Favorite Nutrition Hacks - CFTNT Training Article


Now that I have your attention I want to apologize for using the word hack. There are no hacks or tricks you can do to improve your fitness. Only hard work, sustainable habits, done over a very long time. With that said here are a few solutions I personally like to use to help facilitate better fitness.
The crockpot is used probably 3-5 days per week on average. It’s a personal favorite because of the quantity of food it cooks, how little you have to chop the stuff that goes in there, and how hands off the cooking process is. The current rotation is a ground turkey chili, chicken drumsticks, and a top of round beef & veggie mix with Italian seasoning.
Nutritious meals are usually pretty bland and boring. That’s just something you as an adult has to deal. If something is delicious it’s probably not that great for you. Luckily you can brighten up most meals with a good hot sauce. These are usually low in added sugar compared to other condiments such as barbeque sauce and ketchup.
Rice is a great carb source for physical activity, however, it’s fairly easy to overdo if you're not going through some serious training. For all recipes with rice, I usually use ½ rice and ½ cauliflower rice. Aldi sells a frozen bag of cauliflower rice that’s very versatile.
What happens when you tell a kid they can’t do something? That’s the only thing they obsess about and want to do. This is me with food. I personally don’t have any foods that I eliminate completely. This doesn't mean that I eat cookies every day, however, if I wanted to have one I can. It’s just a mental trick that keeps me on a decent path. Some people are abstainers and some people are moderators. I like to moderate. Know who you are and what the trigger foods can be.
Nothing is 100% off limits eating wise. That doesn’t mean that there is junk available in the pantry. If you have candy or similar treats at home it will be consumed at some point. There is a time and a place for an occasional treat, however, it should be a special occasion or require extra effort to obtain. Don’t put unnecessary stress on your willpower by having junk at home.
A lot of people stress out about small details, additives, and other trivial stuff in ingredient lists. Worrying about the stuff that’s at the very end of an ingredient list is not super necessary, however, hydrogenated oils should be avoided as much as possible. This stuff messes with your blood cholesterol. It has actually been banned from products but food manufacturers were given a 2 year period to remove it from their products. You will not consume any of this if you eat whole foods and produce. This stuff is found in cakes, pastries, lower quality frozen meals, cheap nut butter, and etc.
Figure out what your pitfalls are. Is it the candy bowl at work, bowling league on Friday’s, significant other that tries to drag you along with them, or maybe you sabotaging yourself. The time I struggle with cravings is usually sleep related. I’ll nap a few times a week and every time I wake up from a nap I feel like I can eat a horse. If I just wait a little bit this usually goes away and I feel a little better. Before snacking like crazy I’ll give myself 20 min to just have some coffee and then it usually goes away. Thursday nights is also the day I struggle with cravings the most. At this point during the week is when I notice the effects of running up some sleep debt. I’ll probably have a plate more for dinner than usual but still try to stick with decent food options.
Snacks are always available. Protein bars (low in sugar and with a whey protein source), fruits, pre-peeled hard boiled eggs, and dry roasted almonds are always close by. Getting ravenous can make anyone snap and have some junk. Embrace hunger, but don't take it too far.
Garlic is added to A LOT OF meals. It tastes great and it helps boost the immune system. Keep the colds away and your training will be much more consistent.
Water is boring and soda is terrible for you. Go with sparkling water instead. If you’ve been chugging soda for a while it takes a little getting used. You could potentially go overboard with the carbonation so don’t replace your entire water intake with bubbly water.
Most day’s the alarm goes off at 5:15am and the majority of dinners are after 7pm. This would be a long day of eating which isn’t the best for you. Personally, I prefer pushing back the breakfast so I’m usually up for a few hours before eating something. Most people would probably benefit from condensing their eating window slightly.

CFTNT Training Article - How to get back to the gym after a break


It happens to the best of us. Something will get in the way off you going to the gym and that is fine. You are not a professional athlete and it’s going to happen.

The most important thing to do at that point is to break the momentum. Don’t let a temporary rut or mishap get you too far from your goals.

Here is a short list of things to consider when it’s time to get back to the gym.

  1. Motivation is gone. Many gym goers believe that motivation is what they struggle with and stops them from the gym, however, motivation is not the problem. Someone who doesn't miss a workout view themselves as someone who works out, that’s just what they do. They’ve done so many workouts that it becomes a natural part of their routine. Do you need the motivation to brush your teeth at night? Of course not. It just what you do. Building the habit of working out works the same way.
  2. Have reasonable expectations. If you haven’t worked out in a few weeks and you walk in on 1 rep max back squat day, don’t get flustered because you didn't PR. That’s not how it works. Whatever your PR or previous level was before leaving automatically deduct 20% and start off slow.
  3. Have reasonable expectations. A lot of athletes will make up their minds about how the workout will go before they even start the warm up. -”I haven’t been in for 2 weeks this workout will be impossible!”. This might be true if you’ve been sick or super stressed out while missing from the gym. If you’ve been on a cushy vacation with more sleep, sunshine, relaxation, quality family time, and ample nutrition you might just be set up for a great training session. Don’t talk yourself out of having a solid workout.
  4. You got sick. This is sometimes out of your control and you just have to deal with it. Make sure that you are recovered enough before returning that you don’t spread any germs. If the previous 2 examples required a small reduction in intensity this might require a more drastic cut. Start off very easy and slowly build from there.
  5. Getting back on track. Give yourself at least 3-5 session to get back to the level you stopped working out at. It will take another 10-20 sessions to start exceeding your previous level of fitness. The bad news is that when you stop working out you can lose fitness very quickly. The good news is that it comes back faster than it initially took you to reach that level.
  6. Communicate with the coach. If you are going out of town, get sick, or just fall off the wagon please let us know what’s going on. We want to know what’s going on in your life, it helps us coach you better. Let’s say you tweak your back carrying groceries and now we don’t see you for a few days. You don’t want to bug any of the coaches so you lay low until it feels better. A week has gone by and your back is still a little tender. Here’s what you should do instead. Message your coach right away and let them know what happened. We might have a stretch or two we can send you that will help you recover much faster. We can come up with a scaling option before you come into class. We direct you to “Plan B” which you completely forgot we offer. Maybe we do a personal training session and get to the bottom of your lower back problem once and for all. These are all things that will help you stay on track. We can’t do any of this if you ghost us.
  7. Anxious about coming back. You feel like everyone knows you “quit”. You don’t want me to yell at you as soon as you walk in the door. Maybe there will be a physical punishment of burpees for not showing up for 2 weeks? NONE of this will happen. The coach will welcome you back and make sure that we ease into the workouts. Your fellow gym goers will give you the usual high five after class because we all struggle with exercise from time to time and that’s OK.

Oscar Isacsson, Head Coach, CF-L3, M.S.

Skill & WOD 1/8/19




Cal row


Squat Clean + 2 PJ

EMOM for 15min

Start light and finish heavy

Increase every other round

Rx, INT, Scaled


Skill & WOD 10/2/18



12min EMOM (alt.)

15/12 Cal Row

20/15 Cal bike

rest 3min 12min

EMOM (alt.)

200m Run

10 Burpee

Skill & WOD 7/10/18




6x3, E2.5M

Start @ 80% and increase if possible


What's In Store For October?


This month's primary focus is no primary focus. We are taking out the PF along with the skill. What are we going to do instead? We will spend extra time on warming up, perfecting the movements included in the WOD, and cool you down after class.
What we want to accomplish with this is:
- Slower and more gradual warm-up to make sure you are extra ready to go hard
- Mobilize specific areas for improved performance and faster recovery
- Spend extra time practicing and perfecting the movements that will be in the WOD
- Higher intensity in the workout for better results
- Build a larger aerobic base utilizing the longer warm-ups & cooldowns
- Improve performance by dialing in the mobility needed for proper form
- Bring you down in a slower manner helping you leave the gym feeling refreshed and the recovery process already started

We will emphasize strength on every 5th day of our program. No skill and PF will definitely not mean less work. We will still sneak plenty of quality practice in throughout the entire session. There will be a general warm-up designed to get you warm, breathing a little harder, and mentally ready to do some hard work. The specific warm-up will include mobility work to prep common problem areas, help activate muscles you want to be firing on all cylinders, and practice the specific movement for the day. The cooldown will help improve flexibility, recovery, and make you feel more energized leaving the gym.

We are starting off the month with the Olympic total. This is our monthly benchmark meaning that if you miss Monday or any other day this is what you will do when you come into the gym. The total consists of your 1 rep max snatch and 1 rep max clean & jerk. Make sure you keep track of these numbers and update the monthly benchmark board. This is a great test of power, strength, flexibility, and coordination.

For those that are competing in the Festivus games make sure you get to class on Monday 10/9 and Thursday 10/12. We will be practicing 2 of the workouts. Have a friend who wants to give us a try? Bring them in on Thursday 10/12 to any of our classes for a fun partner workout.

This will be a great month!

What's In Store For August?


We’ve been hammering the squats pretty heavily lately and now it’s time switch things up. This month we’ll be spending a little extra time on unilateral work. This is just fancy talk for working 1 side of the body at a time. We’ll be lunging our way to stronger glutes, more stable hips, a stronger core, flexible hip flexors, and improved symmetry. You know that one side that’s always a little tougher on pistols? We are going to attack it and make you bulletproof. Bilateral exercises are great (squats) but let’s not forget what running, walking, and sports challenge more frequently which is unilateral movements. Get ready for sandbags, dumbbells, and barbells to go overhead, on your shoulders, back, and start lunging.

We use Beyond the whiteboard statistics to analyze and guide our program to make sure we are well rounded. One thing that’s been missing slightly has been longer workouts. Get ready to go past 20min and enjoy the hard work. We’ll be using “Hero” workouts to make sure we don’t miss the longer durations WODs and to honor those who have fallen.

The message from CrossFit HQ has been pretty clear the last couple of months. Dumbbells are awesome for you and you should use them more often. They require more stability, coordination, and allows for more flexible positioning to find a better movement for your individual structure. We’ll keep embracing Coach Glassman’s advice and we are going to do do a classic benchmark each week but replace the barbell with a dumbbell. Ready for “Nancy” with a dumbbell instead of a barbell? Better start stretching right now.

In preparation for a CrossFit L3 exam, I’ve been sifting through the archives of the CF Journal. There are lot’s of gems in there and many standards that coach Glassman outlines. Two standards that stood out to me was the core strength guideline. Coach says that for an L-sit 2min unbroken is a good goal and that 4min of hollow body rocks should be doable. I don’t think many athletes can achieve this and we’ll use our primary focus to improve our core strength and strict gymnastics movements. We’ll be slowing down the tempo, focusing on 100% control, and getting very familiar with the rings.

This month’s benchmark workouts is the CrossFit Total. The total is your back squat, strict press, and deadlift combined. This is all about testing your strength and power. Keep notes of previous PRs and make sure you measure your progress. The key to a successful total is knowing when to push and when to stop. You need to perform well in all 3 to have a good total. Don’t fall into the trap of using all your energy on the squat and end up smoked once it’s deadlift time. Have a game plan, visualize yourself making the lifts, and high five your friends when you PR.

For the month of August, I’m going to encourage you to re-evaluate how you use your equipment. I’m all for using gear that gives you a little boost in the gym, however, you don’t want to rely on these items all the time. Knee sleeves, wrist wraps, lifting belts, oly shoes, chalk, pre workout supplements, grips, and etc are useful for giving you a small boost when needed. These are not essential to training and should be used sparingly. If you have to have your knee sleeves before knocking out a few air squats then maybe you need to spend more time couch stretching. If you double scoop the C4 supplement before WODing then maybe get to bed at a reasonable time instead. Do you throw the belt on for 50% deadlifts? Slow down a little, challenge your core, and save it for 85+%. Less is more, time spent messing with your equipment means less time for actual training. If you can’t remember the last time you did overhead squats without oly shoes, belt, knee sleeves, wrist wraps, and etc, now is the time to strip some weight off the bar and focus on mechanics.

Coach Oscar

What's in Store for June?


We’ve got a lot of fun stuff planned for June. We are starting with a bang! 5K run for time. This is a great test of endurance and I look forward to seeing PRs being crushed from last year. If you miss this workout on Monday you will complete the 5K on the next WOD you come in for. As always we have plenty of scaling options so don’t be too nervous if running isn’t your favorite.

We have seen some great strength, technique, and flexibility gains from the 12 week squatting cycle. We will continue to squat twice a week rotating through back squats and front squats. This will ensure that we keep maintaining and gain leg strength while still dialing back the squatting focus slightly. If you missed the max out last week you’ll have a second opportunity in 2 weeks. Stronger legs will set you up for future PRs in the Olympic lifts and many other movements.

Squats are awesome but we can’t neglect our other favorites bench press and deadlift. We will hit these lifts once a week consistently with added accessory work on a second day. We will be incorporating some isolation movements to help strengthen the hamstrings, glutes, chest, triceps, delts, erectors, and etc to help crush the bench and deadlift. This will also help create a base for the total which will be coming around in 2 months.

Everybody wants to be better at pull-ups. Why? Because they look cool and we can’t get enough of them. This month will be great if you are trying to get your first one or be able to string bigger unbroken sets together. We will be hammering the base level of strength by focusing on strict pull-ups. We will test out the pull-ups at the beginning of the month and re-test at the end. Make sure you hit these days and you’ll be crushing workouts like Fran, Jackie, Murph, and etc in no time. If you have pull-ups but want to get muscle-ups this will help you pull even higher and get that elusive muscle-up.

Aerobic capacity and endurance is a major part of health and fitness. We are going to use some specific aerobic capacity work adapted from Chris Hinshaw. He is the coach of Fraser, Davidsdottir, Froning, Leblanc-Bazinet, Khalipa, Sigmundsdottir, and many more. We will improve endurance by hitting it from three different angles. We will improve the overall endurance base by going longer and using many different modalities. A workout example for this could be
30min AMRAP of
800m run, 1000m row, 1mile Bike
*rest 1min after finishing each station

We will also improve aerobic capacity by increasing our overall speed. This will be done though shorter distance work, higher intensity, and longer rest periods. Expect to see short runs, rows, rides at a very high pace.

The third area of focus to help improve aerobic capacity will be lactate clearance. Once you are working at higher intensities lactate (which is a fuel) starts to accumulate faster than you can recycle it. You’ve passed this threshold once you are hyperventilating and or experience severe muscle burn. This makes you slow down and the more effectively you can clear lactate (produce energy using oxygen) the more work you can do at a higher intensity. This improves with a regular Crossfit WOD or EMOM work as well, however, we are going to target specific muscles. We will be doing this by executing a very high-intensity exercise for 10-30sec in order to go above your threshold (and accumulate as much lactic acid as possible), then follow it up with a slower intensity exercise to direct blood flow to the muscle that is being utilized. This forces the working muscle to learn to buffer the by-products more efficiently. A workout example to help improve lactate clearance in your quads and glutes could look something like this:

20 Plate hops (explosive fast movement above threshold)
:20 AB Sprint (max effort which accumulates significant lactic acid)
20 Recovery Air squats (these air squats will feel absolutely awful which is the whole purpose. The squats does not have to be fast and by staying moving it forces your lower body to more effectively deal with the lactic acid)
rest 2min (ample recovery to ensure fast pace on plate hops and bike sprint)
3 Rounds

Improving aerobic capacity by working on endurance, speed, and lactate clearance will carry over to all other workouts we do on a regular basis.

We will also be having a day focus on accessory work for pre-habilitative work and overall symmetry. It doesn't hurt doing some dumbbell work to stay ready for the pool season as well. Lowering the intensity slightly and going for quality over speed will also allow for a little mental break during all the other workouts we’ll be doing.

We will be rotating through a 6-day rotation focusing on:
Day 1 - Back squats & upper body lactate clearance
Day 2 - Snatching and endurance work
Day 3 - Deadlift, bench press, and pull-up work
Day 4 - Front squats and lower body lactate clearance
Day 5 - Clean and Jerk & speed work
Day 6 - Accessory work for prehab and pull-up work

This will be a great month and I’m excited about the gains we will see. Putting the work in at the gym is important, however, don’t forget that sleep & nutrition is king.

Coach Oscar