What % do you think obesity contributes to the health problems in our country? (ETA - and why is rucking the best answer? :) )

crimsonaudio

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Great blog post here from the author of "Comfort Crisis" (if you've not read it, you need to):

FTR, I hit 1,500 ruck miles for 2022 just a few days ago. #letsgo #dothework
 

Toddrn

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Great blog post here from the author of "Comfort Crisis" (if you've not read it, you need to):

FTR, I hit 1,500 ruck miles for 2022 just a few days ago. #letsgo #dothework
Way to keep at it. I hit 1450 running for the year as of today. Some days you just don't feel like doing it but you do it anyway. If you don't the guilt sets in and you don't feel as good.
 

crimsonaudio

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I'm using an online calorie burn "calculator" to get my caloric burn from rucking. What do you use to figure out how many calories you're burning /ruck?
Shortcut is here (not entirely accurate as it doesn't factor in aspects that affect measured effort such as hills):

When I'm in serious training mode I use this formula:
Calories Burned = BMR * METs / 24 * hour(s) exercising
BMR = 66 + (6.2 × weight in pounds) + (12.7 × height in inches) – (6.76 × age in years)
Ruck METs = 8-10 (8 is decent weight at a normal pace, 10 is heavy and / or fast rucking)
 
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Bamabuzzard

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Shortcut is here (not entirely accurate as it doesn't factor in aspects that affect measured effort such as hills):

When I'm in serious training mode I use this formula:
Calories Burned = BMR * METs / 24 * hour(s) exercising
BMR = 66 + (6.2 × weight in pounds) + (12.7 × height in inches) – (6.76 × age in years)
Ruck METs = 8-10 (8 is decent weight at a normal pace, 10 is heavy and / or fast rucking)
I don't need to be THAT exact but that goruck calculator is close enough that I'm in the "ballpark". Thank you, sir!
 
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crimsonaudio

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Here is a nice newsletter here from Michael Easter (author of the highly-recommended "The Comfort Crisis") about both the mental and physical benefits of rucking.
________________________________________

Mental health is in quite a spot right now. More than 40 percent of Americans recently said they were struggling with their mental health, leading the CDC to call the situation a “crisis.” Part of the issue is that we’re coming out of a global pandemic that shifted our habits in a way that wasn’t great for our outlook. For example, we spent more time sedentary, indoors, and connected to the cloud and less time active, outside, and connected with people.
The good news is many of these problems have solutions. Just as many pandemic behaviors led to mental malaise, we can develop new behaviors that make us happier.
There are many options, but rucking is one hell of a way to do so. It ticks many boxes that years of research indicate will boost our mental health. This email is the first in a four-part series on rucking. This month we'll tackle all sorts of different topics and questions around rucking. But we're starting here because the mind is primary.

WHAT IS RUCKING?

It’s carrying weight in a pack as a form of exercise. More research is suggesting rucking has the most bang-for-buck compared to any other exercise. That’s because it mixes strength and cardio.
Its name originally came from military culture. A “ruck” is military speak for the heavy backpack that carries all of the items a soldier needs to fight war. And “to ruck” or “rucking” is the act of marching that ruck in war, or as a form of training for soldiers or civilians to get fit and healthy.
The military and other large medical bodies are now realizing that rucking doesn't just benefit us physically. It also boosts our mental health. Here's how:

RUCKING GETS YOU OUTSIDE

Scientists first started studying the psychological benefits of nature in the 1980s. They were skeptical at first. Frankly, the idea that some, like, shrubs could make us feel chipper inside sounded like hippy nonsense. But the research continues to prove that the hippies are onto something. Nature is a potent antidote to the modern overstressed condition. Japanese researchers found that people facing high levels of stress felt far less anxious, depressed, and irritable after just a couple of hours in the woods. Another study found that just 15 minutes outdoors led to drops in blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones.
There are many reasons why nature seems to improve our mental health. It could be the sights, smells, and sounds of nature. Or the fact that you’re getting out of the office and are often moving around when you’re out in nature. Or a combination of all those things. The point is that it works.
And you don’t have to go far out. The research suggests that even a 20-minute ruck on a tree-lined street can decrease stress and improve your productivity and outlook.

RUCKING WORKS YOUR HEART

Gym culture over the last decade has leaned into all-out, blitzkrieg efforts. Stuff that sends your heart rate into the stratosphere, like SoulCycle, CrossFit, etc.
But in 2019, a worldwide group of scientists looked at all the research on what happens when you take groups of people suffering from depression and have them do basic endurance exercise. The average session was 45 minutes, done three times a week at a moderate intensity. Think: A pace you can have a conversation at—like you’d get from a typical ruck.
The research found that aerobic exercise was an “effective antidepressant.” This is why the American Psychiatric Association notes that “many experts believe routine exercise is as powerful in treating anxiety and mood disorders as antidepressants.” Exercise’s mood-boosting effect is complex. It may come from alterations in dopamine and serotonin, improvements in our ability to manage stress, and by helping us establish more behaviors that make us happier.

RUCKING WORKS YOUR MUSCLES

The ruck is heavy for the sake of it. Carrying that ruck, therefore, works your muscles to a degree that walking or running can’t. And it turns out that strong muscles build a strong mindset. That’s according to a review of the research. It listed all kinds of good effects. “Mental health benefits of resistance training for adults include reduction of symptoms in people with fatigue, anxiety, and depression; pain alleviation in people with osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and low back issues; improvements in cognitive abilities in older adults; and improvements in self-esteem.”
Another pioneering study conducted in 1997 found carrying and lifting weight a few times a week made depressed elderly people happier. The scientists wrote, “The intervention worked with clinically meaningful reductions in depression on all self-rated and therapist-rated scales, with almost 60% of exercisers achieving a greater than 50% reduction in (depression) and 14 out of 16 exercisers no longer meeting criteria for depression at 10 weeks.”

RUCKING IS SOCIAL

Running is great (I love my weekly trail runs). But it’s tough to do well with people who have different fitness levels. Person A might want to run slower while Person B wants to run faster. This means one person gets a subpar workout or the other hyperventilates.
Rucking corrects for this problem. It can give us cardio benefits equivalent to running in a more social and adaptable context. The weight is a great equalizer. Person A could use 20 pounds while Person B could use 35. But they’d be able to ruck at the same pace and get in the same workout, all while being able to hold a conversation throughout.
We know that time with people is critical for mental health. One study conducted by researchers at BYU discovered that loneliness can be even worse for our health than obesity.

RUCKING REMOVES YOU FROM STRESSORS

In many of those nature studies, the participants didn’t see any mental health benefits if they used their cellphones while outdoors.
There are likely two reasons for this. First, when we’re on our cell phones, we’re not actually in nature—we’re ignoring it. Second, our screen is often filled with stuff that stresses us out, like another unnecessary meeting request or anything at all about American politics.
The answer isn’t to leave your phone at home. It’s nice to have a phone in case of an emergency. Instead, silence your phone and toss it in your ruck so you’re not tempted to check it.
You might even try rucking without music or podcasts occasionally. That gives your focus a rest and allows your mind to wander.

RUCKING TESTS YOUR GRIT

The military doesn’t only use rucking for fitness. It’s also a test of grit. It exposes us to short-term discomfort that ultimately leads to long-term benefits.
Other types of exercise of course challenge us, but rucking does so with a low risk of injury. “It’s no coincidence that the militaries of the world have chosen rucking as the tool to create that physical and mental fusion of toughness,” said Dr. Stu McGill, a leading back health and sports performance expert. “You can push someone and really give them a little bit of toughness exposure without high risk of injury.”
Decades of research and thousands of years of mythology tell us that humans improve by taking on challenges. By embracing and ultimately overcoming challenge.
//
All of these benefits are great and most other forms of exercise have at least some of them. For example, trail running gets us into nature and works our heart. CrossFit hammers our muscles and is social.
But the thing I most love about rucking is it ticks more boxes and doesn’t have to be some big production, like going for a run or going to the gym can be. Rucking is a sneaky good way to be a 2-Percenter. I wear a ruck most times I take my dogs for a walk. I’m going to walk the dogs anyway. By making that walk just a bit harder, health and fitness become so much more accessible.
And that, I think, is the handle. Being a 2-Percenter is about making everyday life just a little bit harder. Easy does it — but do it.

2% TOP TWO

My two favorite things this week:

ONE: A FASCINATING BOOK

I recently listened to a great book on a long drive to New Mexico (to report a section of my new book!). The book I listened to is called Slouching Towards Utopia. It’s a smart and sweeping look at progress and wealth and why it’s failed to deliver on many of its promises.

TWO: A PODCAST I APPEARED ON

I recently appeared on Peter Attia’s The Drive podcast. I really enjoyed my conversation with Peter, who I consider one of the brightest minds in health. We talked about everything from rucking, to happiness, to Misogi.
Thanks for reading and I'll see you next week,
Michael
 

crimsonaudio

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Another great newsletter from Michael Easter:
___________________________________________

While writing about rucking for my book, The Comfort Crisis, something struck me as I read all the research: Rucking is an incredible exercise for women.

I thought of my wife and mom and how rucking could be a great way for them to make their normal exercise routines a little more effective. I’m not alone in my thoughts. More and more health scientists are realizing that rucking might be the best exercise for women. That’s because rucking gives women unique benefits that other exercises don’t.

But no matter your pronouns, rucking gives everyone an opportunity to improve their wellbeing. I've also included new science about how a lot of this info also applies to men. This email is part two in a four-part series about rucking. (P.S. Please consider forwarding this to a friend or read on and share this important research. If you received this email from a friend and enjoyed it, you can sign up for the newsletter here.)

Four reasons rucking rocks for women
Rucking sneaks in weight training—no weight room required
The US government says everyone should do at least 150 weekly minutes of endurance activity and strength train twice a week. That’s because hitting those significantly lowers your risk of dying at any given moment.

Only 19 percent of women meet those recommendations while 26 percent of men do.

Why the difference? Women and men do endurance exercise at about the same rate, but women are far less likely to strength train.

Rucking combines endurance and strength. It allows women to meet those guidelines and work their muscles without setting foot in a weight room.

This is critical because scientists are now realizing that not having enough muscle can be far more dangerous for women than an unhealthy scale weight. A recent study of 50,000 Canadian women, for example, found those most at risk of death registered a “healthy” BMI but had the lowest levels of lean muscle. Similar findings have been shown in men.

Rucking Strengthens Bones
Everyone starts losing bone density around age 30. But women after menopause begin losing it at a rapid and dangerous rate.

This is why bone fractures are one of the biggest health threats to women.

Aging women in the US are two, five, and eight times more likely to break a bone than they are to have a heart attack, get breast cancer, or have a stroke, respectively.
But here's the thing: osteoporosis is now becoming a growing and significant threat to men too, according to the NIH. And because doctors don't test men for it, they often don't realize they have an issue with bone loss until they fall and break something.

If you happen to fall and break a hip, you’re essentially screwed. About 50 percent of people over age 65 who break their hip are dead within six months.

The best way to stop and even reverse bone loss—according to Dr. Robert Wermers, a bone disease specialist with the Mayo Clinic—is to do “aerobic walking where you’re bearing weight.” I.e., rucking.

One study found that aging people who trained with a weight vest didn’t lose bone while those who trained without a weight vest saw a loss in bone density. The scientists say the earlier in life you start rucking the better you’ll be.

Women Ruck Harder
Scientists in the UK wanted to know how women and men compared when they rucked. They gathered a group of British military recruits.

The recruits had to ruck six miles with either 33 or 44 pounds. The weights weren’t split by sex, meaning some women rucked with 44 pounds.

The men, however, weighed an average of 170 pounds while the women weighed 140.

This means the women rucked with a heavier load relative to their body weight.

The scientists took all kinds of measurements on the men and women. Then they sent them out on a hard outdoor rucking course and retook the measurements once they were done.

Two interesting findings arose:

First, the women completed the course an average of two minutes faster than the men. Because of this effort, the women reported a higher rate of perceived exertion (basically how hard the ruck felt) compared to men, yet they were better able to push through the discomfort. This is a finding that’s been repeated in other research. Women have a high exercise discomfort tolerance.

Second, the women also recovered their fitness faster. When they retested the men on a marker of leg strength, their performance had plummeted. Meanwhile, the women’s strength hadn’t dropped all that much.

Women Are Damn Good At Carrying
In 1895 WJ McGee, who ran the Bureau of American Ethnology, traveled to Mexico’s Tiburon Island to study the Seri hunter-gatherer tribe. He observed that the women would frequently make a 15-mile round trip excursion from the beach up into the mountains—through a gnarly landscape of mesquite, cactus, and agave.

They’d fetch water and “rapid walk” it back to camp in heavy, awkward clay jugs. He stated that the women of the tribe were “notable burden bearers.”

Another fascinating anthropological finding came in 1986. Anthropologists at Harvard noticed that, “when traveling in East Africa one is often surprised at the prodigious loads carried by the women of the area.” They wrote:

“It is not uncommon to see women of the Luo tribe carrying loads equivalent to 70% of their body mass balanced on the top of their heads. Women of the Kikuyu tribe carry equally large loads supported by a strap across their foreheads.”
So, for example, if a Luo woman weighed 120 pounds, she’d sometimes carry about 85 pounds atop her head.

The Harvard scientists wanted to learn how the Luo women did this. So they teamed up with some colleagues at the University of Nairobi. They found something fascinating: The women could carry up to 20 percent of their body weight on their head without burning any extra calories. Nada. Zero extra calories.

It was only once a woman was carrying 30 percent of her body weight on her head that she burned more calories. At that point, she then burned 10 percent more calories. When she carried 40 percent of her body weight, she burned 20 percent more calories, and so on.

I’ve mentioned GORUCK and my friends Jason and Emily McCarthy—the founders—a couple times already. I was a guest on their podcast and we discussed many of these topics, including great commentary from Emily about the benefits of rucking for women. Listen here.
 
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crimsonaudio

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Traded one of my GORUCK Rucker v3 rucks for a Rucker v2 because I still prefer my original bag (a v2) to the v3 or v4.

TL;DR: found a new version of my favorite ruck

They were the same color when new, the one on the left has had the 'custom UV coloration' treatment:

IMG_3616.jpeg
IMG_3617.jpeg
 
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4Q Basket Case

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I’m 63, 5’10” and about 180 pounds. Could stand to lose 10 lbs, but really more soft than overweight. (35” waist). I’m thinking that if I get more tone, the weight loss will largely take care of itself.

What beginning weight would you recommend?

Also, do the Go Ruck sacks hold more than one plate? (ambitiously assuming I can increase weight over time).
 

crimsonaudio

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I’m 63, 5’10” and about 180 pounds. Could stand to lose 10 lbs, but really more soft than overweight. (35” waist). I’m thinking that if I get more tone, the weight loss will largely take care of itself.

What beginning weight would you recommend?
General rule of thumb is to start with about 10% f your bodyweight, so somewhere in the 15-20# range should be fine. It will probably take some time for your shoulders (your traps, in particular) to get accustomed to carrying the weight for more than a few miles.

Also, do the Go Ruck sacks hold more than one plate? (ambitiously assuming I can increase weight over time).
Most bags do, you'll just have to check the specs on each. IIRC unless you get the smallest bag (Bullet), you'll get two pouches. I carry two plates in my Rucker every day.
 
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crimsonaudio

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Depression is a real thing, not making light of it, but there can be lots of contributing factors beyond genetics. I wish more people would consider that "you are what you eat" also applies to everything you consume: what you watch, what you read, what you listen to, and all your other media choices.

1280x1275.jpeg.jpg
 
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uafan4life

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I haven't read this whole thread - and, at this point, am unlikely to do so - but I think obesity is a symptom, not the cause, of the actual problem.

We've seen a massive shift over the past 40 years or so towards highly-processed foods, food alternatives, food additives, etc., that are all protected by the "considered safe for human consumption" clause reducing both the liability and financial risk that would typically induce better research before releasing these things onto the public.

[Yay, Big Government.]

As a result, firstly, the lowering of the average cost of food products combined with subsidies for artificial foods and artificially increased expenses for manufacturing natural, health food has disguised the fact that real, natural, healthy food products have increased in price far beyond the rate of inflation. This makes it more expensive than ever to eat food that doesn't literally damage your body.

Additionally, we've seen countless examples of foods and food products thought to have been beneficial to only be removed from the market due to the damage they are actually doing to consumers. We've seen a very significant increase across many demographics in generic abnormalities, autoimmune disorders, behavioral disorders, etc., with little overlap besides the era in which they live. And the most common, common factor is the food we eat.

I believe that many health problems we are associating with obesity may be more correlation than causation - and that both are simply symptoms of the problems we've created for ourselves within our own food supply.

History, in my opinion, is going to look back at this era as the time humans seemingly tried to exterminate themselves by poisoning their own food supply...
 

crimsonaudio

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I believe that many health problems we are associating with obesity may be more correlation than causation - and that both are simply symptoms of the problems we've created for ourselves within our own food supply.
Ultimately, it's a simple matter of one taking in more calories than they burn. The body is built to store as much as possible for survival.

Yes, much of the food many people eat is highly processed, but there are healthy choices that don't cost a fortune. And while obesity has sky-rocketed in the US (and our healthcare system is pretty overloaded (HAR!) dealing with the health problems associated with obesity.

IOW, I don't disagree with you, but I do think that fundamentally, people have to make better choices.
 
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uafan4life

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Ultimately, it's a simple matter of one taking in more calories than they burn. The body is built to store as much as possible for survival.

Yes, much of the food many people eat is highly processed, but there are healthy choices that don't cost a fortune. And while obesity has sky-rocketed in the US (and our healthcare system is pretty overloaded (HAR!) dealing with the health problems associated with obesity.

IOW, I don't disagree with you, but I do think that fundamentally, people have to make better choices.
Absolutely. People simply (though, perhaps not easily) must make better choices.

The root of the problem, in my opinion, is that certain bad choices have been both financially and culturally/politically encouraged...
 
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Bamabuzzard

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Ultimately, it's a simple matter of one taking in more calories than they burn. The body is built to store as much as possible for survival.

Yes, much of the food many people eat is highly processed, but there are healthy choices that don't cost a fortune. And while obesity has sky-rocketed in the US (and our healthcare system is pretty overloaded (HAR!) dealing with the health problems associated with obesity.

IOW, I don't disagree with you, but I do think that fundamentally, people have to make better choices.
Agreed, odds are a person isn't going to change in their lifetime all of the problems the food industry and our government are contributing to the obesity issue. So we have to control what we can control, and that is to make better choices regarding caloric intake, exercise, and quality of food intake. These things we still have control over.
 

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