What’s test week? What if I fail?

…And what if I just don’t care??

Congratulations! We’ve made it back to some semblance of normal in this pandemic, and we’ve got TEST WEEK coming up! So… what is test week?

Test week is 8 days of measuring your current fitness level. Since CrossFit defines fitness with 10 components, it’s not something that we can test in one workout. We’ll be doing several max lifts and benchmark workouts over the course of 2 weeks. We’ll be testing strength, speed, power, agility, endurance, stamina, balance, flexibility, coordination and accuracy to get a snapshot of where you currently are on your fitness journey. That might be the fittest or the least fit you’ve ever been, or more likely, somewhere in between. This week isn’t a judgement on you – it’s a tool that can be used to set goals and measure progress in the future! The goal is not to break your body to eke out every last pound and second. For your life, this may not be a time when you feel like you’re at peak performance and ready to show off. That’s ok. The intention is simply to perform at a level consistent with your current fitness level.

What if I fail? Huzzah, you did it! You’ve found your max! At Loft, we’re committed to being a safe space for everyone. In this space, it’s safe to fail. In most of our lives, failure can have negative consequences – hurting feelings, being reprimanded, extra stress, and on and on. In the gym, failure is just part of the process. All you’ve done is learn something that you can’t do YET.

It is incredibly unlikely that you will PR (personal record) everything we test. We’re also not expecting everyone to be here for every test. Just come in ready to work on the days you’re able! Focus in on those gold stars and let the misses roll off. We’re with you for the long haul.

For those of you who aren’t particularly interested in testing your current fitness level, we’ll have a nice, sweaty cardio option for you each day. Feel free to test as much as you’re interested in testing and enjoy a long workout for the days you’re opting out!

Without further ado, our test week schedule breakdown!

Saturday – Our first Saturday of test week was inspired by the NFL combine and tests many aspects of explosive strength with a high jump, broad jump, heavy power cleans, and sprints.

Monday – We’ve got some strength staples paired with the most infamous CrossFit girl, Fran. CrossFit benchmark workouts are one of the threads that connect all CrossFit affiliates worldwide, and they were given girls names by Greg Glassman. Fran is a sprint couplet of thrusters and pull ups. This workout should be scaled to take less than 5 minutes and represent the absolute fastest that you’re capable of moving your body through the 21-15-9 reps.

Tuesday – On Tuesday, we venture into Olympic weightlifting with our first Oly max – the clean and jerk. Once we’ve found that max, we’ll be good and warm for a C&J couplet with rope climbs! As the reps go down, the weight goes up. This one will test gymnastics endurance and your ability to move heavy weight under fatigue.

Wednesday – We’ve got a bit of everything on Wednesday with some max gymnastics in 1:00 followed by a one rep max deadlift and 1.5-mile run. The deadlift is the heaviest lift for most people so we’ll be putting some big numbers up that day! The 1.5-mile run is a great test of mental fortitude – how hard are you willing to fight to hold that pace?

Thursday – As a deviation from our test weeks in the past, we have recovery days built into this one on Thursday and the Sundays. We are asking A LOT from our bodies this week. Focus on quality nutrition and quality sleep to get you through the second half. If you miss one of the other days, Thursday/Sunday is an opportunity to come in and get it done.

Friday – Get the Boyz II Men ready for some bench press on Friday! Then we’ve got another couplet with overhead squats and shorter runs. Why so many couplets? The simplicity of two movements helps us drive that intensity up. The overhead squat is a great test of midline stability – how fast can you move with a light weight and maintain control?

Saturday – We’ve moved our Filthy Fifty test day to Saturday. This is our best endurance test, with 50 reps of 10 movements. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Monday – More Oly! Here’s the clean and jerk’s bestie, the one rep max snatch! Do it once heavy, and then do it 30 more times!

Tuesday – We’re closing out test week with a three rep max front squat. Why three instead of one? Your three rep max front squat is a good approximation of your theoretical max clean. It’s good to compare the two to gauge your technical proficiency in the clean. You’ll also have a chance to show off that technical proficiency in the clean with a fun benchmark WOD created especially for you by coaches Mallory and Ariel. “Queen Kong” was inspired by an OG CrossFit workout, King Kong. King Kong uniquely features extremely low reps – the whole workout is 30 reps, but massive numbers – 455/320 deadlift, anyone?! Mallory and Ariel were both inspired by this workout in their early CrossFit days and wanted to end test week on a tough “dreamer” benchmark.

Backpacking Nutrition

It’s summertime in Seattle, which means backpacking season for a lot of people! Whether you are going out for a weekend or several weeks, giving some forethought to your forest food can save you some major heart (and gut) ache on the trail. In this Nutrition Newsletter, we will walk through some tips and strategies for optimizing your backpacking nutrition.

Fueling Your Body for Long Distance Hiking

Not all activities are created equal when it comes to how your body fuels a workout. When planning out your backpacking nutrition, it’s important to understand how your body supplies the energy you need for long distance hiking. To put it simply, glycogen = the body’s fuel. Glycogen from carbs is a ‘faster burning’ energy; glycogen from fats is a ‘slower burning’ energy. For physical exercise, your muscles have a limited amount of stored glycogen; otherwise, it comes straight from your diet. Therefore, shorter duration, higher intensity activities rely almost solely on glycogen stores and carbs for energy. Longer, lower intensity activities use carbs, and also fats for energy as well. This is why a hiker will take much longer to “hit the wall” than a sprinter will. Regardless of the activity, because your muscles can only store a limited amount of glycogen, “topping off” with carbohydrates throughout your workout is essential to not bottoming out.

Over time, if your body can’t keep up with the energy demands through the food you eat, it will turn to breaking down body fat and muscle to supply the body with fuel. Ladies, this is where we have a slight advantage – because female bodies tend to store more fat than males, our bodies are more likely to turn to a balance of fat and muscle stores first. Fellas are more likely to burn off muscle mass first.

So what’s the takeaway here? While getting enough carbs is essential for your day-to-day energy, the longer your hike, the more vital it is to get enough of EVERY macro – carbs, fat, and protein – in order to sustain you for the long haul, provide your body the energy it needs to refuel and repair, and to prevent significant muscle loss.

When and What to Eat

Let me preface this with a disclaimer – every body is different. This means that the macro balance and meal plan that works best for one person may not be ideal for the next. Bottom line is – listen to your body to find the approach that keeps you feeling energized and recovered throughout your hike.

My recommendation is to bookend your days with heartier, balanced meals, with frequent, regular nutriet-dense, high carb snacks throughout the day.

Start your day with a breakfast that includes fast- and slow-burning carbs, protein, and a modest amount of fat. This combination will help give you energy in the minutes and hours ahead without weighing you down or running the risk of crashing from a sugar high. One example would be oatmeal (slow-burning, complex carbs) with a scoop of protein powder, topped with brown sugar (fast-burning, simple carbs) and nuts of your choice. If you’ve never been a big breakfast eater, try a high calorie meal replacement bar such as GreenBelly Meal 2 Go Bars or ProBar Meal Bars.

Snack throughout the day on snacks that are high carb and easy to digest. Examples include dried fruit, Clif bars, and PB&J tortilla wraps (my fave!). When you stop for lunch, keep it light, and focus on carbs and protein.

Arguably the most important meal for long distance hikers is at the end of the day. Many make the mistake of eating their biggest meal midday, then hiking until sunset only to immediately crash out for the night. Your body is busy repairing and restoring its energy supplies overnight – it is therefore vital to give it the energy it needs to do so right before bed. Whatever your dinner of choice, consider adding in some jerky, beans, nut butter, or a single serve packet of oil to make sure you’re getting the protein and healthy fats you need.

A word about dehydrated backpacking meals – they are definitely great options, I would just caution you to test them first before heading out on a long haul. They tend to be super calorie-dense, and may impact your digestion in less-than-ideal ways (making things move too fast or too slow, if you get my drift).

When Every Ounce Counts

The longer your hike, the more important it will be to make every ounce of weight on your back count. When it comes to your food, the Golden Rule here is to aim for a minimum of 100 calories per ounce. Because fats pack the most calories, your biggest bang for your buck (without drinking straight Crisco) is going to come from nuts and seeds. Other foods that meet this benchmark include hard meats and cheeses, dried fruit, and granola. Another great option are the many foods in powdered form – milk, cheese, protein, and boxed cookie or brownie mix .

Supplement Recommendations

While I don’t necessarily think every person needs all of the following, these are my four supplement recommendations for distance hikers. Again, every body is unique, so listen to yours when thinking through supplements.

1. A multivitamin and/or super greens powder – If you are someone who is used to getting a healthy dose of fresh fruits and veggies in your diet, going for a week or more eating only dehydrated and packaged foods can leave your body craving some vital vitamins and minerals. Just make sure to trial these beforehand, as some folks get an upset stomach with certain multivitamins (if this is you, consider at night after dinner).

2. Probiotics/digestive enzymes – On a related note, the backpacker diet can take a digestive toll, so consider helping out your gut with these digestive supplements.

3. Protein powder – As mentioned earlier, this is a lightweight and easy way to make sure you’re getting the protein you need to support your muscles while adventuring.

4. Electrolytes – If it’s warm out, and/or your packing in a ton of miles each day, supplementing with an electrolyte drink mix or capsule will help prevent the cramping and crashing that comes from electrolyte imbalances.

A word of caution – avoid regularly supplementing with Vitamin I (ibuprofen). The short-term pain relief comes at the cost of impairing muscle recovery and potential long-term liver damage. If you struggle with achy joints at the end of the day, reach out and we can chat about natural pain relief options!

And Drink Lots of Water!!!

This goes without saying, but is more important than anything else you just read so important to mention. Rule of thumb – aim for half a liter of water for every hour of moderate activity in moderate temperatures, scaling up as the intensity and/or temperature increases.

Whether you are looking to get in some serious alpine miles this summer, or planning your first overnighter, please reach out with any and all nutrition-related questions! I’d love to help you plan out your backpacking nutrition so you can focus on enjoying one of the best outdoor adventures the PNW has to offer!

Happy Hiking,

Heather

August Newsletter

Hi everyone!

We hope your summer is going well! Check out this newsletter for:
– Vaccine status request form
– New weekend programming
– Kids in the gym
– Teen class schedule change
– August skate date!

Vaccine Status Request
Thank you to everyone who responded to our vaccine status request email! If you missed it, we’re asking anyone comfortable disclosing their vaccine status to do so here. The hope is to avoid the need to work out with masks this winter if possible!

New Weekend Programming
Our headline story for August is our new weekend programming! Starting on Saturday, August 14, our weekend lineup will look like this:
Saturday 8am: Stations-style Workout
Saturday 9am: Team/Partner/Hero WOD
Saturday 10&11am: Olympic Weightlifting
Sunday 8&9am: Bodybuilding/Cardio
Sunday 10am: Odd Objects Class (formerly Strongman, second Sundays only)
Sunday 11:30am&12:30pm: Olympic Weightlifting

Kids in the Gym
We know that being able to bring kids to the gym can be convenient. However, due to continued safety and Covid unknowns, we will be continuing to limit children in the gym. If you’d like to bring your children in, please send us an email. We ask that they: stay in the upstairs space only, do not bring snacks, and leave the space as clean as they found it. Children who are over the age of 2 and not vaccinated are required to wear masks. We know that having kids on the floor can be a great bonding experience as well as an impactful introduction to fitness. We look forward to being able to have kids join warm ups in the future!

Teen Class Schedule Change
Our 11-15 year old youth classes will be off for the week of August 30-September 3 and Labor Day on Monday, September 6. The class schedule will shift back to 3 and 4pm Monday through Friday beginning Tuesday, September 7.

Lofts Wheel Good Time Skate Date
Meet us at 5:30pm near Salty’s on Wednesday 8/25 at 5:30! Any and all wheels are welcome! Roll out at 5:45 or 6. Let us know you’re coming on Facebook!

Open Prep Programming Cycle 2021

To give you some insight into what you can expect from programming over the next couple months leading into the CROSSFIT OPEN, here’s Mallory!

The CrossFit Open is upon us! The Open unites hundreds of thousands of athletes around the world to compete in the world’s largest participatory sporting event! This year is going to look a bit different as it has been shortened to 3 weeks (from 5), AND HQ has added several new divisions. These new divisions include Foundations and No Equipment (YAH TO ALL OF THESE THINGS!!!)​

Beginning March 11, CrossFit HQ will release a workout every Thursday evening for 3 weeks. Participants will have until Monday evening to submit a score. You can repeat the workout as many times as you would like within that time! We at Loft will be programming the workout on Fridays for all classes class during the 3 weeks. Our workout of the day for March 11, March 18, and March 25, 2021 will be Open workouts.

The Open is meant to be fun: it is SO exciting to see how you progress over the years by sticking with your CrossFit training! I do understand how even friendly competition can sound intimidating and this year, there is definitely every reason to question your fitness and sit out – however! I have been doing this CrossFit thing for a LONG time, and I have NEVER encountered anyone who regretted participating in the Open. You can compare scores and workout notes with your friends in different gyms, with your mom, and with the top level CrossFit athletes all over the world. We work hard year-round, and it’s fun to see how huge our CrossFit community truly is. 10/10 chance you push yourself harder than you usually would and will likely do something you didn’t think you were capable of! 10/10 PEOPLE!!! 10/10!!! 😉

Now let’s talk about getting ready! As mentioned, we will be programming the Open workouts every Friday for the workout of the day. In the next 6 weeks leading up to the Open, expect to see a “repeat Open workout” every Friday. These will be past Open workouts, and they should give you a good idea of what to expect! Plan on attacking these workouts with full intensity. Intensity is more difficult in a mask, but everything improves with practice! We want to see you all go FULL SEND!

Additionally for the next 6 weeks, we’ll have a two-part strength cycle. Because we had so much positive feedback in regards to our last Back Squat and Shoulder Press cycle, we will be starting a Front Squat focus this Monday (and every following Monday until the Open). While we all love lifting heavy weights, we will also be doing a lot of tempo work with a large emphasis on positioning. 

What are tempo squats and why do I care?
Great question! I am so glad you asked! 

Tempo work simply means doing the repetitions at a defined tempo! I know, MIND BLOWN! This means we will be slowing the movement down. Slowing down will allow you to really feel the movement and positions your body is passing through (aka proprioception!). It is easy to ignore or not even notice deficiencies and imbalances at a fast speed. Slowing the movement down allows your brain to process the movement, analyze, and adjust. The extra time also gives you more time to apply all the things your friendly Loft coaches have been telling you 🙂

Since you will be going slower, you will also need to USE LESS WEIGHT! In order to get any benefit from tempo squats, you will need to actually follow the proper tempo prescription. This means 3 seconds is 3 seconds and not 1 second. Expect to go LIGHTER on these. THAT IS THE POINT! 

Interpreting tempo prescription: Let’s use Monday as an example on how to read tempo training. We have programmed Front Squats 3 x 7 at a 32X1 tempo.  This will be 3 sets of 7 reps at this tempo:
• The first number is the eccentric (lowering) phase of the movement. In a squat- this is your descent. You will take a FULL 3 seconds to lower yourself down. 
• The second number is how long you pause in the bottom position. You will pause for 2 seconds in the bottom of your squat. It is incredibly important to keep tension through your midline and your chest up otherwise you could end up overloading your back. This is also why we keep the load light! 
• The 3rd number is your concentric phase. In a squat, this is when you are standing back up. In this instance the “X” denotes an explosive movement, which means you will stand up as fast as possible. Lifting as quickly as possible during the concentric range of an exercise can be a very useful strategy as it helps to fully recruit the higher-threshold motor units. You know, the fast-twitch fibers that have the greatest potential for strength and size improvements! (WOOHOO! GAINZ!) 
• The 4th number is how long you pause in the top position. In this case it will be a 1 second pause while you are standing at full extension before starting your second rep. 

Besides creating better body awareness and developing better movement patterns, tempo squats are great at recruiting small stabilizer muscles that often get forgotten when we are “bouncing out of the hole.” The tempo squat cuts out this “bounce” (aka stretch reflex) which will make you stronger and make your tendons and ligaments real happy! 

If you aren’t sold yet, tempo squatting is also great for improving eccentric strength! We know from research that the concentric and eccentric portions of an exercise are actually separate skills. In other words, by slowing down the negative phase of a lift, you really are able to get dramatically stronger at lowering the weight! Improved eccentric strength has many benefits including enhanced muscular hypertrophy and a greater potential for long-term strength gains. (WOOHOO! MORE GAINZ!)

We will also be adding in specific barbell cycling (aka barbell cardio) on Wednesdays. We will be starting with a “Macho Man” complex and building in weight week by week. Macho Man is a CrossFit bench mark and the complex is:
• 3 Power Cleans
• 3 Front Squats
• 3 Shoulder to Overhead 

We will be playing with our weight percentages and time domains. You will want to err on the conservative side on choosing your weights. This might mean you use an empty barbell or dumbbells. Both are ABSOLUTELY OKAY!

These workouts will go “until failure,” but the goal is to make it through until the end (each week will have a different target number of sets). If you get through the workout easily then that’s great! You can add more weight the following week! If you don’t make it through, you might want to go down in weight the following week or try again. These type of workouts really push us to new limits so we can see what we are capable of! 

Honing these new skills and strength will help us feel prepared and confident going into the Open. You can sign up here! As always if you have any questions, we are here to help in any way we can! I’m looking forward to an awesome 2021 of alllll the fitness with all of you!

Mallory

Sunday, February 16

CrossFit Mash Up

For time:

50 DUs
50 Back Squats (from ground)
50 Sit Ups
50 DUs
50 KB swings
50 Push Press
50 DUs

5 minute rest

6 Unbroken Rounds
5 Deadlifts
4 Hang Power Cleans
3 Front Squats
2 Thrusters
1 S2OH

5 minute rest

1 mile run / 2k row / 5k assault or echo bike

HIIT

Kettlebells are my Valentine
4 rounds at each movement
Switch arms each round
:30 on / :20 off, full round of rest after each 3 movements

KB Deadlift
KB Cleans
KB Snatches
KB Front Squat
KB Push Press
KB Thrusters
KB Figure 8s
KB Swings
KB OH Lunge