Friday, October 22, 2010

Imagine Life With No Beds, No Toilets...

I got real lucky yesterday. I showed up at Crossfit at my normal time, 6pm, which is usually pretty busy. No one else showed up. I've been at a few workouts before where I'm the only one, and it doesn't bother me but I prefer a group because then my competitiveness kicks in. I mentioned to the trainer before the workout that my leg is still not 100%, but I have been doing the workouts since Monday, and it is improving.

After the workout, he asked me what was hurting. I told him I thought it was my right hip flexor, and told him about Stanky Leg over the weekend. For the next 30 minutes, he proceeded to fill my brain with TONS of information and showed me numerous physical therapy style exercises I should be doing everyday, especially since I sit at work.

If you remember from last week, I touched on some stuff in my barefoot running post. That was merely scratching the surface of information that got spewed my way yesterday. I will tell the story he told me:

"Cultures that do not use toilets and do not sleep in beds don't have nearly the rates of back, hip, and knee problems that seem to constantly plague Americans. I cannot get over my hatred of running shoes and what they do to us (staring at my bright turquoise Nikes). If I have to sum it up, think of it this way: anything that is soft, is bad.

I recently got called by the president of a large grocery chain here (Fred Meyer, for those of you familiar to the NW) and he asked me to come in a do a presentation for the workers on proper lifting techniques, etc. He told me that they recently gave all their employees those "Shape-Ups" which, for the record are 1,000,000 times worse than running shoes. They also give their employees back supports, and unknowingly teach them improper lifting techniques.

Remember when I said that supporting your arch is just giving your arch an excuse not to work? (yes) Well, same thing with your back. Back braces used improperly will make you weaker. Olympic lifters that are using them know that the brace is not to give them more support, it is to support what they have already built. Now, have gone through the on-ramp program, what is the number one thing you see wrong with those? (they put weight on your mid-sole/toe, and we are taught from day one to have our weight on our heels) Exactly. Also, they are supposed to work and shape your calves, but calves are genetic! Sorry!

I interjected- perhaps company wide, they thought by giving all the employees those shoes, it would result in weight loss, and therefore lower health care costs for them?

I'm so happy you said that. Nothing bugs me more then thinking that weight loss=health. It does not. I much rather see an overweight person have good, strong functional movements then a skinny person who can't even do a proper squat! (now he is speaking my language) To take a metaphor to its death, really consider a Paleo life in EVERYTHING you do."

Me being silly- ok, so I'll stop wearing shoes, sleep on the floor, and start using my backyard as a bathroom?

All joking aside though, it makes sense to practice functional movements and not rely on the "crutches" of soft things that we so readily use. Just as I decided to ignore the agricultural revolution and processed foods, I can begin to ignore all but the most important creature comforts (but I'm not giving up a toilet or bed).

I woke up today and began doing the exercises he taught me for hip flexibility. 10 minutes a day, that is my commitment.

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