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Larry on his last reps, chest to the bar, while Devin assumes the Universal Post Metabolic Conditioning Position.  YES!


We’re reading a book titled SPARK, The Revolutionary New Science Of Exercise and The Brain by John J. Ratey, MD.

The book is excellent, but CrossFitters won’t be shocked by the information.  Experienced CrossFitters probably realize that their training improves their mood and brain function.  The book is good for those looking for affirmation or a scientific explanation on the brain/exercise connection.

Ratey reports on Naperville Central High School in Illinois and how their pre-regularly scheduled gym class has improved the academic grades of all the students who participate. We’re all for the program and hope it spreads to all high schools, but it’s no surprise that starting the day with physical conditioning will set the “tone” for how you function, mind and body, for the remainder of the day, especially when the exercise is supported by proper nutrition.

Ratey also details how exercise may improve: the affects of stress, depression, attention deficit and the hormonal changes that take place in the body. 

The information on aging is a good reminder for older athletes and trainers.  Ratey describes how his 86 year old mother fell and broke her hip and states, “which is just the sort of accident that sends about 1.8 million seniors to the emergency room every year.”  Ratey also states that, “about 20 percent of of older adults who break a hip die within a year.”  Ratey makes the point that when the body slows to the point of near immobilization the mind follows.  Great incentive for those needing a reason to workout consistently forever.

Unfortunately none of Ratey’s recommendation for exercise approaches the CrossFit methodology.  The closest he comes to remotely describing CrossFit is on the section for Staying Flexible.

 Ratey states,”Naturally, it’s important to stretch, but it’s just as important to keep your mind flexible.  The problem with any routine, of course, is that it goes against nature.  The world around us is constantly changing, and it’s difficult to keep doing the same thing over and over.  I wouldn’t ask you to.  The best strategy is to do something almost every day, yet stay flexible within that framework, allowing it to bend, so it doesn’t break.  By mixing up your program and trying new activities, you’ll continue to adapt and challenge yourself.

CrossFit Dr. Ratey.  Try it. Tell your patients and readers about it.  Then write another book on your findings.  You’d never have to concern yourself with asking your readers to do the same thing over and over again.

The quote in the beginning of the book is from Plato:

“In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity.  Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together.  With these two means, man can attain perfection”.

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