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Welcome to Gym Class… Coach Jen remembers elementary school PE Class: Good times and Nightmares Included! (12/11/2018)

Welcome to Gym Class… a walk down memory lane and other reflections, with Coach Jen.

I’ve been thinking lately about the other humans who have influenced me greatly throughout my life. The best PE teacher I ever had was my very first one, Mrs. L.

I had her for only three years: Kindergarten through second grade. I wasn’t the only one who loved her. This lady made her mark on a generation of kids in my town.

Seriously, there is a Facebook group set up for people that grew up in our town and in several threads people recount their memories of great times in Mrs. L’s gym class. This lady was creative. Her activities were imaginative, and cooperative; they helped each individual to stretch their abilities, and they were fun.

Years later, I remember the feeling of surprise as we walked into the gym and saw all sorts of gymnastics equipment set up in around the room. We did an extensive gymnastics unit. I remember doing a back bridge in her class on a set of low parallel bars… and some kind of flipping dismount off the uneven parallel bars. On a different day, the whole class played together with a giant parachute.

One time, Mrs. L set up a maze of cones all around the entire gym floor. The cones snaked around the gym floor in a path that was exactly 1/8 of a mile in length. Our job this day was to run a mile. A Mile. To make sure we did eight full laps, we had to pass Mrs. L at the starting line every lap and tell her our last name and the lap number. And she would tally them off on her clipboard, for every kid. There was a chance there would be a bottleneck at some point while everyone was running. Mrs.L pantomimed standing around versus active jogging. She told us that the kids who kept jogging in place (instead of just standing still) would get a star next to their names along with their time. In this way, Mrs. L let us decide if we wanted to just work hard, or if we wanted to take it to the next level.

To this day I still clearly recall crossing the finish line at the end of that running day, and happily saying the words, “Wirth, Eight!” I was so proud of myself for running a mile. I was seven years old and I felt so accomplished. Thanks to the wonders of social media, people like me who had this same gym teacher *years ago* have posted all sorts of memories of ourselves and the cool gym activities we remember.

Here’s one other cool thing about Mrs. L: She always had her camera on her. She took black and white photos of every kid, and when they were developed and printed she would send us home with them. Mrs. L took of her students, myself included:

I sometimes think about what the rest of elementary school would have been like for me had Mrs. L not retired and gotten replaced by Mr. P.

Mr. P. He actually had us call him that, “Mr. P.” I’m not just trying to protect his identity in the age of the internet, like I am with Mrs. L.

This guy was a meathead of a guy. He did that trick of flexing his pec muscles one at a time. … Sorry my eyes rolled back in my head for a second there. Look, aside from that being kind of a gross trick, here is a great example of a gym teacher who shows off. It’s never about what the teacher can do…. it’s about what they can get *you* to do. If their expectations are low, or if they don’t care, then their athletes aren’t going to perform. I know this in my bones.

Mrs. L was a dynamo of a lady, who worked hard to keep things fresh and fun. She wanted us to really enjoy movement and the things that our bodies could do. Her replacement was lazy and my memories of his classes are much different.

He didn’t get to know kids’ names.

Instead of cool activities, we started having the most athletic kids getting assigned team captains every time. These kids would get to pick teams and, surprise, the least athletic kids got picked last, all the time.

News alert: That’s no fun and it’s not encouraging. Mr. P didn’t spend much time building up the weaker members of the class, or making fitness fun for us.

Here’s one more personal anecdote I can clearly remember from a real bummer of a game of Dodgeball in Mr. P’s class.

I was o.k. at the ‘dodge’ part of the game, but I didn’t hit people often when I threw, and I didn’t know how to catch the ball. In our rules, if you caught a ball, then you could get the rest of your team out of the penalty box.

One time, it was just me on one side, and ten kids on the other side, throwing balls at me. They weren’t throwing lightly, I felt the wind of the balls whizzing past. I was supposed to try to catch one of these balls. I’d never done that before. And my team was on the sideline yelling at me, “Just. Catch. The. Ball!” as I jumped out of the way of one flying projectile after another. I felt singled out, terrified, and ashamed.

Mr. P, that jackelope, sat watching this happen for a couple of minutes. Then he had mercy on me, finally, and called it off. I was probably eight or nine.

You know how it goes in education when you’re a kid: Sometimes you have an awesome teacher who lghts the fire of excitement and exploration inside of you… and sometimes you have a teacher who carelessly douses the flame. It’s interesting that I had the best and worst gym teachers of my life back to back. Good examples of what I strive to be in my career vs. what I try to avoid. I need to also acknowledge the great gift I had of having a great teacher like Mrs. L for any period of time during my life. She gave me the gift of knowing what it is like to have fun moving my body. Some people only get Mr. P’s. Some people have never had a good time in gym class.

This is what has got to change. And this is why it is my mission to create a friendly place for all people to work out. Especially people who have had a tough time doing so in the past. Why? Because I’m one of those people too.

It may seem obvious, but let me say this anyway: It’s easier to do hard things when you’re having fun at the same time. It’s also easier to have fun when you feel like your Coach is on your team.

When I work with personal training clients, or when I coach a class, I try to meet my athletes where they are, and to help them to have fun moving their bodies more than anything else. As a nurse, I have come to fully understand the deep connection that exists between regular exercise and long term health. This is how I protect the health of my athletes in the future, by helping to motivate to exercise regularly Now.

This is why we spend time creating a welcoming, non-threatening environment at Wildcat, because some people out there have had nothing but Mr. P’s as gym teachers for your whole lives so far! If all your gym teachers have been Mr. Ps; Or if that dodgeball story of mine rang a bell; Or if you want to get in shape for once and really enjoy doing it; Come check out a friendly environment and have a good time for once. That is the way we roll.

It’s Personal (12/3/2018)

It’s Personal
by Noah Providence

The study of nutrition has been a fascination- a passion of mine for a long, long time. There’s a very personal component to my interest, beyond my own health. It goes back more than 30 years to a health crisis my grandfather had. One that eventually led to his passing. His doctors determined that he had a partial blockage of the carotid arteries. These are the main blood vessels in the neck that supply blood to the brain. This type of blockage can lead to stroke, which other men in his family had suffered. They encouraged a risky surgery to clear the blockage. It was not successful and left him impaired. He did recover some over time, but never got back to his previous vigor and clarity.

This experience had a lasting impact on me. The blockages in his blood vessels were caused by diet, his doctor said. The prevailing wisdom at the time suggested that high cholesterol was the culprit. This sent me on a journey of trying to find out what was possible with food choices to protect us from disease. I became a student of nutrition and metabolism. I had a background in teaching in the medical field, so interpreting and dissecting research papers was something I was already used to doing. Most of the research at the time, supported this low-fat approach. So, off into a decade of veganism I went. I sprouted, fermented, slow cooked, ate a lifetime supply of soy products, and lived the vegan lifestyle. Coming from the standard american diet, this approach had some benefits-initially. But then, I got thinner, and thinner. I began to lose muscle mass, my skin became dry, my joints began to hurt, my energy level was low and I had miserable seasonal allergies. This experience is common but rarely talked about among long-term vegans/vegetarians.

During this time, research data and clinical experience began to suggest that going low-fat to solve the heart disease/vascular blockage epidemic was a vast oversimplification. In fact, it was often counterproductive. So, I integrated the latest research and results from my own 10 year experiment into a new approach for myself. I began integrating some animal fats and protein back into my diet. Adopting a nutritional philosophy/approach that was more consistent with our evolutionary history. More consistent with my deeper understanding of biochemistry and metabolism. My health and vitality immediately began to improve.

My nutritional approach can be characterized as Paleo. Paleo nutrition is simple and inclusive. Eat foods that have high nutritional value while avoiding food toxins and gut irritants. It’s that simple. Many people have the misconception that eating paleo means eating large quantities of meat, and while it certainly could, it doesn’t have to. It’s simply healthy, whole foods. The last 10 years of Paleo eating has had just the opposite effects of the vegan decade. I’m now more muscular, stronger and feel better than ever. My success with this approach is not unique and over the years I’ve helped hundreds of people adopt a healthier, more sustainable eating plan. Around the world, millions of people have lost weight, improved their energy levels and reversed disease by returning to this natural diet. You can do it too.

I’m ready to help you implement an eating plan to support the body and life you want. If you’re ready to start or would like to discuss the possibilities, schedule a free consultation.

Schedule Appointment

On Ramp Rationale – The Wildcat Approach (11/30/2018)


On Ramp Rationale – The Wildcat Approach

by, Coach Jen

How did you get started in CrossFit?

Like many CrossFit boxes on the planet, at Wildcat we have done a variety of different programs to get people started.

If you’ve done CrossFit for awhile, you know it’s not easy. If you’ve only been coming for a year or more, you have made big strides in your understanding of your muscle groups and how to use them for increasing levels of strength, coordination, and efficiency. I wish I could give the prospective athletes I talk to each week a little taste of what it feels like inside your body after you’ve been doing CrossFit for a year or more…after you’ve become a crossfitter. If I could give people a snapshot of this *feeling,* I think, they would understand that It. Is. Worth. It. Like way more worth it than you realized a year ago, right?

I’m a poster child of this phenomenon. When I started CrossFit, I was hoping to “tone up and see my abs.” Literally that’s all I thought I wanted back then.
Now, nearly 10 years later, I’m so passionate about CrossFit because it is the first kind of exercise I ever did in my life that has kept my interest for over two years. Not only has performing our workouts made me stronger (so much stronger!), it made me love my body because of what it could do, not despise it for all of its flaws. CrossFit helped me to start celebrating my successes in the gym rather than admonishing myself for a slower than normal treadmill 5K. CrossFit made me start looking forward to working out with my buddies, even though the workouts still make me nervous when I look at them ahead of time.

But it takes time for these changes to happen. There’s no way to fast forward your progress and some people are starting from scratch. This is not a negative, it’s just a fact.
Some people come into Wildcat having never worked out before (or after a long spell of inactivity) – we can’t just toss these people into the deep end when so many of our members are already performing at a pretty high level of technical ability. Believe it or not, after you’ve been doing CrossFit for a year, you are a little intimidating to the new people. They think they’re never going to catch up with you.

What new athletes need is a connection to a Coach who spends time training them one-on-one, lets them know what to do, and gives them feedback so they know that they are doing movements safely and correctly.

This is where the Wildcat On Ramp comes in.
The Wildcat On Ramp, a series of five (5) 30-minute one-on-one Personal Training sessions, focuses on developing comfort with the main barbell movements that are found in our workouts. Remember, some people come into Wildcat having never touched a barbell! As our members know, we have various weights of barbells so that people of all levels can participate. Our heaviest barbells weight 45#. We also have 35#, 15# and 3 oz PVC Pipe. Everybody can lift one of these bars. 🙂
We also spend time discussing some of the science behind CrossFit, and why the workouts we do are so effective. We talk about nutrition and how to start nourishing your body more effectively so it will be ready for the demands of the gym. At the end of each 30 minute session, the athlete does a short 6-8 min workout to hammer home some of the movements learned that day. We give them a comprehensive tour of the gym, including, of course, our famous aquarium. 🙂 The athlete ends the On Ramp learning about our workout tracking app: Train Heroic and gaining entry into Wildcat social media circles.

In short, we do everything we can to make our new athletes as sure to be successful in the group CrossFit classes as we can.

We just want you to get in the habit of regular exercise. You do that, and our mission is accomplished!


Healthy Recipe Thursday! Today’s Recipe: Waffles! (11/29/2018)

Healthy Recipe Thursday!

Today’s Recipe: Waffles!

Waffles for breakfast. Waffles for lunch. Chicken and Waffles for dinner.

When you use this recipe, there’s no wrong time for waffles!

Hey gang, ready for a new great Wildcat YouTube video?

This one is for an awesome healthy waffle recipe. Hi protein, zero grain. Watch the video or just check out the recipe below and make it happen.

Delicious Grain-Free Waffles
8 Eggs, beaten together
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil mix together
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
optional: cinnamon and nutmeg
Pour into a waffle iron and cook!

Have a great day.

A note of gratitude… (11/28/2018)

A Note of Gratitude…

by Coach Jen, RN

I meant to send this out over the holiday weekend (aka on time), but I got a bad chest cold and am just now getting back on track. Thanks, as always, for your indulgence.
I’ve started thinking about Small Business Saturday in a different way over the past several years. I’m a third generation small business owner on my dad’s side. My dad was a pharmacist and I spent a fair amount of my youth Saturdays working in his store.
Despite the fact that it got progressively harder and harder to stay in business as an independent pharmacy, my dad made it happen, until he lost his battle with cancer nearly 17 years ago at age 55.
Now my brother, the pharmacist, works the counter and our mom works in the office. Together, they kept my dad’s store open and running, after all the other independent pharmacies in the city have closed.
My grandfather, my dad’s father, was an upholsterer by trade. Over the years, he managed to scrape together the down payments on a few small apartment buildings in Queens… and he maintained all the apartments himself until the year he died at age 80.
Apparently, we’re not much for retirement on the small business side of the family 😉 I’m hoping for a different outcome in this department, but we’ll see… I like what I’m doing too much to give it up without a fight… and I’m trying to be in good shape in my later years… Anyway, we’ll see.
Despite having a history behind me, the new economy and the type of business I’m in have made my learning curve as a small business owner over the last (nearly) 9 years pretty steep.
A small business is not a self-perpetuating event.
It takes effort.
Sometimes it’s like pushing a rock.
Nothing just happens, you know?
Sometimes I make mistakes.
It’s nerve-wracking and humbling.
But this is also the best job I’ve absolutely ever had. I get to develop all sorts of communication skills and coach others to make fitness a regular part of their lives. If my mission is successful, many people that I know will have lasting good health, strength, and vitality. This means that if I’m successful in my life’s work, my friends, family, and community will live longer, and stronger, and more independently. Pretty selfish of me, actually.
I love my small business for giving me the opportunity to realize my life’s mission. And I thank each of you for patronizing my small business to help me do this work.
Speaking of small businesses, recently, many businesses around the country celebrated “Small Business Saturday.”
Here are a few facts about them and suggestions for how you can help support them year round. Want to double your impact? Double the number of small businesses you support 😉
Here’s why Small Businesses are important:
   •   64% of new jobs in the U.S. come from small business. The trend is rising.
   •   Your kid will probably work for a local entrepreneur, or become an entrepreneur themselves.
   •   Local entrepreneurs give more to local charities.
   •   Local entrepreneurs support other local entrepreneurs, creating a cascading effect.
   •   Small businesses pay more in local taxes than you do.
   •   Small business owners pay their staff far more than they pay themselves.
   •   Small business pulls money INTO your city. Big business pulls it OUT.
   •   Small business creates sixteen TIMES more patents than large business does. That means more innovation, more future security, and more jobs.
In many ways, the city our kids will inherit, and the opportunities presented to them, depend on the success of our local small businesses.
Here’s how you can help support Small Businesses year round:
   •   Choose to support local service industries. Signing up for local services, like gyms and dentists and lawyers, makes a huge difference. Franchisees are local too–you don’t have to stop visiting In-N-Out, but corporate-owned stores like Starbucks pull money out of town.
   •   Tip their staff REALLY well. One of the hardest parts of owning a business is creating meaningful careers for your staff. When people like their jobs and earn enough money, they stay. They keep their kids in local schools and local sports; drive better cars; keep their yards clean. Be nice to the front-line worker.
   •   Decline their discounts. Most small-business owners will surrender a discount if you ask for one. Don’t. They’ll discount themselves to death, because they think they’re helping a friend. If you ask for a discount, you’re not being a friend; you’re taking advantage. I challenge you to go in the other direction and decline a discount when it’s offered.
   •   Forgive their mistakes. Big companies screw up all the time, but they make their mistakes in other cities, and then teach their staff how to avoid making the same mistake in the future. Local entrepreneurs have to make all of their mistakes on local people. A personalized experience means you’re dealing with a person. And people screw up. But people can also make it up to you.
   •   Tell your friends. Small businesses depend on referrals for growth.
   •   Take them a coffee. They need it.
In the age of Amazon and the Big Box with their phenomenal staff and ad budgets, Small Business owners aren’t asking for charity, they’re just there, with their shoulders to the grindstone.
Some businesses deserve to be successful, and some don’t. But there’s a lot on the line these days.
We’re grateful to all our members, current and former, who have kept our small business going throughout the past (almost) nine years. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Coach Jen
Wildcat YouTube Channel: It’s Not Just Squat Demos, Friends. (10/30/2018)

The Wildcat YouTube Channel…

A Wide, Wide, Wide Variety of videos:

Exercise Demos!

Healthy Recipe and How-To Cooking Videos!

Health and Wellness Tips!

And More!

Here’s our latest:


Think that’s great? Want to see something else you won’t believe?

Here’s Coach Noah dunking himself in Ice Water:

And we have Top Notch Nutrition Content as well … with complete Recipes and How To’s.

Check out this delicious 100% Healthy No Bake Dessert / Snack!

It’s Truffles!


Subscribe to the Wildcat CrossFit YouTube Channel! You’ll be a healthier, happier human for it!

The Wildcat Fall Party 2018 – A Super Fun Time Had By All! (10/30/2018)


Check out cool photos from the Wildcat Fall Party below!


A Big Fat Lie (10/16/2018)

A Big Fat Lie

by Noah Providence

Saturated fat causes heart disease.

“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.” This quote is from nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

I know, I know, invoke the nazi’s and lose the argument, states “Godwins Law” of internet debate. But I’ll take that risk. That’s how strongly I feel about public health authorities that knowingly distort and misrepresent health information for financial gain. And this lie has led to immeasurable suffering…. and profit.

The US govt. food guidelines tell us that saturated fat is so dangerous we should limit it to less than 10% of our diet. So why do I have a problem with that? What’s the big deal with limiting saturated fat intake? Is that dangerous? No, not in and of itself. But calories have to come from somewhere and we only have 3 choices of macronutrients- fats, proteins and carbohydrates. If we radically limit our fat intake, we have to make up the difference with the other macronutrients. We can only digest a finite amount of protein a day, so that leaves the balance to come from carbohydrates.

Following the official US dietary guidelines to eat a high carbohydrate diet has lead more than 42% of American adults into obesity. Worse yet, type II diabetes and coronary artery disease are caused by the very diet the US govt. encourages us to eat.

Could it be that the dietary “powers that be” are just being cautious in integrating new and relatively scant information? No, the research is not that new and is overwhelming. A search of “is heart disease caused by saturated fats” will return page after page of peer reviewed studies exonerating saturated fat and implicating its replacement-carbohydrate as the risk.

The journal “Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism” published findings in 2017 that:

“For decades, the consumption of long-chain saturated fatty acids (SAFA; containing 12-18 carbon atoms) was thought to undermine cardiovascular health. However, recent meta-analyses of prospective observational studies [1, 2] reported that SAFA intake was associated with neither coronary heart disease (CHD) nor stroke mortality nor myocardial infarction

One of the biggest and most relevant controlled studies including 59,000 people found no benefit to reducing saturated fat intake. PubMed Cochrane et al. 2015

The forces committed to the flawed research and bad policy are powerful and have deep pockets. They include the corn industry (if you’re not familiar with the incredible reach of this industry watch the documentary King Corn), and the pharmaceutical industry. Pfizer, the manufacturer of Lipitor, a cholesterol lowering drug, averaged more than 10 billion dollars a year from 2003-2017. Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in propping up the idea that by simply lowering cholesterol you’ll prevent heart disease. Well, its not that simple, but it is that profitable. And if dietary saturated fat/heart disease myth fell, it would erode their market position.

In the culinary perspective, fat is where the flavor is. It’s what makes foods savory and satisfying. So when we remove the fat from our foods, they lose flavor. But no worries, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to the rescue. A huge low-fat food industry has emerged, powered by HFCS. Those same low fat foods could be accurately called high sugar foods, but… that doesn’t have the same marketing appeal.

You might say..but Noah, you can still find studies linking heart disease to saturated fat intake. Sure, a few, but those studies can be sourced to the same usual suspects pushing the same discredited hypothesis and conducting the same flawed experiments to prop it up. It has begun to sound like the research tobacco attorneys were citing before their “scientific” studies were totally discredited.

We should be able to rely on official dietary authorities to provide reliable, accurate information. Unfortunately, at this point we cannot. So even if you’re not ready to accept saturated fat as a health food, current research clearly demonstrates that you can eat your delicious steaks, pork chops, turkey and other fat containing foods without worrying about clogging your arteries.

(Future posts: What is the Ketogenic diet?/How low carbohydrate diets causes weight loss-the mechanisms/What is intermittent fast and how to start/Are carbohydrates needed for high performance?/Fats and brain health)

If you could do just one thing. (10/8/2018)

If you could do just one thing.
By Noah Providence






Root causes

CrossFit training philosophy places nutrition at the base of the fitness pyramid. That means it’s the foundation, the base upon which health and performance capacities are built. But what’s the best practice when it comes to eating. There’s so much profit driven conflicting information out there. But if you dig deep, look at all the available research, and study those who have been most successful, you can come away with a few clear directives. ONE directive stands out above the rest. If you do this one thing, you’ll get pretty far.


First, let’s look back at how all the nutrition nonsense began. More than 60 years ago, in 1958,  a charismatic doctor by the name or Ancel Keys launched a project called the Seven Countries Study. It was research on the relationship between dietary pattern and the prevalence of coronary heart disease in Greece, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Japan, and Finland. It led to what’s become known as the “lipid hypothesis”. What he documented and presented to the world was that dietary fat consumption appeared to be directly linked to heart disease. It wasn’t long before recommendations from US government to eat less fat and more grains were made.


But… in the years that followed, a closer review of the data revealed that Keys’ conclusion was based on data that he had cherry-picked to support his existing hypothesis that dietary fat causes heart disease.  His study had actually collected data from 20 countries, not just 7, and when the numbers were looked at in total, the correlation between dietary fat consumption and heart disease disappeared.


Unfortunately, by this time his “lipid hypothesis” had become medical dogma. Although there were scientific dissenters from the very start that knew fat wasn’t the culprit, his theory and the new dietary recommendations became entrenched government dietary policy and medical conventional wisdom.


It seems logical. Arteries get clogged with fatty deposits, so reducing how much fat you eat should help, right? Wrong. The metabolic processes that lead to clogged arteries are much more complicated than that.  


So now, after more than 50 years of Americans following the government recommendations of eating less fat and more carbohydrate, we have the growing type 2 diabetes and obesity epidemics, and heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death in America. So if the culprit isn’t fat, what is the root cause of heart disease and many other conditions?


It’s sugar!


If you could only one thing to improve your long term health, the most important change you can make is to eliminate simple sugar completely and greatly reduce or eliminate other non-nutritive sugars like those in grains.


We’ve known for a long time that a low carb diet was effective for weight loss, but this practical application of carbohydrate reduction wasn’t fully appreciated for its health benefits until more recently. In fact, Dr Atkins, who’s low carb Atkins diet became instantly popular when released in 1972, as people lost weight easily and quickly with no calorie restriction, was broadly criticized for being dangerous because of its high fat intake. And while the Atkins diet had its shortcomings, it was a step up from the US govt  food guidelines, which, if followed will lead to 60-70% of your calories coming from carbohydrate.


Ok, so low carb (read sugar) can help you lose weight, but what ARE the other health benefits. A vast body of research shows that insulin resistance, and the inflammation that follows are the root cause of MOST common chronic diseases, and can be avoided by limiting carbohydrate intake.

Insulin resistance begins when our blood sugar levels frequently spike from a diet high in carbohydrate. Our body responds to this high level of blood glucose (sugar) by releasing insulin to metabolize the sugar. This is the normal and healthy response to ingesting carbohydrate. But over time, persistently high levels of blood glucose and subsequent insulin levels cause the our cells to become “resistant” to the insulin signaling. This is a slow, long developing problem. By the time someone is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in their 40s or 50s, the problem has often been developing for 20 years or more, and by then the problem is much harder to fix. Typically, weight has become very difficult to manage, blood pressure has elevated, and most dangerously the arteries have become inelastic and irritated from the chronically high insulin levels and inflammatory processes it causes.

Despite the evidence that this is the pathway of most chronic disease, the US govt continues to recommend a diet that will lead to weight gain, insulin resistance and ultimately, chronic disease.


So if you could do just one thing to improve your health, say goodbye to sugar.


(Future posts: Saturated Fats: the current research/What is the Ketogenic diet?/Why low carbohydrate diets cause weight loss, the mechanisms/What is intermittent fasting and how to start/Are carbohydrates needed for high performance?/Fats and brain health)


3-2-1-Go! (9/23/2018)

3-2-1- GO!
By Noah Providence

We hear it before every WOD. We’ve trained ourselves through repetition that this countdown means we’re about to do something difficult. And then we do it!

If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it. 

Author Mel Robbins expounds on this concept in her book The 5 Second Rule. She explains how she transformed her habits and behavior and in doing so, her life, by applying this concept. As CrossFitters we have a huge jump-start in using this powerful technique because we’ve already conditioned ourselves to respond to this cue for workouts. It’s easy for us to apply it to any task or activity. Here’s how to do it.

The moment you feel an instinct or a desire to act on a goal or a commitment, use the Rule.  When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 3-2-1-GO and move towards action. There is a window that exists between the moment you have an instinct to change and your mind killing it. It’s a 5 second window. And it exists for everyone. If you do not take action on your instinct to change, you will stay stagnant. You will not change. But if you do one simple thing, you can prevent your mind from working against you. You can start the momentum before the barrage of thoughts and excuses hit you at full force.

What do you do?

Just start counting backwards to yourself: 3-2-1.

The counting will focus you on the goal or commitment and distract you from the worries, thoughts, and excuses in your mind. As soon as you reach “1” – push yourself to move. This is how you push yourself to do the hard stuff – the work that you don’t feel like doing, or you’re scared of doing, or you’re avoiding. That’s it. 5 seconds is all it takes. If you don’t act on an instinct within that 5 second window, that’s it. You’re not doing it.   

Here are the mechanics of the Rule:

First: “The moment you have an instinct…”

Let’s make sure you understand what kind of instinct I am talking about. An instinct is not buying everybody in the bar a round of shots. An instinct is not a rash, irreversible decision. It’s not destructive, illegal, or harmful behavior.

I define an instinct as any urge, impulse, pull, or knowing that you should or should not do something because you can feel it in your heart and gut. These are instincts of the heart. They are moments when your heart speaks to you. We all have our own unique brand of wisdom, made up of our experiences, intuition, and DNA. In those small, 5 second moments, this wisdom bubbles up inside of you. Your instincts are these urges. They are the “knowing” that you should do something even if you don’t “feel” like doing it.

Second: “To act on a goal…”

The second element of the Rule that is critical for you to understand is that it’s not just about acting on any instinct, it’s an instinct that’s tied to a goal. For example, you might have an instinct to get off of the couch and go for a workout.

In this case, if you act on this instinct, you bring yourself one step closer to your dream of transforming your health.

A lot of people think instincts are stupid and meaningless. I disagree. Research has shown that our gut is our “second brain.” Do you ever get a feeling in your gut telling you what to do? We get these “gut feelings” when our hearts and minds are trying to tell us something. And usually, these gut impulses are tied to greater goals.

It’s easy for us to list what we want. We want a great job, to be financially free, to be healthy, happy, and have amazing people in our lives. Even though we have these greater goals, it’s so simple to brush off the actions that will lead us toward achieving these things.

If you have a gut instinct to call a friend, then you should do it. You already know how much you value your friends. When you get that gut feeling to speak up in a meeting, you should act on it. Same goes with any instinct tied to a goal.

I’ve found that knowing where to start on a goal is difficult. Do you know what you can do? First, start identifying those gut instincts that will lead you towards your goal. You will start to notice gut feelings related to these goals throughout the day. But, how do you act on them? That’s where the next element comes in:

Third: “You must push yourself…

The third element of the 5 Second Rule is that you must push yourself. The Rule is about pushing yourself even when you don’t want to. It’s about taking control of your own life, one push at a time.

I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. You’re comfortable. You’re doing the same old thing you always do, even if you want to transform your life. The moment comes. You feel the instinct. You know it’s tied to a goal. Right now. It’s a window. A window of opportunity. Your brain wants to shut this instinct down. It’s going to do it. But, in this moment, you can take control. You know what you need to do. You know that you want to change your life and move towards your goals.

The 5 Second Rule is simple. But it is not easy.

It’s hard to push yourself. If you want to change, it’s something you MUST do. And the Rule makes it easier. Just start your countdown. Push yourself to start, 3-2-1. Just start counting. That’s it!

Countdown, 3 – 2 – 1 – GO.

In her book, Mel Robbins includes plenty of neuroscience explaining why and how it works. In a nutshell, it’s all about activating  your brain’s prefrontal cortex. For now, don’t worry about WHY the Rule works. Trust me for now. It really does.

Fourth: “To move within 5 seconds…”

Physical movement is key. Just so you understand, this doesn’t mean you have to jump up and start doing squats. All you need to do is move in the direction of your instinct. If you do not take physical action WITHIN 5 SECONDS, your brain will kill the instinct.

You do your countdown. And then you GO. You take action.

This could mean a number of things. It means saying something you’ve been holding back. Speaking up at a meeting. Putting on your workout shoes. Grabbing that healthy snack. Holding your tongue instead of saying something mean to your partner. Sending that email to a potential client or mentor. Even getting out of bed instead of hitting the snooze. Anything that’s related to your goal.

These 5 second windows,  are the critical moments between you changing your life and your brain stopping you. You might be thinking, “Why 5 seconds?  The answer is 5 seconds is a rule of thumb that can work for everyone. But obviously, this can be personalized. Personally, I find that the longer I wait between my initial instinct to act and physically moving, the harder it is to force myself to move. If you can do 3 seconds, do it. 2 seconds? Even better. As little time as possible before you MOVE to action. Remember, the system inside your brain that kills your dreams operates at lightning speed.

Which brings me to the fifth element of the Rule:

Fifth: “Or your brain will kill it.”

If you don’t physically move within 5 seconds, your mind WILL kill your dreams. Your brain is like an overprotective, irrational, “helicopter” parent. It thinks it’s keeping you safe when in fact it is keeping you from growing as a person, stretching yourself in your business, and fully experiencing life.

You see, your brain has 3 basic jobs. It narrates your life as you live it and catalogs your memories. It operates your body’s functions. And it protects you from danger.

When you stop and think, when you hesitate, and when you feel uncertain, you are signaling to your brain that something’s wrong. Your brain automatically goes into overdrive to protect you. How does it protect you? By keeping you from doing anything that feels scary, hard, or uncertain. You know that there’s nothing dangerous about making a call or taking a walk or pursuing your dreams. But your brain doesn’t know that, and it tries to sabotage you. The 5 Second Rule is a way to outsmart your brain by changing hesitation into ACTION.

Before you doubt it, try it out. It’s a tool that creates massive change. Those 5 second windows add up, I promise. It changed my life and it changed the lives of over 100,000 who have written to Mel Robins about the awesome effects the Rule has created in their own lives.

In almost any situation, there’s an application for the Rule. 3-2-1-Go!

Try it yourself.

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