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Why We Use Bands

The use of bands and chains or “accommodating resistance” has been popularized by Louie Simmons at Westside Barbell.  But what does that terminology mean anyway and why do we do it at Battleship CrossFit?

Accommodating Resistance is a fancy term that means that resistance increases throughout the range of motion when we use bands (or chains).  For example, when using a band on a deadlift, the tension on the band increases as it gets pulled off the floor and stretches.  In this way, the resistance on the barbell (or the weight of the barbell) increases as you get closer to the top of the movement.  There’s a few reasons why that’s a good thing!

  • Teaches Explosiveness:  As you move through the full range of motion on a lift, the band gets more tension and therefore does not allow you to relax or slow down at any point of a lift.  For example, in a squat, the hardest part is the reversal to get out of the hole at the bottom.  As you go up, the movement gets easier and you can somewhat relax after you’re about halfway up.  With a band, that’s not the case at all.  There is less tension at the bottom of the squat (which is the hardest part/sticking point anyway) and more tension at the top as you stand (which is the easier part).  This trains people to remain explosive and push hard through the full movement.
  • Overloads Your Body:  Using the banded deadlift as an example, let’s say you have 200# loaded on a barbell with a band added for tension.  At the bottom of the deadlift when there’s no tension in the band, the weight remains 200#.  As you pull the barbell off the ground, the band stretches and pulls on the barbell, making it weigh more.  Because of this, the barbell may weigh closer to 250# at the top of lockout, depending the band used.  This is a great way to train your body to support a heavier load at the top than you could pull off the floor.
  • Less Wear And Tear On Your Body:  On the flip side of the above example, using bands/chains can allow you to train with submaximal loads on the barbell, but with added resistance through bands. Using the same example above, to work on speed, it may be a good idea to load up a barbell with 150#, but still add bands.  At the bottom of the lift, an athlete is well below their max, but, at the top, the load increases to a near-max.  At the top is generally where an athlete is already strongest anyway, so it won’t beat them up as much but will still provide a good training stimulus.  This method is perfect for athletes to learn how to continue accelerating the bar as it moves through the full movement.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should only use bands and chains and never use straight-weight, but it’s a good tool to have to mix things up…which is what CrossFit is all about!

 

Chasing Goals

Here’s why you have a coach:

There’s too much out there. You know you can’t do everything. A lot of it looks–or sounds–good.

I’m talking about diet plans, supplements, workout programs, or even daily WODs.

But you can’t do it all, and trying to do too much will actually set you back. I’m guilty!

Everyone knows about “overtraining”, and we’re all scared of getting injured. But most don’t realize there’s an optimal amount of training to do, just as there’s an optimal amount of food to eat.

Too little, and your progress will be slow. But doing too many workouts has the exact same effect.

We choose CrossFit for our group training because it’s a great balance: it’s not too little, and it’s not too much. But even as hard as CrossFit workouts are, many people are tempted to do more: to add a little “recovery run”, or even to do multiple workouts in a day. These are NOT the path to success. More is NOT better. Better is better.

You have a coach. That coach is your filter.

Your coaches are here to tell you what’s optimal, not what’s minimal.

At Battleship, we want to talk to you every 3-4 months. One on one, in person. We want to ask about your goals; review your progress; and then give you the best possible prescription.

Here’s a link to book your goal review. It’s a free part of your membership!

What we DON’T want is for you to have to guess…or for us to guess what your goals actually are.

We don’t want you to try fad diets just because someone else is doing them. We don’t want you to do a juice cleanse just because you saw it online. We don’t even want you to do what everyone else in the gym is doing, because their program is theirs. It’s not yours. Train in a group, tailor individually: that’s what our coaches do.

You have a coach.

They’re a filter.

Next time you see a workout online and think, “oooooh, that looks spicy! Gotta try!” — ask your coach if it fits your goals. Take it from some of us who have learned the hard way!

 

 

Why You Should do The CrossFit Open at BCF

If you haven’t been doing CrossFit for a year or more, you may be wondering what the CrossFit Open even is.  It’s a competition held at CrossFit affiliates worldwide to serve as the first stage for competitors to qualify for the CrossFit Games in the summer.  Last year, over 429,000 people participated in The CrossFit Open. However, 99.9% of us won’t be making it to the CrossFit Games, so why should you even bother, right?

  1. BCF Intramural Open:  At Battleship CF, we do an intramural style open where we split participants into teams within our gym.  Those teams compete against one another for 5-weeks at our Friday Night Lights.  Of course, competition is friendly and you get a chance to meet lots of other members who may not normally come to the same class time as you.
  2. Multiple Workout Options:  If you’re worried that you won’t be able to do double unders, muscle ups, or handstand push ups, there’s no need to skip the entire Open just for that.  Similar to our daily WODs, there will be options for RX, Scaled, Masters and Teens.  Workouts can be modified to suit any skill level.  And our team points aren’t based entirely on scores.  They are actually mostly based on participation and camaraderie.
  3. Surprise Yourself with a PR:  We see multiple people each year get their “first” during the Open. People push themselves a little harder than normal and often surprise themselves by getting their first pull up, toes to bar or lift more weight than they ever have before.  With all the extra energy, excitement and encouragement we have during Friday Night Lights, you may get a PR this year, too!
  4. Identify Weaknesses and Set Goals:  It’s true that the CrossFit Open gets harder and harder each year as athletes get better and better.  As part of that, CrossFit HQ doesn’t shy away from programming movements that you may not be great at right now.  And that’s okay.  After the Open, you will have a good idea or where you are already strong and areas that you may need to focus on to be more prepared for the Open in 2020.
  5. Prizes:  Last year, we had some cool prizes from our sponsors to give away during FNL.  We will randomly draw names for the prizes out of those who sign up and come to FNL.  Plus, at the end of the 5-weeks, the team with the most points will get a cool team banner that will hang in the gym all year to signify your team’s dominance!
  6. Cool Shirt + Food!:  If I haven’t gotten your buy-in yet, I’m banking on the fact that everyone loves a new shirt and food!  As part of our BCF Intramural Open, you’ll get a special shirt in your team color.  You’ll also get snacks and drinks during each FNL.  The final FNL will be sponsored by Angelo’s Steak Pit, and we will be grilling up some yummy burgers to celebrate all our hard work!

The CrossFit Open starts Friday, February 22nd.  Our BCF Intramural Open sign ups are open now, so go ahead and put your name on the list to join the fun.  This is by far the biggest event we do all year, so don’t miss out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Stick with Your Fitness Resolutions

Each January, people everywhere set resolutions for the new year.  An overwhelming majority of those people rank losing weight and getting in shape as their top resolutions.  And, unfortunately, only a very small amount of those people stick to those resolutions long enough to achieve their goals.

So how can you overcome the odds and set yourself up for success this year?

  1. Set Measurable Goals:  It’s true what they say, “what gets measured, gets managed.” I hear many people whose goal it is to simply “eat healthy” or “get fit.” These are very vague goals, which makes them hard to achieve when you’re not even sure exactly what the criteria is.  Be specific about your goal.  Is there a certain weight you’d like to get to?  A pair of pants that you’d like to be able to wear?
  2. Set a Deadline:  In the same way that vague goals aren’t helpful, open-ended goals are less than ideal as well.  Set mini-goals along the way and then a date to accomplish those small goals leading up to your big goal.  Each mini goal is a win and will help your motivation to continue.
  3. Know Your Why:  Are you just randomly setting a goal with no reason in mind?  WHY do you want to lose 20 pounds? Is it so that you’ll feel more confident at the beach this summer?  Or is it because you’d like to be able to play with your kids or grandkids without being winded? These are both great reasons, and knowing your why can help you remember the bigger picture in those weak moments when you want to throw in the towel.
  4. Exercise:  There are TONS of options for exercise programs that are effective.  Pick one that fits your personality and goals.  CrossFit is a great way to get fit with a tight-knit group under the eye of a qualified coach.  But, it’s not the only way.  Find something that you enjoy and will stick to.  Consistency is more important than intensity.
  5. …But Don’t Forget About Nutrition, Too:  The combination of diet and exercise together is the best way to get to your goals the fastest.  And, you’ll feel better too!  Just like with exercise, there are lots of diet options out there.  Find one that is healthy (not a crash diet) and that is, more importantly, sustainable.  If you’re able to lose weight quickly on a extremely restrictive, low-calorie diet, but that diet doesn’t fit your lifestyle, you probably won’t stick to it for long.  And, unfortunately, most people end up binging after a diet and put back all of their previous weight, if not more.
  6. Find an Accountability Partner or Group:  Everything is easier if you know you have someone holding you accountable for your goals.  Find a spouse, friend or group of people who are like-minded to hold you accountable.  It will help you and them to succeed!

If you need help in reaching your fitness and nutrition goals, schedule a free intro session here. We’d love to help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are Carbs Bad?

Carbs are often blamed for being “bad” in today’s society.  In recent years, low-carb diets like Keto and Paleo have become extremely popular.  So what is a carb, anyway? Carbs are a macronutrient, along with protein and fat.  Carbs includes foods like bread, rice and fruit. Carbs contain about 4 calories per gram, while protein contains 4 calories per gram and fat contains 9 calories per gram.  All three macronutrients are important, for various reasons, but today we will focus on carbs.

When you eat carbs, your body converts them into an energy source known as glycogen.  Glycogen is the fuel your muscles use for training.  For those who are active, eating more carbs can be beneficial for various reasons:

  1. Train Harder:  If you don’t exercise, the amount of carbs needed if much less than an active person.  However, those who exercise regularly will need the “fuel” carbs provide to perform well.  Eating carbs around your training, (before, during and after) will allow you to perform more reps, lift more weight and feel better while doing so. Most people will notice an increase in their performance and their overall energy levels if they increase their carb intake appropriately.
  2. Recover Well:  If you work out day after day on a low-carb diet, you will likely deplete your glycogen stores within a few days.  However, keeping an adequate amount of carbs and glycogen in your system allows you to recover well and continue to train hard day after day.
  3. Increased Muscle Growth:  If you chronically deplete your carb intake in comparison to your training, it can actually inhibit muscle growth. When consuming adequate carbs and keeping glycogen levels high, muscle growth will occur more easily and more readily.

So, how many carbs should you eat?  First, take into account how active you are in your day-to-day life.  Do you sit behind a desk all day or are you on your feet waiting tables?  Second, how hard do you workout?  If you sit at a desk all day and then come home to sit on the couch, you probably don’t need many carbs because your activity level is low and your body doesn’t require much “fuel” for these activities.  Alternatively, if you sit at a desk during the day, but complete an intense workout every day, your carb intake needs goes up along with your activity level. Pair an active day job with intense training every day, and your carb intake needs go up even more.

The bottom line is that carbs are not necessarily the villain that they are often made out to be.  Depending on your activity level, they can be great for improving training, recovery and muscle growth.  And it IS possible to still loose weight while consuming carbs, as long as you keep your carb intake levels in line with your activity levels.  However, if you are very inactive, a lower carb diet, like Keto, may be a great fit for you.  There is no one-size-fits-all, so examine your lifestyle and your goals and make a determination on what works best for you.  If you’d like to chat more, we offer nutrition services with our partners at Renaissance Periodization.   Schedule a free intro session here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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