25 May 2019 - WOD

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

Competition Class

A) Every 2 minutes for 10 rounds:
- 10 Toes-to-Bar
- 2 Power Snatches (climbing)
* Start around 50-60% and slowly build each round

B) Every 2 minutes for 10 rounds:
- 3-5 Muscle-ups
- 2 Power clean + Push jerk (climbing)
* Start around 50-60% and slowly build each round

C) Conditioning
3 rounds for time of:
500m Row
21 Burpees
400m Run
* Time cap: 17 minutes


Gymnastics Strength & Skill

A) Flexibility
3 rounds:
10 Bridge ups
30 second weighted forward fold

B) Strength
15 minutes of:
5-10 Ice cream scoops
10 Ring push-up
10 Box jump from seated

C) Skill
10-15 minutes to work on:
Lateral wall walks
Freestanding handstand
Handstand walking


CrossFit

A) Gymnastics: Toes to bar
4 sets of max reps
* Rest exactly 2 minutes between sets

B) Conditioning
3 rounds for time of:
500m Row
21 Burpees
400m Run
* Time cap: 20 minutes
* This is a "bodyweight" fitness level test on BtWB, get after it!

24 May 2019 - Next Step Nutrition's Detailed Guide to Supplements

Guest post by Jonny Landels of Next Step Nutrition

Today, I am going to walk you through a detailed guide to supplements. However, I'm not going to mention everything you've ever heard of, so if I miss something off your list I will share at the end where you can go to for that answer. You can be damn certain though, if I haven’t mentioned it here, there probably isn't evidence to support it.

Note: I will not be including whey or casein protein powder in this blog as I view these more as performance foods that can be included in your daily diet to simply increase your protein intake.

I'm going to break supplements down into 3 sections:

  • Supplements for health

  • Supplements for sport/performance

  • Potential supplements worth mentioning

Let's get into it, shall we?

Supplements For Health

1. Omega 3 Fish Oils

Let me start this section off by saying, if you eat oily fish 2-3x per week, then you do not need to supplement. By oily fish, I mean salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, etc. If you aren't, then this one is a no-brainer. If you are vegan, then your best bet is to use Algae Oil. The omega-3 fish oils are EPA and DHA.

Benefits include:

Lowers blood pressure and can reduce high blood pressure (Miller et al., 2014) - ACE Inhibitors
Lowers cholesterol and blood lipids (Zulyniak et al. 2013) - Statins
Anti-platelet Activity (Stroke/DVT) – Warfarin
Antiarrhythmic (Metcalf, 2008) - Beta Blockers
Anti-inflammatory (Kremer, 2005)
NSAIDS Improvement in Depression (Sublette et al., 2011)
Anabolic resistance in elderly (Smith et al., 2010)
Help improve weight loss (Noreen et al., 2010)

For these reasons, these are so important in our daily lives. The dosage is goal and individual dependent; however, I usually recommend most athletes have between 500-800mg of combined EPA and DHA per day. Unlike other supplements, quality isn't overly important – the higher quality ones will have that dosage without having to take too many pills. The MyProtein Omega+ and Puori are both decent.

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble pro-hormone that we produce naturally when we're exposed to sunlight. The issue is that in the UK we don't get a great deal of sunshine! We only absorb a very small amount from food, but foods that are high in Vitamin D include butter, eggs, mackerel, meat, and fortified cereals. More than 50% of the population are actually deficient in this essential vitamin.

Benefits include:

Improves immune system (Prietl et al., 2013)
Improves bone health via supporting calcium absorption (Hill et al., 2013)
Reduces the risk of bone loss & fracture risk (elderly)
Vitamin D deficiency associated with the development of CVD, cancer, IBD & AI disorders (Holick, 2007)
Reducing depressive symptoms (Shaffer et al., 2014)
Potentially improves strength (Tomlinson et al., 2015)
Potentially improves fat loss (Ortega et al., 2008)

Ideally you should get yourself tested to get the correct dosage, however, a standard recommendation for many is from 2,500 to 4,000 iu depending on goals and skin tone (darker skins need more!)

Supplements For Performance

1. Coffee

As many of you know, coffee is life, and caffeine is one of the most researched supplements out there. Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant found in several forms: coffee, chocolate, energy drinks, tablets, and powder. It is a mild diuretic (meaning you'll urinate more) so you have to be cautious of dehydrating if all you're doing is drinking flat whites or long blacks all day!

You also have to be careful of caffeine dependency, this is a real thing! If you can't remember the last day you went without some form of caffeine, then it could be harming your sleep and daily energy levels. If this sounds like you, I would highly recommend a caffeine deload: where you spend 3 days with absolutely no caffeine whatsoever. It will suck, but I promise you that you will come out the other side sleeping better, with more energy, and craving less coffee

Remember the next time you have coffee before a workout, caffeine is metabolised in about 45 minutes and has a half-life of 4-6 hours. This means that 4-6 hours later there is still half the mg of caffeine within your system.

Performance Benefits include:

Spares muscle glycogen (Greer et al., 2001)
Reduces reaction time (Duvnjak-Zaknick et al., 2001)
Increases alertness & improves decision making, especially when sleep-deprived (Kamimori et al., 2015) Increases force/strength (Placket, 2001)
Improves muscular endurance (Carr et al., 2001)
Improves endurance performance (Desbrow et al., 2010)
Reduces the rate of perceived exertion (Backhouse et al., 2011)

Other benefits include:

Reduces appetite (though research is mixed here)
Stimulates fat oxidation (this does not correlate into fat burning unless a calorie deficit is created) (Astrup et al., 1990)
Increases metabolism (Astrup et al., 1990)

How much?

Dosage-wise, you should look to take 2-6mg/kg of body-weight 45-60 minutes prior to exercise or competition

2. Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate is also one of the most well-researched supplements out there. Beware of new versions, monohydrate is the one you want. In my opinion, Creatine monohydrate should be on every serious weight trainee's list.

Benefits:

The biggest effect is in repeated high-intensity efforts with short recovery (Izguierdo et al., 2002)
Isometric strength improved after only a few days (Cramer et al., 2007)
Increase the training load that can be tolerated; therefore, increased hypertrophy (Bemben et al., 2005)

Why can it improve weight training adaptations?

It increases training quality & increases strength (Rawson et al., 2003)
↑ Recovery (Cottrell et al., 2002)
Amplifies training-induced adaptations (Olsen et al., 2006)

Benefits to endurance athletes:

Increased muscular endurance (Chwalbiñska-Moneta, 2003)
Lactate Threshold occurs at a higher intensity. Increased time to exhaustion
Increased glycogen storage (Nelson et al., 2001)

Are there any other benefits?

As little as 5g/day of creatine has a significant increase in both working memory and intelligence (Rae et al., 2007)
Increased lean mass and performance for vegetarians (Burke et al., 2003)
Less decline in performance after sleep deprivation (McMorris et al., 2006)

How much?

All you need is 5g/day consistently for optimum gains, don't worry about loading or cycling it, neither are really necessary.

3. Beta-alanine

Beta-alanine is an intracellular buffer of hydrogen ions through increasing muscle carnosine levels. It's a common ingredient in pre-workout supplements and is the reason your skin tingles when you take them!

Benefits:

This supplement only has benefits in certain sports and situations. It needs to be more than 90s minimum, but shouldn't be taken in aerobic training periods/sports. As it buffers hydrogen ions, it reduces time to fatigue and improves anaerobic performance. It's perfect for CrossFit athletes and team sport players.

How much?

Take little and often throughout the day in small doses to lower the side effect of skin tingling (paraesthesia). You need to load beta-alanine for 4-10 weeks with 80mg/kg bodyweight and then afterwards maintain with 40mg/kg.

4. Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium bicarbonate is gaining more and more traction in endurance sports to help anaerobic performance by buffering hydrogen ions and lowering lactic acid. However, stomach upsets are common with this one so I won't mention it too much!

Potential Supplements Worth Mentioning

1. Multivitamins/Multiminerals

These are usually in pill form and contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals. These can be useful if you struggle to get certain micronutrients in, or are deficient in some for whatever reason. However, you have to be careful of the form of some of the vitamins/minerals, as they could potentially compete against each other for absorption (like Zinc and Magnesium). To be honest, unless you're knee deep in a calorie deficit as a small female, you should be able to get your micronutrients from a varied diet

2. Probiotics

There's a huge hype over these at the moment, but is it warranted? There is still mixed evidence around them, some showing strong health benefits and other's showing no significant difference. However, they could be very useful in helping heal the gut after a course of antibiotics, or after some severe travelling. My advice would be not to worry about it unless you've had some major gut issues and have been advised by a GP.

3. Tart Cherry Juice

This one is another sports supplement that has some mixed evidence supporting it. However, it has evidence to show a reduction in DOMS and an improvement in sleep due to its natural melatonin content. I've used it myself and with some clients, but it's hard to know whether this has an effect or if it's the combination of good nutrition, fish oils, and sleep etc.

4. Beetroot Juice

Some evidence to show an improvement in aerobic exercise due to it reducing the cost of oxygen, however, it is mixed.

5. BCAA's

Let me just tee this up with the fact these are the most over-hyped supplements on the planet. The branched chain amino acids are only necessary if you have low protein intakes. If you get enough protein in your diet, you do not need them. They can be potentially useful if you intermittent fast and train before breaking the fast.

And that's that!

Yep, that's my huge overview of supplements. Remember, if it's not here, it probably doesn't have sufficient evidence to be useful. Do your due diligence and check stuff out on examine.com for profiles of research and affect on humans.

Be wary of people selling stuff! Remember that supplement companies have margins and people will sell anything these days. If you're an athlete or in tested sport, your best bet is to go for an Informed Choice brand to make sure you don't get popped for any banned substances.

If you'd like to discuss anything here or let me know what you think, please reach out to me on email: jonny@nextstep-nutrition.com

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Strength / Conditioning

In teams of 3...

A1) 9 minute AMRAP of bench press:
50 reps at 60/40 kg
50 reps at 70/45 kg
AMRAP at 80/50 kg

- Rest 3 minutes -

A2) 9 minute AMRAP of power cleans:
50 reps at 70/45 kg
50 reps at 80/50 kg
AMRAP at 90/55 kg

- Rest 3 minutes -

A3) 9 minute AMRAP of front squats:
50 reps at 80/55 kg
50 reps at 100/70 kg
AMRAP at 120/80 kg

22 May 2019 - WOD

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Gymnastics Test
Death by Toes to Bar

B) Conditioning Test
10 minutes: Row for distance
* On minutes 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 perform 20 wall balls 9/6kg
* Breathing in gears 2-4 only
- G2 = Power nasal in / relaxed nasal out
- G3 = Power nasal in / power nasal out
- G4 = Power nasal in / power mouth out


* This is a conditioning test of your aerobic > anaerobic energy systems
* The aim is NOT to spend the full 10 minutes breathing in G4
* Can you efficiently up regulate your breathing (G4) when the work demand requires it (e.g. during the wall balls), and you can bring your breathing back under control (G2-3) on the rower?

19 May 2019 - WOD

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

Engine Work

A) Conditioning

2 Rounds for time:
800m Run
21 Dumbbell snatch, alternating arms
21 Single arm dumbbell thruster, change arms overhead
15 Dumbbell snatch, alternating arms
15 Single arm dumbbell thruster, change arms overhead
9 Dumbbell snatch, alternating arms
9 Single arm dumbbell thruster, change arms overhead

* Can also use a kettlebell


Specialist Sundays

* We will be testing Snatch and Clean & Jerk 1RM's tomorrow as part of our testing for next cycle, so today will be skill-focused

A) Snatch
High hang snatch + Hang snatch + Snatch
* Pause for 3 seconds on the catch of each rep

B) Clean & Jerk
High hang clean + Hang clean + Clean + Jerk
* Pause for 3 seconds on the catch of each rep

* For A & B, you will have 10-15 minutes to work on these complexes, focus on technique over load


Barbelles Lifting Class

A) Bench Press
4 x 5 @ 80%

B) Accessory
B1) Barbell hip thrust: 4 x 12 (increase by 5kg from last time)
B2) Russian kettlebell swings: 4 x 12 @ AHAP

C) Skill Work
Handstand push- up

18 May 2019 - WOD

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

Competition Class

A) Partner Workout

In teams of 2, complete for time:
30 Muscle-ups
75 Handstand Push-ups
5km Run

* Rx+, wear a weight vest
* One person working at a time, pull-ups and push-ups can be split as needed
* The 5km must be split into intervals of 400m or 200m


Gymnastics Strength & Skill

A) Flexibility

3 Sets of:
20 PVC shoulder pass throughs
3-5 Skin the cat w/ 5 second hold

B) Strength

10 Push-up w/ rock forward (Planche Progression)
10 Tuck-up to inverted hang
20 Lunge with arms overhead

C) Strength

3 Sets of:
5-10 Chin up w/ Pike leg raise
10 Rock to headstand + Handstand Push Up


CrossFit

A) Partner Workout

In teams of 2, complete "Severin", for time:
50 Strict pull-ups
100 Hand release push-ups
5km Run

* Rx+, wear a weight vest
* One person working at a time, pull-ups and push-ups can be split as needed
* The 5km must be split into intervals of 400m or 200m

15 May 2019 - Throwback Thursday: Making Progress - Intensity vs. Technique

It’s Throwback Thursday, which means its time for one of our Throwback Thursday blog! This week, we’re re-visiting a blog we first published on 16 January 2015, covering the incredibly important topic of “Intensity vs. Technique”.

Intensity can be defined as "exactly equal to average power (force x distance / time)”. In other words, how much real work did you do and in what time period? The greater the average power, the greater the intensity.

Technique can be defined as “a skilful, correct, safe and efficient way of performing movements”.

Intensity and average power are the variables most commonly associated with optimising favourable results. Do more work in less time (without overdoing it), and you’ll get fitter, faster, Fact. In order to improve, we have to be prepared to push ourselves, often to 'uncomfortable' levels.

There is a fine line between intensity and technique.

If we are focused on absolutely perfect technique every time we train, then our intensity will be much lower. On the flip side, if we go super hard all the time, it's likely that our form will suffer and we are at risk of injury. The key is finding the middle ground where you can go hard, but stay safe.

So where is this fine line between intensity and technique?

Let's use CrossFit's favourite example.... let's take a look at three imaginary athletes who are all going to do "Grace" (30 clean and jerks at 60 kg, for time) and they all finish exactly on 3 minutes.

Athlete A hits it first. He puts on heavy metal to work out to and gets himself all pumped up by running around the gym screaming and grunting, slapping his chest and face and throwing chalk everywhere. 3, 2, 1, GO!

The clock starts and he proceeds to yank the bar off the ground with a rounded back, he reverse curls it with little to no technique. He then strict presses overhead while heavily arching his lower back. Every rep is performed in the same way. He finishes his workout in exactly 3 minutes and drops to the ground in the fetal position, a sweaty, heaving, panting mess. He doesn’t move for the next 30 minutes.

It's Athletes B's turn, so he changes the music to his 'Chillin' on a Sunday' playlist. The clock starts and he calmly walks up to the bar, he spends what feels like an age getting into a perfect set-up and proceeds to clean and jerk with perfect form. He drops the bar to the ground and takes a couple of steps back and assesses his next approach. As the workout continues, he takes time to talk to the coach about his day. He too finishes at 3 minutes, he has not broken a sweat and he walks away feeling refreshed.

Finally, it's Athlete C's turn. He changes the music over to his favourite workout tunes and hits some dynamic mobility drills while he’s waiting to begin his workout. When the clock starts, his clean & jerk technique isn’t perfect – he has an early arm bend, and could probably open his hips up a little more – but it’s pretty good. His coach yells a few lifting cues, the athlete corrects his technique and strings together 10 good reps before dropping the bar. He gives himself 15 seconds before forcing himself to pick the bar back up and finishes the workout in 3 minutes, flat. When he’s done, he is sweating and breathing hard. He composes himself, takes a gentle jog and brings his heart rate down to normal levels in a few minutes.

All of the above athletes finished at exactly the same time and all the athletes lifted 60 kg so we can say that the athletes all performed "Grace" with the same absolute intensity. What we see in our descriptions is a big difference between the athlete’s relative intensity: the ability for each to push themselves physically and mentally.

For Athlete B, his movement was perfect, but his intensity was very low. Do you think his performance will improve his overall fitness in the future? He may have looked technically perfect, but because he lacked the intensity, his fitness is less unlikely to improve in the future.

On the flip side we have Athlete A aka 'Mr Intense'. He went so hard that he had no form, he was at risk of hurting himself and probably those around him. Although the intensity was super high, his lack of technique will likely result in little improvement next time he does this workout as he did nothing to work on his efficiency.

Athlete C is right on the money as he balances CrossFit's requirement of high intensity and good technique. He had a few technique errors, but nothing serious and he was able to correct them when cued by the coach. He was also able to push himself hard. If he performs like this on every WOD do you think he will improve faster than the other two athletes?....Yes!

Here are some tips that we have found helpful in our training...

Strength days

Aim to lift more than last time. For example, if I am doing front squats for sets of 5 reps, I check back in Beyond the Whiteboard of what my 5 rep max is. If the last time I did front squats for 5 reps my heaviest set was 100kg, then I always go into the session with the goal of my last 1-2 sets being above this weight. Even if it's just by 2.5kg, it’s still an improvement and every kilo counts!

Embrace the suck. I know that as I approach a new rep max, I may lean forward a little more than I would like and I will be in a battle to keep my knees tracking my toes perfectly. Provided it's only very minor deviations in form, the last couple of reps of each set should have you wondering whether your are going to make it! If you're unsure, speak to your coach if you have any questions or would like feedback on your form before you add weight, that's why we're here!

Met-cons

Keep rest periods short. The more resting you do in a workout the lower the intensity will be. One tip is to decide that each time you rest, it's only going to be for X seconds (10-15 seconds is more than enough). Keep an eye on the clock and time yourself. No matter how you feel, you will get back to work once those seconds have passed time and you will surprise yourself at how much more you can do.

Go in with a strategy. Decide how you are going to break up the work...make it a challenge!

Have a mantra. It's easy to convince ourselves to take a rest, but it's much harder to convince ourselves to keep working! When the going gets tough and I want to stop I just focus on the next rep, and nothing else. I actually say "another rep". Once I do that rep, I say again "just one more rep". Before you know it, you've done 5-10 more reps before you actually rest.


WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Strength: Power Clean
Establish a 5 rep max (touch and go)

B) Conditioning

"Big Bang"
50 Cleans (102.5/70 kg)

* Modify to 90% of your 5RM
* Time cap: 10 minutes

14 May 2019 - WOD

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Conditioning

4 minute AMRAP:
27 Calorie row (or 21/18 Calorie bike)
27 Kettlebell swings (24/16 kg)
27 Chest to bar pull-ups

- 4 minute rest -

21 Calorie row (or 15/12 Calorie bike)
21 Kettlebell swings (24/16 kg)
21 Chest to bar pull-ups

- 4 minute rest -

15 Calorie row (or 12/9 Calorie bike)
15 Kettlebell swings (24/16 kg)
15 Chest to bar pull-ups