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Energy System Basics

Why do we do workouts of different lengths? Why is it sometimes long, sometimes broken into intervals?  Because we have four (4) distinct ways we produce energy, and need to develop all of them to be the best we can be.

The human body fuels physical activity primarily by turning a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) into adenosine diphosphate (ADP).  This releases energy which our bodies are able to use to create motion, digest food, think, and do all the other things we do.  Exactly how that happens, we don’t know.  But I’m typing this and you’re reading this, so it’s working for both of us.  There are two major sources of fuel the body uses to create ATP: sugar and fat.  There are also two ways to turn sugar into ATP: aerobically and anaerobically.  Thus, we have four sources of ATP, plus the actual turning of ATP into ADP, so we can think about five (5) different processes acting inside us to turn food into energy.  All of these processes require numerous enzymes and other chemicals and structures in our bodies to function.  We vary the duration and intensity of our workouts to tell our bodies to get good at producing energy in every way it can.

Related: Breathing: So Simple Anyone Can Do It

All five of these systems are always active.   What changes is the ratio between them – which system is producing what percentage of our energy.  As we go from rest to hard work, the balance between energy sources changes. Textbooks often describe these systems from the “fastest” to the “slowest,” which may be confusing.  We are better off starting with our default energy system, aerobic lipolysis, which is the fancy way to say ‘fat burning with oxygen,’ and the other systems increase their contributions to energy production as effort increases.

Aerobic lipolysis burns fat for energy, and can theoretically power the body until the mind collapses, and keep you alive until you come to. It just does it really slowly, meaning that using this system may not feel like exercising.  This is the “fat burning” setting on exercise equipment.  If you are asleep, sitting, moving easily, or can speak in full sentences, your energy should be coming from aerobic lipolysis (more on that ‘should’, in a subsequent post).

This is a rough depiction of the balance between energy systems.

As intensity of effort increases, the body needs more energy more quickly.  Aerobic lipolysis continues, but the body increases the amount of sugar it burns with oxygen, a process called aerobic glycolysis.  This is faster than burning fat, but has a very limited supply of energy.  Even highly trained athletes can only store about two (2) hours worth of sugar.  In the graph above, aerobic lipolysis and glycolysis are lumped together as “oxidative” because oxygen is used in these “aerobic” (“with oxygen”) processes.

Related: Torch Fat and Feel Great with Burn45

If intensity continues to increase, we begin to burn sugar without using oxygen in the chemical reaction, called anaerobic glycolysis.  This produces pyruvate and lactate, both of which can also be used for fuel.  This system produces large amounts of energy quickly, but its side products build up in the muscles, causing a burning sensation which eventually overwhelms the mind’s ability to continue the effort.  There are two distinct chemical pathways involved, so you may hear of “fast glycolysis” and “slow glycolysis” or similar terms.  Whichever pathway is predominating, anaerobic glycolysis can only power the body for about one to two minutes, depending on fitness level.

Finally, the phosphagenic process (aka ATP-CP cycle, aka phosphocreatine system), is where energy is actually put to work.  ATP is split to produce energy here.  A molecule called “creatine phosphate” is available in small quantities to replenish the phosphagen and turn ADP back into ATP as quickly as possible.  If you’ve heard of creatine supplementation, it is intended to make more creatine phosphate available and thus help this energy system provide more energy for longer.  It can still only last about 10 seconds at maximum effort.

What does all this mean for your workouts?  To be the best athlete you can be, you need to develop all of your energy systems, at least to a minimum level.   The weightlifter who gets winded going up a flight of stairs can’t recover and train as hard as he could if he did some aerobic work to hasten recovery between sets.  The endurance athlete who doesn’t challenge the phosphagenic or glycolytic energy systems will have only one speed: slow.  While able to go for a very long time, that athlete will also lose any sprints, struggle on steep hills, have poor reaction times, and generally be less capable than otherwise.

How do we do this?  Watch for the next blog, or contact me with questions!

John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer


3 Ways to Hack Your Sleep Environment

I hardly slept when I was an overachieving college student. Even when I gave myself the opportunity to sleep, I found myself staring at the ceiling for hours until I could fall into a fitful, interrupted sleep. High levels of stress from life or work, over-training, and lack of good or even adequate nutrition are some of the factors that contribute to the inability to fall or stay asleep. While it may be difficult or even impossible to control the amount of stress you undergo throughout the day, I want to offer a few tips to “hack” your sleeping environment and mitigate the harmful effects of inadequate sleep.

Related:7 Bedtime Routines to Help You Sleep Tight

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Just like it’s important to have a good environment to study or exercise, so too do you need an environment that will be conducive to sleep. Use the following three questions to help you assess your current environment:

  1. Is there any visible light when you go to sleep?

  2. Is your sleeping environment noisy or loud?

  3. Have you brought work or school-related stress into your bedroom?

If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions, there’s a chance you can manipulate your environment to get better sleep.


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“There are photoreceptors in your eyes as well as on your skin. When exposed to artificial light, those photoreceptors suppress the production of melatonin.”

While most people know about the harmful effects of blue-light from electronic devices before bed, many people are unaware of how great an effect other sources of light (headlights coming in through windows, nightlights, hall lights sneaking in under your doorway), may have on your sleep. There are photoreceptors in your eyes as well as on your skin. When exposed to artificial light, those photoreceptors suppress the  production of melatonin. Further, light exposure during sleep impacts insulin resistance which can eventually lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes. One study found that even small amounts of light hitting the skin can lead to a night of restless sleep.

With this information about light in mind, here are two simple solutions to help you black-out your room:

  1. Put up thick curtains or buy black-out curtains. At first it may be a little disorienting to experience total darkness, but after a few days you will get used to and maybe even come to appreciate the lack of light. You can also experiment with a sleep mask, just note that this method of light blocking doesn’t necessarily block light that is hitting the photoreceptors found on your skin.

  2. Remove smart devices from your person and hide your electronic devices out of sight. Again, your eyes and skin are sensitive to light. That one text message from your friend in the middle of the night will light up your room and interrupt your sleep. Hiding your phone will also force you to finish up your technology use earlier in the night.

  3. If you absolutely must use blue-light emitting devices at night, especially right before bed, consider purchasing blue-light blocking or amber-tinted glasses. These decrease the amount of blue-light taken in by the photoreceptors in your eyes.


It can be very difficult to fall asleep if you have noisy neighbors or a snoring partner. There are a few tips and tricks towards overcoming noise.

  1. Consider investing in noise-cancelling headphones. I have personally found that earplugs are not enough to drown out noises.

  2. If silence bothers you, consider downloading sleep apps that play white noise or tranquil nature sounds, which have been shown to assist in sleep. You can even play these noises through your noise blocking headphones. Some apps include Dormio for iPhone and Moodify for Android.

Work: leave it outside of the bed!

“If you read work emails, study or write papers in bed, you begin psychologically associating your place of sleep to a place of stress and work.”

If you read my article Entering the Gym: Mind Tricks for Performing Your Best During a Workout, you’ll see how important it is to shift into your “Gym Persona” in order to get the most benefit from your workout. When creating your sleeping environment, you need to keep work outside of your bedroom, or at least outside of your bed. If you read work emails, study or write papers in bed, you begin psychologically associating your place of sleep to a place of stress and work. Keep work away from the bedroom (and especially the bed) and you will find yourself developing a healthier relationship with your sleep environment.

I challenge you to pick one of the questions you answered “yes” to and attempt one of the tips listed under that section. If you have any questions or need help brainstorming other ways to make your sleeping environment more conducive to sleep, feel free to email me at jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com. Be on the lookout for my next sleep article where I discuss some supplements, daily practices, and exercise tricks to help improve your sleep!

–Jasmine Gerritsen



Breathing: So Simple Anyone Can Do It

Of all the physical functions that keep us alive, breathing is the most mysterious.  Unlike heart beat or digestion, we have a degree of conscious control over our breathing – rate, depth, direction, and timing.  But we do not have complete control.  It will start up again whether we like it or not.  Consequently, breathing is the link between our conscious and unconscious minds.  By manipulating our breath, we can increase our control over physical and emotional states, test physical abilities, and improve physical and mental performance.

“…only a few minutes per day can help you take greater control of your physical and emotional states, allowing you to intentionally control your performance, both in and out of the gym.”

Before we can do this, however, we should ensure our breathing mechanics allow us to access the full power of the breath.  Ideal breathing mechanics activate the parasympathetic nervous system because they tell us that all is well and we can remain calm.  This is primarily due to feedback from the diaphragm and sinuses.  For this reason alone, we should ensure we breathe through the nose and use the diaphragm as the first and primary breathing muscle.  The diaphragm moves down to initiate breathing followed, if necessary, by the lower ribs and intercostals, and finally – and only if necessary –  the upper chest if breathing heavily.

Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/take-a-deep-breath

Many of us have developed the habit of breathing primarily with the upper chest, which activates the sympathetic nervous system and increases our stress levels.  It also expends more energy to obtain less oxygen than breathing into the larger, lower lobes of the lungs and throws off our movement mechanics.  Breathing through the mouth has similar effects.

Related: The Mindfulness of Movement

To rediscover the diaphragm, or verify that you’re using it, lay down or sit in a style that allows a neutral spine and pelvis (the “stable midline” I’m always talking about in class).  Dig both hands under the ribcage on either side.  This should be weirdly uncomfortable, but don’t force it.  Breathe as normally as possible through your nose and observe what moves first.  If it is not the hands, imagine filling the bottoms of the lungs first until that happens.  This is diaphragmatic breathing, which is how we should breathe all the time.  Perform at least ten (10) breaths as normally as possible, and observe any tendencies or habits you may not have noticed before.

Once our connection to the diaphragm is established, we can seek to increase or decrease our level of excitement, altering the balance between our parasympathetic (relaxed, calm) and sympathetic (high alert) nervous systems.  The classic advice to “take a deep breath” when you need to calm down is a simple implementation of this idea.

Related: 7 Bedtime Routines to Help You Sleep Tight

To start exploring your ability to change your physiological and emotional state through breathing, start with the following exercises:

To wake up, improve focus, or similarly excite your systems, breathe through your nose and:

  1. Ask yourself how you feel.

  2. Inhale for a 5 count and exhale for a 5 count for 3-5 full breaths.

  3. Take 20 breaths in and out at the fastest rhythm you can control.

  4. Immediately start the same 3-5 cycles breathing in and out, but this time for a 6 count each.

  5. Take 20 breaths in and out at the fastest rhythm you can control.

  6. Repeat for a 7 count and 20 fast breaths.

  7. Finish with 2 breaths inhaling and exhaling as slowly as possible.

  8. Ask yourself how you feel.  Compare to before the start.

To slow down, prepare for bed, or otherwise calm down, breathe through the nose and:

  1. Do 5-10 cycles of 1:1 breathing (inhale for X amount of time, exhale for the same amount of time).  For example inhale for 4 seconds & exhale for 4 seconds.

  2. Do 5-10 cycles of 1:2:1 inhale-hold-exhale.  For example inhale for 4 seconds, hold your lungs full for 8 seconds then exhale for 4 seconds.  This should be relaxing, not stressful.  If you start to feel anxious, shorten the time interval you’re using (for example go to 3-6-3 instead of 4-8-4).

Try one or both of those protocols and notice what, if anything changes.  Do you feel more awake?  Alert? Sleepy? Anxious? Calm?  Breath work is highly individual, and requires practice and attention.  Still, only a few minutes per day can help you take greater control of your physical and emotional states, allowing you to intentionally control your performance, both in and out of the gym.

Contact me with questions, or to learn more!

John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer



Why did you decide to try CrossFit?

I started CrossFit because I needed to become more active for both mental and physical health.

How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?

CrossFit has helped my fitness results in the ways that definitely surprised me. I’m able to get back out and wakeboard, play sports with friends, and get back into rollerblading.

How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?

CrossFit has helped my health and life by giving me confidence and helping me live the life I want.

What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
My favorite CrossFit movement would have to be handstands, handstand push-ups. They were something I was able to do in my younger healthier life. And I am happy to be able to do them again.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?

For anyone who is considering CrossFit, try out a class or two and I’m sure you’ll like the experience. The coaches will help your work out by adjusting to your fitnes level.

5 New Tips to a Better Snatch and Clean & Jerk

I just attended the USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Certification Clinic, dedicating 16 concentrated hours to learning about, examining, practicing, and coaching the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk.  Here are 5 takeaways you can begin using right now to immediately better your snatch and Clean & Jerk.


Ask yourself, “what would a monkey do?” If your answer was “grab that thing using the gift of the opposable thumbs and chuck it!” Then you are correct! The hook grip should be used for lifts that require you to pull from the ground including the Snatch, Clean & Jerk, and Deadlift. To do the hook grip think about the following cues: “web to bar, thumb around bar, finger, finger, cinch”. Basically, your goal is to create a secure attachment between your body and the bar. By wrapping your index and pointer finger around your thumb, you are not relying on any one individual finger to help you keep your grip. Instead you are using at least two of your fingers to “lock” your grip into place. It’s going to feel odd and uncomfortable at first, but if you can fight through the discomfort you will see your PR and finger strength go up!

Related:The Importance of Foundational Strength


This was a new one for me. Not only do you want to lock your grip into place with the Hook Grip, but you also want to think about pointing your knuckles down towards the ground (pictured on the right).  This downward pointing action will create a slightly flexed wrist (towards) your body. We do this to create yet another locking effect, but this time with our wrist. We are able to accomplish two goals: (1) we have another layer of hook that helps us maintain our hold on the bar and (2) we are better able to keep the bar closer to our body. The closer the bar is to the body, the less of a fulcruming affect we have and the more efficient and easier our lifts become.


Before you initiate the lift, you want to make sure you’re not already placing your weight forward onto the balls of your feet. By beginning with a forward-shifted weight, the bar will get away from you and you will find yourself jumping forward to try to  catch it. Instead, remove the slack from the bar by shifting your weight onto your heels. As a result, you can load up the quads and hamstrings (like springs) readying them to begin the first pull.  To remove the slack, think about gently tugging on the bar before you initiate the lift. You should hear a small, audible “cling” as the bar makes contact with the weights.

Related:Entering the Gym: Mind Tricks for Performing Your Best During a Workout


At the top of a Jerk, Snatch, or any pressing variation (strict press or push press), you want to think about “cracking an acorn” between your armpits and your shoulders. A good way to think about this is to really try to create tension by “bending the bar” towards the sky (pictured on the right), which also simultaneously requires that you pinch your shoulder blades back and down. This way you have set up your shoulders such that they are more stable to carry the load.


Lastly, as you either receive the catch (Snatch) or finish with your press overhead (Jerk), you want to slightly flex the wrist backwards so that the bar can better rest on the base of your palm rather than the upper half of your hand or your fingers (pictured on the right). This is a more stable position as it keeps the bar directly over your shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. Also, as the weight gets heavier and heavier, it will literally become impossible for you to punch the bar overhead with straight knuckles because your small finger muscles will be unable to generate the power to keep the heavy bar in place.

If you are looking for more ways to improve your Snatch or Clean & Jerk, feel free to reach out to me at Jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com or schedule a personal training session with me or John at John@crossfitslipstream.com. Until then, keep on lifting!

Jasmine Gerritsen





Torch Fat and Feel Great with Burn45

Burn45 is a class we developed specifically to help people burn off excess body fat in only 45:00 without leaving you exhausted for hours afterwards.  How does it work?

Burn45 uses the Maximum Aerobic Function (“MAF”) number to set a target heart rate zone, then we use sets of 5-10 repetitions of functional movements like squats, presses, and carries to get your heart rate into that zone.  Rest as needed between sets, and work as hard as you like, but keep your heart rate within 10 beats above or below your MAF number.  

“Burn45 is a class in which we do NOT want you to go hard”

What’s your MAF number?  The basic calculation is 180 – your age in years.  If you have a history of heart disease, or have been working out regularly for a year or more, it might be lower or higher.  You can do a more individualized calculation here.   

Related: Why Personal Training?

At the MAF heart rate, your body uses aerobic lypolysis, which is the fancy way to say “fat burning,” as its primary energy source.  If you go too hard and get your heart rate up much higher, you’ll switch to burning sugar (aerobic or anaerobic glycolysis).  Burning sugar in a workout causes more muscle damage, hunger and fatigue.  Those can be good things if your goals relate to shorter, harder events, but not if you’re interested in losing fat and having energy all day.

So Burn45 is a class in which we do NOT want you to go hard, feel the burn, or end up gasping on the floor.  We DO want to burn fat and build your aerobic system.  Both of those abilities will help you handle long events, busy days, and get the most out of your time at the lake.

In our Burn45 class, you’ll come in, warm-up, learn new movements or improve your abilities with old ones, and then get your heart rate to 10 beats above or below your MAF number and keep it there for up to 40:00.  Instead of steady-state cardio that may cause you to burn muscle instead of fat, we use resistance exercises that strengthen and tone your muscles while improving your mobility and overall physical capabilities.  This means you’ll do 5-10 repetitions of an exercise, or a few seconds of carries, holds, and the like, then check your pulse.  If you have a heart rate monitor, it’s a great tool to use.  If not, we’ll teach you to take and calculate your pulse, which is less expensive and more reliable than any monitor.

Related: 3 Steps to Improve Your Nutrition and Get the Results You Want

Burn45 will help your body make fat its preferred fuel.  When that happens, you’ll feel less hungry, eat less overall, and lose unwanted pounds faster.  Since we’re using resistance exercises to reach your target heart rate, you are strengthening and toning in the process.  It also learns that it needs muscle mass if you’re going to do these things to it.  So it’ll keep your muscle and burn other stuff, like – you guessed it – fat. 

See you there, or contact me for more information!

John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer


Entering the Gym: Mind Tricks for Performing Your Best During a Workout


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Give me a run-based workout, and I will crush it. Give me a workout full of gymnastics movements, and suddenly I want to use my running skills to run away. I start thinking negative thoughts and no longer see myself as capable and strong because I have told myself over and over that I am a runner and I am not a gymnast.

Your head game, or perception of yourself, can either enable or disable you from meeting your fitness goals. Below are two tricks I have started using before I set foot in the gym to get ready to crush any workout I encounter.

Trick #1: Figure out what is REAL and what is OPINION

“It is important to recognize how much of your athletic identity is 1) changeable, 2) based on how you see yourself in relation to others rather than what you have actually accomplished, and 3) colors how you are most likely going to approach your future athletic goals.”

In one paragraph, I want you to describe yourself as an athlete. We will call this your ATHLETE NARRATIVE. Tell me anything and everything you want. There is no right or wrong way to write this.

Now I want you to underline anything that is objectively and factually true. This is the FACTUAL YOU. This is the stuff that cannot be changed or manipulated. Some examples include your age, any injuries you have sustained, how long you have participated in a sport or activity, and your PRs. These are things that are not opinion based; they are simply facts.

Second, highlight anything that is opinion or interpretation-based. Look for adjectives (descriptive words) or “I statements”. Some examples could include “I’m slow,” “It takes me a long time to learn weightlifting movements,” and “I’m great at bodyweight stuff”. These are all RELATIVE statements because they stem from non-objective comparisons to what you perceive are the standards of being an athlete. These are not immutable facts like the lines you underlined. Instead, these are feelings or ideas you have about yourself that can be changed.

Below is an example ATHLETE NARRATIVE with facts underlined and relative statements highlighted:

I am 24 years old and started lifting weights in the 9th grade. I began learning about CrossFit in the tenth grade where I attempted my first cleanit wasn’t great. I played basketball for 15 years and was pretty good technically, but I didn’t have travel-ball experience my teammates did and so I struggled with organized ball. I did track in high school for 4 years and wasn’t very great at it but at least I didn’t give up. I did martial arts intensely for 2 years where I qualified early for my black belt. I felt like I naturally excelled. I have a shoulder injury from martial arts, which is why it takes me a long time to warm up for overhead lifts: it’s frustrating. While I followed CrossFit throughout college, I always felt super intimidated to do Olympic lifting because I didn’t have a coach to tell me what I was doing wrong. Now I’m in between scaled and RX. I’m not as strong or good at gymnastics as I need to be to go RX, but I’m good at the bodyweight/aerobic workouts. I would like to do RX soon.

Whether your RELATIVE statements are positive or negative in nature, it is important to recognize how much of your athletic identity is 1) changeable, 2) based on how you see yourself in relation to others rather than what you have actually accomplished, and 3) colors how you are most likely going to approach your future athletic goals.

Related:Positive Self-talk: What is it Good for Anyway?

Trick #2: Be the best version of yourself by not being yourself

“Sometimes we have negative RELATIVE statements or narratives we tell ourselves about who we are as people and as athletes that hold us back from reaching our true fitness potential.”

Once you have finished trick #1, you are better equipped to identify weaknesses in your head game. Trick # 2 will help you rewrite your ATHLETE NARRATIVE. I picked up this nifty trick from The Brave Athlete Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion. Sometimes we have negative RELATIVE statements or narratives we tell ourselves about who we are as people and as athletes that hold us back from reaching our true fitness potential. But what if you could re-invent your ATHLETE NARRATIVE? What if instead you were as kick butt as G.I. Jane? It may seem silly at first, but I’m challenging you to create a fitness alter ego, someone you can become when it’s time to dominate the gym. Make this alter ego a compilation of any and all people (even fictional characters) that inspire you and make you want to be as tough, fierce, or cool as they are. Below are questions to help construct the person you want to be when it’s workout time.

  1. What is your alter ego’s name? It can be made up or the name of a character/person you want to be (i.e. Wonder Woman).

  2. Whose personalities and traits are you borrowing to create your alter ego? List the people and traits (i.e. fierceness from Katara, Boldness from G.I. Jane, ruthlessness from Katniss.)

  3. What’s your alter ego’s back-story? Where did they grow up? How did they become so awesome? What have they accomplished?

  4. How will you trigger yourself into being your alter ego? Will you wear clothing that makes you feel strong? Will you flex your biceps before a lift? Do you strike a power pose?

  5. What is your alter ego like in the gym? Are they serious and get straight down to business? Do they avidly record your results? Are they insatiable for feedback?

  6. When you feel your lowest during a workout, or when you feel dubious about finally attempting a heavier weight or harder variation, what does your alter ego like to repeat to themselves? Think of a mantra (i.e. dig deep, get it, you got this!)

Related:Thank You Note to My Body

Before coming to class I challenge you to try Tricks #1 and #2. It’s uncomfortable to confront the narratives that keep us back, but once we can identify our weaknesses, we can begin to re-write who we want to be and what we are capable of accomplishing. If you want help with Tricks #1 or #2, email me at jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com,

–Jasmine Gerritsen




Why did you decide to try CrossFit?

(Jessica) Matt’s sister and bother-in-law have been doing CrossFit for a year longer than us and were having great results, staying accountable and found a wonderful community of people. We knew we needed to get in shape and didn’t know exactly where to start so we took their recommendation to start CrossFit as well!

(Matt) My sister and brother in-law spoke highly of it. I wanted more accountability to make myself get off the couch and work out instead of watching people in shows that clearly are motivated enough to work out.


How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?

(Jessica) Before CrossFit when I went to the gym I would jump from machine to machine not knowing what to focus on and sometimes not knowing how to properly use it for maximum results. Having a CrossFit coach that knows the movements and structures your workouts is invaluable. They make the hour you spend with them very efficient so that you see better results faster.

(Matt)  I think the biggest thing they we gain from coaches is efficiency. They help show us movements to work muscles that we don’t use often, and keep the workouts interesting. I don’t have to be planned when going to exercise, I just show up and do what they tell me to do. As long as I take care of my diet outside of the gym I feel what I’m doing here will get me the results I want. Also, they are pretty cool people that make me look forward to working out instead of dreading it.

How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?

(Jessica) We’ve been at Slipstream for a year and can definitely say that I’m in significantly better shape then when we started. This goes for other aspects of my life as well: I have more energy, am more cognitively aware, eat better, and have better relationships with friends & family. I’ve found that by improving one aspect of my live(Matt) I feel more aware of the muscles I have (and the ones I don’t…haha). It has helped me notice how

(Matt) I’ve been seamlessly improving all other parts of my life.activites and dietary changes have affected my body.

What is your favorite CrossFit movement?

(Jessica) I don’t have a favorite movement but I definitely have a least favorite! Rowing and wall balls are simply the worst.

(Matt)  I’ve always liked running and that really hasn’t changed; however, I really like all the variety of movements the most. Except for Burpees, we are pretty much arch enemies  


What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?

(Jessica) Give it a try and come to one of the guest days! There’s an intimidation factor around CrossFit that it’s incredibly intense and that you have to already be in the best shape of your life to make it through a workout. The truth is that there’s people of all ages and strengths and each workout can be modified to accommodate where you are at physically. This is also a wonderful community of like mindedpeople that are trying to better themselves. You’ll find that they don’t judge, they’re incredibly kind and will go out of their way to help and encourage you.

(Matt) Just do it. The workouts may look intimidating sometimes, but you will never regret doing them and may even surprise yourself with how you do on some of the movements. There is a variation for everyone!  


Racing Season Preparation Guide

It’s finally starting to feel like spring here in Minnesota, which means the roads around town are starting to see quite a bit more action (and no, I’m not talking about all the potholes). Whether you’re gearing up for a 5K, half or full marathon, or obstacle-course race (OCR), this post will provide some tips on what you can do today to make this your best racing season yet.


If you haven’t done so already, sit down with your calendar and write down the dates of your upcoming races, and start to schedule your training mileage. Give or take a few weeks depending on your starting level of fitness, the general rule of thumb is to give yourself 16 weeks to specifically train for a marathon, or 10 weeks for a half-marathon. Next, write down your training times in your planner, blocking out more time for long runs and important workouts, and treat these times like an appointment so you’ll be less likely to miss one. However, don’t feel pressured to stick EXACTLY to the plan. If you’re sick or fatigued, listen to your body, and adjust mileage and/or rest days as needed.

Related: “It’s Easy, Just Fall”: My Experience at the Pose Running Clinic


Running can cause a lot of repetitive stress on the body, particularly the joints and tendons of the legs. If your training recently hasn’t involved logging lots of miles on pavement, take a few weeks to ease back into running outdoors. Taking rest days and crosstraining will give your ligaments, tendons, and joints time to heal between runs, keeping your body feeling healthy and ready to tackle hard workouts as your race approaches.

Related: The Importance of Recovery


While this tip especially applies to those of you training for obstacle course races, runners should still pay attention, since crosstraining can help prevent injuries and fight training boredom. If you are taking on an OCR this summer, you’re almost guaranteed to be tested with odd object carrying, climbing, and grip strength tasks. Pull-ups, rope climbs, and farmers carries (and any other form of carries) should be included and prioritized in your training to allow you to tackle the obstacles you’ll face. Luckily, we do all these at the gym, so be on the lookout for the workouts that involve these elements. If you are looking to solely stick to running, add in hill workouts, mile repeats, and sprint work to more fully develop your engine and keep training interesting.


You may have heard this already, but you can’t out-train a poor diet, so nutrition needs to be a part of your plan when prepping for a race. First and foremost, eat enough to make sure you’re recovering from taxing workouts like your long-runs and sprint work. That being said, instead of loading up on sweets to meet this need, look to anti-inflammatory foods like greens, nuts, and cherries to reduce the amount of inflammation your body will experience during training. Pay attention to, and even keep a log of, what foods you ate before a hard workout and how you felt during the workout. Then, prioritize the foods that made you feel best during your workouts, especially in the days leading up to your race.

While these tips are certainly not all you’ll need to get ready for your next road race or OCR, these will provide a starting point as you begin to work towards your goals this season. If you’re interested in learning more about how CrossFit can help get you ready for your next race, come in to chat with any of the coaches, or drop us a line at info@crossfitslipstream.com.

–Jay Alexander



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