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Economics According Two Cows

Versions of this have been around for 80 years. Why, that's even before the Internets! It can get a lot more complicated, but here are the essentials.

Feudalism: You have two cows. The lord takes some of the milk and all the cream.

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

Direct Democracy: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

Representative Democracy: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to decide who gets the milk.

Democracy, Democrat-style: You have two cows.  Your neighbor has none.  You feel guilty. You elect politicians who raise your taxes, which forces you to sell one cow. The cow is given to a homeless man. The cow has a calf out-of-wedlock; the calf drops out of school and runs away with buffaloes. You feel like a good person.

Democracy, Republican-style: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You move to a better neighborhood.

Singaporean Democracy: You have two cows. The government canes you for keeping unlicensed farm animals in an apartment.

Indian Democracy: You have two cows. You worship them.

Theoretical Socialism: You have two cows. The government makes you share them with your neighbors.

Actual Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor, a chicken farmer. You have to take care of chickens. The government gives you as much milk and as many eggs as its regulations say a vegetarian should need. You are not vegetarian.

South American Socialism: You have two cows. The government won’t license them. After taking bribes, it regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows. Then it burns your village and you are drafted.

Totalitarianism: You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned. You are tortured.

Soviet Communism: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk. You stand in line all day, in the rain, for sour milk. Your neighbor denounces you for complaining and you are sent to a gulag. You write a brilliant novel about those 30 years. It is banned.

Chinese Communism: You have two cows. The government takes them, sells them to WalMart, buys US Treasury bonds, builds up its blue water navy and takes over the world.

Italian Fascism: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

German Fascism: You have two cows. The government shoots your neighbor and takes his cows.

Anarchy: You have two cows. Your neighbor shoots you and takes the cows.

Khmer Rouge Communism: You have two cows. The Government shoots you and the cows and your neighbors.

PC Multiculturalism: You are associated with (the concept of "ownership" is a symbol of the phallocentric, militaristic, intolerant past) two differently-abled (but no less valuable to the community) bovines of non-specified but similar gender. The government regulates you from exploiting them. The bovines get married as required by the Constitution and adopt a veal calf.

Obamaism: You have two cows. You are taxed for being a millionaire or billionaire.  The cows are given mandatory healthcare. Sea-level is carefully monitored. You lose your job.

Counterculturalism: Wow, dude, there’s like . . . these two cows, man. You have got to have some of this milk.

Surrealism: You have three giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

CrossFitism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull, resulting in the birth of a calf. You carry the calf everyday until it is a bull. You are the strongest human being alive. Milk? Milk is not Paleo. Government? You take care of yourself -- it's called "fitness," baby.

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank

Getting Fit

It's not AEROBICS: low-grade arm-flapping and slow slog-jogging. If you train, the purpose should be to go faster, longer, stronger -- not plodding, for however long. Get there fast, able to carry more than just body fat. Sometimes life requires that you carry objects, while you’re running away ... you know, like a baby.

It's not BODYBUILDING: bigger but not meaningfully stronger or more functional -- sort of puffy. If you train weights, you should be more powerful, harder and leaner for men, more shapely and toned for women. Thor, and the 300 -- not Arnold and Sylvester; Linda Hamilton, not Mae West.

Male or female, being a HERO requires more than just wanting it, more than having a heroic character. It means actually being able to do heroic things. If you run into a burning building to rescue an imperiled puppy, you’ve got to be able to actually save it. Otherwise you’re a heroic victim. Nice try. Bad outcome. We’ll send flowers. But all you would have had to do to succeed, was to prepare. Train.

So, going slow for a long time, or being bloated with sodden muscle tissue, well, there is a better way.  We do constantly varied, functional movements at high intensity.  We train to be good at the broadest spectrum of physical skills, using real-world, multi-joint movements. Not isolated -- integrated. We treat the body not like a bag full of hinges, eek eek eek, but like a spring -- every part is involved in getting the job done. You know, functional. Athletic.

Intensity is why some folks just don’t want to do CrossFit. It’s not as easy as sitting on a bench pumping those guns. Intensity requires some unpleasantness. It’s worth it, because intensity is the reason exercise gets results. Has to do with hormones. Look into it.  

Or not. But maybe yes? Because quality matters, and time runs out.

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank

More on the Bottom Line

The metabolism of fat people seems to run as fast or faster than that of lean people. This observation is repeatedly confirmed. So much for the "slow metabolism" theory. They burn faster. Seems hard to believe. Afer all, fat insulates. They need to make less, not more body heat. But the energy they're burning need not be for heat. Maybe it's just expended in moving all those extra pounds around. Even so, it's counterintuitive. Why can't it just be simple.

If on average they expend more energy, they must eat more. But they don't. So let's see: they eat about the same, they expend more energy, and they save more energy as fat? A conundrum. A thermodynamic paradox. But we've already looked at the idea that it's not a closed system. There's leakage. There's seepage as well. More energy is getting into the system than we think.

The answer is to be found in feces! Perhaps. Gram for gram, could the stool of a fat person burn cooler than that of a lean person? It's not that the obese are eating more. It's that they're absorbing more. The lean are wasting calories, by not getting them into the bloodsteam to begin with. If calories remain in the digestive tract only, then they would show up in the self-same crucible that determines the caloric value of food. It's just a hypothesis.

We know that not all calories need be absorbed, because there can be sugar in urine, and stool can be oily under certain diets -- of very much oil. That oil would burn bright in the camp fire. An unpleasant subject? We are adults, here. How much protein is to be found, in feces? How many carbs? How much fat? And comparatively, between the obese and lean? Or is digestion generally an entirely efficient process? We would hope so, but is it?

The presumption is that if a lean or a fat man eats, say 2500 calories a day, that's what will end up in their bloodstream. But there must be seepage. More is seeping in, for the obese. Must be, because they eat the same, expend more, and save more. Or, from a different perspective, the lean leak more. They absorb the same, but waste it as fidgeting or body heat or libido or thinking. Either way, the lean seem to be less efficient. Somehow that doesn't seem like a bad thing, given the alternative. But if there were a way to harness this supposed waste, toward athletic excellence -- wouldn't that be swell.

Heat, again. We measure basal metabolism by measuring how much oxygen is used. That tells us combustion, which tells us about calories. What it does not tell us about is how the energy was actually exploited. If there are the same amount of calories in the bloodstream -- excluding the confounding factor of digestive absorption -- and if the same oxidation rates are found in the fat and the lean, showing equal energy usage, then it's a matter of how that energy is wasted, and more importantly, how it is used. It shouldn't be heat, calories, that we measure. There should be a unit of measurement for vitality.

As has been noted, the gut is a brain -- there are as many neurons associated with digestion as there are with the cranium. Further, there is only one nerve connecting the two -- the vagus nerve, the severing of which seems not to interfere with digestion. Hm. LLut us then propose, informally -- and don't let this get back to our professional colleagues in the, uh, Digestive Sciences and Extraordinary Fitness Department at Übermensch U -- that the gut itself has a homeostatic mechanism, whereby overall bodyfat is regulated. The gut knows where the gauge is set, and maintains that level by digesting and absorbing, or passing through calories, undigested.

Guessing and speculation is one thing. Effectiveness is something else. What matters is what works. You lose excess bodyfat by cutting way down on the industrial carbs -- low nutrient, high calorie starches. Just say no. You gain muscle mass, strength and beauty, by exercising effectively.

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank

Hot Calories, Cool Calories

Vegetarians burn hotter than meat-eaters, per The China Study. These skinny Chinese daily eat over 3000 calories and are, well, skinny. Where does it go? Body heat.

That is a bother. Heat is bad. You know that because heat is bad for your car engine. How could it be good for us? It is certainly bad for athletic performance. So is a veg diet bad for exercise? Yes. A grain diet, high carb even unrefined, is not ideal. This seems clear on theoretical grounds.

In terms of performance, reliable anecdotal evidence indicates that endurance seems a bit less on the raw-vegan-no-oils-or-supplements diet. Never argue with reality. It's not unexpected. First, such a diet is too theoretical -- too pure and idealistic. That's not how reality seems to work. Reality is about reality.

Just as different types of fuel combust differently in an engine, producing more or less heat, more or less power -- that's how it is with carbs and fats. When you have almost only carbs, glucose, to burn, it burns instantly, too much heat for the power. Fat burns cooler, more controlled, with more energy available for movement, if there is movement. We know this is so because fat generates almost no heat in its digestion -- whereas carbs and protein make a lot more thermogenesis. If fat is not utilized, it just circulates, or it gets stored as, uh, fat -- as will glucose too, if it's not used. Glucose doesn't store. If it's not burned it gets changed into glycogen or triglycerides. Think of glucose as flash and fat as glow -- one all intense and mistimed, too much expended all at once, and the other steady, cool, reliable.

Glucose is designed to be brain and organ food. It shouldn't be the primary energy source for muscles. So, that it is less efficient in muscles makes sense. Athleticism is about efficiency. Athletes are better at using fat as energy than are non-athletes. Metabolism is trained too, you see. Fat is designed to be muscle food. If you do extraordinary feats, you need an extraordinary diet. Carbs may be great for treks across the Kalahari, or working all day in the fields, but that's not athletics.

Well, that's the whole point of it. Athletics is about physical excellence. It's more than an appearance, although it has an appearance. Train for excellence -- by way of diet and exercise.

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank
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