The Ancestral Health Symposium, 2011

“To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.” – Benjamin Franklin

Excellent! ¬†Always a man ahead of his time; cool Ben, the original proponent of intermittent fasting ūüėČ

The Ancestral Health Symposium, 2011

In a word, just a fabulous, fabulous, 2-day event. ¬†I won’t go into a complete re-tread of of AHS 2011 events here; soon enough, you’ll be able to partake of the entire 2-day extravaganza — at least virtually, via slides and Vimeo — here. ¬†And I really¬†implore¬†you to do so, as all the presentations were top-notch. ¬†But more to the point, so much good coverage (this piece, for one example) has already been written on the event, anything else would simply be rehash. ¬†One suggestion, though: for a really cool perspective of the gathering, how about some Twitter hashtag coverage of AHS11?

Above, the pre-game warm-up:¬† Meesus TTP and I (and Skyler Tanner — blue shirt, over my left shoulder) take in Doug McGuff’s¬†Body By Science presentation, just prior to the Tanner/Norris dog-and-pony show — the unveiling of Physical Culture 2.0, Efficient Exercise style. ¬†Photo by my good friend (and excellent photographer) A. Jolly.

Plenty of great blogosphere coverage of AHS11, yes. ¬†Unfortunately, what you won’t be¬†privy¬†to were all the stimulating, impromptu, cross-disciplinary conversations¬†among¬†presenters, and between presenters and the¬†myriad (600+?) of attendees. ¬†Oh, that and the stunning UCLA campus, and the oh-so-perfect 72-degree, no humidity weather. ¬†Not that I’m weather-jealous or anything… Anyway, what a rich environment for the blending of knowledge and ideas. ¬†It has taken me a full week to decompress, process and¬†synthesize¬†all that I took in during that whirlwind two days. ¬†Wow, is just about all that I can say at the moment. ¬†My pea-little brain is still in overload. ¬†Or maybe it was the 105-degree Texas heat I returned to (again, I’m not LA¬†weather-jealous); sprints, bar work and tire flips being my welcome home to Tejas workout. ¬†Crazy? ¬†Yeah, no doubt — but a Physical Culture 2.0¬†fit¬†kind of crazy — and that makes being crazy, well…kinda¬†okay ūüôā

And speaking of crazy

A *serious* meeting of the minds ūüėČ

Okay, so it wasn’t all¬†furrowed-brow and free of levity ūüėČ ¬†The symposium was, in fact, a seriously fun, extremely social event as well. ¬†As the above picture was being taken by Meesus TTP, John Welbourn (of CrossFit Football) — who was leaned against a table just to my right — was uttering “awk-waaaard”; just too friggin’ funny. ¬†Immediately following this shot, I had the opportunity to chat a while (Chico sockmonkey in-hand) with John about his training experience with Louie Simmons and the Westside Barbell crew out in Cleveland, Ohio. ¬†Some fascinating, first-person insight into Louie’s methods (lift heavy some days, lift fast other days. ¬†Bust ass all days; that about sums it up). ¬†The juxtaposition of this picture and that training-related chat I had with John rather epitomized the entire¬†conference¬†for me; fun, frolic and seriousness — all combined into a two-day “Woodstock” of primal-living event. ¬†Kudos to the original epistemocrat, Brent Pottinger, and the ever-hospitable Aaron Blaisdell, and their team of dedicated volunteers for pulling-off such a fantastic event. ¬†I’m already looking forward to AHS 2012.

Physical Culture (PC), 2.0

The philosopher Ken Wilber ‚Äď who I‚Äôve been devouring ever since being introduced to his work via my AHS 2011 co-presenter, Skyler Tanner ‚Äď speaks of evolution as a process of transcendence and inclusion; exactly the process by which PC (Physical Culture) 2.0 will ‚Äúevolve‚ÄĚ from the current, sorry state of affairs (think bloated, cartoonish, professional bodybuilders) into the defining, all-encompassing meme of the Ancestral Fitness movement; the “yang” component to the Paleo diet “yin”. ¬†This healthy, lasting process is not so much anarchistic revolution as it is building upon (‚Äútranscending‚ÄĚ in every sense of the word) that which has come before; even that which we might be quick to label ‚Äúmalicious‚ÄĚ at best ‚ÄĒ for example, the doings of the AMA and Big Pharma, the Prodigal Son-like travels of Physical Culture 1.0. Take beyond/carry forward that which is good and helpful; simply leave behind what is not, with no emotional attachment. This is the way of true progress.

My good friend and tribal elder, Ken O’Neill, has written a wonderful piece related to the emerging Physical Culture 2.0. ¬†It seems to me that this movement is being born even as we ping ideas and methodologies back and forth; as if we are actually midwifing (if that is actually a valid term) the movement into being rather than “inventing” anything per se. ¬†Fiction writers often speak of “chanelling” a work into being rather that actually “creating” anything. ¬†I can certainly attest to that notion, having written a work of fiction myself (The Blood of Samuel), and I have to say that this particular “emergence” process feels much the same as bringing a work of fiction from the “ether” and into the mortal world. ¬†Call it being a conduit between realms, if you will — and if you’re down with that kind of thing.¬† But one thing is for sure: this movement is underway, and it simply won’t be, cannot be, stopped.

Framework vs Fundamentalism

One theme that I was happy to see emerge from the Ancestral Health Symposium was that of basing N=1 experimentation upon an evolutionary framework, as opposed to sheepishly following some lock-step, dogmatic, one-size-fits-all prescription. ¬†Remember, as viewed through the evolutionary¬†lens, “optimum” can only be hinted at; more digging, more critical thinking, more thinkering (hat tip to Brett Pottinger for the term) is required to tease-out the optimum from the merely satisfactory. ¬†That our species can survive to breeding age and successfully reproduce on a completely bankrupt diet is a¬†testament¬†to our supreme adaptability, and speaks nothing to what is¬†optimum¬†for our genotype. ¬†And, too, any step toward singularity is a step toward extinction, be that in a species or in an entity. ¬†My hope is that the healthy debate of ideas remains a¬†integral¬†part of the AHS organization.

On the Workout Front…

I’ve been a bit jammed for time as of late, so what I thought I’d do, in lieu of posting a round-up of all of my between post workouts, is to select a choice few to¬†dissect. ¬† The following is a metcon workout that I completed on Saturday, the 13th. ¬†The clips are in two parts, because I’m an IT-idgit, and couldn’t get Windows Movie Maker to¬†cooperate¬†with me and my Android clips. ¬†Shouldn’t this all be¬†compatible? ¬†Meh…

Part I

…and continuing on with the 4th exercise in the circuit…

Notice that none of the 4 exercises in this circuit are particularly technique-heavy, and are therefore¬†suitable¬†for under-fatigue utilization. ¬†And by this, the 5th round of this doozie, I’ve got some serious fatigue goin’ on; though I’m still pushing the front squats with adequate umph, the explosion in my prowler pushes has pretty much¬†dwindled¬†to nada. ¬†Of course the real ball-busters in this circuit are the front squats and prowler pushes; the dips and curls can almost be thought of as “active recovery”. ¬†And this is how I like to program a weight-centric metcon workout — variations of intensity within the circuit itself, and little to no rest between each round. ¬†Think American football, two-minute drill here. ¬†This type of workout — repeat, short-duration busts of high power output — lands square in the middle of my natural ability wheelhouse; my basecamp, as it were.

And Finally…

Check out this excellent and informative KQED/Sydnie Kohara interview –¬†Sustainable Meat and the Art of Butchery

Charcuterie is near and dear to my heart; a luxury afforded to those of us lucky enough to be alive in this day and age, and another example of enjoying that life under the framework of a stone age existence, but with the benefits extended to modernity.

About the show, from KQED’s Forum website:

In recent years, more chefs and consumers are demanding local, sustainable meats, driving some to raise and butcher their own livestock. We get into the gristle with three butchers and talk all about meat, from what consumers should be asking at the counter to how to cook a whole pig in the back yard.

Grock on.

In health,

Keith