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The Beginner’s Guide to CrossFit: Tips to Boost Your CrossFit IQ

The Beginner’s Guide to CrossFit: Tips to Boost Your CrossFit IQ

Many people are on the look out for the perfect food or a workout that will help them stay fit and fine. But with an increase in the activities one has to perform in a regular day, and the improper and inadequate diets that are being followed, fitness has become a matter of real concern.

There are plenty foods, exercises, and supplements that are available to improve your health and fitness, and CrossFit as a workout includes vigorous and intense movements. It’s a new trend amongst workout routines. But while many may have a rough idea about this form of workout, very few people would actually know the details. So, let’s get introduced to the CrossFit basics.

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What is CrossFit?

CrossFit was originally a strength and conditioning program first introduced for military special operations units, police academies, martial arts champion training and strong athletes worldwide. It consists of different kinds of challenging workouts that will help you prepare your body to face practically anything.

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Things that you may not know about CrossFit include:

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  • CrossFit workouts can be performed easily by all ages. Only people with a history of heart attack or stroke need to be careful while doing it.
  • Although CrossFit includes intense moves, beginners need not take the intense steps at first. If an individual’s capacity is found to be only 45 pounds, they must first begin with 45 pounds and later move on to higher weights and more intense training.
  • Since CrossFit is an intense workout, you will need plenty of motivation. Thus, performing CrossFit within a group or in an environment where people will cheer you on will motivate you to perform better.

Six tips to boost your CrossFit IQ

  1. Adequately warm up: Warm up is a necessary part of any workout. You cannot begin working out without warming up your body. This helps you to prepare your muscles for the movements during a workout. CrossFit – being more intense than regular forms of workout – requires more warming up since the muscles have to get ready for a series of vigorous moves. This will help prevent muscle injury. It’s best to reach your CrossFit class well beforehand and spend extra time warming up.
  2. Consult a physician first: As already mentioned above, CrossFit is an accepted form of workout that can be performed by anyone, with very few exceptions. However, people with a history of a heart disease are usually advised to avoid intense movements. If you still think you can perform well, consult a physician to know what’s best for you.
  3. Be regular: The standard timetable for CrossFit states that it should be performed three times a week, with one rest day in between. But this is a bit much for a newbie or a beginner. You will need to make a slow start to help you workout according to your muscle needs and capacity. The muscles need enough time to recover as well. Slowly building up your intensity will ensure you don’t feel tired easily and will help you cope with the further movements involved in the process.
  4. Master the techniques: Unlike regular workouts, you can’t simply increase weights in order to demonstrate an ability to do better. CrossFit focuses on techniques rather than the weight that is lifted. Don’t concentrate on the weights that you use, but make sure you master the techniques that you are making use of. Most importantly, a coach is the best person to advise you on the next stage of your workout progression.
  5. Muscle recovery: Like warming up, this step is also necessary. CrossFit makes you perform intense workouts that may cause you muscles to work more intensively. You need to give your muscles enough time to recover. Muscles usually take anything between 24 hours to 48 hours to recover naturally. But if you want them to recover sooner, a few stretching exercises after a CrossFit session will help you loosen up your muscles and reduce the amount of pain that you may experience later.
  6. A healthy diet: We all know that diet plays an important role in everything we do. You need enough strength and motivation to perform the exercises included in your CrossFit session. Thus, a nutrient-rich diet will help in strengthening your mind and muscles too. There are also a variety of natural workout supplements available that can assist the other foods that we eat.

What are the advantages of CrossFit?

CrossFit’s intensity has impressed a lot of fitness freaks who consider it gives the best workout results. The advantages of registering yourself for a CrossFit class and attending it regularly include:

  • A great community environment: Unlike a gym where you will be left to perform your own workouts alone, at CrossFit you will meet many more people like you and this will motivate you to do better.
  • Constant support by your coach: CrossFit is performed under the constant guidance of a well-trained coach. There is no fear of any injuries being caused since you are always watched and warned before something could happen.
  • A competitive environment: CrossFit doesn’t only include weight lifting, it also needs you to master the techniques properly. Organized competitions will help you perform better and also master techniques that you may fall a bit short in.

CrossFit is an exciting way to work out and keep you fit. The only things that it requires are mental and physical strength. As mentioned above, some amount of motivation plus a proper diet will help you be prepared to face this challenging form of workout performed “in the box.”

Featured photo credit: Cross fit Workout via photopin.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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