Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why supplements including anti-oxidants should be taken seriously.

Here are a few simple things to know about nutritional supplements, selenium and deer antler velvet

CrossFit Seven and Womens reistance training
Summer and Bill discuss womens resistance training, deer antler velvet and supplements at CrossFit Seven

I was recently informed by the well-meaning  president of a supplement company that there is no upper limit of safety for selenium.  The company president may be well-meaning and sincere in her beliefs, but her belief about selenium is incorrect.  Selenium overdoses occur.  Its hard to do that eating whole foods although it has happened.  Selenium poisoning from food happens only in areas where selenium in soil is extremely high and people eat locally grown food.  Birds and animals can also get selenium poisoning in such areas.  In most cases, selenium poisoning happens when people over do it on nutritional supplements.  Nutritional supplements (unless they are simply inert) contain biologically active ingredients. They are sold with promises of improved health, improved athletic performance or of some other form of improved well-being.   Nutritional supplements are, for the most part, drugs/medicine.

  • Products that are classified as drugs/medicine are required to meet standards of quality and consistency in manufacturing and of safety.    Studies are done in vitro, on animals, and finally on humans.  Drug interactions are checked.  Information is gathered on how the drug is metabolized. Drugs are sometimes metabolized into something deadly before being rapidly metabolized into something safe.  Tylenol is an example.  Not a problem unless something, like alcohol, blocks a metabolic step and traps Tylenol in its deadly form.  This is why people sometimes die when they drink alcohol and then take Tylenol.  This should be common knowledge, but it isn’t, yet.
  • Another important thing to know about a drug or supplement is its “Effective Dose.”  How much is needed to give a desired effect?  How much selenium is needed for health?  How much is too much?   How much is “optimal”?  These are unanswered questions for many nutritional supplements.  What happens if you take too much?  Frequently the answer to that question is unknown as well.
  • Anti-Oxidants should not be assumed to be safe.   Recent research has indicated that anti-oxidants, like oxidants, can harm DNA.  DNA damage can lead to cancer, the very thing anti-oxidants in nutritional supplements are supposed to prevent.
  • The last point to raise for this article is a manufacturing issue.  Like most people, I used to assume that vitamins and supplements contained what was written on the package.   But this is not always the case.  An example is the recent report of human growth factors added to deer antler velvet supplements.  It is hard to believe human growth factors were accidentally added to deer antler velvet supplements.   You’d have to hear the manufacturer out on that one.  However, problems like poor mixing and poor calculations can and do happen.  Our research group found that out the hard way when we tried to use a well-known brand of vitamins for a human health study.

So, how much of what is in a multi-vitamin?   How much of what is in Deer Antler Velvet, DHEA supplements, or “high performance packets?”  Deer antler velvet, especially if it is secretly spiked with human growth hormone may quite unsafe.  Secret additions to supplements may or may not be added carefully or consistently.  There is no way to know unless you are the one doing the spiking . . . or if you have the technical expertise and expensive equipment needed to test it yourself.

The supplement industry is an important economic entity, employing possibly hundreds of thousands of people.  That deserves respect.  It can be very difficult to make a living in what have lately been very difficult economic times.  That said, please understand we fully support the efforts of small businesses and individuals to make a little extra money.     However, we do believe people will be better off knowing more about what they are taking.

Lu LY, Ou N, & Lu QB (2013). Antioxidant induces DNA damage, cell death and mutagenicity in human lung and skin normal cells. Scientific reports, 3 PMID: 24201298
Cox HD, & Eichner D (2013). Detection of human insulin-like growth factor-1 in deer antler velvet supplements. Rapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM, 27 (19), 2170-8 PMID: 23996390

Morris JS, & Crane SB (2013). Selenium toxicity from a misformulated dietary supplement, adverse health effects, and the temporal response in the nail biologic monitor. Nutrients, 5 (4), 1024-57 PMID: 23538937

CrossFit Gift Ideas List

The Holidays are upon us. We have as hard a time finding cool gifts for people we care about as much as anyone else.  For Crossfit Gifts there’s always nice socks, shorts, tank tops, workout shirts, sweats and layers and hats.  Here are a few other ideas for athletic, off-beat, stiff and inflexible:

1. Cyclist Crossfit Gift:

Crossfit gifts bicicyle
Gifts for Crossfit Enthusiasts and Cyclists

Colored battery powered bicycle spoke lights from Spoke Swag.  Comes in a variety of colors and adds cheer to night rides.  Probably a bit of safety too.  Only $20 and has the added benefit of supporting a very small business.   Comes in Red, Green Blue, White and Purple.  Ask them if you would like them to make a custom set for you with multi-colored lights.  Looks awesome.

2. Crossfit Gift Exterminate the New Year with a New Hat

Crossfit gift idea: dalek hat
Great Crossfit Gift for Crossfit men, Crossfit Women, Crossfit Kids. Let the world know you are ready to exterminate . . . exterminate

With a Dalek knit hat by Witches BritchesGreat Crossfit gift for the aggressive exterministic Crossfit Athlete.  Great Crossfit Mens Gift or Crossfit Womens Gift.  Crossfit kids too.  Hand made at Etsy.  Two color knit.  Ships from the UK: Land of Dr. Who and lots of other weird authentic British stuff.  Allow extra time for shipping or look at other Dalek Exterminate hats on Etsy.






3.  Crossfit Gift: Crossfit Round Counter

Crossfit gift round counter for crossfit wods
Great Crossfit Gift for those who have trouble keeping track of reps

From the maker:Oh for the Love of WOD

A round counting bracelet is the perfect way to keep track of rounds during a WOD. Start with the ring at the top and push one bead through for every round completed. When you’re finished, just count ’em up! Enough with the poker chips and running to a dry erase board- count faster and look better while working your butt off! 🙂 This item is 7″ with a toggle clasp.

Will customize if you need a different size or have other specifications.




4.  Crossfit Gift: Crossfit Decal Family Stickers

Crossfit gift for crossfit families
Great crossfit gift for the crossfit family

From the maker: Vinalizedwithcare.  Custom Kettle bell family of Four vinyl decal. This listing has six characters available which can be seen in the listing pictures; Dad, Mom, Boy, Girl, Dog, and Cat.

Any combination of four decals can be ordered in this listing (Dad, Mom, Boy, Girl, Pet.) Just put your request in the comments when you order. Default for this listing is Dad/Mom/Boy/Girl. If you need more than four family members (two kids and a pet etc…) please send us a convo and we will create you a custom listing. Each additional family member is $2.00 USD.


5. Crossfit Gift: Custom Board Shorts for Men Women and Kids

crossfit shorts womens crossfit shorts men crossfit shorts
Awesome crossfit shorts for men women and kids

Design your own workout shorts or board shorts with Shortomatic  or choose one of the unique and awesome designs by their incredible artists.   About $99





6.  CrossFit Gift: Unique and Awesome Workout Shirts for Crossfit Men and Crossfit Women

Good Health Crossfit Shirt
This shirt may protect the wearer from injury, insult and poor health. You can get one from us or order from Amazon.

By us.  The WODMASTERS.  Available through Amazon or through our website.  Shirts are $30 each.  Made of soft, tri-blend athletic fabric the shirts retain their fit wash after wash.


Can drinking out of plastic bottles cause migraines?

Crossfit Shirt Yoga Shirt for Strong women without BPA migraine
Don’t get a headache.  Get a WODMASTERS workout shirt.

Migraine headaches.  That word should not be typed, let alone published.  Even seeing the word “migraine” in print can bring waves of nausea to some headache sufferers.  A migraine is not like other headaches.  Some can be worse than others.  Generally having a migraine feels like the pressure one might experience while vomiting through a crushing head injury.  Its awful.  And trying to support and comfort someone through one is awful too.

Estrogen and Migraine Triggers

Its difficult to say what trigger migraines.  For some people it seems to be one type of food or another.   Repetitive changes in light and shadow are what seem to get me.   For many women, migraines seem to be worse during times of the month when estrogen levels shift.  Other common triggers are thought to be:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • red wine
  • chocolate
  • nuts

We’ll focus on estrogen today but I wanted to tell people about a new bit of research on estrogen-mimics and migraine headaches.


Womens crossfit shirt with kettlebells feminine
Our lady of the Kettlebells with a touch of pink. Our Lady Hoists.

Estrogen-mimics are sometimes called XenoEstrogens.  Bascially they are molecules that resemble estrogen.  Molecules have shapes, just like most things.  The shape of natural estrogen fits nicely into estrogen receptors.  Once the two come together (estrogen and receptor) a series of events may proceed.  What happens after the union depends on the type of receptor and the type of cell the receptor sits on.

There are many chemicals that are shaped like estrogen.  These chemicals can unlock estrogen receptors and start chains of biochemical reactions just like natural estrogen.  Well, there are some differences.  Some don’t fit as well as real estrogen.  Some only fit some of the estrogen receptors and not others.   That means that many are not as powerful as real estrogen either.   That is probably a very good thing.  Estrogen mimics are everywhere.  Men and children, as well as women are exposed.   Still, a little hormone goes a long way.  Less powerful estrogens can still have an impact.

Plastics, Estrogen-mimics and Migraines

Many of the molecules that make up plastics have estrogen-like behaviors.  They can interact with estrogen receptors and make things happen.  There is growing evidence that estrogen mimics in the environment, food packaging and medical devices are having an impact on human health and function.  BPA is an example of an estrogen-mimic from plastics.  There are others, but BPA has gotten the bulk of attention.  There’s been a lot of research on BPA.  Here is a bit more from Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center:

BPA makes Migraines worse

In rats.  Rats are used for these kinds of studies because it would be unconscionable to do them with people.  Migraine sufferers probably know it is unconscionable to induce migraines in any living thing.  Animals used in this study were induced with what researchers call “inflammatory soup.”  They were not given a BPA Migraine.  Control animals and BPA-dosed animals both got what appeared to be nasty nasty headaches.  Rats dosed with BPA showed more migraine-like behaviors than undosed rats.  The BPA migraine appeared to be worse.

What this means is that BPA interacts with estrogen receptors (probably in the brain) and increases the intensity of migraine.   The amount of BPA the rats were given was based on levels of BPA commonly found in people.   This is a very interesting study.  And it is “just out” and not widely available.  Leave a comment if you’d like to learn more about the study.


wodmasters crossfit shirtsIf you are migraine-prone and want to do everything you can to avoid them stay away from Xeno-estrogens like BPA.  That means

  • use fresh or frozen instead of canned when possible
  • Drink out of metal or glass instead of plastic bottles
  • Be aware of plastics in food packaging

Take care of yourself.  Migraines suck.

A moment of silence, please, for all the animals who participated in this research.


Here is the reference:

Vermeer LM, Gregory E, Winter MK, McCarson KE, Berman NE.  2013.  Exposure to Bisphenol A exacerbates migraine-like behaviors in a multibehavior model of rat migraine.  Toxicological Sciences.  E-published ahead of print. November 4, 2013.


Christensen KL, Lorber M, Ye X, & Calafat AM (2013). Reconstruction of bisphenol A intake using a simple pharmacokinetic model. Journal of exposure science & environmental epidemiology PMID: 24252884


Hello WODMASTERS!  WODMASTERS.COM is offering Free Shipping this week (December 2 to December 8, 2013).  Here are our major designs.

  • Detailed, top-quality prints
  • Perfect for the Crossfit enthusiast
  • Made in the USA
  • Tri-Blend Cotton/Polyester/Modal quick dry, resilient, stretchy fabric retains its shape
  • Athletic cut
  • Men and women with Crossfit shoulders, pecs and lats should order a size up

WODMASTERS with Unisex Sizing

The Eye Pood Shirt with All Seeing Kettlebell

Eye Pood Kettlebell Crossfit shirt
Low T? Feeling awesome increases Testosterone. Wear WODMASTERS and feel it rise.  Don’t need T?  This shirt is for you too.

Our Eye Pood Kettlebell shirt is available in mens and womens cuts.  The mens cut is actually “uni-sex” so it will work well for women who prefer a more fluid fit and/or have real shoulder, lats and pecs.  Our fit, beautiful mom-to-be model shows off a unisex shirt.  While not originally designed as CrossFit Maternity Wear , we think it looks pretty damn good on her.  The mens and womens shirts are made from the same American Apparel Tri-Blend Fabric as our other new womens shirts.  They also have an athletic cut, lovely drape, and sensuous texture.   The Eye Pood Kettlebell shirts also say WODMASTER on the back and feature our WODMasters Mona Lisa design inside the back collar.

The Stiff Inflexible Invincible STIFF COMPETITION Shirt

crossfit shirt rhino crossfit masters
Stiff, Inflexible, Invincible WODMasters shirt for the Masters CrossFit Athlete. And for other people who may also be stiff and inflexible.

Our WODMasters Rhino Shirt is based on an early 16th century woodcut by old German Master engraver Albrecht Durer.  The design also bears the WODMasters moto: Stiff, Inflexible, Invincible.  And proudly says “WODMaster” on the back.  Originally designed for Masters Athletes, the design is available for men and women of all ages.  This is our first design.






Birth of Venus and her Kettlebells

Don't let the blues get you down.  Get a womens power shirt instead.  This beautiful shirt features Botticelli's birth of spring expressing herself effortlessly with a set of 50 pound kettlebells.
Don’t let the blues get you down. Get a womens power shirt instead. This beautiful shirt features Botticelli’s birth of spring expressing herself effortlessly with a set of 50 pound kettlebells.

Perfect for women who want to look good before, during AND after WODs.   Printed on high quality tri-blend American Apparel fabric.  The design blends elements of Botticelli’s Birth of Spring, an early 19th Century American Flag, and the upper body of one of our favorite CrossFit women athletes.

Our model is a veteran CrossFit competitor.  She is 5’8″, back squats 215 and has a 135 pound snatch.  And yes, she has shoulders and lats.

She is wearing a size large.

Made in the USA.

Our Lady of the Kettlebells, in black . . .

womens crossfit workout shirt our lady of the kettlebells in heather black
womens crossfit workout shirt our lady of the kettlebells in heather black

Our Lady of the Kettlebells has gone through several iterations.  This is our favorite so far.  Here, the Virgin of Guadalupe pushes it to the limit as she floats on a cloud with a pair of 50 pound kettlebells.   The colors are half understatement and half bright power.  The fabric is 50% polyester, 25% cotton and 25% modal.  The shirt moves with you so you can enjoy unrestricted jerks, pullups and snatches.  You can show off your Lady of the Kettlebells at your next crossfit WOD and look as powerful as you are feminine.




Our Lady of the Kettlebells in subtle grey . . .

Our Lady of the Kettlebells womens workout shirt for Strong Women
Looking for crossfit gift that’s subtle and sophisticated? Our Lady of the Kettlebells in Heather Grey is the gift you are looking for. Great as “not a gift” too.

Pretty much the same as above, except Our Lady is printed on a soft, heather grey shirt.  Just as long-wearing, luxurious and beautiful as the Lady in Black.  Both are printed on soft tri-blend fabric.

  • Soft, stretchy fabric is made with quick-drying polyester, velvety modal and pure luxurious cotton.
  • Bright colors are balanced by a classic gym grey ground
  • Completely free of skulls, snatch references, and obnoxious better-than-everyone else attitude.
  • Perfect gift for Crossfit women
  • Great gift for yourself.

Model and shirt are both made in the USA.


WODMASTERS Strong Woman Shirt with the Works.

Another strong woman shirt for strong women.  Be fit and wear an awesome shirt.  For strong women who love art, irony and kettlebells
Another strong woman shirt for strong women. Be fit and wear an awesome shirt. For strong women who love art, irony and kettlebells

This is an extreme classic workout shirt with three layers of master artists:

  • Botticelli,
  • Van Gogh
  • and Davinci.

Designed for Womens Masters Athletes it looks great on strong and aspiring-strong women of all ages:

This may be the only Womens Workout Shirt With Botticelli, Van Gogh And Davinci available anywhere in the world.



American Kettlebell with Eye

CrossFit Shirt Kettlebell Shirt Stars and Stripes
Lori sports a WODMasters Stars and Stripes Kettlebell Shirt

Beautiful, mult-color shirt features a kettlebell with the eye of a chameleon on a ground of American stars and stripes from early 19th century flags.  A bold statement that can be contemplated from a number of different angles.  Very woodcut-y.




American Mona Lisa with her Kettlebells

Crossfit womens shirt with kettlebells
American Mona Lisa with Kettlebells Shirt for Strong Women. And aspiring Strong Women too.

The WODMasters American Mona Lisa and her Kettlebells shirt is printed on soft, resilient American Apparel Tri-Blend Fabric.  Original WODMasters Artwork on the front.  WODMASTERS on the back and our original Mona Lisa Logo on the inside back collar.


Omega-3 fatty acids a woman eats might alter her baby's metabolism for life.

Eye Pood Kettlebell Shirt Crossfit Shirt
Pregnant and powerful and wearing a WODMASTERS Eye Pood Workout Shirt.

The United States and much of the developed world is experiencing a frightening rise in obesity.  Obesity, as we either know from personal experience, or have been told by others, feels awful.  It can also contribute to development of a number of conditions that can limit quality of life as well as shorten it considerably.  There are probably many different causes, and it is likely that these all contribute in different proportions.  But . . . there may be more subtle factors in play.  These may include chemicals in the environment and in food packaging and preparation.  Check this article for more on that topic.  Another simple, but none-the-less insidious, factor may be what have seemed to be minor changes in Westernized diets.

Diet, Omega-3, Omega-6

We may be adept at synthesizing lipids, but what lipids we eat matter too.  As most people now know, not all fats are the same.  They are not the same for babies either.   Two types of lipids have gotten a lot of press and attention over the last years:

  • Omega-6’s: these are a family of unsaturated fatty acids with a final carbon-carbon double bond at n-6. (Just what you needed to know.)
  • Omega-3’s: these are a family of unsaturated fatty acids with a carbon-carbon double bond at the third carbon from the end.  (Who knew?)

We probably don’t even know a tip of an iceberg about the roles they play in our bodies.

Lowering Omega-6 fatty acids during early life lowers body fat later.

Looking for a crossfit womens gift?  This beautiful shirt is perfect for the crossfit enthusiast.
Birth of Venus and Her Kettlebells womens workout shirt

At least in mice.  Mice whose mothers were fed diets relatively low in Omega-6 fatty acids during lactation had less body fat in adulthood than mice with relatively more Omega-6 fatty acids (Oosting et al. 2010).  Mice whose mothers got more Omega-3 fatty acids also tended to have less body fat in adulthood.  Body weights were not different.  That is interesting.  It also supports the idea that having a little more Omega-3 in the diet of pregnant and lactating might result in leaner children.  Since obesity has become such a problem in Western cultures this might be good to know.  Changes in maternal diet (or reliance on formula rather than breast milk) may be partly responsible for the obesity epidemic.

New research on Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and infant brain development

This same research group did a follow-up study (Schipper 2013).    Mother mice were given diets that were either low in Omega-6, high in Omega-3 or a standard control diet.   All diets contained the same proportions of fat, carbohydrate and protein.  Just the fat type differed.   Results were as follows:

  • Pups showed no difference in growth or weight
  • No differences in hormones (grehlin or leptin)
  • Brains of offspring in both the low Omega-6 and high Omega-3 diets were different from controls.

There were fewer neurons in the brain area that controls energy balance for both groups.

Energy balance refers to energy intake and expenditure.  Animals whose mothers were fed either a greater proportion of omega-3s or a decrease in omega-6s showed less connectivity when compared to the standard mouse diet.  This study tells us that the fats or oils a mother eats during pregnancy and during breastfeeding alter offspring brain devvelopment.  The study was unable to tell us what the change in brain wiring might mean for long-term health and function in people.   Or in mice.   Hopefully more research will follow.


Schipper L, Bouyer K, Oosting A, Simerly RB, & van der Beek EM (2013). Postnatal dietary fatty acid composition permanently affects the structure of hypothalamic pathways controlling energy balance in mice. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 98 (6), 1395-401 PMID: 24108786


Oosting A, Kegler D, Boehm G, Jansen HT, van de Heijning BJ, & van der Beek EM (2010). N-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids prevent excessive fat deposition in adulthood in a mouse model of postnatal nutritional programming. Pediatric research, 68 (6), 494-9 PMID: 20724957

Womens Resistance Training. Is it the same as it is for men? Hormonally speaking?

Crossfit Shirt Yoga Shirt for Strong women
Adding resistance training can make you a stronger woman. Shop for all your strong woman needs at WODMASTERS Gear

Resistance training triggers a hormonal response.  If it didn’t your body would not respond by increasing muscle mass, strengthening tendons and reinforcing bones.  The hormonal changes that occur following training are well-documented in men.  Men who do resistance training show marked changes in hormones and marked changes in muscle mass.  Men and women both benefit from resistance training.  While many fitness sites and health writers tell women that they will not “bulk up” if they add resistance training to their fitness programs, many women are still reluctant to try.  What happens to women when they start resistance training?

Womens resistance training and hormones

Men’s hormone profiles change during resistance training.  Men undertaking resistance training experience:

  • increases in growth hormone (GH)
  • increases in insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1)
  • increases in testosterone
  • reduction in cortisol
womens crossfit shirt Grey back
WODMASTERS Power Shirts say WODMASTERS on the back.

But what about women?   There hasn’t been as much research on what happens with women.  There just aren’t as many research subjects for studies, and possibly less interest.  At least in the past.  That seems to be changing.  A recent paper published by a research team affiliated with the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine looked at changes in womens hormone profiles when they started weight training.   It looks like resistance training also causes hormonal changes in women.   But the changes may be different.  Women showed:

  • increases in growth hormone
  • increases in total IGF-1
  • increases in several IGF-1 binding proteins
  • a decrease in free IGF-1
  • no change in cortisol
  • no change in testosterone

IGF-1 appears to protect or increase bone strength (Courtland 2013).  Laboratory animals with low IGF-1 had “older” more fragile bones than animals with higher IGF-1.  Growth hormone also maintains tissue and helps maintain strength.

Why do Growth Hormone and IGF-1 matter for women?

Strong Woman Shirt with All-Seeing Kettlebell.  Awesome Power and exceptional femininity for a crossfit shirt
Strong Woman Shirt with All-Seeing Kettlebell. Awesome Power and exceptional femininity

Women have less bone and muscle than men to start with.  They are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.  Women may also notice the impact of strength loss before men.  This can be a serious problem leading to frailty later in life.    Frailty is a major factor in loss of independence.  Most women already know they should include resistance exercise in their fitness programs.  Hopefully understanding why and understanding how it works will help provide a little more motivation.

IGF-1 Supplements

Some supplement or nutriceutical companies market IGF supplements to women telling them it will increase youthfulness and vitality.  You may see claims that the supplements are “safe” and “natural.”  To be honest, no one knows if they are safe or not.  There simply hasn’t been enough research to know.  While IGF-1 may protect bone and muscle some suggest that suppressing IGF-1 leads to a longer life-span.   It is also very hard to know how much IGF-1 is in a supplement.  You may be getting nothing, or you may be getting an amount that may harm your health in the long run.   Supplement contents may be “natural.”  But, that is no claim to safety or to effectiveness.  Better to keep strong and healthy by eating well and exercising (and including resistance training) rather than trying to tweek your hormone levels.  We are the product of millions and even billions of year of evolution.   That deserves respect.


Niemann I, Hannemann A, Nauck M, Spielhagen C, Völzke H, Wallaschofski H, & Friedrich N (2013). The association between insulin-like growth factor I and bone turnover markers in the general adult population. Bone, 56 (1), 184-90 PMID: 23792936

Courtland HW, Kennedy OD, Wu Y, Gao Y, Sun H, Schaffler MB, & Yakar S (2013). Low levels of plasma IGF-1 inhibit intracortical bone remodeling during aging. Age (Dordrecht, Netherlands), 35 (5), 1691-703 PMID: 22976122

When will The New Yorker Cartoonists take on CrossFit?

Robert Mankoff is Cartoon Editor of the New Yorker

Mr. Mankoff is, in our opinion,  one of America’s greatest cartoonists.  He has recently published an article on Running from a his personal runner-cartoonist perspective.  He expresses a lot of what we secreted in our internal dialogue back when we were runners.  “Don’t all human endeavors have a degree of absurdity? Even the most Ancient Greece-y ones? Our time on earth is finite, so why waste it running errands, let alone a marathon? The distance itself—26.2 miles—is only slightly less cockamamie than pi. What does it measure in the grand scheme of things? Why wake up at 5:30 A.M. to pull on those smelly old sneakers, stumble outdoors into the frigid autumn air, and jog down the same empty streets over and over and over again?”

crossfit shirt rhino crossfit masters
Stiff, Inflexible, Invincible WODMasters shirt for the Masters CrossFit Athlete. And for other people who may also be stiff and inflexible.

As scientists, we know why we do CrossFit, try to eat well and try, generally, to stay sane.  We will enjoy life more if we do.  Maintaining muscle mass, bone strength, coordination and balance is good in the long run no matter how you look at it.   And sure, it helps us avoid our fears of aging and vulnerability.  It only takes about 20 minutes, compared to a Marathon’s hours.   Still, there is plenty of bitter sweet humor, humanity and absurdity in CrossFit.

Does humor extend life and protect health?

Unfortunately no one knows the answer to this question yet.  But it tends to make us feel better and that’s good on its own.  We would love to see Mr. Mankoff tackle CrossFit. Even if he made us look silly.  He would probably make us look human.  Like ourselves.  It might do a lot to tamp some of CrossFit’s image as the Kingdom of Megalomania.

Here’s a few references for anyone interested in humor research.

Dyck, Kyle T.H. (2013-07–1) Understanding humor styles and well-being: The importance of social relationships and gender. , 55(1), 53-58. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2013.01.023

Pressman SD, & Cohen S (2012). Positive emotion word use and longevity in famous deceased psychologists. Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 31 (3), 297-305 PMID: 21928902 


Read Mankoff’s article in The New Yorker . . .

Science over Sciencey-ness: Is it safe to indulge in beans? What about the Lectins?

Lady Kettlebells Summer womens crossfit shirt
Beans may be safe but get yourself a WODMASTERS shirt to make sure.

Talking about the Paleo Diet always feels dangerous.  It never made sense to me.  When I first brought that up at our CrossFit Box I was warned by a CrossFit trainer not to speak publicly about it.  “They will destroy you.” were her exact words.  Not being sure exactly who “they” were, I’ve written about it, pretty much as delicately as I can, a few times.  I don’t intend to offend anyone, or threaten anyone’s sense of self or loyalties.  But, as a professor and toxicologist (and hopefully responsible citizen) I feel compelled at times to discuss issues of logic and incomplete information when they are potentially damaging to people’s health.    So, in advance, to my Paleo friends . . . I only wish you well.

The Paleo Diet basics.

Most people on the Paleo Diet are trying to lose weight and become healthier.  The paleo diet eschews refined food and junk food.  It also eschews a number of other foods.  Grains are on the “not paleo” list as are beans and peanuts.  The rationale centers around gut inflammation.  Gluten, a plant lectin, is on the “not paleo” list because it causes inflammation in people who have celiac disease.  The paleo diet treats all people as though they have celiac disease.   It is a perfectly normal conclusion to make when immediate experience is the only source of information.    It makes sense on a primitive level.   A gut level.  For most paleo experts the  “medical establishment” and the FDA are misguided at best and are often seen as enemies.   For paleo advocates, there is very little information that can be trusted.  Paleo diet advocates do rely on selected papers published in scientific journals to support their hypotheses.  For a more articulate discussion watch the video below:

lectin Quinoia Paleo? CrossFit Social after CrossFit WOD
Fear of Lectins and anti-nutrients can make people neurotic. Maybe its just fear that makes people neurotic.  Either way its not good for you. Relax and enjoy life.

The Paleo Diet and Lectins and What are Lectins?

Lectins are binding proteins.   Humans, like other organisms, use binding proteins to protect and control various substances in the blood.  Binding proteins help protect hormones from being degraded before they can reach their targets.   Binding proteins can also serve to limit the amount of an active substance in the blood stream.  Binding proteins help the body maintain control of itself and its operations.  Lectins are binding proteins that bind to sugars.  In humans lectins play important roles in

  • Cell communication
  • Cell differentiation
  • Movement of cell vesicles

Why do Paleo Diet Experts think lectin is an anti-nutrient?

The rationale may be that

  • Gluten can harm the gut of people with celiac disease.
  • If some people cannot tolerate gluten, then gluten is probably bad for everyone
  • Gluten is a lectin, therefore lectins are bad for people


Much of the belief that lectins are anti-nutrient seems to come from a single paper published in an open-access online journal called BMC Endocrine Disorders.    It is a “hypothesis paper.”  The authors of the paper make associations between obesity and other diseases of affluence and cereal-based diets.  The paper was published in 2005 and has two citations.   Citations by other researchers are a way to judge the impact of the paper on other scientists.  If your paper gets cited it means that other scientists have referenced your work to support their research.  Two citations in 8 years is not a huge amount . . . and both citations were self-citations. Interestingly, neither of the citing papers discussed lectins.  Hypothesis generation is a worthy endeavor.  A lot of good comes from hypothesis generation.  Hypotheses can be fun and interesting.  And they can inspire research.  But unless the practice of noting associations goes beyond hypothesis generation to hypothesis testing the ideas should stay in the fun and interesting pile and not become a foundation for a diet for millions of people.

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Low T? Feeling awesome increases Testosterone. Wear WODMASTERS and feel it rise. This statement is not backed up by any research whatsoever.

It seems to be true that some lectins can cause intestinal distress.  The Miyake et al. (2007) paper (below) was an investigation of the mechanism by which uncooked lectins cause acute gastrointestinal distress.  Fortunately, cooking breaks lectins down.  Unless you are a big fan of raw beans you will probably have no problem with lectins.   Most people cook beans.  And most people will get a huge stomach ache it they eat them uncooked.  If you do get a huge stomach ache after eating something (a lectin or not) you should probably not eat it anymore.  Our ancestors ate grains.  We are, in most likelihood, well adapted to their consumption.  Uncooked beans are probably another story.  Eat them after they have been cooked.  They are a good source of protein, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.

Science over sciencey-ness

Reasonableness over rigidity



Miyake K, Tanaka T, & McNeil PL (2007). Lectin-based food poisoning: a new mechanism of protein toxicity. PloS one, 2 (8) PMID: 17668065

Jönsson T, Olsson S, Ahrén B, Bøg-Hansen TC, Dole A, & Lindeberg S (2005). Agrarian diet and diseases of affluence–do evolutionary novel dietary lectins cause leptin resistance? BMC endocrine disorders, 5 PMID: 16336696

Mens/Unisex Eye Pood Shirt for the Stiff and Inflexible

Our Classic Eye Pood Shirt is fresh off the press and ready to ship.  The shirt features our all-seeing kettlebell against a starry night sky and a stark landscape.  The shirt makes a quiet and dignified statement.    What more could we say, other than the fabric is soft, quick drying and luxurious.  The print quality is excellent.  People will be sure to ask “Where did you get that awesome shirt?”  And you’ll know you got it from us.  The WodMasters.

The shirts have an athletic cut.   If you have a powerful build order a size up.    Let us know about the design at the head of this post.  So far it has been deemed “too weird to print” on a shirt.   If enough people want one, we’ll print.

Mens Eye Pood Kettlebell Shirt
Mens Eye Pood Kettlebell Shirt

Masters Athletes Testosterone. Masters Athletes keep it high.

Masters Athletes Testosterone

WODMasters  Masters CrossFit Athlete with way more Masters Athletes testosterone
A WODMasters with way more testosterone than is good for him. Shops at WODMasters online Store.

Testosterone makes men . . . men. Testosterone, of course, is a hormone.   Testosterone is important for normal sexual function. But testosterone’s role in other aspects of men’s health and well-being is sometimes overlooked. Testosterone maintains muscle and bone.  It drives production of red blood cells.  It directs the distribution of body fat giving men a masculine physique.  Or at least not a feminine physique. Testosterone keeps minds sharp and energy levels high.   Testosterone levels fall with aging.  Testosterone starts to decline when a man reaches the age of about 30. From age 30 on, men can expect a 1% drop in testosterone every year.   Few enjoy the process.   Aging is frankly scary.  And its something none of us of ever imagined would actually happen to . . . us.

What is Normal Testosterone?

Eye Pood Kettlebell Crossfit shirt
Low T? Feeling awesome increases Testosterone. Wear WODMASTERS and feel it rise.

Testosterone levels in men can vary quite a bit.  “Normal” levels are levels that allow a man function normally.   Men whose testosterone levels fell between 300 and 1000 ng/dl (nanogams per deciliter) are considered to be within the normal range.  On average older men have lower testosterone than younger men.   But there are many factors besides age that can lower testosterone.  Lack of sleep, stress, getting dumped, problems at work, even something as simple as losing an athletic competition can cause testosterone to fall.  Some people believe that men should take testosterone supplements to offset natural declines.  And many men report feeling stronger, sexier and more energetic when they take them.  There are a few problems with supplementing with testosterone, including some serious health risks.  There is an alternative.  Before running to the doctor or giving up you can become a Masters Athletes.  If you are already a Masters Athlete . . . keep it up.

Masters Athletes Testosterone.

crossfit shirt rhino crossfit masters
Stiff, Inflexible, Invincible WODMasters shirt for the Masters CrossFit Athlete. And for other people who may also be stiff and inflexible.

Masters Athletes do not share many of the changes in body composition, function, hormone profiles or metabolism that their sedentary peers experience.  At least not to the same degree.  This is according to a recent study of a small group (20) of Masters Athletes compared to a small group (28) of sedentary peers.  Masters were found to have:

  • Greater VO2 Max
  • Greater peak power output
  • Higher salivary testosterone
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower percent body fat

There was no difference between Masters Athletes and Sedentary Peers in

  • Cortisol
  • Fat Free Mass
  • Total Body mass
Masters Athletes testosterone is higher
Being a masters athlete preserves testosterone. Note lack of baldness and rugged masculine appearance. Ignore the slack jaw and dull eyes. This guy is smarter than he looks. This Masters Athlete wears WODMasters Stuff.

Here is an interesting question that wasn’t apparent reading the paper.  If Masters athletes have less body fat and the same amount of Fat Free Mass as sedentary peers what is the source of the Masters Athletes mass?  Probably not blood volume, since blood pressure is lower.  Body hair perhaps?  From less balding?  If anyone would like to go over the paper and let me know what I’ve missed it would be greatly appreciated.


Hayes LD, Grace FM, Sculthorpe N, Herbert P, Kilduff LP, & Baker JS (2013). Does chronic exercise attenuate age-related physiological decline in males? Research in sports medicine (Print), 21 (4), 343-54 PMID: 24067120