?! Protein Sources - Whey Protein Chicken Breast Low-Fat or Non-Fat Greek Yogurt Fish/Seafood   Carbohydrate Sources - Oats Sweet potatoes or White potatoes White Rice Whole grain bread or bagels Fruits like bananas or apples   Alright, so now when should we be eating this?!   I’m not asking you to bring your plate and fork onto the workout floor and chow down immediately after you finish, BUT the sooner the better.   Within 20 minutes - Try to get something easy to digest and simple in.  This could be your protein shake and a banana or some overnight oats!   Within 2 hours - This is when we’d want to get our next MEAL in.  Stick to again, lean proteins like the ones listed above, and a healthy starch.  Keep fats for the meals away from your workout.   Now you’re equipped to recover in the best way possible!  Fuel your body and it will repay you!   -Coach Becca

Break the Mold

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When I walked into O’Hare Crossfit for the first time and saw all the strong women of different shapes and sizes I was immediately inspired by them (and intimidated).  I had never seen so many “girls” lifting an actual barbell and doing pull-ups, real pull ups. I thought I would be judged by them for not being able to lift ten pound dumbbells or having to do jumping pull-ups off a box.  I could never aspire to look like them or perform any of the movements as they could. My goals were to get in shape and feel better about myself. That was it. I was not going to strive for anything more than that. What would be the point of it? I could only do a limited amount of things and that was it. Well that attitude didn’t get me very far with my goals.  It also didn’t last long because I decided I wanted that strict pull up.  If I could do that one pull up I would be satisfied. I had to ask for help from the coaches and see how I could increase my strength. I worked on my strength and progressions every day before and after class. It was a struggle.  After a few weeks I surmised that some people had that strength and others did not. I was one of the others.  But I kept on and the glorious day came when I got my strict pull up. Yet, I was not satisfied.  I then wanted to knock out more at a time, I wanted to become more efficient at other movements and then I wanted to learn how to lift with a barbell, and so on. I’m glad now that I pushed myself at things I thought I could not do.  It has been a difficult yet highly satisfying road for me considering my un-athletic background.  The more I attempted the more I failed but then at some point the goal gets accomplished and there is no better feeling than that.  The best part of this is that the more work I put in towards a skill or weight I had never done before, is that the more in shape I got and the better I felt about myself.  Those were my only goals in the beginning and they have never wavered since then.  Do not be afraid of putting in a little extra work for some skills, even if you think everyone can do it and not you.  Those are the things that change your body and mind.   -Coach Susie

3 Tips on how NOT to Lose it this Summer!

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Well it’s about that time. You know, when the sun is out later, there is a party or fest every weekend, and vacations to be had.  
 
Summer is a beautiful time of year especially if you live in Chicago.  How do you enjoy summer and it’s festivities without blowing all the hard work you have put in all winter? 
 
Here are 3 tips:
 
1.   Intermittent Fasting: If you are going to go to a party, drink a little, eat without guilt or counting try intermittent fasting. Wake up, and try not eat for 4-6 hours. When you do eat, keep it light especially in the carbs (save those for later) and then go out have some fun and know you’re not completely blowing your nutrition.
 
2.   Do something active outside.  There is more to fitness than the gym. Go to a park and play for an hour, play catch, ride a bike, go for a hike, the possibilities are endless. Check out this blog for more info about that - http://oharecrossfit.com/with-the-weather-getting-warmer-its-time-to-apply-your-fitness-outside-of-your-big-sweaty-box/
3.   Monday - Thursday stay in non-summer mode. Hit those 4 days as hard as you can in every aspect, training, eating strict, and recovery (stress, hydration etc). 
 
Let the summer be a time to celebrate and enjoy not set you back to a Fall full of guilt. 

Accepting the Ebb & Flow of Motivation

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Feeling motivated and excited about training is a great feeling.  We are engaged, almost in a flow-like state during training; wherein, we are not allowing any exterior distractions into our focus.
Does this myopic focus last forever?
Speaking for myself, I sometimes lose focus and motivation, and I am willing to bet you do as well.
So what do you do when you are feeling the lack of motivation and CrossFit is the last thing you want to do?
The game is about staying the course, trusting the process, and not allowing your negative attitude to grossly impact you.  There will be some days that you feel like you are going through the motions; however, that does not mean progress did not lie in that session or sessions.
Most journeys in life are a test of endurance; fitness is the same.  I’m not taking about endurance of breathing in longer workouts,; I am referring to the endurance of being able to trust the process, and yes, at points suffer to get through them.
If you are going  through this right now, take this as a plea to stay the course, trust the unfolding, and realize it will come back with  your consistency and effort. If you are riding high right now, enjoy it, soak it in, and know you are armed with the knowledge to handle the road ahead.
You must endure; struggle is merely life's toll.

The Dance That is Scaling

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Scaling a workout is necessary sometimes; however, it DOES NOT mean you are not good enough, not capable, or a failure.
 
Consider that each workout is written to provide a certain feeling or stimulus.  Certain time domains, loading parameters, and movement selections are catalysts a programmer uses to develop a certain stimulus in every workout they write. 
 
How does this play into class? If a workout calls for five minutes of grueling work, focus on that goal versus the perceived inadequacies you are feeling about scaling a workout.  Doing a workout RX or scaled is erroneous if the workout achieves the necessary reaction within your physical and mental state. 
 
That is and was the beauty of CrossFit. We all can “go there” together; even though, we have different abilities. 
 
Scaling is like a dance, you need to know the steps and who your partner is. If a coach asks you to scale, they are simply asking you to adjust a couple steps in the dance; they are not saying you are not able to dance.  
 
Understand that everything is about getting a certain feeling, and focus on how your role in the dance can be done perfectly relative to your abilities and goals.  
-Coach Angelo

Manifest Your Want

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Over the past year I have become a lot more aware of my choices.  The reason being is because, although it took me nearly 28 years to figure out, I finally realized that everything in this life is a choice.   There is pizza in front of me.  Do I HAVE to eat it?  No, that’s a choice. I’m out with friends.  Do I HAVE to drink too?  No, this is a choice. I’m super-stressed about work, do I HAVE to take on another project?  Nope, guess what?  You can say no. I am in a stressful relationship, whether it be with a friend or romantic, do I HAVE to stay in it?  No, this is a choice.   So when you evaluate what things are important to you, and what you SAY is important to you, consider what choices you’re making.  Are you putting yourself first?  Are you putting your health up there too?   What you WANT is out there - you just have to make the choices to manifest those things you want into a reality.  WANT and DO are two very different things.  Few people DO what they WANT.   Are you one of those people?  Are your expectations in line with your actions?   If not, do not fret.  Simply adjust your expectations and be happy with where you are rather than always wanting to be somewhere else.  If that doesn’t sound like a place you want to be, then do something about it.   Joy and depression cannot reside in the same place.  Pick the life you want, or find a way to be happy with the life you have chosen for yourself.   -Coach Becca

Why Skipping Breakfast is Hindering your Weight Loss…

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So before I get yelled at by the world wide web, Can you only eat 1-3 meals per day and lose fat? Yes, of course you can. Can you eat 4-8 meals a day and lose fat?  Definitely.   BUT, most people just don’t deal well with hunger and restriction.  Typically, the big issues with people’s diet adherence is hunger and/or getting in the right amount of food.  Going a long time without food simply does not work for many people because:  
  1. People cannot control cravings (I mean…chocolate).
  2. People are unable to experience hunger without obsessing over it (because well, it’s hard - you’re hangry).
  3. People typically overeat when they do finally get food after being hungry for a long time period (and that overeating ain’t of chicken and broccoli).
  So how do we help stick to our diets?  That’s right, eat more frequently!   If you struggle with going long periods without food - then don’t!   Eating before you are super hungry, AKA every couple of hours, can keep you from reaching into that box of donuts at the work party, or over-eating at a meal because you haven’t eaten in 5 hours.  So instead of trying to fit all of your calories into a few meals, spread them out throughout the day and I bet you’d be able to get the necessary calories a LOT easier, and you won’t be constantly obsessing over your next meal.   I have no shame in the fact that I eat 7-9 times a day.  They are all small meals, but they keep me from ever feeling super hungry or light-headed, they keep me from getting hangry and moody, and it keeps me from binging when I do eat.   So don’t think that your day has to be Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner and that’s it to lose weight.  Maybe eating Meal #1-7 is a better approach that will keep you from becoming insatiable next time you’re in your kitchen.   -Coach Becca