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Entries in chronic disease (4)

CrossFit Cures Chronic Disease

"We sit collectively (CrossFit trainers) in unique possession of an elegant solution to the world's most vexing problem. And it may be so elegant that it's optimal" That is Coach Glassman's intro at a Level 1 seminar in California. What is this problem, you ask? That would be chronic disease.

CrossFit may turn out to give people a pass on cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and just about every other chronic disease we know of.

This is a bold statement; I am proudly in the worship-Glassman group, and I was still skeptical when I first heard this somewhere around a year ago. But man, the stuff coming out is pretty convincing. Of course, I would expect the same knee-jerk reaction I had: there's no way that's a legit claim. And I'm not asking you to watch one video I post and be convinced.

But watch this video. [note, it's Coach Glassman. Course language, obviously]

"All of it is preventable. Much of it is reversable."

Sunday Reading: Cholesterol, Calorie, and Muscle Roles

This article was posted on the CrossFit main site on their rest day and has some interesting insight into the role of cholesterol and heart disease, as well as the ongoing debate about calories (which, to my understanding, is not really a debate any more).

Shifting the focus away from quantitative and toward qualitative food distinctions (i.e. that the diseases of metabolic syndrome are due to food-induced changes in physiology; for example, neurohormonal and mitochondrial metabolic pathways) is required to see chronic disease abatement. This cannot be accomplished through arithmetic caloric restriction (i.e. calorie counting). Calorie balance sheets — targeting ‘calories in’ and/or ‘calories out’ — reinforce the message of overeating and inactivity as the underlying causes, rather than the resultant effects, of this aberrant physiology

Instead, "insulin resistance" is stated to be the primary factor in many of the disease you are afraid to get - which is something the CrossFit community has been preaching for years. Pay attention to the quality of your food, and try to balance out the foods that cause your body to release insulin (carbohydrate) and those that don't (protein, fat).

Waffles: great for the Christmas Workout Spectacular, maybe not so great on a regular basis in terms of insulin resistance

...........

Another good read this week came from the Pose Method site called Theory and Practice: Athlete's Muscles. I am learning that the role of muscles has long been misunderstood and over-emphasized by the athletic and physical therapy communities. Muscles play a supporting role in movement, and they can help prepare for a movement, but the emphasis should always be placed on the movement pattern, itself. Not the muscle groups being activated.

Dr. Romanov also brings up a very interesting point that I have been wondering about, myself, for some time now.

Within the context of athletics and training there are things we need and don’t need to know in a sense of practically useful information. It is human nature to want to know. However, just because we’re curious about various layers of muscles, it doesn’t mean we need to know, or that that type of knowing will be practically helpful for performing a specific task. As a matter of fact, certain types of information prevent people from seeing the big picture. It’s ok to amass information, but it is also important to not lose sight of the correct hierarchy of things.

I think the internet is a great thing, obviously because we get to share an unbelievable amount of information. And just about all of the good things I have taught came from the internet in one way or another. The fact that we can progress as quickly as we are is a testament to that.

As Dr. Romanov said, though, knowing is not understanding. There are few things more destructive than someone who thinks they are smart because they read an article or watched a video. Maybe I'm one of them?

Nutrition from the Vault + Rant

CrossFit has always been emphatic about the general truth that nutrition is the foundation of athletic development. There have been a ton of videos and articles in the Journal and random main site links that give good advice regarding keeping strict to a meal plan. One of the best videos that came out was kind of a mashup of all of them from October 2012.

I've said it before: I think the area our gym is lacking on the most is not strength or endurance or gymnastics but nutrition. I definitely don't emphasize it enough - especially for the new folks around. There have been a few reasons I haven't.

First, unlike some of the movement principles I teach like midline stability and Pose, what things food does to your body is very heavily debated. Your grandpa is an expert because he's survived till 90 of bread and cigarettes. And your dad is also an expert because he read on Yahoo! about the healing power of Basil powder and radishes. There are always counter arguments to things I believe that can't necessarily be proven, so I sometimes just avoid it, as poor of an excuse as that is.

Secondly, I am extremely privileged to come from a family that provides excellent food choices. I can just walk to the fridge and pick from any one of five protein sources, then three steps to the right for fresh fruits and veggies, and finally reach to the second shelf for good sources of fat. Not everyone has that advantage (especially kids who are not in charge of their own meals). So I am not entirely sure how much of a good diet is realistic for each person.

Lastly, I sometimes take my nutrition for granted so the main things I focus on are movement-related. But then I remember how much my fitness and performance (CrossFit and basketball) skyrocketed when I got my Zone blocks right. The only thing is it took a few weeks to get dialed in. So the experimentation and patience is also a factor. But the reality is even though my workout routine is sporadic, my nutrition keeps my fitness steady.

Just mashing the Zone queen before a workout!The same story can be said for Shannon; When she has her Zone blocks dialed in her performance reflects it. We have both been talking a little bit about that side of things, so you can definitely expect us to harass you on what you have been eating. In fact, don't be surprised if we ask you to start bringing in food logs so show us before or after sessions. If it didn't work for us we wouldn't put you poor souls through it. So might as well play along until you realize how much it helps.

CrossFit HQ is leading the way on some very interesting studies about exactly how much your diet has an effect on your wellness. Right now, it is hypothesized - with a decent amount of data to back up - that eating meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar, mixed in with high intensity functional movement gives you a pass on chronic disease. We have the second part down as well as anyone I know, but I think it's time to get to work on the foundation.

Stay tuned.

CFJ Feature: Fitness, Luck and Health

Guys, it's Sunday. You have nothing to do. There is no school, no jobs (unless you are me), no NFL, and church should be done before breakfast.

Please take the time to watch this.

Yes, it's 43 minutes long. Yes, Coach Glassman swears and says some extreme things like, "The CrossFit stimulus will give you a pass on chronic disease." But listen to the rationale and you might find a great deal of understanding about how fortunate you all are for being involved in CrossFit. His new theory was so profound that people from the world-renown Mayo Clinic asked him to personally deliver the message in the format above.

If you are too lazy to watch the video, there was a summary posted a few days ago.

Fitness, Luck and Health

As he says, "The miracle of CrossFit is people are getting something they did now even know they wanted or needed.