December 26th, 2005


Getting Fit, Even if It Kills You

[This article has a number of inaccuracies and exaggerations. For example, the article suggests that workouts are too strenuous and that crossfit enthusiasts are encouraged to value speed and weight over correct form. However, if you read the site, you will find that newbies are encouraged to adjust the workout-of-the-day (aka "WOD") to suit their level of fitness, and to always perform the exercises with correct form. Plus the website publishes an extensive video archive demonstrating how to do each exercise with proper form:

If you adjust the workout to your fitness level, the risk of rhabdomyolysis is quite low. I like the crossfit philosophy, and I recommend that anyone interested in functional fitness check them out.]

December 22, 2005
Physical Culture
Getting Fit, Even if It Kills You

WHILE many gymgoers complain that they might not survive a tough workout, Brian Anderson can speak from experience. For his first CrossFit session, he swung a 44-pound steel ball with a handle over his head and between his legs. The aim was to do 50 quick repetitions, rest and repeat. After 30 minutes, Mr. Anderson, a 38-year-old member of the special weapons and tactics team in the sheriff's office in Tacoma, Wash., left the gym with his muscles sapped and back pain so excruciating that he had to lie in the driveway to collect himself.

That night he went to the emergency room, where doctors told him he had rhabdomyolysis, which is caused when muscle fiber breaks down and is released into the bloodstream, poisoning the kidneys. He spent six days in intensive care.

Yet six months later Mr. Anderson, a former Army Ranger, was back in the gym, performing the very exercises that nearly killed him. "I see pushing my body to the point where the muscles destroy themselves as a huge benefit of CrossFit," he said.

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The Winning Edge

The Winning Edge

By: Peter Doskoch
Summary: We're primed to think that talent is the key to success. But what counts even more is a fusion of passion and perseverance. In a world of instant gratification, grit may yield the biggest payoff of all.

In the summer of 1994, in the tallest o Princeton University's ivory towers, Andre Wiles was completing one of the mos extraordinary odysseys in the history o math. For more than three decades, Wile had been obsessed with Fermat's Las Theorem, a seemingly simple problem tha had stumped mathematicians for 35 years. French mathematician Pierre d Fermat had noted that although there ar plenty of solutions to the equation 2 + Y2 = Z2 (for example, 32 + 42 = 52), there is no corresponding solution if the numbers are cubed instead of squared. In fact, Fermat scribbled in the margin of a book that he had "truly marvelous" proof that the equation Xn + Yn = Zn has no solution if n is any number greater than 2. Unfortunately, he never put his proof on paper.

Wiles was 10 years old when he encountered the theorem. "It looked so simple, and yet all the great mathematicians in history couldn't solve it. I knew from that moment that I had to." When classmates were flocking to rock concerts, he was studying how geniuses of prior eras approached the problem. He abandoned the quest after college in order to focus on his budding academic career, but his obsession was rekindled in 1986, when a fellow mathematician showed that proving a certain mathematical hypothesis -- this one unsolved for a mere 30 years -- would also prove Fermat's theorem. He set aside all but the few classes he was teaching -- and revealed his quest to no one but his wife. To disguise his single-mindedness, he rationed the publication of previously completed work.

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A street-savvy program: Krav Maga and Crossfit

Krav Maga and CrossFit have given Bobbi Salvini good health and self-confidence

October 18, 2005

Her son's words caught Bobbi Salvini with her guard down.

"Mom, let's do sparring," 14-year-old Kevin said.

JOHN GASTALDO / Union-Tribune
Bobbi Salvini has lost 40 pounds with a regimen of Krav Maga, an Israeli self-defense discipline, and CrossFit, a conditioning program with drills.
Her reaction, once the initial blow had worn off: "Well, uh, maybe there's a gym somewhere in the phone book."

Salvini's idea of exercise at the time began and ended with a tap dance class at Balboa Park. But she wasn't averse to trying something else that would keep her on her toes, sort of. Moreover, she wasn't about to disappoint her son.

"When your children grow up, if you don't show an interest in what they want to do, you grow apart," she said. "There's no basis for a relationship."

Next thing she knew, Salvini, 48, was practicing full-body contact sparring and grappling and learning the fundamentals of Krav Maga, an Israel military defense discipline. All this at her local neighborhood gym in Ramona, Brand X martial arts school. For good measure, she added CrossFit, a closely supervised conditioning program that features drills with names like pain storm.

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