Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm fit.. I run marathons.. Can I play?

Last week we saw the very refined power capacity of some very attractive women, and a beast of a dude. Obviously women have plenty of athletic capacity which is often left untapped because of societal constraints and artificial external limitations. The "I can't because I shouldn't" clause comes to mind.

Females ARE athletes; and female dominated sports are very exciting and entertaining. But like any sport, it is important to understand that these girls, like every other athlete in the world have to earn their spot on the field. In high-stakes sports there is absolutely no room for compassion; only winning.

Here's an example of women who channel their athleticism and drive to win much like guys do on the holiest of days during the football season.

This is called the LFL. Lingerie Football League. 7 vs. 7 women from opposing teams have to play the field in the same fashion the men play in the NFL. The girls are a bit more scantly clad and the hits aren't quite as bone-crunching, but the heart and mind are in the right place.

This league is only 2 years old, entering into its third season. Obviously the LFL has been pretty popular, but as you can imagine it is still quite a bit in the novelty sports phase. Maybe once Vegas gets its eye on it will it be taken more seriously and commercialized. Can't you just hear the rest of the world watching in awe as the LFL gets broadcast across the globe and simultaneously grumbling "Only in America" under their breath while shaking their heads in envious disapproval? I love this country!

Lets suppose the LFL does get picked up and becomes a prime-time event with all the beer-drinking, hootin and hollerin. Read: $$$$$ Imagine what athletic priorities the teams and women would have to constrain to. Yes, the eye-candy factor is always prevalent, but it doesn't necessarily win championships. Athleticism specific to the sport will be in demand from the women. So this commonly accepted idea that women are exempt from being big, strong, and powerful will be GONE! No longer will most misinformed women define fitness as how long one can run aimlessly whether it be on a treadmill or in clunky shoes down a busy road. The "new" demands will involve strength, power, speed, stamina, agility, resilience, and a drive to dominate your opponent to WIN! As you can imagine, training will follow to facilitate these demands and to express these traits in the athletes. It will be glorious.

Think about it though, shouldn't those demands be universal regardless of age and gender? So with that in mind, isn't it denigrating for women to confine themselves to the cardio equipment at every gym? I'm not saying that guys know "the way" in the gym (far from it if you look at most guys coming out of any commercial gym), but this prom-like-separation of priorities must end. In my perfect world, the girls of the LFL would be running around emasculating complacent men and inspiring ladies to be "more".

new hashtag: #traindammit

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Girls lifting things

Ok, I realize the last post was boring. So here's some videos of people lifting impossible heavy things:

This is Dmitri Klovov lifting a little over 450 pounds over his head. Absurd right? Look how small he makes that bar look.

Ok, now lets watch girls doing cool thing:

Julia Rohde: Adorable and lifting about as much as I do. A bit humbling.

Maria De La Puente: Another little girl that humbles most football players.

This is Lidia Valentin. She's My favorite to watch. She's a healthy girl. By girl I mean she's a girly girl. She packs on the make-up, paying real careful attention to her eye shadows and accessorizes with earings. She then skips up to the bar and yanks it overhead with enough power to make even the burliest of men cower. I love it.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Is correlation causation?

The post I wrote last week got a good amount of positive response. I'm glad people enjoyed it. From what I noticed a lot of people seemed to agree with my assertions. It seems pretty evident that following the steps I laid out will accomplish the goals I set out to accomplish. Notice a few things: at no point in the post did I even mention the idea of "calories" or quantity. I only addressed the "what" and "how" and a little bit of "why". Not "how much". "How much" is kind of irrelevant, isn't it? From a physiological stand-point, quantity comes after the "what". Water will flow down-hill regardless of how much water you pour. There is a very consistent mechanism that makes it so: gravity. Olive oil will separate from vinegar regardless of how much you pour of each (this logic doesn't apply in the microverse where atoms do funny things; I get that.)

In chemistry there is also something known as "energy of activation" and that kind of applies to this. If there is not enough stimulus to create a reaction, then the reaction won't take place. So yes, a little of this or that won't propagate the inevitable reaction that should take place, but everyone is different in the "how much" department. So one person can eat a bag of sugar and be fine while another gets insulin-resistant just by walking down the soft-drink isle. Think of this like Death-by-10m. The first couple of intervals are a breeze. Then, all of the sudden, the stimulus is just too much and it hits you like a brick to the head. The overwhelming sensation comes on without warming even with a good bit of recovery. This is how your hormones function. The difference between not enough and too much may not be noticeable, but once you're overwhelmed, it's irrelevant.

Lesson: don't play with fire. If the adiposity reaction is working against you, then you need to eliminate the stimuli that are propagating the physiological reactions. It's pretty simple on paper, now it's just a matter of application. That part is entirely up to you and I can't help you there. That goes a bit beyond my pay-grade, but I feel like there are enough intelligent people among you to effectively apply the logic I lay out if this is applicable to you or someone you know.

Here's my idea of the most adiposity-inducing meal:

A jelly donut deep-friend using sweet batter in vegetable oil, slurped down with some cola. - Is the calorie-count even relevant? Pretty obvious, huh?

I'm a huge Dmitri Klokov fan.

So I'm driving this morning and, for some weird reason, I pop on NPR. Like clockwork, this story comes on: A Dire Sign Of The Obesity Epidemic: Teen Diabetes Soaring, Study Finds.

The entire segment was presented as if obesity is the CAUSE of diabetes. Obesity is not the CAUSE of ANYTHING. It is an outcome! It is also associated with other issues, like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol. Thus making it a risk-factor, and nothing more. We can't see inside of people without tools and cuts, but if we see a person who is obese, we can also make other assumptions about one's physical state of being. Personally, I am against this because most people are so misinformed that it's useless. There are so many popular preconceived notions and assertions that people make about obesity that it's hard to rifle through it all. One of the biggest things is that it's treated as a psychological dysfunction rather than a normal physiological function. As if it's caused by people not being able to stop eating.

So if diabetes isn't caused by obesity, but rather correlated to it, what exactly is being treated?

This is the equivalent of treating emphysema by trying to cure bad-breath, disregarding the fact that smoking cigarettes caused both of those issues.

I'm going to leave it at that and let you all come to your own educated conclusions.

Here's a guy who helped a lot of people though: Dr. Bernstein.

Goal: Learn to use your glutes.

In addition to back bridges try side clams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vc-8G9SZvuc&feature=relmfu

focus on the hips.

Do back bridges and clams for 15 reps at a time. Let's say a good 10 sets. Put it together any way you like.


Monday, May 14, 2012

If I wanted to blow up..

Everyone has a weight-loss solution, I've discovered. I was at several public places throughout the weekend and I'm pretty sure that I heard some know-it-all explaining to a bunch of bewildered folks the Truth about weight-loss. I swear every one of them had some different little thing that was the KEY. One person said not to eat after 6pm. Another said no carbs after 4pm. Another said only mono-unsaturated fats are good, the rest are evil. More exercise, more cardio, less cardio, supplements, smoothies... I was blown away. I didn't realize how much I don't know about the "secrets" and tricks to make weight-loss so easy. The best part is that the people giving and receiving the advice look like weight-loss is the least of their problems. I digress.

I find it interesting that everyone has a weight-loss solution but few have a weight-GAIN method that is guaranteed to work. So I'm going to lay out a short protocol for gaining as much weight as possible, as quickly as possible.

From what I know about physiology, adiposity is controlled via various hormonal and enzyme mechanisms. So I would try to optimize those mechanisms.

  • The first thing I would try to do is to shut down leptin sensitivity. Leptin is a hormone that controls fat storage and satiety and the last thing I would want is for that hormone to impede my fattening. So I'd want to keep my body saturated in leptin to promote resistance rather than sensitivity. How? Well, I'd stop eating fats and eat way more refined carbohydrates. Not sure exactly how much more, but I'd make them the staple of my diet by a huge margin. http://ajpendo.physiology.org/content/277/5/E855.abstract   http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/search?q=leptin

  • Also, I can't have any glucagon in my blood. Glucagon mobilizes glycogen to be metabolized, and I don't want that. I want to store, not mobilize or metabolize. Glucagon secretion is triggered by amino acids in the blood. http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/endocrine/pancreas/glucagon.html  Translation: I won't be eating any protein as that breaks down into amino acids. Sure I'll be depriving myself of essential amino acids, but my goal is not to be healthy, rather to gain as much adipose tissue as quickly as possible.

  • Luckily for me, my new carb-rich diet will also help keep insulin levels nice and high. But I want to make sure that the insulin levels spike up and stay erratic. So I'm going to opt for straight fructose. Plenty of research has shown that fructose is the king of adiposity. The sucker goes straight for the liver turns into fat pretty quickly and does a whole bunch of other good damage along the way. Check; mate. http://www.jci.org/articles/view/37385  http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/04/fructose-vs-glucose-showdown.html Anything with high-fructose corn syrup is going to be a staple of my daily intake. So lots of soda. I like cactus cooler and Dr. Pepper, personally. Bam!

  • In the off occasion that I start getting sick from all the sugar, I might want something less sweet, but just as blood-sugar spiking as sugar, if not more. What I wouldn't want is any other nutrients distracting from my body from my goals. I'm going with flour based products. I"d try to just eat dry flour but that's hard to do; it's a choking hazard. So I'll go for a nice, moist, chewy product. Let's call it low-fat bread. Why low-fat? Like I said, fat will interfere with my leptin saturation. I have to make sure and optimize. The key here is NOT a balanced diet (whatever that means anyway), the key is to maximise my adiposity potential. I want all the cards in my favor. Low-fat white bread, like a bun or a roll or biscuit would be great. I'd probably add some jelly packets or some fake maple syrup to really give me a boost.

  • After a while of this, my pancreas might not be able to produce enough insulin to keep packing away all that sugar in my blood and I can't have any of it going to waste. Also, I might die if my blood sugar levels stay high for too long. So I'll need to start supplementing myself with insulin injections as my pancreas breaks down and I succumb to diabetes.

  • I won't want to exercise because that will burn up blood-sugar, but I do want my cortisol levels to stay high. Cortisol is a stress hormone that will contribute to elevated blood-sugar. So in addition to moving as little as possible, I'm going to want to avoid restful activities like sleeping. So I'm just going to plant myself on the couch and watch TV with my sodas and buns nearby.
This is a bit of a generalization, but I think it's a pretty bullet-proof plan. This still doesn't guarantee that I'll put on all that adipose tissue, but it's the best way. Either way I'm looking at diabetes, so there's always that. How many people do you know that inadvertently eat and live like this? Maybe not to the extreme degree, but even partly? I see it quite a bit.

I realize that this may come off as a little insensitive to the current state of the obesity problem in this country and world-wide. Personally, I contend that sugar-coating the problem only exacerbates it. Pun definitely intended. Take what you will from this, but the obesity epidemic is not a freak accident. Like I said before, adiposity is a very precisely controlled process in the body that we have inadvertently and unknowingly learned to optimize rather than maintain naturally.

* Addition: Drinking booze not only wreaks havoc on metabolism in the liver but also makes the liver store any and all sugars in the system as fat until all of the alcohol is metabolized out. So that's a no-brainer. Beer in one hand, soda in the other, I'm primed for success.

Here's some more fun readings:


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110627183944.htm   Diet soda won't help!

Why the Campaign to Stop America's Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing

Government tries to shut down paleo diet blogger



Goals: Either hold hollow position for 30 seconds 3 times. Or 3 sets of 30 hollow rocks with a minute rest between sets.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Walk Hard

Note: Please make sure you tend to your belongings if we ever move away from the bleachers for the workouts. The track is pretty accessible by the general public although we're working on changing that. If you can avoid bringing lots of things, that would be best; otherwise you'll have to be very mindful of your things.

Walking Hard
2007 Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story wallpaper

There you go, folks. A picture of a scantly-clad male to drive a point home. Happy? Didn't think so.

Of all of the things I've heard that "it's bad for your knees", or "you shouldn't do it", or "not too many/in moderation"; I've never heard any of that regarding walking. Even the most inept doctor or therapist knows that walking is a good thing. Walking can lower life-insurance policies (counts as exercise) and can spark romance ("likes to take long walk on the beach"). It can be done at any age since the able body is functionally designed for it. Frankly, I don't think there is anything better for ones health than a good hearty stroll.

Some folks may argue that walking is reserved for those who can no longer sustain high intensity activities. Bubkis! First of all, unless you're conditioning for football season or you play hockey in the NHL, high intensity activities need only be a marginal fraction of your "training". (I consider sleep, food, mobility, etc. part of the training regiment.) Realistically, few, if any people on this planet wouldn't benefit from walking as a supplement to their training or lack of. For many, like my grandparents, walking has been a major staple of their exercise. In fact, I've never known them to do anything besides that.

Walking has many therapeutic qualities that are inherent almost exclusively to the movement. The world's leading authority on back and spinal health, Stuart McGill can't praise walking enough. Essentially he says that the rhythmic, multi-planar and multi-directional movements through the hips and shoulders help alleviate a lot of the tension that resides in the spine from sitting around in poor posture or from various injuries. He suggests adding BRISK walking into every one's daily regiment. Furthermore, brisk walking requires a better posture than simply schlepping around for a while, so you're going to have to pick up the pace a bit. If that's not enough, you can periodically challenge yourself by adding in a back-pack or a ruck or a vest which will create a bit of a postural overload and create a little extra traction which will strengthen a lot of those little muscles that protect your posture and subsequently your spine.

Here is a little more info as to the benefits of walking: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/walking.html

Personally, I am very lucky. I get to walk at least a couple miles a day as part of my job and my activity levels. I've always walked a lot. To and from school. Walked a good 5+ miles a day every day during college. I still enjoy walking and choose to walk every chance I get. It tends to piss others off when I park a mile or 2 away from where I'm supposed to be but oh well, at least I feel good, and that's what matters to me. I do notice though, after a few days of reduced or eliminated walking, like during long trips or rides, I become much more stiff and rigid, especially in my hips and knees. My shoulders start to slouch and my neck and lower back hurt. I have a sticky IT band on my right leg and it will just glue itself to my vastus lateralis causing me to have a nice limp that I grow less and less aware of. So I love the fact that I "have" to walk a lot. It's a blessing in disguise.

Here's what I suggest:

Separately from exercising, add in a good, brisk, walk like 4 days a week for 30-60 minutes a day. Preferably in the evening when it is nice and cool or if you have time after work, walk over by Sunset as the tree cover will keep the air a little cleaner. You're only duty is to walk briskly, walk tall, but not too hard. Save that for these guys:

* Powerwalking is an Olympic sport. I'll leave it at that and let you all make your judgements on your own.