Category Archives: Uncategorized

Killing the Unicorn or Discovering Reality

   

A friend of mine who happens to be an artist once told me how way back when artists really didn’t know what lions looked like because all they had were descriptions.  So artists did what they thought best depicted the lion going off references and descriptions.  This is also true of the fitness and performance crowd.

Years ago I was introduced to the concept of Post Tenetic Facilitation also referred to as Post tenatic activation or Post activation potentiation.  I have referenced these terms in the past. I was introduced to this term when I learned of the Bulgarian style of weight lifting and how the wave loading can elicit this effect.   This was going to help me in training and make me grow by leaps and bounds etc…It is a good concept and it does work however much of the flare behind the old articles has since died because in reality you are looking at jumps in weight, but weightlifting you discover is a patient man’s game.

Another concept that hit the dieting world and rears it’s head from time to time is the raise your metabolism by eating extra calories concept, or better still the weight loss of shifting towards a ketogenic diet.  The thing that a lot of people don’t realize is much of the weight you lose when you first go keto is water weight.   This can be deceptive to first time dieters.  Extra calories for a metabolism boost along with going keto seems to lose their luster when you recognize greater than 2 weeks of consistency and methodical dedication are required.

 The mythos of the Unicorn has many account within literature, but the description and depictions of what it is were perverted into an image often of what we want it to be, but when we reference descriptions of unicorns from historical document we also come upon bicorns and the less fanciful less beautiful understanding that these were actually descriptions of a rhinoceros.   With the many concepts that come in and out of the fitness world you find that often times they exist and there is science to back the effect in real life, but it is not as magical as our minds eye seems to perceive it.

LOVE or HATE or

A while back I was given a sermon, and it spoke to me. It still speaks to me.   It resonates in a lot of things much as an good sermon should.

There are 3 men of history, actually 4 men I would draw your attention too.

HATE

Genghis Khan is arguably one of the greatest leaders of the Mongol empire. Legend of his birth  says he was clutching at a blood clot, a dark omen of things to come.  History is forever scarred by the myriad of lives he laid to waste.  When he was reprimanded in a letter by the pope for his atrocities; he responded, “I am the punishment of God. If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you. “

LOVE

In another world, in a different time, there was a man who taught the value of empathy with wisdom.  His statement often makes me think of another great fisher of men because I think that may be who he is referencing.  Gandhi said, “Give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish feed him for a lifetime.  I think empathy is a side of love, but with wisdom it becomes much more powerful. With ignorance it may lead in the opposite directions.  Like chiding without giving direction or coddling without using what is referred to as tough love. (This may be able to be worded differently and still get point across, like Tough love is….. I had to read it three times to understand)

INDIFFERENCE

History also speaks of another man, a man whose life would be of little consequence today had he not crossed paths with another man.  He was in charge of a great number of men when the city was in turmoil.  For much of my life what he did made the most sense to me, but now when you look at leadership you recognize there are tough decisions to be made, and when it came time to do the right thing he washed his hand of his responsibility in order to appease those in power that could have created great unrest.  His name was Pontius Pilot, and his apathy is what made him known.  When he washed his hands he made the decision to protect himself.

The sermon that I referenced explained the opposite of love is actually indifference rather than hate.  So introspectively I would ask myself from time to time, “What am I indifferent about and then how does that affect me? “Or better still the fact that I don’t give a shit about something, someone or some cause.  Is it because it doesn’t affect me?  In life you can only care about a certain number of things, and the things that you value should move you.  I leave you with a story.

I think this concept can be best demonstrated here.

Student :(asks  jokingly)  “Why do you hate me?”
Professor :  (responds jokingly)  “How can you hate someone you don’t even care about.”

I also thought there was a pretty good quote here in the movie backdraft

 

 

BE THE FIRE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THIS WORLD 😉

 

TEST or RETEST

In various events in life football, track, swimming, weightlifting you are familiar with the plays and your opponents, you know the event/distance, you may know the course you’re running, or you have an idea of the weights you will be lifting.  Like any good teacher knows if you are being tested you need to study for the test.  It is inefficient and counterproductive to study what will not be on the test even if it is interesting.

In weightlifting you are testing your ability to skillfully demonstrate power and strength. In powerlifting you are demonstrating your absolute/relative strength.  In distance running you are demonstrating your mechanical efficiency.  In physique and bodybuilding you are demonstrating your poise and confidence.

If you are a runner and the course has hills you simulate the course by finding routes that are similar.  If it is a 5k you don’t try to become efficient at a 10k. Your goal is to be you fastest at a 5k.  A treadmill doesn’t prepare you for the weather outside and the terrain.

If you are a weight lifter and your meet is in the morning you are not going to function effectively if you don’t train in the morning.  It is a good idea that your body is used to being awake in the morning so your body sets it’s circadian rhythm accordingly.

If you are attempting a weight it is important to build your confidence with weights at supramaximum of a similar pattern. Clean pulls and front squat for clean and jerk.  Snatch pulls and overhead squat for snatch.  You should be at a phase in your training where the intensity is high and the volume has dropped to facilitate a nervous system recovery.   The gym is your Petri dish.   This didn’t happen overnight, this task you laid before yourself.  It is not mere happenstance how you arrived.

If you are a gambler you count cards, if you are a hunter you wait up wind.  You specialize for the circumstances that you can control because you understand the variables of your sport.  You are just respawning on a different platform with a heavier weight.  It is Deja vu because you have been here before.  You have prepared, YOU ARE PREPARED.

HOW TO KILL YOUR HUSBAND OR SMOKERS WISDOM

There is an old joke where a woman tells a man “If I were your wife I’d poison your coffee.” The man replies, “If I were your husband I would drink it.”  So in an effort to make this article more interesting I will use this idea to construct a crime that is perfectly legal when done correctly .

The wife would obviously start by getting a sizeable life insurance policy on her husband. The more interesting thing would be how she slowly poisons her husband.  She will start with breakfast. She would first server him up a nice cup of instant coffee that was over cooked so we can get the right amount of accrylimide(1) in it and with it a she would add a splash of creamer with the hydrogenated oils(2)(3) to improve shelf life.  She could cook him a nice breakfast of ham and eggs out of a teflon pan (5)making certain to overcook and brown the meal to make sure he ingests a large amount of advance glycotic end products (4) (AGEs).  She would also be certain to make sure the oil she cooks the meal in has a low smoke point and over cook it to increase the number of toxic aldehydes (6) within the oil prior to consumption.

She has the timer on the restroom oderizer set at a higher frequency so it sprays more when he takes his morning constitutional after the coffee kicks in. That way he inhales enough benzene to slowly accumulate in his body(7)

The sweet wife would make certain to pack her husband a lunch because she knows he can’t take care of himself. So she packs a good lunch of heavily processed meat sandwich with two slices of  oil based cheese also containing just shy of .5g trans fat that the manufactures don’t have to label(8).  She would only use the most heavily processed meats and breads weekly to promote the obeseogenic diet because she knows the inflammation it provides will correlate with mortality. She would also be certain to pack the at the very least a high fructose beverage to increase the amount of glycation that occurs in the blood and help to raise triglyceride levels (9).  All the while she would be certain that his intake of micro nutrients is at a deficiency state to impair glucose metabolism and create greater insulin resistance.(10)

She would familurize herself with his family history of chronic disease so she could help elicit the similar outcomes due to genetic predispositions. Her goal is long term because she is trying to accumulate lesions and double strand tears in her husbands DND, and she knows chronic inflammation is a key.(11)

For dinner she would be certain to microwave higher fat leftovers in plastic so the oils can leach various endocrine mimicking substances from the plastic, along with serving a side or two out of BPA coated cans to insure adequate saturation levels of plastic can be reached(10).

Finally and most importantly she would encourage him to stay up late watching television, or on his mobile devise to wreck his circadian rhythm. In doing this she will ensure the body remains in an inflammation state and has inadequate recovery so he will remain inflamed.(12)

The grand conspiracy to soft kill an individual is really not an organized one, it has come from my vantage as a sort of slip shot way to create greater food supplies that are easy and ready made.  With the advances in science and technology there are great and novel benefits. Sometimes short term benefits come with long term consequences.  As the cigarette philosopher would say we are all going to die anyway.

I barely ever proof read so feel free to fix grammatical errors as you go.  You can make it like a type of word search.  Have fun 🙂  Feel free to drop me a line if you have other ideas.

 

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/articles/24325083/ 

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19345947 

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11458290

(4) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080430203049.htm

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26377870

(6)https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050617065306.htm

(7) https://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocumentsregulatoryinformation/labelingnutrition/ucm053479.htm

(8)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19403641

(9)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3313629/

(10) http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/29/health/canned-foods-bpa-risk/index.html 

(11)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3132857/

Mental Toughness or Experience

We are a spoiled generation, and the more we forget of our past struggles that shaped and molded our behavior the weaker as a society we become.  In the coaching world you will hear the word mental toughness, this mental toughness that.  I never really bought into the concept of mental toughness totally, but I understand it.   “Mental toughness” comes from exposure to adversity and through hardship and learning from mistakes all the while planning to rebuild.  I think what you will notice is the people that others say are mentally tough often will be the more experienced of your athletes.  Those that seem to be more athletic have been weathered by trials.  What will come of a victim society that wallows in the past.  What will become of a generation that complains all the time about how thing are.  What will become of a new affluenzic generation?  It is a downward spiral into self-deprecation, and at a point there is no turning back.

A similar to concept to mental toughness is pain.  Why is it that pain is a relative concept?  Not all people can handle pain the way some people do.  Some studies (1)(2)even say red heads are actually more susceptible to pain due to their genotype.  From another vantage when you were young, and did manual labor you developed calluses maybe even blisters from using a shovel or a hammer or an ax.  “Thin skinned,” people typically develop a blisters more readily because the skin has not conditioned for work.  The first time you experience a pain it is often the most uncomfortable and likely the most painful.  Though the more times you expose yourself the manual labor the thicker the skin becomes.   After a while you become more callused to the pain, and as your work capacity becomes greater you can do more work, and become hardened to the pain that toil and labor inflicts on you. Similarly mental toughness is about experience.  The more experience you have the easier it will be to endure hard times.  While pain may parallel mental toughness it is not the same in all cases.

History only speaks about the resilient, not everyone has it in them to rise back to their feet when they were knocked down, but it is easier when you follow the shadow of a man or woman who you watched get back up every time.  Ignorance of this construct is sad indeed. In conclusion for self betterment it is a good idea to expose yourself to toil and trauma so that you can desensitize yourself for the sake of this society and it’s future errrr something.

I’m sorry I have not posted much, I will try to post more often but don’t hold your breath lol.

(1)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1692342//content/83/2/211.ful
(2)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1362956///content/83/2/211.ful

 

 

Stacking the Deck in Your Favor  Patting Yourself on the Back

I am not by any means the ideal as far as personal training or strength training goes, but I have learned a great deal over the years. Many were through mistakes I made or a dogma of presuppositions I had about health and fitness. That being said, it reminds me of a lesson I learned from my grandfather’s humor. It was something he said to me when we were headed to a casino after I had turned 21. We were driving up to the Casino and he pointed to some cars leaving and he said. “Hey look at all the losers leaving the casino.” He was doing it to be funny because if you didn’t know my grandfather he was always very sarcastic about a lot of things. It made me laugh pretty hard to think that he was right they were probably losers, the same losers that were likely sitting in the car headed into the casino.

I’m probably reaching, but this story kind of relates to how some fitness people will approach clients where in some ways they are not wrong, but in a lot of ways they are not right. There is a belief as a coach that carry is, “Well I’m fit because I work out, and you’re not fit because you don’t.” However in many instances this coach that is fit has something going for him that the neophyte client does not. They have likely been active all their life, and have not picked up as many bad habits along the way. Fitness people usually run with a crowd that share a common type of systemic lifestyle that supports health and wellness. These thing are in a lot of the reason they are successful and these are often the people that will promote a broscience/infomercial/gimmick/placebo effect. I have in some times in my past supported similar gimmicks, however in some instances depending on who you talk to I may still support things that have scientific basis, but others might say are bunk. Regardless of this tangent placebo effects do work otherwise they wouldn’t be placebo effects. Some things can be overlooked in favor of the process because some people can be told, and in other instances a person has to experience something in order to learn. Trial and error has always been how science finds new facts to support new theory and illuminate new ideas. That being said it is important as a coach or individual to self-evaluate dogma that they hold to. In some ways these trainers were correct people do need to exercise to be healthier in other ways parts of the individual’s lifestyle like sleep/diet/stress management need to be taken into account. Like they say in history “learn from it or we are doomed to repeat our mistakes,” or in science “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.”

Wassailing in Bad Decisions or Containing Compromise


Part of making bad decisions is learning from the outcome.  The ill effects of alcohol are various, but one main one is the ability to buffer protein synthesis.   Many of the studies I have run across seem to use alcohol directly post workout.  What has been gained by these studies is the understanding that partaking in an adult beverage or 3 post workout can limit any super compensation from training or even destroy any would be gainz. 

A couple things that can be gathered when you will knowingly be engaged in debauchery is how can I limit the effects of this habit.  There are a couple of ways science seems to indicate we can lessen the effect.  One thing I have noticed is during the weekends people tend to lower protein consumption which can be a main contributor to ill effects of the booze.

Two things that can help counteract a little of alcohols effect would seem to be protein, and vitamin C intake(1)(2).  It is understandable though that after a night of doing stupid things you may have trouble making a good decision, but I hold out hope for you.  If you goal is to make gainz consistently you would be better off not engaging in alcohol in the first place, but you already knew that.  I would like to apologize for the limited amount of posts lately but I’m not really finding anything interesting to write about.  Feel free to msg me on facebook or instagram if you have an idea.  If I don’t get to it or don’t write about it please forgive me.  I will attempt to answer questions if you need.  Thanks as always

 

(1)    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7295384

(2)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2453308

VIPER

This is an old document I wrote years back but I think for the most part it is a good concept.  
Variable Isometric Plane on External Resistance
 
Long ago in a far off land there was a man who possessed strength that rivaled today’s elite athletes.   His training consisted of providing for his family, plowing fields, hefting trees out of the woods, slaughtering game, splitting wood and specifically being an all-around bad mother lover.  Often times a tale can be told of men from back in the day that were freaks and able to heft tremendous amounts of weight.  They may or may not lift weights they have probably been exposed to some form of labor in life that has caused some chronic hypertrophy. These men are probably neurologically efficient at using their posterior chain and usually have a grip that would make a lesser man piss himself or at least fall to a knee.  Some of these legends never competed in the games of iron.  The men that did compete the freak shows and strongmen likely did very little if any preventative works in their life.  These freaks probably never external rotated unless they were going to throw a horse shoe.    
Considering the aforementioned legends, a person is left to wonder how these demigods would be able to make gains, and press ungodly amounts of weight without doing specific retraction, depression and external rotation work.   A one track mind perspective a individual that prioritized a major lift like a press or a squat would likey not stray to far from that lift unless he or she had a substitute.  Way back before ipods, 4 axis controllers, and smith machines the old school lifter had a plethora of choices.  For legs the legend could squat, deadlift, clean or snatch.  For chest if he wanted to press he could do overhead press, overhead dumbbell press, dumbbell bench or barbell bench.  The legend would likely choose a barbell.  Now remember this is a bit speculative however the legendary lifters were very limited in what they could do, but were still able to do impressive amounts of weight. 
If the legend plateaus or is injured on a lift. His limited knowledge of the injury tells him he needs to figure something out.  The legend must rectify the situation as the bar and the lift taunt him.  He may be forced to do a different lift, lower the weight due to injury or push through the pain on a lift and insure more injury.  The two wise choices are change.   The legend decides to lower the weight but still feels said pain or impingement. He modifies the lift hands in hands out still pain presents itself.  Finally the legend does something that repetition has taught him not to do rather than just lift the weight he decides to modify his contraction against the bar.  He notices less pain he realizes whatever he did has diffused a bit of the pain.  He repeats the lift with more weight the same results though the pain does not fully sub-side it has lessened. 
How does this work how, how can an individual injured go from symptomatic to asymptomatic by varying contraction style.  This is where Variable Isometric Plane on External Resistance comes in.  Using VIPER in an individual can pinpoint areas of weakness specific antagonist weakness.  Antagonist weakness often plays a part in inhibition of an agonist muscle group.  On the press an individual can use VIPER theory to help rehab overemphasis on agonists.  An individual can feel the agonists working on a press more easily on the eccentric phase so long as a Tempo is followed.  I would suggest 5-0-2-0 Tempo or something along these lines.  Three separate isometrics in the weak range of the lift holding for 5-10 seconds at each spot will also work. 
 
Emphasis on the Press
            Eccentric Phase (negative)
-Pulling the bar apart (this helps initiate rhomboids and retractors)
-Bending the Bar horizontally (this helps to emphasizes shoulder blade in retraction)
-Elbows under the bar (so not to rely on an inefficient compensation pattern in relation to specificity of the lift)
-Control of the eccentric phase of the lift (you will emphasize a controlled negative especially in the weak range of motion)
            *at any time you can emphasize a range by stopping the bars eccentric phase and focusing on the isometric torque you are placing on the bar
Concentric Phase (positive)
            –Pulling apart and bending the bar(you should feel the bar most on the inside of the thumb and the pink due to the nature of the isometric resistance you apply on the bar)
            – once you reach the top if you have to reset scapula so that they are retracted do so and begin to emphasize posture of the next rep before doing the next eccentric
 
Closing thoughts
            I would suggest doing 3-5 sets @ 70-85% of your  rep maximum 6-8 reps of your 1 rep maximum.  (Use technical failure as your guide for your 1 rep maximum)
            Consider following VIPER work with a1-5 true work set if you are feeling spry. 
            Consider ending with dumbbell work on a press emphasizing stretch at the bottom of the press and finally finish with external rotation and retraction work.
            VIPER work does not replace prehab work rather it is specific to prehab. 
 
This concept it more of an idea that branched from four different sources:
  The idea stems from Jerry Telle style lifting
  Structural Balance  from Charles Poliquin
  Dave Tate on a pressing article
  Kinesiology and the Cardinal planes of movement 

The Palest Ink or Defining Reps

The use of differing ways to distinguish intensity and volume can sometimes be an overlooked variable of training.  A new, or new to me version is called RPE or rate of perceived exertion used to describe the intensity of load.  Another option is the use of percentages of your on rep maximum. A easy example to remember is 80% of your one rep maximum would put you at about 8 reps.  Along those same lines is the Rep range system where you define your intensity by reps you will be staying within 1-3 or 3-5.

(You don’t have to read this as it is in depth for some people to the point it may bore you)     The above example help to the lifter define a intensity and energy systems that you are working within. There a multiple ways to look at energy systems.   Energy systems for example are ATP system that fatigues in about 1-5seconds the creatine phosphate system that can fatigue in 10second or so. There is questionable beliefs and methodologies that explain what the optimal for training progression.  Anecdotally, I find that staying within a certain energy system within phases is the best way to approach a progression.  This is called periodization.  I have discussed the idea of schizophrenic type training where no variable is clearly defined and no long term goal is being trained for, basically madness without means.  Sometimes I think people just train to get the endorphin rush rather than define a long term goal.  I get stuck in this rut from time to time. Either be it from stress, or busyness or just life priorities getting in the way.

All the above being said there is a lot that can go into planning.  In many instances the acronym KISS applies. ( Keep It Simple Stupid) In many instances people will overcomplicate what they do, which can lead the individual to feel like they are not making progress.  All of the above systems work though I think the most specific day to day one is rep range for me it is the one I have used the most.  I have seen people use the percentage system specifically coaches who write team programs and have great success with it.

With RPE I think it is valid and useful for people who are not trying to tax the nervous system by tracking how close to failure you are each set.    However the very worst thing a person can do is not keep track of weight sets and reps.  So if you aren’t writing down what you are doing you are making a mistake.  For female client I recommend a fufu journal, they can bedazzle if they have time.  For males I just recommend a legal pad or one of those 3 hole folders because they only require college rule paper. Techie people can use a phone app but there is something satisfying about putting pen to paper.

In synopsis use what you like to define intensity, but be certain to record as the Chinese proverb goes “The palest ink is better than the best memory.”

Heros and Villian or Duality of Coaching

DC and Marvel  do a great job building characters that people can relate to you, see a contrast where the heroes epitomize good, they are idealistic and symbolic of virtue rarely taking life outside of collateral damage caused by the villain.  Marvel often makes it easy to identify with some villains because much of what created their characters was a type of oppression that humanity created in response to being different.  I think the same is true of a good coach.   A good coach will let you see past the veil that is your goal, and when you arrive, you will be burdened by a new goal.   A villain understands that there will be collateral damage.  In Batman vs Superman Lex Luther’s quote:

“Did you know the oldest lie in America, Senator? It’s that Power can be innocent.”

Contrast that with Uncle Ben from Spiderman:

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

A good villain is burdened by being right. A good coach/teacher is careful to demonstrate and teach how he is right or better, still to allow the student to come to his or her own decision on the matter through trial and error for the sake of progress.  The ignorance of the student background and the concept of his scaffold of knowledge or tabula rasa in areas creates a kind of fog of war for the student, and for the coach in some areas can create a falling away, however, it is for growth of the student.  The job of the coach is growth of the student that he or she may come into their own.  Building autonomy and confidence only comes with experience.

In some instances, however, it will be hard to distinguish a good coach from a villain or a bad coach from a hero because of the experience of the individual and the lenses they wear can create a sort of blind spot or parallel world.  The best I can explain it is as bishop on a chess board.  A bishop on black can never see a bishop on white.

Lastly what I can say of great coaches, villain or hero, is that they stand out.  I think it is their vision they will make many enemies on their way and lose allies with the bridges that they burn, because what they are willing to do often times what those that follow are not.  Their passion is as much a blessing as a curse.  Is there a line between passion and obsession?  I think another thing about people that are brilliant is that they are very close to a madness.