NW Fitness Magazine
Cross Training Buzz
Move over cookie cutter gyms and stale workout routines! There’s a new craze sweeping the fitness community. CROSSFIT! It’s not anything new. Close your eyes and imagine the Rocky IV training montage. Stripped down workouts that take out the high tech and leave a brutal yet oddly beautiful workout. It goes beyond any gym by not just transforming your body, but your mind. Leave all your preconceived notions at the door. Let crossfit do its job and in a few sessions you might just be a different person.
What is crossfit? The short answer, crossfit is a fitness program designed to improve functional body movements using constantly varied movements, energy pathways and intensities.
Popularity? There are several reasons for the rise in popularity of crossfit believe
a. Crossfit is relatively new in the world of fitness, despite its 10 year existence.
b. It’s unrivaled by any other workout program.
c. IT WORKS! Stop by a gym and see for yourself.
d. Crossfit is universally scalable. Most individuals are not at the level of performing the movements prescribed in a crossfit routine. The genius behind a program design is that everything can be scaled down or up to cater to each individual. We are often scared of what we cannot do; crossfit takes us there over time.
e. Crossfit is not routine. Regular gym workouts are repetitive by nature. Day in and day out individuals do the same routines. Over time the average individual will grow bored and eventually will lose motivation and stop going to the gym. Because crossfit routines are always changing and always challenging boredom never becomes a factor.
Crossfit changes each person’s life differently. Each day men and women go into a gym for a workout and leave having gained so much more than just better physical health. The struggle that each person endures is entirely different per person, but pain is pain nonetheless. Experiencing something like that with someone next to you, and having that person push you, help you, emotionally carry you, and stay next to you until you’re done, spawns an organic connection between people of completely different walks of life. Crossfit shows people that they are capable of so much more than they ever thought possible. Membership has its privilege. Being a crossfit member goes beyond just a workout. The crossfit environment is fun and creates a family based on personal growth and prowess with physical ability. There is a spirituality that comes with crossfit that cannot be put into words. It is something that is felt and only those who do it know about it.
Who’s attracted to crossfit? It would be cliché to say everyone loves it at first. The challenge crossfit offers attracts athletes and x-athletes alike. Looking in on a routine the average Joe or Mary might be overwhelmed, questioning if they have what it takes to perform a crossfit workout. The guy who’s only lifting experience is a BK Whopper with fries can transform themselves with the proper coaching and dedication. Anyone who wants a challenge, change of regimen, spark in their life, or hobby can walk through the door of a crossfit gym and find himself or herself exactly where they need to be. Bellevue’s own Amped is one of the premiere Crossfit facilities in the Northwest. Amped offers an experience unlike any other. We are proud to say that everyone is welcomed in with open arms and is cared for as if they’ve been with us from the beginning. As a member at Amped, you’ll certainly be pushed, but more importantly you’ll be educated on movements and nutrition. It is my goal as a coach to get my members thinking like a crossfitter. What does that mean? I want them analyzing each movement, judging their prescriptions based on workouts and more so, asking me questions as to why do we do what we do? In turn, I’ll give them all the tools they need to make themselves better! What is better? Stronger, faster, healthier, more mobile, cautious, and above all, being completely aware of their body and what it is capable of. That’s our professional side, then we have our joking side. I always say, we are only serious when we have to be at AMPED. You’ll see us dancing, joking, story telling, enjoying social functions together and escaping all that causes stress in our lives. At Amped, it’s a home away from home. Just look at the videos on our website! They speak for themselves. http://crossfitamped.com/
Eat like a Caveman
Crossfit being a unique workout experience in itself also comes with its own unique diet. Crossfiters often cringe at the word “diet”. Diet tends to mean a temporary change in eating habit in order to achieve a goal. Instead it takes on the philosophy of an eating lifestyle. The main eating philosophy embraced by Crossfiters is called the Paleo Diet. If crossfit is a stripped down workout leaving only the essentials then the Paleo Diet is a stripped down eating lifestyle that only makes rooms for what your body actually needs.
Once upon a time ago there were humans who didn’t have smart phones, didn’t have books, heck – didn’t even have a written language. In fact, these humans were a vague (although genetically equal) version of us. These were our ancestors – the first of our kind – the first to inhabit our genetic makeup. And their genes had been developed for great lengths of time for specific reasons – to enable upright walking and complex thinking, emotion and survival instincts. Genetically, our ancestors were primed for hunting and gathering – survival, and their diets consisted of gathered vegetation and hunted animal meats. Sugar was unknown for the most part – as was bread and pasta. Many days these people would go without eating much at all. A successful hunt would bring back a nice meaty meal that would be quickly devoured before spoiled… It was an “eat to live” mentality. And diseases like we encounter today were nonexistent.
Their existence may have been a long time ago, but in the context of evolution, it was only just a moment ago – a moment in which nothing has changed in our genetic makeup. Cell for cell, we are identical to the humans of our hunter and gatherer past. However, technologically we are light-years away. Our technology has brought about many new things – much of which has enabled the massive success of our civilizations. But when it comes to food, there has been a giant separation between what (and how) humans used to eat and what (and how) humans eat today.
Our bodies evolved to consume a hunter-gatherer diet. Yet the modern world consumes a diet based on mass production. Human technology gave way to food processing and subsequently wheat based and sugary products – concentrated high calorie foods that although were particularly viable and useful for an exponentially growing population, were a far cry from the meats and vegetation days.
The Paleo diet is nothing more than ditching today’s processed food habits and switching to high quality (preferably raw) foods that our digestive systems were meant to consume. By doing so, the argument is that our bodies begin to run in a best state. Anecdotally (and scientifically), reports are all saying the same thing about this type of diet – that multitudes of health problems go away, digestion operates efficiently, migraines go away, excess weight is lost, sleep disruption and anxiety problems decline and energy levels become optimum.
And it’s exceptionally simple! Following a Paleo diet involves no measuring or calorie counting (if you aren’t interested in quick weight loss anyway). All you need to do is remember this mantra: Meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, a little starch and NO SUGAR!
You can get a little more complicated than that by also avoiding legumes and nightshade type foods or consuming everything (including meat) raw, but in a nutshell (pun intended) the simple sentence above is all you need to keep in mind when eating.
The basic theory is that food should only be eaten as they were by our ancestors – as food should be eaten, given how our bodies and organs operate. So some of the things that should not be eaten include dairy products, sugar or sugar substitutes and wheat based products or high glycemic veggies such as corn. Animal fat is fine (and actually encouraged).
A Day in the Life (of Paleo) A nice Paleo friendly day of meals, for example, could look like this:
Breakfast: 2 eggs, an apple and a handful of almonds
Snack 1: homemade beef jerky (low sodium) and some berries
Lunch: Salad with chicken, lettuce, cucumber, snow peas and an oil based dressing
Snack 2: Some trail mix – dried berries (no sugar added) and nuts
Dinner: BBQ’d Salmon filet with a spinach salad (with sesame seeds and strawberries)
Snack 3: Some pistachios and pumpkin seeds or maybe a bit of chicken or some more jerky
Paleo diet friendly foods are low glycemic and have minimal effect on blood glucose levels. As such, those of us with blood sugar related problems (that are generally related to food) often find that episodes of hypoglycemia, for example, are more or less gone while on a paleo diet. Similarly, Paleo diets tend to keep hunger at bay and as such, it is possible to maintain a calorie restricted diet more easily on a Paleo diet.
For liquids, water, tea (unsweetened, no milk), coffee (black) are the basic drinks. Alcohol is unfortunately a no-no (although many Paleo dieters tend to disregard that in a social setting).
Keep in mind that it’s very difficult to maintain a strict Paleo diet along side a social life. When engaging in social situations, don’t feel overly guilty for falling off the bandwagon temporarily. Keep prepared, however, and try to consume protein with drinks and try as much as possible to avoid the sweets. Remember – No Sugar
If you’re finding that the newest and greatest diet isn’t working for you or if you simply don’t have the time to measure out your portions and count calories, try out the Paleo way. It’s simple – just eat high quality foods as your body is meant to and remember: meats and veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, a little starch and NO SUGAR!!