Thursday, February 19, 2009

SMR, The Musical Stretch: The More You Roll The More You Bitch!

Below: Alex "boss Poss" Possamai (aka my new boss!) and me rippin' it up at his new CrossFit Bolton location!

Unless you want "boner legs," I suggest you utilize some type of roller, especially after doing the above pictured workout: Renegades of Squats!

Ok, so I'm the first to admit that I don't stretch. I haven't ever since I was a kid in ballet class. Anytime the stretching component of the class came up, I'd sit and wait until everyone was finished. Why? Because I was as flexible as an HB number two pencil. Not stretching class after class was making it worse, but how was I to know that at the tender age of six? Gimme a break!

I came to the sudden realization that I was the most non-flexible person I knew when I had visited a friend's affiliate, Conker Fitness in Oakville, to do a WOD with the affiliate owner Jeff Morey and CrossFit Niagara affiliate owner Mark Gleason (two VERY awesome guys, by the way). Upon completing the workout, both Jeff and Mark encouraged me to use what I now refer to as "the death roller." It looked simple enough, and even quite relieving and soothing at first glance! But after being given instructions on how to use it and applying those instructions, I realized I was utterly deceived.


Honestly, how the HELL do people put up with the pain from this cylindrical death-like contraption? Am I just really that big of a wuss or is it one of the most painful things in the world?

Well, there is a purpose for it, and we should all begin doing it on a regular basis.

Basically, when we are using these 'foam rollers,' what we are doing is what is known as SMR (Self-Myofascial Release). The body naturally performs myofascial release, but adding the 'S' component to the 'M' and the 'R' means YOU need to actively participate!

Let's dig deeper into the "fibers" of SMR...

Simply put, this definition of Myofascial Release states that "it is a form of soft tissue intended for pain relief, increasing range of motion and balancing the body" ( So basically, the purpose of "Self" Myofascial Rlease is to speed up the process of regaining flexibility and range of motion , as well as alleviating any pains from the previous workouts, by untangling the fascia.

During a workout, your muscle fibers are put under a lot of strain, as described by the tangling of the fibers, which is subsequently the after effects of a workout. During MR and SMR "The fascia is manipulated, directly or indirectly, supposedly to allow the connective tissue fibers to reorganize themselves in a more flexible, functional fashion" (Ibid). Who knew muscles were that smart?!

Now if only it didn't hurt so damn much...

The process of SMR is quite the painful one, and only the strongest of strong can actually grin and bear the pain administered by "the death roller." I am going to go out later this afternoon and purchase a foam roller for myself, because after yesterday's workout, I've realized it is definitely an important step to recovery.

There are different varieties of rollers you can buy, ranging from hardness of roller to thickness of roller, to shape of roller. Here is a link for you to check out for the different varieties of rollers. Enjoy, and get rollin', rollin', rollin', rollin'!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

CrossFit Mississauga: Home Of The Mess You Up, Hard As %*#$, Crazy-Stupid Sadistic WODs

Exibit A: the "CrossFit Mississauga firebreathing stance."

I thought I'd share with all of you some of the many WODs that Eric, Mark and Dave have put together of the past year for CrossFit Mississauga. Some of them are pretty messed up, which is the reason why I thought you'd all enjoy them!

This January we started what we call the WOM (Workout of the Month). We thought it would be a great way to get people ready and raring to get fit, and excited to tackle one of their most important new year’s resolutions: "Become a firebreather."

Our first WOM was fittingly titled, "SEASON'S BEATINGS 2009." It consists of 2009 reps, to go along with the new years theme, and it was to be done with a partner.

Here is the breakdown:

150 Pull Ups

100 Wall Balls

200 Sit Ups

100 Push Press @ 65/45

250 Double Unders

150 Push Ups

200 Box Jumps @ 16"/20"

100 Kettle Bell Swings @ 53/35

100 Cleans @ 95/65

100 Thrusters @ 65/45

300 Air Squats

100 Burpees

9 Deads @ 500/400/315

The catch: only one person can be working at a time. What's great about this is each person has their own motivator built in to their workout, so there is no room for slacking. The average time at our gym was about an hour and a half. I've had some friends in Cleveland try it out and they loved it, or at least that's what I gathered from their responses: "Dude...that was horrible."

Our February WOM, "You'll Be Alright" is yet another doozy.

The breakdown:

Partner 1 does Fran

Partner 2 does Fran

Partner 1 does 50 Burpee-pullups

Partner 2 does 50 Burpee-pullups

Partner 1 does 100 Double unders

Partner 2 does 100 Double unders

This workout is to be done with a partner with only one partner working at one time, just like Season's Beatings. I have only seen one team do this so far and it looked like it hurt pretty bad! If you decide to give it a try, post your time on the comments!

Here are some other stupid-good workouts we've come up with:


12 rounds for time of:

10 Deadlifts @135/95

8 Push-ups

6 Hang Power Cleans @135/95

4 Burpees

"Power Clean Front Squat Double Jerk Grace"

30 Reps of:

1 Power Clean

1 Front Squat

2 Jerks

All @ 135/95

"Little Girls"

21-15-9 of:

Thrusters @ 65/45


3 min rest

30 Power Clean and Jerk @ 95/65

3 min rest

21-15-9 of:

Cleans @ 95/65


Post all 3 times and the total time (without rest) to comments.

"Front Squat Fran"

21-15-9 of:

Front Squats @ 115/75



"Fight Gone Bad Version 2.0" or "Dave"

1 minute of Thrusters @ 75/55

1 minute of Hang Power Cleans @ 115/75

1 minute of Box Jumps 20"/16"

1 minute of Kb Swings @ 1.5 pood/1 pood

1 minute of Burpees

3 rounds with a 1 minute rest between rounds (fight gone bad style). Every rep counts for one point with the exception of burpees which count for 2 points each. Post total reps to comments.

"Choose Your Pain"

5 rounds for time of:

400m run OR 500m row OR 50 double unders

25 thrusters @ 65/45

“Renegades of Squats”

3 rounds for time of:

1 minute Back Squat @115/75

1 minute rest

1 minute Front Squat @115/75

1 minute rest

1 minute Air Squat

1 minute rest

Post total reps

We haven't thought of a name for these ones yet:

50 Burpees

10 Thrusters @ 75/55

40 Burpees

20 Thrusters

30 Burpees

30 Thrusters

20 Burpees

40 Thrusters

10 Burpees
50 Thrusters


For time:

20 Cleans @ 185/115

20 Cleans @ 135/95

20 Cleans @ 95/65


21-15-9 Deads @ 225/135 and Burpees

5 Minutes rest

21-15-9 Deads @ 135/95 and Burpees


5 rounds of max reps of Hang Cleans @ 135/95. Rest as needed between rounds. The set ends when you let go of the bar. Your score is your total reps.


100 Sit-ups

90 Squats

80 Push press @ 75/55

70 Box jumps @ 20"/16"

60 Sumo deadlift high pull @ 75/55

50 Walking lunge steps

40 Kettlebell swings

30 Overhead squats @ 75/55

20 Pistols (Assist as little as needed using a ring)

10 Burpee pull-ups

Please give these a try and let me know (via Facebook, Gmail, here) how you do!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hardening The %*#$ Up And Trying To Do The Same For Your Hands

“Man my hands look rough, but they definitely scored me some SERIOUS tough guy points!”

Some of you have seen just how bad my hands can get, and for the rest of you, be sure to have a bucket handy!

I always thought that the best thing to do during a pull-up workout was to chalk up: eliminate the sweatiness and clamminess from my hands. It was over 10 months later that I realized that chalk just MIGHT be the culprit for my massacred, mutilated monkey meat hands.

I've tried a few things, some having its pros and cons:

Taping Up

This works very well, but at the same time, the sweat build-up underneath the tape caused a lot of moisture to get trapped, and thus creating more blisters. The next step [during a workout] was to throw chalk underneath the tape in an attempt to prevent anymore sweat from building up. This works for well but not for very long. However, tape is good to use on heavy days, or days where you aren't doing pull-ups but are hindered by the mild soreness from your previous workout. The tape creates a barrier between the blisters and the bar, allowing you to do other exercises including cleans or deadlifts, for example.


Gripping the bar harder is better. Before using this method, I was lightly gripping, which allowed for my hands to rub against the bar too much, causing friction and tearing. This may or may not apply to you, but through my own experiences, a firm grip made for less blistering.


You may notice at your gym when people are doing their kipping pull-ups they are either swinging like monkeys or have very good control over their core. If you're a so-called 'monkey,' try working on controlling your core from swinging all over the place; this will substantially decrease your battle wound count and it will also cut time out of your workouts, as well as save your grip.

Taping Up The Bar

Some people prefer to tape the actual bar up as opposed to taping their hands. If I were doing a workout using tape, this would be my choice. Your hands are free from the constraints of having the tape wrapped around your hands. Instead, the tape is wrapped around the bar, giving your hands a chance to breathe. I still sometimes jump onto the bar and use the taped up side, but since I have really sensitive skin I opt for the bare bar during workouts.

So through trial and error, I have found the solution to the problem: no chalk, no tape, nothing. Have a towel near you, or simply wipe your hands on your t-shirt or pants before re-gripping the bar. Since this method I have gone from ripping at as little as 30 pull-ups to only slightly ripping at 110 pull-ups.

Methods For Hand Repair

Polysporon is a great way to repair your hands. Make sure to clean thoroughly before applying, and apply. If possible, apply the Polysporon and leave it unbandaged to allow it to be exposed to the air. Applying Polysporon directly to the open wounds will NOT hurt you

New Skin

One word: OUCH. If you're brave enough to use New-Skin, I commend you. I guess I'm a bit of a wuss since I've seen many people apply this to their wounds and not make a peep, but it is definitely an option you can try if you haven't yet.

Burt's Bees

Burt's Bees is the most popular of methods at CrossFit Mississauga. It's a natural product, made in Canada, consisting of ingredients like honey and bee's wax. There are no added perfumes, which can sometimes sting open wounds. Give it a try, find it on Ebay or go to your local drugstore and pick up some of their products. It's definitely worth trying!


This stuff is the SH*T! Pardon my [almost] foul language. It is my personal preference, I swear by it, and I don't know what I'd do without it. Initially, what this stuff is for is cuticle repair; but it does WONDERS to cracked calluses on your hands. It's super sticky, super gummy and it stays on. If you're like me and don't use band-aids, this is the product for you. Unlike Polysporon, this QTICA product won't wipe off and creates a really thick barrier. Give it a try and DON'T be deceived by the small container - I've had mine for about 6 months now and there is over half a jar left. Check it out!

Ped Egg

I was talking to a friend of mine last night, Rachel Medina, who told me about this strange product called Ped Egg. It was my first time ever hearing about it, and I don't know much about the product yet, but it works as a callus remover. It's cheap ($10.00 US), and apparently very effective. Check your local drugstores as well as Wal-Mart. I'm not sure how readily available the product is in Canada but in the US it is available at drugstores like Wallgreen's.

If you have your own personal methods for hand repair, leave them in the comments section for others to try out!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Narrowing It Down To A Fine "Shoe"

"Put on your s*#$ kickers and kick some s*#$!

What's in a shoe? How do we know what the BEST shoe for CrossFit is? Is there even a 'perfect' shoe? Or is there more than one?

Well, I guess the answer is it's up to you. I, however, have my preferences.

Since 2007 I have worn five different types of footwear, ranging from the standard Cross-Trainer shoe to Chuck Taylors, Nike Frees to bare feet, to the new love of my life: the VS Athletics weightlifting shoe. Each has its pros and cons, some outweighing others. Nevertheless, shoes are literally the foundation of your training and, I would say, are the most important pieces of equipment one needs in a gym.

The Cross-Trainer

From my experience of seeing new members join at CrossFit Mississauga, the most commonly used style of shoe is the Cross-Trainer. It's what the majority of people wear at regular gyms, and what the general public is recommended to wear for exercise. The cross-trainer is a great shoe to wear for many things like running, aerobics-style classes, as well as freeweight training, to name a few; but it is not a recommended shoe for something like Olympic lifting or weightlifting because it lacks the proper support.

Chuck F%*@#n' Taylors!

Ok. These are, hands down, the most badass shoes you can train in. Not only do they look cool, but they are highly functional in the CrossFit world! It wasn't long before I switched to Chucks - I actually to them specifically because I had heard that people wear them and swear by them. The actual shoe itself is very flat: no soul. So, it allows for you to get the feeling of being barefoot, but at the same time the shoe has a strong platform for landing in. They were a great investment and I still HIGHLY recommend them for anyone; they're cheap, they look cool, and they sure as hell get the job done.

Nike Frees, The Bee's Knees

These have been the most popular choice of shoe at CrossFit Mississauga and I'm sure at many other affiliates, as they are one of the most versatile shoes and can be used virtually for all workouts. It is a lightweight shoe that is measured in terms of flexibility. Mine, for example, are "5's." The low numbers represent a more flexible shoe, while the higher numbers, "7's" for example, represent a less flexible shoe; the lower the number, the closer it is to the flexibility of a bare foot and vise versa. They are absolutely comfortable, and as cliche as this may sound, it's like walking on a cloud. Check out the site and sift through their products. You can order online, or go to your local Nike store and try on a pair first to see what size you need, and what shoe flexibility you are most comfortable with.

Barefoot: Caveman Style

I thought I had a favourite "shoe" to train in, but as I'm writing this I realize that I don't; they are all pretty good choices. Barefoot training is probably the most fun for me. You are, however, limited to certain types of workouts. I wouldn't recommend doing heavy cleans, snatches, jerks, etc. barefoot because at that high level of power, the foot does need proper support to avoid any serious injury; but for something like Angie or a pull-up progression is perfectly fine. My favourite type of barefoot training is heavy squats. I like the 100% foot to floor contact; it allows me to go deeper, as well as help correct my form, which consequently helps prevent injuries. And the best thing about it is you don't have to pay for your feet, they're free!

VS Athletics Weightlifting Shoe: You Love Me And I Love You

I just recently became a proud new owner of a pair of official weightlifting shoes, and WOW...can I just say, what a world of difference they have made on my lifts. It's a completely different feel, and it took a couple of workouts to get used to them, but they feel damn amazing now. One of the first workouts I did with them was the 5-rep back squat WOD from last week. Normally, as a previously mentioned, I like doing heavy back squats barefoot, but I thought I'd try out the shoes and see if I could still put up a good number. I PR'd by 10 pounds, bringing my new PR up to 210. Now, if that doesn't convince you that they are AWESOME, I don't know what will! Here's the site where you can order them. If you are considering getting a pair, keep in mind that the sizes are in men's. I am usually a women's nine, but in men's sizes I am a seven and a half, which is equivalent to a women's nine. You may want to go half a size up or so if you are not sure; either way, if the shoe doesn't happen to fit, VS Athletics will re-ship a new a pair with free shipping.

Le Chateau Pumps Make You Wanna Jump

These shoes have not been widely accepted in the CrossFit world [yet], but I wish to promote them and make people become aware of the benefits of training on four-inch heels; they make for well-defined calves!

p.s. How awesome is that pull-up bar?!?!

Here are some other shoes I haven't tried but have heard great things about:

Rogue Fitness Do-Wins

These shoes are on the official Rogue Fitness site, and they look pretty badass. And they must be good if Rogue is promoting them. A friend of mine owns a pair and has had nothing but good things to say about them.

Vibram Five Fingers

These are probably the weirdest/coolest shoes to date. If you ever go to a CrossFit Gymnastics cert, you will probably see at least one person wearing these. Like the Nike Frees, they attempt to mimic the nature of being barefoot. Notice a trend here? Barefoot rules!

Adidas Adistars

Some people at my gym do Olympic lifting with these shoes. They are also pretty badass. Very well-made and look like they get the job done.

The details for each shoe is listed on the links provided, so take a closer look and see if you like any of them! Go get some s*#$ kickers and get s*#$ kickin'!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Making CrossFit Work In Globo Gyms: Adapting To Your Surroundings

"So you're telling me I'm only allowed to stand next to the weight...?"

It's a very common thing for people to start CrossFitting in globo gyms. They discover the wonderful world of CrossFit and finally eliminate the 'chest-tri, back-bi, legs-shoulders' routine for good, but they are stuck with the burden of having to get their money's worth from their globo gyms.

I was lucky enough to have CrossFit Mississauga situated in my globo gym during its first few months of operation. I had access to both worlds, which allowed me to make a smooth transition into CrossFit. Many others have to make due with the available equipment and space that is available to them at their regular operated gyms, which can be a little frustrating when trying to complete any CrossFit workout; but there are definitely ways to work around this problem.

I have heard quite a few stories over the past year about people's experiences of working out CrossFit-style at a globo gym and I've even got one of my own. My friend Aaron and I were downtown one day and had planned to visit his gym to do a CrossFit workout. He was just getting into CrossFit, so naturally he did not have full access to the proper space or equipment for what most CrossFit workouts require. We had decided to do CrossFit Total, which seemed to be the most globo gym-friendly workout. I had brought some chalk (apparently a big no-no) for us to use during the deadlift portion of the workout because I wasn't sure what kind of bar we'd be using; I thought I'd come prepared.

Well, as soon as we whipped out the chalk, it was game over. Here we were in the middle of the workout, our blood is pumping, we're putting up some good numbers, and someone comes along to put a complete halt to it and says, "Hey man, you can't use that stuff in here." What a piss-off! He may as well have said, "Hey man, you're not allowed to get fit in here." Kudos to Aaron though, he put up a good fight - so good of a fight that when Aaron threatened to cancel his membership [after being treated like %*#$ by the trainer] he ended up getting a free gym bag! After receiving the free gift, Aaron decided not to cancel his membership. I don't blame him; it was a damn nice bag!

I think for the gym's part, it was more a case of power-tripping than anything else; the employee saw two people who knew what they were doing, and decided to put a stop to it simply because the chalk was "making a mess." Classic case of 'dude-afraid-of-feeling-emasculated.'

Not every gym may be this strict, but it is inevitable that you will come across a workout that is just not doable because of the lack of equipment, space, and most of all, safety concerns due to our "unconventional" training.

A lot of CrossFitters who train in globo gyms would leave their regular gym and jump straight into CrossFit if it were that simple; but some people pay up front for as much as one year, which is a problem if they wish to transfer gyms. In that case, the best solution they can come up with is to continue training CrossFit but keep it globo gym-friendly.

Here are some globo gym-friendly CrossFit workouts and exercises you can do if you are not yet able to train at an affiliate:

1. Angie - 100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats

2. Cindy - As many rounds as possible of 5/10/15 of pull-ups/push-ups/squats

3. 12 rounds for time of 15 deadlifts @135/95 and 10 push-ups

4. As many rounds as possible of 5 BW squats, 25 air squats

5. Annie - 50-40-30-20-10 of double unders and sit-ups

6. 150 burpees for time

7. Sissy Test - 20 burpees, 1 kettlebell swing @1.5 pood/1 pood...down to 1 burpee, 20 kettlebell swings (use a dumbell to substitute if there are no kettlebells)

8. 3 rounds for time of 1000m row, 50 push-ups

9. Row 5k

10. Tabata sprints on a treadmill

11. CrossFit Total (leave the chalk at home!) -3 efforts each of max 1-rep back squat, max 1-rep strict press, max 1-rep deadlift. Add up for a total score

12. 30 deadlifts for time - find a good heavy weight that you can rep out; drop the weight if it becomes too heavy

13. 800m row, 100 squats @135/95, 800m row

14. Tabata Something Else - 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off for 8 rounds each of: pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, and squats. The total time for the workout, including the 10-second rest periods, is 16 minutes. Here is a song you can drag onto your iPod to make it easier for you to keep track of the 20 second/10 second work/rest time. Keep track of how many reps you are doing for each exercise, and total it up at the end.

15. Lynne - 5 rounds, 3 minutes rest in between each of: max reps BW bench press, max reps pull-ups without letting go of the bar. Add up for a total score.

Some of these workouts are bodyweight workouts, consisting of pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups and squats. These workouts are pretty transferable seeing as you are not required to use any equipment, except for a pull-up bar which should be accessible. The rest of the workouts that do require equipment are completely globo gym-friendly; and if they still complain, tell them to harden the %*#$ up and carry on with your workout!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Music Helps Make The Pain Go Away

"Wow I really mutilated myself during that WOD!"

I was talking to my good pal Joe earlier yesterday about the correlation between music and working out, and how certain types of music really get us going while certain types just do nothing for us. Hmm, kind of sounds like I'm talking about something else, but I assure you I'm not - at least not in this blog.

We all have our preferences for what types of atmospheres we like working out in. Some people like a peaceful atmosphere with low music in the background that isn't too distracting or no music at all, while others enjoy deafening death metal blaring at the highest possible decibel levels which, I would say, is most effective in producing optimal quantities of firebreathers.

My music preference? LOUD AS F*%K!!!

I do not, for one split second, want to hear myself breathing, feel myself suffering, feel the blood pumping through my veins, nothing. The only thing I want to feel pumping through my veins is music. Music is a great way to remove that mental block during a workout. Just like with trying to fall asleep, music allows for you to become distracted, even in the smallest of percentages, from whatever it is you are attempting to focus less on.

I have a preference for which songs I like to listen to depending on what kind of WOD I am doing. If it is a crazy workout like Fran, I need to listen to something loud and crazy; if I am doing a heavy WOD, I prefer something a little more low key.

Here are some of my personal choices for the killer metcons:

1. Tool - Aenema, Eulogy
2. Marilyn Manson -
The Beautiful People
3. Rage Against The Machine -
Pistol Grip Pump, Sleep Now In The Fire, How I Could Just Kill A Man
4. Metallica -
The End Of The Line, The Day That Never Comes
5. AC/DC -
Who Mad Who, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
6. Motorhead -
Ace Of Spades
7. Motley Crue -
Live Wire
8. Judas Priest -
You've Got Another Thing Comin'
9. Dropkick Murphys (kickass band) -
The State Of Massachusetts, Flannigan's Ball

Here are some of my personal choices for the heavy days:

1. Black Strobe -
I'm A Man
2. Cypress Hill -
I Ain't Goin' Out Like That, Superstar, Hits From The Bong
3. Public Enemy -
Public Enemy No. 1, Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos
4. Grandmaster Flash - The Message
5. Beastie Boys -
Fight For Your Right
6. Run DMC -
Rock Box

It's funny how certain songs can trigger your adrenalin, but it happens. As soon as you hit the play button, your blood starts to boil, you start getting angry, and the look of death suddenly creeps into your eyes; well, either that or you feel like you have to make one last run to the bathroom before you begin your workout. Two great outcomes, nonetheless!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sleep Is To Recovery As Water Is To Hydration

"Convicted pedaler rides again!"

Prior to CrossFit I was a psychopath cardio-maniac junkie. I was constantly outside on Lakeshore - a main street we have here in Mississauga by the lake where there are shoppes, bars and restaurants and other small establishments - pedaling away on my bike, wheeling around on my blades, and hitting the pavement with two feet and a heartbeat. Everyone on the streets knew who I was, day and night - even the cops. I was a bonified fitness junkie! The only way to get my fix was...more pedaling.

Even though I was exposing myself to gratuitous amounts of exercise, I struggled a lot with sleeping, and I tried remedying myself numerous times by waking up extremely early, working out very early (running, biking, rollerblading), removing all sugars from my diet, and eliminating all caffeine products. None of it seemed to work; instead, I was becoming more and more awake, and I would even go out as late as midnight for a cycle because I was that restless. That quickly stopped after a very traumatic experience! Word of advice: do not go cycling at strange hours unless you want to encounter strange people!

Since December 2007 my sleeping habits have changed substantially because of CrossFit, but I do still struggle with it a bit here and there, and not because I'm not tired - believe me, I am - I'm just such a computer geek! Is it possible to be too lazy to fall asleep? In my world, yes.

I'm sure a lot of people are in the same boat on this subject of sleep. We just simply don't get enough. And I'm sure that a lot of people, including myself, believe they don't require as much sleep as the average person is required to have. But I think I am going to call myself out on this one and say I am wrong.

On average, I sleep about 5 hours a night. This past summer, I managed to sleep about 8 hours a night (not sure how/why); this winter that number got cut by almost half (also not sure how/why). All I know is that I'm not getting the necessary amount of sleep to recover from my workouts, which is absolutely paramount when training at such high intensities as we do in CrossFit.

The stress of not being able to fall asleep has a large effect on the ability to actually do so, and the stress of waking up in the morning after not having a good night's sleep is carried over into the next day and evening, which can sometimes be the start of a vicious cycle; simply laying down and attempting to go to bed can cause you to focus too much on the task at hand, which can cause added stress, frustration, and even anxiety.

A great way to remedy this is to provide yourself with a distraction. Read a book, watch a movie or put your tv on sleep, or try and stick to the basics: music! Classical, R&B, Death Metal, whatever suits your fancy. Counting sheep is also pretty effective if you don't like any of the alternatives I've listed so far; and don't limit yourself to only counting sheep, there are lots of other things you can count: kettlebells, C2 rowers, bumper plates, the list goes on!

Starting this week I'm going to try shutting everything off (tv and computer), put on my iPod and see where that gets me. I think it'll allow for my mind to become completely relaxed and be at ease, which is what anyone wants right before falling asleep. I will know that I was successful if I wake up in the morning feeling like I want to rip the hell out of some heavy cleans.

If you're having trouble sleeping, try changing up your routine before going to bed, and see if it has a positive or negative effect. It doesn't hurt to try!