How CrossFit is Changing People for the Better

Exercise trends tend to come and go. In the U.S. the exercise and nutrition market generates billions of dollars per year with ‘new’ and ‘better’ diets, exercise routines, and supplements. But most of these new and improved products don’t last. CrossFit is attempting to break that mold.

What is CrossFit?

For those that don’t know, CrossFit focuses on creating a group environment that provides support and motivation to it’s participants. This helps them to not only achieve new goals and PBs (personal bests), but creates a structure of motivation that keeps people coming back week after week, and year after year.

CrossFit was developed and founded by Greg Glassman in 2000. Since then it has exploded in popularity across the country and around the world.

Rather than referring to it as the gym, each training facility is called a ‘box’. But it doesn’t look anything like what you’re used to seeing in a standard gym. Gone are the rows and rows of isolation machines that have you focus on individual muscle groups. You won’t see stair climbers or elliptical machines either.

Instead you’ll see rows of pull-up bars, olympic rings, boxes, and weight bars. These weight bars are used for exercises such as the snatch, the jerk, and deadlifts. The boxes are used for box jumps and other plyometric exercises. Rings are used for muscle ups.

Each daily routine, or WOD (workout of the day) is predetermined. Many are named after women or soldiers that have been killed in foreign wars. They combine heavy strength training and endurance. The idea is to push your body to new levels of performance each and every day.

Benefits of CrossFit

The benefits of CrossFit are many. Training our bodies as groups of muscles rather than as individual muscles is a much more efficient and effective way of training. Here are a few of the most notable benefits.

1. Confidence – group workouts are a powerful source of motivation. Participants often site a dramatic increase in confidence due not only to enhanced performance, but in physical well-being. Training develops the body symmetrically causing improved performance in everyday tasks and life in general.

2. Strength – because CrossFit focuses on increasing strength rather than toning, participants commonly become stronger than they have ever been. WODs are designed to improve the whole body, not just individual parts. This is the most effective way to achieve strength gains.

3. Posture – the exercises that form the backbone of CrossFit are the core muscle groups. This includes the back, the glutes, hamstrings, chest and arms. Training all of these muscles together causes them to work together. This has a great effect on posture. Walk into any CrossFit facility and you will immediately notice that participants have extremely good posture.

4. Diet & Nutrition – the Paleo Diet goes hand in hand with many CrossFit boxes. This particular diet gets it’s name from the foods humans ate during the Paleolithic era. It focuses on meats, vegetables, fats, and a small amount of fruits. It can have huge benefits for those that choose to follow it. There are even some enterprising young companies such as Gourmet Paleo, that are developing treats and cookies for those that follow the diet. You can also find their paleo cookies on Amazon.com

These are just a few of the benefits of CrossFit. For more information on CrossFit including exercises, diet, and gear including finding the best shoes for CrossFit training, check out efficientgains.com. Here you can find more information to help you determine if this exercise regimen is for you.  You’ll most likely want to invest in some supplements to aid in muscle recovery such as deer antler velvet or other growth promoting substances.  Here is a great article on how to take deer antler velvet spray.

Staying Sharp and Focused

It might seem like a contradiction, but a sharp knife is a safe knife. Let’s take a look at why and how you should keep your kitchen knives as sharp as possible.

First the Why

So why would a sharp kitchen knife be safer than a dull knife? Let’s take a look. If you were to pull the dullest knife in your kitchen out of the drawer and attempt to cut yourself with it, you would probably succeed. Even though it’s not sharp enough to effectively cut vegetables or other foods, it’s still capable of causing damage to your fingers.

When you cut with a sharp knife the blade travels in a predictable motion, namely the direction in which you are cutting. So if you are slicing an onion with an up and down motion, a sharp blade will travel up and down with little or no motion from side to side. This is not the case with a dull knife. When a dull knife encounters resistance, it wants to jump to the path of least resistance. Unfortunately this can often be one of the cooks appendages. For obvious reasons, this is not what you want to accomplish. No one wants bits of finger in their food.

So long as you have a proper cutting technique and a sharp blade you can maintain the safety of your hands and fingers.

And Now the How

So how do you keep your knives in top shape and sharp enough to cut through anything?

First and foremost you must take proper care of your knives. This starts with your cutting board.

A good cutting board should be made of either wood or plastic. The softer the material the better. This is because with each downward motion, the blade makes contact with the cutting board. Over time this can dull the blade. The best wood cutting boards are made with the end grains of wood. This part of the wood is the softest, allowing the blade to pass through with very little damage. The next best option is plastic. Plastics are soft, easy to clean, and very durable. They are also less expensive than wood cutting boards.

Stone and glass make poor cutting boards. They may be very pretty in your kitchen, but they are terrible for your knives. And in addition they tend to be loud as hell. Avoid them at all costs.

Proper care of your knife is also key. After using a knife, be sure to quickly wash the blade and set it out to dry. Food materials can become hardened on the blade, making it difficult to clean. Certain foods can even eat into the metal of the blade. This sort of damage is difficult to repair even with the very best electric knife sharpener.  Sometimes significant damage will require a sharpening stone.  The best sharpening stone systems are often diamond based, and though they are manmade, they last longer than natural stones.

Sharpening Your Blade

Eventually every knife is going to become dull. But don’t worry, every knife, no matter how dull can be brought back to an ideal level of sharpness. You simply need the proper tool and technique. There are lot’s of resources online for how to use both manual and electric knife sharpeners.

Wesbsites such as www.foodnetwork.com have all sorts of information on choosing and using kitchen tools such as a knife sharpener. There are also resources such as Make It Sharp, that detail the differences between sharpeners available on the market.

Using proper technique is important, so make sure you read the instructions for your sharpener. Otherwise you could actually make your knife worse.

The Best Health Insurance Is Proper Diet and Exercise

Alot has been said about the Affordable Care Act over the past few years. And you can argue til you’re blue in the face about whether it’s the right thing for this country. Let’s think outside the box and look at it from a different perspective.

Eating Right and Exercising

paleo diet foods

The vast majority of health problems stem from poor diet and lack of exercise. In fact the obesity epidemic this country and others are experiencing are wholly attributable to these two things. And with obesity comes diabetes. Over the next 10 years it’s estimated that hundreds of billions of dollars will be spent on diagnosing and treating obesity and diabetes. This is a huge portion of our healthcare costs.

But eating right and exercising could eliminate many of these costs. Unfortunately ours is a society that looks to fix the problem by medicating rather than looking to the root of the problem itself. If everyone out there were to do a couple of WOD’s per week and eat according to the Paleo diet, we could kick these problems right in the ass.

Instead we’ll keep on doing what we do. Prescribe insulin and watch our health care costs soar. So while you may not be able to opt out of insurance now that Obamacare has been implemented. You can at least minimize the chances that you’ll even need insurance by keeping yourself in good shape.

Attend CrossFit classes a couple of times per week. Cut out all of the processed junk foods that you’re always eating. Replace them with good foods like seafood, grass fed meet, organ meats from grassfed sources, tons of leafy green vegetables, and some fruit. Eat lots of healthy fats like coconut oil, grassfed butter or ghee. And eat plenty of healthy nuts like almonds and macadamias. This will have your body humming along so that you wont’ even need insurance because you’ll never be sick.

For more on health care and healthcare related jobs, check out Med Tech Salary Guide.