And Now Let’s Hack Keith’s DEXA Scan…

“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”

– William James 

So I’ve decided to follow the look under the hood with a purview of how the ol’ chassis is holding up, and what better method to do so with than the gold standard body composition test, the DEXA scan.

The big selling point of this technology, of course, lay in it’s ability to accurately and non-invasively measure bone density, and as more and more folks succumb to the horrors of a SAD/non-Paleo-diet-induced osteoporosis, this provides the grain-chomping, brittle-boned (1) a vivid snapshot of their deteriorating scaffolding, and (2) a means by which to be shock-sold the Bisphosphonate class of wonder-drugs (Boniva, Flosamax, etc.).  It’s a beautiful, beautiful, 3-way partnership; feed ’em crap, show ’em the in-your-face results of eating said crap, then sell them a drug that enables them (in one respect, at least) to continue eating that crap.  Win-win…and — cha-ching! — WIN again!  😉

Mostly seen as a side benefit of this technology — yet what those of us in the Physical Culture community would be most interested in — is the DEXA’s ability to accurately measure ALL the constituents of one’s body composition: fat, lean tissue and bone mass.  In other words, it’s the most accurate, all-encompassing picture of one’s body composition that can be had.

Now, as I have the great privilege of living in *the* epicenter of Physical Culture, Austin, Texas, I have ready access to the University of Texas run Fitness Institute of Texas, where Executive Director, Phil Stanforth, and Operations Director, Julie Drake, oversee a grade-A organization of fitness/performance-smart professionals.  In fact, we at Efficient Exercise are now in partnership with the fine folks at FIT, offering DEXA services to our clients at a much-reduced rate.  Not only do clients receive a full report of their scan results (the most of which, of my report, I’ve included below), but also a comprehensive explanation of the results from one of the astute FIT staff.

Note: for those of you making the trip to Austin this spring for what’s quickly shaping-up to be the Burning Man of the Paleo/Primal set, PFX12, we will have have a limited number of slots available to obtain your own DEXA Scan report and comprehensive explanation from the professionals at FIT.  We’ll update PFX12 website as the specifics of this service become available.  Check the PFX12 site for more details as they become available.

So without further ado, here we go.  Ain’t no Photoshoppin’ and/or airbrushin’ this stuff, folks!  And just a side note: airbrushed or not, LL does look mighty (surprisingly even?) hot, here 😉  I dunno, maybe it’s the Marilyn thing…

…I digress…

Anyway, back to the subject at hand.  So below is a visual image of the raw data, produced from approximately 7-minutes worth of actual scan time.  Note the bit of scoliosis in the mid/low back.  Now, I haven’t thought of this one iota since my days of playing college ball, when the team chiropractor pointing out this condition to me.  I remember at the time asking if it was a problem, and his reply being “based on your performance, apparently not.”   My kinda doc.  The question in my mind now is, I wonder how much extra performance *could* be squeezed-out of being perfectly aligned.  I also wonder if this is a genetic thing, or something resultant of my daredevil (read:bone-headed), no-stranger-to-the-ER, youth.

And now, the pertinent portions of the full report.  I realize these are a little tough to read; gotta work within the limitations of the blogging platform, though.

Note the 17.2 % BF in the hips.  What the hell?  Lotta junk in the trunk appearantly, y’all 😉

What would be interesting — and what I’d kill to have — are comparison data from my competitive days, where I was in the peak of my performance/fitness ability (health, of course, being another matter entirely), and played at between 220 and 225.  Aside from the extra amount of muscle I carried in my neck at that time (heh…think prototypical Neanderthal), I wonder what the rest of my composition would have looked like.  If I had to guess, I’d say that my BF% was a little higher, but not by much.

So this is quite interesting.  A 10.6% BF level without purposefully trying to be lean.  If anyone has seen me eat, they know that I do so with reckless abandon.  The key, of course, is the consumption of a Paleo diet — though I do enjoy the occasional corn tortilla, corn chips and salsa, and the much more frequent beer.  I also swill plenty of raw, unpasteurized dairy (usually reserved for post workout).  These are the n=1 tweaks that I’ve found work for me, though these few indiscretions usually have me exiled,  by Paleo dogmatists, to the nutritional equivalent of Lesbos; that’s the topic of another post though, I suppose.  At any rate, if I were a bodybuilder, a 10.6%, off-season BF would be pretty damn good — not far to go to get to stage condition — and a hell of a lot healthier than bloating up only to drop right back down again.

Oh, and one thing that I did not include from the report is that, at a BMI of 30.6, the World Health Organization considered me “obese”.   I suppose it’s time to whittle-down into the single-digit BF so as to rectify that!

~

So what, exactly is “healthy”?  And can “healthy” (as opposed to “performance”) even really be adequately defined?  None of us in this community is particularly satisfied (nor should we be) with the trite “absence of disease” definition, but damn if we don’t keep getting lead back to that point.  Health, of course, is a condition that is in continual flux, a condition defined not only by internal functioning and parameter measures, but also how those parameters react to epigenetic, cultural and societal influence.   Health is a distinct function apart from measures of “fitness” and/”performance”, and yet it is intimately tied to these measures as well.  A simple thought experiment:  how many victims of the 9/11 tragedy sported “perfect” blood labs and DEXA screens, yet perished due to a fitness base incapable of rising to the occasion? An extreme example, yes — and yet…well, it’s at least food for thought.

And with this thought in mind, checkout the fantastic post, Norm and normal: the social construction of health, by Dr. Ricky Fishman.  Good, thought-provoking stuff.

In health (and performance!),

Keith

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Bowflex Killer?

“Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.”  – Bertrand Russell 

Yeah, the “Bowflex Killer” — that’s what Anthony Johnson, architect and founder of the 21 Convention, has dubbed the ARX Fit Omni.

The Omni is the “home” version of the industrial units we use as part of our overall training package at Efficient Exercise.  We don’t claim this technology to be the only way (though it certainly can be, for those who are time-crunched), but rather a unique addition to an overall and inclusive exercise methodology.

I won’t drone on, as that’s what this clip is for.  So here’s your’s truly dishin’ on the goods at this year’s 21 Convention in Orlando, Florida.  Enjoy!

Adaptive Resistance eXercise — it’s not the only way, but it sure is one hellova way.

In health,

Keith

Diversity, Species Survival, and Your (N=1) “Base Camp”

I write this as I’m taking a break from putting the finishing touches on my upcoming 21 Convention presentation and, concurrently, reading Rebecca Costa’s The Watchman’s Rattle (heh, who says old-schoolers can’t multitask, huh?).  The Watchman’s Rattle is just a fantastic read; really tough to put down.  Just as Peter McAllister’s Manthropology reaffirmed my contention that any serious foray into pushed-limits Physical Culture must be made from a well-established, rock-solid base of GPP (General Physical Preparedness), and that we as a species are capable of acclimating to and/or developing — and even thriving under — a tremendous work capacity, so does Ms. Costa’s work remind me that any step toward singularity is a step toward extinction.  This is true whether we’re speaking of an eco-system, a species as a whole, or an individual within a species.  Also, being that (1) nature is a hell of a lot smarter than we are, and (2) we are an uber-successful species precisely because of our collective differences, opportunistic abilities, and individual variability, it stands to reason that, for a training program and diet regimen to be successful, it must (1) be n=1 compensated/continually adjusted, and (2) that no individual training program will be successful across a broad spectrum of trainees, nor will a single program/methodology/modality be the single “silver bullet”, be-all, end-all for an individual trainee.  No, not even P90X 😉

Whew…now that was a mouthful!

That said, when we consider the absolute necessity for diversity within a species as an indicator of that species’ potential for success, is it any wonder, then, that we have so many paths to obtaining optimum health and longevity — not to mention performance prowess?

For example, check-out Carl Lanore’s interview (#771) of Brooks Kubic regarding old-time strongman Joe Rollino, who lived to be a vibrant 104 years old and who died, not of disease, but by being run-over by a friggin’ minivan.  Joe was also a devout vegetarian his entire life.  Runs counter to our Paleo sensibilities, huh?  I don’t mention this as a slam to the Paleo lifestyle (which, of course, I adhere to myself, and evangelize about to anyone who will listen), or to kick-up any Vegetarian vs Paleo shit-storm, but more as a call to, above all else, know thyself.

~^~

…and Know Your “Basecamp”

Elemental to establishing one’s self firm-footedly within the Physical Culture scene — not to mention staying in the game for the long run — is knowing just who you are as a unique, total package (physical, mental, spiritual) genotypical and phenotypical expression.  This goes way beyond somatyping, though that is as good a place as any to begin this ongoing journey of self-discovery.

I’ve written about Charles Poliquin’s take on this in a previous post, but the idea needs to be driven home, as it is absolutely essential to on-going success in the Physical Culture game.  The key is to find, then operate, for the most part out of, that “basecamp”.  This is not to say that you should never venture away from that — on the contrary!  You should make frequent forays/”scouting missions” out from camp so as to (1) extend and push yourself and, (2) make yourself stronger via diversification.

Using myself as a quick example, I know that I’m mostly mesomorph in build, and that I thrive under a higher-than-normal intensity/volume/frequency mix.  I also flourish under much variety, and will get vary stale with a lack thereof.  As an athlete, I was neither the fastest of the fast, nor strongest of the strong, but I could perform repeat bursts of near-max intensity forever with very little drop-off in speed and/or strength and power.  What absolutely crushes me, though are powerlifting-like, raw, grind-it-out workouts in the 1-3 rep range.  Move me back down into the middle (power zone) speed-strength and strength-speed portion of the speed/strength continuum, though, and I’m right back in my element — and a happy camper!   This is not to say, though, that I avoid at all costs doing raw strength work — on the contrary, I do — I just know my limitations, and know that I can’t handle too much of it.  On the exact opposite side of the spectrum, I can better handle high volume work — classic GVT or Gironda-like protocols, much better, though still not as good as intense bouts of power-oriented work.  Each individual, though, has to find his own basecamp, and set-up operations accordingly.

More on this at the 21 Convention.

One more thing, though, as it relates to the on-going practice of self-discovery.  It seems to me that many people attack this problem with too much left-brain empasis.  In other words, from a Quant-centered, science-obsessive, numbers-driven prospective.  This has much to do with the Western tendency to poo-poo the creative, intuitive process.  But know this: you cannot be broken down into a simple (or even highly complex) mathematical schema of any sort, and if you’re waiting for science to hand you the best workout and/or diet protocol for your particular situation, you’re going to be waiting for one hellova long time.  From the recent and most excellent Big Think post, You Are Not an Equation:

…Faced with the undeniable global and personal anxieties that characterize our age, we should be deeply skeptical of premature solutions based on science that cannot yet deliver what its sales representatives promise. 

Amen.

~^~

I’ve mentioned my good friend (and Physical Culturalist extraordinaire) Ken O’Neill numerous times in this blog, and now Ken has a blog of his own — Trans-Evolutionary Fitness.  Ken is an erudite elder in the Physical Culture game — more a contemporary of Art DeVany than a young whipper-snapper like me 😉 Just a tremendous resource to have here in central Texas, the epicenter of the new Physical Culture.

Anyway, be sure to check out Ken’s work — as well as the numerous articles he’s written for Iron Man magazine; I can assure you the content of his blog will be deep and thought-provoking.  Here’s an example snippet from his July 15th post:

…Physician Jonas Salk, developer of polio vaccine, held that we should be entering a new stage of evolution – one he called meta-biological evolution – and that the direction of evolution must become survival of the wisest.  Our genius untempered by wisdom has created myriad tools threatening survival of the species, indeed of the living planet. While evolution has created an embodied human mind of incomprehensible potential, we have barely scratched the surface regarding its nature, uses, and directions for development as the humans we might become…

~^~

Let’s look at some workouts from the past week, shall we?

Monday, 7/11

(A1) BTN split jerk (alternate lead foot): 95/6; 135/6; 155/6; 185/4;  205/4; 215/2, 2, 2

(A2) alternating grip pull-ups (trapeze bar): bw/12 each round

Tuesday, 7/12

(A1) Oly curl: 115/10
(A2) EZ tri extension: 105/10

6 rounds

Wednesday, 7/13

*Lots* of saddle time, then:

(A1) Med Ex back extension: 320/10, 10, 8 (6010)
(A^) Nautilus lateral raise: 149/12; 160/10; 180/7+, 5+ (60×0)
(A2) reverse hyper: 95/12, 12, 12

Then even more saddle time immediately following.  Holy smoked legs, Batman 🙂

Thursday, 7/14

(A1) Bent-over row, Oly bar: 135/12; 155/10; 275/6; 305/6, 6

(A2) XC incline press (10×2 tempo): +0/3; +20/3; +40/3; +50/3; +90/5 negatives (8 sec eccentric)

Friday, 7/15

(A1) front squat: 135/6; 185/6; 205/6; 225/4

(A2) landmine single-arm press: 60/10; 85/10; 95/10, 10 (each arm)

Sunday, 7/17

Tire flips, sprints and hops circuit –

(A1) tire flips x 10 (covers about 25 yards), then immediately sprint the long balance of the football field.

(A2) High hurdle hops x 7

(A3) dual-leg hop sprints with interspersed tire hops x 50 yards.

Four rounds of this.  Found that it takes a total of 42 tire flips to cover 100 yards, ergo, the last round consisted of 12 flips.  Thought I was going to heave a lung following 12 flips + a 100 yard sprint  🙂  Followed this with monkey bar and parallel bar work, all in the 100 + degree central Texas heat.  Sane?  I dunno, but it was fun!  Yee-haw!

See you all in Orlando!

In health,

Keith

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

Ancestral Fitness: Framework vs Re-enactment

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 AntietamRobb 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 🙂

Friday, 11/12

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.

 

In health,

Keith

Guest Post: 5 Reasons You Should Go Primal

“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

Thomas Jefferson

TJ and TTP, discussing the Paleo life...

The following is a guest post by none other than Rafi Bar-Lev, a former combat medic and founder of the community fitness site, Passionate Fitness. If you haven’t yet checked out Rafi’s site, by all means do so.

Now, if you’re a regular here at TTP, you probably won’t need to be convinced of the efficacy of a Paleo lifestyle.  Still, though, it’s good to step back now and again to reassess just why it is we do what we do.  None of us wants to fall into “sheeple” mode – my man TJ wouldn’t stand for that – and neither should you.  So, without further ado, here’s Rafi.  And don’t forget to head on over to Passionate Fitness when you’re done to say “hey” to my man RB-L  🙂

If you’re reading Keith’s amazing blog, chances are you’ve already subscribed to the whole primal thing. Still, there may be a few of you, who like me, are undecided. (I’m one of the few people who needs carbs so I don’t lose weight.)

To help you make your decision, here are 5 reasons you should go primal:

1. It’s essentially a low carb diet. There’s a reason that the low carb diet that really took off with the Atkins diet is tremendously popular among those trying to lose weight. Why? Because it works. The paleo diet is possibly the best version of the low carb diet because it makes it simple (if cave man ate it, eat it, if not, don’t), and reinforces the idea of eating healthy and sticking to real foods.

2. It’s enjoyable. You’ve probably noticed that unlike other people on a diet, primal people look forward to dieting. Why? Because they have a precise goal, know exactly what they’re doing to achieve it, and the reasoning behind what they’re doing. The sense of purpose and fun in eating like a cave man puts a whole new dimension on dieting.

3. It’s a diet and exercise program rolled up in one. A huge advantage to going primal is you have an exercise and workout program automatically rolled up in one, encouraging you to live a healthy lifestyle. Instead of just having a diet or just being a workout program, primal living says eat and live like the cave man. Well, the cave man ate healthy and the cave man lifted heavy stuff and the cave man sprinted, so right away you’re throwing yourself into an active lifestyle.

4. It’s contrarian. The primal lifestyle often questions conventional wisdom (although often it agrees), and let’s face it, it’s a lot of fun to be contrarian. True, sometimes the advice gets you some looks in public like advising you that walking barefoot is better, but more often than not the things being preached (eat healthy, stay active, walk a lot) are things that are more than accepted, but for some reason it’s still contrarian when labeled the “cave-man” lifestyle.

5.The community. If you’re reading this blog, you know how great the primal community can be, in both discussing recent health trends and encouraging each other to live healthily and keep to their diets. This is almost reason enough in itself to subscribe to the primal lifestyle.

In health,

Keith

Workouts for the Week of April 5th, 2009

“Most of one’s life is one prolonged effort to prevent oneself thinking.”

Aldous Huxley

Ah, another “normal” week of catch-where-catch-can, and impromptu workout sessions.   If you want to stay in the game though, and maintain a thriving career, and an active family life to boot, this is the way it has to be done.  Unless, of course, you follow the Body By Science protocol.  But more on that in my next post.  For now , though, the past week’s worth of “gettin’ it done“.

Tuesday morning, YMCA

After reading that great “The Cred” article on Monday, how could I not do some variation of the exercise on Tuesday? I worked my way up to doing 14 total near-max DB single split-snatches (split creds?) + DB Split-Jerks with alternating arms – a single with the left arm, pause, a single with the right arm, etc. I worked my way up to the singles by performing one set of 5’s with each arm, then one set of 3’s, then one set of doubles. I really felt this by later that same afternoon; truly, I felt taxed to the max.

Thursday morning, YMCA

My original intent on this morning was to hit some front squats, power cleans and push-jerks. The best laid plans of mice and men though, sometimes get frigged-up, or so the quote (paraphrased) goes. I got on the road late, and even with a long list of early AM traffic violations left in my wake, still managed to get to the gym about 15 minutes later that I’d like. Well, now, what to do? Hmmmm, well, how about something easy to set up, but very taxing and that can be pumped-out in a very short period of time. How about something in the strength-speed modality? That, to me, sounds like some form of deadlift/pull and/or overhead work. This is what I wound up performing:

  1. Clean Grip Low Pulls from the floor x 3
  2. BTN Push-Press x 3 (x 2 on the last 2 sets)

Superset fashion, for 4 rounds after a less than stellar, abbreviated warm-up.

Friday afternoon, home

What we lack in hills, we more than make up for in coastal wind
What we lack in hills, we more than make up for in coastal wind

Where does one draw the line between “workout” and “play”? For my purposes, there is no distinct line drawn; all activity (even non-physical stress) induces some amount of fatigue that must be accounted for.  But for the purposes of what is worthy of a blog post, well, that’s another matter. Friday afternoon’s activity consisted mostly of what I’d consider “play”, but it did wind-up inducing a good bit of fatigue. I did about and hour’s worth of fixie intervals – some (due to the wind) at a pretty high intensity level.  As well, and throughout the day, I noodled around with various kettlebell exercises (swings, snatches, presses – some single-arm, some dual) and some of these “mirco workouts” were pretty intense. I have absolutely no way to quantify the sets, reps and tempo here, and this is why I usually don’t report this kind of a thing; it’s just too damn nebulous to quantify. The only reason I report it now is to let you know that I do quite a bit of this kind of stuff throughout the week that, for the purposes of blogging, I’d categorize as intense “play”, and leave it at that. I’d highly suggest you incorporate scattering the same manner of “play” throughout your week as well. Not everything workout-wise ought to be of a manner that can be tabulated and quantified.

Saturday morning, home: an impromptu Tabata session

A few things precipitated this impromptu workout, namely, (1) the anticipation of a mini road trip later that day, including dinner at the Magnolia Grill, in Durham, NC  *and a big thank you, by the way, goes out to Alex, of A Paleo Journey to Health, for the fine-dining recommendation*  (2) lack of time, and (3) drenched fields due to an overnight series of storms. Now, since I get “itchy” and difficult to be around (or so I’m told) in situations where I’m confined for a long period of time (as in a road trip) without having first taxed my body somewhat (to the point where I can at least justify the confinement as “recovery” and actually relax), I knew I needed to bust-out some kind of a workout (hard play?) so as to get that pent-up energy out of my system. Normally in a situation like this, I’d just dash on over to the ECU sporting complex and knockout some sprints, stadium step runs or some such. Then the idea of an at-home Tabata session hit me. Perfect! Short, to the point, and, as anyone who has done a full-out Tabata session knows, taxing, to say the least. I wound up performing a double Tabata session (1 “Tabata session” being equal to 8 total 20 sec on/10 sec off “sets”, or 4 total minutes). Think you can’t get a total, gut-check workout in in under 10 minutes? Think again, my friend. Here’s what ensued:

1. Sprints (on neighborhood streets, complete with taken-aback neighbors, and WTF?? looks) x 6 rounds

2. Bodyweight dips x 4 rounds

3. Kettlebell swings x 6 rounds

Each “round” of the above was done in the Tabata protocol of 20 seconds “on” (i.e., a 20 second sprint), followed by a 10 second rest; immediately followed, of course, by another 20 second “on” period. Believe me, 10 seconds will never seem so short a period until you attempt a full intensity Tabata session.

In health,

Keith