Toilet Training the Western Adult: The importance of the Squat

roses
Pretty flowers for you!

Ah, Squats.  That is an interesting word.  Not exactly lovely.  Not exactly poetic.  Just a description/name of an activity that is essential for health and longevity.

I’ll be honest.  The main reason that I joined Crossfit, besides needing to improve my overall fitness very quickly, was to intensively work on my squat.

You might think that joining a gym for a specific motion like a squat is a random thing to want to improve.  Well, I’m planning on spending some extended time in South East Asia, and I will at some point have to excrete waste products.  Liquid elimination isn’t such a difficult thing, as any of my female readers have all probably performed the hover maneuver.  It is the solid waste products, the poo, if you will, that poses a challenge.

I have been to Thailand and Laos, and have had to go into a public rest room and had to rethink my whole process.  The process became a “plan of attack”.
Why attack?  A hole in the ground, with places indicated for the waste eliminator to put his/her feet – right next to said hole is called a Squat Toilet.  That is a threat (to my shoes and lower garments), and, when you aren’t used to the process, it seems like an aggression.  You have GOT TO “GO”, and don’t have the accustomed tools to get the job done.

I try to only post photos that I have taken. I didn’t get a photo like this while I was in Thailand, as I was slightly traumatized by the experience.  I did not take the photo that the following link will show, but this is what many of the Thai Squatty Potties were like.

Note the furnishings.

  • The potty is actually porcelain or perhaps plastic.  I was not going to touch it to find out for you.  Some were visually identified as stainless steel.
  • You can observe the foot positions on either side of the “basin”.
  • Also there is a spicket, with a large bucket/basin of water, and a small scoop/cup.

Note the lack of Toilet Paper.  One can not or should not “flush” toilet paper down them.  The toilet paper has to be disposed of in the trash can, which is usually in the back corner.  Happily, the used toilet paper bin is not depicted in the photo. The bin isn’t usually full, as the public rest rooms do not supply the toilet paper.  You must bring your own.  Be prepared.  I also recommend bringing some wet wipes, but that is just me.    I’ve found suggestions on the web to use a long piece of twine, thread it through the center of a toilet paper roll, and tie the ends securely, and hang the combination around your neck, like a toilet paper necklace.  Etsy, here I come!

If you already don’t do so, perhaps change your diet while on your trip.  I recommend a healthy amount of fiber in your diet.  Consider restricting food items that cause loose eliminations.  Just sayin.  Moving on…

Most of us have become accustomed to the Western Toilet.  I know I certainly have.  So I did some research on how to make the process of elimination via squatty potty as graceful as that function could be.  According to the info I found, elimination via squat is the original way we humans eliminated waste.  Makes sense, right?  Physiologically, it is also anatomically correct position for efficient and easy elimination.  Things just move smoothly, if you catch my meaning.  That all supposes that one can assume the position.

Here is one of the best descriptions I’ve found on line.  With instructional images!

Basically, the process goes like this:

  • If you are a newby to this method of elimination, you should probably remove your garments from the waist down, and hang them out of splash range. Keep your shoes on, for the sake of all that is Holy.
  • Place your feet on the textured foot prints, and assume the position thusly.
  • Do not fall over.
  • Perform your waste elimination function.
  • Remember that basin of water and cup? These, my friends and readers, are the tools used for what we in the West call the “wiping” function.  Except, in the Squatty Potty process, it is more of a splash/rinse function.  Your LEFT hand will perform a wipe motion.  Yes, you will be touching your own anal area, and most probably your own poo.
  • Once you are traumatized by the touching your own ass, you will then use the scoop to rinse the basin of your excrement, three to five times.
  • Hopefully you brought hand sanitizer with you.
  • Re-clothe your nether regions with the garments previously removed.
  • Remember to eat with your RIGHT hand.

Prior to Crossfit, I tested out my squat motion, and found it significantly lacking.  I always thought of myself as flexible person, hip wise.  Well, I could get down there, but it wasn’t pretty, or comfortable, or steady.  One requires a steady squat, to avoid tipping into and touching bad things.  So, for two months I’ve been practicing my squat, in conjunction with the other activities that require good strong steady squats.  I have a good position now, but luckily, I have another month or three to, shall we say, get it down.

But wait!  THERE’S MORE!

Luckily improving my squat will provide much more in the way of life long benefits.  I actually just spent time with a personal trainer to improve my squat.  If you are in the Manchester NH area, Dayne Johnston at Granite State Crossfit is great to work with on Mobility.  In fact, all of the coaches at GSCF are awesome, and I’ve learned from each of them.  (Love you guys!!!!)

Squatting is not just a lower body exercise.  Think of it as a whole body exercise, especially for your core and hip muscles.  I’ve done a crap-ton of squats in my short time, so far, with Crossfit, and while I haven’t worked specifically on balance, abdominal, back, foot, or ankle strength…all of those have amazingly improved.   My posture has changed, and I feel like I walk differently.   Granted, I’m always a bit sore, but once that discomfort passes, I am actually stronger.  With all of the benefits above, wouldn’t that make other activities of daily living easier? I think so!
According to my research, squat lifting heavy (tailored to you) weights trigger the release of testosterone and human growth hormone.  Both of these hormones help in muscle growth.
Stronger muscles burn more fat, and flexible muscles help with general mobility. Squats prevent injuries by strengthening the stabilizer muscles, and improving your flexibility.
Here is a good article that I found doing a quick search on the benefits of squats.

For anyone interested in learning some stretches to help improve their squat, definitely check out anything by Kelly Starrett, who is a doctor of Physical Therapy, and the founder of Mobility WOD.  Most in the Crossfit world know who he is, but here is another cool article singing his praises, and includes some links to some of his videos:

Here is a great link on stretching for squats.

Thanks for reading!  I leave you with this blessing:

May all the water you drink be potable, and may all your moves be smooth.

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