Sara Burke, PhD
Department of Neuroscience University of Florida
I have been a runner for about 10 years, running between 10-25 miles/week depending on how busy I was with work and if I was training for a race or not. I considered myself relatively fit and my husband and I joined DNA CrossFit because we thought that the additional activity would help us cope with stress, and I wanted to be able to do a strict pull-up. You can imagine my surprise during the first weigh in when my body fat composition was at 28.5%. I believe the term is “skinny fat”.
When I started, I could not do a full motion push-up, even on my knees, and 5 pull-ups with the green band was a challenge. Only two months later my body fat composition in under 19%. I lost over 9% body fat in only 1 month! Moreover, my lean body weight is up by over 10 pounds. I am still working on my pull-up but the bands keep changing colors. Although the physical changes have been a marvel, as a neuroscientist, I cannot under estimate how this program has improved my cognition. My concentration and short-term memory have improved and although I leave work for an hour every day to workout, my productivity is up so my supervisor does not mind. I should also mention that my baseline mood has shifted towards the positive, which my co-workers appreciate.
Physical activity is the primary intervention that is effective at combating age-related cognitive decline, which everyone is vulnerable to. It leads to increased BDNF and other trophic factors that promote brain health as well as reducing neuro-inflammation. I am grateful to Dave and everyone at DNA for helping my husband and I get our nutrition in order and coaching us through the lifestyle adjustments that we needed to promote long-lasting health and happiness.