Sunday, November 30, 2014

Jim Wendler Feature Interview

I was laying out my deadlift workouts for 2015 using 5/3/1 as my base.  Nice interview.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Can Training with Mental Fatigue Make You Physically Better?

One of the books I'm reading right now is called, "Faster, Higher, Stronger:  How Sports Science is Creating a New Generation of Super Athletes." By Mark McClusky.  It has been a fun, interesting read about some potential break throughs on training and athletics.  One of the concepts that has really intrigued me is the concept of The Psychobiological Model of Exercise.

The perception of effort is the key limiter of our endurance.

Here is a summary from one section.

In the 12 week study, two groups of 14 soldiers each trained on a stationary bike.  First group trained 3x a week for an hour at a moderate aerobic pace.  The second group did the same thing, but while pedaling did a mentally fatiguing task.

Both groups saw an increase in VO2 max.  But, when time to exhaustion test was done, much different results were seen.  The control group improved 42%.  The group that did a mentally fatiguing task improved 115%.

This is definitely worth exploring when your stuck inside riding your trainer this winter.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday Fitness Plan

The time periods between Thanksgiving and New Years can often mean a dip in exercise activity for many people.  There seems to be less routine and more gatherings, whether for family or work.

There is more travel from relatives and friends.  More sugar.  Way more sugar.

Without a plan, a day can become a week, a week a month,  and your left with the start of the new years with a less fit you and feeling like your behind in your fitness and health goals.

Here is a plan to help you migrate through the holiday season.

1.  One weight workout a week.  This can simply be your bodyweight if need be.

2.  Two 20 min sessions of continuous movement per week. Walking, biking, anything that creates
 blood flow and is uninterrupted.

3.  Two 10 min sessions of some type of interval workouts per week. At its simplest, raise your heartbeat for 15 seconds.  Let it return to under 120bpm.  Do this for 10 min.  You may end up only doing a few sets.  Your fitness levels dictate this.

4.  Commit to only eating anything that is predominately sugar with a meal that contains protein.  So no pie on its own at night.  If your eating after dinner, go for it.

5.  Drink more water then you normally do.  Hydration plays a role in helping keep you healthy.  Drink a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage.

6.  Wash your hands a lot.  Do everything you can to avoid germs.

7.  Don't go two days in a row with late nights.  Pick your parties.

Sugar, less sleep, more alcohol, less exercise all can play a role in starting the New Years on a sour note.  Start the year as healthy as you can.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

"Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours."

Marcus Aurelius

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Mace Pendulum Swing for Core Conditioning

The Mace Pendulum Swing is a great exercise to develop a few important qualities for athletes; core strength and relaxation.  It is based on the principles of leading low back researcher and strength performance specialist, Dr. Stu McGill.  

Dr. McGill has shown that the ability to contract and relax the core is vital for the ability of athletes to learn to generate power.  The ability to relax and then brace is what separates great athletes from average athletes.  Essentially you are relaxed to move fast and then stiffen to apply a punch or a kick with power.  

This type of exercise is based on Reactive Neuromuscular Training.  RNT simply means exercises are used that require little visual or verbal instruction and instead cause a reaction to an outside force. In this case, the force is the swinging mace.   Your body will naturally fight to stay upright, thus engaging the abdominal corset, your hips and grip.  It fights the momentum of the mace and then relaxes when the mace is no longer a threat as it crosses in front of your body. 

It is also a self limiting exercise.  Self limiting means that you will be done with the exercise before the form degrades and you potentially use incorrect form.  Jump roping is a self limiting exercise, as you fatigue your form fails and you stop.  Jogging and squatting are not self limiting.   You can jog your way to an injury.   You can squat your way with bad form for a few extra reps.  The Mace Pendulum swing is self limiting due to your grip.  Your grip will get tired before the swing tires out the body. 

Stand tall,  feet under the shoulders, slight knee bend and looking straight ahead.  The mace is held with the ball towards the floor and elbow is at 90 degrees.  As the mace swings towards your midline, the body will instinctively relax.  As it moves away from the body, outside the center of gravity, your body will instinctively stiffen to keep it from being pulled towards the side of the swinging mace.  As the mace slows down as it reaches its apex across your body, create an impulse into the mace to swing the mace faster across the body. 

The heavier the mace, the larger momentum arm will be.  Think smaller time frame for sets.  The smaller the mace, the longer the grip will last and the more time under tension can be developed, think longer sets.  

For a 20lb mace start with sets of 30 seconds.  Work up to one minute for each arm.  Depending on your goals, you can go back and forth between arms and build some great core endurance or put this into a full body circuit incorporating a few other Mace exercises.  Either way, get ready to have your core and grip endurance challenged. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CoreFIST with BOSU's David Weck

I was playing around with this the last few days with different patients.  Been pleasantly surprised with this.  Pretty cool.

CoreFIST with BOSU's David Weck

I was playing around with this the last few days with different patients.  Been pleasantly surprised with this.  Pretty cool.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What is the Cost of Doing Business

One of the concepts that you come across (one of many) when you listen to Charlie Weingroff talk about training and rehab is the phrase, "What is the Cost of Doing Business."

It's an important concept to recognize and evaluate on each and every lift, workout and training protocol.


You want to deadlift, but can't touch your toes to get into good position, what is the cost going to be?  You can go ahead and do it, but know that everything has a cost.  It may be your disc health.

You want to run a marathon, but your hips are weak and you feel pain in the foot after 20 miles.  Whats the cost of doing business?

You want to max out on bench press, but you didn't get much sleep, every time you bench your elbow flairs up and you have been getting weaker every time you test.  What is the cost?

There may not be any contraindicated exercise if the need is great enough.  Just understand that there is an inherent cost to everything you do.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Good Reads Edition

Just a few article I've enjoyed reading over the last few days.  Sometimes they are just a good reminder.

Dan John writes beautifully in my opinion.  Brachiate and get on the floor.  It's Time for Humans to Take Back the Monkey Bars.

This article in Wall Street Journal talks about the changing attitude in the NFL towards planning the workout and planning the rest/recovery.  Green Bay Packers New Workout.

Charlie Francis was a legend in the Sprinting and Speed world.  Here are some reminders of what he thought was very important.   Eight Athlete Development Lessons I learned from Charlie Francis.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gym Jones Advanced Seminar 2014

I first heard about this gym about 6 years ago.  I had a friend that was a US Skeleton athlete that trained there.  There is a lot of myth about this gym as they don't give out information much.  So this is a unique look inside a bit of the training methods.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Psychology of Behavior Change

I watched a highly interesting webinar from Equinox titled Psychology of Behavior Change by Kelly McGonigal, professor at Stanford University.

Here are some highlights that I can't stop thinking about.

When people came in for progress measurements, those that were congratulated on doing well, were 85% more likely to cheat or backslide slightly.  So instead of having positive reinforcement, it is the exact opposite.  (Should we tell patients that they are improving?)

We have false hope.  We think the person we will be in two months will be different then the person we are today.  So we put no stock into today.  I can have a hamburger today, because my future self will be eating salads.  (We must accept that what we do today, is who we are.)

We put a moral dilemma into our goals.  We think in terms of good and bad.  I'm doing good when I make a check for accomplishing this today.  I did bad when I didn't.  This actually strengthens our want to do the bad thing.  Eat candy over fruit as an example.  Don't think in terms of I did good by eating fruit today, or I did bad by eating candy today.  Think of the payout.  How do you feel after eating the apple.  I had more energy.  I didn't have an afternoon crash.  Pay more attention to what your goal is doing, rather then the goal.  (Pretty powerful way of reframing.)

Ask yourself the question why at least 3x.  For example,  I want to deadlift 500lbs.  Why?  I want my back to be much stronger.  Why?  So I can grow older without back pain?  Why?  I want to be able to play with my kids when I'm 75.  Sometimes it is realizing what the goal actually is.  This makes it easier.  (Remember the Why!)

What the Hell Effect.   This is actually a real thing.  It's describing when you fail on your goal, you just basically give up for the day.  Eat a doughnut, rest of the day you gorge out of guilt or shame.  The truth is when you allow yourself to fail, it's not the end.  Don't feel shame.  Just move on.

Reverse Engineer where you think you may fail.  Lets say your goal is to workout in the morning.  The first step may be to realize I will be tired and I'll convince myself I will do it after work.  After work comes and I'll probably say I'm tired,  I'll start tomorrow instead.  So realize that it has to get done in the morning.  The voice in your head that says I'm tired, becomes your warning bell that lets you know is a goal derailleur.

Make your environment as helpful as possible.  This is a pretty common one, but can be very powerful.  If you want to watch less TV, get rid of the remote.  If you want to eat healthier, don't have junk food around.  If you want to exercise more, get a workout partner.

To sum up there are 5 things to remember.

1. Make small changes.  Small become big when done enough.
2.  Own the fact that today is going to be tomorrow.
3.  Let go of Shame.
4.  Remember the Why.
5.  Outsource Your Willpower.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Need for Improvement

I have a job that enables me to keep learning.  The new information can give me instant,  if not pretty quick feedback,  if what I just learned has merit, is worthwhile or isn't.  As a therapist, even when you learn something new and it doesn't work, there is a feeling that it may work for someone.

Every time I read something or attend a seminar,  I feel like I'm getting better.  That is a good feeling.  I'm very luck in this regard that I have this type of outlet.

I think we are born with the need to feel like we are improving.  When we don't have the outlet for improvement, we aren't quite feeling like we are who we are supposed to be.

I think this is why when someone runs a 5k, their immediate thought is, let's do a 10k.  I benched 225, I want to bench 275.  To get better, to be better.

If we don't have the luxury of a job that allows improvement or the need to get better, we are often bored.  We aren't' challenged and we are stagnate.  The human body and mind does not want stagnation.

When a patient comes in for a follow up visit, their first question is, does it seem better to you?  Athletes want to know if they are making progress.

The "best" or most popular workouts are built on being able to compare and contrast workouts.  Crossfit has named workouts.  Everyone has a Fran time.  Strava has become an insanely competitive app even when it's just yourself.  I want to climb this hill faster next time.  I did better in my age group this run.

I believe we are born with some desire to always have something to improve on.  Make progress in some area.  We are happiest when we are in the pursuit of improvement and we acknowledge this.

Of course, this is just my random thoughts.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Great Info for Pull Up Pains.

Really great info from Dr Andreo Spina.  How incorrect Pull Up technique can lead to medial elbow pain.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Good Reading Friday

I really enjoyed this article from Anthony Mychal.   Hardware or Software.  

ESPN did a very cool article on tourniquet training, other wise known as blood flow restriction.
A New Way to Train.  The video is pretty cool.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Great Online Learning Opportunity: Equinox High Performance

This past week I started working my way through the Equinox High Performance Summit online seminar.  They filmed them into webinars from the live summit Nov 7-9.  Essentially, you will have access for 3 months to the 21 presentations from some of the very top authorities dealing in health, sports, nutrition, fitness, sleep and recovery.

21 one hour seminars is a lot of information that is available at your own viewing.  Pretty awesome.  I've watched and taken notes on 5 so far and haven't been disappointed by any of them.  I'll post some of my notes on the speakers as the weeks go by, but this is a great opportunity to learn.

2014 Equinox High Performance Summit Virtual Event.

I don't think they are offering this after the 16th of this month, so if you are interested, better order it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Motivation for Wednesday

Eric Thomas - The Hip Hop Preacher - REDUX | Lond…:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What I Learned From Riding My Bike....Way to Long

This past weekend was the famous mountain bike race Iceman.  30 miles in unknown weather.  Some years it's sunny and mild, others years, well other years can be epic weather.  2014 will go down as one word,  BRUTAL.

Cold, mid to late 30's, rainy and dark.

It was cold enough to be very cold, but not cold enough to freeze the ground.  It was rainy enough to cause soup, muck and peanut butter single track.  Through in some wind, you have the recipe for hard riding.

I'd trained all summer to be able to ride the race in about 3 hours.  Goal was to ride a bit under 3 hours without cramping.  Cramping has been my Achilles heel for every event that lasts over 2 hours.

There are several theories about cramping; electrolyte, new muscular activity, and central governor theory.  All have some merit, but non proven.  I'd done multiple rides of 2 or more hours, some I cramped, some I didn't.  But, always on the verge.  I'd pushed past the 2 hours on several rides and was always riding pretty hard.  So Iceman wouldn't be new territory or new fatigue.  I was taking 1700mg of sodium with 24oz of water each hour.  I also had enough calories and real food every 20 min.  Nothing like a Belgium stroop waffle 3 hours into a ride that is now warm and moist from your back sweat!

My game plan was to ride pretty slow for about an hour, get some miles, resist the temptation to go out fast.  I wouldn't let my heart rate go over 150 and would only spin up hills.  At no time would I let myself work for speed.

"Everyone has a plan, till they get punched in the face."  Mike Tyson.

My punch in the face came at 1.5 hours in and I had gone a whopping 10 miles.  It didn't take a genius to realize at this rate, I'm going to be riding my bike a freaking 4.5 hours.

Going off wave 28, several thousand riders had chewed up already chewed up single track and it was slow going.  1.5 hours into the ride, it was time to accept the new reality.

1.  Reframe:  You have to be able to reframe your goals.  It would have been easy to quit, if my goal of riding under 3 hours was kept.  It wasn't going to happen.  Accept it.  Reframe a new goal.  New goal was to keep pedaling and finish this race.

2.  Don't Project:  2 hours into the race, cramping starts to show it's familiar face.  I wasn't quite halfway done and I'm thinking, "I'm starting to cramp now, in an hour this is going to be quite miserable.  No way can I finish this race."  This is a pretty common thing that people do.  If this, then that.  The body and life aren't usually like that.  Sure, if you have a 1000 dollars and spend 100 dollars a day, you can project that you will be out of money in 10 days and won't make two weeks, but competitions don't work that way.

Stay in the moment.  This moment, I'm not cramping at this moment, I'm feeling good, my bike is working, enjoy this.  Every couple minutes.  Stay in the moment.  Don't project what this will be like in 2 hours.

"The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up."  Chuck Palahniuk

3.  Gratitude:  Gratitude can produce perseverance.  It can take the little bit of physical suffering you are experiencing and instead of being overcome can say, "cool, I'm alive and ridging my bike!"  I am still riding while others bikes have broken,  I'm still riding while others are cramped on the hills, I'm still riding.

4.5 hours later, I crossed the finish line.  The longest I've ever sat on a mountain bike.  To say I was happy it was over, was an understatement.  Not sure If I've ever wanted to just be done with something as much as this race.   I heard from several people that have done the Iceman race since its inception that this was the hardest race.  Over 2000 people dropped out.  It was brutal.  It was miserable at times.  In a few days, I will probably be ready to be talked into doing it again next year.

Monday, November 10, 2014

More Great Reading

Patrick Ward always produces content to sit and think about and make sure you are incorporating or at least acknowledging different concepts into your training.
Minimum Effective Dose Training. 

This is a great read from Eric Helms on Alan Aragon website.  They just released it a week ago, previously only subscribers could read it.  Natural Bodybuilding Potential.

Marks Daily Apple gives advice on how to get the best night sleep.  Pretty comprehensive.  How to Manufacture the Best Night Sleep.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fitness and Health Lies I've Believed

I was listening to a patient the other day tell me something about how running is the "only" way he can lose weight.  It made me stop and think what "fitness lies" I've believed in the past.

Some are genuine lies.  Lactic Acid is building in my body and slowing me down.  This at one point was a genuine "fact," since disproved, but in the 80's this was commonly taught in school.

Some are straight lies.  I think the earliest of my fitness lies was me believing my older brother that if I drank the 1/2 and 1/2 mini containers you can find at McDonald's that you would be fast.  I was probably 5 at the time.  I think I drank those things like candy for several years.

Here is a list in random order.

You have to squat if you want to be fast.  Squatting was the king of all exercises.

Benching was a true test of strength and nothing else compared.

Fat was bad for you.

The best way to put on weight was as much calories as possible, quality of the food didn't matter.

Working out till you puked was a sign of an amazing workout.

Working out till you were exhausted and can't do a single more rep is what it takes to make progress.

2 hour workouts are hard core and effective.

Aerobic work was bad for me and would make me slow.

Rest is for the weak.

Gulping down a protein/carb shake with in a magical window of time after my workout was vital.

Olympic lifts are the only way to train for power.

HMB was worth my money.

Creatine was the only supplement I would ever need to take.

That there exists a magic workout program that will deliver everything I could dream about.

That there are special exercises that will deliver all I dream about.

Grip strength really isn't that important.

Coffee is bad for you.  Stunts your growth.  (Crazy!!)

Lifting to momentary failure all the time is a great way to lift.

I don't need 8 hours of sleep.

I'm sure there are things now I believe that in 4-5 years will be quite different.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Good Stuff To Read

Here is the latest collection of cool and interesting articles to peruse.  Good Stuff.

Recovery and regeneration is the name of the game.  Athletes Should Respect Recovery.

Nice article on supplementation to either enhance the mTOR or AMPK pathway.  XLAthlete Article: Supplementation.

Cool Article on how Running is helping beat depression.  Outrunning Depression. 

Very basic article on how you can sometimes interpret things your body is doing to signal vitamin deficiency.  How Your Body Signals Vitamin Deficiency.

Dr Charlie Weingroff - "Applying an Elite High Performance Program to G...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Acute Lower Back Pain

Dealing with acute back pain that wants to bring you to your knees is one of the more challenging scenarios a person can face.  For the person dealing with back pain it can feel like your body has betrayed you.  You feel weak and vulnerable. 

Rolling from one side to the other can be painfully slow.  A sneeze or cough can give you mild anxiety as this can being you that sharp electrical stab of jolting pain.  The idea of doing anything athletic again seems so far away from possibility when putting your socks on feels like a chore. 

Your abs start to hurt from having a constant brace.  Imagination can run wild.  What if I've herniated a disc or tore something.  Isn't this worse then last time?

What can you do?

Quit feeling like a victim.   That doesn't help.  You're in charge of your health and your body.  The results are the choices you have made.  So don't blame the back Gods or luck.  

Avoid the ice.  It's a pain blocker.  You need to feel what's happening.   What makes you feel worse and what makes you feel slightly better?

Can you walk?  Then walk.  If walking hurts can you lay on your back slowly rock your hips to the air back and forth?  If you stretch a hamsting does it feel better one leg vs the other?   How about a quadricep?  Glute max stretch? 

Rolling on a ball on your side produce any benefits?  

Are you drinking as much as you can.  Hydration helps fight inflammation.  1/2 kneeling and breathing feel better after a few minutes? 

Find one or two things that produces even a small amount of relief and hammer it home.  Be an active participant in regaining that health.

I wrote this for me, but if it helps you, bonus. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

More Biking in Awesome Places

Total product porn, but man they filmed it awesome.  Very cool places to ride your bike!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Nitrates vs Nitrites

This is from some notes I took from Dr. Rhonda Patricks podcast with Joe Rogan.  Many people, including myself didn't or don't know the difference.

Nitrites can be carcinogenic.  This is the type that is in some forms of bacon and processed foods.  Nitrates are found in many vegetables.  Nitrates can be turned to nitrites in our bodies.  So this isn't a great thing.  The blessing of fruits and vegetables is that there are antioxidants, mainly ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) in the foods that takes the nitrites and makes nitric oxide with them.  Nitric Oxide is a very healthy thing to our bodies.

Nitrites can turn to nitrosamines.  These are not a good thing and are labeled carcinogenic.  This goes to show you the importance of ascorbic acid and antioxidants in our diet.  When you can choose nitrite free sources of food.  Things like bacon are now offered without nitrites added.

Here is a potential list of benefits from nitric oxide.
1. boosts memory
2. helps immune system fight bacteria
3.  enhance strength endurance
4. regulate blood pressure
5. reduce inflammation
6. assist gastric motility

Here is an article from the Linus Pauling Institute.  Nitrosamines and Cancer.