Ancestral Fitness… How Far We’ve Come…

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With so much focus on ancestral diets, it is important to note that the nutrition piece is only part if resyncing ourselves with out genetic coding. Physical activity has no doubt decreased in modern society as we continue to advance technologically.

The dreams of the past of when computers and machines would make our lives much easier and increase the quality of living did not come true for most of us. Now don’t get me wrong, sure we can communicate at lightning fast speeds, automate production and travel more efficiently (even though I’m still waiting for my hover board from Back to the Future.) But, as our technological means have increased, so have the expectations of our production. We are working as many, if not more hours than before except now we are tethered to our devices sitting at desks, on planes, trains or in automobiles. Even the visit to a cubicle down the row has been replaced with a text message or email. Add in the morning and afternoon commutes, it’s no wonder over 35% of Americans are now obese. Read that again, over 35% of Americans are obese, not just overweight.

While it would be true to say that America has gotten lazy and simply let the blame lie there, in many cases we have actually just hoarded too many to-dos and are left with our time management cluttered and we don’t know where or how to fit functional fitness into our routines. We’ve forgotten how to move.

Regardless of ones view on the evolution vs creation debate, our ability to move is not only something we should not take for granted, it is a gift we should celebrate as a species! I mean, can you think of another animal on this planet capable of what we are? Crawling, walking, running, jumping, ducking, dodging, climbing, swimming, diving, pulling, pushing, lifting, throwing, catching etc… And with the correct apparati, you can even throw gliding and flying in there. You get my point, we are truly the Swiss Army Knife of biological organisms.

I’m really excited to spend the next several weeks revisiting a study done by the esteemed Dr. Loren Cordain (pioneer of the paleo movement) and colleagues on how fitness was incorporated in the lives of our ancestors and why it is still possible, and critically necessary, to revive this “movement” in our lives today.

10 Keys to Performance

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By Jon Gilson of Again Faster

Crossfit is extraordinary in its breadth. The physical tasks we undertake are remarkable for their constant variation and immutable intensity.

To the beginning Crossfitter, the sheer size of the curriculum can be daunting. You’ll learn Olympic lifts, gymnastics, sprinting, kettlebell swings, medicine ball work, basic nutrition, and a hundred other things. Crossfit has combined these modalities and a good dose of creativity to develop an inclusive model of fitness programming. 

In an effort to make Crossfit a little easier to deal with, here are the things you need to know to become an elite athlete. Everything else will come with time.



1.) Virtuosity: Do every rep correctly, every time. Virtuosity is the pursuit of perfection. Become a stickler for form, and you will reap the benefits of Crossfit extremely quickly.



2.) Consistency: Get out of bed. Go to the gym. Get in the habit of showing up.

3.) Intensity: Strive to minimize the amount of time you spend resting in the middle of each workout. The less you rest, the stronger you’ll become. Your workout times will plummet, and your health will skyrocket. Go hard!



4.) Nutrition: Eat enough calories to support vigorous exercise. Not eating is not a solution. Avoid alcohol, starch, and sugar like the plague. Eat lean meats, vegetables, low-GI fruits, and good fats. Fat is necessary for athletic performance–get it from almonds, avocados, olive oil, and fish oil. The best way to maintain a good diet? Clear all the crap out of your cupboards, and never ever buy it again.

5.) Sleep: Sleep is essential to your athletic development. When you sleep, you heal. Progress is a constant give and take between breaking down and building up–exercise breaks you down and sleep builds you up. Give your body the fuel it needs to heal–lean protein and fat immediately before bed will keep you in a good physiological state to burn fat and build muscle all night long. Sleep at least 8 hours every night. Make it a priority.

6.) Rest: Don’t exercise every day. You’ll burn out. Schedule rest days after every two or three days of heavy training. You can speed up healing with ice, compression, mobility work, and good supplementation.

7.) Instruction: Spend money on quality trainers, reading materials, seminars, and certifications. A few hundred bucks here and there will accelerate your gains much faster than advice from the counter guy at Gold’s. 



8.) Comfort: Stray from the known path. Approach new skills as an opportunity to learn, not an opportunity to fail. The best athletes in the world spend all day working on their weaknesses, not reinforcing their strengths.



9.) Goals: Write everything down. Set goals and work to meet them every day. Look back over your progress, and change what needs to be changed.

10.) Stress: Your body doesn’t distinguish between training stress and life stress. Minimize life stress to maximize your progress.

None of this is earth-shattering. Incorporate these tenets in your training, one by one. Follow them 90% of the time, and you’ll find yourself at the top of the scoreboard each and every week.

Learning the Art of Kipping

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For those new to or have never experienced CrossFit, at first glance, kipping pull-ups may seem like cheating – or maybe even a spastic type of pull-up (Picture that scrawny little band nerd in gym class growing up, pretty easy for me because I was him)– but they’re not.

Kipping pull-ups allow more work to be done in less time, thus increasing power output and metabolic conditioning, (MetCon). It’s also a full-body coordination movement that, when performed correctly, applies more functionally to real-life pulling skills. Last but not least, the hip motion of an effective kip mirrors the motion of the Olympic lifts, adding to its function as a posterior-chain developer (back, glutes and hamstrings).

If you’re not convinced that kipping pull-ups hold reverence in the fitness realm, I challenge you to attempt running or jogging without the use of your arms. Running and kipping pull-ups are both movements in which the entire body should be used to perform work, and the results will speak for themselves.

This is one of the best videos I’ve seen yet breaking the movement down to the basics from the ground to the bar, or rings.

Training Zone… Lean Muscle Mass

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From our friends at flirtandfitness.com

What does it take to build lean muscle mass? You have to put your body into what’s known as an anabolic state”, and this article will show you the three most important “anabolic activators” there are.

Anabolic Activator #1: Intense Strength Training

You need to do some form of exercise with intensity in order to stimulate your body into building lean muscle mass. You do this by  strength training.

There’s lots of ways to do strength training, I recommend you start out with body-weight exercises… then move onto free weight exercises… doing a balanced and total body program like DoubleYourGains’ 3-5 program to get your body into “anabolic mode”.

When you put your body under stress, all your muscles under stress it signals your body that “we need more muscle to perform the stuff you want to do!” THAT is the goal of your training.

Anabolic Activator #2: Intense Cardio

This will really help your goal of gaining LEAN muscle mass. The key is to do cardio a little differently than you might be used to…

Instead of doing long distance, steady-state aerobics (like running on the treadmill for 45 minutes to an hour)… you should adopt cardio activities that are anaerobic in nature… which means you do intense bursts of activity, followed by periods of longer “active rests”.

An example would be sprinting all out at your fastest pace for 20 seconds… then jogging for up to a minute… then sprinting, etc… this is what’s known as “interval training” and the benefits are second to none.

I’ve written more about interval training here. But suffice it to say interval training will help you keep the fat burning while you’re building lean muscle mass… because you’re going to be eating a LOT to build muscle.

Anabolic Activator #3: Eating Correctly For Lean Muscle Gain

Most guys who want to build muscle simply do not eat enough. It seems easy right? Just eat! But the truth is: you have to know WHEN to eat to make your body most likely to build lean muscle.

What’s the best time? For 30 minutes up to 4 hours after your workouts (both strength training and cardio) is what is known as the “post workout window of opportunity” because the fuel for  your body is so depleted from your intense workouts… that nearly all of the food you consume in this period goes directly into your muscle cells.

What happens then? Well, instead of the extra calories going towards fat gain, those extra calories are instead FEEDING your lean muscle mass gains… so if you eat a lot of calories during this time period, you have a much better chance of building muscle instead of gaining fat.

Other unique ways of getting your body to use your food more anabolically is by adopting intermittent fasting. I like the warrior diet approach (when I’m maintaining or dropping weight) and the Lean Gains approach when I want to build lean muscle mass.