29 Jul 2014
Welcome to my inaugural blog post! Every Tuesday, I’ll be providing updates on what’s happening post-WOD in the gym and today I’ve got two great save-the-dates to share. First, though, did you know that in 2014, Buffalo Wings will turn 50? According to this entry in Mental Floss, they were invented in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, when the restaurant was faced with an over-supply of chicken wings. Why are we talking about Buffalo Wings? Because like Buffalo Wings, two of our members will also turn fifty this year!
On Sunday, September 7th, we will celebrate the birthdays of members Nigel Costolloe and Dave Lapidus with the Filthy Fifty and there are sure to be some surprises along the way. Come for the great workout, stay for the beers, grub, and good-humored ribbing of the birthday couple about their advanced years.
29 Jul 2014
You still have a few days to sign up for a 15 minute spot to have your body composition tested. Keith will be here on Friday evening and Saturday morning. The list is already getting full but he is willing to stay longer if there is a demand.
Click here to see what times are available.
As a reminder, the fee is $75 for the single dunk and we can conveniently charge your credit card on file.
25 Jul 2014
Here we are everyone! It’s another Friday and tonight is the In-House Throwdown! So Fire It Up! I am looking forward to seeing everyone since I have been away for the last week. Remember that afterwards we will order in some Soul Fire BBQ and bring whatever you would like to drink.
This time away didn’t permit me to train as much as I would have liked and it wasn’t very active at all. It was a painful reminder of how much our bodies just want and need to move on a daily basis. I am not speaking about getting into the gym and hitting the WOD but just moving. Go for a walk, hike, swim, whatever! Being sedentary is not good for ya! I have been able to train the last 3 days and I feel significantly better because of it. Keep moving!
Keith from Metrowave Fitness will be with us again next weekend. He will be able to begin weighing on Friday PM and then Saturday AM. If you registered for the first round then you are set for this time as well. There will be a sheet at the front desk this week to sign up for a time slot.
If you have not previously signed up but would like to participate this time then you can email Neal and sign up on the sheet as well. The cost is $75 for a one time dunk test. $125 if you want to pay for two dunk tests (Keith will return again in the fall at a date TBD).
Why should you participate? Hydrostatic weighing is the 98.5% accurate in determining your body composition. Favorable body composition is one health marker we use in the sick to super fit continuum. The scale is not a good indicator of fitness as it does not differentiate between muscle and fat. Further, those participating in the dunking receive a handout outlining recommended macronutrient consumption to improve one’s body composition.
WHAT’S ON TAP
Here is this upcoming week’s programming:
1. Snatch – 18.104.22.168 x 3 sets @ 73%; rest 3:00 between sets
2a. HSPU Cluster 22.214.171.124 x 3 sets, rest 1:00 between sets
2b. Palms facing you Pull-up cluster 126.96.36.199 x 3 sets AHAP, rest 1:00 between sets
3. 12-9-6 for time
Box Jumps, 30″/24″
With a partner complete for time (relay style)
21-15-9 reps of
Hang Squat Clean, 95/65
Then both run 1500m at the same time (both must finish for final time).
1. Power Clean – 188.8.131.52 x 3 sets @ 73%, rest 3 min between sets
2a. Ring Dips 8-12 reps x 3 sets, rest 1:00 between sets
2b. Glute Ham Raises (only to parallel) 8-15 reps x 3 sets, rest 1:00 between sets
3. AMRAP 6
15 Russian Swings, 32kg/24kg
10 Toe 2 Bar
30 Deadlifts, 135/95
1. High Bar Back Squat @ 20×1, 7-9 reps women/70% x 3 reps for men x 5 sets, rest 2:00 between sets
Complete 5 rounds for time
15 Overhead Squats, 95/65
Row 5 min for max calories
rest 4 minutes
Run 5 min for max distance (500m loops)
rest 5 minutes
Row 5 min for max calories
1. Shoulder Press – 2RM
2. EMOM 15
5 Over the bar burpees
1 Snatch, 185/125
Now, milk is a pretty decent food. It has calcium and is fortified with vitamin D, both of which are good for your bones. As a bonus, (low fat) dairy consumption has also been associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and is associated with lower blood pressure. In addition, milk contains a mix of protein and carbohydrates that make it a good post workout recovery beverage (or part of one that includes added protein).
But do you need to drink 3 cups (8 oz glasses) of it per day? No, you don’t. So where did that recommendation come from?
A Brief History of Milk In The US
Back in the 1940′s and 1950′s, everyone drank whole milk. It went in cereal and accompanied dinner. But somewhere around the 1950′s and early 1960′s, people started hearing that whole milk was bad for your health. That it could increase your risk of heart disease. So people stopped drinking it. In the meantime, the Dairy Industry kept on producing at high numbers, creating a surplus. This lead to the formation of the Dairy Checkoff Program, which according to Dairy Management Inc. works in the following way”
“Dairy farmers pay 15 cents and dairy importers pay 7.5 cents for every hundred pounds of milk (or the equivalent thereof) they sell or import into a generic dairy product promotion fund – familiarly called the “dairy checkoff” – that DMI manages along with state and regional promotion groups. That money – with USDA oversight – is used to fund programs aimed at promoting dairy consumption and protecting the good image of dairy farmers, dairy products and the dairy industry.”
So basically, the dairies pay the USDA, and the USDA promotes milk products for them. Totally legit, right? Now to be fair, it is recommended adults consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day, and a cup of milk has 305 mg. So while the 3 cups per day DOES meet those calcium needs, I think framing this in consumption of dairy alone (without more focus on other calcium containing foods) is underhanded.
Now as educated adults, we might be able to figure this out and recognize that while dairy isn’t bad for us, we also don’t need to consume a gallon of milk a week per person, either. But not everyone knows this information. In addition, according to a new report called Whitewashed: How Industry And Government Promote Dairy Junk Foods:
- About half of all milk is consumed either as flavored milk, with cereal, or in a drink;
- Nearly half of the milk supply goes to make about 9 billion pounds of cheese and 1.5 billion gallons of frozen desserts–two-thirds of which is ice cream;
- 11 percent of all sugar goes into the production of dairy products.
For more see Eat Drink Politics.
So, the government is promoting all this dairy, and much of it is in the form of things like sugary Boston Cream Pie flavored yogurt, strawberry milk, and to accompany fruit loops.
What Can We Do
My recommendation is to consume dairy as it fits into your life. I eat Nutty Nuggets cereal every morning, and on alternating weeks enjoy it with 2% milk or almond milk. I eat yogurt and cheese every now and again. But I don’t enjoy drinking milk, and I don’t add cheese or milk to most foods. I do, however, use Greek yogurt as a sub for mayonnaise in chicken or tuna salad. However, I know some people (ahem, Martin) drink a lot of milk regularly. And that’s fine too.
Here are my basic tips for dairy:
- Choose milk that is grass-fed and from humanely raised cows.
- Choose Whole or 2% milk or plain Greek yogurt. It’s actually pretty hard to have too much on a regular basis if you’re eating rich, plain dairy (at least I find).
- Avoid ice cream, processed cheese, etc as primary sources of calcium. The benefit of calcium from a box of Kraft Mac ‘N Cheese is not worth the cost of what else is in the food.
17 Jul 2014
First and foremost I am very proud of all my lifters. Everyone trained hard, showed up Sunday and gave 110%.
- Sharon walked away from the platform elated having not only achieving meet PR’s but lifetime PR’s on both lifts. She also went 6 for 6 successful lifts. Overall she increased her total by 6kg. Sharon got a silver 2nd Place Medal.
- Sophie competed in her first weightlifting meet and posted some very impressive numbers also going 6 for 6 successful lifts. She ended her total with her Clean and Jerk 1 kg from lifetime PR and matched her Snatch PR. Let me say these PRs were established 1 week from competition. Having gone 6 for 6 and hitting these numbers is mind blowing. It proves that the determination and hard work invested paid off. Sophie tied first place; however due to the other competitor weighing less, she medaled 2nd Place Silver.
- Sean has improved his form remarkably in the last year on both lifts, especially in a meet setting where you are attempting much higher weights than practice with 100 people watching. Sean Snatched higher than he did in his last meet but had some trouble with the clean and jerk. Next meet I am sure he will make these attempts he was aiming for.
- Joe was a last minute competitor having been accepted on the waitlist 2 weeks out. This was also Joe’s first weightlifting meet and he ended his snatch 1kg from his PR and hit a clean and jerk 1 kg more than his lifetime max. I think he performed remarkable when looking back on how little preparation he had as far as practicing the lifts consistently. I feel he is a natural lifter who has the ability to be great if he decides it is something he wants to pursue.
- Martin I know we all like to pick on Martin and he deserves most of it, but Martin showed up at my doorstep at 6:50am Sunday when he did not lift until 3-4 that afternoon. He helped me keep track of the warm up platform and the competition platform for 4 lifters. There was more than one instance that I had a lifter on each Platform and I would not have been able to manage this as effectively without Martin helping me with the early lifters and Sharon helping with the heavyweights. I know Martin stretches more than any human being needs, but he has also been a competitive athlete most of his life and it showed when he stepped on the platform. Martin hit 3 beautiful snatches obtaining a lifetime 5kg PR. He opened the clean and jerk with his last meet PR, and then hit a 5kg PR on his next lift. On the third lift he hit 100kg which is a 10kg lifetime PR and was so excited he dropped and celebrated before the judges told him “down” and he received a no lift. So on the books a 5kg PR but as far as I am concerned he nailed 100kg. We had a very frustrating week leading up in practice so I am very proud of the turnaround.
- Eric was also competing in his first meet. He has been training for months diligently. He needed a 205 total to qualify for National Masters so wanted to start somewhat conservative to ensure he made the minimum total. He very easily made the total and hitting 4 of 6 lifts but the misses were big jumps on the third lift of both snatch and clean and jerk but both went overhead easily just very minor mistakes that red flagged him. He is a very hard worker and has the ambition. No doubt he will succeed as far he wants to go with his endeavors.
~ Coach Julie G.
16 Jul 2014
Summer in New England always feels to me like trying to pack a year’s worth of outdoor fun into 90 days. It seems like there’s a BBQ, happy hour, sporting event, or party every weekend to tempt me with beer, chips, and all sorts of less than healthy fun. And while having a “cheat day” isn’t the worst thing in the world, having them three times a week all summer can add up. And since the BBQ is the most ubiquitous summer activity, here is a little advice on making at least some of those BBQ’s a little bit healthier.
- Don’t show up hungry – snacks at BBQs plentiful in calorie and fat content (think chips, boxed cookies, etc), with scarce vegetable offerings. Have a salad or some fruit before you go so you’re not starving.
- BYO… If you want to be sure there’s something healthy there (like delicious kebabs, see below) or grass-fed, humanely raised hamburgers (instead of Bubba Burgers) then the safest bet is to bring it yourself.
- Stay hydrated. Alcohol and heat can combine to cause dehydration. Water will also make you a little less hungry. Try to drink a glass every hour, or alternate a glass of water with each alcoholic beverage.
09 Jul 2014
If you played sports as a kid, you probably grew up on the delicious, refreshing beverage called Gatorade (or Powerade, although I think Gatorade is better). Originally invented at the University of Florida (Go Gators) to hydrate the football team during hot summer games, Gatorade now produces a regular and low calorie drink, “natural” versions of these beverages, as well as energy chews and nutrition bars. And their marketing has been stellar – watch any Gatorade ad and you’re pretty much convinced that you should drink this stuff because that’s what the badass athletes do (and who doesn’t want to be a badass athlete). They’re all about that inspiring stuff like hard work and determination. Well, at least most kids probably think that. As adults, we’re just trained to crave it. If I go running in sub 75 degree weather for longer than 30 minutes, I come back craving a blue Gatorade (because maybe the flavor is inspired by some fruit, but we just know it by the color. Yellow is a close second for me). Of course, Gatorade has also gotten some negative press surrounding their use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) – which they’ve since discontinued using - because it had been patented as a flame retardant and is banned in Japan and the European Union. But, is it OK to drink or should you avoid it?
Sports Drink Pros
Sports drinks are great – and have been successful over the past 40 years – because they provide the unique combination of dilute carbohydrate and electrolytes in an easily digestible format. Sports drinks have essentially been formulated by scientists to provide EXACTLY what athletes need during exercise to prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. The average regular Gatorade has 80 calories, 21 grams of sugar, 160 mg of sodium, and 45 mg of potassium. The G2 series is usually 30 calories and 7 grams of carbohydrate with the same electrolyte content as the original.
Other Gatorade perks:
- Helps prevent hyponatremia (salt deficiency), which generally happens when athletes over hydrate.
- The taste generally makes you thirsty, so you drink more. When you’re working out for a long time (over an hour) in very hot conditions, that can be a plus.
- It tastes good. Sometimes water gets old.
Despite loving Gatorade as a kid/teen just kidding I still love it now, this is the part that always makes me sad: the ingredients list. The Blue G2 flavor (apparently called “Glacier Freeze) that I like so much contains the following: Water (fine), sugar (OK I was expecting that), citric acid (not a big deal), sodium citrate (OK that’s the sodium, just with a different companion than table salt), mono potassium phosphate (potassium source), sucralose (commonly known as Splenda, because I guess 7 grams of sugar wasn’t enough to make it appealing to the American palette), acesulfame potassium (anOTHER artificial sweetener) and Blue 1 (that would be an artificial color. Ugh). So, most of the ingredients are fine, not everything that isn’t 100% natural is going to kill you, although I really try to avoid artificial colors.
In addition, a few other sports drink drawbacks:
- It often gets misused or overused. Pretty sure Lebron James needed some Gatorade in San Antonio when the AC broke, and it’s very useful during a half marathon or other endurance activity. But a lot of kids, adolescents, and even adults nowadays are drinking it while playing video games or at school. Unless you’re sweating your butt off during a workout, you don’t really need an electrolyte drink.
- The taste generally makes you thirsty, so you drink more. Yes, I realize this was also a pro. But when I return from a 45 minute run, I could benefit from 8-12 ounces and end up drinking nearly the whole bottle before it occurs to me to put it away. That’s a lot of sugar I probably didn’t need.
So, should you drink Gatorade?
My answer is yes, when it is appropriate and if you prefer it over other options. When is it appropriate?
- When you’re working out for over 60-90 minutes or in extreme heat conditions
- When you complete a WOD like last week’s 1K test on the erg and need a little extra sugar before the second WOD. However, in this case you only need a small amount.
What are some other options? Coconut water, diluted juice (full concentrated juice can make you fee sick to your stomach by adding too much sugar - compare 21 grams of carbs in 12 ounces of Gatorade to over 40 grams in the same amount of Naked Juice or OJ).
What are your thoughts? Do you love Gatorade? Hate it?
Some of you may hear words like “energy systems pathways” and “glycogen stores” thrown around a lot. Or perhaps this is the first of them you’ve heard. Either way, the burn of today’s 1K followed by a mini version of DT inspired me to write about how the body converts stored energy into usable energy to rule your workouts.
A Quick Biochem Lesson
ATP. That sounds familiar right? Well, it should ring a bell from high school biology. ATP is a molecule found in all living cells that when broken down provides energy for a variety of cellular processes.
Pathway 1: The Phosphagen Pathway
This pathways is used for the first 10 seconds of exercise (so today on the rower, the first 5 or so strokes). This pathway draws on ATP stored in the muscle for about 2-3 seconds, then uses creatine phosphate to regenerate ATP until that runs out. This explains why creatine supplementation improves recovery and output for short duration, high power movements. For more on creatine you can read one of my previous blog posts. Movements that might utilize the phosphagen pathway are short duration at all out intensity (like a 100 meter sprint).
Pathway 2: The Glycolytic (Or Lactic Acid) Pathway
In this pathway, the body breaks down carbohydrates – both glucose readily available in the bloodstream or glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrate in the liver – to produce ATP as well as a molecule called pyruvate. Pyruvate can either convert to another molecule that is used to regenerate ATP or can convert to lactate, which forms lactic acid (and causes that burn in your legs when you’re sprinting or rowing). Conversion to lactate happens when your body needs more oxygen that it is getting. This pathway isn’t very efficient, producing little energy for the input, but the benefit is that it produces the energy quickly. Your body produces energy with this pathway from 10 seconds to around 2 minutes.
Pathway 3: The Oxidative (Or Aerobic) Pathway
This is the pathway often referred to as “fat burn”. During the oxidative pathway, the body uses oxygen along with carbohydrate and fat to produce energy. This pathway is used for long duration, low power and intensity exercise. Think of running 6 miles, rowing around the river for an hour (obviously slowly so you don’t tip the boat…) or chipper WODs like Eva.
An important thing to remember is that the pathways are not mutually exclusive. While it’s easiest to break them down into specific time slots, multiple pathways are used simultaneously. For example, in today’s 1K, the first few seconds were mostly the phosphagen pathway. After 10 seconds, glycolysis picks up as the predominant pathway, and the aerobic pathway takes over the lead at around 1-2 minutes. But if you look at the graph to the left, you can see how at 30 seconds for example, all three pathways are providing some energy.
Why You Felt So Bad After That 1K
Now that I’ve explained the pathways, it’s easier to understand. By the 4 minute mark (when the 1K finally ended for most of us), you’ve burned through pretty much all of your stored ATP and most of your glycogen, but your body has only been creating energy via oxygen and fat stores for a few minutes. You’ve spent most of your stored energy and not had the time for your body to replenish it on it’s own.
What Should You Do
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about how, while a lot of sugar in the regular diet can cause problems, there are times your body needs a little, especially during training. During a WOD like today’s, where we red line for a specific test, and follow it up with another challenging workout, the body would benefit from taking some sugar. I would recommend about 15 grams of very easily absorbed carbohydrate, such as:
- Coconut water
- Sport beans
- Non-fat candy
You want to eat a little something to beef up your glycogen stores, but you don’t want ANY fat or fiber to slow digestion. Of course, I made it through the WOD fine without any carbohydrate in the middle (as did the 6 and 7 am classes), but if you plan on training longer afterward, or want to go harder on the 3 rounds of DT, the carbs can help.
30 Jun 2014
“It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.”– William J. Clinton
Ricky “501″ never quit this morning while attacking 80# DB snatches and 30″ box jumps
LAST CALL FOR SHORTS!
Tomorrow morning I am submitting the Pre-Order for CFB board shorts from Via Privé/VPX. If you want to try on a pair at the front desk you may do so, be sure to put your size on the sheet with the shorts.
One of the most confusing “no-no’s” of the paleo diet is beans and legumes. Most of us have grown up learning hat beans are healthy for us because of their fiber and protein content, and many vegetarians and vegans rely on them as a protein source. But, according to the founding fathers of the paleo diet, legumes are no good. But what exactly is a legume, and why can’t you eat it? (Hint: if you read on, you’ll see that you can).
What Are Legumes?
According to Merriam Webster, legumes are “a type of plant (such as a pea or a bean plant) with seeds that grow in long cases (called pods)”. The fruits and seeds of these plants that we eat are also known as legumes. The legume family includes beans, peas, green beans, and peanuts.
Why Aren’t They Paleo?
There are a few reasons the paleo community excludes legumes. A few of the big ones include:
1. They contain phytic acid/phytates, which are “anti nutrients” that block the absorption of vitamins and minerals
2. They contain lectins, a class of proteins thought to cause “leaky gut” in the shorter term and problems like arthritis and poor vitamin/mineral absorption in the longer term
3. Cavemen didn’t eat them
Why They’re Not The Devil
Sadly, a lot of the paleo blogs that explained why legumes aren’t paleo were written with a lot of doom and gloom. I closed out my Safari tab thinking my body was going to self combust if I ate a black bean tomorrow. But then I dug a little deeper and found out it’s not so black and white.
1. Phytic acid is the stored form of phosphorous. Phytic acid is often called an “anti nutrient” because it binds minerals in the digestive tract, forming phytate (a mineral bound to phytic acid). This does happen, although phytic acid can be broken down by several processes including fermentation, cooking, soaking, and sprouting. However, despite this drawback, there are some other benefits to phytic acid. When it binds minerals in the digestive tract, it reduces the formation of free radicals, making it like an antioxidant. It can also bind heavy metals (like lead or mercury), reducing their accumulation in the body. You can read this article from a great group of nutritionists and scientists at Precision Nutrition to see more benefits of phytic acid.
2. Lectins are a class of protein that binds to sugars. In humans, lectins facilitate cell to cell contact, and in plants they often act as a protection or insecticide. Lectin poisoning is a thing, if you happen to enjoy raw beans. When food passes through our guts, it causes minor damage that is usually easily repaired by the body. However, lectins can cause damage when they slow this repair. When that happens, the digestive lining doesn’t function as well as it should, allowing some undesirable substances that would normally be contained in the gut to pass to the body, and inhibiting the absorption of certain good substances like vitamins and minerals. This is what is referred to as “leaky gut”. If you eat too many lectins, your body will respond by trying to evacuate the gut – i.e. fun symptoms like diarrhea, cramping, vomiting, etc. Gut damage from lectin overdoes can also cause immune responses like joint pain and skin rash. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Like phytic acid, lectins can also be neutralized by processes like soaking and sprouting.
3. Actually, cavemen may have eaten legumes! A study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America looking at tooth decay in prehistoric skeletons found that neanderthals ate a diverse diet of available plants, including legumes. Although this study was in Neanderthals, it is widely thought that Homo Sapiens enjoyed am ore diverse diet than Neanderthals, meaning it’s likely they would have eaten legumes as well. I mean, it makes sense to me that if the could figure out tools and fire, they could figure out soaking, sprouting and cooking.
What Should You Do?
As I love to say in almost all of my blog posts, the impact of choosing to eat these particular foods will depend on a variety of factors, including your genetics, your current state of health, and how much of them you eat. I don’t think legumes should be entirely avoided, but I also don’t think you should eat beans and peanuts at every meal either. That would result in leaving out a lot of other foods with important nutrients – like grass-fed meats and eggs, or vegetables, fruits, organic dairy, etc – that you might otherwise enjoy. There are real concerns about lectins in very high doses (which is why they don’t offer to put Castor beans in your burrito at Chipotle), but a cup of green beans with dinner a couple of nights a month or the occasional hummus and carrots snack isn’t going to give you leaky gut unless you happen to be very sensitive to lectins (research shows individuals on the autism spectrum and those with Crohn’s disease tend to be more sensitive to lectin damage). If legumes are causing a problem for your body, more likely than not your body will inform you of this fact in the form of stomach discomfort, gas, joint pain, etc.
What are your thoughts? Do you eat legumes? Avoid them?