Stronger… Faster… Harder to Kill

“Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn’t worry about what workout to do – his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about ‘how hard it is;’ he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn’t go home at 17:00; he is home. He knows only The Cause.

Still want to quit?” – Anonymous


Let’s address the elephant in the room.

The quote above is extreme, right? Even the U.S. Marine with a background in combat arms or a Special Operations soldier with years of training would consider this intense in the context of exercise, but it’s relevant. Most everyone wants to be in better shape and most of us want to eat healthier, live cleaner, and have an overall better wellness. So what stops us at times? How many of us have planned on an early morning workout only to hit snooze, or have started a New Year’s resolution only to fizzle out before February? What went wrong? Where was the breakdown? Motivation and purpose.

For the warrior preparing for battle, these questions are obvious and easy to answer. For us in the real world, these questions can get clouded or maybe they are considered less important. When you hear the term “stronger, more functional, and harder to kill,” your mind may go to an action hero. But that’s not the intent we have when we say that.


Stronger.

Who says being stronger isn’t life-changing when it means you possess the strength and endurance to pick up and play with your children more?  Strength comes in many forms. To us it takes the strength and heart of a lion to get up and come to the gym every day when you are a beginner or have let yourself go and are now trying to get back on the horse. Every day you push yourself past your comfort zone is a day that you become more physically and mentally strong.


Faster.

Who says that being more functional due to your time in the gym doesn’t add value to your life because you are now more efficient and effective at work or helping to carry groceries? Walking up stairs, getting in and out of a chair, touching your toes and tying your shoes: these are all necessary functions. A minute percentage of us are training for the Olympics or the CrossFit Games. Most of us just want to be able to carry out the normal daily functions without strain and pain, and that’s the value and function that we can bring you.


Harder to kill!

What’s more likely: you have to defend yourself and family from a rogue band of ninjas, or that you could potentially be killed by heart disease, diabetes, or obesity? These are very real, very common, and very preventable killers of Americans. I’m not trying to use scare tactics; I’m just speaking truth. If getting up an hour earlier every day and cashing in a little sweat and hard work meant ten more years with your grandkids, husband, or wife, I am sure you would see it as a no-brainer! Well, the decision is that obvious and direct.


It’s no secret that a healthier diet and regular exercise will make you harder to kill.

Looking good in a bathing suit or with your shirt off is just window dressing. Sure, they are reasons to eat better and exercise, but they are not life-changing motivations. If we change our mindset and look at a lack of well-being and fitness as a potential threat to our pursuit of happiness and quality of life, then it will begin to fuel a fire at a deeper level. Now you can start to see that being stronger, more functional, and harder to kill are tools to arm yourself with to achieve the happiness we all want and to ensure that we are around long enough to enjoy what we work so hard for.

We want nothing more than to see happy, healthy, hopeful faces walk through the threshold of our gym. That’s why we are here and why we take the time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!). But there is only so much we can do. We can provide you with the knowledge, the facility, and a safe place to learn, fall down, and get back up. But it all starts with you; YOU have to take that first step! You have to make that decision and believe in your heart that you want to be stronger, more functional, and harder to kill!

 

“Crossfit Solaria is more than a place to workout”. So much more…

Crossfit is defined as “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movements that coach people of ALL shapes, sizes, ages and athletic ability to improve their physical well-being and cardiovascular fitness in a tough but encouraging environment.” By this definition then, Crossfit is for you. It was for me, too, but I just didn’t know it at first. Now I feel like it defines me.

 

My fitness journey did not start with Crossfit, but every step of my journey was leading me here. The very premise of Crossfit speaks to who I am & why I live life the way I do.

 

I have always valued health–so much so that I chose a career in Nursing. And while I always viewed fitness & nutrition as components of health, my ideas were skewed. I thought of health merely as the absence of disease. But I have learned to look at it more broadly: as disease prevention & health promotion and the activities that support that. 

 

I was never an athletic kid. I would rather sit with my nose in a book than move my body. I grew up on budget-stretching meals that were high in starchy carbs. I danced and ran track & Cross Country in high School, but to be honest, I did that more for the social rewards than the physical. 

 

Fast-forward 30 years. I was well situated in my nursing career, had 2 kids in college and had just finished grad school. But my misunderstanding of a healthy lifestyle had caught up with me. Yo-yo dieting had brought 50 extra pounds. My only exercise was walking on a treadmill in my basement because I was too embarrassed to exercise in public.

 

I attacked my weight problem with “organized dieting”—Weight Watchers. Three things I gained from this experience: I learned the importance of logging my food for personal accountability; I learned that external accountability is important to my success; and I recognized that I thrive with a social network (notice a theme here). I lost 30 lbs. But I was not healthy.

 

Next step was to learn more about fitness. I joined a gym, but I was clueless about how to use most of the equipment or how to even start. I saw that they offered personal training, so I signed up! For an hour once a week, I learned everything I could about how to get my body healthy. My trainer taught me the importance of setting goals to help me stay focused. He taught me how to safely move my body, but challenge myself. And HE challenged me, too! I learned that I loved discovering what my body was capable of. But working out once a week wasn’t going to cut it, so several days a week, I would workout on my own, using the techniques my trainer taught me. I met my goal of losing that last 20 lbs & started running again. But I was lonely & kind of bored. I decided to try some of the group fitness classes at my gym. BAZINGA!! I found the social interaction I was craving.

 

Enter Crossfit. My Personal Trainer was coaching part-time at a local Crossfit box, Crossfit Solaria, and encouraged me to come & try it out. No. Way. I had seen the Crossfit Games on TV so I was certain this was not anything I could do. I was too old, too small, too weak, too slow. He was persistent. He even started sneaking Crossfit workouts into our weekly sessions. I finally agreed to come for a free session. Mostly so he would quit asking & we wouldn’t have to talk about it anymore. 

 

Y’all, that was 5 (FIVE!!!) years ago. I never went back to my old gym. I was comfortable at CFS from the minute I walked in. Everyone, from coaches to members, treated my like I was a member of the family. They genuinely cared (and still do!) about my fitness, my personal goals and just about me as a person. I had never experienced anything like this. I truly felt like I belonged here…like they had been waiting for me. 

 

About six months ago, I enrolled in nutrition coaching at CFS, where I am learning how to match my nutrition to my performance AND my lifestyle, in a sustainable way. This final piece of the puzzle has me feeling (and looking) the fittest of my life. 

 

In the past five years, I have slowly gained confidence in myself & my abilities, setting, CRUSHING, and celebrating many goals along the way! I continue to learn about fitness as coaches patiently teach the correct & safe way to perform lifts and other movements, always encouraging, pushing me just a little outside my comfort zone. But I have also learned, gratitude, patience, dedication, humility, & compassion. And for that, I am grateful.

 

This statement from Greg Petersen, CFS owner, sums it up for me…“Crossfit Solaria is more than a place to workout”. So much more…

 

–Chris Hoebelheinrich, CFS member

CrossFit and Group Fitness in Omaha

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Rob’s Journey

“Everybody seems to have that moment in their life when they realize enough is enough. For some, that moment can be as simple as realizing you’re out of breath after walking up the stairs or playing with your kids. For others it may be more scary, such as surviving a heart attack and realizing a change in lifestyle is needed immediately. For me personally, it’s a moment of my life that I will never forget.

A group of my friends and I were lounging around in the common area of my dorm Freshman year of college. It was the Spring of 2009 and we had all received our room assignments for the next school year. Going around the room, each guy was saying where they had been assigned to live, and a few guys before me had the same dorm and floor as I did. When I chimed in that we were going to be floormates one of them said, “Hey! You can be the designated fat friend on the floor!” Everyone laughed and he quickly added, “I’m just kidding, Rob, next year is gonna be a lot of fun!” I laughed it off with everybody and pretended it was no big deal, yet even today I clearly remember that feeling of how deep that single sentence and the laughs hit me. I remember laying awake in bed that night promising myself I would never be laughed at again because of my weight. I woke up the next morning and began my new life.

In the beginning, the changes I made were small. I walked a half-mile every other day and I started limiting myself to one Mountain Dew with each meal. Soon, I used these small changes to achieve bigger, broader goals. After a month I was able to run an entire mile without stopping, and after a few more months I was able to eliminate all sugary drinks from my diet. Eventually, all the little lifestyle changes I was making snowballed into an incredible weight loss of 72 pounds in 6 months. I was running 10 to 13 miles every day and even posted a personal best 6:02 mile time. I felt awesome! I returned to college my Sophomore year feeling confident that this new, skinny version of myself would be the new normal. I got a girlfriend, I studied hard, and for the remaining years I was in college I took care of myself. And then I graduated.

Like a lot of people I got a desk job right out of college. Also like a lot of people, I was not prepared for the drastic change that sitting for 8+ hours a day would have on my body. Over time, my diet reverted back to junk food and my exercise regimen all but ended. In a few short years I had gained back all the weight I had lost and then some. I was so mad at myself for ruining all my hard work. At this point in my life I made so many excuses for myself that I didn’t know where to begin. I would start new diet and exercise routines, lose around 20-30 pounds, and then make excuses or give up and gain it all back. It was a vicious cycle. During these “lost years” I had always wanted to try CrossFit, but I always made the excuse that I would commit to getting in shape first before joining so that I wouldn’t embarrass myself at the gym. More time went by, nothing changed, and neither did my health and fitness. Then, after dating my girlfriend for many years, we got engaged. As fate would have it, she came across an ad for a CrossFit facility near my house. Since the wedding was less than a year away, I took the plunge and started at CrossFit Solaria.

In the beginning, I had no idea what to expect. My original plan was to show up for a few months until my wedding and then move on. My only exposure to CrossFit had been what I had seen on ESPN during the ‘CrossFit Games’ so my perspective was very limited. I walked in to my first class at CrossFit Solaria expecting everyone to be some shredded jock who lived at the gym, but to my surprise, there were people who spanned the fitness spectrum. Some who could breeze through the workouts to those who, like myself, couldn’t do a single pull-up. To start, I had to modify the workouts severely to match my abilities. Although I soon learned CrossFit isn’t about winning or losing, I remember finishing with the slowest time in my first workout. No one laughed. No one made snide comments. No one put me down. In fact, I was surprised at how welcoming these CrossFitters were to a new guy who was clearly struggling. Even gasping for air during first workout, people were actively encouraging me to “Keep up the good work!” and “Don’t give up!”. When I finished, sprawled out on the floor, everyone came over to give me a high-five or a fist-bump and gave more encouragement. After that first class, I knew I had found my gym.

As the months at CrossFit Solaria went on, I got stronger, gained stamina, and improved my overall fitness. I am proud to say that I lost nearly 45 pounds and got into the best overall shape I had been in in years for my wedding day. Similarly, the people at my gym soon became my friends, and now, after nearly 3 years of being at CrossFit Solaria, these friends are my gym family. I know their stories and they know mine, and I can honestly say that the best part of my fitness journey with CrossFit Solaria has been the people that I have sweat with every day.

In short, if you ever have that moment in your life when you realize enough is enough, or that you need to make positive changes in your lifestyle, or you just want a damn good gym with the best people and coaches to push you to be all you can be, then I hope you’ll join me and my gym family at CrossFit Solaria. Fair warning… If you give us a try, you might like it enough to stay a few years!

See you at the gym!”

Vince’s Journey

“My name is Vince Kunasek, I’m 62 years old and joined CrossFit on February 18th, 2019. I just happened to rent office space two doors down from CrossFit Solaria, and met the owner, Greg, about three years ago when he just moved in. From time to time he would ask me when I was going to join. About a month prior to doing so I saw a Facebook post about a 6-Week Program and it got me thinking about fitness. I filled out the survey, but never followed up. The week of February 18th I was getting into my truck and I saw Greg standing outside. He said to me, “you know, our 6-week program is starting here in a couple of days…” and in a moment of weakness, I said “Okay, I’ll give it a shot,” thinking that 6 weeks couldn’t be that long.

I considered myself to be at that time physically above-average for my age, as I was doing moderate workouts in my home and in my neighborhood gym. It wasn’t long after the first couple of days of orientation that I discovered I was below average in physical fitness. When I first started, some of the strength things weren’t too bad. Other things were not so easy. For example, I couldn’t do a sit-up without having someone put weight on my feet. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to simply step onto a 20″ box especially when you have to repeat it 50 times. After the two-week orientation, I was starting to get a taste of what CrossFit was about, and I must admit there were times that I hated the taste. Early on in week three or four when were actually a part of the workouts, I learned what Metcon and AMRAPs were, and how brutal they can be. I basically died every morning. There were times that I thought I couldn’t finish the first 6 weeks but I was determined to do so. Maybe at any other box I might not have continued, but all the people – of which I am 25 years their senior – made you feel welcomed and a part of the group right away.They offered support and advice, and cheered you on when you thought you couldn’t take another breath or do another rep. Something was changing; I felt my attitude changing while my strength was increasing. At the end of the 6 weeks, I was the only one who took the challenge with perfect attendance. I have just completed my fourth month, I have dropped my body fat mass by 14.3 pounds. I have lost a total of 13 pounds while adding 2.5 pounds of lean muscle mass, and am hitting PRs with almost every lift now. Although burpees still suck, I have an understanding now that CrossFit will always be hard and pushing my limits. So thank you, Greg, Alex, Kaela, Gina, Travis, Rob, Teresa, Nannette, and everyone else who has helped me along. I’m glad to be a part of the Solaria family.”

Recipes

Enjoy these healthy and nutritious recipes, courtesy of our partnership with the Registered Dietitians at Healthy Steps Nutrition!

Have you met the Switch Witch?

Ghouls, Goblins, and Monsters all sweep the streets on the last night of October. You prep your kiddos to be scary, cute, fun and cool for a chance to stay up late and get candy! Halloween is the one night you get to be someone – or something – else, walk alongside people in your community, subject yourself to a haunted house or two and take candy from neighbors.

While there are so many positive sides to trick or treating, there is one major negative side. The CANDY!  In all its glory and yumminess, candy is not an ideal part of a well-balanced diet! It can cause hyperactivity, weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and so much more. So how can you alleviate the burden of such a monumental part of Halloween?

Introduce the Switch Witch!

The Switch Witch is a fun and exciting way to get rid of all the excess candy. After a fun night of Trick-Or-Treating, have your kids choose the top 5-10 pieces of candy that they want to keep and then put the rest outside of their door. Why would they do that you ask? Read the poem on the graphic to learn more!

What do you do with the extra candy, you ask? Easy: donate it! There are organizations a-plenty that would be happy to use it to further their cause. Take Operation Gratitude for example. This nonprofit sends care packages to military and first responders stationed overseas. For more information about Operation Gratitude, visit their website.

Let’s get our kiddos started on the path to living a healthy life now!

Holiday Survival: Nutrition tips & tricks for surviving the most wonderful time of the year.

If you’re like most, the holidays can be a stressful time of year – endless get togethers and parties, seemingly bottomless bottles of wine, and cookie platters-a-plenty. Needless to say, we tend to over-indulge.

But what if I told you there was a way to literally have your cake, and eat it too, without the feelings of shame and guilt that typically ensue afterward?

Good news: there IS!

Join Solaria Nutrition Coach, Alex, for a FREE short seminar on November 23rd, where we’ll talk about nutrition fundamentals and strategies for how to conquer the holidays. No restricting, no binging – just practicing mindfulness.

Each attendee will receive a Holiday Survival Guide along with a coupon for 50% off of an Initial Nutrition Consultation ($99 value).

Sue’s Journey

This post is for all the “M” ladies out there.  You know, all the ladies who happen to be…mature, modish, marvelous, matchless, memorable, and annoyingly, menopausal.  UGH.  We ladies get initiated into this exclusive club somewhere between the ages of 45 and 55.

If you had a similar experience to me, it was comparable to having your weird Uncle Earl show up uninvited and making your spare bedroom his permanent residence.  Now, every day, all you want is him GONE.  If you also enjoyed the 35 pounds that Uncle Earl brought with him, you know the nightmare of ridding yourself of this overload.

For me, that 35 pounds was devastating.  I was never overweight (except when pregnant, and hey, that doesn’t count.)  I exercised daily and could pretty much eat anything I wanted without ever gaining any weight.   At 40, I was bored with my fitness routine, so I started running marathons.  To this day, I can swim a mile in less than 45 minutes.  Exercise.  Check.

Moving through my 50’s, I started noticing many changes.  The pounds started showing up on the scale.  My clothes began to get tight.  My periods became irregular.  You get the picture.  At my next doctor’s appointment, I was informed that I was pre-menopausal.  When I asked my physician for help with the added pounds, she suggested I go to Weight Watchers.  (At this point I’m thinking…..Really?  That’s all you have for me?  What about Suzanne Somers?)  I don’t want to knock WW, but it wasn’t for me.

Two years ago, I was desperate to lose the extra pounds because my daughter, Megan, was getting married, and I was wearing a sleeveless ball gown.  I tried the protein shake thing.  And then KETO.  (Don’t ask Megan about me and KETO–she’ll say that we had a one-night stand.)  I will never forget the day I got my gown fitted–I burst into tears.  Megan asked me why I was crying, and I remember saying, (through sobs) “I have looked at one body for the last 55 years, and I don’t recognize this person I see in the mirror.”  I mean, I had started CrossFit and was eating healthy, but still no results showed up on the scale.  That was annoying AF.

This fall our gym, CrossFit Solaria, held a members-only CrossFit Games competition.  To get extra points for my team, I made an appointment for a nutrition consultation with Alex.  She asked if I was willing to try to lose this weight ONE MORE TIME, and I was.  (I mean–what have I got to lose right?)  From that first meeting, I knew this program was different.  I found out that although I was eating healthy, I wasn’t getting the nutrients that my body needed to function properly.  It’s now been three months, and I’ve managed to lose 14 pounds through three holidays and a wedding.  Not bad!  Thanks to Alex and her nutrition coaching, my mindset is now motivated, muscular, and mighty.   I AM going to lose these extra pounds.

Can I get an “Amen sista”?

Tips For A Balanced Lower Body

After an intense workout of front squats or thrusters, you may have felt that burning pumped up sensation in your quads. Your pants are tighter and you can no longer put your phone and keys in your front pocket for fear of getting them stuck. 
The quadriceps and hip flexor muscles on the front of your legs are responsible for extending the hip and knee joints. They have tremendous potential for growth and get a great workout from movements like front squats, step-ups, and walking lunges.

Having powerful quads is not a bad thing by any means. In fact, the greatest Olympic weightlifters, cyclists, and speed skaters have huge powerful quad muscles. 

Some folks have very powerful quads but have issues recruiting the muscles of the posterior chain.  They allow the quads to handle all lower body movement. Having poor form can also contribute to you being quad dominant. If you are an athlete who notices that your weight is often in your toes you may be prone to this imbalance. If the coaches are always telling you to “get in your heels’ this is probably the correction they are cueing. 

The top priority in a training program should always be safety and function. That’s why using compound movements like squats and deadlifts provide excellent returns. In terms of strength building and promoting lean body mass they provide the most bang for your buck. People who focus too much on a single movement like squatting may be neglecting movement patterns that would keep them strong and healthy.

You should have an equal ratio of squat and lunge workouts to hinge and deadlift workouts. If you are quad dominant or lacking in the posterior chain department then that ratio should be 2 to 1 in favor of the hinge and pulling movements. As you are able to better recruit and develop the glutes and hamstrings then you can start to balance out the program you are following. Not only that but building a stronger posterior chain will make all of your lifts more powerful and you will look and feel better too!

Deadlifts, RDL’s, Kettlebell Swings, Good Mornings, Reverse Hypers, and Hip Thrusts are all excellent for beefing up those glutes and hamstrings. You can also adapt movements to make them more favorable to the posterior chain. Low bar back squats and box squat variations recruit more posterior chain than front squats do. Reverse lunges instead of forward or walking lunges will also be a better option to help you stay in your heels.

If it looks like you have a second kneecap then you might be in the running for quad dominance. Our training programs contain constant variance to make sure you are improving in all areas and eliminating weaknesses. Our coaches can help you through a series of assessments to determine what to focus on and how to get your body strong, healthy, and balanced.