Working Out and Poor Air Quality: A Comparison

Hey everyone!  I hope you and yours are all safe during the fires.  Amongst the chaos, many are maintaining their workout regimen.  If you are not already following the current air quality, please check it here before taking on high intensity workouts.  Getting in your workout is important, but make sure you not risking your lungs and overall health at the same time.  Once you get the "Air Quality Index (AQI)" you can reference this article from The Guardian as a food-for-thought-comparison as to what would be OK levels of exercise.

Tipping point: revealing the cities where exercise does more harm than good

In at least 15 cities, air pollution has now become so bad that the danger to health of just 30 minutes of cycling each way outweighs the benefits of exercise altogether, according to new research

Minutes spent cycling per day for harm to outweigh benefits:

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Who says exercise is always good for you? Cycling to work in certain highly polluted cities could be more dangerous to your health than not doing it at all, according to researchers.

In cities such as Allahabad in India, or Zabol in Iran, the long-term damage from inhaling fine particulates could outweigh the usual health gains of cycling after just 30 minutes. In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this tipping point happens after just 45 minutes a day cycling along busy roads. In Delhi or the Chinese city of Xingtai, meanwhile, residents pass what the researchers call the “breakeven point” after an hour. Other exercise with the same intensity as cycling – such as slow jogging – would have the same effect.

“If you are beyond the breakeven point, you may be doing yourself more harm than good,” said Audrey de Nazelle, a lecturer in air pollution management at Imperial College’s Centre for Environmental Policy, and one of the authors of the report.

The study, originally published in the journal Preventive Medicine before the World Health Organization’s latest global estimates, modelled the health effects of active travel and of air pollution. They measured air quality through average annual levels of PM2.5s, the tiny pollutant particles that can embed themselves deep in the lungs. This type of air pollution can occur naturally – from dust storms or forest fires, for example – but is mainly created by motor vehicles and manufacturing.

 People cycle in heavy smog in Beijing. Photograph: Imaginechina/Rex/Shutterstock

 People cycle in heavy smog in Beijing. Photograph: Imaginechina/Rex/Shutterstock

Breathing polluted air has been linked to infections including pneumonia, ischemic heart disease, stroke and some cancers. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease study ranks it among the top risk factors for loss of health.

Breathing polluted air has been linked to infections including pneumonia, ischemic heart disease, stroke and some cancers. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease study ranks it among the top risk factors for loss of health.

The report in Preventive Medicine assumed cyclists moved at speeds of 12/14kph, with health benefits calculated in a similar way to the WHO’s Heat assessment tool. It also assumed cyclists used roads with double the background levels of air pollution, which may underestimate how poor air quality is in many developing world cities: for example, a study in Lagos found five out of eight sites exceeded Delhi’s annual PM2.5 concentration.

People commuting to work along busy roads in a city with average annual background PM2.5 levels of 160 micrograms per cubic metre (μg/m3) or above will pass the breakeven point at just 30 minutes a day, the study found. Using the WHO’s latest global estimates, published in May, those levels are only reached in Zabor, and in Allahabad and Gwalior in India – although many large cities in the developing world do not accurately measure air pollution so were not included in the WHO database.

How polluted does air have to be before the harm from cycling outweighs benefits

Background concentration of fine particulates

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Fifteen cities (see map above and table below) have annual mean PM2.5 levels of 115μg/m3 or above, according to the WHO data, so the breakeven point is reached after an hour of active travel. Fine particulate levels above 80μg/m3 were found in 62 cities, making cycling more harmful than beneficial after two hours.

The study found people in western cities such as London, Paris or New York would never reach the point where PM2.5 air pollution’s negatives outweigh exercise’s positives in the long term.

“The benefits of active travel outweighed the harm from air pollution in all but the most extreme air pollution concentrations,” said Nazelle. “It is not currently an issue for healthy adults in Europe in general.”

London’s annual average PM2.5 pollution was estimated at 15μg/m3 by the WHO – above the WHO’s guideline of 10, but still at a level at which the study estimated active travel would always be beneficial. Paris had ambient PM2.5 levels of 18μg/m3, while New York had 9μg/m3.

However, the study did not consider the health impacts of short-term spikes in PM2.5 pollution, or take into account the effect of exercising in air containing larger PM10 particulates, ozone, or toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx) from diesel cars.

London mayor Sadiq Khan issued his first “very high” air pollution alert last month when air in the UK capital hit the maximum score of 10 on the Air Quality Index, equivalent to PM10 in excess of 101μg/m3. NOx pollution causes 5,900 early deaths a year in the city, and most air quality zones across Britain break legal limits.

“This is the highest level of alert and everyone – from the most vulnerable to the physically fit – may need to take precautions to protect themselves from the filthy air,” Khan warned.

The point at which air pollution becomes so bad that the harm from cycling to work outweighs the health benefits

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Body Spec Coming Monday - a Few Spots Left!

There are still a few spots left to book your scan with Body Spec next Monday 10/23 when they return to UB!   Stay motivated through the holiday season by establishing a pre-season comprehensive body scan.  These scans are comprehensive and individualized snapshots of your body that give you the information you need to:

  • Pinpoint the exact impact of a new training or diet plan
  • Track progress over time, down to exact muscle and fat changes in different areas of the body
  • Optimize your training to suit your body’s specific needs
  • Compare your bone density to others like you
  • Identify long-term health risks
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Weekend Reminders

Ready for the weekend?  Here are a couple reminders:

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DONATIONS

Don't forget to bring your donations to help those affected by the NorCal fires! We are collecting for Love on Haight who is driving up donations for distribution by aid organizations. We will be making a drop off Saturday.  We are taking:

Items to Donate

Propane
Water
Personal hygiene products (toothbrushes, tooth paste, deodorant, baby wipes, soap)
Diapers in all sizes
Formula
Baby Food
Blankets
New Socks
New Underwear
Toilet Paper
Feminine Hygiene Products
Bandaids, Antibacterial Ointment, Etc.
Duffle Bags
Suitcases
Children’s books
Coloring Books
Coloring supplies

Tents
Air Mattresses and cots
Pillows
Phone Chargers
Dry and Canned Pet Food (Dog, Cat, Kitten)
Animal crates and carriers small and large
Dog Bowls (Any bowls for food and water)
Can Openers
Other pet supplies (litter, bedding, leashes, collars)
Baby Strollers
Baby Carries
Personal Protection Equipment (Masks, latex gloves, etc.)
Boxes
Duct Tape
Non-perishable food items (that don’t need to be cooked)
Can Openers
Camp stoves

OUTWOD

Tomorrow is OUTWOD!  In case you haven't been paying attention during AM announcements, OUTWOD is a fitness initiative founded in 2011 to bring together the LGBTQ community and their allies to sweat together in an inclusive group fitness environment and to raise funds for local LGBTQ charities.

EVENT DETAILS:

WHAT: OUT//San Francisco

WHERE: CF Potrero Hill, 175 De Haro St, San Francisco, CA 94107

DATE: Saturday, October 14th, 2017

  • 9:30AM - Doors Open
  • 10:00AM - Workout Begins
  • 11:30AM - Event End / Announcements

WORKOUT: Team-style, high-intensity interval training incorporating functional movements.

Want more info? Check out OUTWOD's Facebook event page.  

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

This week I want to talk about having attention for detail. Our awesome is a man of precision.  He appreciates the difference between good and great is in the minutia of movement. He spends his time asking questions and working movements to work his strength and efficiency to the max. His efforts have shown up particularly in his oly work, since he diligently spends Tuesday mornings in oly class honing his skills. Icing on the cake? This man is humble and smiles all class long. Simply put, I appreciate Jeremy M. speaking both as a coach and community member... the man is 100% awesome!

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Name: Jeremy M.
Nickname / Alter Ego: J
Hometown: Castro Valley, CA
Occupation: Financial Analyst at Ubisoft
When did you first start CrossFitting?: 5 months ago when I joined UB
When did you first start CrossFitting at UB?: May 2017
Favorite WOD: Diane - HSPUs are fun
Least favorite WOD: Kalsu - I barely finished half and I thought I was going to die
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? One of my best friends from college did it for 2 years before I decided to drink the kool-aid.
What is an unexpected way CrossFit has affected your life? I've met a ton of cool people through UB classes and discovered that I love Olympic lifting.

What’s your secret talent? I'm really good at the arcade basketball games once I've had a couple of drinks.

What is your biggest phobia? Rope climbs. I'm normally fine with heights, but every time I'm at the top of a rope I have a mini panic attack.
What inspires you? YouTube motivational videos and competing with friends in the 7:30am classes.
What’s your next goal in fitness? In life? Completing 70% of the L2 skill sheet so I can join the L2 classes!

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Rallying to Help Those Affected by the Fire

Being a part of a CrossFit gym is about a lot of things to a lot of people.  But one of the top things people talk about with CrossFit is community. Family. People being there for one another.  And whether or not you personally know someone affected by the fire, there are several members of our community who have mothers/fathers/sisters/brothers/etc. who have been evacuated with little more than the clothes on their backs and their pets and are waiting to see if they will be going back to standing homes and jobs.  Worse yet, the chaos the fire is creating is, unfortunately, far from over.

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So I thought we could, as a community, could support the efforts that Amelia E. has been putting together to assist those affected.  She is collecting donations for Love on Haight to drive up for distribution by aid organizations and plans on making a drop off Saturday.  Please bring items you would like to donate to the gym tomorrow or Friday and we will pass them along.  Here are the kinds of items being collected:

Items to Donate

Tents
Air Mattresses and cots
Pillows
Phone Chargers
Dry and Canned Pet Food (Dog, Cat, Kitten)
Animal crates and carriers small and large
Dog Bowls (Any bowls for food and water)
Can Openers
Other pet supplies (litter, bedding, leashes, collars)
Baby Strollers
Baby Carries
Personal Protection Equipment (Masks, latex gloves, etc.)
Boxes
Duct Tape
Non-perishable food items (that don’t need to be cooked)
Can Openers
Camp stoves

Propane
Water
Personal hygiene products (toothbrushes, tooth paste, deodorant, baby wipes, soap)
Diapers in all sizes
Formula
Baby Food
Blankets
New Socks
New Underwear
Toilet Paper
Feminine Hygiene Products
Bandaids, Antibacterial Ointment, Etc.
Duffle Bags
Suitcases
Children’s books
Coloring Books
Coloring supplies

Donate Money

The Redwood Empire Food Bank is really struggling to keep up with demand and to circulate as much food as is needed. As of last night they were also looking at a potential evacuation due to encroaching fires. You can donate to them here

The Red Cross is an obvious choice and they are organizing much of the aid in the area. Don't forget to ask your company to match if that's a possibility.

If you're looking for a more personal cause, consider donating to an individual, family or community Go Fund Me campaign. Amelia's cousin and her boyfriend are among the many who lost everything, and our family created a page for them specifically. They are a couple of amazing young people who will need help getting back on their feet. 

Food for Thought: What Are You Really Hungry For? 4 Things Other Than Food You Might Be Craving

This is a worthwhile reminder from Megan Clements of Breaking Muscle

You find yourself standing with the fridge door open wide, pondering what you’re going to eat to quell this insatiable hunger. If you’re lucky there’s some leftover chicken from last night and fresh veggies, but sometimes things turn ugly when you remember that tub of ice cream in the freezer. As much as your hunger is telling you to just grab the food and get it into your stomach, for anyone with a track record of reaching for the ice cream (and possibly even those who go for the chicken), now is the perfect time to back away from the fridge, take a deep breath, and ask yourself what you’re really hungry for. The answer may just surprise you.

Hunger is sometimes just plain old, garden-variety hunger - your body’s way of telling you that it’s been too long since the last time you gave it some fuel. If this is the case, logic will generally drive your decision at the fridge door and you’ll reach for the leftover chicken. But other times, your hunger can be a craving for something else altogether.

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Water

Has your body been telling you for the last three hours that it’s thirsty? Sometimes thirst is easy to ignore, especially if you’re on the go all day. Hunger is often thirst in disguise.Eventually your body gets so sick of its thirst signals being ignored that it changes up its tactics in order to get some hydration. Since you didn’t listen the first time around, your body decides to send you messages that you’re ravenously hungry and this usually has an end result of you consuming something – but possibly not something particularly nutritious. Many people will find they crave foods with high water content (such as fruits for example) when they’re thirsty, or salty food when they’re dehydrated. While there’s nothing wrong with satisfying these cravings sensibly, it’s a means to an end. Walking around dehydrated isn’t doing you any favors from a general health and performance perspective.

Sleep

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Would you actually kill for a quick nap right now, but since it’s not really an option at 3:00pm on a busy workday, you’re after a quick energy fix in the form of food?A lack of sleep changes the way we experience hunger by way of two hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin is responsible for signaling hunger and stimulating appetite, and leptin is responsible for signaling satiety. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase levels of ghrelin and decrease levels of leptin in your blood. So when you’re sleep deprived you’re likelier to be hungrier and less able to tell when you’re actually full. A good way to work out whether you’re actually craving sleep is to ask yourself whether you’d prefer to snuggle up under the duvet and doze off, or if you actually need food right now.

Relaxation

Similar to lack of sleep, stress also changes the way we experience hunger by changing our hormonal balance. Our body produces cortisol in response to a stressful situation. Cortisol not only been shown to stimulate appetite, but packs a double whammy and tells our body to store any energy that’s not needed immediately (that means fat stores). So next time you think you might actually be craving relaxation instead of needing fuel, perhaps consider a soothing cup of herbal tea and a few minutes of quiet time before you crack open the ice cream.

Emotional Expression

Most of us, at some point in time, have experienced emotional eating, otherwise known as eating your feelings. The science behind this emotional eating shows that consumption of certain foods (particularly sweet foods) sets off a chain reaction resulting in the release of serotonin, your “happy hormone.” When you’re feeling anxious, depressed, bored, and surprisingly sometimes even happy, you can end up delving into a tub of ice cream in an attempt to even out your hormones. Physiologically it might work, but the feeling of a bloated belly full of ice cream is probably not going to make you feel any better, plus the fact that you haven’t actually expressed the emotion that started this whole thing. It’s a tricky one because the last thing you feel like doing when you’ve had a terrible day is sitting down and actually dealing with your emotions. So it may be the perfect time to do something active that will give you the serotonin hit you’re craving, and deal with the underlying emotion when you’re riding the post-exercise high.

It sounds simple, but sometimes taking a few seconds to step away from the fridge, breathe, and actually think about what you’re hungry for will tell you a lot about your body, habits, and emotions. Not only is that going to help you get a long way towards your performance and body composition goals, but it will also help you avoid that disappointed, “Why did I do that?!” moment gazing at the empty ice cream tub.

 

Congrats Brigitte and Peter

Brigitte and Peter went out to CrossFit Potrero Hill yesterday to represent in the Hassle Free Record Breakers Oly meet... and both killed it!

Brigitte went 6 for 6 (that means no misses!) and ended with a 52k snatch (PR!), a 69k clean & jerk, and a 110k total (a 10k meet PR!).  Peter went 4 for 6 and ended with a 64k snatch (a meet PR!), a 88k clean and jerk, and a 152k total (PR).  Peter's total qualifies him for this year's American Open!!  Well done!!

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If you see them this week, make sure to stop them and give them a giant high five!

October Event Calendar

Believe it or not, but October is here!  We are getting our schedule for the holiday season all the way through the 2018 Open ready for you, but in the meantime, here are some dates to keep in mind for this coming month:

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Record Breakers Meet (Sun., 10/8)

UB Oly team members Peter & Brigitte are competing at CrossFit Potrero Hill with the awesome ghost of UB Oly past (Coach Kristin) at the helm.  Peter's heat will be at 11:30, and Brigitte is up at 1PM.  

OUTWOD (Sat., 10/14)

Next Saturday OUTWOD will be hosting a community-friendly Team-style, high-intensity interval training incorporating functional movements to help raise money for local LGBTQ organizations.  The day will take place at CrossFit Potrero Hill starting at 9:30!

Register Here!

JigSaw (Sat., 10/21)

Saturday, 10/21, UB will be sending 5 teams down for Jigsaw's 5th annual competition.   Mark your calendars to go cheer on teams Blondetourage (Loryn F. & Coach Nikki), Game of Thrusters (Coach Lisa & Gill), Solid C+ (Sean F. & Jeremy R.), Team Obscure Reference (Coach Max & Skylar), MeatStone (George W. & Rich S.).  The day will run from 8am - 2pm.  Get all the info you need here. Be there or... you get the picture.....

Body Spec (Mon. 10/23) 

It's that time again - our awesome friends over at Body Spec have scheduled our next body composition test visit.  They will be at UB on October 23rd.  This is a great opportunity to measure your progress, whether setting a pre-holiday baseline or checking in with your 2017 progress. See how much muscle, bone, and fat you're working with!

Register here! 

Halloween (Tue. 10/31)

Per usual, we will be WODing in costume on Halloween!  Get out your gis, tutus, fireman outfits, and superhero cloaks and get yourself down to UB for a WOD!  Costume-less creatures will be penalized (don't test the pregnant lady).  See you in class!!

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The Weekly Dose of Awesome

This athlete made his way through UB’s doors just about a year ago.  The way he showed up to me during his first class has remained consistent to this day: calm, positive and coachable.  This man reminds me of the potential each and every new CrossFitter has, the willingness to get uncomfortable, an incredible openness to scaling (over ego), being vulnerable and then working consistently to move as a better human being.  A specific example is watching his progress with squatting and depth over time, he was ok with progressing through box squats for months to help him develop his hamstrings so that he could be a better squatter.  This man is willing to build his foundation which I’m positive translates into other areas of his life.  I can also tell he goes 100% in the conditioning pieces by the look on his face at the end of my classes.  There is no doubt that he held back.  This athlete has chosen to be visually represented by his spirit animal and the photo you are seeing is hanging over his bed.  Because of that, I’d like to share a few hints to see if you’ll be able to make the connection: he’s one of our tallest members with very short buzzed blonde hair and attends the later evening classes and sometimes noon.  It is my honor and privilege to share the recap of my in-person interview with the one… the only…  Aaron.

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Name: Aaron F.

Hometown: Burnsville, Minnesota

Occupation: Coder at a Venture Capital Firm

When did you first start CrossFitting? Sept 20, 2016

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit?

I had been working out using free weights on my own for six years on and off. I’d stick with the programming for a few weeks before falling off, and I couldn’t do cardio without someone yelling at me.

In taking the Caltrain to work, I walked by UB’s doors daily and decided to do some research. CrossFit ended up feeling like the perfect blend of strength, conditioning, and coaching, and everyone had amazing things to say about UB.

Favorite WOD:  Anything involving the rower!  Especially speed/sprint work on the erg. I think it has something to do with my abnormal height and lankiness.

Least Favorite WOD:  Workouts with double unders, I usually go home with whip marks.

What question do you wish you were asked more often and what is the answer?  Question: Tell me something excited you’re working on right now?  

Answer: Building a totally new product and team at work

What is an unexpected way CrossFit has affected your life?  My quality of sleep has improved dramatically. When I’m consistently going to UB I sleep much better.

What are you most grateful for in your life recently?  When I moved to the West Coast I left a bunch of good friends in New York (and stayed far from my friends in Minnesota) but I’m lucky to have stayed connected to them.

What’s your definition of greatness?  When you can confidently live every day knowing that you've lived it to your fullest without holding anything back.

What’s something incredible that became possible for you?  Getting to turn a hobby into a profession; something I’d never have expected to be able to do full time and make money from.

It’s your last day on earth and everything you’ve ever created and done has been erased from the planet and history books.  You... have one final opportunity to share three things you know to be true about life… what would those be?

  1. Family and friends above all else

  2. Always be learning

  3. More positivity, less stress

It's Crunch Time

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You've got a few weeks left before October 31st.... a.k.a. your goal deadline! 

What have you done over the last couple months to stay accountable?  What do you still need to be able to put a glorious checkmark next to your goal?  If you can't get there alone, have you sought the support you need (your coaches/training buddies/etc?)  

Whatever your plan of action... your job is to stick to it! No excuses.  It's crunch time!