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Two Years Alcohol Free and Ten Years Owning CFN – Here’s What I’m Noticing

Today is New Year’s Day 2020 and marks two full years I’ve been living alcohol free. I first wrote about this subject back in August 2018. At the time, I was about 9 months into the journey.

Since I can say is that I’m noticing more and feel better. These are my experiences and some felt perspectives and maybe even a few curiosities. I’m not standing on a box and telling. Only sharing my experience.

It’s also my final blog post. Thanks for being great clients and friends and coaches.

Why did I stop drinking? The truth is there wasn’t a single incident or negative event. During the evenings I started noticing that I was thinking about it. Should I or shouldn’t I have a drink? Then I started noticing that after a beer or two later I would wake-up in the middle of the night around the same time. Then I read a more detailed explanation of how the body metabolizes ethanol. I thought about how many years I’d been metabolizing ethanol. It started to become a thing I thought about. I reasoned that I didn’t want to do that anymore and that the upside(s) didn’t outweigh the downside(s). So, I gave it up.

Here are a few things I’m noticing.

  1. I think I feel my life more. Life is amazing and glorious and a true privilege. It’s of course not always easy, but being alive feels really good.
  2. I haven’t always felt this way. Over the last few years – and especially during the last two – I’ve been able to see and talk about my teen, early adult and mid-life challenges with anxiety. I can see that alcohol was a tool that helped ease my social anxiety. I feel like I’m a lot more present and sincere in all of my conversations.
  3. The mental health crisis and an increasing mortality rate in the U.S. and a bubbling discussion around “despair” have my attention. I’m more in touch with the human condition and I’m more curious about unspoken despair. Peter Attia recently highlighted these subjects.
  4. I think we are our own worst critics. I’m getting better at being more kind to myself.
  5. I love my family (photo above) and I tell them so more often. I love you, family.
  6. A new field of precision (individualized) mental and physical health includes university researchers, clinicians and other scientists, systems thinkers and collaborators. I find myself very interested in this next chapter of health and wellness and what will become an evolving study of longevity.
  7. Teens and Depression and Anxiety have my attention. The subject brings me full circle to my own experiences. I’m very interested in how we can bring smart mental and physical health to our schools.
  8. I’m reading more fiction, less nonfiction.
  9. After 10 years of helping run this place, I know in my heart that CrossFit, when dosed reasonably, is the best fitness curriculum on the planet. I’m certain. I’m also certain that Michael Crespo will be a dedicated, knowledgeable, kind and successful leader.
  10. We are all different and there’s no one nutrition plan or book or relationship or guru that/who fixes us. If you are curious about how our body responds to food and the neuroregulation of our appetite, read Robb Wolf’s Wired To Eat. This book changed the way I think about food and manage blood sugar. Matt Walker’s book changed the way I think about sleep. Tony Anello helped me change the way I think about booze. Thanks, T.
  11. Still most people don’t want to talk about food, booze and sleep. Feel the trigger that invoked? Food. Booze. Sleep. Maybe 2020 is the year that you shift your food, booze and sleep.
  12. If you are curious about how you want to show-up in your life, ask yourself how you want to show-up in your life. What is it that you want? Write it down.
  13. Showing-up may mean you’ll need to ask for help. Ask a CFN coach. Call a good friend or call me. What is it that you want? Say it out loud. It’s never too late to pivot and begin making lasting change.
  14. You are in great hands with our current leadership and coaching staff. Thanks for 10 great years. Thank you for supporting my decision to pivot and change.
  15. Wishing you Love and Fun and Health in 2020.

Keep in touch. I love coffee and always happy to brainstorm you, life and your health.

AB

andy@equipsports.org

 

Friday Update News – 11/08/19

Good morning! Here’s your Friday Update News for the week ending 11/08/19.

Health News
I know people who with a big smile would choose sugary cereal over ice cream. Yum, yum! Check out this approximate $30 million lawsuit settlement that will force Kellogg to change its marketing. It’s a sugary cereals lawsuit.

Nutrition
Are we still debating whether or not a calorie is just a calorie? Do people still believe that the quality of a calorie – the source of the fuel – does not matter? Specifically, and as an example, I’m very curious about the role of fructose and understanding what is too much fructose and the accumulation of fat in the liver and ultimately the connection of fructose to heart disease and other health conditions.

Fructose is found naturally in fruits and honey, but in processed foods and sodas it’s been extracted from corn, beets, or sugarcane and that means it’s lost fiber and nutrients, and it’s boom…concentrated. But is all fructose the same? Nearly all added sugars including “organic cane sugar” contain significant fructose and table sugar is 50 percent fructose (1).

As far as fructose consumption and the connection to heart disease, my understanding is that because fructose is directly metabolized by the liver, it has the potential to increase the liver’s fat burden. This has the potential to increase lipoprotein production and can ultimately produce a lipid profile with those nasty atherogenic small, dense LDL particles. When I finally saw a physician who was able to order more comprehensive blood panels, I discovered that my lipid profile and specifically LDL small particles (and other metabolic markers) were not as I expected. Was the amount of fructose I consumed – all those sugary margaritas – part of the problem?

Is the amount of fructose you consume even on your radar? What about the amount of fructose your kids consume? What about more comprehensive blood tests and knowing your LDL particle count numbers? What about uric acid numbers? Uric what?!

Is anyone just a bit curious?

Mindset
1) This dude’s mindset is on another level. If your curious about mental toughness, grit, determination and what it takes to make it in the Special Forces, I highly recommend the read.

2) Speaking of mindset, this Michael Pollan book blew my mind.

Movement
The road to getting healthy and ultimately becoming a better mover. What’s your physical path? How are you supporting and addressing your mobility and flexibility, beyond taking classes? Recently I started working with the GoWod app. I really like this tool.

Recovery
Best sleep tracker on the market and has changed the way I think and feel about the most important recovery practice. I’ll share with you that if I eat too close to bed time – and especially a protein heavy meal – my sleep quality plummets. The Oura data has allowed me to adjust lifestyle and behaviors – most of the time – accordingly.

(1) UCSF Mag, 12/26/18. Anne Kavanagh. Sugar’s Sick Secrets: How Industry Forces Have Manipulated Science to Downplay the Harm

Friday Update News – 11/01/19

Good evening! Here’s your copy of the FUN for this week ending 11/01/19.

News
The “Keto” craze is everywhere and seems to be fueled mostly by people interested in weight loss. I am interested this growing body of work which looks at nutritional and supplemental ketosis for neuroprotective and even performance-enhancing effects

Nutrition
Check out this video – “The Role of Nutrition in Everything”.

Mindset
Check out this article about the relationship between your breath and your brain.

Movement
Did you know these muscles help you breathe and move?

Recovery
Just listened to a recent and very interesting OPEX podcast With PhD Exercise Physiologist, Mike T Nelson.

Videos mentioned: Impact of Cannabis / CBD on Exercise Recovery / Adaptation
Movies mentioned: Concussion
Check out Dr. Mike T Nelson’s website here.

An Incredible Time….

By Michael Crespo

We live in an incredible time. Last week Andy wrote a blog about the ReCODE study and CrossFit Novato’s involvement. The ReCODE protocol is used to slow and reverse Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disease most often marked my rapid cognitive decline and that was previously thought to have been a genetic fate which nothing could be done about. 

 

The ReCODE Protocol was developed by Dr. Dale Bredensen,internationally recognized expert in Neurogenerative Diseases.  Dr. Bredensen was also the founding CEO and President of Novato’s Buck Institute in 1998. Dr. Bredensen earned his Doctorate in Medicine from Duke University Medical Center and served as Chief Resident in Neurology at the University of California. It is safe to say Dr. Bredensen knows the brain having studied cognitive decline extensively. 

 

There are around 44 million people living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of Dementia. Alzheimer’s alone is purported to possibly bankrupt medicare. According to the center on longevity, “Every 66 seconds this year, an American will develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association annual report. By the year 2050, that number is expected to double to one every 33 seconds.” Which is to say this is a massive problem for all of us. 

 

Dr. Bredensen has dedicated his life to researching the prevention and reversal of cognitive decline. I’ve had the honor of hearing Dr.Bredensen speak once at a Ted Talk in San Rafael, CA and have also heard his interviews on a few recent podcasts. It is worth noting that Dr. Bredesen’s wife is a Functional Medicine Doctor who mentioned back at the beginning of his research that whatever cure he found would be rooted in a systems approach. This is the really exciting part!

 

A systems approach to our health utilizes different lifestyle interventions whose sum work, treats illness. It is for this reason that the goal of the ReCode study is to prove that multiple components work to treat and reverse Alzheimer’s together and one is not more important than the others. Participants in the ReCODE treatment:

  1. Are put on a low carbohydrate nutrient-dense Keto-Flex diet
  2. Are asked to do 2-3 days of Strength Training and 5 days of Aerobic Exercise a week (High-Intensity Interval Training when possible)
  3. Have a goal to obtain 8 hours of high-quality optimized sleep a night
  4. Participants also participate in Heart Math training for stress reduction
  5. Participants also take a variety of supplements that help with brain support, immune support, antioxidant support, and digestive support. 

 

You may have read up to here and thought well that’s all good and dandy, but how does that help me? Well, the reason I wrote this blog post was for you to realize no matter your genetic disposition the choices you make every day have a profound effect on your health! 

We live in an amazing time. Functional doctors are prescribing diet, exercise, nutrition, stress reduction, and supplementation. I will leave you with “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” -Thomas Edison. Perhaps the Doctor is in and you simply need to walk through the door

   

Sources:

“Alzheimer’s: The Disease That Could Bankrupt Medicare – CNN.” Longevity.stanford.edu, 17 Mar. 2017, http://longevity.stanford.edu/2017/03/07/alzheimers-the-disease-that-could-bankrupt-medicare-cnn/.

ReCode: The Reversal of Cognitive Decline Study

By Andy Boone

I’m writing to share some exciting news. CrossFit Novato and Novato Health have been invited to participate in a clinical study to help measure treatment impact on typical progression of neurocognitive decline observed in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and patients exhibiting Mild Cognitive Decline (MCI). Our team is quietly working among a group of healthcare practitioners embarking on the first rigorous trial of a very promising protocol designed to halt the progression of cognitive decline. The endeavor is “ReCODE” or the Reversal of Cognitive Decline study. I humbly and respectfully could not be more proud of this opportunity!

 

The ReCODE trial is employing Dr. Dale Bredesen’s ReCODE Functional Medicine approach to reversing mild cognitive impairment and early dementia. You may be familiar with Dr. Bredesen’s book, The End of Alzheimer’s. There are approximately 30 people participating in the study. Up to 10 participants will be under the care of our partner physician, San Rafael-based Dr. Ann Hathaway. 

 

Here is a detailed description of the study published at clinicaltrials.gov

 

A training program for each study patient will depend on individual history, symptoms, and comprehensive labs including digestive function and microbiome, nutrient and hormonal status, cardiovascular assessment, infectious etiologies, mold, and chemical toxins, and advanced genetic analysis. So far, Michael and Andy have the lead on working with clients. Subjects will adopt a specific diet (working with a certified Nutritionist), commit to regular exercise, work to optimize sleep and adopt stress-reducing activities (working with our team!). 

 

I’m very proud of our CrossFit roots and our ability to deliver really smart fitness. This January marks our 10th year operating as a proud CrossFit Affiliate. Five of our coaches are now also ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coaches (A-CFHC).  Supporting physicians and their patients more directly – including now stepping into clinical research – is an exciting next chapter for this community. 

 

2019 Best Life Possible

By Andy Boone

What if 2019 is the year that you finally decide to prioritize you? Let that question hang there a bit. I am talking about seriously prioritizing your life, along with growing curious about your health. To take it one step further. What if you decided that beginning in 2019 you were going to commit to living the best life possible? What might the best life possible even look like!? Where would you start?

CrossFit Inc. makes a strong case that points to health parameters that sit well ordered on a continuum of values ranging from “Sick” to “Well” to “Fit”. For example;

  • High-density lipoproteins (HDL cholesterol or what we think of as  good cholesterol). Less than 35 mg/dL of HDL cholesterol and you may have a problem, 50 mg/ dL is  nice, and 75 mg/dL is a whole lot better.
  • Blood pressure: 195/115 mm/Hg you have a problem, 120/70 mm/Hg is considered healthy, and 105/50 mm/Hg looks more like an athlete’s blood pressure
  • Triglycerides, bone density, muscle mass, body fat, hemoglobin A1c all can be plotted relative to the above values.

The significance is that these are the predictors, cause, and  manifestation of chronic disease. Chronic diseases include obesity, coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, many cancers, Alzheimer’s, peripheral artery disease, and advanced biological aging, among others (above examples from CrossFit Inc. L1 Training Guide and talks by Coach Greg Glassman).

Perhaps you’ve already made your commitment to your health. You have a physician you trust, you test important markers and the above values and metrics sit very nicely within “Well” and “Fit” ranges. Maybe you turned to our CrossFit program or another fitness program you love, you’ve dialed in a nutrition plan and you sleep soundly among other healthy behaviors. You manage stress well and don’t feel a struggle with rumination or overly anxious worry. You are living what feels like your best life and you even have data to support it. Keep rockin!

Or maybe that’s not quite it. Perhaps it still feels, you feel, like something might be missing? Maybe you know something is missing, but just not sure what.

I pen this in the spirit of a new year, but it’s more than that. Your health, your life, and the opportunity for you to live the best life possible is what motivates me. It’s my personal Why. It’s why I spend so much time thinking about this place. It’s why I try to empower and create opportunities for coaches. It’s why I’m committed to this level of transparency! I am determined to create a space, program and a team of coaches that can support you in evoking a massive life change. Consider this your invitation to get curious about what’s possible!

I’ll reach a bit and attempt to connect said invitation to the Buddhist concept of Impermanence. According to the teachings of The Buddha, life is comparable to a river. It is a progressive moment, a series of different moments joining together to give the impression of one continuous flow. It moves from cause to cause and effect to effect. It moves from one point to another, giving the outward impression that it is one continuous unified movement. In reality, it is not.  As they say, the river of yesterday is not the same as today (adapted from urbandharma.org). Today is a new day. A new opportunity.

So much of our physiology and our health is the result of the lifestyle and behaviors we choose. As I have written about in the past, if we are willing to first examine and then potentially say NO to certain aspects of our life, especially with habits we’ve developed over many years, where then can we finally say YES? If we can develop the strength to let go of the stories we’ve told ourselves for many years, then what? What new doors can we open?

A few years ago I found a physician who helped me begin to get really curious about my health. Perhaps more importantly, he helped me begin to pay attention to the life I was living. How did I want to show-up in this great game? Where was I willing to make changes beyond showing up and consistently taking CrossFit classes?

I am certain that each one of us has the power to stop telling ourselves the same old story. My certainty comes from my own experience. 1/1/19 marked achieving a personal goal of 12 months alcohol-free. I pondered this potential lifestyle change for a couple of years. How would I be able to hang with friends? Enjoy happy hours? Survive at a cocktail party!? Alcohol consumption may not even be on your radar, but perhaps there is an area in your life where you might benefit from evoking a change.

Here’s the point I want to make: if we can stop long enough to hear the stories we’ve been telling ourselves for years, the power to choose otherwise and make big shifts lives in each of us.  This includes perceived fate, no matter our age, condition or current physical shape. Even genetic predispositions passed on from our parents are only part of the story. Humans possess the ability to turn genes off and on via lifestyle and behavior changes. Simply put, you have the opportunity to take charge of your health and wake-up to living a different life.

Stay-tuned next week as we begin to preview a couple very cool 2019 programs launching soon. This includes the “Take Charge of your Health” program that will include all access seminars, as well as small group health coaching sessions. Our goal is to create opportunities for us all to dive deeper into identifying our own stories, listening to self-talk, understanding behavior change, setting attainable and sustainable goals and truly waking up what’s possible.

Happy 2019 from Portobelo, Panama.  Let us all celebrate the opportunity to finally Take Charge of Our Health!

CrossFit Novato - Downtown

Address: 7427 Redwood Blvd
Novato, CA 94945

Phone: (415) 290-2964
Email: andy@crossfitnovato.com

CrossFit Novato - Pacheco Valley

Address: 5420 Nave Dr
Novato, CA 94949

Phone: (415) 290-2964
Email: andy@crossfitnovato.com

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