Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fitness Is...


Athletic.
Be an athlete.
Greg Glassman wrote the following about fitness, and it’s become scripture in the CrossFit world.
Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.
~Greg Glassman
As you read it, a few things should stand out. First, the most broken record on earth could not be more played out than this intro on nutrition. It’s beautiful, concise, and accurate. And compulsive Crossfitters everywhere have ruined it. Honestly, if I read one more blog post about a Paleo challenge or hear another question about upping someone’s fat blocks I’m going to go drown myself in a swimming pool full of mis-portioned grains and dairy. Everyone’s onboard with healthy eating… get over it.
Second, you might notice that the last line of Glassman’s paragraph is hanging on to the rest by merely more than the period that precedes it. “Regularly learn and play new sports.” Not only does this sound like an afterthought, it sounds like an afterthought with no explanation. Why should we care about learning and playing new sports if the rest of the paragraph is outlining how best to support our physical existence without them?
The answer is simple. Most of us ignore it, are too busy to look for it, or just plain don’t want to admit it. Training is practice, nothing more. It’s preparation for something bigger, better, and with higher stakes. What happens in your gym isn’t showtime…it’s not even a scrimmage. It’s fucking ridiculous to go do thrusters for the sake of doing thrusters. We deadlift, clean, squat, press, C&J, and snatch because we want to be strong, powerful, and fast. We do pullups, dips, rope climbs, pushups, situps, handstands, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds to improve accuracy, coordination, balance and flexibility. We bike, run, swim, and row to build agility, stamina, and endurance. We do these things to make ourselves better, more capable humans outside the gym. (For a more thorough explanation on this read Opportunity).
Evaluating this capability is where sports come in. Sure you can do this without them: you will notice basic tasks becoming easier, your clothing fitting better, and in general you’ll start to feel younger. But these are piecemeal measures at best. Learning and playing new sports is a foolproof way to test your physical limits across every dimension of fitness. Take any traditional game and you’ll see all ten physical skills at play in combination. Tennis, golf, football, basketball, volleyball, cricket, rugby, etc—to play and excel at any of these you need at least moderate levels of endurance, stamina, strength, speed, power, agility, coordination, accuracy, flexibility, and balance. Not only that, you need to have them in unison and on call—the randomized nature of sport demands it. Imagine Bo Jackson sprinting down the sideline as fast as he can then stopping, resetting himself, and running somebody over. Or Tiger Woods swinging as hard as he can to the point of contact, then resettling his club and precisely touching the ball with the center of the face. True fitness is fast and strong…powerful and accurate. And it has to be this way seamlessly otherwise it doesn’t work.
We fail to re-create this demand in the gym simply because it isn’t necessary to our immediate goals. We train strength apart from balance, coordination apart from power because separation of skills is the best way to improve them. With focus, intensity, and time we can build capacity in anything, but what are those capacities worth if the body can’t use them in combination? Fluidity is the secret ingredient to preventing injury and living well, but our bodies will never be fluid unless we ask them to be. We love looking down our noses at specialists—bodybuilders who can’t run a mile or yoga masters who can’t do a deadlift—but few in CrossFit are much better. Take your average box to a soccer field and you’ll have 10 people playing kickball, 5 too tired to move, 3 with sprained ankles, and 4 looking for their halftime orange wedges. So, I submit: what exactly does it prove about your fitness if you can do Fran in sub 3:00 but can’t handle the ball for 5 minutes on the pitch?
Some of you might get defensive here and argue that soccer, football, basketball, or baseball are merely specific games with specific skills and that it’s for the lack of these skills that you suck at sports. I’ll concede that every sport has skills and techniques that must be learned and mastered, but each and every one rests on the foundation of the general ten. You can’t shoot a basketball well unless you are coordinated and accurate. You can’t make a lateral cut without strength and agility. The fact that you can’t do these things well on the court has less to do with your deficiency in sport specific skills like shooting and cutting, and more to do with your inability to access your general skills in a randomized environment. That’s why the greatest athletes are passable at every sport with just a little practice. Their general foundation is integrated enough to support them while they tune up the specifics.
Ultimately, life is about reaction, timing, and creativity. WODs are planned, hyped, and strategized. The final sentence of Glassman’s paragraph is one way we can close this gap. But the fact that it’s right there in our faces begs the question why more of us don’t?
Maybe we have too many bad memories of being picked last for that 3rd grade game of dodgeball. Or maybe we simply don’t like the idea of competing against others in a game that we don’t know so well. I’d buy either answer, but I have another one in mind. The CrossFit Games.
For all its lustor and merit (and believe me, I LOVE this event), the Games have become an obstacle when it comes to CrossFitters being athletes. As the sport of fitness has grown, the concept of a what it takes to be fit has grown along with it. Being that the Games represent the proving grounds of World Class Fitness, it follows perfectly well that the definition of fitness should correlate with the skills and tasks demanded of the competitors each summer in California. The fact that the events at the Games more closely mirror training modalities than sport modalities means that fitness has become, first and foremost, about getting good at training. That is, getting good at practice. Competitors must do thrusters for the sake of doing thrusters, pullups for the sake of doing pullups. Essentially, World Class Fitness has become about developing proficiency across broad time and modal domains, but through a practice-only methodology.
I believe the Games were originally meant to be a test of fitness and training methodologies, not a reason for training. But for many this is what they have become. Without slack in our rope we can travel only one direction--this is what has happened with CrossFit and sports. People have grown so obsessed with World Class Fitness and the particulars of its ultimate test that they’ve forgotten part of the original definition included being random, off-balance, and willing to try new things. It included utilizing your general skills in sport and without preparation. It included being an athlete, not just someone who trains.
Show me that on the blogroll and I'll be happy. I might even get you your orange wedge.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

From the Archive: Iceland 2010

Figured with the big Iceland trip only months away and just 7 spots left available, now is an appropriate time to revisit the workout Sven and I did there last May. Below is just a slice of what those of you coming with us in August have to look forward to.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Storyline Submission

This one is coming from Judah Boulet in Providence.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Recovery WOD

CryoTherapy... Stand in a room that is -177 degrees for 3 minutes and tell me how much of a man you are. This is by far the craziest thing I've done in the name of recovery but I gotta say I'm hooked. The benefits mirror those experienced in a cold tub (vasoconstriction/vasodilation), but without the unwanted effect of a lowered core temperature. Because you only spend 2 1/2 - 3 minutes in the chamber only your extremities have time to chill. And do they ever chill! You're only wearing shorts, gloves, and a facemask so skin exposure is near maximal.
Definitely a unique experience that left me feeling great. But the place I visited today is apparently the only one of its kind in the country, so those of you in the Sacramento area need to jump in and take advantage. Check the blurb below for more information.

US Cryotherapy offers cold air therapy for faster recovery and better health in its flagship treatment center will open its doors to the public on April 13, 2011 in Roseville, CA.

Have you considered sitting in a tub full of ice water, or using an ice pack for inflammation, pain relief, or muscle recovery? For decades, these modalities have been the only available options. Now you can spend 3 minutes walking in a whole-body cold air chamber for relief. Cryotherapy is the latest buzz in sports performance enhancement, pain relief, muscle and tissue recovery, and it is becoming very popular with the general public for better health as well. Cryotherapy treatment has already been given the thumbs up by Dr. Oz on his popular daytime television show in January.

US Cryotherapy opened the first of its kind treatment center in the Unites States, in Roseville, CA today. Cold air therapy is being widely used in other parts of the world at elite professional and Olympic training centers, and it’s quickly spreading to their high-end spas for the general public as well. The US center features an upscale d├ęcor, a four person whole body chamber, a cardiovascular and stretching room, a localized body part treatment area, and a private hydro massage bed to complete the experience.

The US Cryotherapy products, which will be sold in the US, are manufactured by mecoTec, Gmbh, the world’s leading manufacturer of “all electric” cold therapy products. The chambers generate extremely cold air, up to 4 times colder than ice packs or baths. “The treatment is much more tolerable than sitting in a tub of ice”, stated US Cryotherapy CEO, Linzie Kramer, “and can produce significant recovery results”. “I experienced it first-hand in Prague, Czech Republic, and immediately felt that I wanted to be instrumental in bringing this technology to the United States”. Along with his three sons, Kramer formed US Cryotherapy, which has secured exclusive distribution rights for all mecoTec products in North America.

In extremely cold temperatures, the blood vessels quickly constrict forming a protective layer while the core body temperature is maintained. The process naturally stimulates blood circulation as the body's hormone, immune, and nervous systems are activated. Following the exposure, the blood vessels release (vasodilate) providing up to 3 times greater blood flow to the body’s damaged tissues and muscles. This process can lead to rapid recovery and long term pain cessation.

“Treat your body”, says Kramer. “It keeps me feeling the best I have in many years. I look forward to this new form of cold therapy enhancing the quality of many people’s lives.”

For more information on US Cryotherapy, visit www.uscryotherapy.com

Visit US Cryotherapy at 8200 Sierra College Blvd, Roseville CA or call (916) 788-CRYO (2796)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pipe Slams! Yeah, you heard me

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Swing to Front Lever 3 x 6

Bent L sit on parralette 3 x max

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Deadlift 5, 5, 3, 3, 1

Bench Press 5, 5, 5, max @ bodyweight

WOD 3 – in the evening…

3 rounds for time:

175 meter tire drag (95#)

20 diagonal pipe slams

20 toes to rings

Totally whiffed on the training split post yesterday… my apologies. Will do my best to get it up tomorrow.

Today’s workouts were a mix of traditional and out of the box. I matched a PR for my deadlift at 455# and managed 22 repetitions on my max bodyweight set of bench. While these are good numbers for me, I still wasn’t feeling all that great. I’m thinking my new schedule of splitting time between the gym and my day job is beginning to catch up with me. My answer was to sneak a power nap from 3.30 to 4.30 before getting on to the crux of the day.

As usual I found myself preferring this more creative brand of training. I’d even go so far as to say that I think this evening’s conditioning session was my favorite workout of the last 6 months. It was really tough, really fun, and really different. Check the video below and keep sending me your storyline submissions!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

5 minutes AMRAP squat snatch

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

3 x 5 skin the cat

5 x 3 muscleup to handstand

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Split Jerk 3, 3, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1

Parralette HSPU 5, 5, 5

GHD Situp 20, 20, 20

WOD 3 – in the evening…

5 minute AMRAP

135# squat snatch

5 minute rest

5 minute AMRAP

16 foot rope climb (2” rope)

I’m not sure if it was the birthday weekend or just a glitch in the matrix, but I wasn’t feeling too strong today. Split jerks I missed 3 consecutive attempts at 308#, a weight I should definitely be able to stick no problem, and the HSPU felt like I weighed an extra 20#. I walked out of the gym in the afternoon luke warm on the whole day. Thankfully the evening session offered some redemption. A power nap and some good food will do a lot it turns out. I managed 31 snatches in the 5 minutes allotted and felt solid all the way through. The rope climbs were a different kind of challenge because the rope was 2” thick. If you haven’t climbed a thick rope before, it’s murder on the grip and arms. I still finished 11 climbs, but was pumped out for a good 20 minutes afterwards.

Tomorrow is a rest day and I plan to write a post about the current training split I’m on and it’s pros and cons. Those of you who’ve been asking for details, I apologize it’s taken me so long to get around to it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

WOD 11.4 and another Storyline Submission

Well… I am officially “Opened” out. At first the prospect of a 6 week crossfit challenge sounded exciting and fun, but I have to be honest: I’m sick of it. This last workout was the most creative and intriguing in my estimation, yet I still found myself lacking the drive to get up for it. Maybe this is all part of the master plan, to test people’s mental endurance as well as their physical, but I think it’s more of a miscalculation of interest. This topic has been a pretty popular one of late in many of the gym communities I frequent, and no one seems to be arguing the contrary. Everyone is talking about how the last month has altered their training, sucked them into a competition only mentality, and psychologically drained them. Luckily I have still been training as I otherwise would have, but I feel the psychological drain for sure. My score this WOD was 143 and I hated every single burpee of the second round. Can’t wait for this to be over.

In happier news, we have another Storyline submission, this time from Dael in Israel. Check it out below.

Storyline WOD for Passover from CF IL on Vimeo.

a Crossfit style, short and wiredo WOD, in a biblical narrative - based on Exsodus, chapter 2. Moses is fighting an Egyptian in order to help his brothers, the people of Israel. Can Crossfit be any more fun than this?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Storyline Submissions

Got our first couple submissions finally. The first is from Josh Courage, you might remember him from his monument WOD amidst the fog along the San Francisco coast. Well, he's back in the woods, this time rescuing children from an invading army.
The second submission is from Kevin Kirsch, showing the best way to train for a jailbreak. Hopefully youtube doesn't broadcast to Folsom Prison. Everyone else out there... the seal has been broken. I expect a veritable flood from here on out.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Super Cindy

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the afternoon…

Strength

Deadlift 3, 3, 3, 3, 3

Push Press 3, 3, 3, 3, 3

Assistance

2 sets of 15 push press to max muscle ups

3 sets of 10 Barbell Good Mornings

WOD 2 – in the evening…

Super Cindy

20 minute AMRAP

5 muscle ups

10 burpees

15 pistols

Laid it out today ladies and gents. Wednesdays are definitely working themselves into the crux of my training week. I hit 440# on the deads and 220# on the push presses, both personal bests for those repetition ranges. Then, in a bit of Open experimentation, I attempted a couple sets of muscle ups after pre-fatiguing the shoulders with 155# push presses, managing 6 unbroken each time. With wood rings and some good stick I’m starting to feel like I can kip for my life and get up at least one rep no matter how tired I am. Might be something those of you out there with muscle ups in the bag might want to give a try…could come in handy someday.

For the evening session I tackled a new take on an old favorite. Where Cindy requires 5 pullups, 10 pushups, and 15 squats for 20 minutes, this version requires 5 muscle ups, 10 burpees, and 15 pistols instead. The inspiration behind this was twofold: first, pistols have never been my strongest movement so I’m always looking for a good reason to program them. Second, I’ve never liked Cindy. Why not spice it up a bit? Turns out pistols still aren’t my best move, but I’ve managed to get them down to a workable proficiency. The muscle ups I did unbroken through the 6th round, after which I did 4 + 1 and 3 + 2 the rest of the way. Having done a few earlier in the day gave me the confidence to keep stringing them together later on in the WOD I think.

I’d love to see some of you gymnastic beasts out there give this a shot and knock out 12- 15 rounds. Please let me know if anybody tries it. Heading back to the river for an ice bath the old fashioned way tomorrow…

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

KB Snatches on the Lake

Workout of the Day:

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Front & Back Lever practice

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Snatch Balance 3, 3, 3, 1, 1, 1, 1

Bar muscle ups for speed 5, 5, 5, 5

Tabata Abmat Situps

WOD 3 – in the evening…

10 to 1 KB snatch each arm (32 kg)

200 meter KB carry between rounds

I’ve had the pleasure of entertaining my great friend and old training partner from DC this weekend, Mark Crick. Having him around has taken me back a few years to my days at Balance Gym—some great memories there. To this point we really hadn’t hit things too hard, so today we got after it. For the strength session in the afternoon I chose to do snatch balances rather than snatches to work on my catch position and shoulder stability at the bottom of my squat. All of you out there who like to lose your lifts forward, start throwing this into your workouts to build speed and coordination through the drop. I got up to 265# for my top set, but it took me a few misses before I hit it. Definitely can be tighter.

The conditioning WOD was straight up brutal. 32 kg kettlebell snatches are NOT something I’ve done much of, let alone carrying the thing between stations. Luckily it was a beautiful day in northern California and I had Mark there to keep me going. Looking at the video I can’t help but notice the incredible amount of torque and speed going through my body as I work to get the bell overhead. Not sure there’s any other exercise that produces so much power. Naturally, I’m in love. My forearms and back are not. Check the video below to see what I mean.

Also, I’m still waiting on those storyline submissions. A lot of you have emailed me with questions and ideas, but still no final products. I’m beginning to worry that the Games season has everyone locked in their gyms doing the same WOD 3 times per week. Please somebody…prove me wrong.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Only 8 Spots left for Anywherefit Iceland!!!

That's right folks, if you haven't been paying attention to the slowly dwindling ticker to the right of this column, we are in the single digits. If you're one of those people still pondering whether or not this is a good idea, your time is running out. Refer here for information on the itinerary and cost.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

AMRAP Galore

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Gymnastics

3 x 30 second hollow rocks

3 x 10 dip + L sit

3 x pullup + toe to bar

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Strength

Snatch grip Deadlift 3, 3, 3, 3, 3

Kneeling strict press (DB) 5, 5, 5, 5

Good Mornings 15, 15, 15

Planche Progression Pushup 10, 10, 10

WOD 3 – in the evening…

2 minute AMRAP for each of the following:

Muscle Ups

KB swing (24 kg)

GHD Situp

Thruster (95#)

Sumo Deadlift High Pull (95#)

Rest 2 minutes between all sets

A lot of work done today, highlighted by the 2 minute interval AMRAPs in the evening. If you’re looking to build your local muscular endurance this is a great way to do it. 2 minutes between sets is enough of an interval to recover substantially without lowering the heart rate too much. The combination of exercises was such that no one movement pattern was played out, thus allowing the body to feel decent during its first few repetitions of each. My totals for the WOD were as follows:

MU – 17, KB – 62, GHD – 53, Thruster – 34, Sumo – 47.

Definitely gassed afterwards, but overall pretty happy with the output. Looking forward, the new sectional WOD looms Saturday and is screwing up my plans to front squat Friday. Haven’t decided what to do about this yet.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Threshold Training

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

Gymnastics Rings

L sit Skin the Cat 3 x 5

Planche hold w/ feet on ground 5 x max seconds (not many)

Ring Dips 20, 20, 20

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Power

Snatch 3, 3, 2, 2, 1, 1

GHD situps 20, 20, 20

WOD 3 – also in the afternoon…

Tire Drag Relays (3 per team)

2 x up 4 story parking garage with a 40# tire

Rest as team runs

Justin, Travis, Brooke, and Brian came up from East Sac to help break in the new lifting decks today at the gym. I’m happy to report they held up wonderfully. Brooke even set a new record, so how you like dem apples??? In all it was just fun to be using the facility for its intended purpose finally.

The real fun was later though, when we all headed over to the Sutter Street Parking decks to drag tires. 6 levels of 40+ yard ramps separated by short flats. This was a classic threshold effort, very similar to pushing a car or carry a sandbag to the top of a hill. You keep pushing until you literally can’t continue picking up your feet. Nothing like this type of training for building a big motor but so few people do it. It’s mentally demanding like nothing else and the physical pain can be excruciating. With that type of endorsement, I see no reason why all of you won’t be out there doing some version of this workout first things tomorrow… Man up and go get better.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

525

Finished the sectional workout with 14 rounds + 9 deads and 12 pushups. Honestly never stopped for more than a single breath and find it hard to believe it's humanly possible to complete 16 or 17 rounds as some out there are claiming. Conditioning felt great all the way and I'm very happy with this score. Gabe edged me by 13 box jumps in the end, tip of the cap to him. We were neck and neck the entire way as usual. Looking forward to the 3rd workout and hoping for something heavy and with clearer cut, more consistently enforceable standards.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Front Squat 295 x 4

Workout of the Day

WOD 1 – in the morning…

30 minutes hand balancing and walking practice

WOD 2 – in the afternoon…

Front Squat 5, 5, 5, 5

Pullups 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

Took it pretty light today in terms of overall volume. I went heavy in terms of load (295 lb for 4 on my last set of front squats, a new personal best) but didn't overdo things when it came to repetitions. This is because I’m heading to Stockton in the morning to join Gabe and 209 Sport (above) in tackling WOD 2 of the Open Sectionals. 9-12-15 deadlift, pushup, box jump for 15 minutes has me convinced that I don’t need any extra conditioning tonight. While I’m looking forward to going down and doing the WOD side by side with those guys, I must admit it’s not one of the more fun combinations one could’ve dreamed up. I expect the deadlifts and box jumps to be gassers in terms of heart rate and breath—this I can handle. But the pushups with hand release for that many repetitions just screams muscle failure. I’m just hoping this doesn’t happen until round 6 or 7. My goal for this WOD is 15 rounds, meaning I’ll have to do 180 pushups. Not saying it’s impossible for me, but it sure as shit ain’t gonna be fun. Or easy. Here’s hoping for a strong day…

Friday, April 1, 2011

Recovery WOD

2 x 15 minutes in waist-high snow melt. 15 minute rest between sets. 1 beer per man for courage.

Ice Baths and Vitamin D

Ice baths are no new thing, and I’m sure most of you out there are familiar with their benefits. But, just in case, here’s a brief rundown on why icing is so good for your muscles…

It’s all about circulation. When you get into an ice bath, the icy cold water causes your blood vessels to tighten and squeeze the blood out of your legs. This process is exacerbated by your body’s instinctive need to maintain a core temperature of 98.6. Initially the heart will pump more blood to the chilled area in an effort to keep it warm, but after a few minutes it recognizes this is a losing proposition and decides it can’t risk its vital organs by circulating blood through a freezer. This is why after 10-15 minutes of iced submersion it feels like you’re standing on stumps of inert matter rather than legs. There’s literally just a trickle of blood left down there.

This is all well and good if done for a manageable time period. A) With that fleeing blood goes most of the inflammation and toxins that have collected in your soft tissues during exercise. B) When your legs fill up with 'new' blood it invigorates your muscles with oxygen and helps the cells function better. Your body will continue to circulate blood to the chilled area, bringing with it the nutrients needed to adequately recover, until it returns to normal temperature. This is why 20-30 minutes after an ice bath you will still feel chilled all over—the blood moving through your legs comes back to the heart just above freezing.

The benefits of Vitamin D aren’t quite so well known. To help this situation I’ve compiled a short survey of the best information out there on the subject…

First, it seems readily apparent that people flush with Vitamin D can expect better health across the board - longer life (reduction in death from all causes), fewer diseases, stronger bones and muscles, fewer infections, less depression, pain and inflammation. In short, more enjoyment of life. If you doubt this just look to any island community and tell me those people don’t look, feel, and act better than the land-locked. (Japan excepted for the time being) (Too soon?)

Second, we are only scratching the surface with how our body utilizes Vitamin D. New benefits are still being discovered, almost everywhere researchers look. Here are some of the more important ones discovered so far:

Vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphorus

The first intimation of vitamin D's vital role was in 1782, when it was discovered that cod liver oil cures rickets (a disease of growing children whose bones bend due to lack of strength). Of course, they didn't know then that it was vitamin D in the oil that did the job. Vitamin D itself was isolated in the 1920's, but for several decades, all that was known about its usefulness was that it prevented rickets. In fact, vitamin D plays a major role in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and in their proper utilization. This helps keep our bones and teeth strong, and stops calcium depositing where it shouldn't (for example in our blood vessels, heart and kidneys).

Vitamin D is essential to a healthy immune system

Vitamin D helps the immune system to fight infections. With a near-optimum blood level of vitamin D, you can expect fewer colds, 'flu, and other unwelcome opportunists (including Swineflu). Not only does Vitamin D enhance your immunity, but it inhibits the development of destructive auto-immune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D is a major inhibitor of cancer, and part of this effect may be attributed to the increased vigilance of the immune system.

Vitamin D promotes cellular differentiation

Vitamin D encourages cell differentiation (differentiated cells are needed to perform specialized functions effectively) and also slows down the rate at which cells multiply, or proliferate. Both of these effects contribute to vitamin D's cancer-fighting ability. Cancer cells are characterized by a lack of differentiation and by rapid proliferation.

Vitamin D is a potent anti-inflammatory

Chronic inflammation is coming into prominent focus as a cause of many disease processes, including major killers such as heart disease and cancer.

Vitamin D is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, which may also contribute to its effectiveness in reducing some types of muscular pain.

Vitamin D helps regulate blood sugar levels

Optimum levels of vitamin D protect against diabetes (both type 1 and type 2), insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. Diabetes is usually associated with very low levels of vitamin D. The pancreas also needs sufficient vitamin D in order to make and secrete insulin. Getting enough vitamin D helps blood sugar control. It may also help prevent serious diabetic complications.

Vitamin D helps lower blood pressure

Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D helps reduce the risk of hypertension. And optimum levels actually tend to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive people.

Vitamin D protects against low-level nuclear radiation

Dr Daniel Hayes PhD describes many ways in which vitamin D may protect the body from the effects of low-level radiation, such as may occur after a nuclear accident. His paper was published in the International Journal of Low Radiation (Sept 2008) With the disaster at Fukushima looming large in everyone's mind, more people need to become aware of this vitamin D benefit. It makes sense that a nutrient requiring exposure to strong sunlight would confer a protective benefit against electromagnetic radiation.

So, the take away here is that chilling outside in some ice cold water and direct sunlight will lower inflammation in your tissues, increase your body’s ability to absorb and use calcium and phosphorus, lower your risk of cancer and practically every other disease, fortify your immune system against bacteria and viruses, and is a potential shield against nuclear meltdowns. In the case petitioning for outdoor parties at the river all summer long, the defense rests.