September Committed Club

Here we have our Committed Club members (attended 15+ classes) for September!

Renee Hiller
Katie LaCosse
Rochelle Spencer
Hannah Soumis
Joanne Coponen
Moira Tracey
Sunit Girdhar
Julie Jalkanen
Sandi Mattson
Michelle Miller
Gerald Huffman
Amanda Hoffman
Gavin McBride
Kartik Iyer
Angela Price
Sharon Colbert
Nicole Heinonen
Dana Norman
Tanya Kangas
Kim Dunnebacke
Clint Johnson
Laura Konkel
This is the largest committed club so far this year! Great job everyone. Think we can top it before year end?
Our random drawing from those that hit committed club status resulted in 2 lucky gift card recipients – they are Kartik and Amanda. Congrats!
   
We also had two people get their 100th class in September. Way to go Becky Kopke and Ed Freysinger (not shown)!
Congratulations everyone!

July and August Committed Clubs and 100 class Milestones

Wow – where has the summer gone?! Here are some very belated celebrations for member accomplishments in the back half of the summer…

First – our committed club members for July!

Remember – committed club status requires attending at least 15 classes in any given month. Here are the members that achieved this in July:

Katie LaCosse
Rochelle Spencer
Aaron Persenaire
Nick Turner
Michelle Miller
Gerald Huffman
Amanda Hoffman
Sarah Dowd
Jay Martineau
Hannah Soumis
Joanne Coponen
Dawn Coon
Sophia Michels
Emily Geiger-Dedo
Clint Johnson
Laura Konkel
Julie Jalkanen
Nicole Heinonen
Kartik Iyer

And now, for August:
Angela Price
Rochelle Spencer
Nick Turner
Kelsie Shaw
Sunit Girdhar
Julie Jalkanen
Nicole Heinonen
Michelle Miller
Amanda Hoffman
Kartik Iyer
Jay Martineau
Hannah Soumis
Joanne Coponen
Moira Tracey
Sarah Dowd
Sharon Colbert
Kim Dunnebacke
Gerald Huffman
Zachary Rosenbaum
Gavin McBride
Our random drawing from those that hit committed club status during the last two months resulted in 4 lucky recipients of gift cards – they are Aaron P, Joanne C, Kim D and Sarah D. Congrats!

We also have several members that hit their 100 class milestones! These included Clint, Jerry and Kim in July and

Renee Hiller, Kartik Iyer, Gavin McBride and Julia Anderson in August.
Congratulations on all of these fantastic accomplishments!
And lastly, let’s celebrate the great group WOD we had on Labor Day!

 

Functional Movements Part 1 (September 2021)

We say that Crossfit utilizes functional movements, but what does that really mean? Plugging the word “functional” into the Google machine gives two definitions, the second of which I like better: “designed to be practical and useful, rather than attractive.” However, this is still not good enough for us in Crossfit and therefore, we have our own definition of functional when it pertains to movements. In fact, Crossfit has six defining characteristics and a definition for functional movements, which should indicate to you how important functionality is when it comes to functional movements in Crossfit.

In this first post on functional movements I am going to cover the big three of the defining characteristics, which are: functional movements are natural, essential, and safe.

These movements are natural in that no one created them, they are just things that we do. Yes, we still need to be taught how to squat correctly, but who taught the first person to ever squat how to squat? No one! It is just built into our systems and our DNA. It is just the natural movement that you have to use to move from a seated position to a standing one. Look at all of the babies learning to walk. They have a beautiful, below parallel, rock solid squat position. Who taught them how to do that? No one! This holds true for deadlifting, pressing overhead, cleaning, etc. 

Since the movements are natural, they are also essential. Essential in the sense that once we lose the ability to perform these movements, our quality of life decreases and we are no longer able to live independently. Squatting is getting up off of the toilet, deadlifting is picking your groceries up off the ground, pressing is placing the toaster back up on the top shelf. I mean, even sled pushes are essential – ever take a cart outside in the Econo parking lot towards the end of winter? Those wheels aren’t spinning and you are pushing that cart just like you would a sled. By performing functional movements and becoming stronger in them, we are prolonging the time that we are capable of independent living and therefore prolonging our freedom to live as we choose.

And to close, since these movements are natural and essential, they are inherently safe. Otherwise you would be hurting yourself every time you got up off of the couch. Yes, I understand that you still can hurt yourself doing these movements, but you can also hurt yourself walking, and not to get too morbid, but you can die driving to the gym to perform these functional movements. By learning to perform these movements correctly, and becoming proficient and stronger in them, we are also increasing the safety. Imagine that you have a 400 pound back squat with pristine form. Now imagine that same person does an air squat with a slightly rounded back. Are they safe? Most likely yes. Being stronger in these movements allows for us to be in not-so-great positions in unloaded situations. Meaning, it is ok to have a rounded back when you pick up your groceries from the floor if you can safely and properly deadlift 225 pounds. Being stronger gives you a buffer of safety for our everyday tasks.

Hopefully that clears up a little of the fog surrounding functional movements, next month we will delve a little deeper into the defining characteristics and the definition!

Nutrition 101 – Carbohydrates (August 2021)

August Post: Nutrition 101 – Carbohydrates

Continuing our macronutrient discussion From June, we will delve into Carbohydrates this month, affectionately referred to as Carbs. Much like protein, carbohydrates are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms, however, they do not contain nitrogen atoms. Their primary role in humans is to serve as an energy source through the form of sugar.

Carbs can be classified into three groups according to the number of sugar units they contain, Monosaccharides (single sugar molecules), Disaccharides (two simple sugar units joined together), and Polysaccharides (complex carbohydrates which can contain up to thousands of sugar units). We will break these down further below.

Monosaccharides consist of glucose, fructose and galactose, with glucose being the most common. Glucose is a building block for many larger sugars, and is present circulating in the blood (as your blood sugar) and stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver to be used as energy. Fructose is similar to glucose, but has a different atom arrangement which makes it taste much sweeter than glucose. Fructose is naturally present in fruits and vegetables. Galactose is a milk sugar, and gets its name from the Greek galaktos (milk) and the generic chemical suffix for sugars -ose.

Disaccharides consist of sucrose (glucose + fructose), lactose (glucose + galactose), and maltose (glucose + glucose). Sucrose is the most common and is known as table sugar, and lactose is only found in mammalian milk. Maltose occurs primarily when polysaccharides are broken down during digestion, or during the fermentation process of alcohol and is the primary carbohydrate in beer.

Polysaccharides consist of starches, dietary fiber, and glycogen. Starch is the storage form of glucose in plants, and grains, nuts, legumes, and vegetables are all good sources of starch. Important to note, before starch can be used as a source of energy, it must first be broken down into its glucose components. Dietary fiber is a constituent of the plant cell wall, and includes cellulose, hemicellulose, beta-glucans, and pectins. Glycogen is found in small amounts in human and animal tissue as a temporary source of stored energy, although it is not present to any large extent in the foods we eat. Therefore, when glucose enters the muscles and liver, if it is not metabolized for energy it is synthesized to form glycogen through the process of glycogenesis.

All types of dietary carbohydrates, sugars as well as starches, are effective in supplying us with glucose and glycogen (energy). Consumption of a mix of sugars and starches is desirable though, as a varied source of carbohydrates will increase the amount of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) available to us, and limit boredom with food selection – variety is the spice of life after all.

But carbs are the enemy, right? Well, not really. While the body does not technically need carbohydrates to survive, they do provide a great source of micronutrients and variety to our diet as mentioned above. They also provide quick energy for exercise and activity, which is something that most of us do every day! What should be the main focus is what type of carbohydrates and how much should be consumed. 

Carbohydrates, while varied in nature, should consist of mostly whole foods and avoid processed foods. A good rule of thumb is to stick with vegetables, nuts and seeds, and fruit while avoiding pure or added sugar as much as possible. Reason being, vegetables and fruit contain significant amounts of water and fiber which help to make you feel full faster. I am sure I’m not the only one who can crush a bag of M&Ms in one day and still be hungry, so let’s do the math. One “share size” (lol, right?) package of M&Ms has roughly 46 grams by weight of candy, and 28 grams of carbohydrates, most of which is in added sugar. A half cup of chopped broccoli (roughly 44 grams by weight) has 3 grams of carbohydrates. That means that you would have to eat 4.5 cups of chopped broccoli to eat the equivalent number of carbohydrates! I don’t know about you, but that is a LOT of broccoli and would be very hard to accomplish and still want to eat more food. Now, don’t be the person that avoids the birthday cake, but try to limit your carb selections to the healthier alternatives.

As for quantity, at the bare minimum, about 50 to 100 grams of carbohydrate per day is needed to prevent ketosis. And yes, for most people ketosis is not a desired state, especially athletes. As a reference, a medium banana has roughly 27 grams of carbohydrates, so it does not take much to avoid ketosis. Beyond that need, carbohydrates provide fuel for energy, so consumption should match your activity level each day. The CrossFit recommendation does state: keep intake to levels that support exercise, but not body fat. If you feel your workouts have been lagging lately, you might consider bumping up your carbohydrate intake, especially a few hours before you go to the gym. 

My personal recommendation, and something that I and many others have found success with, is to try E.C. Synkowski’s 800 Gram Challenge. This “diet” makes things very simple: eat 800 grams of fruit and vegetables (by weight) each day, and if you are still hungry after that, eat whatever you want! By adding fruits and veggies and not restricting any food items, this way of eating encourages you to fill up on high quality, natural foods so that you are not hungry to eat the less ideal sugary items. Give her site a look over and I encourage you to try it out!

Photo compliments of ownyoureating.com

New Member Spotlights!

Katie Kozma

Katie is originally from Hesperia, MI (a small town in the lower peninsula), but now resides in Baraga. She decided to join CrossFit because she was looking to restart her fitness journey and she decided to complete a Spartan race and thought CrossFit would be the perfect thing for training. Her favorite part of Intro was learning all of the new lifting techniques that we cover. She is really excited about the motivational aspect of the group classes. She finds that it is easy to stay motivated when there is a group of people also working hard alongside each other!

Matt Garland

Matt is from Houghton but now lives in Hancock. Matt did CrossFit a while back, but a friend recently convinced him to try it again. His favorite movement is anything heavy, but he particularly likes deadlifts. He is looking forward to getting back into an exercise routine and enjoying working out again!

Sunit Girdhar

Originally from New Delhi, India, Sunit is currently living in Hancock to attend school at Michigan Tech. He studies architectural acoustics and found CrossFit in his schooling when he came across projects where people wanted a CrossFit gym on the 6th floor of a 21 floor building. As you all can imagine, this is not a good idea. But it did get him thinking that it would be a fun type of workout to try! His favorite movement during the intro class was the clean because he had never been able to do them in the past and he used to swap them out of his workouts. He is really excited to join the group class as the environment is fun and it is motivating with everyone alongside you which helps to push the intensity!

 

What is Intensity? (July 2021)

What is Intensity?

When looking at the definition of Crossfit, we are presented with three distinct parts. Constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. We discussed “constantly varied” in March, and now we are going to tackle the last part – intensity. And you can probably see where we will be going after that…

First off, what is intensity? Generally, people think of intensity from their previous fitness experiences. The endurance community thinks intensity is a high heart rate, and the bodybuilding community thinks of it as yelling and screaming  as they lift massive amounts of weight. You know, things that people look at and think, “wow, that is intense!”

However, in Crossfit, we define intensity as something else, and for good reason. For example, you can watch a scary movie and have a high heart rate. Are you getting fitter? Or, imagine that one person who is bicep curling with 10# dumbbells and making a huge ruckus, sweating and yelling all over the place. Is that intense? I think we could argue in both cases: No. Not to say that these things aren’t part of intensity and might be related, but they do not define intensity.

Crossfit defines intensity directly as power (took that one from the exercise physiologists). What is power then? Well, if you remember your high-school physics, power is Force times Distance, divided by Time. Force times Distance happens to be Work, and we can therefore state that intensity is maximizing the amount of work performed in a certain amount of time. This intensity is measurable, and comparable between different individuals and between the same individual at different points in time. Let’s explore these three variables a little more.

Force: Force is equal to mass times acceleration (more physics for you), but for our purposes, I want you to think of it as weight. How much does the movement weigh? This includes both the external object (if one is present) and the bodyweight of the individual. Because in a thruster, you are not only moving the barbell, you are also moving your body, and the force needs to account for both pieces.

Distance: Pretty simple really, how far you, or an object (or both), travel. This could be a linear distance as in a run or a swim, or it could be a vertical distance as in a squat or press. To measure the distance, you literally measure how far the object or your center of mass actually moves in each movement.

Time: Also pretty simple. How long does the movement, set, or workout take? This is why we use a clock for all of our workouts.

Using these variables we can accurately measure the amount of work and power that is being performed in a movement or a workout. You may be asking yourself, which of these variables is the most important one to manipulate your intensity? Probably the easiest one is to modify the loading or force component, which is why the load is often the first thing you will end up changing when scaling a movement. However, lowering the weight does not always lower the intensity. Bear with me on this. Let’s say you lower the weight on a workout, but as a result, it allows you to move through the workout more consistently and you finish the workout three minutes faster than if you would have used a heavier weight. Depending on the difference in the weights used in this hypothetical situation, the reduction in time may be big enough to actually result in an increased intensity compared to the slower, heavier workout – math can be pretty neat sometimes.

The only time that increasing a load makes things more intense is when you can do the same amount of work in a relatively similar amount of time. For instance, Fran RXed at 3:00 is more intense than Fran with 75# at 2:45. However, Fran RXed in 3:00 is probably not more intense than Fran at 75# in 1:25. For more reading on how playing with weight and time can affect intensity, check out this old Crossfit Journal article.

All of this looks good on paper, sure, but how do you know what is more intense and what you need each day? Talk to your coaches! We will help you figure out the best plan of action for you based on the day, and get you the appropriate amount of intensity based on the workout and your abilities.

June AND 6-Month Committed Clubs AND 100 Class Milestone

It’s time to announce our committed club members for June! Remember – committed club status requires attending at least 15 classes in any given month. Here are the members that achieved this last month!

Aaron Persenaire
Angela Price
Katie LaCosse
Justin LaCosse
Nicole Heinonen
Rochelle Spencer
Jay Martineau
Michelle Miller
Julie Jalkanen
Amanda Hoffman
Gavin McBride
Kim Dunnebacke
Laura Konkel
Julia Anderson
Renee Hiller
As usual, we do a random drawing from those that hit committed club status, and two lucky recipients get a gift card. This month those lucky members are Jay Martineau and Amanda Hoffman – Congrats!
New this month is our first 6-Month Committed Club list! We have 7 members that hit Committed Club status for the first 6 consecutive months of 2021. Congrats!
Amanda Hoffman
Angela Price
Julie Jalkanen
Justin LaCosse
Katie LaCosse
Kim Dunnebacke
Michelle Miller
We also completed a random drawing for this group, and Kim Dunnebacke and Michelle Miller received gift cards.
And finally, we have a growing list of members that have joined the 100-class milestone board this month. See them below. We are proud of your dedication!  (Note, not all are included in the photos)
Aaron Persenaire
Amanda Hoffman
Angela Price
Julie Jalkanen
Justin LaCosse
Michelle Miller
Nicole Heinonen
Rochelle Spencer

Congratulations to all of you. We’re proud of your consistency and all of the hard work you put in!

 

More New Member Spotlights!

We have had a lot of people come on board lately, so here is the latest set of new members. Next time you’re in the gym make sure to say hi to all of our new faces!

Will Schuett

Will grew up in Peshtigo, Wisconsin and spent some time in Southern California and Illinois before ultimately ending up in South Range. He begrudgingly admits that Jesse was key in getting him to try CrossFit, added in with the fact that he was looking for coaching and motivation in his fitness regime. He really struggles with fitness individually, and is therefore really excited to join in the group classes! He thrives in a group environment, and feeding off the energy of everyone else helps him to stay compelled to try his hardest. 

 

Joanne Coponen

Originally from Houghton, Joanne now lives in Atlantic Mine. She was searching for a routine commitment that involved exercise, and asked our own Nicole Heinonen for advice about CrossFit (as if she’d ever say don’t join!). She took her advice and signed up for Intro. Although a little intimidated, she was relieved to learn that she doesn’t have to be at anyone elses athletic/skill level but her own. She is really looking forward to showing up, putting in the work, and seeing the improvement in the weeks to come.

 

Samantha Pakkala

 

Although she has moved several times in her life, she has never really left her native Chassell – no place like home, right? She had been looking to get in shape but hated working out alone. Her friend Danielle, who recently completed Intro, convinced her to give it a shot! Her favorite moment in Intro was learning the clean, and then like magic, all three of them (Mimi, Joanne, and Samantha) did a perfectly executed synchro power clean. She is most excited to work out with other people so everyone can “suffer” together. She is also excited to meet new people and build a work out support system! 

Mimi Laho

Born and raised in the Houghton/Hancock area, Mimi, like Samantha, has not strayed far. She had been wanting to find an exercise class/program for awhile, but didn’t know where or what to look for. Samantha was talking with Mimi and she expressed interest in CrossFit, and they decided to try it out together! Her favorite part of Intro turned out to be Wall Balls, believe it or not, and she enjoyed finding out and seeing that everyone else struggles at times as well. It made the group class experience less intimidating and really encouraged her to keep trying! 

New Member Spotlight – Welcome Caroline, Danielle and Emily!

New Member Spotlight: Caroline Penny

Caroline grew up in Toivola but now lives in Houghton. She decided to join CrossFit because after some research into it and other options, it made the most sense to her. She also set some fitness goals for herself and believes CrossFit is how she will be able to achieve them. Her favorite thing learned during the intro was all the modifications and scaling options that we offer to meet her where she’s currently at to set her up for success in her goals. Caroline is most excited about joining the group classes because she is looking forward to becoming more healthy and strong as well as being with others who want to do the same! Make sure to say hi the next time you see her in the gym!

New Member Spotlight: Danielle Harry

Originally from Atlantic Mine, Danielle recently moved to Houghton last summer. A friend encouraged her to check out CrossFit to get back into shape for summer, which is how she found her way to us! Her favorite part of the intro process was learning the proper form of all the exercises that she will be doing in group class. She is most excited to be working out in general, getting a good hard workout in and not having to spend hours in the gym, and of course meeting new people who encourage and root one another on!

 

New Member Spotlight: Emily Geiger-Dedo

Originally from Muskegon, MI, she moved to Houghton in 2007 and currently resides in Hancock. Her friend Sophia asked her to join the On-Ramp classes with her, and she said yes because she had always been curious about CrossFit. Her favorite part of CrossFit so far has been lifting weights, since working out on her own consists of mostly cardio. Additionally, trying the kettlebell swings was fun because she’d never used them before. Moving forward into group classes she is most excited to be a part of a great supportive community which will help make long term lifestyle changes easier through accountability.

Committed Club – May 2021 (And a Milestone!)

It’s time to announce our committed club members for May! Remember – committed club status requires attending at least 15 classes in any given month. Here are the members that achieved this last month!

Justin LaCosse
Katie LaCosse
Nicole Heinonen
Renee Hiller
Angela Price
Chloe McParlan
Gerald Huffman
Amanda Hoffman
Michelle Miller
Laura Konkel
Kartik Iyer
Julie Jalkanen
Jay Martineau
Kim Dunnebacke
Gavin McBride

As usual, we do a random drawing from those that hit committed club status, and two lucky recipients get a gift card. This month those lucky members are Laura and Renee – Congrats!

I also want to give a special shout out to Katie LaCosse. Since we began tracking the committed club, Katie is the very first member to hit 100 WODS on the new milestone board. Congratulations Katie – what an accomplishment! It looks like several others are on deck to hit this milestone this coming month. Keep up the great work everyone!