CrossFit- Commitment to Community and Health
Two weeks ago, a few folks from the Mission Ready team attended the CrossFit Festivus Games in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Each of us was thoroughly impressed with the work ethic and raw talent demonstrated by the athletes. Their supporters and the box owners also provided a unique spark to the energy at the Festivus events.
While I can’t speak for every team member’s complete experience, I’d like to share my observations from the event in a two-part series. This week, part one looks at two takeaways that made me realize the degree of commitment and sense of community amongst these athletes. Next week’s post will focus on Omega fatty acids and how athletes, and most people in general, know little about its importance to overall health.
Here are my first two observations from the CrossFit Festivus Games:
1– CrossFit is intense
I consider myself to be in decent shape for a guy in his mid-forties. I work out. I eat fairly well. I supplement my dietary requirements in areas where I don’t do so well, but I cannot perform many of the exercises the CrossFit athletes perform with ease. When I tried, I slowly completed the workout BUT COULDN’T LIFT MY FREAKIN’ ARMS AFTERWARDS. I guess I didn’t try to lift them higher than my driving position until much later, but after I’d made it home I couldn’t even lift my fork.
With that said, I admire you CrossFit athletes out there for sacrificing your ability to move limbs as a result of your commitment to wellness. Although, I wasn’t at first, I am now completely committed.
In case you’re headed to the gym or do your workouts at home and you want to find out for yourself, here is what I did:
Part 1 of the WOD (workout of the day) was called “Cindy.” It is 20 minutes of AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of 5 pull-ups, 10 pushups, 15 squats. If that wasn’t enough, Part 2 was 10 minutes of Box Jumps and something they call “Burpees.”
You think you can meet the challenge?
2– CrossFit is community
When I first arrived at the Festivus Games in upstate New York, I had no idea what to expect beyond a couple of people with muscle and a few athletes with hustle. I did not expect to see an extended family of athletes, their supporters and box owners building camaraderie around living well, eating clean and doing what’s best for the individual. I heard so many athletes sharing health, nutrition, and exercise tips. Even if they were competing against one another, the majority of the CrossFit athletes wanted to help each other be better.
In the afternoon, a man walked up to my table and picked up a bottle of Sleep Ready and clenched it tightly in his hand. He looked me in the eye and said, “Will this help me get to sleep?”
Of course I could not say yes definitively because I didn’t know why he couldn’t sleep. I simply felt fortunate to have the opportunity to sit down with the guy and talk about his sleep, a sore subject for him because he had not slept well in 20 years. Since he had been experiencing sleep problems for so long, he was emotionally exhausted by the search, high and low, for sleep solutions out of desperation. So I wanted to give him sound advice.
After pressing him with the hard questions about his self-reported activities and his symptoms, I think I got a sense of his sleep problems. I shared some sleep tips with him that I think will help everyone. I’ve embedded my favorite seven below as I have posted them on our Sleep Ready website, so that any member of the Mission Ready community can view them whenever she needs reminders on what might help her get some sleep.
*The athlete I spoke with eventually sent me a product review directly and he thanked the Mission Ready team for helping him to get a good night’s rest, not a prescription-drug induced zombie nap, for the first time in a very long time.
Stay tuned for next week’s observations from the CrossFit Festivus Games.
Does Quality Sleep Equal Success?
We all want to do well – on the job, with our families, in our community. Quality sleep is an important part of this, without it we simply can’t do our best. Today I’d like to talk about how sleep impacts our performance, everything from emotional intelligence to mental acuity to physical ability. Let’s walk through a typical work day, and see how sleep impacts your success.
You arrive to your job, and immediately see your manager. With that first glance you each get information about the other that’s going to shape your day. If you are sleep deprived, you are less able to read the emotions in your manager’s face. Without accurately reading his emotions you may say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Your manager is also getting information. If you are sleep deprived, he is going to assess you as less healthy, more tired, and less attractive than when you are well rested.
Now it’s time to sit at your computer and get a little work done before going out into the field. With a good night’s rest you are able to concentrate on the project, and notice a detail that’s not right. Since you are well rested you are able to think outside of the box, and do some creative problem solving that you wouldn’t be able to do without adequate rest. A good night sleep improves our ability to concentrate, pay attention, and do complex problem solving.
With the computer work done, it’s time to head out to the project site. Driving down the road, you remember the last trip when you were so sleepy that you swerved off the road, almost having an accident. About 37% of drivers say they have fallen asleep at the wheel in the last year. Just 2 hours of sleep deprivation has the same negative effect on driving as 2-3 beers. Many people have to drive as part of their job, so sleep deprivation can be a major safety risk for them. Poor sleep impairs our coordination, reaction time, and agility.
For me, this is a good example of the age-old “quality vs. quantity” dilemma. Would you like to have more hours awake when you can’t concentrate, feel mentally slow, and are in danger of drowsy driving? Or would you rather be awake fewer hours when you are mentally sharp, energetic, and at the top of your game?
I’m solidly in the camp of quality days, rather than more hours awake. If you’re on the fence, and still not convinced of the impact getting healthy sleep will have on your day, do a little experiment. Remember a time when you were really well-rested and doing your best on the job. How much sleep were you getting then? Now, for the next 10 days, get all the healthy sleep you need. The last three days, really pay attention to how you’re doing on the job and with family. You’ll find that optimal sleep really does make for optimal performance.
Reaching High Performance Through Nutrition
By Lori Tubbs
The best way I can describe nutritional high performance is the ability to perform specific physical skill sets optimally without chronic fatigue and/or lower performance measures. An example would be a runner adding miles to a weekly training schedule. Eating the right nutrients and calories in a timely manner to recover efficiently indicates a level of performance that can be challenged with intensity and/or duration increases without overall fatigue.
Consuming the proper nutrients in a variety of foods is an important aspect of high performance eating. There are six nutrients we need everyday. Fluids, and particularly water, are vital to optimal health performance and considered the most important. Hydration is a huge factor in maintaining high performance. Active muscles that are dry instead of wet are a sure sign of potential poor performance. Think about a sponge. When we buy dry sponges and add water to them notice how they expand significantly. Hydrated muscles are those wet sponges that indicate healthy cells able to functionally work optimally.
Did you know that a lot of people think that they’re hungry, when in fact they’re really thirsty and it is water that they need? In 2004, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies set general recommendations for water intake. Adequate fluid intake levels indicate that approximately 2.7 liters (91 oz) for women and 3.7 liters (125 oz) for men is recommended for healthy adults. These numbers represent total water from all beverages and foods. Those physically active and who live in hot and humid climates may need more water. About 80% of people’s total water comes from drinking beverages and the other 20% is food derived. Before eating the next large meal because of hunger, assess how much fluid in beverages and foods (fruits and vegetables) have been consumed in the hours beforehand. There may be the that drinking a glass of water will curb that appetite.
The other nutrients include vitamins and minerals, which are the catalysts to the other three macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
When you combine all six of these nutrients in the proper amounts, you have an optimal daily meal plan. Meal planning should always include all three macronutrients. Including a little protein, carbohydrate and fat satisfies hunger while providing vitamins and minerals. Keeping calories under control by emphasizing nutrient dense foods in the meal plan will ensure control of unnecessary body weight and body fat. Nutrient-dense eating is a way to consume food for the purpose of optimal health. The more highly nutrient-dense a food is, the more nutrients it provides per calorie. Vegetables and fruits have the highest nutrient scores followed by grains, dairy and protein. Examples of low nutrient density foods include candy, cookies and chips, usually high in saturated fats and sugars. If you are focused on eating nutrient dense foods, you’re likely getting the vitamins and minerals that you need.
A good general reference to help guide you in developing good dietary habits and meal plans is the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. If dietary supplements are in question for better performance, it is recommended to see a Registered Dietitian (RD) first. RD’s can assess your nutritional needs and daily expenditures. They can help you get your diet in check with the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fat. We can usually fix the problem when it comes to an optimal diet. The first course of action is always looking at the meal plan and then supplementation.
With the right effort, you will find both mental and physical rewards in performance. When you add in proper sleep and restoration, you can achieve the high performance you’re looking for daily or any athletic event planned for. In a perfect world, proper eating, physical training and getting the right amount of sleep leads to performing optimally every day.
My next post will be focused on promoting good health and reducing the risk for major chronic diseases through nutrition and physical activity. Until then, here are a few great resources, if you’re thinking about supplementation as a part of your nutrition program:
USP.org – The United States Pharmacopeia is a third party non-profit organization, which uses a validation process for basic testing of vitamins to prevent contamination and to make sure products are developed purely and labels are correct.
NSF.org – The NSF is a public health and safety company that protects consumers by certifying products and for writing standards for food, water and consumer goods. Their health commitment is to encourage consumers to live safer.
The importance of sleep and rest
by Dr. Kevin Pett
Hi, Dr. K here, talking about how your health is largely a product of your environment. By environment I am referring to factors such as diet / nutrition, relationships, exercise, seasonal effects, stress, and sleep / rest, to name a few of the critical factors that determine your overall health. As the saying goes “you are what you eat” couldn’t be a more accurate description of the cause and effect relationship of quality or poor quality food consumption and the resultant effect on your body’s health.
Another key factor in determining one’s health is the importance of quality sleep and rest. Our sleep-awake cycle is governed by the rising and setting of the sun. This process has been going on for about 4.5 billion years and it has directed the development of life on the earth and sleep / rest cycles for many life forms. The rising and setting of the sun has a major impact on human beings. In Chinese Medicine, matching sleep / awake cycles with the sun’s apparent sleep / awake cycles is paramount in achieving good health and balance, and this relationship also helped found some of the basic principles of Yin (night) and Yang (day).
For example, if you continually stay up very late on a nightly basis, it is only a matter time before this will begin to affect your health (i.e., your energetics) and it won’t be long before your body will start to manifest undesirable health symptoms. Of course, there are many who work the night shift; so sleeping the typical night-into-morning isn’t exactly possible.
Regardless, it is important to get to bed at a good hour and allow your body to replenish itself with quality sleep and rest. If not, you deplete your body’s energies by not allowing it to “recharge” itself. It is like driving a car without filling up the gas tank, or leaving the car’s lights on without recharging the battery, eventually you will run out power. At the same time, it’s essential to eat right, exercise and rest when you can.
If you want to give your body every chance to stay healthy and fit, then pay attention to the seasonal time changes and the “rising and setting” of the sun. And if you want to give your body the best chance for health and performance, follow the sun, and get a good night’s sleep. You will awake early and refreshed the next day allowing you to “be your best you.”
So long for now!
By Gloria Altherr
The best excuse for staring into that treasure trove of goodies, aka the vending machine, is ” I don’t have time to eat right because I work crazy hours.” For a perpetual snacker like me, it sounds darn reasonable any time of the day, but especially when it gets late. I’ve also been trying to lose that last 15 pounds of baby weight (the baby turned ten) forever. Time to get serious!
I decided that I needed to get fuel from better sources than those small bags of delicious, crunchy, chocolatey, calorie-filled goodness. It’s time for small bags of delicious, crunchy, sometimes chocolatey, good food. And while I was at it, I’d get the whole family involved because it seemed to make sense.
I added quantities of seasonal vegetables and occasional fruits to my shopping lists twice a week. This means four pounds of green beans when in season. I steam them lightly (you don’t want to kill the crunch) and place them in a large bowl in the fridge. I remove a large container for myself every morning, and smaller ones for the children’s lunch boxes. Insta-snacks! Carrot sticks, celery sticks, pomegranate seeds, even the occasional chocolate drizzled rice cake, make for crunchy treats that make snacking healthier and low calorie, not to mention less expensive than machine fare. There’s a wonderful root vegetable called jicama, which I peel, cut into French fry-like sticks and douse in lemon juice. It’s very refreshing and will have coworkers asking, “what’s that?” every time.
Now, our fridge is full of bowls of one vegetable or another. The children have their favorites and I make certain we have variety from local farmers’ markets. We’ve had our duds (there aren’t too many calls for baked parsnip curls). Creativity can sometimes backfire. But, lunches and after school snacks always include a sampling of some veggie or another.
Cookies are not banned, just not the first option. We always have rice cakes, almonds raisins, and low fat cheese sticks available, too, to round things out. My husband has even jumped on the veggie bandwagon to a degree.
I usually bring most of my food to work. Cooking is a weekend pleasure so I’ll steam pots of brown rice and throw it into little bowls during the week. A piece of fish or a bit of stir fry from dinner, some veggie containers and I’m set. Keeping sugar, salt and white flour at bay has given me more energy and strangely, stress seems less pronounced.
It’s a bit of work, but worth it. I still manage to consume my body weight in food every day (or so it seems). But, the pants feel better and I’ve saved a nice bit from not buying calorie-laden snacks and food from local places. Yes, a candy bar calls once in a while, and I answer… once in a while.
Herbs and Healing
Hi! Dr. Kevin Pett here. I would like to thank the team at Mission Ready for the opportunity to be a contributor on product development and health and wellness.
Did you know that the wonderful planet we live on has over 250,000 varieties of living botanical plants, herbs, fungi, trees and flowers? Of these 250,000, approximately only 1 percent of them have yielded substances that create an astonishing 25 percent of the prescriptions dispensed by pharmacies in the United States. Another 13 percent comes from microorganisms, and 3 percent more from animals, for an astonishing total of over 40 percent of the pharmaceuticals that are natural organism-derived.
As noted Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson states, “We better listen up, few are aware of how much we already depend on wild organisms for medicine.” Even the National Institute of Health has begun working closely with herbal healers in many countries to identify new drugs.
Your health is, ultimately, a product of your environment and the choices you make on a daily basis. If you want good health and an extended life, make conscious decisions about how you live. If you want to be functional and healthy, you have to live functionally. My feeling is, if you live dysfunctionally, over time, you’re going to develop illness.
Mission Ready prides itself on producing natural products to assist with the resolution of health conditions and promote a healthy conscious life. Please remember to respect and take care of our planet, the Earth is a marvelous provider.
Stay tuned for more blog posts to show you how rest/sleep, emotion, exercise, diet and nutrition, etc., are all a part of your environment and how making the right choices will help in giving you the best chance to extend your life.
Until next time… be your best you!
Kevin R. Pett, PhD., DAOM, DOM
Welcome to Bullfrog 13 & Friends! Navy SEALs call the longest-serving SEAL on active duty the honorific title of “Bullfrog.” In 2006 Bullfrog 12 retired with 40 years service and I became Bullfrog 13. In 2009, I retired with over 39 years service, and with a lifelong passion and knowledge for natural medicine, started on a journey to create a nutraceutical company. We’ve built this blog for the Mission Ready community to learn and engage with different personalities and experts. Our guest bloggers specialize in the areas of nutrition, health and sleep. Here’s a little more about me, and how Mission Ready came to fruition.
As I reflect on my years as a U.S. Navy SEAL, I’m proud of the teams in which I’ve served and the work we’ve accomplished. At the same time, I realize I spent at least 10-years with very little REM sleep at all. My sleep was very disturbed for a number of factors and it’s kind of hard to pinpoint exactly why. I guess I drank a lot of coffee and that disrupts sleep, and if you have too many drinks before you go to bed that will disrupt sleep too. But, I also had a little PTSD left over from my experience in Lebanon, saving someone’s life and then getting burned over 75% of my body. Sometimes when you relive this kind of experience, it puts you in a bad place, but you just deal with it. As a US Navy SEAL, I was also working long hours. And, when you continuously work night operations and throw in the night training missions, you don’t really have any real circadian rhythms anymore (despite the fact that I’m a drummer and I do have rhythm). If you throw this all together it equals interrupted sleep.
Here’s how I broke the pattern … Jim McKay, “Skip” and I went through SEAL training together in 1971, and we had been lifelong friends ever since. So, about the time I was getting ready to retire from the US Navy, we had been discussing a number of things and began talking about the possibility of going into the nutraceutical business. Jim had the same problems sleeping as I did, but his was from big business. The one thing I’ve always known is that if you don’t sleep well, you can’t heal well. So, one of our first formulas we thought about was one to target those problems adults have — trouble with sleep. So, at Mission Ready we’re going to address sleep as our first issue.
And, here we are today, a company called Mission Ready, founded by former U.S. Navy SEALs, and an organization that also gives a portion of its profits back to the military community. We will help you WIN and have fun while doing it.
Other folks you’ll meet here at Bullfrog 13 & Friends include:
Lori Tubbs: Lori is a military nutritionist and a public health educator. She’s also a registered dietitian, and a certified specialist in sports dietetics. Lori will share her nutrition best practices with you.
Gloria Altherr: Gloria is the CMO of Mission Ready, Inc. and brings over two decades of marketing experience. As a busy mother of three children, she balances work and family carefully and shares her stories about the balance for a healthy, but busy lifestyle.
Dr. Kevin Pett: Dr. Pett is licensed as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM) in the state of New Mexico. He’s been in private practice since 2001, and maintains a Clinical practice of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine in Leesburg, Virginia. Dr. Pett will share his strong and passionate interest in the study and use of natural botanical substances for health and wellness solutions. He is my personal doctor and was the first and only doctor to ever tell me: “I will heal you.” And, he did.
We’re excited to share our knowledge about health, sleep and nutrition challenges, and welcome your opinions and feedback. Thank you for stopping by Bullfrog 13 & Friends, and please feel free to invite your friends to visit our community and to join in the discussion too.