Categorized as: Fitness Tips & Information

All About Fat Loss

We should all know or at least have a general idea about what fat in the body is. Most of us don’t like it. And most of us have to try really, really hard to get rid of it. That’s where “fat loss” comes in when starting a high intensity workout regimen or a specific diet/meal plan.

Before we get into why fat loss is important and how we go about doing it safely and healthily, let’s talk about what it actually is.

We store fat in tissues in our bodies — mostly under the skin, with a small amount in our muscles. Body fat is an energy storage depot. That means when the substances providing energy become sparse in your bloodstream (carbohydrates, for example), the body detects this and calls on fat reserves for backup.

Fats are stored as triglycerides in fat cells and are released via the activity of an enzyme. This allows fatty acids to enter the blood, where they circulate bound to a protein and enter muscles to be “burned.” So, fat being burned = “losing” fat.

On to the why. Why should people not want high amounts of fat in the body and why is fat loss so important? Excess body fat can negatively affect nearly every facet of life, including:

•       decreased mobility
•       poorer emotional health and self-esteem
•       increased risk of organ failure
•       poorer circulatory health
•       increased risk of heart disease
•       increased risk of stress fractures
•       increased risk of strokes
•       increased risk of cancers
•       decreased sexual and reproductive health

As you can see, excesses in fat storage lead to some pretty unfortunate consequences. That’s not to say you should be 0% body fat. Maintaining a healthy level of fat in your body will keep you happy and in good shape.

Now that we know a little more about the importance of keeping body fat at a proper level, here are some points on how to maintain a low body fat and/or lower body fat:

•       Exercise at least 5 hours per week
•       Eat whole/unprocessed foods at regular intervals, while being aware of physical hunger/fullness cues
•       Sleep 7-9 hours per night
•       Don’t engage in extreme diets
•       Stay consistent with your habits
•       Incorporate non-exercise physical activity
•       Ignore food advertising

 

*Information curtesy of Precision Nutrition*

Building Rotator Cuff Strength for Strong and Pain-Free Shoulders

Are you experiencing stiffness, pulling, sharp pains, or any other discomfort in your shoulders when doing overhead movements or certain pulling motions? If you are, you might have weak rotator cuffs. This is a short overview of what the rotator cuff is, why it’s important, and how we can strengthen it.

Let’s start with the “what.” What is the rotator cuff? The acronym SITS will help you to remember the 4 muscles of the rotator cuff in the shoulders. 

unnamedS upraspinatus

I nfraspinstus.

T eres minor

S upscapulari

 

These muscles are responsible for several actions we do with our shoulder, such as rotating in both directions (hence the name), raising your arm to shoulder height, and reaching behind your back. All of these are motions we do in our day to day lives, and especially when we are in the gym. If you have a weak or injured rotator cuff, you will usually notice you can’t do daily activities such as throwing a ball, reaching above to grab something, or itching a spot on your back without experiencing pain. The rotator cuff muscles also have the role of keeping your arm stabilized and in place. This means that weakness or fatigue can cause the arm and shoulder joint to lose position and cause further injury.

 

So, how do we prevent these muscles from weakness and injury? Strengthen and mobilize!

To strengthen the rotator cuff we simply have to perform safe repetition of the action that the muscle does! That means we need to rotate, raise, pull, and carry. Before we go into detail on what exercises to do, we need to talk about how we do them.

  1. The reps should always be slow and controlled. We are not doing these exercises for time.
  2. Go through the full range of motion.
  3. Don’t go as heavy as possible. Use weights that are challenging but not something that is going to cause you to compensate somewhere else.

Now onto the “how.” How do we work on these muscles? To begin the strengthening of the rotator cuff and shoulder as a whole, we highly recommend using The Crossover Symmetry bands and following the routine they provide. We suggest doing each exercise for 10 reps before or after as many workouts as you can, for at least 3 days per week.

Other exercises you can include into your regimen are:

  • Strict pull ups
  • Lateral raises
  • Front raises
  • Scapula pull ups

Another way to keep your shoulders healthy is to stay nice and flexy!  There are many stretches to keep your shoulders nice and loose. Here are a few to try out!

Before workout: perform 10 reps of the following

  • Arm circles
  • Shoulder openers
  • Inch worms

Post workout:

  • Puppy dog pose hold :30 seconds
  • Scorpions with pause: 10 reps
  • Banded lat. stretch :30 sec/ side
  • Banded front rack stretch :30 sec/ side

The best way to strengthen your shoulders and upper body is to keep your rotator cuff strong and healthy. Make sure when we perform these exercises and stretches that you start light and progress your way through them!

 

Olympic Lifting in Crossfit

Oly Lifting

 

Ever wonder why we incorporate Olympic (Oly) lifts, the clean and jerk and the snatch, into CrossFit programming? Keep reading for a quick rundown of the importance of these movements!

Mastering the Olympic lifts helps form and develop the basis of all other movements (such as the squat, deadlift, and all power and jerk variations) we see in our programming. When practicing Oly lifts you are learning to condense all of these other movements with both explosive power and more precise execution.

Practicing these lifts conditions muscle groups and trains the body to not only impart force onto another object, but to receive that same force onto one’s own body. Practicing the clean and jerk and the snatch develops muscle power, speed, precision, coordination, body awareness, endurance, oxygen uptake, and the body’s ability to withstand stress, all of which are key to any athletic development.

We use these lifts in CrossFit not only because we like that they are challenging and require  practiced skill, but mainly because they help with our overall fitness and athletic capabilities!