Good morning and welcome to the weekend edition of the Morning Chalk Up. In his OpEd, Nicolai Archuleta argues that CrossFitters should consider going keto and provides some science to back it up. Today:
After 71 days, the CrossFit Games Instagram account breaks its silence.
OpEd: The ketogenic diet and CrossFit.
OpEd: Emily Beers asks “what do you wish you knew before you started CrossFit”?
Crush that partner WOD this weekend and then hit us up with anything we missed this week at [email protected]..
“Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food.” — Hippocrates
After 71 Days, CrossFit Games Publishes First Instagram Post
The official CrossFit Games Instagram account broke its 71-day silence when it posted for the first time since the relaunch on November 28, 2019. The inaugural post tipped its hat to the 13 CrossFit Games held since 2007 and looked forward to the next event this summer.
“The CrossFit Games began in 2007 as the first competition to objectively measure fitness. From inception, they have been unlike traditional sports like track and field, gymnastics weightlifting, or even decathlon, specialist sports in which the events are known long in advance. The early athletes flocking to Aromas, California from around the world would be tested against a variety of unannounced events each with different movements, equipment and time domains. Competitors were required to train for the unknown, and events including long swims, obstacles courses, 1-rep max lifts, handstand walking and gymnastics apparatus became commonplace. The test has evolved continually. As top athletes return with more strength, speed, endurance, and skill they are met with new tests that take them outside their comfort zone. The 14th edition of the CrossFit Games will take place over 5 days from
July 29 – August 2, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin
The bottom line: The CrossFit Games Instagram page had about 2.3 million followers before it was shut down last May. With just under 42,000 followers at the time of writing, it’s a far cry from where they stood less than a year ago and will hurt their ability to market the CrossFit Games as the event nears.
OpEd: If You Are Serious About CrossFit, You Should Try Keto
By Nicolai Archuleta
The ketogenic diet has increased in popularity recently — from a small niche following to the mainstream in just a few years. With more attention, though, has come more criticism.
“It’s not safe or sustainable,” some have said. “It’s bad for building muscle and it’s too restrictive,” others assert. I have heard all of these statements and more.
Within the CrossFit community, the criticism has been especially strong. Many argue that CrossFit is too “glycolytic” (carb dependent) for keto to be feasible. I’d like to pose a counter-argument: not only is keto feasible for performing your daily WOD, it may actually be better than a typical high carbohydrate diet. To illuminate this point, I want to review some of the science on the subject along with the impact of the ketogenic diet on everyday CrossFit and strength-based athletes.
Importantly, CrossFit HQ supports the ketogenic diet and has published many positive studies on keto in their daily email and made “Nutrition Network Professional Training in LCHF/Ketogenic Nutrition” a preferred course. A small disclaimer, I am a Certified Ketogenic Health Coach, not a nutritionist or a doctor. I have been testing the keto diet with CrossFit for over a year now and have been very happy with the results, including a better body composition, good performance and excellent blood markers.
What is the ketogenic diet (the short version)?
The ketogenic diet is the only diet in existence that fundamentally transforms the way your metabolism operates. All other diets rely mostly on glucose as a fuel source; whereas keto actually relies on fat to energize you, both from the fat you eat and your body fat. As you metabolize fat, ketone bodies are released — this is where the magic lies. Ketone bodies have numerous healing effects on the body, including weight loss, lowered blood sugar, improved cholesterol and triglycerides, reduced risk of heart disease, increased cognitive performance, improved neural functioning, and they can even serve as an adjuvant cancer treatment. The two ways to get into “ketosis” are to fast for an extended period of time, or eat a diet high in fat, with these approximate macros: 60-80% fat, 15-25% protein, and
5-10% carbohydrates. This ratio will vary depending on your goals, activity level, and individual metabolism.
“The ketogenic diet is the only diet in existence that fundamentally transforms the way your metabolism operates. All other diets rely mostly on glucose as a fuel source; whereas keto actually relies on fat to energize you, both from the fat you eat and your body fat.”
Why do keto and CrossFit work so well together?
First, there have been two studies performed specifically on CrossFit athletes following a ketogenic diet. What we learned in the first study is that the athletes following the keto diet actually lost much more body fat than the control group who followed a typical high carb diet, and there was no significant difference in the performance metrics of 1RM back squat, 400m run time, and VO2max. In other words, the keto athletes achieved a better body composition and did not lose any ground in performance.
In the second study, a group of individuals undertook a four-week ketogenic diet to see how it impacted their exercise metabolism. The results show that the keto diet caused athletes to burn a higher percentage of fat for fuel at higher exercise intensities. This is a big deal because it means that these athletes were relying on their endless supplies of fat for energy, even at exercise intensities up to 80% of VO2max. Just for context, CrossFit workouts generally fall in the 49-64% of VO2max range. By relying more on fat at higher intensities, the athletes were saving their limited glycogen stores for use only on those max effort bursts and
burned more body fat at the same time.
How can someone eating almost no carbs perform high intensity exercise fueled by glucose?
The body is a miraculous machine that can adapt to many situations, including a shortage of carbohydrates. Once someone becomes fat-adapted, meaning they can burn and utilize fats efficiently (this can take 2-4 weeks of following the keto diet consistently), their body also becomes extremely good at making glucose internally from ingested protein, fat, and even lactic acid. This concept is called gluconeogenesis. A keto athlete can actually replenish their glycogen from fat and protein just as fast as an athlete who is eating a carb-based diet. This idea is revolutionary to many, but it is the key reason why keto works and works especially
well for CrossFit.
I often think about who I could have been at the age of 14. And at 19, at 22 and even at 25. I think about who I would have been had I known what I know now because of CrossFit.
At 14, I quit volleyball — even though I loved the sport — because I was going to have to start wearing super tight and short spandex shorts. So I pursued basketball, where I got to drape myself in oversized shorts that fell off my waist and went down to my knees.
At 19, while playing college basketball, I thought men would never be into me. The story that I told myself: Basketball girls aren’t sexy. Volleyball players are the sought-after ones.
At 22, as a college rower, it was the lightweight rowers who I envied. They were small and petite, and again, more attractive to the opposite sex. The tape that played in my head was, “What man would want to date a girl with bigger and stronger legs than his own?”
Then I found CrossFit. It changed me and changed my life.
Now at 35, I look back and I wonder: If I knew what I know now — that strong, muscular legs, and hamstrings that bulge and cause people to inquire, “where did you get your legs from,” on a regular basis — are sexy, who could I have been?
What kind of confidencewould I have had at 14? Would I have chosen volleyball over basketball? Would I have spent less time trying to hide my legs, and avoiding the sun in a bikini on hot summer days? Would I have had more joy in my life and brought better energy to the world?
This got me thinking about what other women wish they knew before CrossFit. More importantly, how other women have become free to accept and embrace themselves through the sport we love.
“I wish I knew about my body before CrossFit. Looking in the mirror now, I remember myself as a teenager: skinny as a rail and embarrassed to show even a bit of my stick legs. Now, holy shit, do I have muscles. How beautiful my body looks and I love it.” — Ana Zaidan
So I decided to ask. Here’s what I discovered:
“I wish I knew that training like an athlete didn’t have to stop once childhood sports stopped. I always struggled with going to the gym because my why was completely wrapped up in the way I looked. CrossFit, on the other hand, had all the other aspects of sport — teammates, competition, pushing past your limits, goals, learning new things, excitement, fear — that I got out of gymnastics. As soon as I got those things back in my life, my mindset completely shifted from what I wanted to look like, to how I wanted to feel and what I wanted to achieve. And, ironically, I ended up pretty quickly losing the weight that I had struggled to lose for nearly 20 years.” – Desiree Day, 36, Coach and former Canadian national team gymnast
“No one cares how fit you are. Only other competitors remember how you placed.” – Miranda Alcaraz (formerly Oldroyd), beloved CrossFit Games athlete who needs no further introduction.
“Don’t be afraid to have babies. Your body will be ready to maintain your lifestyle.” – Alcaraz
“I wish I knew about my body before CrossFit. Looking in the mirror now, I remember myself as a teenager: skinny as a rail and embarrassed to show even a bit of my stick legs. Now, holy shit, do I have muscles. How beautiful my body looks and I love it. How powerful I feel on the inside. How sexy I am with all my muscles.” – Ana Zaidan, CrossFit coach from Curibita, Brazil
“I wish I knew that it was really possible to make meaningful changes to my body. By putting strength first instead of skinny, my body was possible of shaping itself to be a more efficient and comfortable place to live.” – Katie Allen, 39, CrossFit athlete who lost 40 pounds in 2019.
“(I wish I knew) more isn’t always better. Never replace quality with quantity.” – Emily Rolfe, 31, 2019 CrossFit Games athlete
“I wish I knew that it was OK to be strong and not to be a size 0, and proud to be that way.” – Bonnie MacMillan, 35, nutrition coach and the owner for Forge Valley Fitness in Vernon, B.C.
“(I wish I knew) how strong and capable my body is!” – Carly Fuhrer, 28, 2016 CrossFit Games athlete
“Had I understood what CrossFit would teach me about life, I would have started sooner. Patience, persistence, confidence, resilience and the realization that we are never finished growing, are the most important lessons CrossFit teaches. One of the (other big) lessons for me has been that I am always capable of more, (capable) of better, and of learning new things.” – Jennifer Morris, 49, nutrition and lifestyle coach and the owner of CrossFit Goderich in Ontario
“I wish I knew how important it is to surround yourself with a strong community. When I moved away from B.C. to Montreal, I lost a lot of dear friends until I was introduced to CrossFit. Now that I have been in the CrossFit community for more than 10 years, I can’t begin to put into words how much all of the people that I work with, coach and train mean to me. They are my people. They have my back. No matter what.” – Louise Eberts, gymnastics expert and CrossFit coach at CrossFit 604 in Vancouver, B.C.
Then came an answer from the always articulate Alex Parker, a 2015 CrossFit Games athlete.
From CrossFit, she learned to “stop doing the things I feel like people want me to do — like be a lawyer. It has made me realize it’s important to follow my passions and be who I am,” said the 30-year-old.
Then she added: “CrossFit has changed my life in so many ways, but I don’t think I would have wanted to know anything ahead of those changes.”
It made me realize she’s right. While it’s impossible not to learn and grow from the sport of CrossFit, it’s silly to regret not finding it sooner. Finding it is just one part of our imperfect, unique, beautiful journey, so how can I regret what I didn’t know before?
One thing I know now is that I’m glad I know what I know.
Oh yeah, and I’m glad I replaced my all basketball shorts with dozens of pairs of itty bitty spandex ones.
How to Start CrossFit without a CrossFit Gym
Cole Sager talks about how he began his CrossFit training without a gym and carted equipment around from park to park. If you want to do the same (or even if you are between gyms or traveling) some key insights are: be creative, get a jump rope, a kettlebell and dumbbells are very portable and a rubber floor mat is a great investment.
It’s that simple. Ice Age Meals pairs high-quality protein with moderate amounts of carbohydrates and healthy fats to create the clean fuel you need to power your goals. Shop now and use the code “EATBETTER20” for 20% off your order.
Valentine’s Day is coming up and this incredible, gluten-free peanut butter banana cake is perfect — filled with mini chocolate chips, and topped with a luscious peanut butter frosting — and the best part is that it’s also grain-free!
CrossFit Pathway in Fuquay Varina, NC will hold a Friday Night Lights “Help Trevor Crush It” fundraiser for its owner, Trevor Smith, who has been hospitalized with influenza A, pneumonia, and staph infection on February 28.
CrossFit Incendia in Peoria, AZ has opened a Facebook group for community members to provide support to Brad Flahiff, a long-time member who recently underwent open-heart surgery. Get well soon, Brad!
Babylon Crossfit in Babylon Village, NY reopened under new ownership with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on February 5. New owners Trish Evangelista and husband Steve have renovated the facility and are opening up a kids’ room.