Fit-Well-Sick, Which Are You?

As you age certain things happen to your body that you cannot control; graying hair, weakened eyesight, and creaky joints just to name a few. But what about our strength? Is it something we can hold on to?
As you know atrophy (muscle loss) is endemic in older individuals, and it causes frailty, illness, loss of independence and injury. We are often told when we get older to, “Slow Down!”, or “You can’t push it that hard anymore.”, which often leads to less exercise and a decrease in ability.
It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, a chain reaction of human anguish.  In other words, the less we do, the less we can do.
There is a little known process called apoptosis, in which a cell will destroy itself. This is an important and normal function of the body, for instance an infected cell will self terminate in order to protect other cells. Awesome right? But apoptosis will also occur in muscle cells due to disuse, not so awesome.
So how do we slow this process? My answer, get off from on top your couch and get under the barbell!
Nova Strength starts September 6th. Sign up below.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles….and maybe a Camel.


Traveling on trains and planes thru Italy and Morocco and can’t believe how many people are unable to lift their luggage into an overhead compartment by themselves. From the looks of it most just lack the strength to do so (easy fix, do some strength training), but a lot are just so tight that they can’t extend overhead with a heavy bag. A few things that will cause this:

1.) Tight shoulders (the obvious one) -most likely from too much sitting in a hunched forward position with the shoulders rolled forward/internally rotated.

2.) Lack of Thoracic Extension -the ability, or lack thereof, to extend or curve backward from the mid to upper back.

3.) Lack of Hip Extension (the less obvious one) – the inability to extend/open the hips, most likely from too much sitting and not enough stretching.

This one is often overlooked, “the hips are all the way down there, how could they effect my shoulder mobility?” To keep this post short let’s just remember the old rhyme “the hip bones connected to the…shoulder bone!” The body is an integrated system that works in concert. If the hips cannot extend properly, the spine then cannot extend fully, which inhibits the scapula’s ability to tilt backward during overhead motion. Which causes, you guessed it, shoulder immobility!

Lesson of the day, stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, and don’t sit all the time!!


NOVA Strength & Conditioning, Home of NOVA CrossFit, 06.07.16

NOVA Strength & Conditioning, Home of NOVA CrossFit, 06.07.16
June is ROMWOD Wednesday!!!  Join us at 6pm for the ROMWOD.
A drop in, who happened to be a masters athlete said to me ROMWOD changed his CrossFit journey.
That intrigued me.
Oh yeah? Do tell…
He proceeded, in my last year of CrossFit the only thing I have done differently is add ROMWOD.  With that, all my benchmarks and lifts have gone up.  I have improved mobility and stability, along with less general soreness and aches.  I can’t recommend ROMWOD enough.
With that, we decided to give it a go and so far so good.  So good that we feel it needs to be a priority.  Sadly, on a regular basis, people are coming in with minor aches, pains, soreness, mobility and stability issues.  In one hour we can’t address it all.  ROMWOD is one giant leap to addressing all the for mentioned.
Please, if available join us tomorrow night at 6pm for ROMWOD.
Warm Up
5 sets of:
Deadlift x 4-6 reps
Rest 30 seconds
Ring Push-Ups x max reps
(set complete once you’re no longer able to maintain a tempo)
Rest 2 minutes
*If on knees performing push ups, practice push ups off knees.
3 rounds for time of:
Run 400 Meters
20 Wall Ball Shots (14/20)

NOVA Strength & Conditioning Thursday, 6.1.17

NOVA Strength & Conditioning



Warm Up

Mobility and lots of it!!!

Running Drills

4 rounds for time of:
800m run
25 WB shots (20/14)
*cap 22 minutes

Athlete core work of their choosing


Vitamins, Minerals, Omega-3s, OH MY!!!

Vitamins, Minerals, Omega-3s, OH MY!!!

By: Sarah Ellis

Sugar is evil and fat is the new shining star. Albeit pour some fat on me or a spoon full of fat doesn’t have the same ring. Sitting is the new smoking. Eat lean meats, veggies, some fruit and starchy food, plus small amounts of rich in omega 3 fats. Move more. Sleep 8 hours a night in a cool, dark room. All of this is evidenced based. So what else is there? There should not be any confusion. Until you start talking supplements. Oof. Supplements, the multi-billion dollar industry. Gotta get in on that, right! Slow your roll.

What do you need? A good diet trumps any supplementation. Plus eating real foods free of added sugar, processed things you can’t pronounce and fats not rich in omega-3. What’s there left to eat? High quality but lean protein, low glycemic carbohydrates and rich in omega-3 fats. Easy as pie. Oops, wait, that has added sugar and is a no go. Easy as chicken and zucchini topped with an ounce of walnuts. In addition, eat at least 3-5 meals per day, spread out 4-5 hours apart.

Once your diet is on track, dialed in, you may want to add some supplements but no need to go bananas (because they are not a low glycemic food). Let’s start on what you should be taking before bed. This combo should be everyone’s favorite supplement and a priority. Magnesium and Zinc. How come? Because minerals matter! Zinc is kinda a super mineral that acts as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, aids in protein synthesis, muscle recovery and growth, and to boot, boosts your immune system. That is a lot of good stuff right there packed into one small supplement. Magnesium, also an essential mineral, helps the ticker, skeletal system and has been known to aid in fat burner. Now who doesn’t want that! Magnesium and zinc work together in the anabolic and metabolic pathways promoting good sleep. You can supplement with these separately by choosing a Chelated Zinc and Chelated Magnesium or there are combo products on the market such as ZMA. ZMA is a crowd favorite.

Something else that is mighty important. Omega-3 Fish Oil. Yes, Omega 3! Not Omega 6 or 9. And, yes, if you eat a large amount of fatty fish there isn’t a need to supplement. However, most of us aren’t eating a hearty portion on a daily basis of fatty fish. You are in luck because there is a supplement for it! The reason behind needing this in your diet is simple, decrease inflammation and increase blood flow. Lots of talk these days on how inflammation is the root of all evil in the gut which leads to many bad diseases causing crippling effects. One way to help combat that nastiness is a good diet, and Omega-3 Fish Oil. In addition, it may lead to mood enhancement and improved brain function. Which we most surely need at 0200. Focus on a high quality product rich in DHA & EPA. An example of an exceptional product is

Vitamin D. The all natural happy pill. It is like having sunshine in a bottle. Unless you are a beach bum, you could use some extra Vitamin D. Not suggesting you are at risk of rickets but currently probably not getting enough and could use an additional dose. How come? Because Vitamin D is magic and there are way too many benefits to list and explain. But here are a couple, stronger bones, immune support, prevent SAD, and improve skin. Get out in the sun for 15 minutes a day or supplement, you’ve got options. FDA is skimpy on its recommendations, easily double or triple that and see how you feel.

Lastly, a catch all, multivitamin. “Multi-vitamins can be thought of as an insurance policy against nutrient deficiency. Just because you have fire insurance for your home does not mean you can leave the stove on and candles lit. In a similar fashion, a multivitamin cannot be taken to replace bad food choices. Multivitamins can help fill any gaps to help ensure increases in muscle function and size.” Juggernaut Training

There you have it, a little ditty on what you should be taking. Next article, will be on pre, intra and post workout supplements. In the mean time, eat well, train hard, and enjoy a good night’s rest.

What is the difference between Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting and Strongman Competitions

When people first get into a fitness regimen using weights or weight-training equipment, many questions arise and some of those questions concern the various competitions that involve lifting heavy weights. The three most popular events of this type are Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and Strongman competitions, and each differs from the others in several key ways.


Olympic Lifter Squat

Olympic Weightlifting


Weightlifting and powerlifting are the most similar of the three strength sports in this comparison, so it is easiest to differentiate between them before taking a look at strongman. The most basic difference in these sports is that the lifts used in Olympic weightlifting are both quick, overhead moves: the snatch and the clean and jerk. In powerlifting, the moves that are judged are the bench press, deadlift and squat, none of which are overhead moves.


Taking a closer look at these lifts shows that they are actually very similar because the major extensions in each are in the hips, knees and ankles. However, they have further differences that go beyond the lifts, including speed and the specific type of strength that is being measured.


Chalk up Lifter


Olympic weightlifting is considered to be the most technically challenging of these three sports because it requires not only strength but also speed. In the snatch lift, the initial power comes from the legs, but once the bar is at waist height, the lifter must quickly shift the weight to his or her arms, core and upper body until he or she is standing straight with the bar overhead. The clean and jerk also requires speed, but the point of the weight shift is at the chin rather than the waist.



In contrast to weightlifting, powerlifting is purely based on strength, and lifters may sometimes take quite a while to complete their lifts. In fact, powerlifting is often referred to as slow lifting. With the bench press, deadlift and squat, the bar really only has to be moved a short distance rather than from the ground to overhead.


The deadlift is the only move in powerlifting that doesn’t use a rack, but it only requires the lifter to bring the weights from the ground to waist height and back to the ground again.




Strongman Competitions


Strongman, and strongwoman, competitions are unique in that the lifts and moves are not traditional, and many of them are based on real-world activities. This sport originated underground, but in the past several years, its popularity has grown to where many competitions are being televised. Strongman requires a great deal of strength, but to excel at it, you also need overall athleticism and mental fortitude.


Another unique feature of strongman is that the competitions are not all alike. Each competition includes four or five events on average, which are pulled from a long list of traditional events and those that have been newly created. A few of the most popular are as follows:




  • Tire flip – Tractor tires weighing 1,000 pounds or more are flipped end to end.
  • Atlas stone – Large boulders or concrete balls are lifted over a bar or loaded onto a platform.
  • Fat bar – This overhead lift features heavy plates on a super-thick barbell that cannot be gripped in your hands, which is terribly awkward.
  • Farmer’s Walk – Heavy weights or objects are picked up in each hand and then walked as quickly as possible to a finish line.


Guest Post by: Tina Lockwood for


How Your Body Gets the Cholesterol It Needs – CrossFit Verve

Your body produces about 80% of the cholesterol it needs during the day; the other 20% comes from food. About 20% to 25% of the cholesterol that your body produces is created in the liver from fatty acids. Other places where your body manufactures cholesterol include your intestines, adrenal glands, and reproductive organs.

Read more

Creatine Supplementation, Part 2. Loading, Maintenance, and Timing of Creatine Intake

This is Part 2 of a two-part series on creatine supplementation.

Read Part 1

So now that we’ve determined that taking creatine will not destroy your body or turn you into a member of the opposite sex, let’s look at different supplementation strategies including creatine loading, maintenance doses, and timing. Feel free to check out the articles cited for further reading, but in the meantime here’s a summary of their findings.


Creatine loading is the process of taking a high dosage amount (~20 grams) per day for 4-7 days. The theory behind this method (as the name suggests) is that at the conclusion of this phase, the skeletal muscle is highly saturated with creatine. After the loading phase, a much smaller daily maintenance dosage is typically employed with the goal of maintaining these elevated skeletal muscle creatine levels.

Much research has been published showing that creatine loading does indeed increase creatine levels in muscle. As touched on briefly in Creatine Supplementation, Part 1, increased muscular creatine concentrations can result in many positive training adaptations. Creatine loading in addition to training has been shown to increase anaerobic power, maximal strength, power, acceleration, and muscular cross-sectional area (CSA) (1-2).

The side effects of taking creatine (cramping and GI distress) seem to be most common during loading phases. Researchers have looked at other avenues to achieve skeletal muscle creatine elevation by taking smaller doses as opposed to loading. One study showed that skeletal muscle creatine increases were the same between two groups; one group that performed a 6 day loading phase (20g/d), and another group that took a much smaller dose amount (3g/d) for 28 days (3). It appears as though while it is possible to achieve maximal muscular creatine saturation without loading, it will take longer to reach that end.

Maintenance Doses

According to the latest research, only a small dose is needed to maintain skeletal muscle creatineconcentrations and performance post-loading. Many studies observing maintenance doses post-loading observed maintenance (no decreases) in skeletal muscle creatine concentration with a dosage of 2 or 5 grams per day, with phases lasting as long as 66 days (3-6). Taking more than this amount as a maintenance dose may not increase creatine levels further, and will result in excretion of excess creatine via urination.

Supplementation Timing

Timing of supplementation with relation to workouts could be beneficial in maximizing results. More research needs to be done to determine the effectiveness of timing vs. not timing creatine ingestion around training sessions. Many of the studies observing creatine timing measured creatine ingestion with both carbohydrates and protein. Thus, it is difficult to tell if the observed results from these studies are from the creatine or from other factors. Although the research pool on this topic is still growing, it does seem that favorable adaptations are also achievable with ingestion of creatine immediately pre- and/or post-workout.

Other methods of creatine supplementation have been recently published and are currently being researched, including the effect of macronutrient intake with creatine supplementation. Some results have shown an increase in creatine uptake into skeletal muscle when ingested with ~75 grams of carbs, twice per day during the loading phase (4).

Remember, even though much research has been published on varying aspects of creatine supplementation, many supplement companies continue to offer dosage recommendations that are not backed by scientific evidence. For this reason, be prudent when designing a supplementation plan for yourself or for others. Creatine is cheap, safe, and a great way to enhance training towards achieving your goals.


(1) Arazi H, Rahmaninia F, Hoseini K, Asadi A. Effects of Three, Five and Seven Days of Creatine Loading on Muscle Volume and Functional Performance. Serbian Journal of Sports Sciences 2011;5(3):99-105.

(2) Law Y, Ong W, GillianYap T, Lim S, Chia E. Effects of Two and Five Days of Creatine Loading on Muscular Strength and Anaerobic Power in Trained Athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2009;23(3):906-914.

(3) Hultman E, Soderlund K, Timmons J, Cederblad G, Greenhaff P. Muscle creatine loading in men. The American Physiological Society 1996:232-237.

(4) Preen D, Dawson B, Goodman C, Beilby J, Ching S. Creatine Supplementation: A Comparison of Loading and Maintenance Protocols on Creatine Uptake By Human Skeletal Muscle. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 2003;13:97-111.

(5) Spillane M, Schoch R, Cooke M, Harvey T, Greenwood M, Kreider R, et al. The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2009;6.

(6) Vandenberghe K, Goris M, Van Hecke P, Van Leemputte M, Vangerven L, Hespel P. Long-term creatineintake is beneficial to muscle performance during resistance training. The American Physiological Society 1997:2055-2063.