Over the last 20 years as a fitness coach I have worked with 100's of clients just starting or starting over. I have seen many people succeed, but unfortunately, I've known many to crash and burn. As we roll into the holiday season I wanted to share with you what separates the winners from the losers in the game of fitness.
Have a Plan- If you don't have a plan on what to do at the gym your pretty much planning to fail. Abraham Lincoln once said, “ Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” Your first step to achieving your fitness and health goals is to research a workout plan that fits your level and goals or to find the right coach to do that for you. Going to the gym aimlessly will not change your fitness level, it just changes your scenery.
Focus on Performing the Movements Properly over Anything Else- As a newbie results are practically free. We call this the first wave of conditioning. As your body is going from 0 to hero overnight there is no need to initially worry about intensity. Leave the ego at the door and go slow, light and purposeful in all your movements and add extra rest when needed. Everyone is in a rush at the beginning, but successful people will tell you proper training is a marathon, not a sprint. Look to master the basic mechanics, be consistent in your training 4-6 times a week and then ramp up the intensity.
Measure Twice, Cut Once- Properly tracking your workout results and your measurement (not just weight) is fundamental to the process. SO MANY people get discouraged because they don't 'feel' like they are improving when in reality their killing it. You can't go based off of 'feelings' because almost everyone has emotional baggage holding them back. Throw that luggage away and use real measurements. One thing I love about CrossFit is that we track every workout and I know based on my data where my fitness level is at all times. You need to find the support and systems that keep you accountable to real numbers.
Don't worry about the score- As a word of caution, many new exercise athletes get fixated on comparing their scores to others. Whether that be your max bench press, your 5K run time or how fast you can do a workout. While healthy competition can be a great tool for adherence and enjoyment, it should never consume your decision-making process. I certainly have my 'fitness frienemies', buddies who push me, chirp me a little and keep me motivated. But I never make the wrong training decision based on beating someone else's score that day. Tracking may be the key to success, but the process is about being better than the person you were yesterday, not the other person in the gym.
Nutrition is Key to Looking Good Naked- I wish this wasn't so true, but body composition depends heavily on; what, when and how you eat. Everyone would like to bring the sexy back this Christmas, but leaning one eggnog and gingerbread is nearly impossible. Nutrition has to be one of the most debated topics; keto, vegan, carb cycling, macros.... the list goes on. This certainly could be the topic for multiple articles, but I want to give you some hard truths to start with.
Here is a great infographic to print and put on the fridge https://www.groundworx.fit/testimonial-blog/nutrition-poster
A final note: Be OK with set-backs- Your not going to be perfect, things will not always go as planned and that is to be expected. All or nothing and Ill start again next week are mindsets that can be crippling. Look to do a little better every day and don't be afraid to ask for help!
We offer a free no-sweat consultation if you ever need some direction towards your fitness goals!
Ok, so maybe I cant pack in 'everything' you need to know about deadlifts in one article, but my hope is by sharing some of my go-to tips for beginners I start you down the right path to lifting success.
Deadlifts are an essential movement everyone at any age should be able to do. It is also one that gets a bad rap as dangerous. If you go and search deadlifts on Youtube right now you'll have all the proof you need to call them scary. But the truth is there isn't a more important exercise to learn and practice when it comes to overall strength, injury prevention, and weight loss. If you focus on some simple key pointers, the deadlift can be one of the most important tools in your fitness tool-box.
Deadlifts are not squats- What I mean is that typically the first thing we teach to new clients is how to 'hinge' at the hips with a neutral spine. Bending over and utilizing the musculature in the hamstrings as the main 'movers' is the steepest part of the learning curve for most people. It is much safer to hinge over with a flat back then it is to bend at the knees with a flexed spine.
Big Belly Brace- Learning to engage abdominal pressure as a way to create helpful tension to aid in keeping the spine straight and supported is the next step. Deadlifts are the king of 'core' exercises when you take the time to direct your focus on it. Take a big breath in and brace your belly as if your going to get a big punch in the gut. Keep this tension throughout the lift and you will be safe and the bar will feel a lot lighter.
Set From the Start- (Shins tall, Chest Big) When I teach athletes to lift, the work always starts before we even bend over to pick up the bar. I have all my clients walk up to the bar and make contact at the shins. I have them pull their shoulders back and down creating a proud chest (we call this the happy gorilla in our KidsFit class) and then tell them to pick up the bar. If you can pick up the bar without your shin pushing it forward and with your chest big and proud you will probably deadlift well.
Lift with a Purpose, not with Your Ego- There isn't a need to go heavy as a beginner, learning at slower tempos (the speed at which you lift) and at moderate weights is more than enough to stimulate strength and metabolic demand. Also, a lot of newer clients may need to switch up their technique if they are in-flexible. Changing to a sumo deadlift (wide legs, gripping bar narrow) or starting the bar of an elevated surface instead of the ground to limit the range of motion and stress on the back may be a good place to start.
Get a Coach/ Personal Trainer- Deadlifting is a tricky exercise to learn without any feedback. A lot of what needs attention is happening behind you (literally) and is hard to see in a mirror. Deadlifts are not a self-limited exercise, so unlike movements that need a level of technique to perform heavy (like snatch), you can lift a lot of weight with poor technique, so be picky and get help. As a minimum use a camera and take videos from different angles so you can see how well you doing.
Deadlifts are the foundation of any lifting exercise like cleans, kettlebell swings, snatches and more. The 'king' of lifts requires some practice but will pay off royally if you give it the attention it deserves.
Trying to balance the responsibilities of work, school, family -- LIFE is tough! With our fast paced lives, it's tempting to look for a quick fix, even when it comes to nutrition. Convenience foods, not always healthy options, are readily available and in the short term, leave us time to tend to all of our responsibilities.
But what happens at the end of the quick fix diet? Often we are left unsuccessful, depleted, unhappy, and return to old habits.
There are some mindset exercises you can apply to your day to create a sustainable, healthy lifestyle aimed at avoiding the burden of chronic disease. Think about going into your day with a plan. Just like you would go into a workout with a plan to get most out of your time at the gym, mentally prepare yourself to go into your day with a plan for health--a way to stay on track with healthy eating, water consumption, exercise, and adequate sleep. For some, that means setting a schedule for the entire day, including alarms to encourage activity, or it might mean prepping simple foods to deal with busier times of the day.
Having a plan ensures you do not resort to "winging it."
With a plan for your day, you are priming yourself to make good choices, which results in stress management and self control. Your day does not have to be perfect. Rather than beating yourself up for imperfections, think to yourself that the cumulative effect of small successes with executing your plan for healthy living over time has the power to lead to a quality life without the burden of chronic disease.
I challenge you to ask yourself: “What is my plan TODAY to stay focused on my health?”
Avoid the temptation of the quick fix. Avoid the temptation of giving in and quitting because you don't see immediate results. The plans you set TODAY are laying the foundation for long term health. THAT is a powerful thought.
Book a no snack intro to find out how Groundworx Nutrition Coaching can help you achieve your goals.
How long have you been working out at Groundworx:
I've been working out at Groundworx for about 4 years. I was invited to "Bring your friend to crossfit" by a family friend and have loved it ever since. I would join for the summer while I was a student and now have been a full time member for a couple years.
Reason for Joining Groundworx:
In high school I followed a more traditional workout and being on the football team, we had to get 3 workouts in a week. After graduating I had a hard time continuing to workout and finding motivation to go. The idea of showing up to the gym, your workout already planned and not having that "what am I going to work on today" feeling makes it very easy to go. After joining Groundworx I found motivation to go and get a workout in. The friendly, hardworking staff and members make me feel included and pushes me go to the gym.
Favorite Lift: Squat clean
I don't have a favorite WOD yet, but I love the Olympic lifting class held on Wednesday nights.
My Advice for those looking to join Groundworx:
Join! Crossfit provides you with a great workout that will leave you breathing heavy and all sweaty. One of my main focuses when joining Groundworx was working on my lifting technique. The coaches were very happy to help as it's one of their focuses as well. From Delaney greeting you by name when you walk into the gym to the friendly staff and members who'll cheer you on, you really feel as it's a big happy, sweaty family.
How long have you been working out at Groundworx?
I have been a member at Groundworx for just over a year now. Before joining, I had been working a desk job and I just felt weak all of the time because I did not have a physical outlet. My Aunt happened to be a member at Groundworx and she asked me if I wanted to come check it out. I had been secretly interested in learning Olympic lifting and so when I saw that those movements were incorporated into workouts, I instantly wanted to join. Fast forward a little over a year later and I am the strongest I have ever been in my life. The Groundworx community has been really great and I have made many new friendships along the way. The gym and the people have really become a huge part of my life.
Favourite lift / WOD:
My favourite lift is the snatch. It is extremely technical and requires a high degree of strength and mobility. The difficultly of the movement is what makes small improvements feel like monumental achievements.
My advice for others looking to join Groundworx:
Whether you are looking for a physical outlet or to train to become a better athlete, Groundworx has something to offer everyone. The programming is very good, so you will always be challenged regardless of your physical fitness level. The gym is also very family friendly and offers childminding services while members workout. Overall it is not just a great place to workout, but it's a great place to de-stress and hang out with friends.
How long have you been working out at Groundworx? 3 1/2 years
Reason for joining Groundworx? I was curious about CrossFit so did some research and really liked the philosophy and approach. I dropped by Groundworx one day for info and watched the class doing some heavy lifting. Suddenly everything went silent for a moment as everyone focused on one member struggling to complete a lift. The atmosphere was electric. A chorus of encouragement erupted: "you got it, up, up, up!", and then cheers and high-fives broke out as that person successfully finished the lift. And I thought, "I'm in."
Favourite lift / WOD: Snatch / Isabel
My advice for others looking to join Groundworx? Just do it! My only regret is that I didn't start doing CrossFit earlier. I had the mistaken belief that I had to be in shape first before starting CrossFit, but that is just not true. The great thing about CrossFit is that it is designed to scale to everyone's individual level. The coaches and owners at Groundworx are amazing and truly care about their members. It has truly been transformational for my fitness - I'm 39 years old and I'm stronger and fitter now than I was in my 20s.
I have been working out at Groundworx since 2014...I can't believe it's been 3 years!
I started crossfit because I really didn't like how unfit I was. I had always struggled with my weight and wanted to shed my fat but hated just going to the gym to work on machines because I never really felt like I knew what I was doing. I had spent a lot of time at the Magna centre with my 3 kids, dropping them off at various activities there and I always walked past Groundworx on my way in and out. I was curious about what crossfit was so I googled it and it scared me. However, I thought it would be pretty amazing if I could do any of the things that I was seeing on YouTube but thought it was pretty unlikely since I’d never really been active as an adult. I spoke to a friend about the 30 days for $30 deal that was going on at Groundworx at the time and since she knew Alyssa and TJ we both decided to try it out. It was hard and my muscles were sore but I loved it right from the beginning and quickly saw the progress that I was making and have never looked back!
Favourite lift/ WOD: I LOVE both the power clean and power snatch. I don't really have a favourite WOD, I guess I love and hate them all equally!
Advice for others thinking about joining Groundworx:
DO IT! Seriously, it is a great box where everyone is cheering everyone else on no matter their ability level. The coaches are great at helping you learn all the lifts and movements necessary for each WOD and they understand when a movement just can't happen for you and are able to substitute it with something that is still challenging and provides you with an equally challenging workout.
I have never been as fit and healthy as I am now and I truly have Groundworx to thank for this. I have not only lost the fat but I’ve gained a lot of great friends!
I've been at Groundworx for almost 3 years now. Before joining Groundworx I would just go to a regular gym and walk on the treadmill, not really knowing what else to do and felt as though I never really got a good workout. Going to the gym was a chore I absolutely dreaded so I knew I had to do something to switch it up. I heard about Crossfit in the past but was too afraid to try it, until I saw an ad for Groundworx. I went for a trial month and instantly became addicted. Every day was a new workout, I didn't have to think about it, I just had to show up. I got to know the other members and coaches and it easily became a part of my daily routine. Everyone there is working towards their own personal goals and it's awesome to have others there to cheer you on. I am in the best shape of my life and I attribute that to Groundworx.
My favourite lift would have to be the snatch, maybe because I used to avoid it when I first started, but now that I've worked on it and improved it's something I look forward to.
My favourite WOD would have to be DT as I like all three of the movements.
Advice for others looking to join:
My advice for those who are interested in joining would be to just try it. There's nothing to be afraid of. Each workout can be modified to accommodate every level of athlete, whether it's your first time working out or you're an advanced athlete. The coaches are very knowledgeable and ensure everyone does each movement correctly in order to avoid injury. Not only will you get a great workout but it's an opportunity to make some friends in a healthy, supportive environment. My only regret is that I didn't start earlier.
My journey to physical fitness began in 2004. After learning that my cholesterol level was getting high, I decided to make some lifestyle changes, the biggest one being a renewed commitment to physical fitness. I joined a gym and began working with a personal trainer (T.J. Johnston). Over the next 4 years I committed to a combination of working out on my own as well as doing some personal training with T.J. During that time I pushed myself to learn a lot of new exercises and I also pushed myself to see what I was capable of.
In 2008 T.J. opened his own gym (The Ultimate Training Centre), and I decided to try it out and I am so glad that I did so. Through T.J’s encouragement I decided to try out some of the Functional Fitness Classes. I started off slowly by doing 1 class a week; I truly enjoyed working out with a group of people who encouraged one another to do their best. I enjoyed the instructor led classes so much that I decided to start doing 3-4 classes per week. The coaches truly got to know each of us and I learned so much from them during this time (especially Steve Walker). The coaches were always patient with us and broke things down into small pieces to make it easier for us to learn new exercises.
After a few years T.J decided to rebrand his gym from UTC (functional fitness) to CrossFit Groundworx (CrossFit training). The transition from functional fitness training to CrossFit training was seamless for me as I knew that this new facility would be led by T.J. and his wonderful staff. From my time working out at the UTC I had felt like a part of a family and knew that strong sense of community would continue at Cross Fit Groundworx. The moment you walk in the door you are greeted by the very friendly Delaney Jones who greets all the members by name and who notices when you haven’t been to the gym for a while and contacts you to make sure that everything is o.k. This is just one example of the awesome customer service you receive at Newmarket CrossFit Groundworx. I truly enjoy the fact that the coaches are more than happy to adjust the workouts to suit your own capabilities whether that be offering alternative exercises or scaling back the reps Another example of the great service you receive here is that the coaches know you so well to the point of knowing when you are injured and again they are more than happy to tailor the workout for you.
If you enjoy working out with a friendly group of people who constantly offer positive feedback to one another led by excellent instructors who are both patient and understanding then come and join us at Newmarket CrossFit Groundworx.