I've touched on it briefly before, just as achieving a high level of endurance does not equate to a high level of general fitness (marathon runner vs crossfit athlete), a high level of general fitness does not necessarily equate to health. I was inspired to write this post when reading Movement by Gray Cook. A line read "it's a matter of health versus fitness."
I've participated in many endurance events. After spending so much time running long and slow I realized I was pretty shitty at short and fast/heavy and I questioned my fitness. I used to think being fit meant you could run far, I really did. Then, while researching minimalist shoes I happened upon CrossFit and was absolutely destroyed by their basic workouts consisting of weightlifting, gymnastics and metabolic conditioning. I had a new definition of fitness. I wanted to be able to run long and slow and short and fast, jump high, play sports, balance, lift heavy shit from the ground to overhead , stand on my head and eat hella grassfed beef. That's what I have been doing for the last couple of years and I have been diggin it. I've gained muscle and feel healthier. Weird right?
A few weeks ago I came across a video put up by Josh Rubin of East West Healing and Performance regarding body temperature. We all know normal human body temp is 98.6. He mentioned that in a stressed state, the temp lowers and that by taking our temperature more frequently we can keep an eye on our health/metabolic rate/stress. Rats with higher metabolic rates live longer than rats with lower metabolic rates. Running cold and having a heart rate under 50 bpm perhaps was a bad thing... The viewing came about whilst I was experiencing on occasion, cold nose, cold hands and feet and a lot of fatigue. I had run a marathon a week before and had been working long hours. I took my temp and I was an icy 97.5. Metabolically stressed much? Those who know me know I am a pretty relaxed fellow but it appears not so according to Mr. Thermometer, and Mr. Thermometer don't lie. I asked a client of mine who is a nurse if she sees low temps frequently and she said almost all patients she sees have a temp under 98. NOT OK. Josh Rubin is all about Ray Peat and I have been looking into his stuff and find some if it very compelling. It has also lead me to check out some of Matt Stone's stuff. I'm becoming less aggro about Paleo and trying to be a little less stressed, eat more carbs and get my temp up. I just took it and I am up to 98.3. That is the highest reading I have had in the 2 weeks I have been taking it. Know what I did last week? Nothing. It was my deload week as I am currently doing 5/3/1 and the rest is built into the program. I started drinking more milk and more carbs and eating more frequently. It has raised my temperature and also, interestingly, now I remember my dreams when I wake up. Say what? Ya heard!
So what is the point of this post? Well, I guess just to say that my thoughts on fitness are progressing once again. Just as my perception of fitness was broadened from endurance to all energy systems it appears that it is again getting broader, from general fitness to general health and how the former may disrupt the ladder. It's almost common knowledge now that endurance athletics are bad for you. Constantly taxing the oxidative pathway, a bunch of aerobic exercise creates free radicals and cancer. No Bueno. Get off the elliptical and lift some weights. Now everyone wants intensity. But we will find that you can't go hard all the time or you will get burnt out. Too much Lactic acid, training the glycolitic pathway (read:CrossFit) is bound to have negative results as well, we are just not sure what they are yet. We need global fitness. We need to sprint, go for a long hike every now and then, do Tai Chi/meditate 3-7 days a week, lift heavy weights with 2-5 minutes between sets every week, eat organic whole foods consisting of 80-100 grams of protein PER DAY and we need to smash ourselves with HIIT every now and again too.
So that's that. Keep it real, keep it fit, keep it 2 legit 2 quit y'all.
Going mad for GOMAD+ CrossFit
OK so I quit my job and am getting certified as a personal trainer. I'm on the fence between CrossFit level 1 and NASM but leaning towards NASM as it is more general. Since I have more time to hit the gym and think about programming I have decided to do the GOMAD (gallon of milk a day) plus CrossFit 3 times a week plus Starting Strength 3 times a week. So I will be Paleo plus GOMAD. I have never had any issues with dairy so I am hoping my body accepts the large dose well. I am currently 6' 2" and 162 lbs and would love to gain 15 pounds at least. This was a resolution I made for this year so it's about time I get on it. My resolution was actually to get to 175 lbs so this should work. My focus is strength so I will be doing 5 X 3 of Back Squats, Press/Bench, and Deadlifts/Power Cleans 3 times a week. I will be doing CrossFit as well 3 or 4 times a week. I will gauge how my body is holding up and cut out the CossFit before I do the heavy weights. What were my other New Year's Resolutions you ask?
Get a muscle up - not yet
Get 15 pull ups - kipping yes, dead hang, not yet
Get to 175 lbs - soon if GOMAD is all it's cracked up to be
Buy a Truck - currently have a car which is better than nothing
Get a Pistol - Closer than ever, I have about 10 inches to get ass to ankle
Deadlift 2x body weight
Press Body weight
I started out doing Paleo plus dairy and have since changed to strict Paleo which means no grains, legumes or dairy. Since I do not have an auto immune issue I will still be eating nightshades which include potatoes and bell peppers. I will however be peeling the potatoes since the bad part is in the skin. I was concerned I would not get enough calories without my dairy but it has not been an issue. I will say I miss my post workout milk but have substituted sweet potato and left over meat for this meal. Sweet potatoes are delicious as well. I never knew, and they are cheap! I injured my back 3 weeks ago because I went to the gym even though I was sick and did some back squats with poor form due to having a foggy brain. I could barely stand up straight for a week and could hardly go the day without popping Advil. Sitting for 8 hours a day at my job really exacerbated the condition as well. I have been stretching and have ran and jumped and done some wallballs. I have no pain during the activity but my low back is sore the next day. This week I will take all week off and just do some mobility work. It is very frustrating to be so inactive but I know it is for the best.
My gf and I started a strict Paleo diet 2 weeks ago and she has already lost 4 pounds. She is someone who loves her pastries and sugar so it has been a struggle finding alternatives to a certain degree but seeing results so quickly is quite a motivator. She also has suffered extensively in the past from intestinal discomfort and that has improved dramatically since kicking the grains
Paelo Day 6
Last night I had shrimp tacos wrapped in lettuce instead of tortillas. I had some chipotle pepper sour cream, cheese and avocado to top them.
Morning meal: Coconut milk, half and half, 3 eggs, cocoa powder and 2 tbs local honey.
I had some stomach issues a couple hours after drinking this. I have not had that before. My guess is it is due to the half and half I used instead of whole milk. I wonder what the underlying cause was? I will have to investigate.
For Lunch I had an avocado and some leftover roasted chicken, probably 6 oz. I also munched on a few macadamia nuts and some deli turkey for snacks throughout the day.
Dinner consisted of some chicken I made in a pot. I seared the skinless breasts in butter then added chicken broth, onion, shallots, garlic carrots celery and cabbage and prunes with some various spices. It turned out pretty good but could have been better, it was missing something and I think I know what, potatoes. So potatoes are a nightshade and apparently ok to eat sans skin but the yam tends to be a better starch of choice whenever I listen to the Robb Wolf podcast he recommends them over potatoes though I don't know why. Perhaps they have more vitamins? Anyhow next time I will put some purple yams in the mix to give it a bit more mmmmph!
I have been logging my meals on FitDay and it looks like I am maintaining a rough average of 60/20/20 fat/protein/carb.
Paleo Day 5
I cheated over the weekend and had some Chinese food with the GF but have remained Paleo friendly since then. This morning was another Coconut Milk shake with 3 raw eggs this time, cocoa powder and 2 tbs of local honey. The honey made it even tastier! I find this High Fat shake to satiate me through late morning much better than the breakfast burrito I used to eat did. The burrito consisted of a flour tortilla, 3 eggs scrambled in butter and some cheese. It was zone enough for me but I like the shake better. I have also been eating bacon and eggs and find that good too. The "carb angst" as I will call it is dwindling. I was feeling "hungry" for bread even though I was getting plenty of calories but that seems to be subsiding as I get more used to running on Fat.
Paleo Plus Dairy, A Quest
Hello running buddies. I wanted to point you to a great website for Paleo Info. I'm sure you have heard of Robb Wolf, if not check out his site and listen to his podcasts. They are fun informative and free. http://robbwolf.com/category/podcasts/
Also have a look at http://www.archevore.com/ and google Paleo 2.0. That is Kurt Harris' take and explanation of the Paleo diet.
When I heard about eating paleo it jived with me right off the bat. It was like when I read the "What is Fitness" article, it made sense. I think I heard about it in the Crossfit Journal. Eating minimally processed foods that we were evolved to eat just made sense. I was an easy sell. Archevore gives the scientific details that prove it is a better way to eat and that should help most skeptics. It's not about eating like a cave man, it's about eating a more well rounded nutritionally dense fashion. Anyhow, I am no scientist so go to those sites if you want more details about the hows and whys. This blog is about my experience. I have decided to give the Paleo Plus Dairy thing a try and today is day 2. I may eventually get off the dairy but the #1 thing to do to improve health and performance is to get rid of the gluten (bye bye bread).
Yesterday I had a headache for about 6 hours. It could have been because I was overtired or because I had not eaten bread. I lean towards the former as I have not been getting enough sleep the past few days (that will be fixed tonite). For breakfast I had a shake that consisted of coconut milk, 2 raw eggs, cocoa and cinnamon. It was pretty tasty and filling. For lunch I am going to have deli meat and hummus and some olives and an apple and dinner will be a roast chicken and broccoli. I must say I fell a bit sluggish and though I am not hungry, I have certainly been getting enough calories, I do feel like a pastry would really hit the spot :). I can't really explain it but I certainly miss the bread and notice a difference in eating more fat and less carbs.
Eat more Protein for Breakfast
A study done by the University of Alabama at Birmingham last year showed that eating a high protein, high fat breakfast increased the body's ability to burn protein and fat throughout the day. The trend of low fat diets is certainly dying out but the high carb endurance athlete is running at full speed. Training for a marathon does not give you the right to eat a bunch of pasta. Over doing the carbs jacks up your insulin levels and throws your system out of whack. The Paleo for Athlete's book recommends eating a ratio of 4:1 carbs to protein post workout. Aside from post workout and sometimes preworkout the best diet to eat is a Zone diet. That means you should be eating a Carb:Protein:Fat ratio of 40:30:30. This ratio gives you more energy and makes you leaner. Dr. Barry Sears came up with it and introduced it in his book The Zone Diet. If you follow the Zone diet you will feel better and become leaner guaranteed.
But I digress. This post is about breakfast. What is a better breakfast? One with more protein and fat!! Think of a typical breakfast and you think of what? Bagels? Cereal? Carboriffic!! Waking in the fasted state that we all do, the last thing we want to be doing is eating a bunch of carbs and boosting our insulin levels (storage hormone) which tells the body to store the carbs as fat so add some meat or eggs to it! Here are a few ideas:
Bacon and Egg Breakfast Burrito (eggs cooked in grassfed butter)
Cottage cheese and fruit and almonds
Sausage and Oatmeal and almonds
Leftover Dinner from the night before...yes that's right, dinner for breakfast. A lot of people have a hard time with this but eating a more "lunch-like" meal for breakfast gives you a lot more choices. Most of us are going to have a hard time eating a tuna sandwich for breakfast though :).
Check out the CF Journal Issue 21 for some great meal ideas.
Summary: Eat protein at every meal and eat more than you are eating. If you are not thinking about your protein intake I can almost guarantee you are not eating enough of it. Get rid of the carb-centric breakfast and add some Fat (think butter, yeah I said it...more on why you shouldn't worry about saturated fat and cholesterol later) and Protein and you will get leaner and more proficient at burning fat while gaining muscle.
Drink more water. Being dehydrated by 1% can decrease performance by 10%. Experts suggest you drink half your body weight in ounces per day if you are sedentary and 20 oz more per hour of working out. That means id you are 160 lbs you should drink 80 oz of water as a baseline before taking into account what you lose by working out. I don't know how that works out for Kg...sorry metric friends! Some people sweat more than others so I suggest weighing yourself naked before a run then weigh yourself after. The difference is the amount of weight you lost by sweating and you need to figure out how to get that back in. So if you lost one pound on your hour long run you need to hydrate appropriately by drinking 16 oz of water per hour. Make sense? This is a good way to feel it out. I think it is safe to say that upwards of 75% of the general population are dehydrated. A lot of people mistake thirst for hunger as well. Drinking more water has been very effective for many people as a simple way to lose weight. So drink up! You will feel better and perform better which will make you stronger and healthier.
Fish Oil Sucka
Knock knock. Who's there? Nemo. Nemo who? I NEMO FISH OIL FOOL!! Yeah I made that up. Don't be jello. But for real though. I have just the thing for you to prevent you from stroking out. FISH OIL!! Yes that's right. People that eat a lot of fish oil are healthier and live longer and have less cardiovasvular disease. Look it up. Think Inuit. Be Inuit. Be the eskimo. If you don't take fish oil go buy some and start taking it. Everybody in America should do it. Everyone. (yes, that means you) Nutritional experts say that the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 should be as close to a ratio of 1:1 and certainly no more than 4:1. Most of us Americans are way over the 4:1. Just think, when was the last time you had a nice slab of salmon? How about the last time you had some walnuts? I thought so. Hey no one is perfect but we can all benefit from taking this stuff. Your brain loves it, improves memory. Your heart loves it, prevents Cardiovascular Disease and the stiffening of the arteries. Your kid that can't pay attention to jack ish loves it, some studies have show it helps those with ADHD focus. And your muscles love it, it's an anti-imflammatory. Next time you run a 50 miler, or do a slamming workout on the track take some fish oil and don't call me in the morning. I am not a doctor. That being said don't blame me if any of the advice I give you on this site doesn't make you a superstar or has adverse effects. Different strokes for different folks my running renegades. But those strokes will be few and far between if you take your fish oil (see what I did there?). Peace and good things!