• Rob Olson

What I'm Learning After 3,000 Days Of Fitness

About eight years into this journey, that's what 3,000 days represents.

Most of those days I did some form of fitness: CrossFit. Weight lift. Run. Mountain Bike. Road Bike. Swim.

Some of those days were certainly rest days.

And that's just the years of CrossFit Simsbury & ResoluteFIT, the last 8 years. Before that I most certainly did a bunch of fitness in the Navy for six years and before that I worked out in college and played sports in high school.

Even after all those workouts, I'm still learning.

Here are the Top 4 things that come to mind of what I've learned lately:

Mind-Muscle Connections

Just because I move from Point A to Point B (or call it "start" to "finish") in an exercise, does not mean it was done with the correct muscles.

Let's use the deadlift for example. It involves picking weight up from the ground and bringing it to hip height.

You can complete this exercise by using your hamstrings and glutes with a tight core.

Or you can complete it by doing a back extension.

Both methods will get you from Point A to Point B.

One method is correct, and one is not. One will make you stronger, the other will increase your risk for injury.

Recently I've learned to engage the glutes more in all squat variations, get the pecs firing on bench press, and ensure pullups are mostly done with the lats.

Don't just move throughout the workouts, but be intentional, make sure the right muscles are firing at the right time. You'll not only be safer in workouts, but you'll get stronger and faster too!

If you aren't feeling the muscle engage, it may not be warmed up or firing properly. Ask a Coach for help!

The Importance of Sleep

Our society is addicted to being busy. Work. Family. Netflix.

The first thing we cut back on is sleep in order to cram everything in, yet sleep is the most critical component to living a healthy life.

If you want to be smarter, you need to sleep.

If you want to burn fat, you need to sleep.

If you want to build muscle, you need to sleep.

If you want to control your emotions, you need to sleep.

If you want a strong immune system and to prevent future illness and disease, you need sleep.

The goal is between 7 and 9 hours of sleep for most adults.

The more you exercise, the more you sleep you need to recover.

Quality of sleep is just as important as quantity.

Most watches and gizmos these days can measure sleep quality. If you aren't, I highly recommend jumping on that train. Eight hours of poor quality sleep is not helping you.

Top 3 Sleep Tips:

- Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every day. There is no such thing as "catching up on sleep" on the weekends, all that does is ruin your circadian rhythm and make going to bed Sunday night and waking up Monday morning even harder than it needs to be.

- Make your room as dark as possible. No TV, no blinking lights, nothing.

- Colder is better. Aim for that thermostat to read between 65 and 68.

Have Fun

Life is meant to be enjoyed. The human body is an incredible machine. Take care of it and it will take care of you, and allow you to do more than you ever imagined.t

When you are working out, don't forget to have fun!

Sure, some days it's great to go for a PR time, and some days it's great challenge your friend in class to a little competition, but also make a habit of just enjoying the process.

Smile. Laugh. Stop and take a minute to take in the scenery.

I was reminded of this the other week when I went for a run. I'm training for a marathon in October and am following a specific training program. I had a busy day at work and was not able to do my run first thing in the morning like I prefer, or mid-day.

So out I went after the kids were in bed. Motivation was pretty low. But I went out anyways. The guilt of not doing the run would have been worse.

And guess what - it was the most glorious run I've done in a while. The sunset, over the old Tabacco barns, was just epic. It was one of those moments where you just have to stop to soak it all in.

Don't take fitness so seriously that you skip these moments. Twenty years from now you'll look back at your time working out with the 4:45am (or your class time) crew with fond memories.

Next time you are in a wod and are huffing and puffing and the coach encourages you to keep going, just tell them you are soaking in the memories :-)

Make An Impact

On the business side of fitness, eight years ago I measured success by how many people were in a class, how much revenue was brought in, and how much debt we had.

Now, I measure success by the impacts we have.

The member who lost 100lb. The member who finally feels rested after years of suffering from poor sleep quality. The member who got off their blood pressure medication. The Coach who has a full time job helping others. The Teens program helping fight the obesity epidemic and change lives early on. The Dumbbells & Diapers program helping Mom's get back to a healthy lifestyle postpartum. The Red Cross Blood Drives literally helping others survive.

The entrepreneurial ride of being a gym owner has been an even more wild, humbling, and purposeful journey than I ever could have imagined.

I can only imagine what the next eight years will bring and the thousands of lives we'll be able to impact.

Our mission is "to support members in becoming the healthiest and happiest version of themselves through fitness, nutrition, and mindset coaching", and that has more meaning that ever.

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