Today we are under more stress than ever and yet taking our bodies to farther limits. As an athlete who does not rely on stimulants for an artificial boost in performance, I often employ other more natural modalities to support my body before, during and after exercise. One of my favourite discoveries has been the use of essential oils. It may surprise you to hear that the right oils can enhance physical performance, boost energy and even provide pain relief.  For years I used only lavender and peppermint but as I learned more about oils I started adding in others to my tool kit. Here are my top picks:

 

PEPPERMINT

While peppermint is one of the oldest go-tos for soothing digestion, there is a surprising link between peppermint oil and athletic performance. Using peppermint oil daily can help you to work harder longer.

  • Improves respiratory function, dilates bronchioles and increases oxygen intake, for improved stamina and performance
  • Increases pain tolerance and workload efforts
  • Relieves aches and pains
  • Decreases blood lactate levels, which elevate after strenuous exercise an cause muscles soreness
  • Improves mental clarity and concentration
  • Relieves sore muscles (think Icy Hot without all the junk)
  • Relieves nausea and indigestion (think pregame jitters)
  • Directly affects the brains satiety center and reduces cravings, helping you keep that nutrition on point

Action Item: Pre-work out dilute a 2-3 drops peppermint EO in coconut or other carrier oil, rub palms together and rub on chest, then cup hands over face and inhale deeply. Inhale peppermint EO when uncontrollable cravings hit.

 

COPAIBA

Renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties, these days Copaiba is getting a lot of buzz. However copaiba essential oil has been around for quite some time, 10 years with Young Living, and it has been used traditionally by natives for far longer. The copaiba tree is found deep in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest where it is tapped similar to a maple tree, the resin is then steam distilled.

  • Has the most published research on anti-inflammatory effects, the main component of this oil is beta-caryophyllene, which is why cannabis (CBD) oil is getting all the hype these days. This oil registers BCP at 55%, the highest of any other oil including CBD.
  • Natural pain relief, copaiba blocks the sensation of pain
  • Protects the liver
  • Neuroprotective
  • Powerful antioxidant

 Action Item: Dilute and massage copaiba oil into muscles soon after a strenuous work out, to help prevent soreness. Or use at the onset of soreness.

 

LEMONGRASS

Lemongrass is a woody fibrous grass originating in southeast Asia, and is often used in Thai cooking. Although lemongrass essential oil is traditionally used for digestion and purification, it is great for muscle relaxation as well.

  • Relieves inflammation
  • Improves circulation and promotes lymph flow
  • This oil contains high level of the component citral, which has a warming effect, great for tired muscles
  • Regenerates connective tissues, excellent for ligaments and joint issues
  • Powerful antifungal properties, inhibits candida albicans
  • Improves focus, clarity and relaxation
  • Anitoxidant

Action Item: Although there are numerous oils to help with fatigued muscles this is by far my favourite. It is especially good for stressed joint and ligaments. I often dilute and rub into my trick knee. It is great post injury as well.

 

LAVENDER

In studies, the constituents of lavender have been shown to have both sedative and narcotic effects. Many pain relieving creams will contain lavender.

  • Relaxes body and mind
  • Promotes restful sleep, imperative for recovery
  • Soothes aching muscles and regenerates tissues, speeding the healing of cuts, burns (even and bruises (sunburn)
  • Reduces appetite (along with grapefruit)
  • Reduces mental stress and increases alertness
  • Repels pesky bugs

Action Item: Diffuse lavender oil at night to promote a good nights’ sleep, especially when you have an event the next day.

 

 WINTERGREEN

Traditionally the leaves of wintergreen were used by Native Americans to increase respiratory capacity during endurance running or difficult labor. It is a natural antioxidant and immune enhancer.

  • Methyl Salicylate, the active constituent of wintergreen has strong soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, the synthetic version of this ingredient is used in NSAIDS like Ibuprofen https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2371308
  • Wintergreen oil has been incorporated into many musculoskeletal ointments and creams like Bengay and Icy Hot
  • Absorbs quickly into skin and has a numbing effect
  • Soothing properties make it ideal for massage
  • Great for masking odors
  • Naturally freshens breathes, so it is found in many toothpastes and mouthwashes

Action Item: I prefer this oil for tension headaches, or mix with copaiba post-work out for those extra hard PR days. Place a drop of Wintergreen oil on a cotton ball and stick it in your gym bag.

 

Note: Essential oils are very powerful and can be used in excess. When applying topically it is always best practice to dilute a few drops into a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil. Not only is this for safety, in fact many oils are more effective when used in dilution.

 

As you can see essential oils have many properties that are useful to athletic performance and recovery. They are particularly useful when recovering from injury. Furthermore, each oil has multiple uses that often overlap one another so you don’t have to break the bank stocking up. As I mentioned previously, I used just peppermint and lavender for a long time before branching out. Although, I do think I am now officially an oil junkie! I hoard them ya’ll. Whether you get one oil or a few I think you will find you can great results by adding essential oils to your athletic regimen.

 

Kristen Files is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner dedicated to helping people achieve optimal health through diet and lifestyle changes. Check out the full article with 5 more oil suggestions, resources and citations, or to purchase essential oils. Visit her site at Hearts for Health.

 


There are so many recovery mechanisms out there; giving us basically no excuse for taking the time to give our bodies some much needed TLC. And I’m not talking about nutrition and rest. Massages, chiropractic care, foam rolling, lacrosse balling, and many others are pretty standard options. However, today, I’m going to highlight some alternative options you may or may not have heard of. Make sure if you do go with any of these you do so with someone is qualified to do so and clearly explain the process to you.

Acupuncture

Used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture triggers the release of the body’s own natural painkillers. It also looks to release chi, or energy throughout the body. Thin needles are placed at various depths in the skin in very specific areas of the body. You may feel slight pressure when the needle goes in, however it is relatively pain-free. Acupuncture is used to treat a wide variety of ailments from migraines, to tennis elbow, to asthma.

 

Cupping

Cupping dates back to Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. While typical massage therapy involves pushing down on the muscles, cupping is the lifting up of muscles via special cups placed on the skin and creating suction on it. The idea is to free up blood flow, release toxins, and relax the nervous system within your affected areas for relief. They are usually left on your skin 3-5 minutes. There are various types of cupping, however, wet and dry cupping tend to be the most common. It’s not painful, just a pulling sensation. Your therapist should be able to adjust the level of suction on the cups, so if you are doing it for the first time, you could start with a lower suction setting. I personally like the highest level. J

 

Electrical Muscle Stimulation

EMS is known by various labels – neuromuscular electrical stimulation, electromyostimulation, or e-stim. The stimulation is delivered through a small electrical device which sends electronic pulses to your nerve fibers to create involuntary muscle contractions. That device contains pads which have adhesive and are placed on the skin. Some health practitioners offer it (I used to get it at my chiropractor’s office a few years back), or you can buy your own set at various price ranges.

 

Dry Needling

Dry Needling is essentially the Western equivalent of acupuncture. Acupuncture needles are actually used to do the dry needling. ‘So what’s the difference?’ you ask. Acupuncture generally takes longer; the needles are left in for about 25-30 minutes. However, dry needling is trying to elicit a local response in the muscle, so the needle isn’t left in as long. Also, dry needling typically involves the placement of just one or two needles, where you get multiple needles in an acupuncture session.

 

 

Scraping

Gua sha or scraping also has its origins in Traditional Chinese medicine. It involves taking a tool and repeatedly rubbing or scraping the tool on the skin over the area giving you trouble. It releases blood flow, as well as all the lactic acid built up to decrease pain and accelerate the healing process. You will likely be left with red splotches or bruises on the scraped area due to the repeated scraping of it. However, it is considered a positive thing in that it’s a sign all the metabolic waste within the tissues are being released and healing has begun. I’m not going to lie; this procedure can be pretty intense and maybe even painful for some. But the benefits are quite amazing. There are scraping tools available online you can buy, however, you should go with a licensed professional to get it done.

 

Some of these methods might sound weird or intimidating, and you may not want to try them. However, isn’t that what CrossFit is all about – getting out of your comfort zone? Try something out, you might be surprised.

Alternative Soft Tissue Recovery

There are so many recovery mechanisms out there; giving us basically no excuse for taking the time to give our bodies some much needed TLC. And I’m not talking about nutrition and rest. Massages, chiropractic care, foam rolling, lacrosse balling, and many others are pretty standard options. However, today, I’m going to highlight some alternative options you may or may not have heard of. Make sure if you do go with any of these you do so with someone is qualified to do so and clearly explain the process to you.

Acupuncture

Used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture triggers the release of the body’s own natural painkillers. It also looks to release chi, or energy throughout the body. Thin needles are placed at various depths in the skin in very specific areas of the body. You may feel slight pressure when the needle goes in, however it is relatively pain-free. Acupuncture is used to treat a wide variety of ailments from migraines, to tennis elbow, to asthma.

 

Cupping

Cupping dates back to Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. While typical massage therapy involves pushing down on the muscles, cupping is the lifting up of muscles via special cups placed on the skin and creating suction on it. The idea is to free up blood flow, release toxins, and relax the nervous system within your affected areas for relief. They are usually left on your skin 3-5 minutes. There are various types of cupping, however, wet and dry cupping tend to be the most common. It’s not painful, just a pulling sensation. Your therapist should be able to adjust the level of suction on the cups, so if you are doing it for the first time, you could start with a lower suction setting. I personally like the highest level. J

 

Electrical Muscle Stimulation

EMS is known by various labels – neuromuscular electrical stimulation, electromyostimulation, or e-stim. The stimulation is delivered through a small electrical device which sends electronic pulses to your nerve fibers to create involuntary muscle contractions. That device contains pads which have adhesive and are placed on the skin. Some health practitioners offer it (I used to get it at my chiropractor’s office a few years back), or you can buy your own set at various price ranges.

 

Dry Needling

Dry Needling is essentially the Western equivalent of acupuncture. Acupuncture needles are actually used to do the dry needling. ‘So what’s the difference?’ you ask. Acupuncture generally takes longer; the needles are left in for about 25-30 minutes. However, dry needling is trying to elicit a local response in the muscle, so the needle isn’t left in as long. Also, dry needling typically involves the placement of just one or two needles, where you get multiple needles in an acupuncture session.

 

 

Scraping

Gua sha or scraping also has its origins in Traditional Chinese medicine. It involves taking a tool and repeatedly rubbing or scraping the tool on the skin over the area giving you trouble. It releases blood flow, as well as all the lactic acid built up to decrease pain and accelerate the healing process. You will likely be left with red splotches or bruises on the scraped area due to the repeated scraping of it. However, it is considered a positive thing in that it’s a sign all the metabolic waste within the tissues are being released and healing has begun. I’m not going to lie; this procedure can be pretty intense and maybe even painful for some. But the benefits are quite amazing. There are scraping tools available online you can buy, however, you should go with a licensed professional to get it done.

 

Some of these methods might sound weird or intimidating, and you may not want to try them. However, isn’t that what CrossFit is all about – getting out of your comfort zone? Try something out, you might be surprised.


Having a slow metabolism, or having it slow down due to age does not have to mean the end of the world. Even though we may all not be born with a body that can’t get enough energy, we can take steps towards raising our metabolism somewhat. Eventually, you’ll be able to rest easy, knowing that your metabolism is finally working the way you want it to. But first, you’ll have to try out these 8 Science Proven Ways to Boost Your Metabolism.

Never Skip Breakfast

Breakfast

People often laugh when someone explains that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but it is a serious thing. Eating breakfast can serve to wake your metabolism up in the morning and keep you burning energy all throughout the day. Failing to eat breakfast can make you desperately hungry for food later and can contribute to poor diet decisions by lunchtime and completely ruin all plans for healthy eating by dinner. Breakfast will help you concentrate throughout the day and have the fuel to do the best that you can.

Drink Green Tea

Green Tea is somewhat of a miracle tea. It almost seems like green tea can do everything when it comes to improving your health. In addition to being a great way to start the morning, it can also help boost your metabolism. It turns out that green tea is high in catechin, which is an ingredient that is known to boost metabolism and help people lose weight. It also happens to be calorie free so if you enjoy the taste, feel free to drink it all day.

Eat Spicy Foods

Spicy Food

Foods with very hot spices will do much more than just burn your tongue. Spicy foods are also known to help you burn energy. One major ingredient of spicy dishes is cayenne pepper, which is high in capsaicin. Capsaicin has been known to require a great deal of energy to expend it through your system and can help regulate your glucose levels. Capsaicin is also great for clearing up your sinuses before catching a cold and dealing with different forms of arthritis. Some say that after eating something very spicy, they experience a moderate period of bliss.

Try to Eat the Right Amount

right amount of food

If you are hoping to stay around roughly the same weight, you might think it’s okay to start eating less or eat more if you believe you have a high metabolism. This way of thinking wouldn’t give you the best result, however, as eating at your maintenance level (matching your metabolic rate) is the best way to keep your weight in check. Not eating enough can result in your body upping its’ fat reserves, while eating too much will just add unneeded fat.

Gain More Muscle

Gain Muscle

You may enjoy the size that you are currently at or simply hate lifting weights, but it may be in your best interest if you want to have a high metabolism rate to start gaining more muscle. Muscle tissue burns much more energy than fat does and raises your resting metabolism so you are burning a decent amount of calories without even going to the gym. It also weighs more than fat as well, so having more muscle will eventually make you leaner.

Eat More Protein

Eat More Protien

When it comes to choosing between foods with a high level of protein, carbs, or fat, the answer should be to pick the one high in protein, Protein is a vital nutrient for many functions of life and a crucial building block for a great metabolism. Protein takes longer to digest as it consumes more energy than fat or carbohydrates, making it a solid choice to last you throughout the day as you will feel fuller than usual. Protein can also serve to maintain your lean body mass which will help you stay lean overall.

Laugh More

Laugh More

Laughing can do a whole lot more than just being a response to a funny moment or situation. Laughing can also help you lose weight. Laughing for only ten minutes a day can be enough to burn energy and boost your metabolism a little. There is also the added benefit of feeling better throughout the day as you continue to smile and can affect how you interact with the outside world entirely. It can even help you make friends, which could potentially result in you laughing more and having an even better metabolism.

Workout Harder

Workout Harder

Instead of doing your usual routine and going home without much sweat on you, try upping the intensity by doing HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) next time. One of the great things about HIIT is that it doesn’t take much time and can be very fun to do depending on your fitness level. Studies show that doing HIIT exercises such as sprinting instead of slow and steady cardio like jogging can have you burning calories even after you leave the gym since it forces the mitochondria to work harder and uses up much more oxygen than usual.

Original Article: Click Here

All Made Simple – by: S.George

Contact: [email protected]

“If you continue to do what you have always done, then you will continue to be who you have always been…you must change to change…”

Sep 29

Evolution


There’s a topic I’ve wanted to write about since I started this masters blog, but have been waiting for the right time. And I’ve also been pondering whether to even talk about it. Well, it’s time to stop overthinking and just put it out there. Let’s dive right in.

My birthday is coming up in a week, October 7 to be exact. I will be 46 years old. 46. Damn girl, not too shabby.

I have never been one to get caught up in the numbers during my birthdays. I’ve owned them all. I was SO happy to turn 30 and didn’t have a problem with turning 40 whatsoever. I still feel like I’m in my 30s in many ways TBH. And I will always have the mind of a 13-year-old, but I digress. This past year has been a bit different. It’s been more of a friendly little reminder of how old I really am. Something which couldn’t be more clear to me because of…well…because menopause.

Ugh, the M-word. Something I NEVER even gave a single thought to. It wasn’t even an afterthought! That shit is WAY out there isn’t it?? Like 20 years away, right?? Nope! It’s lurking, circling around you sister. Let’s be clear, I’m not officially in the M game yet. I’m what they call perimenopausal. Didn’t even know it was a thing until I was diagnosed two years ago after a couple of funky fresh things were happening with my body I never experienced before. This past year, though, things kicked up a notch. Hot flashes. Serious fatigue. Forgetfulness. Poor concentration. Just an overall feeling of ‘I think I am going crazy.’

What does this have to do with CrossFit you say? Everything. Just as I noted in my last post about nutritional considerations for masters athletes, some of us may also be dealing with hormonal changes, both men and women. And it can wreak havoc not just physically but also psychologically. If you’re going through it now, I’m here to tell you, you’re not alone. There have been some days where I didn’t work out because I was exhausted. We’re talking about a level of exhaustion I’ve never felt before, even when I was pregnant. There have also been days where a hot flash came in the middle of a WOD and I felt like I was suffocating. So I headed over to the Costco fan, took a couple of deep breaths, got my mind right, and then went back into it. It’s not every day, but I know it’s now my new reality.

As I am attempting to get used to this shift, I’m learning to adjust my thinking, just as we do with CrossFit. If a movement starts to get in our head, we might find ourselves getting stuck, or overthinking, and not progressing. But we learn to shift our mindset into something more positive, more productive. I’m grateful to be able to utilize that resilience skill.

 

So I’m working to own this next chapter. This is my evolution, my unfolding into the next version of me. And damned if I’m not going to let some stupid hot flash get in my way.


Jared is one the most humble athletes I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching. He grinds the iron day-in, and day-out, never missing a beat.   A member since 2012, he’s been unrelenting in the crushing of goals set by himself and his coaches. Over the past year, this dedication has resulted in 21 different PRs! One recent PR was a 175lbs Clean and Split Jerk. This complex movement, if performed with sound technique, produces amazing results.

Jared’s 175lbs PR is an incredible 40lbs increase from his previous max of 135lbs.! It’s a testimony to his consistent efforts at staying a broad athlete, attending a healthy mix of Strength, Oly, and CrossFit classes. October may be the month of Halloween, but Jared isn’t playing “trick-or-treat” up at CrossFit Round Rock.

 


Today’s post on gluten is the last in a 3 part series on allergenic and harmful ingredients hidden in our food. The first part discussed MSG, a chemical that excites our cells to death, but makes our food taste awesome. The second part was about sugar, and how manufacturers use it mask tasteless food and hijack our tastebuds to keep us wanting more and more. Today is all about gluten and where it is found.

 

WHAT IS GLUTEN?

Gluten is a controversial buzzword that we often hear these days, in fact 30% of Americans are currently trying to avoid eating gluten, but do you even know what gluten is? Skeptics will actually quiz you :/ I know, I used to be one.

Gluten is a family of proteins found most commonly in wheat (think delicious bread!) but also in other grains like barley, rye, spelt and triticale. Coming from the Latin root “glue”, gluten when combined with water helps bind foods together and rise giving our breads, pastries and other foods a fluffy, satisfying texture. Gluten may taste delightful (seriously!) but glue in my intestines certainly does not sound like a good thing…

 

Gluten is found in grains like wheat, barley, rye, spelt and triticale

 

WHY SHOULD I AVOID GLUTEN?

Today’s wheat is not the wheat our ancestors ate. It has been hybridized and industrialized to the point that there is no longer predigestion of grain taking place, wheat used to take a long time to harvest and would sit in the sun to dry as part of the process. Also, the flour is now ground finer than with a traditional mill making it more readily absorbed by the body. And, surprisingly, modern wheat now has extra chromosomes and proteins that did not occur in ancient grains.
WHERE DO I FIND GLUTEN?

Want to avoid gluten? You better become a proficient label reader. It is not just in the obvious places like bread, pasta, cereal, cake and crackers. Similar to sugar and MSG, food manufacturers hide gluten in pretty much everything processed and fast food. It is best to take the perspective that there IS gluten in a product until it is proven not to be.

Keep in mind, just because a box says gluten free does not mean it is healthy. Refined gluten free foods often contain loads of sugar or other sweeteners, bad fats and msg. A packaged food should have 5 ingredients or less of easily pronounceable ingredients. Remember, pastured meat, fruits, veggies, and herbs are all naturally gluten free 🙂

 

SYMPTOMS OF GLUTEN SENSITIVITY

Gluten sensitivity shows up many different ways. It actually hard to isolate since it mimics so many other diseases. The most common symptoms are digestive distress of all kinds, stomach pain, gas, bloating, and IBS. These make sense but it can also show up as joint pain, rashes and fatigue. These symptoms will occur shortly after eating gluten foods. Gluten is even capable of breaking down the blood brain barrier which can result in a multitude of mental symptoms like brain fog and depression. Recurring exposure to gluten in sensitive individuals can ultimately progress to auto immunity after a long period of time.

Often when people eliminate gluten from their diet they find that they feel much better. It is estimated that 1 in 3 people are gluten intolerant, and 8 in 10 are genetically predisposed to sensitivity. In a society where our #1 source of calories is refined flour and people rarely cook this is especially problematic!

 

Digestive issues are a big sign of gluten sensitivity

 

TIPS TO GO GLUTEN FREE:

  • Make a commitment to try 6 weeks GF
  • Learn to read labels and be vigilant
  • Start by checking medications and supplements
  • It’s OK to take your time to phase out GF foods and adjust, but once they’re out keep ‘em out
    • Start with obvious things like bread and pasta
    • Then tackle the hidden items
    • Set a date to be completely GF
    • Clean out your pantry by that date
  • Stay away from junk food and fast food, almost all have gluten, MSG, and/or sugar
  • Remember just because it says GF doesn’t mean its healthy
  • Focus on the things you CAN have instead of the things you can’t have. Mindset is more than half the battle.
  • Food journal to see what foods trigger you and reveal hidden gluten
  • If you drink, stick to rum tequila, potato vodka and distilled spirits
  • Not all grains are bad. After your elimination period, when you phase back in gluten grains choose ancient whole grains like einkorn which is naturally low gluten and make sure they are properly prepared, think sourdough bread from an artisan baker.
  • Consider working with a practitioner to determine whether your health issue is gluten or something else.

Check out this Celiac quick start guide 

 

Have you gone gluten free? If so, how has it affected your health? Let us know in the comments.

 

Kristen Files is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner dedicated to helping people achieve optimal health through diet and lifestyle changes. Check out the full article with resources and citations, or to find ancestral recipes and healthy lifestyle hacks visit her site at Hearts for Health.


I arrived in Austin in the spring of 1982…though, it was through the miracle of birth, and not a caravan coming from California like most, I was actually born here!

Ever since I was a kid I was always interested in sports.  I started playing organized football and basketball at age 8, but by the time I got to middle school and realized everyone was much larger than me, I switched to hockey.  The years after high school I started to notice a decline in my health and fitness.  I went from playing hockey 5-7 days a week to maybe once a week.

After dealing with a back issue and asthma, I decided to make a change.  I started researching nutrition and holistic healing and slowly switched to foods that we were intended to eat – organic produce, pasture raised meats, whole foods.  My asthma went away and my overall health improved.  And while researching nutrition, I came across functional fitness, i.e. CrossFit.

I started going to community workouts in 2011 and signed up at an affiliate in 2012.  I was working at Dell at the time but it was never a “career” for me.  I knew I wanted to help others with their health and fitness.  In April 2013, I passed the CrossFit level 1 cert and began coaching.  My biggest focused with clients is helping them with their nutrition and developing good movement patterns to build their foundation.

My education in health and fitness hasn’t stopped with the CFL-1.  In order to become a better coach to help others, I’ve taken the CrossFit Gymnastics level 1 and CF Advanced Gymnastics trainer’s course, USA Weightlifting coach’s course, NCFS (personal trainer’s cert), and as of September 2017, Precision Nutrition level 1, certified in Exercise Nutrition.

I’m looking forward to being apart of the community and helping you all become junior gymnasts!  Just remember, there is no deadline, this is a lifestyle.


It doesn’t take much to become dehydrated…especially living in a hot climate like southern Texas. Even a slight change in our water levels can lead to dehydration, and if we constantly fail to top-up on H2O whenever we lose it (and we lose it a lot), then we may become chronically dehydrated. Thankfully, our body will let us know when this happens. Here are 10 signs to look out for to determine if you’re dehydrated.

1: Your Mouth Is Dry and Your Tongue Is Swollen

The No. 1 sign that you’re not sufficiently hydrated is probably the most obvious: you’re thirsty. The mouth dries out and your tongue becomes slightly swollen as your body cries out for hydration – signs that should not be ignored. The best way to avoid dehydration is simply to drink water whenever thirsty. If, however, you’re drinking enough water and you’re still noticing signs of dehydration, then some other underlying condition may be source of your problem.

2: Your Urine Is Dark Yellow

As blood pressure falls and tissue dries out in the dehydrated individual, the kidneys will kick into action and try to conserve water by concentrating the urine or by stopping the production of urine entirely. As the urine becomes more and more concentrated, its color will become darker and darker until it reaches shades of dark yellow or even amber.

3: Constipation

When we’re healthy, the food we eat moves freely through our colons. The colon will absorb water from foods we’ve eaten while leaving behind waste. The waste left behind is what forms the stool itself. Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much water or when muscle contractions are slowed. When we’re dehydrated, the colon will try to conserve water and will absorb too much water from our food, causing our stools to become hard and dry. The result is constipation.

4: Your Skin Lacks Elasticity

Dehydration reduces the elasticity of the skin (also known as “skin turgor”). Doctors may actually use skin elasticity as a quick check of dehydration through a special test called the “pinch test.” Basically, the skin on the back of the hand is pinched and pulled upwards, and then released. Skin with normal turgor snaps rapidly back to normal while skin with decreased turgor remains elevated and drops slowly. Although this isn’t the best test of dehydration, the elasticity of the skin is still a good sign to tell us if we’re hydrated.

5: You Have Heart Palpitations

The heart needs a healthy and normal body environment in order to function properly. Because the heart is a muscle like any other, with reductions in blood flow and changes in electrolyte concentrations due to dehydration, the timing of our heart can be affected and we may begin to experience abnormalities in the heart’s beating pattern (called palpitations).

6: You Get Muscle Cramps or Spasms

Proper hydration is extremely important for the active individuals. Although it’s not entirely understood how dehydration affects muscle function, it’s probably related to an imbalance of electrolytes. Electrolytes like sodium and potassium are electrically charged ions that our muscles use to contract. If we’re chronically dehydrated, we may develop a lasting electrolyte imbalance that can lead to continuous muscle cramping or spasms during or after exercise.

7: You Feel Lightheaded or Dizzy

With a drop in blood volume and pressure, dehydration can also cause us to feel lightheaded, faint or become dizzy. One of the key signs of dehydration-related dizziness is a sudden rush of lightheadedness when we stand up too quickly, a condition called orthostatic hypotension.

8: You Feel Tired or Fatigued

When we’re properly hydrated, water moves from our cells into the bloodstream in order to maintain the appropriate amount of blood in our blood vessels and to regulate blood pressure. With chronic dehydration, blood volume and blood pressure may drop such that the oxygen content of blood drops as well. Without proper oxygen, our muscle and nerve functions slow down and we become easily fatigued.

9: You Stop Producing Tears

It may sound silly, but if someone is outright bawling and they have nothing but dry eyes to show for it, then there’s a good chance that they’re dehydrated. Tears are actually used to clean and lubricate the eyes. Although tears for crying differ in composition from tears used for real lubrication, all tears contain water. So, if we’re low on H2O, we may stop producing tears.

10: You’re Overheating

Water plays a key role in body temperature regulation. When we begin to overheat, we sweat. By sweating, we lower our body temperature through evaporative cooling. Because sweat is mostly made up of water, when we’re dehydrated, we’ll stop sweating and can quickly overheat. Anyone who’s ever suffered heatstroke understands the importance of hydration on a hot summer’s day!

Original Article: Click Here

All Made Simple – by: S.George

Contact: [email protected]

“If you continue to do what you have always done, then you will continue to be who you have always been…you must change to change…”


As we get older, our bodies evolve in form, function, and needs. We can also evolve with it by making adjustments in different areas along the way. One of those areas is in nutrition. While doing research on this topic, these three items came up pretty consistently and I wanted to share them. I even learned a few things. Obviously, I’m not a medical professional or even a nutritional specialist, and each person has their own individual needs. These are just some things to keep in mind. Get with your coach to discuss any specific nutritional needs, concerns, or questions you might have.

 

Protein

We know protein is crucial to helping our bodies transform all the work we do into gains. However, as we get older, our body’s response to protein intake starts to decline. This is usually due to inactivity and/or poor diet. Coach Emilio has a great explanation of protein synthesis, check it out below to learn how it works. We are at an advantage because, CrossFit. However, you might want to take a look at your protein intake, and possibly increase it. Eating protein-rich foods throughout the day, and not just post-workout, will help boost the recovery process and maintain your gains. There are plenty of recommendations out there on how much protein you should consume. Here are a couple of helpful reads:

 

Nutrition for the Masters Athlete

Protein Requirements for the Ageing Athlete

Recovery for Masters Endurance Athletes

Coach Emilio has a great explanation of protein synthesis, check it out below to learn how it works.

 

Leucine

Leucine is one of the nine essential amino acids (a branch chain amino acid to be exact, or BCAA) provided by food. Specifically, leucine is essential to protein synthesis. This, combined with increased protein intake gets you well on your way to better/faster recovery and gains. There are a number of ways to get your Leucine on:

 

  • Whey-based protein powder
  • BCAA supplements
  • Lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, cheese (if you have any dairy issues, then cheese would not be an option of course)

 

Leucine: Anabolic Key to Unlocking Gains for Older Athletes

 

Hydration

Older athletes can be more susceptible to dehydration than younger ones for a few reasons. One is our thirst sensation may decrease (therefore, we don’t take in fluids), we may sweat less, and there can be blood flow changes. Therefore, staying hydrated before, during, and after your workouts is even more important. So get your fluids in people, it’s probably one of the easiest things you can do.


This is the 2nd in a 3 part series about hidden ingredients in our food that undermine our health. The 1st post discussed hidden names for MSG, an ingredient the can cause foods to be highly palatable but damages brain cells and neurons. Today, I will focus on sugar.

 

AMERICANS ARE ADDICTED TO SUGAR!

The sugar consumption of the average American is 22 teaspoons of sugar a day (1 tsp = 4 grams) and the total for the year is 130 pounds! This many not seem like a lot since we are used to seeing sugar everywhere. To put in perspective though, consider that long before the industrial revolution the average consumption was 5 pounds of honey, a natural sugar, a year. And, the AHA daily recommendation for sugar intake, which is honestly still too high, is 5 tsps for women, 9 for men and 3 for children. Americans are inundated with sugar! Never before in the history of man have we had an emergency need to lower our blood sugar. The results are devastating.

Refined sugar is one the worst ingredients in our modern diets. With the saturated fat scare of the late 1900s manufacturers needed an alternative to make processed foods highly palatable. Otherwise, processed food, which is very refined and has no nutritional value, is virtually tasteless. So, we began replacing fat in our foods with sugar. Sugar excites our taste buds and makes our food taste awesome. Turns out, sugar also causes us to want to eat more and more and it is highly addictive. Total win if you are food manufacturer. In fact, it has come to light that the sugar industry has paid to hide the health effects of sugar. If you have a hard time controlling yourself with food it is because your taste buds are being high jacked. It takes a conscious effort to change this trend.

 

EFFECTS OF SUGAR ON THE BODY

Sugar is empty calories. It is especially damaging because it not only has no nutritive value, it actually leaches vitamins and minerals from our body. Excess sugar consumption negatively impacts almost every bodily system. The results of long term excess sugar consumption are numerous:

  • Blood sugar dysregulation and diabetes
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Leaky gut/dysbiosis
  • Obesity
  • Tooth decay
  • Impairs the immune system
  • Feeds cancer
  • Inflammation
  • Heart disease
  • Frustose is particularly damaging as it can only be metabolized in the liver. Excess consumption will overload this vital organ, resulting in what is known as “skinny fat”.

If you are working out then throwing back the sugar post WOD you are undermining your health and your gains!

 

WHERE DO I FIND THE SUGAR?

Reaching that daily sugar limit may be a bit easier than you think. Why? Well, sugar is in EVERYTHING! I have an autoimmune condition that requires me to eat extremely low sugar. When I embarked on my no sugar journey many years ago I was completely shocked at how much sugar I was consuming and I did not even eat candy or drink sodas at the time. Learning to read labels and locate sugars is imperative to experience optimal health.

There are the obvious high sugar culprits like:

  • Soda (12-39g sugar per can)
  • Coffee drinks (12+g per drink)
  • Energy drinks (30+g per can)
  • Candy, desserts, and other refined carbs

But did you know that soda consumption accounts for only 1/3 of sugar intake? Look at these surprising foods that contain sugar:

  • Meats: sausages, bacon and lunch meats
  • Salad dressings, 4-5g per tbsp
  • Condiments: BBQ sauce, 13g; ketchup, 10g (no wonder kids like to drown their food in ketchup!); and those freaking amazing Chic-Fil-A sauces (in fact chicken nuggets contain sugar in the batter!)
  • Beef jerky, 10 grams
  • Cereal, 20 grams
  • Bread, 6 grams per slice
  • Yogurt, up to 10 grams per container
  • Pasta sauce, 12g per ½ cup
  • Granola/protein bars, up to 16 grams
  • Alcohol mixers, 50-60 grams
  • Non-dairy milks, 10g
  • Nut butters, 9g
  • Protein powders, up to 15g
  • Supplements, especially gummy vitamins
  • Most restaurant foods and all fast foods

Do you eat any of these foods?

This meal is full of sugar.

 

7 WAYS SUGAR HIDES IN OUR FOOD:

Now that people are becoming more health consciousness and the cat is out of the bag on sugar manufactures are resorting to more tactics to hide the amounts of sugars that are in food. It is important to know these:

1. They call sugar by a different name, here is what to look for:

  • Anything with sugar in the name
  • Any ingredient ending in –ose: sucrose, galactose, glucose, fructose, lactose, dextrose, etc.
  • Any syrup: tapioca syrup, brown rice syrup
  • Any malt: barley malt
  • Maltodextrin
  • Nectar
  • Corn sweetener, corn solids
  • Raspadura or Panela
  • Sorghum
  • Cane juice crystals
  • Caramel
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) This is a cheap version of sugar made from corn and is far worse than sugar. It is especially damaging to the liver as it is almost 90% fructose. You will find it in almost all fast foods, sodas, condiments and highly palatable processed foods.

2. The higher up an ingredient is on an ingredient list, the more of it is in the food. In order to hide the fact that many foods are mostly sugar, you will find 2 or 3 different types of sugar so they can be placed lower down on the list.

3. Serving sizes will be smaller. So less sugar is listed. For example a peanut butter cup may be listed as having 3g of sugar per serving, yet there are 2 servings…. for one cup…. who on earth eats half a peanut butter cup?! It’s just shady.

4. Use of artificial sweeteners. Aspartame, acesulfame and sucralose are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar and may have no calories but they are absolutely detrimental to your health. Also, just the taste of sweet causes our bodies to respond as if we were actually consuming sugar. Diet sodas are NOT the way to go when trying to avoid sugar.

5. Beware of foods labeled “No sugar added”. These foods will use “natural sweeteners” like fruit concentrates which still have the same effect of sugar within the body. They are concentrated, highly refined and have no vitamins and fiber to modulate the effects of the “natural” sugar.

6. Use of “healthy” alternatives like organic cane sugar, cane juice, beet sugar, fruit juice, molasses, and coconut sugar. They are all still sugar with the same effects as sugar. They are used to mask foods with no nutrition and no taste. Agave nectar is highly refined and is 80% fructose.

7. Note on sugar alcohols: Sugar alcohols include xylitol, glycerol, sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, and erythritol and are 300x sweeter than sugar. While these alcohols are sometimes better metabolically than straight up sugar, they are highly refined and they can be really hard on those people with intestinal dysfunction. Plus, remember just the taste of sweet can still be harmful.

 

BREAKING THE SUGAR HABIT

Between the addictive nature of sugars, the prevalence of it in our foods and the ways that they are hidden, it is no small feat to break that sugar habit! But, your body will thank you for it. Here are some strategies to get started and remain successful:

  • Get mad! Be angry at the effects sugar has on you and the way manufacturers use sugar ti high jack your taste buds.
  • Eliminate or dial back processed foods.
  • Cut back slowly to avoid the sugar withdrawals.
  • Exercise raises dopamine like sugar and will help you get over the hump.
  • Eat a protein rich breakfast.
  • If cravings hit, sub good fats for sweet, go for nuts, avocado, or some raw dairy.
  • If desserts are your thing have a low glycemic fruit. Fruit sugar is combined with the vitamins necessary to process it and fiber.
  • Sub smoothies, combined with protein and good fat, instead of sweet drinks and sodas. Or try a low sugar kombucha, like GT brand.
  • If you juice, juice veggies. Fruits without fiber are a big sugar hit.
  • Sniff some peppermint oil. I can help with this 😉
  • Make your own dressings, sauces and condiments. I LOVE lemon juice and olive oil for salads.
  • If you must have some sugar, eat a piece of dark chocolate, use those healthier less processed sugars sparingly (think raw honey, pure maple syrup, fruit juice, or whole leaf stevia powder), and consume before a workout or activity.
  • Set up some accountability. Find a friend to sugar detox with, tell a coach, or join a sugar detox group. Adrien does Shred 10, I do the Restart program, and there are many others
  • Save your kiddos. The metabolic effects of sugar are even worse for children. Have your children detox with you, mine did, and get out of the habit of rewarding children with sugar.

“Experts now predict that for the first time in history, the current generation of children will not outlive their parents due to poor diets.” – Sweet Deception

Eventually, your desire for sugar decreases after about 3 weeks and it becomes easier. That is why so many sugar detox plans are 21 days. I rarely crave sugar any more. Hang in there, you can do it!

Note: If you are doing all the right things with your diet however, and are still having trouble, it may be time to seek professional help. There can be gut dysbiosis, thyroid and/or adrenal issues, malabsorption of vitamins and several other issues that can cause you to crave sugar and be a roadblock to success. As a nutritional therapist I can help with this too 🙂

What are some sugar busting strategies you employ?

 

Kristen Files is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner dedicated to helping people achieve optimal health through diet and lifestyle changes. Check out this article with resources and citations, or to find ancestral recipes and healthy lifestyle hacks visit her site at Hearts for Health.