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Being a Rock Hard Papaw is a Mad Operation: Meet the Fittest Great Grandpa on the Internet

This is a story about a 64-year-old retired teamster from Louisville, Kentucky who has the body of an Olympic weight lifter.

His name is Robert Durbin, but you can call him “Rock Hard Papaw.”

rock hard papaw

Why Robert is not a viral video star is beyond me, but the old man—who was once overweight after a series of ankle injuries and a heart aneurism—regularly publishes videos of himself pulling off feats of strength on his YouTube Channel.

Robert works out three hours every day, his regimen a combination of strength training, CrossFit, and yoga. “I do 150 pull ups a day and 400 push ups a day,” he said. “It’s a mad operation.”

Mad indeed, but the Rock Hard Papaw isn’t fading away in the twilight of his life. “I feel 45. I’ve never felt this way. I know I look old, but I don’t feel like it.”

Just five years ago, Robert needed canes and walkers to get around, and was fitted with metallic braces on his ankles to help mobility. “Then I had an extended aortic aneurism. My health was going downhill fast and I just wanted to be able to do stuff with my grandkids,” explained Robert.
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A Safer Way to CrossFit: 3 Ways to Prevent Injury for This Trending Workout

Before I actually became a member of a CrossFit gym, I heard all the cautionary tales of injury, over-training, and the crazy way of training “THEY do over there.”

Was I apprehensive? Of course, but I approached this NEW experience as I have done others in the past and that was to find out what it was really about by seeing it with my own eyes and experiencing it for myself.

crossfit
I’ve come away with three things that you can use for yourself and apply to ANY new (or old) fitness experience to keep yourself safe, too.

Know Your Body

You know your body better than anyone else, so if you are asking your body to do something it truly is incapable of, it will let you know. If you work your body into the ground over and over again, without giving it proper rest and nutrition, it will shut down. It doesn’t take a CrossFit class to do this; it can happen with Pilates, yoga, or even regular weight training.
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Try Workouts from Around the World with These International Fitness Trends

Here in the States, we not only like to keep up with the Joneses, but also the Juans in Mexico, the Martins in France, and the Satous in Japan. In other words, we don’t like to be left out or behind even on a global scale.

This is the case with food – whose is better? – and fashion – who looks the best? But it’s also the case with fitness. Just as every other aspect of our lives differs culturally, you can believe that’s the case when it comes to working out, too. Grab your gym-going passport and take a look at what’s popular beyond our borders. You may be inspired to try something new!

walking in spain
SPAIN

The carefree lifestyle of the Spanish seems to translate to their approach to fitness, too. As a whole, they don’t seem to worry themselves too much with getting in to the gym. Their inherent lifestyle does a body good! “The majority of them eat a healthy enough diet (Mediterranean diet at its finest) and walk almost everywhere (if they live in a big city), so obesity isn’t that big of a concern,” said Kelsey Murray, an American teacher who travels to Seville to teach English. They certainly don’t give exercise the chore status that Americans do, as it’s naturally just a part of their lives.

cycling in france
FRANCE

These Euros are also not sweating out their evenings in the gym, rather they prefer to get out en plein air. Translation: They enjoy the outdoors. And why wouldn’t they? Beautiful scenery from nature and architecture provide an inspired background to walk, run, cycle, or even row. Because they are “discreet but effective,” Mireille Guiliano, author of the French Women Don’t Get Fat series of books, told Yahoo! that isometric exercises are very French. With a straight back, contract your abs for 12 seconds, hold, release, and repeat. You can do this on the subway, in your desk chair, in your office, or even at a fancy dinner date.
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“I’m Here, Alive and Well and Thriving.” A Breast Cancer Survivor Used Exercise and CrossFit to Aid Her Recovery

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my breast cancer journey, so I thought that since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it would be an appropriate time to check in.

First and foremost, I’m doing awesome! This past July marked my two-year survivor anniversary. In the past two years, I’ve been through five major surgeries, countless “minor procedures,” six rounds of chemotherapy, and am now on hormone therapy for the next 3 ½ years. If it seems like a lot to read, imagine going through it. But…I’m here, alive and well and thriving.

carol
Although I’ve been through a lot, I attribute my success and ability to cope to three things:

  • My Faith in God and His awesome power
  • My husband, Alvin; my family, friends and followers standing by me all the way and pushing me to keep fighting
  • Exercise

Without these three elements firmly entrenched in my life, I shudder to think what kind of shape (physical, emotional and mental) that I would be in right now.

Faith and family, I’m sure you can relate to how important these are to you when you need them most; but exercise?

Let me explain. This is not just any old type of exercise, but serious, vigorous, out-of-breath, leaves you crawling exercise. I first heard about how important exercise is to cancer recovery from a guest on my radio show. She was diagnosed with Stage IV Lymphoma and survived. While on the show she said that she attributed her success to vigorous exercise. This point stuck in my mind and when I was faced with a similar situation, I put my plan in motion.
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No Pain No Gain Mentality of CrossFit Followers Could Leave Them Dead

Rhabdomyolysis is an extremely rare and potentially fatal muscle disease that fries the kidneys. This is doubtfully the first time you’ve heard of it, unless you’re a CrossFitter. CrossFit is a Marine-like workout routine that combines aerobic exercise, gymnastics and Olympic weightlifting, and Rhabdomyolysis—affectionately known as Rhabdo—is a common affliction sustained by CrossFitters. The CrossFit/Rhabdo debate was sparked last week when photos of a pregnant woman doing CrossFit went viral. Considering the disease’s disturbing associations with CrossFit, it’s worth asking whether anyone—not just an eight months pregnant woman—should CrossFit.

rhabdo

In 2005, there were 13 official CrossFit gyms in the United States. Now, there are more than 6,000. A CrossFit gym is more akin to a boot camp than a fitness center, and the intense workouts routinely leave exercisers with JELL-O for muscles. This is because—according to ABC News Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser, CrossFitters are “…asking [their] muscles to keep working after they’ve stopped getting any energy to get the job done.”

Let’s take a more detailed look at what Rhabdomyolysis does to the body.

At its onset, Rhabdo introduces itself as a soreness of the muscles. Hours later, when your appendages refuse to obey your brain’s commands to move, dead muscle cells have begun to release myoglobin—a protein harmful to the kidneys—into the bloodstream. Symptoms like vomiting, muscle spasms and confusion follow shortly after. And once your urine turns a lovely shade of coffee-brown, you can confidently diagnose yourself with Rhabdomyolysis. Get yourself to a hospital, because kidney failure and death are next.
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