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Dig this! Aerobics is groovy, man. It's far out. The happenin' 70s thing, for the dude on the go! So boss! Right on! Dy-no-mite! Red rocket man! Totally out of sight! Shazbot! Kiss my grits! Let it all hang out! Jive turkey! Sit on it! Plop plop fizz fizz. I can't believe I ate the whole thing! Keep on truckin! Disco lives!

Aerobics. It's not what it used to be.

Not a bad thing, aerobics. It's just not the only thing. Not even the main thing. Unless you live in the Kalahari, in which case covering long slow distances -- LSD -- is a requirement for survival. But you don't, and it's not.

For most people, aerobics workouts plateau after about 8 weeks. After that, it's just burned calories, but at a reduced rate, because the body has become efficient at that narrow activity. Being efficient is a good thing, if the thing is an adaptive trait. Flying south for the winter, say. But that's not why people do aerobics. So do your 8 weeks, then do an occasional maintenance workout for that skill. It is, after all, a skill -- and it would be a shame to lose a skill. But otherwise it's just sucking up your time. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. If aerobics is your thing. Dude.

Aerobics makes you slower. ... Aerobic make you slower? ... What. Everrrrr. Muscle cells adapt to the activity they are most required to do. Spending a lot of time in low-grade calorie burning makes fast-twitch fibers (required for power and strength) function as slow twitch fibers (weak endurance). The expression of your genetics changes. One myosin protein type within the cell is selected over another. Regarding athletics, most people would rather be fast and strong, than slow. You get good at what you practice. Practice being slow, and you will be.

Aerobics generates a higher volume of free-radicals, than more strength-focused workouts. Free radicals are aging. Highly aging. The longer you run, per workout or habitually, the greater the flood of oxidative pollution in your system. This depletes your supply of antioxidants. Bad all the way around. Always at your back you hear Time's winged chariot racing near. You can run, but you can't hide. Damage equals age.

Aerobics stresses the, uh, stress hormones. Testosterone goes down, cortisol goes up. Bad combination. Testosterone adds muscle. Cortisol dissolves it. It's a bad thing. Your body doesn't know you're working out. It thinks you're fleeing a wildfire. There's a difference between controlled exercise stress, of pressure alternating with rest, and prolonged flight. The result can be adrenal fatigue, symptoms of which are: fat retention, allergies, arthritis, flus, fearfulness and anxiety, depression, lack of focus, forgetfulness, insomnia, tiredness and fatigue. This stress, added to workaday stress, is a formula for fat retention. Counterproductive, it can be.

Sprinters have less fat than marathoners. Go figure. On the other hand, it makes sense. Fat is the fuel marathoners use. Not so, with sprinters, for whom fat is unwanted ballast. Intensity burns fat. Intensity is high heartrate, not miles plowed. Jogging for an hour will burn more calories than running 10 sprints of 20 seconds -- but over the next two days, the sprinter will burn more calories. Go figure. It's the ramped up metabolism. In a 1997 study (by I. Tabata et al.), joggers improved aerobic capacity by 10%, with zero% anaerobic gains. Sprinters improved aerobic capacity by 14%, and anaerobic by 28%. Hmm. Intensity burns fat.

Jog? Sure, why not. Generally, not more than 45 minutes at a time. More than that may raise cortisol output to detrimental levels. Cortisol, a stress hormone, breaks down muscle protein for its glucose. Your body figures it's more important to escape the danger, than to keep muscle that isn't helping you run away. A live to fight another day sort of strategy. Very sensible, if you're fleeing tigers. You, alas, are trying to flee your fat behind. The wrong thing is being shrunk. And you did just see the numbers. Intense intervals increase aerobic capacity 4% more than does jogging. Less time, greater benefit.

Still, something is better than nothing. Jogging is generally better than sitting, only. And if you won't do the better thing, at least to a thing that's better than nothing. A workable compromise, eh? Sort of like the way we manage to live in the world. Perfection is not required -- just effort.

Don't waste your time.

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank

The Age of Aquarius

The fish have been in the news lately. And the amphibians and the reptiles. How they’re changing their sex all the time. That's so ... alternative. The Potomac is full of such transgendered vertebrates. How daring.

Transmutations of this sort are natural in certain species, as with a type of fish in which the largest female of a group where there is no male will simply become male. Certain lizards can manage the same feat. How interesting. But the Potomac fish are a different kettle of, um, fish. The females are normal. Eighty percent of the smallmouth bass males, however, produce eggs instead of sperm.

At this same time, there is a sharp rise in reported cases on college campuses all along the Potomac of impotence and a lack of sexual interest by males. The Potomac is full of feminizing chemical endocrinal disruptors.

The soft female-like boys of this latest generation, however, cluster not only along the Potomac. We find them everywhere. Throughout the continental USA, in England, in Greenland, in Japan. All over. As for our human females, many of them are enjoying an early puberty, starting around age eight.

Well? Male alligators in Florida are turning up with shriveled testicles and high female-hormone counts. The phenomenon has been linked to phthalates, which are used in clear plastic drinking bottles -- water, Coke, Pepsi and so on. The specific actor is polyethylene terephthalate, PET. When the bottle gets a bit heated, as in a hot car, and the liquid has a plastic taste, that’s PET. All those plastic bottles from Disney World end up in the watershed and affect the alligators. PETs act like female hormones. Girls testing as having high PET levels tend to enter puberty early. Six times higher levels means eight-year-olds with developed breasts.

Elementary school teachers notice the phenomenon. Little boys, and a handful of ten year old girls with fully developed breasts. In olden days the boys were behind the girls by months, rather than years. By thirteen the girls where through puberty and the boys were entering. Now the lag time is three or four years. It’s not just PETs. It’s a lot of chemicals. Endosulfan, for example -- a major commercial pesticide -- was shown in 2003 to disrupt the onset of puberty in boys, by blocking the effects of testosterone and other androgens.

The actions of these industrial chemicals are overwhelmingly feminizing, hastening puberty in girls, delaying and distorting masculine development in boys. Seems like a problem. The plastic in baby bottles, for example, has been shown actually to damage male neonate animal brains, specifically in memory and motivation functions focused in the nucleus accumbens. The same damage does not occur in females. The males demonstrate less curiosity about their environments, and their activity profile strongly resembles that of control females. Strangely, females exposed to the same plastic demonstrate heightened activity, environmental curiosity, and learning ability. Again, the only relevant variable here is the plastic.

Increased ADHD in boys. Decreased testosterone and semen levels than in previous generations, lower sperm count, and endemic infertility. Genital malformations are up by three times; pregnant mothers who drink phthalates are ten times more likely to have boys with undescended testicles, or subaverage penis-size, or hypospadias (misplaced urethra terminus).

From these specifics we might derive any number of insights, environmental, political, sociological, ethnographic. We won’t bother to flesh it out. We could talk about planting the seeds of our own destruction, for all that there are fewer and fewer seeds. Why bother. Everyone talks about history, but nobody does anything about it. Is there a solution? Well, first, is there a problem? Maybe it’s a good thing? We become extinct and save the planet from our pollution and global warming? We remove our unclean presence and leave the world to the purity of the encroaching desert? What after all has freedom and free will given us? Melting icecaps and mutant fish. Yin yields to yang.

On the other hand, we might choose not to use clear plastics to drink from. We might wash our vegetables (alas, animal flesh stores such chemicals at an even higher density). It starts with being aware of the problem. After that one can choose to care, or not. If biologically generated motivation from out of a healthy nucleus accumbens is insufficient to make us care, perhaps ethics and a commitment to some intellectual ideal might do it. How are we to know what will move us to responsible action? Sociological movements are not planned.

But that’s why we should eat healthfully. Health matters for so many reasons.

Does the title here, "The Age of Aquarius," seem impenetrable to you? We did not know what the New Age would bring. The triumph of hippie values is brought about by the very thing they rebelled against. Corporate chemicals -- as opposed to hallucinogenic ones. Their feminine-leaning ethos triumphs against its masculine counterpart at the cost of infertility. The New Age is bringing not love, love, love, but sterility, deformity and extinction. What is the point of saving the planet, if we fail to save the human baby boys?

Grand theories about saving the planet are all very fine and good. How laudable it is, to be so ethereally idealistic. Yes, smoking should be banned. Just like alcohol should be banned. Oh. Wait. Um, well, let's rethink this. Smoking should be banned in our own lives. We ourselves should take responsibility for us ourselves. Before we take responsibility for anyone else, we should take responsibility for ourselves. Yes, that sounds more sensible.

We'll start with our own bodies, our own health, the composition of our own flesh, its ratio of muscle to fat. That way we won't be metaphysical theoreticians, like Marxists making predictions about how capitalism will fade away into a worker's paradise -- we'll have some credibility. Our own house will be in order. We'll start by having a sensible diet, engaging in sensible exercise, excluding the obvious poisons from our lives, and as they become apparent, the more subtle ones. That way we won't be loudmouth hypocrites or soapbox saviors. We'll be effective realists, admirable examples who make a difference by the excellence of our own lives.

Preachy? Yes. Not soapbox though. Realistic. It's about personal excellence. Everything else is theories about politics. How boring.

Be excellent.




Yeah, it's a McGuffey Reader slash Book of Virtues sort of word. Responsibility. How outré. We do what we want, when we want, and consequences be hanged. Oh. Well, not we. We're not quite that cool. But we do what we want, sort of, when we want, if it's convenient, and although we do indeed care about the consequences, it's not enough to change our behavior. Oh. Well, again, that's not really us either. Actually we are sort of responsible.

Just not in terms of the full measure of our health. Sensible exercise, sensible diet. It's the absolute foundation of health. We can't change our genes, but we can change what we do with them. So, yes, responsibility.

Folks get busy, and tired, and have all sorts of excuses for not maintaining themselves. Over the age of 30, Americans gain an average of one pound of fat each year. That works out to about 10 extra calories a day. A dab of butter the size of your pinkie nail. So something is definitely wrong here. It isn't about calories, for all that you hear otherwise. It's about fitness.

Fitness is a self-selecting process, as is an adherence to any virtue. Some folks are, alas, as seed that falls on the hard ground or among the thorns or where the birds can devour them. Alas. But that's not you. Because you're reading this, it's clear you have the interest, and no doubt an awareness of the need for safety and effectiveness, and motivation. Not nagging, not cajoling. Encouragement and education and information.

FitWorks, as the name implies, is about FitNess. We counsel on diet and nutrition, and we prescribe and supervise workouts. Not everyone sticks with it. Of course not. It requires dedication and effort, and that's not everyone's cuppa. They prefer soda pop? But that's not you. You know that personal excellence is a -- well, it's a responsibility.

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank
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