Nutrition 101 – Protein (June 2021)

We’re going to shift gears for the next couple months here and talk about nutrition. You know, that big scary word that no one really knows for sure what it entails, and the recommendations from the “experts” for it change every five years or so. I am not going to go too much into the weeds here, but I do hope to give you a general idea of the basics of nutrition so that you are better able to communicate about nutrition. This month we are focusing on Protein.

What is Protein? Well, first off let’s take a step backwards and talk about Macronutrients.

What are Macronutrients? Macronutrients are the nutritional components of a diet that are needed in large amounts to sustain growth and life. We consume macronutrients in the form of foods or drinks, which provide us with the bulk of our energy as well as providing fuel for constructing the human body. Protein is one of these macronutrients, the other two being Fat and Carbohydrates.

So what is Protein? Proteins at their most basic, are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. They also contain nitrogen atoms (unlike fat and carbohydrates). “Amino” means “nitrogen-containing,” therefore, amino acids are the molecules that, when joined in groups of a few dozen to hundreds, form the thousands of proteins occurring in nature. Essentially, proteins are chains of amino acids.

Proteins in the human body are composed of 20 amino acids, nine of which are “essential” because the body cannot manufacture them and therefore they must be obtained through the diet. Five of the amino acids are able to be synthesized in the body, and the remaining six are conditionally essential amino acids whose synthesis can be limited under special conditions.

These five able to be synthesized by the body are alanine, aspartic acid, asparagine, glutamic acid and serine. The six conditionally essential amino acids are arginine, cysteine, glycine, glutamine, proline and tyrosine. The nine essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Since most of these amino acids are either not able to be synthesized by the body, or conditionally synthesized in the body, it is generally best to consume them in our food. As you may already know, dietary sources of protein include meats, dairy products, fish, eggs, grains, legumes, nuts and edible insects (for the daring).

All of these amino acids have varied and important jobs within the body. Probably the most important, at least for our discussion today, is for protein synthesis and muscle repair/remodeling. The reasoning for this is that during cell turnover (the constant breakdown and regeneration of cells) the immediate supplier of amino acids is the body’s free amino acid pool. If they are not in the body, your body cannot use them to make new cells (think muscles)! In addition to being one of the building blocks of body tissue, they can also serve as a fuel source, especially in long (like really long), slow, aerobic exercise. This is why those who specialize in very long and slow aerobic exercise tend to have a “muscle-wasting” appearance. In their case, their bodies are literally using their muscles as an energy source.

Ok, so now that you know a little more about protein, what next? Well, how about how much should you be eating? Good question. When estimating the protein requirements for individuals you need to consider two factors: the caloric intake, and the biological value of the protein.

When caloric intake goes down, the protein requirement goes up. Protein is only one of the building blocks used to create new tissue, so if there are plenty of other building materials around, the need for protein is not as high. However, if the calories are being restricted, protein may be used as a source of energy instead of other sources (carbohydrates), and the protein cannot be used for the intended purpose of replacing the amino acid pool. In this case, protein should make up a larger portion of the calories to ensure that enough building blocks are present.

The higher the biological value of the protein, the lower the protein requirement. Protein sources are not all equal, and some sources are significantly better than others. The best sources of protein have amino acid profiles similar to that needed by the body, and include proteins of animal origin – those in eggs, meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products. Grains, beans, vegetables, and gelatin are referred to as low-quality proteins as they lack one or more of the essential amino acids needed by the body. Unfortunately for vegetarians and vegans, protein quality is one of the issues that must be considered. While not impossible to attain, it is much more difficult for these individuals to get the quality protein that they need.

Now, with that out of the way, assuming that caloric intake is adequate and that two-thirds or more of the protein is from animal sources, the recommended intake for protein for adults is about 0.7 g/pound of body weight for both men and women. This recommendation is generally for sedentary individuals, which we are not, so those participating in CrossFit will likely need to increase their protein intake to as much as 1.0g/pound of body weight or more. Those individuals consuming a vegan diet may need to increase their protein intake even more. That might seem like a lot of protein, and you would be right, but most people do not eat enough protein, especially women. 

If you are looking to increase your protein intake, my recommendation is to start out small. If you barely eat any protein now, quadrupling the amount you eat is going to potentially leave you with some gastric issues… Instead, be a little more mindful of your food selections and choose items that have more protein in them. Once you grow accustomed to your new protein intake, bump it up again. Continue this process until you are at your goal number. One additional benefit of protein is that it stimulates satiety hormones, so you will feel more full after a meal and stay satiated longer – an added bonus for those looking to lose weight!

Murph Part 2!

Not too far to go now – Murph is on the horizon! And it coincides with a long weekend, so that is fun. But more importantly, Murph and our first get together in a long time! If you are unaware of what I am talking about, please go back and read the previous post about Murph as that will fill in some of the blanks. This post is going to explain and break down some of the ways that you can actually perform the workout to give you some food for thought on how you want to participate on Memorial Day.

I am going to break it down into three categories: full Murph, partial or partner Murph, no Murph. We’ll start from the back.

No Murph

If you fit into this category, you are not doing the workout. Hence the name. This is for those that just want to show up, watch people do the workout, or just hang out and enjoy some time with friends. You are more than welcome to show up early to watch or just show up at the cookout afterwards and enjoy some food. Friends and family also fit into this category.

Partial or Partner Murph

For those that want to go alone, you may do a partial Murph. In this option you will generally want to stick with a half or quarter Murph, and you may or may not decide to cut the full workout or just parts of it. For instance, you may decide to do a half Murph (50 pull ups, 100 push ups, 150 air squats) but still run the full mile before and after. Or you may do 800m runs instead of the miles and the rest of the reps full. The options are endless. Feel free to check with a coach if you are unsure of what you should do.

You may also choose to do a partner Murph! You and a friend (or two) can partner up and attack the workout together. The most common way to do a partner Murph is to split up the reps evenly (or unevenly, it’s up to you) and either work at the same time or do a “you go, I go” to get the work done. Again, options are endless.

Full Murph

In this case, you will be doing the full workout. There are many ways to partition the workout as I will describe below, but note that the only rule you need to adhere to is that you must start with and finish with a mile run. 

When doing this workout it is a good idea to pick your weakest movement and base your rep scheme off of that. If you know that your push ups are the sticking point, and that you can only do five in a row before tiring, it probably doesn’t make sense to do more than five at a time, right? Therefore, the first step is to find the weak movement and set realistic expectations of what you will be able to accomplish in a set. Then, browse the following common rep schemes and find one that works for you!

2 pull/4 push/6 squat for 50 rounds

This is a great place to start for those who are newer and have the ability to perform small sets of pull ups and push ups. Small sets means frequent transitions (read: rest) and a lower likelihood of muscle fatigue.

3 pull/6 push/9 squat for 33 rounds + 1 round of 1/2/3

Same as 2/4/6, but with higher reps to reduce the number of transitions.

5 pull/10 push/15 squat for 20 rounds

Probably the most common method, this one is recommended for those who have been doing CrossFit for a while and can consistently perform pull ups and push ups. The push ups do get difficult in the later rounds, so you may choose the following partition if you know you struggle with those.

5 push/5 pull/5 push/15 squat for 20 rounds

If push ups give you trouble, this method gives you smaller sets so that you can maintain your push ups for longer.

10 pull/20 push/30 squat for 10 rounds

If you are really proficient at push-ups, go after this rep scheme. This is also great if you don’t want to count all of those rounds… however, it does mean larger sets which can be problematic.

5 pull/10 push/20 squat for 15 rounds, 5 pull/10 push for 5 rounds

Ok, now we’re getting into the weeds here, but this option front loads the squats so that you can save your legs for the final mile on the last 5 rounds. As a result, your arms will get blasted without rest the last five rounds, but if you know your legs are the issue, then go this route.

20 pull/40 push/60 squat for 5 rounds

This one was done at the 2016 CrossFit Games.

100 pull/200 push/300 squat (Unpartitioned)

There’s no requirement to do this rep scheme, but without a doubt, I can say that it is the hardest. Muscle fatigue and failure is definitely a reality, and I would caution all but the most conditioned to attempt this format.

Final Thoughts

With all of these options, remember that these are just options for you. You may choose to do something entirely different, and that is ok. These options also do not mention any specifics about scaling or partitioning the movements, only the reps. You are of course encouraged to scale the movements to meet your abilities and the coaches will gladly help you find the movements and reps that work for you on that day, just reach out!

New Member Spotlight – Welcome Jinny!

Originally from L’Anse and currently residing in Chassell, Jinny may be a familiar face to some of you. She was a member of the gym about 6 years ago and absolutely loved it. After a lengthy hiatus, she is extremely excited to be back! She enjoys how much stronger she feels in everyday life as a result of CrossFit, and really likes feeling like an athlete again. As a chiropractor, she also appreciates how much the movements we perform in CrossFit help her perform her job with more ease. Additionally, the social aspect and the camaraderie that comes along with being a member has her very excited, as like many people, she doesn’t always enjoy working out, but being in the group class is just fun!

Murph

It is almost that time of year again – Memorial Day. And those of you who have been involved with Crossfit know that this means Murph. For those that don’t, here is what the hullabaloo is all about.

In Crossfit there are certain “Hero” workouts dedicated to individuals either in the armed services, LEO, fire, or first responder communities who have lost their lives in the line of duty. There are hundreds of these workouts, and they are notoriously difficult. Why? Well, to remember and honor these individuals. Since this is Crossfit, what better way to honor them by putting ourselves through a miserable workout that really only scratches the surface of what these people endured and ultimately sacrificed for us?

Probably the most famous Hero workout is Murph, and it is generally performed on Memorial Day each year:

For time:

1 mile Run

100 Pull-ups

200 Push-ups

300 Squats

1 mile Run

  • Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you’ve got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.
  • In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. 

We will be continuing this tradition after missing it last year due to quarantine. More information will be provided at the gym and in emails leading up to the event, but the general idea is this. We will run several heats of the workout, trying to keep the heats to around 10 people or so (depends on the total number of people participating). Heats will be staggered so that we can maintain spacing, especially on the pull up rig. Assuming we have good weather, the garage doors will be up and we will utilize as much of the floor space and parking lot as we can, again, to ensure enough spacing for everyone. 

Since the workout is difficult, there will be several scaling options available for everyone including the option to do it with a partner or in a team. 

Afterwards, we will have an outdoor get together and cookout to celebrate the completion of the workout. This will be a great time to enjoy each other’s company, let the morning people meet the evening people, and hopefully enjoy some nice weather. Family and friends are welcome to join, all that we ask is that you bring a dish to pass. We’ll plan on firing up a grill or two and the gym will provide some protein for everyone (likely bbq chicken), but if you would like a specific grilled item or have dietary restrictions, you are more than welcome to bring food yourself.

A sign up will be at the gym to get an idea of who will be participating in the workout, whether you will be doing it as an individual or group, and who will all be joining for the cookout afterwards along with a dish sign up. This will be our first gym event since December 14, 2019 so hopefully everyone will be able to join in the fun!

Committed Club (April 2021)

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

Sam Herbert
Katie LaCosse
Justin LaCosse
Rochelle Spencer
Nicole Heinonen
Kartik Iyer
Julie Jalkanen
Kim Dunnebacke
Angela Price
Nick Turner
Amanda Hoffman
Aaron Persenaire
Michelle Miller
Chloe McParlan
Morgan DuPont
Jay Martineau

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 Aaron and Nick! Congrats guys – and nice work everyone!

Drop-in Etiquette (May 2021)

(image above stolen from BoxLife Magazine)

We’re going to switch lanes here a little bit moving forward with our monthly posts. While we will still present you with mindsets from time to time, we are now going to include some informational posts. These posts will range from CrossFit methodology to random thoughts, and from nutrition topics to helpful tidbits around the gym. Enjoy the first of the new format as we discuss dropping in and etiquette for dropping in.

It is almost spring (well technically it’s been spring for a while most places) and that means travel. While COVID is still a thing, people are finally starting to move around the country again. Whether it be for spring break, summer vacations, or just random travel, it is helpful to remember that you don’t need to put your fitness on hold. The beauty of Crossfit is that no matter where you travel, there is most likely a Crossfit gym nearby. I personally enjoy dropping in to other gyms on my travels, A) because I like to work out even when on vacation, and B) everyone has a different way of coaching and you might pick up a useful trick or two by going to a different gym.

Now since some of you may not be familiar with dropping in, this post will introduce the concept to you and then provide some basic etiquette for dropping in at another gym.

What is dropping in?

I’m sure that some of you have been in a class where someone has been visiting and came to our gym for a workout or two. That’s basically it. They are literally “dropping in” and joining us for a class.

How do I drop in?

You can do this too when you travel! Most gyms will allow drop-ins to join them, assuming that you are familiar with Crossfit (read: passed an introduction course and regularly attend classes at an affiliate), and restrictions in the area allow it. One thing to note is that dropping in is gym specific, and it is up the affiliate owner on whether or not they allow dropping in.

One strategy is to google Crossfit gyms in the vicinity you will be staying. This will usually pull up the gyms in the area and also might give you some other gym recommendations. Another option is to use the affiliate map on Crossfit.com (https://map.crossfit.com/). Just zoom into the location you will be traveling to and this will show you all of the Crossfit Affiliates in the area. You could also ask people if they have been to a gym in that area – you will often see these posts on r/crossfit on Reddit or the like. This is a good way to find out what the gym is like as well and find out if it will be a good fit for you.

I found a gym, now what?

The first step is to look at the gym’s website. There should be information that will tell you if they accept drop-ins, how much each drop in is (usually around $20), what you need to do to drop in, and their schedule of classes. Some will have you register and pay ahead of time, some will have you do it when you show up for the actual class. If I am going to be visiting for a while, I will always email the gym to let them know, and ask if we can work out a deal for an extended drop-in instead of paying the drop-in price every day I show up. If you reach out early enough and are polite, they will usually work with you. Keep in mind that restrictions may be in place and that you should check with the owner to make sure you are complying with the rules in place.

Basic Etiquette

Always, always, always, always show up early. Sometimes we are a bit lax when it comes to rolling into classes on time, and generally I am ok with it. I know schedules can get crazy and time just gets away from you. However, when you are dropping in to another gym, DO NOT BE LATE. In fact, if you aren’t there 15 minutes early, you are late, especially if you haven’t signed a waiver yet. Be respectful of the coach and other class members and be there on time so that the coach is not rushed to get you all squared away before the class starts.

Be nice! You may not know anyone in the class, but introduce yourself and talk to their members. They are just people too and it is really awkward if no one talks to each other. If you don’t have anything to talk about, talk about Crossfit. Let’s be honest, we can always find something Crossfit to talk about…

Pay ahead of time if possible. Sometimes you get caught up in the workout and forget to pay at the end. Usually this is not a big deal, but it can reflect badly on you. Pay ahead of time and you won’t have to worry.

Ask if you can drop weights/use chalk/take off your shirt/swear/etc. Some gyms have different rules and you don’t want to be that person who comes in and messes up their feng shui.

Leave a review! Whether it be on Google, their Facebook page, Yelp, etc. it can help their business. Or, if it is a bad experience, please talk with the coach/owner before leaving a bad review so that they are aware of it.

Go back a second time. If you liked your drop in, make it a point to go back the next time you are in the area. I have several gyms that I have frequented and it is almost like having a second home to go to. 

If you have any specific questions or need help finding a location to visit while traveling, do not hesitate to reach out to your coaches. Many of us are well traveled and may have some recommendations for you depending on where you are traveling!

New Member Spotlight – Welcome Laura!

Originally from Houghton, Laura spent the last 20 years in Detroit, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Madison, before finally making her way back home to Houghton. When left to her own schedule she can come up with 100 things to do other than exercise, so she joined the gym to force herself to commit to something. Laura is most excited to see progress as she gets more comfortable in the gym, and learn how others have progressed through their own CrossFit journey. Make sure to say hello the next time you see her!

Bonus Post from Squat University (April 2021)

In a recent post, Dr. Aaron Horschig (@squat_university) gave his perspective on a Sunday afternoon:

  1. Be happy for the chance to walk into the gym
  2. Know your health could be taken from you in a moment – so be grateful for what you have
  3. Stop saying, “Yeah, but look how much weight is on the bar…” Unless you’re in a competition, technique > weight.

I thought this would be a great post to dissect this month, as I feel it really does apply to what we are doing pretty much every day. Let’s explore it a little bit more.

Item 1: Be happy for the chance to walk into the gym. Think about it. One year ago the gym was closed and most of us were working out in our houses or backyards. The really interesting thing about people is that we have a pretty amazing short term memory. We tend to forget the bad aspects of life and look back at only the good memories. Which is why we tend to think that music in our childhood was much better than it is now – we have forgotten the really bad songs and only remember the good ones. Are things back to normal and perfect right now? No, but you cannot tell me that things aren’t better than they were a year ago. Keep this in mind and be happy that you have a chance to go to the gym!

Item 2: Know your health could be taken from you in a moment – so be grateful for what you have. On a similar vein, but slightly different. Maybe more like a similar artery (ok, that was bad, I know). Life happens, and sometimes that means accidents and unfortunate events. Which is why it is important to live the best life you can right NOW. Because it could be taken from you any time. This is also a reason for us to take advantage of Item 1, getting into the gym. By coming to the gym, you are literally prolonging your life. Crossfit is an elegant solution to the most vexing problem in the world – chronic disease. By making ourselves healthier and happier, we are giving ourselves a hedge against sickness (see our October post for more on that). For more on this, I recommend watching the classic Crossfit video, “Five Buckets of Death.” Just Google it or search on Crossfit.com.

Item 3: Stop saying, “Yeah, but look how much weight is on the bar…” Unless you’re in a competition, technique > weight. I feel this one is particularly important coming off of the Open like we are. Yes, it is sometimes fun to “compete” against each other in the gym, but no one is in an actual competition. Therefore, technique is WAY more important than weight (or time, or Rx). Instead of pushing to beat your gym frenemy, maybe work on your technique with slightly lower weight. Or instead of rushing through those overhead squats in order to get them done faster, maybe slow down and build strength in those positions so that you will eventually be able to do them fast AND heavy. By working on technique and not worrying about others, you might just end up moving better and avoiding a shoulder injury, getting stronger, and ultimately getting fitter. Mr. Rich Froning had a similar comment: “In training you listen to your body, in a competition, you tell your body to shut up.” Again, none of us are in a competition, so listen to your body and focus on technique! I’ve mentioned this many, many times, and have written about ego before, but this is something that many people need to hear constantly. 

Your mindset will be to think about these three items and evaluate how well you exemplify them. Which one do you have a pretty good handle on and which one do you need to work on?

New Member Spotlights!

You may have noticed a few new names on the reservation lists or whiteboard over the past few weeks, and that is because we have a bunch of new members that have joined the gym since February. Since not everyone goes to the same classes and gets to meet everyone, this post is meant to highlight these new members so that when you see them around the gym you know a little more about them!

Leah Arnt

Leah joined us in the middle of March after Becky Kopke convinced her to try it out. She likes the idea of community workouts, and loves to see how hard everyone tries and how committed everyone is to going every week! Originally from Stillwater, MN, she now resides in Hancock.

 

Emily Hermanson

Emily joined us in the middle of March and hails from Chassell. She decided to try out Crossfit because the internet said it wasn’t too bad, which is a pretty awesome finding Crossfit story if you ask me. So far her favorite movement has been kettlebell swings. 

 

Christopher “Tiger King” Herter

Chris was born and raised in Chelsea, MI, just outside of Ann Arbor. Since then, he has lived in lots of places, finally settling in Tapiola where he currently resides. He decided to join us as he was feeling super out of shape and wanted to give Crossfit a try. Currently loving it, he is very happy to be a part of the community! And, as you can tell, he has a great sense of humor and love of wild animals.

 

Nick Turner

Nick is originally from the Metro Detroit area of Sterling Heights, but is now living in Dollar Bay. He joined CrossFit for the competition in day-to-day workouts, and likes to be pushed by like minded people. The best part so far? “So far I’ve really enjoyed meeting everybody and getting in great workouts. It feels good to be getting back on a routine schedule of working out and I’m feeling good about myself again.” 

If you see any of our new members, make sure to give them a big ol’ Hakk welcome. We’re glad you decided to join our crazy family!

Committed Club (March 2021)

Beginning in January 2021, we began the first ever CrossFit Hakk Committed Club. Members that attended 15 or more classes during the month of March include:
Katie LaCosse
Sam Herbert
Justin LaCosse
Rochelle Spencer
Nicole Heinonen
Angela Price
Michelle Miller
Julie Jalkanen
Amanda Hoffman
Julia Anderson
Kim Dunnebacke
Clint Johnson
Gerald Huffman
Adam Olson
Amy Olson
Chloe McParlan
Aaron Persenaire
Renee Hiller
Morgan DuPont
Becky Kopke
Ed Freysinger
It’s worth noting that the number of members achieving committed club status has increased each month since January. Let’s keep this trend going! Awesome job guys!
As usual we included each of these members in a random drawing, and Chloe and Michelle were the lucky winners this month. Enjoy your gift certificates to Biggby Coffee!