Quality over Everything
By Karinvore Kayla
I originally felt compelled to title this piece “Why I will never be an advocate of ‘If it fits your macros’”…or “cupcakes & cleans”…or whatever excuse it takes for people to feel less guilty about shoving non-food items down their pie-holes….
Now I’m sure, like with everything (CrossFit hello), counting macros, and small business owners that decide to name their company after the strongest power lifting exercise and a trans fat (banned by the FDA) fried, sugar-shitstorm mass of processed dough might get a bad rap. Hell! With that kind of name, you’ve gotcher self a good’ol fat oxymoron! It’s catchy…so catchy in fact, that it probably could drive anyone towards thinking “If fit people do it and look the way they do, than I could too”. Unfortunately, this “monkey see, monkey do” concept applies to most advertising and marketing. Why? Because it’s sexy. You think they would put someone who was morbidly obese with decaying teeth telling you to drink Pepsi because it’s “for those who think young” in an ad?? They should!!!! Because that’s the reality of this epidemic. But hey! If it “fits their macros”, it’s all good, 41c/0f/0p for the win!! Not that it’s counterproductive to training or anything like that…
Eating well is not hard. It is unlearning overfeeding and undernourishing the body with chemicals not fit for human consumption (allow me to repeat that…not fit for human consumption) that is hard. The toughest part of eating well is digging through the maze of what restaurants, “convenient” stores, grocery stores, and menus offer real food. One would think that in the world of health and fitness, learning how to make wise food decisions would be easy, but somewhere in the process, someone got caught up in “calories in, calories out”. As fun and simple as that theory seems, humans are much more complex than a car being fueled with gasoline. Calories don’t just magically disappear. If you burn all the calories you consume, where is your energy? I’d bet with that kind of game plan performance would decrease, moodiness would set in, and you would be tired. All. Day. It’s not sustainable for a long period of time, therefore it’s not realistic. Counting calories is so 90’s anyway…we’ve headed in a more hopeful direction paying attention to the nutrition facts label, more importantly, protein, carbs, and fat. Yet, that kind of information still fails to give you the full report on the quality and content of what is being eaten. What about the ingredients? The box says “All Natural”, “Gluten Free”, “Sugar Free” “Organic”, what have you…now take a gander at the ingredients list listed under “Ingredients”. Is it what it says it is on the box? Is it in english? Did you take organic chemistry? If you did and you can draw the structure, put it back on the shelf, homie. Oh! But before you do, make sure you check out the daily percentage value next to sugar…Poof! Sugar sporting an invisibility cloak on ALL nutrition fact labels since–forever. Imagine that one, picking up a 20oz soda and reading 130% of a daily value of sugar. Welp, I guess that means no sugar tomorrow! The same scenario applies to supplements in the health and fitness industry. Protein shakes! BCAAs! Bars galore! Pre-workout hulk-mad-hulk-smash!! Guess what..it’s the same shady ingredients we don’t know how to pronounce. Will life continue on as we know it if we don’t have our pre-workout sizzurp, or post-workout concoction? Probably. Will it absolutely make you stronger, faster, and healthier? Not absolutely. Quality of life stands a better chance of helping you make those changes, such as the amount of sleep you are allowing yourself, quality of food you choose to put in your body to be fueled, staying hydrated (with WATER), proper training (ahem, constantly varied, functional movements, performed at a high intensity), proper rest time (not just in between wods), and attitude.
Sugar is metabolized by different tissues and organs in the body. So, going back to calories, how can one assume that all calories are created equal when the contents are metabolized differently and do not have the same effect? The CrossFit Journal recently released an article about calorie intake that included some powerful words I wanted to share. “Repeated consumption of that 200-calorie chocolate-frosted doughnut—rather than the 200-calorie chicken breast—can lead to metabolic derangement that could manifest itself as anything from being overweight to diabetes to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. It’s the content of the food—not its caloric value— that matters. Cyanide, after all, has few calories.” (Cecil, A.M. Calories In, Calories Out-Dated. The Crossfit Journal. 2015.)
I understand the phrase TREAT. YO. SELF. I do. I understand where there is hard work, there is well deserved play. But there is an appropriate time and place for it. A gym is and should be a health sanctuary for people to come in, work hard, vent, relieve stress, motivate each other, practice technique, get fit, and leave knowing they did something that absolutely pushed them towards being more healthy. It should not be ONE more place in a persons day where they have to worry about making the wrong decisions. The moment someone steps foot in a gym, they should feel comfort and support, for they have already made the executive decision to complete the first and most difficult step which is showing up. They should NOT be taunted or tempted to buy or consume anything that ultimately makes them less healthy. Exercise does not cancel out bad food choices, bad food choices cancel out exercise. It’s like studying for a test, but failing it and taking the same grade you would have recieved if you didn’t take it, or like going to an AA meeting with a bottle of vodka, or better yet, leaving the dentist and grabbing a piece of candy on your way out. Being set up for failure before you have begun. Everyone is in charge of their own ecosystem (as my physiology teacher described). We have trillions of cells and molecules working constantly in our bodies to keep us living. You can determine the destiny of those cells and molecules. We all know what we do to our bodies underlies health and disease. So don’t leave it up to someone else to make that decision for you.