The Zone Diet Explained


The Zone Diet Explained

What is the ZONE Diet all about? and does it work? Most definitely! Check out this article by: Crossfit Impulse.


Most serious CrossFitters adhere to either the Paleo Diet, the Zone Diet, or some blend of the two. Christina and Jeff Barnett have compiled some information on the Zone Diet to make it easy for anyone to understand, complete with a thorough Zone block chart and pictures of example Zone meals. While we actually recommend first focusing on quality of food by shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, balancing your portions and carb/protein/fat intake with the Zone is an incredibly valuable tool for both elite athletes seeking the best CrossFit diet and everyday people seeking weight loss. To take your nutrition to the next level you need the hormonal balance that the Zone Diet provides.  Read on to find out more, and when you’re done use this PDF file to find the block equivalent of most common foods.  It’s even color-coded! Figuring out your perfect 4 block zone dinner couldn’t be easier. crossfit diet

Diet comes from the Greek language and means “way of life”. A diet is a lifestyle–not a set of draconian rules that you blindly follow. The Zone Diet controls gene expression and hormonal balance to give you the longer and better life to which we all aspire.


The Zone diet is primarily concerned with controlling your hormones.  Hormonal balance affects all important components of your wellness: body composition, energy utilization, blood chemistry, and much more.  Food is a drug.  This may seem shocking, but think about the definition of a drug.  Loosely, ingesting drugs causes physiological changes in your body.  Ingesting food has the same effect.  It can bring about positive or negative changes in your body.  Would you take 17 Tylenol capsules for a headache?  Would you consume expired, low-quality medicine?  Of course not.  Then why should we expect different results when we feed our bodies 17 times our necessary food intake, and comprise our diet of low-quality processed garbage with no nutritional value?  You see the results of this lifestyle in America today.

The Zone Diet isn’t about eating “low-carb” or “high-protein” or anything like that. It’s a diet balanced in

• Protein (lean, natural meats are preferred)

• Carbs (mostly low glycemic-load fruits and vegetables)

• Fat (one of the most important macronutrients!)

With the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats, you can control three major hormones generated by the human diet – insulin, glucagon and eicosanoids.

Insulin – A storage hormone. Excess insulin makes you fat and keeps you fat. It also accelerates silent inflammation.

Glucagon – A mobilization hormone that tells the body to release stored carbohydrates at a steady rate, leading to stabilized blood sugar levels. This is key for optimal mental and physical performance.

Eicosanoids – These are the hormones that ultimately control silent inflammation. They are also master hormones that indirectly orchestrate a vast array of other hormonal systems in your body.


Intro to Zone Living

A One Block meal consists of one choice from the Protein List (pink), one from the Carbohydrate List (blue) and one from the Fat List (green).

A Two Block meal consists of 2 choices from each list.

A Three Block meal consists of 3 choices from each list…and so on.

You can mix and match blocks as you wish.  If you aren’t very hungry when you first wake up, then a 2 block meal might be just right for you, perhaps with a 3 block lunch and dinner. Or maybe you prefer to start your day with 3 blocks and have a lighter dinner or lunch.

Here is a sample menu of a possible routine (times can be adjusted 30 minutes or so either way):

7:30 am          10am           1:00pm         3:30pm         6:30pm        9pm/9:30 (bedtime)

bkfst                snack            lunch                 snack             dinner               snack

2 Block           1 Block         3 Block         1 Block           3 Block           1 Block    = 11 total

10 to 11 blocks of balanced food is about right for a small woman.  Feel free to experiment with your number of daily blocks and move them around as you see fit.  Every athlete is different.  The below chart will also help you determine your block requirements.


You don’t have to set alarms. The point is to develop the habit of eating at regular intervals so your hormones are balanced all day. Eat within an hour of waking up in the morning, don’t go more than 4 hours without eating something, and eat a snack before you go to sleep so you have some fuel to dream on.

Buying a digital food scale is a great idea since it makes measuring blocks fast and easy. Use “tare” to make it even easier, and you won’t have to use math at all!  Put your plate on the scale and hit the tare button. It subtracts the weight of the plate and makes the scale read zero. Measure out one of the items. Hit the tare button and again it starts you at zero once more for the next item. Finally your plate will be full of all your foods, all measured individually, but all on one plate. Very easy!

After about a month you’ll be able to “eyeball” the food and you won’t need to measure precisely anymore…unless you’re having something new you’ve never measured into blocks.

Don’t worry too much about being exact; this isn’t a chemistry test!  You’re never going to eat many of the items on the list anyway, and some items you like to eat may not be on the list, but you can find out how to convert anything into blocks.

One last thing: Read the label on already prepared foods you like.

7 grams of protein = 1 block.     14 grams = 2 blocks.      21 grams = 3 blocks.

9 grams of carbs    = 1 block.     18 grams = 2 blocks.      27 grams = 3 blocks.

1.5 grams of fat  = 1 block.        3 grams = 2 blocks.        4.5 grams = 3 blocks.

For example, if you get a snack bar that says:

8 grams of protein

29 grams of carbohydrates

6 grams of fat


You should count this as a carbohydrate and not worry about the protein and fat in the snack bar. You must be careful not to micromanage your nutrients.  If you incorrectly count all of the macronutrients in this snack bar (~1 block of protein, ~3 blocks carbs, ~4 blocks fat) then you will end up underfed and driving yourself crazy.   In the case of this snack bar you should just count it as 3 blocks of carbohydrates. Add 3 blocks of protein and fat for a complete 3 block meal.  This takes practice and can be frustrating at times, but the results will make the effort worthwhile!

I hope you feel as good as I do living “in the Zone”.  Below you can see some examples of Zone-friendly meals, including a 2, 3, and 4 block zone dinner that will perfectly complement your CrossFit diet!

2 Block Meal


  • 2 eggwhites & 2 turkey links

  • 2 small tomatoes or one large tomato

  • 1 tsp cashew butter (1000mg fish oil not counted)

3 Block Meal


  • 6.7 oz cottage cheese

  • .5oz (1/8 cup) rolled oats, 3.7 oz (1 cup) strawberries, & 2.4 oz blueberries

  • 9 cocoa almonds

4 Block Meal


  • 4 eggwhites, 2 turkey links, 1 oz cheese

  • 2 cups strawberries & ½ oat pita

  • 12 cocoa almonds

4 Block Meal


  • 4.5 oz chicken meat & 1 oz cheese

  • 1 whole oat pita

  • 12 cocoa almonds

4 Block Meal


  • 6 oz grilled fish

  • 36 asparagus spears and 1 cup mushrooms

  • 2 teaspoons of cashew butter

Finally, buying natural, paleo-friendly foods (shop the perimeter of the grocery store) and preparing for the week is a great way to ensure success:


Much of this information is derived and paraphrased from the Zone Diet website here.







This article is going to be plain vanilla. No stories, motivational ideas, or team building strategies in here. Nope, this one is just a straightforward article about how to add complexes into your training.


Back in the late 80s, a Romanian coach named Istvan Javorek came to the United States and got a job working as a strength coach at Johnson County Community College in Kansas. Javorek was a big believer in complexes, which are barbell exercises that combine multiple movements into the same set. He used them extensively with the athletes he trained, and their popularity spread throughout the lifting community.


Here’s an extremely simple example of a complex: Power Snatch + Hang Snatch + Snatch + Overhead Squat


In other words, you’re performing all four of these movements without stopping. You do a power snatch, lower the bar down to the hang position and do a hang snatch, drop the bar and then go straight into a regular full snatch, and then do an additional overhead squat while you’ve already got the bar overhead. Then you drop the bar, and you’re done. That’s one rep. If you completed a set of three reps, you would basically be doing twelve movements (3 reps x 4 movements per rep = 12).


You’re doing these movements without stopping, but it’s not a timed-for-speed thing. Don’t go sprinting through a bunch of sloppy touch-and-go reps like a jackass. Every movement should be done with strict, correct technique. The amount of time between each movement should be just enough to make sure you’re properly set and ready to execute it.


There’s basically no limit to how you can use these, or how long/short you can make them. How much weight should you use? That depends on the type of complex. A general rule is this:


-       Long complexes = lighter weights

-       Short complexes = heavier weights


A short complex would be something like Hang Clean + Clean


Since this one only incorporates two movements, you would probably be able to use fairly heavy weights.


A long complex would be something like Clean Deadlift + Hang Clean + Power Clean + Clean + Front Squat


This one incorporates five movements, so the weights would need to be lighter. (As with everything, you can get carried away. Don’t go nuts and start designing complexes that incorporate nine different movements, at least not with the Olympic lifts.)


Got the basic idea? Cool. Now, here are a few complexes that have some value, in my opinion:


-       Clean Deadlift to the knees with two-second pause + Clean + Front Squat

o   The first movement should be paused right below the knee cap.

-       Hip Snatch + Snatch + Overhead Squat + Drop Snatch

o   Don’t confuse the Drop Snatch with the Snatch Balance. The Drop Snatch has no dip-and-drive at the beginning. Using a Drop Snatch in this complex will almost guarantee you’ll have to use light weights. But it’s a long complex anyway, so that’s part of the idea.

-       Behind-the-neck Jerk + Push Jerk + Jerk

o   The second and third movements are performed from the front of the shoulders.

-       3-position Snatch Pull + Hip Snatch + Snatch

-       Power Clean + Clean + Jerk

-       Snatch + Hip Snatch + Snatch

-       Front Squat + Jerk


Now, let’s have a Frequently Asked Questions section:


Can you use straps on these? Sure, if you want to. Personally, I like to stay away from straps in general, except for pulling assistance movements. There’s no reason you couldn’t perform these complexes without straps, although they could be really helpful when a completed snatch has to be lowered back down to hang or hip position.


How often should you incorporate them into your training? There’s no definitive guideline on that, but I think once a week is plenty.


Can you use jerk boxes for the jerk complexes? Yes. I personally hate jerk boxes, but I know they have some value and there are some successful programs that use them.


How many total sets/reps of these should I do in a workout? Like complexes themselves, there are several possibilities for sets and reps. If you’re using them as assistance after training a primary competition lift, I would use 4-5 sets of 2-3 reps. If you’re making them the primary lift of a workout, you could go up to 6-8 sets. The most important guideline is to make sure your technique stays correct. If you’re loading up the volume to the point where your form gets sloppy, you need to back it down. You don’t gain anything in this sport by practicing crappy movements.


What’s the main benefit of complexes? There are a few ways to answer that. First, there’s a conditioning factor. And when we use the word “conditioning” with weightlifters, we’re not talking about jogging for miles. We’re talking about building up a work capacity that directly applies to the Olympic lifts. Second, I think you can gain a lot of control over your technique by using complexes. Because you have to perform different movements in succession, your body develops a wider range of mastery. Third, complexes can provide a mental break from attacking heavy snatches and clean and jerks all the time. It can be good for variety, plain and simple.


Can I do complexes with dumbbells or kettlebells? Sure. You can do them with rocks or dead animal carcasses, as far as I’m concerned. But this is an article about Olympic weightlifting, so we’re staying with the barbell.


Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying complexes are the magic secret that will take you from a 80 kg snatch to a 115 kg snatch. To get that kind of progress, you have to spend a lot of time practicing snatches and increasing your squatting/pulling strength. Personally, I used complexes during the early years of my career. In my prime years, I didn’t do them at all.


Plus, you have to take a look at how much training time you have each week and rank your priorities. If you don’t know how to do the snatch and clean & jerk correctly and you only get a couple of chances during the week to work on them, you’d better spend most of your time doing the snatch and clean & jerk.


But when the time is right, these little suckers can really hit the spot.






We all know the head, shoulders, knees and toes song, but do you really know what holds your muscles and organs together? More importantly, why it’s so important to take care of this mystical thing called fascia? As a chiropractor and box owner, I’ve spent a lot of time understanding, treating and preventing injuries associated with fascia overuse, inflammation, and immobility. In this article, I’ll take a deep dive into what fascia is, its function, what we’re doing at CrossFit 312 to prevent fascia-based injuries and how we treat these injuries at Chicago Institute of Natural Health.

What is Fascia?
Fascia is the connective tissue that forms webs or bands beneath the skin to attach, stabilize, enclose and separate muscles and other internal organs. Fascia has the ability to move—it can contract and relax on its own. Fascia is intertwined throughout the body from the foot (plantar fascia) all the way to the eyebrows (cranial fascia), and is one of the biggest sensory organs in the human body. Which is why it’s no surprise that it’s often the main source of referral pain.

When explaining fascia and its connection to muscles, one can compare the anatomy of the body to that of an orange. The juice of an orange is self-contained in compartments that appear to be a matrix of fibers, or in our body’s case, connective tissue. The skin of the orange can be peeled off to show the connective support structures that hold the fluid in. This resembles our bodies’ fascia and is very similar to a dissection in an anatomy lab. In order to access the “juice” –our organs and muscles–large amounts of the white, maze-like fascia have to be removed.

Some people may find it easier to imagine just taking off the skin of the fruit and leaving it to dry for a few days before trying to squeeze it. You’ll probably notice that you get less fluid out of it and a lot less mobility. The same thing happens to your muscles when they are left to dry and not moved around frequently — which is why movement, mobility and hydration are important factors when it comes to keeping fascia healthy.

CrossFit and Fascia, an unlikely partnership.
As CrossFitters, we all know that feeling – the feeling that you’ve just been hit by a bus the day after an intense, exhausting workout. That feeling is fascial tightness. It occurs when adhesions form in the body due to inflammation, immobility and micro-injuries caused by overloading and stress (both physical and psychological). This leads to a pain response by the body which can radiate away from the spot of initial injury.

Typically, I treat CrossFitters whose pain is located in their lower backs, hips and shoulders. Rarely do these athletes pinpoint exactly where their pain is. Instead I often hear “it hurts here and wraps around there, and sometimes goes here.” We call this referring pain, which stems from the stranglehold the fascia puts on the surrounding nerves and blood vessels.

The easiest example of experiencing fascial tightness is after a workout that involves moderate to heavy deadlifts at high repetitions, as is the case in “Diane.” Throughout the workout, the muscles become overworked, but the fascia has also taken on a heavy workload over the course of 45 deadlifts. Not only can you experience pain and achiness, but the area of fascia that’s being strained has an attachment point to fibers that travel all the way up the back and into your shoulders, decreasing your shoulder and upper spine mobility.

Fascia can also generate power and can absorb a good amount of force when asked too. The thoracolumbar fascia (located around the lower back and pelvis) can disperse force in explosive movements such as the third pull in a snatch. It can also act as a shock absorber in certain movements like descending into a squat, or the receiving position of a heavy clean. The only problem is that we can’t actively train our fascia to do all of this. Instead we just have to make sure it is free to move, hydrated and ready to go.

Is CrossFit bad for the body’s fascia?
To put it simply, no, that’s not what I’m saying at all. As a physician, I believe CrossFit is one of the best types of exercise programs  you can do to help live a happy, healthy life. And as a box owner and long-time CrossFitter, I couldn’t agree more.

As long as you take the proper precautions to warm-up and keep your core engaged throughout the entire workout you will minimize your risk of injury. I’ve talked to many Regional and Games athletes who have all told me that their warm-ups for short benchmark workouts (Fran, Diane, Grace) are usually between 20-30 minutes! Imagine how much better prepared you would be as an athlete and CrossFitter if you or your box took mobility as seriously as some of the world’s fittest.

At CrossFit 312, our goal is to get our athletes primed for whatever movements they will be doing for the day. We implement a dynamic warm-up that gets the heart rate elevated first, and then goes into some coordination and agility drills that will get the muscles, fascia and central nervous system stimulated while reducing the risk of injury and increasing performance. We do a lot of skipping, high knees and backpedaling followed by handstand holds, hollow rocks and depth drops off a box to prime the body for absorbing shock and load. We also do banded pull aparts to initiate scapular retraction and shoulder mobility.

Fascia Do’s and Don’ts
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – did I get the point across? Muscles and surrounding tissues are made up of 75% water, which means they need to be constantly hydrated  to avoid tissue damage. Dehydration can lead to faster muscle fatigue, friction in the joints, muscles and fascia–all of which can severely affect performance.

Tip: Aim to drink 50-75% of your body weight in ounces of water, daily. In addition, be sure to drink at least 8-16 ounces 30 minutes before your workout. Adequate amounts of water will also help speed up recovery times overall.

Make mobility a priority – Get to class early to stretch, mobilize and utilize the movement tools at your facility prior to class. While most boxes have a set warm up, they aren’t designed to address your specific mobility issues. Grab a foam roller, a lacrosse ball and some bands – it’s your time to work out all the kinks in your muscles/fascia.

Don’t forget about proper nutrition and supplements – a high-quality omega-3 fatty acid supplement (fish oil) is your best friend. It helps with a number of bodily functions including a decrease in inflammation, increases in cardiovascular function and promotes healthy energy levels to name a few.

Tip: I use Stronger Faster Healthier’s ( SO3+D3 Omega-3 Oil because of its high-quality ingredients and extra dose of vitamin D.

The “No pain, no gain” theory – Mobilizing isn’t always going to feel great but if you are having intense pain, burning, or other weird sensations it is best to stop and seek professional care.

Rolling the IT Band – The IT band is a fibrous tissue, meaning it is made of hard connective tissue and is an extension of the tensor fascia latae muscle that starts at the top of our hip. While rolling this band of fascia you may notice it resembles a gravel road with lots of bumps and turns. This is because the cells that comprise the band are formed that way. There is no elasticity to the IT band at all and by rolling it out you are probably just causing more micro trauma to the tissues under it.

The Fix: Try a dynamic warm-up like a Karaoke or a side lunge to facilitate some motion into the hip joint and surrounding tissues.

Smashing or rolling the Plantar Fascia – Doing these techniques will not make the tissue longer and will cause more pain in the process.

The Fix: Barefoot walking, take a frozen water bottle and gently roll up and down the foot with minimal pressure. Use a softer ball like a tennis ball to roll the surrounding tissue and relieve some of the tension.

Smashing the Psoas (the muscle that sits on our low back and attaches to the hip) – The Psoas can be tight on CrossFitters, but getting deep into the stomach and organs with kettlebells and other tools isn’t a good idea–especially when your biggest artery, the Aorta, is hanging out right there. It is best to see a professional to get this released properly.

The Fix: Like other physicians, I use Active Release Techniques® to fully facilitate and release the tension that builds up at my practice. Hanging from the pull-up bar for a short period will also help decompress the lumbar spine and release some of the surrounding musculature.





By Chris Espinosa

There is a strange paradox that develops in CrossFit athletes, from high-level performers to weekend warriors. Their training - or overtraining - crushes their bodies, but they are still able to perform at an amazing level.

Actually, this isn’t such a crazy paradox as we see it in a lot of populations faced with fight-or-flight situations. The body can push through in order to survive, but typically these scenarios are not sustained like they are with CrossFit Games-bound athletes.

But while these athletes can turn the engine on and get the job done, they are setting the stage for a system-wide breakdown. In the case of many high-level CrossFitters, there is poor focus on absolute recovery and this leads to serious health complications as their training career progresses.

The Breakdown of the System

In 2013 my coach, Brad Davidson, and I had the opportunity to work with the top three female winners of the CrossFit Games regarding their nutrition and supplementation. Since then, we have worked with several more top athletes, typically referred to us once they have become broken.

After a long period of under-recovery, an athlete will hear about how we correct major physiological damage, call us, work with us, recover, and then typically place high in their choice of competition. Brad is even considered a secret-weapon for a lot of CrossFitters.

"Pushing high intensity exercise with poor recovery isn’t really doable - or even recommended."

Pushing high intensity exercise with poor recovery isn’t really doable - or even recommended. Instead, we first stress the importance of recovery with our athletes. Training is only as good as the recovery. If you are under-recovered, your training doesn’t cause beneficial progression. It causes the body to enter survival mode.

We have noticed this inability to recover not only in high-level CrossFit competitors but also in the average athlete. So much energy is spent on the WOD that the time in the remainder of the day just isn’t there for recovery. Or worse yet, an athlete may just not know how to recover. Nutrition is weak, supplements are whatever the gym sells, and mobility means watching a five-minute video with a sweet-talking guy in San Fran but the athlete doesn’t actually do what he says. 


Case Study on Poor Recovery

When Brad got the initial phone call from Kim (name changed), she shared a whole list of negative symptomology. Zero energy, no sex drive, no desire to train, hair loss, inability to breathe properly, always feeling cold, loss of hearing, inability to get out of bed for hours after the alarm went off, and even memory loss. Despite Kim being on a super clean diet, she felt worse energetically and was gaining body fat somewhat consistently.

"Quality sleep, nutrition tailored to your training and goals, and supplementation are of utmost importance."

Keep in mind, Kim is a long-time and awesome CrossFit competitor. If things were this out of order for one of the best, imagine the crushing circumstances of under-recovery for those below this athlete’s level. All of the above reported symptoms were in full effect one month prior to the CrossFit Open when Kim came to us, so our time was limited.

Kim had incorrectly assumed her negative symptoms were a normal part of training because they had happened before, but never to this degree. But when the symptoms became worse she knew something had to change. As Brad put it to me:

“As the Open and Regionals and Games get closer, most of the fittest are so under-recovered that their knowledge becomes limited on how to fix the situation. So they do the wrong things and don’t seek help. Most in fact just try to train harder and it doesn’t work.”

As Brad further explained, “The system isn’t broken, the athlete is broken. It really isn’t the CrossFit programming. It’s the inability to recover from the demands of the programming.”


The Four Phases of Recovery

To get started on our four-phase recovery plan, we asked Kim to order blood work, as well as complete other testing (adrenal, immune system, digestive, and cognitive function). All results showed signs of severe wear and tear. Athletes are often mentally in fight mode, but physically in flight mode. Their cortisol is out of whack, and this becomes a major problem.

Brad explained to Kim it wasn’t her fault. There was a lack of strategy regarding the most important aspect of training - recovery. This recovery should involve nutrition and supplementation going into a workout and coming out of it. If an athlete turns on the “fight,” then they need to shut it down and bring on the recovery methods to heal from the battle.

"If things were this out of order for one of the best, imagine the crushing circumstances of under-recovery for those below this athlete’s level."

This ability to control and enhance recovery can improve the capability of the individual to fight. Without this, the athlete’s brain may feel fully invested in killing the workout, but the body only wants to flee. Why? Because the body thinks it is constantly fighting and it wants to survive.

Essentially Kim was expressing major signs of adrenal and thyroid down regulation, sluggish liver, and high levels of inflammation. What does this do or mean physically?


  • Sluggish Liver: This affects work capacity and brain function, and can cause extreme lethargy. If someone is a “slow morning starter,” it is usually because the liver is burdened.
  • Adrenal Issues: This affects strength, energy, and work-load capacity. It causes catabolism, sex hormones to drop, and the immune system to not function well at all (Kim was getting sick almost every month), as well as unneeded joint pain. Another symptom is very harsh mood swings.

Instead of making progress through training, training was making Kim worse. This makes recovery very hard, if not impossible, and does not allow any athlete to benefit from the training stimulus.

The Protocol for Kim

The plan Brad created was simple. In the time before the workout, Kim needed to prepare her body for the workout itself. Afterward, the remainder of the day would be focused on healing and recovering. Relax and conquer, then relax a lot.

Note: This is an example of what was given to Kim, and is not intended for actual use.

Upon Waking:

  • Half of a lemon squeezed in warm water to aid liver support and wake the body
  • Glass of essential and non-essentials amino acids
  • Sea salt for aiding adrenals and waking the body

In regard to nutrition, everything was kept simple and revolved around the proper use of protein and fats, especially leading into training to help improve brain function and create a good, natural form of energy.

Pre-Workout Supplementation:

  • Olympic lifting session: coffee, green tea, L-tyrosine, GPC (all to drive overall brain function).
  • Metcon: Green tea (not as much caffeine as coffee, and it supports the liver), plus fish oil or a product we used called InxAglity EKG (to enhance blood flow), plus beta alanine (to buffer lactic acid). This combination wakes the body up and aids the liver, all without accelerating heart rate too high.

Don't Forget the Carbs

One thing Brad and I have seen a lot is that CrossFit athletes go into competition carb depleted. Most CrossFitters under-eat carbs. This causes under-recovery and depleted glycogen levels. We have found if we add carbs into athletes’ diets whose metabolisms are sluggish (from too much training volume) they are able to increase their recovery.

"Most CrossFitters under-eat carbs. This causes under-recovery and depleted glycogen levels."

In some cases, we have even programmed athletes to increase carb intake by to as much as 600-700g a day. For these athletes, even as the carbs went up, their body fat percentage went down and their performance kept peaking. We have yet to see a high-performing CrossFit athlete gain body fat by adding carbs to their diet. So, for Kim, every meal after a workout included complex carbs.

Dirty Sleep

Brad also developed a sleep hygiene focus for Kim. Sleep hygiene entails the ability to fall asleep within twenty minutes of lying down, stay asleep, and wake up naturally without hitting snooze. If you aren’t able to do those three things, to one degree or another, you have bad sleep hygiene - or “dirty sleep.” During sleep the body repairs itself. Without it, it doesn’t. It is that simple.

Using liver support and new sleep strategies designed by Brad to enhance deeper and more recovery-inducing sleep, Kim’s negative symptomology decreased, and her energy and performance increased.

The End Result for Kim

Due to not just being an awesome athlete, but also dedicating herself to a recovery protocol, Kim was able to finish high enough in the SoCal Regionals to secure a spot for the CrossFit Games.

Brad and I encounter countless CrossFitters who are under-recovered due to missing out on these key aspects. But you don’t have to be a high-level CrossFitter for this to apply to you. Anyone who is training hard needs to recover harder. If you are following a training program, there should be an associated recovery program. If you don’t have one, then find one.

"The above recovery methodologies are just the basics. There are a lot more specifics, but if you are not doing the basics, the specifics won’t matter."

The above recovery methodologies are just the basics. There are a lot more specifics, but if you are not doing the basics, the specifics won’t matter. Quality sleep, nutrition tailored to your training and goals, and supplementation are of utmost importance.Training, especially training hard, should come after that.

Your training won’t push you to the next level or a healthy state of being without these elements in line. Recovery is an art, and like any art, it should involve dedication, presence, and mastery.





By Greg Everett

Bob Asks: Sorry if this is covered elsewhere, but I could not find it in Greg’s book (which I own) or on the website. I am 44 and just starting O-lifting lessons here in Singapore. Working the normal progressions w/ a shower curtain rod.

Am nearly 6’5”, so flexibility is a problem for me…have made reasonable progress with the legs, but seem to be stuck on my overhead squat. Can barely get down to a quarter squat while holding the shower curtain rod overhead when it begins to come forward. The tightness I feel when I get to the sticking point is in my lower back.

Sorry for all the preamble… now to the question: what stretches or other mobility work would you prescribe to fix my overhead squat?

Thanks in advance for your input – it’s highly valued. Really enjoying the book, Greg & will likely come back for the DVD set also.

Greg Says: Being 6’ 5” definitely makes the endeavor a bit trickier, but it certainly won’t preclude you from being able to hit a perfect overhead squat position if you’re diligent and committed enough. The best way to be flexible is to never get inflexible; unfortunately this is a course of action you can’t go back and undertake.

Step one is verifying that you’re trying to squat with a good position. That is, do you have an appropriate stance and grip on the bar? If not, you’re going to be fighting this problem for a long time. 

I typically use a scorched-earth approach to flexibility initially. That is, every productive stretch under the sun as often as possible. When someone is genuinely inflexible, even the best stretches can be out of reach, which makes the process that much more difficult. Do some dynamic range of motion exercises (e.g. arm circles and leg swings) when you get up in the morning, then stretch throughout the day as time allows. Spending a few weeks just stretching generally is a good way to break into a more focused flexibility program. Throw in foam rolling whenever you can as well, ideally before you stretch.

After you’ve done this, start focusing on the overhead squat. First, overhead squat all day every day, even if it’s ugly and shallow. Fight to achieve the correct position and sit in as far as you can in that correct position, hold for a few seconds, then reach a bit further even if you feel the position slipping and hold there longer. Continue this process as you address the inflexibility with other means as well.

Also, back squats and good morning squats will help teach you to engage your back extensors forcefully and stretch your hip extensors and adductors. If you’re low-bar back squatting, that’s not helping. Back squat the same way you overhead squat.

Stretches that will help: static spiderman lunge, Russian baby maker, kossack, lying straight and bent knee hamstring stretch, and lying straight knee hamstring stretch while pulling the leg across the body to get more lateral hamstring. Hold these stretches for as long as you can stand it. Don’t stretch to the point of agony, but make it uncomfortable. You can do some PNF stretching as well. I like to hold the stretch for 30-45 sec, then do 6 sets of 6-second contract/relax, then hold another 30-45 seconds. 

Ankle flexibility is usually a limiting factor in a full-depth Olympic squat for individuals of any height. Add several inches of leg length to the equation, and it will likely be even more of a limiter. Stretch the calves in a bent knee position by either squatting or lunging and leaning your forearms on the thigh just at the knee to apply pressure to close the ankle. Hold right down the middle primarily but you can also move the knee inward and outward slightly and hold. 

Also make sure to mobilize your thoracic spine. Often tightness and hyperkyphosis here will make the overhead position impossible. Get a half foam roller or roll up a towel and lie on it with your spine perpendicular to it. Start it at the bottom of your T-spine and work your way up to the top, lying flat and trying to relax your back around the roll. Also just regular foam rolling up and down the T-spine will help mobilize it.

Shoulder flexibility itself I've found is often the least of people's problems. They're usually unable to sit into a full-depth upright squat, but then focus on the shoulders' flexibility because they're interested in holding a bar overhead. With the present amount of shoulder flexibility they have, if they can sit upright, they will be fine. If you can hold the bar overhead in the correct position when standing and with a forward lean of the torso of a few degrees, you have enough shoulder flexibility to overhead squat. If your shoulder range of motion seems to disappear as you squat, it's coming more out of the squat than the shoulders. 

To work on shoulder flexibility, hang from a pull-up bar with a grip just outside shoulder width, pushing your chest through your arms. Even better, set your toes on the floor a little behind the bar and lean forward as you hang. Stretch the pecs by placing a vertical forearm against a door jamb or rack, the elbow a little higher than the shoulder, and keep the chest upright as you step and lean forward to open the shoulder girdle. Dislocates with a pipe or dowel and presses behind the neck will help as well. 

Good luck!





By Tami Bellon

So many times women ask me, "How can I lose this?" while they're pinching whatever area they want gone. While no two women are exactly the same, there are a few general tips that I can throw out there for you that do the trick whether you're leaning up for aesthetic or performance reasons.


Calorie Intake

If you weigh 200lbs and are only eating 1,200 calories, you are not eating enough. That doesn't mean break out the donuts, that means increase your protein consumption – to start. A general guide for calorie intake is your bodyweight times ten to twelve. Example: 200lbs x 10 = 2000 cal.

You may be thinking this is a lot of food, but it is not. Women have been taught that starving themselves will make them lose weight. In reality, we don't just want to be smaller do we? Don't we want to be leaner, too? I'm not saying bodybuilding lean, but enough to see a little definition in your arms and/or abs. Most women would answer me with a very loud, “Yes!”


Calorie intake is just one component of many that go into this machine we call our body. The body is much smarter than the average person. You may trick it once or twice, but it will learn how to overcome what you are trying to do to it. The body will combat under eating by hording everything you feed it. Then you jump on a piece of cardio equipment and pedal your little heart out for extensive amounts of time, and still - nothing. Why is that? Keep reading!


Drop the Carbs Down

You don't have to completely eliminate them; doing so would only set you up for failure. Do you even know how many you get in a day? Do you have a food log? Are you logging on a site like or Do you know what foods are considered high in carbohydrates?


The foods to reduce in this category would be sugar, which includes candy, cakes, pies, etc. But it also includes fruit. I hear so many people say how healthy they eat and then proceed to tell me they load up on fruit. Fruit is mostly sugar. Natural sugar is still sugar, and it still makes you fat if you eat too much of it. Okay, so we have sugar clarified. More foods that are sugary: pasta, potatoes, some other veggies - research those. Don’t forget rice and bread are sugary, too.

Another misconception is that brown rice and pasta and whole grain breads don't do the same thing as their regular white counterparts. Truth is - they do. They just have a little more fiber and digest more slowly, so you don't get quite the same insulin spike, but they are still a carb and they can still cause fat gain if you overeat them.


So what we have learned is to drop carbs down. In general, I start people out at 25-30% carbohydrates in their diet and assess from there. How are you going to do that if you don't know how many sugars and carbohydrates are in what you're eating? Start logging your food on one of the sites I mentioned above. Take responsibility for what goes in your mouth.


Increase Your Protein and Don’t Fear Fat

Beef, chicken, turkey, fish, etc. There are studies out now that are proving our governments “lean meat only” consumption isn't necessary.


For example:


  • CLA is a substance that accumulates in the fat of grass-fed ruminant animals-fats like butter and tallow-that has anti-cancer effects.
  • Industry apologists have now done an about-face and are campaigning against the trans in favor of the liquid oils - while using this opportunity of heightened public interest to continue demonizing the fats we should all be using, the natural saturated animal fats in animal foods and tropical oils.


Increased protein helps maintain the lean mass (muscle) you already have. You want to keep this, as it increases your metabolism. Adding a little more lean mass is usually a good thing. As a general starting point, I think 40% of daily food intake should be protein. I have seen great results with this.


Resistance Training

Ladies, listen very closely: you will not bulk up from resistance training. If you start getting bigger, it is most likely because you are also eating more. You may put on a little lean mass, but it should not cause you to outgrow your pants. In fact, if you clearly know what foods are acceptable, watching your nutrition, and doing resistance training, you should be getting smaller and leaner.


Just because you work out doesn't mean it's time to go get a pizza because you “just worked off the calories.” It's simple, if you have a high body fat percentage, you are eating too much, unless there are medical reasons surrounding your weight in which case you should be even more attentive to your food intake.


Resistance training has some proven benefits:

  • Improved muscle strength and tone
  • Weight management
  • Prevention and control of health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis
  • Pain management
  • Improved mobility and balance
  • Improved posture
  • Decreased risk of injury
  • Increased bone density and strength
  • Reduced body fat
  • Boosted metabolism
  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Enhanced performance of everyday tasks

A Little Cardio Goes a Long Way

Women today go way overboard with cardio. I have a simple explanation for what this does to your body. It is well known to those of us in the industry that excessive cardio (meaning more than 45 minutes steady state or 30 minutes of high intensity interval training) is too much for the average person.


After this amount of time, your body will start to become catabolic, which means it starts to eat muscle for fuel instead of food recently eaten and fat stores. All those ladies you see on the cardio equipment day after day, who always look the same, are actually eating up their muscle.


Do you realize what this means? They are lowering their metabolism because now they have less lean mass. Basically, if you would give them a body composition test, they would be fatter.


Becoming catabolic also happens when we don't eat enough. Starving yourself will only make you carry more fat. When you can't stand starving yourself anymore and go back to “normal” eating, don't expect a positive result. All the scam diets that tell you to drink nothing but shakes or eat only five hundred calories a day, they make you catabolic and set you up for failure. Don't be lazy. Take control of your body.


All of it comes back to being balanced and approaching your health and fitness from a variety of angles. While these guidelines are general, they work and they are a great place to start whether your goals are athletic or aesthetic. Cardio, strength, and nutrition are all important and all build upon each other. Focusing too much on any one aspect while leaving others at the wayside won’t have you be the best athlete you can be.


Crossfit Nutrition Guideline


Crossfit Nutrition Guideline

By Crossfit Inc.

Protein should be lean and varied and account for about 30% of your total caloric load.
Carbohydrates should be predominantly low-glycemic and account for about 40% of your total caloric load. 
Fat should be predominantly monounsaturated and account for about 30% of your total caloric load.
Calories should be set at between .7 and 1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass depending on your activity level. The .7 figure is for moderate daily workout loads and the 1.0 figure is for the hardcore athlete. 

What Should I Eat?
In plain language, base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar. That's about as simple as we can get. Many have observed that keeping your grocery cart to the perimeter of the grocery store while avoiding the aisles is a great way to protect your health. Food is perishable. The stuff with long shelf life is all suspect. If you follow these simple guidelines you will benefit from nearly all that can be achieved through nutrition. 

The Caveman or Paleolithic Model for Nutrition
Modern diets are ill suited for our genetic composition. Evolution has not kept pace with advances in agriculture and food processing resulting in a plague of health problems for modern man. Coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, obesity and psychological dysfunction have all been scientifically linked to a diet too high in refined or processed carbohydrate. Search "Google" for Paleolithic nutrition, or diet. The return is extensive, compelling, and fascinating. The Caveman model is perfectly consistent with the CrossFit prescription. 

What Foods Should I Avoid?
Excessive consumption of high-glycemic carbohydrates is the primary culprit in nutritionally caused health problems. High glycemic carbohydrates are those that raise blood sugar too rapidly. They include rice, bread, candy, potato, sweets, sodas, and most processed carbohydrates. Processing can include bleaching, baking, grinding, and refining. Processing of carbohydrates greatly increases their glycemic index, a measure of their propensity to elevate blood sugar. 

What is the Problem with High-Glycemic Carbohydrates?
The problem with high-glycemic carbohydrates is that they give an inordinate insulin response. Insulin is an essential hormone for life, yet acute, chronic elevation of insulin leads to hyperinsulinism, which has been positively linked to obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mood dysfunction and a Pandora's box of disease and disability. Research "hyperinsulinism" on the Internet. There's a gold mine of information pertinent to your health available there. The CrossFit prescription is a low-glycemic diet and consequently severely blunts the insulin response.

Caloric Restriction and Longevity
Current research strongly supports the link between caloric restriction and an increased life expectancy. The incidence of cancers and heart disease sharply decline with a diet that is carefully limited in controlling caloric intake. “Caloric Restriction” is another fruitful area for Internet search. The CrossFit prescription is consistent with this research.
The CrossFit prescription allows a reduced caloric intake and yet still provides ample nutrition for rigorous activity.





By Greg Everett


Before you even say it, no, the title isn’t a jab at CrossFitters. This has nothing to do with what sport or activity you choose to pursue, only how you pursue it. It could be CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting or golf.

With the proliferation of information and exposure to different training methodologies on the internet that we’ve seen in the last couple years in particular, the lines between athletes and exercisers is often blurred or forgotten (or not even understood to exist).

So what makes you an athlete, and what makes you an exerciser? If you compete, you must be an athlete, right? But what if you train twice weekly and do a local weightlifting meet or a CrossFit competition in your gym twice a year? I don’t think competing is the defining characteristic of an athlete, although I do think it’s an important element. What matters is how you manage training within life and your mindset and intentions.

Why does it matter which you are? Because even if both athletes and exercisers do many of the same things, HOW they do them is often different, and without knowing which you are, you may be going about your business in a way that’s not ideal. Keep in mind as you read that these labels are not value judgments—exercisers aren’t bad people or inferior to athletes, they simply have different priorities and goals. The point of the article is to help you determine how to do what you’re doing in the best possible way.


An athlete builds the rest of his or her life around training and competition; an exerciser fits training in around the rest of his or her life. Obviously there is a gradient here, not just polar opposites. Weightlifting is a good example of this—except the handful at the Olympic training center, weightlifters have to worry about jobs and find ways to balance them with their training, but work is secondary to training and competition for the athlete rather than primary as it is for the exerciser. But if you believe yourself to be an athlete (or want to be), training, recovery and competition need to be your first priorities, not considerations you make after everything else in your life is already settled.

Purpose & Goals

An athlete’s purpose and goals are entirely performance-oriented. Their training is geared toward reaching certain performance goals such as weights, times or scores. There isn’t direct work for appearance or health; this doesn’t mean athletes don’t value these things, but it does mean they’re incidental to the real purpose of training. Exercisers may have performance goals, but there is more of a concern for health, fitness and likely appearance. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course—who thinks being healthy is a stupid goal?—but the mindset is totally different. This will also factor in to other elements, such as expectations for pain and injury and the way those things are managed (see below). Determine what your priorities are—are you willing to set everything else aside in order to achieve a performance goal, or is something like long term health or your appearance important enough to you that you need to modify the performance-oriented parts of your training to accommodate these other goals?

Progress & Ability

An exerciser shouldn’t expect to make progress at the same rate as an athlete, and should expect his or her ultimate ability to never reach the same level as his or her athlete counterpart. This is really just the product of the time and effort differential. An athlete training 20 or more hours/week whose lifestyle is conducive to that training and the recovery there from will be able to accomplish more than the exerciser who squeezes an hour or so of training in a few days each week when work, family and vacation schedules happen to allow. Some of you exercisers may actually have more potential than some of you athletes, but you won’t reach it if it isn’t a priority for you and you don’t do what’s needed to.

Pain, Injuries & Treatment

Anyone who does anything physical at some point will experience pain and at least minor injuries. Generally athletes will experience pain and injury more frequently and of a greater degree, but serious injury among exercisers seems to be more common these days.

Personally, I believe exercisers should expect to stay healthier than athletes, although among a seemingly growing population in the CrossFit community, this mindset is changing—that is, non-competitive individuals who train only for recreation, fun and/or health/fitness are accepting serious and regular injury as part of their training more and more. I don’t think this represents the majority by any means, but it’s definitely more than it was a few years ago.

Athletes are willing to risk injury and cope with pain more in order to reach their performance goals, and this is much more reasonable and rational than an exerciser doing the same. If your goals are to be healthy, fit and reasonably physically attractive, slings, surgeries and limps don’t make a lot of sense. If you’re an athlete, you want to avoid these things also, but not because they’re unhealthy, because they slow you down from reaching your performance goals. And when injuries do occur, athletes will manage them differently than exercisers.

For an exerciser, managing an injury is about truly healing and preventing any further damage—it’s a long-term perspective that includes considerations like whether or not they’ll be able to chase their grandkids around or get on and off the toilet without assistance. For an athlete, managing an injury is more about getting back to training as quickly as possible with as little loss of progress as possible—the perspective is more immediate, with considerations focused more on competition performances and the training leading up to them than how their knees might feel in twenty years if they continue to push this hard.

Things like ice and drugs come into play here. In my opinion, the exerciser should make it a goal to use anti-inflammatories as little as possible. First, as I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t make sense to be driving so hard that you find yourself in need of them on any regular basis. Second, if health is a primary concern, don’t subject your body to the effects of drugs. If something is hurting, take care of the source of the problem, heal it up and don’t repeat it. You have the option to do this in the most thorough way and not have to be in a big rush.

Athletes, on the other hand, often will have to manage pain and injuries in ways that are not the healthiest but can get them back to training faster or keep them training through a problem well enough to get them through an upcoming competition. In these cases, the healing part is deferred in a sense, and coping is the goal. This is where anti-inflammatories in often large doses and icing for inflammation and pain reduction for the purpose of continued training make sense—you do what you need to do to get through the injury temporarily, and then take care of it the right way when your competition and training schedule allows it.

Where Do You Fall on the Spectrum?

Figure out where you fall on the spectrum of athlete to exerciser. Clearly understand your purpose and your priorities. Once you do, you’ll be able to make smart choices and train, recover and think in the way that best supports your goals.





By Greg Everett - Catalyst Athletics

Your movement under the bar in the snatch or clean can be slow for a few different reasons, and that will affect what exercises help. If it’s truly the pull under the bar that’s slow, it may be a strength issue, a technique issue, or a lack of aggressiveness. The following discusses the snatch specifically, but it applies to the clean as well with the exception of the overhead position.


Let’s worry about strength first. You can think of the third pull in three basic parts: the initial pull of the body down toward the bar, the turnover of the bar, and the punch up under the bar. Each of these parts can be strengthened best individually because one usually limits the weights than can be used for others, but can also be trained together with certain exercises.


For the initial pull under, it’s an issue of arm, back and shoulder strength—the ability to forcefully pull the elbows up and out. The simplest exercise to strengthen this movement would be a tall snatch high-pull. You won’t be able to use a lot of weight—it’s not a strong movement for anyone—but this is pure upper body strength in exactly the position and movement you want. You may not even be able to use an empty barbell—you may need to use a lighter technique bar or even dumbbells. Stick with 5-6 reps, 3-5 sets.


You can also do snatch high-pulls from the mid- or upper-thigh and use the legs and hips to accelerate the bar initially, then use the upper body to finalize the pull to the top position. This will allow you to use more weight as well as better simulate an actual lift. Stay flat-footed if you want to emphasize the upper body more, as this will force you to limit how much hip and leg speed you can put on the bar. To use even more weight, do snatch high-pulls from the floor with maximal speed.


To strengthen the turnover of the bar, you’ll need to use a muscle snatch or long pull variation. You can use the same kind of principles described above for the high-pull. To completely isolate the upper body movement, perform a muscle snatch from the tall position, which means you get no leg or hip at all. These will be very light—don’t make the mistake of trying to load it up or you’ll end up changing the movement, which defeats the purpose. You can add more weight by doing the muscle snatch from the hang or floor. Snatch long pulls are another good exercise for turnover strength because they keep more tension on the upper body throughout the movement.


Finally, to strengthen the punch up under the bar, use snatch balances or drop snatches. Drop snatches will not allow you to use as much weight, so if you want to load it up, do a snatch balance. These are also great exercises to improve your speed and timing in the very last portion of the third pull (which is really a push).


Strength may not be the problem; it may be technique. If you’re not moving yourself and the bar optimally, your pull under will be slower than it should be. Be sure your elbows are rotated to point to the sides throughout the first and second pulls so they will remain properly oriented upon entrance into the third pull. Don’t worry about shrugging under the bar—pull with your arms and the shrug will come along at the right time and to the right degree. Pull the elbows up and out and keep your body and the bar in immediate proximity—the bar should be close enough to smell on your way past it.


Continue pulling the elbows up even as your turn the arms over—keep tension on throughout the movement. It’s common to see lifters suddenly get slack in the system at this point, and that only slows them down and increases the chance of an unstable receipt of the bar. As you finish the turnover, flip the hands back into the proper position and punch up under the bar with a relatively loose grip. This entire movement must be fluid and extremely aggressive.


You can use tall snatches to work on the entire movement. Focus on keeping your weight back over the feet rather than shifting forward as you initiate the movement. Have someone stand at your side and make sure you’re keeping the bar and your body as close to each other as possible.


This leads to the final consideration: that your lack of speed under the bar is actually coming from earlier in the lift. Many athletes are so focused on the upward extension of the pull that they continue pulling long after it’s productive. You have an extremely brief moment when the bar is weightless at the apex of its elevation, and if you’re not already moving under the bar, you’re losing the opportunity. The moment your hips and knees reach their final extended position, you must transition your feet and pull under—the finish and initiation of the pull under should really occur almost simultaneously rather than one after the other. Consider the second and third pull together a single continuous action rather than two consecutive actions.


To work on this, you can high-hang snatches or power snatches—this will allow you to better focus on the final extension and change of direction. You can also snatch or power snatch off of high blocks (mid-thigh).


Finally, focus on being aggressive throughout the entire lift, every time you lift. You have to develop that mindset every time you train.





Are you doing singles unders when the workout calls for doubles? Or perhaps, banded, negative, or jumping pull ups? Does your toes-to-bar technique resemble a Foucault pendulum?

There are certain movements that when we see them come up in a workout, we think, “Crap, I wish I had my [insert word here]!” When the WOD is flying by and you see classmates burning through double unders and you are still doing singles, or the single-single-double method, you feel that twinge of envy.

When you see others jump on the bar and knock out ten beautiful butterfly pull ups, and you are still in that three-tiered jerky pull up (which, aside from being ugly, is fairly horrible on your body and somewhat ineffective on your training), you wonder: why not me?

It’s time to do something about it. Your double unders will not magically appear. Nor will the strength for pull ups, the technique for toes-to-bar, or the completion of muscle ups. You need a plan.

Skills Rarely Develop During a WOD

It’s the rare athlete who can walk into a CrossFit box, grab a rope, and by sheer osmosis start cranking out double unders in a few days. Sure, there are some phenoms, but that’s probably less than 1% of the CrossFitting population. For the rest of us, we struggle.

Skills like double unders, kipping handstand push ups, and toes-to-bar almost never just arrive during workouts. You need to dedicate time to developing these skills. Seems obvious, but think about it - most CrossFit sessions include warm up, strength, WOD, and cool down. On the rare occasion that skill work is included, the odds of your sought-after skill coming up in the rotation with any regularity as to make a difference are small.

"It’s the rare athlete who can walk into a CrossFit box, grab a rope, and by sheer osmosis start cranking out double unders in a few days."

So, you need to take the bull by the horns and do it yourself. The following will give you a few suggestions, but you can take the larger template and apply it to nearly anything.

My Double Unders Suck. What Do I Do?

Confession: I have coached numerous people to a successful muscle up and zero people to successful double unders.

I won’t sugar coat this. No amount of coaching, video watching, or tips from your buddies will help you here. This is one movement where you need to find what works for you. Yes, keep the wrists in close. Yes, find the proper rope length. Yes, stay on your toes. But the one rule to getting successful double unders is clear - time under the rope.

You know that part of the warm up when your coach says, “Five minutes of cardio, run, row, bike, etc.”? Grab your rope and practice your double unders for five minutes. After the workout is over, spend no less than five additional minutes practicing.

If you can confidently say, “I don’t have double unders yet.” Then I can confidently say, “You don’t practice them.” It’s not going to happen by itself. Trust me on this. Ten minutes a day.

I Wish I Could String Together Toes-to-Bar

Here’s your plan: First, you will learn to string two together. Then, develop a strategy to get to ten with no problem.

The hardest toe-to-bar to get is the second one. The first one is easy because you have all the momentum from your initial swing and pull. What usually happens is that once your toes hit the bar, you relax the tension that got you up there in the first place, resulting in a big, loose, swing. At which point, it’s over.

"Throw your feet straight down like you are dipping them in a bucket of water sitting under you, then, with that tension still running all the way up, reverse the shade and roll it back up."

You need to fight for that second rep. Once your toes hit the bar on rep one, don’t release the tension that runs through your body. Your arms should be tight like you’re doing a mini pull up. From there, keep the tension in your core and intentionally bring your feet back down.

Think about unfurling, like a shade rolling down, rather than just swinging out. That will keep your body close to your center of gravity. Throw your feet straight down like you are dipping them in a bucket of water sitting under you, then, with that tension still running all the way up, reverse the shade and roll it back up.

Once you have that second rep, try this twice a week after your workouts when you are warm:

Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM) for 8:00:

Evens: 4 toes-to-bar
Odds: 4 wall ball

Then slowly, but surely add reps, then minutes. The wall ball is a nice balance between a push and a pulling motion to keep the EMOM session fun.


Write Out Your Plan

Your goats will continue to haunt you until you develop a strategy for attacking them. Sit down and write out your plan. Don’t hope things fall together. Chart out your progress and your plan for 2015.





Achieving a stable base for the handstand requires progressive steps in order to learn what works and what will allow a handstand to feel as natural to you as standing on your feet. Over the next four weeks I will be working with you on these steps. If you follow my workouts, then at the end of month you will have the ability to achieve better handstands, freestanding handstand push ups, press hand stands, and handstand walking.

Why have I chosen handstands for my session? Well, I am a handstand junkie. From the time I began my gymnastic training at the age of six, what I loved most was to view the world topsy-turvy. Growing up, I was constantly told by my parents to stop doing handstands in the kitchen or against the furniture in the family room. I love handstands. This all began at the age of six and continued to when I competed in gymnastics at a Division I university.

Learn the Progressions to Learn the Skills

Just as in a house of cards, when executing a handstand, you cannot haphazardly place your body upside down or get inverted. There are steps, progressions, and specific skills and drills designed to build your confidence, strength, balance, and coordination.Watch a gymnast kick to a handstand. It’s done with purpose. A gymnast's legs aren’t thrown wildly in the air. Instead, he or she demonstrates body awareness, control, and aptitude.

Throughout the next four weeks, I will be programming essential movements to help with your balance, shoulder and core strength, and coordination - all essential components of handstands, freestanding handstand push ups, press handstands, and handstand walking. You will work mostly strict movement, focusing on fundamental core stability. Scaling is important. If you go into a gymnastics club, you see everyone conditioning or learning skills but there are various levels and scaling to learn these skills. This will be essential to your success as well. Learning to be comfortable inverted, especially as an adult, takes time and effort.


I get it. It’s hard to love something that isn’t easy. But isn’t it easy to love something that you’ve worked hard to accomplish? I think, yes!

Click on a week to go directly to any of the four weeks of programming:

By Pamela Gagnon





Without a doubt, one of the hardest things to tell someone that’s seeking improved performance and body composition is that fruit should not make up the bulk of the carbohydrates in your diet.  Hold on though –  I am in NO WAY implying you shouldn’t eat fruit.  It’s just not the easiest, most efficient way to fuel your body.  One last tme; FRUIT IS GOOD.  EAT PLENTY OF IT!

As valuable source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, fruits have definitely got their place in a balanced approach to nutrition.  As I mentioned in the first paragraph of this section, you’d have to eat a lot (and I mean a lot) of fruit to satisfy your carbohydrate/calorie requirements after training; it’s just not optimal (or in some cases, feasible) to rely upon fruit as an energy source.  Thankfully, there are other natural sources of carbohydrate available that are positively brimming with glucose as well as important micronutrients.

Starch is a glucose polymer found in most plants that is chemically similar to our endogenous glycogen; it’s literally just a long chain of glucose molecules bonded together.  Although humans have a tough time digesting the stuff raw, cooking breaks it down into pure glucose ready for utilization as a substrate to produce cellular energy throughout your body.  Of course, whatever you don’t use can be stored, preferably in your biceps, quadriceps or abdominals.  While some of the most widely-consumed sources of starch (and thus glucose) are grains, like corn, wheat and rye, plentyof Paleo-friendly alternatives exist if that’s your thing.  At the forefront, we have good ol’ fashioned tubers, like potatoes and carrots, as well as rice (preferably white), but let us not forget chestnuts and acorns that are rich in starchy energy.

Squash, peppers, zucchini and cauliflower round everything out and give you a wide palette of flavors to choose from. Now, it is completely up to you whether you munch on sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, or white rice over brown rice.  It’s worth considering however that the fiber content of potato skin, as well as the germ of brown rice, can slow digestion.  It’s not that big of a big deal.  Most people don’t need to think about the rate of absorption and how it’s affected by added fiber, but it’s potentially disadvantageous in situations where we need to shoot for quick glucose uptake (like when you train twice a day).  The most important take-away here is that you need dietary glucose to effectively replenish muscle glycogen.

If you’re really looking to optimize your carbohydrate strategy, you can take things a step further and get into supplementation through a few different means.


  • For a time, carbohydrates have been demonized, but they’re a great source of energy and an integral part of any nutrition plan that’s aimed at keeping performance at peak (or improving it).
  • Fruits are not necessarily the best choice as an energy source – it’s just not dense enough.
  • Still, fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals and are absolutely a part of a great nutrition plan.
  • Starches are your best friend.  Rice, potatoes, ripe bananas and oats are additions you might consider.  Make sure that you eat plenty of these in the evening to replenish muscle glycogen.