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World Class Fitness in 100 Words (Part 2)

So as a follow up to part 1 of this post, I wanted to break down each aspect of fitness in 100 words. The great thing about the mindset is the simplistic takeaways. The lack of specialized words or terms makes it very easy to read, and actually comprehend.  So trying to stick with that same theme, let’s dive in to take a look at these parts.

Eat meat & vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.

Choose healthy foods that provide your body with lots of nutrients. A bag of chips doesn’t have many nutrients in it. Lower amounts of starch means you don’t need them with every meal.

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, fruit does have sugar. The “no sugar” that this is referring to are things like candy, or sweets with high levels of sugar and no other vitamins or benefits.

Keep intake to levels that will support exercise, but not body fat.

Measure your foods for optimal fitness.  If that doesn’t work for you, just try not to overdo it. Eat healthy foods, when hungry.

Practise and train the major lifts:

Deadlift, Clean, Squat, Presses, Clean and Jerk and Snatch.

These are multi-joint movements that train large (and more than one) muscle groups at a time. Compound lifts are shown to be the most effective at developing muscle and gaining strength. Vary the weights and reps you use when training these lifts.

Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics:

Pullups, Dips, Rope Climb, Push Ups, Presses to Handstand, Pirouettes, Flips, Splits and Holds.

If the major lifts build your large muscle groups, then these train the smaller ones. These exercises are great for helping you stabilize and balance, rather than move large amounts of weight.

Bike, Run, Swim, Row, etc… hard and fast.

It’s crucial to do enough cardio. Aim for easily repetitive movements that can be done intensely without major risk of injury. Focus on sprint intervals with these, not distance.

Work out 5 or 6 days per week. Mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy.

The majority of the week you should be combining these lifts, movements and exercises in endless ways. There should be an underlying structure to how they are combined. But, try to stay out of a strict routine. Don’t get in a rut of doing the same things over and over. Get creative with how you incorporate workouts into your life.

Keep workouts short and intense.

Intensity is king. Common knowledge would say longer is better. However, this is not true. There is a reason sprinters look like power houses and marathon runners look like twigs.

Regularly learn and play new sports.

Learn new movements and create lots of neural pathways. Teach your body and your mind how to do lots of things!

Fitness in 100 words: a simple philosophy

There you have it. That is fitness in 100 words (plus a little extra).  Ready to get fit? Book your free intro today.

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World Class Fitness in 100 Words

What do we all want?

Recently, I have been meeting with the Buffalo Nickel CrossFit members one on one and have had some great discussions. We have been talking about goals. Not only goals for their health and fitness, but life in general. Almost everyone has mentioned that they want to lose weight and/or maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. That is, they want a world class fitness regime.

This is music to my ears for a couple of reasons.  Not only do people want to get healthier (lose weight), but they also want to STAY healthy!

What would happen if you asked a group of people “Do you want to get and stay healthy?” The majority would say “Yes, of course!” But there is a problem!

Where to begin…

There is so much existing information about health and fitness.  A quick google search of “how to get in shape” will hit with a tidal wave of results. Some of this information is good, and some is just absolute garbage. It can be really overwhelming.

Even for someone like me who has invested a large amount of their life into being healthy, it is like trying to drink from a fire hydrant.

That’s why I think about fitness in 100 words. It is a general description without any crazy or confusing details. Even someone who is brand new to fitness should be able to understand the concept of fitness from these 100 words.

This was posted in the CrossFit Journal all the way back in 2002.  But guess what, fitness in 100 words still applies, because it is actually fitness. It is not some crazy “as seen on TV” product or a $3000 stationary bike that will eventually be worth less than a computer mouse.  The original article has 11 pages of information that you can go read here if you want.

World class fitness in 100 words

I will break each of these parts down with a little more explanation in the future, but this is the gist.

“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and NO sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.

Practice and train major lifts: deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstands, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast.

Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. ROUTINE IS THE ENEMY. Keep workouts short and intense.

Regularly learn and play new sports.”

That is the simplest way it can be said. If you follow this mentality, you will have world class fitness. Like I said, in a future post we will go over these parts in more detail. 

If you have any questions about how to be healthier, please reach out to us. We can help you to reach your goals.

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What Shoes To Wear For CrossFit?

So, you’ve just signed up for CrossFit, and when you were at the box you noticed a lot of people wearing a certain style or brand of shoe that looked nothing like the shoes you had on. And you start thinking: what are the best shoes to wear for CrossFit? Do I need special shoes?The short answer is a big fat no. You don’t NEED CrossFit shoes, sometimes labeled as training shoes.  

But they will definitely help you. First, some history.

In the beginning

Believe it or not when CrossFit started, there was no specific CrossFit equipment, let alone shoes.  Everyone simply wore what they had. Regular athletic/running shoes, barefoot shoes, and Converse were all popular choices. They each had things they did well, and they each had their own Achilles heel (hahahaha). 

However, this all changed when CrossFit and Reebok entered into a partnership in 2010. The partnership basically made it so that Reebok was the only licensed company to use the CrossFit brand on their apparel and shoes. 

In 2011 the very first CrossFit shoe came out (Nano), it was designed to be similar to a CrossFit athlete: generally good at everything. This was huge. You could do box jumps and double-unders in them, then use them for weightlifting, and to finish, take off on a mile run. All that, and without having to change shoes or having to sacrifice comfort.

By today’s standards that doesn’t sound like much, but for a while most “athletic shoes” were sport specific. Or, they were focused on looking athletic, but couldn’t actually handle simple fitness requirements.

10 Years Later

The sport of fitness, and popularity of a truly functional shoe has grown over the last 10 years.  Other companies have decided to cash in on this popularity and have designed “fitness” or “training” shoes.  Some are just as popular if not more so than the Reebok designed Nano.  

The partnership of Reebok and CrossFit is in its last year, and it will be interesting to see how both companies handle this break up.  

Okay cool, but what are the best shoes to wear for CrossFit?

If you are just starting CrossFit, then you don’t need to go out and buy new shoes, just wear what you have. Most people have a pair of athletic shoes lying around. They will work just fine while you are learning the basics.

Special shoes to wear for CrossFit can be expensive, so you might get lucky and meet someone at your new box who has bought a slightly used pair, didn’t like them and now wants to sell them.  You might be able to pick up a newer pair for cheap.

It’s also good to talk to coaches and members to see what they recommend for footwear.  Trust me, CrossFit people LOVE shoes and you will make their day asking for their thoughts and advice.  If anything, you’ll have to make an excuse just to get away from them talking. 

Shoes: some good, some bad, some ugly

There are plenty of people who have done comparisons and reviews for each and every CrossFit style shoe out there. With research, you can find more than you ever knew was possible on this topic.

But if you don’t want to spend the time using Google, hopefully this will make it easier. This is not by any means all the ‘fitness’ shoes out there but it does cover the most popular.

 Reebok Nano:

Good

These are the originals. They’ve been in the game the longest, and in my opinion it shows.  I think they are the most comfortable. Reebok has refined the shoe well, and they continue to make overall improvements.

Bad

They are known for having some bad generations.  There is a reason Reebok has the best CrossFit shoe, and that is because they have made some major mistakes in the past. But, for the most part, I think that ended with the 7th generation.

Ugly

I think all Nanos are pretty slick looking.  The design of the 8s are my personal favorites. The newest generation, the X’s, have a pretty cool look.

Nike Metcon:

Good

When these came out they were an instant hit and have grown in typical Nike fashion.  I had a few pairs and one thing I loved was the hardened heel for handstand push ups.  They also brought a new design to the game and made it to where there was variety inside CrossFit boxes.

Bad

The few pairs I had had a major issue; with every step they would squeak and squawk. It sounded like you were walking on a freshly waxed linoleum floor being followed by a gaggle of geese. Plus, the sides of the soles would always crack.

Ugly

Design peaked years ago.  The newest ones look bulky and heavy. I have a wide foot and the toe box on Metcons have just never felt right.

Nobull Trainer:

Good

If your focus is on lifting, these will probably be good for you. The firm flat sole is nice and the snug fit ensures your foot won’t move too much. Nobull probably has the most color options of any fitness shoe. They seem to make a new color scheme for their shoe’s every week.

Bad

Okay, here we go…I don’t like Nobull. They are expensive for what they are and rarely (if ever) put their shoes on sale. They have had the same basic shoe since 2017 and just throw new colors on it without actually making any improvements. 

They started with this whole ‘David taking on Goliath’ mantra which was cool, but that quickly faded when they sponsored some of the biggest names in CrossFit. Personal opinion aside, I had one pair, and they didn’t last 6 months before the sole came apart.

Ugly

Despite my dislike for certain aspects of the company, I actually love the look of the shoe and all the colors. They make awesome colors, the design is simple and you can get as subtle or as wild as you like with all the themes they offer. 

If you do find something you like, you better get it quick! They are notorious for selling out of sizes/styles and then not restocking for a long time, or only offering one run of something on a certain day of the year (Black Friday, New Years, etc.) 

Wow David, your knowledge and insight of CrossFit shoes is SO impressive!

Thank you. Hopefully this helps you on your journey to picking shoes to wear for CrossFit. Be warned: it is unlikely you will only have one pair.  Everyone knows a good CrossFitter will have lots of CrossFit shoes.  

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Buffalo Nickel Crossfit FAQ

Ever wonder about Buffalo Nickel CrossFit? Wonder no more! Here are the answers to your top questions about Buffalo Nickel Crossfit.

When did Buffalo Nickel CrossFit open?

The end of 2016. I decided to open around August/September. By the time all the papers were signed and the doors were open it was December.

Where does the name come from?

Mostly because I am a bison nerd! I find all aspects of them amazing. Their history, their wildness and stubbornness, how nutritious their meat is, but mostly how athletic they are.  Bison are all muscle, with very little fat. They are big, powerful and strong animals. Yet, they are still able to jump 6 foot fences, run about 40mph, and move with ease.  From a CrossFit perspective, they are one of the ultimate athletes.

Why did you start Buffalo Nickel CrossFit?   

I started coaching CrossFit in 2014 and I loved it. The most enjoyable part for me is helping people improve their movement. I really like being able to give someone the right cues to help them move better.

So, after coaching part time for about 2 years, I decided it was time to open my own affiliate. My goal starting out was simple: I wanted to help normal people become healthier, and move/lift in functional ways. CrossFit had been such a large part of my life and I felt like it had done a lot for me. I wanted others to experience that too.

What does the future hold for Buffalo Nickel CrossFit?

Of course, our main goal is to give our clients the very best value along with the ultimate CrossFit experience.  I want people to be blown away by every little detail of Buffalo Nickel. This is why it’s always a work in progress. I never stop thinking about what we can do to make our box better.

Myself and the other coaches do a lot of learning and studying just trying to make sure we can provide some great services to our members.

Knowing what you know now, would you do anything different? 

I definitely underestimated how difficult starting a business is. On the other side of that coin, I overestimated myself. 

There have been a lot of very long, painful, and expensive lessons to learn, but ultimately I enjoy the satisfaction of overcoming the obstacles.  Of course there are things I would do differently.  The main thing I would suggest to anyone starting any business is do your homework and just start trying different tactics to find what works. 

You can’t know/do too much.  The faster you find what doesn’t work, the quicker you can find what does. 

How will you know when you have become successful?

I think the word successful is misleading to most people. I believe most people picture success as reaching a point in life where they are done chasing dreams, or don’t have to work for things. Basically, a point where things are easy.

Of course I want to achieve goals, and accomplish what I set out to achieve. But I never want to reach a point where I stop chasing dreams. And resting on my laurels is unacceptable. For me it’s the chase that’s exciting.

Really, I just want to help make happy, healthy humans.  So that’s what we are going to do!

Click here to see some more info about what we do and how to join us at Buffalo Nickel CrossFit.

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Why You Will Like Group Fitness.

Maybe you are brand new to fitness, or maybe you have been involved in some sort of physical activity your entire life.  Whatever the case, group fitness can be a fun, relationship building activity.

What is group fitness?

Group fitness is simply like minded people getting together to enjoy the same type of fitness/fitness program.  Some of the most well known are Zumba, F45, Pilates, Yoga, Barre, multiple types of martial arts, and of course CrossFit. 

Group fitness is usually highly structured when compared to the lone gym goer doing their own thing, and is slightly different from hiring a personal trainer.  There are start and end times, the workout is usually programmed before you arrive, the class generally has a schedule that is followed by all members of the group.  Hopefully the coach/trainer goes over expectations, demonstrates movements, corrections, and is motivating.  As far as the “personality”  of the class, that is dependent on the program.  A Barre or Yoga class will have a very different feel than a CrossFit or martial arts class.  

Will I like group fitness?

It depends!  If you like coaching, community, accountability, structure, camaraderie, and are even slightly competitive then group fitness is probably a great fit.  It isn’t for everyone though, and that’s okay.  In my opinion one of the best things about group fitness is the accountability and community.  

Even before opening Buffalo Nickel I really enjoyed getting to know the coaches, and members.  Finally, fitness had become more than just working out to stay in shape, it became my hobby; and the people I met were who I spent my time with.  

I loved it. I could show up, have an entire hour planned out for me, work hard in what reminded me of a team practice (there was a coach, you have others there to help push you, and you did the same for them).  Afterwards we could usually just talk and hangout, or if we were too exhausted we could might sit and watch while others went through the same torture we just finished.

What about pricing?

Every place is different but to get an idea we can use a spectrum.  On one end is a typical ‘globo-gym’(Gold’s, Lifetime, Genesis, Planet Fitness), usually these are on the less expensive side.  They range in cost from $10/month and up depending on what your membership includes.  On the other end of the spectrum is personal training, personal trainers generally price their services around $60/hour.  We are calling this expensive because if a person hires a personal trainer 3 days a week at that cost they will be spending at least $720 a month.

Group fitness cost’s fall pretty much anywhere in between.  Since I know CrossFit it is the only one I feel comfortable pricing, and prices usually range from $80 to $250+ per month.  Factors on price include location, how many classes a week you want to attend, what equipment is available, and if you want extra’s (nutrition coaching, open gym options, PT sessions, etc.)

What is the best group fitness program?

Easy.  Whatever one you enjoy.  There is no way that I or anyone else can tell you which is best for you, that is 100% your choice.  But here are some tips.

  • Decide what your goals are: If you want to learn how to box, CrossFit probably won’t help.  Visa versa for olympic lifting or learning a muscle up.  While both will help you be more fit, they each concentrate on different areas of fitness.
  • Find one that fits you: If you walk in and it feels like home, that’s a pretty good sign.  This is one of those “I knew right away” things, so pay attention to what your gut is telling you.
  • Ask questions and look around: Look to see if equipment is organized, surfaces are clean, ask those who are already members questions, what they like, if there is anything they don’t like, do they get coached, is there something they wish was different, etc.  
  • Pick the one you feel is the best fit: I might learn pilates from the #1 pilates instructor in the world, and I am sure I would learn a ton of stuff.  But it probably would not make me want to do pilates regularly.  On the flip side, I could go to a CrossFit box that had only brand name equipment and is super cheap, but if the coach doesn’t actually coach then I don’t care what the cost is or how great the equipment.  You know what is important to you, whatever program you are interested in, pick the place that suits you and your interest best.

Group or no group:

If you are the slightest bit interested in group fitness, then go try some places.  The worst that happens is you exercise in a way you don’t usually.  Life is about trying new things.  So go take a chance!

Interested in CrossFit but not sure how to start?  Click the link below to schedule a free intro with us.

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The Unsung Hero Of The Zercher Position

The name Ed Zercher probably means very little to most people in the world. However, Ed created what might be one of the best strength building techniques out there. He is hailed as the creator of the Zercher position, most commonly used in the Zercher squat.

There are plenty of articles out there about Ed, his legacy and movement ‘how-to’s. However, today we are just talking about the pros and cons. We also have some advice for adding the Zercher position to your workouts.

The Good:

Using the Zercher position (holding the barbell in the crook of the elbows) can be very beneficial. Here’s why:

  • Your upper back, especially the traps, will become stronger due to the forward position of the bar.  
  • Maintaining the correct posture during the movement requires bracing your core very firmly. This not only helps make your core stronger, but also shines a spotlight on a weak core.
  • The quads, glutes and biceps will all be activated in different ways due to the unique position of the barbell.
  • The position can be helpful or more comfortable for people with long limbs or a poor front rack position.

The Bad:

Like any movement, the Zercher position is not without its drawbacks.  

  • To get the bar into a Zercher position, you usually bring it up from the floor.  This can be listed under benefits if done properly. However, if done improperly it comes with some serious risks of injury.  I typically suggest loading this position from the rig to make it a little safer.
  • If you have a weaker core and lower back issues you might want to focus on building that core stability first before trying the challenging Zercher movement.
  • The Zercher position can make breathing difficult, due to the bar/arms pressing into the chest.
  • It can be uncomfortable on the arms, especially if using a standard barbell without any kind of padding. An axel bar will help this issue but only slightly. Personally, I usually label this as a positive aspect. This is because it creates an uncomfortable situation that forces you to accept the pain and work through it. However, I recognize that most people do not feel the same way.

How To Use The Zercher Position In Your Workouts

Pick one exercise a week to do in the Zercher position, and build up from there. As far as picking which movement, you have plenty of options. Squats, lunges, holds, carries, step ups, deadlifts – the list goes on.  

I will add a word of wisdom. If you are not used to them, go lighter than you think you need to.  These can bring out the inner baby of even the most seasoned lifter.

Not sure you are doing the Zercher correctly?  Contact BNCF today for your free intro.  As a member, you get access to world class coaching, convenient location and more.

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Exercising Later In Life: It’s Never Too Late

Getting older sucks…or so the saying goes. But why does it suck? A big reason is loss of health. As we age, we typically lose muscle mass, have less energy, a compromised immune system, higher blood pressure, and more. Years of unhealthy habits finally catch up to us, and we have to start paying the piper.  Even so, there’s another (better) saying: “it’s never too late”. Exercising later in life is an excellent way to combat these common issues.

I want to brag for a moment. At Buffalo Nickel CrossFit we currently have 6 members over the age of 55. One of them is my own mom. I can’t tell you how proud I am of these 6 people, for multiple reasons. 

One being, CrossFit is totally different from the health and fitness routines that they were taught growing up. Secondly, they haven’t let age determine their health. They embody “it’s never too late.”

Lastly, when I first started CrossFit I was in my early 20s and relatively fit. I was still nervous walking in. These folks started CrossFit in their 50s and 60s.  They took a huge step out of their comfort zone and stepped into something that requires discipline and grit. That is awesome!

So, are you too old to join a gym? 

No way, not even close.  Fitness is healthcare, even just being interested in fitness is caring for your health.  In fact as we get older it is even MORE important to take an interest in your health.  It is like planning for retirement, earlier is better but even if you don’t start until your senior years you can still reap benefits.

How can exercising later in life help your mind?

Exercising helps with multitasking and creativity. It also prevents some of the common effects of ageing such as memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia.  In some cases, it can even slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Exercising is great for your body and brain. Committing to exercise later in life is a perfect way to slow the cognitive effects of ageing.

How can exercising later in life help your body?

It boosts your metabolism and builds muscle, in turn burning more calories. Exercise lowers your risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancers.

It also improves strength, flexibility, and posture, which helps with balance and coordination, and helps prevent falling. As an older person, you’ll find that exercise alleviates symptoms of arthritis. Working out over 50 is one of the best things you can do for your body.

Living a happier, healthier life can start at any age. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  If you are still uncomfortable in a gym setting, there is plenty you can do from home to help increase your fitness and be healthier.  Unsure where to start?  Reach out to us, we have some of the best coaches who would love to help you.   

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7 Reasons Why You Should Lift Weights

“I know I should lift weights, but I don’t want to get bulky.”

I hear the above statement (or one similar) all the time. As a CrossFit owner, I want people to be strong, functional, healthy humans. Right now, my direction in life is to help people achieve that.

I would argue that most people want those same things for themselves.  But…there’s always a “but”.  The ‘but’ here is but what is considered “bulky”?

When I started CrossFit I was about 170 pounds, but I looked like I was 150 (I have always looked like I weighed less than I actually do). I could do some pull ups, squats, some push ups, my cardio was good, but I didn’t really lift weights. 

I thought 170 was the perfect weight for me. In fact, I was hesitant to start CrossFit because I didn’t want to “bulk up”.  Once I started, it was obvious that my mostly bodyweight exercises had left a huge weakness in my overall fitness.  It was like driving a car that was missing a wheel; you might get to where you’re going but it won’t be fast.

As I have continued to do CrossFit my weight and size have fluctuated.  Even at my heaviest weight (225) I wouldn’t say I was bulky.  Fluffy? Oh definitely. But I have never been “bulky”. 

I sit between 190 and 195 now, and overall I am extremely happy with that.  I would say I look athletic, and more importantly I feel athletic and have confidence in my capabilities.  However, if you saw me in person I highly doubt you would say I am bulked up. 

Will Lifting Weights Make You Bulky?

There is a very good chance that adding in weight training or CrossFit won’t make you bulky either.  Your body composition might change, your clothes will fit better/different, you might even notice a change when you look in the mirror. 

You will definitely get stronger and notice how certain physical tasks in life are easier: yardwork, playing with your kids, carrying groceries in, moving the couch, the list goes on.   

To become what most would consider “bulky” a few things need to happen.  Your body has to have A LOT of testosterone(more than most people, especially females produce naturally), you have to workout like it is your life, the younger you are the better, your diet has to be fine tuned to you, and you have to eat mass amounts of food.  Most importantly you have to have good genetics, you can get bulky without good genes, but you are going to be investing twice as much compared to someone who has great genes.

Why To Lift Weights

You definitely should be adding in lifting weights to help you live a happier, healthier life. Let’s run through some of the key benefits of lifting weights. Just to list a few, you will:

  1. Burn more calories
  2. Feel less stressed
  3. Slow down your ageing process
  4. Prevent injuries
  5. Lower your risk of diabetes
  6. Improve your bone density
  7. Feel an awesome sense of accomplishment

Think of the different aspects of health and fitness as spokes that form a wheel. Each spoke should be of equal length so the wheel has no flat spots or bumps. A properly formed wheel ensures your health and fitness is well rounded and rides smooth.

Want to know how to get started with some fitness training?  Click here to get started.