Essential?

– Mallory Sutphin

I have a childhood best friend who has a birthday on the day I am writing this. Does anyone else have trouble recalling pretty much every detail from their past yet remember things such as this? Marlin on the bus had a birthday back on March 24th. She was so nice to us little kids. She even once shared her cherry chapstick with me. We put on like 100 coats so it looked like lipstick. Guys- you have some similar ritual here, right? I don’t have brothers. The ones I have inherited through marriage or dating (my sisters, obv) are LOVELY but don’t love sharing stories of childhood feels with me…but I am sure you have some sort of equivalent? No? Ok, try the chapstick thing. It’s a quarantine, why not?
Man. I barely began before I digressed.

Let’s try again.

WESTMINSTER STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING MISSES YOU. Seriously. You don’t know how much. We miss you. We value you. We can’t wait until we can see all of your faces. Preferably, many of you at the same time. It’s weird, because I was so planning on making Beau throw a big 10 year anniversary shindig this July to celebrate YOU ALL, and how much we appreciate the fact that you choose us as your family, every day..or 2 or 3 days a week. Maybe we will do it over Zoom? Maybe it’ll just make this year’s Holiday Party even more spectacular?
For any of you entering week 7 of sheltering-at-home, like me, this Bud’s for you.

Protein
Skip the Lysol. Now is the time for you to focus on this building block, especially if it is one that you have not yet mastered. This is the first one that we teach, and for good reason. 98% of the people who walk into Westminster S&C are not eating enough protein. If you are a woman, I would pretty much bet you your favorite person, pet, or your next Stitch Fix order that your protein needs are wildly lacking.
Stay-at-home Goal=
We are taking out all the ‘I couldn’t’s’ from here. We are not going to recommend a scale, or an app. You are already balancing an entire new world. BUT. Every meal. Eat protein. Aim for 25-35 grams, 5-6 times a day. (if you are under 150 pounds, try for 25 grams, over that, 30-35 grams, 4-6 times a day) Again, you don’t have to weigh anything. Just eyeball it.
This can look like:
Eggs (1egg= 6g protein, 3Tb(25g) egg white=1 egg)
Chicken – one palm sized, or deck of cards= 25 grams
Can of Tuna = 25 grams
Beef- try to keep it lean 90% or higher- palm sized, or deck of cards=25 grams
6oz 0% Greek Yogurt= 18 grams
If you eat less than 100 grams of protein a day. We will know.

Calories in, Calories out
Just because it we don’t see you 2, 3, 4 or even 5 times a week- this does not change (sorry). All bodies are beautiful, but if YOU have decided to have less, well, body, then you’re going to have to be in a caloric deficit to make this occur. This can be complicated by a few things, however…even the complications agree that if you are gaining weight, it’s because you are eating more calories than you are burning. Work from home leggings tight? Jeans tighter? Concerned? Try the protein intake first as outlined above. Then start tracking your food intake with an app like My Fitness Pal. All of those sound like old news? Maybe it’s time for a date with Renaissance Periodization. Talk with a coach.

Sleep
I hear some of you laughing at this point….but seriously. Stop the Netflix Binge and head to bed, Fred. Really, even as an adult you should be aiming for 7 or more hours. The younger you are, the more sleep you need, contrary to popular (adolescent) belief. Turn off those screens off 45 minutes to an hour before bedtime to reduce stimulation to the brain you don’t even realize is occurring. Try for a similar time each night.

Stress
Right, right, I know we are in a PANDEMIC. But what are you going to do about it? Literally. Look at what you are in control of- you. That’s about it. Maybe some young kids, if they are in a good space? Find a podcast, some music that you like, a movie or book that enthralls you. Hell, start knitting. Stress=cortisol=bad news. Stress can foil all the hard work you are doing to stay on track with getting enough protein, sleeping, and managing what you are putting in your mouth. It can derail your goals.
If you are having a hard time managing right now- that makes 100% absolute, total sense. If stress is the thing that is undoing you right now- reach out, talk- let someone know.

Move Your Damn Body
Here we are. You know you are actually on a gym website, yeah? I agree that these last 7 weeks have been HARD. Maybe it has been 6, or 5 for you. Maybe you are unlike me and have not counted. Maybe you lost count. I know that my last normal day was March 11, 2020. (Fitting, my ‘number’ is 11. I will still keep it…What’s your number?) Please join Westminster S&C’s Facebook page that is available for members- there is an at-home workout posted daily. They are posted for many reasons. One, because we love and miss you. Two, because we know you have limited equipment and all are looking for a way to TRAIN, like we have taught you. Three, because even though we cannot train you in the way our hearts desire, we want you TO MOVE. Strength is an amazing thing, and since you are reading this, you are strong. We will get that back for you in no time. For now-use that strength to fill this in-between with as much moving as you can find. Dance party with your kids? Only counts if you squat one of them. (Please send video) Backyard golf? Perfect! Sprint between the holes (Yes, parents, sprint. Your kids will approve). Long walks? Go. (Reduce that STRESS!) Blessed to have access to a barbell and weights? Hell yeah. Let’s go. We got you. Make sure you’ve messaged a coach for a program, because this quarantine is for you! (PSA- train your spotters)

Lordy, I am full of words. I think it is because I miss every one of you so much. Even you weird 5am people who I mostly haven’t met. So, please. Eat protein. Sleep. Be mindful so your stress levels aren’t through the roof. AND….move your damn body.

Fit For Duty

Our next blog post comes from Melissa and features something she is pretty passionate about – strength and conditioning for first responders. We’ve got a ton of first responders at the gym who are trained by or who train alongside Melissa. Melissa has worked in the field for over 15 years, always with a focus on prevention. She’s worn lots of hats in EMS and Fire including Field Supervisor, Consultant to DOH EMS, and Chief of EMS. Since beginning with us she’s gotten fairly strong. She actually PR’d her overhead press at 135 while writing this up for us.

Being at your best for those who are at their worst. Are you fit for duty?

If you ever worked with me then you know that prevention has always had my heart. If we know how to prevent a problem that can cause catastrophe, then why wouldn’t we?

So, I’d love to introduce my friends in public safety to strength training. While training for any public safety career it is made clear to students that there will be calls and days that push your body to the edge of its ability. With one of the leading causes of LODD for Firefighters, according to the NFPA, being sudden cardiac death due to stress and overexertion, are you preparing your body to handle the hard calls now or are you just hoping to make it through them? You owe it to the people you respond with, to and yourself to not become part of the emergency. There will always be unexpected medical emergencies but safety and prevention is your best tool to avoid becoming the patient on a call. There are many risks involved in Firefighting, so why not train in a way that reduces one of the biggest risks and makes your job easier.

Oh how I wish I knew HOW to strength train before I started working the road. My job would have been easier and my days off less filled with the need to recover. I joined a generic gym and like any novice I was able to get a little stronger because I was doing something more than I had before. It was better than nothing but it wasn’t efficient and it didn’t let my body meet its potential. I’d love to go back, knowing what I know now, and run out Linear Progression programming with job specific conditioning mixed in as I got stronger. I’d love to feel things becoming easier –  pulling and loading hoses, climbing stairs in gear with a high rise pack on and carrying patients – because of smart training.

I would eat more protein than whatever was found in cheez-its and I would train intelligently for an increase in general strength. In doing so I would be helping myself, the community I served and my brothers and sisters in the Fire service. My days on the road may be over (I never say never!) but now I ask my friends in Public Safety to consider all that is on the line when you aren’t prepared physically. You can start today… Get stronger starting, stay consistent and be better equipped to respond later. Are you confused about where to start? Ask and I’ll try to send you in the right direction.

Spotlight – Mallory Sutphin

I thought it might be cool to switch things up a little bit for this version of our Spotlight. Everybody at the gym knows Mallory now, but most haven’t seen how she’s grown from the person that walked in the door 8 years ago to the coach she is today. She’s one of the few people who remember the gym from its previous location, back when Beau wore compression socks and there were only 2 Bryant kids. I’ve even managed to unearth some photos taken July 4, 2010 showing Beau teaching Mallory how to perform bodyweight squats and ring rows.

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How To Get Stronger And Run Faster

We recently featured one of our members, Allison Monheit, who qualified for the Boston Marathon.  She finished first in her age group running a 03:26:54.  This was only her second marathon and it was over 50 minutes faster than her first.  A great accomplishment for any runner but Allison also did something else remarkable leading up to this marathon.  Twelve days before her race she squatted 225 pounds for an easy single, strict pressed 100 pounds above her head, and benched her body weight.  She was a strong runner on race day, certainly stronger than most.

In the days after we featured her back squat and marathon results on our social media we received lots of questions regarding her training.  We thought it would be best for Allison to dig into her training log and write a brief synopsis of exactly how she built and maintained strength while increasing her running mileage, approached her nutrition and what effects these things had on her performance.

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Speed Training or Strength Training for Youth Athletes

The other day we posted about the need for youth athletes to be strong.  That post gave me an idea of what to talk about next. Parents often come to us and ask, “How do I make my son/daughter faster? I read there’s a lot of great speed drills and agility things to do? Why aren’t we doing that?”

Youth Athletes and Strength Training

 

This is something I know Beau and Eric and I have talked to parents about when they ask why kids who train with us don’t do any “speed” work. The truth is, we’d have to really break this down to take a bigger view of what’s going on when we train for strength and when you train “speed work”.

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Youth Athletes and Strength Training

Somewhere along the way youth athletics have turned into a year around activity.  I’m an implant to Maryland so the popularity of Lacrosse was lost on me until I moved here in 2006.  Actually it wasn’t until 2010 when I opened up WS&C that I fully understood just how big lacrosse was in this state.  It didn’t take long before parents of all different sports began calling or stopping in looking for a strength program for their son or daughter.  Not all of them were lacrosse players but the overwhelming majority played lacrosse in the spring even if they were looking for training for another sport.

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Week One In The Books (51 To Go)

Two of our newest members finished up their last training session of the week today.  They started on January 1st just like millions of people around the country did. Their first week looked much different than the overwhelming majority of people (and maybe yours) who headed back to the gym to make 2018 the year they finally get in shape.

Their first week didn’t involve a treadmill.  Not one “body pump” class.  They didn’t learn how to use a machine to tone the biceps.  Somehow they escaped this first week without a single plank- GASP!  Neither of them were told they had tight hips.  Or they lacked mobility.  They didn’t learn how to do any lifts with a PVC pipe.  Not a single corrective exercise.  No one yelled at them to go faster.  Weirdly at no point during this week did they think they were going to die.  They didn’t do a single burpee, box jump or wall ball.   They didn’t even learn that carbs are bad and processed food would kill them.  Strangely there wasn’t a mention of “eating clean”.

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