Fitness and How to Do It For a Lifetime

 

MJ and Loni here! We want to first start off by thanking the crew at Mainsail for welcoming us with open arms. We are excited to be here… SO excited that we have brain dumped a bit of awesome tips on a topic that both of us hold near and dear to our hearts… FITNESS and how to do it for a lifetime.

We hit you in two parts, nutrition and injury prevention. This write up has melded those topics together to give you our best tips at staying recovered and injury-free! 

Happy reading!

Part I: Nutrition

When is more better, and when is more, just more? Well, that depends on you, your goals and the type of progress you are or are not making.

If your goal is fat loss, you need to be in a caloric deficit (hypocaloric). If you have just started to eat in a calorie deficit, it is highly recommended to reduce intake gradually because you will feel better, perform better, and you’ll retain more muscle while reducing body fat. It’s also worth noting that eating in a deficit, it is a form of added stress on the body. 

Exercise = Stress

Eating in a calorie deficit while you focus on fat loss = Stress

Life, family, work etc. = Stress

So, in this case (one more class, one more run etc.); more may not actually be better and an extra hour of sleep may be more beneficial than that extra workout.

 

However, if your goal is to gain muscle, you need to be eating in a calorie surplus, above maintenance calories (hypercaloric). You also need to be stimulating and pushing your muscles on a regular basis to encourage growth. In this case, the body can handle more activity because you will have more energy and you should find it easier to recover between workouts. 

 

Clients often ask me about meal timing to maximize their time in the gym. Meal timing can make a small difference, but the focus really should be on overall calorie consumption and the quality of food you are consuming. The majority of people will benefit simply from focusing on overall food quantity vs specific meal timing.

Nevertheless, below are some general guidelines.

  • Consume your carbohydrates close to training. This will provide the preferred energy source and replenish glycogen supply used during training and aid in recovery.  

  • Protein in every meal will ensure a constant flow of amino acids in the bloodstream which is ideal for muscle building, repair, and retention.  

  • Fats should be mainly eaten away from training. Fats and fiber can slow down digestion, resulting in food remaining in the stomach longer. This can give you a feeling of fullness which can affect training performance since the nutrients will not be absorbed in time for ideal use.  
     

What can you start doing immediately to improve your health and performance in the gym? 

  • Sleep and recovery are necessary so don’t neglect them. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.

  • Develop a good hydration habit. Aim for ½ your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. Add 20 oz to that during training sessions (especially in the hotter months).

  • Limit or eliminate alcohol. Alcohol offers no benefit for fat loss, body composition changes, sleep, performance, or recovery.

  • Be consistent. Repetition is more important than perfection and small changes over time will add up to big results.
     

Bottom line: Fat loss happens in the kitchen. Muscle growth happens in the gym. Optimal results happen when you combine both.

Part II: Injury prevention… The physical side.

The BEST way to prevent injury is to… Not get injured? Your greatest risk for injury is a previous one… That being said. There are things we can do to avoid getting hurt, but sometimes shit just happens. 

Here are some common questions that can help explain my best tips.

How many days per week should I come to CrossFit? 

The BEST way to get the most out of Crossfit is to be consistent with 4-6 days per week. Why? Because the programming is laid out so you get a wide variety of in workouts that hit all the things you need to get full-body strong. You also need to be exposed to the CrossFit moves on a regular basis in order to not only get stronger, but more adapted to the moves themselves. If you are only hitting class 1-3 times per week, you are not going enough and can actually RISK getting hurt. This is a proven fact in the world of injury research! More people get hurt doing CrossFit if they go less than 4 days per week.

 

How many days should I rest? What does a “rest day” mean?

Resting can be anywhere from 1-3 days per week! Given the suggestion of going to class 4-6 days per week, those other days can be “rest” days. What does a rest day consist of? Anything that is light activity or no activity. I like to use the gauge of, “conversational pace” work. Something easy enough that you could have a convo with your buddy the whole time.

What If I DO get hurt?

It happens to the best of us and it is very, very common especially as we get older. That being said, remaining as active as possible is the best course of action. Find what you can do and keep doing it… Get in touch with a medical pro in the meantime. Movement is medicine!

 

What if I DO take a few weeks off?

Hell no! This is the worst thing that you can do. Your body starts to adapt to doing nothing and you will be worse off than when you got hurt. 

 

Bottom Line: In order to be active for a lifetime, you have to be strong and continue to get stronger. Loading up the barbell is the best way to do that. That being said, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon and slow, steady consistency is key. You are putting yourself more at risk for getting hurt if you exercise less than 4 days a week! Take those other days off and enjoy them.