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With the transition into our new schedule, we have noticed that attendance has gone down on Thursdays and have been getting requests for bringing back a programmed WOD on Thursdays. Suggestions are a crucial part of making sure you as a member are getting everything you possibly can out of CrossFit. We understand that many of you have signed up for CrossFit because you enjoy not having to make up your own! As your coaches, we are constantly trying to help maximize your time with us so you can improve your overall health and performance. If you are unsure about the purpose of our recovery/skill work Thursdays, this may help you see it from a coach’s perspective and how you can use your class time to make improvements.

There are a couple ways you could use your Thursdays. If you are lucky enough to able to attend classes Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday you should use Thursday for active recovery. If you have missed a day or two before Thursday, you could make up a day from earlier in the week, or you can use it to sharpen a skill.  If you are NOT new and you are efficient at your movements, you should be pretty sore and mentally taxed by Thursday. When we say sore we are talking about muscle soreness, not joint pain or nagging irritations from poor movement. If you are not experiencing soreness, this may mean you should have used a heavier load or put in more effort in the earlier part of the week. Again, we must stress that if you are NEW or NOT EFFICIENT in your movement you should still be concentrating on form; you are not ready to focus on how fast or how heavy a load is until you have made the proper movement pattern second nature. If you are sore, recovery is programmed out for you. You can come in, take your time and use class time to mobilize and move around. This will help circulate blood and get rid of some of the discomfort and stiffness that you are feeling from the week’s work. When you are not sore, perhaps you need more practice at a movement you are not efficient at or work on mobility to improve inefficient movement.

Thursdays are also a great day to practice a skill that you have not yet mastered. Take double-unders for example. If you can’t do a double-under, you should be here every Thursday working on them. Not very good at Olympic lifting? Thursdays are a great day to work on your positions and techniques. Still can’t get that pull-up you said you would have by the next OPEN? Again, Thursdays are a great day to get some extra pulling work in. If you need direction on how to get better at a skill ask a coach for a program cycle that you can use on Thursdays. We have plenty of coaches here that specialize in many different skills. Let’s say you are interested in getting more extensive help on improving your pull ups. For a reasonable price, Angelo (for example) could write you out a 4-8 week cycle of 10-20 minutes of pulling work that you can add to your week that will get you closer to that pull-up or muscle-up goal you may have.

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Thursdays are also great for making up the class you may have missed. This will keep you on track with our programming cycle. You get to move at your pace and manage your time. This can work in your favor, as you are able to spend less time on the things you are good at and more time on the things you are not.

The one thing we ask members NOT to do on Thursdays is perform a metcon that was not previously programmed for that week. My reason for this request is that you may alter OLAF’s strategically designed programming, depending on what you choose to do that day. I ask that you don’t throw off your progress and instead follow our programming for the week as best you can.

I hope this helps explain all that Thursdays can be for you. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask your coach.

-Coach Kyle

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The hardest part about changing your diet is getting accustomed to the new routine. You’ve worked hard at figuring out what to make for breakfast lunch and dinner, you’ve prepped your meals so you can be ready to eat when you need it. But once you’ve gotten into the groove, what happens when you can’t get home to your Paleo-friendly fridge and NEED to grab something quickly? Also, how do you order at a restaurant and still stay on track? It will take a bit of thinking outside the box but grabbing quick Paleo food and eating out is not difficult at all.

 Snacks and Meals On the Go

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        So your day got busy and you don’t have time to stop at home. Fast food can not only be expensive but also doesn’t provide you many options for sticking with your diet. Don’t head to a fast food restaurant, head to the grocery store! There are TONS of options that you can chose from to come up with a quick snack or even a full meal.

Meat: My first stop is the meat department. Generally, you can find nitrate free lunch meat there or if I’m looking for something larger, a rotisserie chicken will be more than sufficient for a fast dinner. I usually stay away from the prepared meat in the deli department as it’s usually fried or has other junk in it that I don’t want so a rotisserie chicken is a great choice.

Veggies/fruits: Most grocery stores and even some gas stations will carry fresh cut veggies in the produce department and sometimes you can find cooked and peeled hardboiled eggs there as well. A bag of baby carrots or a carton of cherry tomatoes are also good “to go” options. Fruits that are lowest in sugar are blackberries and raspberries which come in cartons that are convenient to take “to go”. If I am heading somewhere that I can put lettuce wraps together, I will pick up some romaine lettuce and avocado to put with my lunch meat. Grabbing a sweet potato to heat up in the microwave is an easy solution if I need a Paleo-friendly “on the go” carb source!

Another really great option for getting nutrients on the go is grabbing some organic baby food in squeezable packets. They are no mess, no prep, very convenient and as long as they contain only pureed fruits and veggies are completely Paleo!

Healthy fats: My absolute favorite food invention is the single serving package of Justin’s Almond Butter (Target and most grocery stores have them!). You can squeeze it onto your precut celery or apples from the produce department or just eat it by itself. In addition, individually wrapped packages of nuts are a great, quick source of good fats and every grocery store and gas station has that option.

Drinks: I usually just stick with water but sometimes I want something different so I head to the water and drink aisle in the grocery store to pick up some seltzer water. Most bottled drinks that aren’t water like juices, vitamin waters, and other flavored drinks include more sugar than vitamins and minerals and sometimes have artificial sweeteners and colors so staying away from those is usually a good rule of thumb.

 Eating Out at Restaurants

For many, eating out is usually a time to indulge a little bit. If you are determined to stay on track but would like to enjoy a meal out, staying on the Paleo band wagon is not as daunting as it might seem. No, you will not be able to order pasta, sandwiches or pizza but there are always alternatives at pretty much any restaurant. If you are open to new options, the possibilities are endless!

Burger and barbeque restaurants: These places are easiest to order because if order a burger, you can hold the cheese and ask for it without the bun or ask with extra lettuce to make a wrap. Many places offer great options like avocado and fried eggs that you can add to your burger as well. If it comes with a side, you can chose a veggie or sweet potato fries instead of regular fries. One of my favorite things to order at a place that has ribs, is a rack of ribs WITHOUT the BBQ sauce and double veggies on the side (or sweet potato fries). It might sound strange, but ribs with just the dry rub on them is still very flavorful and you get a large portion of meat for a great price. Many places offer a baked chicken option that is a great choice as well!

Italian restaurants: This is probably the least paleo friendly restaurant option and the options can be limited. Instead of looking at the pasta and pizza dishes, check out the entrée and salad section. There is usually a variety of salad options that include chicken, steak or salmon and entrees without cheese or breading.

Asian restaurants: Again, skip the noodle and rice dishes and take a look at the entrees. Many of the menu options will include rice on the side so you can forgo that and get a meat or fish based dish without including any non-Paleo items.

Mexican restaurants: An equally tricky restaurant as Italian restaurants since much of the cooking includes rice, corn or flour. Again, the entrée selections are usually a good bet since they come with tortillas or rice on the side.

Fast food restaurants: If you don’t want to go to a sit down place but would like to go out, there are a couple of options to chose from. Chipotle offers grass-fed, free range and organic meat options and also many organic and locally grown veggie options. Order a salad instead of a burrito or burrito bowl and you have tons of Paleo options to chose from! At Jimmy John’s, you can order any sandwich as an “Unwich” where they wrap your sandwich in lettuce instead of bread. Panera offers many great salad options (careful with added ingredients and dressings that aren’t Paleo though!) and will make you eggs without bread for breakfast as well. You have to be careful when ordering at fast food places as the quality of food at most fast food places isn’t very good and many times they prepare food with very non-Paleo friendly ingredients. Most places provide a list of nutritional information so if you aren’t sure, ask!

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For those of you who watched the CrossFit Games you may have noticed the movement patterns of the top athletes. Minus the sweat and heavy breathing, their first reps looked almost identical to their last reps, and for the top finishers they held that over the course of 4 days. There is a reason why they can do that- it’s called efficient movement. I’m sure you have heard our coaches say “Movement quality first, movement under load second, and speed of movement third.”   The reason we say that is because speed plus poor movement equals injury. You may be asking yourself “How do I know if I am moving efficiently?” Your movement should look very similar to the top athletes you see at the Crossfit Games and feel as easy as they make it look when you are working with a load less than 50% of you max for that movement.

One limiting factor we see in movement quality is that it is a new movement and you just need time practicing the motor patterns of the movement. Another big limiting factor is mobility. Things like not being able to sit in a squat, always being in a slouched position with your upper back, and not being able to put your arms straight up over your head are big limiters in the way you will be able to perform a large amount of the movements we do in our metcons. I say metcons because the speed and detachment from what you are doing becomes a problem for people that have poor movement quality. It is very dangerous to “zone out” of the movement because you’re just trying to get through the “pain” of a metcon. Even Games athletes stay present in their movement patterns because one poorly performed rep on the fourth day of the Games can cause them to put the bar down more times than necessary or even worse: cause injury.

Movement patterns need to become second nature to a person in order to move up in weights and/or speed. Even then, you need to practice being under a heavier load before moving up in weight. If a person has a mobility issue then they have no business putting themselves under a heavy load. In such a case, they should definitely not add speed to the movement, and the reason being is that the person’s position in an unloaded state is sub-optimal. Performing that movement under load is going to put them at an even greater sub-optimal position risking injury. If you add speed, most times it’s a train wreck waiting to happen.

Rich Things you can do to make your movement quality better are practice the movements under moderate to light loads. If you have mobility issues, fix them. I know neither one of these are fun and exciting but neither is sitting in a hospital bed. If you have mobility issues and you need help, ask a coach. We will gladly point you in the right direction in fixing you mobility issues. Do remember though- it probably didn’t take one week to develop your mobility issue so don’t expect it to be fixed within a month with the fifteen minutes you put in a week. It takes time and work. You need to be doing it everyday for at least two minutes per issue. So if you have tight ankles you would spend two minutes of sitting in the stretch for each ankle for a total of four minutes.

Teaching great movement quality is a coach’s art form.   We love to see it because it reassures us that you are moving in an injury-free way. When your coaches see poor movement it hurts us. We cringe at the sight of it. I would go as far as to say that a little bit of us dies when we see it. If your coach makes you stop or tells you to fix your movement pattern it’s not because we hate you- it’s actually because we care. Our job is to make you better and there is no way to make you better while moving poorly.