Very interesting graphic from the NY Times on how different segments of society spend their time (go to visit the interactive graphic to see the variances between different age, racial, gender, and employment status groups).
Note the enormous red blob that is TV time. See if you can find the thin gray line that is sports.
I think this is partly it…but the truth is much more than the fact that people aren’t exercising enough, and are instead sitting on their asses watching “So You Think You Can Dance” instead.
A much bigger factor than the amount of (or lack of) exercise is the crap food that most people habitually shove down their pie holes. My CrossFit trainer frequently states that fitness and body wellness is 80% diet and 20% exercise. I’m a true believer in this philosophy.
My CrossFit Testimony
I started CrossFitting a couple of times a week on August 3, 2008. I weighed in at a very heavy 274 lbs when I showed up for my CrossFit Elements introductory sessions. At the end of the first Elements class, we were put through a quick “assessment” Workout of the Day (or a WoD, in CrossFit parlance) consisting of:
- Row 500m
- Run 400m
- Squat x 30 reps
- Pushups x 20 reps
- Pull ups x 10 reps
I thought I was going to die after (barely) finishing the WoD in 9 minutes 38 seconds.
In the one year since starting, my weight has dropped to 240 lbs (34 lbs lost) and I’ve reduced my body fat by almost half. But more importantly, my capacity for work — the ability to move heavy things quickly and for sustained bursts — has dramatically increased (as has my strength, flexibility, and stamina). My goal is to lose another 40 lbs over the next year, and reduce my body fat to about 10% or lower.
I’ve since turned my garage into a well-stocked CrossFit gym, where I’m able to do 2-3 CrossFit WoDs at home (in addition to the two classes I still attend at CrossFit Central gym):
The CrossFit lifestyle of fitness in 100 Words (from Coach Glassman):
Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.
What is CrossFit?
CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.
Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist.
The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.
The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree not kind. Our terrorist hunters, skiers, mountain bike riders and housewives have found their best fitness from the same regimen.
Dialing in the Diet
But it wasn’t until I dialed in my eating habits did I start to see the biggest changes in my body composition and weight. I started off on Dr. Barry Sears Zone diet.
On the zone I quit eating sugar, most grains and starches, and almost all processed foods. But after a few months I was tired of weighing and measuring every single thing I ate, and still wasn’t seeing quite the results I was looking for. About a month ago I dialed in my diet a little more, going Paleo. Which meant also giving up all dairy and legumes.
Which means I’m eating almost nothing but whole, natural clean foods. Lean meats, lots of veges, some fruit, nuts, and seeds. And the change in my body and energy has been nothing short of miraculous.
If you’re looking to make a real difference in how you look, feel, and your overall fitness level, I can’t recommend the combination of CrossFit (for your fitness) and the Paleo diet (for your nutrition) enough.