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Health

COMPLETING YOUR FIRST MURPH

COMPLETING YOUR FIRST MURPH: HOW TO SAFELY ACHIEVE AN IMPRESSIVE MURPH TIME

 

When your workout has a “why” behind it, it can be all the motivation that you need to push yourself to complete it. In CrossFit, the notoriously intense Murph workout has a “why” behind it that has encouraged tens of thousands of people to push themselves to the limit each Memorial Day.

This workout honoring fallen Navy hero Lt. Michael Murphy will challenge your physical and mental strength and endurance like it’s never been tested before. To successfully complete your first Murph, use these tips to help you prepare.

If you are in the military and want a discount on select NASM products, check out the military discount page for trainers.

WHAT IS A MURPH WORKOUT?

The Murph workout is known as a Hero WOD (workout of the day) in the CrossFit community. This workout honors the life of Lieutenant Michael Murphy- a Navy SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005 while on active duty. The workout was created to honor not only his life, but also all of those who have lost their lives in active service. It is now considered the Memorial Day workout of the day- performed within and even outside of the CrossFit community.

Here’s the Murph workout:

  • 1 Mile run
  • 100 Pull-ups
  • 200 Push-ups
  • 300 Squats
  • 1 Mile run
  • Performed wearing a weighted vest: 14 pounds for women, 20 pounds for men.

The run is completed first in its entirety, and then you have the option to partition, or break up, the reps of the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats, or you can complete each section before moving on to the next, finishing with the 1-mile run. No matter how you break it down, it’s a tough workout!

HOW TO TRAIN EFFECTIVELY FOR A MURPH?

Now that you know what the Murph entails, the first thing that you want to do is to make sure you can do each of the movements well. The OPT Model is set up to help anyone, beginner or advanced, work toward this physical challenge while also minimizing the risk of injury. Plus, a certified trainer can conduct a series of assessments to help you customize your training by helping you correct any faulty movement patterns.

Recommended Phases of Training to Prepare for Your First Murph:

Phase 1: Stabilization Endurance

  • Goal: Develop proper movement patterns and improve mobility and stability of the entire kinetic chain.
  • Acute Variables: 15-20 reps, 1-3 sets, slow tempo.
  • Length of time in Phase: 4-6 weeks.

Phase 1 Exercise Variations:

PULL-UPS

See how to do a pull-up: https://www.nasm.org/exercise-library/pull-up

You can modify this move by:

  • Adding a resistance band.
  • Jumping up to bar height using a box, and then slowly lowering down (doing negatives).
  • Starting with a Suspension trainer row.

PUSH-UPS

See how to do a push-up: https://www.nasm.org/exercise-library/push-up

You can modify this move by:

  • Using an elevated surface to place your hands, like a countertop, bench, or racked barbell at the height that allows you to perform the move with good form and proper tempo.

SQUATS

See how to do a squat: https://www.nasm.org/exercise-library/prisoner-squat

*This video is a prisoner squat with the arms behind the head. For a regular squat, let the arms hang down to your sides, or keep them bent in an athletic position.

You can modify this move by:

  • Performing a ball wall squat (with a ball behind your back, against a wall).
  • Holding onto a suspension trainer, facing the anchor.

 

Phase 2: Strength Endurance

  • Goal: Increased stabilization endurance, hypertrophy, and strength.
  • Acute Variables: 8-12 reps, 2-4 sets, medium tempo for strength exercise, slow tempo for stabilization exercise.
  • Length of time in Phase: 4-6 weeks.

Phase 2 Strength Exercises:

*Use supersets in this workout by pairing one of the strength exercises below followed immediately with one of the stability exercises from phase 1 for the same movement.

PULL-UPS

  • Lat pulldown on a machine
  • Seated rows. This one is best paired with a suspension trainer row to help you build back strength as you work toward doing your first pull-up.

PUSH-UPS

  • Barbell chest press
  • Dumbbell chest press
  • If you can perform regular push-ups with good form, you can try adding a light weighted vest, adding weight over time as your form allows.

SQUATS

  • Goblet squat
  • Bulgarian split squat

Next Steps:

Once you’ve gone through Phases 1 & 2 once, cycle back through again and try a more challenging variation or add weight as needed to increase the challenge.

Running: Once you’ve gone through these two phases once, you can begin to incorporate some running. Why wait? Running is considered a power move that requires skill. Developing good movement mechanics first is essential to being able to run pain-free and without compensations that may put you at risk for injury. Start slowly with shorter running intervals (ex: jog 30 seconds, walk 1:30-2 minutes) and build from there. You can find running apps that will progress you appropriately.

START WITH A WEIGHTED VEST OR GO SMALLER?

It’s best to begin using just bodyweight, and to work on perfecting your form and building endurance before adding any additional weight. The CrossFit pros recommend waiting until you can perform 15-20 unbroken strict pull-ups before adding a weighted vest.

 

BENEFITS OF CIRCUITS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE MURPH CHALLENGE

Performing the Murph challenge in the partitioned format is similar to performing a circuit workout, where you perform one exercise after the other back-to-back with little to no rest and repeating for multiple rounds. There are several benefits to training circuit-style:

  • Built-in rest time. Each exercise focuses on a different muscle group, so when you move on to a different exercise you are allowing the previous muscle group to rest before you get back to it. I’m not saying this workout feels restful by any means, but your muscles do technically get a small break compared with the unpartitioned format.
  • Higher heart rate = higher calorie burn. In general, a circuit workout burns more calories in less time than a workout where you work and then rest before completing the next round of the same exercise.
  • Condensed overall work time. Because of the above two benefits, your overall workout time is shorter than following an unpartitioned format.

WHAT IS A ‘GOOD’ MURPH TIME?

What’s considered a good time is relative to the exerciser. If you’re a beginner, less than 60 minutes is considered a good finish time. For exercisers who are advanced, you’ll want to complete it in less than 45 minutes, and for elite athletes, less than 35 minutes. Following an unpartitioned format will take the longest. The current verified world record for an unpartitioned and weighted Murph is 32 minutes and 41 seconds, completed by Alec Blenis in June of 2021.

Putting it all together:

When you are ready to put it all together, you have options for how you can attack the workout. You will always perform the one mile run first and last, but the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats can be performed either partitioned (split up circuit-style) or unpartitioned (completing all reps for one category before moving on to the next). One of the most popular ways to partition the reps is to perform 20 rounds of the ‘Cindy’ WOD – 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats.

However, you split it up, don’t forget to keep track of your rounds so you don’t lose count of your reps! If you decide to do more consecutive reps at a time, make sure you select several reps that you can perform easily, without fatiguing the muscles.

After a few months of consistent and intentional training, you’ll be more than ready to honor our fallen heroes as you complete your first Murph.

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Health

Physical Therapy

What Is Physical Therapy?

Doctors often recommend physical therapy for people who have been injured or who have movement problems from an illness, disease, or disability.

After an injury, physical therapists work to decrease pain, improve movement, and help people return to daily activities. They teach them exercises designed to help them regain strength and range of motion, and also show them how to prevent future injuries.

A person might need physical therapy any time a problem with movement limits their daily activities.

It also can help someone manage pain, whether that pain is caused by bad posture, an injury, or a disease like arthritis. When done properly and consistently, physical therapy can help prevent permanent damage and recurring problems.

What Happens in Physical Therapy?

Most physical therapy uses a combination of techniques to relieve pain and boost coordination, strength, endurance, flexibility, and range of motion. Physical therapists (PTs) often ask patients to use exercise equipment like bikes and treadmills.

A PT also may treat the affected area with heat or cold, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, massage, and even aquatic therapy (exercise in a swimming pool). In many cases, PTs will do soft tissue massage on injured areas and oversee the patient during stretching routines.

Physical therapists usually give their patients exercises to do at home. These at-home exercises work with the treatments and exercises done in the PT’s office to help a person heal better, faster, and safely.

How Can I Find a Physical Therapist?

Like doctors, some physical therapists can specialize in different areas: A particular therapist might work mostly with sports injuries, for example. Others may be experts in head injuries or in caring for wound and muscle damage in people with burns or skin injuries.

Your doctor can recommend a PT for you or contact your medical insurance provider. You also can search online at:

  • The American Physical Therapy Association

The First Visit

Many states require a referral from your doctor before you can be evaluated and treated by a PT. If you’re under the age of 18 and going to a hospital or clinic, it’s a good idea to take a parent or guardian with you the first time. Not only will you have support and someone to talk to about the experience, but you’ll also have someone to help with your exercises at home.

Most likely you’ll see a PT in a clinic or office. But some PTs work in schools, helping students with injuries, disabilities, or chronic (long-lasting) conditions. When you go to your physical therapy appointments, try to wear loose-fitting clothing and sneakers so your PT can accurately measure your strength and range of motion. If you have a knee problem, it’s helpful to wear shorts to your therapy visit.

At your first visit, the PT will evaluate your needs and may ask how you’re feeling, if you have any pain, and where that pain falls on a scale of 0 to 10. It’s important to be honest with your PT, so they can treat your condition properly.

Using the results of the exam and your doctor’s recommendations, the PT will design a treatment plan. Many times, they will start treatment during the first visit, including giving you exercises to do at home.

The PT will probably ask you to go through these at-home exercises while you’re there to make sure you know how to do them on your own. The PT likely will write down the exercises for you as a reminder of what to do and in which order (if any). Follow the plan exactly — most of the benefit of PT comes from the routines you do at home.

Ask for another explanation if you don’t completely understand an exercise to do at home. It’s easy to feel confused or overwhelmed with information during a first treatment session — lots of people (adults included) feel this way.

Talk with the PT about how the exercises should feel when you do them — for example, if you’re supposed to feel any pain or unusual sensations, and whether you need to stop if you do.

Some people like to keep track of their progress during PT by taking notes on how often they do the exercises, how they feel, and how sensations change. Doing this can help you and your PT monitor your treatment.

Ongoing Visits

Physical therapy sessions typically last 30–60 minutes. You might go once a week or many times, depending on why you’re getting therapy. As you make progress, you might go for shorter visits less often. You’ll learn new ways to continue your healing.

In big offices, you may meet with different PTs during the course of your treatment. Don’t worry if you see a new face, but make sure each PT working with you knows your condition and be comfortable asking questions of each therapist. Remember: If you don’t like the treatment, or something feels wrong, speak up.

Although the long-term goal is pain relief and recovery, physical therapy itself won’t always feel good. Depending on your injury, you may feel uncomfortable or not used to moving the area. It’s important to stick to the routine — and to breathe, be kind to yourself, and ask your PT for other hints on getting through. It’s also important not to put yourself through too much or to overdo it.

If you feel pain, talk to your PT about it. “No pain, no gain” is no way to approach physical therapy. Pain is a warning signal, and by pushing yourself through too much pain, you can do more damage.

What Else Should I Know?

Following a few simple steps can help you make your physical therapy a success:

  • Stick to the plan. It’s important to follow the PT’s instructions. Do your exercises at home in the number, order, and frequency noted. Don’t skip any, and don’t do extra exercises — following the directions will help you heal faster and get moving again. But if a specific exercise is making you feel worse, put it on hold and talk with your physical therapist.
  • Know your body. It helps to know what’s going on and why. Ask questions and pay attention when the PT explains the injury and the treatment. You’ll probably be amazed by the way your body heals itself. And you’ll want to know how the affected area functions so you can spot problems or avoid further injury in the future.
  • Talk to your PT if you have problems. If things hurt, if you have questions, or if you’re not making progress the way you thought you would: ask. The PT is there to help you.
  • Celebrate your successes. When you follow the plan, you should start to see a difference in a few weeks or months. Bouncing back from more serious surgeries may take many months or a year, but there will be milestones along the way. Take a moment to appreciate the difference from where you started! Sometimes, recovery can feel frustrating and slow. But it helps to stop and enjoy the successes, no matter how small they may seem.
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Health

How to Lose Weight Fast But Safely, According to Dietitians

Extreme weight loss is not something we recommend, but there are ways to jump-start weight loss in a sustainable and healthy way.

Quick weight loss can sound pretty enticing. That’s especially true when fad diets and social media make it seem more realistic than it really is to drop 10 pounds in 10 days. In fact, “yo-yo dieting” or “weight cycling” is associated with an increased risk of death. The truth is, for many people, it’s not easy to lose weight for a myriad of reasons, including life-stage, body composition, physical activity, genetics and hormones, among other factors. Plus, weight is not the end all be all and is only one of several factors that impact our overall health.

 

Extreme calorie restriction and excessive exercising is something our nutrition and fitness experts would never recommend for health reasons, but they also note that you’ll likely gain all of your weight back faster than you lost it if you try those approaches. Losing weight by improving your overall diet and lifestyle is without a doubt the healthiest way to go.

 

If you’re looking for sustainable weight loss, there are a few healthy tips that hold true for almost all of us across the board — and they’re concepts that we can put into practice beginning right now.

 

Editor’s note: Weight loss, health and body image are complex subjects — before deciding to go on a diet, we invite you to gain a broader perspective by reading our exploration into the hazards of diet culture.

 

10 Expert-Backed Tips for Safe Weight Loss

 

1. Up your veggie intake.

Instead of restricting different foods and food groups, focus on incorporating an abundance of nourishing foods that you can add into your diet to promote overall health and weight management. The water and fiber in produce adds volume to dishes and are naturally low in fat and calories but nutrient-dense and filling. You can create lower-calorie versions of delicious dishes by swapping out higher calorie ingredients for fruits and veggies. Think cauliflower rice in place of starchy white rice or doing 50/50. If you think about making any meal mostly veggies (at least 50% of anything that you’re having), you’re on the right track to better health.

 

 

2. Build a better breakfast.

A balanced breakfast — one that is stacked with fiber, protein, healthy fats, coming together in a delicious dish — will revolutionize your day, especially if you are currently skipping it and still find yourself struggling to prioritize a healthy lifestyle. Skipping breakfast may influence your hunger hormones later in the day, leading to you feeling “hangry” in the afternoon which makes it harder to refrain from oversized portions or cravings for sugary and refined carbohydrate foods. The best, heartiest breakfasts are ones that will fill you up, keep you satisfied, and stave off cravings later in the day. Aim to eat anywhere between 350 and 500 calories for your morning meal, and make sure you’re including a source of lean protein plus filling fat (think eggs, unsweetened Greek yogurt, nuts, or nut butters) and fiber (veggies, fruit, or 100% whole grains). Starting your day with a blood sugar-stabilizing blend of nutrients will help you slim down.

 

3. Skip sugary beverages.

We just don’t feel full by liquid calories in quite the same way as we do real food. Drinking a juice or caramel coffee drink just isn’t as satisfying as eating a bowl of veggie- and protein-packed stir-fry. Skipping sugary beverages is often the easiest way to lose weight faster, and bonus, it’s good for things like heart health and diabetes prevention too. Monitor your intake of juice, soda, sweetened coffee and tea and alcoholic beverages. If you consume each of those beverages during the day, you’ll have taken in at least 800 extra calories by nighttime — and you’ll still be hungry. (Incidentally, alcohol may suppress the metabolism of fat, making it tougher for you to burn those calories.

4. Get moving.

Movement of any type can be a very useful weight management tool. Walking is a great, inexpensive option that doesn’t require any extra gym equipment except for a good pair of kicks. A recent study showed that people who walked 8,200 steps per day were less likely to become obese, suffer from major depressive disorder and others chronic health related conditions. Therefore, consider walking for weight loss and better overall health.

Additionally, strength training builds lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories — at work or at rest — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The more lean muscle you have, the faster you’ll slim down.

How do you start strength training? Try some planks or push-ups on your knees or a few squats or lunges. Use your free weights to perform simple bicep curls or tricep extensions right in your home or office. Mix in some new ab, arm, back and leg moves if you like. Strength training just three to four times per week can lead to rapid improvement in not only weight loss, but also range of motion, stability, and posture.

 

  1. Eat mindfully.

Slowing down to focus on things like the taste, textures, temperature and smells of what you’re eating can help with portion control. But mindful eating also means really focusing on what you’re eating and when—this can help you identify unnecessary munching moments you may not realize you’re engaging in throughout the day that may be tacking on extra calories. More importantly, try to avoid eating foods that you don’t choose for yourself. Mindful eating can help shift the focus of control from external authorities and cues to your body’s own inner wisdom. Noticing where your extra calories actually come from is another step to making better choices in the short and long term.

 

6. Spice up your life.

Spicy foods can actually help you cut back on calories. That’s because capsaicin, a compound found in jalapeño and cayenne peppers, may (slightly) increase your body’s release of stress hormones such as adrenaline, which can speed up your ability to burn calories. What’s more, eating hot peppers may help you eat more slowly and avoid overeating. You’re more likely to stay more mindful of when you’re full. Some great choices besides hot peppers are ginger and turmeric.

 

7. Go to bed earlier.

There’s a ton of research that demonstrates getting less than the desired amount — about seven hours — of sleep per night can slow down your metabolism. Chronic sleep deprivation may even alter hormones that control hunger, and some studies show that there is a connection between poor quality food choices and less sleep. Good sleep has a ton of other benefits too, like boosting alertness, improving mood and overall quality of life. So don’t skimp on your ZZZ’s, and you’ll be rewarded with an extra edge when it comes to overall health and losing weight. Start small with just pushing up bedtime by 15 to 30 minutes, every minute counts!

 

8. Keep a food journal.

 

People who log everything they eat — especially those who log while they’re eating — are more likely to lose weight and keep it off for the long haul, studies consistently indicate. The habit also takes less than 15 minutes per day on average when you do it regularly, according to a study published in the journal Obesity.

 

Start tracking on an app like. My FitnessPal or use a regular notebook. It’ll help you stay accountable for what you’ve eaten. Plus, you can easily identify areas that could use a little improvement when it’s written out in front of you.

 

9. Resist the urge to skip a meal.

 

Our nutrition experts stress that skipping meals will not make you lose weight faster. If a hectic day makes a sit-down meal impossible, stash a piece of fruit and pack of nut butter in your car or purse and keep snacks in your desk drawer — anything that will keep you from going hungry!

 

Going long periods of time without food does double-duty harm on our healthy eating efforts by both slowing down your metabolism, and priming you for a binge later in the day. Make it your mission to eat three meals and two snacks every day, and don’t wait longer than three to four hours without eating. Set a “snack alarm” on your phone if needed.

 

10. Munch on mineral-rich foods.

 

Potassium, magnesium and calcium can help to serve as a counter-balance for bloat-inducing sodium. Foods that are rich in potassium include leafy greens, most “orange” foods (oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, melon), bananas, tomatoes, and cruciferous veggies — especially cauliflower. Low-fat dairy, plus nuts, and seeds can also help give you a bloat-busting boost. They’ve also been linked to a whole host of additional health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, and reducing the risk of chronic disease overall.

Categories
Health

Tips for Maintaining Good Health

Everyone knows that eating a balanced diet, exercising and getting plenty of rest are key to maintaining good health. However, that can seem to be an impossible task while in college. Frequently, the appeal of sweets, fast food, caffeine and alcohol outweigh healthy options when you’re in the company of friends or under stress from coursework. Here are some tips for staying healthy in spite of your college lifestyle.

Nutrition

Eat a variety of nutrient rich foods. Your body actually needs more than 40 different nutrients for good health, and there is not one single source for them. Your daily food selection should include a balance of good carbs, protein, fruits, veggies, and dairy products. Check out the food guide from the USDA at mypyramid.gov.

Eat moderate portions. If you keep portion sizes moderate and reasonable, it is easier to eat what you want, and maintain a healthy and balanced diet. What’s a moderate portion? A medium-sized piece of fruit is one serving. A cup of pasta equates 2 servings and a pint of ice cream contains 4 servings.

DO NOT SKIP MEALS. Skipping meals can lead to out-of-control hunger and frequently results in over-indulging. Snacking between regular meals can help if you are pressed for time. Just make sure you have at least two balanced meals.

DO NOT eliminate certain foods. Because our bodies require diverse nutrition, it’s a bad idea to eliminate all salt, fat, and sugar from our diets, unless told to do so by a medical professional. Choosing healthier options such as skim or low-fat dairy will help you maintain a balanced diet.

Foods are not good or bad. It’s all about portion control!

Drink water! Stay away from cokes and other sugary sodas, which can pack as much as 17 teaspoons of sugar per 20oz drink! Sugar is a source of empty calories that can use up important vitamins and minerals in your body. Water helps not only to hydrate, but to aid in blood circulation, the removal of toxins from our bodies and in the regulation of our body temperatures.

Avoid too much caffeine. Caffeine is a mildly addictive drug that can affect your ability to sleep and focus while also affecting such bodily functions as muscle function and the cleansing of waste products.

Fitness and stress management

Be active

  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of activity every day. If the idea of sweating at the gym for hours on end doesn’t sound appealing to you, then head outside for a game of ultimate Frisbee. Or, try going for a walk or a run. The important thing is that you get moving!

Relax

  • Keep yourself organized to eliminate unnecessary and preventable stress.
  • Turn off the TV and listen to music.
  • Make time everyday, even if it’s just 15 minutes, for relaxation and reflection.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Allow at least 30 minutes of quiet relaxing activity before bed at night, e.g. reading.
  • Resist the temptation to use sleeping pills, when under the stress of writing papers, studying, etc.
  • Sleep is not a waste of time! It’s as important and necessary as nutrition and exercise.

Social health

Get involved and meet people in a positive environment. Often the adjustment to college can be difficult, especially when students are leaving the support system they have known for a lifetime. Whether it’s participating on a sports team or in Rhodes Student Government, joining a religious organization, volunteering at the soup kitchen, or helping in some other form, helping others helps us. The most important thing to remember is to find something you are interested in and enjoy yourself

Click here for more information about Student Health Services.