The term soul food refers to a variety of cuisine that became popular in the southeastern US of A around the 1960s. Soul food restaurants were largely black-owned businesses that were community meeting places serving dishes such as fried chicken, mac’ and cheese, cornbread and cobbler. It is said the name of the cuisine originated from the reminder it gave patrons of the home and family they had left behind to seek greener pastures – the food was good for their souls!
I’ve always maintained that the food you eat should be both healthy and enjoyable. The soul food I referred to above may be enjoyable, but it’s not the healthiest and I was talking about a type of cuisine. What I’m really talking about here is eating food that is good for you, inside out. That is, mostly consuming food that is good for your physical health and performance, AND your mental health and performance.
When talking about food we generally focus on physical health and performance. How is that going to affect my blood sugar? Will it give me high cholesterol? What is going to give enough energy to perform well in training? How will that affect my recovery before the next session? But how often do we consider the psychological effects of food?
While I’ve alluded to the psyche of eating through topics of balance, approaching food as a fuel, and habit formation, I’ve never talked about feeding your soul. That sounds a bit airy fairy. By feeding the soul I mean eating in a manner that takes care of you – your self esteem, self confidence, happiness, and general wellbeing. It’s having a regard – giving a shit – about yourself.
Taking care of yourself is making your nutrition a priority. When that happens your approach to challenges changes from excuses to solutions.
“I don’t know what to do” becomes “I’m booking a nutrition consult.”
“There weren’t any healthy options” becomes “I had a good meal before the function and packed some snack just in case.”
“I was preparing snacks for the family so I didn’t have time” becomes “We all mostly have the same food now.”
Getting your nutrition right is challenging, especially because your body and needs are forever changing. But it’s just challenging, not difficult. You just have to make caring for yourself a priority.
Go home? Are those your only choices?
On our About Us page we’ve always had a line that reads “Sure, CrossFit can be tough, but it gets results.” You do need to work hard to get results, and we certainly get you working hard. But hard work only covers an area in the big picture of lifelong health and fitness. Training with us can be as tough as you make it.
Enjoying improved fitness through life requires that you remain injury free and enjoy what you’re doing. While group training is part of what we offer, how to stay injury free while having fun and getting results means something different for everyone. It means different load and repetitions for you, different movements for the next, a slower pace for him, more intensity for her, catching up instead of doing the warm-up perfectly, and for some it may mean an entirely different workout of the day.
How hard you go is relative to your “hard” for that day, and it doesn’t mean a thing. You coming in just to move is doing more than the overwhelming majority of the population on the couch.
Listen to your body and tell the coaches what it’s saying. There are countless variations and substitutions for what we’re doing on the day. Come in instead of avoiding a session; stay instead of ninja bombing out! And if all that you need is to come in and hang out without training or exercising, do it. That’s what CFJ has always been – your third place.
But, get uncomfortable and test the limits of your abilities often. Life will demand that of you!
What drove you to join CrossFit Jozi East?
I was bored with gym, and was looking for something different, something that could keep me interested and motivated to train.
How long have you been a member for?
Approx. 6 months
Who inspires you?
Everyone at training! We are all there trying to achieve our goals, overcome obstacles, support one another and having fun while we do it. The coaches are also awesome, they help keep me motivated.
What are you doing when you aren’t at the gym?
Other than work, I cook, love cooking and experimenting with food. Walking my dogs, getting outside into nature as much as possible and taking photos.
Tell us one interesting thing that people might not know about you?
This is hard, as I am a pretty open book…but perhaps the one thing is I am a very serious geek – I am a gamer, huge fan of Marvel, DC Comics, star was (on my bucket list is to go to Comic Con in the US) – I own a Batman onesie, need I say more.
If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?
Batman! If you can’t be yourself, then just be Batman.
What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own / owned?
I have a pair of grey tracksuit joggers, that if I could live in them, I would. My partner wants to throw them out, cause when I am home that’s what I am wearing!
What are you most likely to become famous for?
Doing something incredibly stupid or funny or even both. I could be a YouTube sensation!
If you were dictator of a small island nation, what crazy dictator stuff would you do?
I would make a rubbish dictator, because I would want everyone to be happy, chilled and relaxed.
What do you usually have in your fridge?
Cheese and there is always a stock of assorted veg
What has been your most memorable class or session at CFJ East?
The first time I finished a WOD in the time allocated, that was awesome! When I started (and it still happens now, but I am definitely getting better) I just could not do any WOD’s in time. I found this incredibly frustrating so when I did it the first time I was over the moon.
What Is The Coolest Thing That You Have Achieved At CFJ East?
Walking up the wall and getting my face to the wall in a handstand. Being upside down and standing on my hands, never thought that would ever happen.
What Changes In Your Health Have You Noticed Since Starting?
So many…I am stronger, I am leaner, I feel energized all day, my confidence is up and I just feel good everyday now.
List Some Of Your Big Goals.
My main goal is to slim down and lose weight, I still have 25kg to go!
CrossFit goals, long term, to do Muscle ups. Short term is being able to do 10 push-ups without dying or taking a break.
One question nutrition coaching clients or lifestyle challenge participants ask when they come to their review assessments is “How do I keep these results coming now?” My answer is always to maintain the changes they’ve implemented at least 80% of the time. And that is inevitably received with a look that says “You crazy, how can you tell me to have treats?!”
That sort of mindset, however, is precisely what derails good progress. Yes, attempting to be “strict” all the time, to having “perfect” nutrition is the reason you lack progress.
You are able to maintain perfect for a while. You cut out certain foods, constantly worry about making mistakes and worse, you even change many of your social behaviours. Until you eventually have a social outing where there simply aren’t any food choices that make it onto your perfect foods list. You have two options: stay
hungryhangry or eat something. In your mind, staying hangry is keeping your nutrition “perfect,” and eating something means (even though it’s one occasion in weeks) you’re out of control.
Although that’s just an example, what typically happens is “I can’t stay strict so I’m just going to go all out and I’ll clean up tomorrow.” Sounds a bit like a crack addict, doesn’t it?
When you change from trying to be perfect to being good enough with your nutrition, lots changes. You feel more in control of what you’re eating. You know that you’ve eaten really well for the past few days, so having a piece or two of the birthday cake is okay. You are happy to have the side salad instead of fries because you had a work function in the week where you enjoyed some savoury treats.
Perfect is impossible. More importantly, feeling that you’ve not achieved your perfect is destructive. Work towards “most of the time.”
Good enough and most of the time are relative to your goals and needs, and just what they mean is ultimately up to your definition. I’ve always advocated the 80/20 approach. It gives you direction on what “most of the time” is and it’s sustainable.
You’ll get better results from the method you follow 80% of the time than the method you quit.
Protein powders, proteins, and performance aids are the most popular products in the supplement industry. Too little attention is given to recovery and health based supplements. Vitamin and mineral supplements are becoming increasingly important as the quality of our food diminishes concomitant to ever increasing life stressors. One such mineral is magnesium.
What is Magnesium
Magnesium is one of the four micronutrients (along with sodium, potassium, and calcium) essential to all life. Magnesium is necessary for bone formation as well as calcium metabolism, and converting Vitamin D into an active form in the body.
Magnesium can be found in abundance in a variety of natural foods such as pumpkin seeds, spinach, Brazil nuts, almonds, rice and sesame seeds. While magnesium deficiency is primarily the result of poor diet and food choices, your magnesium levels could still be low even if you follow a healthy diet AND you lead an active lifestyle
How do you know if you are magnesium deficient? Different forms of stress, including exercise, increase magnesium consumption in the body. Adequate magnesium absorption may also be adversely affected by consuming disproportionate amounts of protein and fat relative to carbohydrates (another good reason to calculate your macros), and excessive alcohol consumption. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:
- Significant decrease in energy levels
- Reduced immunity
- Poor memory
- Training plateaus
- Retrograde performance.
Magnesium and Training
Individuals who train frequently at high intensity need more nutrients because of the increased demand on the body. Magnesium supplementation has been shown to be beneficial for athletes. Studies have found that athletes that supplemented with magnesium were able to perform at higher (relative) intensities for a longer period of time and increased their VO2max (maximum oxygen consumption) during exercise. This effect may have to do with the role magnesium plays in muscle contractions.
Magnesium supplementation has also been shown to combat fatigue. That may be the result of reportedly better sleep with magnesium supplementation, or it could be due to the role magnesium plays in energy production. Regardless, it improves restful sleep and reduces fatigue, and everyone could do with some of that!
Other Benefits of Magnesium Supplementation
- It contributes to a healthy metabolism
- Magnesium contributes to maintenance of healthy teeth and gums (it is necessary for calcium metabolism.). It also contributes to the maintenance of healthy bones. When we exercise we place a large amount of stress on the skeletal system and magnesium has been shown to assist in the repair and maintenance process.
- It contributes to electrolyte balance, which in turn plays a critical role in hydration.
- Magnesium contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system and has been shown to have a calming effect on the nervous system.
- It aids protein synthesis.
Even if your magnesium levels are normal and your diet provides optimal levels of the mineral, a magnesium supplement will be beneficial to your health and performance. When looking for a magnesium supplement, get one that has no additives.