612-644-9781 info@crossfitslipstream.com

MEMBER HIGHLIGHT – MEET MIKE!

Why did you decide to try CrossFit?
Two reasons. First, my friend kept posting pictures and videos of her CrossFit workouts on Instagram. Over the course of several months, I saw her body transform and it looked like she was having a blast. Watching her have such a positive experience is what first piqued my interest in CrossFit. At the same time, I was looking for a new gym to join but wanted to take my time and explore non-traditional options like CrossFit. More specifically I was looking for a place where I would be challenged in a new way. I began researching local CrossFit gyms and decided to try a free intro workout at Slipstream. After the workout, I decided to join Slipstream because I felt like John and Susan deeply cared for their members and provided expert level instruction and training.
How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?
The biggest aspect here is awareness. I am more aware of my body’s strengths, weaknesses, and also limitations. Having a coach skilled in proper movement has provided me with a wealth of customized information about my body that I’ve never had before. Now when I workout, I know the areas I need to improve. This has made me stronger and more mobile. 
How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?
There are many ways that CrossFit has affected my life. Every time I leave Slipstream, I am in a good mood. The workouts are like a good mood drug. But the biggest effect has been discipline. Doing CrossFit has given me the opportunity to become more disciplined in several areas of my life (work, relationships, nutrition, sleep, etc.). 
What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
Gotta go with tire flips. There’s just something so primal about it. 
What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?
I would suggest they talk to someone who is currently doing CrossFit. Ask them all the questions you have and address any concerns. After that, try a free intro workout and talk with the coaches and other members. Being a member of Slipstream has had such a positive influence on my life. It’s easily one of the better decisions I’ve made over the last several years.

Zero to Push-up Hero: Tips on how to get your first strict push-up

Push-ups can be incredibly frustrating! Some of us may be able to bench press, deadlift, or squat 1-2 times our body weight, but still struggle with creating that beautiful, hollow-looking push up. Add to this the challenge of performing this motion rep after rep and we have a recipe for frustration and self-doubt. As a coach, I find myself being approached, especially by female athletes, about how to up their push-up game. Oftentimes, these athletes have tremendous strength or amazing endurance but completing a push-up still eludes them.

While both men and women struggle with pushups, athletes who are biologically female may find themselves struggling longer than people who are biologically male. Women tend to have less muscle mass per pound, with less muscle mass being distributed on the upper body.  Testosterone levels also impact muscle development, with higher testosterone typically leading to larger muscle mass. This doesn’t mean that if you are female-bodied or have low testosterone that you can never get a push-up. Have you seen female gymnasts or rock climbers? They are some of the best athletes at body-weight training ever. All this means is that you need to train intelligently and practice body-weight drills a little more frequently in order to achieve top-heavy body-weight movements like the push-up or pull-up.

“Many of these drills (especially negatives and super-slow drills) also apply to pull-ups, squats, deadlifts, and bench press.”

Below are some basic tools you can use to up your push-up game. I have presented them to you in order of difficulty. However,  feel free to try them all to see where you’re at. Many of these drills (especially the negatives and the super-slow movements) also apply to pull-ups, squats, deadlifts, and bench press.

Related: Zero to Hero: Drills for Your First Pull-Up


ECCENTRICS/NEGATIVES (can be done on the floor, box, rig, or wall)

For this specific exercise we are only looking at the lowering phase of the push up. The goal of this movement is to build up all of the muscles that you will need to help lower yourself in a diagonal line.

“1-3 sets of 3-5 repetitions at 3-5 second descents will build your strength pretty quickly.”

Begin from the plank position by actively pushing against the ground and flexing your quads and abs (top picture below). You should have a slightly hollowed out upper back like mine. Your goal is to be able to keep the hollow position as you start lowering yourself to the ground. As you come to the bottom of the push up, you should be hitting the floor with your chest and thighs first. Your goal is to get your shoulders below your elbows with your forearms as vertical as possible (bottom picture). Whether you are doing this on the wall, a box, a barbell, or on the floor, try to lower as slowly as possible. I recommend working your way up to a 5 second descent. Once you make it to the bottom, relax on the ground and when you are ready, get yourself back to plank position. 1-3 Sets of 3-5 repetitions at 3-5 second descents will build your strength pretty quickly.

 

Top of the Push Up

Bottom of the Push Up

 


Hands off ground or Hand release pushups (these are done on the floor)

This drill focuses on the concentric or “up” phase of the push-up. Begin with your stomach, chest and thighs on the ground. Lift your hands off the ground so that they are hovering above where you normally place them (again with the goal of creating a vertical forearm). When you are ready, dig your toes into the ground and slap your hands on the floor, attempting to lift yourself in one straight line. As best you can, avoid lifting the chest before the abdomen. 2-5 sets of 3-5 reps should help you get better at this part of the push-up movement.

 


Super Slow Pushups (can be done on the floor, box, rig, or wall)

You’re goal here is to learn how to stabilize in each part of the push-up. When you go “super-slow” you are provided with instant feedback. Are your hips sagging? Are your elbows flaring? Are you hunching your shoulders rather than getting into a more hollow-looking top position? To do these push-ups, start off in plank position and slowly lower for a set amount of seconds. Pause at the bottom (if you want to pause for the same amount of seconds—even better), and then slowly rise for the same duration. Work your way up to 5 seconds. 1-3 sets of 3-5 reps at 2-5 seconds will start getting you stronger and ready to handle higher volumes.

Related:The Mindfulness of Movement

Once you get your first five push-ups, you can start being creative with your hand and feet positions. Heck you can even attempt plyometric push-ups where, for a second, neither your feet nor your hands are on the ground!

If you have any questions, or want to schedule a one-on-one personal training session to practice these skills, feel free to reach out to me at jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com or John at John@crossfitslipstream.com.

Until next time, keep push-upping on!

Jasmine Gerritsen

Trainer/Coach

jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com

Stop “Stretching”! Do Mobility Work Instead.

The words “flexibility” and “mobility” are generally used synonymously to mean the available range of motion at a given joint, or in a given movement pattern, such as a squat.  I will use “mobility” here to be consistent.  The term “stretching” has commonly been used to describe attempts to improve mobility.  This can mislead.  “Mobility work” offers more  specific techniques to help you increase range of motion in your joints.

Related: 4 Simple Shoulder Mobility Movements

“Stretching” as a term was popularized by the book of the same name by Bob Anderson published in 1980.  The 30th Anniversary Edition didn’t bother to define “stretching,” but states clearly the common misconception of “stretching”: that the benefit comes from stretching muscles (30th Ed. pg. 12.  2010).  Yes, muscles stretch when you ask them to.  However, stretching muscles will not result increased range of motion or do much to prevent injury.  We are complex systems of muscle, nerves, blood vessels, and many types of connective tissues, all of which are involved in setting your ranges of motion.

What increases range of motion and prevents injury is work that targets all of the elements of restriction at a given joint.  These are: joint capsules, fascia, connective tissue growth between layers, subconscious restriction, and (yes) muscle length.  “Mobility work” is a more comprehensive term for efforts to identify and target the relevant elements at a given joint or in a given movement pattern, like a squat.

“Mobility work” means “distracting,” or re-aligning, and assisting joints to loosen connective tissues that have become overly restrictive.  There is no muscle in the joint itself to “stretch,” so if you’re thinking about “stretching” you won’t address this factor that may be limiting your mobility.  Impact or overuse may cause a joint to become misaligned.  No amount of muscle stretching will re-align the joint properly.  You need to use rubber bands, positioning, traction, and other methods to create space in the joint to allow it to return to its proper location.

“Mobility work” is a more comprehensive term for efforts to identify and target the relevant elements at a given joint or in a given movement pattern, like a squat.

“Mobility work” also means working to restore the ability of layers of tissue to slide past one another.  We are made of multiple layers of tissues – muscle, blood vessels, nerves, and lots and lots of fascia and other protective and connective tissues.  These layers are supposed to slide across one another as our movement requires them to.  Once a layer pinches or binds another, it cannot move optimally, so the body starts looking for a work-around, known as “compensation.”  If you’ve ever worn clothing that pinched or bound when you tried to move a certain way, like pants when you attempt to squat, you’ve experienced an external version of this phenomenon.  Connective tissues will sometimes grow between the layers, often in response to an injury.  Other causes include poor hydration and lack of use. These keep the layers from sliding across one another, preventing them from moving the way they need to.

It is true that tight muscles can also limit range of motion.  However, rather than simply “stretch” them, which puts the muscle under more stress, use some simple techniques to get the muscle to relax.  Compression is widely recognized to cause the compressed muscle to relax.  I’m not talking about the kind of compression you get from Under Armour.  I’m talking about pressing your body weight onto a ball that is pressing on the tight muscle.  Or using a kettlebell to push on it.  Lots of pressure, plus actively contracting the muscle, then consciously trying to relax it, will create greater improvements in less time than stretching.

Another important piece of your available range of motion is the subconscious.  The subconscious mind receives information about where you’re moving and compares it to where you’ve been recently.  It does not allow you to move into ranges of motion you haven’t visited in a long time to protect you from injury.  This is a major factor limiting your range of motion, and requires you to gradually increase range of motion, rather than blasting into new levels.

Related: 4 Best Hip Openers to Improve Your Mobility

So the next time you think about “stretching,” consider really checking in with how you feel, what ranges of motion you intend to use, test to see how they are, and then do specific mobility work to address the actual issue(s) you identify.  You’ll get better results in less time, and have more body awareness to boot.

Contact me if you have any questions, or would like to learn more about how to improve your mobility!

John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

john@crossfitslipstream.com

Sleep Part 3: Eating to sleep?

In my previous post I discussed the ways you can manipulate your workouts to maximize sleep. In this final post about sleep, I will give you some nutritional food-for-thought that may assist you in falling and (hopefully) staying asleep.


Caffeine

Caffeine can be quite the difficult subject to approach. Some of us can’t go without it, and some of us only use it when we are in desperate need of a pick-me-up. Good news is, if you understand how caffeine works and how you can manipulate your bodies’ tolerance to it, you can better plan when you consume it.

Image result for caffeine

A few things to know about caffeine:

“Caffeine’s half-life (the time it takes to clear from your system) can range from a few hours up to 6 hours. This half-life is influenced by your genetics and even prescribed medications you may be taking.”

  • People experience an adrenaline spike when they consume caffeine. Think of adrenaline as that feeling you get when you have a heavy barbell on your back at the bottom of a squat.

  •  Caffeine’s half-life (the time it takes to clear from your system) can range from a few hours up to 6 hours. This half-life is influenced by your genetics and even prescribed medications you may be taking.

  • Consider avoiding caffeine for at least four hours before bed, especially if you are unused to the affects of caffeine on your body. Again, this amount of time may change depending on your genetics and any medications you are taking.

  • To build a tolerance to the effects of caffeine, studies suggest you may need to dose with 200 mg or more a day. This tolerance shortens the half-life of caffeine, which lessens the length of time it is affecting your system. For reference, one 8 oz cup of coffee has around 95 mg. This caffeine should still be consumed earlier in the day to avoid impacting sleep.

  • Even if you have developed a tolerance to caffeine and are able to sleep after drinking it, be aware that caffeine will still block adenosine receptors, which are implicated in allowing you to achieve a good night’s sleep.


Food + Supplements

“Of course, it is always better to get these nutrients from real food rather than supplementation.”

While it’s pretty evident that eating copious amounts of food before bed can disrupt sleep, there are ways you can manipulate food or supplementation in order to help you sleep better.

  • Sources of Vitamin D (think sunlight) and omega-3 (think fish and oils) provide nutrients that involve regulating your body’s production of serotonin (sleep) hormone. Of course, it is always better to get these nutrients from real food rather than supplementation. I personally supplement with about 5,000 IU of Thorne’s Vitamin D-3 nearly every night and find that I sleep better and am better able to combat illness. On heavy workout days I also supplement with Nordic Natural’s fish oil, which helps battle inflammation and leaves me less sore and more refreshed the next morning.

Related:How to Choose Nutrition Supplements; Protein Shake Edition

  • Fruit might help you go to sleep! Studies show that eating a piece or two of fruit about an hour before bed may help you sleep due to the energy release from the fructose and the hunger-satiating effect of fiber and water.

Image result for fibrous fruits

  • Consuming Magnesium-rich foods like nuts and leafy vegetables may also aid in better sleep. Most people in the Western world are magnesium deficient, especially if their diet is comprised primarily of grains. When consumed or taken as a supplement, studies have shown increased sleep quality in people who report difficulty sleeping. I personally take about 250mg of Thorne’s magnesium citrate. As an athlete, I also find that I recover better the next morning.

While this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, I wanted to give you some easy tips and tricks to help get a good night’s sleep. If you have any questions or suggestions of your own, feel free to reach out to me at jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com.

Until next time, sleep well!

Jasmine Gerritsen

Coach/Trainer

jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com

Energy Systems 2: Sugar vs. Fat and How to Know Which You’re Using

In Energy System Basics, we discussed the four (4) different ways (we know of) that the human body provides energy to working muscles.  Briefly, the Aerobic system burns either fat or sugar, the glycolytic energy system burns sugar and reprocesses the byproducts of doing that, and the phosphagenic system is there with ATP for use, and creatine phosphate to replenish it quickly.  Ok, neat, you say, but my goal is to burn off this spare tire, so…how do I know if I’m doing that?  That’s what we’re talking about here.

Related: Breathing: So Simple Anyone Can Do It

There are two things to look at to know which energy source you’re using: your level of exertion, and the hunger that drives your eating habits.

Your level of exertion is relatively simple.  Fat is a major source of fuel only at lower levels of physical activity.  So if you can’t speak a complete sentence while being active (whether it’s “exercise” or not), you’re burning at least some sugar, rather than fat.  This is why “fat burning” settings on exercise machines, or our Burn45 class, feel “easy” – the effort level is low to moderate to ensure your body uses fat, rather than sugar.  You should be at a 1, 2, or 3 of the rate of perceived exertion scale.

If you’re unable to speak complete sentences, or the effort is starting to feel “real” you’re beginning to burn more sugar than fat. Whether or not this is a problem depends of the goal of your workout.  If you’re intending to burn fat during the workout, you’re going too hard.  If you’re intending to get the most out of your workout, work hard, and achieve maximum improvement from that day’s effort, then you should go ahead an burn sugar.

If you’re unable to speak complete sentences, or the effort is starting to feel “real” you’re beginning to burn more sugar than fat.

The hunger that drives your eating habits is a less obvious clue, but once you start looking for the signs, it should be fairly clear whether you burn primarily sugar or fat throughout the day.  Do you get hungry every few hours?  Do you ‘graze’ or eat lots of small meals?  Do you frequently crave certain foods, especially those high in sugar?  If the answer to any of these is “yes” then you probably don’t burn much fat during the day.

Related: The Importance of Recovery

Not to worry though!  You can change this pattern by re-balancing your diet away from a constant stream of sugar towards a more balanced intake of fat, protein, and healthy carbohydrates.  Start by eating more healthy fat and protein at breakfast, eliminating sugary drinks, and avoiding snacking.  When you find yourself no longer having cravings, avoiding the post-lunch slump, and feeling great after light activity, you’ll know you’re on the path to burning fat.  And that’s what we are supposed to do!

If you have questions, or would like to know how you can use our workouts to enhance your fat-burning, contact me at john@crossfitslipstream.com or 612-644-9781.

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

john@crossfitslipstream.com

MEMBER HIGHLIGHT – MEET JAKE!

Why did you decide to try Personal Training at CrossFit Slipstream?
I chose personal training at CrossFit Slipstream for a number or reasons. John is very experienced in CrossFit endurance/endurance races. We agreed that endurance athletes typically brush over the strenghth portion of training, but to be a well rounded athlete, no matter the sport, it’s important. I also had pre-existing injury and major mobility problems. John structures workouts and teaches me movements around that injury. Lastly, John is a Marine, something we both share, his dedication to duty, without question, has seeped into his work life (CrossFit Slipstream). His knowledge base on all of this, I feel is a result of that, it was the icing on the cake.

How is having a Personal Trainer changed your workout or fitness results?
Personal Training has accelerated my fitness goals exponentially. The structure of the workout progresses to get harder each week but not in such a way where I get burned out. It’s like the saying “When you want something done right, hire a professional.” In the past I had problems making my own plan and not burning out, and difficulty tweaking it to suit my needs. One on one time with John is like taking a crash course in your personal movement. 

How has this training affected your health and/or life? 
For me endurance sports is a mental game, I feel better after and it forces the mind and body to accept uncomfortable circumstances. I think this is good for the mind. The physical benefits result in doing it. 

What is your favorite type of workout?
I like open water swimming and body weight wodsthat include kettle bells.

What would you say to somone who is thinking about Personal Training?
I would say, setting and achieving goals is done through planning. So if you have serious goalsyourtrying to attain or specific movements you want to do, try personal training. Having a professional helps you structure and keeps you accountable. Accountability is huge, that and you pay for it, so you better get the use out of it. 

Sleep Hacks Part 2: Strategizing Your Workouts For Better Sleep!

In my previous post I discuss the ways you can manipulate your environment for better sleep. In this post I will talk about ways you can structure your workout/physical activity throughout the day to maximize sleep.

“The amount of sleep you need varies from person to person.”

It’s commonly understood that most adults need around 7-9 hours of sleep per 24-hour cycle to properly function and recover from the stress of everyday life. There are of course exceptions to this rule. A small percentage of the population is born with a special genetic mutation that enables them to sleep and function perfectly with less than 5 hours of sleep. However, this genetic variant is rare, and if you find yourself groggy on less than 6 hours of sleep, you are probably not blessed with this gene. On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who require more hours of sleep (9-12 hours) especially if they are active. The amount of sleep you need varies from person to person.

Image result for sleep and exercise


You need to figure out how much sleep you typically need:

  •      When do you feel your best?

  •      When left to your own devices, when do you wake up?

  •      How many hours do you sleep when you don’t have to wake up to an alarm?

  •      What does your physical and cognitive performance look like on 6, 7, 8 or 9 hours of sleep?

Once you have an understanding of how much sleep your body likes, then you can manipulate your day to help you get the sleep you need.


TIME OF DAY TO EXERCISE TO MAXIMIZE SLEEP

“Studies have found that no matter when you exercise, if you exercise at least 30 minutes per day, your ability to fall asleep will improve.”

Studies have found that no matter when you exercise, if you exercise at least 30 minutes per day, your ability to fall asleep will improve. However, there are ways to optimize the bang-for-your-buck effect of exercise on sleep. Studies have found that exercising within 3 hours of bedtime might disrupt sleep, likely because of the body’s inability to lower it’s heart rate and body temperature. There is still a silver lining to late night exercise, as evidence suggests that late night exercisers are more alert the next morning and sleep well the next night. The bottom line: 30 minutes of exercise a day is better than not exercising in relation to sleep.


WHAT KIND OF WORKOUT SHOULD YOU DO FOR BETTER SLEEP?

There are opportunities throughout the day for you to take advantage of your body’s natural circadian rhythm and hormone production to promote better sleep.

In the morning, consider doing a light workout at around 65% effort. This light activity helps you better mobilize and deal with inflammation as well as avoids increasing naturally high cortisol (stress) levels in the morning. As a result, during your evening workout you would need less of a warm up and get a more productive workout. Even if you skip the morning movement, you can choose a type of workout in the evening that will help with sleep.

The chart below gives specific suggestions as to the types of workouts that have been shown to be most beneficial to sleep, depending on time of day.

Time of Day

Intensity/Duration

Suggested Type of Workout

Morning

65% effort, 20-60 min

Burn 45, Morning walk + stretching

Afternoon (2:00-6:00)

50-80% effort, 60-150 minutes

Burn 45, CF Lite, CF all levels

Evening (3-4 hours before bed)

85-90% effort, ~30 min

CF lite, CF All Levels

“even if you do an 85%+ effort workout in the morning, or 65% effort in the evening, as long as you accrue 30 minutes of exercise, you should see an increase in sleep quality.”

Remember these are only suggestions for the most optimal conditions. Even if you do an 85%+ effort workout in the morning, or 65% effort in the evening, if your workout lasts at least 30 minutes, you should see an increase in sleep quality. If you workout closer to bed time, you can employ other strategies such as relaxing breath work and lukewarm or cold showers–and still get the benefits of exercise.

RELATED:Breathing: So Simple Anyone Can Do It


WORKOUT TRICKS IF YOU ARE SLEEP DEPRIVED

If you know you are sleep deprived, you can still use exercise to 1) alleviate sleepiness and 2) ensure that you will have good sleep later on. Studies suggest that when sleep deprived you can reduce sleepiness by undergoing a long-duration, aerobic exercise. A Burn 45 class would be perfect, since you are kept in your aerobic MAF heart rate. Conversely, if you don’t have time to go “long and slow” you can attempt to do short bouts of exercise (~10) minutes, every 2 hours. This could look like a 10 min AMRAP of burpees, air squats, and pushups.

RELATED:Torch Fat and Feel Great with Burn45


TO SUM IT ALL UP

If you want to improve your sleep, you need to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. This can be a mixture of easy morning aerobic work, such as stretching or walking, followed by an evening WOD. To optimize your sleep, consider doing both a lighter morning workout, and a more intense evening workout 3-4 hours before bed. Top it all off with a lukewarm/cold shower and some meditation/breathwork and presto! Sleep!

Be on the lookout for Sleep Part 3, where I go into some tips for food, drink, and supplementation protocols to help you sleep better. If you have any questions feel free to email me at jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com. Until then, keep sleeping!

Jasmine Gerritsen

Instructor/Coach

jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com

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

john@crossfitslipstream.com

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


Image result for sleep with phone

Environment

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.


Light

Image result for vampire and light

“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.


Noise

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

Coach/Trainer

jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com

1 2 3 4 15