my thoughts

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For every father with a little daughter

It has been a long talked about topic as to the importance of a father figure in a girls life during her formative years. The input from a father can make or break her understanding of her place in this world and men with daughters need to know how to be proper fathers.

This blog post is a heart felt cry from the perspective of a young girl explaining to her father the importance of his input into her life.

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To all the fathers out there I hope this helps make you realise the role you play, and to all the girls out there, I hope this makes you realise as to the expectation you can place on your father!

So, to all the daddies with little girls who aren’t old enough yet to ask for what they need from you, here is what they wish you knew:

1. How you love me is how I will love myself.

2. Ask how I am feeling and listen to my answer, I need to know you value me before I can understand my true value.

3. I learn how I should be treated by how you treat my mom, whether you are married to her or not.

4. If you are angry with me, I feel it even if I don’t understand it, so talk to me.

5. Every time you show grace to me or someone else, I learn to trust God a little more.

6. I need to experience your nurturing physical strength, so I learn to trust the physicality of men.

7. Please don’t talk about sex like a teenage boy, or I will think it’s something dirty.

8. When your tone is gentle, I understand what you are saying much better.

9. How you talk about female bodies when you’re ‘just joking’ is what I believe about my own.

10. How you handle my heart, is how I will allow it to be handled by others.

11. If you encourage me to find what brings joy, I will always seek it.

12. If you teach me what safe feels like when I’m with you, I will know better how to guard myself from men who are not.

13. Teach me a love of art, science, and nature, and I will learn that intellect matters more than dress size.

14. Let me say exactly what I want even if it’s wrong or silly, because I need to know having a strong voice is acceptable to you.

15. When I get older, if you seem afraid of my changing body, I will believe something is wrong with it.

16. If you understand contentment for yourself, so will I.

17. When I ask you to let go, please remain available; I will always come back and need you if you do.

18. If you demonstrate tenderness, I learn to embrace my own vulnerability rather than fear it.

19. When you let me help fix the car and paint the house, I will believe I can do anything a boy can do.

20. When you protect my femininity, I learn everything about me is worthy of protecting.

21. How you treat our dog when you think I’m not watching tells me more about you than does just about anything else.

22. Don’t let money be everything, or I learn not to respect it or you.

23. Hug, hold, and kiss me in all the ways a daddy does that are right and good and pure. I need it so much to understand healthy touch.

24. Please don’t lie, because I believe what you say.

25. Don’t avoid hard conversations, because it makes me believe I’m not worth fighting for.

It’s pretty simple, really. Little girls just love their daddies. They each think their daddy hung the moon. Once in a while when you look at your little gal twirling in her frilly skirt, remember she’ll be grown one day. What do you want her to know about men, life, herself, love? What you do and say now matters for a lifetime. Daddies, never underestimate the impact of your words or deeds on your daughters, no matter their age.

I for one will remember these simple wishes, if a daughter ever happens to grace my life.

Filed under Daughters educational motivational love fathers afatherslove

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The loss of a Legend


Today is truly a sad day! Not because a man died, but because a legend who inspired a nation, with the passion and drive to eradicate racism and inequality, with ideas that were not just revolutionary but also visionary, has had to submit to the mortality of our fragile human bodies.

If a man could prolong his mortal life with the amount of change and progress he brought to the human race, Nelson Mandela would have been immortal. The amount of lives he has affected surely would have earned him immortality!

Yet in a way his dream of a nation at peace with itself, of equality and freedom for everyone regardless of their race, gender or creed is a dream all of us can pursue and in pursuing bring immortality to the life of the man who inspired us all.

The thought of us losing the values and dreams Madiba fought for not only saddens me, but more importantly scares me. If a man like Madiba, who after living the sacrificial life that he did, can’t inspire people to continue living his dream, generations after he has had to leave this world behind, what needs to be done before we as a nation progress beyond our small mindsets and childish behaviour?

If the legacy Nelson Mandela has left us can’t become the standard by which we all live, we are left to repeat all the mistakes that have been made by the previous generations.

I truly hope we all take the life and lessons taught by this exceedingly great man and make his convictions and standards our own. He did not sacrifice everything so that we could just forget what he fought for!

“When the history of our times is written, will we be remembered as the generation that turned our backs in a moment of global crisis or will it be recorded that we did the right thing?”  - Nelson Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013)

Filed under madiba Nelson Mandela

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What they dont tell you about CrossFit

Everyone has an uncle they’d rather you not meet.

Please allow me to introduce you to Uncle Rhabdo, CrossFit’s unofficial and disturbing mascot. Uncle Rhabdo is a cartoon commonly referenced in CrossFit literature and representative of a troubling trend among CrossFitters.

He’s a clown. Literally.

The “Uncle Rhabdo” cartoon depicts an exhausted, yet well-muscled clown, connected to a dialysis machine standing next to some workout equipment. Concernedly, his kidney has fallen out and lies on the floor underneath him, along with some portion of his bowel. He’s left a pool of blood on the floor below him, but it’s not clear if this is from the disembowelment, the kidney’s arterial supply, or the collection of fasciotomies he appears to have endured. Uncle Rhabdo, of course, has Rhabdomyolysis.

Rhabdomyolysis, apart from being a subtly pleasant and melodic sounding word, is an uncool, serious and potentially fatal condition resulting from the catastrophic breakdown of muscle cells. We’ll get more into the specifics in just a bit, but first let’s begin with a story.

A Tale of Rhabdomyolysis

One day, a very fit, young, physical therapist colleague of mine went to CrossFit. She had been many times before. On this warm Texas evening, she performed a partner workout, where each would trade off performing sets of 10 for each exercise. The workout consisted of pushups. Lots of them. Copious amounts of overhead press were also included.

She performed hundreds of repetitions of each. She was a champ!

“I didn’t want to not match my partner. Normally I may have rested a little, but the partner workout kept me going.”
Most people who experience exertional rhabdomyolysis are very fit. This is not a case of out-of-shape newbies doing too much. (Photo by Victoria Garcia via Flickr)

Both of these activities heavily involve the triceps muscles and so she wasn’t surprised to have her beautiful, sculpted arms feel like poorly set bowls of JELL-O® on the way home from CrossFit. Perhaps it was the heat. Maybe it was the sheer number of exercises she did. Her muscles were in crisis. She iced and hydrated when she got home, like a good little exerciser, but the damage was already done.

As physical therapists, we’re finely tuned detection machines looking for normal versus abnormal response to exercise and activity. “Is this supposed to hurt?” is a question we respond to hundreds of times in a week. Sometimes the answer to this question is yes and we encourage the individual to press on, and other times it’s a signal to initiate some rest and recovery. This signal detection is one of the things that’s deeply embedded into physical therapists. We can’t help it. And so when my friend awoke the next morning, her abnormal response alarms were blaring. She couldn’t bend her elbows! She couldn’t even reach her mouth to brush her teeth.

Still entrenched in the CrossFit culture of deplete, endure, repeat, she quieted the alarms and stoically pressed on to go to work. It didn’t take long to realize she not only couldn’t bend her arms, they also had no strength. She wasn’t able to treat her patients. By that evening, her slender arms had continued to swell into plump hotdogs of ache and regret, and she was starting to come to the realization that the morning’s danger alarms were legitimate.

Unbelievably, it took another 24 hours for her professional sense to break through the grip of the CrossFit culture, and seek medical attention. She was diagnosed with acute rhabdomyolysis, and ended up in the hospital for over a week. While in the emergency department they tested her creatinine kinase (CPK) levels. Normal is about 100. Her CPK levels were more than 45,000, a number that indicated damage to the kidneys.

While in the hospital, she called to cancel her CrossFit membership. As is standard when something is cancelled, the CrossFit coach asked the reason for her decision. She replied, “I’m in the hospital.” The instructor quickly asked, “Is it rhabdo?”

And here we have arrived at CrossFit’s dirty little secret. The coach was unusually familiar with what is normally a very rarely seen disorder. It’s so rare that one study reported the overall annual incidence of rhabdomyolysis to be 0.06%. That represents single digits of cases out of hundreds of thousands of patients. How, I wondered, is it possible that the layperson exercise instructor is on a first-name basis with a serious, yet rare medical condition? Is this a thing with CrossFit? It turns out it is.

Rhabdomyolysis: As Told By CrossFit?

A quick search of the Interwebs reveals copious amounts of informationabout rhabdo purveyed by none other than CrossFit trainers. Scouring the scientific literature in mainstream medical journals, however, reveals a only a few peer-reviewed papers. The science confirms that exertional rhabdomyolysis, as this form is sometimes referred to, is uncommon and normally reserved for the elite military trainee, ultra-endurance monsters, and for victims of the occasional psychotic football coach. Rhabdomyolysis isn’t a common condition, yet it’s so commonly encountered in CrossFit that they have a cartoon about it,nonchalantly casting humor on something that should never happen.

So what is rhabdomyolysis exactly? Under extreme conditions your muscles cells explode. They die. They leach protein out into the blood stream, including one form called myoglobin. Ever stalwart, your kidneys take up the job of clearing these dangerous proteins from the blood. Why? It’s just what they do. Unfortunately, myoglobin proteins aren’t designed to be in the blood in the first place and they can easily overload the kidney. This can produce injury or death to all or part of the kidney in a short amount of time, and is potentially lethal. Locally, the muscles are left damaged and dying. Swelling ensues and weakness occurs as pressure builds around the remaining muscle cells. Your body’s systems that normally can assist with this local muscle damage are now offline trying to help you not die. If you get to this stage, you’re in serious trouble.

In some cases, acute compartment syndrome ensues, which is an emergency condition that can result in loss of a limb unless yourconnective tissue is slashed open to release the swelling , a procedure called a fasciotomy. None of this is something that people should be handling in such a cavalier manner.

So what gives? As early as 2005, the New York Times documented rhabdomyolysis associated with the culture of CrossFit in a piece entitled, “Getting Fit, Even If It Kills You.” The article included this gem of a quote:

“Yet six months later Mr. Anderson, a former Army Ranger, was back in the gym, performing the very exercises that nearly killed him. “I see pushing my body to the point where the muscles destroy themselves as a huge benefit of CrossFit,” he said.”

What does CrossFit’s founder, Greg Glassman think of this?

“It can kill you,” he said. “I’ve always been completely honest about that.”

Fast forward to 2013 and this culture has changed little, perhaps even accelerated. As fellow Medium writer, Jason Kessler pointed out in “Why I Quit CrossFit,” the elitist, push yourself to the limit culture of the discipline has increased in light of commercial interests taking hold. Regarding culture, Jason points out,

“If you ask a CrossFit coach, the injuries were all my fault. In a culture that drives you to go as hard and fast as possible, it’s difficult not to get caught up in the hype. You’re supposed to push yourself to the limit, but when you hit the limit and pay the price, you’re the idiot who went too far.”

In another psychotic example of how the overwhelming culture of CrossFit can diminish professional common sense, one gynecologist was quoted dishing this nonsense:

“Ladies, in my professional opinion, it is okay to pee during double unders.”

No, peeing during a workout is not alright. Ever.

To underline the point,, the official consumer information website of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), hosted an online radio show specifically responding to CrossFit’s irresponsible glorification of stress induced urinary incontinence.

The Impact of Rhabdomyolysis

Sometimes rhabdomyolysis gets better with treatment. Sometimes it lingers. Sometimes your kidneys are never the same again. One message board commenter remarked,

“ I seem to “flare” after any resistance training. I came into this by over training- I was in phenomenal shape. I have gained weight. I get swollen and puffy. I feel as though the quality of my muscle tissue decreases on a daily basis- more so than the lack of weight training- seems to be disintegration.”
The effects of rhabdomyolysis can persist beyond the initial crisis phase.

My friend experienced a similar, though thankfully less severe long term effect. It’s been several months and her triceps strength is not back to normal. Her sculpted arms are gone, replaced by semi-swollen jiggly tissue. Once a muscle tears, damaged, fatty scar tissue replaces the injured muscle tissue. The result is a permanently damaged muscle, and a decreased ability to strength train. The irony of pushups causing flabby arms underscores the age-old mantra: There really is too much of a good thing.

Crossfitters, largely unaware of the rhabdo risk, will continue to charge ahead, pressured and happily coerced into exercising to depletion and exhaustion. My prediction: in a few years, the peer-reviewed scientific literature will be ripe with articles about CrossFit and Rhabdomyolysis. Health providers will be there to scoop up the pieces, but who is there to protect those people unknowingly at risk?

Exercise is just about the best thing you can do for your body, but in the case of Crossfit, we’re left to ponder the question, is this workout worth the risk? Can the culture adapt to one that embraces safe training principles? Do coaches truly have the ability to detect what a proper training load is for their athletes? Only time will tell, but the future of CrossFit may depend on it.

Filed under Crossfit kills crossfit the truth