TWO EASY PROACTIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO IMPROVE YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

Here are two simple ways to greatly reduce your chances of getting the flu, pneumonia, bronchitis and colds and it is NOT getting a flu shot!  Thank you Lisa W for this information!

1) Take your Vitamin D - Research has shown repeatedly that there is a definite association between Vitamin D and infectious diseases (cold, pneumonia, bronchitis, flu/influenza). Vitamin D has a very important role in keeping your immune system AMPED up!!  The recommend amount of Vitamin D is 3000-5000 IU daily.  You should have your levels checked and shoot for levels between 60-70 for optimal immune function as well as the cancer prevention benefits.

Vitamin D is also key in promoting calcium absorption to enable bone mineralization - with low vitamin D levels, calcium absorption decreases by 10-15%.  As CrossFit athletes, you need to be sure that you are protecting your bones as well as boosting your immune system.

Some of the other benefits of ideal Vitamin D levels are improved mood, maintained muscle strength and mass, fewer body aches, improved cognition, heart protection, better energy, and weight loss.

2) Take your Probiotics - Probiotics boost the body’s natural defenses against diseases by stimulating the immune system, a healthy gut is the key to a healthy immune system.  Many people don’t know that about 70 percent of your immune cells reside in the gut.  Probiotics will help to repopulate your gut with healthy bacteria - improving your immune system and keep you healthier.

Most importantly, if you are experiencing frequent colds or respiratory illnesses or just cannot seem to get well – it is recommended to take a probiotic daily - and if you have been on an antibiotic within the last month, you will need to double the amount of probiotic for two weeks to repopulate the good bacteria in your gut.  A good quality probiotic should maintain the good bacteria in the stomach and not destroy it.  Other things that can help to repopulate the good bacteria in the gut are quality kefir and/or fermented foods.

These two items are not inclusive to your improved health and immune system.  However, these are two very easy and necessary things you can do to improve your overall immune system and health.  For more information on Vitamin D and Probiotics, please contact Gina or Lisa.

For more information on the benefits of Vitamin D, see the blog by our friends at EHP CrossFit by clicking here: http://www.ehpcrossfit.com/single-post/2016/10/12/Wisdom-Wednesday---3-Week-Series-Part-1---The-Importance-of-Vitamin-D-in-Your-Bodys-Recovery

HYDRATION – Why drinking water alone does not “hydrate” the body.

You’ve heard it many times…drink lots and lots of water!  You should be drinking a minimum of half your body weight in ounces of water each and every day.  Sounds great…but are you hydrating or just flushing your system?

Here’s a common misunderstanding: There’s a big difference between drinking water and actually absorbing water (hydrating).  People are getting much better at trying to drink more water, but what happens is you’re not absorbing much of it at all because you don’t have the essential minerals, electrolytes, and salts to keep it in the system.  Sure, you have to pee constantly, that’s good right?  No…you are simply flushing your system and not allowing the body to actually absorb the essential minerals that the body needs.

This is even more critical now that it is starting to warm up…you will be sweating more and more.  Many of you have already started running or biking.  For every pound of weight lost in a workout is equal to 16-20 ounces of fluid lost.  In this same period the human body loses 220mg sodium, 63mg potassium, 8mg magnesium, and 16mg calcium...this cannot be replaced with water alone!  This needs to be replenished as soon as possible.  Excessive sweating or weight loss during a workout is a natural process; however, you must replenish the nutrients lost in order for your body to adapt and recover.

Consider this...Exercise makes us weaker, and it’s our adaptation to exercise that makes us stronger.  Hydration is crucial both during exercise and when you’re not exercising, when your body is recovering.  Want to see results and get stronger, you need to replenish these lost nutrients.

Electrolytes are designed to help people make the most of their downtime and recovery time.  Electro-what?  What the heck are Electrolytes?  Electrolytes are chemicals (primarily sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin c) that form ions in body fluids.  They help make sure specific bodily functions run at optimal levels. Too few electrolytes will cause the body to cramp.  As serious athletes know, cramping can make a big difference in how you perform.  So how do we prevent cramping and keep our body running at its peak performance levels?  We keep it supplied with the needed amount of electrolytes.

If you’re dehydrated, you can’t repair the tissue damage from the last workout, you can’t synthesize protein properly.  You see ligaments and tendons that become more vulnerable, and they aren’t able to withstand day-to-day use as well, even just in normal life.  There’s a lot more conscious when it comes to how we hydrate.

What we want to do is make it simple for people to actually absorb the water they’re drinking. It’s hard to get enough water in a busy day.  I have kids, I work a full time job, and sometimes it’s easy for me to fall behind.  There are many products out there that work great for enhancing your water safely and effectively.

We personally recommend Nuun brand.  There are many flavors and there is no BS in their products.  Camelbak Elixir is also a solid choice without the BS.  These products have the essential electrolytes, minerals, and salts to help you absorb the water you’re drinking.  They even come with a caffeinated version for a slow release caffeine fix.

With people are eating more whole foods now, and they’re eating a much cleaner diet.  But in doing that, they’ve stripped essential salts out of their diet, and they’re not getting enough of the essential salts to replace them and absorb water properly. They’re drinking protein shakes, but without the essential minerals and salts to absorb that water.

These products aren’t just for the top athletes…they’re for you!  It will help prepare everyone for performance, but it’s also for normal busy folks who might fall behind on fluids throughout the day.

So grab that FitAid post WOD, but stay hydrated throughout the day!  Cheers!

A Calorie Is A Calorie, Right?

This blog is shamefully stolen from Tabata Times, "A Calorie Is Not a Calorie: How Carbs Trigger Overeating" by Joel Toledano.

Gina found this article and suggested that we share it.  Most of us are seeking ways to improve our nutrition plans to help us maintain a healthy weight and optimize our performance.  Coach Glassman's rule is to eat Meat, Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds, Some Fruit, Little Starch, and No Sugar.  Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.  While I am still a believer in counting your calories, I am not a fan of the calories in calories out theory.  I believe that you need to know how many calories or intake you are consuming in a day...get familiar with it, then stop counting.  You will get to know and understand your body.  You will know what and how often to feed it...if you lose sight of that, then track it again.  Eat quality, real foods.  Drink plenty of water (next blog). Be sure to get plenty of sleep/rest.  Do work!  Now on to the article:

“Calories in and calories out – that’s all that matters to lose weight.”

You have surely heard this before and likely followed it religiously. It sounds so simple, so elegant … but it is so wrong. It is increasingly clear that “a calorie is a calorie” is misleading — the evidence points primarily to the carbohydrate content of dietary intake rather than total caloric intake as the primary factor in body mass changes. Art De Vany covers this in-depth in his book The New Evolution Diet as well as in a series of posts on the topic summed up in his conclusion:

Calories measure heat, metabolism produces heat and biomolecules. The human biome contains hundreds of thousands of biomolecules, perhaps more. It is just now being mapped thoroughly. Energy in and out balance only measures the heat, leaving the biomolecules out of the picture. The biomolecules compose the millions of signalling molecules, such as insulin and glucagon, gene effectors, DNA, mitochondria, and all the trillions of cells that a human is made of. ATP is part of the electron flux, which is the most fundamental aspect of physiology. It is how our bodies use electrons that runs the show...There are many forms of carbohydrates and not all of them are the same even if they have the same energy content. It is the energy AND the biomolecules produced that play out in the complex landscape of human metabolism.

Turning to carbohydrates, a more helpful message than “eat less,” may be “eat less refined carbohydrates and more whole foods,” according to a recent article in the New York Times blog that synthesizes the latest research on the topic. Processed, refined carbs affect the brain in ways that other foods do not, even if their calorie count is the same:

Sugary foods and drinks, white bread and other processed carbohydrates that are known to cause abrupt spikes and falls in blood sugar appear to stimulate parts of the brain involved in hunger, craving and reward, the new research shows. The findings, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that these so-called high-glycemic foods influence the brain in a way that might drive some people to overeat.

The difficult aspect when it comes to making recommendations (or refuting the argument you have no doubt heard from a friend about their uncle who ate bagels and pasta all his life and never gained a pound …)? Not everybody who eats processed carbohydrates develops uncontrollable food cravings. But for the person who has been struggling with weight in our modern food environment and unable to control their cravings, limiting refined carbohydrate may be a logical first step.

The latest study tested subjects with high-glycemic shakes vs. a control group. What they found was that four hours after drinking the high-glycemic shake, blood sugar levels had plummeted into the hypoglycemic range; the subjects reported more hunger; and brain scans showed greater activation in parts of the brain that regulate cravings, reward and addictive behaviors. Although the subject pool was small, every subject showed the same response, and the differences in blood flow to these regions of the brain between the two conditions “was quite substantial,” according to the study’s directors.

Previous research suggests that when blood sugar levels plummet, people have a tendency to seek out foods that can restore it quickly, and this may set up a cycle of overeating driven by high-glycemic foods.

Is “a calorie a calorie”‘ dead as a nutritional guiding principle? Probably not for a long time. But the science is starting to unravel it as a legitimate basis for nutrition and wellness.

Making good choices...

This post is simply me (Chris) talking...I have not conducted a strenuous amount of research or education in this.  Instead, I am taking a realistic and common sense approach to this.  Common sense seems to come easy to me...like if it hurts, don't do it.  If it makes you sick, don't eat it.  If it quacks like a duck...it's probably a duck!  I am going to break this down into four (4) stages/steps.  These all need to be done together, like a puzzle, they need to be intact to be complete.  They are not in any order of priority, as I personally believe they are equally important.

Making good choices.  What is a good choice when it comes to nutrition?  Is it a fad diet or is it something that is realistic?  Well...for me, it is realistic.  Contrary to what the daytime talk show hosts say, there is no magic pill that will make you more fit, healthier, or lose weight.  Don't believe the hype that is being sold all over TV, social media, supplement shops, magazines, or the interwebs!  The people marketing this crap have one thing in mind...and believe it or not, it is NOT your well being...it is MONEY and GREED!  They want you to be sick, they want you to be unhealthy...think about it, it makes them more money!  Sure, there are some products that will shock your system and make it lose some weight...but then when your body realizes what is happening it gets pissed off and retaliates with weight gain, illness, or gawd forbid disease.

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Puzzle piece 1: You have to eat real food and the right amount of it.  You have to be reasonable in your choices for a nutrition plan and ensure whatever you do, that it is sustainable for the long haul.  Here's what really worked for me.  I started to track my food.  I quickly realized that I was NOT eating enough and the food I was eating was crap.  So I cleaned up my food intake and started to log what I was eating...and guess what, it was much easier than I thought it would be and it worked!  In order for your body to function the way it is designed to function, you need to feed it.  If you do not consume enough quality calories, your body goes into protection mode and starts storing food as fat.

Puzzle piece 2: You have to work your ass off...literally!  Now that you have the food thing under control, or as you are working on it, you need to get into a fitness regimen.  Most of you reading this are probably already members of Big Muddy CrossFit and have already made this commitment...I tip my hat to you!  I am not going to get too involved in this topic, because most of you are already at this stage.  However, I will express the most important part of this stage...NEVER, EVER eat your burned calories!  Example, if you are on a 2500 cal/day nutrition plan and you burn 500 calories, you cannot consume 3000 calories for that day.  Please refer back to You Cannot Out Train a Bad Diet.

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Puzzle piece 3: Hydration is so very crucial in this process as well.  Hydration from water...no soda...that shit is like poison and should come with the international poison symbol on it!  Seriously!  "Oh, it's ok, I drink diet cola!"  Congrats, you are now no longer drinking sugar water, now you are drinking a chemistry project!

Ok, I know what you are thinking...but Chris, you drink coffee and beer!  Yes, I do.  Remember the previous post about moderation?  Also, black coffee is ok.  Adding real cream or milk is ok too...those are good fats when done with moderation.  Beer, wine, liquors they are ok too...remember moderation!  Beer has many benefits to it.  It is a great source of carbs and is an excellent recovery drink. 

Puzzle piece 4:  Portions and moderation again.  Basic concepts: Sugar is bad, protein is good, and you need to eat some in every meal.  Nuts and seeds are good fats.  Eat them, don’t avoid them.  Stuff that’s red, yellow, green and found in the fruit and vegetable aisle is good for you. Eat a lot of it.  Ideally, look at your plate, make a fist; eat that much meat every meal.  Turn your hand over and fill it with nuts and seeds; eat that much good fat. Fill the rest of your plate with stuff you found in the fruit and vegetable aisle.  Fill your plate this way at every meal, and don’t eat more.

Realistically, do the above but in smaller portions throughout the day.  This will fuel you throughout the day, keep your body working hard, and help maximize your performance.

Our goal is to have parents and their children make the best food choices they can.  Our hope is that real, whole foods will replace processed food items.  We set the example for our children, friends, co-workers, and community.  Let's be smart, realistic, and use some common sense when we are selecting the foods we eat.

As always, if you have something you'd like to share, please email us at bigmuddycrossfit@gmail.com

Basic Nutrition - You cannot out-train a bad diet!

Before you begin worrying about portion size and protein/carb/fat requirements I recommend one simple and difficult step: focus first on food quality and moderation. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Buy fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat. Buy enough fruits, vegetables, berries, and greens to last 3-4 days. Do the same with deli and fresh meats.  Next, hit the dairy section...yes, Paleo-Dieters, I recommend eating dairy. While Paleolithic cows may have been some strange and vicious creatures, I assure you that my Paleolithic ancestors were some bad Homo Erectus mf'rs, and they caught the cow! String cheese, cottage cheese, natural yogurt (not the sugar-enhanced Yoplait and Dannon yogurt) are great protein and healthy fat choices, if your body tolerates dairy products.  Finally, buy eggs...strong people eat eggs...and eat the yoke!  Buy frozen vegetables and meat when you must and only venture down the aisles for a few select things like nuts, beans, canned tuna, olives, coffee, etc. The aisles are generally one big, processed, nutritionally worthless carb-fest.

Here's a little mind-blowing fact:  Healthy food is perishable. Ponder that for a moment. Real food–organic plants and animals that our bodies are built to consume– spoils. If it doesn’t spoil, then you probably weren’t meant to eat it. Sure, exceptions exist, but for the most part this is a basic litmus test. Food spoilage is essentially the breakdown of organic material in the presence of oxygen once that organic material is no longer alive and able to fight off the process. Therefore, if something doesn’t spoil what can we surmise?

A note on moderation...be smart...you do not need to eat until you are stuffed like that turkey you just ate.  Eat slowly and moderately.  It takes about 20 minutes for your body to realize that it is full.  A good practice is to eat several small meals throughout the day so that you are not feeling starved and eat too much.  Stay hydrated.  Drinking water throughout the day will help you process your food better as well as assist in eating moderately.  Cheat meals/snacks...you can have your cheat days, snacks, or whatever, just don't do it all the time...it's about moderation!

Finally, here are some excellent resources for you to consider for your meal planning, healthy snacking, and teaching your kids.  There are so many more resources for you...just let Google do the work for you.  :)

If you have a blog you'd like to post, please email us at bigmuddycrossfit@gmail.com

A little something to think about...

Welcome to the Big Muddy CrossFit Nutrition Blog!  To get things started...

-A little something to think about –

What was in your Pre-WOD snack?  What did it contain?  Any fat? Protein?

  • One way to enhance performance and recovery is to minimize the amount of stress your body encounters during the workout, and one way to do that (other than being well hydrated) is to ensure you eat enough energy-packed nutrients before the session. Every body is a bit different when it comes to handling food before a WOD, but you should try to consume a snack or small meal one to two hours before training. The snack should contain 250 to 350 calories with roughly 60 percent of those calories coming from non-sucrose carbohydrate sources.
  • Play around with different healthy snacks and watch your performance improve!

What about after the WOD?

  • You have roughly 45 minutes post-WOD to capitalize on your kick-a$$ performance...don't waste it!  After your workout, glycogen synthases — an enzyme whose mission is to help you replenish the energy you lost — is circulating in high concentration. It’s trying to find glucose to store for your next session, and you have 45 minutes to an hour to capitalize on it, so don’t wait to get home before you ingest protein and carbs.  Get a post-WOD recovery drink or other fast-digesting carbohydrate in you as soon as possible. Interestingly, most recent research is showing that a recovery drink with protein added to the carbohydrate solution actually results in greater glycogen storage than one with carbs alone.

What's this I hear about FISH OIL?

Omega 3’s/Fish oil is crucial in everyday life, especially for you!  Some of the benefits of taking fish oil regularly are:

  • Stimulates blood circulation/reduces risk of heart attack
  • Reduces risk of strokes
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves joint health

We are not big believers in over-the-counter supplements.  Instead, we believe that if you eat well, combine the right high quality nutrients in the right proportions, stay hydrated, and sleep well, you should be set.  However, you should absolutely be on a good quality fish oil. This stuff is like liquid gold!  Try a good quality fish oil and you will feel and see a positive impact of the stuff.  A good quality fish oil will not be cheap, manufactured, ultra-processed, or clear in color.  A good quality fish oil will also not require you to take more than 4 pills/day.  The smaller the fish, the better...a good quality fish oil will come from krill, sardines, anchovies, or similar.  You should take no less than 1200mg per day of high absorption DHA/EPA fish oil.