Of Bruce Lee, and the Drive for Perfect Phenotypical Expression

Super Human Radio‘s Carl Lanore devoted a show recently  to the training and philosophy of Bruce Lee.  What can Bruce Lee teach us about striving for phenotypical expression excellence?  Everything, my friend; everything.  Maybe not by way of training specifics (unless, of course, you happen to be a martial artist), but certainly by way of overriding philosophy.  Absorb what is useful from any source, discard what is not from even the most revered of sources.  Emphasis mine.  I can ascribe wholeheartedly to the Bruce Lee theory of attaining the pinnacle of Physical Culture without ever necessarily feeling the need to duplicate a Bruce Lee workout.  Different goals necessitate different methods; the psychology of intensity, though, remains the same.

As an interesting aside, I noticed that in the stack of mail that Meesus TTP brought in Saturday, was my (new) copy of Lee’s The Art of Expressing the Human Body. I say “new” because I had an old and tattered copy of this book that I’d long since given to a friend who was just embarking on this wonderful journey that is Physical Culture.  I can’t wait to re-read the material with the wisdom that I’ve gained over those (10+…wow time flies!!) years since I’d last read it.  And by the way, the book is compiled and edited by none other than John Little, who teamed with Doug McGuff on the two mighty-fine pieces of work Body by Science and The Body by Science Question and Answer Book (information, here).  Tight-knit and intimate group within this wonderful world of Physical Culture.

Below, Lee’s daughter talks about her daddy’s book.

And be sure to check out this wonderful piece, the Warm Marble.  It’s one of those “keep in your back pocket” works (like The Iron, by Henry Rollins) that are good to pull out every now and again to remind yourself of just why it is that we stick to this satisfying — though, at times, arduous — path of Physical Culture.

A need to document reps?  Hell, a need to even count reps?

Let’s face it, for those of us who are are pure Physical Culturalists (as opposed to specialists, i.e., competitive Oly lifters, for example), programming schemes in general, and repetition counts in particular, are little more than a psychological crutch and/or a convenient to convey the fact that, yes, effective weight training is seriously hard work.  What if all we ever did in the gym was to match a given weight to a given movement (or vice-versa) and bust friggin’ ass with it?  Here’s the deal: I’ve got training logs dating back to when the gym-rat clown pants were considered the pinnacle of cool (yikes!), but what the hell do those notes really matter to me now?  Yeah, it’s kinda cool to look back at some of that stuff , in a nostalgic sense; my physical body, though, could give a damn.  I mean, if you ascribe to the 7-year total turnover theory (as I do), then I’m not even the same physical body now as I was then, so of what relevance are those numbers to me now?  What if it was just me…and a weight…and the challenge of pressing (for example) that damn weight overhead, any way possible,  and as many times as I could, within a certain time limit.  What’s the time limit?  I don’t know, pick something that fits with your schedule — 1 minute, 15 minutes…24 hours, whatever.  Just you, a load and a movement; wherewithal and, most importantly, intensity.  Did our ancestors worry about rep counts, tempos, smart programming or energy systems?  Of course not.  They simply had to face-down a life challenge…or die trying…simple as that.

Now I’m certainly not advocating the abolition of smart programming and rational exercise selection in favor of a full-on, out-of-the-hopper approach; what I am saying, though, is that we can swing too far to the other side — the mechanical and all-too predictable side of the continuum — if we’re not careful.  We run the risk of putting “the program” ahead of what really matters, which is how much intensity we bring to the table.

Here’s how this plays out, at least for me, in the real world: a couple of times a week I’ll have a loaded bar that needs to be broken down between clients.  Let’s just make this real easy and say that I’ve got a 135 lb loaded Oly bar nestled nicely in the power rack, and 30-minutes before my next client.  Now I pick a movement I haven’t done in a while; power snatch, say, or RFESS — or hell, even bicep curls, if I want to channel my inner Arnold.  Now, how many reps can I squeeze-in in that half-hour?  Not that I’ll ever write this stuff down, or factor it into my subsequent “normal” workout considerations (I let Autoregulation take care of accounting for that).   This is more play than anything else, and it keeps my body, as well as my mind, fresh.  And just because these “opportunities” aren’t documented, much less tracked, in no way means that my body doesn’t revel in the challenge and respond accordingly.  Like rings within a tree trunk, the body I occupy today is marked with the results of these impromptu sessions; documentation written in flesh and blood.

And now on to a couple of “documented” workouts –

Monday, 11/29 (Rosedale studio)

(A1) trap bar deadlift/bent over row/deadlift combo: 265 x 10/5/10; 315 x 10/3/10 x 3 sets

(A2) floor press: 135 x 10; 185 x 6; 225 x 6, 6

Wednesday, 12/1 (Westlake studio)

(A1) CZT seated overhead press (neutral grip): hyper-rep x 5

(A2) manual resistance front raise: hyper-rep x 3

(B1) negative-only CZT pull-down (neutral grip): hyper-rep x 5

(B2) blast-strap scarecrows: 3 ugly reps

(C1) rear foot elevated (and suspended) split squats: bw x 10, each leg

(C2) CZT leg press: hyper-rep x 3

The above is an example of integrating the ever-versatile CZT equipment into various pre-exhaust methodologies. Video clips of Skyler kickin’ my ass on this one coming soon.

The Austin-area “exercise sommelier” strikes again, here ; a wonderful pairing of Mentzer-inspired HIT, with some good ol’, local Paleo grub  🙂

 

In health,

Keith

Paleo Simplicity

Really, is it all that complicated?  Yeah, all of us in the Paleo/Evolutionary Fitness community like to geek-out on the minutia of this stuff (and with the workout specifics as well), but when we get down to brass tacks — or (and especially so!) when dealing with the “mainstream”, or potential converts — it’s helpful to remember this: Paleo is, at its roots,  really, really easy.  To wit, check out Robb Wolf’s the Paleo Solution, Quick Start Guide.  In fact, the entire Paleo Solution book is a great Paleo introduction tool.  I won’t go into a full-fledged review just quite yet, as I prefer to fully digest a book (lots of margin scribbles, notes, underlining, etc.) before weighing-in.  I can tell you this much, though; Robb’s book would be a fantastic introduction to anyone contemplating testing the Paleo/Evolutionary Fitness waters.  As opposed to, say, Taubes’ Good Calorie, Bad Calories; a read that I’m particularly fond of, by the way, but that can be, oh…how shall be say…a bit off-putting to the newly initiated?  Hell, even Toban Weibe’s most excellent summary of Taubes’ tome can be much for most initiates.  Not so Robb’s the Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet.  Accessible?  You bet; I’d feel comfortable suggesting it to anyone — and certainly to anyone who is even the least bit skeptical over the whole “Caveman” thing.  Robb does an excellent job of both providing sound, science-backed information, and doing so in a way so as to not come-off as being some kind of a back-to-the-caves whack-job…or worse yet, a dietary dogmatic.  Bottom line?  Get Robb’s book; get it for yourself and for anyone you care enough about to coax into the Paleo fold.

On to a couple of workouts –

Let’s preface things a bit by noting that I spent the greater part of Sunday lifting, toting, and just all-around man-handling heavy things.  And not in a fun way, either — I’m talkin’  moving, folks.  As in, shuttling a shit-pot-ton of household…stuff, from one place to another.  How does one ever acquire so much?  Anyway, thanks to my good friend Robert Remmers for sacrificing his Sunday (and a good deal of sleep!) to help Michelle and I out.  Thanks, my man — we couldn’t have done it without you!

So I split this workout up into an AM/afternoon thing, as that’s just the way things happened to pan out on Monday, between training clients and handling other, more admin-related work.  It was a nice opportunity for me to test how I’d respond to back-to-back (and separated by only a few hours) explosive work, as it’s been a while since I’ve done something like this.  Again, I’m not personally a huge fan of the power clean, as I feel like I can (because of my build/bio-mechanics), get a bit more out of other lifts — however, I do like to keep light and technically flawless PCs in the mix — more so for the dynamics of the catch (as opposed to the pull).  So, power cleans and power snatches in the AM; trap bar jump-ups and feet elevated ring presses in the 2nd of the day’s bouts.

power cleans: 135 x 7, 7; 175 x 3, 3; 185 x 2, 2, 2, 2 (high, rock-solid catch, very little knee bend with an immediate return to the hang position and explosion into the following rep)

power snatch: 135 x 3, 3, 3, 3

…and a few hours later:

trap bar jump-ups: (jump squats with a trap bar): 135 x6, 6, 6, 6

in a superset with –

feet elevated ring presses: bodyweight + 60 lb vest x 8, 7, 7, 7

How much can one cram into 10 minutes?  Quite a bit, actually.  I sandwiched this quick-HITer (heh…) between Wednesday AM and early afternoon fixie sprint sessions:

tru-squat: (115 counter weight) – 115 x 12, 150 x 10 (42×0 tempo)

rdl (X-Ccentric machine): 90 x 12, 140 x 7 (42×0 tempo)

nautilus pec dec: 110 x 8, 7 (4020 tempo)

Amazing what a concentrated slam you can give to your body in such a short period of time.

The Single Set vs Multiple Set Debate: Context Matters

THE big questions in the world of strength and conditioning:  the efficacy of utilizing explosive movements in the pursuit of athletic betterment, calories vs “content” vis-à-vis weight gain/weight loss, the single vs multiple set debate…; now if it weren’t for pressing issues like these, exactly what, pray tell, would we Physical Culturalists have to argue about?  I mean, a good 40% of the world’s internet traffic would just up and die  🙂

The problem (such as it is) with these debates is that most times the debate itself is force-framed into yes/no, black/white, right/wrong ideological camps, with each side having hunkered into a “no quarter asked, no quarter given” mentality.  This, quite simply, is no way to tackle any issue that so heavily turns on context and scope, and that is so mightily effected by a multitude of variables that simply cannot be effectively accounted for, much less controlled.

For instance, this recent post in Exercise Biology, along with the referenced studies (here and here) would seem to suggest that multiple sets to failure (in this case, three at 70% 1RM) are more conducive to hypertrophy than a single set (again at 70% of 1RM) taken to failure.  Ok, fair enough – but let’s dig a little deeper and see if we can uncover more to this story.

Now I’m in no way a tunnel-visioned worshiper at the altar of single-set-to-failure, BBS/HIT-like exclusive training; I do remain somewhat agnostic on matters of one protocol vs the other, opting instead for the utilization of the right tool for the particular job at hand, given the peculiarities of each unique circumstance. It is my opinion, for instance, that one can get a fantastic workout, and realize great results, with little more than bodyweight, gravity and basic playground equipment.    Is this necessarily an optimum way to induce a growth stimulus?  Is it time efficient, safe, and all-encompassing?  Well, in a word, no – but if this is all you have to work with and you’re willing to invest the requite time, you can certainly expect to realize some pretty good results.  Not optimum results mind you, but some pretty good results nonetheless.  And some (myself included), freaks that we are, would even consider this type of activity recreation, a really cool way to spend a couple of hours on a pretty day.  Enjoyment of an activity, however, does not imply that it is necessarily the most efficient way workout, and we need to – if not act on this distinction – at least acknowledge it.   

But back to the post and referenced studies: first off, in my mind I believe that there is a huge difference between localized and systemic stimulus.  A HUGE difference.  In other words, in no way does a single-set-to-“failure” in a unilateral leg extension impart the same systemic stimulus – thereby signaling a much more pronounced and universal growth/protein synthesis signal — as does a bout of full-on BBS/HIT-like training.  The two simply cannot be logically compared.  So researchers, in my humble opinion, need to do a much better job of comparing apples to apples, as this particular study is akin to dropping an accomplished 100 meter sprinter in an 800 meter race, then proclaiming that the winner (who’ll assuredly not be the 100 meter man) has trained in a manner that is therefore superior to that of the 100 meter specialist.

Another way of looking at this is to say that sure, a single set of push-ups to failure is not as effective a training stimulus as multiple sets to failure.  So what is the limiting factor here, and why would multiple sets be required?  The short answer is intensity, coupled with the ability to impart a deep inroad (muscular fatigue), both locally and systemically.  As Louie Simmons is fond of saying, you’ll never invoke a response by simply tossing BBs at an elephant’s ass.  To carry this metaphor out just a bit further, you better pack that BB buckshot behind one hell of a powder load (i.e., ramping up intensity via multiple sets), or – and much more preferable, in my opinion – nail the poor bastard with a single bazooka round; an intense, deep-inroad, single-shot dose of growth-promoting stimulus.  That’ll no doubt get the elephant’s attention, and quick.

And then there is the matter of pinning down those pesky little variables, things like “intensity”, and “failure”.

Now it’s blatantly obvious, to those of even limited training experience, that the term “unilateral leg extension” is in no way synonymous with anyone’s definition of “intensity”.  Check this prior post, and the embedded video clips therein, for an example of a whole-body, BBS/HIT-like workout that is both brutally intense and a potent driver of systemic hormonal growth response.  Intense?  Are you friggin’ kidding me?  Failure?  Complete and utter.  The ability to perform another set in any of the exercises performed in this session?  Yeah, right.  Note: the one problem with attempting to capture just how much intensity a trainee (in this case, me) is pouring into any machine is that there is nothing to gauge that intensity against; no wobbling plate stacks, no flexing, heaving bars, nothing against which to gauge bar speed and power output.

Now, to put this level of intensity in prospective, the BBS/HIT/SS bout that I engaged in here took all of 15 minutes, start-to-finish, to complete.  Even with superior recuperative ability – which I possess, not by virtue of anything that I’ve done myself necessarily, but just by luck of the genetic draw – I doubt that I could progress, let alone pull-off, one of these workouts at a frequency interval of anything less than 5 days, as doing so would keep me permanently mired in recovery purgatory (otherwise known as overtraining hell).

So compare that workout’s level of intensity and systemic “dosing” to what I am able to accomplish using the tools I have access to – primarily, free weights: a “normal” iron session for me will take approximately 45 minutes to complete, and I hit, on average 4 such sessions per week.  And there’s a much different dynamic involved here as well; going to true and utter failure while using free weights in a compound movement is simply not a safe nor is it an advisable thing to do and, therefore, multiple sets are required to impart a sufficient inroad.

Intensity, volume and Time Under Load.  Goals.  Available tools.  Circumstance.   These are the variables that one must juggle so as to craft for himself an appropriate protocol.  One size does not fit all; the dogma is that there is no dogma.  Craft wisely, then proceed with confidence.

Pork Chops, Beet Greens, a Nice Iron Session, and “The China Study”, Debunked

So here are the greens from the beets that I made on Wednesday night, making an appearance alongside Thursday night’s totally awesome, locally/pasture-raised cut of smoked pork.  Damn fine eats, I gotta say.  The greens were sautéed with onions in a liberal amount of coconut oil, then splashed with a bit of coconut vinegar, salt and pepper.  I made two same-size chops (the other is going with me to work this morning).  Actually, all I had to do with these was heat them up in a coconut-oiled pan, as they’d been smoked previously by my supplier.  How cool is that?

Thursday night iron games –

I reeled-off a good bit of hard riding before I hit the gym which skewed my deadlift numbers substantially.  I’m shifting to a sumo stance for a while, for no other reason than to do something that I suck at.  I never have felt comfortable, or been able to pull well from a sumo stance.  That doesn’t mean that it’s not a super exercise, though – the weakness is all mine.  We’ll see about fixing that over the next few weeks.

Sumo deadlift (clean grip): 245 x 5; 275 x 5; 300 x 7

Then,

btn jerk : 115 x 3; 135 x 3; 165 x 3; 185 x 1; 195 x 1, 1, 1

then a superset of,

feet-elevated push-ups (24” box): bw x 50, 40, 31

parallel-grip pull-ups: be x 15, 16, 13

Just a quick thought on what I’m sure by now everyone has had a chance to look at.  If anyone can take T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study as anything even remotely resembling serious, quality, ethically-performed science after considering Denise Minger’s complete dismantling of the work…well, there’s just not much hope for them.  And I use the term “work” loosely, here.  Agenda-influenced farce is more like it.  But, hey, some folks still believe that the earth is 6,000 years-old, too.  So it goes.  Anyway, be sure to check out Denise’s exhaustive work.  All I can say is, wow , well friggin done, Denise.  And thanks to Richard, of Free the Animal, for giving Denise’s work the exposure it deserves.

The following paragraph, taken from Denise’s conclusion, really struck a cord with me (emphasis mine):

In rebuttals to previous criticism on “The China Study,” Campbell seems to use his curriculum vitae as reason his word should be trusted above that of his critics. His education and experience is no doubt impressive, but the “Trust me, I’m a scientist” argument is a profoundly weak one. It doesn’t require a PhD to be a critical thinker, nor does a laundry list of credentials prevent a person from falling victim to biased thinking. Ultimately, I believe Campbell was influenced by his own expectations about animal protein and disease, leading him to seek out specific correlations in the China Study data (and elsewhere) to confirm his predictions.

Question authority (or supposed authority, as the case may be).  That single attitude will serve you well.  “Show me the properly performed science!!” doesn’t exactly have the same ring, but our enthusiasm in requiring it should be no less emphatic.

Have a great weekend, folks.

The Value of Machines — a Pre-Exhaust Example, and a Couple of Days of Training

Dave Durrell, of High Intensity Nation, recently posted on a very effective, isolation + compound movement shoulder training technique, utilizing a good ol’ weightlifting standby — the pre-exhaust method.  This is a fine example, in my opinion, of employing the right tool for the job.

Let’s take a step back and consider the various ways in which a body can be “strong”.  On its face, this seems an odd notion – you’re either strong or you’re not, right?  Well, not exactly.  We’ve all seen examples of someone who’s quick as a cat – super explosive, say — yet who’s lacking in absolute strength (the classic Allyson Felix scenario).  Conversely, there’s the super-strong powerlifter for whom you’ll have to break out a sundial to clock their 40 time.  Power, then (what we’re really ultimately looking at) is a combination of different finely trained strength attributes appropriated and expressed over a given duration; the fine-tuned execution of which is a type of kinesthetic “genius” in its own right.  Of course, the predominant strength attributes required of a 2 second duration snatch are undoubtedly different than those required of a 3-and-a-half second deadlift, a 100 meter sprint, a wrestling match, or the full duration of a football game.  The best athletes in each of these endeavors, though, will undoubtedly excel at not only the predominant required strength capability, but in all strength capabilities.  This is what Louie Simmons is getting at when he trains his athletes to be proficient in all “strengths” (I wrote a little about this most recently, here).  A proficiency in all strength attributes is, in fact, what separates the “contenders” from the mere “competitors”.

But back to Dave’s post.  It’s been fashionable within the free-weight community these days – hell, actually ever since the emergence of Arthur Jones, and advent of Nautilus equipment upon the physical culture scene – to bash machine-based work.  The thing is, though, machines are just another tool.  And for pre-exhaust work, isolation purposes, repeated-effort method work and the like, they’re a damn good choice.  Again, it’s all a matter of determining what your immediate training needs are, and choosing the right tool from among your available options to satisfy your needs.  Whenever I’m asked the old “machines or free weights” question, my answer is always “yes”…and bodyweight exercises, and sprinting, and climbing, and gymnastics… Why would anyone choose to voluntarily limit their available options?

Late revision (6/25/10) – I just ran across this, via Seth Godin’s fine blog (hat tip to Mike Robertson).  In my mind,  Ism Schism pretty much sums-ups the whole machine/free weight debate.

Tuesday’s Training –

front squat: 135 x 3; 165 x 3; 185 x 3; 205 x 2; 215 x 7 rest-pause singles

then,

hang cleans (light; workin’ the groove again): 135 x 5; 155 x 5; 165 x 6 – very fast, perfectly executed reps.  Fat bar.

then,

Jump squat + BTN jerk: 135 x 3; 155 x 3; 175 x 3, 3, 3

then a superset of-

db tricept extensions (lying flat): 45 x 12, 12, 12 (rest-pause last 5 reps of last set)

EZ bar bicep curl: bar +70 lbs x 12, 12, 12 (rest-pause last 3 reps of last set)

Wednesday’s Training –

clean grip pull jumps: 135 x 3; 185 x 3; 205 x 3; 225 x 3; 245 x 3, 3, 3

then, a superset of –

kneeling db clean and press: 40 x 15, 15, 15

ghr: bodyweight x 15, 15, 15

then,

Nautilus 4-way neck: 50 lbs front, side, side; 60 lbs to the rear

Took Thursday completely off – no lifting, riding or anything.  Felt kinda strange.

Easy Paleo Chow, and Ethics, Reason, and the Erosion of Government Relevance

No more than a single iron skillet and a few minutes of prep time for these two.  Grass-fed eye of chuck, butternut squash and cauliflower mix, free-range pork sausage, roasted free-range chicken quarters and a little sweet potato.  Good meals, and plenty of leftovers to boot.

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By the way, you’ll notice that there’s very little here — content or proportion — recommended by the USDA’s newly updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans report.  *Sigh*…what is there to say about this document?  Selling-out the American people to perpetuate the vicious cycle of lobby-subsidy is not what I consider — how to put this? — ethical? There’s just too much freely available knowledge out there (with experts to explain it) for me to believe that this “guideline” was the end result of a lack of intelligence.  No, this is all about greed at the expense of the nation’s health.

Jimmy Moore has a good summary of the new guidelines, here.  No surprise, really — high carb., low fat, yada, yada, yada…

Now, combine these brain-trust “guidelines” with the reality that is the state of America’s physical readiness, and we have the makings for an immanent, healthcare disaster on our collective hands.  And make no mistake, everyone will suffer the hit — physically, financially, in loss of personal freedom via increased government “interaction”, or a combination of all of the above — you name it.  And, unfortunately, no one will be immune — even the most healthy and knowledgeable among us will feel the sting.

And speaking of America’s (lack of) physical readiness, Mary Collins — author of American Idle (love that title!) — sums-up the topic nicely in the clip below.  Hat tip to University of North Dakota S&C coach Aaron Schwenzfeir for the clip find.

Just makes me shake my head, wondering how we ever sunk into such a mess.  How is it that any entity, government or otherwise, can perpetuate such pseudo-science over a populace?  How does a populace become dumbed-down and weakened (spiritually, and physically) so?  Well, here’s an oldie-but-goodie (yeah, 2-years is old in the internet age, I suppose) from one of my favorite current political “thinkers”, Susan Jacoby.

Ignorance may very well be bliss, but it’s sure as hell costly — in more ways than one.

The thing is, truly intelligent people see through this lobby-subsidy, greed-and-graft inspired smokescreen.  And established organizations — whether it’s the government as a whole, the USDA, or other establishments/organizations (for example, the NSCA) — are becoming increasingly more irrelevant as clearing houses for credible, non-biased, information.  I just want the truth, warts and all, whether it agrees with my preconceived notions or not.  Spun “truth”, filtered “truth” does me no good.  Of what relevance are these organizational filters to me, when I can search out credible information on my own?  The Paleo movement is the poster child for this loosely-grouped, n=1 information sharing.  Who needs these other “official” entities/middle-men when I’m fully sufficient in the art of reason, and plugged into a network of intelligent, n=1 “scientists”, each willing to share their findings for no more the cost than for me to do the same in return?

Of Tiger, Mere Mortals, and Travel

“Cynicism is the intellectual cripple’s substitute for intelligence. It is the dishonest businessman’s sub writer, for self-respect.”

Russell Lynes

I wonder by what age he'd clocked his 10,000th hour of practice --

I wonder by what age he'd clocked his 10,000th hour of practice --

Malcolm Gladwell, in his very interesting book, Outliers (if you haven’t yet read it, I highly recommend you do), posits the notion that the combination of inherent talent, timing (luck of circumstance), and persistent skills training are the three crucial components to “superstardom” in any endeavor, beit intellectual, physical, or a combination thereof.  Copious in its absence — for athletic prowess, at least (power/Oly lifting not withstanding) — was strength and conditioning training.  And for good reason.

I’ve discussed the mental mindfield of causation/correlation a few times prior (here and here, for instance), but it was brought to the forefront again recently for me in the form of a Facebook message I recieved from a good friend of mine.   My buddy has been wading into the Paleo waters over the last 4 months or so, shedding some significant weight and 4 inches (an inch per month!) off his waistline in the process; and this while being a slapshot — at best — paleo practitioner.  In any event, my friend has shed enough weight to not only get back into pusuing his passion — golf — but to try his hand at some form of strength and conditioning as well.  The strength and conditioning, he says, will go along way toward improving his golf game.  And to some extent, he’s correct; but not to the degree, or even the form, for that matter, that’s held in his mind’s eye.

Weight training for a golfer, even more so than for a baseball player, is tricky business.  Performed correctly, and within the correct dose/response window, and if performed as an adjunct to maintaining skills, I believe, of course, that it can be a boon to one’s game.

Lest you think I’ve slipped off the deep end here, let me assure you that I still believe in the athletic enhancement benefits of a properly designed and executed strength and conditioning program.  I believe in the heath benefits, and the whole host of other positives derived from “physical culture”, writ large.  All that I am saying is — well, let me show you what I wrote to my buddy, in response to the purported, “Tiger’s workout plan” that he sent me:

“One thing I would say about what you sent is to make sure that you don’t fall into the “false correlation” trap. That is to say, correlation does not imply causation. Tiger is not Tiger because of his workout, but because of inherent talent, natural athleticism and focused practice. He may be a slightly better golfer b/c of his workout regimen; there is always the chance however (though I doubt it in this case), that he’s actually being hindered b/c of his workout regimen. That said, if I were you, and an improved golf game were my goal, I’d focus first and foremost on gaining strength in the basic moves (deadlift, overhead press, squat), then moving on to improving explosive power. I’d also work up to doing short sprint intervals. Note that whatever workout you choose to follow, you MUST continue to practice your golf game, as the fine motor skills must keep pace w/ your added strength and power.”

And don’t get me wrong — to emulate the actions, techniques and attitudes of the best and the brightest of any given endeavor is a wothwhile and, I believe, even a healthy and highly intelligent thing to do.  To gain the most from this practice, though, we must take into consideration both our inherant weaknesses and the “emulatee’s” inherant gifts, and adjust, in both our mirroring of these actions and our expectations, accordingly.

Gone to Texas

I’ll be out of pocket for a few day while Meesus TTP and I travel down to Hunt, Texas for a family reunion.  Though, due to Brittani’s absence, it will be bittersweet get-together, we are looking forward to seeing friends and family, lazing about in the Gaudalupe, and raisin’ a little hell out at Crider’s (the site of much of my misspent youth).  If you happen to be out that way — maybe checking out the Stonehenge replica, or the dinosaur tracks, or the indian pictographs, stop by and say hey — or beter yet, meet us out at Crider’s for a great Friday and Saturday night.

Following that trip, we’ll head out to Georgia to tie up some remaining loose ends from B’s passing.  I don’t know how much posting I’ll get in between now and until after the 4th — posting or not, though, my mind is always reeling with thought, and I’m sure I’ll return chock-full of  posting ideas.  One thing I know I want to address is the old axom of , “lift on your heels, play on your toes”.  I’ve got some ideas about that, and I’ll address them when I get back.

By the way, Congratulations to the University of Texas baseball team for such a fine run this year.  Close, so very close guys.  And, though it pains me to say it 🙂 a special congratulations to the boys out at LSU.  Fine job, guys.

In health,

Keith

It Was Just a Matter of Time…

I hate to be such a damn cynic, but could we not see this one coming from a mile away?

“After searching NHANES between the years 1999 and 2004 for participants that fit the JUPITER profile, then extrapolating that to the general population, Michos and Blumenthal estimate that about 6.5 million older adults with low cholesterol and high CRP might benefit from statins. If they expanded their search criteria to the cholesterol level cutoff of 160 mg/dl that doctors often use when deciding to prescribe statins, the researchers increased this statin-benefiting group’s size to 10 million.”

Excerpted from a Johns Hopkins medical study, as reported in the blog, Lab Spaces.

I wrote a while back about the infamous JUPITER study; check out this post for my commentary on the subject, and some good links pertaining  to the study as well.

And oddly enough, no mention was made in the Johns Hopkins paper of the efficacy of Paleo-like diets in the reversal of metabolic syndromes.  Imagine that.

And from the TTP Wha-Huh?? Diet and Fitness Files, we have this:

I swear I am not making this up.  This morning, in the gym, I saw the following scene: On the seated leg curl machine was a girl — I say “girl”, I suppose she was in her late twenties/early thirties — very cute in the face, though, unfortunately, about 75 to 100 pounds overweight.  Fair enough, though, she’s in the gym at 6:30 AM — which I applaud! — however, she’s on the leg curl machine, slowly leg-curling away, while eating a figgin’ honey bun! I swear to you — I could not make this up.  Somewhere in the back of this poor girl’s mind was a small voice from her distant (or maybe not so distant) past, saying you’ve got to eat breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day. And I’m sure she figured, well, I’ll just kill both the working out and breakfast “birds” with a single stone.  My initial thought was, I’m being punk’d.  Then I remembered that I’m not important enough to be punk’d.  Then, I began to feel very, very secure in my pharmaceutical validation career.

Where would you even begin to correct this mindset?

In Health,

Keith

…Or They Could Just Adopt a Paleo Lifestyle (Part 2)

Weighing 230 pounds, she had tried every possible way to restrict her caloric intake — including diets, diet pills and bariatric surgery — without long-term success.

“I’ve tried them all and [the weight’s] not coming off,” she said. “I really believe it’s got something to do with the brain.”

~ From The ABC News special, A Frontier of Medicine: Brain Surgery for Weight Loss

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Wow, I’m speechless. Just friggin’ flabbergasted.

The story cited above, as thoroughly and expertly covered by Sandy Szwarc, over at Junkfood Science, really makes my blood boil. Now, it’s one thing to get a fabulously good guffaw over mainstream obesity research’s continuous outpouring of misguided, asshat “studies”, offerings that are totally skewed from the get-go by the researchers’ insistence upon adhering to the dimwitted notion of treating the body as a simple, closed-system, thermodynamic entity; a notion, by the way, that has been both empirically, and via correctly run studies (there are a few!), thoroughly refuted. However, this isn’t about mainstream’s ass-backwards studies, or laughable, tunnel-visioned interpretation — this is about real lives; real human beings.

The mainstream obesity research community ought to be very ashamed that their reluctance to at least recognize a sensible, Paleo-like lifestyle as a viable option for the obese has had a hand in allowing such quackery to thrive.

In Health,

Keith

Darwin, Evolution, and the Paleo Life

“Obstinacy is the result of the will forcing itself into the place of the intellect.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

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Here’s a quick and interesting LA Times article on the subject of Charles Darwin, evolution, and the so-called phenomenon of “speedy” or “swift” evolution.

Detractors of the Paleo lifestyle are wont to fly the flag of speedy/swift evolution as evidence of the supposed incongruence of the Paleo way vis-à-vis modern man’s interaction within his present-day environment. I’ve never really understood this straw-man argument; it is a bit of a non-sequitur, as one can prescribe whole-heartedly with speedy/swift evolution theory and still be fully on-board, intellectually, with the Paleo lifestyle premise. One in no way disproves, or disavows, the other. Lactose tolerance/intolerance is just one of many examples of accelerated evolution. My argument here would be that if you are lactose tolerant, and if your blood-work supports the consumption of raw dairy, then – assuming no immune system impact or inflammatory issues (arguments to which I’m as of yet undecided) – I’d say raw dairy could fit well within your personal realm of Paleo-ness. Few things in life are merely black and white, and the Paleo lifestyle does not exist in a vacuum; it is merely a platform thesis supported by positive blood-work, superior bodily composition, and general “feel good” results. To hold firm to the notion, though, that man, in some distant vision of the future, will have become endowed with the ability to efficiently digest and utilize grains, and that this is an argument in support of man’s consumption of grains now, is to entirely misinterpret the evolutionary concept – speedy, swift, or any form or fashion thereof. It’s a dreadfully wrong argumentative application of the right theorem. What is optimal for our bodies now ought to be foremost on the collective mind.  As I’ve said before, take one on the chin for “Team Human” in this regard if you wish.  Do your part, if you will, to push forward the evolution of mankind.  I’m quite content, thank you, to be the selfish, feeling-good prick putting a drag on the whole evolutionary march forward.  So be it, to each his own, live and let die, etc.  But I digress…

So, in following with this previous line of evolutionary thought, here is some intelligent conversation on Darwin, evolution, and the interplay of evolution and religion. The link will take you to a WGN 720, Milt Rosenberg podcast – one of the best podcasts/interview mediums out there, in my humble opinion. In this particular episode, Milt hosts guests Jerry Coyne (author of Why Evolution is True) and Robert Richards, both of the University of Chicago.

One thing I’ve never fully understood is the whole religion/evolution argument. Actually, I guess I do understand it, I just don’t get it. In my view, religious dogma no more allows for evolution, than does scientific “dogma” allow for spirituality. It’s almost the case of the atheists being as dogmatic as the evangelicals. My spirituality openly embraces both “God” and science – and that includes full-octane evolution. I don’t see why that’s a problem, for either side to stomach. But then again, I can embrace the CrossFit methodology, “one set to failure” and the “Vince Gironda” systems all as legitimate and results-inducing training protocols. The only problem with this “inclusive” way of thinking is that it can be awfully lonely sometimes, without a dogmatic “home” in which to reside.

In Health,

Keith