Decoding Pain: Discomfort V. Dysfunction

Scenario:  You are mid WOD.  It's rough.  You are 7 overhead squats in on your last round.  You have 3 left before you go on your run.  Cue a numbness in your right thumb and a twinging pain in your wrist and forearm.  Do you stop?  Or do you suck it up and do your last 3 squats?

Rarely do people elect to not finish a workout.  And why would they?  CrossFit is designed to push our limits - so working through a little discomfort is just part of the deal - right?  ...Well?  Yes and no.  It is important to know the difference between discomfort and dysfunction.

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Discomfort is the result of challenging your physical capacity.  It's a natural part of high intensity workouts.  Working through your discomfort causes physical adaptation and mental fortitude.  Finishing despite it means next time you will be faster and stronger.  Discomfort, and learning to deal with it, is good.

Dysfunction on the other hand is trouble.  It is the pain signifying technical faults, mobility limitations, and improper muscle firing.  The pains of dysfunction are little red flags, which if ignored, lead down the path to injury.

The trouble is, both discomfort and dysfunction can cause pain.  Actively listening to your body's signals is the first step diagnosing and handle pain appropriately.  When you feel something start to hurt, take a quick mental second to check in.  Is this good pain or bad pain?  Is something wrong or do you just need to suck it up? For example, in the scenario above, you should have the awareness to stop yourself before you injure yourself. You might be strong, fast, and fiercely fit, but you're not immune to injury. 

Can't tell the difference? Consult your coach! Ego and competitive drive can fog your decision-making.  Eat a bite of humble pie and ensure you are healthy to WOD another day!

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

The stuff we do in the gym can be intimidating. Think back to your first days of CrossFit and the wide eyes you had at what people were doing. This week's Awesome had that look... for a minute :-) But at some point that look changed to "I'm gonna do that." Kristina isn't afraid of her weaknesses; she sees them as an opportunity. That's the kind of Awesome that gives me goosebumps. A busy job doesn't keep her from getting in her Barbell WOD, even if it's on her own before class. Friday night mobility, personal training sessions... whatever it takes. Then workouts come up that ARE in her wheelhouse, like 17.1, and the wide eyes are pointed at her. Get to know a bit about this bold, fierce, determined athlete:

Name: Kristina Dahlberg
Nickname / Alter Ego: Dahlbeezy or Xtina
Hometown: Vashon Island, Washington
Occupation: Accounting at Atlassian
When did you first start CrossFitting? 2016
When did you first start CrossFitting at UB? 2016
Favorite WOD: I like those long terrible ones that you think there is no way you'll get through. Like filthy fifty. You feel so accomplished afterwards.
Least favorite WOD: probably HSPUs and running. 
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? I always thought of myself as unathletic and purposely avoided any group fitness activities... I had a friend who loved CrossFit though and I decided it'd be good for me to face my fears, get over it and just go.
What is an unexpected way CrossFit has affected your life? There are points in a WOD when you don't think you can get through but you're able to draw on something deep and keep going. This has taught me that my biggest limitation is my mind and my mentality rather than my true physical ability.
What’s your favorite sport, if any?  Are there any sports with dogs? Dog sledding?
What’s one goal you have for this year, physical or non-physical? Looks like I'm going to have to roll over the pull-up goal to next year but I did succeed in getting my scuba diving license!
If you could be any super hero, who would you be? Mystique - the ability to impersonate anyone would be extremely handy. Though unlikely to be used for good.
If you could spend an evening with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why? Alan Turing comes to mind... he seems super interesting and had a really rough ending. I'd love to tell the guy hey you'll be exonerated someday.

Food for Thought: 5 Easy Ways to Eat More Vegetables

A post from Well Fed to remind us all that we are never too old to be reminded to eat our veggies...

It makes me giggle when I see paleo depicted as running around barefoot, gnawing on a rib in one hand and a rasher of bacon in the other. I’ve eaten more vegetables since adopting paleo than ever before in my life.

I eat more veggies than most of the vegetarians I know!

But that doesn’t mean getting in all the veggies just happens. I’ve got to be deliberate! Over the years, I’ve developed a few tricks that make it easier—and delicious—to get veggies at every meal. And if you need inspiration to expand your vegetable repertoire—you do have a vegetable repertoire, right?!—you might want to read my post Taste the Rainbow.

Now, on to my tricks…

1. A bed of baby spinach.

A few handfuls of baby spinach taste great under just about anything! Spinach is packed with iron, calcium, anti-oxidants, magnesium, and vitamins C, E, A, and K—and baby spinach tastes so mild, you’ll barely notice it under your food. Just place 1-2 cups of fresh leaves on a plate or bowl and top with whatever hot food you’re eating. The heat wilts the spinach to just the right degree. And bam! instant nutritional wallop. Try it under a stir fry, curry, chili, soup, stew, grilled meat… everything.

2. Smooth veggie soup.

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Smooth veggie soups are my favorite because you can eat them from a bowl with a spoon, or sip from a mug—any time of day. (They’re really nice at breakfast in the winter!) I cook a batch of my Silky Gingered Zucchini Soupwith homemade bone broth every week, then we eat it as a first course at dinner every night. That’s some serious gut-healing and veggie power! My Golden Cauliflower Soup is also a creamy-smooth option. You might also try Stupid Easy Paleo’s Creamy Broccoli Soup from her brilliant The Performance Paleo Cookbook or Nom Nom Paleo Carrot Cardamom Soup from Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans.

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3. Snack on raw veggies while you cook.

A bell pepper cut into strips, cucumber slices, some carrot sticks, a handful of snap peas… these are all awesome snacks to nosh on while you make a meal. Just wash and cut your favorite veggie as the first step in making your meal, then snack on it while you prepare your “real food.”

4. Salad for breakfast.

One of my favorite breakfasts is a cold plate of cooked protein—roast chicken, hard-boiled eggs, steamed shrimp, a can of kipper snacks or smoked oysters—arranged with raw veggies, nuts or coconut flakes, a few olives. If I’m feeling fancy, I whirl a batch of Sunshine Sauce for dipping. You might also try a bed of salad greens like spring mix or baby spinach topped with fried eggs (and bacon, for bonus points) and Zingy Ginger Dressing(which is also made of vegetables).

5. The Secret Ingredient in ground meat.

I discovered this trick while developing one of the recipes for our next cookbook, and it’s a winner! To add vegetables to your protein and make a comforting, tender pile of meat, add grated cauliflower to ground meat while you cook it. Just grate the cauliflower in the food processor like you would for cauliflower rice and set aside. Brown and season ground meat, any kind will do: beef, turkey, lamb, pork, bison. I like to season each pound of meat with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic powder. When the meat is no longer pink, add the grated cauliflower, stir to combine, and sauté until the cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes. Think about the exponential veggie power you can consume if you then plop that meat on top of baby spinach. BLAMMO!

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

It’s not every day that I see a transfer from another box with a way of being that tugs on my soul.  This yogi has an incredible contagious smile that is genuine all of the time.  When I first had her in my class, I knew UB was lucky to have welcomed her to San Francisco as I saw her cheering for other members whom she had just met for the first time without needing any reminders or encouragement to do so.  She’s also attended a number of local competitions to cheer our athletes on with her incredible spirit and positivity.  In this interview you’ll learn about what commitment means to her and how she hammers away at something until she gets the result she wants.  I’m sure this mentality shows up in many other areas of her life.  I am filled with gratitude to have the honor and privilege of highlighting… the one… the only… Kim!

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Name: Kim

Hometown: Boston, MA

Occupation: Relationship Manager for State State Street Global Advisors

When did you first start CrossFitting? April 2016

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit?  I had been curious about CrossFit for a while but, as a yogi, didn’t think the two could coexist (turns out they are the perfect compliment).  My roommate in Boston convinced me to sign up for a month long onramp at CrossFit Southie and I was hooked after the first movement and enamored by the energy and athleticism of the community in Southie.

Favorite WOD:  12 days of Christmas and the hero WOD “Wood,” which was my first real WOD after my onramp. We strolled into the box and this kid Jason looked at us and was like “umm did you even look at the WOD before you came?! It’s a hero WOD” (insert genuinely concerned emoji). I’ve done it now three times (it was “coincidentally” my going away WOD from Southie) and from there on out it’s been a personal benchmark.

Least Favorite WOD:  Anything that is a sub 8 minute sprint (a la Diane or Fran). I’d much rather a 30 minute chipper.

What is an unexpected way CrossFit has affected your life?  I can’t imagine my life without the friends I have made at CrossFit and the community that pushes me past my expectations every time (unless I’m sandbagging it)  

What made you realize UB was the right CrossFit home for you? I dropped in to a Wednesday night class with Nikki and happened to catch Jenny there. Her energy, excitement, and knowledge had me hooked.  When she said that a pillar of UB is family, I knew it was the place for me. The structure of the classes, the community, the coaches, and the toaster out back (Gill knows what I’m talking about) reminded me so much of my old box and knew it was the fit fam I wanted to be a part of.

What kind of activity or work do you do that really lights you up and makes you feel alive on the inside?  Surfing and skiing

What’s your definition of greatness?  An unwavering commitment to your craft/passions, continuous curiosity for improvement, and the selflessness to share with others. I realize that’s a super deep definition haha... I should have given a warning that I’m currently in Nosara, Costa Rica for my 4th yoga and surfing retreat with Rolf Gates and Richard Schmidt, who are both two of the greatest in their crafts and I had a chance to reflect on this question after an epic day in the surf.  Rolf (my yoga teacher, mentor, and acclaimed author) and Richard Schmidt (who is one of the greatest big wave surfers and one of the first to surf Mavericks) both exude the qualities of that definition. I have found that the UB community, coaches and athletes alike, also fall into that definition and continue to inspire me.

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What’s something incredible that became possible for you?  My first pull-up!! Turns out lat strength is critical for them... 🤦🏻‍♀️. Shout out to Christopher C, who spent countless extra hours at UB with me out back after WODs coaching me to my goal through targeted ancillary work, Instagram videos, and straight up just making me jump on the bar and give it some (failed) pulls.  Also shout out to Coach Max and Sam who witnessed all those failed pull-ups but continuously cheered me on and finally called “it’s good!” for my first pull-up (pictured here).  

Food for Thought: Pot Roast in the Instant Pot

Were you one of the many who finally got their Instant Pot on Black Friday?  Are you looking for ways to take advantage of its awesomeness and make something you delicious?  Well here is a pot roast recipe from PaleOMG to get you started:

Pot Roast in the Instant Pot

  • Prep Time 20 minutes
  • Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time 1:50
  • Serves 5-6    

Instructions

  1. Press Sauté function on instant pot*. Once hot, add ghee. Salt outside of the chuck roast then place in basin of the instant pot and sear chuck roasts on all sides, about 5-7 minutes a side.
  2. Once chuck roast is completely seared, remove and set aside. Press keep warm/cancel on instant pot. Place all veggies in the instant pot. Use a knife to cut 5 small holes in the chuck roast and press the garlic cloves into each hole. Place the chuck roast on top of the veggies.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the beef brothcoconut aminostomato pastered pepper flakes and a large pinch of salt and pepper.  Pour mixture into the instant pot. Use twine to tie together sage, thyme and rosemary then add that to the instant pot, as well.
  4. Secure lid, close off pressure valve then press manual to high pressure and press the up button until the time hits 90 minutes. Once time is up, quick release to let pressure out then remove lid. 
  5. Remove chuck roast from instant pot, cut twine and use two forks to shred the meat. Strain vegetables from liquid and add the meat to the vegetables. Before serving, pour some of the liquid from the instant pot over meat. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 4 pound chuck roast, wrapped in twine
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 russet potatoes, rinsed and cubed
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup peas
  • 28 ounces beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 sage leaves, bundled
  • 5 thyme sprigs, bundled
  • 5 rosemary sprigs, bundled
  • fresh parsley, to garnish
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Try Something New

Take a second to remember how you felt when you walked into a CrossFit gym the first time.  Were you intimidated?  Excited?  Ready to take on whatever was thrown at you?  Since then you have WODded with the best of them, growing faster, stronger, leaner, and ready to take life on head first.  We love that.  After all, that's what CrossFit was originally designed for.. to make you better at life.

So the question is, now that you have reached new capacities, what have you tried that you wouldn't have before?  Was it competing (another shout out to the many teams at the Jigsaw competition, lifters at SPS Rite of Passage)?  Maybe it was a tough mudder, 1/2 marathon, an experiment with 30s day of paleo...etc.? 

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Whatever you have taken the time to try, I am challenging you to go further.  Dig deeper.  Find something you would have never given a second thought to before, and try it.  Whether it's trying trapeze, snowboarding, doing the 2018 CrossFit Open, joining an intramural sport, jumping out of a plane, or starting a dodgeball team... get after it.  Know what it is already?  Post to comments and let your UB family hold you accountable!  Still have commitment jitters?  Enroll a buddy to do it with you!  Who knows?  You won't unless you try.

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

If everyone approached life (and their WODs) like this week's awesome, the world would be a more zestful place with the sun shining just a bit brighter.  

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Robbie A. is the kind of athlete who shows up to class to get shit done.  He is committed and hungry for gains.  He will gladly take on a show-down, even if he's just up against himself.  At "3, 2, 1, Go!" the world goes quiet, and he is 100% focus.  That said, don't let his profound mid-WOD intensity fool you. Robbie might be stone-faced about his workout, but he is all sunshine and witty rainbows the rest of the day.  He brings levity to class and is eager to cheer on a classmate or greet a new face.  Robbie knows whether to turn the dial turn up the volume on the intensity V. the fun.... That makes this man awesome in my books!

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