Got Pain? Your Gut Might Be To Blame.

Did you know that there is a strong connection between joint pain and your gut? If you’re experiencing achy knees, chronic pain or stiff joints, leaky gut may be to blame.

Often, these ills are attributed to the unfortunate effects of aging and maybe we just chalk it up to be arthritis. What if that pain was actually caused by an imbalance from another part of our body?

Our gut.

Did you Know:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may affect as much as 30% of the population. Symptoms typically include gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and altered bowels (constipation, diarrhea, loose stools).
  • Up to 84% of IBS may be linked to an overgrowth of bacteria in the intestines. The good news is that many people can experience relief by following diets that reduce bacterial overgrowth.
  • What’s interesting is that when gut health is improved, studies show that it can also improve anxiety and depression. Evidence shows that brain fog and impaired memory can also improve with gut healing.
  • What’s more? data also shows that improving gut health can also show an improvement in metabolism.
  • Additionally, several studies have uncovered a link between microbes in our gut and other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). People with RA as well as psoriatic arthritis tend to have higher levels of a certain type of bug in their intestines that those without the disease. This research suggests that the connections aren’t just between the gut and arthritis, but any type of inflammation in the body.
  • Inflammation in the intestines has been shown to cause insomnia, improving that inflammation can improve sleep!
  • Certain skin conditions (pimples, rashes, skin inflammation) have been clinically documented to improve after reducing unwanted bacterial overgrowth.

Importance of the Small Intestine

The small intestine accounts for over 56% of our intestinal tract, nutrients are absorbed here and it is responsible for 90% of caloric absorption. Yep you read that right 90% of the calories you take in are absorbed in the small intestine. Another factor worth noting is that the small intestine has a profound impact on the immune system: the largest mass of immune cells found in our entire body is seen in the small intestines.

So, you can see, it’s kind of a big deal.

It’s important to note that the small intestine’s thin, protective mucous membrane is much more prone to damage (which can result in leaky gut) than the large intestine.

That is why small-intestinal health is impactful on immune and autoimmune conditions.

What Exactly is Leaky Gut?

Think of the gut as a drawbridge. Naturally, the gut is semi-permeable to allow micronutrients (think of them as tiny row boats) pass through the intestinal tract into our bloodstream (this is normal). Certain external factors such as processed foods, infections, toxins and stress can increase intestinal permeability, causing our drawbridge to stay open which allows larger boats to escape into our bloodstream (this is NOT a good thing). Your immune system marks those foreign invaders that were never meant to pass through, such as toxins, as pathogens and begins to attack.

According to a description in the journal, Frontiers in Immunology, leaky gut is described as:

The intestinal epithelial lining, together with factors secreted from it, forms a barrier that separates the host from the environment. In pathologic conditions, the permeability of the epithelial lining may be compromised allowing the passage of toxins, antigens, and bacteria in the lumen to enter the bloodstream creating a ‘leaky gut.’

What Causes Leaky Gut?

Maybe you just tweaked your ankle and have been trying to limp your way through the day with a few Motrin. Perhaps you’ve been taking birth control for years. Or your diet is filled with processed foods. Any of these scenarios can irritate the small intestine leading to leaky gut or intestinal permeability (when the food particles that pass through the intestine “leak” into our bloodstream) which triggers the immune system to go into attack mode and fight the invaders.

This is dangerous.

Leaky gut results in increase in inflammation, this inflammation can lead to joint pain and a host of diseases.

Leaky gut can also be caused by:

  • Chronic stress
  • Toxin overload (alcohol, antibiotics, pesticides, tap water, aspirin, other drugs)
  • Poor diet (inflammatory foods such as added sugars, refined oils, soy, food additives, gluten, dairy,  the typical Standard American Diet SAD diet)
  • Artificial sweeteners (saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K, sucralose, neotame)
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Bacterial imbalance
  • Aging
  • Genetic predisposition

In fact, a 2015 review paper, published in the journal Autoimmunity Reviews, shoed that food additives found in processed foods can irritate the gut, lead to leaky gut and subsequently, cause autoimmune disease.

As you can see, many things on that list is IN our control (minus aging and genetics).

How Do I Know If I Have Leaky Gut?

In addition to your joint pain, additional symptoms that may indicate the problem is all in your gut include:

  • Inflammatory conditions, arthritis
  • Digestive problems (bloating, gas, IBS, gastric ulcers, diarrhea)
  • General/seasonal allergies and/or asthma
  • Hormonal imbalances (PMS)
  • Autoimmune diseases (celiac disease, psoriasis, lupus)
  • Chronic fatigue and/or fibromyalgia
  • Brain-related symptoms (brain fog, anxiety, moodiness, depression, ADD, ADHD)
  • Skin issues (acne, rosacea, eczema)
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Food allergies and/or intolerances

Create a Healthy Gut Environment for Healthy Bacteria

Remove. Replace. Restore.

Adequate, if not optimal, digestive system function is essential to our health. If you are in pain, try eating to reduce inflammation to create a healthy environment for gut bacteria and improve microbiota/gut flora.

The first thing is to remove all inflammatory triggers (such as stress and food such as gluten, dairy, sugar, etc…sound familiar to our challenge?), replace the good (whole, unprocessed foods that support nutrient absorption), restore a healthy bacteria in your gut (think: high-quality probiotics, prebiotics: non-digestible fiber compounds found in garlic, onions, leeks, raw dandelion greens, curcumin, bone broth).

You must eat to balance blood sugar, and steer clear of food allergens, intolerances, and food additives. Why? As a response to eating food that you’re intolerant to, your immune system will react with inflammation.

How do you know if you’re intolerant to certain foods? Of course you can do a blood test, but the most useful diagnosis is 3-week food exclusion to watch for symptom improvements followed by a gradual food reintroduction to confirm.

One way to try a food exclusion experiment is to follow the Paleo diet, which does a great job of removing common food allergens. In the Paleo diet, you focus on fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, eggs, healthy fats, oils, nuts and seeds. You avoid grains, beans and legumes, processed foods and dairy.

Which Approach is Best for You?

Remember, our gut is the gateway to health.

With nearly 80% of our immune system residing in the gut and 95% of our serotonin produced in the gut, chances are, if our gut is healthy, we will also be healthy.

But this is a journey. These changes won’t take place overnight. A good place to start is with the 3-day elimination diet. But, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the information above, don’t hesitate to reach out.

You can also set up a free 15-minute consultation to learn more about our one-on-one nutrition health coaching.

More on our Salus Nutrition Coaching Blog:

Overcoming Procrastination: Just Do the Dishes Already

Most of us know that the key to maintaining momentum with our goals is by overcoming procrastination.

Have you ever noticed how the smallest things can feel so difficult? I know I’m not alone on this. Without a doubt, we all have that one thing (or many things) that needs to get done, but we tend to procrastinate doing it. For me, it used to be a resistance to folding socks and doing the dishes.  Now, I’m the kind of person that likes to check off the boxes and get stuff done, but, there was just something about folding socks that drove me bonkers. Don’t judge me LOL

Until I realized how little time those two tasks actually took me. I literally timed myself one day.

Those tasks took me less than two minutes.

Seriously.

Overcoming Procrastination in Less Than 2 Minutes

Personal growth is a form of change. Unfortunately, there is an unconscious, deeply rooted part of us that resists change.

Even if it’s a positive change.

This internal resistance can show up in a variety of ways, from feeling lazy, scared, complacent, doubtful and that overwhelming feeling of procrastination.

Here’s the deal…

Most of these things we procrastinate aren’t actually difficult to do (I mean, come on…folding socks? What was I thinking?) We just avoid getting started on them for some reason. Of course, the more time-consuming the activity is, the bigger resistance to starting it is created in the mind of the procrastinator.

How do you overcome?

The two minute rule

Relative to the size of the task, the 2 minute rule can be applied in two ways:

  • The first way is to do short and easy tasks right away.
  • The second way is applied to bigger projects that require added time and effort. And just start chipping away.

Originating from Newton’s first law of motion that states that objects in rest stay at rest and objects in motion stay in motion, the 2-minute rule in this case means finishing that bigger project 2 minutes at a time. Research shows that the way to start big projects is to break it down into as many small tasks as possible where completion will lead to an increase in motivation. For example, get dressed for a workout and lace up your shoes (2 minutes, check!) and you’ll be more likely to go to the gym, exercise and have more energy! Or sit down to write your grocery list and you’ll be more likely to go grocery shopping, meal prep and eat healthier.

Countdown from 5

But, getting started can be harder than it sounds – even if it’s just for two minutes. So, try this trick. The moment you have an instinct to act on something, count out loud: “5,4,3,2,1” and then physically move your body before your brain has a chance to stop you. The counting distracts you from your excuses and help you focus your mind on moving in a new direction. It interrupts your default thinking and becomes a “starting ritual” that activates your prefrontal cortex which will help you change your behavior.

Try it! I promise the 5 second countdown preceding the 2 minute rule will ignite something powerful if you just give it a try!

Procrastination Trigger: Feelings

You can probably name a handful of things you’re currently procrastinating. The truth is, overcoming procrastination is not necessarily going to be your cure-all. It’s about teaching yourself to anticipate your specific triggers and coming up with a plan in advance on how to get started without hesitation, such as the two-minute hack.

Common procrastination triggers are the fear of the unknown, distraction, lack of motivation and resistance to get started (doing the dishes). Big or small, every task comes with a certain level of resistance.

And one of the most common reasons why we procrastinate is that we want things to be perfect. Our feelings get in the way. Instead of focusing on getting started, we obsess about achieving perfect results and end up paralyzed.

According to neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio, our feelings decide for us 95% of the time. We FEEL before we think. We FEEL before we act. As Damasio explains, humans are “feeling machines that think,” not “thinking machines that feel.” Ultimately, our feelings have a strong influence on how we make decisions. You need to learn how to separate what you are feeling from the actions that you are taking.

The 5 second countdown to the 2 minute rule is a remarkable took in this regard. For example, the moment you don’t feel like meal prepping, you won’t. But if you countdown from five and tell yourself that you’ll just take 2 minutes on the task, you can untangle your feelings from your actions and get started.

Remember, set realistic expectations and strive for progress, not perfection.

Remember to Reinforce Your Habits

William H McRaven said it well in his book, “Make Your Bed,”

“Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room, and the first thing they would inspect was your bed. If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard, and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack.

It was a simple task, mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that we were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle-hardened SEALS, but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made-that you made-and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”

Overcoming Procrastination in a Simple, Yet Powerful Way

What is that one thing you have been procrastinating that might be holding you back from achieving your goals?

Are you paralyzed about food choices?

Does taking the time to stand there and fill up your water bottle hold you back from staying hydrated?

Does the latest episode on Netflix prevent you from getting enough sleep?

Whether you’re waiting for the “perfect time” to start exercising, eat better… or do the dishes, I encourage you to use these tools to help you overcome procrastination and attack your goals head on. Whatever it is that’s taunting you, hanging over your head, if it takes less than two minutes to get started, then do it now.

Knowing what you need to do is the easy part…pushing yourself to do it takes courage.

If you already started making positive changes, you’re likely learning a lot about your body and mind. Hopefully, these are changes that you can embrace and carry through with you for life. Ride that momentum and take the steps you need to feel confident and become a better, healthier version of you.

Let me know how it goes!

Athlete of the Month: Carrie Bendik

Each month we highlight a different athlete at Salus. This individual has something special. They give their best in every class (and then some), they are hungry to learn more and always ready to do the work without complaining. Not only that, but this individual also supports their fellow classmates and encourage them to reach their goals, too. We believe that this is what the Salus Community should be all about.

This month, we get to feature Carrie Bendik.  Carrie has been with us almost two years now and has made some serious strides both physically and mentally. She has overcome obstacles, faced some fears and has come back stronger than ever. We couldn’t be more excited than to feature Carrie this month.

Please meet the March Athlete of the Month: Carrie Bendik:


1. When and why did you start at Salus?

I joined Salus in May 2019. I had always been dying to try CrossFit. I actually was going to a physical therapist in the same building as the old box. It took me awhile to work up the courage to try a class, but of course I’m so glad I did!

2. How has your performance changed since you started at Salus?

I’m so much stronger overall. I can lift heavier, my core has strengthened, and I’m more confident in myself.

3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?

I can do handstands and double unders! All of the lifts we do with the barbell were new to me also.

4. How has your body physically changed since you started?

My arms and legs are more defined which is awesome.

I keep checking for my abs but no sign of them yet.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

When I push myself to get through a really hard workout, that work ethic carries over into my everyday life. The discipline it takes to show up and work hard at Salus has given me more discipline in other areas of my life. I make better food choices, I make sure I get enough sleep, and it sounds silly but completing a hard workout gives me the motivation to do the daily life things I might not necessarily want to do.

I am also more mindful of my body positioning as I go about my day. For example, I pick my 3 year old up with a squat, instead of rounding at the back.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

The best all around workout you can get, both physically and mentally, one you’ll never get bored with.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

I love to challenge myself physically and I try to do that daily.

You can learn a lot about yourself that way. Making progress in a lift or movement is also a big motivator. There is always something to work on or improve.

8. Favorite lift?

Squat clean- I love to squat and I love to clean.

 

9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining Salus?

Sometimes the hardest part can be getting started.

CrossFit can be intimidating to someone just beginning, it certainly was for me. The best thing you can do is to take that initial step.

Start with trying one class.

Remember that everyone has been a beginner at one point, the only thing you have to do is show up and try. When I first started I remember thinking:

“A year from now where do you want to be?”- and that gave me the extra push to begin.

 

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Body weight back squat, toes to bar, and the ever elusive pull-up.

11. If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?

I like long, gritty workouts-
5 rounds for time:
400 meter sandbag carry
10 squat cleans
10 wall balls
10 back squats
10 push press

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Spending time with my husband and girls, I love to cook and bake, and I love to run.

13. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “splurge” meal?

Healthy dish: A big rainbow salad with grilled vegetables, olives, lentils or beans, and a homemade dressing.
Splurge: Bananas and peanut butter. Not really a meal but with the amount of peanut butter I eat it becomes one lol. I LOVE peanut butter.

14. If you could be a superhero who would you be and why?

Batman. I have loved Batman since I was little, I actually have a Batman tattoo! He doesn’t have superpowers and always does the right thing.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

In the depths of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer-Albert Camus

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I am really into food, nutrition, and health and have recently started my own food blog called Happily at Home. It isn’t live yet but will be soon!!

Bar Muscle-Up Progressions

Common Bar Muscle-Up Progressions for CrossFit

The Bar Muscle-Up (BMU) is a performed differently than a pull-up.

The pull-up is performed with a vertical movement, up and down, where the bar muscle-up is performed with momentum moving forwards and backwards; with the backwards movement snapping back hard enough to throw the body over the bar.

Common CrossFit Gymnastics Progressions to Get Your First Bar Muscle Up

To master the bar muscle-up, one must first master:

  • the hollow body position on the floor and while hanging
  • the tight arch position on the floor and while hanging

Then progress into moving on the bar with the following:

  • the swing, starting behind the bar (to create a horizontal movement),
  • jumping to a hollow position,
  • pushing the heels behind you once reaching the end of the swing, and
  • snapping back into a hollow when swing backwards again.

Just remember to hit that “ninja position.” If done properly, the athlete can practice this drill with straight arms and be able to get their head higher than the bar.

Putting Bar Muscle Up Drills to Practice

Most athletes begin their transition too early and can’t bring their torso in the bar, this results in the “chicken wing.”

To practice the transition properly, the athlete can pull a banded PVC from above to their chest (see video below), and practice shifting their elbows and wrists over over the bar.

This transition drill, combined with the straight arm swing (with the head over the bar on the back swing), will create the patience and timing needed to master the bar muscle-up!

Learn More Bar Muscle-Up Progressions at Salus in Middletown NJ

Want more individualized gymnastics drills? We know you do!

Reach out to info@salusnj.com to learn more about private coaching to practice those bar muscle ups and other challenging exercises like toes to bar, kipping pullups, and butterfly pullups.

Why You Should Compete in the CrossFit Open

The CrossFit Games Open is upon us…

 

If you’re new to CrossFit, don’t just tune out and assume that it’s only for the firebreathing CrossFit athletes. We know it might seem intimidating, but that’s why we’re here to support you and help you be the best version of yourself!

Here are just a few reasons why YOU (yes, you!) should compete in the CrossFit Games Open:

When you find yourself in a real competition, you’re instantly motivated to learn everything you can, as fast as you can.

Which is reason #1 to sign up for the CrossFit Games Open. When you sign up for a competition, your motivation level to learn suddenly increases 100%. Suddenly, you might pay closer attention in class, you might go watch some videos online, you have that burning desire to become a better version of you.

Competition can bring out your best.

Every time you hit one of your PR’s (personal records), it lifts you up for an entire day. And others share your excitement – from the fist bumps and celebration from other members to the amazement of friends and family. Personal bests are a community celebration.

Whether you come first, middle or last everyone is there to support you.

You are capable of more than you think.

When you sign up for the CrossFit Games, you’re bound to find out just exactly how much more you can accomplish before the clock runs out. And if you’re still worried about some advanced moves, like the muscle up…put those fears away.

The CrossFit Games Open also offers a scaled division, so everyone can compete!

You’ll meet someone who inspires you and you will inspire others.

You just never know who is paying attention to what you do. But when you sign up to compete, you are showing everyone you aren’t afraid…and might encourage them to do the same.

You WILL kick butt.

If you’re new to CrossFit then we ESPECIALLY encourage you to sign up for the CrossFit Games Open. This competition will give you a baseline of your current capabilities. Then a year from then you can look back at your results and see how much you’ve improved.

And if you’ve been doing CrossFit for a while, then this will give you a great opportunity to test yourself. There’s absolutely no downside to competing, and you just might surprise yourself.

Here’s brief rundown on how the CrossFit Open works:

  • A new workout will be released each week for 3 weeks (this used to be 5 weeks).
  • The workouts are released on Thursday nights and scores are due Monday nights.
  • While this year looks differently from year’s past, we will still complete the workouts together in all classes on Friday.
  • Each week we will do the workout & you will submit your score for that weeks’ Open workout- the same one that thousands around the WORLD will be doing.
  • Each Open WOD will be judged – and there is a very very strict NO REP rule implemented (years past people have caught cheating the athletes and judges were disqualified).
  • Anyone can (and should) be a judge; learn more in the online judges course.
  • Get fired up! Get and give support from members while they compete and strive for their best.

Identify your goals if you haven’t yet…hunt them down and….CRUSH THEM. Who’s in?!

Sign up now at games.crossfit.com.

Want more health and fitness tips? Check out our recent posts:

What to Expect During Your First CrossFit Class

Find out what to expect during your first CrossFit class, what to bring and what to eat before you go.

Feeling intimidated about attending your first CrossFit class? You’re not alone.

Here’s what you need to know before you go.

10 Top Questions About Attending Your First CrossFit Class

What is CrossFit, really?

By definition, in CrossFit you will “perform functional exercises at high intensity with constantly varied structure.”

What do you actually do in CrossFit?

CrossFit focuses on 10 areas of fitness: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.

You can bet you’ll be doing one, two or all ten of these in any given day.

What’s with all this CrossFit lingo.

Box, AMRAP, As Prescribed, Fran…after a couple workouts, you, too will be tossing around these words into your everyday conversation.

Read our blog on Learning Some Common CrossFit Language, to find out more.

Will I get hurt?

Maybe you’ve heard from your neighbor, who knows a guy who knows a girl that hurt herself in a CrossFit class. Unfortunately, CrossFit has gotten a bad rap from countless shock-value viral videos.

Rest assured, all the coaches at CrossFit Salus are certified level 1 and level 2 trainers and have decades of experience. Your safety is our top priority and we’ll never hesitate to take weight off a bar if we feel form is being compromised.

So, be prepared to check your ego at the door.

Is CrossFit a cult?

Cult? No.

Community? Yes.

One of the best things about CrossFit is the crazy energetic and supportive atmosphere where the loudest cheers are for the last to finish and everyone knows your name.

What if I can’t do all those exercises?

The beauty about CrossFit is that all of our coaches are prepared to provide modifications for any and all exercises. You’ll notice that in each of our CrossFit classes, we also offer a “fitness” level that features scaled down movements and lighter weights as well as a “performance” level that features more advanced movements and heavier weights.

What should I pack for my first CrossFit class?

Wondering how to prepare for your first CrossFit workout? Don’t forget your water bottle, mask in case we’re working out inside, a good attitude, comfortable shoes and maybe a dry shirt to change into after you’re done.

What should I expect during my First CrossFit workout?

Each class is about an hour long. You can expect to move through about 5-15 minutes of a warm up followed by a skill or strength section before moving into whatever the workout is programmed for the day. The workout (WOD) starts with a much anticipated 3,2,1 GO! And everyone starts together.

Should I eat something specific before I go?

When and how much you eat depends on your own personal preferences and variables- some people like to eat right before they exercise, some people prefer to fuel up an hour or so beforehand.

Not sure what to do? Opt for a small portion carbs (think: half a banana) beforehand and a more substantial meal within an hour after training, which will help with recovery.

Need more in depth information on nutrition? Let’s chat.

Will I be sore after a CrossFit class?

Most people new to CrossFit will feel sore. It’s best to do some light activity the day after to get the blood flowing. If you’re not used to feeling sore, opt for a long walk or bike ride in between sessions as well as plenty of stretching.

Stepping into your first CrossFit class at Salus in Middletown NJ?

Remember to be open minded and be willing to learn, laugh and sweat a lot.

Schedule your free consultation to chat with a Salus coach and discuss your goals and answer any questions.

Athletes of the Month: The G-Unit

Each month we highlight a different athlete or athletes at Salus. These individuals have something special. They give their best in every class (and then some), they are hungry to learn more and always ready to do the work without complaining. Not only that, but these individuals support their fellow classmates and encourage them to reach their goals, too. We believe that this is what the Salus Community should be all about.

This month, we’re excited to feature the Gonzalez men. Wilson, Tomas and Eduardo all started after Benny (Miss December), who joined in 2017. As you’ll read below, the men didn’t really have a choice in the matter (Benny is very convincing), but now they’re all “hooked.” And we’re so glad she did. Now, they’re fitter, stronger and full of energy.

Please meet the February Athletes of the Month: The “G-Unit”


1. When and why did you start at Salus?

  • Wilson I officially started Oct 2017, my wife (Benny) got me an intro class as a birthday gift and basically told me I had to join. I had no choice.
  • Tomas About 2-3 seasons ago. Because my mom made me.
  • Eduardo I joined Salus around 2 years. Why did I join? My mom told me to.

2. How has your performance changed since you started at Salus?

  • Wilson As someone who has exercised most of my life, I didn’t think my performance could improve. Boy was I wrong. The constant doses of high intensity workouts have increased my aerobic capacity. The fact that I can get my heart rate up above 170 (high for my age) consistently is proof.
  • Tomas It’s still a little too early for me to give an accurate answer to this. However I’ve definitely noticed some improvements in the sport so far.
  • Eduardo My technique for a lot of lifts has gotten better as well as I can lift more weight for them.

3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?

  • Wilson Prior to rotator cuff surgery, the overhead squat was impossible for me. Thanks to great coaching and increased mobility I am now able to perform them. The next step is to increase the strength with that exercise.
  • Tomas Most of the exercises in this sport are new to me which I’ve never done before so yeah. (Kipping, oly weight lifts, double unders, etc.)
  • Eduardo I never really been used to doing handstand pushups and I can do them pretty easily now.

4. How have you changed since you started?

  • Wilson Sleep and stress: two of the most important things to manage in life. CrossFit at Salus has allowed me to maintain healthy sleep habits as well as be a stress reliever. This allows me to deal with other life issues in a positive light.
  • Tomas  I’m pretty sure I have started to look a little bigger (in a good way). I’ve started the paleolithic diet recently, so now I’m trying to take in better foods, more nutrients, and improve my overall healthy eating habits.
  • Eduardo My body has changed. I have lost 30 pounds since I started and I’m still losing weight, so that’s good. Also, I am so tired after every workout that I pass out and go to sleep right away instead of staying up until 3a.m. like I used to.

5. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

  • Wilson Literally, the best thing I can do for my body and soul.
  • Tomas An intense functional sport that focuses on performing a certain exercise/lift as fast as you can in a certain time.
  • Eduardo Salus is a good group of people that want to see each other work hard and get better.

 

6. What keeps you motivated to continue? What’s your “why”?

  • Wilson My why: At my age it’s all about staying healthy to enjoy life.
  • Tomas I just want to get good at the sport! It’s fun. I also like to keep in shape and want to try and get a little more muscular and lift heavier while still keeping my endurance/stamina and still being able to perform well on body weight workouts.
  • Eduardo I like the weight that I am now (I haven’t been this light in a while) but I want to keep on losing and get to the weight I feel is right for me. That’s what keeps me motivated.

7. Favorite lift or WOD?

  • Wilson Surprisingly after doing it, the Murph was really gratifying. Secondly, anything involving squats (front or back) is always a welcome.
  • Tomas Any WOD that doesn’t involve weights. And involves mostly body weight stuff/running.
  • Eduardo My favorite lift is probably the deadlift.

8. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining Salus?

  • Wilson Stay within your limits and stick with the program. The results will speak for themselves.
  • Tomas Having a good and trustworthy coach who instructs the exercises well is very important (which thank god we have). I’d say listen very carefully to the coaches and try your best to complete the lift as intended. Also, start off light and make sure you have the mechanics down.
  • Eduardo Focus on yourself and don’t get discouraged if you can’t do what someone else does. If you keep at your own pace, you’ll get in time. So, don’t give up if you can’t get it on your first try.

9. What is your next goal to accomplish?

  • Wilson I would love to get a muscle up!
  • Tomas Being able to RX more of the weightlifting WODs without looking like a clown.
  • Eduardo My next goal to accomplish is to get back to lifting heavy again.

10. If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?

  • Wilson 800m run followed by 3 rounds of: 10 back squats of 225, 10 ctb, and 15 push ups. And then another 800m run to finish it off
  • Tomas No weights LOL. All body weight exercises and a lot of running. Just imagine a bunch of ab work on the bar with 400-800 m runs in between. And maybe pull ups/push ups as well
  • Eduardo If I was able to design my own WOD it wouldn’t have any running in it because i cant run for my life.

 

11. Favorite thing to do for fun?

  • Wilson I don’t do it enough, but I really love scuba. Also love binge watching a good series.
  • Tomas Video games and watching tv.
  • Eduardo What I like to do for fun is just what anybody my age does for fun right now and just play games all day or go to a soccer field and just hangout.

12. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “splurge” meal?

  • Wilson Grilled mahi with asparagus vs medium rare rib eye with creamy mash potatoes.
  • Tomas Wings from air fryer vs wings fried in oil.
  • Eduardo Healthy stuff. Yeah I eat healthy stuff….. does Jersey Mikes count?

13. If you could be a superhero/animal who/what would you be and why?

  • Wilson Definitely a hawk, the awesomeness of soaring through the skies and observing life from above.
  • Tomas As much as I have always loved all these fantasy characters and stuff I’ve always just kind of wanted to be my own hero and genuinely help or have a positive impact on other people’s lives. It just feels good knowing I’ve made a positive impact or was a good influence for somebody else.
  • Eduardo If I could be any hero it would be superman. I loved superman ever since I was little and still do. Why? Because he does whatever he can to help people like me.

14. Favorite motivational quote?

  • Wilson ”You don’t stop lifting when you get old, you get old when you stop lifting.” anonymous.
  • Tomas “Don’t give up.”
  • Eduardo “A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.” That’s a quote I go back to a lot because I have lots of trust in people.

15. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

  • Wilson For my 30th birthday my wife gifted me a parachuting gift. (I didn’t have a choice back then either HA!)
  • Tomas I’ve always valued genuineness and integrity very highly.
  • Eduardo An interesting fact no one knows about me is that I like to help people a lot. I usually drop what I’m doing if someone really needs me. That’s why I got a job as a physical therapy aid because I like seeing people getting better.

 

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Healthy Popcorn Recipe

If you’re looking for a new healthy popcorn recipe, we’ve got you covered!

Popcorn is a Healthy Swap for Chips

If you have that need to crunch and are looking for a snack that’s lower in calories than chips (but filling) we highly recommend popcorn. Popcorn is one of our favorite snacks because it’s high in fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and helps to keep you feeling full for longer. Plus, if you make it with coconut oil like the recipe below calls for you have your carbs (popcorn) and fat (oil) macronutrients accounted for.

Ounce for ounce, popcorn has more protein than most chips…but it’s not much. To make popcorn even more satisfying, turn this snack a mini-meal by adding a bit of protein. Add a couple slices of nitrate-free deli meat or some almonds on the side to provide a better balance of macronutrients.

Is Microwave Popcorn Bad for You?

ahhhhh! It can be, depending on how you pop it.

Have you heard about the dangers of microwave popcorn? Microwave popcorn bags can be toxic and some brands can have hidden (dangerous) ingredients, “flavors” and preservatives.

In fact, a FDA report indicates that the chemical coating used in microwave popcorn bags will break down when it’s heated into a substance called perfluorooctanoic (PFOA). The Environmental Protection Agency has identified PFOA as a “likely carcinogen.” PFOA is also used to make Teflon and other nonstick materials, such as pizza boxes. This chemical can stay in your body and the environment for long periods of time.

Avoid the potential hazards of microwave popcorn. Make your own. It’s so easy…and so much healthier!

If you love popcorn, consider going with air-popped with organic kernels and your own seasonings. Electric air poppers are relatively inexpensive. Good ones heat up the popcorn quickly and efficiently enough to ensure you end up with fluffy popcorn for movie night.

Here’s how you can make your own popcorn, a naturally gluten-free snack.

Poppin’ Your Own Coconut Oil Popcorn

Popcorn Ingredients

1/2 Cup Organic Popping Corn
1 1/2 Tablespoons coconut oil
Sea salt

Popcorn Directions

  • Heat a large, heavy bottom pot over medium heat.
  • Add the coconut oil and let it completely melt. Put a few test kernels into the pan and wait for them to pop.
  • Place the rest of the popcorn seeds into the pan and cover.
  • After the kernels begin popping, shake every 10 seconds until you hear the popping slow down.
  • When the popping slows down to a pop every 2-3 seconds.
  • Remove the pan from heat.
  • Continuously shake for another 10-20 seconds so the popcorn at the bottom doesn’t burn.
  • Salt to taste and enjoy.

Taking Time for Yourself: Why Self-Care is SO Important

Do you ever feel guilty taking time for yourself?

You shouldn’t.

Self-care shouldn’t be a thing of the past. Here’s why you don’t have to “earn” me-time or feel guilty about taking it.

Taking Time for Self-Care: Put Your Oxygen Mask On First

It’s so easy to make [fill in the blank] your whole life. Whether it’s work, kids, caring for others or home improvement projects, it can be hard to disconnect and take a step back. Plus, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all facing something we’ve never experienced before…an insurmountable level of stress. If we’re not putting our energy into something, we feel guilty, selfish, wasteful. Believe me, as a mom of twins and small business owner, I can empathize.

But it’s shouldn’t be that way. In fact, it’s a nasty recipe for burnout.

As much as you you might love your work, etc, it can become consuming and stressful if you let it.

That email (dishes, laundry, etc) can probably wait a few hours or even until the next business day, if needed, so you can knock off a little early and make time for you.

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

Every week, look at your calendar and book some “me time.”

Head to the gym, catch a sunrise at the beach, read a book, make a nice meal, go for bike ride, meditate, work on personal goals…get enough sleep. Whatever is important to you, schedule in the time for yourself. Literally book an appointment with yourself and then DO NOT CANCEL.

Take time away from “being busy” to relax and do something you enjoy (that has nothing to do with deadlines, homework or responding to emails) and that makes you a better person from the inside- out.

It’s not only better for your brain to disconnect, it’s better for your overall health to step away and make time for YOU….before you have nothing left to give. Psychologists agree self-care is effective against all kinds of external stress and can help you:

1 – Relax your Mind
2 – Boost Concentration & Focus
3 – Understand Yourself
4 – Resolve Problems
5 – Build Mental Strength

Because, if you’re not caring for yourself emotionally, mentally and physically, how can you give it your all in your work, for your kids or for others?

It’s like the oxygen mask that drops down on the airplane- you’re instructed to put your oxygen mask on first.

Even if it’s just taking five minutes to get up from your desk every hour for a little stretch break or scheduling in your workout (and then not cancelling on yourself). In the end, carving out time for yourself (and then actually taking it) will help you be a better employee, parent, spouse, etc.

Positive Self Talk

Let’s be honest. When the **** hits the fan, so can a lot of our healthy habits. Maybe the chips are disappearing from the cabinets a little faster than usual or maybe you’re i the thrones of a full-on Netflix and wine binge.

Guess what?

You’re human. It’s okay. Seriously. I never judge and I understand you more than you might realize. You’re not alone. This is normal. The last thing you want to do is harm yourself further by beating yourself up. That will only amplify the stress-loop-of-doom even more.

Instead: The key here is to recognize those patterns so you’re better prepared to make future changes. But the only way you’ll get to that point is to go deep with yourself. So, strap on your scuba gear and bust out your journal. Time for some honest self-talk.

Then…MOVE ON. And recognize it’s ok to ask for help.

Good Nutrition is Positive Self-Care

Nourishing our body with good, clean food is the foundation of health. Diet culture and Instagram influencers often make food out to be the enemy or as something that needs to be controlled. However, the food we eat impacts our ability to thrive and can be a form of self-care.

Here are a couple of ways to practice self-care through nutrition:

  • Take your time during meals. Slow down and put the fork down in between bites.
  • Remove distractions when you eat (away from TV and phone). Research actually shows that removing distractions also allows you to enjoy your meal, which may help you absorb nutrients more effectively.
  • Eat regularly to prevent low energy levels, brain fog and that dreaded “hangry” feeling.
  • Get colorful. Not only does a colorful plate add more diversity of immune-boosting and inflammation-fighting vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, studies show that diets rich in fruits and vegetables are associated with daily feelings of well-being.

That’s what I call self-care.

Do you struggle with taking time for yourself?

In our busy world of endless to-do’s, it’s essential to give yourself permission to take a mini time-out and recharge your batteries. Doing so will help you prevent burnout, reduce stress and refocus your energy.

Your time and your energy is precious and should be respected. Because, if we treat ourselves as less important, it’s likely that same response will be mirrored back by colleagues, family and friends.

Your needs matter. Self-care matters.

Especially as a parent, you want to ensure that your children know that they deserve the same quality of care and attention as everyone and everything else… help them feel confident about making the time for themselves by leading by example.

Put your oxygen mask on first.

Get Your Nutrition and Wellness Back on Track

Do you struggle with self-care? At Salus Nutrition, we care for our clients the same way they care for their own loved ones. You’ll find countless diets, programs and fads out there…but Salus Nutrition Coaching is the only program designed to take care of what matters most to you (your nutrition, wellness and well-being) the same way you would take care of those who matter most to you, too.

It’s not about criticizing your food log or demanding you do fasted cardio, it’s about recognizing your unique needs and giving you the help and support you deserve.

So, let us help you.

We accept a small number of new clients every month, so reach out and get your name on the list today.

Nutrition Inquiry

Why Should You Take a Rest Day?

Incorporating a rest day after exercise is essential to achieving performance goals, weight-loss or weight-gain goals, improving energy, sleep and much, much more. But, make sure it’s about recovery…not just rest.

What is a Rest Day?

A rest day is when the body repairs, rebuilds and strengthens itself in the time between workout days. Incorporating recovery time is important because this is the time that our bodies adapt to the stress of exercise; and allows our body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues.

What Happens During a Rest Day?

Sometimes we take on a: “I must work out every day” mindset and completely forget that one of the most important parts of exercising effectively is giving our bodies time to recover.

But, continuous training can actually make us weaker, and increase the chance for injury. Exercise or any other physical work creates stress on the body such as:

  • Metabolic stress that comes from depleting the energy stored in individual muscle cells (muscle glycogen)
  • Mechanical stress created by physical damage to the structures of muscle proteins (muscle tissue breakdown)
  • Fluid loss
  • Even mental fatigue (that can lead to burnout)

That’s why we want to give our muscles (and our mind) a chance to come back stronger through recovery strategies.

A rest day allows tissue repair to occur.

Without enough time to repair and replenish, our body will continue to breakdown from exercise. This can lead to overtraining.

Signs of Overtraining

A common mistake of those new to exercise, and even among the experienced athletes, is to workout too hard, too long… too often. They feel guilty about taking a day off, as if they were to lose momentum, and end up over-training in the process.

Overtraining often occurs from a lack of recovery time.

Signs of overtraining include:

  • Feeling fatigued (more than usual)
  • Experiencing a lack of motivation to exercise
  • Feeling unmotivated to be active throughout the day
  • Noticing a decrease in performance
  • Experiencing unexplained weight loss/weight gain
  • Noticing the first stages of a nagging injury
  • And, if we were able to look at someone’s insides, we might also notice that their inflammatory markers are elevated, their connective tissues aren’t healing and their hormones are going haywire (ex: cortisol going up).

In short, lack of recovery can have wide-ranging effects. When it comes to exercise, sometimes less is more.

Your Ideal Rest Day Should Be an Active Recovery Day

Rest day should really be more like an active recovery day. The point is to do some sort of movement that is less intense than your regular workout days, but encourages blood flow.

Why?

  • Moving your body at a lower intensity will help boost recovery rates from your previous workouts by encouraging blood flow to your muscles and tissues.
  • That added circulation also helps deliver nutrients (like amino acids and oxygen) to muscles to aid in repair.
  • Active recovery is also helpful to flush out waste products (like lactic acid and hydrogen ions) that have built up during your workouts and are known to contribute to muscle damage, fatigue and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
  • On top of all that, active recovery days offer a refreshing mental break from intense training.

Plan Your Recovery Day

Then, the question becomes, what should you do on an active recovery day.

A recovery day should be planned like a training day. It’s not a day to lounge on the couch all day. Think of it more like an active recovery day.

That could be any activity that is relaxing and energizing and that is parasympathetic dominant (often referred to as “rest and digest” as opposed to sympathetic activities that are “flight or flight”, like an intense workout).

These can include:

  • Mobility
  • Yoga or stretching
  • Walk or an easy jog
  • Light hip and core exercises
  • Meditation
  • Other recovery protocols such as: heat/ice, stim, massage, compression, etc.

Generally, an active recovery day features activities that reach about 60 to 70 percent of your maximum effort. In other words, keep the intensity low to moderate.

That being said, remember to listen to your body and give it a break when it needs one. If you need a complete rest day, take it.

Other Factors At Play for Optimizing Recovery

Sleep

Sleep is essential. Not just on rest day.

Not to completely sound like a broken record, but if you’re not sleeping well, fix that first. Sleep is really a very powerful element to recovery.

In general, one or two nights of poor or little sleep won’t have much impact on performance, but consistently getting inadequate sleep (less than 7-8 hours) can result in subtle changes in hormone levels, particularly those related to stress, muscle recovery and mood.

Everyone’s needs are a little different, but some research indicates that sleep deprivation (less than those 7 hours) can lead to increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), decreased activity of human growth hormone (which is active during tissue repair), and decreased glycogen synthesis. Other studies link sleep deprivation with decreased aerobic endurance and increased ratings of perceived exertion.

Get your sleep tonight. Try this:

Set a night time alarm – one an hour before ‘bedtime’ to remind you to turn off your blue-light devices and another fifteen minutes before it’s time for your head to hit the pillow.

Read more: Sleeping Tips for Athletes

Nutrition

Eat better to improve recovery? You bet!

Another major part of recovery has to do with replenishing energy stores and fluids lost during exercise. This means eating whole, nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods in your post-workout meal and ensuring you’re staying hydrated. Eating whole foods with herbs and spices can also help to moderate inflammation, assisting in recovery.

If you’re training hard, it’s important to refuel the machine (your body) for repair and recover and also prepare it for the upcoming workout tomorrow. Now is not the time to drastically restrict your food intake. At Salus Nutrition, we take a holistic approach and analyze each client’s situation to provide an individualized solution. Everyone is different when it comes to rest day vs training day macronutrient needs, but generally many clients do well with a consistent amount of fuel throughout the week.

When it comes to supplements, remember that supplements are designed to be supplemental: in addition to the fundamentals of proper nutrition. If you insist on pounding your body in the gym and your body is crying for a recovery day, a supplement probably won’t prevent further damage. Supplements aren’t formulated to fix stubbornness.

However, if you’ve tried the basic rest and recovery strategies consistently for several weeks and your body is still feeling trashed, consider supplementing.

Mental

Studies show that pain perception can be affected by stress, stage of the menstrual cycle (for women), and individual tolerance. Incorporating a recovery day is not only important for our bodies, it also is beneficial to help refresh our minds and destress.

Go ahead and roughhouse with your kids in the yard, take a walk or pick up a pen and start journaling.

The point is to give your mind time to chill out, break out of your routine and appreciate your day off. You’ll come back feeling mentally recharged and highly motivated.

How Many Recovery Days Do I Need?

The number of recovery days you need will depend on how intensely you’re training, your age, fitness level, etc.

Paying attention to how your body feels and how motivated you are is extremely helpful in determining your rest day and recovery needs and modifying your training program accordingly. Some people do well with a 3 days on, one day off cycle. Others prefer a 5 days on, two days off. It’s all very individualized.

It is this balance that takes us to a higher level of fitness. The greater the training intensity and effort, the greater the need for active recovery.