Member Profile – Denise S.

By Jesse Harris
denise
Tell me about yourself. Age, where you live, kids, etc:
I am 30 years old and live in Arvada.
Mother of 2 boys.
When did you first start coming to fast?
I started FAST August 2014
What motivated you to start coming to fast?
 I was actually not motivated to start FAST,,, I was challenged by my sister and brother in law to attend the foundations program. I was the person with every excuse as to why I couldn’t work out. I found that after a 12 hour shift an hour of tortuous exercise was exactly what my body craved, So I became addicted quickly.
What classes do you take at fast?
My attendance at FAST has become well rounded. When I started I only attended the Cross fit classes. Currently I attend TRX and Adult performance more frequently with occasional Cross fit.
What is your main motivation for working out and eating healthy? 
My main motivation for working out and eating healthy…Well that’s a silly question. The short answer is ME. I have realized this is the only body I will have so I better care for it. I became inspired to change my routine after I participated in the 30 day clean challenge in October. I had a great support team and saw amazing results. Once I realized what my body was capable of I wanted to continue pushing myself to see how much further I could go.  To date I have not been disappointed.
Total weight lost: 35 lbs
As for why I wanted to lose weight… I wanted to be able to keep up with my active boys.  I would attempt to play with my sons and they would run circles around me. I am now able to run my kids to complete exhaustion.
Clothes size at start: 16 Jeans, XL
Size now: 9 Jeans, Medium
Why do you feel like you’ve been so successful with reaching your goals? 
I feel like I have been successful at reaching my goals because I have set fun and obtainable goals. I have accepted that I will have moments of weakness and cheat meals and its ok to start over.
What has been your biggest accomplishment since starting at F.A.S.T?
My biggest accomplishment… there have been so many! Obviously the first time I RXd a Cross fit class. The Thanksgiving Day workout, my son was my partner and I showed him I was tougher than he was. Completing 7 workouts in 5 days. Every workout I complete at FAST is an accomplishment.
 

Break out of your comfort zone

by Jesse Harris

I know what you’re thinking, “isn’t that why I come to F.A.S.T!?” Of course it is. Training above and beyond your comfort zone is what we do here. But you have to have a part in this as well. It’s easy to stick with the weight you know you can do, or to keep using the same pull-up band you’ve been using for 3 months, or to keep doing your box jumps on that 12 inch box. But easy isn’t what is going to get you the results you want. So here are a few things to consider when deciding if you’re training too easy, or if you’re already out of your comfort zone:

Consider your goals

What is your overall goal in the long term? Do you want focus on getting stronger? Maybe it’s time to progress to the next weight. Do you want to get a faster time on your WOD? Cut out some of that rest/transition time you ‘think’ you need between exercises. Are you not losing the weight or body fat you lost when you first started here? It’s time to stop showing up just to get through your workout, and start showing up to dominate your workout.  If you’re plateauing at any or all of your goals, it’s time to break out of your comfort zone.

Knowing when to progress

This one’s tough sometimes, but this is key. The principle of progression means there’s an optimal amount of overload you need to achieve in order to see results, and once you adapt to that overload it is no longer an overload. So the bottom line is if you are not progressing in your workouts over time, you are not going to see results. So, when do you advance to the next progression?

– When you finish a set of prescribed reps, you should feel confident that you would barely be able to get 1 or 2 more and that’s it! If you felt like you could have done 4-5 more, its time to stop taking the easy road and add some resistance.

– If you consider one of the exercises in your workout “easy,” advance to the next progression.

– If you’ve been using the same kettle bell, pull-up band, wall ball, box height, sled weight, etc. for more than 2-3 months, your body has adapted and is no longer being challenged!

Use your coaches! If you aren’t sure if you’re ready to progress or are a little uncomfortable trying it, ask your coach if they think you’re ready. That’s literally what we’re here for. I am not telling you to grab a 90 lb kettle bell and throw your back out on the first rep! Knowing when to progress is the key to doing it properly without injury.

Lastly, a great way to break out of your comfort zone is to re-evaluate yourself and your form during your workouts. Almost everyone is guilty of doing an exercise so many times since the first time you learned the proper form, that you forget some basic principles of the movement. Flat back and drive through your heels during squats and lunges, don’t let your hips drop during push ups, extend the hips at the top of your box jump, drive the hips on your kettle bell swings.

You’re all here to reach some sort of goal – so re-evaluate those goals, re-evaluate your resistances on each of your exercises this week, and re-evaluate your mentality. Show up every day with the desire to GET BETTER!

Lying on the floor is not an effective recovery strategy. But sometimes the only option.

Simple and Effective Recovery Strategies for Increased Work Capacity

Simple and Effective Recovery Strategies for Increased Work Capacity

by Michael Garrity

Ever since I became a strength coach and a personal trainer the most common question I have received from clients and athletes has been “I want to see results fast, is it okay if I do extra workouts?” This question is a loaded one, and takes more than just a simple post WOD conversation to quench. Whether it be adding an extra strength session, cardiovascular workout, or an extra sports practice, people want to do everything they possibly can to see their goals come to fruition quicker. However, in this age of instant gratification, people rarely understand how physically and mentally taxing training at high volumes can be.

So my first piece of advice to the athlete hoping to add in some extra credit would be to TRUST THE PROCESS that your coach or trainer has placed in front of you. You aren’t going to see results right away, but if you are training consistently and doing your homework outside of the gym (proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle) you are going to achieve more than you expect over time; it just takes hard work and consistency. So before you go on adding two-a-days to your schedule, stick to your current program as best as you can with as much devotion as possible to healthy choices outside of the gym too. The results will come.

On the flip side though, I know that people just flat out love training and want to push themselves to be better every day. If you truly wish to add in extra workouts, I am fully supportive of it, but only if done properly and attention is paid to the strategies of how to maintain such a lifestyle and such a substantial physical commitment. I know firsthand how effective training at high volume can be and, most importantly, how much fun it can be if executed properly. So I’m fully aware the attraction adding in extra workouts has. But there are some key guidelines to anyone undertaking this venture that must be followed.

In order to get fitter or improve in your sport the body must be exposed to the stresses of training. Once this has happened the body then needs time to adapt to the stresses and to do this the body must recover properly. Once recovery is dialed in, the athlete will begin to see their results. So recovery is just as important as training is when it comes to seeing results but it is often neglected and overlooked because it is much more passive than the actual training.

Increasing your workout volume depends not only on your mental and physical commitment to your fitness goals but also your individual ability to recover properly within your program. This is the foundation to being able to train consistently at a high volume; all while trying to avoid overtraining and the nemesis of all fitness and athletic goals, injury. Expert opinion explains that adding extra workouts WILL help you see results quicker but ONLY if proper recovery is undertaken. Following are some simple and extremely effective recovery strategies for the everyday athlete trying to add in an extra workout to not only increase their work capacity but also see results faster.

  1. Rest and “Deloading”

Training is designed to progressively overload the body systems and fuel stores, placing stress onto the body. Training alone is not enough to see results, the athlete needs sufficient time to recover and adapt to the stresses. To adapt properly to these stresses the athlete must plan and maintain recovery strategies. Having a set recovery plan will help decrease fatigue and allow the athlete to keep up with their chosen training program. The more efficiently you recover from training stresses and fatigue (and the fresher you are at your next training session) the better chance you have at improving and seeing results.

One of the most important strategies for recovery is sleep. Sleep provides time for the body to adapt to the physical and mental demands placed on it through intense training. At least 8 hours of sleep per night should be sought after by an athlete in an intense program. However, one must ensure that these hours are of quality sleep, aiming to feel fresh and ready to go upon waking. Other good strategies for passive recovery include reading or listening to music. These help the mind and body relax between sessions and recover from the physical and mental stresses of intense training. Also, simply occupying your mind with other activities or hobbies than training helps the recovery process more so than expected. People need time to focus on more relaxing activities where they are not worried about hitting a new weightlifting personal record or beating a certain time in a workout.

Another helpful strategy to increase recovery is to plan rest days and “deload” weeks throughout your program. Plan recovery days within your training week to allow for rest and adaptation between heavy sessions. A simple format to follow is two days on, one day off. One can also plan and set up “deload” weeks where the athlete still trains but at far less intensity than usual, allowing for the body to adapt to the stresses of the previous weeks. A good format for deloading is three weeks on and one week off. Deloading entails scaling the loads and volume of training back from the prescribed amounts to let the joints decompress and allow the body to adapt. During a deload week, however, you should continue to follow the same movements and exercises as to keep the body active and help maintain commitment to the program.

  1. Hydration

In the pyramid of recovery, rest is the foundation but hydration is the cornerstone that allows for the pyramid to stay intact. Athletes within an intense training program would not be able to maintain training at a high intensity without proper hydration, nor would they see the results they want. Intense training will increase your fluid needs as you lose sweat during exercise. Some people naturally sweat more than others but even small sweat losses can cause fatigue and impair recovery. However, many people don’t realize just how dehydrated the body can become during training…even if they don’t resemble someone who fell in a pool after their workout. They also don’t realize how this dehydration can impair many physiologic functions. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, effects of dehydration include: decreased blood pressure, increased core temperature, increased heart rate, decreased blood flow to the muscles, and increased perceived exertion which all leads to a tough time trying to recovery between sessions.

On the contrary, properly hydrating before, during and post workout will help your body adapt to the stresses of intense training by regulating temperature, transporting nutrients and oxygen, detoxifying the liver and kidneys, and also dissolving vitamins and minerals which leads to better recovery by replenishing nutrients lost during exercise. Drinking the proper amount of water while training at high intensity also returns your muscles to the more supple/elastic state at which they were meant to move, allowing them stretch and contract at a more efficient rate. This in turn allows you to move pain free and with a decreased sense of exertion. This means less muscle soreness and enhanced recovery times between sessions.

It is important to limit dehydration during training and replenish those lost fluids as quickly as possible after you workout. But people don’t how much water to drink. Just a 2% loss in body fluid can lead to 10% decrease in performance. The best way to estimate how much fluid you lose during a session (and how much fluid should be consumed) is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. Each pound of weight lost is equivalent to one liter of fluid lost. These fluids must be replaced during and after exercise. In general, we need about 2-3 liters of water to function properly while adhering to an intense training program. However, if you are looking to add in extra sessions, I’d recommend aiming for at least a gallon of water a day.

  1. Active Recovery Strategies

Within the realm of recovery strategies are some more active forms of recovery that allow the body to adapt to the stress of training and maintain performing at a high level. The first, and easiest, of these active strategies is mobility and flexibility training. Just like strength and conditioning training, mobility must be regarded as a pillar of fitness that will help the athlete see results quicker and continue to train at a high level with less risk of injury.

Anyone can improve flexibility with consistent training. When you’ve finished your session is a great time to stretch. You’re muscles are warm and so there is less chance of damaging them. A light stretch after a session will help prevent injury and is a great way to wind down from the stresses of training. This will also kick start the recovery process between now and your next session. Flexibility improves posture, prevents hip and low back pain, releases muscle tension and soreness, and increases your range of motion which all in turn decrease your risk of injury.

A more exciting active recovery strategy is the dreaded ice bath. Simple but oh so effective, the ice bath is probably the most infamous recovery tool in the entire recovery arsenal. Ice baths are effective because upon plunging into the cold water the blood vessels constrict and the blood will be drained away from the muscles that have been working, which removes lactic acid. Upon exiting the ice bath the capillaries in the muscles dilate and fresh blood flows back into the muscles bringing with it oxygen and other nutrients vital to recovery. An ice bath should be no longer than 20 minutes. However, the sensation ice baths provide is intense and uncomfortable for most people, so if it is your first time try it out for at least 5 minutes. From there try and increase the time spent in the water each time after aiming to get up to 20 minutes. You will feel instantly refreshed after an ice bath and your ability to recover will be enhanced.

In conclusion, if you are trying to increase your work capacity in the hopes of reaching your goals quicker, recovery must be placed right next to your training and shown the same commitment and respect. These strategies will provide you with the ability to maintain a high intensity training regimen, allow you to perform consistently on a daily basis, and most importantly help you avoid injury due to overtraining. Although increasing work capacity is not easy, it is very effective in reaching goals efficiently, but only if the proper recovery strategies are followed and acted upon. Good luck!

We are all warriors. Each of us struggles every day to define and defend our sense of purpose and integrity, to justify our existence on the planet and to understand, if only within our own hearts, who we are and what we believe in.

- Steven Pressfield, "The Warrior Ethos"

Warrior Week – Part 2

“We are all warriors. Each of us struggles every day to define and defend our sense of purpose and integrity, to justify our existence on the planet and to understand, if only within our own hearts, who we are and what we believe in.”

– Steven Pressfield, “The Warrior Ethos”

The purpose of Warrior Week is to take a good hard look at where we (as a training facility) stand fitness wise. It’s a chance for us to compete with one another, set personal records, share some fellowship and grow our community.  For those of you that participated in Warrior Week in January this will be your chance to measure your progress and crush previous scores, for those of you that didn’t now is your chance to set the bar.

We’ll be finding heavy 1-3 rep maxes on the major lifts in addition to getting baseline times and scores for various conditioning workouts and gymnastics movements. The output of this week will give each of you a clear picture of where your fitness is as well as an accurate indication of what your weaknesses are. This is important because it’s hard to progress without knowing what you suck at. Plain and simple.

The primary goal for the duration of Warrior Week (and all of your training in general) is to NOT GET INJURED. Be smart with the loads that you select. Leave your ego at the door. Respect proper mechanics. You know what you’re doing and you also have access to a team of skilled coaches at your disposal if you ever feel overwhelmed or don’t understand what is expected of you.

If, at anytime during Warrior Week, there is something that you do not feel comfortable doing, please speak up and we can find an acceptable substitution.

Here are a few things to take into consideration:

  • The Workouts will be posted each day at midnight.
  • Recovery (sleep), restoration activities (massage, foam rolling, acupuncture) and eating enough of the right things are going to be very important. Start building those good habits now and you will be rewarded in the long run.
  • Try to sleep up to 9 hours per night this entire week. You’re going to need it. Anything more than that and you are being lazy.
  • Put focus and effort into your warm up and you will be rewarded with a productive and safe training session.
  • You are probably going to feel pretty beat up by Wednesday. This is totally normal as your body is adapting to the increased training volume and intensity.
  • Thursday is a planned rest day for those that completed all of the workouts on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • If you miss any of the first three sessions, Thursday is your chance to make them up.
  • Keep your focus and mental game in the right place. Accept that you are going to come face to face with some pretty difficult tasks. You’ll get a second chance to crush these weaknesses.
  • Warrior Week is entirely optional (but we would like you to complete it to the best of your ability).

This week will no doubt be very difficult. But trust in the process and know that working your ABSOLUTE HARDEST and staying focused will only set you up for success.

Good luck!

Oh, and one last point.

NOTHING WORTH HAVING EVER COMES EASY.

We are all warriors. Each of us struggles every day to define and defend our sense of purpose and integrity, to justify our existence on the planet and to understand, if only within our own hearts, who we are and what we believe in.

- Steven Pressfield, "The Warrior Ethos"

Warrior Week

“We are all warriors. Each of us struggles every day to define and defend our sense of purpose and integrity, to justify our existence on the planet and to understand, if only within our own hearts, who we are and what we believe in.”

– Steven Pressfield, “The Warrior Ethos”

The purpose of Warrior Week is to take a good hard look at where we (as a training facility) stand fitness wise. It’s a chance for us to compete with one another, set personal records, share some fellowship and grow our community.

We’ll be finding heavy 1-3 rep maxes on the major lifts in addition to getting baseline times and scores for various conditioning workouts and gymnastics movements. The output of this week will give each of you a clear picture of where your fitness is as well as an accurate indication of what your weaknesses are. This is important because it’s hard to progress without knowing what you suck at. Plain and simple.

The primary goal for the duration of Warrior Week (and all of your training in general) is to NOT GET INJURED. Be smart with the loads that you select. Leave your ego at the door. Respect proper mechanics. You know what you’re doing and you also have access to a team of skilled coaches at your disposal if you ever feel overwhelmed or don’t understand what is expected of you.

If, at anytime during Warrior Week, there is something that you do not feel comfortable doing, please speak up and we can find an acceptable substitution.

Here are a few things to take into consideration:

  • The Workouts will be posted each day at midnight.
  • Recovery (sleep), restoration activities (massage, foam rolling, acupuncture) and eating enough of the right things are going to be very important. Start building those good habits now and you will be rewarded in the long run.
  • Try to sleep up to 9 hours per night this entire week. You’re going to need it. Anything more than that and you are being lazy.
  • Put focus and effort into your warm up and you will be rewarded with a productive and safe training session.
  • Consider purchasing some kind of post-workout recovery drink. I recommend Progenex Recovery or Universal Torrent.
  • You are probably going to feel pretty beat up by Wednesday. This is totally normal as your body is adapting to the increased training volume and intensity.
  • Thursday is a planned rest day for those that completed all of the workouts on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • If you miss any of the first three sessions, Thursday is your chance to make them up.
  • Keep your focus and mental game in the right place. Accept that you are going to come face to face with some pretty difficult tasks. You’ll get a second chance to crush these weaknesses.
  • Warrior Week is entirely optional (but we would like you to complete it to the best of your ability).

Warrior Week will lead us into our next block of training starting on Monday January 20th. This training block will be 6 weeks in duration (5 weeks of focused training, plus 1 week to de-load), and then it’s time for SWEET, SWEET REVENGE.

That’s right. There will be a second Warrior Week (starting on March 3rd, 2014). Identical to the first. And that’s your chance to crush the workouts that crushed you the first time around, set new PRs and become an all around bad ass group of humans.

This week will no doubt be very difficult. But trust in the process and know that working your ABSOLUTE HARDEST and staying focused will only set you up for success.

Good luck!

Oh, and one last point.

NOTHING WORTH HAVING EVER COMES EASY.