Thursday, April 15, 2010

Training for a Race by NOT Running: A Case Study

EDIT: updated with link to a CNN article about the runners and heart conditions

With the weather getting nicer on the East coast, more people are out doing the most common form of exercise: running. Some of these folks will do races ranging from your local town 5k to ultramarathons out west. On August 26, 2009, I decided to turn myself into a guinea pig. I decided to run a half marathon that was scheduled less than a month away. Not only that, but I decided that I would not run, unless the run came up in a workout at CrossFit King of Prussia. The day before the half marathon I totaled up the previous 30 days' worth of running: less than 6 miles. The next day I was supposed to run 13.1 miles non-stop?? What was I thinking? Not only did I finish, but I set a PR and was back to working out the next day, setting two more PRs in the gym. Here is a breakdown of what I did to prepare, how the race went, and what the days were like after. 

Robb Wolf: Paleolithic Solution Seminar

Any Paleo person worth their salt knows who Robb Wolf is. For those of you who don't, he's the owner of NorCal Strength and Conditioning and the average CrossFitter's authority on the Paleo Diet. He currently runs a blog and posts podcasts that offer great information. He also used to lead CrossFit's nutrition certifications, but has since taken to the road for his own seminars. I've been following Robb's work for about two years now, so when the opportunity came up to go to one of his seminars at CrossFit Hoboken, I jumped at the chance (along with four other members of CrossFit King of Prussia: Aimee, Evan, Laura, and Dave) Robb presented the 60 or so participants with a wealth of knowledge, both scientific and real case studies and we probably could have spent a week there just asking questions. While I'm not going to steal Robb's presentation, I do want to point out two major topics that are uber important, plus a peek at what future posts will be covering.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chasing the Rx

CrossFit prides itself on universal scalability – the ability to adapt any exercise to any person regardless of age, weight, disability, etc.  As a general physical preparedness (GPP) program, this is beneficial because it can assist anyone from an elite athlete looking to tweak their performance to an 80 year old looking to just get out of bed in the morning. Usually though, the very nature of timing workouts and recording scores will draw competitive people to CrossFit.  While this can be beneficial for us to push each other in a positive way, I believe it's very easy to fall into the trap of focusing solely on doing a workout as prescribed (Rx'd). While it is a great accomplishment to get “Rx” next to your name, we need to look at how you got there and if it is appropriate. If you're wondering why you've hit a plateau, or why you aren't progressing as fast as you want, this post is for you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Food and Family

Even the Duggars might disagree on food and health

This past weekend a lot of families got together to celebrate Passover, Easter, spring break, or just nice weather. My family was no exception. My aunt just started CrossFit, so as we were talking about working out, the topic of food came up. Some of my family know about this blog, so they started asking questions on how to start eating healthy. Most of them do not CrossFit and are not familiar with words like "Paleo" or ideas like "grains are unhealthy." Trying to explain the basics made me remember that people are going to be on all levels of understanding when it comes to nutrition, but it was a good reminder. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

How to Read Past the Fancy Labels

In an ideal world, you would have your meat and eggs come from a local farm, your fruits and veggies right from your backyard, and you would subsist from only these elements. In the real world, you probably don't have a farm that close and you don't have enough time to tend to your own garden, let alone have a climate to sustain an orange tree out back. So where do you get food? The next step would be a local farmer's market where they bring food from farms too far for you to drive, but not too far for them to get to a market. Or perhaps you belong to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or to something like we do, a Farm Share Program. Still though, in a pinch you might have to run to the grocery store. You've probably heard of "shop around the perimeter" before, and for the most part, that's a good thing. But what's on the inside of that perimeter? Well, to be honest, it's a lot of junk full of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other nasty items (I'm not even going to call it "food.") But so much of it can be deceiving to people of all nutritional education backgrounds, so how can you read past the fancy labels? Recently I took a stroll through a well-known supermarket and snapped away with my phone so we can take a look at some of the more popular ways stores and brands try to get you to buy their product.

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