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Ever wonder, how professional athletes think when they workout?

Every time I walk into the gym, I never know what the workout will be until I look up on the TV screen in the front and see it. 

This past Friday was a brutal one and one that when you see it makes you think about walking out. 

The workout was: IMG_2909

* 21 – 18 – 15 – 12 – 9 – 6 – 3 (Shoulder to Overhead @ 155 pounds, back squat @ 155 pounds, and then 20 double under (jump the rope two times through). 

When you add everything up it comes out to a total of 84 reps of shoulder to overheads, 84 reps of back squats, and then 140 double unders. 

I knew this was going to be a bit tougher on me since the weight was a little on the heavier side and something that I had to pace very well. The clock counted down to zero and the workout began with the 21 shoulder to overheads. 

As I got to round 18 I could already feel myself fatiguing and my pace slowing down. There were thoughts in my brain of stopping the workout early as it was extremely challenging and one that I felt was going to take forever. 

Once I reached round 15, I was going slower and at that moment, which I have done in the past as well, I realized why the professionals are the professionals. 

These professionals DO NOT have that thing that slows the average person down called “the Threshold.” In 2016, I have my book “Eliteness” coming out and it takes everything I have ever learned from elite professional athletes on their lifestyle and boiled it down to 9 simple steps. 

One of the things these athletes did not share but something I see in them is this threshold and how when they work out or do their sports there is no slowing down and their brains are missing that factor to do that for them. 

When average people like you or I work out, we reach a certain point and our brains shut down telling us to go slower. We feel the fatigue setting in and automatically our body slows down but it does this to keep us healthy and not get sick or injured. I have seen this in not only in functional training but also when I was doing my Ironman training. The professionals have that thing that we don’t have and this is a huge separating factor for why they are at the level they have achieved. 

The workout ended up taking me 25 minutes to complete but had my brain been wired like a professional athlete it may have taken me less. 

Whether you want to be a professional athlete or not the point is “the Thresholds” exist in all areas of our life beyond the gym. Many of you begin to get close to success in business then fear or some other emotion gets in and you slow down. Many of you get close to that relationship success but then you give up. In today’s world I see lots of people who work for numerous corporate companies and as they become closer to promotions and raises they end up leaving. 

That “Threshold” applies to everywhere and until you can begin to recognize it then it will work against you. Begin to look at your fitness life and watch how you think you can do a certain number of reps, weight, or time BUT if you gave it that small push you may have been able to do more. We all think we have a certain level of potential but the fact is there is MUCH more than we even know. 

Begin to pay attention to different areas of your life and see how you can break through that Threshold for more success in 2016. 

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How I Put on 10 Pounds of Muscle in 30 Days

Between 2009 and 2014, I was solely focused on CrossFit and eating paleo. In 2014 I got my weight to around 185 pounds, up from 155 pounds in 2009. At 185, I was at my goal weight, and had roughly a 5-7% body fat percentage. I could squat 355 pounds and my lifts for other movements were pretty heavy in mydesignrelationship to my bodyweight I could go about my daily life, bend over, squat, and pick things up with no aches or problems, because functionally my body was strong and fit. In fact, as a chiropractor, being in good functional shape helped me with my very physical job. Adjusting many people throughout the day can be tiring, and getting my body in tip-top condition helped to reduce the soreness and overuse injuries I could feel coming about.

Fast forward to September 27, 2015: I completed Ironman Chattanooga and finished my 18 months of brutal Ironman training. I weighed only 168 pounds. In a short 18-month period – from April 2014 to September 2015 – I lost almost 20 pounds and rediscovered my scrawny pre-2009 body. 

During those 18 months, it was tough to watch my muscle melt away and begin to see boney structures – such as a more pronounced ribcage – take its place. I knew right after the race that I would recommit to regaining that 185 pounds. 

I did it by focussing on 3 keys strategies. By integrating them, I have now gotten back to 177 pounds and am slowly making my way back to my goal weight. 

1) Work out 5-6 Days a Week

My gym schedule has been pretty aggressive, and I plan to keep it this way until March 2016, when I’ll begin to train for Escape From Alcatraz. One of my biggest challenges at the gym is discovering my new one-rep maximums, as I lost roughly 20% of my former Olympic and power-lift abilities. My typical week’s schedule now looks like:

Monday = 7:30 p.m. Workout
Tuesday = 6:30 a.m. Workout
Wednesday = Day Off
Thursday = 5:30 a.m. Workout
Friday = 6:30 a.m. Workout; 9:00 a.m. 3-mile run
Saturday = 3-mile run
Sunday = 8:30 a.m. Workout

People think I’m crazy for all working out so much, but it keeps me functioning at high levels and able to accomplish everything I do in a day. 

2) Went From High Carb/Sugar (Crap) —> High Fat/Protein (Paleo)

When I undertook 18 months of Ironman training, my workouts ranged from 90 minutes to 6 hours in length. I was putting in roughly 11-15 hours of endurance work per week and my high-fat, high-protein diet was not working for me. I felt tired and grumpy at the end of the day. I definitely noticed a loss of energy when following the paleo diet during Ironman training. Eventually I gave in, and during long bike rides or runs I began to eat Gu’s, wafers and other high-sugar and artificially sweetened products to keep me balanced. It was tough, because it went against everything I wanted to put in my body – but it helped me survive those long runs and rides.

Literally the day after my race, on September 28, I returned to a paleo diet, in which you avoid dairy, grain, and sugar. In the past month I’ve had pizza twice, two alcoholic beverages, and maybe a little sugar on someone’s birthday, but nothing extreme or on a regular basis. 

Two weeks ago, I spoke about how going back to paleo made me lose my cravings for sweets and sugars. 

I have not counted calories or written down my food intake in a journal, but I have been very disciplined about eating extremely clean and staying away from grains and sugars. 

When my book Eliteness comes out in 2016, I’ll explain more about this diet and protocol – but for blogging purposes, here’s a sample day for me: 

A.M. Pre-Workout 

Vanilla collagen bar from Bulletproof Inc.

A.M. Breakfast

4 – 5 organic eggs or
Steve’s PaleoKrunch (Original) or
Steve’s PaleoCereal (Cinnamon)

Lunch 

Salad or vegetables with pasture-raised chicken or grass-fed beef

Dinner 

Salad or vegetables with pasture-raised chicken or grass-fed beef (I eat greater amounts of beef at dinner)

Throughout the day I may snack on almonds, but only on a limited basis, as eating is pretty hard to for me to do during the day (because we’re busy seeing patients). 

3) Supplement Protocol

Ben Greenfield is someone I follow for health advice and hacking my body to reach its potential. Recently I was reading one of his e-books and began to take everything he suggested in terms of a muscle-gaining regime.

The only supplements I took during Ironman training were from Standard Process. They help with joint inflammation, heart regulation, and adrenal fatigue. My training goals were to stay healthy and injury-free, and prevent any long-term damage to my body. I didn’t care about putting on muscle, lifting more weight or becoming a better athlete.

Now that I’ve returned to CrossFit, my workout supplement protocols have changed:

Pre-Workout Supplements

* 3 Millennium CRE-02 Creatine
* 1 Beta Alanine (NOW)
* 1 Carnitine (Thorne Research)
* 3 BCAA’s (MAP)

Post-Workout 

* 1 scoop Stronger, Faster, Healthier Recovery with coconut water

These are the 3 major lifestyle changes I’ve implemented. I plan to stick to them for a long time. My goal would be to get back to 185 – 190 pounds, and then hover around that weight. I have no desire to gain add much more weight and muscle. 

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Your Fall/Winter Sickness Began Last Weekend – Prevention Tips

For many, this week marks the beginning of the downturn of their seasonal allergies, sicknesses, and flu-like symptoms. Coincidental? I think not.IMG_3909 (1)

A few days ago many of us were busy trick-or-treating with our kids, loading up on candy and partaking in other gluttonous behaviors. This tends to be the time when many people begin eating more ‘heavy’ and unhealthy foods while drinking an increased amount of adult beverages due to all the holidays and sporting events over the next couple of months. 

This also becomes the time when the cold starts to come in, so more people tend to be staying indoors and not getting their regular workouts in. When people are indoors more, their vitamin D levels begin to sink, which is dangerous because strong vitamin D levels are linked to a healthy immune system. 

Along with the cold weather and less exercise comes the ‘busy’ season for many people, and with ‘busyness’ most people become more lackadaisical about fitness.  

I see this year in, year out, but my patients that recognize the busyness and unhealthiness that often occurs from November to February tend to be proactive with those measures. 

It’s EXTREMELY important – and I cannot emphasize this enough – to be completely committed to your health over the next 4-5 months. 

Will life get busy? Yes! However, this is the time to not get slack and give up on all the hard work you have put in all year. 

FullSizeRender (6)Some of the big recommendations I have shared on my Instagram account @draustincohen are the big 5:

1) Keep working out at least 4 days a week to keep your heart rate up and not let your body weaken.

2) Make sure your body is loaded up with plenty of vitamin D – this number can easily be checked by your local lab. 

3) Keep your body aligned so it’s performing at its best and make sure not to get lazy with your chiropractor visits.

4) Stay hydrated and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water even though its not as hot outside. 

5) Add in some greens such as chlorophyll, spirulina, or a form of phytoplankton to stay up on all your greens and antioxidants. FullSizeRender (7)

These are going to be my 5 go-to’s as far as trying to avoid staying sick and taking time off over the next few months. Fortunately, over the past 8 years of following those steps I have not missed 1 day of work for any sicknesses. 

Please comment or post any tips or strategies you use to prevent getting sick during the fall/winter season. 

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Ironman Chattanooga 2015 Report: A Churn in my Stomach

It was 4:45 AM on race day and somehow I got one of the best night’s sleep of my life. 

My wife Shira and I went to bed at 8:30 PM, and for the first time before a race I didn’t keep waking up throughout the night. I have been getting very good sleep recently, and this is mostly because a few months ago I began taking Natural Calm Magnesium, which I talked about a couple of weeks ago

The first thing I did when I woke up on race day was put my Zoot tri suit on as well as my t-shirt and sweatpants. My goal was to stay as relaxed as possible throughout the day, so being comfortable for the race was important. 

For breakfast I ate 4 hard-boiled eggs, a Perfect Bar, energy chunks from Whole Foods, and drank a Gatorade. I brought another Perfect Bar with me as well as a pre-workout drink called Push from Stronger, Faster, Healthier. 

My dad took me to the race at 5:00 AM for body markings and to check on my bike. I froze 2 bottles of Gatorade the night before so they’d be refreshingly cold on the bike (this hurts me later), and put those in the cup holders. I also made sure to turn my GPS tracker on, which was in my bike bag, so it would be one less thing to think about in transition. 

At 5:30 AM, I was shuttled in a school bus 2.5 miles up the riverfront to get in line for the swim start. At this point I was still undecided about wearing a wetsuit as the people on the bus said no, but the people in transition were saying yes. 

When I got in line for the start of the race I ended up talking to two very nice gentlemen doing the race who were both Kona qualifiers and said “wear the wetsuit.” They knew I did not have a goal of going to Kona, and since the water temperature was 77.1 not below 76.1, wearing a wetsuit would disqualify me from Kona qualifying. They said, “If you’re not going to Kona you might as well wear the wetsuit and go faster and save your energy.”Well, they sold me and thankfully I wore my new full-length wetsuit. Photo

At 7:20 AM, the gun went off and they sent the professionals in the water to go first. At 7:30 AM they began sending the 2800 age group competitors who chose not wear wetsuits in. By about 7:52 AM, all of the non-wetsuit athletes were in the water and I could finally see the dock where I would jump off to begin the race. The past 18 months of training was culminating in this one moment, and I knew I was about to begin a day of 12-14 hours of working out. At 7:54 AM I jumped in the water and began my swim downstream for 2.5 miles to Ross’Landing, where I would transition onto my bike. 

The swim course was amazing and rarely did I run into anyone as the spacing was perfect. Only about halfway through the swim did I begin catching up to the non-wetsuit racers and at a couple points the congestion built up, but it would spread out pretty fast. I finished the swim with a great time of 1:04:53, which put me in the top 32% of all racers. 

I decided that I was going to change into a completely new outfit for the bike, so my transition time was 7:37. 

I doused my legs up with magnesium lotion, took 8 amino acids, and loaded up my ‘area’with chamois cream to prevent as much chaffing as possible. 

I started the bike feeling amazing and my bike was moving faster after an awesome tune-up at Atlanta Cycling. They got me a new chain and drivetrain, which was essentially giving me a new bike as my old one was completely worn and beginning to rust. The first 30 miles I was warming up and averaging a 16.48 mph pace. I was feeling great at this time, drinking my Gatorades, eating my Perfect Bars, and taking in nutrition from the aid stations. For the next 20 miles I was going even faster, averaging 19.2 mph and feeling amazing in my legs and body. 

As I got to my bike special needs around mile 55 I was feeling really good, and then there was mile 60. 

At roughly mile 60, my stomach completely gave out and gave me some of the worst pains I have ever experienced. By this point I knew I screwed up my whole nutrition plan by taking in too much Gatorade and eating too many crappy bars. My pace dropped to an average of 13.5 mph for the next 60 miles as my legs felt fine, but peddling fast would hurt my stomach. 

For those final 60 miles of the bike I only drank water and even had another racer let me borrow 2 Tums, which barely did anything. All I could think about was getting off the bike and onto the run so I could get this gut issue to go away. 

Finally, after 116 miles of biking, I reached the end and was moving towards the second transition with the same stomach pains as mile 60 on the bike. 

Once again I changed my outfit completely and it took me roughly 5:04 to get out of transition and onto the marathon. 

The first few miles were the roughest with my stomach pains as my first 3.6 miles I only averaged 12:29/mile paces, which was extremely slow for me. I began drinking coke and eating oranges on the run, and slowly my stomach pain began calming down. The next 3 miles I was able to get to a 11:24/mile, then dropped to 11:11/mile. The run was great with all of the people along the sidelines, especially around Barton. I don’t know if people understand how much it helps to have them on the sidelines, but sometimes it’s the comments complete strangers say that motivate me the most. IMG_7030

As I saw the mile 24 sign I could feel the energy and knew how close I was to accomplishing this bucket list item. By now, I could hear the announcer telling people “You are an Ironman,”and this helped to bring my pace down to a 10:35/mile, which was my best 3-mile split the whole race. 

The final mile is one of my favorites because this is when my mind starts thinking about all the sacrifices I made for so long. I began thinking about my family and how supportive they have been by giving me the freedom to train. I thought about my daughter and how much training I had to do which meant that I missed so many nights she went to bed. I thought about my employees and how so many times I had to sneak out early to train before dark while they were still there doing work and picking up my weight. That final stretch is the most emotional and everything that every triathlete lives for. 

I finished the race with a time of 14:02, which was an hour over my goal time, but I was still proud to have finished and stayed mentally focused throughout the gut pains.

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Thanks again to everyone for all the love and support. For now, my bike has been retired for a pretty long time. 

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What I Am Getting into Post-Ironman (May shock some of you)

I am now only 1 week out (September 27, 2015) from completing Ironman Chattanooga, which has been a journey of intense training for the past 18 months. 

This dream of competing in endurance races has been back and forth for almost 10 years, and it is crazy to think that in 2006 I did my first marathon. This chapter of extreme long-distance endurance races is most likely over for the foreseeable future, but there may be some minor races in the interim. The endurance races are a love-hate relationship as the training and figure my body turns into is not the most desired, but the discipline and commitment it takes to accomplish one of these races is my favorite test.

The weeks of 10-14-hours of training and spending each weeknight doing 2-hour workouts while using Sundays to bike for 4-6 hours is finally done. The toll this took on spending time with my family was very challenging, and I cannot wait to sleep in on a Sunday, play with my daughter, then go to brunch and hang out with my family for the day. I feel like it has been forever since we were able to do that, and I cannot believe that this will be coming up in less than 1 week. 

When I started training for my first Ironman in 2014, I weighed 185 pounds and was 5-7% body fat. Since April 2014 I have dropped down to 168 pounds and would guess that I am at a #Instacollagebody fat percentage of 15%, as I have lost much of my muscle definition from weight training. Once this race is over I cannot wait to get back to weight training and doing CrossFit again with all of my friends. My goal is going to get even stronger than I was in 2014 and work on making it to 190 with the same body fat percentage of roughly 7%. Some of this may change depending on whether I get accepted into the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon, but that race is a much shorter distance and the hardest part of it is the swim. The current is extremely tough, the water temperature is in the 50’s, and the worry of getting eaten by a great white would cross my mind but make me swim faster. However, I won’t know about that until November, so for now my concentration will be weight training and hiring a coach to program my weekly workouts. 

Along with spending time with family and putting on muscle, I plan to take my health to unreached heights. In October I will be undergoing lots of blood, urine, stool, and hair testing to analyze many biomarkers in my body to see just how healthy I am. I don’t go to medical doctors on a yearly basis for checkups, but I will be doing my own blood work and getting it assessed by integrative doctors who specialize in keeping people healthy. This way I can track many of the tests that most doctors don’t look at, but are some of the most important and don’t sway easily based on the days before diet and stress. Some markers I plan to track are: 

* Homocysteine
* Bacteria in gut from stool
* C-reactive protein
* Glutathione
* Liver enzymes
* Vitamin D levels
* Testosterone
* Cortisol
* Particle sizes of cholesterol
* And much more.

Finally, as far as business I will allocate an increased amount of time to setting up more Corrective Chiropractic offices and completing my book in early 2016. Beyond the time it takes to train for one of these races, there is a component to emotional and physical stress that is difficult to explain unless you’ve been through it. When you train at this level your body’s hormones are completely out of balance and the body lives in a state of stress. As I get my body regulated again and back in balance, it’ll be nice to have that energy and oomph back to making Corrective Chiropractic even more of a powerhouse in Atlanta than it already is. My book, which has been a journey over the past 2 years, is about to go through the final editing process and will be a guide for anyone looking to take their fitness to the next level, with tons of tips and strategies.  

Thanks so much to everyone for all of their support throughout the past 18 months, as there is no way I could have done this without a team. My wife has been the most patient and completely supportive of helping me achieve this goal. My staff have had to deal with me leaving early at night and coming in fatigued after many days of intense training, but they have undoubtedly been the best staff an employer could wish for. 

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Workout regularly? Make Sure You are Sufficient with this Mineral

For the past 18 months, I have lived and died by this mineral. Fortunately, I found plenty of ways to get this into my body. In fact, if I hadn’t found this mineral, which I have talked about in previous posts, then this week could have been hell for me. This was one of the toughest workout weeks of my life. The following was my schedule: 

Tuesday – Swim 2 miles, then bike 15 milesIMG_3309IMG_3310

Wednesday – Bike 27 miles

Thursday – Swim 1.2 miles

Friday – Run 30 minutes

Saturday – Bike 100 miles

Sunday – Run 15 miles

With just two weeks to go for my race, the Ironman Chattanooga, I am making sure I am doing everything possible to stay healthy, recover fast, and keep my mineral balance in check. 

Would you like to guess the mineral – if you are a regular blog reader??? M______________

If you said magnesium, you are absolutely right. I make sure to constantly get this into my body. On Saturday, when I did my 100-mile bike ride, I put magnesium lotion on my legs before and after my ride, and then took a 20-minute magnesium salt bath after my ride. Before I went to bed, I dissolved a spoonful of natural calm magnesium in a cup of water. 

When I woke up on Sunday to run 2.5 hours, I felt great and ready to move. 

Magnesium is a mineral NOT produced by the body, which is why it’s so important to get an abundant amount, especially for those who regularly workout. Magnesium helps with many processes within the body and by being deficient can create a slowed down response and decreased muscle performance. 

Research has shown that 70% of people are deficient in magnesium, which is why it’ll be important to begin loading up on it. 

Here are the sources I use for magnesium and the bath flakes. I use it in my daughter’s bath as it helps her relax before bed, and calm’s her muscles. 

1) Ancient Minerals Magnesium Spray

2) Life-flo Pure Magnesium Flakes

3) Natural Calm MagnesiumIMG_3314

If you are looking for food sources, then check out the following (with the suggested amounts): 

Magnesium-Rich Foods

Pumpkin seeds (roasted)- 532
Almonds – 300
Brazil nuts- 225
Sesame seed – s200
Walnuts – 158
Spinach – 80
Broccoli – 30
Banana- 29
Note: (Milligrams per 100 grams).

* Source: USDA nutrient database.

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“Jersey Shore” was Right, Fist Pumping Can Make You Stronger!

Let me start off by being honest…I have lied!

For the past 6 years I have been working with people to develop a 5-minute plank hold. I would have them set up in plank and see how many times they needed to break or go to their knees while accumulating 5 minutes of holding a plank position. I always thought this would be the best way to develop a strong midsection – but I was wrong!

New research and 21st-century fitness is pointing to doing plank holds for shorter durations but contracting more muscles. RKC (Russian Kettlebell Club) suggests starting with 10-second holds (working up to 30 seconds), but contracting your fists and making all muscles activated except the neck. The goal is to make fists, contract your arms, contract your legs, and squeeze your legs together. 

This video below gives a great demonstration, but for those looking to create a strong midsection this would be a great 2-to-3-minute workout. With the abundance of sitting in today’s world and the weakening of most peoples’ midsections, this meets their goals of building strength while meeting their goal of not taking up much time. 

When it comes to weightlifting, utilize the same concept and squeeze the bar tight. Squeeze the bar extremely hard, so much so that you notice a discoloration in your knuckles, especially when going for 1 rep maxes. Some coaches say that you want to grip the bar so hard you feel like you are going to make an imprint in it. 

Find what your 1 rep max is now in many lifts including bench press, then retest while squeezing the bar tight and watch the PR climb. 

Who says that “Jersey Shore”brought no value to our lives and health?

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If I Was Dave Castro, Here’s What I’d Change to the Reebok CrossFit Games

Almost every day since the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games, people have been asking me my opinion on the programming and whether or not it was too hard. 

Instead of saying whether I agree or disagree with the programming, here are 5 things I would do if I were Dave Castro: 

1) Food Tent for all Athletes

Any time you run a marathon or long endurance race, there are aid stations at every mile with water, gatorade, bananas, and other items to help you keep your body from breaking down. As the distances get longer—such as ultra-marathons or Ironman competitions—you begin to notice different food items such as chicken soup broth for sodium, preFoodTenttzels, salt tabs, and soda for pure sugar rush.

If I ran the CrossFit Games, I would have a tent specifically designed for nutritional purposes, and I would be sure that all athletes knew about this tent. One of the reasons so many athletes got hurt is most likely due to a mineral or nutrition deficiency. If they had more sodium in their bodies, perhaps their cramping and injuries could have been prevented. I am sure some athletes already had pre-existing conditions or overuse injuries, but a majority of them could have been helped had they tracked their nutrition intake from calories, protein, carbs, and sodium. 

For example, when I was watching Annie Thorisdottir struggle to run, I thought that there should have been someone there to load her up with salt tabs. Kara Webb passed out and was carried off in a stretcher likely due to working out so hard in the heat and being deficient in nutrients. 

Any professional sporting event has food tents filled with foods for athletes to have regularly. If I ran the CrossFit Games I would not make it the athletes’ responsibility to provide their own nutrition—we would have plenty of it onsite. 

2) Saline IVs

If I were in charge of the CrossFit Games, after each workout, all the athletes would have access to nurses who could hook JFrancisthem up to IVs that would pump saline and other B-vitamins into their bodies. Once again, many of these athletes were completely deficient in nutrients; by pumping saline and vitamins into their bodies, there might have been a lower dropout ratio. 

I wouldn’t simply make the IVs available to some of the athletes. That care should be available to all of them, along with education on why it is so valuable to make that step a part of the routine. 

3) Program Differently 

Here’s one thing I will say about the programming: doing Murph in 90-degree weather with the sun baking down may not have been the smartest move. If there was one workout that trashed the athletes for the weekend, it was that workout.

If I ran the CrossFit Games, a workout like this would have taken place in the morning or on a day with no other workouts. For those unfamiliar with CrossFit, Murph consists of the following: 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, 1-mile run. All of these steps are completed in a weighted vest (14 lbs. for women, 20 lbs. for men).

Also, was there any purpose to doing heavy or double DT? Why not just DT?

4) Increased Biomarker Testing 

One of the biggest changes I would integrate would be to track biomarkers of the athletes. In any professional sport, there are doctors on staff to check and see how healthy a player is before returning to the sport. If a football player supposedly has a concussion, then there is a series of tests he goes through before being placed back on the field. 

If I ran the Games, I would have 100% testing. In particular, I would have checked the men and women who did Murph that day to see if anyone had rhabdomyolysis. I would have done blood work on all of them and tracked their Creatine Kinase and liver enzyme levels to make sure that they were healthy enough to compete. There are lots of other tests to track as far health, and beyond these levels I would have also looked at HRV (Heart rate variability). 

Of course, CrossFit may not want to be responsible for someone by diagnosing them, but the health of the athletes should be the #1 priority. It was tough watching some of the men and women compete when you could see how injured and hurt they were. 

5)  Personal Providers

I would allow all the athletes to have their OWN providers to be there with them and care for their bodies. Whether it’s the chiropractor, PT, or MD, it would be beneficial for all athletes to have their own staff. 

Any professional team has its own providers, and those providers know everything about the athletes. Currently there is the Airrosti staff, but that is only a group of doctors who come because their corporate company puts up enough money to be a sponsor. I would let the Airrosti providers be there for people who don’t have their own providers, but I know my athletes better than any provider who volunteers and sees them once a year.IMG_2902

Each athlete should be able to have his or her providers backstage to care for them and help them, as they know their bodies the best. 

I am sure CrossFit learned a lot this year about the Games, and beyond these 5 recommendations, everything else was great: the timing of the workouts, efficiency of staff, help from the volunteers, and beyond. However, I believe that the Games should seriously consider implementing the 5 tips I have shared here. 

I would love to hear your comments below about things you would like to see done differently. If you ran the CrossfFit Games, what would you add or change? 

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Why I Always Lift after Someone Hits Their Weight

When I am at the gym and the programming has either Olympic lifting or powerlifting, I always make a point to stand next to the strongest person. I stand next to the person who has great technique, and who usually hits a 1 rep max on a lift when they go for it. 555073_10100750161377792_2117946813_n

More recently in Ironman training, the pools can sometimes be full since there are only three lanes. The best way to get in when there are people swimming in all three lanes is to ask one of these people to share a lane. Guess which person I am going to ask to share a lane? The one who swims fast, has great technique and who goes for distance. 

Why do I want to be around people who are hitting PRs (personal records) in the gym and swimming fast in the pool? 

It challenges me and makes me grow in my athleticism!

If I see a person try to do a clean and they get that lift, then I am going to go next and hit my lift. If I watch someone fail on a lift, then I am not touching that barbell until I see someone positively lift the weight. If you have been plateauing in the gym and are unable to hit certain PRs, then a trick you could use is to watch people who positively hit strong lifts, and then follow suit. We all know who the leaders are in the gym, and no matter your strength or athletic ability it’s important to watch them and absorb their gains. 

When I jump in the pool lane of someone who is faster than me, they push me to swim faster and not slack. If I swim in a lane with someone who is slower than me, their speed does not challenge me and may cause me to swim at a more lackadaisical pace. images

I have tested this before, and my 100 meter pace went from a 2:05 pace to a 1:58 pace while swimming in lanes with people who are faster, even though our workouts are different. 

This strategy is not rocket science and is nothing new, but it can make a huge impact for those looking to grow in their fitness and athletic abilities. 

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My 2 Workouts on Vacation (Must Do’s)

This past weekend I was in Cancun for one of my good friend’s wedding.

Even though my wife would love for me to chill and enjoy the vacation, I always have the urge to move and work out while away.IMG_0251

In fact, I am so crazy that I will plan each night as far as what time I have my last drink and what time I get to bed (10:00 – 11:00 PM) so I can wake up and work out. Friday morning was going to be my run and Saturday was going to see strength training. This way I made sure I drank more water and ate more carbs all day Thursday, and on Friday I ate more protein and was OK drinking a couple more beers since Saturday would be less about endurance.

I know many people would say “I hate planning on vacations”but for the small block of working out this has to get planned. On vacation it is so easy to eat, drink, and relax while sleeping in and not working out or getting your body moving. There is nothing wrong with chilling on vacation, but a vacation to me includes working out as it is just as relaxing.

Working out and being healthy is my highest value similar to many of you, which is why I shared my 2 favorite workouts from this past weekend below.

1)    30-Minute Run in Sand

My favorite part about going to the beach is the opportunity to put my feet into the sand and work out those small muscles on the bottom of the foot. In a world where shoes are ALWAYS on us as both protective devices and for superficial reasons, our feet are inhibited from becoming stronger.

Many of us have been wearing shoes our whole life and the problem with doing this from such a young age is that it never allows our arches and foot muscles to fully develop. This will lead to weaker arches and poor mobility in the ankle, which in turn translates into poor squatting and other bad movements, usually leading to knee or foot problems.

I have told my wife numerous times that how we need to keep shoes off our daughter for a while so she can create strong foot muscles and increase the arch in her foot.

In my book I talk about tons of strategies to strengthen the foot and increase ankle mobility, but one great way is running in the sand.

Running in the sand allows us to use all the muscles in the feet, especially the ones we inhibit when wearing shoes. Running helps with the arches as well as increasing dorsiflexion of the foot.

Since I live in Atlanta which is landlocked, I don’t often have the opportunity to run in the sand and work out those foot muscles. This is why any time I make a trip to the beach, running in the sand is a high priority and will always be the workout I do before any others.

During this run I ran 15 minutes out and on the way back I would sprint at the top of the minute for 20 seconds.

2)    50 Manmakers for Time

Typically the workout I will do on Day 2 is get in a bunch of manmakers, which is a full-body workout. A manmaker is exactly what it sounds like and something that when done properly with heavy weight can turn you into a man (or woman, to be PC).

Depending on your strength the goal is to make sure you can do 50 of them without dropping the weight or taking a long break. For those that are new to this you may only want to do 25 manmakers, but since I am staying in an all-inclusive resort I had to go for the 50 and burn off the quesadillas and coladas (yes, I cheated!).

MOVE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMNnvhg1JcM

1) Get set up in the push-up position while gripping dumbbells

2) Lift your right arm up like you are doing a row and place it back on the ground

3) Lift your left arm up like you are doing a row and place it back on the ground

4) Jump with your feet forward and get into the squatted position with the dumbbells racked on your shoulders

5) Thrust the dumbbells up and overhead and that is your first rep

6) Get back into the pushup position gripping dumbbells and repeat for time…