The Rules of Cheating


While eating a healthy variety of good natural food is important, it is unrealistic to expect everyone to stick to such a strict regimen 100% of the time.  Every once in awhile you should treat or reward yourself, be it for reaching a goal, rewarding for sticking to your plan, or maybe just to remind yourself what your favorite indulgence tastes like.

There are benefits to having the occasional cheat meal.  Psychologically, the reward component of an upcoming cheat meal can keep you going during those long stretches where you don’t see much of a change in your measurements or on the scale.  Scientifically, constant dieting will eventually lead to caloric deficits which can cause your energy levels to drop.  The calorie bomb provided by your cheat meal can shake things up by encouraging your body to burn calories more rapidly instead of allowing it to adjust to a lower calorie lifestyle.

However, it is important to keep it under control.  Follow these rules to keep your occasional deviation from derailing the whole train.

Plan your cheats.   

There are no spontaneous cheats.  Just like you plan your healthy meals, your cheats should be something you figured out in advance.  Spur of the moment cheats tend to lead to overindulgence, and not having a plan can turn a cheat meal into a cheat weekend or worse.  Make your cheat something worthwhile, not the random sample vendor you come upon in Costco. 

There’s a negative connotation tied to the word “cheat”.  It makes it seem bad, like you’re doing something wrong.  Instead of calling it a cheat meal, call it a treat meal.  I like to plan my treat meals to coincide with meeting certain goals.

Sticking to planned cheats also eliminates the guilt factor.  Say on your drive home that Starbucks caught you in its tractor beam and you ended up spontaneously downing that large mocha crappachino.  The rest of the day, or maybe even the weekend, you’re likely to feel guilty for drinking all those calories and may even write the whole time off as a loss.  This can easily lead to you abandoning all the hard work you have done.  Stick to a plan and you won’t feel guilty.

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Limit it to one per week. 

Shaking up the monotony of always eating clean can help you mentally and also physically, making your long-term plan sustainable.  To lessen the impact, plan to consume your cheat soon after working out when your body will more easily burn off those carbs and sugars with less of a penalty to you later.

Portion it out. 

It’s not an all out pass to go crazy.  Choose your cheat and stick to the portion you pre-determined.  Keep the caloric intake reasonable (actually take a look at the calories on the menus or packaging—make sure it’s worth it).   No all-you-can-eat buffets and don’t park yourself in front of things you’ll pick at, like a party bowl of chips.

Make it social. 

Eating alone at home could lead to a binge.  Instead, go out to eat with friends.  This way, there is a limit to the amount of food available to you (you’d need to order more once your portion is gone), and hopefully the friends you are with will keep you accountable.  You’ll also eat your food more slowly with the distraction of conversation as opposed to how fast you will eat in front of the TV or tablet.  This slower eating will allow your body the time it needs to signal you it’s full before you overindulge.

Get right back on plan. 

Don’t let your cheat meals turn into cheat days, weekends, or weeks.  Look forward to and enjoy your reward, but also plan to get right back into your healthy eating regimen at your following meal.  This might mean giving away any leftover cheat food or tossing it out if you don’t have the willpower to keep your fingers out of it.  Have your healthy food prepped so there are no excuses.


One thing you may want to do as you progress towards your diet and fitness goals is to keep track of how certain foods make you feel after eating them.  A week ago, I had a soda and popcorn after going soda free for over two months.  The cheat meal was disappointing.  I just felt kind of blah afterwards.  It wasn’t the awesome reward I hoped it would be.  If you have a similar experience jot it down somewhere to remind yourself to skip that one and instead choose something your body will appreciate more.








Shaking Up What We Thought We Knew About Salt

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Maybe only second to saturated fat, salt is one of the most demonized nutrients in history.  But does it deserve such an ominous status?  In last week’s article, we talked about how you need to add salt to your healthy diet to make up for the sodium that is lost by cutting out processed foods.  When I was discussing these two weeks of topics with my co-workers, I got the usual, “You’re nuts, everyone knows you need to cut salt, not add it” types of responses.  And until recently, I agreed with them.  But as I was researching this topic, what I found flies in the face of everything I’ve been told all my life.  So where did salt get the bad rap?

Before we go any further, a bit of a disclaimer.  If you are getting most of your meals from a drive-thru or out of a wrapper, then disregard all of what follows.  Your diet heavy in processed foods is getting you more than enough sodium and you probably could stand to cut back.  A lot.  But for those eating clean, healthy foods that they prep themselves, this information applies to you, so read on.

Let’s look the history behind salt’s placement on the naughty list and some science behind how it actually affects the body.

In the 1980s, a global study of salt intake and its effect on blood pressure called INTERSALT was conducted.  The focus of the study was to look at the relation of salt intake and blood pressure on people of undeveloped, primitive cultures, compared to modern, industrialized cultures.  They already knew that modern cultures showed high incidences of heart disease and hypertension.  The researchers based much of their findings on the Yanomami people of the Amazon rainforest.

The Yanomami people had very low sodium intake and very low blood pressure, even among their elderly.  It seems from their numbers that a low salt diet would translate to low blood pressure in other people.  The researchers took their findings from the Yanomami people study and made their recommendations for everyone to cut back on salt to lower their blood pressure.  However, another non-industrialized group’s blood work and lifestyle (not included in the INTERSALT study) threw a wrench in that conclusion. 

The Kuna people of Panama consume 2.6 to 6 teaspoons of salt a day, many times the recommended amounts of ¼ to ½ a teaspoon daily, and still had low blood pressure even into old age.  So what is behind the Kuna people’s “high” sodium intake, yet low blood pressure?  The answer may very well be their potassium intake.

Sodium and potassium are both electrolytes that perform many of the same body functions, such as muscle contraction and fluid balance, but they do so in an opposing manner.  Sodium draws fluid out of cells, increasing blood pressure, while potassium draws fluid into cells, decreasing blood pressure.  While they work in opposite ways, sodium and potassium work together to achieve a balanced state in our blood and body functions.  When this balance is thrown off, that is where we see development of high blood pressure and other maladies such as heart disease.  This explains why when you cut out processed foods and replace them with healthy meats and vegetables that you need more salt to correct the imbalance caused by the increased intake in potassium from those veggies.  It also explains why people like the Kuna could eat so much salt, yet have such healthy hearts.

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Studies have shown that sodium loading before exercising in the heat increases fluid volume and reduces physiological strain.  Many athletes report being able to workout harder, longer, and more effectively with sufficient levels of salt in their system.

Conversely, a sodium deficiency can have dire consequences during exercise.  Long distance runners have experienced over hydration, where too much plain water dilutes the sodium levels in the blood, sometimes sending the body into seizure or stroke.  The solution to hydrating in these conditions is not expensive sports drinks.  A small amount of salt added to your water is all you need to replenish your sodium balance.

Additionally, insufficient levels of sodium have been related to insulin sensitivity, weight gain, and formation of diabetes.  Adequate sodium intake speeds up cortisol clearance from the blood.  This means having enough salt in your diet can help you manage and recover from stress faster.  Salt also aids in digestion.  If you are having digestive distress, see if adding salt to your food helps restore order.

While the typical American is grossly overdosed on sodium, they are equally as deficient in potassium.  So what is recommended?  The answer will vary depending on where you look, but generally, I found the recommendation to be 1500-2300mg of sodium (about ¼ to ½ a teaspoon) and about 4700mg of potassium daily.

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Stating potassium in terms of teaspoons isn’t really a quantity of measurement we can relate to, so here is a list of sample foods and their potassium content to give you a better idea of what quantities and types of foods might add up to get you to your potassium goals.

Sweet Potato (1 medium baked):  542mg potassium   

White Potato (1 medium baked):  941mg potassium

Tomato Sauce (1 cup):  728 mg potassium

Watermelon (2 wedges):  641mg potassium

Banana (1 medium):  422mg potassium

Swiss Chard (1 cup cooked): 961mg potassium

Butternut Squash (1 cup cooked): 582mg potassium

Kale (1 cup chopped):  329mg potassium


You will find a recurring theme when it comes to your body and health in general.  Balance.  The key is to achieve a healthy balance of sodium and potassium in your diet.  As with everything health related, we are all different, so these ratios of sodium to potassium intake may be different for you.  Check with your doctor if you have concerns and get regular blood work done to make sure everything is functioning as it should.  But for now, please pass the salt.


-- by Geoff







Are You Getting Enough Salt?


If you are eating a typical American diet, you don’t have to be worried about not getting enough sodium in your foods.  Whether it is for taste, texture, preservation, or to help dough rise, manufacturers are not afraid to dump huge amounts of salt into their processed foods.  But what happens when you cut out those processed foods on a healthy diet, like the foods allowed on The Numbers Don’t Lie Challenge?  Removing all that processed food can actually put you in a situation where you need to add salt to your diet to maintain the healthy balance between it and your potassium levels (more on this next week).  Since you are getting a high dose of potassium from healthy vegetables on this type of diet, you need to restore the balance by adding more sodium to your diet.

The general guidelines for healthy sodium intake are about 1500-2300mg of sodium per day, which translates to about ¼ to ½ a teaspoon.  Even though this seems miniscule, this small amount is essential to your health.

Suppose you are eating a diet composed of 2/3 unprocessed plant foods and 1/3 unprocessed animal foods.  This way of eating will only provide you about 600mg of naturally occurring sodium.  It gets even worse for vegetarians eating a 100% plant based diet.  They would only receive 300mg of sodium eating this way.  These numbers show how little sodium you are actually taking in when you cut out the processed foods and their added salt.  You need to make up for this loss by adding salt.

Sodium is an electrolyte that you need in order to stay properly hydrated.  It also plays a role in nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and cardiac function.  Additionally, it aids in nutrient transport, blood pressure regulation, and tissue growth.

Hyponatraemia is a condition caused by low levels of sodium in the blood. Symptoms are not usually very specific and can include changes to a person's mental state, headaches, nausea and vomiting, tiredness, muscle spasms, and seizures.

Not all salts are the same.  Standard table salt is heavily processed and lacks naturally occurring trace nutrients found in healthy natural salt.  Amanda recommends Pink Himalayan Salt. 

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Pink Himalayan salt is a pink-colored salt extracted from the Khewra Salt Mine, which is located near the Himalaya Mountains in Pakistan. The pink Himalayan salt harvested from this mine is believed to have been formed millions of years ago from the evaporation of ancient bodies of water.   Pink Himalayan Salt gets its color from iron deposits leaching through the rocks in which it is mined. The salt is hand-extracted and minimally processed to yield an unrefined product that's free of additives and thought to be much more natural and healthy than table salt.  It is estimated that it contains up to 84 different minerals and trace elements.

While Pink Himalayan Salt and regular table salt are not very different chemically, they differ greatly in the way they are processed.  While Himalayan salt is mined by hand and ground up and bottled, table salt gets heavily filtered, removing most of any trace elements and minerals it may have contained.  After that, the manufacturers often add calcium silicate as an anti-clumping agent, and dextrose to stabilize any iodine if it is iodized salt.

Additionally, table salt is either evaporated from brine pools or seawater, or mined from rock.  Because of its remote location, Himalayan salt is claimed to be healthier and free of contaminants that regular salt may contain.

One consideration when switching over to Pink Himalayan Salt from table salt is how coarse the salt crystals are.  While you can get Himalayan Salt in several different crystal sizes, most are significantly larger than regular salt crystal sizes.  This means that you may need to add more Himalayan Salt to your food than what you would normally add in table salt, as the larger crystals don’t pack into the same volume measuring spoon as the smaller crystals in table salt do.

Now I know what you are thinking.  Salt is bad.  We’ve been taught that all our lives.  Next week, we’ll dissolve some of the salt myths and maybe change how you look at this important nutrient.







Not to Put a Damper on Things…

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If you asked a sampling of athletes what the damper setting on a rower does, you’d probably hear something along the lines of “It adjusts how hard it is to row,” or similar from the majority who answered.  Many people confuse damper setting with intensity or difficulty level.  While you will feel more resistance with a higher damper setting, it is not meant to be a difficulty setting.  The intensity of your workout is actually controlled by you, by how hard you are pulling.

To understand the damper settings better, we need to take a look inside the rower.  At the front of the rower is the fan mechanism.  The handle is attached to a chain that drives gears that spin the flywheel made up of fan blades.  The flywheel has a series of vents on the side that allow air to flow in and out.  The damper is a curved piece of plastic that either restricts the flow of air to the fan blades on the lower damper settings, or opens up the flow of air on the higher damper settings.

  Damper fully closed at 1 setting.

Damper fully closed at 1 setting.

On a lower damper setting with the airflow closed off, the fan blades spin fast and freely due to less air resistance.  The flywheel takes less effort to start spinning, and it tends to spin longer before it slows down.  With these lower settings, you need to pull fast and explode with your pulls to match the speed of the flywheel and generate efficient strokes.  Otherwise, you are just wasting energy, as your pulls aren’t generating any force and you are, quite literally, just spinning your wheels.

  Damper fully open at 10 setting.

Damper fully open at 10 setting.

On a high damper setting with the airflow fully open, the fan blades are slow to spin, feel sluggish, and they slow down faster due to the higher air resistance.  The higher settings favor a slower pull.  Interestingly, the higher damper settings are more suited for athletes new to rowing as the high air resistance lets the rower truly feel the row throughout the stroke.  This slower pace allows athletes to concentrate on their technique, gradually moving on to lower damper settings as their speed and explosiveness improves.

This video helps to explain the damper settings.

The reason rowers have a range of damper settings is so they can mimic the feel of a real boat on the water.  The lower settings approximate what a sleek racing boat feels like.  The higher settings feel more like a clunky rowboat.  The settings also allow athletes to train for speed or power.  The ideal rowing athlete is a bit of a mix of strength and speed.

To personally experience how the damper settings affect your times and speed you are able to pull, set the damper at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10, and try to maintain the same stroke rate (24-30 strokes per minute) over a distance of 200 meters for each setting.  You should get a good feel for what the settings do, and you may even discover what your sweet spot setting is.

So where should you set the damper?  Like most things, it depends.  You need to consider the distance you are rowing and what your goal is.  For sprints of short distances less than 500 meters, you may find a higher damper setting gets you a faster time.  For longer distances, a lower setting will keep you from tiring too early.  If you are looking for an aerobic workout, lower damper settings are what you want, and for a more strength-focused workout, set it at the higher damper settings.  And, like everything we do in CrossFit, you want to vary the settings on the rower so you aren’t always pulling at the same damper setting.   You should be experienced in rowing at a variety of damper settings.








Do You Know How to Tie Your Shoes?  Part 2

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In Part 1 of How to Tie Your Shoes, we discussed lock lacing, a way to prevent heel slippage.  But did you know that there are several other lacing techniques designed to address a multitude of foot issues?  Check out this chart and see if any of them apply to you.


This link also shows how-to videos for all those lacing techniques.

This link shows a few alternatives with good photos of the lacing methods.


Proper lacing is important, but it means nothing if your shoes don’t fit.  Here are some tips to make sure you get the proper size.

·      Try on shoes in afternoon or evening.  Feet tend to swell during daily activity.  You want to try on new shoes when your feet are at their largest size.

·      Always try on shoes while wearing the socks you will normally wear with them.  This may mean bringing a pair of socks with you to the store.

·      Have a salesperson measure both of your feet, and measure them while standing.  The measurement more accurately reflects your actual size when taken while standing.  And, since foot size and width can vary between a person’s feet, it’s a good idea to verify you are getting the right size.  If there is a difference, chose a shoe based on the larger foot’s dimensions.



When trying on shoes, you should be looking at 3 key areas.

·      Toes - Your longest toe should be approximately one finger width away from the end of the shoe. You should also have enough extra room to wiggle your toes up and down freely, but not so much that the shoes feel loose.

·      Heels - The back of the shoes should snugly hold your heel in place without any pinching or discomfort. It should be snug enough that your heel stays put when walking. Any slippage could cause rubbing and lead to blisters.

·      Width - From the heel to your toes, the shoes should be wide enough to comfortably hug your foot without squeezing. Your foot shouldn’t slip from side to side nor forward and backward in the shoes when walking.

Know that while a shoe states it is a certain size, the robot or person who stitched it could have been off.  If it doesn’t seem right, try another pair.

Hopefully with these tips and alternate lacing methods you can find a shoe that fits and feels right for you.  Have you tried one of these lacing methods?  Tell us about it in the comments.

--by Geoff Rand







The 2018 CrossFit Open

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Once again the flagship event of our sport is fast approaching.  The 2018 CrossFit Open is the first in a series of events that will ultimately determine who is the fittest in the world at the CrossFit Games.

While only 40 men and 40 women will make it to the Games, everyone stands to gain something by competing in the Open.  First, the competition will push you beyond what you thought were your limits.  Every year we see athletes get their first muscle ups, double unders, or lift heavier or do more reps than they thought were possible.  The cheering of your fellow athletes and coaches, paired with the intense nature of the competition, brings out the best in us and unlocks that hidden ability you may not have known existed.

Competing in the Open also lets you see where you stand compared to thousands of other athletes around the world.  Also, if you’ve never competed in a CrossFit competition, the Open is a great way to get a taste of what a competition feels like.

As in previous years, the 2018 CrossFit Open will feature five weekly workouts and have multiple divisions for anyone age 14 or older.  Each workout will have an Rx or scaled option, so anyone can compete.

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I’m in, what do I need to do?

Log on to and register prior to 8PM EST on February 26.  The cost is $20+tax.  Registration is open now.

Fill out your online profile and then sign up at the front desk for a heat time.

Each competitor is responsible for posting their scores prior to each week’s deadline in order for their score to count.

Watch the weekly WOD release every Thursday and be familiar with the movements you are expected to perform.  There will be a short demo of the standards prior to your heat.

Where do I need to be? 

CrossFit Frederick will be running the 2018 Open WODs as follows:

18.1 Saturday 2/24 Box opens at 7AM, first heat 8AM

18.2 Saturday 3/3 Box opens at 7AM, first heat 8AM

18.3 Saturday 3/10 Box opens at 7AM, first heat 8AM

18.4 Monday 3/19 (Note CFF is closed for the 4th Annual USPA Mid-Atlantic Classic on 3/17-3/18 so 18.4 will be conducted on Monday, 3/19.  18.4 will be conducted in the evening hours.  The Box opens at 4:45PM with the first heat starting at 5:15PM.  We will finish the final heat at 7:30PM, which will give you enough time to input your scores and meet the 8PM deadline.)

18.5 Saturday 3/24 Box opens at 7AM, first heat 8AM

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How does this all work?

For each of the 5 Open WODs, competitors should arrive prior to their heat time and be warmed up and ready to go for their heat.  Our coaching staff will be busy setting up the WOD and/or judging the previous heat, so you will need to warm up on your own.

While we encourage all CFF members to sign up for the Open, the Box will still be open for non-competing members to do the scheduled Open WOD on the days/times we are running the Open.

All athletes, whether you are competing in the open or not, must sign up for a heat time prior to the weekly Open workout.  Spots are first come first served.

Coach judges will be available only for athletes competing in the Rx divisions. Competing athletes in the scaled divisions will have peers count their reps.  Non-competing athletes will count their own reps.

What else do I need to know?

It is a good idea to practice the exercises in the upcoming Open WOD prior to each Saturday.  Many athletes use that Friday before the WOD to work on anything they need practice on prior to being tested.  Competitors may utilize any regular time CFF is open as “Open Gym” time to prepare for the Saturday Open WOD.  Note that coaches may not be available to assist you with your preparation, and you’ll need to stay out of the way of regular classes.  This open gym time is working on your own.

Bring your family and friends to cheer your on!  It’s so motivating to have people cheering for you and this is the chance for those who maybe only see photos on Facebook to see how much of a beast you are in person.

On the Saturday Open WODs, feel free to bring your beverage/food of choice and hang out after your heat time.  We'll be open until about 11AM to hang out and socialize after the Saturday Open WODs.

The CrossFit Open is challenging, but provides a tremendous source of satisfaction in both your personal experience of pushing past your limits and in seeing how you compare to  thousands of other athletes around the world.  So what are you waiting for?  Sign up today!

--by Geoff Rand



Not Your Typical Competition


By Geoff Rand

If you’re searching for a different type of challenge and like rowing, the World Rowing Indoor Championships may be for you.  Coming to Alexandria, VA February 17-18, this competition requires no previous qualifiers for competitors to enter.  As in previous years’ competitions, this event is expecting 2000 athletes to compete over the two days.

Test your speed in the 500m, 1000m, or 2000m events, or show your endurance in the 20 minute or 30 minute rows.  If you’re really crazy, go for the marathon row, at 42,195 meters!

The event has numerous masters, adult, and junior divisions and even divisions for kids 5-12.  Entry is $25 for the kids divisions and $35 for adult competitors.  Registration closes 1/31.

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Even if you’re not interested in competing in this event, it may still offer something for you.  At the end of the two-day competition, they sell off all the rowers.  The rowers are purchased new for each competition, and for just $800, you get a lightly used Concept 2 rower that was only used for this competition.  The full manufacturer's warranty transfers with the unit.  A $50 deposit counts toward your purchase with the balance being due on pickup on 02/18.  Reserve yours early as they sell out every year.

They also have a raffle where $10 gets you 2 chances to win a rower.  You do not need to be present to win and two rowers will be raffled off.

For more information on the competition, raffle, or rower sale, go to

If you need a reminder about proper rowing form, check out this video.



Do You Know How to Tie Your Shoes? Part 1

By Geoff Rand


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Somewhere between learning to wipe your own butt and driving a car, you likely were taught how to tie your shoes.  It’s an essential task that most of us do mindlessly everyday.  I’d venture to guess the majority of us tie them the same way, cinching up the laces, tying a single overhand knot, and finishing it up with a single knotted bow. 

While the standard way of tying a shoe might work fine for a casual walk to the store, it may not be the best choice for running or many of the activities we do in the Box, like lifts or box jumps or jumping rope.  If your shoes are laced too loose, they’re going to come untied which could cost you time in retying them during the WOD, or worse, you could lose the shoe and possibly even injure yourself.

Ok, so I’ll just tie them tighter, you say.  Not so fast.  Having your laces cinched down too tight can cause pressure points on your instep which can cause pain, fight against the foot’s natural tendency to swell on long runs, and can limit foot and ankle mobility.  I learned from long road marches in the Army that boots that were too tight caused horrible foot pain.

The key to perfect lacing is to have the shoe secure enough that it doesn’t allow the heel to rub around, which can cause blisters, while keeping the laces snug, but not overly tight to the point they are cutting off circulation.  I present Lock Lacing.

Ever wonder what all those extra eyelets are for on your shoes?  We’re going to use some of them now.  For Lock Lacing, lace your shoes up as you normally would, but skip that top “common” eyelet and instead lace through the one further towards your heel. This photo illustrates it better.


Next, make two loops by not pulling the laces all the way tight.  Take the free ends and thread them through the loop on the opposite side.  Like this.


Finish by tying them off like you normally would. You may need to vary the placement of the loops and what eyelets you use based on what is available on your shoe.  This video is a good demonstration of the whole method.


The goal is to keep the heel in place and to take pressure off the instep since you don't need to crank down on all the laces.  It is a secure and comfortable way to tie.

Lock lacing is a good general method for most of what we do.  It may feel a bit weird at first, but you’ll soon get used to it.  Lock lacing is not the only way to tie your shoes, and in Part 2, we’ll look at a few ways to help alleviate common foot problems by varying how you lace up your shoes.

Try out Lock Lacing and let us know what you thought of it in the comments.





Don't Call It a Resolution

by Geoff Rand

So it’s that time again when the New Year brings out the sense in many of us that we need to make lists of all the things we want to change or achieve in the coming months.  It’s so cliché.  Sorry to blast a hole in your balloon, but if you approach your resolutions like most people do, you are probably going to fail to achieve your lofty goals for 2018.

Unfortunately, many resolutions fail.  Some don’t even make it through January.  The reasons are many.  Some resolutions are too general.  Instead of “I want to lose weight,” you need a numerical marker to hit like a number of pounds, or even better, inches, you’d like to lose per month or by a certain date. 

Other resolutions have no structured plan.  “I want to quit smoking” is a great goal, but without breaking down the idea into a meaningful plan, you are unlikely to stick with it and achieve the goal.

For your goals to be achieved, you need to want to achieve them.  It should be something you are passionate about and are motivated to work towards.  My father was recently diagnosed with diabetes.  He used that to light a fire under his ass and totally gave up sugar and revamped his whole diet.  It’s only a few months later and he has lost a ton of weight and is actually starting to wean off many of his medications under the advice and approval of his doctor.

Have some more easily achievable goals to go along with your more challenging ones.  It’s important to see some progress and achievement in your journey.  If none of your goals are being met, it’s easy to get discouraged and then abandon the whole idea.

Try to refrain from calling it a Resolution.  I’m not sure what it is, but the term Resolution just seems to have a sense of temporariness to it to me.  Your goals should be ongoing to the point they develop into healthy habits that become part of your regular routine.  That is how you avoid starting off 2019 with the same goals you failed to achieve in 2018.


With that in mind, here are some ideas for a Lifestyle Tune Up, if you will.

1.  Bring a friend.  Introduce a friend to CrossFit.  Your friend benefits by getting to experience the same great workouts you already know about in an easier-to-get-started manner since they know you.  You benefit by getting 50% off your next month’s membership.  You also will sound less weird to at least one person the next time you brag about your snatch on Facebook.  You both benefit by having a workout partner that can keep you motivated and attending regularly.

2.  Sign up for a race.  Signing up for a race or other significant physical challenge (like the fast-approaching CrossFit Open) is a great way to stay motivated past the initial idea phase.  Having a date set and a monetary expenditure makes you more likely to want to work towards the goal of getting ready for the challenge.  Increase your chances of success by signing up with friends.

3.  Make sleep a priority.  I’ve done some recent blog posts on sleep.  The short of it is lack of sleep is literally killing you.  If you are not getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night regularly, you are shaving years off your life, making it harder for you to recover from workouts and injuries, inhibiting your gains, making yourself more prone to developing illnesses, diseases, and cancers, and a laundry list of other maladies.  Find time in your schedule for sleep.  Schedule sleep first and the rest of your day around it if you have to.


4.  Make small changes over time.  Especially if weight loss is your goal, you’re going to be more successful if you break your goals down into smaller chunks.  A friend of mine was trying to improve his diet and chose to cut out one bad item per week.  Ranch dressing, then soda, and on and on.  Each week, he ate a little healthier.

If you need a little help with your meal planning, try Territory’s foods that are delivered right to the Box.  Your food delivery even gives you an added incentive to come into the Box to pick it up.  Win-win.   

Stay tuned for details on the next healthy eating challenge.  The Numbers Don’t Lie Challenge will be starting soon and is a great way to tune up your food intake with a program monitored by a coach, a detailed meal plan, measurements to track your progress, and a large support community of like-minded members going through it with you.  It’s a great way to try healthy eating for the first time or get back on track if you’ve strayed.

5.  Get a yearly physical.  No one wants to go to the doctor, but regular check ups and physicals with blood work are your best chance of catching an ailment early when it can be addressed, before it becomes a serious problem.

6.  Don’t forget a mental tune-up.  Finding ways to organize, de-clutter, or downsize can have huge benefits to your mental health.  When your life is less cluttered, stress is reduced, and you can become a healthier, more productive you.  Marie Kondo’s book has been used by thousands to streamline their lives by getting rid of what they don’t need. 


Good luck to you with whatever you call it and here’s to a safe, prosperous, and productive 2018!



Walk This Way


by Geoff Rand

With just a quick browse online or look at a few TV commercials, it is easy to see there are countless companies out there pushing pills claiming to cure this or lessen the effects of that, many for problems we may not even know we had.  The drug industry is one of the richest groups of corporations in our country.  That’s how they can afford all that advertising.

It’s always better to cure an ailment through a natural remedy, such as a diet or lifestyle change, than to take a drug.  Who wants to have to deal with those laundry lists of side effects from those drugs in the commercials?  You may not realize it, but you already have access to one of the best natural fixes for many health ailments, and it is free.  Just look down at your feet.

It may seem surprising, but regular walking is one of the best and easiest ways to improve and maintain your health.  One client of a personal trainer saw a decrease of 2% in body fat from doing nothing more than walking just under a mile a day.  Some benefits, like increased calorie burn may be obvious, but there are many more benefits to walking. 

Improved digestion and reduction in bloating is something to keep in mind with the holiday meals upon us.  Take a brisk walk immediately after your meal to reduce the negative effects from it.

Brisk walking can also improve insulin sensitivity, reduce blood pressure, and lower your risk from stroke.  Walking can also help aid muscle recovery from the increase in blood flow.  Walking also improves recovery from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).  Studies also show that walking can decrease joint inflammation and strengthen bones.

Regular walks can also prevent the development of varicose veins, as well as boost your mood and help you be more focused and productive.  Walking can improve your sleep and give a boost to your immune system, which will help keep you from getting sick.

Former pro body builder, Stan Efferding talks about his walking regimen in this video.

Stan was able to lower his blood pressure and cholesterol and increase his insulin sensitivity, which resulted in a 50-pound loss in weight in just a few months.  His method is to walk after breakfast, after a daytime meal, and before bed.  He breaks his walking up into 10-minute walks, each done right after a meal and even does this after meals out.  He finds that these walks after eating at a restaurant keep him from overeating or wasting time on his phone, and aid in digestion.

Stan talks about studies that show that we are unable to undo a day of sitting with just one exercise period, say, after work.  Movement throughout the day is key to fighting the negative effects of sitting all day.  Regular walks will help accomplish this.

Your walks should be brisk.  Move at a pace that gets your blood pumping and makes it challenging to carry on a conversation due to your rate of breathing.  Breaking your walks up into 10-minute chunks for a total of 30-40 minutes a day helps keep you focused and makes the task seem less daunting.  Bring water with you and double up your healthy activities.  You may be surprised to see how easy it is to improve your health if you Walk This Way.