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Movement Basics for Becoming the Ultimate Human

We hear a lot about what it takes to be an athlete, but what about a solid, should we say ultimate, human. Today we dive into the movement basics that you need to be on the road to becoming the ultimate human.  We define ultimate human as someone who can live well into their 90’s.  If you haven’t read the first article in the series “Do These 7 Things First” check it out and come back to this one.

Crawl, Stand, Walk, then Run

As any toddler will tell you, you have to crawl before you can stand, stand before you can walk, and walk before you can run.  That’s true for being an ultimate human as well.  The first step is being able to crawl. If there were a fire in your home, could you crawl under the smoke to get out.  Second on the list is can you stand, and not just to flex in the mirror?  Can you stand on one foot for :30 seconds? Go ahead, give it a try, I’ll wait.  If that was easy, close your eyes.  Same rules apply to touching the floor, can you do it?  Can you do it standing on one leg? You pick things up all day long it’s an important skill to have.

Squat and Stand Up

To keep yourself from assisted living you need to be able to squat, at minimum to 90 degrees.  Don’t think it’s that important, can you get to the toilet, yeah it’s that important.  Lose the ability to perform a basic squat and you’re going to need someone to help you with daily living. Along those same lines, can you get up off the floor?  What if you fall, can you get yourself back up?  If you’re reading this and think this is WAY too basic, can you get off the floor with no hands? These are important skills that involve balance, flexibility and coordination.

Lift Your Arms and Step All The Way Up

The last two on the list of basic human abilities are to lift your arms, fully above your head, without pain and be able to step on a 20” box.  The majority of kitchens are designed with upper cabinets or shelves, if you can’t lift your arms up, getting that jar from the middle shelf is going to become really challenging.  The more pain you’re in the less likely you are to do that motion and the less flexible you become over time.  The 20” box step is the average height of 2 stair steps.  If you can do 2 you can do one, this insures you’re not having to hit up your realtor and only look at ranch style homes.  It also makes navigating the world much easier.

To recap the basics, Stand, Crawl, Walk, Squat, Touch the Floor, Get Up Off the Floor, Reach Up Overhead and Step to a 20” Box.  If any of these things cause you pain, that’s where your journey starts.  Fixing the issue so you can do these things and many more pain free. This will set you up with a great foundation.

Control What?

Control What?

If you’re like me I’m sure you’ve heard “control what you can control” a thousand times and rolled your eyes a bit and moved on. “What does that even mean when everything around me is out of my control,” is usually my next thought. My partner, Ashley, and I had this exact conversation today, which prompted this blog post. The stress level hit the roof, but not for reasons you might be thinking.

Flash Back 3 Months

A little back story, in January Ashely  became a full time artist. She left the safety of an everyday paycheck and chased her dream of working for herself. It was a few months after that it was becoming clear that I would be the sole owner of Icehouse. We were so excited, and then this crazy world wide thing happened, you might have heard of it, COVID-19. It was 2 days after I signed the paperwork to be the sole owner, that we shut the doors for an unknown amount of time. At this time, Ashely was making most of her money from in person workshops, things got really real.

The Social Distancing

We took a moment to celebrate and a day to panic.We sat down and made a plan of how can we stay as safe as possible. What are the things, that we as a family, are okay with and not okay with. After that day of panic and planning, I took a morning in my office at home with a cup of coffee and started writing. My perspective shifted. We have a plan that feels good, we have an opportunity to focus on careers we love doing, and we can still create and help people.

Feel All the Feelings

Ashley painted three really awesome paintings during this time and that lead to several painting orders. This should be a really exciting time, but it wasn’t.  With all the negative, and feelings of grief and fear, it can be really challenging to allow yourself to feel joy. As we talked more about this, we made the decision that we could feel happy. We can “control what we can control.” These are things like making paintings, busting our ass to create an Icehouse experience, innovating new ways to do business in a virtual world, working out and eating right, and the way we communicate with each other. We can shelter in place and still create, still be of service (one of our personal core values) and still allow ourselves to feel all of the feelings, which include joy and excitement.

If you are struggling with the feeling of being out of control, I challenge you to write down the things, in your world, that you can control. What are some ways you are feeling grateful? How can you continue to do the things you love? If you need help with this please reach out, these are the types of things my staff and I love to do. We love to help.

Work Hard, Stay Humble: Postpartum Training

Work Hard, Stay Humble: Postpartum Training

Modifying and scaling during pregnancy was humbling, but it was nothing compared to postpartum training.  After giving birth, doctors recommend (strongly) six weeks of rest and recovery which means walking and MAYBE light weights.  I’m not an elite athlete but I’m definitely competitive.  Six weeks of walking?  Please…

A ton of things happen in the body during the first six weeks postpartum.  One of these things is that the abdominal muscles start to knit back together, layman’s terms.  As the uterus grows, the abdominal wall is no longer a wall.  It becomes separate bricks, and separate bricks are not as strong as a wall.  In most cases it takes longer than six weeks for a woman’s abdominals to come back together and even if they do, they aren’t nearly as strong.

To rebuild the abdominal wall, it is recommended that low impact exercises are done.  No sit ups, a few planks, but certainly well-supported, full abdominal movements.  It isn’t just the washboard stomach that weakens during pregnancy but also the muscles of the sides and the back.  The entire corset fo the truck needs to be strengthened before weight is added to movement.  Instead of snatches, cleans, and presses with a barbell, the first 6 weeks, (if you decide to jump back in early), are spent doing seated presses with dumbbells to rebuild the core stability necessary to send weight overhead.

Any jumping and any weighted squats are out.  Obviously during labor the pelvic floor is, well, stressed.  With so much happening to that region, giving it time to heal is paramount.  Air squats are acceptable as only body weight is being moved.  Any added weight would cause unnecessary and potentially unmanageable strain on the pelvic floor muscles.  The same can be said for jumping movements, such as box jumps or double unders.  The sudden jarring of the body in the landing of a jump could hinder the healing of the pelvic floor muscles.  Kegels are highly recommended to rebuild and strengthen the pelvic muscles.  So you don’t pee when you jump rope.

Starting lighter and slower also serves to rebuild cardiovascular endurance.  During pregnancy, the amount of blood in the body increases by 50%, which means the heart works harder.  Postpartum, the body needs to adjust to the new amount of blood and heart rate.  Giving it time is necessary.  During pregnancy, a woman is usually advised to keep her heart rate below a certain BPM to ensure enough oxygen is getting to the baby.  This restriction in itself causes a loss of cardio endurance.  So walking instead of running, and even rowing if it’s done carefully.

As much as I hate to say it, taking it easy for the first six weeks postpartum is necessary for long term gains and performance.  Getting hurt now would only make the recovery period longer.  So be smart, be safe, and dial it back for six weeks.  Then if it feels good, give the gym hell.

Consistency Above All

Consistency Above All

Let’s all admit, we really like new things…we love novelty, what’s the newest greatest program, gadget, gear, shoe, piece of equipment, training technique…

As individuals, we display averages…we are the culmination of our habits…we are the average of the 5 people that we spend the most time with…it’s not what we know, it’s what we do consistently…

So what happens if we continue to chase the newest, coolest, shiniest thing we can put our hands on time after time…?

Well…we get…nowhere…

Really?

Think of it this way…you start with a destination.  “I want to drive from Fargo to Grand Forks.” You have a map that you trust will get you to your destination…then…you start deviating from the map…because…your internal voice starts getting loud, chirping about…anything really.  So you start taking exits, and you start making stops, and you can see the road you were on…but this road is brand new and maybe it’s faster but too new for your map to have included it…maybe?

Eventually you get…somewhere….for sure.  Is it where you originally wanted to go, is it where you want to be now?  That’s for you to decide. 

Let me break down this analogy…

You came to Icehouse to look good naked, have energy throughout your day, look good in your clothes, do things that fit people can do…then you talked to a coach and the coach told you to come to Icehouse 3-4 times a week, really get after the workout of that day; drink half of your body weight in ounces of water; eat relatively clean most of the time; sleep 8 hours a night…right?

And you did…for a bit, maybe even for a long while…then what?  

Choose your adventure…

Path #1

You were scrolling Instagram or Facebook and you see all of these people, who you don’t know, pitching these deviations to your plan…new gear, new diet, new training program and your brain somehow convinced you that this map that you had wasn’t the best map to get you to where you want to go, so you start improvising, adding a program here, a program there….

Suddenly you’re training 5-11 sessions a week, and you’ve only got 75% (maybe) of your energy to give to each of your training sessions, you’re tired, you’re under fueled, you’re training at Icehouse like it’s your job (literally) and suddenly the magic has worn a bit…it’s a box to check…sure you see your friends, but you’re super tired and you’re getting your work done to say that you got your work done…

What’s worse is that your stress from training has negatively impacted your performance, and your body composition (remember wanting to look good naked)…you’re not happy, you’re not as strong as you think you should be, and you think you’re not training hard enough so you scroll through more Instagram and pile on more training to combat your overtraining…

What’s the fix?

Talk to a coach, let us help you take a good, honest look at what your goals are, how you’re training, how you’re eating, how you’re recovering, and make sure they’re all supporting your goals

…Too busy for a meeting with a coach?

  • Come to CrossFit or Flux 3-4 times a week, and bring your 100% for that day
  • Get 8 hours of sleep every night
  • Drink half of your body weight in water every day
  • Eat real food, most of the time

Path #2

You were scrolling Instagram or Facebook and you see all of these people, who you don’t know, pitching these deviations to your plan…new gear, new diet, new training program and your brain somehow convinced you that this map that you had wasn’t the best map to get you to where you want to go, so you start improvising…doing more “home workouts”, maybe doing more open gym workouts…?

Suddenly you’re avoiding CrossFit classes because the classes are interfering with the science behind what you’re new program is designed to do…

Then…you’re training by yourself a lot…or not training at all, not on purpose…it just happened…you lost that accountability…and that community…you feel like you made your choice and you can’t come back

What’s the Fix?

Talk to a coach, let us help you take a good, honest look at what your goals are, how you’re training, how you’re eating, how you’re recovering, and make sure they’re all supporting your goals

…Too busy for a meeting with a coach?

  • Come to CrossFit or Flux 3-4 times a week, and bring your 100% for that day
  • Get 8 hours of sleep every night
  • Drink half of your body weight in water every day
  • Eat real food, most of the time

Hey!?! That fix looks awfully familiar…

Yep, remember…the title of this blog is “Consistency Above All”…the truth is you can do just about any program out there.  As long as you are sleeping, you are recovering, you are eating clean, and you are training consistently fitness is attainable.  

After 6-12 months of consistency you will hit a wall, then you come and see a coach and we’ll develop a plan together to get over that wall…but you first have to get that 6-12 months of consistency…

…Now is as good a time to get your consistency dialed in with our Icehouse Check-In Challenge going on now until the end of 2019

…Now I understand it’s easy to hear about consistency from a coach, right?  Well if you have any questions about “real world” Icehousers here’s a list of our…

Consistency Champions (10/12 months on our #committed Board)

Angelina Akers; Betsy Bohnenblust; Allie Bondy; Cierra Brinkman; Soni Cariveau; John Dalziel; Elli Feist; Mike Gallagher; Jeremy Grinsteinner; Holly Hagen; Becky Hanson; John Heller; Jordan Larson; KJ Loughead; Tracy Nelson; Racheal Paveglio; Leslie Rumble; Nancy “Shots” Stenger; Alex Vruno; Nick Williams

Honorable Mentions (8/12 Months on our #committed Board)

Sarah Borders; Emma Dunham; Jordan Johnson; Adam Kolling; Emily Monson; Preston Nesemeier; Chad Quamme; Skylar Wehri; Tyler Williams

Consistency Above All…It doesn’t matter what you KNOW…what do you DO consistently?