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Yes, the title is sarcasm. But these are real…

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 10.01.03 PMFrom TMZ: “High protein diets ‘nearly as bad as smoking’” 

From LiveScience: “High protein diets raise cancer risk as much as smoking” 

From the LA Times: ”High protein diets: bad in middle age, good for the elderly”

 

Let me start out by saying that I’m not going to tell you to eat less animal protein. But I saw this headline earlier and felt like having a rant.

 

I read the Washington Post iteration of this story first but couldn’t find the study cited. I then searched in Google News and found 66 articles. I read 10 of them, and none cited the actual source of the article. I also searched on PubMed but lost my patience after a page or two. So I haven’t actually read the original study or abstract, just the mainstream media reports.

 

What We Know

 

The study followed 6,000 people over age 50 for 18 years and found that people age 50-65 who ate a “high protein diet” (over 20% of calories from protein) were almost 4 times more likely to die of cancer during the 18 year study period than people who ate a low protein diet (less than 10% of calories from protein). The link between cancer and protein was only noted in people whose diets were high in animal protein (milk, eggs, cheese, and meat), but people whose protein was mostly from plant sources were not at high risk. On the other hand, people over 65 were less likely to die of cancer if they ate more protein. The higher protein diet in that age group was thought to be beneficial because it helped older participants maintain a healthy weight and avoid frailty. 

 

There was a concurrent study in mice looking at IGF-1 (a growth factor) and showing that the higher protein diet promoted tumor growth by increasing the IGF-1. The researchers also measured IGF-1 in 2,000 of the study participants and found that increasing IGF-1 levels were linked to increasing risk of cancer death. 

 

A Few Thoughts

 

  1. What kind of “animal protein” were participants eating? Was it grass-fed steak and grilled chicken? Or was it dollar value hamburgers and fried chicken?
  2. Was there any health bias? Comparing vegetarians to meat eaters can be tricky, because vegetarians have already made a conscious effort to do something healthy, whereas “everyone else who eats meat” may not have. A better comparison might be comparing vegetarians to people who are following a healthy diet that includes meat.
  3. Did they account for physical activity and other health behaviors? Often the health bias works both ways – people who make one choice in the name of health improvement tend to make others (like exercising, not smoking, etc). It’s likely they did, as most studies do now, but worth asking. 

 

It’s also important to remember that this is a long term, cohort study. These types of studies are good for identifying associations, but they can’t prove cause and effect. 

 

So What’s The Point?

 

Don’t listen to mainstream news when you want nutrition information. Keep eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy protein and fat, avoiding processed crap and staying active. And join me in praying for a study that FINALLY compares plant based diets to healthier diets that include animal proteins. Until then, pass the bison burger…

It’s finally here. The 2014 sporting season has officially began and…14.1 is a repeat of 11.1, which we just performed as a gym not more than 21 days ago. Familiarity breeds success they say and Many in the gym performed very well in this workout. It will be fun to see how it is attacked seeing this time around.

Happy Birthday Mickey! Mickey likes WODS that have familiarity!

Happy Birthday Mickey! Mickey likes WODS that have familiarity!

Reebok CrossFit Games Open 14.1 – Logistics and more

AMRAP 10
30 Double Unders
15 Power Snatch, 75/55

We will be performing The Opens each and every Friday in classes. You may “redo” the WOD over the course of the weekend, YOU WILL NEED TO ORGANIZE A PARTNER TO JUDGE AND SCORE YOU. All scores must be submitted so that I can validate them by Monday 8pm EST. If you think you have a chance to qualify for regionals, your judge must have passed the CrossFit Online Judges Course AND you MUST videotape your efforts. 

Good Luck!!!

I am a fan of James Fitzgerald, OPT, and believe he has a lot of great information on proper training for CrossFit both as a fitness program and a sport. Last year I began taking the OPT courses and read his blog almost daily. In the article below, OPT Coach and on-site athlete Robin Lyons shares her thoughts on mentally preparing for competition. I share it because I think it has value beyond the Open.

Get Mental for the Opens Part 1

In slow motion my eyes close and then re-open back onto the barbell. There are 60sec left in the 12 min workout; I’m breathing rapidly, my thighs are burning and something inside is telling me to slow down….“rest, you can’t go yet”…. and in that split second I have a choice to either give in to that voice or trust my training. Without hesitation I notice the mental breakdown and fight back with positive self-talk and cues that laser me back into the zone:  “let’s go”, “you train to be in this moment”  “you can do it”. I grab the barbell, chalk and sweat fall below me and I finish knowing I gave it everything I had. This fight is what I love in our sport, and over the years as a competitive athlete I have come to understand the important role of mental preparation in my success and failures. In high-level performance sports our ability to focus rules for better or worse.

Continue Reading…

What’s On Tap

Saturday 3/1

1. EMOM 15 – 2 touch and go squat clean

2. Jerk – 5×1

3. Tabata Squats

notes:
1. build up to as heavy as can be (may ascend)
2. From the racks

Sunday 3/2

PARTNER WOD
“Angie”

Complete with a partner for time

100 pull ups
100 push ups
100 sit ups
100 squats

The workload must be shared equally and alternate every 10 reps.

then

Partner 3k row – Alternate every minute.

Time separately for both “Partner Angie” and 3k row.

Monday 3/3

1. EMOM 14
Odd – 2-4 Handstand push ups
Even – 10 Box Jumps, 24″/20″

2. AMRAP4 – Burpees to a 45# plate

note:
1. HSPU are strict/box jumps games standard

Tuesday 3/4

1. For time
Run 1500m
30 Power Snatches, 95/65
20 Overhead squats, 95/65
10 GHD Sit ups
Run 500m

2. Accumulate 5 minutes of L-sit hold

Wednesday 3/5

1. Back Squat – 5×2 - work up to a challenging double and then hold for 4 more sets.

2. Pull up Ladder
3 3 rounds of following cycle:

7 pull ups
6
5
4
3
2
1

Rotate with a partner or a few to allow rest between sets

Thursday 3/6

Row 1k
rest 5 minutes
Accumulate 15 minutes in an unsupported handstand hold
rest 5 minutes
Row 1k

Score time for each 1k row

Friday 3/7

2014 CrossFit Games Open 14.2 – TBA

 

25 Feb 2014

Eat To Compete

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tumblr_mzwvmiCFBe1rkembbo1_1280As the open approaches, many of us are entering competitor mode. I’m sure Neal and the other coaches will be telling us lots about mobility and recovery, so I’m just going to talk about food. How you eat can seriously impact how you perform. Read on for a few nutrition tips to help you perform your best during the Open.

 

Before The WODs

 

Before a workout, your body should have a topped off fuel tank. This means you should have enough glycogen (the body’s stored form of carbohydrate) stored as well as some more readily available from food. In general, pre workout meals or snacks should be:

  • Enough energy to prepare you for the workout without leaving you hungry or with undigested food in your stomach
  • Low in fiber and fat
  • Higher in carbohydrates
  • Moderate in protein

Meals low in fat and fiber will allow your stomach to empty in time so you can avoid stomach discomfort. The carbohydrates will top off glycogen stores (which is important, since the body relies on glycogen rather than fat stores for energy during shorter CrossFit WODs), maintain blood sugar levels, and provide energy.  Protein will help you avoid hunger. In addition, it is important to be hydrated before exercise. The recommendation is that athletes drink 2-3 milliliters of water per pound of body weight at least 4 hours before working out to hydrate and get rid of any excess fluid (Rodriguez et al 2009).

 

After The WODs

 

IMG_0757Post Workout/Recovery is the most important time, as it is the time when your body reaps the benefits of all the hard work you’ve done. During the workout your body burns through your stored glycogen, you lose fluid to sweating, and muscle tissue is broken down. Recovery is when you can replenish your stored glycogen, replace lost fluid, and rebuild damaged muscles.

 

We used to think the precise timing of recovery was very important, advising that within one hour of a workout you had to have 30-60 grams of carbohydrate and15-20 grams of protein because this was during the time your metabolism was most active. The consensus was that eating right after the workout improved muscle strength and hypertrophy. However now we know that eating within this window is less important than previously thought (Schoenfeld et al). So, as long as you eat a good, nutrient rich (read: lots of vegetables and fruits) meal with protein and carbohydrates, and maintain an adequate calorie intake throughout the day, you will continue to build strength and fitness.

 

What To Eat

 

Try to eat something that not only provides these nutrients but also provides vitamins and minerals. Research has shown that chocolate milk may be a good recovery option because the milk provides calcium and magnesium, two minerals important in muscle contractions, and potassium, which is an important electrolyte lost in sweat. Other good options include a veggie omelet with fried plantain, sweet potato, or wheat toast and grilled steak with roasted vegetables. 

 

What’s your favorite post workout meal? 

 

Photo 1 c/o Public Health Memes

IMG_0757In response to our collective interest in eating healthier, food companies have started trying to make healthier products. Well, sort of. They are trying to make products that LOOK and FEEL healthier, though they may not be. Hence the emergence of things like veggie chips and other “natural products”. (As a side note, my biggest pet peeve these days is a bag of veggie chips proudly bragging “1 serving of vegetables in each portion”. Um, NO because fried potato and corn with some salt is not a serving of vegetables! But I digress).

 

What does the natural label mean?

 

natural_cheetosNothing. Squat. The “All Natural” and “Natural” labels on food are not regulated by the FDA or any other organization. Which means unlike labels like Organic and Low Fat, a food sporting Natural claim doesn’t have to meet any type of requirements. If not for worry of public backlash (or lawsuit), M&Ms and Coca Cola could use a Natural label on their soda and candy, too. The good news is, people are starting to recognize this (or at least lawyers are). Last year Naked Juice lost a class action lawsuit claiming that their use of the Natural and All Natural claims, despite the juices containing non-natural things like GMO soy. 

 

How do you know what’s really natural?

 

Look at the ingredients label. If it contains something that don’t sound like they occur immediately in nature (like soy lecithin, GMO products, corn starch, etc), avoid it. And of course, use common sense. Something can claim it’s natural, and contain all ingredients that are, but that doesn’t make it natural. Just like frying some potatoes does not a vegetable serving make (although I can’t make the same argument for home made kale chips).

photoAs many of you have noticed (and lamented), sleep is a big part of the Transformation Challenge. But sleep doesn’t just impact how hard it is to get out of bed or how much coffee you need to survive the day, it can also affect your food choices, sports performance, and long term health. 

 

Sleep occurs in two parts, non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. NREM sleep makes up about 75% of sleep time and consists of four stages. Stages 1 and 2 are the beginnings of sleep, when your start breathing more irregularly and begin to disengage from your surroundings. Stages 3 and 4 are the parts of the sleep cycle where the most recovery occurs, as breathing slows, tissues are repaired, energy is restored, and important hormones are released. REM sleep makes up the other 25% of sleep time, usually happening 90 minutes after you fall asleep and recurring every 90 minutes. During REM sleep, energy is provided to the brain and body, the brain is active – this is the part of sleep where dreaming happens – while the body becomes immobile as muscles are turned off.

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04 Feb 2014

Lot’s o’ Snow!!

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Hey guys. We are supposed to get 8-12 inches starting around midnight. With this amount of snow, we may not have the morning classes, so check in the morning to see if we are operating as usual or not. The goal will be to be back open for the noon class if we don’t have the morning classes. Again, make sure you check to see if we will be open for that class as well! Don’t wanna show up and be stuck outside in the cold wondering what’s going on.

Stay warm guys!

photo 1The answer to this question is yes, and no.

 

In one way or another, all forms of cooking remove nutrients from food. For example, boiling carrots and broccoli causes them to lose some of the cancer-fighting compounds like beta carotene (carrots) and glucosinolate (broccoli) which is washed away in the water. 

Both boiling and poaching can also cause water soluble vitamins like vitamins B and C to be washed away with the water. On the other hand, protein becomes easier to digest and more available when meat is cooked, and heating makes vitamin A, iron, and calcium more available in spinach.

 

So yes, the microwave causes a food to lose some nutrients during the heating process, but no, it does not cause nutrient losses greater than normal from any other cooking method. It does not “zap” those nutrients out of the food, and nutrient losses are not any greater than they might be from boiling or frying something. In fact, some think the microwave might actually cause less nutrient losses because the cook time is shorter. 

 

When The Microwave Is A Good Idea

 

In our world, it can be very difficult to eat healthy without a microwave. At least I would find it difficult to eat out or eat cold food everyday at work. So, sometimes a microwave can help us stick to our healthy habits. Microwaves are a good idea when:

 

  • You are heating up leftovers of a fresh, healthy meal you made from whole food ingredients 
  • You are heating up unprocessed foods like frozen broccoli or a sweet potato
  • You are heating up water for tea

 

When The Microwave Is A Bad Idea

 

photo 2Hey, sometimes microwaves make us lazy. If all of your meals come from square boxes or the frozen section of Trader Joe’s, and you haven’t used a stove or oven in the past month, it might be time to cut back on microwave use and spend a little more time on your food preparation. 

 

 

Bottom line: as long as the microwave is a secondary method of cooking (i.e. you use it to reheat home cooked meals) or a way to cook unprocessed foods (like potatoes or frozen vegetables) then nuke away! If you use the microwave daily because your diet consists of nothing but Smart Ones or Hungry Man, it’s time to consider a more unprocessed, whole foods approach and Eat Like It’s 1899

 

 

 

References

 

Harvard School of Public Health http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/Microwave-cooking-and-nutrition.shtml

 

University of Florida IFAS Extension: Eating Defensively http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1395

31 Jan 2014

Fire It Up! Jan 31, 2014

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One month already in the books!  Freakin’ unbelievable how fast time goes.  I can remember as a child where time felt like was in slow motion.  Now at the end of every single day I look back and try to figure out how it went by so fast.  

Those of you participating in the Transformation Challenge, how is it going?  What has been the greatest obstacle?  How are you dealing with it?  What has become the easiest part?  Share your experience in comments so that the rest of the community may learn and benefit from it.

FIRE IT UP! FIRE IT UP!

This week has brought a TON of PR’s in the classes.  On Wednesday night, more than 50% of the gym hit a new personal best for a One rep max thruster.  Monday produced very similar results with the Push Press as well.  Great work!  Keep working on the basics.  Relentless pursuit of doing the common, uncommonly well will lead you down a path far greater than trying to be sexy.  What PR did you get?

Krista pushing out her thruster for a new PR!

Krista pushing out her thruster for a new PR!

Thursday demonstrated that we still have opportunity in both knees to elbows and dips.  We will continue to stress the ongoing development of these movements.

WHAT’S ON TAP

There are 27 days left until the 14.1 will be announced for the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Open.  We are going to continue each week focus on 1-2 skills that are most regularly programmed in the Open.  This week it was the pistol.  Next week it will be wall balls and double unders.  Be sure to bring layers and even gloves for the wall balls.  The weather is forecasted to be in the 30′s but for the most part dry.  If there is precipitation then we will not be outside.

Saturday 2/1
BOS Creek WOD 2

Sunday 2/2
1. Complete 30 reps for time

Squat clean to a thruster, (95/65)

2. Bench Press – 15 minutes to work up to a max triple

Monday 2/3
1a. 3 x 20 Unbroken Wallball, 20/14
1b. 3 x 20 Unbroken Double Unders

2. AMRAP 15
10 Power Snatch, 95/65
10 Burpees
10 Knee to elbows

Tuesday 2/4
1. Back Squat – 6×2 @ 90%

2. Complete 5 rounds for time
9 CTB Pull ups
6 Handstand Push ups
3 Deadlift, 315/215

Wednesday 2/5
1. AMRAP 6 x 2 (rest 12 minutes between AMRAPs)
20 Overhead walking lunges, 45/25
15 Hand release push ups
10 Box jumps, 24″/20″

2. 100 Double unders for time

Thursday 2/6
1. EMOM 20

1 Power Clean + 2 Push Jerk – AHAP

2. Row 2k

Friday 2/7
Reebok CrossFit Games 11.1

AMRAP 10
30 Double Unders
15 Power Snatch, (75/35)

29 Jan 2014

Eat Like It’s 1899

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Vermont_cow

In 1899, William McKinley was President of the United States, a 50 gallon barrel of maple syrup cost $.89/pound, and the bicycle frame and motor powered vacuum cleaner were patented. But was really interests me about 1899 (and the years following up through the 1940′s) is how people ate. Just think about it for a minute…

 

  • In 1899 nobody had refrigerators or microwaves. So no Lean Cuisines or Frozen Lasangas for our 19th century friends. 
  • People in rural areas mostly grew their own vegetables. People in cities bought vegetables from the market on a near daily basis (in fact, most of Europe still does this. That might be one reason Europe does food better than America).
  • Most people ate meat from their own livestock or from livestock nearby. Many people probably still hunted their own meat (venison burger anyone?). Although people in large cities did eat meat from factories with some pretty nasty processes (go ahead and check out Upton SinClair’s The Jungle if you don’t believe me).
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28 Jan 2014

Training vs. Performance

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It’s competition season guys. That’s right, the Open is upon us. Many of us have just competed in Not Your Average Joes at North Shore CrossFit or the CrossFit Phoenix Rising Championships. Competition is a ton of fun and there is nothing like a big event to inspire some new PR’s and top notch performances.

With that in mind let us have a brief discussion of training vs. performance.

When we train, we are looking to elicit a training response from our body and mind that will increase our capacity. In most cases we want to train with “perfect” movement standards. That means those pull ups show the whole head over the bar, our kettlebell swings are perfectly in plane with the body in the overhead position, and when we do push ups our whole body moves as a unit. Every motion is another step towards excellence in motion. This is how we build capacity.

When we compete the goal is to meet the competition standard as effectively and efficiently as possible. How do we do our push ups in competition then? As efficiently as mandated… thats it… snatches, box jumps, dolphin burpees… all to standard of the event… Often times this leads to some interesting variation, there is nothing wrong with this, but we don’t do ourselves any favors by adopting some of these abbreviated movement standards.

I have always been impressed with the quality of movement at CrossFit Boston, especially with the barbell movements. Keep up the great work everyone!

-JG


Athlete of the Month

  • David Kemp

    IMG_1731

    Let’s start with a regret. I wish I had gotten off my ass and joined CrossFit Boston a year ago. Fitness-wise, it had been a rough year since I got out of the Marines and started at HBS (Harvard Business School). Not that I wasn’t working out at all, but what I was doing wasn’t [...]

Kid Athlete of the Month

  • ASHLEY SCAFETTA

    IMG_1397

    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 [...]

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