One idea that I have been very pleased to see begin trickling out of the Paleo/Evolutionary Fitness/Ancestral Fitness community as of late is the notion of Paleo (writ large) as being a framework of ideas and technologies vs being some sort of paleolithic re-enactment movement. In other words, there’s a profound difference between melding the best practices of our paleolithic ancestors with that of modern science, and that of simply becoming caveman re-enactment aficionados on par with the Civil War enthusiast who gathers on the weekend to time-bend back to Antietam. Robb Wolf has mentioned this, along with Andrew, of Evolvify. Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with the “time-benders” per se — hey, to each his own — but I do think it’s wrong-minded to assume that blind, attempted mimicry of past practices will somehow lead to positive/enhanced outcomes in the here-and-now.
I tend to think of my own Ancestral Fitness journey as being an n=1 best-scenario composite of fueling and forging my mind and body according to primal dictates, but enhanced by the luxury of additional knowledge afforded me by the study of modern science, and the study of n=1 results reported by other like-minded individuals. A Luddite I most certainly am not; a skeptic, critical thinker, an epistemocrat most definitely, but not a Luddite. My HIIT training certainly does not consist of hunting cave bear, nor does my post-workout chow-down consist of the BBQ’d carcass, nor do I feel that I need to re-enact that moment of paleolithic plunder in order to better my health in this modern environment. For better or worse, the bulk of my daily existence is spent on city streets, my hunting is done in farmers markets, and my physicality is challenged in gyms, and on pavement and manicured “tundra”. I’m not out in the sun as much as I’d like, so I augment with D3; my omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is lacking, so I supplement with a good bit of fish and/or krill oil. I work too much and sleep way to little, and for that the ancient hunter-gatherer would be laughing his hairy ass off, casting a wtf shrug my way. Back off, cave brah; I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got to work with, and that’s the essence of the game.
Late edit, 11/25/10 – I just came across the following Ralph Waldo Emerson quote in a recent Mark Sisson newsletter; apropos, my friends, to our discussion here:
“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
On the workout front –
The theme for last week was “very, very little available time”, and my workouts reflected as much:
Not sure how to classify this one; had a few minutes between clients, with the former of those clients having just used a 350-pound loaded trap bar within his routine. What to do? Break the bar down at a leisurely pace and set-up for the next trainee? Maybe grab a quick cup of joe as well? How about instead let’s see how many 350-pound trap bar pulls I can reel-off in a couple of minutes? Yeah, that was the “workout” — if you wanna call it that — for 11/9; 4 sets of 15 at 350 pounds with the trap bar. I think it took roughly 3-minutes to complete, but left me temporarily wobbly and blowing like a freight train. A nice little jolt of “fight-or-flight” that kept me humming for the rest of the day. Random? Yeah. Fractal? You bet. But hey, when opportunity knocks…
So I jump on many opportunities like this throughout the week that I don’t think to report here in TTP. An Oly bar loaded with 225 looks like a quick burst of power cleans for example, maybe some btn jerks. The results of doing something like this are, of course, something that I can’t really quantify — other than to say that I feel really “good…alive” after having done a bout of one of these intense micro bursts. And maybe it does have something to do with the pulsate nature of the fight-or-flight response being a natural phenomena? Who knows. If you have a home gym, or otherwise “happen by” training opportunities throughout the day, give it a shot yourself and see what you think. But never “force” yourself into one of these intense micro bursts, rather, let it come about organically. Listen to your body.
The following day, 11/10 — my birthday, by the way (46 if you’re wondering) — and the luxury of 20-minutes worth of precious, unbroken, available time.
med ex back extension: 310 x 15 reps (5010 tempo) — single set to positive failure
super-slow ham curl: 200 x 10 (5010 tempo) — single set to positive failure
true squat (0 lbs offset, full ROM): 45 x 8, 90 x 5, 135 x 6, 180 x 6 (30×0 tempo) — final set to positive failure
Nautilus pull-over: 240 x 11, 255 x 2, 2 (51×0 tempo) — single set to positive failure + 2 rest-pause sets
Thursday, 11/11 — An hour-and-a-half of fixie saddle time bliss. The ATX is fixie heaven, y’all 🙂
cable lunge flye: 125 x 15; 155 x 12, 10, 10
floor press: 135 x 7; 185 x 5, 4, 2 All sets with orange Jump-Stretch bands (triple-wrap)
snatch-grip rack pull (knee level): 315 x 5; 385 x 3, 3 (rest-pause). All sets with orange Jump-Stretch bands (triple-wrap)
Get healthy or get fit? Let’s define the terms a little better so that we’re all on the same page. Skyler Tanner does just that over at our Efficient Exercise blog.