Comment

Stand Up For Your Health

back pain.jpg

by Geoff Rand

What would you say if I told you that standing for just three hours each day could increase your overall health?  I’m sure some would expect sore feet or backs from such a change, and you might even think there’s no way you’d have time for that.

You may wonder what the harm is in sitting down so much.  Studies have shown that people who sit the majority of their day live on average two years less than someone who is on their feet most of the day.  Other studies have shown that exercise can’t undo the effects of sitting down the entire day.  And, there are the obvious detriments of increased weight gain and obesity for workers in sedentary jobs.

I’ve talked about how sitting can throw off your posture in a previous blog.  Being sedentary also negatively affects how the body converts food into glucose, which, when out of whack, can contribute to the development of diabetes and heart disease.

A British study looked at the sedentary habits of the average office worker.  With workdays ranging from 8-12 hours, mostly seated at a desk, and adding in commute, TV, and sleeping time, it is completely possible to spend up to 19 hours a day being inactive.  The study took a group of office dwellers and asked them to add 3 hours of standing during their day.  The participants wore accelerometers, heart rate monitors, and measured their blood sugar throughout the day.

The results were quite impressive for such a small change in their daily routine.  The study volunteers saw their blood glucose levels return to normal after a meal much more quickly during times where they were standing versus sitting.  One woman in the study saw an improvement in her arthritis symptoms due to the increase in standing.

They also showed an increased heart rate while standing, which translates to more calories burned.  On average, they burned about 50 calories an hour while standing.  So, for three hours a day standing over a five-day workweek, that translates to 750 calories burned.  Over a year, it’s 30,000 extra calories, or the equivalent of 8 lbs. of fat burned, all for just standing up for a short time during the day instead of sitting.

It turns out the study wasn’t the first of its kind.  A similar study in the 1950s on bus conductors (who stood), compared to bus drivers (who sat), showed the bus conductors had around half the risk of developing heart disease as the sedentary bus drivers.  Standing isn’t a new concept, either.  Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemmingway, and Ben Franklin all worked at standing desks.

Other studies in workplace standing have seen participants who experienced reduced back and neck pain when standing, and increased productivity, decreased stress and better moods from standing.

convertible desk.jpg

You might find that standing while working makes you more likely to walk over to a colleague’s desk rather than sending an email, which helps burn even more calories.  It might even translate to better office operations, as a face-to-face conversation is hard to beat in terms of quality of communication when compared to an email.

If your boss won’t spring for the larger full standing desks, smaller desktop versions exist that convert your standard desk into a standing workspace.

So try it out.  See how standing at work just a few hours over the course of your day can improve your health.

 

Sources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24532996

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-benefits-of-a-standing-desk#section1

 

Comment

Comment

The Mark

rasberries.jpg

by Geoff Rand

Few injuries are as CrossFit-specific as The Mark.  Some call it Butt Berry, Monkey Butt, or simply, the Ass Crack Rash.  This painful skin chafing affects both newcomers and seasoned CrossFitters.

If you haven’t gotten The Mark, you either have not yet done a high rep situp WOD on the Abmat, or you have spectacular ability to engage your abdominals throughout the workout.  The Mark is sneaky.  You don’t even know you have it at first.  But once you take that first post-WOD shower, look out.  That tender area just above your butt crack that got rubbed raw during the workout usually reveals itself once contacted with water.  It continues to remind you of its presence as your clothing touches it as you move around or sit or stand.

The Mark is caused by the friction created by the rubbing of your tailbone area against the floor as you do situps.  While most of us will start out with good situp form, as we get into the really high rep situp workouts like Annie or Angie, we start to fatigue and when we get sloppy on form, that’s when we are prone to chafing.

situp mat.jpg

To prevent The Mark from forming keep your butt on the floor and keep your abs engaged during the entire movement of the situp.  We all have a tendency to let our butt come off the floor, especially as our shoulder blades are down as we reach the lowered position of the situp.  Often as we throw ourselves downward in an effort to crank out the reps, this force causes our butt to come up.  All that movement over hundreds of reps adds up to a lot of friction.

Along with keeping your butt on the floor, you need to engage and use your abdominal muscles to raise and lower yourself during the movement.  While using momentum created by throwing your arms forward is allowed and will assist in the upward movement, you really should be initiating the upward movement with your lower abs.  Doing this will also force your butt to stay in contact with the floor and Abmat.

tape.jpg

Some athletes find that placing a section of yoga mat partially under the Abmat as a cushion for your tailbone assists with preventing The Mark from forming.  CrossFit Games competitor Christy Adkins also advocates the use of tape on the skin to prevent rash.  “You take a small amount of athletic tape and form an X, then place that on the tender, boney process right at the top of the sacrum, I found that if I layered enough pieces to form the X, it alleviated the butt raspberry syndrome,” she stated.  Others have formed a V with tape and had similar results.

One last thing to consider is avoiding the wearing of any of those pants or shorts with the little zippered pocket on the back near the tailbone during situp-heavy WODs.  Rubbing against this zipper is sure to cause a wicked rash.

While tape and cushioning may help, the real prevention of The Mark forming will come from maintaining proper form during the entire movement.

If all fails and you do get The Mark, treatment is really no different than a skin rash.  Keep it clean and dry, and apply a topical ointment.  Diaper rash treatments like Desitin work well as does Aquaphor.  Even with treatment, The Mark will take a few days to go away.  It literally is a pain in the ass.

The worst part about The Mark is you don’t have a cool injury story you can tell your non-CrossFit friends, and you definitely won’t have a wound you’ll want to show them.  You can drop a bar on your head or rip your hands up and have a good war story, but I doubt many of you will drop trou at the water cooler to brag about your butt rash.

 

Sources:

http://www.crossfittt.com/how-to-avoid-situp-induced-rug-burn/

http://www.fitbomb.com/2010/11/infamous-abmat-ass-crack-rash.html

https://www.crossfitinvictus.com/blog/two-simple-steps-to-avoid-butt-berry/

https://journal.crossfit.com/article/chafing-saline-2

http://www.tabatatimes.com/monkey-butt-crossfit-crack-pain-ass/2/

Comment

Comment

What is the Best Time of Day to Work Out?

full gym.jpg

By Geoff Rand

Does the time of day you choose to work out have any effect on the results you are likely to see, or is one time of day better than another?  Several studies have already examined this.

To understand the research, it helps to relate the factors impacting our workouts into biological, psychological, and environmental categories.

Morning Workouts

One biological factor in morning workouts is potential for increased stress placed upon the vertebrae of your spine due to fluid retention during sleep.  When we sleep, the discs of our spine are not under the effects of gravity and they take on fluid.  When we stand or sit throughout the day, this fluid is drained out of the spine as gravity compresses it.  If you were to do a heavy lift such as a deadlift right out of bed, the fluid saturated discs would create greater pressure in your spine and you would be at increased risk of injury.  For the morning workout people, a thorough warm-up is essential to good spine health and safety.

Another biological factor in morning workouts is the functioning of your central nervous system.  Even though you may have just had a great night’s sleep, studies have shown that reaction time and alertness are not at their peak in the morning, as these systems are just coming online.  This goes doubly for you coffee drinkers that haven’t yet had your caffeine jumpstart for the day.

Psychologically, getting to the gym early can be quite beneficial.  It starts your day and some studies have shown that people who workout in the morning see increased physical activity, productivity and even higher metabolism throughout the day.

mobility.jpg

Afternoon/Evening Workouts

Biologically, our bodies are functioning better in the afternoon/early evening than in the morning.  Our body temperature is at its highest between 2 and 6 PM.  This means that the systems of the body are warmed up and firing on all cylinders and the nervous system, muscle functioning, and enzyme production are at their highest, and blood pressure and heart rate are at their lowest, making this time period the most effective time to work out.

Interestingly, the belief that working out too close to bedtime having a negative effect on your sleep appears to be a myth.  Studies have shown no correlation between working out late and quality of sleep. 

Environmental factors may make afternoon workouts impossible, however.  Evening commutes, school schedules, family, pets, food preparation, and countless other factors fight to occupy that time slot and conspire to derail your afternoon/evening plans.  You are probably more likely to miss your afternoon workout than a morning one due to life events popping up unexpectedly.

Kaitlin squat.jpg

The Bottom Line

The studies and evidence seem to contradict one another and at the very least, there are several pluses and minuses to each time slot.  But researchers have determined these time ranges as the “target times” that will maximize your performance and give you a higher likelihood of experiencing better results from your time investment into working out.  They have identified 4-5 hours after waking and 11-12 hours after waking as the “best” times to work out.

I like that it is expressed like this as it is relatable to all types of people, including those of us who work shift work where our “morning” may not be the same time as the rest of the world’s.

Even with all this research and these studies telling us when the best time is, in reality, many of us choose our given work out time simply because that is the best time that works for us and that fits our lives.  In the end, it is much better to have a consistent routine at a time that is imperfect in relation to peak body functioning, than to miss working out because life got in the way.

Sources:

https://greatist.com/fitness/whats-best-time-work-out

https://www.t-nation.com/training/the-best-worst-times-of-day-to-work-out?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=article6002

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/can-exercising-at-night-hurt-your-sleep#1

 

Comment

Comment

WOD for Warriors

crossfit sniper.png

The bond between the CrossFit community and our nation’s warriors is strong.  Our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen utilize CrossFit training methods to stay fit to fight.  CrossFit honors their sacrifices and memories of the fallen through hero WODs and charity events.

On Friday, November 10th, CrossFit Frederick will pay tribute to America’s veterans by hosting the WOD for Warriors workout.  The WOD for Warriors raises money for Team Red, White, and Blue, a charitable organization whose mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activity.  You can learn more about Team RWB here.  https://www.teamrwb.org

RWB shirt.png

About Armistice – Veterans Day WOD

Veterans Day has been observed since 1954 by the U.S. and its origins date back to Armistice Day 1918, which marked the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front in WWI. Veterans Day preserves the historical significance of 11/11/1918 but also focuses attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. WOD for Warriors is held yearly on the 11th month, 11th day and 11th hour to celebrate the service of all U.S. military Veterans in a meaningful way within their own communities.

The significance of the repetitions in this workout can be seen in the layout where the 11 min AMRAP, 11 power cleans and 11 burpees over the bar represent the 11th month, 11th day and 11th hour while the 19 deadlifts and 18 pull ups represent the year 1918, Armistice Day.

There are two options for athletes to complete this WOD:

The WOD - Armistice

11 minute AMRAP (As Many Repetitions As Possible)

11- Power Cleans

11- Burpees Over the Bar

19- Deadlifts

18- Pull-Ups

RX-135/95

Scale as needed

Modified Workout (Without Barbell)

11 min AMRAP

11- Push Ups

11- Burpees

19- Sit-ups

18- Air Squats

This WOD will be run all day at CFF during regular class times on 11/10.  There will be a happy hour after each evening class, BYOB.

To help raise money for Team RWB, sign up here.  https://donate.teamrwb.org/team/139078.  You have two options, you can register for $20 and get a T-shirt, or workout for free, without a T-shirt purchase.  There are Box prizes for top reps in this WOD and all members that sign up for the CFF team help contribute to our team's totals, so please register even if you aren't purchasing a shirt.

Registration opens 10/12.  We hope to see everyone there on November 10th!

Comment

Comment

Show Your IT Band Some Love

rolling.jpg

by Geoff Rand

If you’ve ever felt a stiffness or pain in your hip, outer thigh, or outside of the knee, you’ve likely had a tight IT band.  This often-neglected length of tissue is responsible for stabilizing the knee, and without proper maintenance, the band can stiffen and limit proper range of motion in all manner of movements including squats, deadlifts, box jumps, and even your ability to run.  Let’s take a look at what the IT band is and how you can keep it functioning properly.

The iliotibial (IT) band is a fibrous tissue or fascia that helps to stabilize the knee.  It runs from the outside of the pelvis to the lower knee, and inserts at the top of the shinbone.  While it is referred to as a “band”, don’t think of it as elastic.  It actually isn’t very malleable; it is more like a leather belt.

it-band.png

The IT band is filled with nerves.  This explains why it is so sensitive to treatments like foam or lacrosse ball rolling.  Several muscles tie into the IT band, and it may actually be issues with these muscles that are causing the pain sensation to manifest in the IT band.  As with most of our bodies’ mechanical systems, the root of the issue is not always where the pain is felt.  Often when the IT band becomes stiff, it rubs on the outside of the knee, causing pain.

While there are movements that will help stretch the IT band that may cause relief of the pain and help to maintain its proper function, you should first look at possible causes of the pain.  Otherwise, you are just treating the symptoms, not addressing the root cause.  You should also resist the urge to ignore the pain in the IT band and continue training without addressing its problems.  This route will likely result in you compensating in some way to reduce the pain, which can cause issues in other areas.

IT band problems can be caused by hip, hamstring, or glute weakness or over pronation while running.  Often the stress put on the IT band is the result of poor form.  A coach or physical therapist can look at your movement mechanics and help diagnose the cause of the pain.

Once you have determined the cause of the IT band stiffness and addressed those issues, you should begin a program of regular maintenance on it.  Always warm up the hips and knees first, and then you can incorporate these stretches into your mobility routine along with more traditional foam rolling.

Ankles Crossed Forward Fold.jpg

Ankles Crossed Forward Fold

1.     Start with feet together while standing

2.     Cross your right ankle over your left ankle

3.     Fold forward at the waist while creating a soft bend in your right knee

4.     Touch the ground or your shins with your fingertips

5.     Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the other side

 

Figure-four.jpg

Figure Four

1.     Stand with feet hip width apart

2.     Bring your right foot over and above your left knee

3.     Flex your right foot and press your right knee towards the ground

4.     Stick your butt out and then down as you bend your standing leg

5.     Fold forward at the hips and reach your fingers towards the ground

6.     Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the opposite side

 

Standing Quad Stretch.jpg

Standing Quad Stretch

1.     Stand with your feet hip distance apart

2.     Bend your right knee and grab the top of your foot with your right hand

3.     As you draw your heel in, extend your tailbone down and keep your knees together

4.     Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the opposite side

 

Twisted-Triangle.jpg

Twisted Triangle

1.     Step your right foot forward about three feet

2.     Turn your back toes in so that you can square your hips

3.     Fold forward at the hips and place your left hand on the ground about a foot and a half away from your right foot

4.     Extend your chest forward and lean into your left hand

5.     Reach your right arm up as you twist and press down through your right big toe

6.     Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the opposite side

 

Seated-glute-stretch.jpg

Seated Glute Stretch

1.     Start seated on the mat with feet flat on floor

2.     With your hands behind you, place your right foot over and above your left knee

3.     Flex your right foot as you extend your right knee away from your chest

4.     Keep your chest up and scoot your butt towards your left heel with the leverage of your hands

5.     Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the opposite side

 

Hero's Pose.jpg

Hero’s Pose

1.     Sit on your heel with your knees together

2.     Begin to lean back placing your hands behind you as you reach the knees toward the mat

3.     Sit down between the feet

4.     From here if there is no pain in the knees you can lean back either onto the hands or the forearms

5.     Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the opposite side

These are just a few of the stretches you can do to treat IT band pain and conduct regular maintenance on it.  Proper IT band function is essential to so many other movements and you would be wise to do regular mobility with it.  Dave and Amanda are always available to help determine the source of your problem areas and to suggest ways to fix them.

Sources:

https://www.outsideonline.com/2142646/definitive-guide-banishing-it-band-pain-good

https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/8-yoga-poses-and-stretches-for-a-tight-it-band/slide-9

http://www.opedix.com/community-detail/combating-it-band-issues-in-crossfit

https://ashleyblackguru.com/it-band/

Comment

Comment

Anatomy of a Barbell

IMG_0892.jpg

by Geoff Rand

Barbells.  We use them almost everyday in the Box, but have you ever stopped to think about the piece of metal in your hands, what its parts are, and the reasons behind how it functions?  Well I did.

Weightlifting is one of the original sports of the modern Olympics, and barbells have been a part of those games from the beginning.  However, the barbell we use today has evolved quite a bit from its ancestors of long ago.

Before we dive too deeply into what makes up a barbell, you should know that there are essentially two types of barbells, power lifting barbells and Olympic lifting barbells (the type we primarily use).  Throughout this article I’ll touch on the differences of the two bars.

Whip.  This is the ability of the bar to flex and store elastic energy.  Olympic bars have a great deal of whip; powerlifting bars are more rigid.   The reason for this is the Olympic lifts of the snatch and clean and jerk involve dynamic movement.  Trained athletes use the flexion of the bar to their advantage to assist in making these lifts.

Power lifters don’t want flex in their bars.  Their movements of the squat, bench press, and deadlift don’t require dynamic energy to be stored, and in fact, too much flex on their bars could make the lift more difficult.  The rigid powerlifting bars are sometimes a bit thicker, allowing more weight to be put on them.

center-knurling-vs-no-center-knurling.jpg

 

Knurling.  For me, knurling is the cheese grater that scrapes the skin off my shins on deadlifts.  Its real purpose is to give you a better grip.   There’s actually smooth sections of the bar without knurling designed to not tear you up, so maybe my stance is a bit off.   One key difference in Olympic bars and powerlifting bars is the lack of center knurling on Olympic bars.  We don’t need center knurling for our lifts.  Can you imagine the damage it would cause to our necks and chests during cleans?  Yikes!

Powerlifting bars often DO have center knurling.  Some say it is a throwback to the old days when the one hand snatch was an event.  Center knurling can be favored by athletes doing back squats as the knurling is supposed to keep the bar from sliding down your back under heavy load.  Whatever the reason, if you are in the market for a bar for CrossFit-type exercises, stay away from ones with center knurling.

gorila-training-bar-knurling.jpg

You’ll see in most bars, including our Olympic bars, notches in the knurling (see photo above), or a sort of two thin stripes in the middle of the knurled sections.  These are to allow you to reliably and quickly find your proper hand position for the lift.

olympic-bar-sleeve.png

Sleeves.  The sleeves are the ends of the barbells we slide the weights on.  A key feature of Olympic bars is a rotating sleeve.  The sleeves rotate on a washer or ball bearing system.  The reason for the sleeves rotating is to allow the lifter to get under the bar quickly on the snatch and clean and jerk, without having to change their hand position.  In the early days, bars did not have this feature, and lifters had to essentially reverse curl their bars into position, resulting in wrist and arm injuries.

Powerlifting bars still spin, however the need for them to spin as freely as Olympic bars is not as great, so they use cheaper bushings, rather than ball bearings.

Whether you are using an Olympic bar or a Powerlifting bar, it is important to remember to never drop a bar that is not loaded with bumper weights.  Dropping an unloaded bar or one with metal plates on it can easily bend the bar or damage the sleeves and their rotating system.  Bars are expensive.  Please don’t contribute to their need for early replacement.

If you’d like to know more about bars, specifically finishes and varying dimensions, Rogue has a great video about them. 

While they may seem like just simple pieces of steel, there is a lot of technology and purpose built into bars.  Hopefully you understand your barbell a little bit better now.

Sources:

http://liftbigeatbig.com/the-anatomy-of-an-olympic-bar/

https://www.garage-gyms.com/powerlifting-barbell-vs-olympic/

Comment

Comment

Diet Soda: Is it Really That Bad For You?

no diet-sodas.jpg

by Geoff Rand

We hear time and time again the recommendation of just eating real food when it comes to maintaining health and fitness.  If you’ve ever read the label on a can of diet soda, you know that these beverages could not be further from real food.

I’ve been told over and over that diet sodas are bad, but why are they bad, and what is the effect they have on the body?  Here’s what I found.

History While the official beginning of the diet soda era can be traced back to 1952’s No-Cal drink, distributed by a small Brooklyn bottling company, mainstream diet soda production and consumption really didn’t start until 1963 with Coca-Cola’s introduction of Tab.  Since then, companies have been battling to find newer sweeteners and marketing their beverages to consumers in search of no calorie drinks.

Artificial Sweeteners    The main actor in diet soda is the artificial sweetener.  Chemicals like Aspartame mimic the effects of sugar, but our bodies interpret this as a much larger dose, up to 1000x that of sugar.  This sends the body into fat storage mode, which explains the link between diet soda and obesity.  Some studies have shown that these artificial sweeteners actually stimulate our appetite, which in no way defines the word diet.

Addiction  The combination of caffeine and aspartame cause a short duration addictive high to be experienced, much like the effects of cocaine.  Frequent use can cause overstimulation of the brain’s neuroreceptors, which causes more cravings of the drinks, and horrible headaches should you miss a dose.

Trickery  With “diet” on the logo, some may be led to think they are drinking a healthier drink. But studies have shown those who drink diet sodas consume on average 200 calories more than someone not drinking diet soda.  The misleading name may cause people to think that their beverage is calorie free and thus healthy to them, so that helps justify the 800-calorie cheeseburger they are gobbling up.

So what happens when you drink a diet soda?   This graphic sums it up nicely.

DietCoke-CokeOpenFattiness.png

What are the health risks?   Studies have shown links between diet sodas and increased risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, and dementia, and loss of bone density and cardiovascular and thyroid problems.  Long-term exposure to diet soda has shown damage to the skin, muscles, heart, and kidneys, with increased risk of developing kidney stones.  More immediate effects can be brain fog, dehydration, and energy spikes and crashes.

So if diet soda is this bad for you, how is it still allowed to be sold?    The answer is simple, money.  The soda industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, with some estimates putting diet soda drinkers at 1 out of every 5 Americans.  The soda companies have a lot of weight they can throw around, influencing studies to their benefit, advertising to millions of potential customers, and greasing the palms of legislators to keep their dangerous cocktails on the market shelves.

Alternatives    If you are a diet soda drinker, it will likely take some time to wean you off these drinks.  You’ll need to replace them with something healthier for you.  Examples are water (perhaps sweetened with honey, lemon or lime), green tea (provides caffeine without the jitters), Kombucha or Kefir tea (both are fizzy and provide other health benefits), vegetable or fruit smoothies, and, if you must drink soda, look for beverages sweetened with Stevia instead of aspartame.

You may have noticed I didn’t recommend that you just drink regular sodas.  They can be just as bad as diet sodas, causing many of the same maladies, and some new ones. 

Parting ways with diet soda won’t be easy.  The soda companies don’t want it to be.  You may need to treat it like an addiction.  Enlist the help of family and co-workers to support you.  Phase it out over time.  But know eventually, your body will start regaining its normal functions that have been suppressed or modified by the toxins you’ve been ingesting.  This will lead to a healthier, better, and happier you.

 

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20170505/diet-soda-health-risks

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diet_drink

https://therenegadepharmacist.com/diet-coke-exposed-happens-one-hour-drinking-diet-coke-coke-zero-similar-diet-soda/

https://www.prevention.com/health/effects-of-diet-soda/slide/4

Comment

Comment

Athlete Spotlight: Billi Prugh

billie1.JPG

In an effort to get to know our members better, we asked Billi to answer a few questions.

 

Where are you from?  Rockville, MD

When did you start at CFF?   August 2015

What is your favorite time to workout at CFF?  8:00 AM

Did you work out before starting at CFF?  Not really.

What form of exercise were you into?  I would walk/run or do an aerobic video.  I’m old school.

What’s your favorite color? Pink and Black

Do you like the mountains or the beach?  the beach

billie2.JPG

What is your favorite dessert?  Lemon bars 

What is your favorite holiday?    Christmas

What is your favorite food to eat at a picnic?  hot dogs

Do you drink coffee or tea?  coffee

Do you have any pets? 3 dogs – WaWa is a Chihuahua, Yewbee is a Labradoodle, and Tink is a Yorkie.  Also 2 ferrets – Tater and Rufus.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?   I would like to be able to fly. That way I wouldn’t have to wait in traffic and could always get to where I wanted to go quickly.

Do you have any interesting /unique/special skills?   I play the drums.

billie3.JPG

Is there anything else you would LOVE to share?  I’ve been married almost 25 years and have 3 kids. 22 year old twins, Samm and Andi, and Rion who is 14.

For what are you thankful?   Family. My family is so important to me and I wouldn’t be able to make it through this crazy world without them. Oh…and wine.

Comment

Comment

But first...Coffee

coffee vitamin c.jpg

by Geoff Rand

I want to preface this article by disclosing that I have had exactly two sips of coffee ever, once in 1993 after being ordered to by my first sergeant in the Army and then in 1998 after being ordered to by my field training officer at the police department.  Neither was a pleasurable experience and to this day, I avoid the substance.

But, as a journalist, I am able to research and write about any topic, even if I have little to no actual experience with the topic.  So when Amanda suggested I look into the effects of caffeine on vitamin absorption, I sat down with a bottle of soda and got to work.

While coffee has been shown to have many positive characteristics like reducing the chances of some cancers developing, decreasing the chances of getting type II diabetes, dementia, or Parkinson’s disease, and is a good source of antioxidants, let’s face it, most people drink it simply for the caffeine it contains and it’s effect on stimulating the body to wake up or stay awake, while simultaneously reducing the urge to punch others in the throat.

Megan Coffee.jpg

But the caffeine in coffee, or other drinks such as teas or sodas, can actually block or limit the absorption of some vitamins and you need to be aware of this effect of caffeine and tailor your intake of vitamins appropriately.

Here are a few examples of the effect caffeine has on vitamins and minerals.

Caffeine causes calcium to be excreted in urine and feces.  Studies have shown that women who had a high intake of caffeine (more than two cups a day) had a higher incidence of hip fractures than those who drank in moderation.

Caffeine can inhibit vitamin D receptors and can interfere with the absorption of iron, manganese, zinc, and copper.

The diuretic effect of caffeine also depletes most B-family vitamins through the fluid lost during excretion.  Magnesium, sodium, potassium, and phosphate are also excreted in fluids after drinking caffeine.

So, for the vast majority of coffee drinkers, giving up coffee is out of the question.  So what are you to do if you want to have your coffee but want to take and get the full benefit of vitamins?

The meme and t-shirt “But first, coffee” seems to have our answer.  You can still enjoy your coffee, just drink it first and then take your vitamins and supplements about an hour later with a glass of water.

 

Sources:

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/vitamins-minerals/the-effect-of-caffeine-on-vitamin-absorption.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/523781-can-you-drink-coffee-when-taking-multivitamins/

https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/mind-body/supplements/vitamin/is-it-ok-to-take-a-vitamin-with-coffee/

 

Comment

Comment

Don't Sweat It

sweat airplane.jpg

by Geoff Rand

 

If you’re old like me you may remember the 1980’s TV commercials for Dry Idea antiperspirant.  They featured a slew of celebrities telling us “Never let them see you sweat.”  While that might be a desirable result for an interview or first date, we definitely should be seeing you sweat in the Box.

Recently, a few CFF members were having a discussion about sweating and it got me thinking, so I decided to do some investigation into the topic.

Why do we sweat?  Our bodies produce sweat to keep us cool and heat generated by exertion triggers our sweat glands.  The air evaporating the sweat off our skin is what cools us.

Is there a correlation between amount of sweat and calories burned?  While you may feel like you haven’t gotten a good workout unless you can wring out your shirt at the end, amount of sweat is not necessarily an indicator of how many calories you burned or how intense of a workout you had.  If your amount of sweat really meant something, then workouts like yoga and Pilates, which often don’t turn you into a sweaty mess, wouldn’t produce toned and fit bodies.

I feel like I’m sweating more now than I used to, why is that?  Barring a medical condition, if you find that you are perspiring more now than you were before, it might be because you are more fit than you used to be.  Studies have shown that trained athletes sweat sooner and sweat heavier compared to untrained people.

While this may seem illogical, actually, the more fit you are, the more efficiently your body sweats.  As you become more fit, your body starts to sense the exertion it is about to be expected to perform and starts to pre-cool you by activating the sweat glands early.  This might explain why you find yourself starting to soak your shirt during the warm up.  As you become a more efficient machine, your body becomes able to work at a higher intensity for longer durations of time.  To keep this intensity up, your cooling system also becomes more efficient.

Why do men sweat more than women?  While women have more sweat glands than men, male sweat glands produce more sweat than women’s sweat glands. 

A 2010 Japanese study tested men and women in a controlled cardio workout and found that women’s bodies need to reach a higher temperature than men’s before they begin sweating.  While the reasons for this are not known, it is speculated that because women have less fluid in their bodies than men, this heat tolerance is an evolved survival mechanism allowing women to retain fluid and increase chances of survival in a hot environment.  The male response and increased sweating might be an evolutionary reaction to allow us to have greater efficiency during action or labor.

Will I still sweat if I’m dehydrated?  If you go into a workout already dehydrated, your body will still attempt to cool you, but there is a limit to how much it can do for you with limited resources.  Cooling through sweating is ideal, but as dehydration increases in severity, the body will start shutting down some processes to conserve energy in an attempt to cool itself while still performing the work being asked of it.  If you notice you have stopped sweating during exercise, this is a serious situation, and you are likely in advanced stages of heat stroke and are in need of medical attention.

IMG_5119.jpg

What is a “normal” amount to sweat?  A former member of CFF was a heavy sweater.  I remember one time when he was on the GHD, the sweat coming off him was being thrown several feet behind him with each downward movement.  People on abmats had to move out of the way.  There was a huge slick in front of his GHD machine at the end of the WOD.  While he might sweat a lot compared to others, his level of perspiration was likely not outside of normal amounts.

The problem with determining what is normal when it comes to sweat is that there are so many factors at play that influence when and how much we sweat.  Exercise, stress, temperature, lack of acclimation to the climate, certain medications, heredity, certain foods, and some medical conditions can all factor into the amount we sweat.

Likely, if you sweat excessively, called hyperhidrosis, you know you have it.  People with this condition sweat nearly constantly, regardless of the situation or level of exertion.

When it comes to amounts of sweat we produce while exercising, the vast majority of us will fall into the widely varying “normal” range.

 

Sweating is nothing to be ashamed of.  Men and women will sweat and if you are doing work, you should expect to produce perspiration.  It’s natural.  Don’t sweat it.

 

Sources:

http://trainright.com/chris-carmichael-blog-does-sweating-more-mean-youre-more-fit/

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/working-out-without-sweating

https://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwfitness/article/ASK-A-TRAINER-Why-Do-I-Sweat-More-Than-I-Used-To-20130730

http://www.prevention.com/health/dehydration-and-your-body

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/how-much-sweating-is-too-much#3

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101007210546.htm

Comment