Is Sitting the New Smoking?
Sitting is something we do A LOT! By some estimates we sit up to 10 hours a day. All of this sitting has impacted our health. In fact, some folks say sitting is the new smoking.
According to Daniel Lieberman, an anthropologist who studies human fitness, there are 2 factors that make sitting a problem. The first is the time we spend too much time in uninterrupted sitting, Lieberman says:
"Just getting up every once in a while, every 10 minutes or so " just to go to the bathroom or pet your dog or make yourself a cup of teaâ even though you're not spending a lot of energy, you're turning on your muscles.
Second, according to Lieberman, sitting in a chair, with a back, is a relatively new practice. Up until the last few hundred years when we sat it was on the floor, or on benches or stools. Chairs with back rests were used only by nobility and the rich. In many part of the world sitting on the floor is still common. When I lived in Japan I sat on the floor all the time. According to Lieberman:
"The reason it matters for our health is that a seat back essentially makes sitting even more passive than just sitting on a bench or a stool because you lean against the seat back and you're using even fewer muscles, even less effort to stabilize your upper body.
Sitting is a common practice in all societies that Lieberman has studied. You can reduce the deleterious impacts of all the sitting by getting up and moving around, spending some time standing, and sitting mostly on a bench or a stool.
You can listen to the entire podcast below.
Do you have a myth you want me to investigate? Tell me in the comments. â
The Myth of Spot Reduction
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me which exercises to do so they can have abs, or how many Jane Fonda's they have to do to shrink their thighs, or what to do to stop the batwings from swinging I could go SCUBA diving in the Seychelles. All of these questions relate to the one myth, that no matter how much science has debunked, infomercials keep alive and kicking and that is the myth of spot reduction.
Spot reduction is the erroneous idea that you can do a specific exercise to reduce body fat in a specific part of your body to obtain a specific look. Most of these junk exercise routines and products (shake weight or thigh master anyone?) are targeted towards women, e.g. "21 days to flat abs! 2 Weeks to toned arms! 30 days butt lift challenge!" Don't believe me? Look Here.
The truth is, to get toned (whatever the hell that means) or to have visible abs, or slimmer thighs, or arms that don't wave back at you, you have to reduce your OVERALL body fat AND lift weights. When I talk about lifting weights I don't mean lifting 5 pounds 100 times. You're better off lifting 20 pounds 25 times or 50 pounds 10 times. All three of those combinations equal 500 pounds lifted, but the heavier weights will have a greater impact on your metabolism, which will in turn burn more calories, which will in turn help you lose body fat.
If you're frustrated because you have a part of your body that just seems to hold onto body fat, guess what? You're human! All of us are unique snowflakes and it is our hormones that have the biggest influence on our body composition. Our hormones are determined through a marriage of our genes AND our lifestyle (eating, sleeping, drinking and stress management). Not only that, where your body stored fat when you were 20 will change when you're 30, and will certainly change when your 40, and if you're a woman, hold onto your butts cause shit gets weird with menopause.
There is no way you can crunch away your belly fat. You have to eat less calories than you burn to do that, and perhaps, if you're not genetically gifted you might not ever have visible abs. There are 2 very famous CrossFit Games athletes who have very low body fat percentages who aren't genetically gifted with a 6 pack. Camille Leblanc Bazinet and Jamie Haiya have both addressed body image in the CrossFit community.
To achieve whatever body composition standard you want, first ask your self why you want it and second become very clear on what you're willing to do to get it. Getting your body fat low enough so that you have visible abs takes a lot of work and can come at a high price. Read this great article from Precision Nutrition on the high price of getting lean.
You've heard our Coaches say time and again, "You can't out-exercise your diet" and "Six-packs are made in the kitchen." If you're ready to get your lifestyle in check, you're in luck. You can get personalized nutrition coaching with Audy!
The Myth of Diminished Female Ability
I'm old enough, at almost 50, to have lived through a time when I was told I was not strong. I was told girls could be good at some sports (thanks to Title 9) but could not do others. I was told we just didn't have the upper body strength to do push-ups, pull-ups, or to lift and carry heavy objects.
I was told I should be skinny. I was told I should have a flat belly and thighs that don't rub. I was told if I wanted to lose weight (which apparently I should constantly be wanting to do) I should go for a run. Hell, my entire time in the Marine Corps I was told daily that I was not strong. That I didn't belong. That I couldn't measure up.
All of this bullshit was an attempt to stifle my potential. I was so grateful when I found CrossFit. Even though I was 38 when I started, I knew I had found something that would help me discover and promote my potential. I knew I found something that would recognize and celebrate my strength. I knew I found something that promoted my unique potential as a strong and powerful athlete while simultaneously promote other women's speed and endurance. I knew I found my tribe. My strong, powerful, fast, flexible, agile, and amazing tribe.
The Myth of Overtraining
All of us, at some point, have experienced a few days, or even an entire week, where we feel drained from our workouts. Some of us might be feeling this way now after the CrossFit Open.
Rather than feeling energized and revitalized from a session at the gym we feel sore, crabby and weak. While it's easy to attribute these feelings to "Overtraining," what is most likely happening is that we are "Under-recovering."
Recovering from our workouts and training sessions consists primarily of three important lifestyle practices:
3. STRESS MANAGEMENT
If we are not making optimal choices for these three lifestyle practices then we are just not able to recover from the physiological stress of our workouts and training.
Many of us are using wearable technology devices like Whoop, Garmin, Oura, Polar, FitBit and others. All of these types of wearable tech can help us learn how to prioritize recovery and customize our training sessions so that we can maximize our fitness gains.
Our programming at the gym is constantly varied so that we have longs days, short days, heavy days, and REST DAYS. This variance helps prevent us from going too hard too frequently. However if you're adding lots of volume on non gym days, or doing high intensity double days, you can potentially set yourself up to be in a recovery deficit.
If you're using wearable technology, you can use your own biometric data to help guide your training intensity and volume. You can also use it to help you prioritize important recovery practices like sleep, hydration, massage, contrast baths, restorative yoga, foam rolling, and optimal nutrition (like prioritizing protein.) You can read how other Whoop users have developed optimal recovery practices here.
Sometimes, hard-charging folks like us CrossFitters find it hard to take rest-days, easy days, and low intensity days. We know we should "listen to our body," yet sometimes we don't heed what it has to say. Give yourself the space to adapt and learn how to be a mature athlete by giving equal measure to recovery as you give to training.
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