January 8, 2018

JFW’s guide to CrossFit Supplements

I don’t know if you guys are aware of this but I am old AF. Everyone keeps telling me that you are only as old as you feel which sucks cause most days I feel 60.  I’m gonna start telling people I’m 60 cause I’d look GREAT for my age....

The problem with aging is that you don’t recover at the same speed you did when you were in your 20’s or 30’s. In my 20’s I could eat a dozen pizzas and drink a six pack and not gain an ounce. Now I just smell pizza and my pants unbutton themselves. That actually happens in a lot of circumstances but I digress... The intense training of CrossFit coupled with getting older has forced me to be more deliberate and focused on my nutrition especially the supplements that I take to speed or assist recovery. I was talking to someone at the gym the other day who asked what I take so I thought I would share it here with a few disclaimers...

1. This works for me and by no means is guaranteed to work for you. You gotta figure that sh*t out for  yourself. 
2. I’m not paid or endorsed by anyone to do this (shocking I know) so I won’t be sharing the name brands but if you really wanna know, message me on my Instagram or Facebook page. 
3. Nothing on this list can replace or fix a bad diet so don’t order Papa John’s tonight and think you can pop some pills to fix it. That does sound awesome though...

With that said, here we go:

Fish Oil - I take this 2x a day and if I was forced to pick one thing to take it would be this. I find that it not only speeds recovery but also helps with pain relief similar to pain meds. They are a little bit of a pain because the pills are big and it’s 4 a day unless I’m in pain and then I take as needed. From a cost standpoint they are super affordable. I found a brand that has no “fishy taste” and doesn’t give me burps. That’s a thing and it’s gross. Trust me.

Vitamin D, C, & Multi-vitamin - I take this to support my immune system and to supplement what I am likely missing in my diet. I beat myself down at the gym pretty good so I feel like my immune system is always in overdrive. I’m basically just trying to give it an advantage. I need all the advantages I can get...

Magnesium - I take this for better sleep which is vital to recovery. It works like a champ but makes you have crazy dreams. Last night I had a dream that I was Little Bo Peep being chased by a banana. I’m sure there is nothing going on in my subconscious at all...

Creatine - Let me dispel some rumors. This will not give you “Roid Rage” and will not make you “Swole”. It will make your muscles retain water, repair faster, and help you build strength. It will also make you heavier on the scale for those of you that care. It really tends to only affect skeletal muscle (arms, legs, shoulders, back) so it’s not like a bloat. Think of it more like a pump. I am about five pounds heavier on Creatine but my clothes fit exactly the same. It does however, make my biceps bigger when I lift and I tend to say “Brah” more often...

BCAAs, Beta-alanine & Glutamine - I get these in a pre and post workout drinks.These help with workout intensity, endurance, repair/reduce muscle soreness, and helps with protein synthesis. I’m no scientist but my experience here is that it helps get me ramped up for a WOD and I feel less sore when I take them. It also makes my skin tingly. I dig tingly. I’m a weirdo...

Protein powder - I vary between Whey and Vegan. No real reason why I mix them up. I just go on taste and protein volume. People get weird when I tell them I take vegan protein powder like it will make you vote for Bernie Sanders and drive a Prius. It’s totally not true. Here’s a fun fact though. If you mix mass gain whey protein powder with creatine and Red Bull it will make you build a wall while making America great again and riding a bald eagle. True story...

I hope this helps a few of you have an idea of what supplementation looks like and how it can help you. If you have questions or want more specifics shoot me a message...

JFW









December 21, 2017

Leadership lessons I have learned while sweating my ass off


A lot of you don’t know this about JFW but besides being excellent at sarcasm and referring to myself in the 3rd person, I have a real job. I work in banking and have responsibility for around 80 direct reports and close to a billion dollars. Don’t be too impressed by the dollars. They aren’t mine. I only have responsibility for tens of dollars in my own account. The rest gets spent on CrossFit and my daughters. Regardless, I have been managing people for over two decades and thought I had learned everything I needed to over the years. When I joined CF Mentality I expected to improve my fitness but one of the unintended benefits and very welcome surprise has been that I have learned some leadership lessons along the way that I am applying at work as well as my personal life.

I try to be observant when I am at the gym and pay close attention when there is more than one coach together because that is when you can really see the inner workings that create a winning team. Truthfully I could put together easily three pages of things I have noticed and learned but for the sake of brevity and not sharing Mentality’s “trade secrets”, I am going to keep this list to the five I find most important and interesting.

1. Keep positivity at a premium - This list is in no particular order but if it was I would likely keep this in the number one spot. You just can’t underestimate the power of positivity and the effect it has on an athlete that is about to attempt something that scares the sh*t out of them. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “You can do this!” or “That looked so much better. Great job!” It may not seem like much but the positivity makes you want to work harder and come back for more. I used to have a coach that would yell things like “Those pushups look like you are humping the floor. No wonder you're single!”  Trust me...positivity is better. 

2. Start on time/finish together - Maybe it is just me but I think this is huge. We start every class exactly on time and the interesting thing is that I rarely see anyone try to get into a class that has already started. The timeliness of the coaches has created respect from the athletes to not come in late or miss the warm up. We also always finish together. No one cleans up their mess until the last athlete is done. They are relentless about this and for good reason. It creates a sense of community that no ones effort was less important than someone else. I am trying to apply that lesson with my team that everyone can create and make a valuable contribution no matter how big or small.

3. Coach the coaches - Every time Scott’s in the building I try pay attention to this. I see the coaches getting pulled to the side with a few questions asked, some quick instruction, and then sent back on their way. If you are going be a great leader you need someone to keep you accountable and make you think about the bigger picture. It also creates a consistency among the coaches that is invaluable to the health of your business. Side note - If you really wanna learn the deep stuff have a conversation with the true Wodfather and OG Papa Pan. That dude will spill fitness knowledge on you like you wouldn’t believe and it’s pretty obvious this culture was created decades ago. I have this image in my mind of him telling the twins when they were babies “Let’s talk about the proper position to keep your torso so you can breathe efficiently as you eat your Cheerios. Now drop and give me twenty pushups...”

4. Ask for feedback - This one was a little surprising to me. I’ve been asked by coaches on more than one occasion how I felt about everything from the facility to programming. It’s impressive to me to see that vulnerability in a leader and showcases that you need to be constantly learning, evolving, and most importantly, listening to the needs of your clients. It also showcases how thoughtful you need to be about your business and has made me think differently about how I receive feedback and use it in my business planning...

5. Celebrate success - This is a fun one. There is nothing better than ringing the PR bell or getting the Rick Flair “WHOOOOO!” out of Scott or the other coaches when you do something great. It’s easy to not take a quick second and tell someone they did a great job or even reflect on the good things you did yourself. It’s made rethink and change how I recognize and reward my own team and I think making a big impact in morale and positivity.

Like I mentioned, this is a really short list. The really good stuff is what you see go on day in and day out but you really just need to get your ass up to Mentality and see for yourself. Just make sure you show up a little early...

December 10, 2017

I still hate my body



I received a message recently on my Facebook page from someone who had read a post I wrote a while back called “I Hate My Body”. The reader told me that he could relate and that I had inspired him to “push play” when he got home from vacation and get into shape. I’m not gonna lie. I got a little choked up. It’s not often that anyone tells me that something I did actually mattered to them in a personal way. It actually made me rethink how often I need to write about “real issues” or just the foolishness that I normally do. I pretty much landed with I’m just gonna be me but if I can make a small difference every now and then I’m gonna try. I’m also gonna be a smartass from time to time and by “time to time" I mean almost always...

It’s funny. I’m in a different place now physically than I was when I wrote that post. For one I am older. There are days where 47 years old makes me feel like a grandpa but somehow I find myself in the best shape of my life. I would say that makes me a GILF but I’m not a grandpa. I would say DILF but I don’t like that term either. It sounds like a pickle. I guess since imma CrossFitter I could go with CILF. Truth be told I’d take any “ILF” at this point. Sorry. I think I lost my focus there for a second...

Anyhoo ~ In my very advanced age I have come to realize that it really is never going to matter what kind of shape I am in, I am always going to be insecure about my body. A while back it was like a thousand degrees in the gym and in my brilliance I wore a cotton t-shirt. I like the shirt because it looks good on me but I wasn’t even done with the warm up and I was soaked. Now the MacGyver in me said “Take your shirt off and you’ll be fine” but the introvert in me said “Suck it up fatty and stay wet”. I went with the introvert.

Why do I still do this? Because at the end of the day there are only two ways I can fight the insecurity in me: Tequila or CrossFit. They both make you think you look good naked but only one really does it. I try to stay away from the tequila so I’ll stick with my CrossFit plan for now but it does beg the question “At this point of my life, why am I still so insecure about how I look or concerned about the opinions of others?” 

For one, CrossFit drives the behavior a little. It’s a competitive environment by design. Very often during WODs the more “Elite” men think “3-2-1 Go” is a countdown to undressing. Heck, even the women, because of the physical nature of the workouts and heat we typically workout in, will have to strip down to sports bras and short shorts. You combine those two and human nature will move you very quickly from having a lifting or time goal in mind to “I wish I looked as good as that person”. 

Second, we measure everything. Weight moved, reps scored, and time domains just to name a few. Virtually every single workout gets scored on Wodify so you are always kind of forced into comparison mode and determining if you are improving. When you add on top of that the hundreds of Instagram posts of athletes and fitness models flexing their abs while drinking a low fat organic kale and fax seed protein smoothie made from sensibly harvested and hand milked almonds, it tends to make you feel a bit inadequate.

The feeling of inadequacy is a real b*tch but just a few days ago my very wise and mature 21 year old coach said something to me that helped me get my mind around how to control this. I was asking a question about how I should break up the workout and he said to me “JFW, not everything is a competition. Sometimes you need to just practice holding on.” It was good advice for the workout but great advice for life. I tend to view most things competitively. It’s just how I am wired I guess but I need to find more time to practice which includes working on and recognizing the things in life that make me special. I may not ever have the body that I want to have but I am a decent singer/songwriter, I like to write and if you don’t ask my daughters for their opinion on this, I am moderately funny. My point to all that is I am going to try to find the time to recognize what I am as a person and not focus on a comparison to others. I also am going to try to make a concerted effort to recognize things that are special in others when I see them and I encourage those of you that may have this issue as well to do the same. If we all took a second to do that for each other, over time I have to believe we will all be a little more confident, a little more secure in ourselves, and most importantly, kinder to each other...

(Note: This blog should in no way be interpreted as a suggestion to no longer workout in sports bras and booty shorts. Be yourselves ladies...)