Teresa looking solid as she receives a clean.
A few Monday's ago I addressed the myth that if you want to lose weight you need to to more cardio, and more cardio for most people means a long slow run. When most people consider what they need to do "to get into shape," they mostly think about doing long slow runs. The long slow run has a tight grip on the misbelief that it is the best way to lose weight and get into shape.
Don't get me wrong, a long slow run has its place in a well round and varied fitness program. We regularly program 5 and 10k runs for the gym (Sweet Pea, Huffing for Stuffing, Run to the Pub.) It's also great for mental health. A long slow run can help you get into a mental state where you can either solve all of your problem, or completely forget about them.
However, long slow runs do not build muscle, or help increase bone density, or help improve other metrics of fitness such as speed, power, strength, flexibility, stamina, balance, agility, coordination and accuracy. The long slow run focuses on metric of fitness only - cardiovascular endurance. I argue that its not even that great, for the average person, at improving endurance.
Recently, Outside magazine interviewed retired marathoner Ryan Hall, arguably one of the best American marathoners of all time. Hall has made some significant changed to his fitness program and consequently he looks very different from his competitive marathon days.
When asked by Runner's World about his body composition changes, Hall replied:
“I’ve been small and weak my entire life—just, like, totally underdeveloped,” Hall told Runner’s World. “I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to be big and strong.”
Useless is the absolute opposite of they type of fit person CrossFit aims to develop. Of course, we must remember that Hall was a marathon specialist, thus developing and maintaining his general physical preparedness (GPP is what we build through CrossFit) was antithetical to running fast marathons. However, when most people start a fitness program aren't looking to specialize. They're looking for well rounded fitness and when they look to running as the sole modality for getting fit they're losing of potential fitness gains by neglecting cross training, high intensity intervals and strength training.
Now that his competitive days are behind him, Hall encourages people who are wanting to look and feel good to place a greater emphasis on weightlifting and include easy runs in a cross training program. Huh, that sounds exactly like what we do every week at True Spirit CrossFit. We cross train our way to fitness, thus we become CrossFit.
Get ready to go upside down today.
The Myth that Rest=Recovery
Every Sunday is a rest day from the gym. We encourage everyone to take it easy, get outside and play, and take a nap. While a rest day is super important to prevent over-training, rest alone is not enough in an effective recovery program.
CrossFit is the sport of fitness, meaning it is more than just an exercise program, it is a sport in its own right. Ask any athlete about rest vs. recovery and they'll tell you rest is the absence of of effort, movement or exertion, while recovery is a set of specific actions that aid the body, mind and spirit in recuperating from current training and prepares us for our next training session.
We all have heard about the deleterious affects of over-training, e.g. fatigue, weight gain, performance decline, sleep disruption, pain, and a lack of excitement for training. In reality, over-training is really under-recovering. The folks at Whole9 Life describe recovery as, "...the restorative process by which you regain a state of 'normalcy'; health and balance. (If your 'normal' is not 'healthy,' perhaps you should spend some time considering that.) Recovery is far more than just taking a day off from training. Genuine recovery includes adequate rest, proper nutrition, hydration, and also must include the engaged, deliberate execution of a cogent plan to offset the (physical and psychological) cost of your training. Foam rolling, yoga, soaking, massage and mobility are all practices that will help you recover for your next workout. Rest is simply taking a day off from exercise or sport, napping, chilling on the couch, watching movies or TV, and going to bed nice and early so you get adequate sleep. All of that is fine and good, but resting is only one small part of true recovery."
Are you actively and deliberately recovering from your CrossFit workouts, competitions, and other physically stressful events? Answer these 10 questions from the Whole9 Life folks to see if you're under-recovered from your CrossFit workouts.
Thanks Steve for covering our noon classes so the #bosslady could attend the Hedges Family Reunion with James!
The Myth of: Food=Happiness and Exercise=Sexiness
I recently had a realization that we've been fed a lie. This lie is pervasive, persistent, and perturbing. We've been lied to our entire lives by the media, our families, our friends, doctors, food companies, exercise "experts," and all manner of well-meaning acquaintances. The lie is this: eat certain foods to feel a certain way and do physical exercise to look better. The realization I had is this is the complete opposite of the affect of food and exercise.
The food we eat has the most significant affect on our physical appearance. Six pack abs are not made through a thousand sit-ups, they're made through counting your macros. The food we eat can bloat our bellies, alter our hormones, give us GI distress, make our skin break-out, and make us look puffy, tired and sick. But, all of the messages about food is that we eat it to feel good. It's a treat. It's comfort. Have you had a rough day? Drink wine and eat chocolate to feel better. Want to celebrate a special occasion? Eat some cake and drink some champagne. Just had an epic bike ride or a big ski day? Go out for nachos and beer. Eat this to feel that.
We are told that eating and drinking will make us feel better. But, that's a lie. Physical activity makes us feel better. How many times have you dragged yourself to the gym in a dark and foul mood only to skip out the door after your workout feeling happy and unconquerable?
We are told that we can get a beach body, six pack-abs, big guns, tight buns, and "toned" (whatever toned means) by exercising. But, that's a lie. We get a beach body and all the rest of the things by eating meat, vegetables, nuts & seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar in amounts that support exercise but not body fat.
You can't out exercise your diet and you can't eat your way to happiness. Oh sure, you can try; but, the results will not be what you want. If you want to be happy and feel good, then you need to exercise (even when you don't feel like it.) If you want to look good naked, then you need change what you eat.
What should you eat? Well, a damn good place to start is to eat meat, vegetables, nuts & seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.
That's why we're doing the 800g Challenge starting Aug 5. We ALL need to eat more fruits and vegetables. There is a growing body of research showing that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables gives us the micro and macronutrients we need for optimal health. We are hosting an info session about our 800g Challenge this Wednesday at the gym at 6:30pm and on Facebook Live. We hope you join us! Feel free to download and print this info sheet on the 800g Challenge. The 4 week challenge starts Aug 5!
The CrossFit Teens class grinds through burpees.
The Myth of the Perfect Human Diet
There is no one size fits all perfect diet. The perfect diet is the one that gives you enough energy to do all of the things you want to, provides enough macro- and micro nutrients to keep you fully functioning, and enough calories so that you don't accumulate excess calories as body fat.
For the most part, humans are meant to eat real food. We are meant to chew, swallow and digest a variety of foods. While we may elect to drink some or our calories, the majority of our calories need to be masticated.
When I was attending the Masters Training camp at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) nutrition was front and center for all athletes. Resident athletes and campers get special classes on nutrition and supplementation and we are given plenty of educational materials on the value of real whole foods. Nutrition education and counseling at the OTC is a food first approach.
For the past 5 years I have been writing weekly about food and nutrition and I also take a food first approach. I endorse the CrossFit guidelines of eating meat, vegetables, nut & seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. You'll notice that this nutrition prescription is a food first approach. There's nothing about shakes, pills, bars, and other diet supplements.
However, within the context of food first, there are a variety of eating strategies. For example, you can be vegetarian, vegan, keto, paleo, Mediterranean, pescatarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, alcohol-free, locavore, etc. There are so many strategies because there is not one perfect human diet! Keto works for some, but it might not work for others. Some folks are just happy being vegan, whereas others might falter and fail.
That is why we're doing the 800g Challenge for our Summer Nutrition Challenge. It is a whole foods approach that is totally flexible based on your nutrition goals and preferences. You can be vegetarian, low carb, Keto, or Paleo on this challenge. You can eat whatever you want as long as you eat 800g of fruits and vegetables every day.
Why eat 800g of fruits and vegetables? There is a growing body of scientific evidence that eating 800g (about 2 cups at every meal) of fruits and vegetables provides us with all the amazing micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and a very important good for you macronutrient - carbohydrates. Research shows 800g is the optimal amount of fruits and vegetables we should eat for health.
So what does 800g look like if you're Paleo, a fruitivore, or low carb? It looks like this:
The perfect diet is the one you can stick with and that makes you feel and look good. The challenging part of finding what works best for you, is that you must do just that - find out what works. It involves a lot of experimentation and a realization that what worked for you when you were a teenager will not necessarily work for you in your 30s, and what worked in your 30s will probably need to change as you continue to age. That's why were doing the 800g Challenge. You might just find that increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat will be the missing piece in your diet.
Since we have a few weeks before we start our 800g Challenge why not start with 500g of fruits and vegetables this week? Add 100g each week until you're ready to start the 800g Challenge with all of us on Monday, Aug 5. âBe sure to email or direct message Coach Leslie and let her know you're ready for the #800gchallenge.
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