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Physical Fitness

Permanent Linkby smallpoxgirl on Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:04 pm

At the beginning of this year I was just about to turn 35, and I was almost 200 pounds overweight. In my mid thirties I'm starting to come to terms with the idea that if I don't start taking care of my body, it may not be around to take care of me. I started a combination of diet and exercise around the beginning of February. So far I've lost 85 pounds, and I'm maintaining a pretty steady rate of just over 3 pounds of weight loss per week. I feel great. I'm not hungry. Life is good. The best part is that, unlike prior attempts I've made at weight loss, this really feels more like a lifestyle change rather than a "diet" per se.

I've become a huge fan of Crossfit. Crossfit began as a local thing in Northern California back in the early 90's. Around 2000 they started a website where they post the workout of the day (WOD) and various videos of how to do the different excercises. Since then it's taken off like wild fire and become a grassroots movement with thousands of people doing it in their garages. More recently Crossfit affiliates have started to pop up. An affiliate is a location where they have all the gear, and people pay a monthly fee and come together as a group to do Crossfit with a certified trainer. Crossfit is all about functional fitness: making people stronger, faster, more agile, more flexible to do the activities in their lives. It's become very popular with police, fire fighters, and military. It's also a fundamentally ascetic approach to fitness. They are harshly opposed to exercise machines and isolation exercises. The implements they use include: a pull up bar, gymnastic rings, free weights of various configurations, medicine balls, plyo boxes (for jumping on), and occasionally a rowing machine. I'm doing crossfit for an hour five days a week at an affiliate plus some boxing a couple of days a week. I've made huge strides in strength, endurance, and agility in that time. It's a great feeling to see yourself running further faster, lifting more, jumping higher, able to do new body weigh exercises, etc.

Because of the open source nature of Crossfit, it has attracted a ton of really bright people who are very passionate and insightful about fitness. One of those really bright people is Rob Wolf. Rob was formerly a research biochemist now turned exercise nutrition guru. Rob is a big believer in the Paleo diet, and after four months, so am I. Paleo diet, in short, prohibits: grains, beans, potatoes, dairy, and processed foods. The basic idea is that the nutritional diseases plaguing our society (obesity, diabetes, coronary disease, etc) are not seen in pre-agricultural peoples and that by eliminating those foods that only became available with the advent of agriculture, we can achieve better health. Like I said, if I had any doubts about it in February, after losing 85 pounds in 4 months, they're gone. One of the best parts of the paleo diet is that because you're not eating starchy foods, you're insulin levels stay very low. The pattern of eating starchy foods, spiking your blood sugar, stimulating a big insulin rush, and having your blood sugar crash is very difficult to avoid when eating a "normal" western diet. It's the blood sugar crashes, that generate much of the hunger which drives overeating. On the paleo diet I eat less than half the calories that I use to, and I'm almost never hungry. Being a dedicated carnivore, it's also pretty hard for me to complain about a diet where I'm eating meat five times a day. In addition to the paleo, I'm doing using a zone diet to guide how much I eat of various foods. In all honesty I'd probably be just fine with just the paleo, but I'm a little obsessive compulsive, so the measuring, weighing, recording, and tweaking of the zone is satisfying in that way.

So yeah, Crossfit has changed my life. I've become a "cool aid drinker" as they say. In addition to all the great fitness and diet info, it's a great place to meet and hang out with clear thinking, hard driving, motivated kinds of people.

Seattle Times article about crossfit: link

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Re: Physical Fitness

Permanent Linkby wisconsin_cur on Sat Jun 27, 2009 3:49 am

I'll check it out!

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Physical Fitness

Permanent Linkby salom on Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:57 pm

What a great result you've had! I'm encouraged to resume the fitness program that lost me fifty pounds starting back in 2005, of which about 15 have crept back on since I reentered education. Not to mention the panting that I'm starting to experience when I attempt more that about three flights of stairs. Eighteen months ago I could've biked 15 miles without hardly breaking a sweat. A couple weeks ago I managed seven and I was done. :(
Last edited by salom on Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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