#cardioproject2017

Just for fun, this year, I decided to start a #cardioproject2017 because there are a lot of misconceptions about “cardio” within the fitness world, everyday life and cardiovascular health in general.

We are told to eat well, exercise, stop smoking, reduce our stress and maintain a healthy weight. That’s all you have to do! GREAT, then why are so many “healthy” people affected by cardiovascular disease?

In order to DO cardio, we are told to exercise X/wk for X amount of time. Is “exercise” the answer? If not, then what?

How does the cardiovascular system work in the first place?

If I feel good, then that must mean I’m fine with regards to my CV health, right?!

If I run (or do any sport/activity) then my cardio is fine!

What is the difference between performance (recreational to elite athletes) and health (overall cardio health)?

Without seeing a doctor what are things I can do to tell if my cardio is up to par? What can I do to help my cardio, period?

If I am at risk (genetics), what can I do? If I have a heart defect or abnormality at birth what can I do?

These are just a few questions I will touch upon throughout this year.

Let’s start off with RUNNING! I am sure almost everyone will agree that running has come up in their life, defined as an activity to increase cardio. Absolutely, sure it does. But, to what extent? Are there better ways to increase your cardio aside from pounding the kms/miles? And, if you LOVE running how can you make it a safer, healthier option of cardio work.

Last week I did a V02 and Lactate run test to have a starting point for my “fitness cardio”. Here’s snippets of the test.

Brian, Senior Sport Scientist/ Head Sport Performance Coach, testing my V02 and lactates at Peak Centre for Human Performance. Evan, Sport Scientist Intern, helping out and Kevin, rolling the camera! I used the Splice app through GoPro for this video.

I started slow and did not go to V02max. My body was not ready for the pounding (only ran ~10 times in the last 2 years) on my body or the speed. However, I did get enough information to continue on with my #cardioproject2017. Please click on the link below to see my results.

Kristin Marvin – Running VO2 – Jan 10th, 2017

My results: What the heck do they mean? I will go through that over the next little while in upcoming posts. I will say a few personal thoughts on my test.

As a former runner it is extremely tough and humbling to view my results. It was my life in high school (over 20 years ago) and I dabbled in it on and off over the years. Last time was in the summer of 2011, where I ran 2-3 times a week and did some triathlons.

I’m doing this for various reasons. To show running is not enough. And to make sure everyone understands that if they are a runner or an athlete in another sport does not equate to overall cardiovascular health.

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Thinking Outside of the Box: Ankle Mobility

*This article was written for WODNUT*

We have fantastic tools in Crossfit boxes for athletes to get ready for WODs. I love them all! We also need to think about the many more hours crossfitters spend outside the Box that is affecting their inability to have appropriate ankle mobility.
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Here are six reasons you, as an athlete, may have limitations regarding ankle mobility.
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1. Shoes
What kind of shoes do you wear outside the box? If there is any type of heel lift whatsoever you are losing sarcomeres in the calves over time. Do you always wear your crossfit shoes and your lifting shoes as often as possible in the box? You are limiting your ankle mobility if you use them too much.
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2. Sitting
We all know sitting wrecks havoc with the body. But, did you know you are actually creating the perfect environment, on a cellular level, that tells your body to rid itself of sarcomeres along the backs of your legs.
Sitting straight legged every once in a while will definitely be beneficial. Even better, sit on the ground with your legs straight out. Just make sure you are sitting on your ischial tuberosities.
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3. Walking
Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk with flat shoes or barefoot. I cannot emphasize how wonderful walking is for your health and directly relates to your performance. Alas, athletes don’t want to walk much these days.
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4. Go Up hills!
It’s true, you may not live in an area that has many hills; but, please understand that any type of change in angle/grade that your ankle can move in would be to your advantage. Sand is great too!
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5. Crawling
Great for ankle mobility and overall body mobility and stability, you really can’t go wrong with crawling. I would ease into it at first. It’s harder than you think. Yes, even people who can squat 300kg have a hard time crawling.
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6. Sleeping
It’s easy to plantarflex our feet while sleeping because it’s our relaxed position (or at least for the majority of us). I would highly recommend loosening up the sheets around the feet in order for the feet to move freely about and not be stuck in a more severe plantar flexed position.
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Our bodies are engineering marvels, having the amazing ability to adapt and change. If you are having difficulty getting into positions while working out, please consider every position you choose and decide to use outside the box.

Basic approach to recovery from a crossfit competition

1.Recovery starts before the event

Your stress levels, food intake, movements, sleep patterns before the comp day all matter. So, if you eat like poo, stress out like a banshee, workout crazy hard, and get little sleep your recovery after the event won’t be as easy flowing…. OBVIOUSLY.

2. Eat and drink before your first WOD

Yes, even if you feel like puking your guts out because it’s your first crossfit competition or you never eat/drink before going to your Box, an actual crossfit competition is completely different. There is always more than one WOD. And inevitably there are 4 to 6 WODS. If you don’t have enough energy (nutrients) in your system it will take a crap load longer for your body to recover. Now, I’m not telling you to have the “Farmer’s Breakfast” meaning everything but the sink…  just have something in the belly a while before your first WOD.

3. Moving in between WODs

I love watching people sit down and do nothing between WODS [this is a joke]. You need to move your body so it can heal (recover) as quick as possible. And I’m not just talking about for the next WOD, I’m talking about for the next several days. What you do RIGHT AFTER you tear the shit out of your muscles directly relates to how quickly your body recovers throughout the comp day and for the next several days. Whether moving means stretching, mobilizing, lengthening, rolling, crawling, rocking…. WhAtEvEr. Just move to recover.

4. Eating between WODs

Some people eat wayyyy toooo much. WODs are short. We aren’t in the Ironman here folks. Eat foods that are easily digestible and comfortable for the tummy…. but not a lot. You just don’t need it.

5. As the day progresses

People get tired. Tired. Just Tired. People want to go home. Keep moving. Just keep moving. And after the last WOD people just want to get the f** out. If you want more of a movement activity that’s not crazy but helpful for your body and helpful to the organizers, help clean the place up that you personally messed up. Yes, walking around and doing a little garbage collection or equipment moving. Go for it. Soooooo many people do not properly cool down after WODs, in between WODs, and at the end of the day. This does not help your recovery.

6. Your technique

As your technique gets shittier throughout a particular WOD and throughout the day your recovery time will increase. Yes, if your body is not in the correct position (bones, muscles, connective tissues) then you are messing it up just that little extra. Sooo it takes longer to recover. Be good to your body, hence, technique, as much as possible so as to not take FoReVeR to recover.

7. Smile

Have fun. There’s no point in stressing yourself out on competition day. It will impede your recovery. If you get pissed off because you can’t get your C2B or double unders or whatever…. have a GOOD laugh at yourself. You know why?! We have all been there. And we don’t need ANGRY people getting others stressed for no reason. Have fun for you and for the sake of everyone else.

FOOTPLAY

My playground today! How do you workout your feet. The whole “if you don’t use it you’ll lose it” about muscles is true. Be good to yourself and use your INTRINSIC foot muscles (muscles that have attachments only within the foot) for a change. Everyday we are in shoes that brace our feet and teach us to mostly only use our EXTRINSIC foot muscles (muscles that have an attachment in the foot and an attachment on the leg (fibula, tibia or femur).
You CANNOT expect your feet, ankles, knees, hips, back, also calves, hamstrings, shins, thighs to “get better” without taking care of your FEET.


You can have the MOST beautiful house in the world; but, with a shitty foundation, it will fall, eventually. Only time will tell. You can blame your parents, your age, or whatever you want; but, until you cReAtE an environment that allows you to change your health nothing is going to happen.
How many unique positions can the foot hold? 8.38X1036 That is 8,600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 foot deformations. ~ by Katy Bowman. If you think wearing orthotics alone will fix your feet…….. think again. It’s all about Making Movement Matter :) IMG_0512 IMG_0511 IMG_0507

Sitting is worse for athletes

What does performance recovery mean?

Performance recovery (or athlete/sport recovery) is getting more scientific and detailed encompassing way more than just rest in between workouts. In the simplest of terms, training is where you wear + tear your body/muscles and recovery is where you repair/rebuild/restore your body/muscles. Yet, there’s a million ways in which to recover. A lot of times people (coaches and athletes) aren’t aware of certain recovery practices and what that entails.

One of the huge no-no’s as an athlete is to sit in a chair too long (or car, or bus or train). Let’s say throughout the day no more that 2-3 hours (yes, that includes meals, driving, meetings, classes/school/work, watching TV, etc).

Yup, you already know that sitting kills (i.e. sitting is the new smoking) in the kazillion articles written on sitting. But but but but… Sitting is horrific in athletes that are training hard in their sports because it predisposes the athlete to increased risk of injury. Yes!!! If the athlete already has issues/nigglies/pain/injury sitting will ADD to it! When you passively load muscles or position muscles to a shortened and weakened state (i.e. calves, hamstrings, psoas while sitting) it will have serious consequences to your recovery; hence, to your performance. Once again, you are creating further tension/increased adhesions/decreased circulation and electric flow in those areas. It’s all about groceries IN and garbage OUT when dealing with recovery. Please don’t make matters worse and sit too long!

WHAT do athletes do in between practices? Let’s go with the student-athletes. Hhhmmm let’s see.

1. Sitting in chairs at desks in classes all day

2. Sitting in chairs at meetings (strategy sessions) hours on end

3. Sitting on sofas to watch plays/tactics/strategies/etc everyday

4. Driving to and from practice

5. Sitting on sofas relaxing before and after practice for no other reason that to relax (even though it is doing more harm than good).

Yes, I understand that sitting is required in certain circumstances; although, may I suggest a slight alternative?

i. When sitting always sit on your ischial tuberosities (your sit-bones). This will help your spine, pelvic floor, organs and hamstrings.

ii. When sitting have your legs straight out so there is NO knee flexion. This makes a huge difference in the leg circulation.

iii. Have standing meetings. I know it will be hard coaches because you will actually have to stand as well! Get off your asses and stand for a meeting.

iv. Sitting meetings? Get them to sit on a block just above the floor and have them stretch out their legs. Once again, this does wonders for circulation and it helps stretch the athletes out. Many, many, many, many football players have tight hamstrings. Just by stretching out of the legs, within a matter of a couple of weeks, players can notice a huge difference in mobility. Why not try it! Especially if you want the winning advantage.

If you still don’t understand why sitting impedes recovery; then do an experiment! Have 1/2 the team do as little sitting as possible for 2-3 weeks weeks and the other 1/2 sitting (or status quo). I understand, this can be hard because you won’t see them all day everyday. Who knows what they do at home… on the sofa… watching TV… eating honey nut cheerios. I don’t know… just sit less please :)