2/12/10, Push-Presses, the “Core”, and Cyclic Carbing

Think the “core” doesn’t have anything to do with the ability to handle heavy push-presses?  Try this little combo, then tell me what you think.  Also, the heavy push-press here acted as post-activation potentiation for today’s sprints, which felt “effortless” – a really, really cool, gazelle-like, feeling.

Nothing like a good 200 yard farmer’s walk with a pair of 120s to kick things off.  I try to cover this distance as fast as possible, setting the weights down only when absolutely necessary and then only for a moment.  This old standby gets the blood flowing and the entire musculature warm like nothing else and gets the body set for some good, dynamic stretching.  Still working the OHSs as well.  I probably need to weight these up over the next few weeks and keep them in my warm-up routine as a bridge between dynamic stretching and the real iron work.

Here’s what today’s combo looked like:

Behind-the-neck push-press:
135 x 5, 165 x 4, 185 x 3, 205 x 2, (*partials with 305), 215 x 2, 205 x 1, (*partials with 305),
205 x 1, 1, 1

sprints/sprint starts (20 yds, 20 yds, 40 yds, 20 yds, 20 yds):
11 rounds

ab wheel roll-outs (x 7, full extension, minimal knee-to-ground contact):
11 rounds

*the partials were performed by “popping” the weight off of my shoulders with the initial “dip & drive movement” of the push-press (all hips), guiding the bar up with a “pressing” motion to a point of roughly ear level.  About 5 reps in rapid-fire succession.

From the Things That Make Ya Go Hmmm files…

In the spirit of Arnold’s famous on-screen Pumping Iron statement, equating the rep-induced muscle “pump” to an orgasm, we have Dr. Mauro DiPasquale’s equating of post-workout carb consumption to premature ejaculation.  Quite the SAT-like, word-association pairing.  Now this isn’t meant as a dis toward Dr. Pasquale, as the man is the closest thing to a diet “guru” that I know of; just that the irony was…well…rather ironic.  Anyway, here’s an interesting podcast interview – Carl Lanore of Superhuman Radio chatting it up with the good doctor about carbohydrate-restricted diets.  Plenty of good information here from someone who’s engaged in diet (and workout) theory-to-practice for a good many years.  As always, remember that what may be most beneficial for extraordinary sporting and/or aesthetic appearances may not necessarily be what’s best for overall health.  Is cyclic carb loading necessarily detrimental to one’s health?  That I don’t know –  but I can’t see that it would be in any way beneficial (in an overall health sense).  Thoughts on the subject?  Let me have them!

Chao, and have a great weekend everyone!

Questions? Answers! Daily Carbohydrate Intake

“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.”
George S. Patton

How Many Grams of Carbs?

Maybe there’s a certain “carb” vibe in the air as of late?  I don’t know, but I have been asked more times than normal over the past couple weeks what my daily carb intake is – even from people who have a tough time distinguishing exactly what a carbohydrate looks like in the wild.  Since I absolutely abhor the thought of weighing and measuring my eats in any form or fashion, my usual answer to this question in the past has been the simple “I dunno…minimal?“.  However, having now tracked my carb intake over the last couple of weeks (which happened to be run-of-the-mill weeks for me – nothing out-of-the-ordinary, food wise – I can now say that I never ventured north of approximately 50 grams of carbs in a day,with most day’s intake falling in the 20 -30 gram range.  This all is a rough estimate, of course; what exactly is a “standard” carrot?  A “medium” apple?

This may sound outlandish to some at fist blush, but look for a moment at what I eat – or rather, the carbohydrate sources that I don’t eat.  No bread, no grains of any kind (I will swill a beer now and again, however), no pasta, rice, legumes or soy.  And of course, nothing processed and absolutely no sugar, HFCS, or any crap that even resembles such.  I eat very, very little fruit.  The vast majority of my carbohydrate intake is vegetable based, and that leans heavily toward leafy greens.  I do have some root vegetables now and again (carrots, parsnips, etc.) and/or a small sweet potato.  I also take in carbs from the raw, unpasteurized milk I drink on occasion.

What fasting has taught me is this: when I’m truly hungry, what I crave is fat and protein; fat especially.  I think there is most definitely a lesson to be learned in that.

In health,

Insulin Response

“Men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all the other alternatives.”

Abba Eban

photo cred: DeathByBokeh

Inundate yourself with Paleo-minded information long enough, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that insulin is the consummate “bad guy” hormone.  That’s a little too simplistic a way to look at insulin, though — even for those of us who, though not trained specifically in the medical sciences, choose to enhance our lives through proper diet, exercise and well-rounded knowledge.  Insulin is, of course, critical for life and optimal health, and it’s not the hormone per se that is inherently evil, but the gross tilting of that hormone level beyond anything that the human body has evolved to handle that defines the problem.

In this clip (alternatively, you can jump to the Nov. 8th, 2009 WOD from the CrossFit home site), Robb Wolf discusses a case study in obesity, metabolic syndrome, and (though he doesn’t get into it here), the classic indicators of carbohydrate addiction.   If you’re a member of the CrossFit Journal (I highly recommend it, though I’m certainly no shill for CrossFit, nor do I fully endorse all of CrossFit’s ideologies), you can view a much larger portion of this video (over 7 minutes worth).

The take-away message here — and what we, as Paleo-minded, physical culturalists need to keep in mind — is that, within the body, insulin’s dictate (when excessively elevated) is to is promote/accelerate energy storage, maturation, reproduction and decline (death).  And from an evolutionary prospective, of course, this all makes perfect sense.  Quicker turnover equates to a more nimble and adaptive species.  In your grandma’s day, young girls matured in their later teens.  Nowadays, girls as young as 9 have reached reproductive maturity.  I’m not saying all of this can be laid at the feet of a hyper-insulin environment — there are plenty of other notable suspects lurking about in our diets — but I’d be willing to bet that an out-of-control insulin level has a big hand in this.

And just as Robb alluded to in the clip, the body can’t be fooled by artificial sweeteners.  The key is to successfully break the desire for the sweet taste (and thus eliminate the carb jonze), not placate that need by the use of artificial sweeteners — the equivalent of handing out methadone to heroin addicts.

Though we use the metaphor frequently, the body is not a simple furnace that serves solely to liberate energy from raw material.   There are complex storage and release components at work as well; hence the truth of a calorie not being a calorie.  The amount of energy contained in a calorie is, of course constant; what’s not constant is the hormonal impact that calorie source will have upon its host.  The first law of thermodynamics works fine for a closed system (the “furnace model”), but not for an open system, i.e., a living being.

In health,