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Written by: Kelly Miller

Walk in to any gym and you’ll hear many opinions on what is the best piece of equipment, or the best exercise for you. Now, if that isn’t confusing to anyone, than I don’t know what is.

A great question that we often get at Degree is what’s better: free weights (dumbbells, kettle-bells, etc.) or, machines (leg press, leg extension machine, etc.)

The answer? Well, it depends!

Free weights offer a more unstable environment for your muscles, joints and central nervous system. They are great to build optimal stability, and offer an added challenge.

Free weights can offer a more ‘functional’ fitness aspect in terms of being able to pick up a laundry basket with ease, carry an object a certain distance, or press something over head, like a carry on bag on a plane.

Machines can offer great isolation options, and can be a great asset to those rehabbing an injury, or needing a more stable environment for whatever reason. If specific muscle hypertrophy (growth) in certain areas of the body, machines can offer some great circuit style training options to achieve this.

Both can offer great workout options, they can both help you build muscle and get closer to your fitness goals.

The answer? Do what works best for you, and what you have available to you. Oh yes, and don’t forget to do what YOU love!

If you love using dumbbells, barbells, kettle-bells, and any other free weight style object – go for it!

If you love using machines, and that type of training environment – go for it!

As long as you are moving safely, seeing the changes you want, than who’s to say either is better?

You are unique, your goals are unique and what works best for your body and lifestyle will truly help you meet those goals, whatever they may be.

Now, let’s get moving!

Coach Kelly
Questions, or wanting to learn more? Email kellymiller@degreecrossfitseaforth.com or visit www.degreecrossfitseaforth.com/get-started

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By Mairead Rodgers, RD PHEc

Is nutrition one-size-fits all?

Have you ever tried to follow what worked for someone else, only to find it absolutely does not work for you, in any way shape or form? Have you ever looked at a meal plan in a magazine and flipped right by because it wouldn’t work for your family or had too many foods you don’t like?

Me too!

No two people have the same needs, same goals, same food preferences, or the same life, so why should we all be trying to eat the same?

Sure, some things, like eating enough fruits and veggies and getting in enough water are pretty universal. But how we actually go about doing those can completely vary. Even things like how many calories, bottles of water, or grams of protein you need can be hugely different between individuals.

This is my absolute favourite part of working with nutrition clients: finding all about them so we can come up with strategies that will actually work for them, whatever their goals are. 

Here’s a non-exhaustive things that are helpful to know about when we’re talking about making any changes in nutrition: your goals, your age, your gender, your current weight (if it’s related to your goals), the foods you do and don’t like, how often you go grocery shopping, what you do for work and how that shapes your day, how many people (little people and grown ups) you have to feed on a daily basis, how you feel about your spending on food, how much you sleep and what times, what your physical activity habits look like right now (or what you’d like them to look like), any medications or supplements that you’re on, any medical conditions that could be helped by some food tweaks, and allergies or intolerances.

And that’s just the list off the top of my head. 

I’m constantly telling my clients that everyone is their own experiment of one, and no nutrition plans or strategies are going to be perfect for every person. But with a bit of coaching, we can find things that will work for YOU! It might take a little bit of trial and error, but finding the health food changes that make you happy, help with your goals, and that you can continue with long-term will make all the difference. 

Ready to customize your nutrition? Let me know! Email maireadrodgers@degreecrossfitseaforth.com to book your FREE 15-minute Bite-Sized Nutrition Chat to talk about your goals and if you’d be a good fit to work together!

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Have you ever walked around the grocery store just feeling lost because you don’t know what you’re supposed to be eating? Have you ever stared at a food label blankly but not really understood what it says? What about scrolling through Instagram or Facebook and getting totally overwhelmed by all the do’s and don’t’s? It’s so overwhelming!

There are 3 things that are key to our nutrition programs, and one of them is CONFIDENCE! 

So what does “confident nutrition” mean and what do I hope you get out of any nutrition programs, seminars, consultations, or anything else?

We work on not questioning everything you put in your mouth. While on-going coaching clients have tons of support available, they don’t need to ask about every little thing. I love when clients do a check-in and let me know how they had a question but thought about it and came to their own answer. They are confident that they can make decisions that are right for them.

We work on being able to have treats and enjoy the heck out of them. So many of us are hesitant to have any of the special foods we love, either because we think it will throw off whatever progress we’re making, or because we feel out of control around them. We work on finding ways to have these foods and not feeling crazy around them. When you know you can have a cookie any time you want, it becomes a lot easier to not eat 14 of them just because they’re available.

We work on confidently being able to decide what changes to make. Do you need to make every nutrition change that is recommended to you in a day (thank you social media)? No! So how do you know which ones are legit and which ones aren’t? We work together to answer those questions so that when something lands in your lap, you’re not second guessing yourself. Nutrition clients learn how to think through new nutrition information to decide if this is something worth adding to their life or now. 

And I most of all I hope our nutrition clients and anyone who participates in any nutrition program, challenge or event has more confidence in themselves. I constantly ask clients for their bright spots, things they’re proud of, things they’re doing well and things they love (or at least like) about themselves. And while I know that this drives them nuts sometimes, it reminds them how awesome they are, and that’s one of the coolest parts of helping people be happier and healthier. 

If you’re ready to get confident in your nutrition, email maireadrodgers@degreecrossfitseaforth.com and book your free Bite-Sized Nutrition Chat to talk out your goals!

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By Mairead Rodgers, RD PHEc

I’m taking a brief break from talking about nutrition and food and fibre because THE OPEN IS COMING and I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Here’s the deal: I love The Open! I love the suspense of watching the workout announcements and guessing what it will be. I love judging and cheering and seeing everyone crush it. I love pushing myself to do things I know I didn’t used to be able to do. And I’ve learned to love failing at things and using them to set new goals for next year. This will be my fourth year in The Open and I swear each year I love it a little bit more.

Here’s my wishes for you heading into this year’s Open:

  • If this is your first year with The Open, I hope you just enjoy the heck out of it and feed off of all the excitement at Degree on Fridays. 
  • I hope you get really excited. I hope you cheer on everyone and I hope you see how amazing all of our members are. I hope you wear your team shirt with pride.
  • I hope you try something you don’t know if you can do. Maybe you go Rx’d even if it seems hard (ask a coach first!). Maybe you try for your first pull-up. You will never get better at things by sitting there saying you can’t do them. You might get better at them if you try.
  • I hope you fail at something just a bit, and use it to set a goal for next year. Put that goal on the board, ask for help, and be so ready for the next Open. (Ask me what it’s like to be upside down for 6 minutes straight trying to do a handstand push up and failing.)
  • I hope you groan when the workouts come out, but you don’t whine. They’re designed to be challenging. That’s the point. If there’s something in it that you can’t do, just remember you just can’t do it yet. Maybe this is your opportunity to fail a bit and set goals. 
  • I hope you get to see how much stronger, faster, and more agile you’ve gotten. I hope you realize how that thing you just did used to be something you could not do or never thought you could do. I hope you’re so freaking proud of yourself and I hope you know how proud of you we all are. 
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Written By:  Kelly Miller
We all learn different ways, and different tools work better for different people.

Have you ever tracked anything? This could be the food you eat, the amount of gas your vehicle uses, or how many steps you take in a day? Cool, me too!

Now, let’s swing back around to food.

Food can have a deeper connection to us than just how it tastes. Food impacts our emotions, our physical health and even social events.

Do you ever find yourself THIS CLOSE to hitting your fitness and nutrition goals, only to be held back by a certain food that you just can’t seem to shake? Do you ever find yourself in a vicious cycle of “well, I already effed up, let’s just go to down on this entire cake; I’ll do better tomorrow.”

Tomorrow comes, and it starts all over.

Have you ever paid attention to how you are feeling at those moments? Those moments when that craving hits so hard, and you know in your heart of hearts that there is something bigger underneath, but diving into that bag of chips seems so much easier? More of us have been there, and maybe are currently there right now as you read this.
 Why not try tracking your feelings instead of the food?
 Is there a certain time of day when you are more stressed? A certain time of the year that is hard for you, or even exciting that brings out these cravings?

By acknowledging the difference between actually wanting that food to enjoy it and savour it, versus trying to cover whatever it is we’re actually feeling with this food, we can take tiny steps each day to improved health, energy, and best of all – happiness. 

How do I do that, you might ask? This wil look a bit different for everyone:

– Use the “Notes” in your phone, making sure to note the time of day that these cravings come crashing in
– Use a journal to include the same information
– Use a whiteboard if you like a clear visual

Whatever you choose to use, see if you can recognize patterns. The good and the maybe not so great – they are all important!

From there, you will be better able to distinguish emotional or bordem eating from actual hunger, or a chance to fully enjoy whatever food it is you are wanting.

This is just one way of may ways that can help you reach your goals in a sustainable, and healthy way. 

 Looking for something more? Emailkellymiller@degreecrossfitseaforth.com or, check out our Registered Dietitian and the amazing tools that she can offer you –www.degreecrossfitseaforth.com/nutrition-services

 You’ve got this,
Coach Kelly