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Behind the Champion with Erica

See the interview here.


 

Entries in mel (24)

Lifts 4 Gifts 2017

Yes kids, this is the official Lifts 4 Gifts confirmation and announcement, AND it's not even December yet. You should all be proud of Jarrod and me. If you are not proud, for some reason, then your expectations are set way too high. But like I said, it's official now. Here's the essentials.

When: Saturday, December 16, 2017

Time: 9 am

Where: Champions Club/CrossFit Athletic Group. 32301 Stephenson Hwy in Madison Heights

Donation: $20 (or toys)

Is Nasty Nas in the area? About to cause mass hysteria?This event started between the Champions Club and CrossFit BMW in 2011. As with most things in those days, it was the brainchild of Brian the Trainer. Since we could not hold a fundraiser at the school, Jarrod kindly opened up BMW to host, and Lifts 4 Gifts was born. It has undergone a few changes over the years - from location, to the actual lifts performed, to the prizes, but the essentials have always been the same: set a few pr's, keep the form looking mildly acceptable, help families less fortunate than us, and keep the ties strong between the Champions Club and BMW.

This year will run very similar to last year: a time cap for the max back squat, time cap for the max press, then deadlift ladder. You're welcome Wendy! The specifics of the ladder will be revealed closer to the event, but you can read this post for a general overview. We will also open up the event to a few outsiders, so be on the lookout. And, of course, we will all be eager to see if our favorite fan from North Carolina will be participating again:

Other than that, most of you know what to expect. Here's few bullet points to reference if need be:

Donation? Yes, this is a fundraiser first, competition second, and the proceeds will help local families in need. $20 has been the baseline, but if you can't swing that then you can bring in a few toys to donate. Cash works best, and any checks can be made out to the Madison Heights Goodfellows.

What should I bring? Other than the donation, boots or a change of shoes would be a good call if it is raining or showing.

How long will it last? Usually we get everyone out in an hour and a half.

What if it's snowing? Unless the roof collapses, Lifts 4 Gifts will still be on as scheduled. Last year it was too hectic trying to reschedule. If it's a blizzard, just do whatever you can.

Speaking of the roof... yes, the roof should be in tact and keeping the outsides outside. God I wish I could say that with complete confidence... but so far so good!

Anything new this year? We painted the floor. A few new pieces of artwork. A holy and rusty place of matrimony. And did I mention a roof!

Will Jarrod be there on time? Of course not.

Who is Mel? Well, we are not entirely sure, but we think we can rule out 2pac and Bigfoot. Most likely a very nice middle-aged manboy from North Carolina who loves Utah football and has been doing CrossFit out of his garage since the late 2000's.

How will Brian rig this workout in his favor? Excellent question dear boy or girl. If we knew the answer to that, he would already have another method in his pocket. My guess is something to do with a power index and the One Direction Soundtrack.

Will we have enough plates? Whoa boy, I hope so. If Michelle is participating then probably not. Anyone have any spares? 45's? Tires? Trucks?

Any specific gym etiquette we should know about? Space will be a bit crammed, so just be courteous. Again, this is a fundraiser first, not liftoff. Don't be that guy. And strict no-MSU dress code.

Is that handsome boy named Jacob single? Indeed. Single and looking to mingle.

Divisions and prizes? In the past it's been a teenage and adult division, male and female for each, with a small prize awarded to winners. Not sure how it will work this year, but we'll make it up on the fly as always.

Bold predictions? Fine. 35 people in attendance. $500 raised + toys. Jarrod and I are both talked into participating. Somebody drops the metal plates and scratches up Erika Banet's name on the floor. Somebody complains about having spotters on back squats. Katie Shakes and Michelle have a one-on-one fight to the death to settle a tie in their total. Alan participates, single-handedly throwing off the entire plans for distributing squat racks. Somehow Brian still wins.

Hope to see you guys there!

Mel's Musings Episode IV: Omega-3 - What it is and what it isn't

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are Important for Health

So if you haven’t been keeping up with major health trends, let’s first discuss why omega-3 fatty acids are important.  There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 (“n-3” from now on), and omega-6 (“n-6”).  (We won’t be discussing omega-7 or omega-9 fatty acids today.)

Both n-6 and n-3 fatty acids are important and essential to humans (“essential” meaning we must eat them, because we cannot make them).  A balance of these fatty acids is recommended, because they exert opposite effects physiologically.  n-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, and n-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory.  Pro-inflammatory sounds bad, but we do need inflammation for things, so n-6 fatty acids have their place.  But too much inflammation can lead to various health problems.  The recommended dietary ratio of n-6 to n-3 is generally considered to be 1:1 or 2:1.  Most Americans are believed to have ratios much more weighted toward n-6, on the order of 10:1 or 20:1.  This is largely due to the fact that we consume a lot of nuts, seeds, and grains (rich in n-6), and not as much fish (rich in n-3).  There are additional reasons, including the fact that most of our dietary meat sources are raised on grain instead of grass.  As they say, you are what you eat.

The underlying premise here is that, unless you’re an Inuit and eating fish every day, you likely need a better balance, so you should consume more n-3 fatty acids.  So how do you get more omega-3?  Let’s take the various sources one by one: in fish, in other meats, in flax, and Jacob’s favorite, in supplement form.

Omega-3 in Fish

Fish have a lot of n-3.  But not all fish.  Cold water fish.  Why cold water?  Partly because they make a lot of fat – they need to keep warm in that cold water.  I’m only half-joking.  Partly because of their diet.  If you go to the bottom of the food chain, algae are the original source of n-3.  If you’re a sardine, and you eat algae, you get n-3.  If you’re a tuna, and you eat a sardine that has eaten the algae, you get n-3.  On and on, up the food chain.

Some of the best sources of n-3 in fish are: mackerel, herring, trout, salmon, tuna.  Most of the more common white fish (grouper, flounder, halibut, cod) do not have much n-3.

Omega-3 in Meat: A Red Herring

Let’s focus on beef for now.  You may have heard that grass-fed beef has a better n-3 profile than grain-fed beef, which would make sense given what we know about the n-3 content in grass vs. corn.[1]

Grass-fed cattle can have n-6:n-3 ratios from 2 to 6 times better than their grain-fed counterparts

The ratios in the table above are striking.  But focusing on the ratios instead of the total quantity can be misleading.  An ounce of grain-fed beef has 167 mg of n-6, while an ounce of soybean oil has over 14,000 mg.  (Think of this next time you slather on the salad dressing…yes, Chris, I’ll wait while you go verify that your favorite ranch dressing’s main ingredient is soybean oil…)

Similarly, grass-fed beef has around 100 mg of n-3 per ounce.  An ounce of tuna fish can have as much as 780 mg of n-3.  So yes, you are getting a better ratio of n-3/6.  But 100 mg is not very much.  Beef is simply not a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (be they n-3 or n-6)!  You’d be better off to just eat good ole American grain-fed beef and then supplementing with a can of tuna fish every now and then.

Omega-3 in Flax

Plenty of n-3 in flax.  But not all n-3’s are created equal.  You want EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which can be used by the human body right away.  Flax contains ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which is n-3, but can’t be used by the human body in this form.  It first must be converted to DHA or EPA, and sadly, the conversion in humans is low, on the order of 5-10% (depending on the study)[2],[3].

So, flax – or any source of ALA for that matter – will not supply you with your n-3 needs.

Omega-3 in Supplements

Omega-3 is not the same thing as fish oil.  Why not?  Fish oil is just that – fat from fish, in oil form.  It could be any fish.  It could be any fat.  If you want omega-3, you must look at n-3 content – and even then, it needs to be EPA or DHA content (not ALA).  Flax seed oil supplements, as you might guess, are next to worthless.

Red Krill Oil: Marketing at its Best

I have been trying to get my parents on the n-3 supplement train.  And they listen…sort of.  As I get older, I realize it’s very hard to tell your parents…well, anything.  Maybe because they were the smartest people in the living room for a long time.  Maybe because it’s hard to take advice from those closest to us, our friends and family.

Anyway, my mom says, “Yeah, we take fish oil.  But it’s better – it’s red krill oil.”  So I look it up, and sure enough, it is made from red krill.  And the n-3 content?  About 100 mg per capsule.  (As a baseline, I take well over 1 gram of n-3 daily.)  So, I tell my mom she would need to take a dozen of these pills just to get the effects I’m getting from 1 super-concentrated fish oil pill.  “But it’s red krill…”  Sigh.

The Horror of Light Tuna

Also at my parents recently, they were making sandwiches.  Tuna fish sandwiches.  I’m excited, because I like tuna fish and this is a food I can also get behind nutritionally, given its high content of n-3.  Then I grab the can – it says “light tuna”.  Huh, wonder what that means?  Um, it means they took out all the fat, including the n-3’s that made it healthy…and tasty![4]

Sorry, Charlie. With only 0.5g total fat, “Light” tuna just doesn’t have much omega-3 content.

I guess it’s not a total loss – there is still fish flesh (protein) in there.  But this is what we’ve come to as a society – so paranoid about ingesting fat that we eliminate the best kind of fat from a can of tuna fish.

Summary

Sushi – good, and good for you!

Don’t simply take my word for it.  Zone diet pioneer, Dr. Barry Sears, said of fish oil, “It’s as close to a miracle drug as I’ll ever see in my lifetime.”  So, eat fish and take your fish oil!  Or, as I hopefully illustrated in this article, that things are a little more complicated: eat fatty fish, and take high-dose EPA- and DHA-containing fish oil.

 


[1] Daley, et. al., A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutr J. 2010. Vol 9 No. 10

[2] Gerster, Can adults adequately convert alpha-linoleic acid (18:3n-3) to eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3)? Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1998;68(3):159-73.

[3] http://www.dhaomega3.org/Overview/Conversion-Efficiency-of-ALA-to-DHA-in-Humans (multiple studies cited).

[4] Nutritional review: Light tuna generally contains 0.2g omega-3 per 100g serving.  Albacore or yellowfin tuna can contain 5-10 times as much.

Quote of the Week vol. 209

It has been a long time since Mel came out with one of his periodical guest posts. His new one will be posted tomorrow at 5 pm. It is about fat, and other synonyms.


If you were up here earlier, I had a different quote from Bill Self. But I hate Kansas basketball, and I just heard this one from Carl Paoli as I was watching a video that I like better.

"So many people say 'Leave your ego at the door'... but if you don't have your ego, you can't actually make decisions. Your ego is the axis on which your moral compass spins. You just can't become your ego."

- Carl Paoli. Barbell Shrugged podcast.

PSA from Mel: PORCH Durham

Our favorite Tar Heel, Mel, emailed me with some info about the PORCH Durham program he referred to in the Whiteboard/Sidebar this morning. It looks like a good project, and the fact that Mrs. Mel isa co-founder makes it even cooler.

Anyway, as you can read in Mel's comment in the Whiteboard, PORCH Durham is on the list to receive a $25,000 grant from State Farm. How do they get this, you ask? Simply by being one of the top-40 vote-getters. And this is where we come in.

Vote here.

Or vote here.

Or vote here.

But definitely not here.

Three of the four links above will take you to a place where we can vote daily until August 25. The other link is what Mel goes to sleep thinking about every night.

But for real though, take 35 seconds out of your day to make this happen. $25,000 is a crap-ton of money, and definitely worth whatever time it takes to click the vote button.

Now Live: Champions Club Summer 2017 Graph of Ability (or lack thereof)

If you are new around, we usually do this about every other Summer. The Graph was originally conceived in the Old Weight Room where Brian, myself, Gabe O'Neil, and Scott Gwisdalla were arguing about how much athleticism could override a bad personality, and vis versa. In the Summer 2011 (Fieldhouse), Murley surprised us all and brought in a full graph ready to go. It was repeated in 2013, 2015, and now here in Summer 2017.

It is meant to be read like a normal graph in math class. The X-axis represents one's personality and the Y-axis represents athletic ability.

It is also meant to be in good fun. So when Crawford sees his name down by the bottom-left, he will still get defensive but will laugh because, again, it's just something to cause a little friendly debate. New names for this year's graph include: Ashley Fry, Arlene and Reggie, Avery, David Sap, Kenny, Lindsey Eason, and Mel.

Enjoy!

As expected, Sap is pissed...

Goon and Goblin Resurgence 6/13

This week's poll actually doesn't from Jacob the goon or Matt Marathon Goblin, but Mel instead. He piggybacked off last week's poll:

Corollary question - would you rather have your team be awesome but lose to its greatest rival, or have a mediocre season but still win the rivalry game? Worthy of its own poll? ;)

- Mel


Mel's Beast Mode + Weekend Schedule Reminder

Just a reminder that this weekend's schedule is back to normal.

Saturday

10 am (mobility/make-up workout)

 

Sunday

12 noon (team workout)

1 pm (babies)


If you notice the sidebar, Mel, our favorite fan from North Carolina, recently achieved a longtime goal of completing every CrossFit.com Hero workout. Here are the highlights from his final one last week.

Last Hero WOD (Hollywood) 2017 from Mel on Vimeo.

Great job Mel Man!