Category Archives: Health

Sports Bras and Olympic Lifting

Puppies

I admit it – this post will probably not apply to all our Blackwater members.  However, it is very important for 50% of us so if you’re a boy you’ll just have to scroll on down to the WOD!

1)  Why do I need a sports bra?

For comfort.  CrossFit often involves high impact movements – running, box jumping, skipping…  None of these are going to feel comfortable with your girls jiggling around like crazy – constant movement and trauma can cause pain in the breast itself and can also end up giving you back and neck pain too.

For long term aesthetics.  The muscle tissue under the breasts does very little to support the breast itself which comprises mainly fatty tissue supported by thin bands running through the breast called Cooper’s ligaments.  Repetitive jiggling and joggling can stretch these ligaments permanently resulting in droopy puppies.

One handstand pushup and they'll be nipples flying everywhere...
One handstand pushup and there will be nipples flying everywhere…

To save your blushes. That plunge or balconette that is so good day to day may not quite cut the mustard in the gym.  Does it do its job when you are upside down?  Having a nipple pop out will not only put you  off your training but will distract your coach from coaching you whilst he/she does everything possible to avoid looking at the offending bit of anatomy!

2)  How do I find the perfect sports bra?

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Get measured.  If you can possibly get to a store and be properly fitted for a bra, do it!  Lots of women are walking around wearing the wrong bra size – generally too big in the band and too small in the cup.  The very first time I got measured I changed size from a 36C to a 30F – that’s a pretty big difference!

Bravissimo is my all time favourite place to be fitted.  They cater for ladies D cup and upwards.  They don’t use tape measures but fit you by eye and by testing different bras.  You may find that you wear different sizes in different makes. The only downside is we don’t have a branch locally – if you are in Covent Garden, Oxford Circus or Cambridge they are well worth a visit.

On the high street Debenhams and John Lewis are generally pretty good.  In my experience it’s better to give Marks a miss – especially if you wear a small back size.  I’ve been sized totally wrong a couple of times there and found that they don’t carry much stock for small back sizes with larger cup sizes.

Think about what you will be doing in it.  If your training is going to involve running and jumping you will need something supportive!  If you are anything more than totally flat chested you will need a back and cup sized sports bra. I look in envy at the stylish crop tops on show at CrossFit events but these will not do the job if you have anything more than a small handful up top!

Get online.  Once you’ve been fitted you’ll generally find a better choice and more competitive prices online.

Boobydoo.com carry an extensive range and are fast and efficient in my experience.

Bravissimo are also great for larger cup sizes.  They aren’t the cheapest but you can often pick up last season’s colours in the sale section.

Wiggle carry a smaller range but you can often pick up good deals there.

Find the bra you like and then shop around to pick it up at the best price!

If you need one NOW – Debenhams in Chelmsford is probably your best bet.  They carry a reasonable range and they can fit you,  so you’ll find something there with the right support in the correct size – even if it isn’t in flouro pink with leopardskin trim!

3)  My favourites!

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Panache Underwired Sports Bra  I love this one because it’s one of the only sports bras I’ve found that delivers on support but actually gives you a bit of shape rather than squashing your chest into a big long sweaty sausage.  This is my go to benching and push-up bra – I reckon I get at least an extra inch in height with this one on!

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Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra  This is great if you want everything strapped up as tight as possible.  It’s a little difficult to get into with a fiddly clip high up on the back but your girls won’t be going anywhere in this one.  This is definitely one to try on in store first – the bands come up very small so you may need to size up if you want to be able to breathe.

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Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports  This is another of my all time favourites.  Great support and it comes in some really nice colours and patterns.  If you are brave enough it’s good enough to wear as a crop top on it’s own.

This isn’t an extensive list – these are just my personal favourites.  Other brands you could check out are Enell, Berlei, Freya and Sportjock.

 

Clean Complex
Clean grip deadlift+ 2 high hang cleans + hang clean

Jerk from racks 3×3

Conditioning

10min AMRAP:
5 hspu/10pushups
10 kettlebell swings 32/24kg
15 abmat situps
50 double unders/100singles

Protein Hacks

One of the most common problems I encounter is difficulty in taking on board sufficient protein to fuel training and recovery.

Depending on your goals and lifestyle you will probably need somewhere between 1 and 2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight.  If you are a CrossFitter trying to build strength and hitting intense wods several times a week you are likely to be at the top end of this range.

So here are a few suggestions to help you start hitting your protein targets.

  1. Plan your eating around protein.

Every meal is an opportunity to get some protein inside of you! Don’t have bran flakes for breakfast, vegetable soup and a roll for lunch and leave yourself in the unenviable position of having to eat 3 chicken breasts, a tin of tuna and a protein shake for tea.

Eggs, cold meats, high protein yoghurt, leftovers from the previous evening are all great breakfast protein sources.  Think outside the cereal box – breakfast doesn’t have to be conventional.

2.  Ban ready meals.

They aren’t good for you in any respect.  They are full of preservatives, flavour enhancers and other chemicals and you have no control over what they contain.

From a protein perspective, meat is the most expensive ingredient in ready meals and you can guarantee that they contain far less than you would serve yourself from a home cooked meal.

3. Keep away from the cookie jar.

Junk food just isn’t high in protein – period.

It’s generally an addictive and moreish combination of sugar and fats – one digestive soon becomes the packet and, before you know it, you’ve eaten enough calories to support the lifestyle and training regime of a world’s strongest man competitor – oh, except you still have 3 chicken breasts, a tin of tuna and a protein shake to cram in.

d5305-grilledchickenbreastsDo you want to eat them now you know that you’ve already overeaten?  Can you face eating them now you are full of biscuits?

Try eating your chicken/fish/steak and vegetables first – and THEN make a decision on whether you still want the biscuits!

4. Have some handy protein hacks to get your through the tough bits.

Here are a couple of substitutes for when the ice-cream monster visits…

Fancy some:
Ben and Jerry’s Phish food (1/2 tub – who eats only one scoop?)
580 calories 8g protein/74g carbs/28g fat

Try instead:
Protein Yoghurt instant ice cream
261 calories 25g protein/41g carbs/0g fat

200g of Skyr (high protein yoghurt)
100g frozen raspberries
1/2 large banana (67g)
Whizz up in a food processor or with a stick blender

Fancy some:
Morrisons Chocolate Fudge Cake (1/8 cake)
344 calories 4g protein/40g carbs/19g fat

Try instead:
Chocolate Protein Mug Cake
311 calories 36g protein/7g carbs/15g fat

I scoop of Icon Evolution whey (molten chocolate) 32g
1 tbspn unsweetened cocoa powder (5g)
1/2 tsp baking powder
20g almond butter
2 tbspn milk (30ml)
3 tbspn egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix all the ingredients together, pour into a large mug and microwave for 45-60s.

1) Clean and Jerk programme

2) 5 rounds for time:

10 pullups
10 kettlebell swings 32/24k
10 box jumps 24/20″

 

 

Back Squat

Jeff doing a back squat at CrossFit Blackwater, Witham Essex
Jeff hitting some back squats

Jeff has been CrossFitting since January 2015.  He has achieved a great deal – not only has he reduced his blood pressure dramatically, he has also lost over 1 stone in weight.  When Jeff first started he had rest periods programmed into all of his conditioning sessions – now he no longer needs them and completes the entire metcon with minimal rest.

Jeff is a great example of how consistency alongside sensible scaling can deliver amazing results.  Well done Jeff – keep up the good work!

Strength

Back Squat  10-5-3-3-5-10

If you’re currently following the Olympic lifting classes and squatted yesterday then today you can switch to Push press. Overhead 20rm is going to be a benchmark so don’t forget to get your pads out and make a note of what weight you lifted… and how it felt.

Conditioning

50 Sit ups
50 Wall Balls
40 Sit ups
40 Russian Twists
30 Sit ups
30 Pull Ups
20 Sit ups
20 Handstand Push Ups
10 Sit ups
10 Burpees

Finisher

Max Hang Plank combo