Sunday, February 22, 2009


  1. capitalpressure | February 22, 2009 at 1:47 am

    Sorry I missed the group session. I was in early to do the wod and my time was 23:31. Jeff W.

  2. demonbowler | February 22, 2009 at 11:55 am

    I didn’t have time to both post a thoughtful response to John’s “Survival of the Fittest” essay last Sunday and to get at least 5 or 6 hours of sleep before a Monday morning workout. I opted for a fitful night’s rest, but the essay has stayed with me throughout the week.

    It really resonated with me last night when I went on-line (Yahoo! home page) to find that one of the featured articles was “seven fitness mistakes.” This article, in turn, had links to related articles at “” and “” I read all three – the first two were classically superficial, intuitive and not-helpful; the “Outside” article was a little more interesting, especially in light of John’s essay and the various information presented to us through seminars and our training sessions.

    I was stunned by the “carb fix” advocated by the Outside article ( as the #1 “fix” for the #1 (of 12) fitness mistakes:

    (from “” article)

    Mistake #1: Training on Empty

    Low-carb diets are great if your idea of exercise is walking to work. But athletes need to fuel up, and that means carbs. “Endurance athletes perform best on a diet that’s approximately 60 percent carbohydrate,” says John Seifert, professor of health and human development at Montana State University and a leading sports-nutrition researcher. Most people don’t eat enough carbs and don’t eat enough before big workouts—causing them to exercise less intensely and therefore burn fewer calories.

    The Fix: Experts say you should aim for 2.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight every day. If you want to get a feel for this number, suffer through one day of strict carb counting and guesstimate from then on. Don’t want to do math at lunch? Just make sure the biggest portion of every meal is made up of healthy carbs, like fruits, brightly colored vegetables, and whole grains. If you’re going for a five-mile run, eat a carb-rich meal three hours beforehand. Example: 1 cup oatmeal with sliced banana, 8 oz low-fat yogurt, and 8 oz orange juice. Can’t afford to wait three hours? Eat a bowl of cereal before leaving the house, and down a sports drink while you work out.


    —So, that 1 cup of oatmeal with sliced banana, 8 oz low-fat yogurt, and 8 oz of orange juice reminds me of the last nutrition seminar – the paradigmatic “healthy breakfast” we eat on the road when we travel, which = 3 “favorable carbs” (oatmeal) + 6 “unfavorable” carbs (banana & orange juice) + (if it’s a typical “light & lively strawberry lowfat yogurt”) 11 blocks of unfavorable carbs (49 g carbs for 8 oz) – so this athlete’s/business traveler’s breakfast is in reality a 20 block carb injection – insulin response, with no meaningful protein (glucogen response) or fat balance for performance optimization. (but maybe this is, in isolation, a perfect recipe prior to a 5 mile run – I seem to recall Michael Phelps eats way off the carb charts and his performance seems fine).]

    — if “endurance” athletes need 2.5 g of carbohydrates per body weight, then a 160 lb individual would need 400 grams of carbs per day, or 44 carb blocks. I guess that Zone prescription is 12-12-4-12-4!

    — To be fair, a lot of the rest of the Outside article seems consistent with our general fitness philosophy – the #4 fitness mistake was “going long and slow to burn calories,” the #6 fitness mistake was “ignoring weights” (and the fix is specifically, “[f]ocus on free-weight, multi-joint movements, like one-arm dumbbell snatches: Place a dumbbell on the floor between your legs, bend your knees and flex your hips, grab the dumbbell in one hand, bring it up to your chest, and lift it straight overhead,” mistake #7 is “taking it too easy,” mistake #8 is “skipping recovery” (the fix includes getting adequate sleep), and in the “fix” for overcoming excuses (mistake #11, pretending you’re too busy), the article notes, “The easiest way to get motivated is through competition—that’s why CrossFit, which keeps a score for every workout, has been so successful.”

    With John’s essay as background, it’s interesting, in popular literature such as this stuff scattered all over the web, to see snippets of what John writes about, but a lack of any serious discussion about proper nutrition, or any kind of counterweight or qualification or unpacking of statements, like “endurance athletes perform best on a diet that’s approximately 60% carbohydrates” – what’s an “endurance athlete” v. any other type of “athlete”? Why single out “endurance”? – is that (“mono-structural cardio”) the “optimum” standard? It’s position in the article implies to a general reader that it is. Or is does it in fact only encompass 1 or 2 of 10 athletic “skills”, as John points out, for which we strive to attain at least basic competence? And why wouldn’t the editors point that out?

    The very format – “12 exercise mistakes” – lures the reader in, but the structure is not helpful. It detracts from an overall, holistic approach, making fragmented lives and approaches even more fragmented. I appreciate now more than ever John’s “disdain for poor choices of words.”

    I suppose if John had to list “12 excercise mistakes” my guess is might list the first one as, “#1 – Failure to value our bodies and treat them with respect and admiration.” Unpacking that first statement would necessarily lead to a discussion of appropriate nutrition and workout programming – the pathways toward valuing and properly treating our bodies. Only with that conceptual base could you deal, intelligently with incremental elements of eating, sleeping and physical activity.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir. I guess I’m discovering that I’m getting converted. I just try to keep in mind, “proper, not necessarily perfect” when it comes to nutrition, sleep and stress management – probably the most helpful guidance in the essay for me to this point.


  3. coach | February 22, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Well said, Ted.

    I think you were right on the money about #1 of John’s biggest fitness mistakes. Let me posit the rest of that list (I heartily agree with these):

    #2: Missing your workout.
    #3: Not aiming to CRUSH the workout.
    #4: Poor nutritional choices, with the emphasis on alcohol and sugar.
    #5: Dropping the bar in between repetitions.
    #6: Any excuse.
    #7: Not believing in yourself.
    #8: Yoga as exercise.
    #9: Thinking endurance sport = fitness.
    #10: Placing your fitness at the end of your (and others’) priorities.
    #11: Showing up late to your workout.
    #12: Engaging in Zumba.


  4. capitalpressure | February 22, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I enjoyed reading your article Ted. Jeff W.

  5. demonbowler | February 23, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    I had to look up “Zumba” – that’s how clueless I am. I think my generic #12 would be “Engaging in (anything with a registered trademark symbol after it).



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