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2
Jan

Let’s Crush Your 2020 Goals!

It can sound cliched to start a fitness plan in the new year as part of a resolution, but that doesn’t matter. Starting is what is important. You’ve made the decision to take control of your wellness. Good job! Maybe you’re already in shape and have some very specific goals such as toning, conditioning or training for a specific event. In any situation, setting yourself a goal to become a stronger, healthier person is a benefit to you!

It can be all too easy to slip into excuses that make you feel better in the short-term for letting those goals slide. “I’m too tired, I’m too busy, I’ll start on Monday, I do enough running around already”. Almost everyone has used one of these excuses at one point or another, so you’re certainly not alone. So the question is; how do you stick to those resolutions? How do you keep coming in past January? How do you stay motivated? 

ATTAINABLE GOALS 

Create an attainable goal for yourself. Sure, we all think muscle-ups look cool, but if you’re just starting out, then chances are, muscle-ups are not going to be something you can reach by February. Want to lose weight? Great! We can help and support you with that, but make it realistic and attainable. Healthy weight loss comes more slowly than a quick, fad diet, but with it comes real results, consistency, and good habits that stick with you. Write a list of your goals and be specific with it. It’s easy to write “get fit and lose weight”, but when March hits and you don’t feel like you’re close to it; it can be defeating. Talk to us, we can help you write those goals down. We can help you with specifics. We can also help you measure those goals and help you stay on track. 

SUSTAINABLE GOALS 

Set yourself both short-term and long-term goals. 5lbs in a month? Great! Those muscle-ups? That’s not going to happen for a while if you’re just starting out. This is where those long-term goals come in. Committing to long-term goals creates sustainability, and we can check back in with you regularly and keep you on track. That is one of the best parts of our job, seeing you finally achieve something you’ve been working hard for. Keep your eyes on the prize. If you’ve been sedentary for a long time, then don’t feel disheartened when change doesn’t come overnight. Commit yourself to a realistic time-frame with your goals. There hasn’t been a pro athlete yet that became great in a month. Make a mental commitment to yourself. There is a reason you decided to do this – to feel better and be stronger and healthier. Finally, make time in your schedule to work out. We all get busy, we all have things to do, but this is for you. We spend so much time taking care of everything else, and a lot less time on our own self-care. 

So, new year, new you. Cliched? Absolutely. Any less true? Absolutely not! It doesn’t matter if you started this on January 1st or not. Point is, you can do this, and we are here to help and support you every step of the way!

12
Dec

A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD; THE STRUGGLE IS NO LONGER REAL

I have been asked more and more lately why we started Noble and why I’m so passionate about fitness and nutrition. I always say it’s because we love it and enjoy the shit out of it, but there has always been an underlying reason that I was never ready to share until now.

There are two real reasons why I’m so passionate about health. One is that my grandparents both died of cancer at a young age. I never met my grandmother and my grandfather was my only involved grandfather. He was amazing. I always think, WHAT IF. What if he ate better and exercised.  What if they could have changed their outcome? What if all they had to do was exercise a little and eat healthier? We’ll never know but I’m determined to put everything in my favor (and those around me) as I age.

The second and most important reason is because of the social pressures I faced as a teenager. I had an eating disorder (or two) that I never admitted to anyone at the time (and not many people as an adult). I wanted to be thin but I also enjoyed food (still do). I was a size 8 my sophomore year of high school. I remember looking at my 16th birthday party pictures and seeing a muffin top (which means I should have been wearing a size 10). That’s when I started feeling guilty about what I ate, how much I ate, and how I looked.

I remember never wanting to eat in front of my peers. I never ate school lunch – maybe a roll on occasion. I honestly blocked a lot of this from my memory because I never really understood it. At some point, I was introduced to purging. That’s when it was bad. I knew it was wrong but I still did it. I remember the last time I purged because I almost got caught. Maybe my mom did know and decided to shout through the door to scare me, just asking if I was okay. Either way, it worked.

At one point in my junior year, I was a size zero. I was in a dark place. I decided to quit soccer that year and work instead. I basically ran a shop at the mall and worked ALL. THE. TIME. I was literally the only one working there so I would have to close the shop to get food. I would work for hours and would only eat a Naan bread. My pants were baggy and basically falling off. I remember friends commenting on how thin I had gotten. A teacher had said something about the weight loss and she said, “I hope you’re doing it a healthy way.” I remember my best friend at the time telling me that her brothers were worried about me. My thighs didn’t touch when my feet were together. That’s extreme for my body type. Fat doesn’t leave these thighs. But my goal was to be thin, nothing else mattered.

My relationship with food had to do with my emotions. If I was upset or depressed, I couldn’t eat. I was just an engine focused on distracting myself from reality. I kept busy through the rest of my junior year and finally got out of it by my senior year. I don’t remember the series of events that happened but I know I had a ton of fun with my group of friends for the rest of high school.

As an adult, I still struggled with food. I would Google how to eat as a lifter and research the “body building” style of diets. Low carb, low fat, high protein. The unfortunate reality is that people believe this crap on the Internet, myself included. For years, I ate like this. I tracked my food, I ate my protein, and I never enjoyed food. I just thought that’s how it is. Pain is beauty, as they say.

Finally, I was introduced to CrossFit. This was the beginning of a turning point in my life, for several reasons. I realized that I needed to eat more food because I was losing weight. I didn’t want to lose weight! I was trying to gain muscle. So, I added more food to my diet. I started to eat with some balance and stopped tracking. I went off how I felt and FINALLY, I saw results.

Eventually, I was introduced to flexible dieting and my world changed. I enjoy food regularly, I have abs, and I perform well all the time! I hope my story will help you realize that you can have a healthy relationship with food. There IS a way to never feel guilty about what you eat. Yes, it will still take time to reach that point, but you have to start somewhere.

If you’re not happy with your relationship with food, PLEASE find a nutrition coach that can help you gain the knowledge to live a healthier life. This is what I do for a living and it’s because of how rewarding it is to see people change both physically and mentally. I want to show everyone that dieting is a lifestyle, not a fad, not a temporary thing. It’s easy to do a 30 day fix and go back to your old eating habits. Let’s create healthy habits, with balance, and stick to them for the rest of your lives.

I would love to help anyone and everyone, especially if this story is speaking to you right now. There is an answer to this feeling and you can have a happy relationship with food. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Fore more information on remote coaching, please click here.

All the best in health and fitness,

Coach Laura

Instagram: @LaLaNCF23

11
Dec

A Healthy Relationship with Food; The Struggle is No Longer Real

I have been asked more and more lately why we started Noble and why I’m so passionate about fitness and nutrition. I always say it’s because we love it and enjoy the shit out of it, but there has always been an underlying reason that I was never ready to share until now.

There are two real reasons why I’m so passionate about health. One is that my grandparents both died of cancer at a young age. I never met my grandmother and my grandfather was my only involved grandfather. He was amazing. I always think, WHAT IF. What if he ate better and exercised.  What if they could have changed their outcome? What if all they had to do was exercise a little and eat healthier? We’ll never know but I’m determined to put everything in my favor (and those around me) as I age.

The second and most important reason is because of the social pressures I faced as a teenager. I had an eating disorder (or two) that I never admitted to anyone at the time (and not many people as an adult). I wanted to be thin but I also enjoyed food (still do). I was a size 8 my sophomore year of high school. I remember looking at my 16th birthday party pictures and seeing a muffin top (which means I should have been wearing a size 10). That’s when I started feeling guilty about what I ate, how much I ate, and how I looked.

I remember never wanting to eat in front of my peers. I never ate school lunch – maybe a roll on occasion. I honestly blocked a lot of this from my memory because I never really understood it. At some point, I was introduced to purging. That’s when it was bad. I knew it was wrong but I still did it. I remember the last time I purged because I almost got caught. Maybe my mom did know and decided to shout through the door to scare me, just asking if I was okay. Either way, it worked.

At one point in my junior year, I was a size zero. I was in a dark place. I decided to quit soccer that year and work instead. I basically ran a shop at the mall and worked ALL. THE. TIME. I was literally the only one working there so I would have to close the shop to get food. I would work for hours and would only eat a Naan bread. My pants were baggy and basically falling off. I remember friends commenting on how thin I had gotten. A teacher had said something about the weight loss and she said, “I hope you’re doing it a healthy way.” I remember my best friend at the time telling me that her brothers were worried about me. My thighs didn’t touch when my feet were together. That’s extreme for my body type. Fat doesn’t leave these thighs. But my goal was to be thin, nothing else mattered.

My relationship with food had to do with my emotions. If I was upset or depressed, I couldn’t eat. I was just an engine focused on distracting myself from reality. I kept busy through the rest of my junior year and finally got out of it by my senior year. I don’t remember the series of events that happened but I know I had a ton of fun with my group of friends for the rest of high school.

As an adult, I still struggled with food. I would Google how to eat as a lifter and research the “body building” style of diets. Low carb, low fat, high protein. The unfortunate reality is that people believe this crap on the Internet, myself included. For years, I ate like this. I tracked my food, I ate my protein, and I never enjoyed food. I just thought that’s how it is. Pain is beauty, as they say.

Finally, I was introduced to CrossFit. This was the beginning of a turning point in my life, for several reasons. I realized that I needed to eat more food because I was losing weight. I didn’t want to lose weight! I was trying to gain muscle. So, I added more food to my diet. I started to eat with some balance and stopped tracking. I went off how I felt and FINALLY, I saw results.

Eventually, I was introduced to flexible dieting and my world changed. I enjoy food regularly, I have abs, and I perform well all the time! I hope my story will help you realize that you can have a healthy relationship with food. There IS a way to never feel guilty about what you eat. Yes, it will still take time to reach that point, but you have to start somewhere.

If you’re not happy with your relationship with food, PLEASE find a nutrition coach that can help you gain the knowledge to live a healthier life. This is what I do for a living and it’s because of how rewarding it is to see people change both physically and mentally. I want to show everyone that dieting is a lifestyle, not a fad, not a temporary thing. It’s easy to do a 30 day fix and go back to your old eating habits. Let’s create healthy habits, with balance, and stick to them for the rest of your lives.

I would love to help anyone and everyone, especially if this story is speaking to you right now. There is an answer to this feeling and you can have a happy relationship with food. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

 

Fore more information on remote coaching, please click here.

 

All the best in health and fitness,

Coach Laura

Instagram: @LaLaNCF23

1
Dec

Joy to The Kids Super Hero Charity Workout!

Join Noble Athletics for a SUPERHERO WORKOUT benefitting Joy to the Kids. Joy to the Kids is a Loudoun based nonprofit that sends princesses, superheros, and fairytale characters to local children’s hospitals. Through live entertainment, music, and creativity, Joy To The Kids’ mission is to ignite a spark, inspire hope, and create a safe and fun environment where children and their families can forget about illness, learn to visualize their dreams, and be transformed by the healing power of JOY.

Workout will be inclusive for different fitness levels and all proceeds will got to Joy to the Kids.

Please purchase tickets and donate HERE
25
Nov

Food Drive!

Join us this Holiday season by donating food to the Capital Area Food Bank! Our goal is to fill our bucket 5 times! They are most in need of foods that are low sugar, low sodium, high fiber and high protein. Click below for some food ideas:

Most Wanted List

Please stop by during business hours to make your donation. We appreciate everyone’s help in reaching our goals!

19
Nov

Healthier Way of Life: Mobility Training

The other day while training some of my clients I wanted to try a little experiment. I wanted to ask 20 different people in the gym one simple question. What can you do to get healthy? As you would guess, I heard all the typical answers that you would expect. I need to eat less, or I need to run more, surprise right? Going into this experiment I knew that these were answers that I was going to get. I was fine with that, but my goal was to hear one specific answer. I wanted to hear if anyone would say that they wanted to incorporate more stretching or mobility into their workouts. As a fitness professional I was slightly disappointed that no one wanted to choose to work on their mobility. Yes, the answers I was receiving are part of the process, but mobility training needs to be part of that process as well. I don’t want any one of you to have trouble tying your shoes one day, and this will be a problem if you don’t become more mobile. This may seem like an irrelevant task now, but if you don’t work on your mobility simple tasks will turn into difficult ones. With this blog I hope all you can begin to understand the importance of mobility training. I promise you that if you begin stretching now your body will thank you later. Let’s fix those little aches and pains that have been plaguing us for years!

What is mobility training?

Mobility training is a form of training used to improve flexibility by actively stretching the muscle to help it return to its original resting length.

Now how does this benefit you?

Most of you have heard of the concept we have come to know as stretching, or that thing you don’t do before your workout. Yes, mobility training is stretching more or less, but I want you to think of it as something much more than that. Short term, stretching is something that you should incorporate into your workouts. But right now I want you to think in terms of longevity. Every time you stretch before a workout you are preparing yourself to be ready for that individual workout. This is vital for the workout that day, but what you are really doing is preparing yourself for the future. Stretching one day is small step towards a greater goal. Every time you stretch you are helping out your future self. Your future self will thank you when you are running around with your grandkids without that pain in your lower back. Playing with your grandkids is the long term goal of stretching because we want to live our lives to the fullest. No one wants those aches and pains when we reach those advance stages of our lives. We want to live pain free and happy, don’t we? One step towards this goal is mobility training and stretching. This is a very simple task that will have endless benefits.

What are these benefits specifically?

  • Larger Range of Motion (make simple tasks easy)
  • Increased Blood Flow (recover from those workouts)
  • Better Posture and Pain Reduction (feel healthier and energized)
  • Relaxed Muscle Tone (work out the kinks)
  • Stress Relief (relaxation)

I know a lot of you have heard these benefits before. Everyone knows that you are supposed to stretch. The problem is that no one takes time to do it, or people honestly just don’t know how to stretch. I know that sometimes it can be even a little bit embarrassing when you are trying to stretch. No one likes doing things that they are not confident in. That’s just simple human nature. I want all of you to have a simple routine that not only benefits you, but one that you are confident in doing. The following routine will be a simple and easy routine that you can perform as often as you want. Mobility doesn’t have to be limited to the days where you are going to work out. Helping out the future you can be performed on any day of the week!

 

Sample Routine (click HERE for demo)

  • Scapular Slide 3 x 10

Upper body mobility is often overlooked especially when it comes to the shoulders. I want you to think about how much your shoulders play a role in the tasks you perform on a daily basis. Your shoulders allow your arms to move freely to help you live your everyday life. Without your shoulders how would you reach up and grab that jar of peanut butter that sits on the top shelf? How would you be able to pick up your children? These are things that would not be possible without our shoulder joints. This is why working on our shoulder mobility and range of motion is so vital. By improving our shoulder range of motion all those upper body tasks will become easier. You will even reduce your pain at the same time. So please give these scapular slides a try, and I guarantee they will help you on your path to becoming pain free.

  • Quadruped T-Spine Rotation 3 x 5 each

Your t-spine, also known as your thoracic spine, are the vertebrae in your middle and upper back. I know a lot of you may be asking why is your t-spine important when it comes to your mobility. It may seem a little different to think of your spine when you are thinking about becoming mobile, but your t-spine is very important. An immobile t-spine can lead to problems in several other areas of your body. These areas include your shoulders, low back, neck, and hips. Over time this lack of mobility will only get worse because our poor posture will only add to our poor thoracic spine mobility. By working on our posture and performing t-spine exercises such as the quadruped t-spine rotation we can greatly improve our thoracic spine mobility. This will only lead to larger ranges of motion in other joints helping our bodies to feel young once again.

  • Hip Pull Through 3 x 30 seconds each

Sitting is something that we all do on an everyday basis. Yes, it can be nice to sit down after a long day, but we know it is bad if we are sitting all day at our jobs. I will touch more on sitting later, but in terms of our hip mobility it is awful for us. Sitting will weaken our glutes while shortening our hip flexors at the same time. This can even lead to problems in other areas such as our low back. I know a lot of you are thinking that you have to sit for your job, and I do understand that this is not something that you cannot stop doing. This does not mean that you can’t still work on that hip mobility. By performing hip stretches such as the hip pull through, you can even help to reduce knee pain. Not to mention that once your range of motion becomes greater, exercises such as the squat will become much easier. Better hips mean better workouts which will lead to gains in the gym.

  • Single Leg Hamstring Stretch 3 x 10

Tight hamstrings…Everyone knows that soreness in the back of your legs after leg day. Yes, this will happen to everyone after a tough leg day, but there is a bigger problem at hand. Due to an in-active lifestyle and lots of sitting our hamstrings muscles will begin to tighten over the years. This will not only begin to affect your workouts, but it could be start to affect other areas of your body as well. Having tight hamstrings will almost always lead to lower back pain. This pain could get to the point where it begins to hinder your everyday living. I never want this to be the case for any of you. I know several people who have to deal with back pain on a daily basis, and it really can make their life difficult. We all need to start doing hamstring stretches like the one above so we can avoid this problem. One thing that you should always remember is that just because you are stretching one muscle does not mean that you aren’t helping out another problem area. Our body is a series of connections that have to work in unison to live a healthy and happy life.

  • Elevated Quad Stretch 3 x 30 seconds

Now that we have stretched the back of your leg we can’t forget to stretch the front. Your quadriceps are another main muscle group that you can’t ignore. Tight quadriceps can lead to chronic back pain as well if they become tight over time. I know your starting to see a theme here with the back pain, which is why our mobility can’t be ignored. Generally you will feel the tightness in your hamstrings way more than your quadriceps. This is normal, but that does not mean that you can’t forget about this muscle group. Even if you don’t feel tightness in a certain area you should still always stretch it because it will help. So next time you are stretching your hamstrings don’t forget about the quadriceps too. Your low back will thank you, and you will be feeling great in no time.

  • Ankle Glides 3 x 10

We have finally made it down the bottom of our body. The last and one of the most important joints we will look at is our ankle. In our kinetic chain our ankle plays a huge role in many of the movements that we perform. How many of you have ever been told that your squat is too high? I know I have! This can be frustrating and we continue to wonder why we can’t squat to depth. A big part of this is our lack in ankle mobility. When we squat our heels will come up because our ankles simply don’t have the range of motion. This can cause us to compensate with other parts of our body possibly leading to injury. This can be especially important when it comes to a very common theme in this blog, our low back. In several movements we will begin to lean forward causing our spine to lose its proper position. What can this cause? You guessed it, back pain. This is why our ankles cannot be forgotten. Problems here will lead to problems elsewhere. Then these problems can cause new problems. So, please let’s start at the root of the problem and work on our ankles.

Closing Thoughts

As you have been reading this blog you have probably noticed that I have touched on back health a lot. Back pain is a problem that plagues our society and we need to fix it. Improving our total body mobility will defiantly help to fix our back problems and reduce our pain. But this is not the only problem. One thing that I cannot stress enough to our current society is to fix our posture. So many of us sit all day and we tend to slouch. This causes our back to round and our chest muscles to tighten. If we do this long enough we can eventually develop a rounded upper back also known as kyphosis. This can make us significantly weaker and eventually lead to more back problems.

How Do We Fix This

First of we need to be conscious of our posture. We need to stand tall with our ears directly above our shoulders while have our spine in a neutral position. This may seem like a confusing concept but all you need to do is have someone look at you from a side view. If your body’s major joints look to be in a straight up and down line then you are doing a good job. Once we have our everyday position figured out we have to work on strengthening our imbalances. Your chest will become tight and your back muscles will become very weak. Here are three quick exercises that can help you even out those imbalances.

  • Pec Stretch (Mobility)
  • Foam Roll Upper Back (Soft-Tissue)
  • Band Pull Part (Strength)

Performing these exercises on a daily basis along with practicing good posture will help you back on that path towards health and wellness. When we think of our health we have to start thinking outside of the realm of our strength levels or our cardiovascular health. Yes, these are two major keys that will help us to achieve our goals. But we can’t forget that we move with our body every single day. Our joint health along with good mobility will help make all those daily tasks of life that much easier. This will not only lead to a happier life, but a quality of life that you know you deserve.

 

Your friend in health and wellness,

Coach Mike

9
Aug

8/19 Noble HIKE and BEER

Join us for a 6 mile hike at Raven’s Rock in Purcellville followed by BEERS at Dragon Hops Brewery!

Meet at the gym at 9:30 to carpool or meet us at Raven’s Rock at 10am. We’re parking in the same lot as last year.

Bring plenty of water and snacks for this hike. Dragon Hops has food trucks on site so you can also eat at the brewery.

Please wear your noble gear!!!

Also, bring a change of clothes and shoes just in case it keeps raining and makes the trail extra muddy. ?

 

To stay up to date on this event, click HERE to see the event on Facebook.

6
Aug

9/8 Noble’s Strongest Man!

Join us for our NAS Strongman/woman competition!
When: September 8th
Where: Noble Athletics in Sterling
What: Each weight class will be competing against each other in 5 events.
Click HERE for more information!
We look forward to seeing you there!
18
Sep

Should I Start Olympic Lifting?

So you’re thinking about starting Olympic lifting….hell yeah! Olympic lifting is an amazing sport in itself but it’s also an amazing training tool to compliment any explosive sport. In the US, the sport of Olympic lifting has grown exponentially over the last 5-8years. Having said that I still get a ton of people who think I’m referring to squatting, benching, and deadlifting. To be clear that is power lifting; another great strength sport but a complete apple to oranges comparison. Olympic lifting consists of 2 lifts; the snatch and the clean and jerk. Just 2 lifts, it must be so simple to master just 2 lifts, but you will soon realize Olympic lifting is a game of millimeters not inches.

 

It is important to note that Olympic liftings massive arc of growth over these years has come directly with CrossFit’s same growth. So most of the people I’m talking to in the article are coming from a regular Crossfit class and are thinking of moving to strictly a barbell program probably at their same gym. There are very few gyms that are strictly Olympic lifting. However, that is beginning to grow as well. If you have never done front squats, overhead squats or a push press then I honestly recommend doing Crossfit for a few months at a good box to get some good experience and the basics down.

 

So now you’re all set to actually start your Olympic lifting career and you’re so excited….at least at first. I always warn my new lifters that this is not for the faint of heart. My goal of course, is not to scare them away but they need to know that there are going to be good days and bad. You see, Olympic lifting is much more than just being big and strong. You have to be fast, flexible, and very explosive….oh and still strong on top of all that. When you’re talking about pound for pound, Olympic lifters are some of the strongest strength athletes on the planet. There are guys that have clean and jerked TRIPLE their bodyweight. Squatting that alone would be impressive but we’re talking about a full clean and jerk in competition, it’s beyond impressive.

 

Now you have your program and maybe you’re a few sessions in and you begin to notice it seems to be a lot of similar movements over and over. If you have a good coach he will change weights, rep schemes, tempo, add pauses, and recovery work but it will always pretty much revolve around the main lifts, squatting, pulling, and pressing to some degree. So you have to be very disciplined and know that yes you did squat yesterday but…you’re probably going to again today. The weight, reps, and position of the bar (front, back, or overhead squat) may change but squatting is a very important part of Olympic lifting so if you don’t like it, either don’t bother starting or learn to like (love) it.

 

In recap, start your Olympic lifting career and be ready to work on perfection. You need to be in perfect positions at all times in order to be safe and strong, which will take practice and more practice. Be ready to brush off the bad days and cherish the good. It takes many reps to develop the strength in your connective tissue, muscles around your joints, not to mention get them all to fire together, seamlessly, and at the right time. When watching someone perform a snatch you may think yeah he picked the weight up and just kind of jumped it up and pulled it over his head. When in reality, the athlete is shifting their weight and changing angles all at very precise times in order to use strength and leverage to benefit them as much as possible. Bruce Lee, a true master of his craft said “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, I fear the man that has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

 

Nathan James

Co-Owner, Noble CrossFit