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Stuck at your desk? Try these stretches!

Try these 4 stretches if you find yourself stuck at your desk for hours at a time, hunched over? Try these 4 stretches to open up the chest and relieve some of your upper back pain.

Thoracic stretch against the wall:

Place your hands on a flat wall, move back and bend your knees slightly. Gently push your head through your hands until you feel a stretch. Repeat 5-10 times, slow and controlled movements.

Pec Minor stretch:

Raise your arm forward against the wall above your head. Turn the body away in the opposite direction to feel the stretch.

You can do this dynamically and hold it for 10 seconds at a time, or you can hold it for 60 seconds and then switch sides.

Pec Major stretch (2x insertions)

1: Stand in front of the wall, with your arm horizontal. Turn the body away in the opposite direction to feel the stretch.
Hold the position for the prescribed time of around 45-60 seconds.

2: Stand with the arm raised to the side of a door or wall at an angle of 90 degrees, with the elbow bent.
Step forward and turn away from the wall to stretch the chest and front of the shoulder.
Hold the position for a prescribed time of 45-60 seconds.

To book some therapy time with Carolyn  click here

Cape Town Cooking Club

There’s a new breakfast spot in town, right on our very own doorstep In Crossfit London! We can’t wait to have you back, training and brunching.

In the meantime, check out the menu for The Cape Town Cooking Club on Deliveroo!

Imagine how lovely a  smashed avo on your choice of rinkoff bakery toast with paprika pumpkin seeds, chilli flakes and fresh sprouts would be !

Get it here

You can’t go wrong with the challah protein French toast drizzled in Canadian maple, fresh berries, and mascarpone! Not actually made in heaven, but at Crossfit London!

Delicious! it just makes you want to  eat healthily

Get some now

Get it here

Red line your heart with a lockdown burpee challenge!

Some of the usual suspects have put together a fun burpee challenge to break up your lockdown day.

It’s simple. Do as many burpees as you can in 5 minutes, and watch your heart rate “red line”.

There are some cool benchmarks to shoot for

Greyskull trainer, Johnny Pain once said that “if you can do 100 burpees in 5 minutes or less you are probably happy with your body composition“. To join in the official challenge look up @mexi-joe or @bogdankpt or @gareth.me on Instagram, message them and they will add you.

If you are not on Instagram, shame on you, but drop me an email or a letter in the post,  or a pigeon and I’ll hook you up. Somehow!

It lasts till the end of February and sensibly, you get weekends off.

There are some fascinating experiments going on. Do you break it up?  If so, into 5’s, 10’s, or 15’s or do you just pile through?  I should say, it’s pretty disgusting whichever way you do it!

We are doing the “full” burpee version with the push-up, just to make it more fun

 

Emotions and Food.

Every year some people attend a few food-based education sessions, sign up for a few exercise classes, turn over a new leaf, and voila a few months later they are at a healthy target weight. According to the obesity statistics, about 50% of the population are able to maintain a healthy weight, and a physique they are  (presumably) comfortable with, without ever seeing a trainer or a weight loss expert. Some people so it seems,  have a natural gift to maintain a balance between food and activity.

For others, this balance is an impossibility. Seemingly simple healthy eating rules are to some, a stress-inducing nightmare.  Sometimes emotions can be controlled for a short-term celebrity diet. For many, this denial results in unwanted weight gain!

To be utterly clear, about 50% of the population needs no emotional food or eating support what so ever.    If you simply need some hints on the mechanics, there is  lots of weight-loss advice out there, from weighing to calorie counting.  The mechanics that successful weight managers use are here. . If you want  support in working out your macros, it’s here at our nutrition service

These methods and hints work brilliantly as long as you haven’t made an emotional connection with food.

If you have an emotional connection, the science says that methods like calorie counting will send your stress levels through the roof.

The moment you see food as a reward, a comforter, a stress reliever or central to family life,  most unsupported attempts to control how what, or when you eat will magnify the stress you feel. In many cases, your current relationship with food is the only thing that keeps you together.

Thankfully in between the numerous: “It’s the food stupid” diets, there have been great strides taken to understand some people underlying emotion/food issues.

The conclusions are clear. Until you work out how to change your body image,  recognise and properly deal with your emotions, acclimatise to change and normalise your eating,  food will continue to dominate, rule, and ruin your life. To help we will now be running a monthly free 5-day “food and emotions challenge” Hopefully with a better, snappier, name (but no promises)!

Over the 5 days, you take part in some interesting behavior and mindset challenges and join in thought-provoking online discussions ( possibly by zoom, more likely to be in the Crossfit London Facebook group join here ) At the end of the challenge you’ll have some interesting ideas to either continue a self researched journey or chat to our team and see if you’d like some more support!

Here is how to get involved.

Step 1: Identify if you are an emotional eater

complete this  questionnaire and we will  tell you if your eating is emotionally driven

The Emotional Eating Questionnaire

If you know you have an emotional issue with food and find the questionnaire idea daunting/ or don’t like the one we are currently using, we can add you to the challenge without it! just drop us an email and say “add me to the  emotions/food challenge”)

(If you have problems with the questionnaire link email me and I’ll send it to you directly)

Once you’ve submitted the questionnaire we will tell you if you have issues that the challenge will help with.

Step 2: If we think the challenge will work for you, we will send you the background to the challenge and some basic tasks to help you prepare for it.

Step 3 whilst it’s not clear at the time of writing if we will use Zoom or  a Facebook group for our daily discussions, it’s as well to join the Facebook group asap here 

Step 4 each day of the challenge you’ll be sent some interesting tasks by email to make you think about things as varied as your body image, your emotions,  your social flexibility. We will discuss the results, issues, problems either on zoom or in the Facebook group later that day.

The first challenge will start on Monday 1st Feb ( We thought we’d leave some space between then and the nonsense of new years resolutions. This gives you time to jump into a 7 days celeb starvation diet, and remind yourself how awful and destructive they are before you start!).

 

 

Crossfit London.It’s all in your mind!

Crossfit, as it’s taught at Crossfit London, is a devastatingly effective physical fitness regime. Interestingly while it obviously builds muscle and skill, its biggest adaption is in your brain! Are you looking to reduce stress, meditate or up your mental game, This is the place for you!

CrossFit London’s unique combination of skill development,  against a  background of general modal domain gains (strength, aerobic capacity), developed and practiced with high-intensity creates the ideal environment to begin to develop your capacity to deal with stress.

One interesting aspect of our regime is the development of flow or as Csikszentmihalyi, says “The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile” . Our workouts aim to create a balance of perceived challenges and skills.  This balance is crucial in developing flow . When people are allowed unprepared into a  crossfit class the challenge is often bigger than their skill level.  This creates anxiety and stress. These are probably the very reasons why someone goes to a CrossFit class.in the first place. However, if the class is under programmed or too easy when the beginner’s skill level exceeds the size of the challenge, it becomes dull and boring.

At Crossfit London, we support our beginners by steering them through our fundamental process, which gives our clients the basic survival skills they need.

This preparation also explains why our sessions are designed to develop flow. The literature identifies numerous elements in developing flow. To promote flow feedback needs to be almost instant. Our trainers provide in the moment feedback and you can measure your progress against established standards so you know what your goals and aims are. Whilst you may have a muddle of internal aims, during the workouts we give you the targets you need to chase while making sure they are amended to your specific skill level.

Whilst in a normal gym you meander between machines, or chill out to music is a dance class, CrossFit workouts require you to merge your actions and awareness. You are there, in the moment. When pushing a weight above your head 30 times, you need to be present in the task. You don’t really have time to think about yesterday or tomorrow’s work problems. You need to be there in the room, with your weight and your skill and the challenges. The internet is stuffed full of adverts claiming that their weird mind training can give you flow. If there is one truth in mind training it’s that as a stand-alone thing, it’s worthless. Mind training needs to be coupled with challenges!

We work to make you and the movement one. We aim to build your physical and mechanical dominance. We strive to make every movement feel like an extension of your body. We get you to practice, practice because our moves are worth it. You can grapevine till the cows come home, but it’s the power lifts, the Olympic lifts, and basic gymnastic moves that boost your genuine physical capacity. We get you to focus on the process. It’s just that in flow and work and relationships, process is queen! By constantly challenging you,  your workouts and skills begin to  shape the language and the thoughts you use. This influences the way you interact with others and your relationship with yourself. Every jogger who secretly knows they cannot do a pull-up or run any faster or handstand subconsciously accepts their weakness and it often carries into real life. Many of our clients succeed in the workplace because, by coming to us, they have already been to hell and back. There is nothing to fear in a zoom presentation!

By coaching effectively we genuinely give our clients, not only a physical gym but a mind training gym too! We know this, as Crossfit London was the first-ever Crossfit affiliate in the UK ( actually the 8th anywhere in the world ) and we know our stuff. Our staff are experts, with years worth of teaching and training practice, and we know our stuff. See you soon!

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The muscle up: because its good to have a standard

Pretty well anyone, who isn’t quite ill, can jog a bit!

It’s actually, not that difficult with a bit of basic training to get almost anyone into a simplistic exercise class. I was forced to teach basic circuit classes in 1998 as part of my initial introduction into the world of fitness teaching, and its theory was to keep it really simple and really basic “as long as their heart is elevated it’s a great workout”.

It is quite correct that basic aerobic fitness is a useful thing and that it helps bring down some of the crippling costs of the NHS. However, to make fitness “walk off the street”accessible the powers that be decided to trash the moves. It didn’t matter if you couldn’t squat, or a push-up. If you could do a ‘half jack” and elevate your heart rate you were fit!

Trashing fitness standards leaves you weak and vulnerable in what is after all a very harsh world.

Jogging and spinning on a bike does not train you to pull your family from a burning house, or pick up your children and run with them to the hospital. An emphasis on specialism produces awesome endurance runners who cannot haul their luggage and superbly strong strongmen who would collapse after jogging a mile.  At Crossfit London we look for the middle road; unfortunately, it’s a hard road.

Many people embark on fitness regimes that consist of a muddled mix of sports-specific rehabilitation and bodybuilding drills. If you are injured – you need rehabilitation drills If you are developing your golf putt – you need sports-specific drills. If you like posing on a stage wearing fake tan and teeny weenie panties – body-building drills are for you.

Of course, all training should have an aesthetic output: your body should express what it can do. Is there any point in having a Cadillac chassis with a lawnmower engine? (Actually, some people think there is: and they are so very, very special)

We think it’s second-rate to embark on a core conditioning and training regime without a clear idea of what you are going to achieve. Immature goals such as ‘reducing my 10k time by four minutes’, or ‘upping my deadlift by 8%’, – while seemingly precise and accurate – are distractingly narrow for the fundamental ‘underpinning’ training that most people need (that said, we can easily get you those targets too).

We simply aim to generally prepare you for all types of challenges, by measuring and designing training against three standards.

Crossfit fitness standard 1

There are ten recognised general physical skills. They are:

■ Endurance (cardio/respiratory) ■ Stamina (the ability to effectively use energy) ■ Strength ■ Flexibility ■ Power ■ Speed ■ Coordination ■ Agility ■ Balance ■ Accuracy

You are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills. A regime only develops fitness if it improves each of these skills.

Improvements in endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility come about through training. Training improves performance through physical changes.

Improvements in coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy come about through practice – which improves the nervous system.

Power and speed are adaptations of both training and practice.

Use this standard the next time you go for a spin class ( how strong, flexible, powerful and coordinated does sitting on your ass on a bike really make you?)

Crossfit fitness standard 2

We think your training should prepare you for real life. The implication here is that fitness requires an ability to perform well at all tasks (even unfamiliar ones) combined in infinitely varying combinations. In practice, this encourages you to put aside any prior notions of sets, rest periods, reps, exercises, order of exercises, routines, etc. Nature frequently provides largely unforeseeable challenges; train for that by striving to ‘mix stuff up’.

In practice you turn up to training a bit nervous, not knowing what to expect.

It helps build will and bravery.

Crossfit fitness standard 3

Whoever invented the human body was a bit of a ‘worry puss’– they felt that one energy system just wasn’t safe enough. Rather like the householder who has a real fireplace, electric storage heaters, and gas central heating. Some would call that greedy, but a cautious person would call it prudent.

The human body has three energy systems. One for fast reactive movement (diving under a car to save your three-year-old toddler), a slower, more extended, but still, a pretty snappy system (for running 350 metres, then diving under a car to save your three-year-old toddler). Finally, there is the long term ‘trickle’ energy system (the one you use while shoe shopping, running 5k, miles away from any toddlers).

For people who have little experience of toddlers, these ‘metabolic engines’ are known

as: the phosphagen pathway, the glycolytic pathway, and the oxidative pathway.

■ The first, the phosphagen, dominates the highest-powered activities (100 metre sprint), those that last less than about ten seconds.

■ The second pathway, the glycolytic, dominates moderate-powered activities, those that last up to several minutes (400-800 metre run).

■ The third pathway, the oxidative, dominates low-powered activities, those that last in excess of several minutes (5k run, walking, shopping).

Total fitness – the fitness that Crossfit promotes and develops – requires competency and training in each of these three pathways or engines. Balancing the effects of these three pathways largely determines the how and why of the metabolic conditioning (or ‘cardio’) that we do at Crossfit. Favoring one or two to the exclusion of the others, and not recognising the impact of excessive training in the oxidative pathway, are arguably the two most common faults in fitness training.

As an overriding principle, Crossfit views the needs of an Olympic athlete and that of our grandparents as differing by degree not kind. One is looking for functional dominance the other for functional competence. Competence and dominance manifest through identical physiological mechanisms.

At CrossFit London we scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.

In objective terms, this could mean trying and failing to master  skills like the muscle up

The muscle-up is simply a visible test. Do you really have strong arms and a  tight core? Do you have the will power to train for a move that’s genuinely hard? The advantage of a bicep curl* is that on day 1 you can do it, albeit empty-handed. All you have to do is add weight. Day 1 there’s no chance that most people can muscle up. But here is the thing. We are basically a school for adults. We teach you the functional physical literacy that you were deprived of. We have drills galore to help you learn, like this one, and expert trainers to support you.(* BTW, it’s ok, you get to do some bicep curls too!!)

We have some training drills on our facebook group if you fancy checking it out. If you want to come and train, drop us a line

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A Crossfit London wordsearch, for when things get dull!

Have you got time between workouts, or are you simply stuck in a dull and boring meeting?  Train your brain with this fun word search! Either hunt the words from the list below or go  “blind” and see if you can spot them without help.

 

H X C B L N J Q T D J P W B H
S C R F K M R K N S N O X C L
Q D T J L N G A H Q R W T A L
U W E A L D T V C K B A E L E
A J B A N S N N O K N R C T B
T Z A H D S P U H S U P Y M E
N O D N O L T I F S S O R C L
Q C A P H Z I I E N E D K W T
N H S S E R P F L R L U R O T
B U R P E E H U T P C M E D E
S T R O N G M A N L S B J B K
Z M Y W K H G G E Y U B B H D
D W X F S J L A N K M E B I A
D Q J U M P N T E I G L P A A
M I P A L X A C X U R L X O B

 

 

BOX BURPEE CFLDN
CLEAN CROSSFITLONDON DEADLIFT
DIP DUMBBELL HANDSTAND
JERK JUMP KETTLEBELL
MUSCLE PRESS PUSH
PUSHUP RACK RING
SNATCH SPLITSNATCH SQUAT
STRONGMAN WOD WORKOUT

Don’t forget to join. the CrossFit London Facebook group for further  fun and frolics

click here