Weekly Reading

Posted by & filed under Nutrition, Uncategorized.

        

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruits, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. -Greg Glassman
This sounds easy enough, however millions upon millions of dollars are spent trying to find that right diet and the most simplistic formula for health and weight loss.  The bottom line is to eat real food.   That means plants (fruits and vegetables),  seeds and nuts, and unprocessed, grass-fed meats.  The human genome has been evolving for 2 million years.  For the vast majority of that span, our species followed that guideline unintentionally and with remarkable success.  Regardless if it is low fat, low carb, Zone, Atkins, blah, blah, blah that you subscribe to, by eating real, unprocessed foods you will be well on the way to optimal health.
    The "plant" portion of the above equation is easy.  It is up to you to decide how much of them you eat:  "Zone" parameters or lower carb than that.  Fats are easy as well.  Olive oil, nuts, coconut oil, avocados etc…will fit the bill nicely.  The harder part is protein.  I try and stick to fish in the form of sardines, herring, and wild caught salmon.  They are high in Omega 3, low on the food chain so there is less of a concern about mercury, and they are relatively inexpensive.  I also try to eat meat in the form of grass-fed meat.  Here is one plug for it here.  I know  Boney's behind the gym likes to ticket cars for parking in their lot, but they do have grass-fed meat at a reasonable price.  I recommend swinging by after the WOD and checking it out.

    Here are some more articles for you to read through.  This one is an explanation of cholesterol.   As  you know , I am not a fan of grains in any way, shape, or form outside of beer and single-malt scotch.  This article starts to touch on why.  We'll throw this one in the no sh*t category. 

Let me know if there are any subjects you'd like to see covered. 

Weekly Reading

Posted by & filed under Nutrition, Uncategorized.

I apologize for not posting anything yet for this week.  I have been on the road and get back late Tuesday and haven't had the time nor adequate acces to the internet to get the site updated.  However, this week has made me realize the difficulty one can have when living out of a hotel in regards to nutrition and working out.  Some lessons learned:

1.  If you have been hitting it hard at the gym, traveling is a perfect opportunity to take an extra day or two off and let the body recover.
2.  Establish a routine immediately.  Set aside time to workout and incorporate that into your daily routine.
3.  Get creative in the workouts.  If access to weights is limited, it is a good opportunity to work on things like handstand pushups and L-sits.  Throw in a longer distance run.  Tabata anything works in a hotel room or a pathetic fitness center.
4.  Limit eating out and be selective.  Choose high protein choices and substitute potatoes / fries / rice with more vegetables.
5.  Hit up a grocery store-I happened to have a Whole Foods down the street.  Walk around and explore some of the pre-packaged food products.  I found an Indian Chicken Marsala that had 40gP, 30gF and 18g C for a couple of bucks.  That is one meal right there and it was good as hell.  Canned salmon, sardines etc…and coconut milk along with almonds work as well.  It is easier to store a few pieces of fruit than vegies.
6.  If you haven't experiemented with intermittent fasting (IF), a trip is a good time as well.  I normally fast about 15 hours a day, but on the road with less intense workouts, I expanded that to 18-20 hours.  I tried to keep caloric intake in the ballpark of my daily norm.

What is interesting is that my already low carb intake was reduced even more this past week.  I kept my protein and fat intake about the same, but my carbs were way under 60 grams.  The net result was that I lost 4 pounds in 6 days.  If it wasn't for beer, it would have been even more.  Anyone who tells you fat makes you fat is stoned.  If you want or need to drop weight, high protein / high fat with low carb and IF thrown in for good measure is a damn effective way to lose weight and maintain muscle mass.  
Until I get back and post some descent links, I recommend checking out Mark's Daily Apple this week. There were some interesting posts on it that are worth reading.  6 AM mugs-I'll see you Thursday.

Weekly Reading

Posted by & filed under Nutrition, Uncategorized.

This first article has little to do with nutrition, but is excellent nevertheless.  It goes into the hip and its importance to function and power.  

I feel the Zone is a great starting point for most people.  However, it is still high in carbohydrates.  Robb Wolf discusses that for many it may be too high in carbs.

Here is an explanation of the different types of fats, their characteristics, and where they are found.

While on the subject of fats, the omega fats are covered here.

This last one came up yesterday.  It is an interesting look at just how powerful our addiction to carbohydrates are.

Weekly Reading

Posted by & filed under Nutrition, Uncategorized.

    My eye always catches articles on health and nutrition whether on the news, web, or newspaper.  So much of the "healthy" advice given by the doctors and registered dieticians in these articles is total garbage.  Getting on my soapbox:  America is outraged at the deaths of the 4000+ volunteers who willingly and knowingly made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  There is absolutely zero outrage about the hundreds of thousands who are sick, have cancer, or CVD all from following bad advice on nutrition from the so-called experts.  The Food Myths from Scott Kustes is the best summary to date that I have read which counters the crap out in the mainstream regarding nutrition.  Read these two articles.  Print them out.  Pass them around.  Give them to your soy-indulging, vegetarian friends.  At the very least: Learn.
Myths of Healthy Eating Part 1 and 2
This link gives you both parts 1 and 2.  Click on the link, then click on the embedded links on the site to download the pdf file. 

This next link uses modern dairy production as an example of the Unhealthy Dogma that has led us to the state we are in.

Let me know if there are any particular subjects you want addressed on this site.  Leave a comment or hit me up at the gym.

Weekly Reading

Posted by & filed under Nutrition, Uncategorized.

The subject of cholesterol came up at work the other day.  One of the guys who eats a low-carb, paleo diet had his cholesterol taken.  The results caused bells and whistles going off with the doctors.  Of course these doctors advocate a low-fat diet and (incorrectly) assume that the lower the cholesterol, the less risk of a heart attack you have.  Cholesteral Myths does a good job of debunking the conventional wisdom out there.

A few of us have been messing around with Intermittent Fasting.  This article explains how to get started.  The gents at Modern Forager recently covered the subject as well.This series explains the entire process of IF and why it is effective for health and longevity.

I am not a fan at all of grains.  Since I gave them up (excluding the occasional beer or 4 of course), I have noticed a dramatic reduction in stomach irritation and allergies.The subject of whole grains and human evolution are discussed here. 

If you have read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" then you should be familiar with Ancel Keys.  In my opinion, if we wanted to put the blame on one person responsible for the incredibly disgusting health Americans are in currently, he would get my vote.  Jack Lalane on the other hand has spent his life pushing the envelope and trying to get Americans healthy.  Take a look for yourself and make your own educated opinion on who is more credible.

 

Finally, this link opens Pandora's Box regarding health and diet.

Weekend Reading

Posted by & filed under Nutrition, Uncategorized.

     Now that I have finally gotten my act together I'm going to start posting interesting articles relating to diet, nutrition and health.  It gives me something to do while my wife is engrossed in "Project Runway".

The first is an outstanding guide for healthy living.  It comes from Mark's Daily Apple and is his "Primal Blueprint".

Mark's Primal Blueprint

The second article is an excellent explanation of metabolism and ketosis as it pertains to human evolution.

Ketosis

This article is a collection of thoughts and lessons learned from a personal trainer.  It has some great points.

Health and Fitness

Finally, a great article for all the parents out there.

Getting kids started right

Food Journals

Posted by & filed under Nutrition, Uncategorized.

     A lot of questions keep coming up regarding nutrition and diet.  That is a good thing.  The most effective way to find out what works for you is to keep a food journal.  Write down what you eat and at what time.  This accomplishes a few things.  First, it forces you to think about what you are eating.  Next, it forces you to weigh, measure, or read the labels of everything you are injesting.  Finally, it will allow you to see what macronutrient breakdown gives you the best results for health and performance at the box.  Try it for a couple of weeks and see what happens (For the 6 A.M. class, I'm checking them on Tuesday.).  Then every month or so, write it down for a week to check yourself.  Here is what I ate yesterday:

6:00 – Workout  "Religious"

8:00 – 1 cup of mixed berries, 2 T of coconut oil, 4oz of calamari and 2 turkey meatballs in 1/4c marinara
          22g carb / 28g fat / 35g protein

9:30 – 1/2 cup of walnuts and almonds
          10g c / 35g fat / 12g p

1130 – 3 eggs with 1 chicken sausage
           5g c / 22g f / 30g p

3:00 -  4 chicken wings and 1 apple
           18g c / 34g f / 34g p

6:00 – 6oz steak, 100g spinach, 100g brocolli, 1/2c coconut milk, 1/4 cup berries, 2 glasses of wine
         31g c / 24g f / 42g p

8:00 – 2oz beef jerky
         10g c / 13g p

This breaks down as follows:  96 grams of carbohydrate or 16% of total calories (2335), 143 grams of fat or 55%, and 166 grams of protein or 28%.

This would be in the window for a typical day for me.  Protein usually hovers between 30-35% and carbs around 15%.  After experimenting for the past year, that ratio and the types of carbs I'm taking in provide me with the best health and performance.  I only know that because I write it down and keep track.  I can't recommend doing that enough.

There is a website out there called fitday.com.  It will do the work for you and also give you a detailed breakdown of the nutrients you are getting (i.e. 578% of the RDA for vitamin A…).

CF Coronado’s Next Step

Posted by & filed under Nutrition, Uncategorized.

    I am continually impressed by the dedication shown by everyone at the gym.  It is hard to get up at 6 AM or head to the gym at the end of the work day and subject oneself to 5 rounds of "fill in the blank with…".  It is amazing seeing the improvement in everyone since the gym's opening.   Some have gone from jumping pullups to knocking out 20 at a shot.  Other's have gone from barely being able to touch the ground to deadlifting well over their bodyweight.  That same dedication needs to be applied to diet as well.  

    I'd venture to guess that the reason we all go through the pain and misery of the workouts is to better ourselves.  It makes us healthier, more fit.  But in terms of health, diet is dramatically more important than the WOD.  I come to this conclusion not only from reading on the subject, but through my own personal trial and error.
    Since I was a kid, I always ate what the government, doctors and nutritionists considered the optimal diet.  What that led to was low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides.  Once I found Crossfit, it led to a plateau in one rep maxes and benchmark workouts, a longer time to recover from a hard workout, and a lot of soreness.  I was healthy, but far from my potential.  
    Finally, after sitting through a few certs and listening to Greg Glassman talk about Sickness-Wellness-Fitness and the role diet plays in that, I decided to give the Zone a shot.  After 1 month, I noticed an immediate impact.  Every benchmark, max reps or 1rm improved.  I dropped to 6-8% body fat.  The Zone led to a more Paleolithic model of eating.  My daily diet now breaks down to 50-55% fat, 30-40% protein and 10-20% carbs; all from vegetables and some fruit…No Grains!  My HDL and triglycerides have a 1 to 1 ratio, which means my HDL is high / triglycerides low.  In layman's terms:  I may die of a heart attack, but my diet will not be the cause (it will most assuredly be my kids).  I can't remember the last time I got sick.  Recovery is short.  Soreness is limited.  New personal records are routine.
    What I am trying to get at here is that dedicating yourself to your diet should be as important as the effort you display everyday in the gym.  Read the books on this site; I'll lend them to you.  Check out the websites linked on this site; I'll walk you through them.  Read and educate yourselves.  Pick our brains.  Cut out the carbs.  Personal Records are great.  A fast Fran time is cool.  None of that can compare to waking up each day feeling good, never getting sick, and knowing you truly are fit.  That feeling can only come through dedicating yourself to your diet. 
    

Yo-Yo Dieting By: Robb Wolf

Posted by & filed under Nutrition, Uncategorized.

The dieting merry-go-round is an interesting thing. So much
information and good intention, so few favorable results. One result is
a sense of failure on the part of dieters that takes on the likeness of
a relationship gone bad. Promises are made, only to be broken and a
sense of betrayal ensues. Instead of the dynamic describing two lovers
this is the personal hell that many people face. Rosy picture isn’t it!

Part of what makes this situation so difficult is that people are
facing tough biological, social and psychological issues when
attempting to alter eating habits. All of these issues end up stuck
together and the glue, not surprisingly, is carbs. WHOA! you might be
saying…that’s a lot to lay on a piece of toast or a plate of
potatoes…but in my experience this is exactly the issue. Lets take
these apart one at a time:

Biological- When folks mention they are yo-yo dieting they are NOT
having a problem eating meat, veggies, nuts and olive oil to excess.
Whatever the clueless Mcdougalites may say, it’s not being ON the low
carb diet that’s a problem, it’s going off the rails and eating every
carbohydrate in site down to the bark on trees! Calorie restriction
doesn’t work and just feeds into neurosis. It sounds great and plays
into our puritanical leanings but it is a failed venture. I’m not sure
why but everyone from the government to doctors to theologians LOVE
this whole calorie restriction thing…”Eat less, be prudent..have more
water dense vegetables…drink a glass of water before a meal to blunt
hunger.” Bullshit. None of that crap works and it just leads people
down a path towards failure.

The people who have success with this stuff find a level of carb
intake that “works”. This level is different from person to person but
it mirrors what people like the Dr.’s Eades and others have said for
years.

Social- have you ever noticed that no one says a word to the folks
who eat a bag of chips and a coke for lunch but if you have a piece of
grilled meat, a bag of nuts and a salad you can sell tickets to your
lunch hour as a circus side show? It’s an interesting but well
documented fact that people do not like seeing others change or make
progress. Come from a poor or dysfunctional family? Did you work to get
healthy and perhaps wealthy? Are your family members excited about your
success or least bit resentful? We see this almost daily…one spouse
starts training and eating differently…they start making progress and
change and the significant-other freaks out. It either undermines the
efforts of our client or the couple tends to split. No shit here
folks…heavy stuff but we have seen this pattern play out dozens of
times the past 5 years. So part of yo-yo dieting is that people
undermine our progress. It kinda sucks to catch flack for trying to
affect positive change and sometimes it’s just enough to slide one back
to junk-food (that’s TOO MANY CARBS if you missed the section above).
Where does personal accountability come into this? Glad you asked…

Psychological- for some damn reason people have some kind of self
sabotage thing they get going. For some it relates to diet, for others
it’s betting on football and buying shit they do not need. Whatever the
issue is the individual knows better, sets their will for change…then
fails, feels like crap and the cycle continues. Some people do manage
to affect change…but no one knows what the hell it is they are doing
differently so it’s really tough to replicate. A growing number of
psychiatrists think that drugs, talk therapy and chakra balancing are
not very effective at helping people change. What is effective? Sleep,
omega-3 fatty acids, and a tightly controlled insulin level. I know
this is dragging things back to the biological but most of the yo-yo
dieting, bad relationships gambling…it’s all neuro-chemistry and you
either take steps to remedy the situation…or you don’t. If you are not
sleeping well (and enough), taking your fish oil and keeping your
insulin levels under control NOTHING YOU DO WILL WORK.

I’m sorry if this is a bit of a downer but some things just can not
be snuck-up on. Some things require a fundamental shift in how you are
doing things…if you want to kill the yo-yo dieting (and most behaviors
that are troubling) you need to do some combo of the following:

1-Best defense: Don’t be there. What his means is do not have crap
in the house. NONE. We do not have self control, we are not wired for
it. This is that deal where folks have 8lbs of beef cooked in the
refrigerator and they quip “I’m hungry…I’m bored with this…” You’re not
bored, you are addicted to crack and you need to decide how you are
going to handle the situation. If you absolutely MUST have some, go out
and eat it. Make it high quality and do not bring ANY home. No
Gad-damned Ezekial bread that can be gnoshed down at 2am as a peanut
butter and jelly sandwich. Meat & veggies, nuts & seeds…that’s
what you have on hand at home. If you are not convinced, let me use
this analogy:

Most people feel like they can pull off a committed, monogamous
relationship.They can avoid a bit of temptation, and do just fine.
Cool. What if you are drunk and you just took a whopping dose of
Ecstasy…and 10 of the hottest members of whatever sex you are into walk
into the room with you and insist on having their way with you. Refined
carbs are analogous to an alcohol soaked Ecstasy binge at the PlayBoy
Mansion. If you are OK with the consequences of that fact, fine but if
you are looking to affect change you need to know that will power will
fail you EVERY TIME. You need to plan and you need to keep your home
free of crack.

2-Rally the troops or go it alone. Tell the people near you, be it
family or friends what you are up to and that you need their help. If
they rally to your aid, great, it will really help things. If they
begin undermining you as I mentioned above you need to distance
yourself and minimize their influence. Obviously this can suck if it’s
your best friend, spouse or boss but things are tough enough. If you
let the people around you undermine your activities…bad on you. Your
eyes are open and you know better.

3- Give yourself a break. This may seem at odds with the
ass-whooping I’ve unleashed but you are only one meal away from perfect
compliance. Obviously this can not stretch into an infinity of
non-compliance (unless you are my parents!) but you need to take it
easy on your bad-self. You CAN do this but you actually have to DO it.

We see three basic behaviours in our clients with regards to food.
Some folks “get it”. They generally eat what they should, when they
should. They feel good and they make great progress at more or less a
constant rate. Some of our other clients are still stuck on the crack
and generally eat too much of the wrong stuff. They feel like shit
during workouts and make some progress, albeit slow. The final group
does not eat enough. Progress is stalled and in many cases retrograde.
This last group is actually a flavor of yo-yo dieting and it is hard as
hell to reach these folks.

Perhaps a line from Star Wars in closing:

“Do or do not, there is no try”. Yoda

What, Why, and How do I get started?

Posted by & filed under Nutrition, Uncategorized.

This blog is purely educational in nature.  I would never tell someone they have to eat in a manner that I find fitting. If someone wants my opinion on how to best optimize health and performance, then I will be more than happy to provide it.  If you are satisfied with you current diet, then surf back to the workout blog, select a workout and dive into it.  If you are interested in learning about how the top tier CrossFit Athletes eat, how they treat food as a fuel and their bodies as machines, keep reading. 

CrossFit is about balance.  We intentionally choose not to specialize because life and nature will often punish the specialist.  We strive to balance our physical capacities, creating a fitness that is broad, general, and inclusive.  We push ourselves in the gym, finding the thresholds of our limits, often pushing through them to achieve an even greater level of fitness and preparedness.  I hate to say it, but that’s the easy part.  We work out fast and furious once a day, and we are provided the opportunity to make "poor" nutritional choices multiple times each day.  Personally, when I am well rested with time on my hands, making the "good" nutritional choices are easy.  When I am in a crunch for time, tired, or a little cranky (that never actually happens), the less than "optimal" food choices start to look pretty appealing.  Once I make that crossover from a "good" nutritional source to a "poor" nutritional source, it’s hard to stop the landslide.  If one cookie is good, ten must be better right?  I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not alone in this battle.

There is no side effect to good nutritional choices, only side benefit.   If your main concern is optimizing performance, your side benefit will be an increase in almost every measurable marker of your health.  If you main concern is optimizing your health, you are going to be consistently surprised with your physical and performance gains.  There is no side effect, only side benefit!!

Over the next few weeks we will be posting and discussing issues that apply to Nutrition.  In the left hand column of this blog is  "Glossary of Nutritional Definitions".  Many of those terms will be the topic of the post, and how they apply to making good nutritional choices.  Above the "Glossary of Nutritional Definitions" are the links to CrossFit Journal’s 15 and 21.  These journals explain why we recommend the "Zone" diet, and are an easy reference for those looking to get started. 

The Zone is a perfect compliment to the CrossFit program, at it’s core it’s about balance.  This time the balance we are talking about is the Macro-nutrients that make up the food we eat.  Specifically, we are talking about Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates.  The best CrossFit athletes are structuring their meals to provide 40% of their calories from Carbohydrate, 30% from Protein, and 30% from Fat.  They do this at every meal.  Do they ever deviate (read cheat)?  I have no doubt that they do, but I would be wiling to bet they  stop themselves long before the ten cookie mark.

They eat this way because it provides their body with a solid and consistent state of energy.  They are not having rapid fluctuations in blood sugar, which aside from the volumes of medical research pointing directly at that fluctuation as the cause of many metabolic symptoms, it is commonly associated with eating like a pig. 

The first question is always "How do I get started"?  The answer is simple, but difficult at the same time.  The first step is to determine the status of your current diet.  How much, and of what are you currently eating? This means that you are going to need to create a food log.  To accurately determine your daily intake, you are going to need to write down everything that goes into your mouth for at least one week.  This includes beverages as well, I don’t care if it’s a diet soda or a leaded soda, it needs to be logged. Coffee as well.  With one week of solid information, you will have an accurate assessment of your current nutritional intake. 

Depending on your goals, where you go from there is up to you.  If you are interested in purely optimizing your health, we will start to focus on the quality of the foods you are eating.  The primary focus will be to reduce the amount of sugar consumed per
day.  The average American man, woman, and child is eating in the
neighborhood of 150 pounds of sugar per year.  That breaks down to
nearly a 1/2 pound per day.  The next time you are in the grocery store
look at the two pound bag of baking sugar, that is your average
American’s four day intake. The more you can remove processed or simple carbohydrates from your diet, and replace them with naturally occurring food (read fruits and vegetables) and complex carbohydrates, the more control you will start to have on your blood sugar.  Selecting high quality protein and fat sources along with high quality carbohydrates is going to optimize the way your body functions.   

For those who have their Macro-nutrient ratio in line, and wish to use their diet as a tool to optimize performance, quantity will become a critical issue.  You need to be eating high quality foods, in a quantity that is enough to fuel activity and lean muscle mass, but not be stored as fat.  There is no blanket prescription that works for everyone, the exact quantity is going to vary from person to person.  There is a mathematical formula that can be used to get you in the ballpark, but trial and error, listening to your body, and keeping accurate measures are the only tools to take you the rest of the way.  Before any of this, the Macro-nutrient ratio MUST be in line.