204 Blog

It dumped snow earlier this week.
 
It was a lot of snow, and it was heavy. Really heavy. It wasn’t the kind you can just broom away or quickly push aside. This was wet snow with just the right amount of freezing rain to make it very dense.
 
It was annoying, and it slowed us all down as we tried to get out and about.
 
But it didn’t bother you that much, did it? You didn’t look outside and think, “I can’t move this snow. I’ll have to call someone. I can’t go anywhere until I get help.”
 
You probably just put on your boots, grabbed a shovel and started working.
 
I did that, and as my muscles started to burn and my breathing got heavy, I found it funny that shoveling felt a lot like doing a workout. You might have thought the exact same thing.
 
As I was shoveling the front of the gym, some of our 60-something Legends clients started to arrive. They waded through the snow with smiles. I congratulated them on making it to the gym on a day when many people around the city cancelled all appointments. One of the women simply said that if she can do our workouts, she can deal with a snowstorm.
 
That’s the reason our gym exists. We’re here to help people deal with life.
 
Many people didn’t feel like our members did on Monday as the snow came down. They felt trapped, they thought about calling for assistance, and they felt helpless. Some might have even felt a little afraid.
 
I bet you know someone like that—someone who struggles with physical tasks and maybe doesn’t enjoy life as much as he or she should. If a person can’t shovel snow, a heavy bag of groceries or walk to the mailbox can be intimidating, too. Physical challenges suddenly seem insurmountable. 
 
Here’s how you can help these people in your lives: Tell them about our Legends program, then help them make an appointment to talk to us. No workouts, nothing scary. Just a talk about health and fitness. You can come along and join them for the appointment. That might help a lot.
 
But please remind your friends and relatives that a snowstorm doesn’t have to be house arrest. We can help anyone at any age become healthier and more functional, and it doesn’t take that long to see changes. People only have to show up three times a week, and their fitness will improve dramatically. Change a few eating habits and things move even faster.
 
And suddenly someone who might have shut the blinds on a snowstorm is more than ready to pick up a shovel and clear the sidewalk. The feeling a person gets from thriving during challenging times creates a ripple effect throughout his or her life. Bags don’t seem so heavy, mailboxes don’t seem so far away and playing with grandkids doesn’t seem so tiring. Life is better.
 
So here’s your assignment: Think of someone in your life who could use a bit more strength and confidence, then tell him or her how you got so fit.

You might change a life.


 
If you’d like to book outside the times available, email info@crossfit.com or call Crystal at 204-880-1001.

On Dec. 5, we posted this picture of Niki, and it was a hit on Instagram.

Niki joined us in January 2017 as part of a six-week New You Challenge, and she didn’t stop when the challenge ended. Over the last 11 months, she’s lost 40 lb. by training three times a week at 6 a.m. and eating better. It’s amazing but not surprising. Our members have shown us that they are regularly capable of incredible things.

I get to see a lot of pictures like this as part of my day job at the CrossFit Journal. Just last week, I saw a 300-lb. grandfather on the left and a 190-lb. guy on the right. His transformation also allowed him to eliminate symptoms of disease, and his health improved so dramatically that his doctor took him off medications. All that happened in about a year, too.

Earlier in the year, I read about a husband and wife who weighed 932 lb. combined. Over three years, they’ve lost about 400 lb. together

These are very obvious transformations, and you’ve no doubt seen others on the Internet and in our gym. Beyond visible changes in weight and body composition, we’ve seen strength and conditioning improve, we’ve seen health markers improve, and we’ve seen people smile more and stand up a little straighter as they find success and confidence.

So what does it take to make a transformation like this? We believe it’s two things: commitment and support.

No change is easy. You have to break a habit, forgive yourself when you make mistakes, and commit to new behaviour. Expect to stumble a few times. Maybe many times. But true commitment means you’re prepared to keep going in the right direction no matter what. We can’t make this decision for you, but we can tell you with certainty that your life will improve if you commit to health.

That commitment needs to be reinforced with support. That’s where we come in. You make a choice, and then we’re all in to provide you with sound training plans, nutrition information, motivation, community, accountability and praise. You have to commit to doing the work, but we’ll tell you exactly what to do to become fit, and we’ll be right beside you.

To get you started, we’ve created the 204 Vitality program. It’s the perfect support program for a lifestyle change whether you’ve fallen off a fitness program or have never worked out. We’ll provide you with nutrition information that will complement your time in the gym, and we’ll do before/after Inbody body-composition scans so you can see exactly how your body changed.

No experience required. Just commitment.

Here are the details:

Program length: Jan. 8-Feb. 27 (6 weeks)

Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 a.m.

Cost: $250 + gst

Includes: Nutrition seminar, 2 Inbody scans ($55 value)


 

If you’re a current member and have a friend or family member who wants to get fit in 2018, please send them this link: http://www.crossfit204.com/204-vitality-program-jan-8/

I recently got back from a trip to Scotts Valley, California, where I listened to CrossFit’s founder speak about his goals for the company. Earlier this year, “60 Minutes” suggested Greg Glassman is generally regarded as “the most powerful man in fitness today,” but Glassman isn’t like most people in the fitness industry. In fact, he’s not like anyone in the industry. He’s not a loud, bouncy, high-energy trainer like the ones you see on TV.

He typically wears jeans, a T-shirt and a baseball cap. He’s about as far from Richard Simmons, Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper as you can get. He sounds more like a mathematician than a trainer. That isn’t an accident. Greg was raised by an actual rocket scientist who taught him to demand data and proof. Science is a big deal to Glassman, and when he created his program, he based it on data.

I’m no mathematician, but Greg’s system instantly appealed to me because I’m also not a salesperson.

In fact, I hate selling things. I used to dread going door to door to sell chocolate bars or fundraise for school projects. I was a poor shoe salesman when I worked at Sport Chek. In another job, I gloriously failed selling knives. I think I sold exactly two, both to a relative who took pity on me, and I was so nervous during sales pitches that I once chopped the tip of my finger off in front of a customer. Selling just makes me feel weird.

And yet Crystal and I run a business and offer services. Here’s why we can do that: The CrossFit program doesn’t require sales. Sure, we speak to clients about our services, but those conversations are about as far from sales pitches as you can get. When we talk to potential clients, we’re able to tell them with confidence how we can help them, not what we can sell them. That important difference was highlighted for me by my friend Chris Cooper, who runs a very successful gym in Sault Ste. Marie. 

Over the last nine years, we’ve seen people get stronger, lose weight, lose body fat, improve health markers and completely change their lives. It feels weird to say it, because I’m not a salesperson hawking magic tonic. But we’ve seen these changes repeatedly, and we can say with absolute confidence that everything is going to improve if people work out at our gym and eat the way we say they should eat.

As an example, everyone who steps through our doors gets fitter. That’s documented in the giant stack of logbooks at the front of the gym. Not one person ever got less fit. 

As another example, we saw dramatic improvements from every person who followed the plan in a recent nutrition program. Crystal went to the gym to scan people after the challenge, and I sat at home waiting for her to tell me how much weight they all lost. All told, it was about 120 lb. as a group. That’s a lot of weight.

Those results make it very easy for us to explain how we can help people. I don’t sell anything. I just tell people about our members and their many successes. 

As 2018 rolls around, fitness and health often come to mind for people who know they need to start moving in the right direction. We’d like to help those people accomplish their goals because we know they can improve their lives. 

That information doesn’t mean a lot coming from me. But it will mean a lot coming from you. If people in your life could use help with health and fitness, please do us a favour: Show them your data. Show them your numbers. Show them your log book. Show them documented improvements in strength, conditioning, weight, body composition and blood work. Show, don’t tell, as the old saying goes. 

And if you’ve fallen off your fitness plan in the last year, review your own data. Review health markers and note if they’re moving in the wrong direction since you stopped training. Review your goals and ask yourself if you’re moving toward them. Take a look at your logbook and review what you accomplished when you were training, then make time to train again so you can reap the rewards. 

If anyone you know could use some help with fitness, please help him or her to book a free consultation by clicking here. And if you need some help, book a session. We’d love to talk with you and tell you what you can accomplish. 

“Looks like someone has something to prove.”

I bristled at the cashier’s words for a second.

I’m not “that guy.” I don’t feel the need to show off or brag about walking uphill both ways into the wind. It isn’t Festivus, and we are not performing feats of strength for glory.

I just didn’t need any help getting the groceries to the car. It was about seven or eight bags, but it was mostly vegetables. The load was more awkward than anything, and I was sure I’d be just fine if I hooked all the handles in the crooks of my elbows and went through the exit sideways.

The cashier was exceptionally friendly, even at the end of her nine-hour shift, and she was just trying to help. She said she’d even make space so I could leave half the groceries by the till for my second trip.

I smiled, thanked her, and told her I’d be just fine. Then I picked up the bags and started lumbering toward the door.

And then I realized that I actually do have something to prove. Not to her or the people in line behind me, but to myself.

I have no competition goals with fitness. But I have life goals. I want to live a long time, and I want to be independent forever. When I die, I hope it’s while I’m working out and some vital organ simply reaches the end of its run and explodes after about 10 decades of faithful service. I recall watching my 97-year-old neighbour as he shovelled snow off his roof a few years back, and I want to be just like Ray even if a few others were really worried about him. Better to die on your roof than in a hospital bed, I’d say.

So I look at life’s physical tasks as challenges. I generally type all day, and grunt work is refreshing. It’s a chance to go caveman and reconnect with a body that’s been immobile for hours in a society in which physical tasks are disappearing. I like carrying my own groceries and dog food. I like moving furniture. I enjoy pushing cars out of snowbanks. I want to move that heavy thing just to see if I can.

As I got to the truck with all bags intact, I felt a real sense of accomplishment even if Brussels sprouts, bananas and ground beef don’t weigh very much. I felt good about having the capacity to do something another would have avoided.

So yes, the cashier was right: I have something to prove.

Do you?

If you know people who might benefit from improved health or fitness, please have them visit us for a free consultation.

Stay the course.

It’s as simple as that.

Maybe that isn’t a hack, but I think steering in the same direction is far less work than making a bunch of turns. For example, I spend a bit of time on the California freeway system, and everything is A-OK when you’re motoring onward. Leaving the freeway involves all kinds of ramps and turns and traffic lights, and the very kind GPS woman usually gets very upset at some point.

So stay on the freeway.

This is, of course, an analogy for nutrition and healthy eating. We planned the 204 Lifestyle Nutrition Reset for 28 days, but here’s the thing: This is how you should be eating. You should be consuming appropriately measured amounts of food in the proper macronutrient ratio. This is one of the great secrets of health and longevity.

As the challenge winds down, you have two choices:

1. You can say “thank heaven that’s over,” throw the scale and measuring cups in the drawer, eat anything you like and wait for our next nutrition challenge.

2. You can stay the course and continue eating appropriate quantities of high-quality food.

Option 1 is a poor choice. We’ll respect your decision, of course. But we’re not going to agree with it. We want you to be healthy, and we know that a good diet is critical. You cannot outwork a bad diet in the gym, and poor nutrition will cost you. Maybe not right now. But it will cost you big time down the road.

Option 2 is staying on the freeway. Over the last weeks, you’ve changed your behaviour and your patterns. You’ve consistently made better decisions. You’ve tried to eat the right amount of food in the right combinations as often as you can. You’ve allowed yourself a few planned indulgences, and you’ve forgiven yourself for mistakes. You’ve taken a lot of steps in the right direction, and your InBody scans at the end of the challenge are going to show that.

We’ve reviewed your progress throughout the challenge, by the way, and we can tell you that the results are very, very impressive. You guys have literally changed your lifestyles and laid the foundation for long-term health, happiness and fitness.

You have an exit approaching on Oct. 28, and, just as in California, there is a fast-food restaurant at the bottom of the off-ramp.

But you have to make a choice to get of the freeway you’re currently on. You have to actively choose to stop doing what your doing and eat poorly.

Don’t make that choice. Use what you’ve learned over the last weeks. You’ve got a map now, and you know how to get where you need to go. You’re full of high octane fuel, and the engine is humming.

Ignore the off-ramp, stomp the accelerator and turn up the radio. We’ll see you at the vegetable stand down the road.

To sign up for our revised 204 Lifestyle Trellis Program, click here.

Eat like Einstein.

Or something like that.

I actually have no idea how Albert Einstein ate, but I’d guess he didn’t want to hit that new hipster restaurant to sample its many craft beers and appetizers.

Einstein famously always dressed the same, apparently to save brainpower. While his obvious lack of fashionability horrifies my wife, it makes a lot of sense to me. I, of course, am not fashionable unless I’m at a rock concert, in which case I fit right in.

But even Barack Obama talked about trimming his wardrobe and limiting his food choices.

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make,” he said in Vanity Fair.

I dig it. I am a creature of habit, and I love routine. This above all has helped me with my diet.

I have had the same breakfast 95 percent of the time for the last decade. I’ve eaten the same lunch, more or less, for the last 5 years. Dinner is a bit more varied, but it’s generally meat with a lot of vegetables. When I go to restaurants, I usually order the exact same thing every time. Boring, I know. But it makes me happy.

This consistency is really helpful because I don’t have to worry about accounting for new foods and experiments in my diet. Maybe I’ll never experience the ecstasy of beef bourguignon poutine or some other trendy dish, but I’m OK with that. I have established a baseline, and over the last decade it’s helped me maintain my weight almost perfectly. If things ever get weird, I simply make a minor adjustment to a known quantity of food.

That actually happened a little while ago when I changed to a lower-calorie protein powder in my morning shake and I accidentally lost 10 lb. in about six weeks. This was not a good thing. I switched back to the other product and I got back to my optimal weight quickly. Performance was better, and I won’t be making any more changes to the recipe.

Variety might be the spice of life, but it also adds a lot of variables to the mix. And I really don’t like spicy food anyway.

I’m not suggesting you can’t be a culinary Marco Polo a chart an intrepid course through the menu, but if you’re not into macro tracking and want results, it’s a good idea to go with what you know as often as possible.

Crystal spends a lot of time tracking every single thing she eats, and she gets great results because she’s committed. I’d recommend you track everything. It will bring great results. But I just don’t have the patience for constant tracking, so my hack is to stick to a baseline plan that works and make note of alterations to that plan. I want to be healthy, and I love a good routine. I know that if I eat the same things just about every day and get the results I want, I don’t have to track a thing. I just have to stay the course.

If you’re ever frustrated with tracking, just remember that the early period is an investment, and it will pay off. You need to establish your baseline. Once you know what you need, you can streamline things considerably. If you eat the same things two days in a row, copy and paste, and you’ll find you have more time to organize all your blue suits by hue, from lightest to darkest.

For more info on nutrition, check out 204 Lifestyle.

 

I guess it was a “sugar hangover.”

For a brief period just after high school, my drink of choice as a Kahlua mudslide. I was young and silly, and I knew nothing, Jon Snow. I hadn’t a clue about nutrition, health and fitness. I only knew that my seashell necklace was super cool.

After a night of too many mudslides, I’d wake up with a crippling headache. Like the kind of headache that makes you want to drill a hole in your head to make it hurt less.

This was no ordinary hangover. This was something different. I’m almost certain it was sugar overload. Check this out:

Kahlua mudslide, 200 ml: 480 calories, 57 g sugar

To put those astronomical figures into perspective, consider that a 355 ml can of Coke has about 140 calories and 35 g of sugar.

When I did an InBody scan recently, it said my basal metabolic rate was 2,063 calories.

So, needless to say, drinking more than 2,000 calories of sugar in a few hours was not ideal.

Over the years, I learned more about nutrition and grew out of my frosted-tips phase. Training become more important, and I started to think about what I put in my body. Some research suggested that I could significantly reduce calories and improve fitness by simply avoiding sugary beverages.

Drinking less or no alcohol is always better for health, of course, but for the sake of this article, let’s assume you are going to have a drink. Here’s what you do:

– Avoid all complicated mixed drinks. The fewer ingredients the better.

– Avoid all sugary mixes, both sodas and juices.

– Stick to low-calorie spirits such as gin and vodka, either on the rocks or with water, or consider mixing with sparkling water and a hint of lemon or lime.

– Limit intake. This is a good idea, period. Alcohol is empty calories. Try to stick to one or two drinks on special nights. Definitely avoid evenings of excess.

Here’s a favourite beverage that won’t derail your diet if you plan ahead to accommodate the calories here:

Gin Rickey

1-1.5 oz. gin

half a lime

sparkling water

Squeeze the lime into a highball glass and chuck the whole thing inside. Fill with ice. Pour in 1-1.5 oz. gin, then top with sparkling water.

The gin rickey is a great option that won’t ruin your nutrition. You’re looking at about 110 calories from the gin (1.5 oz.) and maybe 3 calories from the lime. Drink it slowly and savor it as the ice melts. You can nurse one of these for quite a while. And you can also pour the next one without the gin for a refreshing mocktail.

The best advice: Plan ahead to accommodate the calories from alcohol in your diet, avoid sugary drinks, limit intake, and don’t dress like I dressed when I was 20.