Originally posted August 9, 2018
I have spent the last 17 years in either Military of LEA (Law Enforcement Agency) work around the world supporting various activities of national and local government. Part of my responsibility to my work was to be “Fit to fight”. A lean mean fighting machine.
What I have discovered is that weightlifting is the most effective tool for increasing metabolism thus, decreasing body fat.
Time and time again I have seen soldiers and officer’s focus on their weightlifting efforts, witnessing great gains in their lean body mass and in return decreased body fat percentages.
Weightlifting in the form of dead-lifts, squats, presses, and compound functional movements.
Obtaining the physique of a bodybuilder on the face of Flex magazine is very hard to do. Just ask any average person. It takes years of hard work, the right training program, and a lot of nutritionally good food. Weight training will add a few pounds of lean body mass which will in turn make you leaner and give you a better looking physique.
Women simply don’t have the natural levels of testosterone needed to support the type of muscle growth they fear.
“Marathon runners are slim, shouldn’t I run long distances to become thinner?”
That makes as much sense as playing AFL to get taller. This logical fallacy is commonplace in weight-loss fitness as many people are quick to make hasty generalisations. Nonetheless, in any sport, genetics play a significant role. The best runners are thin because slim people make for better runners. Just as the some of the best AFL players are tall, the best long distance runners are thin.
In fact, many people who take up long distance running to loose weight end up “skinny fat” a term I first heard coined by a college of mine, a physique denoted by looking skinny whilst clothed but lacking lean muscle mass and accompanied by a noticeable amount of fat or “doughy” appearance. These people are known to complain about being unable to lose the last few kilos of fat whilst sipping at a full fat Coke over a lunch of white pasta whilst wearing active gear.
What can I do about this?
Definitely focus on the strength component in our group workouts. If you want to get more experience with lifting, consider signing up for CrossFit Norsemen Barbell Club. You’ll focus on the core lifts, increasing strength, lean body mass, and overall performance. Many members of this club will lean out while getting stronger at the same time.
Originally posted July 11, 2019
‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, or so the saying goes.
The language of advertising as far as I can remember has reinforced the impression that the ideal female should be stick thin, scantily clad, and above all, submissive.
Who are you?
Everybody struggles to develop a sense of security, a sense of personal identity. But most of us end up constantly glancing around to see if we measure up to those comparable around us. We end up hating ourselves for it, especially if we can see exactly what buttons the advertisers are pushing. But many of us buy into the images, including myself, just enough to wish we could do it all.
Could I be that thin? Could I be that happy? Could I be that confident?
I ended up telling myself that I wasn’t affected by media or advertising. I found myself spending astronomical amounts of money on the latest vogue without any achieved benefit. I found the problem with buying into that image is that depending on the woman’s body type, a model like weight isn’t just a difficult goal, it can be an unhealthy one.
In the last several years, there has been a shift in the way we (women) are viewing our bodies.
Mainstream popularity in Bodybuilding (Weightlifting), Strong Man (Women) and CrossFit and has put a spotlight on ‘strong women’. More and more women have discovered that lifting heavy not only improves our health but also our self-confidence and the way we perceive our bodies.
A number of published medical studies have identified “Strength training is associated with significant improvements in several dimensions of body image, health-related quality of life, physical activity behaviours, satisfaction, and comfort.” Ref1
Further, women who regularly participate in weightlifting had significantly higher general well-being scores when compared with people who do not Ref2. Women involved in weightlifting lose more body fat and increase muscle mass compared to those that do not.
I got so wrapped up in the aesthetics that I overlooked the amazing feats my body could accomplish.
Weightlifting can be intimidating for anyone, but especially women.
I am fortunate to have surrounded myself with powerful, strong and independent women who are still feminine. I was initially fearful that if I started to lift weights then all my femininity would disappear.
Part of the issue is how the media and women have defined beauty, as the introduction identified. For those who are already self-conscious, even just stepping into a gym can be a huge emotional obstacle.
I suffered from a poor self-image. I was focusing on how I looked as defined by the mainstream media. However, with the right support and community (like you would find in CrossFit Norsemen), goals can begin to shift.
Whilst losing weight was a nice side effect of lifting, I found I gained a new emotional strength committing myself to it. I found my motivation became lifting heavier and becoming stronger rather than fitting into a smaller dress size. We need to place an increased value on strength, health, and personal achievement rather than arbitrary features like weight.
My confidence grew in seeing and achieving goals that had previously not been reached. I was happy in my own skin.
Becoming stronger externally had a very tangible impact on my mental toughness and emotional endurance. When you are strong on the outside, you feel as though you can surmount and achieve anything you set your mind to.
Ref: A study published through the National Library of Medicine entitled “Strength Training Improves Body Image and Physical Activity Behaviours among Midlife and Older Rural Women
Ref 2: Another published study entitled “Effects of weight training on the emotional well-being and body image of females” looked at the difference in training and how it impacts the confidence of women.
Originally posted July 4, 2018
There is an age-old maxim in the fitness world that no amount of exercise can overcome a bad nutrition. The right eating is a cornerstone of health, longevity, and eventual fitness.
To effectively change your physique requires intense exercise.
- If you’re overdoing it with the wrong foods you won’t have the physical endurance to push through tough workouts if your diet isn’t up to scratch. Eating the wrong type of foods will make it harder for you to train at your best. You’ll need a combination of carbohydrates and protein to recover following a workout, as well as adequate carbs beforehand, too. As a general rule aim to get about 30% of your diet from protein, 40% from carbs and 30% from fat. Watch out for taking in too much fat; that often translates to an abundance of calories as well, which quickly packs on as extra grams.
- In-vogue diets containing ultra-low carb or low fats can be mentally draining and have a significant impact on heart wellbeing. Studies have shown that those diets lead to shortages in micronutrients and amplified risk of inflammation throughout the body making you more vulnerable to injury. Further studies identify that having an insufficient intake of healthy fats may increase your chance of overuse injuries, such as tendonitis and stress fractures, and doesn’t allow your body to protect itself in order to stay healthy. Furthermore, if you pair bad nutrition with intense exercise, that can lower your immunity even further.
- Unhealthy food choices whether you’re eating too many saturated fats, too many calories in comparison to input vs output, or not enough of the right foods, make you feel lethargic and less determined to reach your goals in exercise. Nutrition and exercise have a symbiotic relationship. When you eat well, you are motivated to exercise, when you exercise, you are motivated to eat well.
- Consuming excess calories and not being able to burn them off solely from your workouts often means they head straight for your trouble zones. Generally speaking, women tend to gain weight in the hips and thighs, whilst men tend to gain weight in their mid-section. Abdominal exercises alone are not enough to decrease your body fat percentage or abdominal fat. So even if you’ve gained muscle in that area, it will be covered by a layer of fat.
- The average person is not a professional or serious athlete. Athletes are likely the only type of people who can eat a regulated large quantity of high calorie food specific. This is because they exercise at high intensity for several hours per day. An average person turning up once a week to a globo gym spurring themselves on to counterpoint their bad diet does not even compare and they don’t need the same amount of food as the athlete does.
Keeping your diet in check will help you become truly toned. You will need to build lean muscle and burn more calories than you’re consuming at the same time.
One-on-one nutrition coaching is available to CrossFit Norsemen members. This is for anyone wanting to clean up their plate.
Our coach(s) will ensure the best performance for your athletic success. The platforms developed for the individual allows you the ability to focus, make complex decisions, start your day without a coffee, be optimistic and feel happy; these are all by-products of providing your body with the fuel it needs.
Originally posted on June 27, 2018
As mums and dads we have a lot of responsibility, we have little spare time and frankly our life’s can often seem like an endless round of work, school drop-offs, play dates and grocery shopping. Cooking a healthy meal the whole family will enjoy can be challenging. Your five year old daughter might not like the colour yellow this week so the corn-on-the-cob is replaced with baked beans, the eight year old refuses to eat cauliflower because it smells like farts (replaced with toast) and your spouse has had a really crappy day so just wants a take-out and a glass of wine.
This busy life style can result in those hard working mums and dads of Australia inadvertently developing ‘spread’ in unwanted areas… mum tums, man boobs, bingo wings and love handles. Just reading those words is a bit depressing. They sound funny (because let’s face it… “man boobs”) but on the serious note, it’s not just the very real health risks that are worrying, it’s the knock on effect of low self-esteem and poor body image.
We do so much for our families, at the very least we deserve to have fit and healthy bodies, be comfortable in our skin and feel confident. Enter CrossFit and the top five reasons I think it’s the best training program for us.
1. Zero effort required
Ok, slightly misleading. What I mean is, you just have to arrive. The warm-up, the skills training, the WOD and even the cool down is all dictated by the coach. You really can switch off the ‘parent’ part of your brain that has to plan and organise.
2. Personal training (practically)
How many times have you heard the phrase “if I won the lottery I’d have my own personal trainer”. Guys, you don’t need to win the lottery. Every CrossFit class is run by a professional coach. Normally there are between 10-15 people in the class so you get plenty of one-on-one time without the astronomical hourly rate.
3. CrossFit is inclusive
This is an important point. There are lots of mums and dads out there that are self-conscious and feel out of place in the gym environment. Our lives can seem detached from what they once were including the ‘gym life’ we had when we were dating and clubbing every weekend. If CrossFit is one thing- it’s inclusive. It just attracts folks that don’t care if you’re old, young, big or small and that’s empowering! The community might not be the reason why people join but more often than not, it’s the reason people keep coming.
4. Variation keeps you keen
Those parenting years can become mundane. Routine is what keeps our busy families on- track. The variation in workouts at CrossFit is built into the programs DNA. ‘Constantly varied’ is a mantra and that keeps things interesting. One day it’s a timed circuit, next day it’s
a set time and you see how many rounds you can do. Sometimes you’re running, sometimes you’re flipping a tyre. Sometimes you lift heavy, sometimes its lots of reps.
5. It’s not a globo gym
Now I have absolutely nothing against globo gyms. You know the 24hr high street monstrosities with endless rows of mind numbing bikes, treadmills, mirrors and beefed up guys wearing their Beats headphones. Oh wait… 😉