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By Silviu Bona 03 Dec, 2017
Social Media is a powerful thing and with it's exponential growth it's changing the way many of us live. It's changing how we connect, how we go through life, and certainly the work speed in how we perceive things. It's also changing how we perceive ourselves, and how we look at ourselves in the mirror. It can be good or bad but once ting that's true is it's powerful effect on our lives. You may think that you're not a social media person but if you're reading this, you already are. Clarissa Sylva conducted a study on people as a whole and how they're responding to social media. In her study, she found that 60% of people said that their self esteem was negatively affected by social media, 50% reported relationship hardships due to social media and 80% stated that they were much more likely to be deceived on social media. Being deceived on social media is easy as most posts are fun, happy, and portray perfect lifestyles. Let's face it, most people don't like sharing their failures, but rather focus on their success. Look at any lifter or athlete you may follow and go through their Instagram posts for example, and check how many times they post failed workouts. If you lift you know that weightlifting is mainly struggles, misses and failed attempts as we go through the journey of reaching that coveted PR.

So let's look at some things we need to be cognizant about. The first thing is simple validation. We constantly compare ourselves to others and social media makes this very easy. We are judgemental by nature but when we focus on what others are doing on social media we are negatively affected. In life, it's easy to process when someone is gloating but on social media we are constantly bombarded by this and it can be very difficult to deal with. So this polished reality on social media we see is thrown in our face and it's hard to compete with. Validation also occurs in those darn LIKES. When we post things and get that's thumbs up, let's face it, we love the LIKES and that instant gratification can either cause positive or negative emotion. Then when you do the same in real life, you don't get the same reaction. Here's an example. You make an amazing dinner, post it on Social Media and get a ton of reactions, LIKES, HEARTS, COMMENTS etc... Then you serve that meal to your family and the response you get doesn't even come close to the instant gratification you'd get online.  Everything that goes on in our brain tells us that we need validation NOW. So we are programming ourselves to get that gratification in REAL LIFE. We need to be very mindful of this and how it effects our self image. 

Nero plasticity is a real thing, and if we focus so much of our time on Social Media, looking for instant gratification, and constantly take in the polished reality of others we start thinking of ourselves as failures. We start believing that we're not good enough, our families are not good enough, our cooking isn't up to par etc... So use social media to learn as there is a great deal of information out there and education is free but be mindful not to get caught up in the hype. Know who you are, celebrate your failures and successes, go outside and do something productive. 

Love,

Coach Sil
By Sil Bona 01 Dec, 2017
We've all heard coaches yell out "one more rep", or "every rep counts" during an AMRAP. Sometimes this gets us going and we listen, other times we can't hear them because we're so in the zone, and still other times all we can think of is shut the "F" off. So why is every rep so darn important? Well there are several reasons and some relate to your fitness goals, while others may relate to your personal goals. In terms of fitness goals, it's simple. The more work we do in a given amount of time, the more fit we become. If we consistently do more quality reps, we get faster, stronger, and that dreaded conditioning goes through the roof. Consistency is key!

However, there are other reasons why it's important to focus on every rep. First, by focusing on the quality of each rep we limit the potential of injury. Moving well also increases our efficiency and therefore able to do more work with less "pain". Focusing on the number and movement also takes your mind off how much a workout may or may not suck, and by shifting your thoughts to how awesome you're moving, you're able to motivate yourself to push harder. I've seen many N6 athletes go through this process. It's strange watching some of you as a coach because it's almost as if your facial expressions tell a story, and many of you express it well. 

The most important thing about valuing every rep is the carryover to life. My biggest pet peeve is seeing people quit a workout with 5 to 10 seconds left, when they know they can get a few more reps. They've been moving well, working hard with a great pace and simply watch the clock and quit. If that's you, well, shit happens and I've been there. It may be that you've had a tough day at work, or at home and just don't have the emotional energy to push through those last few reps. But there's a  huge correlation between our mindset and those last reps. If we stop with 5 seconds left in a workout, what else to we give up on early? When things get tough in life, do we tend to spearhead through them or sandbag the scenario? You see, it's much more then a few reps, it's an entire mindset and the mental exercise of really pushing through, using a heavier weight when you know you can, finishing strong in a tough workout, and focusing on moving with integrity transfers over to many things in life. It's been said that "Good Enough is the Death of Greatness" and just getting it done, although there are days when that's all you've got, is truly the enemy. So get in, go hard, and let your attitude in the gym make you a better version of yourself outside of the gym. 

Love,

Coach Sil

By Silviu Bona 21 Nov, 2017
Intermittent fasting is a fascinating topin in the nutrition sphere and making a huge comeback. There has been extensive research and science backs it 100%. But like everything, there is always two sides to the story. Every medial professional I know, and respect because I don't respect them all have at least dabbled in if not adapted the intermittent fasting lifestyle. There are several ways you can approach IF (Intermittent Fasting) but the easiest and most popular for beginners is a 16-18h fast. The longer the better, as 18h will provide you with a better hormonal response that will help burn fat. There are many benefits from IF including organ function, and clarity. It's like a soft reset of the body. But how often should you fast? Generally 2-3 days a week is a great start. Although you can choose to fast everyday, it's not advisable as this is not a lasting lifestyle and can cause harm to your system.  

IF Can also cause harm if done too often. The above was a general recommendation that's common knowledge in the IF community. However, what about gender differences? Men and Women are not create equal! When looking at the female vs. male hormonal cycle we clearly see that they're quite different. Therefore, if we're resetting our system, and starving ourselves for a given amount of time, our bodies will react differently.  IF is healthy and a great way to lose fat, however, more is not better, better is better.  Women should start and maybe even stick to 1 day a week when engaging in IF. This will allow their bodies to better utilize fat while keeping their system in check. 

Here's some info from Precision Nutrition, a Nutrition Certification I'm currently working on and the most reputable certification out there when it comes to overall nutrition.

What to do now

Based on what we know, intermittent fasting probably affects reproductive health if the body sees it as a significant stressor.

Anything that affects your reproductive health affects your overall health and fitness. 

Even if you don’t plan to have kids.

But intermittent fasting protocols vary, with some being much more extreme than others. And factors such as your age, your nutritional status, the length of time you fast, and the other stresses in your life—including exercise—are also likely relevant.

So. Is fasting for you?

Considering how much remains unclear, I would suggest a conservative approach.

If you want to try IF, begin with a gentle protocol, and pay attention to how things are going.

Stop intermittent fasting if:

  • your menstrual cycle stops or becomes irregular
  • you have problems falling asleep or staying asleep
  • your hair falls out
  • you start to develop dry skin or acne
  • you’re noticing you don’t recover from workouts as easily
  • your injuries are slow to heal, or you get every bug going around
  • your tolerance to stress decreases
  • your moods start swinging
  • your heart starts going pitter-patter in a weird way
  • your interest in romance fizzles (and your lady parts stop appreciating it when it happens)
  • your digestion slows down noticeably
  • you always seem to feel cold

Fasting is not for everyone

The truth is, some women should not even bother experimenting. Don’t try IF if:

  • you’re pregnant
  • you have a history of disordered eating
  • you are chronically stressed
  • you don’t sleep well
  • you’re new to diet and exercise

Pregnant women have extra energy needs. So if you’re starting a family, fasting is not a good idea.

Ditto if you’re under chronic stress or if you aren’t sleeping well. Your body needs nurturing, not additional stress.

And if you’ve struggled with disordered eating in the past, you probably recognize that a fasting protocol could lead you down a path that might create further problems for you.

Why mess with your health? You can achieve similar benefits in other ways.

If you’re new to diet and exercise, IF might look like a magic bullet for weight loss.

But you’d be a lot smarter to address any nutritional deficiencies before you start experimenting with fasts. Ensure you’re starting from a solid nutritional foundation first.

What to do if fasting isn’t for you

How can you get in shape and lose weight if intermittent fasting isn’t a good option for you?

It’s simple, really.

Learn the essentials of good nutrition. It’s by far the best thing you can do for your health and fitness.

Cook and eat whole foods. Exercise regularly. Stay consistent. And if you’d like some help to do all of that, hire a coach. Sure, intermittent fasting may be popular. And maybe your brother or your boyfriend or your husband or even your dad finds it an excellent aid to fitness and health.

But women are different than men, and our bodies have different needs.

Listen to  your  body. And do what works best for you.


Love, 


Coach Sil




By Sil Bona 20 Nov, 2017
Many of us love coffee although it often gets a bad rap. Why? Age old myths like fat is bad for you, or lifting weights before a certain age stunts your growth. I though the age of science started in the 16th century. So why do listen to so much junk that's readily available online? Simple, people can put out anything out there with little or no science. What's even worst is the use of studies to prove a point and misusing the information to argue something that's never been proven. We we're all told by "experts" that over-consumption of coffee was bad for you heart and might even cause certain cancers. Well, guess what, not only do most of these myths have no basis in fact;  coffee may actually have health benefits. Large-scale studies have shown that caffeine consumption does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and does not raise cholesterol levels or cause irregular heartbeat. A slight, temporary rise in heart rate and blood pressure is common in those who are sensitive to caffeine-but the rise is minimal and proportional to normal activity like walking up stairs.

Depression

A joint study from the National Institutes of Health and the AARP discovered that those who drank four or more cups of coffee a day were 10 percent less likely to be depressed than someone who didn’t drink coffee at all. However, the same mental-health benefits didn’t apply to other caffeinated beverages, especially cola, which was linked to a higher risk of depression (most likely due to the high sugar content). Therefore, researchers suggest coffee’s “mood-lifting effect might be traced to its antioxidants,” reports Prevention.

It may be good for your liver

Numerous studies have suggested that caffeine helps the liver regulate itself. Research presented by the Mayo Clinic found that regular coffee consumption may reduce a person’s risk of PSC, a rare autoimmune disease that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, and even cancer. But there's more. A separate 22-year-study of 125,000 people found that heavy drinkers who consume one cup of coffee a day were 20 percent less likely to develop alcoholic cirrhosis. Once again, those health benefits did not extend to other caffeinated drinks, including tea.

Performance booster

This is no secret: Athletes and coaches have long used coffee to boost athletic performance before a competition. Caffeine, in particular, “has been proven to increase the number of fatty acids circulating in the bloodstream,” reports The New York Times, “which enables people to run or pedal longer.” (One study suggests that as many as two-thirds of Olympic athletes were found with caffeine in their urine.)

How much should you drink prior to competing? Researchers at Coventry University in England discovered that the magic performance-enhancing ratio appears to be 6 milligrams of caffeine for every 2.2 pounds of body weight. For a 154-pound person, that’s about two cups.

There are several other health benefits regular coffee consumption brings. I won't go into all of it now but many studies have been done on the use of coffee and they agree that that Coffee NOT Caffeine can help reduce the risk of Type ll Diabetes, Pancreatic Cancer, can lower the risk of

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and can even make you smarter. 

How should you take your coffee? That all depends of personal preference and goals. If you're on a high fat diet like Keto, or if you're trying to improve mental function and clarity during the day, my go to is Bulletproof Coffee. It's essentially 2 cups of french pressed coffee, 1-t TBS Grass Fed Butter or Gee, and 1-2 TBS of coconut oil or MCT Oil. If you're on a fast or low fat diet take it black. The only downfall to drinking coffee is ingesting a double double from Timmies. Avoid the high sugar and enjoy that that tasty cut of joe. I know I do. 


Coach Sil

By Sil Bona 20 Nov, 2017
It's been a week of the Keto diet and it's been a ride for sure. There's so much to focus on and I realized that if I try and just keep it simple, i'll be better off. First thing I want to comment on is that eating high fat is not too bad. Most people think who start say it's really hard but honestly, with some prep work, and the addition of oils like Fish oil, MCT and my go to Bulletproof coffee, I'm good. I was able to hit my macro percentages as well as my caloric intake within an couple of days.

How did I feel? Well this is a funny question. I felt great and terrible at the same time. Let me explain. At first, going form eating dozens of halloween candy to taking out carbs completely, I felt lethargic, tired groggy, you name it. After getting some more energy from my fats, I started to feel more mentally clear, and had a lot of energy as the day went on.

What about working out without all those carbs? At first workouts felt hard, and I felt noxious, and dizzy during the first couple of intense workouts. After taking some BCAA's and putting pink Himalayan Salt in my water, I was able to stay better hydrated and the dizziness went away. When you're on a high fat and low carb diet, your body has a difficult time holding water and with the addition of salt, I was better able to stay hydrated. My previous workouts felt good and I had plenty of energy. It took about 4-5 days to get through the crappy part of the ordeal but now that I'm seven days in and I feel good.

There were several things that really helped me stay on track and get through the tough fist week any new approach to eating brings. First, that darn bulletproof coffee in the morning was key. Great tasting, full of energy and filling, this coffee saved me from snacking on crap. Lunches were simple. This is huge because if I tried to complicate my food I know I'd fail. Here's an example: 1/2 Sliced Tomato, Baby Cucumber, 20 g Feta Cheese, 20 grams of Marble Cheddar Cheese, some meat (steak). Dinners were also simple, with some sort of meat source on top of a spinach salad filled with nuts, seeds, oils, and cheese. Repeating meals, and meal styles helped a lot. If you're on a meal guide, with shopping lists, it makes it even easier. However, you really need to take a couple of hours, and prep your food to ensure that you don't slip up.

I know feel like I'm over the hump as my energy levels are up, my cravings for chocolate especially are down and I'm able to hit a daily workout without a problem. Mental clarity and productivity has also improved, which allows me to get work done efficiently, reduce procrastination and feel FREE. No more things hanging over my head; the to do list is all checked off.

Coach Sil
By Sil Bona 08 Nov, 2017

The Early Bird...Hits the Snooze Button?

So the night before you have nothing but good intentions to get out of bed and get to the gym, earning that elusive label "morning workout person". You know, the one person you know who seems like they have it all together by 9am.  But the alarm goes off and those good intentions turn into anger hitting the snooze button or more likely just unplugging the clock and getting that extra hour of sleep. 

There certainly is something to becoming that elusive "morning person".  Researchers at the University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany, found that night folks tend to be more creative, but the early birds usually have advanced problem-solving skills. Those same skills also meant that morning people were the ones who anticipated problems and minimized them before they became bigger issues—all desirable traits in a candidate for a top position at work. So feeling happier, being more reliable and emotionally stable, while having a lower risk of being stressed and having the ability to better solve problems certainly makes it tempting to get your butt out of bed and hit the gym early. 

If you've tried our 6am class before, you know that the warmup is usually the harder part. Once you get moving, the rest of the class feels great. This however is not an overnight transformation as it takes a while to train yourself into rising with the sun. So where to start? Like progression in training or increasing weight in a lift this must be done consistently and progressively. First, move your bedtime and wake-up time 15 minutes each day until you reach your wake up time. Hold this schedule for several days until your internal clock adjusts to this new time. 

Secondly, get enough sleep and keep track of what works for you. Neil Stanley, Ph.D., a sleep expert who's studied the area for for 33 years. "Most people need between seven and nine hours to feel at their best, but some need more or less—whatever allows you to feel awake, alert, and focused during the day." Once you determine the ideal amount of sleep you need to functuion at 100 percent, you're more likely to succeed in becoming that "morning person". 

Finally, wind down at night. Read a book, get off screens, have a tea, do some stretches etc... Find what works for you. Winding down help shut down your Central Nervous System, which allows you to enter true "deep sleep". This allows you to wake up feeling fresh and ready to go. If you wake up daily and feel exhausted getting out of bed, you're probably not getting much quality sleep. Sleeping pills are a perfect example of this. They knock you out but don't actually allow you to enter deep sleep. I like a supplement called ZMA. It's not expensive, and it has no side effects. Once asleep ZMA helps you ender deeper levels of sleep, allowing you to rest and waking up refreshed. 

So get to the gym early, and be a better functioning human for the rest of the day. 

Love, 

Coach Sil

By Sil Bona 22 Oct, 2017
Do you dread over head work? I certainly do sometimes as it tends to cause some serious discomfort in my wrists, especially if I haven't gone heavy overhead for a while. So what causes this uncomfortable and sometimes painful feeling? Most likely it has to do with a lack of strength in your wrist. When we lack stability in our writs, we tend to extend them, thus putting an incredible amount of pressure on our forearm extenders. This causes us to have shooting pain down our forearm and we usually tend to feel some mean pain in our writs. So how do we fix this? Here are several ways that you can treat this nagging and annoying problem. 

1. Mobilize your writs with dynamic stretches before lifting. 

2. Ensure that your writs are in a good and strong position (you'll see what I mean by this in the link to the video provided below)

3. Ensure that your shoulders have good range of motion by utilizing dynamic stretches before you lift, and static stretches after lifting. 

4. A quick fix is simply to use writ wraps. This will NOT fix the problem but they will provide stability and help alleviate some of the discomfort.

5. Lift often. If you only go overhead once every two weeks, you're not going to have the wrist strength required for heavy overhead lifts.

All the above five points will help, however the position of your writs and shoulders while going overhead is what's going to have long term effects and with consistency, solve your problems. 

HERE'S THE VIDEO discussing propper positions.  ---  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMNoShmdZ5s
Thanks to Coach Seb for helping with the demo. 

Love, 

Coach SIl

 
By Silviu Bona 19 Oct, 2017

This is my favourite time of year!

The weather’s getting cooler, I get to wear cosy cloths and most of all, weightlift in my track pants. The back to school mindset gets most of us into routine and we generally start hitting the gym more consistently. Vacation time is over and it's time to get back to work both in the gym and in the kitchen. 

I also notice a difference in my food and cooking preferences in the fall. Some ingredients are more readily available, as I lean toward hearty chilis and stews, and my slow cooker always seems to have a soup in it. Usually I'm not a stew or soup guy but I can't resist a good chile or soup this time of year. 

Here are some easy recipes right now.

(All of these recipes are originally featured on , Spodalicious .) And all of these recipes are written by LISA SPODAK.

At the end of each recipe, you'll find number of servings, and a full macro breakdown of carbs, fats and protein as well as fibre. 

By Silviu Bona 17 Oct, 2017
I hate excuses. My work BFF and I talk about it all the time; this is our most HATED thing about being a teacher in today's generation. There is always an excuse for everything. But I come from the school of thought that ultimately there is no one to blame but yourself. Sure, there may be factors unrelated to you that don't help a situation, but usually, it's your own damn fault. Now, those may be harsh words, but until you can recognize that YOU are the only one responsible for your own successes and failures, you are never going to win. Whether inside the gym or out, you have to acknowledge the fact that you are either your own worst enemy, or your biggest cheerleader. For some people, this realization comes early on in their journey to self improvement, but unfortunately, others will never, ever learn this. As a coach/trainer/teacher, this can sometimes be frustrating. As humans, we are always looking for someone else to blame when things don't go right. "I'm not losing weight, it must be my trainer's fault". "I can't make the class times at the gym, this gym clearly sucks, I'm going to a new one" "It's too hard, and I have too many limitations, I can't do it". I mean, even I used to be the queen of the "I can't do it" club. Seriously, we have heard it all. But I have also seen people who have EVERYTHING in the world against them, and say, "you know what? I am NOT letting these things get in the way of my goals! I am NOT turning every little thing into an excuse". If you can't be resilient in the face of challenging circumstances in a workout, or in making it to the gym, or in eating healthy, then how can you expect to be resilient in life where the hits can often be much harder, and the stakes much higher? This is one of the things I LOVE about Crossfit; it teaches resilience and perseverance in a culture where too many people are far too willing to make excuses for everything. Ever heard one of the following phrases: "Do what makes you happy", "do what makes you feel good" "let go of it if its not serving you".. If I could roll my eyes any further back, they would get stuck in my head. You know what? Sometimes you just need to embrace the SUCK. Sometimes it DOESN'T FEEL GOOD! Sometimes heading to the gym to workout DOESN'T make me happy. But what I have learned is that even on the WORST days where I have failed a lift a million times, where I'm moving slow and not performing as I think I should, I am STILL a better athlete than I was when I walked in. I have probably learned something about myself, and I am maybe a little bit fitter, and most importantly I have not given up. I haven't quit.

Now please hear me out: What I am NOT saying is to go balls to the wall and redline every workout ,and that you suck if you aren't in the gym training 5X a week. What I am saying is you have to show up, put in the work, spend some time working on skills and accessory work, focus on healthy eating, and don't make excuses. Sure, everyone falls out of routine once in awhile, but if you are serious about improving your health and your life, there is no room for excuses. Some of the greatest success stories in our gym are average, everyday people who have come in overweight and unhealthy, who lost weight, can now do some pretty cool stuff in the gym, and have gained a ton of confidence, but they all have one thing in common: they didn't allow their fears of failure to dictate excuses for why they couldn't do something. So the next time you are thinking to yourself, "there is no way I can lift that weight", or "I can't do wallballs so I am going to skip today's workout", remember to be your own cheerleader, not your enemy. You might just surprise yourself!

Coach Kristen :)
By Silviu Bona 16 Oct, 2017
We do a lot of pulling at CrossFit N6 and the Deadlift is certainly on of them. Why? It's literally the movement that gives you the best bang for your buck. If you just have a heavy 5x5 or 5x6-8 at a heavy weight, you've given yourself an ass kicker of a workout. It's simple but works wonders strengthening almost every muscle in your body. Although it's known as a posterior chain movement, it truly works everything to a certain degree. 

Why do people ignore them? Well because there are so many muscles involved, there is risk of injury. That's where your coach and your form come in. If you start and move the lift while you're in good position: weight on the heels, neutral lumbar spine, chin tucked in, hamstrings engaged, keeping the bar close to your body etc., this lift is completely safe even at heavy loads. The danger occurs when we know how to move but go so heavy, or take inefficient rest and our supporting muscles are so fatigued, that we can no longer maintain good position. So find a weight that's extremely challenging for your rep scheme and ensure that you maintain good position throughout 

Here are some reasons for deadlifting heavy more often:

1) Muscle Growth

This tops the list of benefits for very obvious reasons. Most want to grow muscles and I know what you're going to say, "I'm a female and don't want to look bulky." Trust me, you will not look bulky. If you want lean muscle, you still need to increase the amount of muscle. Most ladies who come in and are thin, are actually what I call "skinny fat" and we all need a little extra quality muscle. The Deadlift can make this happen. You get a rigorous full body workout-and when you combine that with heavy lifting, you naturally release growth hormones that induce muscle development.

2) Strength Gain

If you want fast strength increase on all the exercises that are part of your workout routine, deadlifting is your solution. It increases your grip and core strength like no other exercise can. Want a bigger bench? Stronger squat? Pullup power? Easy fix, just deadlift heavy. And you all know you want to get stronger.

3) More Power

Power while sometimes used interchangeably with strength, is actually different from it. Power is the ability to exert great force over a short period of time. Strength is the ability to move or support heavy objects sustainably for a longer period of time. Power is useful for athletic performance. A football linebacker tackling an opponent, a tennis player returning a serve, a basketball player dunking over opponents etc. If you play any sport, deadlifting will make a big difference in your performance.

4) Testosterone increase

This helps with recovery and the growth and maintenance of quality muscle. You see those juice heads taking steroids in magazines all the time. Deadlifts demand that your body releases more testosterone, which allows you to grow and get stronger. In females, it is much harder to release testosterone but implementing some heavy deadlifts will allow them to naturally produce more without any side effects. 

5) Better Overall health

Stronger, more testosterone, more positive outlook on life equals better overall health. It’s simple. Doing deadlifts also improves your cardio. And as you know, good cardio is important for overall health. You also build joint strength and your immune system gets stronger. Most Compound exercises will do these things but the one thing that makes the deadlift stand out, is that it does this for your entire body. It’s a true full body movement.

6) Positive Effect on other exercises

When you combine the above benefits, what you get is increased strength and flexibility on all other exercises. When you do heavy deadlifts, you are actually doing heavy lifting using all the major muscles in your body, back, chest, legs, arms etc. So when you do other movements like your olympic lifts, you'll be in better positions due to added flexibility and strength that will allow you to stay in good position throughout a fast lift, like the snatch. 

7 ) Fat burning

Because of the exertion involved during the deadlift, you recruit more muscle fibers, and burn more calories than you could with other movements. The result is increased fat burning.  If you speak to any serious strength coach, you know that compound movements are the best exercises for fat loss. And the deadlift is the king of compound exercises so you get the idea.

Combine movements like the deadlift with a little WOD and voila, you've got a formula for success.  This is our philosophy at CrossFIt N6. We keep programming simple not sexy because the simple works but the sexy is simply fluff.

Love,

Coach Sil


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