Congrats to Steve Lostell!

Steve worked incredibly hard in the very first Degree CrossFit Seaforth Kick Start Nutrition Challenge! Steve ate clean, exercised, and took care of his body for 30 days and managed to lost a whopping 20.6lbs and total for 14 inches! Steve was also able to increase his physical work capacity in a measured workout: he beat his measured workout time by a landslide! His first workout was timed at 11 min, 11 seconds, and when he repeated the same workout at the end of the challenge he completed it in 6 min, 50 seconds!
Here is Steve’s Success Story from the Challenge:

“My girlfriend, who attends Degree Crossfit on a regular bases, thought it would be good for us to join this challenge, so we could become more aware of what  healthier eating choices we could be making. My 1st impression was OMG, I’m going to die… but I didn’t, and as the challenge went on things got easier to do.My 1st bright spot was when I lost the 1st 5 lbs. I thought ” might as well lose another 5 “.Right now I am working on losing more weight, and eating healthy to feel better, physically. My favorite memory of Degree Crossfit was even though it was a challenge and everyone was competing against each other, everyone was so positive and supportive cheering each other on through the whole challenge.”

Thanks Steve for all your hard work, and congrats on winning $500 cash! Spend it wisely!

What is decision fatigue?

Decision fatigue is the idea that people tend to make worse decisons after they’ve already made a lot of decision earlier on in the day. Much like how a muscle can fatigue- if you “flex” your decision muscle too much, it will fail.

Think about how a grocery store (or any store really) is laid out- why do you think there are so many impulsive buys near the checkout isle?

So how can we overcome decision fatigue?

1. Sleep
Rest is the best way to recover from anything. Get a good night sleep every night to recharge your batteries. 

2. Create a Routine and/or Wear a Uniform
Some of the smartest, most influential and successful people of our time have this down to a science. Eat the same thing for breakfast, have a stack or white t-shirts that you wear to work, whatever you need to do to make less decisions in your day- do it. I know it sounds weird to wear a uniform, but the removal of even one decision in your day will leave more room from productivity and good decisions later. 

3. Make big Decisions Early in the Day and Save the Unimportant Ones for Later
Front load your day with the big stuff, your brain will be in a well rested state and you will be able to think clearer and more logically at this time. If I can help it, I go grocery shopping in the morning, I’m more likely to stick to my list, and less likely to pick up that box of cookies beside the checkout isle. Save the small decisions for later, like mindless housework.

4. Avoid Situations Where You’re Drawn to Impulsive Situations (especially late in the day).
Going back to the grocery store example, it’s impulsive to buy off your list, and even more so once you’ve gone through the whole grocery store. Create a bedtime routine that doesn’t involve searching the cupboards for food.

PRO TIP! Working out can actually help reset your decision fatigue. If you go for a walk, run, or some kind of quick workout, it helps to reset your brain and it’s almost like starting your brain fresh again for the day! 

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Happy Fundamental Friday!

Today we get to focus on a beginner level movement that anyone from beginner athlete to advanced athlete can use to increase their pulling strength. This movement is the Body Row. Since this movement used the same muscles that we use when performing a pull up- this is the perfect exercise to do if you don’t yet have a pull up, but your goal is to get one!

How to Perform a Body Row:
1. Set up rings or a bar at waist height
2. With a full grip (thumbs around the bar/rings), lean back so your body is at an angle and your elbows fully locked out
3. With your body a straight as you can make it, squeeze your shoulder blades together and begin to pull yourself up towards the rings.
4. You have reached the top when your hands comes in contact with your armpits
5. Allow your body to come back down the start starting position in the same way that you came up.

The reason that this movement is great for beginners in striving for the pull up is because it allows the participant to start building muscles for pulling strength while not having to pull their full body weight. By using the ring row with our feet on the ground (pictured in the video above), we can actually make ourselves lighter!

Every Friday we are going to post a “how to” video for you to learn more about the fundamental movements. Posts might include complete movement standards or tips on how to improve on movements you may already know how to do. These are the movements that are fundamental to a healthy and properly functioning body!

Today’s focus for Fundamental Friday is the Sit Up

The sit up is probably one of the most obvious functional movements that we can do a humans as it is the first thing we do every day… unless you just roll out of your bed and onto the floor and then burpee up to your feet (call me if you do this, I want to shake your hand). 

Lets start with a quick run down on why the abdominal muscles are important and awesome. Yep, they are super hot and sexy when developed and visible; and we all want them with out giving up beer and gluten (pray all you want, aint gonna happen). Our abdominal muscles are what hold all of our insides, inside us! If you can feel where your rib cage ends, and where the soft tissue begins you very quickly realize that having some kind of abdominal strength is going to help you sit up straight, get up from laying down, pick up things from the ground, and so much more. By strengthening your abdominal muscles, you may actually be able to reduce lower back pain, Improve your balance and stability, and avoid avoid injury. In fact, the “Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology” found that increased core strength can reduce job related injuries by up to 42% over the period of one year. 

In the video below you will see our beloved Emily performing a sit up. Thanks Em!

Just like every other movement we do here at Degree CrossFit Seaforth, we want to achieve full range of motion in the sit up. This means that we are fully extended at the bottom (laying on the floor) and fully sitting up (shoulders past hip crease) at the top.

There are two things you may find unusual about Emily’s sit up. She’s using something under her back called an abmat, and she’s also got her knees turned out with her legs bent. 

The Abmat: this is placed under your lumbar curve and allows for optimal abdominal contraction from full extension, when your spine is arched 15-30 degrees, to full flexion.

Knees out: this allows the focus of the sit up to stay on the abdominal muscles and not the hip flexors to complete the movement. 

The Sit Up:
1. Start in the sitting position, soles of your shoes together, knees out and bent
2. Place the ambit against your back so the large end is closest to your bum
3. Lay back so your shoulders lay flat on the floor and your knuckles hit the ground behind you
4. Contract your abdominal muscles and sit up to a full 90 degree angle at the hip crease, touch your shoes or the ground in front of you. 

Here’s a workout to practise some sit ups if you are comfortable with them:

Sit ups
Double Unders

If you’re a beginner try this one instead:

“Annies Little Sister”
50 Single Skips
25 Sit Ups
40 Single Skips
20 Sit Ups
30 Single Skips
15 Sit Ups
20 Single Skips
10 Sit ups
10 Single Skips
5 Sit Ups


Welcome to the second edition of Fundamental Friday!

In this blog post we”ll talk about the Squat! There is no movement more functional in nature than the squat- think about it for a minute… How do you get up off the toilet? or a chair?

Why do you NEED to squat?
There are actually a number of benefits to you body that the squat provides. Aside from the obvious visual benefits (baby got back?), the squat is a great full body movement that works the large muscles in your legs and builds a strong core. The squat is also one of the most time efficient, fat burning exercises- because it is such a full body movement. Add a little weight to your squat routine to burn body fat even faster.

Daily activities become easier the more you squat as well, due to the fact that you are building strong leg are core muscles, things like walking up the stairs and bending down to pick up object will become easier in your everyday life. 

The last and most important reason you need to squat is to prevent injury. Squats help to increase the range of motion in your hips, knees and ankles, as well as improves your balance and body awareness. As we strengthen the connective tissue and stability muscles in your legs, you are less likely to suffer from injury down the road from accidents like trips and falls. 

It is entirely possible to injure yourself by squatting incorrectly. So that is why it is so important to get a coach or a trainer to help you when you first start out. This person can help you modify and correct parts of the movement that feel uncomfortable or even painful, as well as provide accessory movements to help strengthen your body to ultimately strengthen your squat and make it a much more enjoyable movement. ​​

Below Coach K is going to demo and explain the mechanics of the squat.

How to Squat:
Start with your feet shoulder width apart and turn your toes out slightly
2. Keep your head looking up, keep your gaze about parallel
3. Keep your core tight
4. send your hips and butt back and down
.5. push your knees out towards your toes (work hard to make sure your knees do not roll to the insides of your foot).
6. Keep your weight and the pressure of your body in your heels (wiggle your toes!)
7. Lift your arms up as your body descends and reach your hand away from your hips
8. Keep your chest up as proud and tall as you can
9. actively pull yourself down into the squat- don;t just fall into it, every part of the squat should have active muscles working at all times. 
10. Stop descending when your hip crease has just passed your knee crease- this is called “breaking parallel”
11. Sqeeze your bum and legs and rise out of the squat the same way that you went down
12. Keep your weight in your heels when you rise, even imagine that you are pulling apart the floor with your feel.
13. When you reach the top squeeze your but hard to reach full hip extension.

Once you have the key skills of the “Air squat” (squatting with only your body weight), we can progress to things like the goblets squat (holding a dumbbell to your chest), or the back squat (holding a barbell behind your neck on your shoulders) and many other weightlifting movements!

Add this foundational movement into your daily workout routine!