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The CrossFit stimulus—constantly varied high-intensity functional movement coupled with meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar—prepares you for the demands of a healthy, functional, independent life and provides a hedge against chronic disease and incapacity. This stimulus is elegant in the mathematical sense of being marked by simplicity and efficacy. The proven elements of this broad, general, and inclusive fitness, in terms of both movement and nutrition, are what we term our CrossFit Essentials.

Scoliosis involves the presence of abnormal curvatures along the vertebral column. The degree of scoliosis may vary dramatically from mild imperceptible curves to severe and physically perceptible deformations that limit movement capacity. Physicians diagnose any lateral deviation greater than 10 degrees from vertical as scoliosis. In the gym, it manifests as a hip or shoulder tilt when athletes should be maintaining a neutral position, level and parallel to the floor.

Read MoreAberrant Vertebral Curves: Scoliosis
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The deadlift is unrivaled in its simplicity and impact while unique in its capacity for increasing head to toe strength. Regardless of whether your fitness goals are to “rev up” your metabolism, increase strength or lean body mass, decrease body fat, rehabilitate your back, improve athletic performance, or maintain functional independence as a senior, the deadlift is a marked shortcut to that end. The deadlift’s primal functionality, whole-body nature, and mechanical advantage with large loads suggest its strong neuroendocrine impact, and for most athletes the deadlift delivers such a quick boost in general strength and sense of power that its benefits are easily understood. If you want to get stronger, improve your deadlift.

Read the 2003 CrossFit Journal articleThe Deadlift

Statins are the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the world and thought to be beneficial for reducing cardiovascular events and relatively risk-free. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick approaches such ideas with skepticism, here reviewing the research behind such claims and sharing the sleight-of-hand tactics used to promulgate them. While much of the data related to statin studies remains hidden from independent researchers, Kendrick finds that available data has been framed in misleading ways. Reviews of studies that tout statins’ effects on mortality reveal statistically insignificant outcomes and leave open the possibility that adverse events could offset statins’ very minuscule benefits.

Read MoreStatins — What Are the Benefits?

This 2019 mouse study demonstrated strength training can meaningfully reverse the negative metabolic impacts of obesity on liver fat and glycemic control. Significantly, strength-trained mice did not decrease overall body weight or adiposity compared to obese sedentary mice. This indicates the metabolic improvements noted above occurred independent of any overall change in weight. This is a critical finding, as previous studies testing the effect of exercise on hepatic fat content and insulin sensitivity have induced weight loss and thus were unable to determine whether exercise reduces liver fat content independently or only as a consequence of whole-body fat loss.

Read MoreShort-Term Strength Training Reduces Gluconeogenesis and NAFLD In Obese Mice

The authors of this 2016 review find compelling early mechanistic evidence that insulin and IGF-1 suppression may have anti-cancer effects. They also find substantial evidence to suggest diets that reduce insulin and IGF-1 levels reduce tumor progression in rats; human evidence, however, is preliminary.

Read MoreDietary and pharmacological modification of the insulin/IGF-1 system: exploiting the full repertoire against cancer

Osteoporosis is a disease in which loss of bone mineral content leads to a weakening of the microarchitecture of bone, making it susceptible to fracture from external forces. Think of it as porous bones (osteo = bone, porosis = more porous). Normal bone is much like limestone, a substance strong enough to serve as building material for huge structures. Conversely, diseased, extremely osteoporotic bone is much like blackboard chalk and easy to break.

Read MoreBone Deposition and Osteoporosis

Statins inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol and decrease levels of low-density lipoproteins, which many believe are atherogenic. Since their development in 1987, statins have become the single most prescribed class of drugs in medicine, and well over 100 million people worldwide take them daily. Here, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick discusses some of the controversies surrounding the popular drugs and explains the evidence that suggests their benefits may be overstated and their adverse effects significantly underestimated.

Read MoreA Review of Statin Therapy

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