Primal Needs, 21st-Century Constraints

Here at TTP, I tend to focus most of my training-related posts on the athletic betterment end of the optimum health/optimum performance continuum, as that happens to be what really gets my training-related geek-out juices flowing.   It also happens to be that end of the continuum where I target my own training  as well.  More precisely, I attempt to push the envelope of performance, while at the same time being very cognizant of the effects of that training on my overall health, because (and as I’ve said before), optimum performance often begins where superior health ends. The competition and training for competitive athletics takes a helluva toll on a body.  It’s simply the case of too much of a good thing being detrimental on that same system over the long run; you can only red-line a finely tuned engine for so long, and for so many bursts, before something breaks down.

The training techniques, environment, technology, and supportive science (and learned art, let’s not forget) afforded to, and practiced by, high-level competitive athletes does have relevance to the merely health-conscience, though, in the way that space-bound NASA missions have relevance to earth-bound humanity at large.  At-the-fringe science  — like at-the-fringe training methodology — affords trickle-down know-how and useful (practical) by-products to the masses.  Whereas, for instance, the push to space gave us Teflon, the push to build a better athlete more efficiently (i.e., impart the same level of strength/power while saving more time for skills development) give us the roots of High Intensity Training (HIT).  We at Efficient Exercise are in the midst of carrying this idea a step further by demonstrating that, with very little in the way of training time investment and lifestyle alteration, an individual can positively affect his or her health to the point of (1) lessening the collective burden on the (broken) healthcare delivery system, and (2) escaping the personal (and, by extension, family) hell resultant of the ravages of metabolic derangement, and the high cost — both in a financial and quality-of-life sense — of “diseases of civilization”.  We’re not attempting to make athletes here; no, our endeavor is simply to prove that an individual can still live a healthy, happy and highly productive life, even while facing the crushing constraints (time and otherwise) of a 21st-century lifestyle.

Primal needs, modern technology –

For optimum health, our bodies require intermittent doses of high-intensity output, and the safest, most efficient way to realize that level of required intensity is via smartly programmed resistance training.  While few dispute this fact, most agree that finding the time in a busy day to accomplish that task is…well…daunting at best.  Again, we’re not talking about the driven athlete here, we’re talking work-a-day, family-raising Joe and Jane citizen — the same people who ultimately become — even against their best intentions otherwise — part of the collective burden on our healthcare delivery system.   And as I’ve said before, no healthcare delivery system can be created that will not ultimately implode under the weight of a diseased citizenry.  None.  To be sure, the system itself is in need of serious reform otherwise — but let’s face it, the crux of the problem resides squarely with the man, woman and child in the mirror.

So let’s get back to surmounting the time/convenience issue.  For this purpose, we at Efficient Exercise utilize our CZT — think Critical Zone Training — technology.  A whole-body workout in 10 – 15 minutes?  Yes.  And I don’t mean just a workout (yawn….), but a friggin’ workout! Sounds like the stuff of Sunday morning infomercials, right?  Hardly.  Check-out some of the clips over at the Efficient Exercise YouTube page.  How does CZT technology force such an intense dose of work output in such a truncated amount of time? Because it’s an  Instantaneously matched,  accommodating resistance exercise, my friend.  Simply stated, the device matches the trainee’s available force output at the bio-mechanically weakest, and strongest, positions — and everywhere in between for that matter — in both the concentric and eccentric portion of the movement.  The trainee is producing maximum available force at each point along the strength curve for that particular movement.  The loading of any conventional exercise is limited by one’s strength at the bio-mechanically weakest position — otherwise, there would be no movement at all (bro-sistance bench pressing not withstanding  🙂   ).  The bottom line is a heavy-duty dose of high-intensity work in a very short period of time.  In the hands of an athlete, this is another fantastic tool for the for the overall training toolbox.  Not the end-all-be-all, of course — but a great tool nonetheless.  In the hands of Joe and Jane citizen, though, we feel that CZT accommodating resistance technology is the answer to acquiring all the health benefits of resistance training with an absolute minimum time investment.

So I love training the driven and those with single-minded determination, no doubt.  Athletes, and those aspiring for peak performance, are fun as all hell to program and train.  But I decided to come to Efficient Exercise for another, more lofty reason — because I truly believe that the purveyors of Physical Culture in this country (and every country, for that matter) are tasked with leading the general citizenry out of this global healthcare morass, and I wanted to partner with an entity that shared that same vision.  Needless to say, I found just that in Efficient Exercise.

Puttin’ our money where our yap is…

So fixing the nation’s healthcare crisis one person at a time isn’t all just bluster, blather and wishful thinking — we at Efficient Exercise are leading the way in devising a manageable program for Joe and Jane citizen.  Keep tabs on the happenings over at our facebook page; the fun kicks-off with a participant group orientation on Tuesday, 1/18.  Could fixing the healthcare crisis really be as easy as a grassroots push to adopt a Paleo-ish diet and a half-hour a week on CZT equipment?  We at Efficient Exercise certainly think so.



In health,


Resistance Training for Quality of Life…Resistance Training for Survival!

A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
H. L. Mencken

A slight bit of a departure here for me today, as this post is not about striving for that n=1-defined pinnacle of expressed Physical Culture.  No, this is simply about grasping hold of, and maintaining, a decent (deckplate level?) quality of life — this is about simple, day-in-and-day-out, vibrant health.  So here’s the thing: we all know that the current American system of heathcare delivery cannot be sustained.  We, as a nation, cannot continue to live as if cheap medicine and a ready flow of inexpensive pharmaceuticals will scrub clean our individual and collective lifestyles’ dirty laundry.    Governments can’t (or won’t), or are otherwise too hamstrung by special interests to institute any meaningful change for the better, making them increasingly ever irrelevant as a positive force for change in our lives — not only in the healthcare arena, but in an ever-increasing number of policy issues. But before you get the idea that I’m on some kind of back-to-the-stone-age, Libertarian/Luddite rant, let me say this: the advances of western medicine (including the contributions of the pharmaceutical industry, of which I was once a part), over that last half-century have been nothing short of phenomenal — and, too, they’ve been an absolute Godsend for humanity (apart, of course, from the economics of the delivery of said care).  The problem, as I see it, is this: that explosion in advanced medical technique and know-how has been potentiated by an ever-growing, critical mass of of increasingly sick individuals.  Simply put, this exposition in technology is the result of your basic supply and demand theory, and it’s quite the Faustian bargain.  Want to push the limits of your skills as a mechanic or bodywork man?  Try keeping that demolition derby entry on the racetrack.  There’s a reason why the old “Maytag repairman” ads were so popular — there was an underpinning of truthfulness present; a well built machine, properly cared for, needs very little intervention:

Not to beat a half-decent metaphor to friggin’ death, but try to operate that well-built machine as if it were a cement mixer and, well…you get the idea.

And while our government(s) may be hamstrung in promoting lifestyle interventions that will result, ultimately, in less collective reliance upon the medical establishment (tell me again why HSA money cannot be used for personal training and/or gym memberships?), we, as individuals, are certainly still free (and even more empowered now than ever before) to pursue our own, intelligently-driven, n=1 path.  As I’ve said previously, no system can be created that will not ultimately implode under the weight of a diseased citizenry.  And, ultimately, healthcare has to come down to n=1 lifestyle decisions; we can afford nothing less personally, or collectively.  I am encouraged, though, by the fresh, entrepreneurial spirit being brought to the healthcare debate, and I feel that this new philosophical approach to that ever-vexing (and divisive) “insurance/coverage” problem, coupled with even a wee bit of personal responsibility cost-averaged over the nation’s populace, will ultimately constitute “the answer”.

So, both collectively, and in an n=1 sense, we have to begin to re-integrate the intelligence that is carried within each of us when it come to regaining/maintaining health.  Some of us know intuitively of the body’s ability to heal and right-orient itself — others need a little more help in coming to that realization.  I am encouraged with the direction (though maybe not the pace) of progress on this front when I see/hear this kind of disclosure and talk in mainstream media health programming.  That proper, intense exercise (as opposed to mere physical activity) is being promoted by distinguished sectors of the healthcare mainstream as the palliative that those of us immersed in the Physical Culture scene have long known it to be, is — well…refreshing, to say the least.  And that people are now beginning to question the medical community, instead of regarding them as “all-knowing” is refreshing as well.  Medical professionals are educated, yes — but not infallible.  Question “authority”, folks — relentlessly.

Changing subjects just a bit, I ran across an excellent epigenetics primer clip this week.  This particular clip happens to focus on some of the possible epigenetic “whys” behind sexual preference, but in reality, the focus could have just as easily been on the overall body composition of twins, each having been trained in a dissimilar manner.  Genes are, of course, the hand that cocks the hammer of phenotypical pistol; the finger that pulls the trigger, though, is epigenetics.  You have more control of your phenotypical expression than you realize.  The tricky part is living as if you do.

Workouts?  Yeah, I blew through a couple over the course of the week; here’s the run-down:

Tuesday, 12/14 –

(A1) high-catch power cleans: 135 x 7; 155 x 5; 175 x 5; 185 x 3; 195 x 2; 205 x 1, 1, 1

(B1) low pulls from the floor: 235 x 5; 255 x 5, 5, 5, 5


Wednesday, 12/15 –

(A1) Nautilus pec dec: 110 x 12, 7, 7 (5010 tempo)

(A2) Xccentric flat press: (0 counter, no added weight) x 15, 7, 7 (5010 tempo)


Thursday 12/16 –

(A1) single-arm snatch (Oly bar): 95 x 5; 105 x 5 sets of 2 (each arm)

(A2) *roll-under pull ups: bodyweight x 5 each of the six rounds


*semi-supinated grip pull-up to the top position, then tuck and roll so that you’re in a suspended, semi-fetal position with the back parallel to the ground (body maintained as close as possible to the bar).  Lower slowly from this position to full arm extension…kinda like a negative bent-over row…then “un-roll” back into a normal pull-up start position.


In health,



Easy Paleo Chow, and Ethics, Reason, and the Erosion of Government Relevance

No more than a single iron skillet and a few minutes of prep time for these two.  Grass-fed eye of chuck, butternut squash and cauliflower mix, free-range pork sausage, roasted free-range chicken quarters and a little sweet potato.  Good meals, and plenty of leftovers to boot.

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By the way, you’ll notice that there’s very little here — content or proportion — recommended by the USDA’s newly updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans report.  *Sigh*…what is there to say about this document?  Selling-out the American people to perpetuate the vicious cycle of lobby-subsidy is not what I consider — how to put this? — ethical? There’s just too much freely available knowledge out there (with experts to explain it) for me to believe that this “guideline” was the end result of a lack of intelligence.  No, this is all about greed at the expense of the nation’s health.

Jimmy Moore has a good summary of the new guidelines, here.  No surprise, really — high carb., low fat, yada, yada, yada…

Now, combine these brain-trust “guidelines” with the reality that is the state of America’s physical readiness, and we have the makings for an immanent, healthcare disaster on our collective hands.  And make no mistake, everyone will suffer the hit — physically, financially, in loss of personal freedom via increased government “interaction”, or a combination of all of the above — you name it.  And, unfortunately, no one will be immune — even the most healthy and knowledgeable among us will feel the sting.

And speaking of America’s (lack of) physical readiness, Mary Collins — author of American Idle (love that title!) — sums-up the topic nicely in the clip below.  Hat tip to University of North Dakota S&C coach Aaron Schwenzfeir for the clip find.

Just makes me shake my head, wondering how we ever sunk into such a mess.  How is it that any entity, government or otherwise, can perpetuate such pseudo-science over a populace?  How does a populace become dumbed-down and weakened (spiritually, and physically) so?  Well, here’s an oldie-but-goodie (yeah, 2-years is old in the internet age, I suppose) from one of my favorite current political “thinkers”, Susan Jacoby.

Ignorance may very well be bliss, but it’s sure as hell costly — in more ways than one.

The thing is, truly intelligent people see through this lobby-subsidy, greed-and-graft inspired smokescreen.  And established organizations — whether it’s the government as a whole, the USDA, or other establishments/organizations (for example, the NSCA) — are becoming increasingly more irrelevant as clearing houses for credible, non-biased, information.  I just want the truth, warts and all, whether it agrees with my preconceived notions or not.  Spun “truth”, filtered “truth” does me no good.  Of what relevance are these organizational filters to me, when I can search out credible information on my own?  The Paleo movement is the poster child for this loosely-grouped, n=1 information sharing.  Who needs these other “official” entities/middle-men when I’m fully sufficient in the art of reason, and plugged into a network of intelligent, n=1 “scientists”, each willing to share their findings for no more the cost than for me to do the same in return?

Is the Tipping Point Near?

I’m sure many of you have already heard about this tragic story in some form or fashion.  If not, check it out, and give it some serious thought.  We tend to think of healthcare (and health insurance) as being wholly independent entities, country to country.  At their heart, though, these “industries” are globally-connected, financial instruments, with many similarities to the globally-connected banking system (see this post for some discussion on that).

I won’t elaborate much more on this particular issue, as Sandy Swarc, of the fantastic blog, Junkfood Science, has given Japan’s healthcare woes wonderful treatment here.

I will say, though, that the root of Japan’s insurance crisis can be summarized in this statement (from Junkfood Science):

Single-payer medical insurance systems fail in part because of what they called “the tragedy of the commons.” Japanese health care is a typical example, they said. By “tragedy of the commons,” they were referring to grazing land: “free access to common grazing land drives each herdsman to maximise his own take from the commons, even when it becomes overcrowded with grazing animals.” Ultimately, this behaviour ruins the common land, as well as those who depend on it for survival, they said. The problem is clearly complicated, but their frustrations were palpable.

Another way to put this is, no one washes a rented car.  This is economics 101 for free-marketers, like my self (acually, I’m a little more open-minded about smart government intervention than the dyed-in-the-wool variety).  The time for creative, outside-of-the-box thinking on health and healthcare is quickly approching.

In Health,