Thursday 140313

Workout

Hang Snatch

10 sets of 2 reps.  Micro load people.  Micro load!

From The New York Times

What Running Can Do for the Heart

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS Gretchen Reynolds on the science of fitness.
Runners begin racing at the start of the Boston Marathon.
Elsa/Getty ImagesRunners begin racing at the start of the Boston Marathon.

An ingenious new study of marathon runners and their non-running spouses should reassure anyone headed for a spring marathon that prolonged training doesn’t damage the heart, a concern that has been raised in previous research. At the same time, becoming fit as a marathoner doesn’t seem to protect the heart to the extent you might expect, although it may have unexpected benefits for your spouse.

While we all know that exercise is healthy, some research has begun to raise questions about whether it’s possible to overdo a good thing. A few studies have found that long-time endurance athletes can have a heightened risk for abnormal heartbeats, and even for scarring of the heart muscle. Likewise, experiments with lab animals have found possible links between prolonged, extremely strenuous running and undesirable changes in the structure and function of the heart.

But the actual incidence of runners having a heart attack during a marathon race is vanishingly small, a finding that seems to suggest that marathon training can’t be excessively hard on hearts or there would be greater, obvious consequences.

Such inconsistencies in the data about prolonged endurance exercise and heart health prompted researchers to wonder if perhaps past studies had been too imprecise. It’s difficult to isolate the risks associated with strenuous exercise from other lifestyle factors, said Beth Taylor, an assistant professor in the health sciences department at the University of Hartford who led the new study, which was published last month in BMJ Open. Runners whose hearts seemed to have been affected by their exercise habits might also have smoked, gorged on junk food or otherwise imperiled their hearts, separately from how much they worked out.

So Dr. Taylor and her colleagues decided to better control for such factors by studying marathon runners along with their domestic partners, who presumably would be sharing their lifestyles if not their physical exertions. If cardiac health differed among these couples, the scientists felt, they could reasonably conclude that training had played a role, since so many lifestyle factors would be the same.

With that idea in mind, Dr. Taylor and her colleagues contacted a slew of runners who had qualified and signed up for the 2012 Boston Marathon, inquired if they had non-running spouses or partners, and asked if both would be willing to have their hearts scanned and cardiovascular disease risk assessed.

Forty-two of the runners said yes, along with their spouses or partners. Half of the runners were women. Their ages ranged from 33 to 59, although most were in their mid- to late 40s. Their partners were around the same age but considerably less active, averaging fewer than two sessions of moderate exercise per week. Many did not formally exercise at all, although most reported frequently walking, gardening or undertaking other types of moderate activity.

The day before the 2012 race, the racers and their partners visited a makeshift lab next door to the race expo, where they filled out questionnaires about their exercise and health histories. Scientists then drew blood to determine the volunteers’ cholesterol and triglyceride profiles and measured their height, weight, pulse rate, blood pressure and other vital signs. Finally, each volunteer underwent a noninvasive heart scan to reveal the buildup of arterial plaques, an indication of heart disease.

Not surprisingly, the marathon runners were significantly thinner than their partners, although few of the partners were overweight. The runners also generally had lower blood pressure, heart rates, bad cholesterol and other indicators of cardiac health.

But running did not insulate the racers altogether from heart disease, the scientists found. Some of the racers, particularly the oldest ones, carried large deposits of plaques in their arteries, a worrying sign. These older racers also tended to have the highest tallies on a numerical assessment of heart attack risk called theFramingham risk score, which considers medical and lifestyle factors that, along with genetics, can contribute to the development of atherosclerotic plaques.

In essence, the scans showed that marathon training did not cancel out the depredations of age, longstanding bad health habits or a family history of cardiac problems, Dr. Taylor said.

On the other hand, the scientists found no relationship between the number of hours the runners trained or how fast they ran and the levels of plaque in their arteries, indicating that marathon training had not directly damaged any of these racers’ hearts.

Over all, Dr. Taylor said, the study’s data suggests that if you’re training for a marathon or otherwise doing frequent and prolonged endurance exercise, you’re probably not hurting your heart and are likely strengthening it. But you should be aware of your past health habits and family history and monitor any symptoms, such as shortness of breath, that could be a sign of potential heart troubles.

Perhaps the more surprising takeaway of the study, Dr. Taylor said, is that marathon training’s cardiac benefits may be transferable. “The spouses of the runners were quite healthy, too,” she pointed out. More so than many people, they walked and moved around frequently, and had generally robust cardiac risk profiles. Dr. Taylor’s conclusion: if you want improved heart health but can’t be a runner, marry one.

Thursday 140102

CrossFit Open season is upon us.

Workout

8:00 AMRAP
12-45 lbs Thrusters
12-TTB

Rest and recover

7 x1 – 2 Position Snatch.  High Hang (pockets) Low Hang (above the knees)
Not looking to go heavy…looking to catch at the bottom and good position of feet.  Don’t exceed 80% of your 1RM

From CNN

7 social media resolutions for 2014

As 2014 dawns, it's a good time to consider revamping your social media presence.
As 2014 dawns, it’s a good time to consider revamping your social media presence.
(CNN) — OK, so you’ve resolved to lose weight, travel more and organize your finances in 2014. That’s a good start.

But what about your virtual self? The dawn of a new year is also a good time for a digital makeover: a savvier, more disciplined approach to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms.

Given that 73% of online U.S. adults are active on social media,according to a new Pew survey, this could have a bigger impact on your life than cleaning out that overstuffed closet.

May we present these seven resolutions — suggestions, really — for better social-media use in the new year.

Don’t post pictures of all your meals

Sure, the tuna tartare at that fancy restaurant sure looks pretty. But interrupting your dinner to Instagram it is rude to your dining companions, not to mention obnoxious for other people sitting nearby who have to endure your camera flashes and “which filter looks better?” questions.

Some restaurants have even witnessed food “photographers” climb atop their chairs to get a better camera angle. Don’t be that person.

Try limiting your food pics to special items like a customized birthday cake or maybe that famous 2-pound burger you must finish to earn a free T-shirt and your photo on the pub wall.

Think before you tweet

OK, this one may seem obvious. But it’s amazing how many otherwise smart people blast out thoughts on Twitter without pausing to consider the sheer stupidity of what they’re saying.

In August, TV’s Dr. Phil McGraw sparked a backlash after a tweet posted on his verified Twitter account asked whether it’s OK to have sex with a drunk girl. The tweet was quickly deleted but not before the Internet erupted in outrage.

Then there was Justine Sacco, the PR executive who posted this on Twitter this month before boarding a flight to South Africa: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” The tweet went viral while her plane was in the air, and she was fired soon after.

It takes only a few seconds to compose a dumb tweet. The damage can last much longer.

Don’t tag people in unflattering photos

Hey, buddy! I tagged you in this party pic! Yeah, I know your eyes are closed, your stomach is sticking out and your tongue is caressing a bottle of tequila, but it’s hilarious, right! Right?

No? Oops.

Ask permission before posting questionable photos of people online. It’s just common courtesy.

Fact-check first

No, Tom Cruise didn’t die in April in a car accident in Australia. But you wouldn’t know that right away from all the breathless posts on Facebook and Twitter. Then there are the fake Facebook posts, offering cheap airfare or free iPads, that try to scam you with malicious links.

Social media can spread misinformation as fast as truths. Unless you want your friends to stop trusting you, Snopes.com is a good source for debunking these rumors.

Or you could just use common sense.

Remember that less can be more

An artfully rendered Instagram photo of your baby or cat or snowy backyard can be a beautiful thing. Seven photos in an hour, not so much.

The same can apply to rapid-fire tweeting or constant Facebook updates. Unless you’re live-blogging from a forest fire or the Oscars, don’t overwhelm your friends’ feeds. They will thank you.

Go easy on the selfies

Yes, “selfie” is the word of the year for 2013. And selfies can be fun to look at when the person is 1. wearing a costume, 2. with a celebrity or 3. standing in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Preferably all three at once.

But we don’t really need to see you in front of your bathroom mirror, making a duck face. By its nature, social media is already narcissistic enough.

Be your authentic self

Unless, maybe, you’re Anthony Weiner.

There is now a whole corps of “social media experts” who will tell you “how to build your personal brand.” Ignore them. The nature of networking hasn’t really changed — it’s still about who you know, staying in touch and being willing to put yourself out there — and no number of marketing gimmicks will change that.

Be genuine. Be someone you’d enjoy talking to at a party. If you’re using social media only to collect likes and followers, you’re probably doing something wrong.

But you still might want to hold off on those knee-jerk Twitter rants or Vines of yourself naked.

Monday 131216

Workout

Hang Snatch + 1 OHS…go for a heavy single

Just becasue you did not come in after the TitanFit Christmas Party does not mean you get to skip this one…

MetCon

1000m Row
50-Thrusters

750m Row
30-Thrusters

500m Row
20-Thrusters

From The New York Times

Skip the Supplements

By PAUL A. OFFIT and SARAH ERUSH – December 14, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — PARENTS whose children are admitted to our hospital occasionally bring along something extra to help with their care: dietary supplements, like St. John’s wort to ameliorate mild depression or probiotics for better health.

Here’s the problem: The Joint Commission, which is responsible for hospital accreditation in the United States, requires that dietary supplements be treated like drugs. It makes sense: Vitamins, amino acids, herbs, minerals and other botanicals have pharmacological effects. So they are drugs.

But the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate dietary supplements as drugs — they aren’t tested for safety and efficacy before they’re sold. Many aren’t made according to minimal standards of manufacturing (the F.D.A. has even found some of the facilities where supplements are made to be contaminated with rodent feces and urine). And many are mislabeled, accidentally or intentionally. They often aren’t what they say they are. For example:

In 2003, researchers tested “ayurvedic” remedies from health food stores throughout Boston. They found that 20 percent contained potentially harmful levels of lead, mercury or arsenic.

In 2008, two products were pulled off the market because they were found to contain around 200 times more selenium (an element that some believe can help prevent cancer) than their labels said. People who ingested these products developed hair loss, muscle cramps, diarrhea, joint pain, fatigue and blisters.

Last summer, vitamins and minerals made by Purity First Health Products in Farmingdale, N.Y., were found to contain two powerful anabolic steroids. Some of the women who took them developed masculinizing symptoms like lower voices and fewer menstrual periods.

Last month, researchers in Ontario found that popular herbal products like those labeled St. John’s wort and ginkgo biloba often contained completely different herbs or contaminants, some of which could be quite dangerous.

The F.D.A. estimates that approximately 50,000 adverse reactions to dietary supplements occur every year. And yet few consumers know this.

Parents of children admitted to our hospital often request that we continue treating their child with dietary supplements because they believe in them, even if that belief isn’t supported by evidence. More disturbing were the times when children were taking these supplements without our knowledge. Doctors always ask parents if their children are taking any medicines. Unfortunately, because most parents don’t consider dietary supplements to be drugs, we often never knew about their use, let alone whether they might react dangerously with the child’s other treatments.

The F.D.A. has the mandate, but not the manpower, to oversee the labeling and manufacture of these supplements. In the meantime, doctors — and consumers — are on their own.

Our hospital has acted to protect the safety of our patients. No longer will we administer dietary supplements unless the manufacturer provides a third-party written guarantee that the product is made under the F.D.A.’s “good manufacturing practice” (G.M.P.) conditions, as well as a Certificate of Analysis (C.O.A.) assuring that what is written on the label is what’s in the bottle.

The good news is that we’ve been able to find some vitamins, amino acids, minerals and a handful of other supplements that meet this standard. For example, melatonin has been shown to affect sleep cycles and has a record of safety, and we identified a product that met manufacturing and labeling standards.

The bad news is that this was a vanishingly small percentage of the total group. Around 90 percent of the companies we reached out to for verification never responded. They didn’t call us back, or their email or manufacturing addresses changed overnight. Of the remainder, many manufacturers refused to provide us with either a statement of G.M.P. or a C.O.A.; in other words, they refused to guarantee that their products were what they said they were. Others lied; they said they met G.M.P. standards, but a call to the F.D.A. revealed they had been fined for violations multiple times. Perhaps most surprising, some manufacturers willingly furnished information that their product didn’t meet standards — like one company that provided a C.O.A. showing that its product contained 47,000 International Units of beta-carotene, when the label stated 25,000.

Now, when parents in our hospital still want to use products whose quality can’t be assured, we ask them to sign a waiver stating that the supplement may be dangerous, and that most have not been studied for their effectiveness. “Use of an agent for which there are no reliable data on toxicity and drug interactions,” the waiver reads, “makes it impossible to adequately monitor the patient’s acute condition or safely administer medications.”

What can other individuals who are concerned about supplement safety do? They can look for “U.S.P. Verified” on the label — this proves the supplement has been inspected and approved under the United States Pharmacopeial Convention. Unfortunately, fewer than 1 percent of the 55,000 or so supplements on the market bear this label. The real answer is that, until the day comes when medical studies prove that these supplements have legitimate benefits, and until the F.D.A. has the political backing and resources to regulate them like drugs, individuals should simply steer clear.

For too long, too many people have believed that dietary supplements can only help and never hurt. Increasingly, it’s clear that this belief is a false one.

Paul A. Offit is chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where Sarah Erush is the clinical manager in the pharmacy department.