3/4/10 The Ins and Outs of an On-the-Fly Workout, and An Additional Thought on the Sous-Vide Method

Are you down with the Robb Wolf and Any Deas Paleolithic Solution Podcasts over at Robb Wolf’s blog?  If not, you really should be, as they’re a great source of Paleo diet information.  Robb is a trained biochemist who was somehow able to shed the prescribed university brainwashing, put two-and two together, and come to the conclusion that the human body was built to motor on a Paleo-like diet.  The Wolf/Deas collaborations — aside from being an enjoyable listen (good chemistry between these two) — are a series of Q & A discussions on all manner of dietary issues — all viewed, of course, through a Paleo-leaning prism.  And Robb’s blog offers a good place for intelligent, post-podcast discussion.  Head on over when you get a chance, listen-in, and join the fray — you’ll be glad you did.

In particular, check out the discussion associated with Episode 17, where I tossed-out the sous-vide/plastics leaching question that I initially brought up in this post.  Paleolithic Solution reader/listener Mathieu Lalonde responded:

“I’m a chemist and I was waiting for someone to bring up this issue. I was personally horrified when I first read about “Sous Vide”, which means “under vacuum” in French. Take food, place it into a plastic bag, place the bag under vacuum, seal it, then heat it. I cannot imagine a better way to leach plasticizers into food. Especially with fatty foods. I would love to see someone study this. The phthalates would be trivial to detect by mass spec. Many plasticizers, including phthalates, are endocrine disrupters. I don’t care how good “sous vide” food tastes, I’m not touching it until the plasticizer issue has been studied and/or resolved.”

I have to agree with Mathieu, here.  This just looks like too much of a plastics-leaching, perfect storm for me to feel comfortable with.  For now, just roll with the ol’ fashion crock pot, and reserve the right to change my opinion on the subject later.

On to today’s workout…

Here’s the combo that I created on the fly this morning:

Jump Squats (3/4 position):

165 x5; 215 x 5; 265 x 5; 305 x 5

BTN Push-Press:
165 x 5; 185 x 4, 5, 5

Step-Ups (reps per each leg):
165 x 5; 185 x 3, 3, 3

Regular-Grip Pull-Ups:
45 x 5; 55 x 5, 6, 6

So, 4 rounds of that combo.  I actually performed 2 additional rounds that were a “bridge” between the end of the warm-up and the meat of the workout (round 1).  Build-ups, feel sets.

So, how did I come up with this beast?  Pretty simple, really. First I identified the movement pattern I wanted to work — not the exercise per se,  but the movement pattern — then I identified the energy system I wanted to utilize while working that particular pattern.  At this point I begin to cobble-together particular exercises.   In this instance, I knew I wanted to work the single-leg step-up — in my gym, that puts me in the power rack.  I know from past exprience that I’ll use approximately 185 lbs for 3 reps each leg (and this rep range corresponds to my target energy system).  185 lbs also looks like a good btn push-press weight for me, so I’ll add that as well.  Now I’ve got a bar loaded-up in the power rack at a height that, for me, is at roughly the 3/4 squat position.  Hmmmmm, load-up the bar a little more, and I’ve got all the makings for some jump squats.  As a bonus, look at the great potentiation potential jump squats offers to the other two exercises.  Cha-ching!  The pull-ups?  They’re a natural push-pull companion to the push-press.

And last but not least, a very interesting read from the Global PolititianDid Lactose Tolerance Trigger the Indo-European Expansion? Highly, highly recommended reading.

8 responses to “3/4/10 The Ins and Outs of an On-the-Fly Workout, and An Additional Thought on the Sous-Vide Method

  1. FYI – you’re more likely to inhale more from polyurathaning your deck and walking down the oriented strandboard aisle at Lowe’s than from your food.

    And if ANYTHING you buy ran through pvc or rubber tubing (coca cola, I’m looking at you…) you’ve already got it coming in.

    PET is the biggest contributor – it also happens to be the studiest plastic. HDPE and LDPE aren’t too worrysome. PP is actually one of the better choices as well.

    But I don’t like heating any plastic, period. And don’t get me started on bisphenol-A

    • Rob, (or Susan) can you break this down for a non-chemist? I’m just trying to more thoroughly reason this out. What about Teflon?

  2. From my chemistry and polymers background (digging through cobwebs…)

    PET – Poly Ethylene Terapthalate – it the little recycle symbol on the bottom of the container you’ll see either a “1” or “PET” or “PETE”. I haven’t seen it lately, but I often saw it on the black bottom of the 2 litter soda jugs….

    Reading up on pthalate leaching, it would appear that the bigger issue is when a pthalate is used as an additive, not as part of the monomer block to form the polymer chain.

    The monomer of PET(Ethylene Terapthalate) is chemically locked to the next one in the chain, so in order to break the pthalate “loose” so it can leach you have to chemically break the chain.

    The additive pthalate(to things like PVC (poly-vinyl-chloride) or vinyl or other things (see link below)is, in four year old speak, physically mixed with the polymer strings. When you mix this stuff with a polymer (using vinyl as example) it allows the strings of isomers to not get hooked up on each other, probably by negating a couple of things including vanderWaals forces from adjacent strings of polymer (dear chemist people, please confirm or smack this down).

    Its basically an oil and a surfactant type thing for the polymer chains. It also can fill in the space between the chains, adding other benefits.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phthalates (and ignore the last statement in that article, because the endocrine issue is complicated – they are trying to draw a distinction to the number of carbon chains attached the O=C-BenzeneRing-C=O portion…)

    Here’s the deal, pthalate additives only have to be mechanically released – so anything that might disrupt the mixture of the polymer strings and the additive could result in molecules being released. So stay away from conditions where you’re exposed to heated PVC or vinyl (or other similar container, eg. some styrofoams) if you’re all that concerned.

    For PET, you have to actually chemically break the bond – high heat or add a chemical that would break the chain. Do I know what that temperature or chemical is? Not right off hand.

    Other plastics, HDPE, and LDPE, and PP: PE is polyethelyene, a nice simple polymer. HD = High density basically means the chains are packed closer together – the material is typically stronger, less flexible, and has a higher opacity (light can’t get through) than LDPE. HDPE = milk carton, LDPE = the grocery bag you put it in. Neither have need for pthalate additives. That would be because there are only Hydrogen arms off the polymer chain made of carbon. Nothing to cause issues with adjacent strings.

    PP – polypropylene – its not just in your thermal underwear. It is more heat tolerant than PE and PET, and like PE, it doesn’t need the pthalate additive because it’s “arms” are CH3 (but not as nice as Hydrogen), which are less likely to cause vanderWaals forces than oxygen or chlorine, so it doesn’t need the buffer to be flexible.

    Clear as mud yet?
    Teflon: Simply put (very simply, dear chemist friends) is exactly like Polyethylene, EXCEPT instead of little itty bitty hydrogen on the arms, you have Flouride ions. There’s a bunch more I can talk about dipoles and vanderWals here, but putting it simply – the Flourine is balanced in such a way that you can’t create a dipole /charged hook to cause it to be sticky against itself.

    BUT the issue here is Flourine. Flourine is a nasty buggar like Chlorine. The good thing here is the melting point that would allow layers of the teflon polymer to chemically detatch from the coating, is high enough that you’re probably not cooking at those temperatures. Can you mechanically break some of the isomers off the surface into your food, and how much? Possibly. I don’t have the information to answer you.

    Here’s my rule of thumb: Stay away from Chlorine (hi municipal drinking water!!), Flourine. They are big atoms that can be highly reactive (preferentially reactive). Oxygen can also be one of these – but it sits the fence, depending on the bonds it has with its molecular counterparts.

    Stay away from Benzene rings – lovely little aromatic compounds that can pack a whalop depending on the buddies they have attached.

    And that, my friend, is really all I can offer you. Remember, I’m not a biologist, or a chemist. I’m just a chemical engineer, and basically I like to blow shit up or make toxins in bulk. Who-hoo!

    • Whoa, very informative, Susan. Thanks for taking the time to translate that into layman’s terms and committing it to keyboard. And just so you know, the only class I dropped quicker than chemistry was accounting — now I remember why 🙂

  3. Note: I meant flouride and chloride ions. Because hello, toothpaste. You want the flouride ions locked into their chemical bond, not running around all free radiacal like. What is at stake with all of these chemical bonds is how strong the nasties are bonded with their carbon buddies. That is what primarily drives the risk question.

  4. I listen to Robb and Andy usually on the weekends, and that’s when I do the bulk of catching up on the paleo/fitness/just-living-as-we’re-designed-to-live sites. Just about each time Robb answers a question it’s as if he could have written a month’s of post just on that topic in 15-20 parts, with ties from about 3-4 references, techniques, etc. To compare Robb’s knowledge with a draft pick, he would be like a guy who can run, catch, return the ball on special teams, and shoot, probably even run corner for you in dire situations. Beyond Deion Sanders, beyond Bo Jackson… Crossfit is to Fitness, as Robb is to Knowledge of “Evolutionary Living.” Amazing.

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