Sunday, July 28, 2002

Bad Politics as Nutrition as Genocide

It took me seconds to find it. I threw into “Google,” “coronary heart disease death statistics.” Boom, five lines down at the American Heart Association I get my answer: 529,659 deaths in the U.S. every year from Coronary Heart Disease. Some Doctors like to call it “Ischemic Heart Disease” which sounds really cool, try it, “Is-KEEMUK" "heart disease.” Sounds smart, huh? Check this out; it’s also called “Atherosclerotic Disease.” It’s all the same shit though.

We call it “clogged” or “plugged” arteries. It kills. On top of the cool half a “mil” dying every year there are another 12 million walking wounded with “Ischemic Heart Disease.”

Here’s where this all gets technical: it’s overwhelming cause is excess carbohydrate in the diet. This is a fact. You have to dig to find it, but it’s true.

Here’s where this gets sad: nearly all Americans including the popular media think that it’s caused by dietary fat while the problem grows worse and worse and worse.

There’s an irresponsible part: Most doctors share/spread the confusion.

And the political: The dietary fat as deadly notion began politically as a bit of social do-goodery by a Senate Select Committee chaired by George McGovern (amazing!, not) and given WAY too much power and money. Once this machinery was put in motion science didn’t matter. Not for about thirty years.

Finally the ironic: The American Medical community from the AMA to the NIH to the CDC to the Surgeon’s General, nearly everyone empowered with looking after our collective health and well being is responsible for 100% of the carnage. Health educators, doctors, nutritionists, trainers, journalists, sold out scientists, are all culpable.

I think, though, that the aspect of all of this that is most interesting and, perhaps, bizarre is that it doesn’t take much intelligence, science, or money to resolve the issue out for yourself permanently and fully, which is amazing, no?, that anyone can figure out for him-or-herself which way is healthy which is not while billions of dollars and the AMA and NIH can’t/won’t ?

Cut your fat way back for three days. What happens? You miss some of your favorite foods. Put the fat back but this time cut your protein way back for three days. Again, what happens? You miss some of your favorite foods. Period. Now…cut your carbs out but leave the protein and fat alone. What happens? You turn into a freaking Zombie that will kill for sugar. If you’re “left” enough you’ll jones for “health food” like bagels, granola, and dried fruit like a crack addict for crack. By then you'll know first hand, without a doubt, which of the three macronutrient elements: protein, carbohydrate, and fat is the most dynamic control of your being. That alone isn’t much information but a big clue, for sure. You know that carbohydrates are somehow really, really, important.

Next step, keep the carbs back to green vegetables, some fruit, no starch or sugar for three months. Even if you “know” that a diet of meat, fish, and poultry, and green vegetable, nut and seeds, some fruit, no starch and sugar is bad for you, you are going to be blown away at how good you feel and look. You’ll know then, and only then, just how healthy all the bread, pasta, rice, potato, sugar, and other high glycemic food was for you.

If you don’t let the “knowing” how bad it is to eat this way stop you and if you also make it past the “worse than crack” withdrawals you’ll know something that VERY few doctors know: that high glycemic carbohydrates aren't good for you. You'll also, at this point, hold all bits of conventional and popular medical wisdom circumspect. Especially if part of a national campaign.

But it’s really weird because anyone can do this first of all and second of all because your doctor can measure your improved health. Blood pressure, LDL’s, HDL’s, HGA1c, triglycerides, body fat, muscle mass, bone density, mood assessment, you name it, if you can measure it, it improved. And yet not one in a thousand will ever have this experience as things stand. That’s the real story, though.

On July 7th in the New York Times, Gary Taubes, a highly esteemed science writer stood up and screamed, “the emperor is naked.” This is not the first time Mr. Taubes has done this, but it is the first time in the general public, i.e., popular media. In 2001 he did it in the scientific community in a piece published in the much vaunted journal “Science.” This first piece won Gary Taubes high honors for science reporting from the National Association of Science Writers and Science Magazine. When he did it again July 7th, this time in the NY Times, a ripple shot across the entire nation. It may, just may, signify the first crack in the dam I’ve named “invincible ignorance.”

Both pieces from Gary Taubes are available on our website as links in the Today section archive from last week. Read them if you care about your health or want to learn how the infusion of bad politics into medicine and nutrition can kill millions and keep everyone ignorant as to its causes.

If it turns out that the breach in invincible ignorance is significant in scope or duration don’t expect apologies from Jane Brody, or Doctor’s McDougall, or Ornish. Don’t listen for remorse from the physicians and nutritionists who’ve persistently refused to examine science supporting “the alternative hypothesis” while presenting none for theirs. There will be no apologies to Dr’s Sears, Eades, or most maligned Atkins.

If there were justice in medicine, Atkins would get a Nobel Prize in Medicine, during his lifetime, for screaming first and loudest “they’re killing you” and second for enduring unimaginable scorn and ridicule while doing so.” While we’re dreaming I’d make Jane Brody and Dean Ornish hand it to him.

Oh, by the way, if you can fool the entire nation about what people should eat or not, then you can fool them about absolutely anything else. By comparison it’ll be very easy. That, incidentally, is the scary part.


Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Martial Arts Training

Let’s start with a list of the known adaptational responses to physical training. They are cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. When we concern ourselves with the demands of a sport or exercise we can assess the activity by asking ourselves which of these adaptational responses is critical to the activity.

For instance, triathlon requires great cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, great stamina, little strength, less flexibility, and negligible, or no power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. On the basis of this assessment, like it or not, we at CrossFit don’t consider triathletes great or even good athletes.

When I apply the same criterion for analysis to the NHB, MMA, or BJJ competitor we see at once that the fighter requires each of the ten physical skills to an extraordinary degree. The extent to which these athletes depend on each of these physical skills is so high that it is reasonably argued that the MMA competitor is potentially the best athlete on earth. I say “ potentially” because I believe that today’s fighters have generally not yet realized the fitness potential that later generations of fighters will surely possess if they are to win fights. CrossFit is helping to bring this change about.

CrossFit has for years, through development of core strength and conditioning programs, endeavored to engineer programs that optimize each, simultaneously, of the adaptational responses to training. These workouts have been highly regarded by professionals whose lives and livelihoods depend of their fitness such as cops, Special Forces personnel, and firefighters. In recent years our expertise has been applied to MMA and BJJ competitors, and we’ve met with great success.

Here are the distinctive elements to the CrossFit philosophy followed by some specific areas where we diverge from conventional training. Philosophically we train with a constant eye for Neuroendocrine response, power development, cross-training, and functional movements. The value and rationale for each of these is too complex to be covered here, but let me briefly define each. Neuroendocrine response is the neurological and hormonal response to an exercise. Some exercise have a high neruoendocrine response, some have little. We focus on the exercises that have been shown to have a high neuroendocrine response. Power is king in sport, not speed. Power is moving hard and fast, not just hard, not just fast, but hard and fast. CrossFit places a premium on the development of power. Cross training in its broadest sense is training past the normal bounds or parameters requisite of your sport. The CrossFit commitment to cross training is suggested in our program's name. Functional movements are those that mimic motor recruitment patterns commonly or universally found in nature. The advantage of training functional movements is so important that physical prowess is utterly impossible without it and yet, amazingly, fitness protocols in gyms and health clubs are typically absent of functional movements.

The CrossFit approach is distinctive and therefore represents a departure from conventional training in many respects. Let’s detail some specific and obvious differences in CrossFit training.

1) We train for strength and metabolic conditioning (“cardio”) simultaneously. Fighting requires strength at very high heart rates. You had better train for that. Your opponent is unlikely to let you catch your breath before you throw him.
2) We train with gymnastics. Gymnasts have the best strength to weight ratio and the best coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy of any athlete. The value of advanced body control to MMA competition should be obvious.
3) We train with weights. Weightlifting trains for imparting and receiving great and sudden forces. MMA competition is ultimately about control of objects (your opponent). If you don’t see the correlation between the deadlift and throws you either haven’t done enough deadlifts, throws, or both.
4) Our weightlifting is Powerlifting and Olympic lifting based; we do no bodybuilding. That means no curls, lateral raises, leg extensions, leg curls, or any of the rest of the staple of most health clubs, and gyms.
5) The vast majority of our metabolic conditioning efforts are anaerobic not aerobic. Guess what? Fighting is an anaerobic sport. The fighters that are training daily with long distance cardio efforts are getting weaker not stronger, losing power, strength, and speed the more they train. This may not be well understood, but it’s a fact.