BNI partnership with Game Plan Nutrition

We are proud to announce our partnership with Game Plan Nutrition!

All of our coaches are currently working with the Game Plan team to gain more education on nutrition that can be passed off to you guys, so PLEASE make sure you ask your coaches what products you should be using!

What is Game Plan?

Nutrition is equally, if not more important than you actual training… To get the results you’re looking for, proper nutrition is essential! As members, you guys get 10% off all Game Plan products here

So make sure to check out the site and pick up what you need. You can design your own Game Plan, from scratch, or check out what our coaches are taking.

Talk to your coach today about what products you should be taking and we look forward to seeing you all become better CF athletes in the coming year!

Mike & Beth

Considerations for Masters Athletes

Considerations for Masters Athletes

A few weeks ago, I read an article about exercising into the 40s and 50s (and beyond), and felt it was hyper-conservative in its recommendations. I mean, just because I may be older doesn’t mean I am preparing myself to check into an assisted living center. Besides, some of the best athletes at CrossFit BNI are over 40, and we are looking for the safest and best ways to get stronger and faster.

So I figured I would address some of the topics I find most important for those of us fortunate enough to have witnessed the 1970’s first-hand.

Before I get into the meat of this discussion, however, I am going to assume that IF you are over 40 and in a fitness program, that you are in tune with the state of your overall health. There is truth to the adage that “with age comes wisdom”, and attempting to sprint a mile after a triple bypass operation kind of goes against this.

I would also like to highlight that there is a HUGE difference in how hard you should push yourself if you have been physically active, versus if you have been mostly sedentary and are just starting a fitness program. This doesn’t mean that those new to exercise programs need to stick to swim aerobics at the YMCA. They just need to follow the same rules anyone new to fitness follows:
- Rest when you feel lethargic or fatigued.
- Set realistic goals, and work towards them.
- Eat to fuel your exercise.
- Don’t attempt to lift a house until you can do so in good form.
- Stop when you feel pain (know the difference between pain and muscle soreness).

The most important factor of working out at an advanced age, is understanding that your body takes more time to heal. This goes for allowing your muscles to recover after hard workouts as well as allowing injuries to properly heal before you get back to the grind. This is the crappiest thing about getting older, and it definitely takes a while to adjust to the slower recovery requirement. Our brains want to go-go-go; but the body may or may not follow. Testosterone levels also drop as we get older (in both men and women); and affect our drive and ability to build and maintain muscle.

I feel the standard three-days-on / one-day-off routine of CrossFit is a valid routine for those who are used to pushing themselves hard. The older you get, however, perhaps a less frequent schedule is more appropriate for what your body can handle. I fluctuate between a three-days-on / one-day-off schedule and a two-days-on / one-day-off schedule depending on how sore or fatigued I feel. I also periodically take two days off in a row when I really feel sluggish. If you know how to listen to your body (cliché, I know…), you can develop a schedule that suits your capabilities.

Another factor affecting us old-timers is mobility. Tendonitis and stiffness are a fact of life as you get older, which requires extra attention towards maintaining effective ranges of motion. It is imperative that you sustain sufficient mobility to perform every movement through a full range of motion. This will prevent injuries and keep repetitive motion tendonitis at bay.

Along the mobility lines, many masters athletes are limited in their ability to do high-skill exercises such as pistols and handstand push-ups. The movements require the athlete to have strength through a full range of motion, and many times tendonitis and muscle aches make working through that range of motion fairly difficult – especially on a recurring basis. I recommend spending at least five to ten minutes every day you go to the gym working on your particular mobility issues – whether or not you feel you need it that day.
Every. Single. Day.

On the positive side, masters athletes have just as much capacity to continue to lift heavy. Strength fades much slower than endurance and speed. You may not be able to match your best mile time year after year; but you will likely be able to add pounds to your PRs into your 60s – as long as you work hard at it. Just remember that the best accompaniment to stronger lifts is mobility and recovery.

So, as a bottom line…

Continue to push yourself as hard as you feel you can. Lift heavy, run fast, and challenge your PRs every time you go to the gym. Take rest days and work in a mobility program to ensure you stay fresh and flexible. Eat to fuel your workouts and replace lost nutrients. Don’t let your past performances rule your present expectations. If you get hurt, take the time to heal completely.

And pass your wisdom on to younger athletes, so they may learn from your experiences.

Mobility class free to BNI members

Mobility class at CrossFit BNI – free to members from Brandon, Valrico, Riverview, and throughout the Tampa Bay Area

Mobility ClassIf you are looking for a way to perform better during your workouts, recover quicker after an intense WOD, or feel better and more refreshed on a daily basis, the CrossFit BNI Mobility Class is what you have been looking for.

Taught by Damion Jones, our Trainer and a licensed Physical Therapist, this 1-hour class is held every Thursday night at 7 p.m. Damion will cover some guided stretches, and mobilizing techniques to help keep an active body, free of strains, pains, range of motion limitations, tightness, and soreness.

This class is free for our BNI memebers and can be tremendously helpful at addressing a number of common problems. See Mike, Beth, or Damion if you have any questions. Registration is required and space is limited, so don’t wait!

Competition Preparation

Competition Preparation Tips & Insights for Any CrossFitter

Competition PreparationMany people are already in the summer competition groove, so it is worth a quick discussion of how to prepare for a competition – physically, mentally, and nutritionally. This blog will discuss these areas, and also give recommendations for how often to compete, and how to recover from a competition.

Most competitions are two days long, with about three workouts each day. Charity competitions and small-box battles are one day, and some of the bigger events are three days (usually with only a workout or strength test on the first day). Regardless of how long your competition is, these are some common important things to consider.

1)     Packing for the competition:  Many competitions announce all the workouts well in advance, so you can know what equipment to bring in advance. The element of surprise does exist, however; so make sure you bring those things you might bring for any potential surprise workout or unannounced tie-breaker. Here is a list of the things I always keep in a plastic tub, and would definitely take with me to a competition:

  • Enough workout clothes (complete set) so I can change into a fresh set of duds for each and every workout if I sweat way too much, or have a clothing or bowel malfunction.
  • Lifting shoes, running shoes, AND Nanos
  • Wrist compression wraps, gymnastic straps, and hand tape
  • Rope-climbing socks / leg protection
  • Arm sleeves (protection for rings or atlas stones)
  • Jump rope
  • Baby wipes, tape, Nu-Skin, Ibuprofen, aspirin, Bandaids…
  • Foam roller, lacrosse ball, and Voodoo Floss
  • Suntan lotion and bug spray
  • Folding chair / pop-up tent / beach towel
  • Cooler full of ice, beverages, and food (and bottle opener)
  • Wrist and head sweat bands
  • Jacket and sweat pants
  • Toilet paper

2)     Eating before the competition: Try not to stray too much from what you normally eat if you have a sensitive digestive system. You do not want to be in the bathroom more than you need to be on competition day. You DO, however, need to eat to prepare yourself for a full day or two of competing – versus only one workout a day.

  • The day prior to the competition, eat and hydrate as you normally do for the breakfast and lunch meals.  For the evening meal, however, stay away from junky/fast food. Eat a higher carbohydrate meal with plenty of protein and good fats that will help you get started for the next day. Lean meats, solid colorful fruits and veggies, and nuts and seeds are good options – Paleo or Zone works well here. If you get gassy from anything (milk, lentils, etc.), it is best to avoid it unless you want your judge to walk away from you mid-workout. Drink a big glass of water a couple of hours before bed.
  • Wake up and eat a small meal with plenty of easy-to-digest proteins, fats, and simple carbs about two or three hours before your first competition. Eggs, fruits, apple fritters, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches all fit the bill – along with a tall glass of water. Make sure you don’t eat anything that will make you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of your first workout. Coffee is both good and bad in this area. Because most competitions have multiple workouts, avoid the urge to fast, or to drink bullet-proof coffee alone as a breakfast. That will not provide enough fuel going into the second workout.

3)     Sleep well the night before competition days.  Try not to obsess about the workouts, and how you might possibly fare the next day. There is nothing you can possibly do the night before a competition by worrying about it – other than wreck it by not sleeping well.

4)     Get to the competition AT LEAST an hour prior to the first workout / athletes’ meeting / registration. This will allow you to set your area up, get everything you need organized, walk around and check the place out, and scout out where the bathroom are. Make sure you set up somewhere you can see or hear what is going on with the competition so you don’t miss your workout heats.

5)     Eating during the competition: Think small and easily digestible when eating throughout the day(s) of competition. Lean meats, peanut butter sandwiches, fruits, nuts, and vegetables are all good choices. Try to graze throughout the day instead of eating a big meal. Eat something immediately after completing each workout, and drink water throughout the day. Modestly sized protein drinks are a good choice too. Just try not to eat too much, as you do not want to feel bloated for the next workout.

6)     Rest between workouts. Sit down and casually snack on some food and water. Resist the urge to wander around and shop at the vendor tents unless you have a couple of hours or more between each workout. Use whatever mobility tools you brought to massage aching muscles. Use ice from your cooler both to cool down and to ice any swelling or aches. Elevate your feet or lie down if you can.

7)     After a day of competing, eat like a champion! Your body has been working hard all day, and you have been grazing to this point. Replenish your macronutrient stores with a high-carb dinner. Pasta, rice, unprocessed meats, vegetables, and fruits are all good choices; but chances are, almost anything in balance will fit the bill. Just try not to over-indulge on food or alcohol. Many times, people use the day after a competition to socialize over dinner. Most big-chain (non-fast-food) restaurant meals are proportioned for what you need (meat, potatoes, butter, vegetable, beverage…).

Naturally, there are many factors involved in fine-tuning your competition experience. Duration of each workout, length of time waiting between each workout, weather conditions, intensity required in the workout, amount of weight on the bar, and your emotional state during the competition all play into your meal and rest planning.

The best advice anyone has ever given me, was telling me not to worry too much about the other athletes, or the weather conditions, or the type of music they are playing. Everyone is competing in the same environment; and the victor will always be the one who has trained the hardest despite any environmental factor. Be prepared the best you can be, and do the best you can do, and let the pieces fall where they may.

Coming in September: Lift More Oly 2-Day Event at CrossFit BNI

Lift More Oly 2-Day EventAt CrossFit BNI, we are committed to seeing our athletes meet each and every goal they have set for themselves. Whether we’re programming WODs, coaching a skill or movement, or providing a much-needed bit of motivation as the AMRAP clock winds down, our greatest joy comes when we see our athletes break through and accomplish something they might not have previously thought possible.

With that in mind, we are bringing the Lift More Oly 2-Day Olympic Lifting Event to CrossFit BNI. This event - and the coaches who put it on – travels the globe seeking to provide the very best in Olympic lifting instruction. Don’t miss out on this truly unique experience. This seminar covers:

  • Weightlifting theories and practice
  • Progressions practicing bar path and key positions to produce maximum force
  • Cues to build kinesthetic awareness
  • Proper technique for more efficient movement
  • Drills to improve strength and reinforce technique
  • Demonstration of movements for repetition
  • Mental exercises for attempting maximal lift
  • Exercises and drills that are most effective for mastery
  • Nutrition for optimal performance
  • Why Olympic Weightlifting is the most mentally challenging sport

For more information or to register for this event, check out the Eventbrite link below.

Register for the 2-Day event HERE

Levels of CrossFit & Fitness Awareness

Levels of CrossFit & Fitness Awareness

Levels of CrossFit

By Jim Broun, CrossFit BNI Trainer

Over a few decades of doings various things – both professionally and recreationally – I have learned that there are several levels of awareness related to understanding and getting better at your craft.  It seems as though every six years or so as a snobby know-it-all analyst, I would have an awakening and realize that many things I thought I knew about being an analyst were completely different than I perceived.  It wasn’t as if what I was doing was wrong.  I had always been very good as an analyst. I just became aware of the WHY and HOW at a level I hadn’t previously understood, and that changed how I approached being an analyst.

And THAT allowed me to get better as an analyst.

Having been in the CrossFit realm since its inception, I have also noticed the same advancement of my understanding over time; and this has allowed me to progress as an athlete – beyond what I previously thought was possible.

When most people walk into CrossFit for the first time, they see a challenging exercise routine, and imagine the workout is simply an alternative to the LA Fitness drudgery: Back and biceps… Chest and triceps… Leg day… You know the routine.  Some people use the phrase “shock your body” to explain how they perceive that CrossFit will help them lose a few pounds. Some people just needed a financial or social commitment to something that would force them to get into shape. 

This is where most people start their fitness journey – at level one. 

At this level, we have heard a lot of the fitness do’s and don’ts: Diet and exercise are a team. High intensity exercise burns fat. Muscles grow when we force them to work harder than they are accustomed to working.  In this phase, however, we don’t completely know if we want to commit fully to the hype.  Body builders are meatheads, CrossFitters are cultists, and people who have six pack abs are genetic freaks on steroids. You just want to lose a few pounds, or to (giggle) TONE your muscles. This certainly can’t be too strenuous.  So you start your CrossFit journey, and learn how to squat (hopefully).

After a month or so of drinking the CrossFit Kool Ade, you notice that your fitness level has improved by a thousand percent.  You might not be able to do all the movements; but you WANT to someday. You also may not have lost a lot of weight; but you notice that your clothes fit a little looser.  Deep inside you know it is working, so you make a commitment to stick around a while longer. One thing that gets to you is that you seem to always finish last, and are using the pink bar for everything. Man, if you could only get that pull-up thing figured out, you would be kicking some serious ass! 

This is when you hit the second level of awareness. 

You can squat and swing a kettlebell fairly well; but there seems to be a coach within arms length during every workout, and that coach is always correcting your form (nag, nag, nag…).  Chances are, you think you have the super-easy deadlift down pat; but don’t feel comfortable lifting more than 90 pounds for more than a rep or two, and your back feels like you need to take a day off afterwards. You keep hearing coaches say things like “knees out” and “shoulders back”; but those queues don’t really resonate with you yet, and when you DO follow the queues it is uncomfortable.  Chances are, you will ignore these queues until you get injured from not following them; or will only follow them because you see someone else doing it, and lifting a ton more than you can.

People get stuck at level two for a long time.  Self-doubt reigns supreme.  Then people who are newer at CrossFit than you are suddenly doing handstands and muscle-ups, and are leaving you in the fitness dust. You start reading Muscle & Fitness, and soliciting your friends for information on how to get better at everything.  You still, however, half-heartedly approach inch bugs, and are still grabbing the pink bar for cleans and push presses.

Then, one day that light bulb turns on, and that babble that the coach has been spewing at you is suddenly in English! Hips back! Knees out!!! Suddenly your deadlift weight goes to 200 pounds, and your back doesn’t hurt at all after the workout.  All of that silly “form” nonsense suddenly becomes clear – at least for a few movements. 

You are officially at the third level of awareness. 

At this level you make New Year’s resolutions by the hundreds. Every movement has a benchmark that you need to meet. Pull-ups, handstands, a 7-minute Fran time, pistols… You don’t know how, but by the end of the year you will be at the CrossFit Games.

Level three doesn’t last that long, because as soon as you miss 99% of your new resolutions, you become a bit more of a realist in what it takes to get to the next level of your personal fitness.  This is also a phase when PRs mean everything, and the work to get those PRs seems to get ignored.  You may hit a few personal bests in some lifts; but overall your strength and gains are about average for your body type and musculature.

At some point, the realization hits that in order to get better you have to put in hard work. Getting a pull-up is hard when you can’t even hang your body weight by your hands for more than a couple seconds. Handstand push-ups are hard when your push press PR is 45 pounds. 

Level four hits when you finally concede and follow the programming and skill work recommendations.  Form AND function start becoming one.  As people go through this phase, however, they go though it with intent. They have accepted that they need to listen to their body, and discover where and how they can make gains by recording their efforts and the subsequent results.  For people with less then three years in their personal fitness journey, this is a long phase. There is so much to learn about ourselves.

From this point forward, each individual will continue to go through periodic enlightenment.  This enlightenment continues as long as that individual continues to push himself or herself physically. Suddenly, aspects of intensity, pace, nutrition, supplementation, and rest become important. Some people will culminate at this level of awareness, as it takes more time and energy to focus this much on fitness.  

There is a Progression Chart on the wall that uses the terms “beginner”, “intermediate”, “advanced”, and :fire breather”…  That chart approximates the phases or levels of progress – which usually includes both physical capability and level of fitness awareness.  If you are a new CrossFitter, or have never thought about how you are going to progress as a CrossFitter, it’s important to realize that your transformation from desk jockey/soccer mom is much more than just thoughtlessly grinding through a randomized fitness program.  Learn the form.  Get good at the form and the required mobility.  Learn how a 10-minute METCON WOD affects your body versus a 5×5 back squat at 80% of your one rep max. 

Realize that even Veruca didn’t get the golden egg the minute she wanted it.

Best Nutrition Advice Ever

With the CrossFit BNI Paleo Challenge now underway, we want to give you some words to live by. This “diet” is not hard to simplify. CrossFit founder, Greg Glassman explains it like this:

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.

Our friends at Steve’s Original Paleo Kit put it this way:

CrossFit BNI Paleo Challenge

We are so excited for everyone who has registered to participate in the CrossFit BNI Paleo challenge. Through discipline, determination, and community support, we know that all the participants will end up making tremendous improvements in their overall health and individual WOD performances. Good luck!

Bay Area Beatdown Photo Gallery

Bay Area Beatdown Features the Fittest in Tampa Bay

The 2013 Bay Area Beatdown is in the books and it was an incredible success. The athletes who competed gave everything they had and showed the kind of community and support that CrossFit has become famous for. Thanks to our friends at Jay Knickerbocker Photography, we can relive the moments, effort, and emotion of this year’s competition.

Bay Area Beatdown Results and Review (Video)

2013 Bay Area Beatdown is Officially in the Books

Bay Area Beatdown ResultsHundreds of athletes from around the state descended upon the Florida State Fair Grounds for the second annual Bay Area Beatdown hosted by CrossFit BNI. Over two days of competition, the participants were tested in a wide variety of strength and endurance skills. Whether it was climbing a rope, completing as heavy a thruster as possible, performing unique gymnastics-style movements on the rings, lifting atlas stones, or anything else, these athletes did everything they could to determine who is the fittest in Tampa Bay.

If you missed this year’s event, check out some of the highlights. Special thanks to Saringo Picture Co. for providing this footage.

Bay Area Beatdown from Roy Saringo on Vimeo.

Check out the results here:

Steve’s Original PaleoKits at CrossFit BNI

Steve’s Original PaleoKits Now Available at CrossFit BNI

Steve's Original PaleoKit At CrossFit BNI, we are committed to doing everything we can to help you reach your best. And for a huge number of our members, one of the places they need the most help is with their diet. Without putting the proper things into your body, you will never see the results and performance you are looking for when you come to the box. The CrossFit community is enormously supportive of living a Paleo lifestyle, and now CrossFit BNI is able to bring Paleo to you. Eating a Paleo diet means keeping it clean – lean meats, great vegetables, select nuts, and certain fruits. It’s a great way to live. However, it’s not always convenient… until now.

With Steve’s Original PaleoKits and other options, you can eat perfectly Paelo no matter where you are with no fuss, no prep work, and no mess. These vacuum-packed meals and snacks are great fuel for anyone on the go. The Original contains a tasty mix of jerky, macadamia nuts, dried fruits, almonds, and pecans. They are available in two different size – a small snack size and a larger meal replacement. In addition to catering to a Paleo lifestyle, these items are also perfectly suited for those following the Zone diet as well.

CrossFit BNI has just received a huge shipment of assorted meal and snack packages from Steve’s Original. We encourage you to click on the link and look around at the products and the company. If you have any questions, need further details, or you would like to buy some of this great food, see Mike or Beth at the CrossFit BNI studio.