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Archive for March, 2013

Are You Sure About Your Weight?

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

According to this article in The Guardian, there are a lot of people who just aren’t aware of their body composition.

Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index

The article references a non-scientific study in which approximately 300,000 people took an online poll asking them to estimate their BMI category– underweight, normal, overweight, obese– then enter their height and weight.

Specifically, the poll discovered that there is a significant difference in perception between men and women.  Men tend to be twice as likely as women to underestimate their weight, where women tend to be a little more likely to overestimate.  Given cultural norms about weight, this seems to make sense.

The poll also discovered another interesting trend, “healthy” people tend to be more correct in guessing their BMI category, and when they were wrong, they tended to overestimate their weight.  In addition, the higher their BMI, the more likely they were to be wrong.

So, while I understand that BMI is a terrible way to measure health and fitness, the findings of this poll are interesting because they suggest, contrary to the documentary, Fathead, that people don’t really know that they are fat.

Coach Amanda Returns!

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

For the past few months, Amanda N. has been super busy running The Cave’s gymnastics program and teaching a bunch of kids classes.

Amanda getting ready to lift!

Amanda getting ready to lift!

She’s done a great job at coaching and administering that program, but boy, has she missed teaching CrossFit, and I know many of you have missed her coaching you.  Well, it’s my pleasure to inform you that Amanda will officially begin teaching CrossFit again, starting next Wednesday (April 3), at 9:00 and 10:00 AM.

We hope you can make it in to either of those classes to get trained by a 2012 CrossFit Games Regional competitor, gymnast, EMT/lifeguard, and all around bad ass chick!

Welcome back to CrossFit Amanda!

Where Are We Going?

Friday, March 29th, 2013

I’ve been following CrossFit since about 2007.  In that time there have been many changes to the business, the community, and the sport.

Quite a change.

Quite a change.

I’ve heard the naysayers and haters repeat their mantra, “CrossFit is just another fad, it’ll be gone in two years.”

For some people, CrossFit is a fad.  They tried it and didn’t like it, so they move on.  Hopefully, they got something out of it– better knowledge of technical lifts, renewed enjoyment in exercise, or sound nutrition principles– that they apply to the rest of their lives.

Please forgive the cliche, but I see a major fitness revolution going on, and we’re in the middle of it.  I’m not suggesting that CrossFit started, or is the main driving force behind this revolution, but I think that CrossFit is definitely a huge positive contribution to it.

Recently, water overtook soda as the most popular drink in the US for the first time in twenty years.  Every other article I read tells about the dangers of high carb diets, or research done suggesting high intensity exercise is more effective and safer than long-slow exercise.  Doctors are starting to advise their patients to stop eating bread and start eating bacon.  Weightlifting and functional sports are more popular than ever.

In the past six years, I’ve seen some major changes in the way people think about diet and exercise, and a huge change in CrossFit as it becomes exponentially more popular.  Do you think these changes will continue unabated?  Do you think we’ll be able to reverse the trends of unhealthy lifestyles and the rising epidemic of obesity?  Where do you think we’re going with fitness?

Bulkiness and Vanity

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

One of the most common things I hear from people, especially women, when asking about goals during Foundations is “I want to get toned, but not bulky.”  I’ve had men say similar things, which boggles my mind.  But, we all have a different perception of ourselves and what we want to look like.

Nikki Fuller does not do CrossFit

Nikki Fuller does not do CrossFit

We’ve said it about a million times, but it bears repeating.  If you want to look like a bodybuilder, you’ve got to train, eat, sleep, supplement, and probably “supplement” like bodybuilder.  If you train, eat, and sleep with the goal of being able to do things, you will build muscle and burn fat, and your appearance will follow.

This post from CrossFit FMS mostly echos my thoughts on the matter.  It’s worth reading, not because it contains any information that is new to any of you who follow this blog, but because the author did a great job in selecting visuals to make his point.

Now, I understand wanting to make changes because you’re unhappy with how you look in the mirror.  But consider this, no matter how you look, there will be people who think you look great and people who think you’re hideous.  What matters is how you feel about yourself, and how you live your life.  As a trainer, I’ve seen many people make positive changes in their lives unrelated to the gym, but in part because they had greater self esteem, confidence, and self worth.  Shouldn’t training be about making yourself a better human being, rather than making yourself a better looking human being?

What do you think?


Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

The pistol, or one-legged squat is a deceptive exercise, in the same vein as the overhead squat.  You would think that simply being strong enough to squat your own body weight would enable you to be able to perform a one-legged squat, however there’s much more to it than simply leg strength.  Like the overhead squat, balance, flexibility, and coordination are required for pistols.  On top of that, like other uni-lateral movements, the pistol helps eliminate imbalances in strength and coordination between each side of your body.

And there’s much, much  more you can do with the movement than just squatting.  Adding weight in a variety of positions (such as overhead), balancing on an unstable surface, or doing pistol box jumps are just some ideas.

Check out this video, which Mark R. brought to my attention a few days ago.

The pistol is a complex and difficult movement.  Getting good a them just helps you do everything else better, and most importantly, helps you do fix your imbalances which might otherwise lead to injury.

How are your pistols?

Calf Mobility

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Here’s a quick video from Kelly Starett’s Mobility WOD about calf mobility.

Why do we need mobile calves?  Because everything is connected.  Having lose calves makes it easier to do deep squats, to run without injuring yourself, or to do tricky movements like pistols.

And for you parkour people, having mobile calves can be the difference between landing a cat hang after a big gap jump, or landing in the hospital with a busted ankle.

Do your mobility work!

Workout Music

Monday, March 25th, 2013

As most of you know, there is almost always music coming from the CrossFit Area.  While I regularly work out without music, I know many people who enjoy a rousing beat, or get pumped up by good music blasting in the gym.

Chris Spealler listening to music during the Games

Chris Spealler listening to music during the Games

This article from Scientific American delves into a bunch of research on the topic.

There are numerous studies showing that music has positive effect on working out, and there are multiple hypotheses as to why.  One of the more obvious explanations is that music serves to distract us from the pain of the workout.  Another is that it helps us keep a good pace.

One of the more interesting ideas is that the areas of the brain responsible for processing sounds and for coordinating movement are strongly linked.  “We have also known for decades that there are direct connections from auditory neurons to motor neurons… When you hear a loud noise, you jump before you have even processed what it is. That’s a reflex circuit, and it turns out that it can also be active for non-startling sounds, such as music.”

How does music motivate you when you work out?  What kinds of music or what bands/songs pump you up the most?  Or do you prefer to work out in silence?

Wheat Belly

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

This short video is a recommendation from Martin H.

I’m sure we all get it at this point.  Wheat is bad, mmmkay?

I’ve heard good things about this book, as well.  Has anybody read it?

What is a CrossFitter?

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Here’s a really good short article from CrossFit Lisbeth’s blog.

Is this what a CrossFitter looks like?

Is this what a CrossFitter looks like?

There’s an evolving culture around this whole CrossFit thing.  Among CrossFitters, there are many preferred brands and styles that compose the “look” of a CrossFitter.  It’s going through significant changes, but it’s definitely true.  On top of that, we’ve got our own way of eating, specific ideas  about work ethics, methodology for working out, even an entire lexicon that outsiders just don’t understand.

We’ve created a culture around fitness and it’s becoming easier and easier for us to recognize each other outside of the gym.  This article attempts to answer the question of how you define somebody even if they don’t seem to fit into the mold of their community.

The obvious answer, and one that isn’t necessarily true, is that you’re a CrossFitter if you attend a CrossFit gym.  But there’s more to the definition, I think.  I think being a CrossFitter is about doing CrossFit, but also putting in heroic effort toward a healthy lifestyle, and helping promote a community that does the same.

What do you think about CrossFit and the community?  How do you define a CrossFitter?

Robb Wolf on Kidney Disease

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Have you ever heard that high protein diets such as Paleo cause kidney damage?

These are... kind of important.

These are... kind of important.

Recently, a friend of mine (who does not follow the Paleo template) had a bout with some kidney stones.  She ended up winning, whatever that means, but her doctor told her to eat more grains and less meat.  I found this strange, and decided to do a bit of research.  In the process, I came across an interesting article from Robb Wolf.

In it, he makes the following claims:


2-Chronically elevated BLOOD GLUCOSE levels DO cause kidney damage.

3-Dietary fructose REALLY causes kidney damage.

4-Many kidney issues have either a hyperinsulinemic characteristic, an autoimmune characteristic, and or a combination of autoimmunity or hyperinsulinism. A standard, low-ish carb paleo diet can fix most of these issues.

5-For serious kidney damage a low-protein, ketogenic diet can be remarkably therapeutic.

6-If you get kidney stones that are from oxalates, reduce your green veggie intake (spinach for example) and have other types of veggies.

7-If you get kidney stones that are from urate salts, you are likely NOT following a low-ish carb paleodiet, you likely have insulin resistance and your liver is not processing uric acid.

He then goes on to explain why he makes these claims, and to provide some evidence for them.  It’s a pretty good, and only moderately technical read, but well worth it if you have some interest in this subject.

What are your thoughts and experience with kidney issues?  Any doctors out there care to chime in?