14 Jan / 2015
Superfoods are still all the rage these days (at least according to those I follow on Twitter). But are they really so super?
What is a super food?
Entering “super foods” into a Google search provides a variety of definitions. According to Wikipedia, super foods contain “essential nutrients with proven health benefits and few properties considered negative”, and per the Oxford dictionary they are “food considered especially nutritious or otherwise beneficial to health and well-being”. Basically, they are foods that are nutrient dense and have known health benefits while producing no adverse effects to the consumer. Below I’ll discuss the health claims and research surrounding a few of the more well known”super foods”.
Bananas are a good source of fiber, carbohydrates and energy, potassium, and vitamin B6. Potassium is an electrolyte, important for maintaining electrolyte balanc
e and normal heart and muscle function and preventing muscle cramps. Vitamin B6 is involved in a number of reactions, mostly with protein metabolism, and has in some cases been associated with lower risk for certain cancers and improved sleep. One study showed that bananas were just as good as sports drinks for maintaining performance while providing healthier sugars and more vitamins and antioxidants in endurance cyclists. Bananas are a great source of carbs and energy for athletes, and make a great pre or post workout snack.
Acai Berries were popularized several years ago by reality TV star Lauren Conrad and is regularly marketed as a weight loss supplement in a variety of forms including juices and tablets. The acai is a dark purple berry found on acai palms, which are native to South and Central America. Claims about acai are numerous and include weight loss, help fighting heart disease, cancer prevention, improved digestion, and overall health. However, little evidence supports these claims, and in 2009 the Center for Science in the Public Interest actually issued a warning to consumers regarding internet acai berry supplement scams. In 2011, a small pilot study found that the acai berry may help improve choleterol and triglyceride levels in healthy adults, but more studies are needed before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.
Garlic has been claimed to have a variety of health benefits including lowering LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind) and raising HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind), lowering blood pressure, reducing risk of blood clots, and helping the body fight infections. There is some evidence to support these claims but it is limited at best. In addition, there is little evidence supporting the use of garlic as a supplement, and taking garlic supplements or eating large amounts of garlic can interfere with certain heart disease medications, namely blood thinners like aspirin, and increase risk of bleeding. Garlic supplements may also decrease the effectiveness of certain immuno-suppressants and birth control.
Kale is a cruciferous green vegetable thought to be high in antioxiants, play a role in lowering cholesterol, help fight cancer, and reduce inflammation. According to a 2009 review, green vegetables like kale contain glucosinolates, which have been associated with a reduction of risk for some cancers. Kale is a healthful, nutrient packed vegetable, low in calories but high in vitamin K which reduce blot clotting, and vitamin A which helps maintain eye health, promotes cell formation and is needed for the normal forming and maintaining of heart, lung, kidney, and other organ tissues. It is also a good source of fiber, calcium, and potassium.
Tart Cherries have been up and coming in the sports nutrition world as a recovery supplement. In fact, when I was in college we used to drink a Tart Cherry Juice with added protein after every weight lifting practice, and currently several collegiate athletic teams use tart cherry juice as a recovery beverage. Benefits are thought to come from anthocyanins, the pigment responsible for the dark red color of cherries. Research has associated anthocyanins with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and tart cherries have the highest concentration of the anthocyanins known to reduce inflammation. There is evidence that drinking tart cherry juice post workout can reduce inflammation and improve muscle recovery. In addition, one study found that drinking tart cherry concentrate may increase levels of melatonin, a hormone that helps maintain normal sleep rhythms, and improve sleep in healthy adults.
It is difficult to find in the average grocery store, although you can find dried tart cherries, which make a great addition to salad or trail mix.
Red Wine is everyone’s favorite “health food”. OK it’s not really a health food. But ever since the first large scale observational study, the Framingham study, found that people who drank moderately, 1-2 glasses of red wince per day, had a lower risk of heart disease, there has been interest. Specifically, a polyphenol called Resveratrol, found in the skins of grapes, has been isolated as the potential key compound in red wine that protects the heart. Some studies have been promising, but more research is needed to definitively conclude that resveratrol is the protective agent. In addition, the alcohol is also beneficial. Research has shown that moderate drinking of any type of alcohol (including beer and hard liquor) can help raise HDL cholesterol and reduce blood clotting. You can get resveratrol from red grapes, but there has been no study to determine if the health benefits are comparable to drinking red wine.
All of the foods (including the wine, in moderation) mentioned above are good for you of course, and will provide a nutritious addition to any healthful diet. Eating an adequate amount of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables has long been associated with lower cancer risk, although researchers have yet to successfully replicate that effect by supplementing individual nutrients. One study isolating beta carotene actually increased risk of cancer among the supplement group. To make a mid 90′s cartoon reference (or two), diet is much more like Captain Planet than Superman. There is no one “super” food, but the powers of quality protein, healthy fats, and plenty of nutrient rich fruits and vegetables combined will provide numerous health benefits, give you more energy, and make you a better athlete.
What is the Acai Berry and Are There Health Benefits?http://www.journals.elsevierhealth.com/periodicals/yjada/article/S0002-8223%2809%2901606-X/fulltext
Effects of Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) berry preparation on metabolic parameters in a healthy overweight population: a pilot study.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21569436
The impact of garlic on lipid parameters: a systematic review and meta-analysis.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19555517
E Med TV: Garlic Drug Interactions http://heart-disease.emedtv.com/garlic/garlic-drug-interactions.html
Vegetables, fruits and phytoestrogens in the prevention of diseases.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15235216
Cherry Health and Cherry Nutrition http://www.choosecherries.com/health/main.aspx
Anthocyanins – More Than Just Nature’s Colorshttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1082903/
Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22038497
The Mayo Clinic: Resveratrol: Good for your heart? http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/red-wine/HB00089/
12 Jan / 2015
Just a quick hit for tonight to share Tuesday’s WOD and a note from member, Natalie K., who has a great idea to help support our Whole Life Challenge efforts. Also, be sure to attend the WLC kickoff this Saturday at 8 AM! From what I understand, there WILL BE regularly scheduled classes with the WLC prelim WODs starting at 8 AM, with heats of 12 athletes performing every 15 minutes. Speaking of food, there has been a request to have Soul Fire delivered to the gym this Friday for the townhall meeting. We will be getting the “Serves 4 Souls” combos and it will cost $20 per person, tax and tip included. Please comment below if you want in on this action and please bring cash!
WOD for Tuesday, January 11th 2015
1. DU’s – 5 min
2. Back Squat 3RM
3a. Back Squat 3×3 @ 90%
3b. Glute Ham Raises 3×8-10
4. 6 Rounds for time
1 min ME WB’s (20/14#)
Peace and bacon grease,
From Natalie K.:
Hi guys!If you will be participating in the whole life challenge and are interested in a weekly potluck get-together to share food, recipes and be social without going out to a restaurant, let me know. We are thinking that 3 or 4 people could volunteer each week to cook dinner and share with the rest of us. That way we rotate cooking responsibilities and get to try some new dishes. Depending on how many people are interested, we could take turns hosting or do it in the lounge room at CFB. So far, people have shown interest in Sunday night dinners.If this is something you want to do, please email me (Natalie) at nkallwass [at] gmail [dot] com and let me know what day(s) work for you.Looking forward to dining with you!Nat
09 Jan / 2015
Today marks the first full week of being in the new space. It’s definitely coming together as we make adjustments to what works best in the configuration. I appreciate everyone’s patience as it is a work in progress. We have some great plans for some adjustments that will take the space to the next level!
FIRE IT UP!
It is Fire It Up Friday! It’s 2015! What are you working on this year? Where can you dial in to get a little bit better? Coach Divine of Unbeatable Mind has a saying that, “Everyday give 100% to becoming 1% better.” Think about that. If you got 1% better each day, what would that look like in three months? A year? Two years?
That being said, Jason “Sager Juice” has rocked out two huge PR’s this week and has been ringing the PR Bell like a boss! Who else has been able to rock the Bell? Post it up to comments.
LIVE LIKE THAT
I would like to highly recommend Live Like That by Lisbeth Darsh. I have Lisbeth since 2006 when she first got into CrossFit and became an affiliate owner in Watertown, CT. Her professional career was first as a writer, which shined through in her many blog posts, Words With Lisbeth. Lisbeth soon moved on from being a gym owner and relocated to Santa Cruz, CA working for CrossFit HQ until last fall.
She next began compiling all of essays and was seeking funding. I am proud to say that, through Kickstarter, I was one of those contributors that helped her publish her first book. I received my copies yesterday in the mail and I have had difficulty putting it down. Allow me to share this one essay with you. It happens to be the very first one from the book.
The Light Up Ahead
I am never convinced that anything I write is more helpful or useful or beautiful than Bruce Springsteen’s simple, “Hold on brother, there’s a light up ahead.”
That’s what we want, isn’t it? Someone to tell us to hang on, to endure, to persevere. That there is a relief coming from whatever battle we have suddenly found ourselves in the midst of, or a break from whatever sadness has wrapped its cloak around us. That somewhere, somehow, life is going to improve in the future.
Or maybe it’s just me. But I want it.
And I think you do too. That’s why you’re reading right now. And that’s why I write it: I need to hear it, again and again and again. It seems every single one of my notebooks over the years has this entry in it: “Hold On.”
Life gets dark sometimes. We lose jobs, we lose friends, we lose loved ones forever. We come in last place, again and again. It’s easy to get angry, sad, to get bitter. Go ahead, get mad…for a little while.
But then, if we are smart, we pick ourselves up and we get better. Because it’s just life, after all — the grand mark that’s been going on since humans first started walking the Earth.
You aren’t the first one ever to lose. And you won’t be the last.
The good news? Hold on brother, there’s a light up ahead.
“If we live long enough in this world, we will have our hearts broken. Do they heal? Well, maybe not fully, completely, ever. But in the cracked and broken pieces, that’s where the light shines through. We walk in the world forever after with more depth, more sensitivity, more compassion. Our love affair with the world begins with a broken heart.” Marilyn Sewell
When I first read this essay, I was floored with how powerful it is. It is remarkable. Read it again. Pass it along to a friend. Who knows when he or she will really need it and it will help them get to the light up ahead.
How’s it going CFB!
What do you think of the new space? Have you found us at 100 Holton St, Brighton, MA? Our new space is located around the back of the building at the Southwest corner. If you need any help finding it or you have any questions please shoot me an email – [email protected] and I’ll do my best to help you out.
I wanted to use this post to draw attention to one of the programs you have at your finger tips. You may have seen a big group of people rowing together on Tuesday mornings at 6am and Wednesday evenings at 6pm. They are part of the Renegade Rowing Club and they’re all training to improve their rowing form, efficiency, power, and endurance. Many of them are also training for the CRASH-B’s which take place March 1st at Boston University’s Agganis Arena. The CRASH-B’s are the World Indoor Rowing Championships and anyone can compete.
If you’d like to get better at rowing and improve your power and endurance you should consider joining us. The Renegade Rowing Club is $47 per month and I’ll team you up with training partners that will hold you accountable. Send me an email at [email protected] and I’ll get you setup!
If you’re thinking about CRASH-B’s or would like to get a taste of competition before registering, join us at our last Renegade Rowing League 2k Race on January 24th. You can sign up here!
If the above options don’t work for you I’d still love to help you out. Above is a video review I did of Shadi’s rowing during the last Renegade Rowing League in December. If you’d like more info/help/workouts for rowing, be sure to check out my daily blog at:
The video above is a review that I put together to help Shadi and you develop your stroke and find new areas to improve upon. I’ll be posting regular video reviews about once a week, usually on Thursdays. If you’d like feedback on your stroke or would like to see me talk about a certain area of the stroke, please let me know in the comments. If you’d like to be featured in the weekly Video Review please send me a 5 stroke video via email to [email protected]
Today’s topic relates to how you sit on the erg. Are you sitting on the back of the seat or the front of the seat? Are you balanced on the back of your tail bones or the front? How does your point of contact with the seat affect your posture and positioning throughout the stroke? These are things to think about and an area where you can make a quick change to see big gains. Let us know what you think and if you have any questions.
07 Jan / 2015
I feel like every summer I write the obligatory “it’s so hot out, drink more water to replace lost sweat” blog post. But that post is just as relevant this time of year too, if not more so. We all know dehydration in the summer comes primarily from sweat loss, but in the winter a few things can cause it:
- Sitting in heated rooms can cause water to evaporate from the skin (and most of us probably spend a good deal of time around heaters)
- The body uses more water to regulate body temperature in colder climates
- More water is lost when breathing in dry, cold air (normally the average person loses about 500 ml, or 2 cups, of water per day simply breathing. And according to one study, you can lose 42% more water, or almost a cup, when you breathe through your mouth instead of your nose)
Hydration is good for your entire body, facilitating organ function and digestion, promoting heart health, maintaining skin health, promoting immune system function, regulating body temperature, lubricating joints, and controlling blood pressure. Dehydration – the loss of 1-2% of your bodes’ water, can be dangerous. To learn more about dehydration and find out how much water you should drink, see a previous post on hydration.
Of course, it can be hard to convince yourself to drink water when it’s -2 degrees outside and your heaters don’t work all that well. Below are a few tips for staying hydrated during the cold winter months.
- Drink hot water with lemon – I know it can make you feel 90 years old, but it’s actually pretty delicious.
- Keep enjoying your tea and coffee – while coffee often gets a bad rap for “dehydrating” you, it actually doesn’t impact hydration when consumed in moderate amounts (300-400 mg of caffeine or 2-3 cups of coffee).
- Find a container that works for you – sometimes how much you drink is related to what you’re drinking from. I rarely ever drink enough out big nalgene bottles, but will pound water out of a pint glass like nobody’s business. Find something that works for you and drink out of it.
- Set reminders or find an app that works. There are several free ones in the app store that help you track your fluid intake and remind you to drink.
06 Jan / 2015
I am excited to announce that I will be providing Weekend Workshops, starting this Feb! Date, time, and cost will be posted soon! A quick description: it will be 3 – 4 hours depending on the head count. We will be practicing techniques, forms, and balance/stability on many exercises, including Olympic lifting, Gymnastics, and endurance. We will be performing drills for the movement, as well as mobility poses for every exercise. You absolutely WILL be doing a couple WODs during this workshop, come on now, its Coach Jen…don’t forget there will always be a surprise, well maybe……
Lets start this year off being MINDFUL, aware of your body, your mind, and soul.
This is not easy to do, but it can absolutely be DONE! Practice brings perfection, and the greatest part of Mobility isn’t just physical awareness. Connecting with you body in a positive way will give you time, and experience to enjoy life in a different light. So, start this year with an effort of forcing yourself to commit to Mobility.
Challenge yourself to plan your week and attend as many classes as possible, and go to every mobility workshop. What I want EVERYONE to do is be truly willing to do this challenge. Write down what you feel within your body and mind the first class that you take. Then a month later, write down how you feel, where you feel differences, and what you need to continue working on. IF you are doing the Whole Life Challenge, combine it with the Mobility. Write down what you feel at the start of the Whole Life Challenge, about food intake, works outs, and mobility.
IF you have ANY questions PLEASE email me: [email protected]
Obstacles and trials are not a reason to give up, but challenge to improve ourselves. Our pain is not an excuse to back out, but an inspiration to move on.
“If you persistently seek validation from others, you will inadvertently invalidate your own self-worth.” -Dodinsky
NEW YEAR, NEW YOU!
Love, Peace, Happiness -
06 Jan / 2015
Hey Guys! Welcome to January, aka, Mike Gillette’s HOUSE OF PAIN! I kid, but as you may have noticed over the last few days, there is A LOT to cover in each of Coach Mike’s programmed classes. One thing we discussed was asking members to hop on a bike or a rower for four minutes as a pre-warmup warmup, which would allow us a little more time to cover the intended programming. What do we think about this? Let’s discuss!
Also. Sign up for the throwdown or I will maul you in mid-air like this lioness hunting an antelope:
Peace and bacon grease,
03 Jan / 2015
01 Jan / 2015
It is 2015 Baby! This is going to be an epic year as it is our 10th Year Anniversary. Hard to believe that it has been that long and yesterday we completed our 4th relocation of our gym. If you have not yet seen the space here is a video of the 95% completed project.
A HUGE Thanks to all that were able to help out the last few days. It would have been impossible to get it done as quickly as we did without you all. To the STAFF, thanks for putting in the extra time and pushing forward to get it all done. They were long days but you all just kept plugging away and it looks great!
With this year being our 10th Anniversary, we are going to have lots of fun events and activities to enjoy in. Beginning on the 17th with the Whole Life Challenge and MetroWave Fitness for hydrostatic measurements for body composition testing. Then we have the “Pick Your Own Damned Partner” Throwdown at the end of the month. Come February we are going to have a “Couples” co-ed Throwdown so be on the look out for that one as well. These are just the tip of things to come.
FRIDAY CLASS SCHEDULE
Friday we will be holding 2 Classes to launch the new space:
Saturday we will be back to regular schedule with classes at 8, 9, 10, and 11.
For those that have yet to make it in and see the new space, the address is:
100 Holton Street
Rear Unit (behind Dance In Motion)
Boston, MA 02135
I don’t know when the tradition started, but every year around this time everyone is either sharing their resolutions or asking yours for the new year. Resolutions tend to be big, sweeping statements like “I’m going to go to the gym” or “I’m going to eat better” or “I’m going to get better at saving money”. Now, I know we have a lot of smart people in this gym who will immediately predict where I’m going with this whole “resolution” thing. If you’re one of those people, feel free to skip to the end to share your New Year’s Goals!
For those of you who didn’t predict my post, or wanted to read my wisdom anyway, here is the problem: big sweeping statements often never get accomplished. They’re a good generalization, but you need to have a plan. HOW are you going to save more money? What outcome do you want from going to the gym more, and how are you actually going to do it? What does “eating better” mean? So, instead of setting a New Year’s Resolution, I challenge you to set a New Year’s SMART Goal. For a review, SMART goals are:
Specific – clearly define what you want to do
Measurable – how else will you know if you’re succeeding?
Attainable – something you can reasonably accomplish in the given time
Results Focused – measure outcomes, not activities (so just “going to the gym” doesn’t count!)
Timely – give yourself a target date
It’s also important as you form these goals to think about what challenges you might face, and how you’d overcome them. Planning is key, or you’ll just end up failing come February or March.
I’ll give an example using my own New Year’s
Resolution SMART Goal:
Resolution: to get better at mobility and improve core strength
SMART goal 1: To improve my hamstring mobility as evidenced by…. (still looking for an outcome measure and open to suggestions)
SMART goal 2: To be able to hold a plank for 3 minutes by September
Plan: Attend Jen’s mobility class or drop into a yoga studio for class 3-4 times per month, and add plank holds to my workout once a week.
Challenges: Making the time to attend yoga or mobility, getting my butt out of bed on a Saturday morning in the winter, motivating myself to do plank work after I’m tired from the WOD.
Plan to overcome those challenges: Go to bed early on Friday night and make plans with someone else going to mobility so they’ll hold me accountable, find a yoga studio I like and find a friend to go with me (anyone? Bueller?), add plank work to workouts where I’m not rushed – i.e. not the 7 am when I have to be at work by 9.
Alright CFB, what are your New Year’s SMART Goals?