Friday, December 31, 2010

The Wonder of Wow in Sports and Life

Over the Christmas holiday I was able to go see one of the Cirque De Shows with my wife.  It was here in Grand Rapids, MI at the Devos Center in conjunction with our local symphony.  If you have never seen a Cirque De Show, I highly recommend it.  It got me thinking about how many times in life you really just say Wow!  Like genuinely, unconsciously just go wow.  The Cirque shows do just that.  They do some physical things that you don't think the human body is capable of doing.

It got me thinking about sports and why they are so popular and how the salaries seem out of proportion and all that is good and bad about sports.  I think one of the reasons we watch sports is that on those rare occasions an athlete does something so extraordinary, it makes us go wow.  Deep down, I think we crave that wow, that little bit of wonder that seeps into you and makes life just feel better.  If an athlete does this enough we call them superstars (think MJ, Barry, Nadal, Usain,) and know them on a first name basis and yea, they get paid a ton.

I'm the first to agree that most athletes are way overpaid, but I also think those rare athletes that can make you go wow on an above average basis are paid what they deserve.  If they can make the multimillion's that watch them go wow and feel the wonder, then that is a truly special gift and deserves to be rewarded.

This lead me to think about my own impact, other peoples impact.  Have you made someone go wow in your job?  You don't need to be an athlete, it can be the service you provide that overwhelms them from what they expect or what they are used to receiving.  You can be your own wow as well I think, set a goal so high, that when you look back on it, you go wow, that was awesome. Either way, the more wows you can give and receive the more life will be filled with wonder.  Here is to ending the last week of 2010 and bringing in 2011.  If I can suggest just one goal for 2011.  Experience more wow.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Zinc, Magnesium and Fibromyalgia

I try to read as much about nutritional research as I can as I really believe it's the missing block in many peoples training and recovery.  People spend hours creating the perfect training program for the week and then spend hours training, then spend like ten minutes thinking of the nutrition that should be paired with their different endeavours.

Do you take more protein on days you lift weights?  More carbs on days you cycle for two hours?  Do you even need to?  Do you do peri-workout shake?  Do you still think training on an empty stomach is going to make you burn fat?  Are you spending money on gadget after gadget, but not on what you put in your body?  Quality food, quality supplements.   What your ingesting is repairing your body, what your ingesting is allowing you to get quality sleep, what your ingesting is allowing you to get stronger and faster.  What minerals are you missing?

The latest study I came across was with Fibromyalgia.  While I think to many people are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I think there is a lot the everyday person and athlete can learn from the research that is being done.  For example this study was done looking at serum level of different elements in people that have been diagnosed as having Fibromyalgia and a normal healthy control group.  What they found was the the Fibromyalgia group had lower levels in both zinc and magnesium. The more zinc was lower the more tender points the patients had.  The more magnesium was lower the more fatigue the patient had.

I've talked previously about the importance of magnesium and zinc.  Zinc is for repair, Growth Hormone levels, magnesium is for muscle relaxation/energy/oxygen to the muscles.  So the results make a lot of sense.

As an athlete the take away is this.  If you find yourself, more sore then you have in the past, your zinc levels are probably low.  If the energy is low and your fatigue is high, chances are your magnesium levels may be low.  Magnesium is one of the few supplements I actually sell in our office here in Grand Rapids.  That's how important I think it is.  Your supplement needs to end in -ate as well.  The second word Magnesium  (  )ate. If it doesn't it's cheap and your not absorbing it.

If you know of someone that is always sore and tired clue them in.  Pay attention to what you eat and how you feel.  Pay attention to how your body feels after each workout.  Pay attention.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm Training for an Ironman

I take care of a lot of triathletes. Many of whom are training for their first Ironman. This is a pretty funny video in the fact that it's true. There are a few swear words, so be warned. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Trip to West Michigan Coopertive-Where do you get your Food?

With the rebirth of the local movement and the whole idea of being green, food has taken on a whole new perspective for many people.  There is the food that's organic, food that's local,  food that's treated humanely (think open pasteurs, grass fed cows and free range chickens, not stuck in a pen), there is supporting the local business and local community.  Ever since I read Michael Pollans, "Omnivores Dilema." (AN AMAZING BOOK) I've been much more interested in getting local.  

Sustainable, organic, healthy, green, profitable, local, all are words I've seen describe food.  Recently I have been looking for grass fed beef.  If you don't know, grass fed beef is one of the super foods.  It usually has as much omega 3 fatty acids as wild salmon.  Great protein source.  Awesome.  So I came across West Michigan Coopertive a few weeks ago.

West Michigan Co-Op brings local farmers and vendors together with the public, essentially eliminating the middle man.  You get a chance to get great food.  The farmers get to sell you their product direct.  The first week of every month you go the WMCo-Op website and place your order.  The last Wed of the month you pick it up at the corner of Godfrey and Hall in Grand Rapids, MI.  I was able to talk to the founder tonight and he says it has been going for about 4 years.  They add a few new vendors a year, but they must pass some strict guidelines that a committee looks into.  This year a Seafood Vendor was added.

Today was my first pickup.  It was a great experience.  The people that volunteer to run it were helpful, very well organized, and the prices are great.  I bought 3lbs grass fed ground beef.  Some grass fed burgers, Cajun beef jerky, 100% cocoa powder and a lb of lamb.  I'm looking forward to some great meals.  If you're a West Michigan resident, I highly recommend you check it out.   Those outside the area, get involved in your farmers market and find your local co-op.  You will get better, healthier food, and support your local economy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tim Ferriss: The Four Hour Body, Glute Activation and Active Release Technique

I've been reading through the The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss.  So far have found it very interesting.  I came across this little video excerpt of Tim going over a great Glute Activation Exercise.  He also talks a little about Active Release Technique.  Enjoy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Favorite Workout Smoothie

So I've started having a new favorite post workout smoothie.  Cup of frozen spinach (super food), cup of frozen blueberries (super food)  raw cow milk (super food in my opinion) banana, scoop of Pure Whey Basics  protein powder(super food) and a two teaspoons of cinnamon (awesome insulin properties).  Blend and enjoy.  Try it post workout and let me know what you think.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

UTI's in the Elderly

So I was working with a patient the other day and we got to talking about stress and what kinds of stressors she was dealing with and part of the conversation turned into urinary tract infections in the elderly.  Pretty random but interesting as I had never heard the information before.

While normal UTI's will have warning signs of burning with urination, frequent urination and sometimes the inability to fully empty the bladder.  In the elderly, you don't necessarily have any of those symptoms, what you can get is sudden change in behavior.  They won't be able to do tasks that just yesterday seemed easy.  They might not recognize you or think you're someone else.  Basically, a lot of mental dementia type symptoms.

 I had never heard this before and thought it was worth spreading the word.  With lot's of peoples parents getting up in age, just something to keep in the back of your minds.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Interesting Video from Tim Ferris on the Human Body and Health Care

I have to admit I'm falling for all the marketing hype.  I've already ordered my copy from Amazon.  Anyways here is an interesting video interview Tim did for Tech TV.  If you've never heard of Mr. Ferris he is the author of "The Four Hour Workweek."  It's not exactly about working four hours so don't let it fool you.  It's about being productive and getting rid of unessential clutter and how to do it.  Very good read.

Anyways his new book is called "The Four Hour Body."  Like I said before, I haven't read it yet, but the hype seems interesting and I like the idea of doing mini experiments on your body.   In Wired magazine he did an interview where he supposedly manipulated his testosterone (raise3x)  dropped his Cholesterol and some other cool stuff.  Here is Tim talking about it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Variables in Lifting for Testosterone and Big Muscles

Most people lift for a specific reason.  Athletes train to get better at their particular sport.  Bodybuilders train to achieve a symmetry rarely found in the human form.  (Although lately, to me, it seems it's just to get as freaky big as possible!)  Powerlifters train to lift more in the big 3, squat, bench and deadlift.  I think most guys you see in the gym don't fall in any of these categories.  They lift because they want some bigger muscles.  Pretty simple.  But they don't do the simple things correctly.

Lifting is a stimulus you do to create a desired effect.  If bigger muscles are the goal, you have to lift to stimulate the correct hormonal response.  Hormones drive the car being built.

In a paper called the Salivary Testosterone and Cortisol Response to Three Loading Schemes.   Three methods were tested using weight trained males in the squat.

1.  8 sets of 6 reps @ 45% of their 1 rep max.  3 minutes of rest.  Weights were lifted ballistically (FAST)

2.  10 sets of 10 reps @ 75% of their 1 rep max.  2 minutes of rest.  Weights were lifted under control.

3.  6 sets of 4 reps @ 88% of their 1 rep max.  4 minutes of rest.  Weights were lifted with explosive intent.

Time of each workouts were kept to pretty much the same.  Salivary Testosterone and Cortisol were both elevated following the 10x10 workout.  No endocrine (hormonal response)  was seen in the 8x6 or 6x4 rep schemes.

So, from the data of this study it looks to be that the big variable you must manipulate to get bigger muscles (hypertrophy)  volume .  Charles Poliquin calls his version the German Volume Training method. I just have to warn you, 10 x10 @ 75% with 2 minutes rest is one HARD workout.  But, that's probably why not every guys walking down the street is jacked!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Motivation: LXD

If you have never heard of LXD, it stands for League of Extraordinary Dancers. It's an online story with different episodes revolving around the theme good vs evil. It showcases some amazing dancing. These guys can sometimes do things that make you sit back in wonder that the human body can actually do this. The body control, strength, awareness are at time mind blowing. Olympic gymnasts would be impressed. Be amazed at what the human body can create and do.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Motivation: Nike Commercial "Ordinary People" w/ Tidiani Sokoba

Are you collecting hours? Malcom Gladwell has researched that it takes about 10,000 hours to accumulate the necessary time to reach greatness in your given endeavor. If you haven't read his book Outliers, I highly recommend it. Go earn your hours this week.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Age is just a number: Olga Kotelko, 91 Years Old Track Star

More and more science is learning from real life that age may just be a number, not a reason.  I've written in the past about how some athletes that should in theory be past there prime continue to dominate and be the best in their sport.  Here is another remarkable example.  The full story is at the NY TIMES.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shoveling Snow 101: Don't Get Hurt

So we had the first snow of the year today in Grand Rapids, MI.  I can pretty much guarantee someone will come into my office next week with a sore back from improper shoveling.

First lets look at what we know to be true about the lumbar spine.  Flexion repeatedly isn't all that great.  Rotation repeatedly isn't all that great.  Flexion + Rotation = Disc Injury.  Disc's are more susceptible to injury in the morning because they hold more water and are thus less supported.  (You are actually a little taller in the morning because your discs are slightly larger.)  It requires more core strength when you have center of mass further away from your body, ie a shovel with snow on it.

Now, most people shovel in the morning.  Strike one.  Most people shovel by flexing forward and then throwing it off to the side, rotation,  in one continuous movement.  Strike two.  Most people don't even think about bracing there core.  Strike three.  You're down for the count with back pain.

Keep your back straight.  Bend from your knees and hips.  Stand up after you get a shovel full of snow and then use your hips to toss the snow to the side.  Two distinct motions. Don't pick up more snow then you can handle.  After you get snow in your shovel.  Slide your hand closer to the blade before you throw it.  This will decrease the center of mass and require less core strength.  Get an ergonomic handle if you can.  Better  yet....get a snow blower.