Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Motivation: Brain Surgery Without a Scalpel

I've read this guys blog for some time now. Pretty interesting.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

French Contrast Training Revisited

Awhile back I wrote about my first introduction to French Contrast or Insider Training.  I've since read some more work by Cal Dietz, strength coach at the University of Minnesota, and had the French Contrast explained with examples in a little more detail.

For a quick review, the French Contrast (FC) was developed by Gilles Cometti, French Track and Field coach.  It is essentially a combination of contrast and complex training methods.

The FC consists of 4 exercises.  The first is compound exercise (lots of muscles involved) at 80-90 percent of your one rep max.  The 2nd exercise is a plyometric movement.  The 3rd exercise is the same lift as the first exercise at 30% or a slightly weighted version of the 2nd exercise.  The fourth exercise is another plyometric or an accelerated plyometric movement.

The idea behind the FC method is to produce explosive strength and speed endurance.

An example that Coach Dietz gives.  Back squat with a 3 second isometric pause at the bottom.  A hurdle hop.  A weighted squat jump.  Finally, a quarter squat jump.  There is not rest between exercises, one immediately goes into the next movement.  There is 3-4 minutes rest between the last exercise and the start of the new set.

Coach Dietz book is called "Triphasic Training:  A Systemic Approach to Elite Speed and Explosive Strength Performance.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

McMillan Barbell Rollout

Stu McMillan came up with the exercise. Stu is one of the top sprint coaches in the world and is currently working for UK Athletics. This is not only a great anti-extension exercise, it trains Itra-abdominal pressure as you stabilize the core with added upper body involvement.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Anatomy as You Learned It May Be Wrong

Here is a very interesting article that I was given about half a year ago.  If you work with athletes and patients it's a great article to save and read.  It's called "The Architecture of Connective Tissue."  
It challenges the notion of how ligaments, muscles and tendons tie in and relate to each other.  The old standard of tissue in parallel is not correct, they are in series.

I was reminded of it the last few days because I found this video on Youtube that highlights a bit of what the article covers.  Very interesting stuff.   Take away this quote, "What you see in Netter (anatomy book) isn't there.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Best Foods to Fight Estrogen

I'm reading through Ori Hefmeklers, "Anti-Estrogenic Diet," right now.  To much estrogen is a problem for many people.  When you want to lose fat and gain muscle this is often a stumbling block for both men and women.

Not only do you have to deal with actual estrogen, but also chemical factors that can mimic estrogen, called xenoestrogens.  I've talked about them previously.  Essentially xenoestrogens are chemicals in our environment that mimic estrogen.

There are naturally occurring estrogen's in food/plants called phytoestrogens.  They have the ability to hurt and harm.  Some phytoestrogens that occur in sources such as soy isoflavones actually promote estrogen activity. Soy IS NOT GOOD for you!

Some herbs that promote estrogen or are anti-progesterone include licorice and red clover.  Hops in beer is also pro estrogen. (bummer, I love my stouts)  Beer belly may in fact be called estrogen belly.

One of the primary reasons you want to limit and avoid estrogen is that it interferes with a highly beneficial hormone called progesterone.  Progesterone is an "anti-estrogenic" hormone.  This is a precursor hormone for all kinds of good stuff.

So I am going to list foods and ingredients to add into your meals to help get a better estrogen ratio.

Right off the bat, eat tons of the cruciferous veggies.  These are broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and cabbage.  Wild fish (not farm raised)  omega 3's are beneficial for limiting estrogen.  Other protein sources are grass fed beef and sardines.

These herbs/spices promote anti-estrogen or are pro-progesterone include, green tea, querciten, thyme, oregano and turmeric.

Quercetin is found in onions and garlic.

Omega 3's in fish oil.  These help balance out the estrogen promoting omega 6's fatty acids that we eat in grains.  This is another of the reasons to try to give up or limit grains.

Raw nuts and seeds help promote anti-estrogenic hormones.  They do this by plant sterols that promote progesterone in women and testosterone in men.  Other foods that fit this sterol category are avocados, olives and cold pressed oils.

Raw milk from grass fed cows contain conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).  This is anti-estrogenic and anti-cancerous.  If not whole raw milk, look for aged cheese and grass fed butter.

Citrus fruits also have a detoxifying effect for the liver which promotes a slight anti estrogenic activity.  The other helpful fruit is red apples because of it contains quercetin.

For alcohol, the best option is red wine because of the resveratol.  This is anti-estrogenic.

This is a pretty solid list to start turning that grocery list into an anti-estrogenic, progesterone promoting menu.  Build the muscle, lose the belly.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cesarean Births May Alter Gut Microbes in Babies

I've been reading some more on GI Health and one very interesting theory that is being highly regarded has to do with wether the baby is born the natural way or by cesarian (c section).

If you didn't know, C sections are now almost 1 in 3 births in the United States. One thing that does seem to have good correlation, is that kids born by c section have a higher increase in asthma.

The theory now presents that being born the natural way through the mothers birth canal exposes the baby to many of the different bacteria that the baby needs for proper digestion and health.

Without this early exposure and colonization, digestive issues and lower immunity may be more prevalent.

If you do have a baby born cesarian and noticed he or she has more colds/sickness, it may be worth supplementing with a probiotic for a boost in the good bacteria.

-train out pain and train in performance!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Motivation: Work Out Hard

-train out pain and train in performance!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

What I Learned from Elite Athletes

"Distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything."
-Jonah Lehrer

This is a quote from a book I read called "Steal Like an Artist," by Austin Kleon. I read it while working down in Phoenix, AZ this past week. It struck me how true this statement was this past week. Working with the UK Track and Field athletes while being in a facility with lots of NFL players, one can not help but notice the pace, structure, work, and mindset of the elite.

Naturally, one starts to internalize the information and figure out how you yourself can apply that your life. I had become way to lax with diet. It helps to be hanging out with 5% body fat world class sprinters to realize, yea I can do better.

Watching an NFL athlete work so hard, they give up their cookies, to say, when's the last time I worked that hard?

Learning that one UK athlete keeps such a detailed log of training, food, meals, sleep, thoughts on that sprint, that jump, to ask where can I focus in with more attention to detail to improve my life, job, work, family?

Speaking with coaches and therapist on what they are reading, seeing, contemplating, working on, experimenting with, to reinforce the need to keep doing exactly that.

So I leave you with those same questions to ponder.

-train out pain and train in performance!