Health and Fitness

CrossFit Star Noah Ohlsen Shared His Workout and Diet Secrets

You can’t follow competitive CrossFit without knowing Noah Ohlsen. The Miami-based athlete has been to every CrossFit Games since 2014 and has placed as high as second, in 2019. With his signature grin, you can catch him on the floor after he’s finished the workout, clapping and cheering on whoever’s still trying to get the work done.

Ohlsen’s longevity in the sport is a testament to the strength of his training, recovery, nutrition, and endurance. He’s never satisfied for too long with one way of doing things, and as we approach the start of the 2022 season, he’s looking to once again change his approach in the hopes of being crowned the Fittest on Earth.

So we sat down with Ohlsen and picked his brain about everything from his favorite breakfast (more food than you probably eat in a day) to how he’s rehabbing the tears in his labrum and rotator cuff, to the insight he’s gained from working with a sports psychologist.

I know you weren’t feeling your best at the Games this past August. What happened, and how’re you feeling now?

So I’ve been fortunate that over the years of competing I have stayed relatively injury free. If I’ve ever had any tweaks, they’re just kind of a day or two kind of thing that heals itself with a little bit of rest and rehab work.

And then this season I had a kidney stone issue that had me in and out of the hospital. I ended up having a little surgery for that, and because I had missed time in the gym during that process, I was very eager to make up for that last time, and I kind of rushed back in instead of being smart and strategic about it. I tried to pick back up where I’d left off and go beyond that cause I felt like I needed to, and after a long, long session I was trying to do a heavy overhead squat.

I split jerked 360 behind the neck. I’ve done more than that in the past, but I think just under the circumstances, I caught it and something kind of buckled in my left shoulder and I dropped the bar behind me. I could tell that something had happened, but I was like three weeks out from the West Coast Classic [regional competition] and a month out from the Games. So I handled it by doing a little bit of rehab in the gym, and then I finally got a scan after the Games.

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Can you walk me through the decision not to get it checked out then, before the Games?

Yeah, I mean, it almost wasn’t a decision. I know it was, but I think if I had gotten the scan — either way, there was no chance I was going to quit and sit out the rest of the season. No matter what was going on, I was going to figure out a way to work around it. So I felt like it’s not going to make a difference knowing what’s going on in there. I’d rather not have it in the back of my head exactly what it is. So that was the mentality, maybe not the smartest decision, but I really was not willing to let the season end like that.

How did you have to adapt your training after that point?

They had announced a heavy squat snatch ladder for the West Coast Classic, which was probably the worst possible thing they could’ve announced with the way my shoulder was. So, I did a lot of snatch pulls, a lot of lighter snatches just to make sure they were still there on game day.

I kind of re-tweaked the shoulder on the final rep, which was a bummer, but I was able to get through the weekend and the rest of the season. That being said — and I definitely don’t want to make any excuses — but I was not in a 100 percent prime condition for the Games this year.

Yeah, I know that afterward you said that you realized you were a bit too heavy for the Games this year. How did you decide that?

CrossFit is all about being well rounded. You want to be able to live heavy but also move quickly and be agile and move well. And so you have to find that balance, right? If you get too light, you’re not going to be as strong. If you get too heavy, you aren’t going to be as agile, and I think I tipped the scales a little too far in the too strong direction. I was taking some creatine, and my calories were pretty high, and I wasn’t even tracking myself on the scale at all. I was just going based on performance, but after the Games, I noticed that the gymnastics and aerobic workouts were some of my lower finishes, whereas usually I’m able to capitalize on those.

So I stepped on the scale out of curiosity and I was at 208, which is really heavy for me because I’m used to my body weight being somewhere in the 180s or 190s. So I was like, “Huh, you should probably slim down a bit.” So I contacted this guy Mike Molloy from M2 Nutrition and we came up with a sustainable plan to lose that weight in the course of a month or two. Actually, I think his originally timeframe was longer than that, but it just started coming off really quickly.

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

How quickly?

About 20 pounds in two months.

Wow.

I know it sounds crazy, and like by no means am I recommending that that’s the right way to do it for any reader out there, but that’s just how it worked for me. Because I had stopped taking creatine, I probably reduced the swelling in my body post-competition, and then by giving myself a break and cleaning up my diet, those three factors led to very quick weight loss.

It sounds like you were using creatine for the first time this past season. Was that the case?

I’d tried it on and off over the years, but I’d never taken it every single day and have it as part of my daily regimen, whereas last season I did. And I definitely saw a lot of PRs from it, but as I said, I’m not sure that it was necessarily worth it.

You were taking five grams a day?

Yeah.

And you didn’t think about cutting down to 2.5 grams after the season? You wanted to eliminate it entirely?

Yeah, because my primary goal post-season was to lose weight. I wasn’t really worried about my strength. But there’s a chance that when we get back in to season that I’ll add in a smaller amount so I can keep the same gains but not as much weight.

Do you know about how many calories you were eating last season?

It was probably close to 4,000, which doesn’t sound insane, especially when people talk about Michael Phelps eating double that, but I was eating around 500 grams of carbs, 200 grams of protein, and 100 grams of fat.

And then the nutritionist dropped me to about 2,400 calories and 240 grams of carbs, 150 grams of protein, and 60 grams of fat.

That’s a huge cut. What was your activity level like at that point?

I definitely wasn’t training like I would leading up to the Games in terms of volume or intensity, but I’d added in about an hour’s worth of cardio each day and maybe a little METCON or a pump session. So, I was burning less calories but also eating less, too.

Can you give us a sense of how your actual meals were changing?

During the season, I was eating a ton. Like every morning I’d have a really, really heft breakfast. So, a bagel with some sort of fruit spread on it, a couple of sausages, a couple of eggs, MUSH, oatmeal, an apple, and some little potato pancake things. That breakfast has whittled itself down to some eggs and some egg whites, some sausage, and a bagel. For the other meals, I always try to mix it up and get some sort of clean protein and vegetable in.

What did the rehab for your shoulder look like?

It was based on finding stability and also range of motion because my range of motion was pretty limited after the injury. It started slow. We did a lot of testing.

It started with a lot of testing. So, the first week of rehab I did single-arm overhead carries for 30 meters and really focused on keeping my thumb pointing back toward the inside of my shoulder blade. Then, I did overhead holds with a snatch grip and started with the PVC, so really, really light. From there, I worked up to 15 pounds, then 35 pounds, then 45 pounds.

Then we worked on getting the range of motion back, so things like banded external rotation drills and single-arm high-pulls.

Once we got the range of motion back, we started to incorporate some overhead stability stuff and then moved on to dynamic movements, like kipping muscle-ups and overhead squats. But it took at least eight weeks to get somewhere close to normal.

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

It’s mid-December now, which means that we’re almost on the doorstep of Wodapalooza, the yearly CrossFit competition / music festival / day party in Miami that starts on January 13th. This is WZA’s 10th anniversary, and you’ve been to every one, right?

Yeah, so I really wanted to be involved this time, but Max felt like it was probably a risky move to try to compete individually with my shoulder how it is. He didn’t want me to compete at all, so we “compromised” by doing it as a team with Chandler Smith and Travis Mayer. And I’m finding myself almost more fired up to be able to compete alongside these guys and do it for them and for the team than I were just to go individually again.

Why do you think that is?

For me, I’m a very community, others-oriented person, so I like to think about others as my motivation for things.

And I’m starting to realize this more after working with a performance coach for the first time. He recommended a book called It Takes What It Takes, which is all about motivation and accepting that if you want to achieve a certain goal, it takes what it takes. You may wake up tired. That doesn’t matter. Like, it still takes what it takes no matter what the circumstances or conditions are.

And another big part of that is thinking neutrally, so not getting wrapped up in the super big swings of positive or negative emotions. Like when I tweaked my shoulder, it would’ve been pretty easy to spiral and think that my career is over and get wrapped up in those negative emotions.

On the other side of that could almost be, like, a false false reality. Like, “Oh, you’re going to be fine by tomorrow. You’re going to get all better. You don’t have to worry.” That would be unrealistic and could be unhealthy. So, I think that thinking neutrally for me in this situation was saying, “Okay, I’m dealing with the situation. I’m going to do absolutely everything in my power to heal because it takes what it takes, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes.”

And how are you applying this to training for next year’s Games?

So for the last eight seasons that I’ve competed, it’s been pretty easy to leave the Games and be like, “That either went well and was really close to what I was hoping for. So, we just have to make these little adjustments and hopefully next season we’ll get exactly what we’re shooting for, which is winning the games. Or, “Man, that was a really bad execution at the Games, and I need to make these big changes.” Either way, I know exactly what I’m doing going into the next season.

After this year, I didn’t really feel either of those was the case, and I was having a hard time figuring out what I was going to be enthused about going into this season. Do I get back on the hamster wheel and keep doing what I’ve been doing? Well, obviously that hasn’t really worked yet again yet, so do I need to make some major changes in terms of coaching, lifestyle, location, whatever it may be? Or are there some more subtle things I need to do to just shift my motivation and purpose?

And?

It’s still a work in progress.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.