Athlete of the MonthApril

Tasha Ebanks-Garcia

Years Doing CrossFit: 1

Learn more about Tasha Ebanks-Garcia

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I started CrossFit classes in September 2018 after doing Fundamentals with Coach Chris Spigner.

What made you decide to give 7 Mile Strength & Fitness a try?

In December 2016 I decided that 2017 would not be another failed attempt at getting healthy for the New Year. I can’t remember how I heard about it, but the 7 Mile Strength & Fitness Couch-2-5K training caught my attention. The idea of running sounded exciting in my head. I thought, “Wow, can you imagine being able to run a 5K”. Two Couch 2 5K’s and one Marathon training program later, Coach Scotty and Coach Jesse had me running my first half marathon. I made the transition from run training to CrossFit after a knee injury in early 2018.

What was the hardest part when you started out and how did you overcome that?

The hardest part when I started CrossFit was overcoming the intimidation of the WOD. When I read the board half the stuff on there were movements/exercises that looked super hard or I just couldn’t do. I wasn’t strong, I wasn’t particularly fast. Flexibility was probably the only thing I had going for me.

For the first couple of months I only went to classes that my Coach (Chris Spigner) taught. He knew me and was able to scale the workouts for me, making them manageable (still super hard, but manageable). After a while I got brave and started going to classes taught by other coaches and found a really supportive team of coaches that got to know me and helped me to scale the workouts. Getting to know my body, accepting where I was in the moment and scaling workouts was how I overcame the fear of the WOD.

You just finished your first ever CrossFit Games Open!! Congratulations on an amazing job over the 5 weeks! Tell us a little bit about your experience. Which workout did you like? Which one was your least favorite? Will you participate again in October? What would you tell anyone who’s on the fence about doing the Open?

19.2 was my favourite of the Open workouts. When I started CrossFit I couldn’t do more than 10 single-unders unbroken. For some reason I found skipping rope hard and uncomfortable. In 19.2 I was able to get through the single-under sets with just one break which felt awesome to me. In 19.2 my hands got good and tore up doing the hanging knee raises (nothing says CrossFit like callused hands!). Add to that the squat cleans, a movement that makes you feel powerful when you do it, and you have a really great WOD.

I don’t know that I have a least favourite workout. They were all equally painful, both mentally and physically. With all of them I hated each movement at the start, but by the time I finished the workout I found that I was better at each movement than when I started and actually started to like the movements. Movements that I thought I wasn’t good at (I’m talking to you wall balls!) I got better at, and movements that I didn’t like I learned to appreciate (I’m talking to you jumping pull ups!).

I’m all over October. I’ve already started to strategize about what I need to do differently in my nutrition and my training to be stronger for October. I have a PT coming up and I’ll be looking to my Coach to help me plan for being stronger, both mentally and physically, for October.

If you’re sitting on the fence about the Open I would ask, “What’s holding you back?” Sure it’s scary. Every morning before the workout started my stomach was in knots. Sure it’s painful. In the middle of each workout I thought to myself, “I could curl up into a ball on the floor and just refuse to do another movement”. But then you get to the end, after having giving it everything you have, and you sit in awe at what you just did. My best WODs ever, were in the Open. The unintentional grunting noises coming out of my mouth during the Open was the anthem call of my effort. The pride on my husband and kid’s faces as they watched me do my first Open was the icing on the cake. The Open was my Mt. Everest, and I can tell you the view from the top is amazing!

You posted awhile back about your on-going knee issues you had when training for the marathon. How has coming in to do strength training helped you? What’s made the biggest difference, in your opinion, in getting better?

I ended up in CrossFit after getting a knee injury (guess I ran farther than my body wanted to go!). I got to a point where one mile in my knee hurt so bad I had to hobble home. The doctors couldn’t find anything medically wrong with me other than inflammation in my knee. Rest and anti-inflammatory medication was prescribed. You can’t imagine the disappointment. For years I searched for some form of exercise that I enjoyed. While I wasn’t a fast runner I really enjoyed the thrill of the long distance and thought that this was my sport.

However, I do need to share with you that if you saw me in the home stretch of a long run I looked like an old lady hunched over dragging her body behind her, and the running pack that I wore on my back added to the whole Quasimodo look I was sporting (the pics look seriously funny). Coming to CrossFit was a way to get the strength that I needed to run the distance. As my CrossFit Coach pointed out, carrying 150 pounds for an hour or two is a lot of work for the body.

In addition to building strength, my CrossFit Coach has been working with me on the mechanics of running (I am a heel striker). While learning how to run, and undoing what my body has been doing for 45 years, has been absolutely frustrating it has also been tremendously helpful. Slowly my body is adapting to the changes that I am trying to make in terms of the mechanics of running and as a result I am getting faster. While I still can’t run the distance I would like to (3-4miles is my point of pain) when I do run I feel stronger and my form is 100 times better (Goodbye Quasimodo!).

Any other goals on your list for this year?

My plan was to start training to run my next half marathon at the end of the year. But I am so conflicted because I have developed this unexpected love for CrossFit and the next Open is in October. I am torn between two loves and right now the embrace of CrossFit feels really good.

Name something you’re most proud of in the gym.

I asked my son what he thinks the answer to this question is and he said, “deadlifts”. Apparently, I get very animated when I talk about my progress in deadlifts. I can lift my body weight which I think is totally cool.

Did you play any sports growing up?

Growing up I was the kid in PE who kept sneaking to the back of the line so they didn’t have to play sports. I had a fear of failure and convinced myself that if I didn’t do well I would be totally embarrassed. The only sport that I did take part in was netball. Given my height in high school I could play goal keeper quite successfully by just standing and raising my hand over the shooter. Since the goal keeper can only move in one third of the court I didn’t have to move much. Basically, I just stood in the circle and raised my hand.

Anything people at 7 Mile Strength & Fitness don’t know about you?

There is…in 1995 I was crowned Miss Cayman. I got to represent the Cayman Islands at Miss Universe in Las Vegas and Miss World in South Africa.

Anything crazy on your bucket list? (bungee jumping, sky diving?)

Most people may not considerate it crazy, but as a ninth generation Caymanian who swore at one point in her life that Cayman would be her home till God took her to heaven, the crazy thing on my bucket list is making my home in a foreign country. My husband (who is from the Philippines) and I are exploring the option of moving to the Philippines one day (possibly sooner than later).

What is your favorite WOD and why?

Anything that involves a bar with weights. As a woman, there is something seriously empowering about manhandling a bar with weights on it.

What is your least favorite WOD and why?

This may sound strange, but anything with running in it. I loathe short distances. Ask me to run a 10K, but please don’t ask me to run 400m.

What has been your biggest surprise about doing CrossFit?

I was most surprised by how encouraging and motivating the sport is and the fact there wherever you are in your CrossFit journey you can be good at CrossFit. I feel confident in saying I am good at CrossFit even though I scale workouts, I cap out, I can’t figure out how to do an EMOM and have that built in break, I am not the fastest or strongest, my height means that squats seem to take forever because of the distance I have to travel…I could go on.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it’s the kind of sport that you can be good at even when there is room for growth. And in CrossFit there is always room for growth which means that you go from one milestone, one celebration, one PR to another. There isn’t one defining moment when you have arrived. In whatever moment you are standing in you have arrived. I can remember going from doing negative pushups on a box to doing 10 box pushups in a row and feeling on top of the world. Can you imagine the feeling I will have when I can do pushups on the ground! In CrossFit you go from growth to growth, celebrating each achievement and using that positive energy to take you to the next level.

Would you recommend 7 Mile Strength & Fitness to others and if so, why?

Absolutely! You can get a good workout and you can find good coaching at any good gym. What 7 Mile Strength & Fitness has that you don’t find everywhere is a great community. For me going to 7 Mile Strength & Fitness is more than just going to the gym. It’s that place where I am encouraged and supported. It’s that place where I go when I feel down and need to escape the world. There’s something transformational about walking in there, its part WOD, part community, part amazing coaching. There are a number of times that I have gone into 7 Mile Strength & Fitness feeling crappy. Never once have I left feeling crappy.

Congratulations, Tash!  We are proud of you and your accomplishments!

 

Is Foam Rolling Actually Useful?


 We often see sore-looking athletes walk into the gym and the first thing they do is grab a foam roller and grimace as they knead out their sore muscles. Then again after the workout, it’s straight to the foam roller. Most people’s thought process behind this self-administered, myofascial release (SMR) technique is that it will help them be less sore the next day—that it will prevent DOMs.

 

Foam rolling your quads after 150 wall balls will probably next to nothing when it comes to the muscle soreness that will overtake your body the next day. This, however, doesn’t mean foam rollers don’t have their place in our lives: They just aren’t doing what you think they’re doing. Foam rolling works a bit like a massage and is good for flushing your lymphatic system out so your muscles relax and calm down, but in terms of mitigating soreness created from damaging your muscles temporarily in a workout, foam rolling won’t really help. Foam rolling is like Lipton chicken noodle soup when you’re at home sick: It’s not going to cure your cold or flu, but it provides comfort to your body.

 

 

Another Myth: The IT Bands

Many people, especially those who spend a lot of time running, have notoriously tight IT bands. Sometimes knee pain is the result. Because the IT band—the tendon that runs down the length of the outer thigh from the top of the pelvis to the shin bone—is difficult to stretch the way we stretch the muscles in our bodies, foam rolling has often been seen as a good alternative.

But there’s plenty of evidence now that foam rolling your IT only exacerbates the problem, especially if the pain you’re feeling actually stems from your glutes not firing properly. Read more about why foam rolling your IT bands isn’t as useful as you thought it was in this Breaking Muscle article: (https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/your-it-band-is-not-the-enemy-but-maybe-your-foam-roller-isWhen is a good time to foam roll then?

 

1. To Increase Range of Motion (temporarily)

 It’s shoulder press day and your shoulders and pecks are feeling tight. Foam rolling your lats before you lift, or between sets, can help relax your shoulder blades so you can get into a better, anatomically safer overhead position. But foam rolling before heavy squats might not be a good idea, because it relaxes your muscles and you want to build as much tension in your body as you can when you squat.

 

 

2. To Reduce Pain (temporarily)

 Foam rolling—or a more acute acupressure type of rolling with an acupressure ball or a lacrosse ball—can help alleviate pain from an injury (temporarily). For example, if you slip a rib in your back and the muscles are tight all around it, foam rolling can provide some temporarily relief. It won’t, however, fix the injury long-term. If you have chronic pain or an injury, foam rolling before bed can provide the relief you need in the moment to get a good night’s rest.

 

The message: Foam rolling is good for helping you in today’s workout in some cases, but it’s not going reduce DOMs and it’s not a solution to an injury.

The Carbonated Water CRAZE is in Full Effect: Is it Healthy?


Perrier and Club Soda used to dominate the carbonated water market. But in recent years—probably because we are now more convinced than ever that sugar is evil—new brands of carbonated water have slowly been taking over the shelves, one bubble at a time. LaCroix, Voss and more recently Bubly (thanks to the Super Bowl commercial), have become a few of the more and more recognizable brands. Not to mention, everyone and his dog has a SodaStreams, and serve-yourself carbonated water taps are becoming par for the course at coffee shops and restaurants.

But have you ever wondered if all the carbonation you’re consuming is bad for your health? On a basic level, all carbonated water is water that has been infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure.  Some brands have added sodium (and other minerals), like most Club Soda brands, but many don’t. Carbon dioxide and water together produce carbonic acid, which stimulates the nerve receptors in your mouth and triggers that prickly sensation many of us seem to enjoy.

 

Is The Acidity Bad For Me?

One of the concerns some have is that carbonated water is acidic. Its pH level is between 3 and 4, meaning it is slightly acidic. But rest assured, this doesn’t make your body more acidic, because your kidneys and lungs get rid of the carbon dioxide and help keep your blood slightly alkaline regardless of what you eat or drink.

 

What About My Teeth?

Something else some of us have wondered is whether carbonated water is bad for our teeth—does the acid erode our enamel? This 2001 study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11556958) doesn’t think so. It concluded: “Mineral waters appear to offer a safe alternative to more erosive acidic beverages and their complex mineral ion compositions may positively influence any dissolution processes at the tooth surface.”

 Other studies have shown carbonated drinks do have a negative effect on enamel, however, it’s the sugar, rather than the carbonation, that is likely doing the damage. In fact, Gatorade, which isn’t carbonated, has been shown to be worse for the teeth than Diet Coke.

 

 

Does It Hydrate Me As Well As Tap Water?

 Though there isn’t huge amount of research on the topic, the answer appears to be yes. And dieticians and nutritionists tend to agree: Sparkling water is just regular water infused with carbon dioxide, so yes it hydrates you as well as tap water, experts agree.

 

 

Is It Bad For My Calcium Levels?

 This fear seemed to have started because of some research showed that older women who drink various types of sodas have lower bone mineral density. Again, though, this likely came down to the sugar in soda, not the carbonation, so best we can tell is this is but a myth! So if it’s not bad for you, then we might as well ask the question, ‘Is good for you?’ There is some evidence carbonated and sparkling waters might have some health benefits, specifically on digestion, relieving constipation and helping you feel satiated.

 

Some people have a hard time swallowing still water, especially older adults. There’s some evidence that carbonated water is easier to swallow (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26607248). 

Second, this 2007 study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16995969) found that drinking ice-cold carbonated water helped people with a persistent need to clear their throats reduce those symptoms. 

As for constipation, though this study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21551998) only included 40 elderly participants, it found that 58 percent of them felt constipation relief when they switched from tap to sparkling water.  

Meanwhile, other research has suggested sparkling water can help improve various symptoms of indigestion, like stomach pain and gallbladder emptying. When these symptoms are relieved, constipation decreases. Finally, we think we have all experienced that carbonated water helps us feel full, at least more than tap water. It appears carbonated water might also stay in your stomach longer than still water, helping keep you feeling full longer and making you less included to eat too much.

 

Bottom line: If you’re digging your SodaStream or are getting into the cans of Bubly on the regular—especially if it’s getting you to drink an appropriate amount of water and you find it easier to swallow—keep on guzzling!

 

If You’re 50-plus, You Might Not be Getting Enough Protein


A lack of protein is a marker of not just a port diet, but of overall health, says a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging. Here’s a link to the study published in February 2019: (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12603-019-1174-1)

 

Though we all know protein is important, the reality is many middle aged and older adults—close to half of American adults over the age of 50, in fact—still aren’t getting enough protein, says the study.

 

If you’re in this 50-plus crew, it might be even more important to consume adequate protein than when you were younger, as your body starts to lose muscle mass. Though lifting weights and strength training helps, sarcopenia (muscle loss due to age) is a natural part of the aging process and leads to a decrease in strength, as well as an increased risk of fractures. In other words, a lack of protein over time will limit overall quality of life: If you’re weak and frail, your day-to-day life will suffer. Period.

 

This study looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from the years 2005 to 2014, which gathered information from almost 12,000 adults in the 50-plus age range. Specifically, the researchers examined protein intake and dietary patterns and their impact on physical function.

 

The result:

 As many as 46 percent of older participants aren’t eating enough protein. There was also a link between low protein consumption and overall diet choices. Low protein intake seemed to go hand-in-hand with a lack of other healthy foods, such as green vegetables, and seafood.

 

Further, the researchers discovered those who didn’t eat enough protein were also the ones who were limited in various daily activities, such as standing, kneeling, crouching and walking. The whole quality life thing again…

 

Finally, the research found a lack of protein was also linked to various vitamin and mineral deficiencies, namely zinc, selenium, Vitamin C, D and E. Being deficient in those vitamins and minerals can have negative affects on the immune system, which is also something you want to avoid as you age, as your body becomes less efficient at fighting off illness and disease.

 

So How Much Protein Do You Need?

 It’s dicey to make blanket dietary recommendations, as diet is so individual—it depends on your age, size, activity level, goals, body composition, genetics and on and on—and even the experts can’t seem to agree on how much protein we should consume. Thus, it’s a dilemma when it comes to prescribing a general number of minimum protein grams per day. Check out this article by Robb Wolf about the confusion surrounding HOW MUCH PROTEIN YOU SHOULD EAT, even among the experts: (https://robbwolf.com/2016/11/07/how-much-protein-do-we-really-need/)

 

With all that being said, what we have noticed with our clients is when they increase their protein and reduce their carbohydrate intake, they tend to feel better and stronger and have more energy, not to mention they usually increase their lean mass and reduce their body fat.

 

This happens when they start consuming approximately 40 percent of their daily macros in protein(along with approximately 30 percent carbohydrates and 30 percent fat). This varies person to person, but 40 percent or so seems to be a good number to strive for, and it’s certainly much higher than most people are getting now.

 

Just to compare this to other information out there: If we look at “general guidelines” that exist, they tend to be more conservative on protein requirements than what I just suggested. The US Dietary Guidelines, for example, suggests a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight (https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/This would mean the average (albeit sedentary) person who weighs 75 kg (165 lb.) should consume 60 grams of protein a day, which is likely not going to amount to 40 percent of their daily macros.

 

However, it’s important to note that 0.8 g per kg of bodyweight is simply the minimum amount of protein a person of that size needs to consume to avoid losing muscle mass, and to avoid getting sick etc, whereas we’re striving for more than just avoiding being not sick (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-much-protein-do-you-need-every-day-201506188096)!

 

Whether you’re in the 50-plus crew or not, come talk to us if you want some help figuring out how much protein you should be eating.

Athlete of the MonthMarch

Tina de la Cruz

Years Doing CrossFit: 2

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How long have you been doing CrossFit?

1 year but was doing FITCon for a year and half prior.

What made you decide to give 7 Mile Strength & Fitness a try?

The need to feel more active, increase in physical strength, and overall health.

We are not your typical gym. Most gyms don’t offer a Coach for Life. Coach Julia is yours – how has having a Coach for Life helped you?

We have not only built a relationship of open communication, but a relationship of TRUST.

During our PT sessions, Julia has helped me and provided me with a great deal of insight, on how to increase my upper body strength, along with enhancing my knowledge of Olympic lifting techniques (i.e. Snatch and Clean and Jerk). We are, continuously, working on improving some of my weaknesses, such as strengthening my upper body and lifting / lunging with dumbbell in overhead position.

What I love most about Julia, is that she always jolly, her always sunny and bright disposition makes her that much more likeable and approachable!

What was the hardest part when you started out and how did you overcome that?

Getting past the idea or intimidation of lifting weights, a skill I wish I had discovered sooner. Barbell class is my absolute favourite! Thank you, Julia for the encouragement!

You decided to participate in the CrossFit Games Open this year. Congratulations are your first Open workout :) What made you decide to sign up?

The experience, and the desire to push myself more, physically, expand on the knowledge I already have, and experience the energy of our CrossFit community, all of us working towards that same common goal!

You and your husband Karl are both members at our gym. We love seeing families making health and wellness a part of their lives….and thank you for choosing us to be a part of yours! How has being at 7 Mile Strength & Fitness changed you guys? Do you feel like you’re lives are any different than what they used to be before coming to us? (ie: getting better sleep now, being more productive at work etc.)

We are supportive of each other and look forward to the WOD. Our kids also have a gained interest in being more physically active and going to the gym with us, given the chance. It’s important that our kids see us physically active, in order to encourage them to do the same, while they are young and leading them into active adolescent years.

Name something you’re most proud of in the gym.

I appreciate all the coaches, their guidance, and how they strive to push you forward, beyond your own belief / limitations. Group workouts are my favourite, you feel like you’re part of something and the added energy you feel from everyone is so uplifting, it definitely gets your adrenaline going!

Did you play any sports growing up?

Believe it or not, as small as I am, I played basketball, in elementary and high school (Point Guard). I was really good at lay-ups, too! Wow, haven’t thought of that for years, thanks for asking!

Anything people at 7 Mile Strength & Fitness don’t know about you?

I LOVE to dance, it is how I release a lot of my stress and excess energy!

Anything crazy on your bucket list? (bungee jumping, sky diving?)

I want to bungee jump, go skiing – I want to do all of that exciting stuff, but most of all, I want to travel and learn about different cultures, food, the arts, etc, etc.

What is your favorite WOD and why?

Anything barbell…it’s helped my self confidence tremendously, both physically and mentally! Finding my potential…this is how my love my for CrossFit has grown, hands down!

What is your least favorite WOD and why?

Burpees and running, although, it’s slowly growing on me, still a work in progress!

What has been your biggest surprise about doing CrossFit?

Throughout the years, I have had other gym memberships, which I got bored of, quickly, after January 31st (lol)! I have finally found a gym that I haven’t gotten bored of, I look forward to the WOD, and bringing on a good sweat!

Would you recommend 7 Mile Strength & Fitness to others and if so, why?

Always do! It’s a quality gym, very nice and super friendly staff and people, along with very well trained, knowledgeable and qualified coaches!

Thank you, Tina!  We are proud to have you as our 7 Miler of the Month.

 

Improve Your Productivity at Work Through Fitness


If your job is physically demanding, it certainly goes without saying that increased fitness will make your job easier. But even if you sit at a desk all day, there’s a boatload of evidence that suggests a connection between exercise and productivity at work, namely through helping you be more alert.

When you workout, you essentially increase the blood flow to your brain. This helps increase your awareness and alertness, as well as improve your energy levels. On top of this, there’s evidence working out also leads to improved concentration, a sharper memory, faster learning, enhanced creativity, and lower stress, all of which seem like helpful benefits to improve performance in various jobs and careers.

There’s even evidence that working out helps improve interpersonal interactions with colleagues, namely because you’re in a better mood from the workout, and thus less likely to react in ways you might regret later. Here are a some interesting studies that examined this very phenomenon:

 

 

Office Gyms for the Win:

A study done at Leeds Metropolitan University (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235275530_Exercising_at_work_and_self-reported_work_performance) looked at the affect of exercise among office workers who had access to a company gym at work.

 

The study looked at more than 200 employees from different companies. They discovered on the days the employees went to the gym during the day at work, they managed their time at work more effectively, were more productive and had better interactions with colleagues. And at the end of the day, they returned home happier.

 

Concentration, productivity and motivation:

 A similar study from Briston University (https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/17538350810926534) looked at 200 people for three different companies. On the days the employees worked out, their concentration scores improved by a fairly significant 21 percent.

 Not only that, they saw a 22 percent improvement in finishing their work on time, a 25 percent improvement for working without unscheduled breaks, and on average they felt 41 percent more motivated to work.

 

Memory:

A University of British Columbia study (https://news.ubc.ca/2014/02/06/how-exercise-can-boost-brain-power/) discovered regular exercise that gets your heart rate up tends to increase the size of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that affects verbal memory and learning. The ultimate theory here is that exercise might be able to help fend off dementia, which obviously will keep you in the workplace longer.

 

Mood:

This 2016 study published in the Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review (https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/the-relationship-between-physical-exercise-and-job-performance-themediating-effects-of-subjective-health-and-good-mood-2223-5833-1000269.pdf) discovered that participants who exercised not only felt more productive at work, they also felt healthier and their mood was higher.

 

Their recommendation was for business owners and managers to encourage all their employees to exercise. Not surprising is the fact that it is becoming more and more prevalent for businesses to help subsidize various fitness programs for employees.

 

If you think you, or a group of your colleagues, could benefit from a fitness regimen—there’s also evidence that working out with colleagues goes a long way in improving your connection and communication with each other— contact us now.

Coconut Oil: Your Answer to Better Oral Health and Whiter Teeth


You probably know oral health is important and you have likely heard coconut oil is a healthy fat to consume: It helps moisturize the skin, helps reduce your bad cholesterol and is associated with better brain function.

But did you know coconut oil might also help improve your oral health? In fact, not only is it known to help prevent tooth decay, plaque build-up, gingivitis and keep bad breath at bay, it actually also cleans your teeth, and is even a natural teeth whitener.

How can this healthy fat made from medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) do all this? Well, 50 percent of coconut oil is made from Lauric acid, which your body breaks into monolaurin. Both Lauric acid and monolaurin are able to kill unwanted things, like bacteria, viruses and fungus. And in terms of maintaining good oral health, keeping bad bacteria away is incredibly important.

Two ways to include coconut oil in your oral heath routine include oil pulling and through homemade coconut-oil infused toothpaste:

Oil pulling

It started in India long ago, but basically oil pulling involves swooshing coconut oil for 15 minutes or so in your mouth like you would do with mouthwash. As you’re doing this, think about pushing and puling it between your teeth. This helps remove the bacteria and plaque from your mouth. Then brush your teeth afterward.

The main reason for gum disease comes from a build-up of bacteria that turns into plaque, thus swooshing with coconut oil can go a long way in protecting your teeth against this bacteria that eventually turns to plaque, and potentially gum disease if not treated. There’s evidence oil pulling can make a difference to your oral health in just 30 days.

This 2016 study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5109859/) showed that after just 30 days, people experienced a significant decrease in Streptococcus mutans, the most common bacteria that contributes to tooth decay. 

 Meanwhile, this 2015 study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25838632) found a decrease in both plaque and gingivitis after just one week of coconut oil pulling. Plaque build-up is also at the heart of why teeth become yellow or discoloured, and hence why oil pulling is known to whiten teeth.

 

 

Coconut oil-infused toothpaste

 You can actually make this yourself pretty easily by using 1/2 cup coconut oil, 2 tablespoons baking soda and a few drops of essential oil like peppermint oil, or cinnamon if you prefer. 

 All you do is heat the oil until it’s a liquid and then stir in baking soda until a paste forms, and then drop in 10 drops of oil or a pinch of cinnamon. From there, just use it the same way you would a normal toothpaste.

 

Give it a shot and report back in 30 days with your oral health, and tooth whitener, results.

 

 

 

 

 

Athlete of the MonthFebruary

Kyra Henningson

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How long have you been doing CrossFit?

Started drinking the Kool-Aid January 5th, 2015.

 

What made you decide to give 7 Mile Strength & Fitness a try?

My roommate at the time was exasperating. CrossFit was an outlet – a few extra hours a week outside the house.

 

What was the hardest part when you started out and how did you overcome that?

Trying to pay attention to the coaches. So many half naked men to stare at. Not sure that I have overcome that.

 

What is one thing you’re most proud of?

Nailing double unders. So. Much. Practice.

 

What, in your opinion, has kept you consistent all this time?

Fear. I’m terrified of Coach Chris, he always shoots looks of disappointment if there isn’t enough weight on the bar. Can’t fathom not showing up to class, he would certainly be unimpressed. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

The 2019 CrossFit Games Open is just a few weeks away. Will you be participating this year? Any particular Games athletes you follow?

Absolutely, who doesn’t love 5 weeks of torture! No, they’re all impressive athletes and deserve props.

 

Did you play any sports growing up?

Rocked a tutu and some tap shoes for quite a few years.

 

Anything people at 7 Mile Strength & Fitness don’t know about you?

Not likely, I have no filter.

 

Anything crazy on your bucket list? (bungee jumping, sky diving?)

Going to be climbing Kilimanjaro this June, hoping all the squats and lunges will help with the 19,341 feet!

 

What is your favorite WOD and why?

DT. Barbells make me feel badass.

 

What is your least favorite WOD and why?

Anything with too much running. And by too much, I mean any.

 

What has been your biggest surprise about doing CrossFit?

The community. We are one big happy family – I love seeing the crew at the end of a day. Good people, supportive environment, fist bumps, & the occasional butt slapping to cheer you along.

 

Would you recommend 7 Mile Strength & Fitness to others and if so, why?

Indubitably! Best gym you’ll ever set foot in. All the coaches are incredible!

 

Congratulations, Kyra! We are so proud of you!

Is Your Collagen Supplement Really Helping You?


So you sipped on a collagen-powder infused beverage every day of 2018 expecting it to transform your skin into the vibrant sheath it once was, or at the very least to stop your skin from acquiring more age-related wrinkles.

It makes sense that you believed collagen was your answer: After all, the collagen we make naturally is needed for healthy hair, skin and nails, as well as for strengthening our bones, tendons and ligaments. And as for the skin specifically, collagen is what keeps skin looking young as it helps it maintain its elasticity. Once you get into your 30s, your natural collagen production starts to decline. The new trend of getting collagen facial fillers, which is similar to Botox, pumps collagen into your skin to help prevent and eliminate wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Here’s the thing with taking collagen in supplement form though: Your body doesn’t use the whole collagen the way it uses the collagen you make naturally, so your skin may never see the effects. What your body does do is break down the collagen from a powder supplement, for example, into amino acids, most of which probably never make it to your skin. Some experts say it’s unlikely that any of this whole collagen you’re getting from supplements even makes it into your bloodstream.

This, however, DOES NOT mean collagen supplementation might not be beneficial in other ways: It’s just unlikely to offer magical powers for your skin. Here’s how it might be more valuable:

As mentioned above, collagen is needed for much more than the skin, and there is legitimate evidence that a collagen supplement can provide value to your body. The amino acids from a collagen supplement can still be distributed to areas of your body that need them most, like the heart or the brain, but the skin itself is essentially a low priority.

Our bodies have cells called fibroblasts. Their job is to produce collagen, but in order to produce collagen they need amino acids, specifically glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Collagen supplements, in the form of hydrolyzed collagen, then can help deliver these amino acids to where your body needs them most. And from there, your body can start making more collagen. So while the collagen itself from a supplement might not be usable collagen, per se, the amino acids it breaks into are used to make more collagen naturally. And the older you get, the more this becomes important.

Further, there’s some evidence that collagen supplementation helps decrease joint pain. A 2008 study from Penn State University found collagen supplements helped reduce joint pain in 147 athletes (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885).

Other potential benefits include:

• Reduce inflammation (especially in people with osteoarthritis)
• Improves gut health
• Supports a healthy metabolism
• Promotes healthy brain function
• Helps with sleep

If you’re interested in taking a collagen supplement, here are three tips for selecting a brand that has the most chance of helping you:

1. Make sure it’s hydrolyzed collagen (this means it is in a form that make it more absorbable and usable in the body).

2. Marine collagen is best: The four main sources of collagen peptides come from either cow, pig, chicken or fish. Marine is best because it’s in the purest form and is most easily absorbed into the blood. If you do choose a collagen sourced from a cow, pig or chicken, make sure it’s grass-fed.

3. Check to label to ensure the collagen peptides do not have any fillers.

This, however, doesn’t mean you necessarily NEED a collagen supplement. If you’re eating well, you could very well be making enough of your own collagen. If you eat a lot of protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, beef and eggs, and are getting enough Vitamin C, zinc and copper, then you might be good without a collagen supplement. On top of this, three great ways to boost your natural collagen without taking a supplement include consuming bone broth, organ meats and sardines. If the above doesn’t sound like you, then consider a collagen supplement.

We would love to hear your experiences if you have been taking a collagen supplement. Have you noticed any health benefits?

Are Blue Blocking Sunglasses the Answer to Your Poor Sleep?


Would you wear sunglasses around the house after the sun sets if it meant you are sure to sleep more soundly? Before we get into the blue-blocking glasses part of this story, let’s talk about what exactly blue light is, and why it could be hurting your sleep.

About to get geeky for a minute: Sunlight contains red, orange, yellow, green and blue light rays, all of which have different wavelengths and emit different levels of energy into your eyes. All combined together, this big spectrum of colored light rays creates what we know as sunlight, or “white light.” The rays on the red side of the spectrum have longer wavelengths and emit less energy, and rays on the blue end of the spectrum have shorter wavelengths and emit more energy to your eyes.

While sunlight is the main place we take in blue light, we also get a lot of blue light from our man-made, indoor sources of light, both the old-school lightbulbs we used to use and even the more efficient LED lights, as well as the screens—TVs, computers, phones, tablets—we love so much. While the sun does give off way more blue light than our cellphones do, we don’t stare directly into the sun for hours on end the way we do our phones. So not only is this a problem for long-term eye health, it’s also a problem for your sleep.

It’s an issue for sleep because taking in too much blue light, especially right before you go to bed, suppresses your body’s natural melatonin production, which then disrupts your circadian rhythm. This essentially means your body gets tricked into thinking it’s daytime and not bedtime, even when it’s way past your bedtime. The result being you have trouble falling asleep.

While technology, and specifically our phone companies, are allegedly trying to protect us from blue light at night — Apple introduced a new feature in 2016 that they called “night shift,” which shifts the color of your phone’s display to emit less blue light once the sun goes down—it’s still unclear (not yet proven by science) whether this effort by Apple is really making a difference for our eyes and our sleep.

Another option: Blue blocking glasses. Basically, blue blocking glasses are glasses that block most of the blue light we take in once it’s dark outside and we’re meant to be winding down and prepping for bed. You wear them inside to block the artificial light. There are certainly blue blocking glasses critics out there who say they don’t really help but there is also a decent amount of research that does suggests blue blocking glasses might be worth looking into, especially if you’re someone who needs to be on a computer late at night finishing work or whatnot.

Specifically, one study done at the University of Houston College of Optometry and published in the Journal Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/opo.12385) suggests blue light from digital devices are contributing to the increasing number of people with reported sleep dysfunction. The study found those who wore short wavelength-blocking glasses three hours before bed for two weeks experienced a 58 percent increase in melatonin levels. As a result, these participants said they slept better, fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer when they wore the blue blocking glasses.

Have you ever tried blue-blocking glasses? Do you recommend them? Tell us about your experience.