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Why Dieting Does Not Work

Scientific research is clearly proving what most of us already knew but hoped was not true: following short-term restrictive eating plans (diets) does not result in long-term weight loss or health benefits.  Two recent books review the scientific literature for the general public, and make clear what happens and why.

The books, Secrets From the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again, by Traci Mann, PhD, of the University of Minnesota’s Health and Eating Laboratory (2017) and the more pithily named Why Diets Make Us Fat, by Dr. Sandra Aamodt (2016) both conclude that:

  • The subconscious has a weight range it will defend, which is usually near your current weight.  If you are hungry or cold often, you’re below.  Binge eating, probably above.  The subconscious easily moves within this range, and resets the defended range higher much more easily than lower.

  • Calorie restriction to lose weight causes the subconscious to react as if it is starving.

  • The subconscious does a vastly better job of balancing energy inputs and outputs than you can ever hope to accomplish by counting calories and tracking physical activity.

  • Prejudice against overweight people results from the erroneous belief that self-control is a significant factor in weight loss.

  • Some things are more susceptible to self-control than others.  Because taking in food is essential for survival, eating is not amenable to self-control.

But if diets don’t work, what should we do?  Both authors are at pains to give advice that sounds an awful lot like diet advice, while not calling it diet advice.  These are “strategies” or “healthy habits” that have the result of a diet, without the dieting.  The real problem here is that the word “diet” has two different definitions: (1) a programmed plan of eating to achieve a specified goal, typically weight loss; (2) a description of eating habits – for example, “the panda lives on a diet consisting entirely of bamboo.”  One is time limited with a specific purpose, the other is just what you (or pandas) do.  Both authors agree that definition (1) is the problem, and the trick is to make definition (2) apply to you in ways that support health, rather than undermine it.

Related: 3 Steps to Improve Your Nutrition

In other words, make your habitual eating patterns healthy, and then you won’t need to worry about it – the subconscious will set a new defended range, and minor “cheats” or the like will not knock it out of range.

Related: 3 Key Elements of a Successful Nutrition Plan

So what’s healthy?  I’ll call upon a third author here to help us: Michael Pollan and his book, In Defense of Food.  Pollan summarizes his own book in seven words: “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.”  The catch is the definition he uses of “food.”  He has a long list of rules that help you identify food, though most are neatly summarized this way: food does not have ingredients.  Rather, food is edible by itself or as an ingredient.  Helpful tips include shopping the perimeter of the supermarket and staying out of the middle.  This is because real food is capable of rotting, and the refrigerators are on the outside of the supermarket, while packaged food-like products occupy the middle.

So how to make the change?  Aamodt arguably as the best approach, which is simply paying attention to what you’re eating, when, and why.  This “mindful” approach is everywhere these days, but it works, and is a necessary antidote to the constant distractions of our lives these days.  Paying attention, noticing how you feel during and after a meal and eating slowly enough to notice if you are feeling full are great ways to start.  Contact me at john@crossfitslipstream.com if you have questions or comments. I’d love to hear from you!

John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

Member Highlight – Meet Steve!

1. Why did you decide to try CrossFit?
I was looking for something that was going to keep me accountable. I was completely unable to work out hard on my own. But, if it’s written on the whiteboard,  it has to get done.

2. How has having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?
The coaches present a perfect blend of encouragement, support, technical skills, and safety. Big thanks to Paul, Chris, John, and Jake for seeing what I need and helping in the right way.

3. How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?
Doing CrossFit has made me look and feel 100x times better about myself. When I joined, I was as out of shape as I have ever been in my life. Now, I feel like I’m back to my normal self.

4. What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
HANG squat clean. I love cleans and front squats but hate going from the floor.

5. What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?
The slipstream community is supportive of whatever approach you want. If you want to give 100%, they’ll push you to do your best. If you want to show up and get a little sweat in, that’s fine too. It’s definitely worth a try to see if it’s a good fit.

New Year’s Resolution, or Back to Normal?

Ah, January in the fitness business!  The gyms are full, go to any store (online or in person) and the first thing you see is workout gear.  And of course, there are the blog posts and other musings from us in the industry – make THIS the year you stick to it, blah, blah, blah.  The industry doesn’t talk so much about December.  Thinking about that fact helped me finally realize something very important: New Year’s Resolutions come right after the insanity that we have made out of the Thanksgiving – to – New Year’s “Holiday Season”.  

Related: Why Technique is the Foundation of Training Philosophy

Maybe fitness – related New Year’s Resolutions are less an attempt to start something new than to return to something more like normality?  After seven weeks or so of running around with our hair on fire, responding to this familial obligation and that work event, church now and synagogue later, perhaps we just want to get back to (1) normal, and (2) being able to take care of ourselves?  

Thanks largely to yoga’s popularity,  our culture is finally beginning to admit that you need to – take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.  The Marine Corps also teaches this, but they aren’t as conveniently located as your friendly neighborhood yoga studio.  After an extended season focused outwardly, taking care of obligations to others, it’s only right to come back to yourself, to refresh and renew your health and regain the fitness lost to the general busyness of the season.

Related: Why Personal Training?

So to all you New Year’s Resolutioners: welcome back to normal.  We are here for you.  Contact me at john@crossfitslipstream.com for a free, no-sweat introduction to discuss your goals, and how we can help.

John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

Member Highlight – Meet Crystal!

1. Why did you decide to try CrossFit?
At the beginning of 2018, I was looking for a new fitness option.  I researched gyms near my home and Slipstream’s New You Challenge stood out as the best fit for me. I was able to ease into CrossFit with five other individuals who were also just starting out, so there was no intimidation factor. The nutrition component and the individualized attention also were very important for me.

2. How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?
The coaches help me stay focused and accountable. I have some limitations due to previous ankle and leg injuries, and the coaches are spectacular at customizing the workouts so that I get the maximum results without getting frustrated by the things I can’t do.

3. How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?
I joined the gym as a regular member after the Challenge ended, and I have been able to stay focused on my fitness goals by consistently doing the CrossFit workouts. This is a big win for me, and something I haven’t done consistently in many years. This is due to the fact that I enjoy the physical challenge of the workouts and the camaraderie of being a part of the Slipstream family. Also, I still utilize the nutrition tips and guidance from the New You Challenge—in fact, the food guide is still posted in my kitchen.

4. What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
For now, probably the front squat. It’s the movement where I have seen the most progress with both my form and the amount of weight I can lift.

5. What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?
Just try it! The New You Challenge is a great introduction to CrossFit and Slipstream. After the six weeks of the challenge, you will be hooked.


Introducing the Slipstream Consistency Club

We are excited to announce for 2019 our all new “Consistency Club!”

Earning  Consistency Club honors is a testament to your dedication to your goals. The more you’re at Slipstream giving it your all, the closer you get to your goals! The “Consistency Club” is a public recognition of your commitment to fitness and health.

Earning Consistency Club honors depends on your membership.  Think of it like goal setting – your membership type sets the goal.  Based on your membership, you must attend:

  • 8x: at least 8 times during the month
  • 12x: at least 12 times during the month 
  • Unlimited:  at least 13 times in one month
  • Lite punchcard: at least 8 times in one month

At the end of each month, we will announce who made the Consistency Club with the number of times attended next to their name!

Each month’s Consistency Club members are entered into a raffle to win some sweet prizes.  It begins January 1st, 2019!!!  Let’s go! 

Raffle Prize (examples)

  • Free mobility pack
  • One month membership upgrade
  • Free 1 hr personal training session
  • Free Functional Movement Screen
  • Free Body Fat Test
  • Free tee shirt
  • Etc…

Member Highlight- Meet Marcy!

1. Why did you decide to try CrossFit?
I wanted to try something new. I was getting bored with going to a gym or fitness center, and was finding it hard to self motivate at the gym.
2. How has having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?
Being new to CrossFit, I had a lot of hesitations about it.  I was afraid of getting hurt, or falling behind in a class because I didn’t know the proper technique.  The coaches are wonderful in answering my questions or showing the proper technique of a movement.  They also are great at encouraging and pushing me, so I can get the best workout.
3. How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?
CrossFit has been such a positive part of my life.  I look forward to coming to the classes, and pushing myself beyond my comfort level.  It is nice to work out with people of all different ages, backgrounds and fitness levels. 
4. What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
I can’t narrow it down to just one movement.  I will just at that I love Sunday workouts.  They tend to be a little bit longer than most, but I always enjoy starting off my day and week that way.
5. What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?
Don’t let the unknown, deter you from trying something new.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for clarification.  Try it.. you won’t be disappointed.

11 Gift Ideas For The CrossFitter

Wondering what to get the CrossFitter or soon-to-be CrossFitter in your life?  Not to worry!  Here are 11 gift ideas!

1. Rogue Jump Rope


2. Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett


3. CrossFit Slipstream Tank Arriving Soon- $20

4. Mobility Toys


5. CrossFit Slipstream Towel $7.99


6. CrossFit Socks


7. CrossFit Slipstream WOD Log On Sale- $5


8. CrossFit Slipstream TShirt $25

9. CrossFit Shoes


10. Inside the Box


11. CrossFit Slipstream Gift Certificate – The Perfect Stocking Stuffer!


All CrossFit Slipstream items may be purchased in store, or email us at info@crossfitslipstream.com.

Why Personal Training: To Achieve a Specific Goal

We are all special snowflakes.  It’s trite, but true, and no one style of working out, exercise program or training template is right for everyone.  That’s why personal training is the gold standard for physical fitness.  Nothing else will target your needs more specifically, address your desires more directly, or get you to your goal faster than a program designed and implemented specifically for you and your goals.  This post inaugurates a series of blogs about the various reasons why you might choose personal training over group fitness such as CrossFit or another of the options we provide.

Related: The Slipstream Approach To Training

The drawback to personal training is, of course, expense.  Having a dedicated fitness professional draft and supervise a training program especially for you requires one-on-one time and attention, which costs money.  As with everything else in life, the real question is value: is it worth it to you?  We can help you clarify your answers to the questions “what do I want to do and why do I want to do it?”  We then help you analyze your options and decide on the best path to your goal. 

We can help you clarify your answers to the questions “what do I want to do and why do I want to do it?”

The first reason to consider personal training is to achieve a specific goal.  We start the process with the Functional Movement Screen and tests of functional strength and endurance.  These tell us where you are now.  Your goal determines where you want to go. The more specific your desire, the more targeted your timeline, the more issues you need to address, the more you need a specific training plan.  Your timeline determines the rate of progress required, and with it the intensity needed.

Related: Basic Truths of Fitness

We then produce a program you can follow with as much or as little assistance as your personal needs and wants allow.  You will need instruction and supervision for things you’re new to, and check-ins and adjustments for things you’re used to.  Your program can be drafted from scratch, or we can save time and money by adjusting a template we’ve created or from another source.  We’ll be with you as much as you need and no more, managing costs and allowing you to own the process – and your achievements.  We are here to help, as much or as little as you need.  Contact me at john@crossfitslipstream.com to take your dream and start making it a reality!

-John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

Member Highlight – Meet Ryan!

Ryan joined CrossFit Slipstream this Spring to train for the St. Paul Fire Dept Physical Fitness Test.  He improved his time by over 4 minutes from the first time he took the test to the final time.  He got a slam-dunk on the test with a time of 2:42!  This is a perfect score to be considered for the St. Paul Fire Dept interview process.  He consistently attended CrossFit for 6 months to prepare for this goal.  We are so impressed with his dedication!

1. Why did you decide to try CrossFit?
It looked fun yet challenging. Something different that wasn’t just free weights.

2. How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?
They keep me motivated & energized. Push me to not only meet my goals but want to see me exceed those goals.

3. How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?
It made me actually want to workout. I feel less sluggish. It’s not only made me stronger, but I’ve also become more flexible.

4. What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
Wall Ball, because it helps the most with everyday activities. Whether that picking up or lifting something overhead.

5. What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?
Why not? There’s nothing you should be intimidated by. You can’t have an opinion about it until you give it a try.

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