Caffeine: My Best Friend -Coach Luis

Caffeine – My Best Friend

Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant in the methylxanthin family, and mankind goes BANANAS (**Gwen Stefani Voice**) for it, to the tune of 160+mg per person per day. Most people I meet are like me and adore a cup of joe and/or some pump nectar pre workout concoction. The first time I took the infamous NO-Xplode I was a junior in high school and I thought it was a gift from the work out gods and subsequently threw back some variation of it every day for years. This definitely was not my best idea.

Why?

Because I was an addict and I was getting that performance pop from it, only to come down crashing, like a skateboarder coasting down a big hill and getting the “speed wobbles.” I was an intermittent user not a dependent degenerate so no judging! It’s impossible to dog coffee and caffeine. There are a number of positive effects induced by caffeine. (Too many to list- google it!)

Your brain functions a motherboard: processing, managing, collecting, and interpreting loads of internal/external data. During this overload period your brain spews out a compound called adenosine. Andenosine has an inhibitory effect on the CNS and when it becomes abundant, it says “hey..SLOW DOWN..take a chill pill.” (perhaps yours says something else more explicit)

Caffeine helps induce wakefulness by blocking your receptors from Adenosine. It is like caffeine cut your brain’s brake lines to stop. Caffeine also induces sympathetic branch of our nervous system, which is the “fight or flight” side. The parasympathetic branch is synonymous with “relax and digest.”

This is the most simplistic explanation of these two branches, but for my purpose here it’s important to remember humans are meant to live primarily in the parasympathetic state. Not in constant “fight or flight” side or aka Party Time mode.

My conclusion, anything in moderation is ok. So I’ll continue to start my day off with 2 cups of my best friend named Joe.

Mental Toughness -Coach Geno

Each of us reach high and low points.  Olympic athletes, pro golfers, and weekend warriors all have to be mentally strong.

Check out this Ted talk for some tips to build mental fortitude!
http://youtu.be/yG7v4y_xwzQ

 

What Are You Cooking With?? -Coach Erin

What are you cooking with???
Added ingredients that you may be unknowingly consuming:

What we cook our food in can be just as important as the food we are cooking and eating. The use of Teflon and other non-stick surfaces have become very popular and although they do make clean up a little easier at times, it may not be worth it. The chemicals in these non-stick pots and pans leach into the food we cook and can cause massive health issues.

Non-stick surfaces are metal pans (such as aluminum pans) coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon.

Toxic fumes from the Teflon chemical released from pots and pans at high temperatures may kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms (called “Teflon Flu” or, as scientists describe it, “Polymer fume fever”).

Manufacturers’ labels often warn consumers to avoid high heat when cooking on Teflon. But Environmental Working Group commissioned tests conducted in 2003 showed that in just two to five minutes on a conventional stove top, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces could exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases.

PFCs have been found in nearly all Americans tested by federal public health officials. Chemicals from this family are associated with smaller birth weight and size in newborn babies, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation and weakened immune defense against disease.

There are also environmental hazards of even producing these products. Manufacturing PFCs and the consumer products that contain them poses great risks to the environment and wildlife. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says PFCs present “persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity properties to an extraordinary degree.”

Studies in lab animals have found exposure to PFOA increases the risk of tumors in the liver, testicles,
mammary glands and pancreas.

Studies in humans have found that people with workplace exposure to PFOA have higher risks of bladder and kidney cancers.

Aluminum cookware has been around for a long time, but in the 1960s, safety concerns began to raise over the possible leaching of aluminum into our food. The popularity of aluminum pots and pans is mainly based on two things: They are cheap, and they conduct heat very effectively. However, many suitable alternatives are available, such as stainless steel, ceramic, glass and cast iron.

Aluminum is on the “2007 list of top priority toxins in the United States” (a list put out every year by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry), and aluminum has been clearly identified as a toxin
for the human nervous system, immune system and genetic system. Furthermore, “A study by the Australian Institute for Biomedical Research determined that over a period of seven or eight decades of drinking aluminum-treated tap water, a microgram of aluminum would accumulate in the human brain,” writes Michael Brower and Warren Leon, from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The only poison that can leach into food by cooking with aluminum is the aluminum itself. The reason this became a concern is that large amounts of the material have been found in the brains of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients, which proves that aluminum crosses the blood/brain barrier.

According to the New York University Langone Medical Center, symptoms of aluminum toxicity can include serious mental health problems, including: confusion, slurred speech or speech problems, nervous system problems and tics.

Aluminum toxicity is high in those with breast or lymphatic cancers as well. So much so that it is recommended that those with these types of cancers refrain from using standard deodorants, which also contain high levels of aluminum. Check out www.basiccare.com to find my favorite natural deodorant that really works and is aluminum free.

Aluminum is also used as a cheap preservative in most vaccines. Which many believe is one of the many roots of the autism epidemic.

Plastic is everywhere. It is so convenient, it rarely breaks and it can be molded into anything. It’s almost too good to be true.

The chemicals plastics contain are most dangerous to infants, children and pregnant women. Plastic can be very useful, but it is important to understand that it contains a hazardous mix of chemicals and additives, such as:
- PBDEs, which cause reproductive problems
- Phthalates, another group of reproductive toxins
- BPA (bisphenol-A), which disrupts the endocrine system by mimicking the female hormone
estrogen

As you may be aware, these chemicals do not magically stay inside the plastic as though it is some type of impermeable fortress. They leach into whatever food or beverage you put in them, in amounts that vary depending on your use. For instance, if you microwave plastic containers or bottles, or put hot liquids or foods into them, BPA leaches into your food or drink 55 times faster than when used cold! There is also evidence that chemicals leach from plastic faster when the container is:
- Old and scratched
- Frequently put in a dishwasher
- Washed with harsh detergents

One of the most widely publicized plastic dangers is from the chemical BPA, which is an endocrine disruptor, meaning it mimics your body’s natural hormones, like estrogen, and can trigger major changes in your body. Of 115 published animal studies, 81 percent found significant effects from even low-level exposure to BPA.

Some of the greatest concern surrounds early-life exposure to BPA, which can lead to chromosomal errors in a developing fetus, causing spontaneous miscarriages and genetic damage. And exposure to just 0.23 parts per billion of BPA is enough to disrupt the effect of estrogen in your baby’s developing brain.

But BPA is only one plastics chemical you need to be aware of. Phthalates are another group of industrial chemicals used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible and resilient. They’re common in food packaging and are one of the most pervasive endocrine disrupters we have discovered. These chemicals have increasingly become associated with changes in the development of the male brain as well as with genital defects, metabolic abnormalities and reduced testosterone in babies and adults.

Given that certain plastics risks are becoming well-known, you’ve probably seen plastic products that are “BPA-free,” “PVC-free,” or “Phthalate-free.” This is a step in the right direction, but it does not mean the plastic is safe.

For instance, one study found that tests on plastics using a BPA-free label have not been conducted under real-world conditions like running the plastics through a dishwasher or heating them in a microwave. In the “real-world,” 95 percent of all plastic products in the study tested positive for estrogenic activity, meaning they can still disrupt your hormones even if they carry a BPA-free label. Even more disconcerting, the study found that BPA-free plastics in some cases leached more BPA than the non-BPA free plastics.

Further, just because a plastic claims to not have one or two toxic chemicals that does not make it safe.
Remember, plastics are made out of chemicals and you are better off avoiding them all together. The Ecology Center in Berkeley, California has put together an excellent list that exposes just what kinds of plastic toxins are in the products you use. I think everyone should read the entire list, but here are some highlights:
- Salad dressing and cooking oil bottles: This plastic container is made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which leaches plasticizers (lead, cadmium, mercury, phthalates and the carcinogen, diethyl hexyphosphate) into your food.
- Soda bottles, water bottles, peanut butter jars and cooking oil bottles: Made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate), they leach acetaldehyde — a probable human carcinogen, according to the EPA — into your food and drinks.
- Meat trays, foam take-out food containers and cups, foam packing materials: Made from polystyrene (PS), these materials leach styrene, which can damage your nervous system.

Sadly, the end result of breathing, eating, drinking and absorbing all of this plastic includes obesity, declining fertility rates and other reproductive problems, thyroid issues and cancer, just to name a few.

So what should we use instead?!?!

While there are a growing number of new cookware options on the market, we don’t know enough about them to know if they’re safe — even if they’re advertised as “green” or “not non-stick.” I recommend cast iron, certain brands of ceramic cookware and stainless steel as safer options for stove- top cooking, and oven-safe glass for baking. These safer pans might be a little harder to clean, but your health is worth it.

Stainless steel: is a terrific alternative to a non-stick cooking surface. Most chefs agree that stainless steel browns foods better than non-stick surfaces. I also love stainless steel water bottles like the Klean Kanteen Brand. Be SURE you are purchasing stainless steel and NOT aluminum. Aluminum water bottles are typically very light weight and cheap. A stainless steel bottle will be more heavy duty and it will be advertised as stainless steel.

Cast iron: remains a great alternative to non-stick cooking surfaces. Lodge, America’s oldest family- owned cookware manufacturer, refers to its cookware as “natural non-stick.” Cast iron is extremely durable and can be pre-heated to temperatures that will brown meat and will withstand oven temperatures well above what is considered safe for non-stick pans.

Ceramic: certain brands of ceramic cookware are also a great option and they are the easiest to clean. Check out https://www.ceramcor.com/all-products2 for the best options when it comes to great non- toxic cookware. Use the code: WMX10 with the above link to receive 10% off your purchase (I do NOT make anything off your purchase or have any personal connections to this company. This is simply a code I found online and wanted to pass on to you.)

Instead of plastics for your food storage use Pyrex glassware for all of your food storage and baking needs. It lasts forever… unless you drop it. I also use mason jars A LOT. They are cheap and they are great for storage of food and liquids. I also use them as drinking glasses.

7 Quick Questions with Gigi Cepeda

7 Quick Questions with Gigi Cepeda

She’s ALL smiles, ALL the time! If you haven’t had the pleasure of taking a class with Gigi, you’re missing out! She’s determined to get stronger, faster and improve her Crossfit 100%.

1) What Brought you to BCCF? I moved into the neighborhood 3 years ago, and my old crossfit box recommend BCCF.

2) What do you do for a living? I am a hairstylist.

3) What was your workouts before BCCF, and any sports you played? I was at another box for about 1 1/2 years before I started at BCCF. I only started working out after I had my first child, before then I was not very active.

4) What is you favorite workout movement? My favorite workout movement is probably a clean. (Squat)

5) What motivates you? A lot of things motivate me, I think just the need to feel that I can do and be better motivate me. Being surrounded by great female coaches at the box is very motivating too. I just want to be as good as they are. My husband also motivates me because he is super active and very fit and he pushes me to do the best I can. I also really love the high I get from working out and that’s the best motivation.

6) What is/ are your greatest imporvements since being at the BCCF? I feel that I have improved in so many things. I think squat cleans are my best improvement, and that’s why its probably my favorite movement. I have also improved in my endurance and speed.

7) What goals do you have that the BCCF community can help you with? One of my goals is that I want to definitely have good form. I also want to get stronger and better, and not be scared that I am to slow or weak.

Whole 30 Approved Pizza -Coach Tanner

I have been enjoying this whole30 approved recipe for pizza almost weekly for the past few months!

Pizza Crust:

• 1 cup tapioca flour
• 1 egg
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp water (more if needed)
• add any spices you like, this crust itself doesn’t taste like much without any spices. I use Italian seasoning.

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Combine ingredients until a wet dough forms, this does not feel like your typical dough.
3. Spread it out evenly and thinly.

Top with:
• homemade or bought pesto (just blend basil, garlic, parsley, olive oil and pine nuts until smooth)
• Spinach
• slices of tomato
• Breakfast sausage or pepperoni
• two eggs
• Any other traditional pizza toppings

• Bake for 15-25 minutes. Basically until the eggs are completely cooked!

You probably notice that there is no cheese on this list… Although it would be good with cheese, trust me, it is not needed!

 

Chocolate Concoction -Coach Katie

As many of you know by now I didn’t just have a big lunch – I am six months pregnant.
My goal for this entire pregnancy is to stay active and eat as healthy as possible. Don’t get me wrong – Ella and I have had our share of indulgences that range from blueberry pancakes, to cookies, to pizza, to a few donuts {mmmm donuts☺}. As delicious as all that is, I can’t give into every craving. Not in my case anyhow.

In order to keep my body looking the way I want (relatively speaking) but still feeling satisfied when it comes to ‘sweets’, I have become an expert in faking out my sweet tooth with healthy ingredients for desserts. My most recent creation was a chocolate shake. I had just finished dinner and boom! The craving hit me like a Mack truck. I wanted something chocolate and cold.

Going to Wendy’s for a chocolate shake wasn’t an option and I didn’t have any Paleo chocolate chip cookies on hand. What is a preggo (or not) girl to do?!? I’ll tell you. I created my own concoction.

¼ cup coconut milk (from the can)
¼ cup water
1 scoop of your favorite chocolate protein. I used Quest Salted Carmel
1 ½ TBL cocoa powder
½ TBL peanut butter
Add some ice and blend up!

SOOOOOO amazing. Take that, Wendy’s!

Next time you want to stay on track with your nutrition but can’t ignore your sweet tooth, try this. I promise you and your waist line will be satisfied with zero regrets☺.

Why You Should be Using Bone Broth -Coach Erin

Why YOU should be using bone broth:

Bone broth is a traditional healing food that has been used for hundreds of years for its many medicinal purposes. It contains a large amount of gelatin, which is derived from the collagen in the bones used in the broth, and is the “glue” that holds our bodies together. About 70% of our connective tissue is made up of collagen.

Here are some of the many benefits of bone broth:
* Bone broth contains valuable minerals in a form your body can easily absorb and use, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur chondroitin, glucosamine, and a variety of
trace minerals
* The gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid. It attracts and holds liquids, including
digestive juices, thereby supporting proper digestion
* Bone broth also inhibits infection caused by cold and flu viruses
 fights inflammation, courtesy of anti-inflammatory amino acids such as arginine, glycine and
proline
* It reduces joint pain and inflammation due to the chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, and
other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage
 Promotes strong, healthy bones: bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium,
and other nutrients that play an important role in healthy bone formation
* Promotes healthy hair and nail growth, thanks to the gelatin in the broth
* Making your own bone broth is very cost effective and easy, as you can make use of left over carcass bones that would otherwise be thrown away

Medical scientists have long known that your overall health is dependent on the health of your intestinal tract. Many of our modern diseases are rooted in an unbalanced mix of microorganisms in
your digestive system, courtesy of an inappropriate and unbalanced diet that is too high in sugars and too low in healthful fats and beneficial bacteria.

Broth plays an important role in healing as it is easily digestible, helps heal the lining of your gut, and contains valuable nutrients. Abnormalities within the immune system are a common when a person’s diet is not healthy and such immune abnormalities can then allow for the development of virtually any degenerative disease.

Making Your Own Broth:
It is very quick and easy to make your own bone broth at home. It needs to be homemade or come from a health food store or restaurant that makes their own bone broth. Prepackaged broth is not the same
and does not hold any of the above mentioned health benefits.

There are a couple of ways that you can make your broth depending on how much time you have to put into it.

Bare Bones Fast Recipe:
12 chicken breast bones, 1-2 whole chicken carcasses, or 2 pounds of beef bones. (make sure all bones are from grass fed or pasture raised animals)
1 gallon of pure water
1 inch of raw ginger root
2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
Place all ingredients in your crock pot or stock pot and cook on high for 12 hours, low for 6-12 hours. The longer it cooks the more nutrients are extracted. Let it cool and remove all of the bones. Strain the broth through a cheese cloth and store the liquid in the fridge or freezer. This will make about 3 quarts. I put it in mason jars and put 2 in the fridge and one in the freezer. Use at least 1 cup a day in cooking or
just warm to drink.

Added Minerals Recipe:
12 chicken breasts 1-2 chicken carcasses or about 2 pounds beef bones. (make sure all bones are from grass fed or pasture raised animals)
1 gallon pure water
2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 large onion chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped 3 stalks of celery chopped
1 bunch of parsley

Place all ingredients in your crock pot or stock pot and cook on high for 12 hours, low for 6-12 hours. The longer it cooks the more nutrients are extracted. Let it cool and remove all of the bones and veggies. Strain the broth through a cheese cloth and store the liquid in the fridge or freezer. This will
make about 3 quarts. I put it in mason jars and put 2 in the fridge and one in the freezer. Use at least 1 cup a day in cooking or just warm to drink.

Please note the addition of vinegar. The vinegar helps leech all the valuable minerals from the bones into the stockpot water, which is ultimately what you’ll be eating. The goal is to extract as many minerals as possible out of the bones into the broth water. Bragg’s Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is a good choice as it’s unfiltered and unpasteurized.

 

Diet For Building Muscle -Coach Geno

Hey everyone, I know we are fresh off the nutrition challenge and maybe some of us are still looking for ideas or help for ourselves. Check out this article for some helpful hints.

http://www.purepharma.com/us_en/blog/diet-for-building-muscle/

 

7 Quick Questions with Keith Cordero Jr.

Meet Keith Cordero Jr.

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1) What Brought you to BCCF?
In 2013, a man by the name of Kris Montoya told me to come to his class and I have been coming ever since

2) What do you do for a living?
I am a Houston Astros Season Ticket Sales Account Executive.

3) What were your workouts like before BCCF, and did you play any sports?
I used to work out at La fitness. I currently put people in the blender on the lacrosse field. I played a little HS football back in the day.

4) What is you favorite workout movement?
Box jump overs- NO ONE can beat me in them. I also like push press and toes 2 bar.

5) What motivates you?
Being/ staying healthy, family, friends and money

6) What is/ are your greatest improvements since being at the BCCF?
Double unders and OHS

7) What goals do you have that the BCCF community can help you with?
I need to get a muscle up on the rings!!

 

7 Quick Questions with Zaf Alyfantis -Coach Erin

Over the past few months you have probably seen Zaf Alyfantis around the box in the 6:35pm class. He is relatively new to CrossFit, but has put in a tremendous amount of effort into learning and fine tuning his Olympic and Power Lifting skills and, as his coach, it has been super fun to watch the transformation take place as he gets more comfortable with the barbell. If you have a chance to do a WOD with him you better hope it’s not one with a lot of rowing as he is sure to kick some major butt.

Here are 7 Quick Questions with Zaf:

1) What Brought you to BCCF? – I really wanted to switch up my routine from my regular gym workouts. With multiple options of crossfit boxes in Houston, I asked my good friend Chase Ingraham @captamericaxfit what box he recommends in Houston and his answer was BCCF. Since my first workout at BCCF I haven’t once thought about switching to a different box. All the coaches at BCCF care about your success and your safety, and I have been extremely happy here.

2) What do you do for a living? – I am an operations manager for a privately held Steel Distribution company.

3) What was your workouts before BCCF, and any sports you played? – My workouts before BCCF were 4-5 days a week of your typical gym routine workouts (machines/free weights). Sports prior to the gym and crossfit were swimming and waterpolo.

4) What is you favorite workout movement? – Power Snatches

5) What motivates you? – Achieving the desired end result, whatever that mile marker may be at that time.

6) What is/ are your greatest improvements since being at the BCCF? – Greatest improvements since joining the BCCF community have been my nutrition and endurance.

7) What goals do you have that the BCCF community can help you with? – Goals in no particular order: The honing of my nutrition, my range of motion, and lastly my strength and size.

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