Bigger or Stronger?

Let’s talk about getting stronger.

Or better yet, let’s talk about the difference between getting stronger and getting bigger.

Because there is a difference.

Strong muscles and big muscles are not the same thing.

It’s easy to think of them that way. And there are similarities between the two. But they’re not the same.

Bigger muscles are probably stronger than smaller ones. But not necessarily.

Need proof? Watch this 105lb female American weightlifter put 211lbs over her head. That’s double bodyweight.

Is she big? No. Strong? You bet.

Muscle size and muscle strength are thought of in the same way. Yet they’re actually two different things.

Strength is the ability to activate muscle fibers. It’s the measurement of the contractile force of a muscle.

And muscle size relates to the actual size of the muscle fibers.

That’s it.

So, big muscles are great. Unless they aren’t great at activating the muscle fibers. Then they’re all show. (Ever heard of “all show and no go”? Yep, that’s this.)

And small muscles can be just as powerful. IF they’re more efficient at activating the muscle fibers. (Remember the 115lb weightlifter?)

The trick is knowing which one you’re really after. And creating the right training strategy from there.

So which one is it, bigger or stronger?

Do you want bigger muscles? Or stronger muscles?

Getting bigger is about increasing the size of the muscle fiber. And you do that by creating as much muscle damage as possible. The healing process will grow the muscle bigger than before.

Think like a bodybuilder. That means isolation movements. Lots of reps. And short rest periods.

Anything to feel the burn.

Getting stronger is the opposite.

Getting stronger is about recruiting more muscle fibers. And how do you do that?

Think like a powerlifter.

Heavy a** weights. Long rest periods. And lots of intensity.

You don’t want to feel the burn. You want to feel like your eyes are popping out of your head. You want that level of intensity.

That means back squats. Deadlifts. Shoulder presses. Barbell rows. Box squats. Power cleans. Sprinting. Anything that requires all-out effort for short periods.

That’s strength training.

Each goal has a different approach. Strength training relies on weight and intensity. And training for size is all about volume.

Knowing the difference between the two can save you years of time, energy, and effort.

Instead of wasting your time at the gym, you can direct your energy in the right direction.

So the next time you go into the gym ask yourself, is this a strength day or a size day?

Then, plan your training the right way.

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Daily Protein Intake

Protein is a macronutrient. It is one of three macronutrients that make up all food – protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
 
Of these three nutrients, protein is the building nutrient. It’s responsible for growing and repairing your body. And it’s especially important if you exercise regularly.
 
Why?
 
Well, exercise actually causes damage to your muscles. It’s the process of rebuilding and repairing that damage that forces your muscles to grow.
 
And without enough protein your body can’t recover as well.
 
Which means your time in the gym is being wasted.
 
You won’t gain muscle as quickly as you should. You won’t lose weight as quickly as you should. You won’t see results as quickly as you should.
 
All because you’re not getting enough protein.
 
What is enough protein?
 
It’s different for everyone.
 
But we start with a general rule of .7 – 1g of protein per pound of desired bodyweight. And adjust from there.
 
For most people that looks like 80-140 grams of protein per day for women and 120-200 grams of protein for men.
 
Keeping in mind, there are a number of factors that can change this number for each person.
 
If you are like most people you’ll quickly realize that you don’t eat anywhere near that amount of protein.
 
That’s okay. It’s not the end of the world.
 
Just try to add more to your diet.
 
The two simplest ways we’ve found to increase your daily protein intake are:
 
1. eat a palm-sized portion of protein at every meal
and,
2. invest in a decent protein powder (whey or casein). One that you can tolerate drinking, doesn’t have a lot of additives, and fits in line with your budget
Doing these two things will help increase your protein intake, improve your recovery time, and get you results faster.

No idea what your current nutrition looks like? Download our Nutrition Checkup for an instant assessment.

 

Nutrition is King

I’ve got a scenario for you…
 
You’re a “gym guy.” You’re in the gym three times a week – at least. Been going strong for well over a year. Active on the weekends. And your diet’s pretty good.
 
But you don’t have a six pack (or any abs really.) And summer’s only a month away.
 
What do you do?
 
Or…
 
You’re not a gym guy.
 
In fact, you haven’t exercised in years. But you just went to the doctor and they’re worried about your weight. They recommended you lose a few pounds. But you have no idea where to start.
 
Or…
 
You’re a parent. Plus you work.
 
Time is not really something you have in life. And if you did, hitting the gym isn’t exactly priority number one.
 
But you know that being healthy is important. And you want to be able to run around with your kids as they grow up.
 
Or…
 
You’re a CrossFitter. Consistently in the gym and already making progress. But not quite where you want to be. You’d love to look leaner. And it’d be nice to speed the process up a little bit.
 
Let’s say, by summer?
 
What do you do?
 
If you’re someone going through one of these scenarios, what do you do? Or rather, what are you doing?
 
How are you working towards your goal?
 
For starters, most people aren’t. Let’s get that out of the way right from the beginning.
 
Most people just accept that they’re never going to get to where they want to be. They decide that they can’t make it for whatever reason and they settle for what they have now.
 
Soon they stop trying altogether.
 
But not you. Not this time.
 
You’re ready for a change. A real change. You’re going to figure this thing out once and for all.
 
So, what do you do? How are you going to get there?
 
Well if you haven’t already guessed it by now, the answer starts with food, not exercise.
 
There’s a reason why NBA players are focused on what they eat even after burning thousands of calories every day. And why bodybuilders start following a strict diet 12 weeks before a show. And why more and more people are becoming sick every day.
 
When it comes how you look, feel and perform, nutrition matters.
 
Plain and simple.
 
So if you’re already exercising regularly, but you’re not getting the results that you want, then maybe it’s your nutrition. Maybe your diet isn’t as good as you thought. Maybe there’s something holding you back that could be easily fixed.
 
That was the answer when we helped a bodybuilder drop 11% body fat in 2 months last fall.
 
Or if you’re starting from scratch. Losing weight without exercise.
 
Maybe learning about different healthy diets is a good start. Tracking your food for a few days with an app like MyFitnessPal. And slowly making changes over time.
 
It certainly helped for the 53 year old grandmother we work with whose lost 40lbs in 6 months. With no exercise.
 
The point is, nutrition matters. A lot.
 
And most people either overlook that fact or ignore it completely.
 
Good nutrition is what turns average “gym guys” into athletes. It’s what keeps you healthy enough to watch your grand-kids grow up. And it’s what makes dreading beach season a thing of the past.
 
Exercise is beneficial. There’s no doubt about it.
 
But nutrition is king.

What is Memorial May?

What is Memorial May?

Memorial May is a month dedicated to Hero Workouts. Normally, we celebrate Memorial Day by completing the workout “Murph.” This year we’re going to spend the entire month celebrating and remembering our Heroes.

What is a Hero Workout?

Hero Workouts are workouts written for heroes who have fallen in the line of duty. Servicemen and women, police, firefighters, etc. The practice of creating Hero workouts started years ago and has become common practice ever since.

Most Hero workouts are named after the person they were written for. For example, the workout Murph was written for Lt. Michael Murphy.

And these workouts usually contain something that relates to the Hero. It could be one of the movements, or the number of reps, or just the feel of the workout in general. In the case of the workout Murph, that was actually a workout that Lt. Murphy used to perform regularly.

There is one more thing that seperates Hero Workouts from regular workouts…they’re much harder.

Are there scaling options?

As always, we have scaling options available for everything. Every workout. Every movement.

How will this affect my workouts in the gym?

Short answer: it won’t. These workouts will just take the place of the regular Workout of the Day.

Long answer: Hero workouts are tough. We have 12 Hero workouts scheduled for the month of May; culminating in our yearly Memorial Day Murph event. This means that 12 workouts throughout the month of May will be much harder than normal. You may need to take an extra day of rest.

Our best advice? Be flexible with your training schedule and don’t be afraid to take an extra day off if you’re feeling run down.

Bring a Friend

We know how exciting is to get your friends to try a class with you. ESPECIALLY when the classes are Hero workouts. And normally, we love when you bring your friends to try a free class!

But these workouts are a little different.

Hero workouts are incredibly difficult. For experienced athletes.

For someone brand new to CrossFit, Hero workouts aren’t a good place to start.

So with that in mind, we will not be allowing Free Trial workouts for any posted Hero workout through the month of May. You can still bring a friend to try a free class during the month of May, we simply ask that you bring them on a day that is not a Hero workout.

If you would like to bring a friend who has at least 6 months of CrossFit experience to complete a Hero workout with you they will be subject to our regular $20 drop in fee.

My Friend the Rock Star

Most people don’t know this about me but I play the guitar. I’ve been playing over half my life actually.
 
I started playing at age 15 when I first laid hands on a guitar in Music class. And I’ve been teaching myself ever since.
 
And…I’m not bad.
 
I can pluck a few strings. Play just about any country song ever written. And smash a few Metallica riffs. (That’s guitar slang.)
 
But after that my skill level drops off completely.
 
I look like a guitar player. But put me on stage, under the bright lights, and you’ll see I’m more suited for backup tambourine.
 
My friend Lee on the other hand. Now there’s a guitar player.
 
Seriously. He’s a Rock Star. An actual Rock Star. That’s his official title.
 
Lee and I both started playing guitar at the same time. We were in the same music class actually.
 
But we followed two very different paths.
 
Lee went to a teacher. His parents had money and could afford to send him to lessons. So he learned from a professional once a week.
 
I did what most kids did. I taught myself.
 
I lived at the guitar store.
 
This was before you could learn anything on YouTube. So I had to learn everything through books. And magazines. And paper.
 
I’d save my money all week. Have my dad drive me to the guitar store on Friday. And buy the best Jimi Hendrix songbook I could find.
 
And then I would lock myself in my room for the entire weekend. Listening to Purple Haze on repeat for hours. Plucking the same notes over and over and over.
 
And to this day I can STILL play the first 10 seconds of All Along the Watchtower. From memory.
 
Not too shabby. For a self-taught guitar player.
 
Lee, on the other hand, didn’t do that.
 
Lee went to his guitar teacher all the way up through high school.
 
While I skipped from song to song to song. Learning every cool riff and chord that I could find. Lee learned from the ground up.
 
He started with notes and scales. And by the time we got to high school he was practicing triads and arpeggios.
 
While I learned party tricks, Lee built himself a career.
 
He got a scholarship to Berklee College of Music. For guitar. And now he’s on tour somewhere. Playing guitar.
 
And me? Well, let’s just say this. The next time you hear AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, just imagine that I can almost play half of that song.
 
I’m not a guitar player. I’m a guy who kind of learned how to play long ago.
 
And guess what? That’s fine.
 
If we’re talking about the guitar.
 
But what about when we start talking about your health and fitness?
 
Is your health and fitness built on party tricks?
 
Or have you taken a serious approach to your overall well-being?
 
Do you spend your time at the gym hitting random workouts with no clear direction? Or do you follow specific workouts built for your goals?
 
Does your long-term diet plan consist of random challenges, cleanses, crash diets? Or do you know the principles behind an effective diet and follow them daily?
 
Do you add extra ab work every time the weather gets warm because you gotta “get ready for beach season?” Or do you have a long-term training plan that’s unfazed by the position of the sun?
 
Are you a backup tambourinest or a Rock Star?

Globo Gym Fitness

“Did you know the new globo gym up the road now has CrossFit equipment?”
I did. Or I do.
 
(I get that question a lot.)
In fact, most globo gyms have some sort of functional fitness area these days.
Why? Because functional fitness works.
These globo gyms aren’t stupid. They see what CrossFit has done to the fitness industry. And they understand that things are changing.
Now they’re trying to keep up. So they have a functional fitness space. Filled with shiny new equipment.
But then again, there’s functional fitness equipment everywhere. Literally everywhere.
If you have 4 feet of space around you you have enough space to do air squats and pushups. Functional. Fitness
If you live in an apartment complex you probably have some sort of small gym with a few dumbbells and kettlebells. AND enough space for air squats and pushups.
And if you live in a house then you definitely have enough space for air squats and pushups. And you can even throw in burpees. AND running.
Air squats. Pushups. Dumbbells. Burpees. Running.
These are classic functional fitness.
So why isn’t everyone freaking jacked these days? Why don’t we all look like that one person in that one movie that one time when they looked really good?
If functional fitness is the way to get really fit – which it is. And most of us have access to “functional fitness equipment” – which we do.
Why aren’t we all really fit?
‘Cause it ain’t the equipment that matters.
Having access to a few bumper plates, a kettlebell, and a pullup rig doesn’t turn you into an action hero overnight. You have to work for it.
You have to do the right things. Use the right equipment. Write the right workouts. Choose the right exercises.
You need a warmup. And technique work. And accessory drills.
And you need an over-arching goal.
Simply put – you have to know what you’re doing.
And that’s the struggle. Because there’s a lot that goes into it.
Being fit isn’t about the cool functional fitness equipment. Or the newest machines. Or the next watch. Or a smartphone app.
Being fit is about having the right knowledge.
Do you know what to do, how to do it, and where to go next once you achieve it?
Most people don’t.
And globo gyms know that.
That’s why they show you the sweet new functional fitness equipment right before they lock you into a long-term, low-cost contract.
And that’s why two years later you’re still paying $19 per month and that shiny new equipment is still sitting there. Shiny and new.
Because globo gyms have fancy equipment. But they don’t have coaching.
 
And that’s what we do.
 
So, truth be told, I like when someone tells me about a new gym with CrossFit equipment.
 
It means that functional fitness is spreading. And that’s a good thing.
 
But it also means that there are opportunities to help.
 
Because the people who really want results won’t just stop at the globo gym. They won’t give up when they can’t put the pieces together.
 
They’ll keep searching. They’ll look for help.
 
And that’s where we’ll be.