27 Aug 2014
Well, that is, if you are drinking milk. A while back I wrote a post on organic produce, the point of which was essentially “Meh, nutritionally organic and conventional produce are very similar”. But that’s not gong to be the point of this article. The point of this article is that if you put dairy products into your body, they better damn well be organic 99% of the time.
How Milk Is Made
Conventional dairy farming can be a nasty business. Cows live in close quarters, are fed corn/grains (not the natural diet of a pastured animal) and receive antibiotics (scary fact: somewhere around 80% of antibiotics produced in the US are given to animals). None of these things is particularly healthy for the cow. And I haven’t even gotten into the pooping – how much, where it goes, and what that does to the environment. I’m not going to either, there’s enough on that circulating the web. (Or, if you’re interested in a comprehensive book on industrial dairy and meat production in the US, check out Animal Factory).
In contrast, the standards for organic livestock include:
- Organic feed
- Access to outdoors
- Ruminants must have access to pasture during growing season (at least 120 days)
- Preventive healthcare plan
- Prohibited use of antibiotics, growth hormones, genetic engineering, or cloning
Source – Extension
Why It Matters
OK there we go. Antibiotic resistance and superbugs are a HUGE HUGE HUGE problem that is continuing to grow. The more antibiotics are used when they shouldn’t be (like for prevention in all of our livestock, or when you have a virus like cold or flu), the more opportunity bacteria have to build resistance. And bacteria we can’t kill leads to disease and death. Can you imagine dying because you cut your foot at work? Before antibiotics, it happened. If you want to read something terrifying about antibiotic resistance, read this article on a post antibiotic era.
Another benefit of organic dairy is the actual nutrition, and there’s some evidence to back it up.
As far as dairy is concerned, several studies demonstrated the superiority of organic dairy compared to conventional. A review conducted in Germany added data from the last three years to an existing pool of data and found that organic dairy products are higher in protein and omega-3 fatty acids and have a higher omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio than conventional products. Typically, the Western diet is high in omega 6 fats and low in omega 3 fats, but a higher omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is thought to reduce inflammation and risk of heart disease. The authors suspect that these results are due to the differences in the way organic and conventional dairy cows are fed. (Palupi E, Jayanegara A, Ploeger A, Kahl J. Comparison of nutritional quality between conventional and organic dairy products: a meta-analysis. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Mar 19. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.5639. [Epub ahead of print])
Another study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture looked at the fatty acid and antioxidant profiles of various input levels of conventional and organic milk found that “highest concentrations of nutritionally beneficial compounds were found in the low-input organic system. Adapted grass-based feeding strategies including pasture offer the potential to produce a distinguishable organic milk product quality.” (Kusche D1, Kuhnt K, Ruebesam K, Rohrer C, Nierop AF, Jahreis G, Baars T. Fatty acid profiles and antioxidants of organic and conventional milk from low- and high-input systems during outdoor period. J Sci Food Agric. 2014 Jun 5. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6768. [Epub ahead of print]).
How To Choose The Right Dairy
Look for the organic label. Bonus points for grass-fed. And to avoid sugar, stick to plain dairy – no Strawberry milk, fruit on the bottom yogurt, etc. Also remember to look for organic when you are buying cream for coffee, too.
Photo c/o http://www.pinterest.com/hamcohealth/infographics-posters-memes/
Photo 2 c/o Mica Monkey
26 Aug 2014
Hey Everyone! Just thought I’d provide an update on some events you may be interested in checking out:
1. Friday, August 30th at 6 PM – Our very own Joe Mathias will be presenting a clarinet recital in the Marshall Room of the Boston University Campus (855 Commonwealth Avenue, 2nd Floor).
2. Monday, September 1st – There will be one class at 9 AM.
3. Sunday, September 7th – On this glorious day in place of (and extending beyond) the 9:30 class, we shall celebrate the ascension of two of our more venerable members into their golden years! Both Nigel Costolloe and Dave Lapidus will be kicking off their 50th year with a very special edition of the Filthy Fifty WOD. The programming for the day will be the Filthy Fifty, there will be food from Soul Fire BBQ available for purchase ($5 cash per plate), music by me, and there are rumors that there will be additional beverages provided. Drop me at line at [email protected] if you are interested in a plate of BBQ.
4. Saturday, September 13th – At 4 PM, our very own Candy Saunders will be roller derbying her butt off in Wilmington. I’ve seen a couple of bouts and it’s awesome! https://www.facebook.com/events/877739245588591/
5. Saturday, September 27th – Are you ready for our in-house throwdown? Over the last week, I’ve been letting folks in classes know that the event is going to be a 2-person TEAM throwdown. So far, we have about a dozen people signed up to participate and my goal is to have fifteen teams. In terms team formation, we would like to mix things up as much as possible. We’d like to pair Rx athletes with scaled athletes, newer members with “older” members, morning class attendees with evening class attendees, etc. What will the WODs, you may be asking? Excellent question! Here’s the first one:
WOD #1: Bulgar Wheat
10 Minutes to complete:
500m Row each
20 Burpee Lateral Jumps each
AMRAP Squat Cleans (135/95) or (95/65)
1. One rower per team, movements must be performed in order
2. Partner #1 can perform burpees and squat cleans while Partner #2 rows
3. When 1000m row is completed, only one partner can work at a time
It’s sure to be a great time, so sign up with the link below!
Peace and bacon grease,
21 Aug 2014
HOLY PR’S BATMAN!
Do you follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/crossfitboston)? Twitter (@crossfitboston)? If so you will see the pics of members hitting new personal bests during class. Cindy was lights out with 4 of you (Nigel “Pencil Neck”, Isle, Paul, and Shirtless Bob) all completing more than 20 rounds. Great work! Beyond that accomplishment there were many that completed the WOD as Rx for the first time and Audrey hit all of her pull-ups unbroken for the first time. Wicked cool!
TO BELT OR NOT TO BELT…
That is the question. Some CrossFit purists would argue wearing a belt is cheating or blasphemy. The belief is that the amount of lifting performed in CrossFit training develops our midline and that a belt is doing for us what our own body should be doing. Is this thought process correct? What exactly does a belt do?
Nick Horton from Breakingmuscle.com wrote an excellent piece outlining the pros and cons of a lifting belt and Mike Robertson wrote a piece for T-Nation. Read more about them here and here then post your thoughts to comments.
I have been barbell training for 26 years and I have always worn a belt for anything over 70% of my maximal lifts. Should you? That is for you to decide.
We are continuing finding the 3RM this upcoming week for some strength lifts. Be sure to upload your results to Pocket Coach. The revamped version is due to launch this fall. You will want to have your information up to date so that you can get the most out of your training.
1. Power Clean – 2RM
Squat clean @ 50% of 2RM
20 Calories on the A/D (12 calories on the rower)
With a partner each perform the following 3 rounds for time in Relay style alternating each round
21 Kettlebell Swings, 24kg/16kg
15 Power Snatches, 135/95
1. Front Squat – 3RM
2. AMRAP 4
rest 5 minutes
5 Hang Power Clean, 95/65
1a. Handstand Push-ups cluster 2,2,2 x 3; rest 1:00 between sets
1b. Pistols cluster 4,4,4 each leg x 3; rest 1:00 between sets
2. Complete this couplet for time (alternate movements)
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Thrusters, 95/65
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 Chest to bar pull-ups
10 rounds of
30 seconds of wall balls, 20/15
30 seconds ball slams, 20/15
2 minutes rest
1. AMRAP 4
rest 8 minutes
2. AMRAP 4
rest 8 minutes
3. AMRAP 4
1. Jerk from the rack – work up to a heavy single
2. EMOM Row 15/12 calories on the rower.
How long can you continue? 10 rounds? 15 rounds? 20?
20 Aug 2014
Sometimes deciding what to blog about is hard, so I love when you guys ask me questions and give me some inspiration! Shout out to Shannon Flahive for emailing me a question on olive oil v. canola oil to get this blog rolling. If you’d like me to answer a nutrition question in the blog, email me at [email protected]
Canola oil has been making headway in the US as a “healthy oil”. Multiple sources cite it as having the following benefits:
- Less saturated fat (only about 6%) than any other oil
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Higher level of mono-unsaturated fats (observed to be good for cholesterol) than any oil except olive
But what really IS canola oil? There is, after all, no such thing as a “canola” plant. And is it really healthier than other oils, like olive?
No, really. Canola oil comes from the seeds of the rape plant, in the same family as mustard, radishes, and cauliflower. Rapeseed had been used in Asia and Europe as lamp oil, and later cooking oil, and later became useful for lubricating steam engines on large ships. The oil from the rapeseed was not ideal for eating because of high contents of eurcic acid, which has been linked to heart muscle damage, but in the 1960′s and 1970′s Canadian plant breeders used traditional cross-breeding practices to mostly eliminate the eurcic acid (subbing in oleic acid instead) and create an oil fit for human consumption. Canola Oil – an abbreviation for Canadian Oil – replaced rapeseed oil production by the 1980′s and is produced in Canada. Canola oil is most often used for cooking or salad. dressings.
Olive oil is – obviously – produced by pressing tree-ripened olives. Olive oil is produced in a variety of places, and the taste can vary based on origin. There are several types of live oil: extra virgin (the result of the first press of the olive and has less than 1% acid - this is widely considered the best type), virgin olive oil (also first press, but higher acid content of up to 3%), Fino oil (a combination of extra virgin and virgin olive oil), and simply “olive oil” (a combination of fino and virgin or extra virgin oils). In the US, we also have light olive oil, which is simply olive oil refined to create a lighter color and less intense flavor (the calorie and fat numbers are the same as regular olive oils).
Olive oil has a smoke point of 375 degrees F, making it best suited for lower temperature cooking like sautéing. The light olive oil has a smoke point of 468 degrees, making it more suited to frying (or baking, given its light taste). Canola oil’s smoke point at 400 degrees also makes it good for frying. Imagine that – a “healthy” oil ideal for frying.
Many food companies and retailers are using canola oil in their products, likely because it’s supposedly healthier and more versatile given that it is flavorless and has a high smoke point.
Isn’t this the big question? There have been some scares about canola oil circulating the internet, but so far I didn’t find much to be worried about.
Olive – A litany of research has shown olive oil to be beneficial for health, and a Mediterranean diet including olive oil has been associated with lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, and lower cholesterol numbers.
Canola – A quick review of PubMed turned up nothing remarkably scary or miraculous. A review from 2013 in the journal Nutrition Reviews found “substantial reductions in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, as well as other positive actions, including increased tocopherol levels and improved insulin sensitivity, compared with consumption of other dietary fat sources”.
From what I can tell, Canola oil isn’t terrible for you. It may also not be great for you. Just because it is lowest in fat does not make it healthiest. It’s worth pointing out that olive oil has been around since before Jesus was cool, but Canola oil has only been around since ZZ Top was, so olive had a bit of a head start (and a longer proven record) than canola.
If you’re looking for a new oil to cook with, well… why ? Olive oil is fantastic for sautéing and makes everything (in my opinion) more delicious. Coconut oil or grass-fed butter are good for the limited amount of baking you should ideally be doing. And if you need to fry something – I guess Canola oil works. But so does light olive oil.
If you find canola oil in your Whole Foods Hot bar or other prepared or packaged food, it’s fine in moderation. But you’re better off cooking for yourself with an oil that wasn’t derived from what was once engine lubricant
19 Aug 2014
So, you’ve just destroyed the WOD and you’ve recovered enough to realize that your classmates are still plugging away at the WOD. What do you do first?
(A) Write my time on the board
(B) Clean up my gear
(C) Gossip with members of the next class
(D) Cheer on the members of my class
The correct answer is D! We cheer on our fellow compatriots until they are done with their WOD. That’s great, Mickey, but I wasn’t a cheerleader in high school or college so I don’t know how to cheer. Well, grasshopper, thank goodness I have some tips on cheering for you!
1. Be positive! Use positive language rather than negative language. In the Level 1 certs, they teach us that when we say “Don’t stop” all the athlete hear’s is “Stop.” So, rather than say “don’t stop,” we should cheer people on with “keep moving” and “you’re doing awesome.”
2. Help athletes remained uncapped mentally. There are studies that show that when marathon runners are told that they’re “almost done” they actually start slowing down in anticipation of being finished. The takeaway of the study was that the body goes where the mind leads and if the mind hears that it’s almost done, it will inform the body to slow down. In Crossfit, the end of WODs is often where we are pushing ourselves and improving our conditioning. The worst, of course, is being told that you’re almost done when you actually have another full round (or more!) to complete!
3. Do aerial tricks. It may be hard to believe, but in a double-blind controlled study performed by Leland Stanfurd Junior University researchers, it was proven beyond a doubt that Crossfitters finished 25% faster when their fellow classmates cheered them on with backflips, cartwheels, and other cheers that involved the cheerleaders leaving the ground. Why do this? SCIENCE!
In any case, you guys have been killing it in the gym this summer and I’m looking forward to seeing those backflips soon!
Peace and bacon grease,
P.S. Who’s interested in heading out to the Tsongas Arena to check out the NPGL, where Crossfitters will get all sweaty and swole? Email me at [email protected] if you’re interested. I propose we leave CFB Sunday afternoon at 1 PM.
P.P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for our In-House Throwdown on Saturday, September 27th! We’ve already got a bunch of participants and so far, the women account for more than 70% of the field. GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES!
17 Aug 2014
Hey guys! As we work on our goats, I’m in charge of ensuring that our pull-ups are in a state of constant improvement. Beginning in September, you will have the option of working on pull-ups every Tuesday after (or before) class. Over the next few weeks, please determine how many strict pull-ups you can currently do to figure out which level you are in. Here are those levels:
15 Aug 2014
Hey! Something that’s been on my mind for some time is best practices for success in your fitness. I have been meaning to put paper to pen but…Here are my TOP 5 best practices to be successful in your fitness. Keep in mind this is not absolute and I make no claims to be a demigod with devout clarity. I am just an aging CrossFit gym owner that loves to sweat and get others in the best shape of their lives.
5. Warm-Up PRE-Mobility – Get the blood flowing before stretching or rolling. This can be a short run/row/bike/jump rope. Mix it up and vary the duration from as little as 5 minutes to as long as 15 minutes depending on what you need for that day. I have gone as far as 20 minutes at really easy pace before mobilizing and hitting a WOD. Of course this will require you to have the ability to show up 10-20 minutes before class. The benefits ARE worth it!
4. Aerobic Base v. Strength Base – If you come from an endurance background or have participated in sports with an endurance base, then you need to prioritize your strength building. For example, someone that played soccer or ran cross country already has a solid CV/CR endurance base and will see the greatest improvement in CrossFit performance by prioritizing strength work.
Just the opposite is true for someone that has a power sport background. Football players, wrestlers, power lifters and weightlifters need to develop a better aerobic base. That means hitting some Long Slow distance work at an easy pace. This is exactly where I fall and I have been spending more and more time on it with great results.
3. Cut the Sugar – I am referring to any added sugar to food products or cooking that you consume on a daily basis. You will be totally surprised at how much sugar is added to make processed food palatable. I am sure Coach Alex can really go deeper on this topic and outline why it is your best interest to limit/avoid sugar consumption.
2. Sleep, Mobility, Stretch – You spend anywhere from 4 to 12 hours a week in the gym. That leaves at a minimum 156 hours where you are not in the gym training. What you do with this time is just as important if not more so than what you do inside. Sleep is crucial and there is research suggesting timing your sleep to follow the (REM/NREM) stages that last approximately 90 minutes each cycle. This research says that the total duration is not as important as being in alignment with the cycle. So if you tend to sleep less, try to get 3/4.5/6 hours of sleep to ensure you wake up feeling refreshed. Try it and see how it works for you.
The human body is meant to move. Our society has become one that is less and less active. This is not good. When you are not training or not sleeping you need to make sure that you incorporate frequent and brief sessions of movement that include some stretching or mobility. Get up from your desk, hit some upward and downward dogs. Stand instead of sitting while you work. Take the stairs. You will feel better and have more energy.
1. Cook for Yourself or Get Custom Fit Meals – You need to know what you are putting into your body. See #3. From watching the Food Network, it is astonishing to me how many recipes call for SUGAR and other ingredients that are not best for you. The only way to control this is to prepare your own foods or order prepared foods from a company such as Custom Fit Meals.
WHAT’S ON TAP/PROGRAMMING
These next two weeks we are going to be working up to 2RM’s in some of the lifts. The next couple cycles of programming is going to have a lot of percentage work based on these numbers. You will need the following: Back squat (8/18), bench press (8/20), deadlift (8/22), shoulder press (8/1), push press (8/9), power clean (8/25), and front squat (7/25). If you didn’t complete the lifts on the prior dates then you may use a recent (1-3 months) 1-3 Rep Max for any of the lifts.
We need everyone to get numbers for these lifts to allow class to move smoothly. The percentage work will begin on 9/3.
1. Complete reps of 15-12-9 for time of
135/95 Squat Snatch
2. Handwalking practice. If you cannot walk on your hands, then practice balancing just off a wall.
Run a Partner 5k (Both run/finish together) (Row is 6k)
then AMRAP 12
5 Deadlift, 205/145
1. Back Squat – 2RM
2. Complete 3 rounds for time
21 Front Squats @ 45% of 2RM
1. EMOM 12 – 2 Snatch TNGo
1-4 – 70%
5-8 – 75%
9-12 – 80%
2. AMRAP 8
15 Box Jumps
1. Bench Press – 2RM
1. EMOM 20
Odd: 5 Push Press
Even: 10 Burpees
2. Complete for time
1. Deadlift – 2RM
Deadlift @ 60% of 2RM
1. Power Clean – 2RM
2. 5 rounds for time
15 Squat clean @ 50% of 2RM
20 Calories on the A/D (12 calories on the rower)
12 Aug 2014
The Strength Challenge has come to a bittersweet conclusion. Everyone involved enjoyed the programming and absolutely CRUSHED the CrossFit Total. Every. Single. Person PR’d their lifts and increased their Total. I enjoyed working with each and everyone of them and truly look forward to seeing how they respond to the programming with their new strength.
Alright. Alright. You want the results. Well here ya go.
We had 3 ladies undertake this challenge. They were all completely dedicated to the programming. Ali put 25 pounds on her CFT and gained 7 pounds of muscle! Kristin put 24 pounds on her CFT, which should have been 35 pounds. Damn Deadlift…
Kathy? Oh yeah Kathy. She put 47 pounds on her CFT! What?! She also put on 3 lbs. of muscle and lost 2 lbs. of body fat… not that she really needed to lose any. That is pretty damn impressive for three months! So I am proud to say that Kathy is our winner for the women’s division of the strength challenge! Congratulations Kathy!
On to the gents. There were initially 5 guys in the running, but one dropped out due to scheduling issues. But the other 4 guys stuck it out… even while traveling abroad for one of them. There were some pretty dramatic changes for the guys in both body composition and CFT numbers. Rory Q. was a monster. He put 6 lbs. of muscle on while dropping 11 lbs. of body fat! What?! I want results like that! He also added 65 lbs to his CFT. Great job Rory! Denis T. was an animal too, adding 7 lbs of muscle and 25 lbs added to his Total. Atta Boy! Mark Pelofsky. Dude was traveling all the time. California, Seattle, Italy. You know your average weekend getaway. He kept at it though. His dedication truly showed. Mark added 7 lbs of muscle and lost 2 lbs of body fat. He also added 45 lbs to his Total. I’m so happy for Mark. He worked really hard over these past 3 months and it really shows.
Oh, and there’s this guy Tim. You might have seen him around the gym before. At least you have if you’ve been there these past 3 months. I think he might have been in there as much as me! His numbers? Eh. They were alright. He put on, you know, only 18 lbs of muscle! Get the f@$& outta here! 18 Pounds?! 6 pounds a month? And to add to that, he lost a pound of body fat. Then there’s his Total. He added A. HUNDRED. POUNDS to his Total. A hundo. A Benjamin. You get the point. Unreal. I guess that leaves no doubt who is the winner for the guys. Tim B. I am proud to say that you are the men’s winner!
Kathy and Tim will be receiving a nice little prize package including some Progenex, Pure Pharma, and a gift card to help fuel their workouts from Starbucks. But to be honest, I really think everyone that did this was a winner. They all put up some serious #gains and will be killing it in classes, so watch out! If you see anyone wearing their new Challenge t-shirt in class (not for sale, must be earned), give them a little space because they are going to be going H.A.M. on their workouts from here on out.
With a bunch of feedback from all the athletes involved, I am contemplating starting a new Strength Challenge starting in September. It will run another 3 months and will be done before December and all the holiday commitments take up your attention. If you are interested, please see me or leave a message below.
Congratulations again to Kathy and Tim!
12 Aug 2014
It’s that time of year again where we test our fitness against those that we WOD with every day… Our In-House Throwdown will take place on Saturday, September 27th, so clear those calendars! This is a great opportunity for some friendly competition and lots of fun. We’ll have both scaled and Rx divisions available, so whether you’re a seasoned competitor or a first-timer, this is a great event for everyone to participate in.
Our plan is to run heats of the competition from 9am to 1 or 2pm in the afternoon. The exact timeline may change depending on the number of competitors we get to sign up, but we expect to wrap the competition up early in the afternoon so we have time for some fun activities and a cookout afterwards. It is guaranteed to be a fun day, and we hope you all can join us!
Don’t want to compete but still want to be involved? Awesome, we need your help! We’ll need lots of judges and volunteers to help the day run smoothly. If you can lend a hand, we’d very much appreciate it.
As we get closer to the event, we will release more details and workouts. For now, take a look at the standards below, see which division you fall into, and get signed up! We’re very excited about getting as many people as possible involved this year. Get pumped!
Rx Division: Thrusters 95/65, Snatches 115/75, Toes to Bar, Double Unders, Unassisted Pull Ups, Wall Balls 20/14 to a 10′ target
Scaled Division: Thrusters 65/35, Snatches 75/45, AbMat Situps, Single Unders, Blue Band Pull Ups, Wall Balls 14/10 to 10′ target
What: CrossFit Boston In-House Throwdown
When: Saturday, September 27th
Where: Here! CrossFit Boston
NB: Most of the content of this post was lovingly borrowed from our friends at CrossFit Southie.
08 Aug 2014
Hey guys! Our Buffalo wing gathering is on for this Sunday at 4 PM at
Silvertone (69 Bromfield Street, Downtown) Buff’s Pub (317 Washington Street, Newton). For those without cars, we can meet at the gym at 3:30 and carpool in together. If you haven’t yet emailed me to let me know you’re coming, please do so at [email protected] Also, I’m curious to see how many people would be interested in snagging a classic CFB05 t-shirt (and in what colors and sizes), should they become available again. Comment away!