19 Nov / 2013
Dairy isn’t paleo. Most people who have read about/heard of the paleo diet know that. But WHY isn’t dairy allowed? Is it really that bad for you? I like looking at pros and cons so I’m going to break it down that way.
1. If you buy the right stuff, it’s pretty natural. I’m not talking about cheesecake flavored yogurt, ice cream, or strawberry milk. I’m talking about grass-fed milk and butter, plain Greek yogurt, etc. Whole milk is removed from a cow, heated to 145 degrees F for 30 minutes or 162 degrees F for 15 seconds (that is the Pasteurization process) and then bottled. Of course, this can be different at a big factory farm type dairy. But if you are buying organic, grass-fed milk, you’re getting a pretty unprocessed product.
As a side note, milk that has not been pasteurized is called “raw milk”, and its legality is under debate. I’ll tackle raw milk vs. regular milk in another blog post.
2. It’s a staple food in many (rather healthy) countries. Milk and dairy are staples incountries like Germany and Switzerland. These countries also have low obesity rates. Yes, other factors like physical activity (they bike everywhere over there) and agriculture can play a role. The point is, some people drink milk and are perfectly healthy.
3. Milk and yogurt can be good for recovery (and a good protein source for vegetarians). Milk has 12 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of protein per 8 ounce glass. This means 16 ounces of milk provides the right mix of protein and carbs for post workout recovery, in a natural and convenient form.
4. Nutrition. Milk and yogurt are good sources of calcium and vitamin D, which help maintain bone density. Milk also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and B vitamins.
1. Many people are lactose intolerant. According to the NIH, about 65% of adults have a reduce ability to digest lactose (the sugar in milk), but this varies by ethnicity. Among some East Asian populations ,the prevalence of lactose intolerance is 90%, but among Eastern Europeans it’s more like 5%. You can diagnose lactose intolerance with a breath test, but more likely than not if lactose doesn’t agree with you, you’ll know from the bloating and cramping. Because the issue in lactose intolerance is the inability to digest the SUGAR in dairy, lower sugar dairy like cheese tends to be easier to digest.
2. Some dairy is highly processed and/or unsustainably and unethically
produced. Like I mentioned before, Boston Cream Pie and Cheesecake flavored yoplait and Strawberry milk are still processed foods, even if they decided to stop using High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
In addition, a lot of dairy in the US is produced by cows in factory farm/ dairy type situations. Cows who don’t have room to graze and exercise. These are sad cows. You shouldn’t get your dairy from sad cows. Look for dairy from happy cows – i.e. organic and/or grass fed milk and butter.
3. Milk could, in some context, be considered a high calorie drink. 8 oz of whole milk has 150 calories and 8 grams of fat. While this is better than soda, when you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to avoid drinking your calories and get them from more filling foods instead. Then again, if you’re trying to put on weight (or maintain it if you have difficulty doing so), the extra calories in milk are a bonus.
I have nothing against unprocessed dairy – which to me means milk, plain yogurt, butter, and some cheeses. It is not paleo because it only came about around 9,000 years ago. But,as I’ve said before, just because it’s not paleo doesn’t mean it’s not healthy. Obviously, if you have an allergy or intolerance to dairy, you should avoid it. But for most people, it can be part of a quality diet.
I personally don’t drink a lot of milk (even as a kid I never liked it unless it was in cereal) and eat yogurt, butter, and cheese only occasionally. But if you have no issue digesting lactose and want to incorporate it, 1-2 servings per day is a good amount (1 serving is 6 ounces of yogurt, 8 ounces of milk, 1 ounce of cheese). Choose dairy from happy cows (grassfed and/or organic) and avoid skim, as the fat in milk helps absorb some of the fat soluble vitamins it provides.
15 Nov / 2013
FIRE IT UP! FIRE IT UP!
This week it was like everyone’s head was on fire. The effort was great, all around. Us coaches are seeing dramatic improvement in the quick lifts and strength gains. Keep it up. The programming will not become any easier as it calls for a continued uptick in intensity as you improve your fitness.
Monday and Tuesday were the two days that I enjoyed the most. Those WODS were classic CF style. Short and real intense. Next week Tuesday and Wednesday are your burner days. Get hydrated, have a little extra espresso, whatever you need to get AMPED UP!
Get ready to hammer work on those pistols this week. Lots of hip mobility drills and single leg strength drills will be incorporated in the warm ups and POST WOD.
We will post it up again but so that you can all plan ahead, Thanksgiving we will be closed on Thursday AND Friday. Take some time to spend with those you love or head outside and PLAY!
See you in the gym.
What’s On Tap
Sunday – 11/17
1. CF Games 2012 TEAM Chipper
30 GHD sit ups
30 Deadlift, 225/155
30 Double Unders
30 OH squats, 95/65
Set up in teams of 5-6. Men go first and then women. Athlete cannot advance stations until station in front is clear.
2. Practice Pistols – 10 minutes
Monday – 11/18
1. Front Squat – 3 x8
2. EMOM 20
Odd minute – 10 Burpee
Even minute – 10 Thruster, 95/65
Tuesday – 11/19
1. 2 Pos. 1 Clean + 1 Jerk x 5 sets
2. Reps of 30-20-10 for time
Knee to elbows
Box jump overs, 24″/20″
Wednesday – 11/20
21-15-9 for time
Handstand push ups
2. Practice Pistols for 20 minutes
Thursday – 11/21
1. Push Press – 5 x 3
2. For time
10 Overhead squat, 135/95
10 Thruster, 135/95
10 Power Clean, 135/95
10 Thruster, 135/95
10 Overhead squat, 135/95
Friday – 11/22
Bodyweight bench press, max reps
Pull ups, max reps
2. EMOM 10
3 Power snatch (AHAP)
Saturday – 11/23
Complete for reps
Row 5k – every 1k stop and perform
10 Overhead swings, 32kg/24kg
10 Push ups
14 Nov / 2013
I was reading an article online about the quality standards of CrossFit gyms. Luckily, I feel we at CFB fall into most, if not all, categories of what makes a good “box.” Anyway, I read one portion in particular and it was almost as if I had written the article. Not only is it solid advice, but I think I may have said something like this a few times before. Anyway, here it is. Take it to heart. This doesn’t just apply to pull-ups btw…
“Quality of Movement Stressed Over Type of Movement
Do you get annoyed by your coach chattering on about technique? Do you zone them out when they suggest strict pull-ups with a band instead of kipping pull-ups? “By golly I’m not getting a band! I can kip the crap out of 2-3 pull-ups!” Face palm. Suck it up buttercup, no one cares if you need a band. We’ve all been there and the only person you’re holding back is yourself. If you have an annoying coach that chooses kinder words than mine to express the same idea, hug him or her the next time you see them. You are blessed.”
13 Nov / 2013
How do you Master Skills?
As Winter starts to set in and you start working toward your goals, be aware of how you recover and master skills. One goal you’ll probably set for the Winter is to master a new skill, like double unders, hand stand push-ups, or muscle ups. I want to draw your attention to how you attack these skills and actually master them.
To master a skill is to know and have full control over every piece of a skill, both physically and mentally, when your fresh and your fatigued. Lately we’ve been pushing the intensity in the gym and many people have found themselves sore and out of it for a few days. One example would be Coach Tito and Carla of CrossFit Boston competing at the Southie Throwdown this past weekend. They literally were crushed from back to back competition days. What would you do on the Monday following a weekend like that?
The days following a hard training day are perfect for mastering a new skill through active recovery. Rather than going back for a second or third hard training day and not performing at full intensity, commit to an active recovery day focused on mastery of the skills you’d like to develop. Carla did just that on Monday.
Rather than join in on the 7am class at CFB, she took 1 hour out of her day to actively recover, instead of sitting around and feeling sore. She set the erg for 2,000m of work and 10min of rest. She rowed an easy 2k and then spent 10 minutes working on her goats, handstand push ups, pull ups, and Toes to Bar. Three sets of this active recovery interval scheme gave her confidence with her skills and prepared her for a hard training day on Tuesday.
The erg is a great tool to use as active recovery. A few hard training days back to back will leave your body depleted and full of metabolic waste. In order to replenish your energy and clear out the metabolic waste it helps to eat well, move, and keep the blood flowing. The erg provides a stable platform and is low impact, perfect for recovery at a sub-maximal effort. Next time you’re feeling sore or a workout absolutely crushes you, go sit down on the erg and row for 10 minutes. It doesn’t have to be hard. Enjoy it! Row at about 40% effort, just hard enough to breath a little bit. You should be able to maintain sentences and tell your training partner what you’ll be doing to master your next skill!
If you have any fun methods to master skills please share in the comments!
13 Nov / 2013
A lot of you have been asking about some of the competitions we have been talking about. The first one coming up is going to be held at CrossFit Lando in Woburn, MA on December 7th. This is the Battle of the Sexes and is an individual competition. This is a male and female all RX ONLY competition all athletes competing for the same prizes. Scaling will be done in the classic CrossFit style with a catch: Men and Women will be competing in one division for the same $600 purse.
So far we have Nigel, Carla and CJ interested in competing. To my knowledge, this is going to be CJ’s first competition. That first one is always nerve-wracking, but as we all know CJ is a great athlete and will do amazing things on that Saturday.
The other competition we are getting excited about is a team competition of 2 guys/2 girls for three events. This competition is the 3rd Annual ”Not Your Average Joe’s” Team Competition hosted by our good friends North Shore CrossFit in Danvers, MA and will be held on January 18th.
This competition is a one day event and is a LOT of fun. It was the first competition I competed in two years ago. There has been a lot of talk in the gym about this competition, and it sounds like we’ve got about 12-15 people interested in doing this competition. If you’ve ever been interested in doing a competition, but have reservations, this is a perfect first time competition. This is a small local competition and HOPEFULLY, no big-time athletes will be competing (that would just be a cheap shot if you ask me).
If you are interested and don’t have a team yet or are in need of more people for your team, let any coach know and we will help you out or add you to the list of everyone else in the same shoes. We will begin to organize the teams over the weekend and begin to let you know what your team will be next week.
If you already have a team, let us know what your team is so we can take names off the list of those who are interested. You will need to have a Team name, all team members’ names, all t-shirt sizes (for both men and women’s shirts), the gym name you are competing for (CrossFit Boston… obviously, duh), and a gym logo. (I will provide the logo for all teams competing under CrossFit Boston).
Here is a link to register your team.
13 Nov / 2013
Omega 3 fats – also known as “healthy fats” and monounsaturated fats – have gained wide attention for their potential health benefits. Omega-3′s are found in fatty fish like tuna, salmon, trout and herring. You can get about 1 gram of omega-3 fats in a 3.5 ounce serving of fatty fish.
Types of Omega-3 Fats
There are 3 types of omega-3 fats.
- ALA (alpha-linoleic acid) – is a short chain omega-3 fat found in plant oils like walnut, olive, and soybean. ALA can be converted into DHA, but only in small amounts.
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – is a long chain omega-3 fat found in fish oil, as well as breast milk and baby formula. DHA is a structural component of the brain, skin, and eyes and plays a role in cognitive health and mental health.
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) – is another long chain omega-3 fat, also found in fish oil. EPA is most associated with health benefits related to inflammation.
Most fish oil supplements contain a combination of EPA and DHA. There are a wide variety of purported health benefits to taking omega-3/fish oil supplements, and lots of research has been done to investigate them. Fish oils have been shown to be at least somewhat effective in reducing triglycerides, preventing heart disease, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and promoting good cognitive health. Fish oil may also benefit people with asthma, ADHD, and numerous other conditions. You can find a full list of conditions for which fish oil is effective, likely effective, ineffective, and not rate-able from the NIH here.
- The health benefits, obviously. We could all use a little heart disease prevention, whether we’re at risk or 22 and healthy.
- The American diet is woefully low in omega-3 fats compared to omega-6 fats, and a lot of research shows that this ratio is important for health. Even if you’re paleo, you could be getting plenty of omega-6′s from olive oil and nuts. We should be aiming for an omega-6:omega-3 ratio of 2:1, or more ideally 1:1, but experts estimate most Americans ratio is closer to 6:1.
- They help you avoid mercury. Mercury is a metal found in a lot of seafood. The problem with mercury is that it accumulates, so there may only be a little mercury in the small fish, but by the time the big fish eats the medium fish that ate lots of small fish… a good deal of mercury has built up. The bigger, fatty fish have the highest levels of omega-3 fats, but also the highest mercury levels. This makes it hard to eat fatty fish 3-4 times per week, especially for pregnant women.
- Salmon can be expensive (and I’m not a sardine fan). If you’re watching your budget like I (and many Americans) am, a $30-40 bottle of fish oil that lasts over a month is cheaper than $26 per lb salmon 3 times a week.
- Quality fish oils can also be expensive. Canned sardines, if you like them, would be a cheaper alternative.
- It may not be effective if you take certain types of medications. For example, birth control pills can reduce the triglyceride lowering ability of fish oil, and statins can negate the effectiveness of fish oil in lowering cholesterol and reducing heart disease risk. It may also cause problems in people taking blood clotting or anti-coagulating medicines.
- It’s not paleo. For the same reason I said protein powder wasn’t paleo. That doesn’t mean it’s inherently bad for you. But if you’re committed to wearing sandals, living in a cave, and not consuming anything that’s been even remotely processed, clearly these aren’t for you.
How Much Should You Take?
The right dose depends on your particular condition and goals. For example, to lower triglycerides you’d take 1-4 g/day of fish oil, whereas for depression you’d take 9.6 grams per day along with an antidepressant.
But a lot of you are athletes, so how much should you take? The best recommendation for athletes is 1-2 grams per day, with a 2:1 ratio of EPA and DHA. Up to 3 grams per day is considered safe for most healthy people. If you regularly eat fatty fish, you can take less fish oil or take it every other day.
It’s no secret I almost always tilt in favor of food over supplements. But when it comes to fish oil, I’m a fan. It’s probably the only supplement I’d actively recommend to clients, and if you take one supplement, this is the one.
One final thought: it is important to pay attention and read labels when you’re picking a fish oil brand. I used to love recommending the Nature Made 1200 mg burp less variation, but after I did my research I realized it had gelatin and some other stuff in there, and didn’t really tell me where the omega-3s come from (which means probably not fish). I know, big time nutritionist fail. Then I bought the SFH fish oil from the gym (the tangerine and lemon flavors are pretty good), and realized it has 3.7 grams per serving. Make sure your label indicates that the fish oil is from FISH, doesn’t contain any other additives like gelatin, and the serving size is right.
Do you have a favorite brand of fish oil? Let me know in the comments!
12 Nov / 2013
I have been using this supplement for the last 2 months. I really like it. I can definitely go deeper into that dark place. Watch this.
11 Nov / 2013
CrossFit is a sport I believe everyone can participate in. I especially see this in the kid athletes of CrossFit Boston. Every new kid I have the opportunity to coach brings to our community a new perspective. Ashley is a young lady who at 10 years old is already competing in triathlons and is a competitive swimmer. My job is to help her learn the movements of the lifts and in the process love CrossFit. I consider my efforts a success when kids can’t wait for practice. Ashley is the athlete of the month because she is always an avid learner and excited to try every single movement I throw her way. Power cleans, heaving snatch balance and rope climbs are just the beginning! She also got on the board for the 7 AMRAP Burpee challenge…not easy for the most experienced CrossFit athlete. She didn’t stop once!
This is Ashley’s story….
This is my story and how I came to like CrossFit. Every year I spend my summer in Italy and when I came back to Boston this year in September 2013 my parents told me they met Tina, a great CrossFit coach and asked me if I was interested to meet her. I agreed and the next day I went to CrossFit Boston.
I see Tina twice a week and love doing the WODs she makes me do. When I learn new exercises, Tina calls me “Speedy Gonzalez” because I tend to speed ahead. She also teases me because she says my feet are wobbly (due to swimming) and I am learning to keep them rooted to the ground! Since I started in September, I have been working with Tina to become a better athlete and I feel I am on the right path. I run faster and I am learning to use weights. My favorite exercise is the rope climbing. I can get all the way up to the ceiling panels on the ropes. I love CrossFit, I think everyone should try it (my father first)!
11 Nov / 2013
Happy Veteran’s Day to all of those that have served and those that continue to serve this wonderful country. Your diligence permits us to enjoy the freedoms that many take for granted.
Thank you from all of the CrossFit Boston Community.
CrossFit Southie Showdown
This past weekend Coach Tito and Carla B participated in The Showdown and CrossFit Southie. It was the first competition experience for Coach Tito and the first in the NorthEast for Carla. Both learned a lot about where their opportunities lie to improve their fitness and athleticism. I will leave a more thorough write up to them for this week.
Carla did really well finishing 5th out of 62 female competitors.
Great job guys!
08 Nov / 2013
Written by Calvin Sun
With the increasing popularity of the Paleo Diet, many people are turning to agave nectar as a sweetener in many of their favorite recipes. It’s understandable to see why people would think of using agave nectar as it doesn’t add any other flavors like many sweeteners and it tastes sweeter than sugar. Unfortunately, it’s not Paleo and it’s definitely not good for you. So imagine my surprise when I was walking through the aisles of my local Costco only to be confronted by a gigantic pallet of agave nectar. The labeling advertised it as a “low glycemic organic sweetener” and it must have worked because it was selling like there’s no tomorrow. Today, we’ll discuss some of the reasons why you should reconsider indulging in this sweet poison.