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Behold! The exotic super berry from the dripping bowels of the Amazonian Rain Jungle! Açaí. Has even more antioxidants than blueberries. So, oh! Let's all race out and buy a couple of gallons worth, at ten bucks a gram. Cuz it has all them antioxidants and such.

How many people don't even bother with the easy stuff, yet get all tingly over the idea of the exotic? Yes, açaí has ... have? ... more antioxidants than blueberries. Which is fascinating, but not all that useful, if you don't even eat blueberries. The point is about being practical. True, you can bankrupt yourself on Baikal caviar, but why not eat fisheggs? If you're into that sort of thing. They taste the same, and do the same job. That's our theory anyway, and for purposes of this example, it is correct.

Consider that populations that eat a certain type of potato have less of a certain type of cancer. Not of all cancers -- just a certain type. This tells us that at least some cancers are a deficiency disease. Like scurvy.  Like, um, beriberi. The obvious lesson is that we want to include as wide a variety of nutrients in our diet as is reasonable. Give your body what it needs to heal itself and to keep itself healthy.

No medicine, no drug ever cured a disease. Diseases do get cured, but it isn't toxic chemicals that do it. Well, maybe they kill tapeworms -- but that's more a condition than a disease. What drugs do is suppress aggravating factors, so that your body can heal itself. It only takes a bit of thought to see the truth in this. Drugs can only stimulate your own body to do a job, or attack something that's causing a problem. Neither stimulation nor suppression is a cure. The really good doctors know this. It makes them humble. The foolish doctors are all about symptoms.

So, yes, add a spoonful of açaí berries to your diet. Why not? But don't imagine that it will make even a noticeable difference. What will make a noticeable difference is having a wide spectrum of nutrients in your bloodstream. Some your body will need, some not -- but it will have the choice. Maybe you're not susceptible to such and such a cancer. But since you don't have your genome memorized, it's better to graze than to binge -- roam the wide savanna, don't hunch over the carcass and glut yourself on zebra guts. Because your body does have its genome memorized -- it knows what it needs, even if you don't.

Eating complex meals, in which there are many nutrients, does have its risks. The enteric system -- the whole digestive system -- has as many neurons, as many "brain" cells as the brain does. The obvious conclusion is that digestion is a fantastically complex process. The greater the variety of foods you eat in a single meal, the more complex the process of digestion will be. It's not just a blender, your gut, where everything is dumped into an acid bath and dissolved into a featureless paste. Carbs aren't even digested in the stomach. Meat. Proteins. Not carbs. Carbs get digested farther along. The thirty feet of small intestines coiled up in our midsections aren't just a long hose to the restroom. Specific nutrients get absorbed at only certain spots along the way. It's very complex. So sometimes it makes sense to give your body a break, and eat simply.

Some folks have smart bodies -- very few health or digestive problems. Some people have, well, they have not-smart bodies. Through years of abuse, their digestive system has become befuddled and confused, and just can't do a lot of complex thinking anymore. It's like calculus. If you know it, and are thinking straight, you can solve the problem. If you never learned it, or have become stultified over the years through sloth and auto-intoxication, then forget about it. There's a brain in your gut. It has an IQ. You can make it backwards. If you do, it will take its unsubtle revenge.

Antioxidants are like Stonehenge. One sarsen stone may be much taller and more impressive than all the others. But it's not Stonehenge unless it describes a circle. Açaí may indeed be the tallest pillar. But you can't live on a pillar. Built a wall. Build four of them, and add a roof. Some specific species of berry provides a rich supply of beneficent plant chemicals, although along a narrow band of the vast spectrum of nutrients. That's so wonderful, but how about you flood yourself in brilliant light? How about you ensconce yourself in the noble bastion of mighty security, so that when the chill hand of the boreal wind comes clutching after your throat, you'll have some shield to fend off the blah blapity blah. Shall we say it in blank verse? Have Frank Miller illustrate it?

The upshot is, get started. Go ahead and continue eating not-so-good things. But eat something that will help you live, too. Same thing with exercise. Do a little. Do that gym stuff that does a little something, but doesn't quite get the results that the muscleman mags promise. Because something is better than nothing, and mostly it's not actually bad for you. Well, some of the machines are bad for you, but only if you do them too much, however much that is for you -- just enough to do some damage, eh?

But if you're interested in doing more, in seeing really impressive results pretty fast, look for it. That's what effectiveness is about. Not magic, not quick fixes -- sound principles of how the body works -- a soul living in a body, not looking for a way out ... looking to prolong the experience, vigorously.

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank


It's sad, when we look at each other with harsh, with impersonal eyes. We see the fat, rather than hear the music.

It only takes a little imagination, some generosity, and we smile not with arrogance, but in celebration of our shared humanity, with its frailty and tenderness.

What does any of this have to do with health and fitness, our focus? Well, there is a fitness and a health that isn't just physical. Of course we all know that, for all that reminders come in handy. It's just about appearance, though. It's so very important. You know it's true. That's why they sell magnifying mirrors. Yikes.

Nowadays we can banish our baldness with plugs and suck out the fat from our thighs and transplant it into our cheeks and tie off our stomachs and change the shape of our noses and the color of our eyes. Brave new world. What we cannot do is become more fit by taking pills or having operations. These can change us, but not in quite the same way that nature or its maker intended. To achieve the level of fitness, of physical health that makes living in a body a joy and a temptation to arrogance, we have to do, DO things differently. That's not the same thing as having someone else do something to us -- inject botox or apply spraytan. Aside from misfortune, the formula is simple: health is earned.

What do we have control over, if not our bodies? All those muffins and sodas, somehow finding their way into our hands and thence to our mouths. What insidious force motivates them? It's inexplicable. Surely we ourselves cannot be held accountable. Other than in our mere health, that is. And health hardly matters at all. We will live forever, after all, in eventual paradise or perdition, or we will be extinguished like smokeless flames -- take your pick, and live accordingly.

As for this other sort of health, emotional or spiritual, there's that venerable adage: Act as if you have faith, and it will be given to you. We live in bodies for a reason. It shapes the reality that our emotions feel. That's power. Change your behavior and you change your perceptions.

Physical redemption is about changing behavior. Effective exercise patterns, sensible dietary practices, and attention to an overall balanced lifestyle. Yes, we just love to look great naked. How gratifying. But when they bring out the magnifying mirror, none of us gets a pass. What we don't want to be is a magnifying mirror for the people around us. We take people as they come, and maybe try to make a bit of a difference. There should be no maybe about it. It's a mission.

It's like what Marley's ghost said to Scrooge: humanity is our business. Not just a no-man-is-an-island thing --  something to do with being human.  Something to do with mens sana in corpore sano.   It can't be all that complex.  Everyone after all knows how to be human.  It's just a matter of choices.

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank


It's not an entirely rational process. It's not really about information -- if we just hear that one fact, it will make the difference. Motivation, as the very sound of the word suggests, is about emotion. We do what we feel like doing. Most folks feel like eating and sitting. So why should we get in shape? What should we do? -- and how? How do we transform that potential energy into kinetic energy? How do we get moving?

Fitness is an investment, of time and effort and the cost of expertise. All of that sounds like even more reason to do nothing. And the very real, measurable, tangible benefit of increased health and attractiveness and energy and functioning -- honestly, such things can seem just too far away, too hard to get. So many reasons to stay the way we are.

There is a way to get started, though, on the things that need starting. A little phrase, a verbal formula that gets things into perspective. Do it now. Right now, while it's on your mind. Most likely, if you even ask the question, should I do it now, you've already figured out that you can do it now. So do it. In the present context, about getting fit, that first step is, well, it would be to drop us an email. Because you can't get fit right now. It takes time. But you can start the process. And it will come as no news flash, that starting comes before finishing. Get started.

It's not about the whole job, the vast and great goal of the thing, with all its effort and commitment. It's about one small task at a time. That thousand miles, single step thing. Step One isn't thinking about how hard it will be to lose those extra pounds or strengthen that weak lower back or get the knees to where they should be or doing what it takes to increase your energy. Step one is taking a single, simple first step. And we just looked at that. If you need help, ask for help.

Motivation? You have all the motivation in the world. A huge host of reasons to be healthy, and no reasons at all to neglect the things that should be done. Excuses, yes. Reasons, no. That's it then. Do it now.

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank
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