Burnout

This week’s programming.

Burnout. This is a word I’ve heard a few times this week. Those of us working through the 12-week lifestyle challenge, we’re in the doldrums of week 11, many of us barely hanging on. We’re going through the motions of food prep, of working out, of getting on the floor to mobilize each evening, of recording our sleep hours. We feel burned out: the fires that drive our motivation seem to have fizzled away.

Or have they? Think about it. If we’re still at it — if we’re still showing up for the WODs, if we’re still successfully digging into our crispers for vegetables and protein to prep dinners (I did this tonight! nearly wilted zucchini and leftover chicken!!), if we’re still making the effort to work at a skill that still seems *just* outside our reach — clearly our motivation is still there. The  spark has not completely burned out. Our fires have just burned down to a slow smolder.

Instead, if you’re feeling some burnout, think of your “burnout” as that moment of motionless, high-speed-spinning-of-tires, that the motorcycle racer engages in to create heat so the rubber is hot, sticky and ready for the racetrack. You may not feel like you’re making progress during that burnout. The motorcycle rider is not making any visible forward progress during that burnout. But the burnout is a necessary step for success later.

burnout-1174864_1280Embrace your burnout. And then brace yourself for the speed of your forward momentum that will most assuredly follow.

Recipe this week courtesy of Coach Melony!
Colcannon with Slow Cooker Beef:

(This is basically mashed potatoes with greens and cabbage hidden inside plus MEAT. Who doesn’t love presents in their mashed potatoes? Who doesn’t love meat and taters?)

In the morning/midday, prep your protein:
Easy Slow Cooker Beef
1 round roast or 2 pounds of stew beef
2-3 cups beef bone broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 TBSP minced onion

Throw all ingredients in crock pot, about 8 hours on low or 4 on high.
Then, when it gets closer to dinner time, prep your Colcannon:

2lbs potatoes (I used red, but you can use yukon or both!)
1TBSP salt
6 TBSP butter
1 small green cabbage (about 1 cup shredded)
1-2 cups kale, shredded
4-6 scallions finely chopped
1/2 c whole milk
additional salt and pepper to taste
1 – 2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 c beef bone broth for added flavor

1) Boil the potatoes: Place the potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a medium pot and cover with cool water. Bring to a simmer over high heat; this will take about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

2) Cook the kale and cabbage: While the potatoes are boiling, melt 2 TBSP of butter in a pan or electric skillet. Add the cabbage, kale, garlic, and scallions and cook until tender and slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes.

3) Mash them taters: Once the potatoes are tender enough to mash, drain them and return them to the cooking pot. Add the milk and remaining butter and mash with a potato masher.

4) Deglaze: Add the 1/4 cup bone broth to the cabbage pan and scrape the pan as the broth cooks and reduces, 2-3 minutes.

5) Mix it up: Add the kale and cabbage mix to the cooking pot and fold until all ingredients are blended. Place in serving bowl and serve with your beef.
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The Perpetual Student

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 Download this week’s program.

For some of us, school was something we’re happy to be done with. The stress of homework and tests, the sitting through boring lectures on obscure history or brain-numbing math formulas, the endless waiting for lunch.

So we might equate some of those less-pleasant feelings of school with being a student.

But you don’t have to be in school to be a student, and being a student doesn’t always mean being forced to sit in a room learning about what you don’t care about.

Being a student means being open to learning. It means experimenting, observing, reflecting, and adjusting. It means seeking opportunities to expand. It means listening before you decide what your response is. It means questioning what you think you know and why you think you know it. It means letting others teach you, even if they’re not supposed to. Students never “grow up.”

We are so fortunate to have a gym full of perpetual students: both athletes and coaches.

Rut. Slump. Funk.

Seems like I’ve heard these words, or some variation thereof, thrown around the box lately. See if this sounds familiar: you find CrossFit, you fall in love. The intensity, the people, the amazing results. Then, you try eating paleo or primal. You might participate in a nutrition challenge for a few weeks; you quit drinking beer and quit eating peanut butter sandwiches for every meal. You again amaze yourself: you feel light and strong and you’re killing WODs left and right.

 

A few months pass. You shop for new clothes. Your friends and family ask what the hell you’re doing and you gush about CrossFit and the evils of grains and legumes.

 

And then one day you wake up and things are not quite right. You take stock: Was it the beer, egg rolls and potato skins you ate the night before? Was it yesterday’s disappointing Cindy score? Was it last week’s missed deadlift – and the fact that your miss wasn’t even close to your PR? Was it the seriously horrible night of sleep – or lack thereof?

 

You look in the mirror. What happened? Where did all that hard work go… and why did it all of a sudden become so difficult to sustain?

 

Here’s the good news: for many of us, the above scenario is pretty common. The shock of lifting heavy weights, running as fast as you can, and giving all you’ve got in the box will make for significant (and significantly visible gains) in the beginning. The jolt of eating clean and recovering your metabolism will do the same.

 

However, at some point, the potential for a slump or plateau is nearly certain. Whether it’s stalling with lift increases, struggling to still get that pull-up, or cursing at the last 2 inches that refuse to leave your middle (to reveal those glorious abs that CANNOT WAIT TO BE UNLEASHED ON THE WORLD), we have all suffered similarly.

 

What to do? Here’s some ideas for busting out of a rut:

 

1. Check WHAT you’re eating. While your family might still refer to your diet as that “crazy caveman eating,” are you really still 80-20 like you say you are? How many beers are you drinking a week? (hint: if it’s more than 1, you’re NOT 80-20.) How many visits to Sweet Frog? (hint: fro-yo, while glorious, does not count as primal, especially when covered in brownie bites.) Do an honest-to-goodness inventory of your choices. You might surprise yourself.

 

2. Check HOW MUCH you’re eating. So if you’re still pretty much living on Brussels sprouts and grilled chicken – good for you! But are you eating ENOUGH? One egg for breakfast probably isn’t going to sustain you until your lunch, when you quickly shovel an apple and some almond butter down your gullet between meetings at the office. Find an estimate for how many calories your body needs (the Bod Pod, which will be at the box this Sunday morning, is a good resource for this), and see if you’re getting close.

 

3. Check HOW MUCH you’re eating (again). If you’re still living clean, but eating 8 chicken thighs and fourteen sweet potatoes all slathered in a cup of almond butter at each meal, you might be eating a little bit too much. Again, do a little research, check your numbers, and try to get closer to breaking even.

 

4. Resolve yourself to work on one of your “goats.” So, you missed deadlift PR last week. That’s a drag, sure. But how are your ring dips coming along? Re-focus on a movement or a challenge that you’re sure to see some improvement on.

 

5. Mix it up; try a new session. If you always come to 4pm, try the 600am. Each session has its own personality, which can affect how hard you work. New faces might shake things up a bit for you, re-igniting your competitive spirit.

 

6. Set some new, reachable goals. They can be load-related; they can be skill-related; they can be body-related. Write them down. Make a plan. And tell somebody so they can check up on you every once in a while.

 

7. Talk to a coach. This should probably be number 1 on this list, depending on the depth of your rut. The coaches can help you pinpoint areas of training and eating that, with small adjustments, will make a huge difference. Plus, it’s what we’re here for!

 

8. Take a short break. Overtraining might be the culprit for stalled progress. An extended rest period, for 3-5 days, can help, especially if you’ve been going hard for more than four months. Use the break to focus on mobility and relaxation.

 

9. And last but not least: DON’T QUIT. :) You’ll find your mojo, you’ll begin to see results again, you’ll climb out of your funk — as long as you keep coming back. I promise.