Bad Science, Shrinking Brains, and Open (Yet Questioning) Minds

“The idea is to try to give all the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another”

Richard Feynman

So when we put all of our eggs in one basket — say, judging a particular question solely by the outcome of the published “science” related to that question, rather than approaching the question from multiple disciplines (intuition, common sense, empirical evidence, etc.) — we severely limit the possibility of finding the essential truth of the matter.  For example, “established science” held firm — and is yet holding firm —  to the notion that weight management is simply an extension of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, namely the “calories-in/calories-out” idea.  Those of us who allow ourselves to think without restraint now realize how ridiculously flawed this reductionist thinking is.  In fact, to the extent that I did, at one time, believe this to be true is…shocking to me.

We currently have battles raging withing the Physical Culture arena — gladiator “absolutists”, if you will — representing various training methods as being the end-all, be-all.  Is it really as easy as finding the lone “correct” answer?  Well, I say that all we need do is take a good look around to see how ridiculous this notion is.  For every Dorian Yates, I can offer a Bill Pearl; for every Mentzer, a Gironda.  The list goes on and on; for every fabulous athlete employing a certain training method, we can find examples of similarly proficient athletes doing something entirely different.  All methods work for some, no method works for all, and the method that currently works wonders for an individual likely won’t produce results in that same individual 6 months from now.  Some see training as purely science, I see it as more analogous to the culinary arts; replete with scientific underpinnings to be sure, but the creation of a great meal is a hell of a lot more complex than the simple co-mingling of those simple, disparate, underpinnings.  Just call me the Alton Brown, then, of Physical Culture.

A slight diversion: now I’m no linguist by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s my understanding that there is no single Sanskrit word for “truth”, but rather a number of words that hint at the truth of  an idea as colored by the strengths and limitations of the approach.  In other words, ideas can have “truths” revealed in a philosophical/emotional sense, a spiritual sense, and, yes, a scientific sense.  We in the west tend to put a premium on the scientific “truth” behind and idea at the exclusion of all else.  This, of course, leads to a dead-end trap of stagnant thought.  Again, quoting Richard Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.” Good words to live by, from a brilliant man.

And so with that “question authority” mindset nicely stoked, let’s reconsider, for example, the vaccine-autism link that was all the rage not so long ago.  Again, my point here is not to imply that all science is shoddy — far from it — my point is simply to maintain a questioning attitude even in the face of supposed scientific “proof”.

_______________________

The notion of a continual decline in humanoid brain volume over the past 20 kyrs or so is not exactly earth-shattering news to those of us who make it a habit to keep up with the musings Art DeVany or John Hawks; it is interesting, though, to reconsider this phenomenon through a more conventional lens.  Was the advent of the agricultural revolution a cause, correlate, or just a simple coincidence to the onset of this pattern?  For me, the evidence clearly indicates causation; always the epistemocrat, though, I remain open-minded to alternative theories.

_______________________

Much thanks to Robb Wolf (and his merry band of pseudo-science co-conspirators) for creation of the all-things-Paleo Forum, which will be a great resource for everyone dedicated to this Paleo/Primal/EvFit/Ancestral Fit journey.  We at Efficient Exercise intend to use this valuable resource as another educational tool (along with the Paleo Solution Quick Start Guide)  for those involved in our 10-week Project Transformation: the Efficient Exercise Solution.  And needless to say, we always recommend The Paleo Solution as the definitive go-to source for clients interested in pursuing the Paleo way.   Between Robb’s wesite, forum, podcasts, blog and book, anyone who has a mind to can accumulate a PhD-level education in the Paleo way from this single, convenient, root source.  Thanks again, guys, for all the free, selflessly-given, information.  Stunningly generous.

By the way, if you’d like to check-in on the happenings with Project Transformation, be sure to “friend us up” over at our Facebook page.  We’ll be kicking the program off on January 18th, with a wide-ranging demographic of “subjects”.

_______________________

My workouts this past week were all of the organic, non-documented type save for yesterday’s (1/8/11) heavy T-bar swing and weighted dip combo.  Ahhhhh, T-bar swings; Tim Ferriss would be proud 🙂

T-bar swings: 100 lbs x 20, 20, 20, 20, 20

weighted dips: bw+90 lbs x 6, 6, 6, 6, 4

Kept the rest between exercises and between rounds to a minimum here.  Just out of curiosity, I checked my pulse immediately following the 2nd round of swings — 165 bpm.  Pushing fairly hard, but certainly not a red-liner by any means.

An all-day squat-fest:

Okay, so here’s an example of an impromptu, situationally-driven “workout”: on Thursday (1/6/11), it occurred to me that I hadn’t performed a bread-and-butter, bilateral back squat in quite some time, as usually, if I’m going to squat at all, I’ll opt for a unilateral version — a RFESS, say — or maybe a front squat.   Anyway, I also saw in the day’s hand the (sweet!) opportunity to get quite a bit of short-burst fixie-huckin in.  What better to mix with that quick-burst leg burn than some good old back squats?  Yeah, I thought so, too — so I repeated this basic set-up time and again throughout the day.  And hey — shouldn’t I get credit as well, for all the plate loading and unloading?

(A1) full ATG squats: 135 x 12, 225 x 6

(A2) thighs parallel to the ground: 315 x 4, 4, 3, 3

(A3) quarter squats to full ankle extension (explosive): 405 x 8, 8, 8

(A4) fixie sprint

This is just an example of one round.  Sometimes I did much less volume between rides (diving right into the quarter squats, for example), and other times I just bounced around with the ATG stuff.  The point is, I did whatever the hell I felt like doing with no “need” to hit a pre-determined number of sets or reps at a calculated load.  The lone constant here was intensity — when I went at it, I friggin’ went at it.  At times there was a full 3 hours between rounds, and other times maybe a half-hour.  Again, no rhyme or reason.   So was this “play”, “physical activity”, a “workout”…or what exactly?  I definitely pushed myself, especially in the later rounds — and I certainly felt the results the next day (soreness, off-the-charts hunger, etc.) — but how would something like this be classified?  More to the point (and from my body’s prospective) does it even need to be classifiable to be productive?  Well, of course not.  The only problem with this scenario, from a “guru”prospective, is that I can’t sell you a cookie-cutter programming guide for this — you’ve got to figure it out for yourself mt friend, n=1 fashion.  Not much of a business model, I know — but hey, what the hell do you expect from a guy who dropped (like a fracking rock, no less!) his only business-related college class (accounting…ugh) after 3 sessions due to total and utter (drooling!) disinterest? 🙂  I mean, why waste time with that nonsense, especially when I had a whole Howard Zinn-inspired Poli Sci department full of courses to choose from?  🙂

_______________________

And last, but certainly not least — introducing the newest arrow to my quiver:

That makes 3 bikes now — and I still have but one ass  (as Meesus TTP has deftly pointed out)   🙂  All you cycling aficionados out there understand, though — I’m sure of it! …right??  🙂

In health,

Keith

_______________________

Mindfulness, Pre-Conditioning, and the Psychology of Possibility

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.

– Rumi

What in the hell does a Franciscan Friar (Father Richard Rohr, author of The Naked Now) have in common with Physical Culture (writ large), and with the Paleo/EvFit/Ancestral movement specifically?  Plenty, my friend; plenty.  And that association has everything to do with the dissolution of preconceived biases, culturalization, mental conditioning/imprinting.  Now you’d think this topic would be as far removed from the wheelhouse of anyone with a stiff Catholic (or any religious) underpinning as could be; not so, however, in the case of Father Rohr — the Catholic equivalent to the Protestant emerging  church’s Rob Bell.

The interconnectedness of all things.  The fractal nature of life…and of lives.  The questioning of supposed “authority”, and the removal of blinders.  Again, not the kind of thing you expect to come from the religious community.  The times, though, they are a changn’…albeit slowly…but they are changin’, nonetheless.  All things — including, if this emerging Physical Culture renaissance movement has anything to say about it (and we most assuredly do!) — nothing less than the revamping of the entire thought process related to disease, healthcare, and the nature of health maintenance and the health delivery system.

Not convinced that any theologian — much less a Catholic theologian — can be so progressive?  Check-out this podcast interview of Father Rohr by Tapestry host Mary Hynes; fantastic stuff indeed.  Or, skim the pages of The Naked Now.  Learn to separate the teacher’s message from the teacher’s associations, and your preconceived notions of those associations.  If you can do that, you’ll avail yourself to a multitude of new learning opportunities, and avoid spiraling into that dreaded vortex of dogma .  Then take the added step by applying that openness to your exercise protocol selection.  The only question in your mind should be this: is this the best protocol for me, at this juncture in my life and given my goals.  Don’t allow yourself to be yoked to a tribe, protocol or guru just for the sake of belonging to a certain “community”.  Be a Physical Culture free agent, my friend, and prosper.

Theme of the week – Serendipity:

Funny how face-to-face conversations can, in ways not enabled otherwise, help drop the veil (or illusion) of separateness between entities.  Case in point: I had the pleasure of visiting (coffee at Austin’s own Epoch Coffee — one of my away-from-the-studio offices) and sharing a CZT-based workout with TTP reader Bill Fairchild.  During our conversation, I related how that, as a teen-ager growing up in San Antonio (and lucky enough to live in close proximity to the mecca of the San Antonio Physical Culture scene at the time, Powerhouse Gym), I was exposed first-hand to the dramatic effects of, what was an essentially a Paleo diet, could have on an athlete’s (and bodybuilder’s) physique.  Need to drop fat, really gain and maintain muscularity and athleticism?  Shift from eating crap to eating meat, eggs, and veggies — and lots of ’em.  Why didn’t I make the connection back in the 80s that this type diet was preferable, year-’round (not just for contest/competition prep) to all the high carb/low fat crap that was being perpetuated?  Simply this: I wasn’t ready yet to think on my own, still thought “authority” ascended to the position of authority by virtue of having the “right” answers — in short, my thinking was, for the most part, mainstream; I’d been blinkered, culturalized, imprinted…conditioned.  For as radical as I thought I was at that time, I was really no more than a chick that had just begun to emerge from the shell.  And what I know now is that the shell of self-disillusion is the toughest of all to crack.

Now, of course, I question my own assumptions and “knowledge” relentlessly; Every.  Fracking.  Thing.  What things do I feel as sure of now, at this stage in my life,  that may just be the result of conditioning?  Hopefully, my epistemocratic leanings can save me from that kind of tunnel vision now; constant vigilance, though, is key.

Serendipity, part II:

I found out last week that the most knowledgeable man on the history of Physical Culture, Ken O’Neil, lives in Wimberley Texas, not 15 minutes from me.  Holy wealth-of-go-to-knowledge, batman.  The man is a walking encyclopedia of Physical Culture — past, present…and future!  More, much more, on Ken in the near future.  You’ll see his name here in TTP quite often from here on out I assure you.

In all things, Mindfulness:

Couple of great reads from Harvard magazine here.  Check out The Mindfulness Chronicles: On “the psychology of possibility”, and learn to tap into the possibility (the reality!) of you creating your own reality.  Dramatic changes begin in the mind.  Just as epigenetics can alter gene expression, so too can you significantly “alter” your reality.  There is no try, there is only do. 

And this is cool: Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh and nutritionist Lilian Cheung, a lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health, apply ancient Buddhist mindfulness techniques to eating in the modern world. “It is not just what we consume, but how we eat, when we eat, why we eat, and whom we eat with that makes a difference,” says Cheung, who grew up in a Buddhist home in Hong Kong.  And I would add that the same mindfulness applies when lifting a weight, or otherwise engaged in an athletic effort.  Don’t just lift and/or mindlessly, but strive to make that mind-muscle connection.  This is the first step to becoming truly adept in the art of Physical Culture.  Other steps follow, of course — but not before mastery of this.  My own workouts, truthfully, are my meditations.

The workout front:

Monday, 12/27/10 –

A good deal of fixie huckin’ preceded this workout, so the old legs weren’t exactly fresh at the onset of the lifts.  Nothing to be worried over, though, within my grand scheme.  The key is Autoregulation and adequate intensity.

(A1) front squats (hierarchical): 135 x 15; 185 x 6; 235 x 3

(B1) high-catch power cleans: 135 x 10; 155 x 7; 175 x 5; 185 x 3; 195 x 2, 2, 2

(B2) Russian leg curl: x 5 each round (5010 tempo)

Wednesday, 12/29/10 –

(A1) Tru Squat: 160 # (no counter weight) x 7,  3, 3, 3, 3, 3 (rest pause, 30×0 tempo)

(A2) leg press: 400 x 15 (30×0 tempo)

(B1) Nautilus pec dec: 110 x 13, 2, 2, 2, 2 (rest-pause, 40×0 tempo)

(B2) Xccentric seated military: (no counter weight, no added weight) x 6 (at 30×0 tempo), then 12 rest-pause singles at an 80×1 tempo

I followed this up with a (painfully) long stretch in the full ROM flye position, utilizing blast-straps and bodyweight.

Thursday, 12/30/10 –

(A1) kettlebell swings: 45 lbs x 50, 50, 50, 50

(A2) single-arm bent-over row (Oly bar): 95 x 12; 115 x 12, 12, 12,

(A3) Oly bar “shovel”: bar x 15; 65 x 12, 10, 9

(A4) Oly bar bi curl: 95 x 12; 115 x 12, 10, 8

(B1) “ski jump” cable shrugs: 4 sets of 200 x15

The “shovel” is simply an underhand (think bicep curl grip) straight bar front raise.  This hits the front delts in a unique way, and has the added benefit of engaging the lats from a rather unique angle as well.  For “ski jump” shrugs, I load-up a cable pulley (or pair of pulleys, as I have access to a Nautilus Free Trainer cable system), position the hold (either a single bar, or, in my case dual handles) behind my back, take a step or two forward and really lean into the weight such that I’m now at a hard angle away from the machine — a “ski jumper in flight” angle.  Now you can really torch the traps with some higher-rep sets.  And why a single-arm bent-over row with an Oly bar?  Try it, and let me know what kind of core strength is required to pull it off.  That’s why  🙂

Announcements?  Oh Yeah, I got a couple:

Check out what we at Efficient Exercise have on tap beginning this month:

What happens to a relatively untrained body when we combine approximately 30-minutes worth of CZT-based workouts per week with the implementation of a Paleo diet?   Well, beginning later this month, we at Efficient Exercise are going to find out.  If you live in the Austin area, and want to take part in Project Transformation: the Efficient Exercise Solution, give me a shout and I’ll get you on the mailing list.  We’ll be choosing our 20 “subjects” soon, so don’t delay in getting in your request.  And once this “study” gets kicked-off, you’ll be able to follow along on our Facebook page, as our subjects and trainers will be journaling about their experience there.  This will be a fun — and hopefully, enlightening — project to follow.  So “like us up”, and follow along — we’re out to show that a properly designed minimal investment can produce some stunning and healthy results.

…oh, and anybody in the Austin area looking to sell a fixie?  A Bianchi, preferably, 56 -58 cms?  If so, hit me up; I’m looking to add to the quiver  🙂

In health,

Keith

6/2/10, Some TUL-Intensive Horizontal Pushing and Pulling, and a Severe Case of Carb Lust? WTF?

Went out for a little “hair of the dog” fixie huck last night.  Nothing major, though; simply an attempt at working some of the soreness out of my legs resulting from Monday’s Tour De Raleigh.  The TDR ride was only supposed to be a 24-ish mile gig; dumb-ass that I am, though, I turned that into something more along the lines of 35 to 40 miles due to my knack for getting completely and utterly lost.  What, ask directions?  Are you kidding me?  Oh well, what’s an extra and unexpected hard hour or so in the saddle, right?  Anyway, like I said, nothing major last night — just a quick trip out for coffee, then back to mi casa.  Couple of short sprints to juice the legs and stoke the metabolism; a dose of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind to rev the spirit and intellect.

Carb Lust…WTF??

So after 3 pretty damn tough hours in the saddle on Monday,  I finally wheeled into Cup-A-Joe’s for a badly needed shot of caffeine, and to introduce my lovely daughter — who’s moving to the Raleigh area — to the awesome Cup-A-Joe’s vibe.  Anyway, I rack the steed, hydrate a bit, attempt to stretch my lactic acid pumped legs, then hobble up to the counter to order-up — only to have the most delicious poundcake/brownie/whatever-the-hell platter of scrumptiousness looking me straight in the eye…wantonly, even.  Whoa!  I haven’t been hit by that kind of an intense carb lust since way back in the initial stages of my Paleo transformation.  And I’m talkin’ mouth-watering lust, here.  Funny thing, though: after about 5 minutes, and few sips of coffee, the craving passed; completely.  Now, I don’t know if the craving subsided because I was no longer face-to-face with the the instigating entity, or because of the coffee ingestion, or what.  In fact, my daughter arrived to meet me shortly after I’d settle-in with my cup o’joe and IndyWeek, and as we chit-chatted, she munched-away on a cookie the size of a cup saucer (I know, I know…and so does she) — never once, though, did I suffer a recurrence of the carb-noshing urge.  I can only guess that I was a good bit hypoglycemic (having just come off the bike) while at the counter, so it was just a perfect storm of momentary low blood sugar, and “offender appearance” timing.  Strange, though, to have felt that feeling again, and a good reminder of what new initiates the the whole Paleo gig have to suffer.  It’s all so easy for those of us who have crossed the bridge — sometimes it’s good to look back and try to recall what those dark days of transition were like.

Tuesday AM Training

Still working the TUL angle, here.  Next time in the gym I’ll hit a more explosive modality.  Gotta keep it all in rotation.

A giant set of the following:

Atlantis pec-deck (seat @ 6): 120 x 5, 4.  No forced or negs.

ballistic push-ups: bodyweight x 6, 6

Atlantis semi-pronated grip press (seat @ 6): 5, 4+ 4 forced reps/negatives (6-count for 3, lost on 4th)

Atlantis seated row (semi-pronated grip, seat all the way down, 2 holes visible on pad): 120 x 6, 5+ 3 forced rep/negs (6 count)

Tempo on all reps was maintained (except on the ballistic push-ups, of course) at 10/x/10/x, with “x” signifying no pause at the top or bottom of the movement.  Forced reps and/or negatives followed concentric failure on the 10/x/10/x tempo reps.  Again, I realize that weights used on machines is meaningless to anyone but me, but I use this blog as a workout tracker and as an extension of my gym notebook.

I followed the above up a superset of:

GHR: 30 lb vest x 10, 10, 10

kneeling jump squat: 30 lb vest x 6, 6, 6; all for max height

Then, a round of Nautilus 4-way neck: front and each side 40 lbs x 10; rear 50 lbs x 10

So why limit the TUL work to upper body only?  Well, the short answer is that all that biking I do is, in and of itself, a good amount of TUL work for the quads, and a fair amount (since I ride a fixie) for the glutes and hams.  The GHR’s were thrown in as restorative work, and the kneeling jump squats were put in in an attempt to maintain a bit of explosiveness in my legs.  I find if I don’t keep up with a bit of explosive work in the midst of a heavy riding spate, my legs tend to lose “pop”, and though they maintain strength well, explosiveness is another story.

And finally, a little good news, and a little bad, on the HFCS front.  Look out rest of the world, the US has a care package for you, and it ain’t pretty.

A Little GPP, and the Tour De Raleigh

…or Tour DAY Raleigh, as Bob Roll would say…

Ran a few errands around town on the ol’ fixie Sunday, and  — wouldn’t you know it? — I wound-up at the gym.  Big surprise, huh?  Anyway, my thought was to do a some Istvan Javorek-inspired GPP.  Nothing can make 135 lbs feel like a ton than by doing a 5-minutes long, don’t-let-the-weights-touch-the-ground, barbell complex.

With a countdown stop watch set for 5 minutes, I performed the following three movements, one movement flowing into the next, with as little break time as possible (I never re-racked the weight).  In other words, I tried to keep in perpetual motion.  Yeah, right — except for those moments when I stopped to cough-up my pancreas.  Anyway, instead of adding weight next time out, or lengthening the time, I’ll shoot for cutting my mini-breaks-to-catch-a-breath time.  Hell, at the end of 4 minutes, just standing upright with 135 lbs had my legs quivering.  My upper back was quite fatigued, as well.  At any rate, here were the three basic movements I chose:

low (18″) box squat
good mornings
btn push-press

Following that, I did three set of negatives on an Atlantis shoulder press machine.  Those shook-out like this (all sets at 195 lbs, seat @ 6):

set 1: 3 reps @ 12/0/X tempo
set 2: 2 reps @ 15/0/X tempo
set 3: 2 reps @ 15/0/X tempo

I was able to eek out the first concentric rep without a spot on each set, all other concentrics required a kick-up spot from the foot push-plate.

The fixie version of the Tour De Raleigh is on tap a little later today.  We’ll see how my legs hold out.  Tomorrow, maybe some max effort upper body vertical pressing and pulling in an AM iron session.  We’ll see what I feel like when I get back from fixie-frolicking tonight — and, more importantly, what I feel like Tuesday morning.

Have a great Memorial Day, folks!

The Fixie Allure and, A Weekend’s Worth of HIIT

“Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you’ve hung around the ol’ TTP blog for long, you’ve inevitably heard me drone-on (and on and on…) about my beloved fixie.  What’s the allure, you ask — I mean, Chrissakes, it’s just a friggin’ bicycle, right?

Au contraire, my good friend; the fixie is to cycling, as Vibrams are to running.  You don’t so much ride a fixie as you tango with it; jockey, machine, and environment all inextricably connected in the dance.  And as an added bonus, the fixie, by it’s very nature, screams of mixed-intensity bursts of exertion — commonly referred to in the parlance of physical culture as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).   Looking for a primal cycling experience?  Look no further than the fixed-speed bicycle.  Short, intermittent bursts of high power output interspersed with longer bursts of moderate-level power output, starts, stops; all chaos, all fractal in nature.  Very primal.

So that’s an experienced rider’s take.  Want a newbie’s impression of the fixie experience?  Here’s an informative fixie article, from Mary Buckheit, of ESPN.com.

“…for those keeping score at home, that’s one bike, one gear, one brake (if any)…”
– Mary Buckheit, ESPN.com

And hey, check this out — it’s so much fun, even Lance Armstrong loves a fixie  🙂  Saddle one up, and you’ll be forever changed.

Nothing can really impart to you the unique fixie feel, short of actually climbing on board and taking one for a spin.  The following clip, though, does a good job of portraying the essence and fun-loving spirit of the fixie experience.  Notice the plug near the end (beneath the bill of one of the rider’s cap) for Mellow Johnny’s — is it safe yet to call Mellow Johnny’s an Austin institution?  Well, how ’bout we just say that it’s my favorite Austin bike shop, and leave it at that?

Oh yeah, and one of my favorite fixie porn sites, here.

A Weekend’s Worth of HIIT

Fixie, Vibrams, a sled and an open field; this is gonna be good!

So the theme for this past weekend was many, many, many short HIIT bursts, from Friday evening until Sunday night.  Friday after work I sprinted (fixie, that is — Vibram sprints came later in the weekend) to the coffee shop, read for a while (Einstein’s God — fantastic read, by the way), then from there to a friend’s house for dinner (low country boil!), then from there, back home again (night time riding!).  Saturday and Sunday was much the same — I dare say I racked-up a good 15 rides (15 to 30 minutes or so a pop).  I also performed plenty of barefooted sprints and variety of of sled pulls and drags over the weekend as well.  I can’t really quantify any of this other than to say, again, it was all done in short bursts of high-intensity effort, followed by full recovery.  It was a weekend full of high-intensity, active play.

The one thing I can quantify was a Saturday gym session (following a barefooted sprint session) that shaped-up like this:

behind the neck (barbell) push-press: 135 x 5; 165 x 4; 185 x 3; 195 x 1, 1, 1, 1
straight bar muscle-ups: x 3, each of 7 total rounds

Couple of notes: all that lower body work really put the hurt on my push-press numbers.  Think the push-press is a shoulder dominant exercise?  Think again.  See what your push-press (jerks, too) numbers look like following a hip-dominant blitz.  It’ll feel like you’re pushing/jerking out of loose-packed sand.  Also, if you’re planning a bike-to-sprint (running) combo, remember to properly transition by doing some hip mobility and glute-activating movements prior to running.  Get that posterior chain revved-up or you’ll end-up running like a drunk initially — or worse yet, pull a ham string.  Biking is a highly quad-dominant endeavor and in no way prepares one for PC dominant work.  Biking will rev your core temperature, no doubt — so in that respect, it is a good “warm-up” activity — biking does nothing, however, to prime the PC for running sprints.

Today is most definitely a rest day 🙂

…ok, maybe a little bit of riding 🙂  Gotta feed the fixie jones.  Be forewarned, fixie riding is a serious addiction.

In health,
Keith

4/8/10; Grabbing a Couple of Workouts on the Fly and, Gettin’ Schooled

I found myself with a bit of spare time yesterday after work, so what better option than to saddle up the ol’ fixie and head for a spin?  I stopped off by the library and returned The 10,000 Year Explosion (a good read, but not quite the ground-breaker I was expecting).

Quick interlude — it is not the Paleo premise (not mine anyway), that humans have ceased to evolve, or have not evolved over the last 10,000 years (since the onset of the agricultural revolution) — lactose tolerance, anyone? — but rather that we have not evolved sufficiently to handle the onslaught of post-agricultural revolution foodstuffs.  Or that the process of excessive fat accumulation is evolution’s attempt at handling this onslaught.  Nothing says that every evolutionary leap is necessarily a “positive” one — non-perfect fixes and dead-ends do crop-up.  There is a continuing interplay, of course, between the evolutionary process and the continually changing environment.

Anyway, I dropped-off the 10k-Year Explosion and picked-up a copy of Lone Survivor.  What a great read so far — content-wise — though I’d hoped for a more compelling writing style.  That said, though, think that life is kicking you around a bit, or that your workouts are beastly?  Heh.  Give this book a read, and imagine being the lone survivor of a SEAL team decimated in Afghanistan.

I stopped-off by the field on the way home and, having my Vibrams on-hand (always the good Boy Scout), swapped footwear and ran 6 x 150 yard sprints.  I followed that up with 50 continuous skip lunges before sliding back into my biking shoes and riding back home.

Dinner consisted of a small portion of flat iron steak and a tossed green salad with olive oil, and coconut vinegar (Tropical Tradition brand — great stuff!).  And a beer or two 🙂   with the evening’s entertainment being the always engaging Andy Deas and Robb Wolf show — otherwise known as The Paleolithic Solution — of which, the latest episode (no. 22) just may be the finest to date.  And no, really, not just because Andy Deas gives a shout-out to Theory to Practice  🙂  Seriously, though, these guys do a hell of a job breaking down and commenting on the nutritional aspects of the Paleo lifestyle.   Now if they’d only get busy and shoot some Paleo rap vids for the Nerdcore for Life folks.  If my man Funky49 can rep Fermilab, then I think Andy and Robb ought to step up to the plate for the “pseudo-science” of Paleo  🙂

After a quick turn-around, I was back at in the gym bright and early this morning, and armed with a simple agenda — an explosive pull of some sort, coupled with some elevated-feet ring flyes.  Here’s how it ended-up:

ballistic push-ups: with 30lb vest x 3, 3, 3, 3, 3
elevated feet ring flyes: bw x 10, 10, 30lb vest x 7, 7, 6
Russian lunge (ballistic, for max height): 30lb vest x 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 (each leg, alternating)
clean-grip low pull (bar above belly button): 135 x 7; 185 x 5; 225 x 3, 3, 3 (emphasis on execution speed)

5 total rounds, with the 1st round being a bridge from the warm-up.  Very little rest between exercises.  ballistic push-ups and lunges were performed as CNS “primers”.  40 total minutes, from the time I walked into the gym, ’til the time I hit the showers.

Post workout meal?  Two soft-boiled, free-range eggs (hella-orange yokes!) and about two tablespoons raw butter; approximately 1 hour post-shower.

Oh and hey, looking for an absolutely knock-down-drag-out dissertation on human metabolism and energy production?  Look now further than this 3-video series brought to you by the folks at CrossFit.  Here’s an explanation of the series, straight from the CrossFit Journal site:

On March 12, 2010, Coach Greg Glassman and a small crew visited Dr. Scott Connelly in the Los Angeles offices of Progenex. The intent was to tap into Dr. Connelly’s vast knowledge of metabolism, particularly as it relates to long-term fitness and health.

The result was over 90 minutes of education about the relationships among glucose, insulin, ATP, protein, body weight and health. This is a dense, fast-moving presentation worthy of multiple viewings. Topics include:

* Why a calorie is not just a calorie.
* How insulin resistance was evolutionarily beneficial.
* How “dieting” can make you fatter.
* What happens when you hit the calcium wall.

Whoa…Fabulous stuff!  Thanks CrossFit.  And hey, what are you waiting for?  Get your subscription to the CrossFit Journal.  You’ll be so glad you did.

The Anatomy of an Impromptu Workout

“We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

Louis Brandeis

The View from College Hill

The View from College Hill

I started out on my trusted fixie Saturday, 14-hours into an intermittent fast, with the idea of doing a quick barefooted sprint session at the ECU athletic complex before coming home and setting in to watch Lance defend his 3rd-place position in the TdF.  As I approached Dowdy-Ficklen stadium however, I thought I might rather hit some stadium sprints instead.

As luck would have it, the stadium was in fact open; lots of action going on, with football recruits moving in and out of the training complex.  August is fast approaching, which means the kick-off of football season is a mere 5 weeks or so away.  Damn I miss that game.  But anyway, I digress…

I eased on through the gates, circled around through the concourse to the ramps, and had

Decisions, Decisions.  In the end, I took the easy way out.
Decisions, Decisions. In the end, I took the easy way out.

just begun my ascent when I spied a new stash of tractor tires and bumper plates staged for a little outdoor fun for the football recruits.  Change number two to the day’s plan came about when I decided that performing overhead lunges up the entire stadium ramp complex, with a 20kg bumper plate,seemed like a fabulous idea.

Now there are 20 ramp segments from the Dowdy-Ficklen concourse to the stadium’s upper deck, and I managed between 11 and 15 lunges per segment…so let’s see, that’s — I dunno, a whole hell of a lot of damn lunges.  Performed on a steep incline.  And with 20kgs straight-armed overhead.

Madness, right?  Well, I did rest approximately 20 seconds between ramp segments; does that count for anything?

Eventually, I stumbled out onto the upper deck, recomposed myself, then hit a few rounds of step sprints while holding the bumper plate in front of me in a position somewhat similar to say, performing curls with an EZ curl bar.  On each descent, I again straight-armed the plate overhead.

On the way back down the ramps (walking, not lunging), I did a combination of single-arm presses (as if I were “shot putting” the plate) and straight-arm overhead lockouts.

You're gonna do what?...Where?
You’re gonna do what?…Where?
A tad heavier, and more cumbersome, too, than the Travelocity nome.
A tad heavier, and more cumbersome, too, than the Travelocity gnome.
Again, the nome would've been more managable...
Again, the gnome would’ve been more manageable…

Now I’ve had sketchier fixie rides on the way home after a tough workout, but I think this one won the “endeavor to persevere with toasted legs” prize.  Not to mention that holding my head up with fried traps took a bit of doing.

So as many of you are undoubtedly aware, a tough workout in the middle of a fast will put the squelch on your appetite for a good while following.  I rode this wave for all it was worth (about 4 hours, post workout), and finally ate about 6 PM that evening — eggs, ham, raw milk and a smattering of fruit and berries — purposely holding the carbs to a minimum.  I grazed the rest of the evening on raw cheese, salami (a poor choice, I know — it was situational), pork roast and a little bit of sweet potato with raw butter.  And I made sure to down plenty of fish oil as well.

Hey, if Lance can dust it up with the youngsters in the TdF, I can give the football recruits at ECU a little something to talk about.  “Yo, you see that crazy  mo’ fo’ over at the stadium…?

In health,

Keith