It’s Monday, and hopefully you had an awesome weekend of raging, or rest and relaxation, and your back to the grind of the week ahead .
It’s a bit lengthy, so grab your black coffee, eggs and bacon and strap in…
There are three parts to this post and you must read all three.
There are a couple types of people in this world, the ones who live what they preach to the core, and the ones who are a big phony cover up. The worker-outer vs. The Fit. Which one are you?
The Worker-outer is the guy who goes to the gym, every day, of every month of every year. He can’t possibly miss it, he has to get in his workout so he feels good, so he can tell you he went to the gym on Facebook and so he internally thinks he is healthy and fit. Yet, after the gym, he goes home, he sits on the couch, watches TV, so he can rest up for his workout the next day. He workouts out so he can eat more. This guy has the best workout gear, the most impressive (artificial) tan, and all the supplements in the world, but he eats like shit; He spends more time looking in the mirror than prepping his meals for the week.
The Fit is an individual who believes Fitness is a means to an end. This guy lives actively; He parks at the end of the parking lot, takes the stairs, carries all of his bags on trips, uses his bike to get around, spends more $ on quality food, he chooses to go on a hike rather than a movie on Sunday afternoons, his vacations are to learn how to surf, ski, hike, fish and explore, not to MTV Spring Break. He chooses functionality in training over aesthetics, he understands the importance of “go muscles” rather than “show muscles”, His tan is from the sun, His supplements are natural and minimal, his food is grass fed and organic. The Fit applies his fitness, shares his knowledge and lives an active lifestyle.
Which bucket do you fall under? Do you take off the costume once you leave the gym? Or do you practice what you preach?
Hang onto to this thought till the end, it will all make sense soon.
Before I get to the end, I need to tell you another story about places called The Blue Zones.
Last week I was at dinner in Little Italy in Baltimore. I was eating at a Mediterranean restaurant and we got talking to the owner (let’s call him Peter). Peter and his business partner Gabriel moved to the US from Ikaria, Greece to start there lifelong dream of running a successful Greek Restaurant, and they have accomplished just that. The food was amazing, lamb, hummus, unbelievable antipasto, octopus (yeh, octopus), food you would expect from the heart of Greece. I know you’re all drooling now, grab a paper towel, wipe off your keyboard , Ill wait ..
Good? Ok now back to the story … At the age of 32, Gabriel was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Opening a business is stressful, especially away from family and friends, in a foreign country; they were working 15 hour days for many years to get there business running smoothly and eventually it took its toll on Gabriel. Gabriel sacrificed his health in place of his business and his dream. Some of you may be saying, well how do you know that Gabriel got cancer because of his lifestyle, doesn’t that sound a bit outrageous and speculative? Your right, it definitely is, but hear me out till the end of the story. After all of Gabriel’s doctor visits and tests, Gabriel decided that since he had less than 1 year to life he was going to return home to Ikaria and live out the rest of his days.
If you don’t know anything about Ikaria , Greece, it looks like this
“Chronic diseases are a rarity in Ikaria. People living in this region have 20% less cancer, half the rate of cardiovascular disease, and almost no dementia! People traditionally have farming or fishing jobs and lives in mountainous terrains, which keep them active throughout life. They eat a variation of the Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, whole grains, fruit and a little fish. Goat milk and wine are also traditional here and loaded with antioxidants. Time is taken out of their day to nap and connect with friends, reducing stress and promoting relaxation.”
In Ikaria , Greece people work to live, and not live to work, they are active, have a work life balance, spend time with family and friends and exercise through functionality. They have done studies on Americans avg age over 100 and found commonalities to those people living in Blue Zones.
1. Move Naturally The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.
2. Purpose. The Okinawans call it “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy
3. Down Shift Even people in the Blue Zones experience stress. Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. What the world’s longest-lived people have that we don’t are routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour.
4. 80% Rule “Hara hachi bu” – the Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. People in the Blue Zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.
5. Plant Slant Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of deck or cards.
6. Wine @ 5 People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all weekend and have 14 drinks on Saturday.
7. Belong All but five of the 263 centenarians we interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.
8. Loved Ones First Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (It lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.). They commit to a life partner (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love (They’ll be more likely to care for you when the time comes).
9. Right Tribe The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life. Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.
I know what you’re thinking….
But can your lifestyle, what you eat, and what you do, really have that much of an effect on your health? Is it truly more powerful that the worlds most advanced medical techniques and supplements and medicines? Cant you just have fun, live in the moment ,say fuck it, YOLO , right? You can fix your health later right? Interesting strategy Cotton,…..
Gabriel is still alive, he is 96, cancer free, and living in his home land, happy and healthy. He is surrounded by family and friends, takes daily naps, eats well, and has life balance. Maybe his dream wasn’t really to open a restaurant? Or maybe it was, and when he lost his health his priorities changed?
I won’t ever truly know what Gabriel thinks about his journey as I have never met him and probably never will, but I can say that Gabriel’s story certainly has changed my perspective on what’s important.
GABRIEL MAY NOT KNOW IT, BUT HE LIVING WITH FITNESS. MAYBE GABRIEL’S DEFINITION OF LIVING WITH FITNESS DOESN’T INVOLVE SMASHING WEIGHTS, AND EATING PALEO , BUT HIS LIFE PRINCIPLES DO, HE NOW LIVES WITHIN HIS TRIBE, LIVES AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE AND PRIORITIZES HIS HEALTH OVER WEALTH.
Gabriel has chased his dreams, accomplished them, but at the same time lost what was truly important in life. Without your health, you can’t accomplish anything else. Most people dont realize what they have until it is gone.
CrossFit is beautiful; it is simple, complex, its virtuosity. But CrossFit, just like anything, is only an hour of your day. In one year there are 8,760 hours. If you worked out every day for one year (which we know doesn’t happen) , you still would have 8,395 hours outside of the gym. This means you spend 4% of your time working out at CrossFit in any given year. What you do with the other 96% of your time determines more aspects of your life than you can possibly imagine.
CrossFit Syndicates hidden goal is to get you to prioritize your health over anything else in your life. It’s hidden in PR’s, Fran, BBQ’s, paleo challenges, late burpees. It’s hidden in the cheers of your teammates as you struggle to complete those last reps, and it’s hidden in the bonds you all create sweating, bleeding and achieving in the gym every day. It’s really why your coaches do what they do. We believe we can change the longevity and health of America. Bold? Yep, it is. Well start with Columbia, MD first.
Some of you may immediately want to move to Greece, I sure as hell do. If that’s a little bit outside the realm of reality, take what the Ikarian’s have taught us, and apply their principles.
Go be The Fit. Go Move Naturally, Go Find the Right Tribe, Go Downshift, Go Find your Purpose, Go walk the walk, Go be the guy who lives a life of fitness, applies his training, and reaps the benefits of all their hard work.
Explore, grow, teach, share, and use what CrossFit has taught you.
And finally, go change someone else’s perspective on Fitness. Share the knowledge.
p.s ignore rule # 5 the Plant Slant- don’t eat beans, that’s definitely a bunch of shit!