Chiropractic Care

A Personal Testimony

One of the biggest thing’s that attracted me to Crossfit is the “constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity.” Since it is constantly varied, it has the ability to keep someone like me interested. Then, once you combine that with community competition within the gym then it is workout gold in my opinion. However, every once and a while, we need to evaluate our goals and analyze our performance to come up with ways to meet those goals.

About 3, maybe 4 months ago I began having some problems with my back while running. I found that any time I ran for any sort of distance (greater than 400m) my back would lock up and drastically cut my ability to perform at the most optimum level during my daily workouts. There came a point where I said enough was enough and did some research. Granted, it was as simple as typing “Crossfit” and “Back Problems.” That’s what opened my eyes to the world of chiropractic medicine. I decided to give it a whirl and thought, “what could happen?”

Image Property of the Merrimack Valley Wellness Center

That same Google search led me to the Merrimack Valley Wellness Center. It is a small practice, owned and operated by Dr. Ryan Hewitt D.C. and his wife Kendra. They work effortlessly to improve the wellness of all that walk into their doors. Dr. Ryan is a Crossfit coach at Crossfit Rt 1  in Melrose, MA and is also a Crossfit Games competitor. I felt confident in knowing that Dr. Ryan would be able to provide the best care and insight as it related to my back, and the fitness regimen that I have come to love.

I called up, and spoke with Evelyn. Evelyn is one of two of the MVWC’s lovely assistants. She was extremely courteous, knowledgeable, and accommodating. She was even able to get me seen same day for an assessment. All I needed to do was print off some forms online and bring them with me when I came in.

Once I arrived at the office in North Andover, MA. I was shown to a little seating area that had an informational video playing. Today’s video was of Dr. Ryan & his wife Kendra lecturing to a local box about what Paleo is, and how it can benefit the individual athlete. I actually wished I had to wait longer because it was interesting & informative. However, I did not wait long and Dr. Ryan brought me in to an examination room for evaluation. We were able to find several problem areas with my posture that led to a corrective care plan to bring my spine back to optimum health. I was sold, I was willing to make the time and financial investment in returning my back to shape.

It was not cheap, I did a small cost/benefit analysis to price out if it would be better to use my insurance or to pay out of pocket. I found that with my high copay’s it would actually be more beneficial to pay out of pocket. Thankfully, due to my profession and Crossfit affiliation there were discounts available to use which made the care actually affordable.

I started out going 3 times a week for adjustments and after the 4th or 5th week, I had my first progress exam. I found that my posture was much more inline. The weight I carried on each foot was more equal. Most importantly, running wasn’t a problem with my back. I found that I would be able to run easier.

If you are remotely near the North Shore area, and are looking to improve your back health, I strongly recommend you check out Merrimack Valley Wellness Center. Dr. Ryan is a very knowledgeable professional and is able to get you back to your optimum health to get you performing the way you want to. If you want more detailed information, or have any specific questions about my experience with Dr. Ryan feel free to comment here and I will be glad to help you out!

 

 

H.A.M.

Hard as a Mother Fucker.

That’s what it means for those of you not up on your Ubran Dictionary terms. This past Monday was the first time I had ever had to stop during a WOD and say “I need to stop.” It was a weird experience for me that is for sure. You see, I have been working with a chiropractor for about a month now to deal with some issues related to a previous work-related injury. Since I’ve started working with the Chiropractor, I have drastically dropped my intensity at workouts. That was until this week. We have been doing some “One Rep Max” Attempts at AE Crossfit. I thought, why the hell not. I’ll give it a shot. I worked on Snatches and Hang Cleans.

I don’t like going from zero to a one rep max lift. Part of this is just ingrained training from my Crossfit Birth. When I work on 1RM, I will start with 5 reps at about 65% of my previous 1RM, then 3 reps at 75-85%, and finally will do 1 reps increasing in weight until I hit a “No Rep.” I am very happy to announce that I had a 25 pound personal record with my hang clean, for a total weight of 165. At 165 pounds I got greedy, I wanted to add more weight onto the bar to see just how far I could go. So I added 10 pounds. I reset my body position and began the motion of a hang clean. I used the power to clean the weight up to the front rack position, except I had lost control over the lift and ended up hyper-extending, or arching my back significantly. I had dropped the bar right away, and decided that a 25 pound PR was good enough.

Now, I didn’t start out writing about this post to brag about my abilities when it comes to lifting. I am writing this post to talk about proper form. I have collected some videos that you can check out below. Some of these failures are just related to the weight, meaning that the weight was simply too heavy for the strength of the athlete. Others, however are just overall poor form.

I’ve also been watching many of the other athletes at my current box and find that they don’t seem to be all that concerned with form at all. I would watch them carelessly muscle weight above their heads with no regard to form. It almost seemed like it was a bit much for the coaches to try and keep up with people and their form, but they did a good job with keeping up on correcting people.

Since the reason I started this blog was to help guide the beginner Crossfitter, I will say this:

  1. Without form, your lift means nothing other then the basis for your pending ortho injury.
  2. You will see your strength PR’s skyrocket when you get the PROPER form down for OLY lifts.
  3. Work up to the “Hardo” weight. If you start off with the heavier stuff, and don’t work up to it, that will also increase your likelihood of injury.

Here are some of the videos I was speaking about. Tell me this, what do you guys think about the form in the clips below? Let’s get a good discussion going about it.

This first video is from the Crossfit Albany. I have no idea who their coaches are, what they are doing, or even if this is a LEGIT WOD session. If it is, shame on them because their coaches are just setting their athlete’s up for potentially debilitating injuries.

Here, is simple misfire lifts that just don’t go exactly the way that it should. Remember people, it is easier to drop the weight and set up the lift again, that it is to repair an injured back, neck, or other body part.

 

 

 

 

“Well I go to Crossfit, and That’s My Therapy”

This video requires no introduction, you will understand why I shared it around the 3rd minute of the film. Thanks to Crossfit HQ for posting this one.

For more information on how Crossfit honor’s those who have died in either the field of battle or in Emergency Services, please visit here or here.

To any member of our Armed Forces out there today, that is reading this:

Thank You.

$1,900 Give-A-Way

If you read my last post, you will understand how I am a big fan of “Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations.” He is currently running a give-a-way for 50lbs of Meat from US Wellness Meats, as well as a pellet grill. Check it out, folks. It’s worth your time!

Be sure to click on the link in the above tweet to check out the give-a-way!

Why Crossfit Is Not Just a ‘Fad’

Here is some great food for thought on Crossfit. Check it out, write down your feelings. Either way, Crossfit isn’t going any where. The businesses will rise and fall, just like anything else in the economy. It is the community that will keep the mentality, and the vitality of Crossfit alive.

Crossroads of the Heart

One of my posts that receives the greatest number of hits each day is this piece on Rich Froning, both 2011 and 2012’s Fittest Man in the World.  Based on this information, the increasing number of commercials on TV, and friends / family members who have gotten involved with a ‘box,’ I’ve determined that crossfit is officially “IN.”

However, as with all things that undergo a drastic surge in attention, crossfit has also received a boatload of criticism.  To the outsider (or unaddicted-er), the community resembles a meat market for egotistical jocks, an inflated workout routine and even criticized for injury-prone movements.

Yet, perhaps the most insulting comment of all comes from the people who call crossfit a FAD.

I will probably still crossfit while I’m pregnant and beyond the age of 70

Ok, before you start freaking out.. are you a crossfitter?

No?

Ok, let me explain something.

I…

View original post 519 more words

Is a No Rep, Really a “No Rep?”

Nutritional No-Rep

Alright, so for some of you out there the phrase “No-Rep” will utter a response of anger and frustration that may be slightly involuntary. Typically we hear “No-Rep,” when we are working on harder movements that do not come easy to any of us. The “No-Rep” is a phrase yelled when your form doesn’t fall in line with the movements of the exercise. Now a “No-Rep” means that your repition was wasted because of improper movements and doesn’t count towards the total reps for the WOD.

Today I’m not going to talk about the No Rep as it relates to Nutrition. As many of you know, I have been trying to balance switching over to a paleolithic nutritional regimen to supplement my fitness goals. It  has been a long, slow, and sometimes painful road. Since the goal of my blog is to help you, the reader, make better decisions related to your fitness goals and nutritional patterns, I am going to share how my journey is going with you and talk about the successes and failures I have had along the way.

So let’s go back to the begining:

I started eating Paleo back in June(ish) of this year. It all began when my old Crossfit Box, Crossfit 508 started a 90-Day Paleo Challenge. Most of us in the box were relatively new to the world of Crossfit so they made the challenge simple. We basically went on the idea of eliminating breads, pastas, refined sugars, most dairy, creamy dressings on salads, etc. It was not a strict Paleo Challege, but it was enough to light the fire.

I began researching Paleo eating online.  I came across websites such as Civilized Caveman, PaleOMG, The Food Lovers Primal Palate, and The Foodee Project. I bought some books, and I am still buying books to educate myself on the benefits of going Paleo. If I could recomend any book that I have read so far, I am going to recommend two. The first is: The 30 Day Intro to Paleo Meal Plan, available here from The Food Lovers Primal Palate. This book is in an electronic PDF format. It provides a quick intro to the Paleo diet, discusses differences between Paleo vs Primal (its really only a few small details). If you are coming into a Paleo Nutritional plan, it is without a doubt one of the best way’s that I have seen to make the transition! Next, is an eBook from Bill and Haley at The Food Lovers Primal Palate. It is their debut cookbook titled “Make It Paleo.” If you click on my “Shameless Plug’s” page, you can find a link to all the books I have either read, or am currently reading. Anything that is posted up there I recommend. Plus, I get a small percentage for all items bought through my aAmazon Store.

So, I am going to show you yet another way that The Food Lovers Primal Palate have aided with switching to a more paleolithic nutritional plan. This week they released their first digital app! This app is available for iPhone/iPad, and Android operating systems. This app has all of their collective recipes that they have created. It allows you to do meal planning online (or via the mobile app), and create shopping lists automatically for all the ingredients. Folks, they have literally made this idiot proof. Here are some screen shots to look at to give you a little teaser preview, as well as their YouTube video that explains the app in a little more depth.

Seriously though, how easy is that?

Alright, enough about that. Getting back to why I titled this article the way that I did.

We learn from our failures. We take what we did wrong, and we improve on them the next time that we interact with that former failure. Nutrition for me is my biggest goat ever, when it comes to all things Crossfit. It is not going to be easy making the change from mainstream dieting. Reach out to those around you for support. Find ways that they prep/store meals for the coming weeks. Maybe they have some tips/methods that may help you?

At the end of the day, it comes down to determination. If you are dedicated to the change, then it will happen. You just have to give it time and stick with it. Hopefully some of the resources I have posted all over this blog will make that a bit easier for you.

The Forgotten Supplement

Sleep

We all live really busy lives. I know for most of us, myself included, that is why Crossfit appealed to us in the first place. High Efficiency workouts in a scheduled block of time. It gave us no excuse really, to block off 5-7 hours a week dedicated to our own betterment. Then most of us caught on with paleo nutrition. It appealed to me because it wasn’t a crash diet. It didn’t require me to spend ungodly amounts of money to learn about it. It was just there. For all to explore, experiment with, and reap the benefits of.

Good sleep is one of the most important elements of health maintenance, as well as athletic performance and improvement. (Rawls-Meehan 2012)

(c) Fitbomb: Check in Post

(c) Fitbomb: Check in Post

Sleep needs to be viewed as the missing capstone to your fitness. We all have changed with the addition of Crossfit into our workout routines. I can think back (8 months ago) and think of the frustrating fitness routines I was doing and getting zero results, and I look at where I am now: 25lbs lighter and two inches off my waist. I wonder why I didn’t find it sooner. Anyway, I am getting a bit off track here. Let’s focus.

We changed our excercise levels, and have become more active individuals. Our eating habits have changed as well, we spend more time at the grocery store looking for natural products with no sugar, grains, etc. Now we see our performance plateauing, maybe even becoming frustrating. Well, if you’re doing everything right nutritionally then there might be a key piece on information you are forgetting.

Sleep

Crossfit Journal actually did a great article about sleep and how it relates to our over all fitness. This is going to be my main source of information that I am trying to relay onto you.
You can find a link below in the “References” section.

Here’s the excerpt from that article that I found to be the most useful:

  • Studies have shown that athletes who consistently get around 10 (ten) hours of sleep per night show marked improvement in strength, speed, agility, and reaction time.
  • Athletes who get around 10 (ten) hours of sleep demonstrate significantly better muscle memory for movements they have learned for the day before.
  • People who don’t get enough sleep are more prone to diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and other various cardiometabolic and endocrine disorders (Rawls-Meehan 2012).
    • Wait a second, isn’t that we started exercising in the first place? So…if we don’t get enough sleep that implies that we are essentially shooting ourselves in the foot!!

That is some pretty interesting stuff huh?

Now here is my dilemma. I am a Paramedic, because of such I work two 24 hour shifts. From 7am-7am the following day. That’s two days a week that I cannot guarantee proper sleep. Those days I am at the mercy of the general public, the EMS Gods, and my overall tendency of bad-luck. Sometimes I get to bury my face in that pillow for a solid 6(ish) hours, and sometimes I can only day-dream about it at 3 in the morning. There is no rhyme or reason to it at all. So…that being said, short of a major schedule change or career change I cannot have any control over the sleep I get on those two days. I have accepted it, I will still complain about it, but there is nothing that I can do about it.

I do, however, have control over the sleep I get on my days off. I have selected not to pick up overtime on the overnight tours (11pm to 7am) unless it is absolutely necessary. I encourage all of you out there to really take a look at what you are getting for sleep, or not getting in many cases.

I plan on being much more aware of my sleeping patterns in order to truly reach my health goals.

For more information, check out this article that I used for most of the information in this post:

Rawls-Meehan, Martin (June 2012). Sleeping For Performance. Retrieved from: journal.crossfit.com/2012/06/sleeping-for-performance.tpl