The Manly Art of Hydration

It’s been hot. Like really, really hot. And it’s got me thinking about hydration a lot more. The “eight 8-ounce glasses” recommendation gets thrown around a lot, but how accurate is it really? And why has it become the default? Every day your body sheds some water through respiration (good ol’ breathing), sweat, urine, and other really important metabolic activities. So if you don’t consume enough water, you start to experience symptoms such as headaches, tiredness, and difficulty concentrating. At that point you’re dehydrated. Being chronically dehydrated can disrupt normal body functions and contribute to several issues like constipation and kidney stones—ain’t nobody got time for that.

I’m sure you’ve heard that water makes up about two-thirds of your body and about 70% of the weight in your muscles comes from water. But also consider this: fat cells are devoid of water, and for both lean men and women water makes up an even greater percentage of their totally body weight. Water is important for the regulation of body temperature. If you did MURPH, you might have learned like I did that body temperature makes a big fat difference in performance. Dehydration is a nasty issue for a lot of reasons but when it lessens your ability to regulate your temperature, it negatively affects your ability to work to your full potential and has serious health consequences. Drink plenty of water before and after your workouts to ensure you’re able to put forth full effort! But how much do you need to be drinking? Those eight cups a day would mean 64 ounces…about 2 liters a day. More specific recommendations have come about recently, and I think they are an upgrade. Experts say that healthy grown people between the ages of 31 and 70, living in climates like ours, should follow this:

  • Men:125 ounces (3.7 liters) of water per day from all dietary sources, which include drinking water, tea, coffee, flavored waters, and food. (Yep, food can be hydrating! Mainly fruits and veggies.)
  • Women:91 ounces (2.7 liters) of water per day from all dietary sources.

I have a 32oz water bottle and I feel best when I get at least 2 of those on top of some coffee and LaCroix. Everyone is different, of course, and this is where individualization comes in. Some studies show that low intake of water doesn’t always equal dehydration. The biggest judge of dehydration is urine output. The more fluids you drink the more you pee. And the more lightly colored you can keep your urine the better you’ll be.

Remember, when temperatures soar like they are currently, you’ll need more water then ever! And if you’re feeling moody, drink water! We know it is tied to our ability to regulate our mood. Just writing this has made me thirsty.

Murph and Medals of Honor

So proud of our CFStC Family and Friends who came out on Monday to Honor Lt. Michael P. Murphy.

We had athletes  doing Murph Rx’d with vests, without vests, halfs, and partners. We had kids from our RYG program asking their parents to be their partners. We had awesome parents being great role models for their future athletes. We had folks coming out to support their husbands, wives, sons and daughters as they tackled a tough WOD on a brutally hot day.

Our athletes also Honored local fallen heros through the Medals of Honor program. Our atmosphere was one of respect and hard work.

This is one of our favorite events of the year and the CrossFit St. Charles Family rolls deep.

The Goose that Lays the Golden Egg!

From the pen of guest writer John Harder

Who can relate to Veruca? I know that I want muscles and I WANT THEM NOW! Sadly though, just like everything else in life building strength takes time. In the age we live in we’ve become accustom to having everything now. Fast food, high speed internet, instant downloads, etc. We’ve subconsciously trained our brains to believe that absolutely everything is immediate.  I’ve even seen ads for machines that supposedly get your body fit while you sit on the couch. Everything should be “easy” and available “now”. Our bodies, however, are here to remind us that the good stuff that you want to last will take a little more of an investment. When I think about the work that needs to be put in to see the results that we want I think of the farmer. They prep the soil, they plant the seed, they tend to it as the crops grow, they constantly are removing anything that is keeping them from seeing the best yield. When you rush something that needs time and tending to, you may see some results, but they will hardly be the results that are the best possible outcome or, more often than not, lasting. If a watched pot never boils could it be said that a watched muscle never grows? If you find yourself in a place where you are feeling impatient about the results you’re looking for I would suggest starting to count your victories. All of them. Even the small ones. It’s more important to celebrate the things we are doing than beating ourselves up for what we aren’t seeing. Be patient and enjoy the process!

Eat to Lose Weight

“Metabolic damage” and “starvation mode” are probably terms you’ve heard before. They are often used when referring to the physiological changes that take place when someone is eating too little calories for too long. This lack of calories can be from limiting calories or upping exercise without accommodating with more food intake. Our bodies are fantastic at adapting; when we add an extra day of training into our schedule, we might be sore for a week or two but we adapt. Soon it feels like we were always Crossfitting 4 days a week instead of 3. When we take calories out of our diets, we might lose weight for a few weeks but then our bodies adapt and we plateau. Soon our bodies stop changing and it’s like we never ate more.

What exactly is happening here and why? More importantly, what can we do about it?

“Dieting” (for most of us) means “a lot less food and a lot more cardio”. We may acknowledge that strength training is important, and we might get that our hormones’ roles and functions are affected by our food. But most of us ignore that and decide if cutting calories by a little is good, then cutting by a lot must be better and faster! Right? Wrong. It’s damaging to your metabolism. Your metabolism is the orchestration of hormones and processes, including the process of releasing stored fat and burning that fat or re-storing it. It is a process we all want control over.

When it comes to this process we want regulation over, calories matter and so do hormones like insulin. How you reduce calories and at what rate matters to your hormones. I think of a rubber band analogy. To get a result (weight loss) you must put just enough stress (stress = calorie reduction) on it to get movement without it snapping back. Just enough. Not enough stress on your metabolism and you end up staying stuck. Too much stress, and like the rubber band things spring back. We do the same process in strength training! To get stronger we get under just enough weight/tension with just enough speed to challenge our bodies. Not so much that we fail, but enough that we are uncomfortable.

Initially, when there is the wrong kind of stress (or just too much stress overall) on the metabolism, the body simply adapts by turning down the metabolic rate. You see this time and time again when you start a new diet and get results for a like a week…then zip. Nothing. You’ve checked and MyFitnessPal says you’re coming in under recommended calorie intake. But with this turn down of your metabolism (that can happen very quickly) you simply aren’t burning as much as you think you are.

When you cut calories or try to burn more off at the gym, that triggers lower leptin levels and ups those cortisol levels. That brings on cravings for the carbs and sometimes fatty/starchy foods. This makes it super hard to stick to your plan. What this looks like for a lot of us is “clean eating” Monday to Friday and then losing it on the weekend.

What can we do? We need to find the right amount of stress to put on our metabolism to get results but not push it so far it snaps back at us. Start by training smarter, not harder. Follow the programming and don’t go rouge in pursuit of weight loss. Making changes takes time, and the more aggressive the shifts, the more aggressive the possible damage.

Try some strategies, like RP Strength, that slowly and intentionally put stress on your metabolic system for a limited period. Many of us don’t intuitively know how to program for strength gains or how to strike that tension and not snap our rubber band. That’s why we loved CrossFit…someone does it for us. The same is sometimes true with our food intake habits. We don’t intuitively know without a lot of patience and practice how to pull on our metabolic rubber band and not have it smack us in the face. Commit to a long-term program (90 days or more) and be patient and intentional. Learn about your body and its needs, ask questions, rehab your metabolism, and exit starvation mode.

Better Breathing, Better Rowing

Creating a breathing rhythm can really help your rowing workouts. Ideally, the rhythm of your breath will relate to the rhythm of your stroke.

When rowing at lower intensities, many rowers take one breath per stroke. They add a second, shorter breath as they start rowing harder. The optimal point of when to switch from one to two breaths per stroke is highly personal; experiment to see what works best for you.

Consider Your Stroke Cadence

It’s helpful to coordinate the timing of your breathing with the phases of the stroke. Specifically:

During low intensity rowing (one breath)—Exhale gradually on the drive, expelling all remaining air at the finish. Inhale on the recovery.

During high intensity rowing (two breaths)—Exhale as you finish the drive. During the recovery, inhale, then exhale quickly. Inhale again just before the catch.

Create a Pattern

The most important consideration is to create a breathing pattern and stick with it throughout your row. This supplies regular oxygen to your muscles so they can function optimally, and it can also help you increase the intensity of your workout…especially on those days when you are less motivated to put in a hard effort.

Check out Coach Jamies Rowing Clinic on June 3 @9a for more drills and skill to improve your technique and performance

Nutrition tips With Jessie

What diet of “lifestyle” change have you tried? I’ve done a handful. Some have served me well and some not so much. Like the time I did a “cleanse” (btw – I have perfectly good kidneys for that) that required me to only eat about 6 bananas a day for several days.

For the longest time, low-fat, high carb diets were all the rage! Cereal companies and smoothie stores rejoiced. Things abruptly switched gears when Atkins diet stormed on the scene. People were abandoning bagels for eggs and cheese. We demonized carbs and let high fat foods take our affections. I mean, who wouldn’t?

Paleo soon followed, and now saturated fat was not only okay but encouraged! Hooray! But no dairy, grains, beans, or legumes…along with anything else a caveman couldn’t source. Now, the tide has changed yet again, and the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) approach is here. A quick scroll through Instagram will show many IIFYM fans posting pictures of foods that fly directly in the face of what we all believed “dieting” meant, along with some impressive fat-loss progress pictures. I once gave IIFYM a try. The promise of pop-tarts and a six pack was too tempting.

As we move through life things change, and our activity levels and lifestyle fluctuate so we alter our food intake to compensate. When trying to figure out how to formulate a nutrition plan and the amount of food that is best for you, you’ll need ask yourself a few things:

  • How does it make you feel? Analyze your energy levels, digestion, hunger, satiety, and cravings.
  • If your goals are aesthetic, how does it make you look? Are you tight, bloated, flat, retaining water, gaining fat, losing fat, etc.
  • How does it make you perform? Whether you lift at the gym or participate in a sport, your nutrition should have you well fueled and performing to the best of your ability.

My ideal nutrition setup is a combination of all the approaches mentioned above. The overwhelming majority of my foods should come from whole, nutrient-dense sources, but I have room for birthday cake in my world. Calories and macronutrients do matter when it comes to dialing things in even tighter. However, figuring out which foods make me feel good and perform well is important. I believe that carbohydrates should fluctuate a bit depending on that day’s activity level and fat loss goals.

Many of you have heard me talk about my nutrition approach being RP Strength. I like RP because it takes all the above concepts and puts them in a spreadsheet and makes it simple. When I ask myself the questions listed above, my experience with RP has been what I’m practicing when I get the best answers. If you’ve tried all the approaches but need to dial things in, stay tuned. We’ve got your back!

Jessie will be hosting a Nutrition Workshop at CFSTC. She will be talking specifically about the RP diet but will be able to answer any questions you may have about other diets you may have tried or heard about.
The workshop is open to the public.
$5 at the door for CFSTC members
Follow this link to register
Nutrition Workshop

How to Get the Most out of Your Training

When you are getting the most out of your training, you are getting the best results. To get the most out of your training, we want to focus on these 5 things that are completely within our control. It takes time and practice to build habits like these, however the payoff is worth every single step of the way!



Having a great training session each day requires some preparation. Ensuring your efforts are sound in the other categories in this article are some of the best things you can do. There are a handful of other habits that can be of aid though, like being on time, practicing and focusing on form and technique, staying consistent with your training routine, and paying attention to coaches to learn new skills. Another useful habit is to LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR! CrossFit is humbling to us all, and sometimes you have to digress in order to progress. Try to focus on having a great workout and getting better at something everyday!



As the saying goes “Work Hard…Recover Harder”…or something like that. Recovery is simply the time and ability your body needs to take to feel normal after a workout. Recovery is different for everyone and has a lot of factors going in to. Nutrition being the biggest player, so big it has its own section below…and it should have its own book. There are some other things we can do to feel better after a bunch of lunges, front squats, box jumps, and burpees.


First, try to keep things moving. Being sedentary or not moving at all after an intense workout can cause all sorts of soreness. We see it a lot with members who work at a computer right after an intense workout. Work is work, but consider looking into a standing desk or setting a reminder to walk around, do some squats every 30 minutes or so.


Some other habits like foam rolling, lacrosse ball work, and stretching, can help bring the body back to a state of feeling normal or increase blood flow to help with recovery. Muscle stimulation units like Compex and 10s Units can help with recovery and blood flow as well.


The whole goal of recovery is to be able to get back into the gym to train more. The more that you can recover, the more practice and training you can squeeze in and maximize results. We even want to think about our ability to recover while we are training. When training, we are making ourselves WEAKER! The first 10 reps of Grace feels a lot better than the last 10 reps. So we want to consider our efforts and ability to recover from them in mind before we attack them. If you know you are training tomorrow, and going RX today is going to DESTROY you, back off so you can have a good training sessions both days, not just one beat down after another.



As mentioned above, this is most critical to recovery and getting the most out of your training. Those who eat clean, whole foods with enough calories to support your activity but not body fat, have the best workouts. They recover faster, they perform better and usually don’t feel sluggish coming into a training session or after. There are a lot of different places to be in your Nutrition journey, but ensuring you are making strides to improve your daily habits with food have huge effects. If you walk into the office everyday, and grab a donut or cookie from the lunch room, will have drastic effects over a long time. Replace that with an apple or healthy shake, that will have drastic positive effects!


Whether you look at eating paleo, doing macros or the zone styles of eating; staying consistent and looking at how your training sessions are feeling and how your soreness feels is one of the best ways to get the most out of your training sessions.


Don’t know where to start? Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.


Supplements play into this section. They can be effective tools like whey protein and creatine to supplement performance and recovery, but should not be the meat and potatoes of your nutrition recovery efforts.  



There is true power in positivity and focusing on things that are within your control. Ask yourself if you live in a friendly or hostile world and you will know if you have a positive or negative mindset. Hostile worlds are full of “they are out to get me” and friendly worlds are full of abundance. It is a perception. Switch to a positive style of thinking with one thought at a time. Try to catch yourself when negative thoughts pop up and turn them into a positive.

One of the best tools you can use to achieve this is instead of saying you “have to” switch it to you “get to”. You don’t have to workout…you get to. You don’t have to pick up the kids…you get to.


Coming into each training session with a positive mindset can be hard, but it has to be a habit that is practiced each time.


This is so so so so so important. When you are awake and going about your day, you are draining your bodies battery level, and when you sleep you charge back up! Sleeping less than 7 hours per night is classified as sleep deprivation. Not only are we missing out on grreat cognitive function, our bodies will have the hardest time trying to recover from intense training sessions. This is brushed over time and time again and a lack of sleep is worn like a badge of honor these days. 7-9 hours a night is needed for normal human function, and especially when trying to maximize ones training.


The thing is, each one of these factors affect the other. They are intertwined and all 100% connected. Put effort into one category and you will see results in all categories. Put effort into each category, and each category will improve faster and have more drastic effects.


Choose 1-2 to start thinking about and take action tomorrow morning!

Becoming a CrossFit Mom

I’ve been a CrossFit athlete for over 4 years now and I’m about to celebrate my youngest kid’s 2ndbirthday. I got pregnant with him right in the middle of my CrossFit experience. When I got pregnant with my oldest, that happened right in the middle of my most unhealthy years. As you can imagine, those two pregnancies are stark contrast from each other. While my first pregnancy had more aches, more weight gain, more negative self-talk, more spaghetti, more soda, and longer more tormenting labor, it also had a more passive recovery. I didn’t give much thought to what I was doing or the activities I participate in after that baby. I just sat a lot, watched TV, and took in plenty of calories. After my “Crossfit pregnancy”, I thought about it all the time. I’ve learned so much about what it means to be an athlete and a Mom. Nearly 2 years later and I’m still bringing consideration to how I move my body on account of giving birth to a person. You should too.

Most recent figures show that by the end of their childbearing years, 86% of U.S. women have had kids. That means 86% of women are postpartum, no matter if your baby is 22 years or 2 months. If you broke your leg, you’d expect to look and act as if you broke your leg. If you had shoulder surgery, we would want you take into consideration your shoulder surgery, whether it was last year or 10 years ago.  Women who have had a child are no different! This should cross your mind when you train. I won’t lie and say social media and other influences didn’t have me wanting to pose while holding a 6-week-old and sporting noticeable abdominals. I wanted to slip back into my old jeans like nothing happened. I wanted to get back into the gym and work as though I did not experience a forever body altering change. However, that would have been unrealistic and dangerous. No matter how long ago your pregnancy was, it’s a good idea to pause and consider what your body has been through.

Taking care of yourself and regaining your fitness are doable post-pregnancy goals that you can achieve without sacrificing your health, your body’s function, and your sanity, without setting back your healing and recovery. In fact, these are the most important goals-especially in the months and years when your children are babies and toddlers. Imagine yourself crawling around the back of a minivan looking for a pacifier or lugging around a car seat with a baby strapped in. These everyday activities with littles require so much of your body! Mama doesn’t have time for a sore back!

With the above in mind, here’s a term to know and some steps to consider if you’ve had a baby recently, are nursing, may get pregnant, have had a baby long ago and suspect you never healed properly, or you love or workout with someone who identifies with the above.

What is diastasis recti?

When women become pregnant the abdominals (rectus) need to separate to make room for the growing baby. However, when the abdominals do not come back together after pregnancy, women can experience a weak core, back pain, hernia, and many other complications. This is a common concern around mama’s, especially new and nursing mamas. If you think this could relate to you and want to read up a bit more here’s some helpful info.

  1. Give your body adequate time to heal well after birth. Pregnancy is taxing, and labor is a huge event. You might even be recovering from surgery. Rest is best. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move, stretch, or strengthen. Be cognizant of how much time you spend on your feet.
  2. Come back but come back slowly.You can’t simply jump back into high-intensity, heavy weights, or even full CrossFit classes. Going too hard too quickly will increase your risk of experiencing a setback. It could lead to back pain, pelvic pain, weakness of the pelvic floor, or pelvic organ prolapse. If you think you already came back too hard, take a sec and check out how you’re doing in these pitfalls or early come back areas.
  3. Eat nourishing foods and adequate calories.Feed your body what it needs: Whole, nourishing foods that provide enough protein, fat, carbs, and vitamins. Our hormones and metabolize have changed and there are new physical demands. Restricting calories will cause additional stress on your body and not aid in fat loss. You might find that you’re super hungry all the time. A good rule of thumb is to include a protein, fat, fruit or grain, and vegetable at every meal.
  4. Sleep and restorative activities are A Number 1.Caring for babies and young kids requires a lot of energy. When you come into class, work with your coach to modify the workouts to be energizing and restorative. You won’t be sleeping much, which puts your body under stress. Piling on intense workouts when you’re already depleted is silly and counterproductive. Move well and move often! It sounds boring to do glute bridges instead of sit ups or lifting less than 50% of your 1RM but the Magic will be in the boring. Do Crossfit in a way that restores you and energizes you. After my son Jett was born, I barely slept. Showing up to a 9am class felt like the only thing that would give me energy to move along through the day. It was a cup of morning joe. Not only to move my body but to see and talk to all of you, and to smile with my friends. Seek to get back to a body that feels supported and strong…one that can lift heavy things without injury, that can sprint upstairs to a crying baby and carry a toddler with strong bicep and back. Know the path may feel lame and long but it’s actually just calm and basic and worth it.-Coach Jessie

Community Corner

Stay up to date on all things CFSTC!


  1. Powerlifting 101 w/  Chris! Saturday’s at 12:00pm starting THIS Saturday!
  2. Nutrition – RP Diet Q&A w/ Jessie! May 26th
  3. Memorial Day Murph, Monday the 28th at 8:30am. Invite your friends for a fun filled
  4. Rowing Clinic With Jamie! June 3rd 9am
  5. Pull Up/ Toe To Bar Clinic with Ben! June 24th at 9:00am!

Also congratulations to Connor and Meghan Hortsman on the arrival of Dieter Hortsman! He is beautiful and we cannot wait to meet him!