"You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with" -E. James Rohn
You may not have considered it in the same terms, but it’s hardly surprising that you are influenced by the people around you. Now, data from The Eatery is confirming that this applies to your eating habits as well.
The Eatery is a self-described “Massive Health Experiment”, where users can download an app which allows them to take pictures of their food and submit it to a personal timeline. The Eatery then provides personalized breakdowns of the individual’s eating habits—things that went well, areas to improve, and how your eating compares to similar people. (Actually a very cool idea—I’ll be trying it out. ~Ken)
Using data from hundreds of thousands of users, they determined that what you eat is influenced by those around you to a remarkable extent. Individuals with an obese spouse are 37% more likely to be obese. Obese sibling? 40% more likely that you are also obese. But that’s not the most powerful influence—it’s your friends. If your friends are obese, you’re 57% more likely to be obese.
There’s a nice infographic breakdown here (you know I love infographics), but the take home message is truly to ‘choose your friends wisely’. Notice how they compare healthy eating to an infectious agent—if you can nudge it into a population, it starts to spread and grow. Before you know it, you could have an outbreak. Any other CF old-timers remember when Paleo was the ‘New Thing’. Think there’s a CF gym on earth now that doesn’t have Paleo adherents?
I really like the idea of eating habits being contagious, and I think this ties in really well with what we’re trying to accomplish here at CFSW. If your friends are exercising and eating well, you’re more likely to do the same. Surround yourself with the people that you want to be. You can’t choose your family, but you aren’t doomed to follow them down a path of illness and disease. Choose to spend time with positive, healthy people, and you will become more positive and healthy.
Better still, you can become the positive and healthy influence on your loved ones. Lead by example, make the extra effort, and you’ll be rewarded with an outbreak of healthy eating.
As some of you know, the last few months have been a little bit crazy around the Urakawa household, and that has definitely bled over into CFSW business. While I am getting pretty good at not sleeping, I’m thinking that it’s going to be a better long-term strategy to organize my time a little better, and take advantage of the resources available to me.
One of the things I’d like to focus on again is the blog/website. I have some ideas for new posts/articles, but I’d also like to have new material posted more regularly than I care to churn it out. So, if anyone is interested in writing articles, posting current events/updates, etc., or if you have ideas of your own about what you’d like to see on the blog, please contact me. As they say, the pay may be low, but at least the working conditions aren’t good.
We were also thinking about making a few changes/additions to the schedule over the next few months. There have been suggestions about adding in a mobility class, as well as bringing back a strength class. Any other suggestions? Now’s your chance, call, email, or comment below. We’ll probably roll out any changes or additions later on in the summer.
We need to have another CFSW get together. We could grill at the gym one last time before it gets stupidly hot(ter) outside—Paleo-ish potluck, grilled meat, feats of strength? Or we could meet out at a real establishment for happy hour (4 Peaks is always a good call). Any suggestions? Let me know, we’ll get it set up. (Unless someone wants to open up their house and/or pool to the CFSW crew.) I’d have you guys out to our house again, but I’m not sure anyone wants to drive out to North Tucson.
I think I need to hire a ghost writer, so something gets put up on this blog more regularly! (Anyone willing to write in exchange for a hearty handshake and a slap on the back, let me know.) On that note, people do frequently send me things—articles, videos, blogs—that they think might be of interest. Sometimes I even remember to post them.
So, in no particular order, here are some cool links that I’ve been meaning to put out as stand-alone posts, but haven’t gotten around to yet.
Is sugar toxic? (from 60 Minutes, no less!) Gosh, it’s almost like people aren’t meant to eat crap… (via John M.)
On that note, do you know how much sugar is in the ‘food’ you eat? Here’s a handy video from consumer reports that gives some tips for finding . (via Nick M.)
This is a great article from Dave Tate at EliteFTS. This is something that get’s remarked upon frequently here at the gym—the people with whom you spend time are going to influence you, for good or ill. Choose to surround yourself with positive, motivated people, and you will reap the rewards in your own attitude.
Thank you to everyone in the CFSW for providing me with positive influences.
I like Robb. We share the same birthday, interacted frequently back in the early days of cf, and have a similar sense of humor. I have my opinions about where he’s going with things, but overall he fights the good fight and has changed a lot of people’s lives. I really like this post.
There’s a lot cooking around here lately—new folks coming in, current folks getting older. Just a lot of stuff. So, in no particular order, some things that I’ve been meaning to get to and haven’t yet:
Still have a few spots available for the next Ramp Up class. It’s starting Tuesday, so you better hurry.
Also wanted to throw out some birthday wishes to Jim and Ben, who both celebrated this week. And I was thinking—anyone interested in a monthly birthday celebration night out/day out kind of thing? Get everyone who’s interested together to celebrate that month’s birthday girls and boys? Let me know.
And on that note, if you don’t go to the Facebook page (and you should), you might have missed this: April 7th (saturday), you’re all invited over to the new house for a BBQ/CFSW get together. Planning to start around 1 pm. Let me know if you’re interested.
Finally, I came across this blog post doing some internet browsing today. It’s a call to arms, and definitely one I can get behind. Some salty language, but you’re all adults (mostly).
UPDATED---Next Ramp Up Class begins April 3rd. Only 2 spots left!
For anyone interested in getting started at CFSW: our next Ramp Up introductory class will begin on Tuesday April 3rd. We will be meeting on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6 pm, and Saturday mornings at 0930 am, for 4 weeks.
Just heard some sad news. Some of you might have met Kaye Whitney, founder of CrossFit Upcountry Maui, when she came in to the gym for a few days about a year ago. We exchanged emails here and there, and were hoping to get together the next time she came to visit family or I made it out to Hawaii.
The early crew this morning decided we needed a Crossfit Southwest March Madness pool so, I created one on ESPN. Group name is CrossFit Southwest and password is crossfit. Brackets need to be in by the first game in the morning - 9am I believe. (I know short notice but I couldn’t remember my blog password earlier). $10 per bracket and up to 3 brackets allowed. Money needs to be in by Monday. Let me know if you have any questions…
"The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.
It Is Not Working!
These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.
The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences. ”
You may have noticed that we’ve been having some Server issues for the past few days. Happy to report that we have (hopefully) taken care of all that and will be moving forward with business as usual. Many thanks to our talented web developer Spencer, who came out of CFSW retirement to get us back up and on track.
Please let me know if you are experiencing any irregularities or issues with the site, and we’ll address them as soon as possible.
This post has been a long time coming. It’s not easy to write. I’m not sure anyone wants to read it. But here you go—I’m going to tell you a story.
A few years back, I received an email inquiry. I WISH that I still had a copy of it, but unfortunately it’s been lost in the sands of time (and email upgrades). To paraphrase, though, it went something like this:
"Hey! This is Ben, I’m in North Dakota right now but I’m moving to Phoenix. It’s all cold here and sh*t, so I can’t wait to get out to the heat. I’m a Marine, and lost my leg in Iraq, but I just started doing CrossFit and want to keep up with it when I move. So I wanted to say what’s up, and come in when I get out there. Later!"
The original was much better, but that was the general flavor. So, I sent back a “We’d be happy to have you come by, let me know when you get out here and we’ll get you set up” kind of reply and pretty much forgot about it.
[So this is where I take a personal detour. I don’t typically offer up too much of my personal life—to anyone, in any situation, let alone on this blog. I hope you’ll indulge me.] At that point in time, I was pretty much in the worst shape of my life. After a lifetime of athletics, constantly striving to get to the next competitive level, trying to outwork and outwill my opponents—I had retired from competition (I thought). I was still coming to terms with that a few years later, not having something to work towards. Lots of stress, general business ineptitude in a bad economy, family conflict, lack of goals, etc. were all coming together to create a mindset where I ate like crap, drank too much, and randomly wandered through my (irregular) workouts. Not a pretty picture.
So a few weeks after the email, this skinny kid with a prosthetic comes walking up to our door. I’d mostly forgotten about his email, but it was pretty obvious that this was Ben.
That was the beginning.
When we started talking, it came out that Ben had only been CrossFitting for a few months before moving down. Initially, I was a little worried about how he would hold up to the workouts, and what we’d have to scale or modify—basically if he could actually do this stuff, or whether we’d be attempting to build him from the ground up.
I shouldn’t have worried.
Ben tore into everything with (sometimes reckless) abandon. There wasn’t a workout he wouldn’t tackle head on, not a movement that he wouldn’t attempt. Sometimes we’d have to put our heads together and play around with his positioning a little bit, but generally we just treated him like everyone else and watched him work. Out of respect (or uncertainty with how he would react?), I never really asked Ben about the circumstances of his injury. If it impacted an exercise or movement, we’d deal with the physical aspect, but otherwise we didn’t talk about it.
And Ben just kept attacking the workouts.
The atmosphere around the gym started to change a little bit. It was a little harder to quit during a workout. It became difficult to not workout because you were “tired” or “sore”. Everyone was a little more positive, more motivated—including me. At first, it was just that I felt like such a wuss letting this guy outwork me. After a while, I just wanted to kind of be a part of it, ride the wave of his enthusiasm. I think it made everyone work harder.
A couple of months later, the CrossFit Games qualifying started. This was only 2 years ago, but the Games were not the behemoth that they have become. So the process was basically Sectionals, then Regionals, then the Finals. We were sending a group to San Diego to compete in Sectionals, and Ben announced that he was going to do it. Keep in mind, this is with maybe 6 months of CrossFit, coming off of extensive rehabilitation. I was a little concerned, mostly because of Ben’s relative inexperience—there were things we hadn’t worked on enough, things he hadn’t mastered yet. But, as always, Ben was committed 100% and he was going to compete.
I won’t rehash everything that went down, but a couple of facts tell a lot of the story: Ben finished 80th out of 103 competitors. More importantly, he finished every workout, when several of the competitors did not. This included learning how to do double-unders during one of the workouts.
It’s hard to explain what that performance meant, and continues to mean. Ben did an amazing video interview*, which literally brings tears to my eyes every time I see it (and sometimes just trying to describe it). The CrossFit community at large got to meet and be inspired by this guy who had been driving us. And those of us here got to know Ben on a deeper level, and understand his motivation a little better, and be motivated to try a little harder as well.
[*On the CrossFit Journal site—this short preview is free, but you’ll need to be a subscriber to see the whole thing. It’s absolutely worth watching—I’ll be happy to play it for you if you’re interested.]
I learned for the first time about the IED that had caused his injuries. About his friends who had been killed, and the choices that Ben had made to be able to move forward. And how amazing it was that this guy had come through all that he had with the attitude and the will and the drive that he has.
That was 2 years ago.
Since that time, Ben has moved to Boston (and back), travelled to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with the Wounded Warrior Project, been to the ESPYs, completed the Tough Mudder, earned a few different training certifications, and come on board as a regular staff member of CFSW. He still inspires me to try harder, and push further, and to keep going when I really don’t want to. I absolutely credit him with reigniting my own training, and I am thankful for that inspiration.
I’ve never told Ben any of this, or brought it up publicly. Partially this is just an overdue ‘Thank You’—I’ve been meaning to put something like this together for a long time.
Why now? Yesterday was the 6th Anniversary of Ben’s injury, the death of Marine Lance Cpl Adam Vanalstine, and the injuries that would prove to be fatal for Marine Cpl Adam Zanutto.
It’s easy to get caught up in the grind and to let everyday stresses get you down. It’s even easier to talk yourself into skipping that workout, or eating that oreo (or a sleeve of oreos), or just half-assing your way through life. The key is to find what motivates you, and hold onto that. It might be your family, or the shirt you just bought, or the girl of your dreams—or it might be a skinny white kid who kicks life in the ass with a prosthetic leg.
Thanks Ben. Happy Anniversary.
So, you may have noticed that the blog’s been pretty quiet for the last week or so. This isn’t because there’s nothing going on—in fact, quite the opposite!
On top of preparing for a (family) move next, the Urakawa household has been dealing with flu-like symptoms, field trips, and assorted activities. And things at the gym have been, if possible, even busier!
So, a quick rundown of CFSW-related news, to bring you up to speed:
-We bid farewell to Justin this week, who is leaving to teach in South Korea. Best of luck as you embark of this new adventure! And remember: they have Facebook in South Korea, too—keep us updated!
-The 2012 edition of the CrossFit Games Open qualification process is upon us. We have a couple of people that are competing this year, and their first workout was this week: 7 min of burpees! The requirements were to touch your chest on the ground at the bottom of the rep, and touch an object at least 6” above your standing reach on the jump. Tyler E. put up 95 reps, while Reuben just, well, was Reuben, and scored 110 reps. Great job to both of you guys!
(As an aside, don’t be surprised if all of the classes do some version of the Open workout each week…)
-Last night (Saturday 2/25), a group of us went down to watch CFSW athlete Jesse Barrett fight for the 170# title in the Coalition of Combat mixed martial arts event. The evening was a good time all the way around, and Jesse dominated his opponent to take the belt, winning via rear naked choke in the 2nd round. Congratulations Jesse! (And thanks for the shout out—which was my first)
-This week, we finished up our 6 week Strength cycle, and I know there were several PRs on different lifts. Congratulations to everyone! This next week is going to be a little bit of a recovery/transition week (so not a lot of real heavy lifting)—expect mobility, technical work, and conditioning, not necessarily in that order.
And that should about get you caught up on the news! Hoping to get back to more normal programming after the big move, but I can’t make any promises. And remember to check us out on Facebook also (facebook.com/crossfitsouthwest) —some things get posted there first.
For those interested in either learning about or getting way too in-depth with the Paleo idea, this looks like a pretty amazing opportunity. It’s called the Paleo Summit: 8 days of free online lectures and presentations (23 of them!), from a variety of researchers and paleo celebs. And if free. Starts Feb 26, runs through March 4. You can see the lineup and schedule at the link above, but trust me—it looks like good stuff.
It’s not all just ‘Rah Rah Paleo Diet’ talks, either. There appear to be a few dissenting voices, as well as some information about health and performance. I’ve signed up and I’m going to catch what I can of it, but wanted to let you guys know if you’re interested.
One of the guys that I train is going to be fighting (MMA) this coming Saturday at the Phoenix Convention Center. Details can be seen here.
A few of us are planning to attend, but I know that I mentioned it to a few other people who expressed an interest. Fights start at 6 pm, we can carpool, meet up down there, whatever. Please contact me ASAP if you’d like to go, trying to get tickets purchased pretty quick here. You can leave a note in the comments, or my number is at the top of the website.
So, now that the Clean Living Challenge is finished, how about some closure? If you are inclined to do so, share your thoughts in the comments. The good, the bad, the ugly… What were your results? What have you learned? What would you do differently?
Thank you and Congratulations to everyone who participated!
So, after nearly pulling the plug due to lack of RSVPs, we’ve had enough late notices to go ahead and move forward with our picnic potluck outing!
We’re going to meet at Kiwanis Park around Noon (we’ll head over after the 1030 class). If you come in from the Baseline (North) side on Mill, you’ll get to a 4-way stop sign. If you turn right you’ll enter Kiwanis Park. Go straight, and there will be a parking lot on your right. Park here, walk up the hill and you’ll find a sandy play area and picnic tables, etc. That’s where we’ll be!
This map should provide directions from the gym, or try this link. Hope to see you there!
It’s been documented (and here) that injuries are more likely to occur in athletes undergoing significant life stresses, especially those with low social support and coping skills. This might be one contributing mechanism. High stress leads to increased inflammation, which interferes with recovery from ‘ordinary’ physical stresses, and over time paves the way for a more serious injury to occur?
Just goes to reinforce that it’s not just about the diet, but overall lifestyle. Chronic stress is bad, whether it’s lack of sleep, a rocky relationship, or over training.
Final Week of the Clean Living Challenge! Come celebrate with some food, fun, and games!
One more week to go! The Clean Living Challenge is coming to and end, but let’s go out in style.
Anyone (participating or not, CFSW member or not) up for a Paleo-style picnic at Kiwanis Park on Saturday? Kickball? Maybe some Hoover ball? General revelry? Everyone can show off their food skillz, and get to know some of the folks outside of the gym.
We’ll plan on meeting around noon.
Please RSVP in the comments so I can get a head count.
Just wanted to give a quick ‘Good Luck’ shout-out to Ryan (Scoop), who is in Portugal for the European Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championships, and Matt D., who is competing in the Grand Canyon State Games Weightlifting competition. I’m proud to claim both of these guys, and wish them success this weekend!
If you’re a computer jockey that just needs to be reminded once in a while to step away from the keyboard, consider downloading this nifty little program. It’s free, simple, and is just an easy reminder to get your buns up out of your chair once in a while!
You will find: grass-fed beef, local veggies, local honey, eggs (chicken, duck, quail, emu, ostrich—although the chicken and duck might be sold out by the time we get there), wild caught salmon, cheese, and lots more.
Just a reminder that our next Ramp Up class begins on Tuesday, January 24th, at 6pm. We will be meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 pm, with an optional Saturday workout at 0930 am. The course runs 4 weeks, and costs $200.
I’ve noticed a few folks mention ‘Retail Therapy’ as a means of dealing with their sugar withdrawals. It got me to thinking: is this an actual phenomenon? Is there something going on, at a physiological or psychological level?
The effects of shopping (even window shopping) on mood is well-established, and researchers have also noted increases in activity in the left prefrontal cortex—the so-called pleasure center of the brain. As well, shopping increases the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which helps control the brain’s pleasure and reward centers*.
Sugar intake also triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. And frequent sugar binges can produce changes in the brain similar to what occurs to someone using cocaine or heroin! So, that old chestnut about ‘sugar addiction’ does have a basis in reality. And there are some interesting implications for other addictions—sugar addicted mice that were denied sugar turned to alcohol.
So, I guess it comes down to choosing how you’re going to go after your buzz: sugar or shopping.
There is hope, however! Exercise has been well established to be associated with improved mood, increased feelings of well-being, decreased anxiety and depression, and increased energy. Among other suggested pathways, this is accomplished through regulation of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. So the next time you want that chocolate, think about going for a walk instead.
We’re slowly figuring things out with the Forums. Just figured out that I didn’t hit the correct button to enable creating topics within subforums. So, with that being fixed, you are welcome to create your own topics/threads at any point, and in any section.
Just a reminder that we’ll be having a workshop devoted to posture and flexibility on Saturday, 1/21, at 11:30. The workshop will be led by Tina and Nate, and will provide ideas to help improve your posture, body positioning, and performance.
This is in support of the CFSW Clean Living Challenge, but is completely voluntary. I hope that you will choose to take advantage, however. Anyone is welcome to attend, but there will be a $10 fee for non-CFSW members who are not participating with a member in the CLC.
"To sleep, perchance to dream--ay, there's the rub." (updated with new article link)
No, not talking about the metaphorical sleep of death, but actual, real-life, honest-to-goodness, oh-my-lord-that-was-the-most-refreshing-night-ever sleep.
Several people have mentioned that one of their ‘Recovery’ goals for the CLC2012 is to get more/better sleep. Personally, I’m a huge fan of sleep, but we don’t seem to be talking much lately. I’m hoping to make up soon, and maybe establish a relationship again. To support that goal, here are a few selected resources, blogs, and cool stuff for you to check out.
One of the most talked about books when it comes to the sleep and fitness is ‘Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival' by T.S. Wiley. (eBook, Amazon) Robb Wolf brought this to my attention several years ago, and it’s still talked about regularly on the interwebz. The basic premise goes along with the Evolutionary Fitness idea: Primitive Man didn’t have artificial light so his body was adapted to sleep according to the rhythms of the day. There are some cool ideas in this book, like creating a perfectly black sleeping area, turning off electronics and artificial light earlier, etc. The last part of the book takes a dive down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theory, but the rest of the information seems pretty solid. Might be worth checking out.
This is a pretty cool article I came across along the same lines. Again looking at Primitive Man being attuned to the cycles of night and day. In Winter, there is a shortage of food available (primarily protein and fat), but also fewer hours of daylight. This caused Man to spend more time sleeping, thus conserving energy. There are many more hours of daylight during the summer, as well as abundant sources of carbohydrates (fruits, etc.). This led Man to be more active, as well as gorging on these sweet treats. The resultant insulin spike would create fat stores to help live through the Winter. The problem with Modern Man is that we have created a perpetual summer (lots of light and readily available carbohydrates), which leads to excess body fat.
For all you techno folks out there that can’t bear to unplug and instead spend evenings in front of a monitor, think about downloading F.lux (it’s free!). This is a software program that integrates with your computer’s clock, and changes the color of the monitor to match the time of day (bright and more blue during the day, dimmer and rosier at night). This mimics more closely the biorhythms discussed in the sources above.
And, as a nice general summary of tricks to sleep better, try this article out.
Late addition: This post from Conditioning Research shows the link between sleep disruption and obesity. Still want to stay up late working on the computer?