Reflect and Goal Set

Over the past few days I had the blessing of spending some time out of town with my in-laws. I know this sentence could easily be perceived with a thick layer of sarcasm; however, I couldn’t be more genuine, as they have allowed Hilary and I some much needed respite from this epic year of birth. Yesterday, I had the gift of a rare hour to sit down without the pull of immediate responsibilities. It was the perfect opportunity to take some time to reflect on the previous year and set some goals for 2019.

Reflection is a tricky task at times, because it is very easy to let your emotions mask the benefit of the lessons presented. It is a natural human instinct to avoid the experiences that cause us pain and loss. This may help with the cognitive sting in the short term; however, this is a dangerous habit as it does not allow us the time necessary to learn from our past mistakes. When reflecting, I try my hardest to keep emotions out of past events and focus on my own specific behaviors and the consequences they produce. This exercise sets the stage nicely for generating personal and objective goals for the next year.

One tool that I was gifted a year ago was a small planner. This specific planner (The Passion Planner) does a nice job of providing you prompts to set goals for your professional and personal life. By segmenting these areas during the goal planning process, you can ensure that important areas of your life are not neglected. If you have three or four areas in your life that are vital to your happiness, you can add those into the mix as well (just be aware that with every area you add, you will naturally take away from the others so choose wisely). With the increasing demands of my family, professional career and now business owner; this tool was a lifesaver for me.

The next useful prompt the planner gave was to break your goals down temporally starting with lifetime goals and then moving to - 3-year, 1-year, 3-months, 1-month. This breakdown will help you hone in on choosing the goals that are both relevant and timely. It doesn’t matter if you start from lifetime and work down or if you start monthly and work out, as both approaches provide the necessary perspective. The next instructions are to then focus on goals that are within the next month. This micro goal setting perspective will allow you to more easily translate into weekly and daily action steps. Goals are accomplished by habits, and habits are built by a combination of daily behaviors. Win each day and you will win the month. Put a few monthly wins together will make that yearly goal something within reach.

We wish you the happiest of new years and we are here to help you reach all of your goals in 2019!

Coach Ty

Goal Setting

  • Pick goals based on recent and objective behaviors

    • Increase the positive

    • Decrease the negative

  • Break goals up into life categories

    • Family, professional, hobby, etc.

  • Break goals up into temporal categories

    • Lifetime, 3-year, 1-year, 3-mo, 1-mo, weekly, and daily

  • Focus short term goals and build that momentum

    • Win the day→ Win the week→ Win the month→ etc.

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Nervous about Navigating Nutritious Eating During the Holidays? You're Not Alone!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The excitement of time spent with family. The anticipation of giving the perfect gift to someone you love. Witnessing the innocence and love in a child’s face when Santa has eaten their cookies and replaced them with colorful packages, wrapped beautifully and adorned with their name. But this time of the year can also bring busy schedules, added stress, and anxiety over holiday meals and eating. The holidays can often present mental health issues as many people struggle with the balance of their nutrition goals and enjoying their favorite meal or snacks that come around this time of year. We see cookies and candies, sweets, treats and specially made foods just about everywhere we go. What many of us often forget is, one meal- or even a few, will not derail us from our nutrition and health goals long term. While one may experience symptoms of GI distress, or mental distress over their choice to indulge, the time will quickly pass and you will be back to your healthy self. To help minimize the added stress, go into the holidays with a PLAN! Write out your goals on paper before you head into a holiday event. Being prepared not only gives you a guide, but it mentally prepares you for the moment you face the buffet table at Grandma’s. Here are a few ideas for navigating your way through a healthy holiday season:

 

·      Give yourself permission. Don’t set yourself up for failure when you decide to enjoy something you don’t on a daily basis. Instead of framing something as a “forbidden food”, go into the meal or event knowing you give yourself permission to enjoy that particular food or drink and don’t look back or shame yourself after. 

·      Rid yourself of guilt or shame. Have an intuitive mindset to listen to your body when full, and don’t shame yourself for enjoying the food you love at this once a year meal. 

·      Don’t head out to do your holiday shopping on an empty stomach! Every corner is lined with fast food and tempting treats. Fill up before heading out with nutritious and healthy foods. 

·      Keep away from the munchies! This is a tough one, but can be overcome. Find something to occupy yourself such as playing a game with the kids, helping the host with last minute gifts or cleaning, offering to make drinks or grab something for others or find a comfy spot on the couch and enjoy a holiday movie if one is playing. 

·      Sit next to a fellow healthy eater. If the person next to you skips the hearty helping on mashed potatoes and gravy in lieu of the roasted brussels sprouts, chances are, so will you!

·      Keep mints or gum handy. Popping a mint or piece of gum before and after the meal will aid in preventing overeating from the snack and dessert tables. 

·      Don’t skip meals! Deprivation in “preparation” for a large meal often backfires as it can leave you hungry and tempted to overeat once food is presented. Stick to your normal eating routine the day of your holiday meal to best combat overeating later. 

 

So remember, make a plan for yourself, do your best to adhere to it, don’t shame yourself and enjoy your holiday season. -Jill Simon

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All The Small Things

What’s good everyone! I bring you this post in middle of the most “exciting” time of the year. First off, congrats for making it through Thanksgiving! Yeah……so we may have had a few extra pieces of pie and glasses of wine…. but hey, how else were we supposed to cope with the political rants of Uncle Bob.

Now we are only a few weeks out from Christmas and the stress is really starting to pile up. We have presents to wrap, travel plans to secure, a house to decorate, and end of year tasks to finish at work. On top of it all, the kids are bouncing off the wall with anticipation of ALL the presents and the looming extended time off school via winter break. None of these stressors alone are enough to throw us off our game; however, all these small things tend to add up to put our heads in a place that no amount of eggnog can rescue us from.

Besides being the catchiest pop punk song of the 2000s, the solution to this bag of stressors is to counter act them with all the other small things you have within your control. A combination of coping skills, mindfulness practice, and simple organization skills can give you the support you need to make it to the new year.

Here’s a list of tools that have helped me in the recent past…

Coping Skills

o   Breathe deep

§  This is the oldest strategy in the book and still the best

§  When things get tough, close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath

§  My favorite go-to is the 5-5-5 technique

·         Take a 5-second inhale through your nose into you stomach

·         Hold the breath for 5-seconds

·         Breath out through your nose for 5-seconds

·         Repeat this cycle 5x

o   Workout  

§  I know this one seems obvious coming from a fitness blog; however, the science behind this is getting to be rock solid

§  Working out increases brain derived nootropic factor (BDNF) and will immediately increase your mood

§  Go long, go short, go medium, just go!

o   Get some sleep

§  Shoot for 7+ hours a night

§  The less sleep you get, the higher the cortisol (stress hormone) levels are in your body

§  We will be diving much more into all that surrounds sleep in a future post but for now just try and make it a priority

Mindfulness

o   Stay present

§  Get away from social media, put the phone down, and give some high-quality attention to the ones you love the most

§  This is two-way, feel-good train will benefit both participants

§  Stay focused on the things that are in your IMMEDIATE control and let the rest go

o   Stop complaining

§  The small things are never quite as bad as we perceive them to be; however, when we verbalize our burdens - we amplify them

§  Instead, try to only talk about things that are going well or exciting and see how your mood shifts (fake it ‘till ya make it)  

Organization Skills

o   Make lists

§  Even if you have 3 things on your mind that you need to accomplish, it will often feel like 21 since you will run them through your head 7 times in the next hour

§  One way to combat this is to write down your to-do list and transfer that loop from head to paper

§  For those of us with multiple hats (e.g., work, family, hobby, etc) it is useful to make a list for each hat you wear that way you can prevent the lists from all running together

Above all else be sure to be kind to yourself. We are always our harshest critic, so in this holiday season, give yourself the gift of grace.

Be well my friends,

Coach Ty

Less Heel, More Foot in Your Squat

Derek LaBonte | December 10, 2018

A favorite cue for coaches to say when their athletes are squatting is, “Stay back on your heels.” Now, this may be an appropriate cue to say when an athlete is dive bombing on their toes and heels are two inches off the ground in the descent of their squat, but this should not be the end-all-be-all cue. Actually if this were happening there would probably be much more at play and that cue would be lazy coaching. I digress… the reason this cue became what is today is because of two reasons: (1) It’s believed squatting with your knees over, or even well over, your toes is detrimental to knee health due to sheer force and (2) its thought squatting is a hamstring dominant lift. Let’s talk about how reason number one is false and save two for a different blog post :).

In 2003 a study by Dr. Andrew Fry et al posted in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research he demonstrated how this is in fact false. He had two groups of experienced lifters with the control group squatting with a board in front of them limiting the knee from moving past their toes (forcing hips back or weight in heels) and the experimental group was allowed to freely move the knees past the toe. To summarize his findings he writes:

“Although restricting forward movement of the knees may minimize stress on the knees, it is likely that forces are inappropriately transferred to the hips and low-back region. Thus, appropriate joint loading during this exercise may require the knees to move slightly past the toes.” (Fry et al., 2003)

Watch videos of Olympic weightlifters today and see their knee placement. You will find that most track knees well in front of their toes which is totally fine. I, for one, like to use three points of performance (POPs) when assessing new and experienced lifters that walk through Packerland CrossFit. They are:

1.       Are they squatting to proper depth?

2.       Is the spine in a safe neutral position?

3.       Is their weight evenly distributed in the foot?

If someone is completely new to squats there are some generalizations to get them on their way to squatting with a barbell. With that said we must keep in mind that no squat is the same and we should not force someone into a position because we think it is correct.  Those generalizations are:

1.       Feet shoulder width apart

2.       Toes pointed out in the range of 0-45 degrees.

3.       Knees tracking over toes wherever degree they point

If all that is uncomfortable for our athlete to achieve the POPs comfortably then we can assess their hip range of motion from a supine position (lying on their back) because this has no load, automatically puts them in a neutral spine, and allows us to freely play with foot placement to achieve the depth we are looking for safely. From there we can slowly work up to standing then reinforce with counter balance tempo to holds and eventually freestanding.

So let’s lay off of telling our athletes to sit back and their heels. Let's band together and start saying something like… “Weight on your mid foot” or “Big toe planted.” Hope this helps and intrigues you to get out there and continue learning! 


Why a General Physical Preparedness Program?

Derek LaBonte | October 12, 2018

What the heck is GPP in the first place? GPP stands for General Physical Preparedness (otherwise known as CrossFit). This is a fitness program philosophy that embodies a variety of movements across different time domains. In other words, it not specializing in anything. What is so cool about this style of programming is it can help the fitness novice to the specialty elite. How can one program philosophy help everyone?

For the specialty athlete this means GPP can reduce training volume with more focus on skill development that can decreasing training injury. This is because GPP builds a strong foundation of overall fitness due to the variety of movements, skills, and workout time domains. In fact the more unspecific the program, the larger the foundation will be; which can result in more weaknesses exposed. I am not saying specific training isn’t needed to become an elite athlete, but GPP will make a more well rounded athlete and decrease burn out. The farther out you are from your season the more broad your training should be. For example, Olympic weightlifters are scored on two lifts: the snatch and clean and jerk (counted as one movement). The father out from competition they are the broader their training looks. They may be doing clean grip deadlifts, overhead stability, Bulgarian split squats, high box jumps, running, etc. As the meet approaches the more specific their training becomes.

For the general pop GPP is superior to other programs because the varied movements and workout time domains get you ready for anything life throws at you and fit faster. The current model of fitness leads people down a specialized track without any aspirations of doing so because of only training one of two different physical skills:

1. The oxidative system – Long endurance running on a treadmill or outside for 45 minutes (cardio)

2. Lifting weights – Targeting specific muscle groups for some hypertrophy (the pump)

Due to this one may experience gainz at first but then reach a plateau (their genetic potential). Once this happens results come few and far between and burn out may occur. CrossFit is a change from this. I ask what you would rather have:

1. 95% of your genetic potential in endurance with only 30% in speed and strength?

OR

2. 80% of your genetic potential in endurance, speed, and strength?

I like to make the analogy of laying salt on your driveway. Number one you would be able to carry a cup of salt back and forth from bucket to driveway, or with number two you could just carry the salt bag with you and get it done in one trip. I choose the second. GPP allows for adaptations to occur quickly and more frequently because it works on flexibility, coordination, balance, agility, strength, speed, power, stamina, accuracy, and cardio creating a more self-sufficient human. This style of programming, paired with great coaches, can be the most effective fitness regime for ANY fitness goals. All it takes is commitment to yourself.

-Coach Derek

The Value of Coaching

As the tech genius Bill Gates put it, “Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player.”

In any endeavor that is progressive and competitive in nature, a coach plays a critical role on the road to success. This road is all too often filled with both peaks and valleys which have the tendency to place the pursuer on an emotional roller coaster from day to day. Attempting to navigate this trip on your own can result in unnecessary stress and potential premature burn out.

Perspective is very fickle in that it is easy to keep when things are going well; however, when the road get rocky, it is the first thing to turn on us. In my opinion this is one of the primary benefits of having a coach since it is one of their primary responsibilities to keep an eye on the larger picture of progress during the murkiness of the day to day grind. This top down perspective is much clearer for someone other than the athlete since it requires a great deal of preparation, projection, data analysis and course correction. While it is possible for an intelligent and experienced athlete to serve as their own coach, it will surely take everything they have to do an adequate job in both areas to capture progress.

Through our first two months of services, some common goals collected through our No Sweat Intro system have been: weight loss, muscle toning, strength/muscle gain, CrossFit/Sport performance, pain relief and mental clarity/stress release. The importance of coaching our athletes through these goals does not differ in importance but only in kind.

At Packerland CrossFit we place our coaching ability above all else. We take tremendous pride in identifying what it is our clients need from us and do everything we can to deliver that coaching at the highest level possible. We commit to continuing education and feedback to refine our craft. It is our goal to become experts in the field of health and fitness through keeping a beginner’s mindset.

The value of coaching is so important to us that we put our own money into this process by hiring business and personal fitness coaches ourselves to ensure that we are also being held accountable for our own perspective. This allows us to continue to develop alongside our athletes in a constant pursuit of better. As Coach Lombardi stated, “Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” If you’re in need of someone to help guide that chase, please shoot us a message as we would love to be your Coaches.

Love you all,

Coach Ty

WE ARE HERE!

Well folks we did it!

The doors of Packerland CrossFit are officially open at 1120 S. Broadway in DePere, WI. Seven months of dreaming, four months of building delays filled with state inspector setbacks, and three months of garage workouts have gave birth to a fully functioning fitness facility and we couldn’t be more excited. We are so grateful to those who have supported us through this infancy. To those family and friends who so graciously supported us with well wishes, business advice, and financial backing, thank you! To those founding members who believed in our coaching enough to commit to a concept without a facility, we promise to give you everything we have and help you find the best version of yourself! Get ready because this is going to be one amazing ride!

As part of our foundational work, Derek, Hilary and I have defined 6 values upon which PCF was built and I want to dedicate this post to sharing those with you. They are as follows: 

1. We will LISTEN! Everyone who chooses to workout in our facility will be heard. If something isn’t going as well as you would like, let us know and we will do everything we can to fix it! 

2. We will take PRIDE in everything we do. From warm-up, to workout, to cool down, we will do our best to deliver the best possible experience to each athlete. 

3. Everyone who walks through our doors will be treated with RESPECT and we will hold our members to that same standard. There will be zero tolerance for disrespectful words and/or actions.

4. Anything is possible with the right INTENTION, DIRECTION and HARD WORK. We will ensure that our direction is right through measurement and appropriate course correction. Hard work is reinforced through continuous positive feedback, opportunity, and development.

5. This gym will be run with a GROWTH MINDSET. Through continuing education and self-assessment, we will ensure to stay at the forefront of health and fitness with a consistent yet humble pursuit of excellence.

6. QUALITY OVER QUANITY. This relates to our staff, our members, and our training philosophy. More is not better. Better is better. By focusing on quality, we will ensure continuous progression and avoid stagnation.

If this description sounds like a place you may want to be a part of, please swing by for a chat. If we live up to your expectations, we’d love for you to write your own page in this brand new story of ours! 

Love you all, 

Coach Ty

 

Multitasking: The Productivity Slayer

Have you ever had the feeling of being super busy yet at the same time get nothing done? This is a devastatingly frustrating and anxiety provoking experience that I used to wrestle with all too often. With a spinning head, I would push into project after project until I had 4 or 5 different things going on at the same time, each one seeing stagnant or lurching results.

I used to consider my ability to multitask a significant strength of mine. Switching from task to task with ease was a skill I was very proud of. It wasn’t until I started doing things differently that I fully realized how much time I was wasting taking on multiple projects at the same time. I know this isn’t a ground breaking concept; however, once I started a task and then finished it until completion prior to starting another one, I found my productivity to nearly double.

When I took a closer look as to why I would take on multiple projects at the same time, I came up with three eye opening findings:

1)      I found that the most common time I would start a new project would be when I hit some resistance on my current project. Starting a new project would serve as a break or avoidance tactic from the current tough spot.  

2)      I lacked a structured, “To Do” list which left me susceptible to the to next bright and shiny idea that came into my head. A great conversation with a friend, new book, or interesting podcast would send me into another direction that was more exciting than what I had originally planned to do for the day.

3)      I get bored easy. At my core, I am in my element when tasked with generating and organizing ideas. I would much rather spend my time on a white board leading a team brainstorming session than take the main points generated and turn them into action items. If I found myself in the action seat for too long, I would simply start a new project out of boredom.

After I became aware of the reasons why I engaged in multitasking, I began to look at this ability as a weakness that needed to be worked on instead a strength to be celebrated. Despite the fact that self-reflection is often a bitter pill, it is a crucial step towards personal growth and optimization. In this situation, the knowledge of how I used multitasking as an avoidance mechanism allowed me to put in place some simple systems that have paid off with large productive returns:

1.      Generate monthly, weekly and daily “To Do” lists that align with current goals

 The monthly list allows me to keep my priorities in order while the weekly and daily lists serve as reinforcement along the way so I do not become frustrated

2.      Let the people closest to you know that you are working on streamlining your productivity and to call you out on your BS avoidance behavior

 Accountability is a major driver for behavior change and this type is often free of charge and readily available

3.      Have a plan for when things get tough or boring

 Instead of switching over to another task, take a brain break. Go for a walk, listen to some music, read a book, or talk out the issue with a friend or co-worker. After this break come back ready and recharged to hammer way.

4.      DO THE WORK!

All great things begin with ideas; however, it is the WORK that turns them into reality. When things get monotonous, buckle down and GRIND!  

Like all targets of behavior change, this one will not be a quick or easy fix. Focus on one task at a time and chunk away. Write down and celebrate your progress. Our brains are hard wired to celebrate success so the bigger an item is on your TO DO list, the better it will feel when you cross it off. 

Plan for success and enjoy your new found focus!

Love you all,
Coach Ty

 

Motivation will fail you... Sorry not sorry

Derek LaBonte | June 3, 2018 

There has been a surplus of “influencers” on the Gram (Instagram) who aim to motivate you. After reading something like that you may feel jacked and motivated! This time, you will do it... So you tell yourself. As time goes on though that motivation goes away, and we say, “I have no motivation :("  Here is a mind twist… are you ready?

Motivation NEVER goes away! We associate motivation as a feeling of whether or not you will do something. For example, after we clean the house, then walk the dog, then workout, then mow the lawn, and cook a huge dinner we associate that with feeling of being motivated (which is still cool). However, motivation isn’t a feeling. In fact, the Webster Dictionary states:

                “The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.”

Simply put, the absence of motivation does not mean there is no motivation at all. If we do nothing, then we are still motivated to do so. Here are a few more examples to provide clarity for what I mean.

  1. I am hungry, therefore I eat. Hunger motivated me to eat (eating = behavior).
  2. I read a motivational Instagram post. The post motivated me to workout (working out = behavior).
  3. I laid in bed this morning instead of going to the gym. The discomfort of getting out of my warm bed motivated me to stay in bed (staying in bed = behavior).

Instead of relying on our feelings which are fickle I suggest living your life based upon your values. Who are you? We don’t always take time to figure those out. I will give you an example: I am someone who values family. If I don’t call, text, or visit my mom or brothers at least once a week then that goes against who I choose to be as a person. So, I may feel lazy and not want to get up off my comfy couch to get into my truck and drive 5 minutes to my mom’s, but I will do it because I love her and I am committed to making that important in my life.

So let’s bring this back to the gym. If you base your actions on feeling a certain way (usually called: motivation) then it will ultimately fail you. It has to be deeper. We call this our “why?” I challenge you to find one for yourself. May be you value crushing weights because you want to be able to lift you grand kids one day; Or you value health because you want to be off of diabetes medication. Perhaps you value family and want to be a good role model for your kids so you go to the gym; Or you value learning and you want to prove it to yourself that you can do what you put your mind to. I promise once you find out what it is, well… those times when you feel unmotivated you will just do it because it is who you are as a person.

Thanks guys,

Coach Derek

Nutrition: Food for Thought

Derek LaBonte - May 24, 2018

Dieting is a tricky beast and kind of like fashion (or underwear... changes everyday). There is usually a style of dieting that is “in”. Remember the Atkins Diet? Have you heard of the Keto diet or Herbalife? Many have tried it, some have succeeded, and many have failed. But why? How come some people can lose weight and others cannot seem to get the weight off? I cannot give you clear cut reasons as to why, but what I can do is help to offer insight and lead you down a path to better a solution than diet hopping.

Why they do not work:

1. Sustainability – A big reason by we see immediate results on a diet isn’t the diet itself. Yes, most all diets dictate what we can or cannot eat (for example, meal replacement shakes for Herbalife), but what they also do is bring general awareness to what we are consuming. Therefore, more times than not we will reach for a salad rather than a piece of cake (good carbs vs. fatty carbs). As the diet looms in the back of our mind, and we are restricted from foods we usually eat, the metal capacity to stay on course becomes challenging. If we fall off the bandwagon the binge is hard, and getting back on track it is mentally daunting. Bye, bye progress. As you can see, there is a huge psychological component attached.

2. Calories In vs. Calories Out – If the diets don’t work the easiest solution for weight loss is restricting calories. Logic tells us that if we burn off more than we eat then we should lose weight. If this were true, wouldn’t we all be skinny? So why doesn’t it work? I am glad you asked :). There are two reasons why:

1. Our bodies love fat more than muscle. With that said if we restrict our bodies of calories we will store everything we eat as fat and burn muscle for fuel. Our bodies will sacrifice everything to preserve and store more fat.

2. We have a set amount of calories our bodies need in order to function properly. This is called our Resting Metabolic Rate (key word: Resting; meaning even with no activity). My RMR is 2,800 calories per day. We can talk about how to find that number a different time. If we fail to reach this number consistently by, let’s say over 50% (this isn’t the magic number just random), our bodies have become so efficient at staying alive we slow our metabolic rate. This means we will burn less and less calories for energy and begin to store them as fat. For us we may feel lethargic, slow, moody, irritable, and overall awful. Our body compensates for the restricted calories.

Solutions:

View nutrition not as a diet but as a lifestyle. Also understand that any change is hard and there will be set backs and that’s okay; we are human. Having a beer every now and then or cookies isn’t the end of the world. When it becomes and issue is when that’s an everyday occurrence. At Packerland CrossFit we have three simple rules when figuring out nutrition and how it fits into our lifestyle:

1. Eat Real food – If it came from the ground, had eyes, or will perish on a shelf consider it eaten.

2. Mostly Plants – The most bang for your buck here. They are the most NUTRIENT DENSE food with the least amount of calories.

3. Not too Much – A good plate of food would be a palm size serving of meat, palm serving of a good carb (rice, starches, some fruit, etc.), thumbs size serving of fat (nuts, seeds, coconut oil, etc.), and the rest veggies. And no seconds to the best of our ability.

At the end of the day we only get one mind, body, and soul. Once nutrition becomes part of your everyday routine there doesn’t have to be struggle. Change is hard but we are here for support. #YourHealthMatters

A little food for thought,

-Coach Derek

Maximizing Cognitive Capacity

Many psychologists and educators believe that IQ is a fixed measure that limits an individual’s top end cognitive output. As a behaviorist I find this to be untrue, as the more relations an individual creates with the environment, the higher intellectual output tends to be (but that is a discussion for another time). Regardless of where your current cognitive capacity lies, maximizing the ability to express this capacity can be done using a few empirically supported suggestions.

1)       GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Recent neurological research is showing that sleep is VERY important to our cognitive function. Failing to get enough sleep at night is devastating to the brain’s ability to recover and then perform the following day. When the brain is short on this recovery, it is unable to repair the hormonal damage from the previous day. When trying to determine how much sleep you need, the current research points to the 7 hour mark as the minimum for “enough” for adults. Personally, I shoot for 8 and if I hit that I am feeling really good. Dip below 7; however, and my mind and body are running on fumes. Sleep has been a huge area of interest of mine (especially with the recent arrival our our baby boy Cal) and will be the primary focus of an upcoming post. The purpose of this post is stress the fact that SLEEP MATTERS!

2)       SET UP ROUTINES

Decision fatigue is a psychological process that refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long string of decision making (Baumeister, 2003). Our days are filled with hundreds, if not thousands of micro decisions:

What clothes to wear in the morning? What to make for breakfast and how should I make it? Should I exercise? What kind of exercise should I do?

Every time a person makes a decision, a little bit of mental energy is used. There are unavoidable decisions that we are required to make every day that are part of the human experience; however, there are most likely dozens if not hundreds of these daily decisions that could be automated. The three most potent automations I have made in my life are: multiple day meal prep, writing to do lists to guide my productivity, and hiring a coach to guide my exercise and nutrition. By automating the processes surrounding these high impact areas of my life, I ensure that I stay on tack with my personal and business goals, while allowing myself the much needed capacity to take on those spontaneous decisions that life loves to throw our way.  

3)       DO CROSSFIT

Recent clinical trials have linked CrossFit training to a significant increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) after three months of CrossFit training (Murawska-Cialowicz E, et at., 2015). Why does that matter? When we are talking about the brain, BDNF is a MAJOR player in cognitive performance. BDNF is protein that is released during skeletal muscles during intense exercise and plays a significant role in neurogenesis (protecting and creating new neurons which allows the brain and the body to communicate more effectively and efficiently). This process has been directly linked to increases in learning, memory and higher level thinking. Significant depletions in BDNF have been directly linked to cognitive diseases and disorders (e.g., depressions, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s). A decrease in BDNF is also a key marker of aging and obesity. Now does your exercise have to be CrossFit to release BDNF? No, any form of high intensity exercise can serve a similar function; however, bringing back the previous point of decision fatigue, CrossFit sets you up for success in ways that no other current form of exercise can. The classes run at the same times every day allowing you to add it to your routine. The warm-up, technique drills, workout and cool down are all designed for you saving you from any decision making surrounding your exercise. At Packerland CrossFit, your class will be led by an experienced Coach who knows you and will deliver that necessary intensity in a progress fashion to ensure that you stay safe and healthy so you are able to come back again tomorrow.

In full disclosure there are days when I don’t get enough sleep, fly by the seat of my pants, and miss my workout; however, the beautiful part about life is, tomorrow is a new day. I released this post on a Sunday to hopefully give you all a bit of motivation to start this next week off right. Prep a few lunches for the upcoming week, get to bed on time tonight, and hit a workout in the morning before you head to work (if you are currently without a gym membership do 20 burpees the first thing after you wake up). If you can only implement one technique, that’s okay because action is all that matters!

Love you all,

Coach Ty

An Eloquent Solution

In my post last week I laid out some of the devastating challenges we are faced with as members of modern society. This week I want to talk about solutions.

Okay how? 

The short answer is an easy one that we have known for quite a long time. Proper nutrition and exercise are the key. It is generally accepted that if you are conscious about what you put into your body and exercise multiple times throughout the week, then you are going to be better fit to fight off chronic disease. The difficult part then comes in the follow up questions:

What type of food should I eat? How much? What kind of exercise? How many days per week? 

These are all very legitimate and solid questions and fortunately we have a very simple answer and you may already guess what it is…

CrossFit

As CrossFit’s founder, Coach Greg Glassman, has quoted, “We currently have in our possession an eloquent solution solution to the worlds most vexing problem.” 

CrossFit provides an extremely simple yet effective prescription for fighting chronic disease. 

Coach Glassman has streamlined this as Fitness in 100 Words… 

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: deadlift, clean, squat, presses, clean & jerk, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc. hard and fast. Five or six days per week. Mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.”

Through the combination of eating whole foods and performing whole body exercise at relatively high intensity, you will set yourself up for a path a success against these modern day challenges. 

While Coach Glassman’s concept of fitness contains concise and absolute truth in its perception, there are a few elements that may be foreign or even scary to you (and to me I mean come on…FLIPS?!!); however, this is where we come in. 

As a CrossFit Affiliate is is our job to serve as your fitness sherpa. We do this by starting in a one-on-one setting teaching the foundational movements. Form is everything in the beginning and while intensity is goal, it is not attempted prior to the demonstration of mechanical consistency. After you have demonstrated the ability to perform these movements with safe consistency in a one-on-one setting you then have the option to move to a small group or continue on with personal training while adding intensity. 

In a similar fashion to movement, the CrossFit Affiliate is also responsible for teaching you the foundations of nutrition. This is done through two primary steps: 1) Education and 2) Accountability. 

The only barrier to you taking a stand against chronic disease is lack of action. It is common for us to hear “I want to do CrossFit, but I just need to get into shape first.” To us this would be the same as a sick or injured person saying, “I want to go to the doctor, but I just need to feel better first.” 

A prerequisite of fitness is NOT needed to begin your CrossFit journey, instead picture the day you start CrossFit as the first step and we can’t wait to be your guide!

TAKE ACTION,

Love Coach Ty

New Age Darwinism: The Choice is Yours

Darwinism involves an evolutionary perspective of human evolution where genetics are passed down based on an individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. When Charles Darwin published this theory in his book On the Origin of Species in 1859, the majority human traits advantageous for natural selection were generally fixed. You were either fast, strong and smart enough to survive in a world of unpredictable external threats or you were not.

With the advancement of technology, resources have become much more abundant and our society has nearly eliminated all unpredictable external variables which has eliminated traditional threats to human growth and development. While these traditional threats no longer pose a problem, an entirely new category of threats to our mental and physical health have entrenched themselves in our society with alarming speed and potency over the last 40 years.

1)       Obesity - In the United States, obesity affected around 23% of our population in 1962. Over the last 50 years this number has continued to rise with nearly 40% of adults and 19% of youth in 2017 (as reported by the CDC). Obesity is linked to several adverse health conditions including but not limited to: Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, sleep apnea, female infertility, osteoarthritis, and hearth disease.

2)       Mental Health - The next threat lies between the ears. Mental health disorders continue to affect a high percentage of Americans each year. While a few of these disorders stem from genetic factors, a sedentary lifestyle paired with poor nutrition choices may cause or worsen certain mental health conditions (e.g., depression and anxiety). Currently it is estimated that 1 in 5 adults have some form of mental health issue and the rate of mental health issues within our youth continue to worsen from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. Of those individuals who suffer from these conditions, it is estimated that nearly 75% receive limited or inadequate care due to the extreme shortage in funding and mental health providers. 

3)       Technology Addiction - The final threat to our development is a direct link to technology itself. The simple fact that a screen is within a few feet (if not immediately on the wrist) of any average individual has placed our will power for production, personal development, social development and cognitive growth at a significant disadvantage. Developers of social media applications and video games have teamed up with behavioral psychologists to intentionally addict people to their products with their notifications and targeted user involvement. The result of this blended science is a worm hole of cognitively melting, additive and time sucking content which makes a victim of anyone who begins to engage.

After all of this, you may be saying to yourself “Wow life is hopeless””; however, the sliver lining with these New Aged Threats is that they are within YOUR control.

YOU possess the same choices and opportunities as everyone else. It is YOUR choice what you put into you body, it is YOUR choice to exercise or not, and it is YOUR choice to engage in activities that are either cognitively enriching or mind numbing.

Now as I’ve mentioned previously I know that behavior change is EXTEMELY hard and doing it on your own makes it that much more difficult. This is why I fell in love with CrossFit and why we have chosen to develop our own space that educates, supports, and fosters those choices for better. You are not in this alone and we would love to be your guide to maximize your chances in this new age of natural selection. Take ACTION and FIGHT for your genetics!

Love you all,

Coach Ty

Find Your Compass

This past February marks my 5th consecutive year of participation in CrossFit and I can definitively say it has played a substantial role in shaping the person that I am today. To gain full scope of how big of an impact CrossFit has had on my life, we need to take the story back a few years.

Athletics have been a part of my life since I could remember. Moving, learning and competing was ingrained in me as a way of life since I was hitting whiffle balls off a tee in the backyard. For me, sports served a moral compass that I could rely on to bring me back to center anytime I strayed. The number of instances that I had to go to this compass far exceeds the intended word limit of this post, but if you really want to know, I’d love to grab a coffee with you some time to share some stories. I’ve made many mistakes through my high school and college years; however, I was able to course correct thanks to this compass. I held onto meaningful sport as long as my physical abilities would allow. For me this was 5 years of division two college football. I wasn’t talented enough to play at the next level and as that acceptance set in, I felt my compass begin to fade away. Poor health choices begun to not sting as much without the immediate feedback that active participation in sport provides. I had no coach to chew me out for coming into practice smelling like a bar rag from the night before, no teammates with like minded goals to spend my free time with, and no physical demands that were placed on my mind or body to encourage me to make decent decisions in the kitchen.

Despite my lack of direction, time kept doing what time does and continued to move on. Days became weeks, weeks became months, and months turned into years. As the years started to stack up, my body and mind began to soften. This softening process is subtle and so easy.  It is the summation of inaction and immediate pleasure. Sugar, alcohol, fast food, the stress of the daily grind and living for the weekend became habit without me even knowing it.

I consider myself extremely blessed and lucky for several different reasons; however, one reason I have given thanks to God for over and over again has been the day where this slide was made blatantly obvious to me. This event occurred during a single interaction that I had with the parent of one of my clients with whom I was providing behavioral therapy for. My wife Hilary was pregnant with Sloane (our first daughter) and we were discussing how her pregnancy was going. She then proceeded to pinch my cheek and say, “I see that you have put on some sympathy weight for wife. How sweet!” Without knowing it she had rekindled that competitive spark that had been dulled by years of complacency, pizza and Miller Lite. The next day I signed up of a YMCA membership, googled CrossFit.com and started performing workouts with an attempt to find my lost compass.

Six years later I am so fortunate to say that I have again found my path. While CrossFit is not a sport for many, it does provide those same benefits of internal and external accountability that a good sports team provides. A great CorssFit box will be led by a compassionate and intelligent Coach who truly cares about you and will work with you towards accountability and consistent growth. This box will also be filled with community members who will serve as your teammate. They will sweat, laugh, cry, and celebrate with you. But most importantly a great CrossFit box will build self-confidence and accountability that will then serve as that compass for the rest of your life.

Let us be your compass.

Love you all,

Coach Ty

The Motivation Flip

The reason why we do what we do is often referred to as motivation. This motivation can be a powerful driver of success; however, it can also be used as an excuse. All to often we tell ourselves, "I would get started working out but I'm just waiting for the right motivation".

What is motivation anyway? Is it this secret power that only the uber lucky and talented posses? Is it something that requires the help from others or is this something you can conjure up ourselves? Is it something that you can buy? As a behavior analyst it is my job day in and day out to assess what motivates individuals to do what they do and in my experience it is not a lack of motivation that gets people stuck, but instead a lack of perspective. 

While many individuals attribute motivation to internal factors (e.g., mood, energy level, and mental state), it is much more productive to shift that focus externally. This shift allows us to take control over our motivation. By shifting our focus externally, we are able to identify the variables in our life that are the building blocks necessary for laying a firm foundation of growth and success. 

I place these external drivers of motivation into two general categories. 
1) What are things that I want or need that will add value to my life? 
2) What are the things that are causing me pain or discomfort in my life that I want removed? 

By using this "add" and "remove" categorization, it is much easier for me to then formulate goals and develop an action plan that will get me closer to my ideal life. 

These drivers will be entirely dependent on the specific needs of the individual and that is perfect since each individual has their own unique vision of what their ideal life should entail. 

Some general themes that may be encompassed in the "add" categories may be:
- money, free time, energy, strength, and friendship 

On the other hand some "remove" themes may center around: 
- weight loss, back pain, medications, and habits detrimental to my health 

Take a minute to perform own motivation flip. Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side make a list of all the external factors that you would like to add to your life and on the right list out all of the factors you would like to remove. The more specific the better; however, the challenge lies in keeping the list to things that are external. Stay away from mentalistic terms and emotional states as these concepts are generally out of our control and are commonly the result of our experiences instead of the driver. Generating this list is the first step to goal planning and may be the spark you need to get going on your path.

Love you all, 
Ty 

Two Steps

The desire to improve one's self is an extremely daunting task - a giant mountain. The type of mountain that you or anyone else is familiar with that has no predetermined  path to the top (if there even is a top).

The cognitive process of planning your ascent on a mountain with no end in sight and no path to begin is terrifying. It is at this point, the point of decision of what to do next where I used to breakdown and throw in the towel. The conversation in my mind would quickly turn from, "I really want to be a better person" to "Being a better person is a great goal" to "Maybe I'll work on myself tomorrow when I'm less busy" and this is where the road ends.

Paralyzed by my own self talk, I would choose to not choose. I would make excuses and then spend time busying my mind with useless and mindless activities that would validate my hypothesis of being too busy. It wasn't until the last few months that I have made a ground breaking and life changing discovery which has allowed me to chip away at the paralyzing mental road blocks that were handicapping my personal development and cannibalizing my goals. This discovery required two very important steps. 

Step 1 - HONESTY
I desperately needed to call BS on myself. No you are not too busy to goal plan, or start reading, or work on your passion project. You are making that excuse because you know that doing nothing is a helluva lot easier than putting in the work to get to where you want to (and know you can) go. 

Step 2 - ACTION
After giving myself that much needed wake up call, I then realized I needed to take action. Action is the death of comfort and stagnation. Without it nothing changes. With it everything is possible. 

Following this two step process should be easy right? For me it is the exact opposite. The willingness to take an unfiltered and unedited self view takes an extreme amount of courage. Ego is a powerful driver of comfort which numbs the mind to the dangers stagnation. Ego is the death of growth and the stronger one is attached to "how great they are" the further away they are from starting their ascent to better. 

My ego was (and possibly still is) the greatest handicap that I have faced in my personal road to self-improvement. This realization has opened the door and has provided the motivation to take on step 2. 

The beautiful thing about step 2 is that action is much more tangible with the right systems in place. The courage and self-actualization required in step 1 are now replaced with stamina and grit. This step may not be "easier"; however, it is measurable, and that objectivity makes it far less scary for me. 

This post, and the hundreds (thousands?) to follow it, will be that action in progress for me. I'm okay with the fact that I may never reach the top of my mountain; however, at least I know that I've started my ascent, and for today, that's enough. 

Love you all, 

Ty