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.
Today will be another 3/4 gallon day. I drank a few beers which bloated me up a bit which is why I think I was unable to get it all down.
I have been really interested in strength training lately and therefore not talking about running as much so I wanted to post a running link. If you have not already please check out Brian Mackenzie's website, www.iamunscared.com. He is the man behind crossfitendurance which programs the best endurance training ever! A lot of people have a hard time using their hamstrings when they run and more don't know what it means to use their hamstrings. They lack the perception, the body awareness and the drill in this link will help you get a grip on what using your hammies while running feels like, how to perceive it. basically here is the drill, make those hammies burn then go for a short run, rinse and repeat!
As some of you know I have been doing CrossFit Endurance for a while now, over a year and it has really changed by outlook on fitness and what an endurance athlete should look like. The changes I have made to my program are many but one that I feel has helped a lot is lifting heavy. I am talking about doubles and triples with lots of rest between sets. I never realized or bothered to think about the core strength that is involved in lifting heavy weights. I think the deadlift is an outstanding exercise and ANY ATHLETE WORTH HIS/HER SALT SHOULD BE DEADLIFTING. It really helps develop that posterior chain (back side of your body) that is so important and often neglected in endurance athletes. It gets your core involved which helps you from having poor posture whilst running as well. Ever have low back pain/general back pain after running. Chance are you are breaking at the hips or just running with poor posture. When I started deadlifting I immediately felt my posture change, IMMEDIATELY. I could really feel that inner corset developing and gaining strength. I remember something Tim Thompson of Monkey Yoga Shala once said. It was in reference to pullups but applies to deadlifting too. At the beginning of the yoga class he teaches he has everyone do pullups, most beginners can't muscle through more than 1 or 2. FOR MOST AVERAGE FOLKS PULLUPS ARE HARD and you are pulling a heavy load. Anyway, the reason this yoga instructor had his students do pullups is because of just that...it's a heavy pull. Lifting heavy, he explained, RELEASES GROWTH HORMONE and growth hormone does some amazing things for your health. It makes you leaner and stronger and speeds recovery. I do the workouts as Rx'd on crossfitendurance.com and that has me lifting heavy every week. Take my advice and toss the low RPE arobic stuff every now and again and lift some heavy shit off the ground. It will help your running and overall health, I guarantee it. Checkout this video for some clips of people deadlifting and Coach Glassman talking about it's benefits------------------>How to Deadlift
Elite runners run with a cadence of over 180 foot strikes per minute. That means each foot strikes the ground at least 90 times per minute. It makes sense that if we want to run fast and efficiently we should model our form after the fastest most efficient runners right? Right! Aside from being copy cats there are physics based reasons for this too. Running at a cadence over 180 takes advantage of ground reaction forces (every reaction has an equal reaction so when you foot pushes down on the ground the ground pushes back) and muscle elasticity. More on that later. Do this: Count your steps when you are running. Take a sample of 20 seconds and count how many times your right foot hits the ground. Multiply that by 3 and you have your one foot cadence per minute. That should be greater than 90. If it's not increase that turnover. Running any other way decreases efficiency and increases your chance of injury so pay attention to this. This is the most important/easiest to change things you can do to fix your running and prevent injury.