Monday, November 27, 2017

Welcome back from Thanksgiving travel - hope you stay healthy...

Hope you all enjoyed your holidays traveling and congregating with lots of sick people. If you're feeling under the weather, don't come to the gym!

Why do we tend to get sick over the winter holidays but not during other times when we travel? Why is cold and flu season during the winter months? I think it's a perfect storm of a couple of immune compromising effects:

  • Increase in number of people you're around - traveling and visiting people just puts you in contact with more chances to get sick
  • Cold weather means you usually stay indoors and don't get a chance to get some fresh clean air.
  • Lack of sunlight means your vitamin-D levels are dropping. They probably started dropping some time in September with the equinox and now they're dangerously low.

But here's a new one that I didn't think about until I saw this article. It's a weird British article where they talk about their "5-a-day program" which is their own flavor of incompetent government program to get you to eat more fruit. You can ignore that; the interesting thing is the link to the study where they measured the effectiveness of your immune system after different types of foods.

After I switched to a "paleo" diet, I had very few bad colds. Usually I just feel crappy for a couple of days and then it goes away, not like the typical cold I was used to. My old explanation for that was that the low inflammatory diet brought my baseline inflammation down far enough that having a cold didn't take me over the threshold of badness. I still think that's true, but I now see a bigger effect: carbs make your immune system weaker.

The study in the linked article compares the measured effectiveness of your immune system after eating different foods. Your immune system is the strongest when you're fasting - ever notice that you're not hungry when you're sick? Trust evolutionary biology to do the right thing - don't force feed a cold, let your body tell you what you need.  As you eat carbs your immune system becomes depressed, not recovering for 5 hours.

There's a whole table in the article detailing the effects, but the worst are the sweet high-glycemic index things. A glass of OJ reduces your immune strength by half for over 5 hours!

So think about your Thanksgiving trip: you probably had lots of high-carb treats and were grazing all day long so you kept depressing your immune system and resetting that 5-hour clock. No wonder we get sick in the winter - it's our comfort food.

This is another reason why punctuated eating is much better than grazing - you need that reset time!


row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips


squat 5-3-2-3x2


2 pull-ups + 2 dips between strength sets

Group Workout

6L, 6R of the following complex:
1 kettlebell clean from ground + 2 front squat + 1 jerk 
at a challenging weight


3 rounds:
15 burpees 
10 goblet squats
3 pull ups


2 minute bar hang


Sign up for classes

Strength Metrics

Get Xero Shoes