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The secret guide to gain muscle and burn fat

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Today we are going to talk about a very specific goal: body composition goals. I want to be very careful in limiting the scope of this blog post to this one very specific goal. I understand that not everyone will have aesthetic goals, and that’s okay! This blog post only applies and makes sense within the context of an aesthetic goal. Got it?! Got it!
I recently came across an ad that said:
“Cardio Monday! HIIT Tuesday! Yoga Wednesday! Barre Thursday! Recovery Friday! Never get bored of your fitness routine!”
Hey, I don’t think your fitness routine should be boring either. I also think it’s great to try new things. But there does come a point where you must ask if your fitness routine makes sense with what your goal is. When selecting workouts, I prefer to opt for the most efficient way to reach my goal.
If the goal is an aesthetic one, that is, you want your body to look a certain way, and you’d like your exercise selection to help you get there, then an exercise lineup like the one above is not going to help you reach your goal in a time-efficient way.
Think of it this way: if your goal was to make $100k/year, you wouldn’t accept a job that paid $20/hour. It would make a lot more sense to take a job that paid $100/hour.
Same goes for fitness. I already know the resistance I’ll hear. “But Caitlin….my goal is not to look like the Incredible Hulk. I just want to look fit/toned/healthy.” Understand that when you say you want to look toned, what you are really saying is that you want to build muscle. There is no magical adaptation that occurs between building muscle and not building muscle. If you are changing the tone, look, and feel of your arms/butt/legs/belly…you are building muscle. You are not toning. “Toning” is not actually a thing.
There is also no accidental Hulking that happens. I can promise you with 100% certainty that you will not accidentally grow grotesquely large muscles by resistance training.
About 3% of women do have the genetics to put on some serious muscle without much effort. If you’re in that 3%, first of all, I’m jealous of you. I have been strength training for five years; I can squat 2.5 times my bodyweight and deadlift over 3 times my bodyweight, which exceed the standing Minnesota state records in powerlifting, and I still get told quite frequently that I am “skinny.” Now, most people cannot imagine someone training 5-6 times a week for 1-3 hours a day for several years would be considered “skinny.” But the truth is that muscle takes a long time to grow, and the way your muscles look largely depends on your genetics. I am proof you can also get very strong without looking extremely muscular.
So, if you are one of the 3% of women who can put on muscle without dedicating your life to it, then consider yourself very lucky! You can probably do minimal exercising with mostly your own bodyweight a couple times a week and maintain the physique you want. But for the rest of us, we’ll have to pursue the most efficient route, because none of us has 40 hours a week to devote to exercise, which is probably what it would take to meet your aesthetic goal following a calendar of “cardio Monday, HIIT Tuesday, yoga Wednesday, & barre Thursday.”
So, for the rest of us, a standard resistance training program will be the single best use of our time. You can use light weights and high reps, or heavier weights and low reps, as long as the effort on each set is there. If we changed our exercise program dramatically every single day, we wouldn’t make much progress. Too much randomization and lack of structure can make accomplishing a goal very difficult and time-consuming. Training with purpose, effort, and more rigidity will allow you to reach your goal in a fraction of the time. Boring? Depends on the program. Effective? You bet.
The only reason we as females are being endlessly supplied with the false dilemma of  fun cardio/yoga/barre/pilates and boring, bulk-producing resistance training is because fitness marketers realized that the former simply sells better. But instead of dispelling the myth that weight training a few times a week won’t actually make your muscles bust out of your clothes, fitness marketers decided it’s better to market yoga, cardio, and other forms of exercise that, while they are all fantastic, aren’t efficient in meeting an aesthetic goal. We’re being sold unobtainable bodies by way of fantastical, pie-in-the-sky exercise programs. We’re being told that not only will resistance training make you bulky, it is also boring, so you’re better off avoiding it altogether. I would say it’s anything but boring, but that’s a blog post for a different day! In sum, here’s what I’ve found to actually be true: Nothing is more boring than not seeing results.
– Coach Caitlin
Thank you Bret Contreras, PhD, (www.bretcontreras.com) for the inspiration for this post, and for providing the excellent analogy about wages and salary goals!
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20151124 – Hold On, We’re Going Home

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WOD

6 Rounds for time:

2 Deadlifts (275/185)

4 Kettlebell Goblet Squats (24/20kg)

6 Strict Toes-to-bar

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20151109 – Headlines

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WOD

For Time:

100 Double Unders

75 Wall Balls

50 Double Unders

25 Wall Balls

10 Muscle Ups

*Scale MUPS to 15 Ring Rows + 15 Ring Dips or Push Ups if needed

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20151107 – Shot For Me

WOD

10 Rounds for time:

200m Run

24 Walking Lunge Steps (12L/12R)

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20150930 – Fire

WOD

“Diane”

21-15-9

Deadlifts (225/155)

Handstand Push ups

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20150928 – To The World

WOD

For Time:

“Jackie”

Row 1000m

50 Thrusters (45/35lbs)

30 Pull ups

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20150924 – New Friend Request

WOD

15-12-9

Unbroken Clean and Jerks (Pick load)

*Touch and Go reps only. Even a re-grip off the floor means your set is over. Rest as needed between sets.

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20150922 – In The Night

WOD

For Time:

30 Snatches (pick load)

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20150824 – 6PM in New York

As I sit here, chipping away at my third (or fourth) cup of whole almonds in the past couple days, the idea hit me that we’ve got our nutrition all wrong (and by we, I mean society in general). Where did we get the notion that 30 days removed from all grains and added sugar would be enough time to make noticeable and lasting changes in our overall health and body composition? — if those are the kind of results people want, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes and yes, you have to be willing to suffer for some time in order to get there. This stuff doesn’t come easy and it definitely doesn’t happen overnight.

You have to stick with the program if you want to achieve amazing results.

#rantcomplete


WOD

400m Run

30 Wall Ball (20/14 – 10′)

15 Hang Squat Cleans (115/75)

400m Run

15 Hang Squat Cleans (115/75)

30 Wall Ball (20/14 – 10′)

400m Run

Post results to Beyond the Whiteboard

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Nona’s Testimonial

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When I started this journey two years ago, I considered myself a regular exerciser, had been for 25 years. I had been through three back surgeries in eight years and my weight had been up and down 20-30 pounds for several years. I had been busy raising a family and working full time. When my youngest son went off to college, I decided it was time to put myself first.

I was willing to do whatever it took to get rid of the excess weight I had carried around for years, and frankly, I just wanted to feel healthy and fit. I struggled in the beginning; despite years of exercising, my cardio capacity was lacking. I could not jog around the parking lot without stopping to walk.

I always thought I was a pretty healthy eater. I didnt eat fast food or fried food. A few months after starting CrossFit, Coach Vernon encouraged me to start making some changes to my eating habits. I will admit, in the beginning it wasnt easy. With the kids grown I had more time to plan meals and cook. Again, I was willing to do whatever was needed to keep improving and seeing results. We make most of our meals at home with fresh (not processed) ingredients. I have tried foods I had never thought I would like. Its amazing what real food and a few spices can do!

Even though I have been the oldest person in the group, I have always felt welcome. Coach Vernon and the group have always been encouraging while pushing me to work harder. At one point I had a minor injury. But with the help of Coach Vernon, we were able to work through it with exercises, stretching and adjusting workouts as needed. Not long after my injury, I was back at it full force.

I am amazed at how quickly my strength and cardio have improved. I lost 25 pounds, 13% body fat and 3 pant sizes. I can lift more than I would ever have imagined.

This programming works! I feel amazing!

After several months I finally convinced my son to start going to class with me. One night on our way home from class he said to me, this stuff is addicting. I simply turned to him and replied, Yes, it is!

It is hard to believe two years have gone by. This group has become what I refer to as my CrossFit family.

If you are searching for a welcoming environment and are ready to work and get results, this is the real deal!