Category: Healthy Living


Just over one year ago I began my journey to becoming healthier and stronger.  CrossFit opened up a new world to me and I am glad I jumped on this train.

 

I started CrossFit coming from a globo gym attending, competitive sports background.  I was decently strong and (what I thought) fit.  For the first few months, I would go daily and do the wod.  I started learning Oly lifts and really started liking them.  I also loved throwing a large amount of weight overhead and letting it come back down with a loud bang.  Imagine a class of 12 or 15 crashing and banging those weights.  WHAT A RUSH!

 

Fast forward to March.  The Open.  Ok.  What is the big deal?  On a weekly basis, wods are released and done, recorded and you see compare yourself to others in your region and the world.  That anxiety filled 5 weeks was insane.  And we all loved it.  This next year will be different.

 

The experience of Regionals was amazing.  TV cameras, high quality athletes, the Richmond Oval, a crowd of like 1,500 people yelling and cheering you on.  The atmosphere was crazy.

 

Going through a cycle of the open and Regionals has converted me.  Was I adequately prepared for the wods?  I would put this as 50/50.  Do I want to do the same as I did last year?  Fuck no!  It was a new experience for me and I luckily did well in those wods.  Some of the movements were strengths of mine.  Others, are you kidding me?!?  My number one goal is to get stronger.  Will I blame a lot of my weakness to me coming off a separated shoulder?  Maybe to a degree.  Some instances…..

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(a)   I am satisfied with my performance in the overhead squats at Regionals – but I must get stronger.  The elite woman athletes are starting OHS 3 rep maxes at 175 pounds!  At the time of this publishing, my 3 rep OHS max is 165 pounds (and I just achieved that a few weeks ago.  Actually, I did it on October 13 – the day I separated my shoulder on the same movement).  So, to total how much time I lost on that injury —- 7 months!

(b)   I am extremely extremely extremely pissed at my butterfly chest to bar performance at Regionals.  I do not need to say more.  I will be working on them daily.

(c)    I am satisfied with how event 7 went.  Rope climbs and 225 pound squats cleans.  I pushed hard and it went as per the plan.  However, did those cleans have to be so damn heavy?  Wow.  Therefore, the plan is for that weight to feel light.  DONE!

(d)   Those damn ‘NO-REPS’ during event 6.  Stupid tape!

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MY EVOLUTION………

 

My fluffy, non-specific, non-timed based goals last year were to:

1)      not cramp during wods (still a goal today)

2)      not stop during wods

3)      start going unbroken during wods

4)      get better at the Oly techniques

5)      keep adding weights to those lifts

6)      BUTTERFLY!!

 

I do not just go daily to do the wods.  I am looking to get better … NO!  Not looking.  I will get better, get faster, get stronger.   But having that taste of Regionals and experiencing the atmosphere of competing with the very best in our region, lingers.

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Getting back to Regionals in 2014 is definitely doable and is a goal of a lot of athletes that I train with.  With proper, customized programming, a lot of teams can definitely make it.  However, without proper programming, teams will not make it.  A trend I see is a move to having modified classes – a diverging wod because there are different skill levels in a membership or even a separate set of exercises and movements.  This includes periodization and different focuses.  As an example, I visited Rocky Point Crossfit this past week.  The coach there said that they were going to make some changes because of their less than ideal performance.  And just today on their facebook feed, this came out:

 

http://rockypointcrossfit.ca/performance-program-road-to-crossfit-games-2014/

 

What is it? The Rocky Point CrossFit Performance Program aim is to prepare athletes for the 2014 CrossFit Games Open/Regionals (and beyond?)

 

One of the Questions asked: What kind of programming can I expect?
A. July8th to Nov 3rd
– Testing
– Strength Phase

Nov 4th to Dec 22nd
– Power Conversion Phase
– Incorporation of metabolic conditioning

Dec 30th to March 2nd
– CrossFit Open prep phase.
– Mastery of Games movements.

 

Performance program.  Love it.  Mastery……yes.  Open prep…..yes.  Regionals prep…..yes.  Games……???

The Paleo Answer

Are you sick of me bombarding you with amazing knowledge about food choices?  How grains kill you!  How conventional, ‘comfort’ food, make you feel good as it passes over your taste buds, while making you feel brutal as it destroys your digestive system?  Tough shit.  Here is more.

I have just read The Paleo Answer by Loren Cordain, Ph.D.  True, I covered most everything about Paleo in my previous posts about The Paleo Diet, Wheat Belly and The Primal Blueprint.  BUT, I found some more golden nuggets that you may not know about that will improve your life.

Here is a quick summary with more details below.

  1. Milk is not good for you.
  2. Beans are not good for you.
  3. Potatoes are not good for you.
  4. Grains (YES, EVEN SO-CALLED HEALTHY WHOLE GRAINS) are not good for you (I will not go further on this subject).

MILK:

Why do you drink milk?  Because your mom says so?  Because you always have?  Because the milk people say you have to?  Because cool, hot people like Kobe Bryant or Marisa Miller have milk moustaches?  Do not get sucked into this marketing scam or the conventional idea that it is good for you.




mmmm

Firstly, milk is not paleo.  Hunter-gatherers did not run around finding cows to milk.  There weren’t any.  Therefore, no milk was ingested.  Secondly, milk is a mix of protein, fat and a sugar called lactose.  Lactose must be broken down by an enzyme called lactase.  Over 65% of the world’s population has not adapted to consuming milk therefore cannot produce lastase.  After you consume any dairy, if you feel bloated, farty or have gut pain – stop consuming dairy.  Are you lactose intolerant?  YES.  Why continue to punish yourself?  Because someone who knows nothing about science says so?  Because milk looks so good because of its pure white colour?  No.  It is gross.  Admit it.

BEANS:

On our latest trip to Mexico, I started reading the section about beans and legumes (this includes peanuts).  You know what is in abundance at the buffet?  Refried bean spread, beans, lentils, beans and more beans.  It is Mexico and you can’t have food in Mexico without beans.  It is a staple of Mexican cuisine.  Well, I am here to educate you.  Oh, by the way, I did not have any beans.  I did have fries though.  Shhhhh.  Potato education later on…..

The main reason beans (and its family) are unhealthy, is because beans are full of antinutrients.  These antinutrients impair the human body’s ability to absorb and assimilate good nutrients from high quality food.  The list of antinutrients are large – lectins, saponins, phytate, polyphenols, protease inhibitors, raffinose oligosaccharides and cyanogenetic glycosides.  This is a mouthful.  Essentially, lectins are toxins to ward of predators (especially undercooked beans); saponins are antinutrients that temporarily impair your blood’s oxygen carrying capacity; phytate prevents full absorption of iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium; polyphenols also prevent normal absorption of nutrients, damage your intestines, causing a leaky gut which allows bacteria into your circulatory system which is tied to heart disease, cancer and other autoimmune diseases; protease inhibitors prevents our digestive system enzymes from degrading protein into amino acids; raffinose oligosaccharides causes farting (simple really.  You cannot breakdown the complex sugars in beans, thus the bacteria in your gut metabolizes them into hydrogen, carbon and methane); cyanogenetic glycosides is an antinutrient in lima beans and when undercooked, this turns into hydrogen cyanide.

I really apologize for the run on sentence there.  It had to be to give you a short science lesson.

PEANUTS:

They have proof that eating large quantities of peanuts and peanut oil causes atherosclerosis.  It may be tasty, but switch to almond butter.  Your heart and your family will thank you.

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POTATOES:

Potatoes maintain one of the highest glycemic index values of any food.  They cause our blood sugar levels to rise rapidly.  This is something that not many people know.  Consistent consumption of foods with high glycemic indices (such as potatoes, chocolate bars, bread) causes you to become insulin resistant.  This leads to metabolic syndrome diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and a multitude of cancers.

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Potatoes have similar antinutrients similar to legumes – lectins, saponins and protease inhibitors.  To simplify this information to the diseases that consumption of potatoes can cause; here is a list.  Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s and IBS.  Do you know someone who experiences any of these?  Ask them to stop eating this for a few weeks to a month – WHAT HAPPENS?

If you’re wondering about sweet potatoes – you’re okay.  Occasional consumption of yams are okay if you are exercising regularly.  These can replenish your glycogen stores and not destroy your intestines like potatoes do.

GRAINS:

Just don’t eat them….Even if it has a heart symbol on the package.  😉

As I have said countless times in the past – all you need to do is change for two or three weeks and see how you feel.  What is the big deal?  Bottom line – listen to your own body.  You eat something, you feel like shit.  Stop eating it.  You eat something, you stink up the room, maybe it doesn’t agree with you.

paleo

I just read The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. This is a continuation of my journey to better my self, to better my health, to feel better, to live longer and to educate people about the evils (harsh? Yes, but true) of current eating lifestyles and types of foods that are causing many ailments and diseases.
Primal Blueprint
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but instead will interest his patients in the care of human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
– Thomas Edison

I love this quote. This post will be a smattering a excerpts from the book, as I find them to be glossed over at times and are key points that I would like you all to absorb.

Popular notion, conventional wisdom, the status quo…..is the default answer to why people do what they do. “Because it is what my parents do”…..”it is something we always eat because it is good for you” ….”it’ll put hair on your chest!” Seriously?

How about these? “It will give you cancer”….”It will make you hurt”…..”it will give you stomach pains, bloating and heart burn”.

Is this an extreme change to your thinking? It sure is. Do you think it is possible that Conventional Wisdom could be wrong? Do you think you could try it and see what happens?

Do you think you could give up that piece of shit, nutritionally vacant donut as a morning snack? Do you think you could give up that overly processed, overly chemically enhanced bag of cheetos as a late-night meal? Is it important to you to head into your 40s, 50, …… , 90s with full use of your joints, muscles and bowels? Is it important to you to feel alive and energetic when you wake up?

If you answered yes to any of these, keep absorbing this info. If you answered no, well, good luck to you and your family. You will feel like shit, look like shit, perform like shit and die of a preventable disease.
eatnoevil
The Primal Blueprint is a great book. It is about the Primal way of eating (and living) and is based around these primal blueprint laws:
1. Eat Plants and Animals
2. Avoid Poisonous Things
3. Move Frequently at a Slow Pace
4. Lift Heavy Things
5. Sprint Once in a While
6. Get Adequate Sleep
7. Play
8. Get Adequate Sunlight
9. Avoid Stupid Mistakes
10. Use Your Brain

Living a Paleo lifestyle, I will be focusing on the food aspect of the Primal Blueprint (specifically, laws #1 and #2). Being a CrossFit snob, I will not talk about the physical and activity based aspects in the book (laws #3, #4, #5 and rest and recovery / maintenance (#6 and #7) – as Mr. Sisson is on the mark when it comes to sprinting, lifting heavy and training. See my link from my blog about CrossFit here: https://glennstake.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/i-am-a-crossfit-snob/.

Many, many people think (incorrectly) that we have evolved past our ancestors of 10,000 years ago. Science and anthropological proof has shown that our genetic make-up has not changed and that we are quite similar to people who roamed the Earth 10 or 12,000 years ago. The development of agriculture, civilization, inferior and unhealthy diets, inadequate and wrong exercise and lifestyle behaviors have caused humans to become sicker, smaller, weaker and unhealthier.

Conventional wisdom recommends many things that are not good for us. Just take a quick look at the Canada Food Guide. It recommends 6 to 8 servings of grains per day. Skipping to Law #2 – Avoiding Poisons. How can we trust this when it is wrong?
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Excerpted from page 24, “…..A dietary “poison” [in the typical North American diet] is cultivated grain foods (wheat, rice, corn, pasta cereal and derivative products such as bread, chips, crackers, muffins, pancakes, tortillas, waffles, etc.); cooking grains such as barley, millet, rye and amaranth; and – to a slightly lesser extent – legumes (beans, lentils, peanuts, peas and soy products). These global dietary staples are generally inappropriate for human consumption because our digestive systems (and our genes) have not had ample time to adapt to both the unfamiliar protein structure of [modern] grains and the excessive carbohydrate load of all forms of cultivated grains and legumes. The advent of grains and civilization has eliminated the main thing that’s made humans healthy: selection pressure to reach reproductive age – and to care for ourselves, and others, beyond!”

As a quick aside here, there is another excerpt that I found interesting regarding civilization and the advent of the agricultural revolution. From page 165, “Culturally, the cultivation of grains is the key variable that allowed modern civilization to develop and thrive. Large populations could now live permanently in proximity, and labor could specialize, leading to continued exponential advancements in knowledge and modernization. However, as Dr. Loren Cordain (author of The Paleo Diet) elaborates, ‘[Grains] have allowed man’s culture to grow and evolve so that man has become earth’s dominant animal species, but this preeminence has not occurred without cost…. Agriculture is generally agreed to be responsible for many of humanity’s societal ills, including whole-scale warfare, starvation, tyranny, epidemic diseases and class divisions.’

Dr. Jared Diamond, evolutionary biologist, physiologist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning professor of geography at UCLA, and author of Guns, Germs and Steel, goes so far as to say that agriculture was ‘the worst mistake in the history of the human race’ and that ‘we’re still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has tumbled us and it’s unclear whether we can solve it.’

Very interesting. So, what is the solution? The solution is right in front of you.

Continuing the excerpt from page 24: “Ingesting grains (yep, even whole grains – [SEE MY PREVIOUS BLOG POST ABOUT WHEAT BELLY AND THE PALEO SOLUTION: https://glennstake.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/just-try-it-for-30-days/%5D, legumes and other processed carbohydrates causes blood glucose levels to spike (both simple and complex carbs get converted into glucose – at different rates – once they enter the body; we’ll use the accurate term blood glucose to convey what many call blood sugar). This spike is a shock to your primal genes, which are accustomed to natural, slower-burning foods. Your pancreas compensates for this excess of glucose in the bloodstream (a condition that is toxic and can quickly become life-threatening, as experienced by diabetics) by secreting excessive levels of insulin. While insulin is an important hormone that delivers nutrients to muscle, liver and fat cells for storage, excessive insulin released in the bloodstream causes glucose to be removed so rapidly and effectively that it can result in a ‘sugar crash’: mental and physical lethargy and (because the brain relies heavily on glucose to fuel it) a strong craving for quick replacement energy in the form of more high-carbohydrate food. This leads to a vicious cycle of another ill-advised meal, another excessive insulin response and another corresponding blood glucose decline.“

Law #1 – eat more plants and animals

Most nutrients you need you can get from plants and animals. Proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, water and other nutrients used to sustain life, increase brain size and function, improve physical fitness and support immune function you can get from veg and meat. You think you need that bowl of insulin producing, blood glucose increasing fibre1 or bran cereal in order to have a good shit? Nope. Proof is that I have not had a bowl of cereal in over 2 months or a slice of bread in over … I cannot remember … and my shits are fine.

Actually, to go even deeper into my personal life, ever since starting this paleo journey, my farting is all but gone.

What about the thoughts about eating fatty meat will give you high cholesterol and heart disease or colon cancer? Want a hint? Try oxidation and inflammation caused my crappy food choices. This is where some heavy medical science is used and I will not bore you with it. However, there is no correlation between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol.

The key to eating is to make up the major amount of your diet from the following: animals –> meat, fish, fowl, eggs and plants –> vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and fruits.

No Beans in Your Chili

Notice that legumes are not listed here? Alfalfa, beans, lentils, peanuts (!), peas and soy products are classified as legumes. Excerpted from page 174, “While legumes can serve as a decent source of protein, fiber, potassium and antioxidants, they also provide significant levels of carbohydrates and those pesky antinutrient lectins [lectins are natural plant toxins that inhibit healthy gastrointestinal function by damaging the delicate small intestine microvilli]…..As Paleo Diet author Dr. Loren Cordain explains, ‘Most legumes in their mature state and non-digestible and/or toxic to most mammals, when eaten in even moderate quantities.’ The fact that legumes need to be altered need to be altered for human consumption through cooking, soaking or fermenting should be our best clue to avoid or strictly minimize their consumption (all truly safe fruits and vegetables can be eaten either raw or cooked). To tiptoe into a sensitive subject, the beans that are consumed liberally by many world cultures (kidney, pinto, black beans, lentils) come with the annoying by-product of flatulence, caused by the fermentation of indigestible carbohydrates.”

Fructose Intolerance? – put that orange down!!

Have you heard about this? Primal’s approach, as is Paleo’s, is to limit your fruit intake because of the fructose content. Fructose is the carbohydrate form in fruit. Excerpt from page 135, “When fructose is consumed, it’s converted in the liver into not only usable carbohydrates in the form of glucose, but also into triglycerides (fat). For heavy exercisers who regularly deplete muscle glycogen, fruit is a great choice to efficiently reload their liver glycogen. On the other hand, if your glycogen stores are already full, as happens when you don’t engage in regular short bouts of intense exercise, that Sunday brunch strawberry could just as easily convert into fat in the liver and then get dumped into the bloodstream.
High blood triglycerides interfere with the function of the hormone leptin, causing you to want to overeat rather than rely on your stored body fat for energy. Possibly one-third of the population is fructose intolerant to some degree, evidenced by digestive symptoms such as flatulence, cramps, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. Excessive fructose consumption is also linked to fatigue, insulin resistance, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Lactose intolerance? – Skim, 2%? How about none!

Under Primal, certain dairy is allowed and, in fact, tolerated by your body (ghee, butter, full cream, aged cheese). Paleo purists nix dairy altogether. The fact is, after the age of three or four, humans stop producing lactase (the enzyme that helps digest lactose (which is a carbohydrate in milk)) and thus have difficulty digesting milk. Do not be pressured into drinking a glass, because that’s what you grew up on. Well, that conventional wisdom is crap. Listen to (or smell) your body. If you examine your dietary habits, you may discover incidences of bloating, farting, cramping or diarrhea when having consumed a milk product. You are lactose intolerant – to some degree. It is ok. Let it go.

Listen, I do follow this way of eating for the most part. I still have popcorn and M&Ms. I am partial to salted snacks. I do my best and feel good about my choices. I hope this helps you.
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I have just finished reading The Paleo Solution (by Robb Wolf) and Wheat Belly (by William Davis). I have been trying to avoid eating bread, sugar and dairy (mainly cheese) for a while now, yet my intention was really just to lose a few lbs. I never really knew the science behind my reasons for this lifestyle change, until I read these books and read some blogs and other references and am convinced that this is the way human beings should eat.

I have been blown away. Wheat, known as a staple in most everyone’s life and meals, causes or worsens the symptoms of so many ailments – from upset digestion and irritable bowel syndrome, to asthma, to sore joints, to eczema; to much more important and serious illnesses, like schizophrenia, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Shocking. You may be thinking that this is bullshit. Well, my uninformed and mislead friend; it is not bullshit. Keep reading.

My interest in Paleo(lithic) eating habits just began recently with my research and interest in CrossFit. Many people swear by Paleo and I figured it sounded interesting – at least we could try it and see and feel what happens. After all, I have been pretty much eating this way for years. Meat (good!), veg (I like veg!), nuts and seeds (ok) and healthy fats (avocados…mmmm) – sounds good.

This blog post is about some insights and interesting tidbits I took from reading these books; and not a review. The books are excellent and I highly recommend reading them.

Wheat Belly explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrinks unsightly bulges and reverses many health problems. Yes, the term ‘wheat belly’ refers to the enormous layer of visceral fat from the waists of so many people. The book explains in great scientific detail the biology of what wheat gluten does to your digestive system – and how your body reacts to it hormonally and chemically. Initially, it didn’t make sense. What about the lack of activity nowadays? What about fast food? Pop? Sugar? Video games?

Another key point to Wheat Belly is that wheat is in everything. EVERYTHING! It is seemingly unavoidable. Once you start some research you will find that the switches are worth it – especially if you start feeling great, sleeping great, performing great and losing those dreaded moobs!

The Paleo Solution describes the Paleolithic, or hunter-gatherer, diet. Robb Wolf also gets deep into the history of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and how the agricultural revolution has changed the way people eat and, subsequently, digest food. He talks about the benefits of the change and easy ways to implement this in your life. Recipes and food replacements are included and they are creative and appetizing.

Now for some biology 101. I am sure you have all heard about the glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) measures the speed at which food is digested and converted to glucose – our body’s energy source. The faster the food breaks down, the higher the rating on the index. The index sets sugar (glucose) at 100 and scores all foods against that number. Foods that are made from wheat have very high Glycemic Index. Here are some examples:
• Table sugar is 59
• Mars bar is 68
• Snickers bar is 41
• Apple is 38
• A slice of whole wheat bread has a whopping GI of 72! Unbelievable right?!? Eating a piece of bread will raise your blood sugar more than a chocolate bar or a can of coke.

High blood sugar provokes high insulin production, which is released by the pancreas. The higher the blood sugar, the more insulin must be released to move the sugar into the body’s cells – such as those as muscles and the liver. When the pancreas’ inability to produce insulin in response to blood sugar occurs, diabetes develops. But you don’t have to be diabetic to experience high blood sugar and high insulin. The catch here is that foods made from wheat, convert to sugar so much easier. This constant high blood sugar, high insulin production cycle, will eventually cause the pancreas to stop producing insulin. In Wheat Belly, the author has cases of reversal of diabetes when all wheat is removed from the diet.

You may be thinking that this post will funnel towards gluten and Celiac disease. Well, yes and no. The Paleo Solution and Wheat Belly do talk in-depth about Celiac disease and how the damaged intestine lining is affected by wheat gluten which causes the sufferer with major stomach upset and hours, and potential days, of diarrhea, stomach pains and mental fuzziness. I am just noting that if you are looking to improve your diet, watch what goes into your body – ESPECIALLY if it says gluten-free on the package. A main point made in both books is that gluten-free foods, which do not have any wheat gluten (good, right?), are made with certain carbohydrates as ingredients – corn starch, tapioca starch, rice starch and potato starch. Interestingly, these carbohydrates have higher GI than wheat. You may think you are eating well, and you are because you are eliminating wheat from your diets, but your blood sugar is still rising and your pancreas is being affected adversely, which causes visceral fat deposition along your abdomen. Be aware.

Wheat also has addictive properties. Like morphine, heroin or any opioid, once wheat enters your blood stream, it attaches itself to your opiate receptors – causing you to become addicted. You seem skeptical once again? Of course you are. You have been raised to think that you need wheat. You need grains. You need those all healthy, all powerful, healthy whole grains. Just eat something with wheat, wait two hours while your blood sugar comes down, and see how you want and need some more?

You want a better sleep? You want to be in a better mood once you are up? You want to lose that spare tire that you can’t seem to shake (or wait, it does shake….)? All I am saying is try it for 30 days.

Open your mind; let yourself think beyond the status quo; and that yes, you are a smart, informed consumer; and that yes, you want to know what goes into your body.

It is just 30 days.

I am a Crossfit snob

I am a Crossfit snob. I admit it and don’t hide my feelings about it. This is my explanation of Crossfit – the training, the community, the feeling of giving it your all (and then a little more).

I started going to Crossfit because my fiancée Shannon was going. I liked some aspects of it and used them during my ‘working out’. Yet, some of them seemed stupid and I wasn’t going to do them. However, I always say that I am open to new things.

The truth is that I am stubborn and somewhat set in my ways. I liked going to the gym when I wanted and not being told what to do or how much time I had to do something. After some prodding, I decided to go to a few classes.

What I discovered was that it was awesome. More than awesome, actually. The exhilaration of the feeling of finishing a wod. The feeling that is was not only you that found it goddamn hard which left you gasping for air and crumpled on the ground. And… the feeling that I am not too bad. However, I still had a lot of work to do on my cardio; a ton of work on my lifting technique and, I had to figure out what the hell a muscle-up, a kip and a double-under was.

The basis of Crossfit involves training with functional movements. Being able to lift a lot of weight while mixing in some cardio (often a shitload of cardio – read: hero wod). Aspects like Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics are the core of these exercises. But Crossfit is not only about training. Mix in recovery and repair from these intense workouts. Properly warming up and properly stretching and massage are key to keeping one’s body in top form. Nutrition is also key to feeling good. Knowledge about nutrition – what is good and what is bad as sustenance for a Crossfit athlete (as well as a normal, healthy, active person…….HEY! I told you I am a snob!) are crucial for growing muscle fibres and fueling up for the next day and the next wod. The last, and probably best aspect of Crossfit is the community of people involved. You want to go back – not to beat the next guy and girl (although there are those who have little inner competitions amongst each other – you know who you are! Ok, we all have them. Shhhhhhh!). This is not like a regular gym. You don’t go in, change, workout and leave. You drive up….you see who is there….uh oh….then you go in and say hey to everyone. They know you. You know them. You care about them. They care about you. You want to find out about recipes? Ask. You say, “dude, you hear that Froning PR’d his squat snatch?” And someone will know. They care about Crossfit. They are as crazy about Crossfit as you are. Crazy? Obsessed? No. It’s passion. It’s about improvement. It is about making yourself a better person. Clean, strong, healthy, passionate.

Unlike the GoodLife, Snap or ClubFit, the coaches are there daily and you get coaching daily. They make sure your squat is complete and done properly. You want to figure out how a kettlebell swing is supposed to look like – they tell you, show you and you get better. I appreciate their help and guidance. They appreciate us getting better, stronger, faster.

I do not have personal goals. I know I love the way I feel after a workout. I want to go every day. I want to get to the point where I get to the games average weights lifted (see the attached picture).

I know I need more practice doing double-unders, pull-ups, snatches, and generally every movement. I need to improve my cardio too. I am cramping far too much. Therefore, my general goal is to get stronger, faster and smoother. I hate leaking performance.

Do I see myself going to the games? I will do the open. Check back when I am 45. 🙂

I take back all I said about Lance Armstrong…..well, most of what I said and thought. I was a massive supporter of his. I am not any longer.

Actually, I had him classified as a hero of mine. From the outside, without the proper knowledge, without positive test results, without knowing the background, he is amazing. Imagine winning all those races, surviving cancer, then winning the Tour seven times. With all the speculation of doping and performance-enhancing drug use, I just figured he was just one of those extremely driven, special individuals who could push just that much harder, recover that much faster, be on top of his game every morning.

When the latest info came out about Lance stopping to fight the charges from USADA, I wondered why he would quit. He is not a quitter. Right?? I immediately thought that Livestrong would suffer. Did he lie? Did he cheat? The latest book by Tyler Hamilton ‘The Secret Race’ made me rethink my hero-worship. I believe that he did lie and cheat. That is the way it was (is?) done. Just look at how many have been caught over the years. Just look at the amazing speeds going up those insane mountains.

This has nothing to do with the organization called Livestrong. I support this amazing cause and I hope cancer can be cured or controlled with their efforts. Yet, I do not wear my Livestrong bracelet any longer.

I still love cycling and will continue to follow it. I am just disappointed in Lance. Actually, I am disappointed in myself for being so gullible.

Earlier this week, I had another heated, yet circular, discussion with my parents about the medical system.

“So mom, if it is broken, what would you do to fix it?”

“And is there a way to pay for it if there is no money, or how can the present allocation be managed better?”

I am a person that dislikes … nay, hates … complainers. If you dislike something, or complain about something now being how you think it should be, come up with some solutions.

Most everyone has been to an ER over the last few years. It can be super frustrating. You go in – you check in to the registration desk – then you go to another reg desk for further details (health card, history, whatever) – then, depending if they ‘think’ you are a serious case, you go to the triage nurse. This nurse then determines whether you should wait or get put in to a room right away because you are bleeding or having trouble breathing (or some other stuff – I am not a triage nurse).

This process is inefficient and does it really help the people that need help? Ambulances come in and get preferential treatment – they should. Do I go to an ER because it is fun? I go because I need medical assistance.

This is my recommendation:

Set up an ER like a bank with tellers, or like at the movie theatre. These tellers are triage nurses with actual decision making ability. You come in, with a short lineup, and when a ‘teller’ opens up, you go to them. There would be 10 to 20 per ER. They make the determination of prescribing (or giving out) medication, whether the patient can just go to their doctor, whether the patient
a. Scenario 1: Patient presents with a migraine. Triage Nurse (TN) prescribes (or actually gives some) pain meds. NEXT!
b. Scenario 2: Patient presents with a broken ankle. Patient gets taken to the x-ray department, then to surgery / bone setting area / cast building area / wherever. They are out of the ER waiting room. NEXT!
c. Scenario 3: Patient presents with possible heart attack. Similar to scenario 2, they get taken to surgery or to a specialist.
Options for this would be having ER doctors at the teller position. This may cause labour disruptions and issues with the Nursing Union as well as with the AMA (I am guessing here though).

I see this as being a good idea. Will it cost any more money than presently? I do not know. Even if it does cost more; if it makes people happier, less stressed and healthy quicker, how can it be bad?

I welcome all feedback.

Glenn

Correctly, you ask? Well, by my definition, and with this being my blog, sleeping correctly means waking up with little to no back pain. This is also based on my experience with my back pain relief.

To those of you who have never experienced early morning stiffness or pain, man, I wish I was you. For me, back pain in the morning before sleeping correctly meant that I couldn’t bend over the sink to wash my face. I would have to be in a half squat bracing myself with my elbows on the sink edge. That is no fun. And for months at a time, that was how my mornings were. That was before March 2006.

Then March 2006 came around and I did something else to my back and ever since then I vowed to do what I could to alleviate that pain. I started stretching and working my back and core to avoid incidents of pain. It was not enough.

Flash forward to the summer of 2006. It was a sweltering few weeks and I went to the basement to sleep. The couch was shit, so I rolled on to the floor and had one of the best all time sleeps. My back felt great and I attributed it to me sleeping on the hard floor and on my side. I did some further research into this and discovered something profound. I realized that I have been sleeping incorrectly for as long as I can recall. I liked the position of sleeping on my side, with my top leg at a 90° and my bottom leg straight. This caused me to twist and it was basically like I was sleeping on my stomach. It was so comfortable. However, it caused my pelvis to twist and cause my back to crunch up. To be clear, with my back ‘crunching’, means that it is in a constant flexed position – like you are doing oblique crunches, but staying in the crunch (see picture of me in my stretching pants).

And once you think about that, the muscles are not relaxed and can cause cramping and pain. I realized this and started thinking back to when I was on the floor. I started sleeping with a pillow between my knees. I also purchased a sleep number bed. Initially, I believed it was the firmness of the mattress that mattered, but it is not as big of a factor. It is the pillow between the knees and being on your side.

Another issue I have had with sleeping on the side is the question of where do I position my shoulders? You must roll your shoulders in and have your arms lie in front of your torso. This is a unique thing to you, but find the right spot where no blood vessels are blocked and you will sleep well.

This new technique and getting more flexible has greatly improved my back issues. If you try this, you will feel better. Trust me; it works.

UPDATE: 9 Months later………

I have Monovision

Initially, I reported that my vision was super clear and I was super happy.  Coming from coke bottle thick glasses, for which I have been wearing for over 27 years, it was a great feeling.  And it still is. 

After about a month though, my vision slowly slightly worsened and then plateaued.  I needed to squint for objects – tv, faces at long distances, etc.  I was able to get an enhancement as my cornea had sufficient thickness and the corneal flap was able to be lifted without a re-cut.  So, I decided to get an enhancement.  So, last Thursday, I went back to EyeQ and had my left eye re-lasered.  Lucky for me, I did not need to have my eyeball held in place and the 9 seconds of laser action went by quite quickly.  A funny comment by the surgical assistant, “you may smell the odor of burnt hair.”  Actually, that’s burnt eyeball!!    

A month ago I went in for a consultation and the doctor determined that my left eye was the worse of the two.  By doing the one eye, it leaves the right eye good for up close stuff and my left eye good for long distance sight – leaving me with Monovision.  My brain will takes both images and amalgamate them.  A week later, my vision is significantly crisper and I am happy.  Another reason for doing the one eye is so that I won’t require reading glasses too soon (mid 40s ish).

I am still recommending this procedure for anyone on the fence about it.

Glenn 

===================================================================

 

I have been wearing glasses since I was 9 years old.  Holy shit did I hate them towards the end.  A few years ago, I started wearing contact lenses exclusively.  Mainly because I liked what I looked like without glasses, I could pretty much do anything without the glasses and I despised paying for new glasses every few years.  This prolonged use caused something happen to my eyelids though.  They formed small ulcers underneath the lid itself.  I was becoming allergic to the material of the contact lens.  So, my optometrist informed me I needed to take a break from the exclusive lens use.  So, I succumbed and purchased a nice, contemporary pair of glasses.  This “break” was good for my lids.  Occasionally, I still wore my lenses – for mountain biking, snowboarding, baseball, hockey, and any other activity.  It turned out I needed the use of the lenses quite regularly.  Prior to this allergy, I could go almost all day with the lenses in.  Over the last few months, however, I was getting comfortable use for close to 4 hours.  This was getting on my nerves and I decided to ask some questions about laser eye surgery.

 

The main questions needed to be asked are:-

         How old are you?

         Has your prescription changed in the last few years?

         Is your cornea thick enough for the procedure?

 

Under 40?  YES!

 

My prescription had not changed in over 5 years.  WEEEE!

 

Thick cornea?  Don’t know.  I was referred to EyeQ Laser (www.eyeqlaser.com).  Their offices are very nice, modern and use the very best, state-of-the-art equipment and ultra high tech computerized aiming, measuring and targeting lasers.  Their website shows all you need to know about their facility and capabilities. 

 

It turns out you need a minimum thickness of cornea in order for the flap to be cut, moved out of the way for the laser to reshape your eye.  Luckily, I had that required thickness.

 

So, I decided to go ahead and book the procedure.

 

On the morning of the procedure, I was feeling great.  OR was I?  I slept well, yet my heartbeat may have been a few beats faster than normal, but still I was acting all cool.  My super wonderful girlfriend Shannon drove me to my appointment.  Upon getting seated to await the procedure, I did notice that I was a little more restless.  My fears were …. Would I lose my sight?  Cases are very, very rare.  Would I come out with worse vision?  Again, the cases are very rare.  What if I had to sneeze during the procedure and thus altering the trajectory of the beam?  The doctor made me feel very comfortable with all my questions.  The numbers he gave me for my current state of blindness were… 99.9% chance of coming out with 20/40 vision and a 94% chance of seeing at a 20/20 level.  Pretty good, I thought.  After all, my eyes were: -7.07 OD and -6.91 OS.  I knew the potential risks and signed off on them.

 

Time to get this over with.  I slip into booties, a funny mesh gown and a shower cap.  I then get ushered into the operating room. 

 

It is sterile and there is a lady in there all masked and gloved up.  Good stuff.  I lie down on a flat chair-bed.  And position myself as comfortable as I can.  There are two machines on either side of me.  Small talk ensues and I was given two foam eyeballs as stress squeezers.  How cute.  Fuck!  What do I need these for!  The doctor then comes in and he goes through what is to happen.  I am not stressing out, but I am nervous and he calms me down after telling me what will happen.   

 

First, my left eye will be taped shut so they can concentrate on the right eye.  Then they tape my lashes down and start the numbing drops.  With these drops I no longer feel the need to blink.  That is a weird feeling.  They were cold and dripped to the back on my neck.  Then a contraption is lowered to hold my eyelids open.  At this time I cannot feel it in my eye.  At this point, I am positioned under the machine that cuts the cornea.  It is tremendously bright.  Something else is lowered onto my head, but I do not know what this is.  At this point, the doctor says that they will be lowering a suction cup to my eye and to be ready but nothing is to worry.  He then positions my head a little better and off we go.  To better understand this procedure, click on the below link.

 

http://www.eyeqlaser.com/videos/IntralaseAnim.mpg

 

This was a very strange sensation.  The suction cup arm was lowered onto my right eye and it sat there and sucked down.  After a few seconds, my vision went dark.  I was then moved over to the other station.  This is where the cornea layer gets cut.  As the cup was lowered, you can see 7 distinct small lights in a circle.  If you are at all claustrophobic, this would be terrifying for you.  But the doctor and the techs were amazing at talking me through it.  I didn’t notice myself squeezing the foam balls at all.  I concentrated on slow, deep breaths and only swallowed when I had to.  This part only took 20 seconds at most.  See a real life video below.  Be prepared as it is a video of an actual eye getting cut.  

 

http://www.eyeqlaser.com/videos/Intralase_Flap_Creation.mpg

 

I was then moved over to the laser.  The laser was aimed at my eye and it did its readings.  It determined that it would need 51 seconds of ‘modifying’ time.  I am guessing this is because of my high nearsightedness.  I was to stare at a blinking, faded orange strobe.  I had to keep completely still for 51 seconds.  This was where I didn’t want to screw this up.  I kept slow, deep breaths and swallowed about 4 or 5 times but kept my head perfectly still.  Throughout this entire time, the doctor kept reassuring me that everything was perfect.  Perfect.  Perfect.  Perfect.

 

After the 51 seconds of clicking and clacking, it was done.  There was a half sniff of burned eyeball, but nothing I haven’t smelled before.  It was like burned hair.  The fuzzy orange strobe seemed clear.  I WAS NOT BLIND!!!  Whew!  The doctor now put the flap back, as the video shows, and readjusted it and smoothed the air out or whatever and sprinkled it with cooling liquid.  Onto the left eye.

 

The procedure was the exact same to the left eye, but I did notice some pain coming from my right eye from the bright lights being used.  Maybe black tape should be used for that eye.  Just sayin’.  The suction device seemed to cause more pain on this eye, which apparently is quite normal.  The left eye needed 49 seconds of zap time.  Once again, I was breathing deeply, knowing that it was less than a minute and I’d be a new person.  BEEP!  DONE!  I was then pulled up and walked myself to the post surgery room.  I had a cookie and a juice.  As the doctor said, my vision was cloudy (like looking through Vaseline).  But it was clear. I could read stuff across the room!  OH MAN!!  This is great. 

 

For a few hours afterward, the real pain was from light sensitivity when I was applying my eye drops.  Honestly though, the only pain part of the procedure was the procedure itself.  One other downside to the major trauma to the eyeball is some bruising on the white part (sclera) of my eyes.  Check the pic below.  This is supposed to clear up in 10 days or so.

 

 

A few other downsides….. I cannot touch my eyes for a week.  I cannot get sweat or water in my eyes.  I cannot play contact sports for two weeks.  I cannot swim for three weeks.  Once the 3 week time limit is up, and a few dr visits over the next half year, I am good to go.  I am so happy I did this. 

 

 

 

 

   

Anybody remember the standing long jump?  Or the endurance run or partial curl-ups or the shuttle run?

As I remember it, there were 6 tests in the much loved (or much hated) Canada Fitness Test from the 1980s and 90s: 2400 m endurance run, shuttle run (4 trips back and forth, picking up and dropping objects), push ups, sit- ups (number you could do in a minute), standing long jump and the 50 m run.

In order to win the award of excellence, you had to achieve the excellence level in ALL six events.  The badges appeared in the same colour as described by their name, with the excellence badge appearing in a dark red.  Gold was yellow with gold thread, silver was grey with silver thread, and bronze was brown.  Was there a participant badge – I am not sure.  The badges were circular and measured 3 inches in diameter.   Along with the excellence award badge came a Certificate of Excellence signed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of State for Fitness and Amateur Sport.  The certificate read:  ” To (your name) in recognition of attaining the highest achievement in the CANADA FITNESS AWARD ”

If anyone has seen the episode of Corner Gas where one of the three plots revolved around the Canada Fitness Program.  Oscar (crotchety dude) waved the book around and had the local police officer running the drills throughout the show.  As Oscar said, “The Canada Fitness Program was the last great thing this country ever did”.  Funny shit.

Here is a .pdf file to the requirements for the CFT.  fitness_test

For a few quick numbers to compare yourself……

Excellence in Pushups for a 15yr old boy: 42

Excellence in Pushups for a 15yr old girl: 20

 

Excellence in Shuttle run for a 15yr old boy:  10.8 s

Excellence in Shuttle run for a 15yr old girl: 11.6 s

 

Excellence in Curlups for a 15yr old boy: 75

Excellence in Curlups for a 15yr old girl: 38

 

Excellence in Standing long jump for a 15yr old boy: 223 cm

Excellence in Standing long jump for a 15yr old girl: 188 cm 

 

Excellence in 50 m run for a 15yr old boy:  7.2 s

Excellence in 50 m run for a 15yr old girl: 8.0 s

 

Excellence in 2,400 m run for a 15yr old boy:  10 min 23 s

Excellence in 2,400 m run for a 15yr old girl: 13 min 31 s

 

Now, to my long-winded point….. BRING SOME SORT OF PROGRAM BACK!!!  Statistics show that obesity rates are rising year after year.  I’m not sure if a fitness test is going to stop these rising rates of fatties.  I do believe that having some sort of program or initiative would be a way to slow them down.  Dropping the CFT isn’t an indicator of bad planning or timing, but by not having it, I believe it has started a chain of events.   I’m not really blaming the government or teachers…..my main blame is aimed directly at parents.  Inactive parents make inactive children.  The program doesn’t necessarily have to be like the CFT.  The CFT has been looked on as cruel and to inactive, un-athletic children, an embarrassing time in their youths.  This may be what we need.  You don’t want to be embarrassed?  Exercise!!  Play sports!!  BE ACTIVE!!!  Yes, parents, I’m talking to you. 

Toot my own horn time.  I got 6 Excellence Badges in a row.  BOOYA!

Below are some links to some other efforts….

http://www.usask.ca/archives/participaction/english/educate/APEX.html

http://www.fitnesschallenge.ca/ShowPage.jsp?ids=0653064406410718072107360620