Category Archives for "Training"

How Your Training is like Thanksgiving

Coach Nancy , Training

Every year on Thanksgiving we load up our plate with all the wonderful foods we love. Next time you hit the gym load up your training plate in much the same way. 

Here's what I mean. At Cr8 Fitness we've designed your training program so that your body can get strong all over. 

What if you come in one day and your shoulders are tender from all the leaf raking you did over the weekend. Maybe your knee is bit swollen from a spill you took when you tripped on a small rut in the parking lot while grocery shopping last week. Since many of us at Cr8 Fitness are not spring chickens we tend to have stuff going on. 

That stuff doesn't have to stop us from training and training hard. We want to train smart. That is where Thanksgiving comes into the picture. Imagine for a moment that you come in on Tuesday with a slight "ick' in your shoulder. Everything else about you feels great. You just have a little something something and want to take it easy. Taking it easy is that 'polite portion' we usually take to please the hostess. Your polite portion of training might be stretching, foam rolling, or going without heavy weights for that day. BUT that polite portion doesn't apply to all of your training. As your coach I can help you determine which exercise is your polite portion while the rest of your 'Thanksgiving' Training plate can be loaded right up. 

Next time you train, use your 'Thanksgiving' Training plate. Load up your plate on everything that your body is ready for you and work with me to know what needs to just have a polite portion. 

Here is to enjoying Thanksgiving and always enjoying Thanksgiving at Cr8 Fitness's training. 

To your best Health,

Coach Nancy

PROActive Aging: The Foundation

Coach Dean , Mindset , Nutrition , Training

Why I Wrote This Article Series

When I first started coaching, I didn’t think all that much about “Active Aging”. But as a 52-year old on the front side of Generation X, it comes up a bit more in my mind now. And as a coach and personal trainer, I see more and more clients in their 40’s, 50’s 60’s and even 70’s walk through our doors.

No doubt about it. Our clients (and I) still want to look good, but more often than not we want to feel good, and we don’t want to give up doing the active things we like doing. Who says you can’t keep hiking, biking, skiing and snowboarding just because you added another number to your age? I want to keep throwing the football as far as I used too, and I am working hard to stay ahead of my 15-year old in the weight room. 

At my last birthday I found myself pondering this thought:

"I know I am a year older, but I really don't FEEL any different than 10 years ago, in fact in a lot of ways I feel better. Do I really have to accept that getting older comes with unavoidable aches, pains and weight gain?"

Now don't get me wrong. I have noticed some physical changes that have come with the passing years. But they have more to do with recovery than they do with ability.

I have continued to get stronger in the gym, but he fact of the matter is I just don't bounce back from training or injury as fast as I used to. I spend more time on mobility work than I used to, and I can't pound quite as many calories as I used to and stay lean. When something gets tweaked, I am careful about addressing it, not ignoring it, confident it will eventually "go away". Part of that has to do with a little wisdom gained over the years from doing stupid things. 

Many of us are at the stage of life when we see our parents starting to struggle with the aging process too, and we want to help them as well. The fact of the matter is the more proactive we are with our physical fitness and healthy eating habits now, the far better off we will be in the next 10, 20, 30 years and beyond.

I read an article recently on this subject, and this sentence caught my eye;

"It's not the number of years you live; it's how you live them." – Jennifer Broxterman

The author then wrote something that really drove the point home. It's not about lifespan - it's about healthspan. It's not how long you live - it's how well you live. That’s our goal.

The Gap In Our Thinking

What is “Active Aging” anyway? In 2015 the World Health Organization actually replaced that term with “Healthy Aging”, and they define it this way:

“The process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age”. That’s a pretty solid definition. It’s what I like to call PROactive Aging.

No matter what you call it; Active Aging, Healthy Aging, Successful Aging, or Functional Aging the premise is the same to me; I want to live as actively and productively as possible, for as long as possible.

I wrote this guide because too often I see a gap in the way public policy addresses the issue.

The following were the topics at a recent Active Aging Conference in my local area:

Overview of Retirement and Social Security; What You Need to Know

The Basics of Memory Loss

Aging At Home

Proper Nutrition

Now to be sure those are all relevant topics in the discussion, and I was thrilled to see nutrition included.

But there are some glaring omissions I just couldn’t ignore.

It’s a conference on active aging that has absolutely no speakers on the subject of staying active – in other words keeping that body moving!

I am all for having an maintaining an active mind, but that head functions best when it’s sitting on a heathy body. And that requires physical activity. You don’t have to run marathons (actually please don’t), but you do need regular exercise and movement.

There are other strategies we need to consider and adopt as we work toward our best healthspan too

  • Stress Management 
  • Good Sleep Habits 
  • Having A Positive Outlook On Life
  • Surrounding Ourselves With Positive People
  • Finding Meaningful Work

And many others…

The bottom line is that good nutrition and lifestyle habits - regular appropriate exercise, healthy amounts of sleep, and stress management strategies, are the best tools to improve healthspan.

The good news? Those things are in your control. While we can't always change what happens to us, we do have a choice on how we are going to deal with the mess that life throws our way.

One of my favorite words is "resilience". One definition is; "the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness."

We hit the gym to build resilience in our bodies. A strong, flexible (dare I say "pliable", TB12 fans?) body is less prone to injury and recovers more quickly from injury than a detrained body.

We nourish our body with healthy foods to support that training, to promote healthy cell function, and to build a rock-solid immune system that fends of the ravages of illnesses and the stress of life.

We practice stress management, have good sleep habits, and having some fun as part of enjoying a happy, healthy life.

Resilience doesn't happen by accident. There is daily effort and struggle involved. But it is worth it.

The focus of this article series (I know, finally!) is to show you how to turn your happy and healthy on by learning to Eat Well, Exercise Smart, and Enjoy Your Best Life.

Next Article Focus: 

Strategy 1: Eat Well

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Tips For Better Sleep

Coach Dean , Training , weight loss

1. TV, Cell Phone, PC - all artificial light interferes with melatonin production - not cool. 30 minutes before bed, flip the off switch.

2. Warm water is relaxing, helps us de-stress, and just plain feels good.

3. About 67 degrees is the sweet spot.

4. ANY light interferes with the sleep process. Check under the bed and turn off the lights. 🙂

Sleep makes a body good!

- DC

Prepare Your Sleep

Coach Dean , Training , weight loss

1. Hitting the "snooze" bar just once never seems to happen. The longer you stay in the bed, the harder to get up. Sit Up. Feet On The Floor. Stand Up.

2. Immediate natural light exposure regulates your melatonin. This helps us be awake fully in the day, ready to sleep at night.

3. Regulate your inner clock, reduce your stress, optimize your hormones. Plus you look and feel better!

4. Too much food makes it harder to sleep. Enough said.

5. Clear your mind; writing things down gets them out of your head. Planning the next day at night helps you not think about them when your trying to get some shut eye.


Which one of these things are you going to put into action TONIGHT?

- DC

Signs Your Sleep Stinks

Coach Dean , Training , weight loss

Even adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

1. Dependence on stimulants is a losing game, as your body needs more to get the same effect. There's no medals for drinking 8 cups of coffee a day.

2. An occasional cold happens. But if it seems like you are ALWAYS sick, it's a sign your immune system is compromised and your inflammatory response is on high alert.

3. When you don't get enough shut-eye, neurotransmitters production and hormone regulation suffer. Voila! Cranky Pants

4. Highly studied and highly underrated. Sleep better - lose weight faster (or at all). There seems to be something magical about 9 hours a night.

Don't Despair. Better sleep takes practice! What would happen if you added just one more minute of sleep per night, every night for the next two months?

- DC

Let’s Get Distracted!

Coach Dean , Training

No, not the kind of distraction where you are getting constantly interrupted by email, or Facebook notifications, or your co-workers; I am talking about making your body feel better by doing some joint distraction. Check out this video, where we talk about making your shoulders feel goooood with a band and just a few minutes of your time. You (and your shoulders) will be glad you did!

- DC

Are You Stable?

Coach Dean , Training

Back pain

You might think me asking that question is pretttyyy ironic, and who can blame you? 🙂

However the kind of stability I am talking about is core stability. Now if you are a training geek you may know this terminology is not without controversy, but for simplicity's sake, let's just call it that for now.

So let's get down to it.

If you want to move better and stay pain free, you gotta train core stability, and more importantly, train it correctly. (AKA, not doing endless situps and crunches).

There are a number of different facets to core stability training that you need to know, and need to train.

Anterior core stability is what we need to resist excessive lumbar spine extension, or arching the back. Think planks and pushup holds.

Posterior core stability is what we need to resist excessive lumbar spine flexion, or rounding the back. Birddogs is one exercise to help with this.

Lateral core stability is what we need to resist lateral flexion, think single arm loaded carries for an exercise that works on this.

Rotary core stability exercises teach you to resist excessive rotation through the lumbar spine (low back). The lumbar spine is only designed to move 2-3 degrees per facet, so it's super important we know how to stabilize in this plane of motion. We use exercises like the Pallof Press to train this "anti-rotation".

We commonly use bands to perform the Pallof Press, and there are a number of different ways you can make the exercise appropriate for your current ability. We can move further from or closer to the wall. We can take a parallel or split stance. Even which foot is in the outside position makes a difference. 

Recently Nancy and I were filming some training videos, and she thought it would be really funny to progress the Pallof by adding a sandbag. Ok, not really, but watch the video and check out what happens when you add vertical load (the sandbag) plus switch the feet. You want to talk about firing up the core. I think I can still feel it! 🙂

As someone who has fought back challenges since my early twenties, I can attest that training my ability to stabilize through all the planes of motion has made a huge impact in reducing my pain and keeping me healthy enough to train hard. Exercises like these may not be the sexiest or most fun, but you neglect them at your own peril.

Doing the little things make big things happen!

Keep training hard.

- DC

Going Through The Motions

Coach Dean , Training

Ever heard that you can't get anywhere by "going through the motions"?

I have said those very words myself. To my kids, to my employees, and to my clients.

And the intent was good. It wasn't (necessarily) meant to chide or ride someone for not doing the best job they could, but as an encouragement that the pursuit of excellence is worth the effort.

But as I have matured, my perspective has changed. You have probably also heard that "50% (or some random percentage) is half the battle", and that is often true. Sometimes you gotta just show up - and go through the motions.

Now don't think Coach Dean is turning into some kind of old softy. You still have to put tremendous effort into a task to achieve your best. But some days you just don't have the physical, mental, or emotional capacity to give it your all. 

Show up and go through the motions anyway.

Reps matter. Not every lift is going to be your one rep maximum (1RM). You have to put in multiple reps, over a long period of time, at sub-maximum weights, in order to get stronger. That's physiology. 

And even those "less than max" lifts can fluctuate from day to day. Some days I walk into the gym and feel like I can lift a bulldozer. Other days the foam roller seems heavy.

Some days I wake up ready to take on the world, others I want to hide under the blankets. I don't want to get up, go to work, train, eat right - none of it. But 90% plus of the time, I do it anyway. 


Because when I put in the reps, even the not so good ones, I am winning. At the end of the day I feel better about myself, which is huge. Why do those of us who would never dream of breaking a commitment to our spouse, kids, boss or teammates so often break commitments we make to ourselves? To get to the gym, to eat like an adult, to get enough rest? 


You are worth it. You are worthy of the time and effort to take care of yourself. When you understand that, life really does get better. You'll be happier, and all those people you are busting your butt to serve will benefit from a healthy you even more. 

Coach Nancy says every day "Best Day Ever!", and I love her for it.

It's not just blind optimism or ignoring the realities of life. It's recognizing that because you walked through our doors, even when you didn't feel like it, is a huge win. You are "going through the motions" one more day, and putting in the reps that lead to real results.

Going through the motions = sustained forward momentum = a healthier, happier you.

And who doesn't want that? 

Keep making it happen!

- DC

Why Do I Train?

Coach Dean , Mindset , Training

​Why to catch girls, of course!

I mean when it comes down to it, that is why  lot of guys start training, just sayin'.

​Now before you go running to Nancy, or emailing me back telling me I am already married or a dirty old man, THESE are the girls I am training to catch!

Janie and Gigi
KJ and Amy

​Janie, ​"Gigi", Karalynn, Amy and Lexi.

​Granddaughter. Wife. Daughter. Daughter. Granddaughter.

THEY are the girls who I am chasing. Literally. How did kids get so fast these days anyway? (and Nancy is Wonder Woman, as we all know)​

But seriously, they are who keep me heading to the gym when I don't feel like it, am sore, and tired, and just blah. Yeah, I have those days too. The ones where I am buried under my to-do list, have calls to make, emails to answer, training programs to write. The days where I have to be somewhere at 11:00am, 2:00pm, 4:00pm, and won't be home until 8:30pm. 

Just like you, those are the days I don't "Have the time", I have to "Make the time."

They (and my sons​, their wives, and grandson) are what keep me going back into the dungeon, willing my tight hamstrings to wake up, rolling through the soreness, ​battling the iron off the floor or overhead, and getting just one more rep. 

They are who I think of when I get an email from the band man t​itled "Squat Until You're 100", and I think "Why not me?"

Of course there are no guarantees I'll live to 100. But that doesn't mean I can't live every day to it's fullest potential.

I was reminded once again this weekend how short life really is. One of the most amazing men I ever met, Tim Smith, went it for hernia surgery on a Thursday, died of complications on Sunday.

​48 years young. Wife, kids, grandkids left in shock. Friends like me left to confront our own mortality. I am 51, and I realized once again there is no guarantee I'll live to 52.

But while I am here I am going to to fight the battle. I am going to steward the gift of this body and try to keep it healthy and productive as long as I can.


So I can better steward the other gifts, the more important gifts, that God has also given me.


Like the ones in this picture below, taken last weekend.

This is why I train.

How about you?

- DC

Recovery Week is Coming

Coach Nancy , Training

​Recovery week is scheduled for Monday, September 3rd – Friday, September 7th. We love to see each of you and we also know for  your best health and training ability we design “Rest” weeks into the training calendar. If you’ve trained with us for any length of time you’ve discovered the benefits and joys of recovery week in helping you progress onward and upward!

Steady Progress

So how can you best use recovery week?

You’ve already set aside the hour to train your body, ​Here​ are 20 different ways to use that hour during recovery week:

  1. Plan your meals and snacks for the week
  2. Find a new recipe and try it
  3. Have a massage at Chichester Massage and Body Works (remember Cr8 Fitness members receive a special price, just ask)
  4. Go for a hike with your family
  5. Roll on a tennis ball or better yet a LaCrosse ball
  6. Spend extra time with your kids and spouse
  7. Prepare your ingredients to make next week’s mealtime easier and faster
  8. Sleep in (especially for those crazy 5am-ers)
  9. Stretch
  10. Take a bike ride
  11. Have game night with your family
  12. Invite friends over for dinner
  13. Foam roll
  14. The dog needs some attention too
  15. Stretch with a purple band
  16. Go dancing
  17. Catch up on  your reading
  18. Do some activity that has been on your To Do list for a while
  19. Go Fishing
  20. Miss Cr8 Fitness terribly 🙂

​To your best health,

Coach Nancy