Friday, June 4, 2010

Working out in a fasted state will burn that pesky fat!

Of course we already know that, but here is more research...
Burn more fat, skip breakfast

Skipping meals is a natural thing for all animals, including humans.  Obviously we did not evolve to three square meals a day, or to be in the zone by munching all day long.  It doesn't take a stretch of imagination to visualize our ancestors hunting and foraging with very hungry stomachs...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Conventional Wisdom is Catching On!

Perhaps, although few people are comfortable with saturated fat as of yet.

Read this AP article to see what CW is saying:

10 minutes of exercise, one hour of benefits.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gary Taubes, the science of eating low carb.

Interview of Gary Taubes by Jorge Cruise

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Caveman Experience part 1

Why Would Anyone Want To Be Like A Caveman?

Let's face it we have a damn good thing going for us here as present day modern humans.  We have houses, cars, boats and planes.  We have hospitals, heaters, air conditioners, beds, television on demand! Life is comfortable, life is secure, life is, life is... a little boring sometimes.  If you're like me, you like comforts and luxuries, like air condition on a 100 degree day; however I also believe there is a need to rough it from time to time.  A need to be in touch with nature.  This link to nature can provide feedback about the state of our health and humanity.  It can also give us strength to endure difficult times, whether personal, or on a grander scale: political, economic, and sheer force of nature.

As kids we are able to integrate imagination and play seamlessly.  If we played Spaceman, we became spacemen. I used to play all sorts of games with neighbors from pirates to race car drivers (on bikes of course).  This ability to follow wherever our imagination leads us, gets lost on us as we age, and reason becomes the order of the day.

This skill can be useful, and I believe provides us a form of escape, almost like meditation.  If you have a couple of minutes just try and imagine what it was like to be a caveman.  No airplanes or cars, no grocery stores, no banks, no bills, no lifesaving ambulances. It's just you, your tribe, nature, and other animals. Imagine waking up hungry. What would you eat? Imagine preparing for the day. What work is necessary to be done?  Obviously there are no bosses or deadlines, but survival is the ultimate Dictator. As a primal person how did we know what to do to prepare for winter? for animal attacks? for hunting food? for shelter? How did we express love?

It is important to remember we are genetically the same as paleolithic people.  In a way, they are still with us, somewhere in the back of our brain.  We share the same fears, reactions, and needs for love.  We also have the same nutritional needs.  Let's not forget we have been evolving for millions of years, this thing called civilization is merely the tip of the iceberg. It is not so much that I want to be or act as a Caveman.  The fact is that we are still 99% the same, and ignoring this is literally ignoring humanity. When we talk about primal urges, it is usually reserved for ugly uncontrollable human behavior.  I believe, however we all have primal needs. If we ignore these through the filter of civilization, it can lead to diseases of the mind, neuroses and psychoses. This reality is much uglier than a primal urge!

A Primal Game From Mark's Daily Apple

Why The Need For A Primal Diet?

Man made food is killing us! The true problem is that man does not make food, he destroys it.  Nature gives us something perfect, and man figures out a way to make a buck on it. In some circumstances preserved denatured food serves a purpose.  For example in times of famine, it sure would be nice to have a few satchels of rice and flour stored away. That makes sense, especially in underdeveloped countries. For the most part we should eat as caveman did, because ultimately he built our engine by selecting those foods! Our brains and internal organs are what they are, because he learned to hunt, to scavenge and to gather.

It's amazing how many foods humans are well adapted to eat! We have a whole spectrum of fruits and vegetables, spices and herbs, nuts and seeds, fish, poultry, and meats.  With all that variety, and thousands of ways to prepare them, why do we still eat Doritos, Corn Flakes, or Snickers? Sugar, sugar, and more sugar.  Yes it is addictive, and maybe people need to admit they are powerless over it, but then we need to move on. The best way to do this is through knowledge.  Once you know what ravages simple carbohydrates inflict on your body, you begin to fear them.  The high blood sugar, leads to high insulin levels, leads to stored fat, leads to insulin resistance, leads to inflammation, leads to heart disease, obesity, diabetes: Metabolic Syndrome! Not a good syndrome to have.  In the spirit of knowledge here is a link to Dr. Eades post Are we Meat Eaters or Vegetarians.  While you're there look at his archives.  Here is a man who has a lot of info!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Here is an excellent article by Dr. Michael Eades comparing the health and nutrition of early agriculturists vs that of Hunter-Gatherers: Nutrition and Health in agriculturists and hunter-gatherers.

Will a 100% meat diet kill you?  Hardly. The well documented story of Vilhajmur Stefansson:
Two Brave Men Who Ate Nothing But Meat for A Year.

The meat may not kill you but Triathlons might:
Are Triathletes Healthy?

Finally, should we rely so much on vitamin pills to keep us healthy?  Me thinks whole foods are the answer, but do we need to throw our vitamins in the garbage?
Vitamin Pills: A False Hope?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Crossfit is worth over $1000 a month!

About two years ago I became interested in Olympic weightlifting.  The Olympic lifts consist of two lifts : the Clean & Jerk and the Snatch.  That's it, sounds simple right?  Well until you've tried to Snatch anything over 75lbs, you have no idea! Both lifts are extremely complicated, dangerous, and have an exceedingly long learning curve.  Not the kind of thing you want to teach yourself. They are also probably the most beneficial compound exercises for your whole body.

Being the typical gym guy that I was, I did try to teach myself.  I watched a bunch of YouTube videos, and practiced. Then I started adding weight... Believe it or not I practiced the Olympic lifts for a year and a half with no formal training.  Bad idea.  My back hurt for three days after Clean & Jerks, and my shoulders would hurt for nearly a week after heavy Snatch training (when I say heavy I only mean about 150, no Olympic feat). I knew I was doing something wrong, and I knew I needed a coach.

At typical gyms you have personal trainers for hire. Some of them are good at what they do, training non-athletes how to use simple bodybuilding and aerobic techniques so they don't look like complete jackasses in the gym.  Beyond that it is a crapshoot. Not one of the trainers in my gym was versed in Olympic lifting. Quite frankly the gym had no facilities for this kind of lifting either.  You need bumper weights and a safe spacious area. Bailing is about as common as in skateboarding, and you don't want to hit Johnny treadmill with a 200lb barbell! Alas even if my gym was set up for it, trainers charge between $45-75 an hour! As my friend Kevin likes to say "Muthafucka"!

This is where Crossfit comes in to play.  About a year ago I came across the website.  I was infatuated with their daily WOD's (workout of the day), posted on the main website. These guys were performing incredible feats of strength and endurance, on a daily basis, usually for time (most WOD's last for 20-30mins or less). I also noticed they performed both Olympic lifts, and other lifts meant to specifically train for these lifts, all with good form. So naturally I started to train the WOD's at my gym. Have you ever walked down the street dressed up as a giant Taco?  I haven't but I'd imagine the looks I got in my gym, were similar to the poor walking Taco. People think you're either an insane crack addict, or someone who wants to show off, but looks more like a chimpanzee.

Joining Crossfit was a scary experience.  I expected a group of elite athletes, x-navy seals, and jock monsters. I balked for months,  thinking I could get the same results in my gym if I just tried hard enough.  Quite honestly my gym was comfy and cushy.  It had a swimming pool, a sauna, a steam room, 20 showers etc...

Finally I convinced my brother to give Crossfit a try with me, just to check it out.  Wow! the first thing I got was a great vibe.  Everybody was friendly, encouraging, and curious about us.  Yes, many of them are amazing, elite athletes; however just as many had never even played sports before joining crossfit.  Some of the nicest guys in the gym are competing at national levels. It was so different than the average gym: where guys wear their ego like they won a heavyweight title, Where people don't talk or make eye contact, just workout with their headphones blasting,  Where the dudes think it is a meat market, and the ladies get off on it. Crossfitters learn from day one to leave their egos at the door. It is a great community, and you literally feel like you just joined a sports team (which in some ways is true).

The best part is the training, and the great savings compared to  having a personal trainer.  Not only is every class led by a coach, but the other members are always doling out great advice.  Perhaps more important they give me the motivation to do my best, and try harder. I admit at $150 a month for membership it cost twice as much as my old gym. On average I attend class about 5 times a week.  If I was paying $50 bucks a session for personal training elsewhere, that'd be $1000 dollars a month!

I love Crossfit, although I admit I am both addicted and obsessed (maybe a little crazy too)! The results in just 6 months have been off the charts.  I have gained strength in every lift, and am doing them with correct form (most of the time :). My body is more defined, though not in a bulky bodybuilder sort of way. Combined with the paleo/primal way of eating (which is heavily supported by the crossfit community), I dropped 20lbs in 3 months, leveling out to my ideal bodyweight.

If anyone lives in the Chicago area, definitely contact our head trainer Justin Marcis and drop in. Here's the link WindyCityCrossfit.

Saturday, September 12, 2009