Tag Archives: grace


So week number 5 on our nutrition series of blog postings, I trust you are all finding them interesting and are learning something along the way….hopefully it is going a little way to prepare you for our upcoming…

So lets get to it, hormones this week, and we begin with…


What is it? This is a hormone that regulates the level of glucose (sugar) in our blood. It also plays a role in numerous other functions from stimulating lipolysis to affecting cell growth and replication.

How does it work? When levels of blood glucose rise insulin is released from cells in our pancreas. Insulin acts so we can make use of the glucose and because too much glucose circulating in our blood can be toxic. Insulin binds to specific receptors on our cell membranes and in doing so it opens up the ‘doorways’ for which glucose (and fats, and amino acids) can enter our cells to be used for energy or stored as glycogen (primarily in the liver and muscle cells).


What is it? To keep it simple, glucagon is a hormone that performs the opposite role to insulin.

How does it work? When blood glucose falls to low levels, glucagon is released (again from the pancreas) in order to release the energy we have stored in our cells. The stored glycogen is converted back into glucose by our liver and it goes on to be used by our muscles, brain etc. Glucagon also triggers the release of fatty acids from our adipose tissue as another source of energy.

Nearly every animal has evolved the use insulin and glucagon to control blood glucose, its simple and it works a treat!

So what’s the problem?

When we have a diet that is high in processed foods, sugars and carbohydrates (remember that all carbs become glucose) our blood sugar levels skyrocket with each meal. In (a natural) response our pancreas senses this and pumps out large amounts of insulin to bring the blood glucose levels under control. As a result our cells are told to take in as much glucose as possible, so much so that our muscles can’t burn through it fast enough and our cellular stores become saturated with glycogen. However, the glucose still has to go somewhere and through a rather complex set of reactions it gets converted and stored as fat.

….stay with me….

Overtime our cells begin to become resistant to insulin and are less sensitive to it. Cells that have full glycogen stores no longer respond to the insulin (no room at the inn!). The insulin receptor sites on our cells begin to degrade through aggressive overuse (imagine a key wearing away a lock) and the receptor sites also decrease in number. As a result less insulin can bind to cells, thus less circulating glucose is removed from the blood and blood glucose levels remain elevated, so what happens?

Well our pancreas thinks ‘hmmm, glucose is still pretty high, better pump out some more insulin!‘ and so the problem escalates. This is when things start to really get messy, we all know the saying ‘too much of a good thing’, well it applies here. In high amounts insulin (hyperinsulinemia) is toxic to our bodies and it plays its part in an alarming amount of disease states (remember, google the term ‘hyperinsulinemia’ with pretty much any degenerative disease state). In contrast a paleo approach sees lower circulating insulin and glucose with levels remaining consistent throughout the day. We have a steady stream of energy provided by the food we eat combined with the energy stores we have available (glycogen in our muscles and liver, fatty acids in our adipose tissue). Listing all the problems of a high carb/sugar diet would take a loooong time, so for more info take a look at these links:
and also http://www.direct-ms.org/pdf/EvolutionPaleolithic/Hyperinsulinemia.pdf

So we now know that excessive amounts of carbohydrates/ sugar is hugely damaging to our bodies. Depending on what source you reading, anything over 150-200g of carbohydrates a day is not the best idea while daily levels of over 300g+ per day as in the typical American diet is a ticket to obesity and an early demise from anyone of a number of related diseases. If you take a Paleolithic approach you will find it extremely difficult to eat near 150g of carbohydrates per day so you have nothing to fear. Also, if you exercise then you can cope with more carbohydrates as you body is using the glucose for energy and our glycogen stores are kept at optimal levels (so don’t lose sleep over worrying if you eating too many carbs…you wont be). If you can avoid those carbohydrate heavy foods (breads, pasta etc) and stay away from processed sugary foods (fizzy drinks, cakes, cookies, crisps and the rest) on a regular basis then your taking a massive step to a life of great health and longevity.

Which do you want to be???

Now I seem to have bashed carbohydrates a fair bit over the past couple of posts, let me make clear that I am not a carbo-phobe. Glucose is a great source of energy which we need (it’s the brains most important fuel) but we do not need as much as conventional wisdom has led us to believe. The scientific community is well aware of the effects of hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance and related disease states, they have been and are throughly studied. Depending on what you wish to believe, reasons that it has not ‘pushed’ onto the general population have been put down to governments making too much money from agriculture (wheat, grains etc) as it forms a large part of the world economy. Pharmaceutical companies make their billions from providing drugs to treat sick people, they sure don’t want a drop in revenue…but I digress, whatever the reasons the modern day diet is what it is. As individuals we have to make our own choices, you decide which direction you want to take, just remember why you make these decisions (you may even set people on a healthier path). You want to lead a healthy, longer, happier, more productive life….it may feel like a tough climb at times, but the view at the top is worth it, or should I say the view in the mirror is worth it (boom!).

One final thing I would like to mention is that the paleo approach is not the be all and end all of nutrition and its most certainly not the holy grail. The ‘Modern Paleo’ website sums up well with .’A paleo approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation’.

There are a fair few other hormones which are important to mention but as ever I have rambled on for too long now. So for a Brucey Bonus, can anyone tell me what ‘Leptin’ does? And how it causes problems in overweight and obese people?…Please post to comments.


What I’m reading this week:

What I’m eating this week:

Assessment week
Its going to be a busy week at TCF, we are having assessment week! Keep you Athletic Level score sheet close by as you will be getting plenty of chance to cross off those benchmarks.

Workout of the day:

A: Attempt skills from you Athletic levels cards (& 500m max effort row post WOD)

B: ‘Grace’
30 reps Clean & Jerk for time 60/40kg

Day 10 – Grace


Jami demonstrating proper pole dancing technique.

On the 10th day of CrossFit, my trainer gave to me…30 Cleans and Jerks…on a bar with 60 kg.

Clean and Jerk is ground to overhead in 2 movements, they do not have to be squat cleans.

Workout of the Day:

for time:
30 Clean and Jerks – 60/40kg


You asked for it, you’ve got it, more Oly lifting at Thames CrossFit!

Check out this video documenting some of the top Chinese lifters before the 2008 games. Don’t you love geeking out on Oly lifting? Or, is it just us?

Workout of the Day:

A. Hang squat clean: 5×2, 2 minute starts (should be done in 10 minutes)
B. Split jerk: 5×2, 2 minute starts (should be done in 10 minutes)
C. “Grace”
30 Clean and Jerks for time 60/40kg