So, there was this one time when I was a kid that we ordered pizza and the whole family got sick.  So we got food poisoning from the pizza.  I have never eaten pizza again, because I believe that ALL PIZZA IS POISON!  Now, not only is that a complete lie (LOVE pizza), but it is just a totally stupid statement.  I got a bad haircut from this barber once, so I’m never cutting my hair again because all barbers suck.  Again, preposterous.  But this is the EXACT “logic” that is being applied to the “CrossFit” form of fitness.  Now, as a pre-emptive statement, I am neither defending NOR condemning CrossFit.  More and more, I am reading article after article about “Why I will NEVER do CrossFit”.  And they are all the same.  They tout the increased injury rate.  They advocate that they are thrown into workouts with little training.  They say that the proprietors are able to get certified in a weekend.

Is there validity to some this stuff, of course there is.  Is that a broad condemnation of the entire industry, NO!  To each:

Increased injury rate – First off, there is NO statistical data that suggests that crossfitters are any more or less prone to injuries than anyone else who works out.  How many gym rats have torn pecs and biceps or chronically achy knees ?  Secondly, as a whole, the injury rate of workouts (regardless of type of gym setting) pales in any comparison to that of ANY competitive sport.  You are infinitely more likely to injure yourself in a pick up basketball game or rec-league softball game than at the gym.

Too little instruction – I firmly believe that one of the biggest problems with CrossFit over the last 5 years or so, especially is their growth rate.  I think that, like every business, they were prepared for growth.  Just not at the rate that they have.  This has opened the door for people to get into the “Club” with too little training and experience.  There are currently over 2500 CrossFit affiliates worldwide.  Are you seriously going to believe that none of them, or even the majority of them just throw people into their high intensity form of workouts without regard for teaching and expecting proper technique?  Having been in the industry in the position that I am in for so long, I have seen lots of things come and go, and have had the opportunity to meet many owners of many different gyms.  I can tell you, that there are tons of Crossfits out there that are wonderful teaching and learning environments.  Just because someone had a bad experience at one, doesn’t mean that they’re ALL bad.  It just means that that one is.  And just like most other types of businesses, it’s not the well-run ones taht get all the attention, it’s the one or 2 renegades that are poorly operated.  You just have to find one around (Lord knows that they’re popping up like dandelions) in which you have a good experience and feel comfortable.

Lack of knowledge from owners – To own a Crossfit gym you must have a Level 1 Certification.  It is a weekend class.  Do you know what you need to open any other gym?  Nothing.  Do you know what it takes to become a personal trainer for a lot of people?  A weekend.  That doesn’t mean that they do or don’ t know what they are talking about, and refers back to my previous point.  You have to find QUALIFIED professionals and not just CERTIFIED professionals.

Listen, like I said, I am neither defending, nor condemning CrossFit.  I would write the same opinions about people who categorically bashed Planet Fitness, Curves, or anything of the like.  This just happens to be a hot button topic right now.  It’s OK for everyone to have their own opinion.  If you don’t like CrossFit, don’t go.  There are tons of other options out there.  If you do, great!  But don’t base YOUR bad experience as a complete denunciation of the entire company.  Are there bad eggs?  Every bunch has them.  But they make up the exceptions, not the rules.  It’s OK to be ignorant, just don’t open your mouth and prove it.

Sorry for the hiatus.  We took a respite from the world of writing for a couple of weeks.  Refresh, re-focus and here we go.  Have you heard the newest one?  The one about where the USDA (United States Dept. of Agriculture) has been “feeding” us mid-information for decades?  We’ve been told and taught again and again that you should watch your saturated fat.  Saturated fats are animal fats.  Meat, milk, eggs, etc.  All the things that make life worth living.  It’s bad for you and increases your risk of developing heart disease and dying early.  That when you eat fat it should be unsaturated fats, like vegetable oils.  Well, apparently, they (as usual) were wrong.  A recent summary of studies covering more than 500,000 subjects (a pretty decent sample size) found that people who ate higher levels of saturated fat had NO increased incidence of heart disease than anyone else.  AND, that those who ate higher levels of unsaturated fats had JUST AS MUCH risk as everyone else.  So, what is the moral of the story?  Eat what you are going to eat.  Saturated fat is not the enemy.

Great question!  On one hand, sports are what get most kids active.  Rec leagues, park districts and athletic associations keep kids moving and teach them valuable skills, both physical and psychosocial.  They learn motor devlopment, strength, stamina, leadership, teamwork and all manner of other great stuff on a daily basis.  However, on the other hand, as sports progress through the levels and become more elite, they also become more inherently dangerous.  Ask any athlete who played sports even through a competitive high school level to tell you about their injury list.  I played competitive sports for over 20 years, and escaped relatively unscathed.  But my list still includes bone bruises, some fractures (digits mostly) and a couple of concussions.  That’s pretty light.  I’ve watched teammates and adversaries blow out knees and ankles, injure their backs and get knocked unconscious.  These things happen.  And what of the long-term effects?  Arthritis, lingering pains and now even with the stuff about CTE.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I owe a lot of what I am and what I have to sports.  Even high level sports.  But the fact is is that we revere elite athletes to the point of ridiculousness.  People say that “Oh, they’re getting paid to play a game.”  Just want to point out the other side, is all.  Food for thought.

So, it turns out that my 5 year old is right.  Ever since he was small, one of his favorite fruits has been lemons.  He just chomps them down, rind and all.  Well, get ready, because you are going to start seeing lemons more commonly than ever.  Lemons have been indicated, by the Sterling-Rice group,  as one of the “hot foods” of 2014.  They get that distinction for numerous reasons.  First off, they make a terrific salt substitute due to their acidity.  They have the ability to create a similar response in the taste systems, without the issues with raising fluid retention and blood pressure.  Lemons also add a depth to the flavor of foods and sauces creating a snse of satiety when we eat.  This means that we feel fuller, longer and are less prone to a “too soon” bout of eating again.  In addition, lemons help balance the body’s pH levels.  Even though they are an acidic food in nature, when the body burns them to ash, that ash is alkaline.  So they can help the body buffer and counterbalance all the acidic foods that we put into our bodies on a daily basis.  So squeeze them on your salads and in your drinks.  Zest them onto meats and desserts and blend them into your smoothies.  Lemons help keep you healthy.

lemon (1)

Fitness myths.  OK, so we could write an entire BOOK on the topic.  Everything from eat fat, get fat to lifting as a kid will stunt your growth.  Silly things that somewhere along the line caught some traction and started becoming “accepted knowledge”.  So today, I’m looking for yours.  We can have some fun with this one because there is so much RIDICULOUS information out there that when you apply the logic test, you say “are you serious?!”  MY personal favorite is that women shouldn’t lift weights because they don’t want to “bulk up”.  This is a prevailing myth up to and including the publish of this article.  If I had a dollar for every time that I heard “I want to tone up, but I don’t want to get big”, I’d be writing this from my own private island, as opposed to this deep-freeze that I call home.  Lifting weights will NOT turn women into men.  You will NOT build huge bulging biceps or monstrous pecs or get a big ass.  It’s not in the cards.  The reason that guys are able to see so much more muscular growth is that they have exponentially higher levels of testosterone in their blood stream.  Testosterone is the hormone MOST responsible for muscular growth.  Now, do women have testosterone?  Yes.  Do some have more than others?  Also true.  However, no (I repeat NO) female is going to turn into Arnold no matter how much lifting you do.  What you will turn into is a stronger, more functional athlete and person overall, but who wants that?  So, what’s YOUR biggest fitness myth?  I look forward to hearing the silliness that prevails!

Fantasy vs. Reality Strong Girl

OK, part 2 of my “Pick One” series.  Today you must tell me what is your favorite HEALTHY snack food.  And why?  For me, this was a bit of a tough one.  I DO love trail mix (usually with Almonds and cashews and raisins).  Great fats, and some sweet, but ultimately, I cannot do trail mix without M&M’s (Mars bastards!), so it’s OUT as a healthy snack and just a snack.  However, that made the choice for my fave healthy snack pretty easy and obvious.  It’s homemade guacamole.  We have it in the house pretty regularly, in season or out.  If you look at guacamole, there is not a single BAD thing in it.  People will say that the avocados are high in fat, but that, as you know, is balderdash (Ha!  I got to use the word “balderdash” in a sentence).  Avocados provide us with the essential Omega-6 fatty acids that many people have out of balance.  We get so concerned about Omega-3’s that we forget about the balance that is required for the brain and body to properly function.  They are also rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate and Potassium just to name a few.  Not to mention a full 10g of dietary fiber.  Plus, if you make it like I do, it’s chock full of other stuff like fresh tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, lime and even a hint of hot pepper.  And the nice thing about it is that in season, I will grow everything except the limes and avocados myself.  Easy.  So grab a chip and dig in!  And tell me what is YOUR favorite healthy snack-time treat?


We’re going to start a small series here.  Just for fun.  I’m calling it Pick One.  What you will be presented with is a question.  Respond in comments.  I look forward to all the responses from you all.  So, we’ll start with an easy one.  The question for today is….

If you could pick ONE exercise that you could do, what would it be?

I would choose the Squat, and here’s why.  I find the squat to be one of the most functional and versatile exercises around.  First off, what else are you going to do more in your day than sit down and stand up?  It is about the most common functional movement in the history of man (next to walking).  Now, as for the exercise itself, the best part about it is the variety that you can employ with it.  Back squat, front squat, overhead, stability ball, single-leg.  The list goes on and on.  And with these different varieties, you can stress the body in so many different ways.  You can include HUGE contributions from the core muscles (front and overhead), you can work on proprioception and balance (single-leg and SB), you can even involve some upper body stuff (overhead).  So, to me, I LOVE the squat.  I like to include some form of them in my workouts each and every week.

So, if YOU could only pick ONE, what would it be?