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Nutrition Diet, supplements, weightloss, health & longevity

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Old 08-10-2006, 01:51 AM   #21
Gorm Laursen
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Two reasons to start this thread:

First: CrossFit are called THE program for policemen, firefighters and the like, aka people who professionally puts themselves in hazardous situations - often to safe the lives of others. But my point is if you always train in the same environment and under the same circumstances, how can this transfer to the chaos of real life? If you have a confidence in your abilities and limitations, that are based on the experience you have gaining while being well-fed, well-hydrated and well-rested, do you not risk failure when trying to do something similar but in a physical and/or mental condition that are radically different that the one you're training in?

Secondly: To make a long story short, I have within the last 1 1/2 year gaining the best shape of my life and lost 30 kilos. I fulfill all the athletic standars level II from crossfit north's athletic standards and are closing in on several of the level III's.

This is after a carrier of sitting on my behind in the advertizing business, smoking like a chimney and slowly getting fatter and fatter from a rotten diet.

These changes have happened mainly during periods of stress, sleep deprivation and a diet that was pretty decent 2/3 of the time, but pretty indecent 1/3 of the time.

After reading all the threads about optimal-this-and-that, one should think that this transformation simply couldn't take place.
It'd perhaps even be counterproductive! But the transformation DID happen and it happened almost leasurely, after an entire adult life of battling a slowly increasing weight gain.

I DID deadlift in the morning, worked late and slept 5 hrs and experienced great increases.

But all I could think of was: 'Oh no! I'm not doing this right!' Often I even dropped working out because I hadn't slept well enough in the night, and had been given the impression that it might do more harm than good. I could bash myself a whole day for not bringing a post-exercise snack and feeling forced to eat some white bread instead (because you had to confine to the window of opportunity!). Stupid me!!! If I had just focused on the game instead of how it was supposed to be played optimally, I could have enjoyed the proces a whole lot more and be driven - as I am now - by enthusiasm instead of shame and guilt.

And this is where these discussions fail: They don't take into consideration the mental aspects of being properly nourished and recovered. I think banging yourself in the head for not doing it the 40/40/30-way all the time or not doing it the this-and-that-way all the time leaves you so stressed and cramped that it's actually bordering something that can be hazardous to your health.

I was actually close to dropping the whole strength/fit game because I was constantly being told I wasn't doing it right - or at least not good enough! And why do something if you can't do it properly?!

The great thing about CrossFit is the randomness in the WODs. You never know what's gonna hit you. Why does all the other aspects have to be so schematic and Stalinistic?

Larry Lindenmann: I can see why you pick up the too-hard, don't-want-to-vibe, and you may actually be right, but for me it's simply not optimal to byu in on an idea of nutrition and fail to that idea at least once a day because of the way your life is. I prefer to collect succes, even if that means I have to conform to what other may think are 'lower standards', but which also can be considered 'other standards'.

Elliot Royce: My point is exactly! that you can adopt CrossFit withput being perfect, I merely want to raise the discussion about perfection: Perfect in the gym is not perfect according to my standards, cause if you can't use your perfection to cope with real life, you're far from perfect.

Ben Kaminski: LOL. I'm not striving for the middle of the road though, far from it, but to be optimal is also to invest your ressources optimally, and I don't think the kind of ressources recuired to obtain those last 10% is worth the investment, cause it will leave other aspects of life with less attention, with in the last end will influence those hard-earned 10% in a negative direction.

William Hunter: You got a keen eye: I was very 'zoned' when I wrote it. However if you stop to consider, haven't I spend my time better sitting and typing this piece which might have gotten just a few thinking, than lying on the couch recovering for my own sake?! ;) Life's about sharing, not collecting ...

Yael Grauer: Training fasting, unrested and hung-over is way cooler than meeting over-prepared. I actually have set not so few PRs in sub-sub-sub-optimal states, eg. being severely hung-over.

Darrell E. White: You are obviously one of the few for whom things permutate into a sum which is more valuable than the parts. I have always respected people who have this ability - in my own case it's only seasonal!

Barry Cooper: You may have a point that I try to justify something I'm already doing, but again it's my point: I have reached results which other have told me was doubtful I could reach, and I just want to open the discussion about what's optimal. I think you can gain greater results from investing in dedicated training and positive thinking instead of weighing-measuring-considering every aspects of your training and life.

Yael again: I'm quite convinced that you can't blame diet and sleep for making you spacy and irritable ... ofcourse I can only speak for myself. My wife for instance used to enter a state of extreme irritability when she was hungry, but it's all gone after 'converting' to paleo. In my case I can be worn pretty much down (which I'm actually right now) and still feel extreme surplus, simply because i 'want' to. It's merely a question about attitude – mental state – and not physical states.
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Old 08-10-2006, 03:06 AM   #22
Yael Grauer
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Gorm, I'm not sure how you can be convinced that diet and sleep aren't what make me spacy and irritable. I'm convinced they do, because I've experienced it. In fact, eating too many carbs *always* makes me spacy. Not getting enough sleep for several days in a row, makes me irritable. I have to smile and be polite to people at my job, and I can certainly tell when it's taking more effort to do so. In fact, it's gotten to the point where my coworker will ask me, if I'm forgetting something, what I ate that day, or if I'm irritable, how much sleep I got. Believe what you want, but I'm living it. I can of course work harder to override the effects of sleep-deprivation or excess carbs, but I can definitely feel the difference--it's not mental, it's physical.

As far as training after I stayed up half the night drinking, not eating and not sleeping... It usually just makes me feel toxic and I've never set any PR's. I've decided I either need to not drink the night before I train, or not train the day after I drink. Though I am interested in training in martial arts while drunk to see how much fine motor skill loss occurs and how well I do even when reaction time is diminished. I just have to find a teacher that I both feel comfortable being trashed around and that will put up with me disrupting the flow of class for my own self-indulgent curiousity.
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Old 08-10-2006, 04:29 AM   #23
Craig Van De Walker
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It is easy to get too wrapped up in doing "things right", instead of "doing the right thing".

Paralysis by overanalysis!

I personally try to do many things (eat, sleep, workout) in a way that will TEND to make me better/allow me to improve (or at least not backslide too quickly).

One of the things to consider IMO, is that a perfect program followed with a poor attitude and without full intensity will get you crappy results.

A crappy program followed with extreme intensity and conviction CAN yield pretty good reesults.

A great program followed with extreme intensity and conviction CAN yield excellent results.

The important part is the hard work (and some common sense). I have trained sleep deprived, underfed, overfed, distracted etc. Sometimes had great workouts sometimes not. In the long run though if I spend too much time in these states my performance deteriorates.

P.S. I am a simple man, I have never used a post exercise drink except water or beer. I am not hungry after working out. The only time I would skip a workout from not enough sleep would be if I'm woried about hurting myself. I have a job that sometimes keeps me working for over 36 hours straight. I have on a number of occasions been too busy to eat for over 24 hours while working. I have come home from these episodes up to 12lbs lighter than when I left in the morning. I try to re-hydrate sleep for between 4-12 hours (essentially pass out and wake up whenever I wake up) Take coffee and a time to clear the cobwebs and oftentimes go to the gym. I have had both incredibly crappy workout and terrific ones??? But it makes me feel somewhat normal again!

Try not to over analyze! Get the workouts in
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Old 08-10-2006, 05:01 AM   #24
Larry Lindenman
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Brother, this is a journey. Do I cheat...absolutely. Do I have my lapses, oh yeah. But I STRIVE towards an ideal. I don't stress when I have bread and a huge steak, or when I cut a workout short. If you decide this is a lifestyle for you then you do your best to adjust your lifestyle. I have a very busy lifestyle. I commute 1:15 each way, each day. Work long hours and sometimes work all night! I am now coaching my son's football team. I'm married (2 kids). I train CF and martial arts, and teach. I bring good tasting food to work every day. I don't see how the day to day nutrition is a burden. Today, I'm having grilled chicken-spinach salad with almonds and olive oil dressing for lunch...tastes good and easy. I could choose to have a hamburger...I don't. Friday night we're going out with friends to a Mexican restaurant...I will eat chips and drink beer....If I'm compliant 25 meals of 28 meals in a week, I think I've done a pretty good job and still had fun! Most importantly (more then performance) I have effected my health is a positive way and went a long way in preventing cancer, heart disease, and a host of other diet/overweight related diseases. It's about making good choices...sometimes one meal at a time. I don't believe every meal for you is an opportunity to have meaningful discourse with friends and that you go out and drink every night. Most people grind it out during the week. I met with Barry Cooper when he was in Chicago. We had a great conversation over coffee, didn't have to trash diet or exercise for it. At McDonald's you could choose the grilled chicken Asian Salad or a Big Mac with fries and a large coke...your choice, you have the information to make an educated decision, why make a bad decision...I don't get it. Sorry for the rant, but I think eventually (one meal at a time) you'll come around (you might want to try 40-30-30, not 40-40-30 that extra 10 will kill ya :wink:) I know mistyped!
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Old 08-10-2006, 05:31 AM   #25
Gorm Laursen
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Yael: Ofcourse I don't dispute the way you feel when you haven't slept enough or eaten too many carbs. But sometimes it's more our expectations that cause the reactions rather than something in the outer world. At least it is for me ...

Craig: I do spend most of my energy on the workouts, and that's also what I think most people ought to. I truly believe that those famous last % can be achieved trough hard work instead adjusting small percentages in your diet. I simply feel that too many people think too much about whats AROUND the workout instead of whats IN it.

Larry: We're absolutely agreeing. My life is almost similar to yours, and my diet's really good in spite of what some might think after what I wrote. But as I wrote just before, focus is often on the perifery instead of the center, which I think may misguide some who are confused about training, diet and recovery. I think it's quite easy to achieve the golden 80% and my experience tell's me the last 20% are quite hard earned. If you have a life where that's possible, fine with me, but all us mere mortals truely should put our energy where it matters: in the 80%, which is good, hard workouts and decent, healthy and delicious eating.

If I sit down and analyze my diet, it actually is quite close to 40/40/30 but that's coincidal: My focus is making good food. When I tried making Zone-food focus was on macronutrient percentages, and thats not a basis for great cooking. So I figured: The good things that the zone has to offer me simply isn't as attractive as eating great food. And this is where a lesson can be learned: Is health physical or mental? I think its healthier to eat food that nourishes both the body and the soul.
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Old 08-10-2006, 08:43 AM   #26
Yael Grauer
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Of course I can make the actual decision to handle whatever situations arise and control my reactions as best as possible. But I've found that being in the Zone makes it a heck of a lot easier. I can't magically put myself in a perfect, centered mood--but I can create fertile soil in which that kind of mood is more likely to grow. And I think acknowledging my food and sleep choices is definitely looking at things internally instead of blaming the external--I can explain in very vivid detail each situation I've gotten in and how it was the customer's fault, but I've become aware of a larger pattern wherein I've noticed it's far more difficult to handle these types of situations with poise and professionalism if I'm all carbed out and tired.

When I ASK someone else FOR HELP, they are likely to tell me what has worked for them or their clients in the past, and I am free to follow or ignore or experiment with their advice if I see fit. I don't think anybody has ever encouraged feeling guilty for not meeting specific %s, and many people use the Zone eyeball method, so I'm not really sure what exactly is so different between what you are doing and what they are doing. If you think the last % can be achieved through hard work instead of diet and rest, more power to you. I'm just not convinced that you can dictate that for everybody else. We are all different, and unfortunately for me, diet and sleep have a HUGE effect. I'm sure this is true for others as well. If it isn't for you, no biggie, don't follow it. I'm just not sure how you can dictate that it will not work or wouldn't be as helpful as sheer willpower for anybody else.

As far as training in good conditions leading to suboptimal performance in substandard conditions, I would bet that the gains you make from training while fed, hydrated and rested would more than make up for that. What good is knowing I have the ability of lifting something heavy and running 5 miles when I'm dehydrated is if I make myself sick doing it? Training in good conditions will lead to physical fitness that can be useful in other areas of life. And I highly doubt that even people striving for great training conditions are never distracted or whatnot. I'd also put money down on 90+% of crossfitters who need to perform tasks at work in suboptimal conditions having gotten some type of additional training that deals with just that. And it's probably more about dealing with adrenal stress response than it is about worrying about whether you can lift that car the baby is stuck under if you're tired.

I also think you're presenting a false dichotomy by asking whether health is physical or mental. I CHOOSE (mentally) to eat food that is nourishing (physically), for example. Who said that great food couldn't be nutritious? If it is both, does it even matter which of the two is more important to you?

And yes, I am sleep deprived right now, and so was my last post.
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Old 08-10-2006, 09:39 AM   #27
Aushion Chatman
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I never post in nutrition...gotta be my first time.

It's interesting that many think of diet as coming secondary though...

Gorm I don't disagree with you that much, the problem is you aren't going deep enough. This was not about "nutrition"...

Meticulously tracking things may not mean you are living much of a life to YOU. But for someone else maybe that IS purpose. Some people are really analytical and meticulous and get off on that.

If you're at a point where tracking what you're eating and how much sleep you're getting is detracting from what you consider purposeful, then I agree, you are losing the fight and need to throttle back on the "I care about this lever".

Just remember what Crossfitting has taught you, sometimes the gratification is worth the wait.

One more thing,.. Gorm I think what you are getting at is placing a priority on enjoying life...sounds good on a msg board, but does not always happen, and people are going to beat themselves up about the under-achieving need to enjoy life, it's just human nature.


PS, I don't really feel it's an under-achieving is just coming out that way in this thread.
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Old 08-10-2006, 10:10 AM   #28
Barry Cooper
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I think I get what you're saying, indirectly. You should feel proud of yourself for losing 30 pounds, getting in shape, and getting off the chain smoking.

If you make no other changes for the rest of your life besides mostly following the Zone Diet, and doing the WOD, you will have elevated yourself above the overwhelming bulk of the people you know.

You have my permission--for what it's worth, and not that you need it--to stop driving yourself nuts.
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Old 08-10-2006, 12:01 PM   #29
Gorm Laursen
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Don't get me wrong: I don't want to knock anyone in the head for their dietary choices or how they choose to spend their sparetime and what means they use to recover. My suggestions probably arise from my independant and somewhat hedonistic nature - other may be more by the book and by the clock and that's just fine with me.

I do though want to pose the question: How much of what is being suggested in these forums are second hand information and how much have actually been tested personally by people themselves? One thing is advocating the zone for instance because its hot stuff within crossfit communities, another thing is recommending it because you – as Yael - have lived it and harvested good experiences with it. Its so easy to read a book and claim to be an expert. My personal experiences just happen to contradict a lot of seemingly untouchable claims and I hoped this discussion could lead to more people being willing to swallow a camel or two. Sometimes they're quite nourishing, you know!

I've experimented alot with both diet and training, but first when I stopped depending on peoples advices (which are almost always centrered about prohibitions and limitations instead of possibilities and new paths) and listened to my body, things started to roll - and roll fast! My first 10 kilos were lost in 12 days!

Your body has tide and turns just like anything else: Ride with the waves. Some days I fell like not eating, and so I don't eat (I was raised with the preposterous claim that you had to eat your breakfast to be healthy: what a lie!): Thats when I'm in my spartan mood. I can easily drop 1-3 kilo within a couple of days. Sometimes I just wanna eat like my life depends on it, and do so gladly. If I had to justify myself, I can always say I'm an intermittent faster, but for me it's more about finally being in sync with my body and not threating it like a 8-5 worker in a cubicle.

Just like the WODs are 'waves' of stimuli you impose on your body, I simply can't understand that one want to treat the rest of ones training - diet, rest - as a clockwork.
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Old 08-10-2006, 12:13 PM   #30
Elliot Royce
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There's a lot of interesting stuff here but I'm a bit lost as to what the debate is about. I think Gorm was rebelling against his perception that to be a true Crossfitter you had to have perfect compliance with the exercise, sleep and nutritional prescriptions of the program.

Everyone who has responded seems to agree that there is no need for perfection to get many good results. Some of us are willing and able (and required to by job/profession) to strive harder. Some of us have more obstacles.

Gorm also seems to be questioning whether there is an objective reality on many of these points or whether in many cases it's just personal opinion or experience. Again, I don't think we have too many zealots who responded that there is only one way (Crossfit Calvinists, if you like).

On the board, I sometimes see examples of strongly held views where frankly I think the person is over the top. But this site isn't a textbook and we don't need to all find ways to agree. So what if one person thinks carrots are the way to salvation and another swears by burpees. Overall, you can extract a tremendous amount of great information.

Anyone who is immature or naive enough to follow absolute prescriptions from people they know only from the internet is going to have problems. You have to know how to judge what's most useful to you: if Dr. White comments on something medically related, I give his comment more weight than if he comments on, say, how many deadlifts should be done for maximum benefit. Similarly, I would give Coach Burgener's views on O lifts a lot of credence but perhaps less so in relation to nutrition (perhaps he is a nutrition expert as well). And clearly we have some people who are experts but reflect an alternative view. Not everyone agrees with Garrett but he can open your mind to new things.

So, while enjoying the thoughtful posts, I'm kinda wondering what we're talking about!

(Message edited by eroyce on August 10, 2006)
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