Good Habits That Hurt You

Coach Cam (a.k.a. The Turtle, a.k.a. 'Turts") always loves being in class!

Coach Cam (a.k.a. The Turtle, a.k.a. “Turts”) always loves being in class!

Did you know that your efforts to do everything right may be sabotaging your fitness and well-being?  It’s true!  When it comes to our health, some of our most cherished assumptions about eating, working out, and body fat are wrong. In fact, some of our “healthy” convictions can be downright dangerous. Here are some of the most commonly made mistakes.

1. “I rarely miss a day at the gym.”
Everyone needs a break from their workout routine — even Olympic athletes — for two reasons. First, your body needs new challenges in order to maintain or improve fitness. Second, over-training can lead to muscle aches and tears, joint injuries, lack of energy, unrelenting fatigue, decreased immunity, and even depression.  Going too long without a break from your workouts can have detrimental effects. You’ll start to see diminishing returns, and you’ll find that doing more and more — without building rest and recovery into your routine — does you less and less good.

Instead: Give yourself a regular break from the gym. Schedule days off so your body can recuperate.  The CrossFit prescription is to hit the gym 3 days on, 1 day off.  Taking this day off regularly will give your muscles a chance to rest so you can hit it hard again for the next 3 days!

2. “I don’t eat sweets.”
Cutting out candy is fine, but trying to eliminate all sweets can backfire. That’s because, as humans, we’re hard-wired to want sugar. If you attempt to eliminate all sweets from your diet, eventually your urges will take over and you’ll hit the cookies, hard.  Also, if you don’t take a cheat meal here and there, the body sabotages fat loss efforts.  You need a little shake-up every so often to keep your metabolism revved up!  Cheating once per week has positive effects and can help boost your fat burning power.

Instead: Your best bet is to eat healthier sweets: fresh or dried fruit is a sweet treat.  But if you must have your dessert, try a bowl of strawberries with chocolate sauce, or a small portion of something truly decadent, such as a slim slice of cheesecake or a single gourmet truffle. That way, you’ll satisfy your urge and be less likely to binge.

3.  “I want to get my body fat down to the lowest possible level”
Whittling away at your body fat can be dangerous: Fat insulates nerve cells and internal organs and is necessary for the formation of hormones like estrogen. When body fat dips too low, you go into famine mode, which effectively shuts down all non life-supporting functions, like ovulation and building new bone.  In many cases, the damage can be permanent.

Instead: Focus on consuming healthy fats, as opposed to unhealthy fats.  What makes a fat good or bad is how the fat affects the level of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Saturated fats and trans fats (the “bad” fats) increase the risk for developing certain diseases, including heart disease. Mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats (the “good” fats) can lower the risk for heart disease and other diseases.  Instead of striving for an even more minuscule number on the scale, put your emphasis on building muscle.  If you are eating well and exercising regularly, your body will find its natural, healthy level of fat.

4. “I’ve cut way back on carbs.”
Despite what the you may hear, carbohydrates are vital to our diet! Carbs are the body’s primary source of fuel for muscles and the brain. Eliminating carbs from your diet can lead to short-term memory loss, fatigue, lack of energy, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.  There are a lot of very good, healthy nutrients packed into carbohydrates.  In cutting them out, you’re also missing out on fiber, which is essentially what separates the “good” (complex, high-fiber) carbohydrates from the “bad” (simple, refined) carbohydrates.

Instead: Nutrition scientists agree that the staple of any healthy diet is carbohydrates. Those carbohydrates should come from a variety of mostly whole, unrefined foods.  Look for foods that are as unprocessed as possible.  Vegetables and whole grains are best, followed by fruits, then high-fiber breads and whole-wheat couscous and pastas. The worst choices: cakes and candy, white bread and crackers, in that order.  Keep the carbs coming, but keep them healthy!

Today’s Workout:


Jump rope, 5:00
20 burpees
20 up-and-over box jumps


4 Rounds:
400 meter run
50 squats

Cash-OutWith the 45lb bar and perfect form do as many shoulder press as you can, once you can’t do anymore shoulder press switch to push press, once you can’t do anymore push press, do push jerk


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