More than a workout. Building happier lives.

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Train with us, connect with others and build a happier life! #thepowerofcommunity


Two concepts for you to mull over for a moment:

Concept 1: Shared Pain and Suffering Leads to Closer Connection

It’s not a new concept, but pain and suffering together brings people together.

Science agrees: For example, this article ( in Psychological Science, argues that shared pain actually has social consequences. It acts as a social glue that helps foster cohesion and solidarity in groups of people. So yeah, the military has definitely been onto something for a while now…


Concept 2: Connections Lead to Increased Happiness


Whether you’re in the military or not, having more connections to other humans in your life is useful. For one, study after study shows the number one predictor of happiness doesn’t come down to tangible things, such as increased fitness or financial or career achievements. It comes down to how connected you feel to others. This is probably why people aren’t less happy in the developing world, where they have so little, than they are in prosperous nations like ours.


Some further evidence in case you’re still not convinced: This German study ( found that those who pursued and achieved goals, such as seeing friends or family more frequently, or joining a non-profit organization, had more success increasing their happiness over the course of the year than those who pursued and achieved more individual goals, such as finding a better job or quitting smoking. In other words, those who pursuedsocial and relationships goals improved their life satisfaction considerably more than those who pursued individual, internal, achievement-based goals.In fact, the self-focused road to happiness was even less effective than having no action plan at all!


The latter certainly isn’t the only evidence: This study from the University of California Berkeley ( also found that social connections are the key to well-being.


Or what about this study: ( It found that embarking on a sort of official pursuit to “find happiness” tends to make you less happy! Instead, you’re better off focusing on improving your relationships and becoming closer with those around you. Doing this—as opposed to pursuing happiness, per se—is what will actually make you happier.


In case you’re not convinced yet, how about this one: The biggest predictor of how long you will live comes down to whether or not you have strong, close relationships in your life! Check out this TED Talk for more: ( Or here in this article (


How does this relate to the community we have forged at our gym?


Well, shared sufferingand close connections/friendships with others are two major keys to our community, and why we think what we’re doing is so special. And certainly different than most Globo or community center-type gyms.


No, we’re not an anti-social gym, where people show up with their headphones on and heads down and proceed to workout for an hour without speaking with another human being!


Training with us isn’t just about the workout!


Training with us is about the whole experience of developing a relationship with a personal coach, someone you trust with your deepest secrets and someone you feel comfortable opening up to in order to improve your life. Training with us is also about getting to know those around you, about sharing experiences together (often painful ones) to create a supportive network of friends who have similar goals of improving their lives. Like real friends you can lean on in good times and in hard times. And yes, it’s also about the physically, mentally and emotionally challenging, sometimes painful workouts, you pursue together, that will help you meet your tangible fitness goals. And at the same time, these workouts are a bonding experience that will help connect you to others, develop long-lasting friendships you value, and ultimately bring you more happiness in your life.


Sound like a community you want to be part of? If so, we’d love to have you!


Southwest Active – Thursday – Oct. 18

Thursday – Upper EMOM [Skill – low fatigue, practice] + Short Tester
A. ‘Testing’
1) Strict Pronated Pullup Attempts (for people ready) – then or people start here -2) Pronated Chinover Bar Hold (for people ready)
3) Pronated Negative Pullup – AS SLOW as possible
4) Pronated Hang From Pullup Bar (NOT for people that can hang for over 60 seconds previous)
B. Handstand Hold Against Wall – AMSAP x 1 set – hands shoulder width apart
– FLR on Hands AMSAP x 1 set
C. For Time 21,18,15,12,9,6,3 – teams of 2
Toes to Bar
Hang Power Snatch @ 55/75lbs
AirBike Cals
Wall Balls @ 15/20lbs to 9/10ft

Is your mind holding you back!?



You have never actually maxed out because fatigue is but an emotion holding you back


“What do you mean fatigue is an emotion? I just did an all-out sprint on the bike followed by a sled push. My legs are on fire; my lungs are on fire; my heart rate is maxed. It’s physiological!”


False: Fatigue is actually a brain-derived emotion that regulates the exercise behaviour to ensure the protection of whole body homeostasis.


What does this mean?

This means your physical capacity—in other words, your performance—isn’t dictated by your body reaching physical failurscreen-shot-2017-02-15-at-8-20-48-pme. It’s regulated by your brain protecting you against that from happening.


Check out more about the latter in this article by Tim Noakes (, a South African scientist and Exercise Science professor at the University of Cape Town. A revolutionary thinker, he’s also the author of Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports and The Real Meal Revolution and Lore of Nutrition: Challenging Conventional Dietary Beliefs.


In the above research, Noakes asked the question of why athletes always stop exercising before they reach their actual physical limit.


“The presence of the noxious symptoms of fatigue must indicate that exercise cannot be regulated solely by an inevitable and unavoidable failure of skeletal and or cardiac muscle functions,” he said.


As a result, Noakes developed a theory—the Central Governor Model for fatigue—which basically says—when it comes to fatigue during exercise—it’s all in your head! \


Thus, all forms of exercise are then sub-maximal efforts because there’s always a reserve of motor units not being used. Proof of this is the fact that your skeletal muscles are never all recruited when you workout. In fact, just 35 to 50 percent of your skeletal muscles are in use during endurance training, and still only 60 percent when you’re doing alleged ‘max efforts.’


It actually makes a lot of sense when you consider those times you might have been fooled into lifting more than you thought you were, whether because a coach tricked you on purpose, or if you misloaded the bar and ended up back squatting a PR easily without even knowing it.


Further, Noakes argues that although many factors influence performance—such as your your sleep the night before, what you did yesterday for training, fluid loss, thirst, heat, hunger, internal motivation that day, what you ate for breakfast, alcohol, muscle glycogen storage and on and on—none of those things are as influential as the brain.


In other words, your brain forms an opinion and then predicts what it thinks might happen when you workout. So, what’s going on in the brain is essentially all made up bullshit!


Here’s a thought: Fatigue isn’t real, and our brains assign meaning to it and then we let it hold us back.


This doesn’t just happen during exercise, though. It happens during life. Every. single. day.


Consider the following:  


As human beings, we’re constantly taking in empty and meaningless information and then assigning meaning to it. Something happens and we create a story about it and we assume that’s the “truth” about “what happened.”


The reality is, it’s rarely THE truth: It’s just our truth.


In the case of fatigue during exercise, it looks like this:


What happened is you just did three rounds of a 400 meter run and 25 burpees. The story you told yourself is that you were tired and needed to slow down. But is that what really happened, or just the story you let hold you back?


In the case of real life, here’s an example:


Amanda was 11 when her mom stopped dropping her off at figure skating practice. It was time for Amanda to walk herself to figure skating. At the age of 40, Amanda was still pissed off at her mother. She always felt so alone doing up her own skates, while all the other girls’ moms lovingly tied up their daughter’s laces. The story Amanda had told herself for nearly 30 years was that her mom didn’t love her.


Meanwhile, Amanda’s younger sister Erin, who had the same experience when she was 11, had created a different story. Erin felt independent and empowered when her mom told her she could walk to figure skating on he own. Erin thought this meant her mother trusted her more than the other mothers, that she was more capable than the other girls her age.


Two 11-year-olds. The same thing “happened” to them, but two completely opposing stories were creating. Hmmmm.


The point is only to say your truth isn’t always the truth. And your fatigue might not even be real!


Mic drop.


I’ll leave you with this: Your physical fitness doesn’t determine how well you do (possibly

mostly during unskilled, non-technical, endurance-based work like running and burpees. A failed strict pull-up might be a lack of physical capacity, but who knows?). Instead, the illusionary symptoms your brain has created—i.e. the story in your head—is interfering with what is actually happening. And it holds you back. Every single day of your life.


Southwest Active – Wed – Oct. 17

Wednesday – Row or AirBike/Skill + Row/AirBike MAP + AirBike or Row Skill
A. 10 min @ ez
10 Cal Row/10 Cal Bike/10 Cal Ski
Handstand Practice (frogstands, free-standing, against wall, wall walks)
B. @ 85-90% every 2 min x 15 sets
Set 1 – 15/12 Cal Rowing + 6-10 Jumping Switch Lunges
Set 2 – 15/12 Cal AirBike + 6-10 DB Power Cleans @ 35/50lbs/hand
Set 3 – 10 Burpees + 25 DU’s (30 Single Unders)

Weight loss is hard….



Losing weight is complicated….And unfair. What you need to know about calories and metabolism


It sounds like common sense: Reduce your calories and lose weight, increase your calories and gain weight.


The concept sounds so foolproof that it led to the commonly-held conclusion we have believed for decades: “Eat less, move more,” and you will shed pounds.


But this advice is flawed. It’s not that simple. Anyone who has found himself/herself trying to lose weight but failing to do so—by restricting calories and moving more—can attest to this.


Why? Well to start, the calories in, calories out theory doesn’t tell us anything about your age, gender, body composition or hormone levels, nor does it tell us about your macronutrient intake, your training style, your genetic makeup, or whether you’re taking any medications etc etc…


And it certainly doesn’t tell us about your metabolism: the process your body goes through to convert what you eat and drink into energy.


Metabolism aside for a moment, there are a few other warnings to note about calories:


  1. Don’t trust labels:


Check out this Precision Nutrition article that explains that food labels can be off by as much as 20 to 25 percent (!


  1. Consuming calories isn’t the same as absorbing them:


The amount of energy we eat in the form of calories isn’t always  equal to the amount of energy we absorb, store or use. This comes down to our metabolism, as well as the type of calories we’re eating, hence the idea that“calories aren’t created equal.”


In short, we absorb less energy from carbohydrates and fats that are minimally process and more energy from highly-processed carbohydrates because they’re easy to digest. Further, whether a food is cooked or raw also makes a difference in what we absorb from it.


C.Enter gut health:


Oh the importance of gut health, once again…


We absorb food differently depending on the types of bacteria we have in our gut, hence the whole probiotic craze we have been inundated with in recent years (probiotics are known to help increase the good bacteria in your gut, which helps you absorb nutrients more effectively).


Back to the unfair truth about metabolism:


When it comes to metabolism, we aren’t created equal. And we’re definitely not created equal when we break down our metabolism into four categories:


  1. Resting metabolic rate, or RMR


We all differ in terms of the number of calories we burn when we’re simply just resting (breathing, thinking, sleeping etc…). Things that affect your RMP either positively or negatively include your genetic makeup, your body composition, your age etc, your fitness level, and on and on.


  1. Fitness and metabolism


Again, we all burn calories differently when we workout (kind of why you can’t trust what the rowing machine or bike is telling you about how many calories you just burned). This changes depending on how much exercise you do. In other words, more consistent fitness can help your metabolism speed up.


  1. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis


We talked about resting metabolism and working out metabolism. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, on the other hand, is basically everything in between. It’s the energy you burn when you’re going about your daily life, sitting down, standing up, fidgeting, doing dishes, talking, laughing etc. Once again, this also varies from person-to-person.


  1. Thermic effect of eating


This is basically how many calories you burn just by eating (and digesting and processing your food). Once again, this varies considerably from person to person.


Before you start cursing the people you know who can seemingly eat whatever they want because their metabolisms are on fire, let’s consider ways you can improve your metabolism so your body becomes more effective at absorbing your food and using it as energy.


5 Simple Ways to amp up your metabolism


  1. Eat Protein


Protein helps improve your thermic effect of food, meaning you’ll burn more calories while you’re eating and digesting. Read more here (


  1. Drink more water


Some research shows drinking more water can help speed up your resting metabolism. Read more here (


  1. Workout more


We already covered this one, but exercise—especially lifting weights and high-intensity work—goes a long way in speeding up your metabolism—not just the calories you burn when you workout, but also your resting metabolism and your non-exercise activity thermogenesis. This study explains that high-intensity training can help your metabolism speed up for up to 14 hours after a workout: (


  1. Sleep, sleep, sleep


Sleep, and sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, have a huge impact on metabolism. Check out this for more (, and check out our Sleep Apnea series (link to June #4 and #5 blogs).


And even if you don’t have sleep apnea, just not getting enough sleep can alter glucose metabolism, as well as hormones involved in regulating metabolism, like leptin and ghrelin. There’s a reason they call it beauty sleep.


  1. Omega 3’s


There’s some evidence that taking a fish oil supplement rich in Omega-3 fatty acids can help speed your metabolism, largely because it is believed it helps decrease the chances of leptin resistance, which is linked to how your body burns fat.


More research needs to be done here, but even if fish oil doesn’t help your amp up your metabolism, there are many other well-known health benefits that come from taking Omega-3 fatty acids. Read more about why fish oil is important in our recent Fish Oil blog (link July #9 blog).


Give it a try for 30 days: Increase protein intake (and decrease carb intake), more water, consistent working out, go to bed earlier, and fish oil it up on a daily basis. Then report back.



Seasonal Depression it is a thing…



Control your serotonin levels and become resilient to seasonal depression this winter

One minute the sun is shining at the hot beach, the next minute you’re stoked for the leaves to change colors and the slightly cooler weather to roll in. Fast forward another month, and there you are sitting at home wallowing in the dark, your energy levels at an ultimate low, and nothing can convince you to leave the house. Yep, seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as they call it, is a real thing, for many many people.

In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health says five percent of the population in the U.S. suffer from SAD to some degree—and many more suffer from a milder form of SAD generally referred to as the Winter Blues—and 80 percent of those who do are women. This has led to a theory that women are genetically predisposed to SAD.

Being genetically predisposed to depression isn’t a radical new thought. Past research, for example, tells us those who carry a gene called 5-HTTLPR are more likely to develop depression and SAD. This gene essentially plays a role in regulating how effectively serotonin—the happiness neurotransmitter—gets removed from the brain. Those with the gene = more likely to become depressed or develop SAD.

Whether you’re genetically predisposed or not, anyone can become a victim to SAD—or at the very least anyone can be affected by the winter blues—as SAD simply stems from insufficient sunlight. This, of course, means the condition is generally worse in places around the world where months go by with days with little to no sunshine.

Hormonally speaking, more daylight stops serotonin from being removed from the brain. Thus, sunshine sort of acts as a natural anti-depressant. Without enough of it, your serotonin levels can push you to becoming SAD. Read more about serotonin and how it affects your mood here: (

Back to genetic predisposition for a minute…

Being genetically predisposed to SAD was the impetus behind a recent Danish study published in the Journal European Neuropsychopharmacology (

The research team sought to discover why some people, though they carry the 5-HTTLPR gene, manage to become resilient to SAD and depression.

The research is pretty fascinating:

The study looked at 23 participants who have not experienced depression but who carry the 5-HTTLPR gene. It then looked at their serotonin levels in both the summer and the winter months.

Generally, serotonin levels are higher in the summer and lower in the winter (about 10 percent higher) but the participants in the study—who were all allegedly susceptible to SAD because of their 5-HTTLPR gene—were able to control their serotonin levels, so their levels of serotonin remained the same during all seasons, making them essentially naturally SAD-resilient!

Obviously this study is a super small stud with only 23 participants, but the researchers are hopeful this can lead to new research about ways to control and prevent people from developing SAD and other forms of depression.

Until then, here are some practical ways to ensure you don’t become SAD this winter:

Keep Gymmin:

Though we might be admittedly biased, there’s tons of evidence—including a study from the Cochrane Review that reviewed 30 other clinical studies—suggesting exercise improves symptoms of depression, including those associated with SAD. Basically, working out helps stabilize your mood. Bonus if you can get outside for walks or runs or hikes even in the colder months, as you will probably benefit even more from at least a little bit of natural sunlight during the shorter days of winter. Or…start skiing this winter!

Don’t give in to the carb cravings:

It’s natural for a person who is depressed to have cravings for carbohydrates because they promote serotonin production, but as you know refined carbohydrates cause more damage than good—sugar spike leads to sugar crash, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and on and on. So keep on selecting whole, unprocessed foods to keep your body functioning well.

Fish Oil:

Some science has linked SAD and other forms of depression to Omega-3 deficiencies. Omega-3 fatty acids seem to help serotonin pass through cell membranes more effectively. So if you’re not already doing so, consider taking a fish oil supplement this winter. Read more about the importance of fish oil in a recent piece we posted HERE (link to July 2018 #9 blog-Fish Oil Nuts and Bolts).

Vitamin D:

Same goes for Vitamin D—the sunshine vitamin. If you’re not already taking vitamin D, do it! Especially in the winter.

SAD-Vacation Planning:

If you know February, for example, is when seasonal depression hits you hardest, try to get away sometime in February, if life and work permits, to somewhere with reliable sunshine. It makes more sense to go on vacation when your body really needs it than in July when there’s plenty of sunshine at home, doesn’t it?

Keep Socializing:

This might sound obvious, and maybe a little lame, but when you’re feeling down it’s easy to want to hibernate yourself, when the reality is connections with other human beings is one of the most, if the not single most important thing, for our happiness. Schedule social events in advance with people so you’re less likely to bail, to ensure you get out and get social even when you’re tempted to stay home.

Light Therapy? Tanning?

This one might be a little more “out there,” but there’s evidence that 30 minutes of light therapy can help boost energy levels.

Essentially, light therapy devices are designed to give off light that tricks you into thinking it’s real sunlight. Read more about light therapy here: (

In short, there are several different types of light therapy devices—dawn simulation, portable light boxes and battery-powered head visors to name a few. Some doctors event prescribe various forms of light therapy to their patients with SAD.

And although this one is going to be a tough sell because of the whole cancer thing, your mood is also important, too, right? Soooooooo, an infrequent tan in a tanning bed in the winter (as long as you don’t let yourself burn) might be something else to consider. Just a thought.

Please share your best tips for staying HAPPY and avoiding SAD this winter.


Southwest Active – Monday – Oct. 15

Wk 6/6 – Oct. 15
Monday – Fsq Varied + Deadlift Varied + Glute/Lunge + Upper Ecc
A. Front Squat, @ 22×1, work to a challenging single for the day – not a max
B. 3 rounds for time:
10 tng Deadlifts @ 105/155lbs
10 Wall Balls @ 15/20lbs to 9/10ft
10 Box Jumps @ 20/24” Box
C. EMOM x 10 minutes:
1st – 5-6 BTN Straddle Barbell Z press @ 41×1
2nd – AMRAP unbroken Strict Supinated Pullups

Southwest Active – Friday – Oct. 12

Friday – LSD Low % [Grip – Core – Carry – TGU]
45-55 min @ ez
1,000m Rowing
5 L arm KB Hang Power Cleans @ moderate
5 L arm Hang KB Snatch @ moderate
100ft L arm OH DB Carry – heavy
25/40 Cal AirBike
5 R arm Hang KB Power Cleans @ moderate
5 R arm Hang KB Power Cleans @ moderate
100ft R arm OH DB Carry – heavy
500m Rowing
15 Step-Down Box Jumps @ 20/24”
10 Burpees
15/25 Cal AirBike
30 sec Pike Ups