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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.

The CrossFit program aims to develop a fitness that is broad, general, and inclusive. To truly pursue and attain this degree of fitness, athletes of all developmental levels should continually strive to learn and master new and more challenging skills.

Read MoreSkill Development Forever

Every load carried, pulled, or pushed with the hands transmits its weight to the axial skeleton and then the ground through the shoulder skeleton and musculature. You can’t pull a weight off the ground without shoulder muscle contribution. You can’t push overhead without significant shoulder contribution. Even something as simple as holding a bag of groceries recruits the muscles of the shoulder.

Read MoreShoulder Muscles, Part 2: Posterior Musculature

The dumbbell front squat builds on the mechanics of the barbell front squat. The dumbbells may not be supported entirely on the torso as they are with the barbell, but the goal remains the same: to support the load primarily on the shoulders with the elbows pointed forward. Controlling both dumbbells demands and improves midline stability, control, and accurate positioning of the body.

Watch The Dumbbell Front Squat

The CrossFit program is designed for breadth, generality, and inclusivity. Variance follows as a critical element to achieve this aim. It is not enough to develop one capacity at the expense of any or all others. To truly achieve a state of general physical preparation, elements such as repetitions, distances, loads, movements, and durations of effort must be varied and varied regularly.

Read MoreDefining CrossFit, Part 3: Variance

Previous research has suggested intermittent fasting drives metabolic benefits independent of weight loss, including improvements in insulin sensitivity, lipid profile, liver fat, and markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. This 2018 trial assessed the metabolic benefits of a specific form of intermittent fasting: early time-restricted feeding, where all food intake was confined to a single six-hour window early in the day. Researchers found subjects who ate within that window improved insulin sensitivity and beta cell functionality as well as blood pressure and markers of oxidative stress.

Read MoreEarly Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, and Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes

“The reaction [to the Annals of Internal Medicine publications debunking the advice to eat less meat] was swift and unsurprising. Proponents of the current guidelines were quick to attack the papers and the authors. The first thing that I noticed in the first media article I read was that the word “controversial” appeared in the first sentence. … A (essentially, if not entirely) non-conflicted panel published four systematic reviews of all the evidence available (which was vast for observational studies, if not RCTs) and concluded that any associations observed were very small and the certainty of evidence was low or very low. They cautioned that observational studies cannot establish causation; they don’t report absolute differences; and they are at high risk of confounding. My conclusion from this would have been to dismiss existing guidelines and advise that they be ignored. The panel’s recommendations to continue current consumption were cautious in this context, not controversial.”

Read the article Meat guidelines – the evidence

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick concludes his series on the response to injury hypothesis for cardiovascular disease (CVD) by observing that reducing risk relies on doing at least one of three things, and ideally all three: protecting the endothelium from damage, reducing blood coagulability, and improving the body’s healing processes. Kendrick highlights several specific ways to protect the endothelium, from quitting smoking to getting more sun to increasing potassium intake.

Read MoreWhat Causes Cardiovascular Disease? The Response to Injury Hypothesis, Part 4

The strict toes-to-bar is a staple in the conditioning programs of many gymnasts. Although a relatively non-technical movement, performing it well demands trunk strength, flexibility, and control. Pushing into the bar with straight arms allows you to use the strength of the upper body to assist with elevating the legs. Make sure to keep the legs together and as straight as flexibility will allow.

Watch The Strict Toes-To-Bar

“Blood-vessel disease was common (among the ancient Egyptians), contrary to assumptions that it arises from urban stress and a modern high-fat diet,” Dr. Michael Eades, MD, reads aloud to the audience at the CrossFit Health Conference on Aug. 1, 2018. After reading this quote in a book, Eades began to research the dietary factors that may have contributed to the high incidence of heart disease among the ancient Egyptians. In this presentation, Eades shares some of the outcomes of that research, taking his audience “on a journey through the anthropological literature and what that means in terms of ‘off the carbs.’”

Read MorePaleopathology and the Origins of the Paleo Diet

This 2017 review summarizes the potential of a ketogenic diet to enhance the effects of radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is constrained by the damage it causes to healthy cells. As a result, any simultaneous treatment that can either increase the damage radiotherapy does to cancer cells or protect healthy cells from damage may increase its effectiveness. Potential benefits of a ketogenic diet alongside radiotherapy include the reduction of cancer cells’ ability to repair DNA, the slowing of tumor growth and repopulation, and the protection of healthy cells against the harms of radiotherapy by shifting them from an anabolic/growth-centric state to a non-dividing state.

Read MoreFasting, fats, and physics: Combining ketogenic and radiation therapy against cancer

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick analyzes the hypothesis that atherosclerotic plaque develops when the rate of damage to the endothelium exceeds the body’s rate of healing. This means factors that can cause plaques to develop and grow accelerate endothelial damage, create larger and more difficult-to-clear thrombi, and/or impair healing. Kendrick provides examples of these factors — examples as diverse as sickle cell disease, taking immunosuppressants, and smoking — and claims this hypothesis for the cause of cardiovascular disease links risk factors that may not seem to have anything in common.

Read MoreWhat causes cardiovascular disease? The response to injury hypothesis, Part 3

For CrossFit, power is exactly equal to intensity. In a manner similar to the term “functional,” the term “intensity” historically has been nebulously defined, often based on perceived efforts or correlates rather than an objective and measurable assessment. CrossFit’s measure of intensity is power. This is important because now we can establish measurable, observable, and repeatable data from our workouts by calculating intensity.

Read MoreDefining CrossFit, Part 2: Intensity

There are many variations of the Olympic lifts. The qualifier "hang" describes the starting position of the bar. The hang clean emphasizes the second and third pulls of the clean, from the hang position with the bar at the hip, to the full squat receiving position, and finally to the end of the lift with the bar in the front rack. The timing, powerful hip extension, and coordination remain similar to the clean. However, the technical demands of arriving at the correct position are reduced compared to pulling the bar from the floor.

Watch The Hang Clean

Prof. Timothy Noakes describes the methodology and findings associated with Ancel Keys’ two most famous studies, the Seven Countries Study (SCS) and Minnesota Coronary Experiment (MCE). Significantly, both studies failed to support Keys’ diet-heart and lipid hypotheses. Noakes claims Keys and his followers, to hide the inconvenient truth, buried the studies’ results. To the detriment of Keys’ legacy, however, the original MCE documents were discovered in a box five years after his death. Noakes explains what the data revealed.

Read MoreIt’s the Insulin Resistance, Stupid: Part 8

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