02.28.11 Oly Lifting Class
What a great time at today's Oly Lifting Class!
Don't forget, there's another one in two weeks!
Also, SMR clinic on March 5th; bring your own lacrosse or tennis ball!
Paleo Potluck March 11th at 7 pm
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Congratulations to Faye, Joanne, Melissa, Frank, and Doug for completing the Spartan Race yesterday in some gnarly weather...Great job. Dusty and I are so proud of you! And thanks to everyone who braved the elements to come out and support us!
Also, Oly Lifting Class TODAY AT 3:30!
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02.26.11 Speedwalkers Beware!
SATURDAY AM WOD CANCELLED DUE TO SPARTAN RACE!
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02.25.11 Let's Talk About Sex...
SATURDAY WOD IS CANCELLED DUE TO THE SPARTAN RACE!
OLYMPIC LIFTING CLASS SUNDAY AT 3:30. $20 DROP IN FEE! IF YOUR CLEAN AND JERK DOESN'T LOOK LIKE THIS, YOU NEED TO BE THERE!
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02.24.11 Spartan Race!
This Saturday a team from CrossFit Temecula South will be competing in the Super Spartan Race at Vail Lake here locally. Brave the cold and come cheer them on...I guarantee they'll be colder than you are, so come warm their spirits!!
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02.23.11 Static Stretching
Why You Should Never Static Stretch Before Lifitng
By Charles Poliquin
A plethora of recent studies have shown that static actually weakens muscles before strength training, therefore exposing you to a greater risk of injury. It was in fact showed that static also increases your risk of muscle tears before soccer and rugby matches.
Plus static stretching statically makes you feel like you as dynamic as boiled fettuccini. Static stretches before a power clean is as good as smoking a reefer the size of a St-Louis slugger.
Static stretching should instead be performed 4 to 6 hours post-workout since it involves the parasympathetic nervous system. This would permit the body to relax following an intense workout. For some reason, if you need flexibility to do a certain lift like the squat, do P.N.F. stretching. Certain lifts like full squats require higher levels of flexibility to perform, thus requiring for some individuals some mobilization before loading. To quote my colleagues Anne Fredericks and the late Mel Siff , PNF, not static stretching is the best type of stretching to perform before lifting weights. Fredericks and Siff have advanced that PNF stretching is superior to static stretching before a workout since it helps to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for the fight or flight response).
In case you are not familiar with PNF stretching, it stands for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. This method has been used for years by physical therapists and athletic trainers in the rehab processes.
Describing all the possible P.N.F. methods goes beyond the scope of this article. Please refer to Michael J. Alter’s The Science of Stretching (Human Kinetics) for more information.
Keep in mind that the effects of P.N.F. stretching will last 4 to 6 hours. Twenty years ago, we were told by the University teachers that should exert maximal force (100%) during the isometric contraction. This advice has unfortunately led to many muscle tears. However in the mid-eighties some evidence came out that one should in fact only need to contract at a suggestive 25% of maximal strength to inhibit the inhibitory mechanims. This offers a few advantages;
1. Decrease the likelyhood of getting injured dramatically, by building strength at the extremes of range of motion.
2. Does not reduce the blood supply to the muscles like lengthy static stretching methods does.. Hypoxia has been shown to increase connective tissue build-up thus creating losses of strength and flexibility that can only be alleviated by soft tissue work.
3. Gains of flexibility are amazingly rapid.. Within 3 or 4 P.N.F. contractions one unflexible subject can gain easily 4 to 6 inches of range of motion.
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02.22.11 The Squat
Talk to me about this squat, people...good? bad? why?
I have my answers, which I'll share at the end of the day!
MARCH 11th @ 7 pm
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02.21.11 Why Cardio Alone Won't Make You Lean
An Excerpt by Adam Signoretta from http://articles.elitefts.com
I chose an excerpt from this article to share rather than the whole article because while I agree completely with what Adam is saying about weight/strength training being imperative to maintaining lean body mass, I disagree with him about other topics covered in the article such as meal frequency. However, this is a humourous accounting of why hours upon hours on the stepmill are not the secret to success if being lean is your goal.
I wrote this article in order to educate women and some men who believe that doing cardio and abs will help them shed pounds on their midsection. I also think it will help out trainers who have a hard time getting clients to understand the benefits of lifting moderately heavy weights, which is the best thing for them to do to lose weight.
Everyone knows that cardio is the best thing for you when looking to burn extra calories. Or is it? What most people don’t know is cardio can be the worst thing for cutting fat when it isn’t paired with weight training. If you ask the girl (or even the guy) on the ab machine what she’s trying to do, nine times out of ten she will reply with “lose my stomach fat.” Ten times out of ten, she won’t loss stomach fat. The number one reason for this is that you can’t spot reduce an area. When you lose body fat, the fat will be reduced throughout the body, not just from the area you’re working. If we could lose weight in just one area, don’t you think we’d look a little funny? People would walk around with rock hard abs, saggy glutes, and flabby arms. All beach guys would have fat legs because they only do chest, arms, and abs.
The following is a short story between the girl on the ab machine and me. We will call her Jenny Abs. If you dig deeper, you’ll find out that her full name is Jenny Cardio and Abs. I asked Jenny what she did before the ab machine, and she said, “I normally do an hour of cardio on the treadmill or a cardio class.”
My reply was, “Awesome, you must have burned a lot of calories. How is your eating?”
She said, “Oh, I ate really good—egg whites in the morning, chicken and a salad for lunch, and dinner was something light. And no carbs after 6:00 pm.” Jenny said that as if she had taught me a lesson.
Seems Jenny has listened to all her uneducated group fitness class groupies. In case you haven’t guessed by now, I had my work cut out for me. I wanted to touch on three main things here, and I wanted to do it delicately without hurting Jenny Cardio and Abs, who is now unable to function because she is carb depleted from over an hour of high intensity cardio.
So I said, “That is stupid and you must be too if you believe that.” Kidding of course. It isn’t her fault that everyone who reads a fitness magazine is a professional now. I asked Jenny if she had a minute because I wanted to help her maximize her gym time and of course her goal of weight loss. Jenny didn’t really want my help because she thought that most trainers were either hitting on her or trying to sell her something. However, she agreed to sit down and have a chat with me.
We sat down and I opened with a bunch of nice complements on her workout routine. I then asked her how long she had been working out for and of she had been making much progress.
She was all smiles and said, “Yeah, I have lost eight pounds so far, and I want to lose another ten, but it’s getting tough to drop. I don’t really know why. I’ve been eating even less and upping my time on the cardio. See, I lost five pounds the first week and three pounds the second week. Now, it’s week seven, and I actually gained a pound. It’s pretty frustrating.”
I cut right to the chase. I’m not one to waste time or sugar coat anything.
“You’re working too hard and burning too many calories. Your body is eating your muscle, which is slowing your metabolism down, and you aren’t strength training.”
Jenny’s mouth opened wide and said “Oh, yes I do strength train. I took that extreme weight training class with Krissy with the amazing body.”
“Ok, cool. That isn’t strength training. That’s basically cardio with weights, and it only adds to your overtraining. Let me explain how the body works. Let’s start with this—your body needs a certain amount of calories throughout the day in order to function, and more importantly for you, to maintain muscle.”
Jenny cut in with, “I don’t care about my muscle. What does that have to do with me losing weight.”
“Jenny, it has everything to do with you losing weight. Your muscle is going to be what regulates your metabolism. Your metabolism is going to be the amount of calories you burn at rest throughout the day. Now this is where muscle comes in. Your muscle determines your metabolism. A pound of muscle can burn anywhere up to 50 calories a day depending on its health. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn throughout the day. This is known as your basal metabolic rate, an estimated amount of calories you burn throughout the day. If you don’t take in enough calories throughout the day, your body will have to get the nutrients it needs from somewhere. If you had to choose between eating fat or meat, what would you eat?”
“Umm…meat. Duh!” Jenny replied.
I smiled and said, “That is exactly what your body would do. It would get the nutrients from your muscle, which makes your muscle lose its density and size. Over time, it will disappear and make the scale go down, although that isn’t a good thing. Your metabolism can drop as much as 50 calories for every pound of muscle you lose.”
Our wonderful friend and dedicated CrossFitter Liz is undergoing yet another back surgery today to try to correct an overgrowth of bone from a previous fusion. Despite sometimes excrutiating pain, dizziness, and general discomfort, Liz has kept on trucking, regularly attending WODs and kettlebells. Liz, we wish you luck today and a speedy recovery! Hope to see you back in the box sooner rather than later!
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02.19.11 Olympic Lifting
OLYMPIC LIFTING CLASS
Next weekend we are very privileged to have Mike Gray kicking off our Olympic Lifting class. If you are needing help with your Olympic lifting (i.e. snatch and clean and jerk) this is the guy to see. This class is open to all levels, whether you're brand new or an experienced CrossFitter looking to improve a PR. The class is being billed on a drop-in basis at $20/class, which is an unbelievably reasonable price for this level of coaching. All I need to figure out now is a time and day (Saturday or Sunday) that works best for everyone. Keep in mind that we have our Saturday morning WODs before you respond...
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02.18.11 Sweeten the deal...
Dusty and I know that all of our current members appreciate and love CrossFit! Despite the initial apprehension some of us may have felt the first time we walked into a WOD (yes, I felt it too!) we have all come to love what we have here, even above and beyond the workouts. Don't look now, but we are building an amazing community. So, for those of us who know and love this, we don't need any incentive to "sweeten the deal." But for our friends and family who may be scared of CrossFit (partially because we all brag about how we got our butts kicked!) they may need a little incentive... So, for the month of March, I have certificates that you may give to anyone you'd like to encourage them to try CrossFit FREE for ONE MONTH! Here's the best part...if they join, both you as the refer-er, and them, as the refer-ee get $25 off your next month's membership fees! If you are interested in one or more of these, let Anneke or Dusty know and they will hook you up! Share the love...
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02.17.11 Tough Love...
"A FEW TRUTHS" FROM AGAINFASTER.COM
The following list stems from my recent successes and failures as an athlete and a coach, and I hope you find it useful. Because it is my list, it is more for me than it is for you, but there is no harm in sharing.
1.) It is always possible to work harder. Not necessarily longer or more often--just harder.
2.) If you try to accomplish everything, you won't accomplish anything. Pick a single goal, and dedicate yourself to achieving that goal.
3.) The further you go from your home gym, the more likely you are to run into someone who is faster, stronger, and more powerful than you. Travel, and bring your humility.
4.) You must surround yourself with those who share and support your goals. If your friends scoff when you leave for the gym at 5 a.m., get new friends.
5.) You cannot coach yourself. "Coaching by mirror" is a great way to know what a movement looks like and a horrible way to know what a movement feels like.
6.) You need to analyze your training, qualitatively and quantitatively. If you don't know why you're doing what you're doing, stop doing
7.) On a related note, human beings are capable of rationalizing anything. If you go looking for proof that you're on the right track, you'll find it.
8.) Easy fixes are few and far between. If it's easy, chances are it's incorrect, incomplete, or both.
9.) It is human nature to get where you want to be and immediately stop doing the things that got you there. This is a fantastic way to stay right where you are.
All lessons can't be bright and cheery. Get rid of the crap that's holding you back, and have the courage to realize that a healthy dose of self-criticism can go a long way toward making you a better athlete. We all need a kick in the ass once in a while.
MISSING FROM CROSSFIT TEMECULA SOUTH!
Have you seen this woman? If you see her, attempt to apprehend her...she is not dangerous, she is just sorely missed by her 5:30 fellow CrossFitters!
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02.16.11 The Blog
So, we had great participation on the blog during the 30 days of health challenge. I had a record of 28 posts one day and no fewer than 10 on the slowest day. But now that it's over, I've noticed that a good day garners 7 or 8 posts, and a slow day bring as few as 2 or 3 posts, including my or Dusty's comments.
The blog is your online community, It's where you can ask questions, compare notes on the WOD, even bitch about me and how mean I am putting all of these heinous WODs together. It's where you can brag about your PR's, lament your failures, and get kudos and support from your fellow CrossFitters.
The blog is also a tool others use to decide whether or not they want to join our box based on the online community. If they see a slow blog, the are going to assume we aren't a very tight community, which is NOT the case!
So, get on here and blog, people! Follow Erika's lead and post your WOD results, vent frustrations, shout out a friend, or ask for support!
FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS WEAR SHAPEUPS!
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02.15.11 GET REAL!
From Mark's Daily Apple...
Get Real About Your Goals
First of all, get some real goals. Get out a piece of paper (or blog, or Word doc, whatever) and figure out what you’re working toward. Be honest with yourself, and don’t expect the impossible. I am a strong believer in one’s ability to control their gene expression, reprogram their body, and become a healthier individual, but you aren’t going to sprout a few more inches no matter how many reps you do or vegetables you eat.
That said, never sell yourself short. Push yourself to the limit, and don’t use common excuses – “most of my family is slightly overweight” or “my dad never was really that muscular” or “I’m too old to start over” – to avoid making changes in your life. Your ability to seize control of your life, your body, and your health is real. You just have to do it. Ewald (Otto’s identical twin) did.
I hope all of this wasn’t too harsh. Chalk it up to a little tough love follow-up to yesterday’s “Excuses” post. I think it’s important to have a call to action every now and then. And it’s not like I told you something you didn’t know. You know these are the keys to living a long, healthy life. You know eating the right food and getting daily exercise will pay dividends – today, tomorrow, and in thirty years. Don’t relegate yourself to a future of walkers, brittle bones, sagging guts (and spirits), and doctor visits, all because it was easier to delude yourself and take the easy route. Instead, get real about your abilities, about your goals, about your lifestyle, and about your body.
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02.14.11 Happy Valentine's Day!
Shout out to all who came out and represented for our first IE showdown yesterday! Murphy, Faye, Beau, Angela, Melissa, and Nate killed it and made us proud...thanks for throwing your hat in the ring guys! And thanks to Coach Chris Fodera for coming up with some very hellacious WODs. Thanks as well to the folks from CrossFit 951 and CrossFit by Overload for coming down and suffering alongside. Congrats go to Jordan, KGB, Kaz, and Tony for winning it with some solid strategy!
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02.13.11 So Much To Do, Such Little Time...
Spartan Race, Feb 26th
Paleo Potluck, March 11th at 7pm
Bring your favorite paleo meal...
Below is Gena...one of many new faces you may have seen around this past week. Our community is growing!
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02.12.11 Pappa...and FINALLY! The WINNER!
CrossFit Games Sectionals are Coming!
The CrossFit Games are coming. Part of the new process of sectionals includes six weeks of WODs, and the IE boxes have agreed to share this priviledge! However, this involves a lot of logistics and work, so...We need volunteers for our turn to host sectionals. I don't have a firm date yet, but we need volunteers to check in athletes, greet spectators and give them arm bands, enter the results into whatever data entry system CrossFit gives us...this is a phenomenal chance to be part of the greater CrossFit community and watch some great athletes lay it all on the line! I also encourage everyone to visit the other IE boxes to spectate!
WINNER of the January 30 days of health challenge:
We actually had a 5 way tie between Angela, Barbara, Connie, Mike, and Joanne, so we had to go to who adhered the strictest to the challenges to determine the winner, and the winner is...Joanne Thacher. Joanne was the only one who cooked in candlelight during the sleep challenge, and ate completely organic during the day of organics. Congratulations, Joanne!
Gratulerer Med Dagen, Pappa!
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02.11.11 Coconut Oil
From Charles Poliquin:
I understand all of the benefits of coconut oil. What I don’t understand is how coconut oil is so good for you, but really high in saturated fats? (which supposedly are bad fats)
Coconut oil has multiple benefits ranging from improving body composition to boosting immunity and bone density. It has been used to nutritionally support HIV, cancer, and diabetes patients to name a few. Most of the health benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to lauric acid. It is converted to monolaurin which has been shown to help the body in dealing with multiple types of bacteria and viruses. Because of its anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, it is a valuable in nutritionally supporting IBS, and Crohn’s disease patients.
Because of its biochemical make-up, coconut oil supports weight loss efforts, as it supports the thyroid, and takes a load of the pancreas.
To fully understand fats, I suggest you read these two excellent books:
Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol by Mary Enig.
Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIERSTEN
12 years ago yesterday my first baby was born. I never knew what a human being's capacity to love truly was until I had a child. From the moment she was born, I knew my heart was in a constant state of peril: anything happened to this child, my life would end. Although her birthday was yesterday, we celebrate today! Happy Birthday Baby! I love you more than I could ever tell you and you were well worth the 30 hours of labor you gave me!
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8 AM OPEN GYM IS CANCELLED TODAY
Lululemon Trunk Show March 16th 11-3:30 at the box
Affiliate Throwdown - teams of 4, at least one girl on each team. This is for FUN guys! Throw your hat in the ring. This Sunday at 9 am
Still have 1 month free coupons for anyone who has a friend who needs to be hooked on CrossFit!
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02.08.11 Paleo Potluck Dinner
We want to have a paleo potluck dinner to:
1) meet Meg, our grass-fed beef and pork supplier and hook up with other people who want to buy beef in bulk so that you can enjoy great beef at low prices...Erika, Chris, Teresa, and Dusty and I just bought 100 lbs and it was so great!
2) meet other new members and grow our community!
3) discuss upcoming events/concerns/suggestions
4) have the best time EVER because Dusty and I are just a big 'ol party!
Here are the suggested dates...feel free to weigh in!
Friday, March 11th
Saturday, March 12th
Friday, March 18th
Sunday, March 20th
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Friday a bunch of our members went to Starbucks with Dusty and kids in tow after the 9:30 WOD and met up with some other members with THEIR kids in tow! I showed up afterwards, and when I saw everyone sitting there, it almost brought tears to my eyes. I know that may seem weird to some, but that moment was the embodiment of the reason why Dusty and I decided to affiiate with CrossFit. Sure, it's cool to train a team for the games. Sure, it's cool to have people RXing WODs for the first time. But, at the end of the day, what matters the most for US is our community and the connections it forges. We think that forging connections is as important as forging elite fitness.
The beauty of CrossFit is that the connections don't end with the box. Being a CrossFitter is a bit like being a Marine. No matter where you go, if you run into a fellow CrossFitter, there is an instant camaraderie; a bond formed from common suffering in the name of fitness, health, confidence, and longevity. We have some amazing opportunities coming up to form bonds with other CrossFits: the Be Your Own Bodyguard seminar, the IE Throwdown, and CF Games Sectionals. Don't be afraid to throw your hat in the ring!
Today we opened our box to Anna and John from CrossFit Sac Valley. Down with a friend attending the cert at CFO (with our very own Susan Guyer, who will be featured tomorrow) they were on a SoCal box tour and stopped in to check us out. We ended up doing the WOD together, and I was thrilled to have our first official "out-of-town" guests (my family doesn't count!) in our box. If you're every up in Sacramento, stop in to CFSac Valley and say "hi" as these two are enthusiastic, sweet, passionate about fitness, and some kick-ass CrossFitters!
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02.05.11 Happy Birthday Mom
"Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again." Menachem Mendel Schneerson
Happy Birthday Mom/Becky/Mormor - We love you!
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02.04.11 Be Your Own Bodyguard
So, I know I've been harassing everyone about this, but this article proves my point. A woman was attacked in the Chuck E. Cheese bathroom in Menifee - a Chuck E. Cheese my daughter has been to many times with friends. A jogger was attacked by a gang using skateboards as weapons in a quiet neighborhood. No place is safe anymore, so learn to defend yourself. If we get 15 people, the cost for the Be Your Own Bodyguard seminar is only $100 per person; 5 people, $150 per person The question isn't "Can I afford this?" The question is "How can I NOT afford this?"
I know everyone cherishes their Saturdays with their families, but think about this as an investment in your family's safety. Please think about this guys. I get no money or incentives for getting people to attend, other than knowing I maybe helped you save your life or your children's lives one day.
Check out the video from the teaser we attended last week on mainsite yesterday, Thursday, February 3rd:
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What's Goin' On...
February 6th at 2 pm
Vail Lake trail run in preparation for the Spartan Race
Admission to Vail Lake is $5... Meet in the furthest parking lot by the RC car track
Tony Blauer's Be Your Own Bodyguard seminar at CrossFit by Overload
It's $100 per person if we can rally 15 people. Can you really put a price on your life? Or your kids' lives?
I need money by Tuesday
Throw your hat in the ring and see what the larger CF community is all about. This is just for FUN!
We have a discount code, but there are several floating around online that will get you more $ off...Thanks Aimee Emerson for emailing this link...biggest discount yet!
Starting next Wednesday
8 am "extra help" with Dusty
Need help with a specific lift or skill? Drop in for an hour and get some FREE extra help...
Coming when the weather's warmer...
Once a month Sunday beach WOD...
CFTS Athlete Dan Reardon, and some guy who looks kinda familiar at minute marker 5:12. Good luck this weekend Dan! A2!
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02.02.11 Short n Sweet
Happy Belated 30th Birthday Barbara!
Last week Barbara turned 30, which is the new 18, but since we were in the middle of our challenge, she didn't get the props she deserved on the blog. So,...
Happy Birthday Barbara!
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02.01.11 High Cholesterol?
5 reasons not to worry about your cholesterol numbers
by Chris Kresser
I do a lot of public speaking. As you might suspect, regardless of the specific topic I’m presenting the dietary recommendations I make are always essentially the same: high-fat, nutrient-dense and low in toxins. Since omega-6 vegetable oils are toxins, when I say high fat I’m talking about saturated and monounsaturated fat. You know this.
But a lot of people I speak to don’t. They fully steeped in 50 years of mainstream propaganda perpetuating the idea that saturated fats cause heart disease – primarily by raising blood cholesterol. So, inevitably, when I stand up in front of a group of people and tell them all to eat lots of saturated fat, I get a question that goes something like this:
But won’t that raise my cholesterol? And won’t high cholesterol give me a heart attack?
I haven’t yet perfected an answer that can dismantle a half century of cultural brainwashing about fat and cholesterol in less than 3 minutes. But I’m working on it.
In the meantime, I usually explain some variation of the following:
Point #1: Eating saturated fat doesn’t raise cholesterol levels in the blood
There’s no convincing evidence that eating saturated fat raises blood cholesterol. Stephan Guyenet spanked that old yarn to the curb in this recent blog post. In short, of all of the studies examining the relationship between saturated fat intake and serum cholesterol, only one found a clear relationship between the two and even that association was weak. The rest found no association at all.
Point #2: Eating cholesterol doesn’t (usually) raise cholesterol levels in the blood
Nor is there evidence that eating cholesterol in the diet raises cholesterol levels in your blood. A recent review of the scientific literature published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care clearly indicates that egg consumption has no discernible impact on blood cholesterol levels in 70% of the population. In the other 30% of the population (termed “hyperresponders”), eggs do increase both circulating LDL and HDL cholesterol.
An increase of HDL is a good thing. And as it turns out, so is a boost of the type of LDL that eating saturated fat and cholesterol increases. We now know there are two different types of LDL: small, dense LDL, and large, buoyant LDL. Small, dense LDL is a significant risk factor for heart disease because it’s more likely to oxidize and cause inflammation. Large, buoyant LDL is not a risk factor for heart disease. And guess what? Eating eggs not only increases the benign large, buoyant LDL, but it also decreases the harmful small, dense LDL by 20%. I’ve written more about this here and here, and you can also watch some videos on this topic here.
Point #3: Even if eating saturated fat and cholesterol did raise cholesterol levels in your blood, it wouldn’t matter because “high cholesterol” isn’t a strong risk factor for heart disease.
This is the one that really spins people out. Even if they follow me on the first two points, their eyes tend to glaze over when I mention this one. As Mark Twain used to say:
The history of our race, and each individual’s experience, are sown thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal.
Nowhere is that more true than with the lie that high cholesterol causes heart disease. It’s so deeply ingrained in our collective consciousness that it’s become an almost unassailable article of faith. That’s why people are so surprised to learn that there’s very little evidence to support the idea.
This point is the current bottleneck in my “3-minute” explanation, because it takes a while to explain why it’s not true. I’ve written about it extensively here, here and here. For the purposes of this brief article, we’ll have to leave it at this: both total and LDL cholesterol – which are the numbers your doctor, the media and everyone else seems to be concerned with – are only weakly associated with heart disease.
If “high cholesterol” were the cause of heart disease, you’d expect it to be a risk factor in:
All populations around the world.
In both men and women.
In people of all ages.
And you’d also expect that lowering cholesterol should prevent heart disease.
Makes sense, right?
Unfortunately for the lipophobes, the cholesterol hypothesis fails on all fronts.
High cholesterol is not a risk factor in all populations. The French have among the highest cholesterol levels in the world, and among the lowest rates of heart disease of any industrialized nation. The Austrians and other European nations are similar.
Women on average have 300% lower rates of heart disease than men, despite higher average cholesterol levels.
The rate of heart disease in 65 year-old men is 10 times that of 45-year old men. Yet high cholesterol is not a risk factor in men over 65. (In fact, men over 65 with low cholesterol (<150 mg/dL) are twice as likely to die from heart disease as those with normal or even "high" cholesterol.)
Finally, more than 40 trials have been performed to see if lowering cholesterol prevents heart disease. In some trials more people got heart disease, in others fewer. But when all the results were taken together, just as many people died in the treatment groups (those who took cholesterol-lowering drugs) as the control groups (those who did not).
Point #4: If you want to worry about your cholesterol numbers, forget about total cholesterol and LDL and pay attention to the ratio of triglycerides to HDL.
In general I’m not a fan of people worrying about their lipid panel numbers at all. Like Dr. Kurt Harris, I think this compulsive testing and re-testing of lipids that has become common in the Paleo community not only isn’t necessary, but may even be harmful. There’s still a lot we don’t know about how these numbers change on a day-to-day basis. What’s more, it’s not always easy to distinguish between cause and effect. Researchers made the mistake of assuming high cholesterol was the cause of heart disease, when in reality it’s much more likely that high cholesterol is a consequence of it.
But for crying out loud, if you’re going to get your lipds tested at least pay attention to the right numbers. And the most important number on a conventional lipid panel is the relationship between triglycerides and HDL. (Divide triglyercids by HDL to get it.) If that number is less than 2, this suggests you have mostly large, buoyant LDL – which is not a risk factor for heart disease. If that number is higher than 3, it suggests you have mostly small, dense LDL – which most certainly is a risk factor for heart disease.
Point #5: Eat good food and don’t worry about the numbers.
But in the end, even that ratio doesn’t matter so much. Why? Because the treatment is always the same! If your TG:HDL ratio is high (bad), what should you do? Eat a high-fat (saturated, of course) diet. This will reduce your triglycerides and small, dense LDL, and increase your HDL. Triple win. And if your TG:HDL ratio is low (good), what should you do? The exact same thing: eat a high-fat diet.
Conversely, replacing saturated fat with carbs, as we’ve been told to do for 50 years to protect ourselves from heart disease, actually contributes to it in three ways: it increases triglycerides and small, dense LDL, and decreases HDL.
Finally, I often get emails from people who’ve switched to a high-fat / Paleo-type diet expressing concern that their LDL and total cholesterol levels have gone up. My response usually has three parts: 1) don’t worry about it, because high total and LDL cholesterol do not cause heart disease; 2) the increase is usually temporary, and may be the result of the body curing itself of fatty liver (a good thing!); 3) don’t worry about it. Doesn’t hurt to remind them.
**Note: if your total cholesterol levels are very high (i.e. above 300 mg/dL), this may be an indicator of a metabolic abnormality or inflammatory process that needs to be addressed. Cholesterol is a repair substance in the body, and persistent elevations beyond a certain threshold may point to an underlying problem that hasn’t been identified.
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