This blog is brought to you by guest blogger, fellow Prototyper, and Physical Therapist, Martha Theirl! Martha is a doctor of Physical Therapy and the owner of Q4 Physical Therapy
Trying to get a grip on your grip?
Here are 5 ways you can strengthen your arms and hands.
Boring? Only if you’re doing it wrong. Isometric (or static holds) help to build endurance and are an integral part of rehabilitation for tendons. Aim for 4×30-45s holds, but start at 5-15s and build up. You can squeeze a ball, hammer handle, counter top, or barbell! Submaximal but firm holding pressure here.
Work the Forearm Muscles
While there are a lot of muscles in the hand, many of the muscles that control the hand and wrist are up in the forearm and go all the way to the elbow. Think of tennis or golf elbow. All of the gripping in these sports uses muscles in the forearm.
I like to take an object, a hammer or mallet work well, and place your forearm on the table next to you. With a firm grip, turn the object in your hand (see the video!) trying to keep your elbow steady.
We always want the muscles we’re working on to be resilient both statically and dynamically. Using a chop is a great way to add in some dynamic motion. Kettlebell swings are also great for this!
On the Bar Work
If you’re doing gymnastics, weightlifting, or crossfit work, adding in some time hanging from a bar is a great way to build strength in the entire body, not just the wrist! Active holds, scapular pull ups, and beat swings are great for working your strength under body weight. In this video Mike and are discussing a scapular pull up for shoulder work, but it’s also great for grip work!
Working on your grip strength can help you feel more confident and strong. If you have questions, feel free to get in touch with me! As always, this article is meant to be educational content and not medical advice. Please consult your medical professional before starting an exercise program or for individualized guidance.
Share your CrossFit Prototype experience and fitness journey A few years ago, I would drive by CFP every day. I was so curious about what was happening there, but very intimidated to walk in. One day, after a manicure next door, I worked up the courage to walk in. Mike greeted me as warmly as he continues to do to this day. Before I knew it, I was starting Virtuosity and haven’t looked back since. I started with 8am classes then transitioned to evening classes and private training with Jon when I went back to work full time last summer. I also had a lot of fun doing Caitlyn’s Endurance program and am excited to start Endure with Leah!
What is your favorite part about being at CFP? The community is a huge part (which I know everyone says – but it’s true!) CFP has also been a bright spot during the isolation of this pandemic. At first, I was simply excited to finally try a Thrive class, but now the Zoom classes and private training have become part of my “new normal” routine. More than ever I have realized what an important part of my life CFP has become. I also look forward to the different plank ideas that Jon comes up with for me. Who else could make me do planks with a 35 lb. plate on my back? And now that we can’t meet in the gym in-person, Jon has come up with one-handed planks!
What are your hobbies and activities? In addition to CFP, I enjoy running outdoors. I started running in 2011 and have run many 5/10ks, half marathons, and even the Boston Marathon (when it was 95 degrees!) I also enjoy nature, travel, reading and photography, and as of last month, jigsaw puzzles and Netflix. My family is also very important, and I guess they are a “hobby.” My son is a junior in high school and a trombonist with the Boston Youth Symphony, and my daughter just wrapped up a gap year as a figure skater performing with Disney on Ice. She will attend WPI this fall. They, along with our dog, keep my husband and I very busy!
How has (if it has) CFP helped you outside the gym (in sports etc.)? It has helped to keep me strong and in shape for running races. I also think in general CFP has helped me stay positive and focused and to prioritize staying active.
What are you continuing fitness goals to this point? In the long term, to try to beat the aging process! In the short term, to continue running and to work my way up to heavier weights. I am presently training to run the Mt. Washington Road Race (their motto is “There’s Only One Hill” – however it’s 7.6 steep miles to the summit). I am also working on improving my nutrition with Leah.
What is your favorite quote? I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.
Why staying active and protecting your mental health is SO IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW
None of us have ever experienced anything like this. During these times of uncertainly, we need some things to remain constant and unchanged. During these times, you can CERTAINLY continue to exercise and lead a healthy and fit lifestyle. The reality is, as these times are upon us our routines go out the door and our lifestyle can potentially get inconsistent. The first thing that I want you to ask yourself is “What can I control?” We can’t control the stock market. We can’t control the government shutting things down. We can’t control Tom Brady leaving the Patriots… The number one thing you have control of is YOU. If you’re forced to be at home, use the time wisely to invest in yourself. Now is not the time to shrink away, and feel helpless. Now is the time to take control of your health.
Nutrition is 70-80% of any fitness goal. Being and feeling as healthy as possible will provide you with the best defense against illness. You are in control of what you put into your body. If you need help with this, our team of Nutrition coach at Prototype Nutrition can meet with you VIRTUALLY to do a complimentary Nutrition consult. Here is a link to book that. Right now, you may be at home and not working. You may be with your kids, preparing meals that they like. It may feel like a “Netflix and Chill” type of situation. Maybe you’re digging into that bag of chips or nuts over and over again. Remember, YOU ARE IN CONTROL. First, your nutrition doesn’t have to suffer because you’re in isolation. Second, your nutrition still needs to align with what your fitness goals are. Many of us know what the most nutritious foods are for us (Wholefoods: lean protein, fruits, and vegetables). However, it’s the MINDFUL action to prepare some recipes that are easy to cook and will provide nourishment for the whole family and how that aligns with your goals. Some tips are to have foods ready to go such as lentils, chickpeas, beans, pasta, rice. (Don’t clear the supermarket shelves, there is no need!) Keep fish, meat, seafood in the freezer and defrost as needed. Same with frozen veg. Lastly, Hydrate! Such a simple concept, but staying hydrated will keep your mind clear, your energy levels high, and help with good health. Sitting at home, it’s easy to forget to drink water. Drinking your body weight to half your body weight in ounces is a great reference point.
You don’t need to stop exercising because you can’t make it to the gym. Don’t let that be an excuse. Our team at CFP is providing Virtual Group Classes for our Group class members and 1-1 Virtual training sessions for our private training clients. Additionally, we are providing 30 Days of at Home WODs that you can do without any equipment! If you can, purchase a dumbbell or kettlebell, or even some resistance bands, and a jump rope to take your WODs to the next level. If you’re a member of CFP, we are loaning some of our equipment for you to use while we are closed. Keep yourself motivated by getting the people you live with involved. Make the workouts fun, challenge each other and be a bit competitive. Here is a workout idea, and ways to make it fun and inclusive!
Sample Home WODs Below:
Try to keep some semblance of a routine. Working from home, or just being forced to stay at home, may make you feel alienated and may result in feelings of anxiety and stress. Make sure your kids also have an albeit slightly relaxed, schedule or routine. They will crave it, even if they don’t realize! There are a few things you can do! Sleep – aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Research is everywhere at the moment detailing the importance of sleep for immunity, physical health, function, and mental health. We need more sleep! Keep working hours – there is no need to work longer than you usually do. If you normally work for 8 hours a day, do the same. Take your normal breaks (or mix it up if you want!), but don’t be distracted by other things such as chores, which you can do outside of work hours. Meditate – even if you don’t normally do this, it’s something that can put your mind at ease during these stressful times. Download an app to help such as Headspace. You can start with 10 minutes a day and build from there. This will help keep you at ease and help put yourself in a positive state of mind Exercise and Eat – if possible, exercise at the same time every day, and eat at your normal meal times. You’re more likely to stick with something if it’s planned out and can become a habit-based way of living. Finally and perhaps MOST importantly…
Protect Your Mental Health
Sometimes the best approach is to limit the news and social media. Focus on spending time with your family and loved ones. Focus on all the good you have going on in your life and focus on your health. Be kind to others and respect the decisions they have made whether you agree or not. Call/text/video call your loved ones and friends. There is no need to be completely isolated, such are the wonders of the internet!
The best word to use to describe Annie is “AMAZING”. If you’ve met Annie you would agree. She’s resilient. She’s strong. She’s smart. She’s incredibly friendly… Overall, she is an AMAZING human being. Annie has been with us at CFP since 2013 and since then she’s had quite the journey. Recently, Annie had her 5 year anniversary from her lymphoma diagnosis. She wrote us a note to tell us about it. Hi Mike, So today is exactly 5 years from my lymphoma diagnosis. I have such vivid memories of coming back to CFP after treatment and of how supportive the coaches and community were! I remember Jon coaching me through my 2nd round of Virtuosity classes with patience and humor…I remember Garret helping me get my first HSPU…I remember Brian’s calming and encouraging words…I remember you slogging through all those PT sessions with me – supporting me to push through mental hurdles and to trust my body…and Joe coaching me to get out of my comfort zone and find joy in a sport I really love. Who knows what the future will bring, but I’m grateful for today. Thank you a million times over for the support, wisdom, and encouragement along the way. Please express my immense gratitude to the coaching team ?. With sincerity, Annie
There are A LOT of incredible people here at CFP. Each week we will share a story and highlight of one of our members to hopefully make a positive impact on your life! #CFPFamily #CrossFitPrototype #ClientStories
Share your CrossFit Prototype experience and fitness journey
I started CrossFit in June 2019 (8 months)
What is your favorite part about being at CFP? My favorite part of CFP is the positive encouragement from all the Coaches. My class time coaches are Brian and Leah. You guys are the Best!
What are your hobbies and activities? Hobbies are being the best mom, daughter, wife, sibling, aunt, employee, etc… I can be.
How has (if it has) CFP helped you outside the gym (in sports etc)? CFP has stepped up my confidence and hope that everything is going to be ok. When you battle an illness or a life changing diagnosis with one of your kids you face a ton of self doubt. CFP has given me back the control I needed and the power to say there isn’t anything I can’t do. It just takes hard work!
What are you continuing fitness goals to this point? I want people to look at me and say “wow she really takes care of herself” As odd as that may be to some, it’s truly important to me. I’ve always taken care of everyone else and forgotten me, but I have realized that by taking care of one’s self, you are in fact taking care of everyone around you that depend on you. Reducing body fat and increasing my energy/endurance would be a great goal. I’ll have to learn how to change my goal to number values so it’s measurable.
What is your favorite quote? “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
We are continuing with our #Nutrition blog series and today we are talking about EATING OUT! We hear very often about the struggles with being able to eat out and continue to lose weight. Well, we are here to tell you that it is definitely possible! Like anything that is important, it just requires a bit more focus, attention, and most important, PLANNING. . If you are someone that is trying to lose weight (body fat) you may feel that you need to make a lot of sacrifices; “no dining out, no carbs, no alcohol, and no dessert!” Now that sounds absolutely terrible and I would never wish that upon my worst enemy ? . So how do we eat out and still lose weight? There are several different approaches but overall it comes down to thinking ahead and being a bit more mindful about your choices. .
Plan Ahead: Before you dine out, go to the restaurant’s website and look at the menu. Figure out what you want to eat and what you CAN eat as it relates to fitting into your plan. If you go to a chain restaurant (Applebees, Chilis, Uno’s… they even have the macros on MyFitnessPal!).
Choose a Meal that is High in Protein: If you look at the menu ahead of time (#1) you can try to find an option you’ll enjoy and then plan around it. For example, maybe you want a ?, no problem! Get the burger but maybe request for steamed veggies to make it a lower calorie more nutritious meal. Don’t be afraid to request for them cooked without butter and you’ll save a ton of extra calories (Fat calories specifically).
Eat more nutritious meals earlier in the day: This goes back to planning, however, if you know you are going out to dinner you want to have foods that a nutrient-dense (lean protein and veggies for example). Save calories but eat enough to avoid really overeating.
. So what about Alcohol and Dessert?! More often than not, if we are going out to eat we may be inclined to drink alcohol & eat a dessert. A strategy we have implemented is to choose lower-calorie drinks or split a dessert vs having your own. Again, this is where having a plan ahead of time can make it easier to manage how much you consume. It seems simple but this can save you anywhere between 500-1000 calories alone! . The important takeaway from this message is that we don’t need to sacrifice our social life to lose a few poundsbut we also don’t need to use dining out as an excuse to get out of our healthy habits. . Enjoy time with your friends, destress and don’t worry about losing your progress because you can always get back on track the next day! . If you’re looking for further guidance and accountability reach out for a personalized nutrition plan. . ?Follow @Crossfitprototype for more!
Did you know that you DO NOT need to sacrifice social drinking to lose weight?! ?? . If your goal is weight loss OR to maintain the weight that you are at, you may want to read this! As you may be aware, there is A TON of conflicting information out there in regards to diet and nutrition. What we prescribe and live by here at CFP is fueling your body based on your goals AND aligning that with your lifestyle. Many of our clients at CFP have social lifestyles and like to have a few drinks on the weekend. Is that bad? ABSOLUTELY NOT. So we decided to let you all know how to do it! We get the question A LOT from our clients at CFP and that is “Do I need to stop drinking alcohol to lose weight?”. Sometimes the answer is yes, but more than 90% of the time, the answer is no! With that being said, we aren’t promoting or encouraging you to drink alcohol (remember, this is poison to your body) but realistically, our lifestyles include having the occasional cocktail or beer from our favorite brewery.
SO HOW DO YOU DO IT?!
First… You ideally need to know in advance that you’re going to have some drinks, whether that is when you are out to dinner, to a brewery or to a social event… or for no occasion at all! Basically, you need to do a bit of planning in order to make this happen vs. just winging it like we often tend to do. YOU NEED TO have a plan to be able to manage your calories! . Next…
Your drink choice should be based off a few things: 1. Do I plan to have more than one? 2. What’s the best option that I’ll enjoy? 3. Will I be eating as well? . If we are going to be at an event for several hours we might assume we are going to have more than one drink. If that’s the plan I would aim for a lower calorie drink like vodka with seltzer water or hard alcohol w/diet soda to limit the number of calories that you take in. If we can keep our drinks under 100 calories that would be ideal if we are having serval. A Craft beer is around 250-350 calories so 3 low cal drinks could equal one heavy beer. . Side note: If you’re a beer person and you enjoy IPAs I would keep it to one drink and have a lower calorie meal to pair with it. . What you want to avoid is high-calorie drinks paired with high-calorie foods. For example, a hamburger with sweet potato fries and 2-3 IPAs pair with that meal is not an uncommon meal for many people (and if you’re looking to lose weight, this could be a recipe for disaster!). A typical hamburger can be anywhere between 500-1000 calories, sweet potato fries can range from 200-500 calories and that delicious #Treehouse IPA is in the 250-350 calorie range. Total, on the low end, that’s around 1000 calories assuming you only had one beer and the calories, on the high end you’re looking at 2500 calories (if you’re having 3 IPAs). . So if you want to eat like this, you have to manage what you put in your body earlier in the day, so let’s think about how our other meals should look…
1.) Nutrient-Dense Foods 2.) Lean Protein 3.) Reduce Starchy Carbs We never want to go out drinking on an empty stomach so we tend to recommend to our clients to eat nutrient-dense foods earlier in the day. Fill your plate with veggies, keep starchy carbs reduced to save calories for your alcohol and have lots of lean protein with your meal. Think of it like this… eat a lot of veggies and lean protein earlier in the day so you have a surplus to work with when you go out. . Again, this post isn’t promoting or encouraging you to drink alcohol but it may be realistic to say that you’re going to drink from time to time. Having a drink socially shouldn’t be a day off from your nutrition and you can still make progress if you have a plan beforehand! There is a lot more to it than this, so if you are interested in learning more about how we can help you with your nutrition goals, please do not hesitate to reach out! ? follow @crossfitprototype for more! . #crossfit#crossfitprototype#nutrition#weightlossjourney
Share your CrossFit Prototype experience and fitness journey I joined CFP about three years ago because my mom (Carter) and friend (Abby) did crossfit. I joined and loved the community aspect. I then transitioned to doing olympic weightlifting with Joe about two years ago and have fell in love with lifting. Since then I have loved improving as a lifter and making incredible friends!
What is your favorite part about being at CFP? I love the community and the people here. It helps motivate me to keep coming and I always have a great time when I am here. The coaches are also so dedicated and invested in your success which is incredible.
What are your hobbies and activities? I obviously love weightlifting but I enjoy lots of other things. I enjoy playing soccer and doing just about anything with my friends.
How has (if it has) CFP helped you outside the gym (in sports etc)? CFP has helped me become a stronger and more confident person. Through weightlifting I have become stronger both mentally and physically.
What are you continuing fitness goals to this point? At this point I am working really hard to get strong enough to compete at the national level as a junior. This is gonna take a lot of hard work and dedication but I’m ready to put in the work!
What is your favorite quote? I am not sure if I have a favorite quote but I like this one, “you are braver than you believe… and stronger than you appear… and smarter than you think” — Winnie the Pooh. I like this one because I find that I often underestimate myself and need the reminder to believe in myself.
I’m sure you have heard the phrase “get outside your comfort zone” before, right?! You may have even heard it at CFP because we encourage GROWTH. It is one of our core values after all : ) Many of us avoid doing the things that scare us or challenge us because of fear. The important thing to remember is that doing these things is the only way to truly grow. We talked last week about building habits. Those habits could be built around doing smaller, objective things that slowly get you more and more outside your comfort zone. That thing that really scares you could be public speaking (which A LOT of people are scared to do). So, the smaller habits would be to start giving a speech in front of the mirror or to a few friends. As you build your confidence, it will get easier AND your comfort zone will start to expand! So our question to you is What are a few things you are doing each day to get outside your comfort zone?
Here are some examples if you are struggling:
Going to the gym without your gym buddy who makes you go
Trying that Rx workout that you know you can do but are scared to try
Go to a different class time if you can’t make the regular time you come
Try doing that handstand hold against the wall
Let us know and email me directly at Mike@crossfitprototype.com if you need help!
Share your CrossFit Prototype experience and fitness journey Years ago I was a collegiate (and many years beyond) soccer player. I also ran a lot and completed a couple of marathons. All that seemed to slow to a near stop as my life got busier and busier with a young family and a crazy job as a globe-trotting consultant. Something had to give. I joined a local gym and started to learn a little about weight lifting (something I had never done before)…nothing technical; certainly no Olympic lifts, but it got me off the couch. Along the way, many around me were getting on the Crossfit train. I resisted. I had the impression that it was a little cult-like and I was happy quietly lifting on my own. A turning point occurred when my wife, Lillian Rich, started working out with Mike. She raved about the way he customized workouts for her, pushed (but didn’t break) her and otherwise created a welcome environment for her to enjoy fitness. Through the vagaries of a CFP Holiday Party raffle (I attended as a guest of Lillian), I ended up with a few free introductory personal training sessions with Mike. I reluctantly took a sip of the Koolaid. Mike was gentle at first. …a few bench presses, a couple of pullups… piece of cake. Then he introduced me to the Assault Bike. “a few rounds of 5 calories, you say, Mike?” At the end of that toy workout, I was gasping for air. I’ve come a long way from that! Even during those one-on-one training sessions with Mike, I was constantly asking about what the class was doing. He could tell I really wanted to be part of that community and he ultimately transitioned me to GenPop. I was all in.
What is your favorite part about being at CFP? What I love most about CFP is the community. Perhaps that is a hackneyed thing to observe in this blog but it is true for me, nonetheless. I love the vibe the gym exudes when you show up for a Murph; the energy around a Friday during the Open; even the anticipation of BZ hollering: “3…2…1…GO!” on a regular weekday at 3:30. I’ve grown to especially value the Partner events on Saturday mornings (even if it is way too early) when I chase around (but never catch) my friend and workout partner, Colin Lake. I also have to point out here how impressed I am with the flexibility of the coaches. I am currently nursing a chronic injury to my elbow (ah, youth is wasted on the young). As a result, right now I have to fairly dramatically modify many of the movements. Now, I am not talking here about substituting a jumping pull up for a regular pullup, rather I am referring to throwing out the pullup altogether and doing a vested air squat (or the like). To a person, each coach has rolled with my limitations and helped me design something that leaves me properly sweaty and fully worked out. Thank you, Gang!
What are your hobbies and activities?
I love to play golf (you wouldn’t really know that watching me play but I keep at it anyway). I’ve really enjoyed getting to be part of the CFP golfing crew and, even though we don’t hold a candle to the travel antics of the Ladies of 5am, we are doing our best to compete. While I’m a terrible golfer, I am much better with the tiller of a sailboat or the wheel of power boat in Boston Harbor and waters beyond. I’m trying to get out there as much as possible. Also, as I have eased into retirement from Corporate America, I have mostly taken on the role of chef for the family.
How has (if it has) CFP helped you outside the gym (in sports etc)? General life is better when you have the confidence of fitness. Chasing the kids, moving furniture (“you want me to move that couch, again??”), toting groceries, shoveling snow…the list is endless.
What are you continuing fitness goals to this point?
I would really like to improve my flexibility. I feel this would translate into better performance all over the shop. John Collette recently asked me after a back squat workout, “How’d you do?”. I told him that I wasn’t near my PR and that I was disappointed in my performance. As an afterthought I added, “but, I think my squat might be getting a little deeper…” John’s face brightened. He essentially told me to shut up about the weight and revel in the long term benefits of that improved flexibility. Astute, indeed.
What is your favorite quote?
A few months back we had a CFP goal of getting 10K (I think) calories on the Assault Bike. As the month wore on, we were woefully short of reaching the goal. I kept doing the math, noting with increasing concern that there was NO WAY we could catch up. Near the end of the month the crew rallied; on the last Sunday morning there was a APB issued by G on Facebook and some diehards assembled. Goal achieved. Mike Collette: “if we really put our minds around something, the CFP Community can do anything!” I’m going with that.