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Metro Pulse speaks CrossFit

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Metro Pulse speaks CrossFit

I hope this wasn't OUR gym...


MetCon – 8 RNFT:
200m Farmers Carry (heavy)
20sec ring L-sit

Finisher: 3×10 Banded Good Mornings and 3x30sec plank hold in all 3 positions

I had a post queued up about creating tension in your pulling setup position, but I am calling an audible and linking you to a topical piece written about CrossFit in the Metro Pulse.  A sweet lady from CF Knoxville made a short comment, and I followed hers with some thoughts that you all regularly see on our blog.  What follows is a very scatter-brained attempt at expanding on my comment and some of my general thoughts about the article, CF, Paleo, and minimalist running.  I suggest clicking through to the links I’ve given you as it truly betters my piece.  If it is “tl; dr,” scroll down to the bold section.

I want to start off with saying that the article gets a lot right.  I think there is something broken with mass consumption CrossFit and the Paleo Diet.  I was just telling Miss J about overhearing two guys discuss the Paleo diet in the chair next to me while getting my haircut.  Their idea of the PD was eating all the vegetables and fruit raw and minimally cooking their meats.  It was a great reminder that 99% of the population still does not have a clue about the vast majority of the things we preach at Ktown.  We are constantly immersed in an environment where people care somewhat about their health (seeing as how they are paying good money to come work out), so it is easy to forget that Knoxville, as a whole, is still one of the unhealthiest communities in Tennessee – and Tennessee one of the unhealthiest states in the nation.

On the CrossFit front, I did not see a whole lot the writer took issue with.  I actually do not even know if he was pro or anti CrossFit – or indifferent altogether.  He mentions the rhabdomyolysis bit, which is a very serious concern, but its instances are far lower than a hurt back or injured shoulder – far greater causes for concern in my opinion.  Living life to the lees will inevitably lead to some type of injury whether minor or severe.  You cannot predict and make safe every endeavor.  But an exercise program should not be setting someone up for injury, ever.  I think the mass consumption CrossFit out there is very cavalier with this concern and not near enough attention is paid to it in the certifications or continuing education offerings.  Longevity needs to be a more important aspect of CrossFit.

On the Paleo front, it seems that the message the author received regarding “Paleo” got distorted because it was oversimplified.  This is a trap I have warned about in previous posts.  In his article, Everett, like the majority of other people when first exposed to this diet, likens Paleo to a high-protein, low-carb diet.  That is a great way to control insulin and, therefore, speed the leaning out process, but Paleo is absolutely not a high-protein, low-carb diet.  It should be about eating REAL FOOD and staying away from refined sugars and grains that have ZERO NUTRITIONAL BENEFIT.

Paleo diet is just a poor name, maybe?  I can understand the use of the name though, so why can’t others get past this possible misnomer.  Is it because it is glamorous to attack current science or current fad diets?  Probably.  Everett says, “The most convincing and detailed criticisms have come from scientists, who tend to roll their eyes at the suggestion that we should try to live like our Stone Age ancestors.”  I doubt there are any scientists that would “roll their eyes” at eating smartly sourced meat, fruits and vegetables, some nuts and seeds, and staying away from added sugar and processed foods.  But then again, if you are not rolling your eyes, you will probably not sell as many books or have as many reads on your website.  Heck, I would even accuse myself of this kind of thinking on occasion, but it is something I am trying to remedy.

Before we leave the realm of nutrition in this article, I want to address one final point.  The point is this: so many people are fed up with nutrition science because it is overtly tainted (read: corrupted) by the food industry, and because people are fed up with nutrition science they are growing less likely to listen to and endorse ideas coming from this “biomedical field.”

Everett quotes Michael Zemel in his article, a retired University of Tennessee nutrition scientist who now serves as chief scientific officer for the biotechnology company NuSirt Sciences.  Some of what Zemel says I agree with, like this quote: “We test hypotheses. We test ideas. Just because it sounds good doesn’t mean it is good.”  Correct, just because something sounds easy or good does not necessarily mean it will work or is healthy.  That is my problem with trying to fix health with supplements.  But show me where the nutrition sciences have tested a hypothesis of “eating real food improves health and all salient biomarkers” but found it to be wanting.  I do not think it exists.  And it does not exist because there is no money to be made from such a claim.  The incentives do not exist like they exist for some diet drug or supplement.

As for minimalist running, there needs to be responsibility.  Do I think people would be better off with minimalist shoes instead of orthotics treating the symptoms of crappy movement?  So far, yes.  Do I think people should switch in to minimalist shoes and continue running the same way they always have?  Absolutely not!  With great minimalist shoes comes great responsibility.  If you are willing to purchase such items, you must take on the charge of learning to do things differently.  That means standing differently, squatting differently, and running differently – and by differently I mean correctly.  Buying a minimalist shoe will not fix a single problem you currently have without you actually taking the time and effort in relearning human movement.  It sucks, but it is so worth it.

In short, I think that evolutionary reasoning is helpful in the diet and exercise realm.  What we espouse and actually do at Ktown is not an historical reenactment, though.  We have a framework.  We abide by that framework as best as we can.  And we have the right to modify that framework as we are presented with new data.  We would be silly not to evolve our methods and teachings.

Sorry it was long and all over the place, I didn’t have time to make it short and concise.

Coach G

P.S. – I think a good sum up of the way I have been feeling about this Paleo Diet phenomenon is with this article a member sent me by Dr. David L. Katz:

By | 2017-04-25T14:38:20+00:00 April 12th, 2013|CrossFit Ktown Knoxville, Uncategorized|6 Comments


  1. G8rDave April 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Seriously? How do we keep getting articles written by people who go to gyms where coaches say things like “You should feel like you’re crapping blood at the end of this WOD!” Sigh.

    Re Longevity: I agree 100% and have never been reticent with that opinion for anyone I talk to. G has often reminded me that I don’t get paid to workout, and to treat all injuries/impingements/etc with utmost respect. Oddly enough it was my Level 1 certification that made me LESS LIKELY to push for some extreme goal/PR if it demanded something that might shorten my ability to remain in this sport. I think my L1 demands that I have a professional attitude about CF with everyone I work with on it. I have to demonstrate that myself before I can tell it to others.

    G, Jessie, I love the “off the beaten path” vibe you guys have created at CFKT. You really have to come looking for us to find us. You do not mass-market our gym. I like that. But we do cede the battlespace to gyms like HTK when the media is looking for a story. So now there are thousands of other people we have to start the conversation about CF with “It’s not really like that, you know.”

  2. Marie April 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    A great post, Coach G. And I absolutely agree with G8rDave – there are good and bad crossfit gyms in Knoxville. Unfortunatelly.

  3. G8rDave April 12, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    BTW, I think the article G attached at the end of the post should be required reading for everyone, especially those of us who tend to strong opinions on matters. I heard Dr Katz speak at a conference I attended. He is one amazing dude. Note how many links to other articles/studies are in his post. Take your time and go through all of them. Worth it.

  4. Katie W April 12, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Seriously SO thankful to have started my crossfitting at KTown. Y’all are constantly looking at what’s rigt, not what the “trend” is these days. Still love reading the blog and learning new ways to think about working out, nutrition, how to be awesome, etc.

    In conclusion, I miss you guys.

  5. LWH April 14, 2013 at 12:04 am

    CrossFit Htk is my box that I have been a regular member of for over a year now. The community, support and camaraderie I’ve found in CrossfitHTK is unbelievable and unmatched by any giant gym I’ve gone to (and ultimately quit). Obviously, the quote “you should feel like you’re gonna crap blood” is not supposed to be taken literally. While, sure, it’s not the most delicately stated sentence I’ve ever read, all it means is that if you finish a WOD feeling like you’ve gone for a stroll in the park- it’s time to step it up and put a lot more effort into your workout. If someone is easily offended by sarcasm and bad jokes then, yeah, I could see how HTK wouldn’t be the box for them (Mark really tells a lot of bad jokes ), but with my uneasily offended sense of humor and a newly discovered sense of determination thanks to HTK, that place has made me feel better about myself and my increasing athletic abilities than I have felt in a long time. And all of this while making friends with some of the most supportive and encouraging people (of all ages, sizes, and athletic abilities) I’ve ever met.

  6. Ben April 15, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    All I can say is “Thank you Crossfit KTown!” What I appreciate the most is your undying commitment to health and fitness (mind, body & spirit). An while Crossfit may be the vessel in which you deliver your service it does not hold you back…or “box” you in.

    This is why Team Slocum has been with you for almost 4 years and this is why we will be with you for years to come. Thank you!

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