Hello!!! It’s my VERY LAST WEEK OF SURGERY! My exam is on Tuesday next week and then it is over. I’ve actually really loved this rotation and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. In the mean time, todays post is a guest post from the oh so super inspiring Mel. This girl is amazing! We actually studied abroad together in college and since then have re-connected over our love of health and fitness!! I know you will love her post and you should check out her blog too!
Paleo, Crossfit, and Coming to Know Your Body
Hello everyone! I’m Mel from Streaks of Strength and I am super excited to be guest blogging for Andrea (I am quite obsessed with her blog).
I wanted to talk about the paleo diet, the crossfit experience, and what I have learned from both this year. Before we start, I am not advocating either way of life or trying to say it is the right way to live, I am merely sharing my experiences.
A little bit of background, I started doing crossfit about 3 months ago, literally as soon as a box opened up in Abingdon. Here are some important facts about crossfit before we go on for those of you who do not really know what it is.
1. Crossfit is defined as functional movements that are constantly varied and done at a high intensity. So what does that mean? It means that in crossfit we work on creating and maintain good form in movements we use every day, such as the squat. The workouts are always different so even if you go to a class every day, you will never do the same thing. And the workouts are done at a high intensity, meaning our Workouts of the Day (or WODs) are always meant to challenge you and push you to the limit.
2. A class is broken into 3 parts: Strength, Mobility, and WOD with a warm up and cool down. In the strength section, we work on specific lifts or skills, for example, I go 2 days a week and once a week my Strength is front squat and the other day, my strength is press. The mobility part is really individualized and meant to get you loosened up and ready for the WOD. The WOD is usually either a specific amount of reps you have to do or a time limit in which you have to do as many reps as possible (AMRAP). For example, one day we did a 10 minute AMRAP of 5 push presses, 10 dead lifts, and 15 box jumps. Another example would be the day we did 50 push presses, 50 hollow ricks, 50 sumo dead lift high pulls, 50 walking lunges, and 50 hand release pushups.
About a month ago, my crossfit box started the Lean, Green, and Mean Challenge in which everyone participating went paleo for 30 days. The rules for paleo are pretty simple: No grains, no dairy (except grass fed butter), no sugar or sweeteners, no processed foods, artificial ingredients, or trans fats, and no alcohol. There are many small debates about certain types of foods like vinegar and red wine and salt and stuff like that, but paleo is essentially eating meat, vegetables, some nuts, and little fruit.
The paleo diet is meant to bring your body back to the way it worked in the caveman days. Back in the day, the homo sapien was tall, muscular, agile, athletic, and very versatile and today homo sapiens are much less of all of those things. The paleo diet maintains that after agriculture happened, humans settled into an easier way of getting food, but our bodies never adjusted to the change. So the diet advocates no grains because the body is not meant to process the amount that people eat today.
So that’s a simple run down of crossfit and paleo. Here is the most important thing I have taken away from my experiences:
It is so important to know your body, both inside and out. This is still a journey that I am on, but I am getting closer every day. There are so many times when I would wonder what made my stomach upset or why a certain part of my body hurt or was sore. One of the reasons I was never a good dancer was because I could not get my body to do what I was trying to imitate. Since starting crossfit, I have to constantly be aware of what my body is doing and making sure it is in the correct form. In the beginning, my trainer would always tell me to push my knees out when I was squatting and it probably took 2 months before I could figure out what was wrong with my body and create awareness and control of the movement.
Similarly, the paleo cleanse (as my trainer calls it) is meant to help you figure out what foods your body has a negative reaction to by adding things back in slowly after the challenge ends. During the challenge, I was noticing that my stomach was having some issues and I was pretty sure that my body was seriously missing the active cultures in greek yogurt. I added just greek yogurt back first and 24 hours later my stomach issues were much better. Zach added back peanut butter and noticed that the high sugar kind made his stomach really upset and decided that he needed to go to organic with no sugar added.
Knowing your body is the first step to being able to take good care of it. There are many times that you decide to do something in your mind and your body does something totally different. For example, there are mornings when I set out to run at a certain pace and my body slows me down because it cannot handle that pace at that moment or that I plan to run a race at a certain time and end up being 3 minutes faster than my plan. It is also a constant battle that many people will be on for the rest of their lives. I can’t pretend that I know everything about my body, but crossfit and paleo have made me much more aware than I was before and that is definitely a start!
For fun, here is my crossfit and paleo experience in pictures!
Have you tried Crossfit? Love it? Hate it? I want to know!!!