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How to Get Skinny in 2 Easy Steps

Unfortunately, as the years have gone on people have been getting bigger and bigger.

I remember when I was in high school, there may have been a handful of overweight people but now when I speak at schools, the number has risen fast. These people who are overweight are not only young but there are tons of people overweight that are older as well. 

I completely understand where a lot of them are coming from as far as the challenge of maybe not knowing what to eat or how to work out. However, once those habits become a lifestyle, I bet 99% of them lose weight and drastically increase their chances of living a longer and higher quality of life. 

If you have ever seen the show Biggest Loser, not once I have seen any of them gain weight on the final weigh in. Every single person on that show loses weight because of their commitment and dedication to training and eating well. They are literally forced to eat healthy and workout! 

Do most of those people have parents and siblings overweight? Most likely. The difference is the way they have now chosen to live their life and implementing the tools they are learning and learned on the Biggest Loser. 

Are they also put into the ideal situation and this is their day to day life? YES! 

This means that the key will be for you to make eating healthy and working out part of your day to day life. 

I remember when my wife first got pregnant so many people told me how I can expect to stop eating so healthy and working out so much. In fact, I have worked out more, am extremely healthy, and with 3 months left of her pregnancy I am in the best shape of my life getting ready to compete in Ironman Florida. The reason why is because eating healthy and working out is part of me and who I am. It does not matter what situation would arise in my life, the fact is I would continue to live this lifestyle because that is who Austin Cohen is.  

Instead of always looking for a new fad or the next best thing because you will inevitably yo-yo the strategy, you have to make it a lifestyle, which takes time. Repeat, it takes time!!!

I wanted to share what I thought would be 2 ways that I have seen people I know lose weight with simple strategies.

1) Go Caveman

If you know me well enough by know, you know I eat roughly 90% paleo, meaning I eat the way our ancestors ate. If you want to read more about that then click here http://draustincohen.com/our-ancestors/. I have been eating this way since 2009 and my whole life has changed as far as mental clarity, fat/muscle balance, and overall energy. There are tons of websites online that teach you how to make healthy paleo food and implement it into your daily habits. It begins with removing the bad (sugar and grain) then implementing more healthy fats, healthy sugars, changing out cooking oils, and eating the way we used to before intervention by man. Do I cheat every so often? Absolutely! I love a good slice of pizza but this is a treat and happens maybe once a month. The fact is now I know how pizza, alcohol, or refined sugar foods make me feel, which is bloated and exhausted, so eating this tastes good but feels awful.598984_10100293939130634_780191536_n


Start by figuring out what percent you are eating paleo, which will be a rough estimate then slowly work your way up the ladder. Most people start the morning with cereal or a bagel then eat a sandwich for lunch, then have some other grain for dinner so for them they may only be starting at 15%. The next step is to figure out how to get to 20% and maybe that is by using a pale cereal made with almond flour instead of grains. Instead of putting a bun on their burger then they may want to get the burger patty on top of a salad. Check out this link for a downloadable paleo grocery shopping list – http://draustincohen.com/sample-grocery-list/. Also, check this link out regularly for all my updated recipes and nutrition information – http://draustincohen.com/category/nutrition/

2) Burst train 

For those new to the fitness world, you must understand that walking and moving will be great BUT if your ultimate goal is to shed weight then you need to burst train. 

Burst training means you work out for a little amount of time but you go hard for short bursts and get your heart rate up. Burst training can be done with many movements such as running, biking, pushups, jumping jacks, or any other functional movement; the key is to make sure your heart rate goes up. The strategy is do the movement at 100% for 30 seconds then take a 30 second break resting. Perform this cycle 10 times and then you are done and can go for your walk or strength train. While you are burst training your body is burning sugar and later that day or night your body will convert over to fat burning, granted you stick to the diet above.

I will post a video about burst training on our Dr. Austin Cohen YouTube channel so you can see how this is done live.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4tOisrDo6NgYXQAfWgMqIA

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How To Perform Handstand Push-Ups

Movement of the Month:

Handstand Push-Ups

Why:

I selected handstand push-ups because regularly we see people coming into the office getting injured performing this move. The progressions are too quick and most people are not doing it properly to develop the correct technique. Handstand push-ups is a great movement when done correctly and can create massive strength and stability in the shoulder and core muscles.

Highlights of Video: 

Emily Bridgers from Crossfit Terminus was a D1 athlete on the Georgia gymnastics team. She is well known for her 2014 performance at the Crossfit Games where she finished in 6th place overall in the World for all females.

Emily’s 2 reasons people cannot do handstand push-ups:

1) Poor midline stability (weak core)
* Focus on strengthening core through planks/sit-ups/hollow rock/etc.

2) Poor overhead position with shoulders

Emily shared an amazing progression for learning handstand push-ups: 

1) Get into tripod position
* Hands at edge of abmat
* Head flat on abmat
* Walk feet in and find elbows to kneesScreen Shot 2014-09-24 at 10.11.39 PM
* Find resting position
* Balance here

Next progression:

2) Tripod to handstand
* Don’t touch wall

Next progression:

3) Tripod and use hips to explode up (similar to thruster)

 

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Chiropractic is crucial for athletes because of this (especially for golfers and crossfitters)

In March 2014, Tiger Woods underwent a medical procedure to relieve tension on the spinal nerve in his lower back. Tiger has been dealing with spinal problems for many years and likely not because he was born with a bad back but mostly because of all the stress loading from different forces. When Tiger swings a driver, he generates 140 mph of swing, and intense forces are loaded on his spine. In 2006, he would use a 2 iron and a 3 wood for some holes because they would create less force than the driver when swinging.

When a golfer swings a club, this create two forces: torque and axial loading.

Torque is when the body creates rotational or twisting movements. Excessive torque on the spine, combined with a lack of proper spinal care, can result in weakened discs, early degeneration, and herniation of the disc spaces. Torque is very common for baseball players, tennis players, and golfers, as they rotate their bodies a lot, creating the stress.

For people who do crossfit, they do not create a lot of torque on their body, but they do create the second force, known as axial loading. When a crossfitter does any olympic or power lift, they are placing a load on the spine, and this is usually negative. It’s not that lifting is negative, but people who have a misaligned spine make the lift negative. A person with a spine that is rotated or out of alignment is creating negative stresses placed upon the spine, and these can ultimately lead to disc herniations or bulging discs. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of the spinal nerves perceive pain, so feeling whether something is in or out of alignment is impossible.tigerhu1-0_standard_352-0

The only way to know whether the structure of your spine is in proper alignment is by seeing a chiropractor who is trained in biomechanics and corrective work.

The spine is meant to act as a shock absorber when dealing with both forces, and when it is in proper position, it can handle the loading. When the spine is not in its proper position, the forces act as a negative stress and place A LOT of heavy loading on the spine.

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Why kipping bothers me (especially pull-ups).

For those of us who do crossfit, we have all been there before.

We show up, and within the first couple weeks, we see the top people in the gym look like their having spasms while doing gymnastic movements. We ask the coach what this awkward movement is, and coach tells us they are “kipping.” We then say “I want to kip,” and either the good coach says “Let’s wait until you develop foundational strength and technique then graduate you to kipping,” or the bad coach says “hop on the bar and watch me.”

I feel this is one of the ways people think crossfit hurts people, and it is not because crossfit is hurting them but because their poor coaching is. It would be like saying running hurts people because your coach tells you to run 20 miles and you have never run more than 3 miles. Running is not the problem, but your awful coach who does not understand fitness is the problem.

For those that are newbies and just made their way to a crossfit gym because they are tired of only running, biking, or isolated movements, then the transition is not a direct A->Z but a progression of A->B->C->D>… Usually, when joining a box, the key is to work on technique and form first, then focus on strengthening the muscles in order to progress to more advanced levels.

The kipping motion is controversial on many fronts, and if you went to YouTube and read the comments below kipping videos, some comments can be harsh, but there’s definitely some slight truth to some of them.

The goal of kipping is to complete a workout faster and get a quicker time. That’s it! If your goal is to be top at your gym and have your name high up on the board, then proceed, but hopefully you have goals beyond times. Hopefully, you have goals of creating foundational strength so you can become better at daily fundamental movements such as sitting, lifting, bending, and walking. To me, this is the whole basis of crossfit and the principles it was created on.

My feeling is if you are new to crossfit, then you must go through progressions of movements before graduating to kipping. For example, in pull-ups the progression would go supine pull-ups to banded pull-ups to strict pull-ups and then to weighted pull-ups 543534_10150854386807266_923826651_nbefore moving on to kipping pull-ups. In the case of ring dips, it would start with banded dips then a minimum of 10 strict ring dips and then to kipping.

Kipping is now being used with almost every gymnastic move, such as: ring dips, pull-ups, toes to bar, muscle ups, handstand pushups, and anything else we can kip.

You joined a crossfit gym because you were tired of the status quo and wanted to challenge your body and soar to new heights in your fitness. I challenge you to take a step back and check in within yourself to see if you are skipping out on building strength in these movements ONLY so you can have a faster time that gets erased off the whiteboard every Sunday. Your goal should be long-term health and functional fitness so if you are not able to perform 10 of the movements above strictly, then maybe it’s time to go back a step.

What are your thoughts on kipping, and do you think people are jumping straight to kipping before they develop strength and technique in these movements?

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Triathletes better get down their squatting technique ASAP

The other day, I was in swim practice, and the workout was the type I would find in my crossfit gym.

The workout was:

5 rounds
     – Swim 50m (focusing on hip rotation)
     – 10 air squats 

It was a great workout to not only implement swimming technique but to focus on the quintessential functional movement.

I finished the first 50 meters a few seconds behind the leaders of the pack, and when I got out of the pool to do my air squats, I was stunned. I was watching some of the top swimmers in my swim practice, who are very fast and rank high during triathlons, literally suck at air squats.

Over 80% of them didn’t go below parallel, some were leaning forward and lost all core engagement, a lot of them favored one hip, and most had their knees go inwards (OUCH!). It was sad watching these amazing athletes, who can complete a 140-mile Ironman race, yet cannot do a proper squat.air_squat

Squats are the ultimate foundational movement for the human body, as we perform this movement dozens of time within a day without even realizing it. We get up from a chair, out of our cars, on and off the toilet, and bend down to pick up things.

What this tells me is that these athletes are great swimmers and specialize in a specific sport but cannot perform foundational movements.

It is crucial in order to become an overall and well-rounded athlete to be proficient at squats. Just being good at swimming can get you placed high at triathlons, but having a terrible squat and weak core increases your risk of injury from daily fundamental movements.

I recommend all triathletes who have never learned proper squatting or that can barely do 25 unbroken to watch a YouTube video on proper squat technique and go on a 30-day challenge.

 

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MJ

Movement of the Month – September 2014

Movement of the Month:

Running

Why:

I selected running because, as Fall approaches, many people will be getting outside and getting in some good runs before the cold. I also decided to implement running as most people don’t enjoy it or, if they see it in a workout, then they sometimes bail on the workout. Running should be fun and is a great movement if done efficiently. Coach Matt does an amazing job of giving 4 strategies for better running and 2 programs for the endurance athlete and the Crossfit athlete.

Highlights of Video: 

Coach Matt from Crossfit Terminus was a D1 athlete on the Georgetown track team, which was ranked Top 10 among all programs. Matt did the Leadville 100 race in 2008 and has trained countless people performing marathons and ultra-marathons. Currently, his record 800m (half-mile) is 1:50 and his 400m (1/4 mile) is 47 seconds. He is certified with Crossfit Endurance and recently trained athletes at the Crossfit Games. Bottom-line, Coach Matt knows his stuff.

Matt shared four strategies to becoming a better runner: 

A) Rotational Twisting – Many people are rotating their body when they run thinking they are helping with forward motion, but in fact, they are decreasing energy. Matt says to think of a forward motion and moving forward.

B) Tension in Shoulders – A lot people, when they see the workout includes running or they are not looking forward to the run, then they will round their shoulders and jut their head forward. Their shoulders stay up in their ears, and once again, they waste more energy in the run and fatigue earl.

C) Controlled Breathing – Coach Matt’s 3rd tip is about how breathing properly is crucial to an efficient run and not losing your pace. My favorite quote from Coach Matt is: “Breathing is not attached to the effort of your feet.” Many people follow the motion of their feet to control their pace, but staying centered and not letting your breath get out of control can keep you paced efficiently. When I ran a 7:30 pace for 3 miles with Matt, he kept telling me, “Reset your breathing; reset your breathing.” I would take a deep breath and get refocused and maintain pace. Check out this YouTube link to watch Rudisha set the World Record in the 800m, and see how smooth is breathing is – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKEOjWEzVGs

D) Bending Knees for Fluid Run – Think of yourself as a marionette puppet where your arm drives up on one side and leg comes up on the other side. You are letting your hamstring do all the work to bring your foot off the ground. If you are not pulling with your MJhamstring then the hip flexor is doing all the work.

Training Protocols: 

Half-marathon:

1) Long Run: Should be a max of 10 miles on Saturday or Sunday
2) Short Run: * Always half of a long run and should be 5 miles.
* Warm-Up for 1 mile
* Pace the middle 3 miles at 80% of your goal for the half-marathon time.
* Cool down 1 mile
3) Curveball Run: Complete 7 miles total
* Warm up for 1 mile
* Do 10x800m runs at half the mile PR. Example: If your 1 mile PR is 6:00 minutes, then run each 800m at 3:00
minutes.
* Take a 2:00 minute break between each 800m. The goal is to get down to 45 seconds of rest between each 800m but
keep the same pace.

Crossfit Athletes:

1) Determine running PRs
A) 400 meter
B) 800 meter:
C) 1 Mile:
D) 2 Mile:

2) Workout Once a Week
A) Include workouts such as Jerry’s (1 mile run, 2k row, 1 mile run)
B) 8–10 x 400m (Go every 3 minutes. Quicker runs lead to longer breaks. Example: finish 400m in 1:30, then you have 1:30 to rest.)

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A strong quality Crossfit Games athlete Emily Bridgers brings to the table

On July 24th, I took a trip to the Crossfit games in Los Angeles to support and take care of one of our clients, Emily Bridgers. The Crossfit Games are the mecca for fitness, where the top athletes in the world come to compete for a chance to win $275,000. Emily has been under chiropractic care in my office for some time, and I have learned valuable lessons watching her train and compete.

Let me preface by saying that Emily is one of the humblest people I know and a person you would never guess just by talking to is the 6th fittest woman in the world. The day after she won 1st place at the Southeast Regionals, she humbly posted about one of her clients IMG_2905online, who was finally able to perform an advanced movement. Instead of selfishly promoting herself as the top Crossfit female in the Southeast, she was selflessly excited for one of her client’s successes.

Her qualities go beyond humility, however; like other professional athletes and successful business people, she is amazingly committed to her goals. When Emily says she is going to do something, she does it with full energy and intent. She has been training 4 years with the same coach, and they have been tirelessly working together to get her to the point where she is now. This summer, with a schedule filled with travel and weddings, she did not stop training but figured out how, when, and where she would work out before she arrived at each destination.

In 2012 and 2013, she placed 4th at Regionals and was 1 spot away from going to the Crossfit Games. Since 2013’s close finish, nearly making it to the Crossfit Games, she committed herself to the process of getting better. Further, instead of taking time away from training after a season of almost making it to the Crossfit Games, she went directly back to her routine and trained harder than ever on not only her strengths but also her weaknesses.

Emily’s commitment and humility should be an inspiration for all of us. Take a look at your life, and see what areas need more commitment or a change. What do you need to do to live a more prosperous life on a daily basis and move to the next level?

Like Emily, who was 1 place away from making it to the next level in her career and could be there by tweaking a few things, most of us are so close to the next level in our happiness, career, wealth, and relationships, that by just creating a stronger  commitment, we can break through to that level.

For me, in 2012 when I was waking up at 5:30 AM, going to yoga at 6:00 AM, and then doing Crossfit 5 days a week, that was when I felt and looked my best.I have definitely been at the next level, and since writing this article, I have recommitted myself to going back to that routine.

I would love to hear from you in the comments section about what you can recommit to in your life and steps you need to implement to go to the next level.