CrossFit, Inc. licenses the CrossFit name to gyms for an annual fee and certifies trainers. Besides the standard two-day "Level 1 Trainer Course", specialty seminars include gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, running and endurance, rowing, kettlebells, mobility and recovery, CrossFit Kids, CrossFit Football, and self-defense and striking. Other specialized adaptations include programs for pregnant women, seniors, and military special operations candidates. Affiliates develop their own programming, pricing, and instructional methods. Many athletes and trainers see themselves as part of a contrarian, insurgent movement that questions conventional fitness wisdom. In addition to performing prescribed workouts, they follow CrossFit's nutrition recommendations, adopting a paleo and/or zone diet.
Two friends and I discussed the article, and then one proposed something unbelievable: "We should do Whole30 together." After considering what Philipps' had to say about it, I decided to give it a try. Then Health editor in chief Lori Leibovich asked me to document my Whole30 experience with daily video diaries on Health Instagram stories, and I knew there was no turning back. I was about to do my first diet ever.
Exercise is a vital part of the live-by-your-genetic-code equation. Surviving in the Stone Age meant a constant on-the-go lifestyle that probably required 4,000-plus calories a day, according to David L. Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. Even most people who hit the gym regularly won't need to eat that many calories, but the principle of using food as fuel to exercise still stands.
So, with my sister-in-law as my Whole30 guide, I successfully followed the program for the entire month of November. The beginning was really bumpy for me — I am truly an emotional eater and I am absolutely addicted to sugar. But once it was done, it was clear to me that the benefits outweighed the challenges. I now have a whole new understanding and respect for my body and a newfound control over the food I put in my mouth. Full disclosure that the Whole30 diet affects everyone differently, but here are the seven biggest changes I saw in myself after 30 days:
Primal Body-Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life by Nora Gedgaudas advocates a diet that our paleo ancestors ate. Meat, lots of fat, and seasonal fruits and berries when available. Basically, sugar and starchy carbs are discouraged. You can download a chapter from the author's site. She has a Primal Body, Primal Mind Radio weekly show on Voice of America. It started May 20, 2009, so there are many shows you can listen to. Published June 30, 2011.
Looking back on my lifestyle before the Whole30, my personal recipe for making unhealthy food choices typically consisted of being hungry and on a time crunch, which meant I'd choose whatever was most convenient (read: something overly processed from the vending machine). "Whole30 requires you to plan ahead, mainly so you stay 'compliant' and don’t go hungry," explains Liz McMahon, RDN. "Planning out meals and batch cooking ensures you have healthier food available and won’t constantly be reaching for fast food options." Making pre-planning a habit — even when I'm dining out — helps keep me on track even when I'm not following the Whole30.
Chris Masterjohn has Cholesterol: Your Life Depends on It!, another web site pointing out that the war on cholesterol and the push to put people on statins is misguided. The site argues it is actually polyunsaturated fats, not saturated fats or cholesterol, that contribute to heart disease, cancer, liver damage, and aging. He also has a popular blog.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research entitled "Crossfit-based high intensity power training improves maximal aerobic fitness and body composition" followed 54 participants for 10 weeks of CrossFit training. The study said that "...a notable percentage of our subjects (16%) did not complete the training program and return for follow-up testing." The authors said "This may call into question the risk-benefit ratio for such extreme training programs..." In 2014, CrossFit, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the National Strength and Conditioning Association for publishing this study, alleging that the data were false and were "intended to scare participants away from CrossFit." The NSCA denies CrossFit, Inc.'s allegations but has issued an erratum acknowledging that the injury data were incorrect. In September 2016, the District Court ruled in favor of CrossFit Inc.'s claims that the injury data were found to be false, but not that the NSCA was commercially motivated or that the publishing of the study was defamatory as the NSCA no longer stood behind the study. In February 2017, CrossFit filed for sanctions against the NSCA after one of the NSCA's witnesses admitted to falsifying statements during deposition. In May 2017, the Court issued 17 issues sanctions against the NSCA, writing that the organization did have a commercial motive to falsify the data, had published the false data knowingly to disparage CrossFit, and had misled the public with their erratum. CrossFit was awarded $74,000 in legal fees and allowed to continue investigating the NSCA. If the neutral-party analysis of the NSCA servers turns up any further misconduct, CrossFit may file an amended complaint for further sanctioning and compensation for lost revenue.
Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking in a Gluten-Free Kitchen by Julie Sullivan Mayfield and Charles Mayfield. Implementing paleo guidelines and principles in this book (no grains, no gluten, no legumes, no dairy), the Mayfields give you 100+ recipes and full color photos with entertaining stories throughout. The recipes in Paleo Comfort Foods can help individuals and families alike lose weight, eat healthy and achieve optimum fitness, making this way of eating sustainable, tasty and fun. The many reviews at Amazon are basically flawless. The sole complaint is over the lack of nutritional information. But there is no counting on the paleo diet and its inclusion would have been inappropriate. Published September 10, 2011.
The diet ranked last among 38 popular diets evaluated by U.S. News & World Report in its 2016 Best Diets Rankings; one of the raters, dietitian Meridan Zerner said: "We want behavioral changes and dietary changes that are slow and progressive and meaningful." David L. Katz said of the diet: "The grouping [of banned foods] is both random, and rather bizarre from a nutrition perspective. If the idea is good nutrition, cutting out whole grains and legumes is at odds with a boatload of evidence." It was selected as one of the worst health trends for 2013 by Health Magazine.
CrossFit gyms use equipment from multiple disciplines, including barbells, dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, jump ropes, kettlebells, medicine balls, plyo boxes, resistance bands, rowing machines, and various mats. CrossFit is focused on "constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement," drawing on categories and exercises such as calisthenics, Olympic-style weightlifting, powerlifting, Strongman-type events, plyometrics, body weight exercises, indoor rowing, aerobic exercise, running, and swimming.