I had my first real vacation in a long time this past weekend. I went to Sweden for a short labor day holiday to visit my cousin Eva. A lot of people thought I was crazy to go all the way to Sweden for four days, but the experience was definitely worth the travel.
I did pretty much no research and had no expectations of what to expect before going over. I let my cousin plan the whole thing (because its not really a vacation if you have to make decisions). So other than the fact that I knew when I was going to take off and come home I had no clue what to expect.
First I’d like to commend the Thunder god Thor for keeping up the good work. I didn’t see a single ice giant the entire time I was there. I wasn’t expecting reindeer and sleds being pulled by polar bears, but ya’ know a boy can dream.
So armed with nothing but a dead cell phone and what Swedish I retained from the Swedish Chef on the Muppets, I threw up my out of office and ventured off to Sweden.
For some reason (I’m cheap) I had to take a connecting flight through Pittsburg. I always back food when I travel and I’m pretty competent about finding food in an airport. Pittsburg, however is probably has the least healthy airport food in the world. I wound up getting most of my flight chow from a Duane Reed drug store.
After a flight stuck in the middle seat and some decent sleep, I finally landed in Goittenburg. Also, I really hope I spell check this before I post it, but we all know that’s not going to happen.
Goittenburg is on the west coast of Sweden in the south and kind of close to Denmark. So, no sleighbells and Santa. The weather was kind of like a sunny version of Seattle.
My first impression flying in was that I was in the middle of the woods. There were a lot of woods surrounding the city and the airport was pretty far out of town. So landing seemed like a northern wilderness adventure.
My cousin picked me up from the airport and we headed into the city. We started the trip with a traditional Swedish shrimp dish in this awesome restaurant that overlooks Goittenburg.
That’s as good of a point as any to talk about the Swedes. First of all, they all speak pretty good English. Pretty much, everyone I met or ran into spoke better English than any other country I’ve been to in Europe.
CrossFitters tend to talk about Scandinavians like they’re all part-time Vikings and part-time training partners for Magnus Samuelson. Swedes are in much better shape than Americans. To be honest, I saw much more black Swedes than I saw fat Swedes. They were friendly and fit.
In my short time there, I ate pretty close to Paleo the entire time. I didn’t do anything unusual, gladly ate what I was served, and enjoyed every bite of it. The food was awesome.
My favorite dish was definitely the blood sausage and lingonberry jam. It tasted like warm, fresh bread with not overly sweet jam. There’s always some trepidation when trying new food, especially when it has such an intimidating name.
The first day in Goittenburg was a lot of sightseeing. We did the Padden river tour first. The city is known for its harbor and canals, so we were able to see pretty much all of the major sites from the water.
Next we did a Segway tour of the city. Yes, that is about as cool as a rollerblading tour of the Atlanta beltline. I don’t care, it was fun and I got to see cool things. If you can’t have fun doing something like that, then you are a dickhead.
The best part of the trip was when we went out to Eva’s summer house in Gullholland (no way I spelled that right on the first try). We kayaked, hiked, and walked around something that otherwise only exists in travel shows and post cards.
Other things I did in no particular order: rock climbing, got yelled at for trying to touch a bridge on a boat tour, lifted on Eliko bars in a globo gym, got yelled at for “loudly lowering” the nicest barbell and bumpers I’ve ever lifted on (No I did not slam the bar, the gym was upstairs so there was no dropping of weights. I lowered a 210kg down as gently as I could and I still got yelled at), did some back squats and push jerks just enjoying the oscillation, did some low bar back squats just to piss people off when they read this, almost went swimming but realized that the water was more jellyfish than water, saw a taxidermy museum, saw a fort that was built in 1307 by the Norwegians, and got to see my cousin’s University (we’re both MBA candidates).
We also went to the amusement park inside Goittenberg. Its surprisingly large considering that its inside of downtown. The rides were fun, but the funniest part was going through the haunted house. It had painted up actors that would jump out and scare people. We went through with two huge Danish guys who screamed louder than any girls and completely freaked out. It was hilarious.
I actually was able to learn my way around the city pretty well.
The trip was amazing. I loved getting to see my cousin again. The last time I saw her was last Christmas when she came to visit. The time before that was probably over a decade ago. The trip was great.
Every Crossfitter loves making fun of Crossfit. In fact, the more of a dork you are the more you probably enjoy the jokes at the expense of your cult. I definitely fall into that category. To steal a line from the Naked Exerciser, I pretty much beat off with a hook grip.
I’m glad that there are actually funny people out there making fun of Crossfit. Its like having a comedian come to your office that knows all of the gossip and inside jokes. That combination of real comedic talent and something so inherently strange and self righteous makes the world a better place.
Also, having, for lack of a better term, watchdogs with a wide internet following calling bullshit on things like partner thrusters with someone koala-fying a barbell, neck supported ring push ups, and a wide variety of other inexplicable acts of idiocy that goes down at Crossfit competitions is great.
However, I think the line between satire and advice gets blurred too much with diet.
I love the fact that there is at least one voice that tells people that eating one cookie at Grandma’s house is not going to make the difference between an insulin injection and winning the CrossFit Games. Well, maybe the insulin injection for most people.
One of the most annoying things for people who have been around CrossFit for a while is when people come to the sport or the gyms with no athletic background and think that there is a simple, six week plan to a Reebok sponsorship.
News flash, if you were ever picked last for basketball in middle school you will never see yourself thrustering on a jumbotron. Unless you’re doing the more interesting version of the thruster, than maybe you can be elite in a more intimate pursuit.
While that cookie won’t make a difference in your unrealistic, untenable, and unbelievably misguided goal (you will probably go to the grave with as many CrossFit Games appearances as my first cat)*, it will make a difference in your overall, health, well being, and performance.
The same “hey guess what you’re not Rich Froning” is a two way street. You can’t do the things he does, train like him, or eat like him.
One of my favorite coaching stories goes like this:
We get a new member coming in. He’s a middle aged dude. Very out of shape with a well-cultivated, decades in the making beer belly.
He tells me he saw a poster of a guy who CrossFits and he’s interested in getting a six-pack like that before his wedding in four months.
He asks me what he has to do to do that.
Standard coaching practice is to launch into the standard “Eat Paleo and this is how we train abs more effectively in CrossFit” speech.
Instead I ask him if he had a six-pack in his 30’s.
He says no.
I as him if he had one in his 20’s.
He says no.
What about when you were a skinny teenager.
Again with a no.
I let him know that there are probably some plastic surgeons across the street.
What he was asking for is not possible. Dashing delusional hopes is probably not the best tactic, but if you let someone believe in something that’s impossible and they give it their all then you are a charlatan.
Eating Paleo won’t make you a super hero. On the flip side, what you eat does have an effect. You are equal parts not Jon North, not Rich Froning, and not anyone else you can name.
Eat the way you know is going to make you look, feel, and perform the best. Give it an honest experiment over several weeks and you know that the beer, pizza, and lulz diet won’t make any of those things happen. This is just as true as the fact that a monastic Whole Billion Challenge won’t make you Brad Pitt’s abdominal double in the Fight Club sequel.
*That’s a stolen joke, I’m not that funny.
“Hey! Did you see the news on Facebook? Apparently, new research conducted by a scientist who lives in his Mom’s basement has uncovered that Hitler mostly ate a Vegan diet. Amazing, just shows that having a full spectrum of amino acids in your diet makes you 40% less likely to commit genocide.”
I swear to whatever mythical beast lives over the mountain that if i see one more article linked on Facebook about Hitler’s diet I will personally take over the Sudatenland in order to conduct a forcible epidemiological study on if Tofu grows in the fatherland.
Every year, you’ll hear the Paleo luminaries get together and plead with the unwashed meat and vegetables eating masses to not say anything so outrageous or stupid that it discredits the whole movement.
Thankfully, the “what Hitler ate” argument goes both ways. Alternately, you’ll see articles on yellow journalism sites and various blogs making all sorts of claims that say something to the affect that evidence shows that Hitler ate a certain way.
Usually, I’m out of my league when I rant about these things. I don’t know that much about radio carbon dating or what levels of nitrogen in petrified humanoid poop means.
However, I habla a little bit of history from my tax-payer funded education.
Let’s look at the facts:
I searched high and low for some original documentation. Apparently, Hitler’s Instagram and Facebook accounts never existed. Without his artsy pictures of his lunch, we will never truly know what he ate.
Next, there are a few things we can assume for sure.
At some point, even Hitler was a child. So he probably ate what his parents fed him. Which would be an omnivorous diet that included grains, meats, vegetables, schnitzel, and pretzels.
Next, we know he fought in World War 1 and was in jail for a while. Which means that he would have been forced at some point to violate whatever super strict, only exists in the last 20 years as a thing type of diet.
Most of these “studies” into Hitler’s diets are based on journal entries from his associates or photographs of him.
If you take a picture of everyone’s main course at a fancy dinner wherein a roasted goose is served, you could make the claim that everyone at that meal is Paleo. Huzzah, you’ll say. They all ate of the fowl.
If you took a picture of the same dinner party during the appetizer and everyone was served salad, you could jump to the same conclusion and proclaim the party to take place in Portland and everyone is a Vegan.
If you took a picture of the same party, but this time you took it during the desert course. You could easily hashtag this shin-dig as #cheatday!
Also, the ad post ergo Hitler (which I know is the incorrect Latin) logical fallacy say less than nothing about what you should eat.
The whole thing is dumb and if you share it on Facebook, you should spend a considerable amount of time testing how long you can hold your breath underwater.