Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice Sciencey Goodness

Pagans Unite!

I actually couldn't think of a wittier title, but Dec 21st is one of my favorite times of year.  The days now start getting longer, and the sun a bit higher.  While Jan. 1st is held in regard as the "rebirth" of a new year, I think of Dec 21st as the turning point on my calender.  Anyways, onto the goods; first off, a vid from Prof. DeVany:

Art DeVany pimpin' out his new book.  I think I know a bookshelf it'll be on.

Effects of olive oil and its fractions on oxidative stress and the liver's fatty acid composition in 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid-treated rats

Nutrition & Metabolism 2010, 7:80doi:10.1186/1743-7075-7-80

Published: 29 October 2010
© 2010 Nakbi et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Olive oil's beneficial effects are not only related to its high content of oleic acid, but also to the antioxidant potential of its polyphenols. In this study, we assess the effects of virgin olive oil and its fractions on 2,4-D- induced oxidative damage in the liver of rats.


Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into eight groups of ten each: (C) a control group, (D) group that received 2,4-D (5 mg/kg b.w.), (D/EVOO) group treated with 2,4-D plus extra virgin olive oil, (D/OOHF) group that received 2,4-D plus hydrophilic fraction, (D/OOLF) group treated with 2,4-D plus lipophilic fraction, (EVOO) group that received only extra virgin olive oil, (OOHF) group given hydrophilic fraction and (OOLF) group treated with lipophilic fraction. These components were daily administered by gavage for 4 weeks.


A significant liver damage was observed in rats treated with 2,4-D via increased serum levels of transaminases and alkaline phosphatase, hepatic lipid peroxidation and decreased hepatic antioxidant enzyme activities, namely, superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase. The liver's fatty acid composition was also significantly modified with 2,4-D exposure. However, extra virgin olive oil and hydrophilic fraction intake during 2,4-D treatment induced a significant increase in the antioxidant enzyme activities and a decrease in the conjugated dienes (CD) and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARs) levels in the liver. The lipophilic fraction supplemented to 2,4-D- treated rats did not show any improvement in the liver oxidative status while a marked improvement was detected in the hepatic fatty acid composition of rats supplemented with olive oil and the two fractions.


We concluded that the protective effect of olive oil against oxidative damage induced by 2,4-D is mainly related to the antioxidant potential of its hydrophilic fraction.

My Thoughts:  Most people associate extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) as being beneficial due to it's high content of MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acid), specifically oleic acid.  While this indeed is a benefit, the polyphenol content, aka anti-oxidant content, goes largely unnoticed.  As the results of this study show, these polyphenols can actually reverse damage intentionally induced.

While certain groups (Any banana-eatin' carbaholic vegans in the crowd?) rant and rave about oxidized lipids from a high-meat diet, one can clearly extrapolate that a diet high in animal based protein AND rich in nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits and lipids is advantageous on both sides.

Yes, it's as surprising as it is beautiful.

A Reversal On Carbs<---click to read

My Thoughts:  No shit, really?

Dr Bill Davis on Fish Oil

Fish oil: What's the difference?

Ultra-purified, pharmaceutical grade, molecularly distilled. Over-the-counter vs. prescription. Gelcap, liquid, emulsion.

There's a mind-boggling variety of choices in fish oil today. A visit to any health food store, or any "big box" store for that matter, will yield at least several, if not dozens, of choices, all with varying and often extravagant claims of purity and potency.

So what's the real story?

Given the analyses conducted over the years, along with my experience with dozens of different preparations, I believe that several conclusions can be reached about fish oil:

Fish oil is free of contamination with mercury, dioxin, PCBs, or furans. To my knowledge, only one fish oil preparation has been found to have a slight excess of PCBs. (This is different from cod liver oil that has been found by one source to have a slight excess of PCBs.)

Oxidative breakdown products differ among the various brands. Consumer Lab (http://www.consumerlab.org/), for instance, has found that several widely available brands of fish oil contained excessive oxidative breakdown products (TOTOX). You can perform you own simple test of oxidative breakdown products: Sniff it. Your fish oil should pass the "sniff test." High quality fish oil should smell non-fishy to lightly fishy. Rancid fish oil with excessive quantities of oxidative breakdown products will smell nasty fishy.

FDA approval does not necessarily mean greater potency, purity, or effectiveness. It just means that somebody assembled the hundreds of millions of dollars to obtain FDA approval, followed by lots of marketing savvy to squash the competition.

This means that there are a number of excellent fish oil products available. My favorites are the liquid fish oils from Pharmax, Nordic Naturals, and Barleans. Capsules from Carlson, PharmaNutrients, and Fisol have also performed consistently. The "big box" capsules from Sam's Club and Costco have also performed well and are wonderfully affordable.

My Thoughts:  I've been preaching the benefits of value-based fish oil for a long time; smarter guys than me, specifically cardiologist Dr. William Davis, pimp out the run-of-the-mill fish oil over the brutal pharmaceutical "Hey-Lets-Make-More-Fuckin'-Money" grade fish oil also.

Various Training

I didn't honestly know what I'd have to fill this section based on the past 30 days or so; life sometimes has a way of getting IN the way of life, but despite that fact, I have maintained a semblance of a training schedule.

Dec 2nd, CFLA, 2PM
150 Double Unders
Rest 2 Min
150 Kettlebell Swings, 1.5pood (53#)
Rest 2 Min
150 Box Jumps (20").  Total time, 19:22.

Dec 5th, CFLA, 3PM
Snatch Session
Burgener x1 w/dowel, added 1/4 OHS, snatch balance, and hang power snatch
Burgener x1 w/45#
Hang Power Snatch, 65#x3
Hang Snatch, 65#x3
Full Snatch
95#x1x3, 115#x1x3, 135#x1x3, 145#x1x3, 155x1x3(PR)

Got some knee wraps on advice from Big G; official Rehband knee sleeves. I've been having patellar knee pain, mostly left sided, since the beginning of Oct (my last snatch session). These feel awesome, and I highly recommend them. Since it had been, what, 2 months since the last time I snatched I sure as hell didn't deserve that PR. But I'll gladly take it. Close to my goal of 165# (BW).

Dec 8th, CFLA, 1PM
AMRAP in 20 Minutes
30 Box Jumps
20 Push Press (115#)
30 Pullups
3 rounds + 48 reps.  Done as a challenge to Crossfit Flathead; and despite really NOT wanting to crush myself into oblivion, I had no choice after coaching 11/12 and watching the crew smash the hell outa this. Push press killed me, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would go. Gotta bust 4 rounds next time.

Various Dec Dates@ U of L
Indoor Rock Climbing
If it's one thing I've been hitting regularly, it's been the rock gym.  The last time I posted I was working on a 5.11a, which I successfully red-pointed, aka climbed without falling.  I'm now working on a very tough 5.11b (which, by the way, MD warms up on.  Ha!).

There's a lot of parallels between Crossfit and rock climbing---the wall is static, the weights are static, but I'm the dynamic one pushing a pulling against it.  Success or failure depends on overcoming my fatigue, both mentally and physically.  Better technique  = greater efficiency.  Goals achieved will vary from person to person, and it's completely individual.

Dec 13th, CFLA, 1PM
Snatch Complex
-Snatch Grip Deadlift
-Power Snatch
-Back Squat
-Overhead Squat
-Bent Over Row
-Hang Squat Snatch
65#, 75#, 85#, 95#, 105#, 115#, 125#x2.  Surprised at how tough those last hang squat snatches are at the end of the complex.

Friday, November 26, 2010

What's Not New is New: The Perfect Diet, FMS, and Food Porn!

This shit ain't new, son.
There's been a fair bit o' hullabaloo about a "new" (note super dorky face, double hand mime quotations) study based off the Diogenes Project that's being toted as the perfect diet.  The premise is that a high protein, low GI diet (hmm, that seems familiar) fared better for weight loss and keeping weight off that 4 other combos of diet (low pro/low GI, low pro/high GI, high pro/high GI, or a control of mod pro, uncontrolled GI)..


Studies of weight-control diets that are high in protein or low in glycemic index have reached varied conclusions, probably owing to the fact that the studies had insufficient power.


We enrolled overweight adults from eight European countries who had lost at least 8% of their initial body weight with a 3.3-MJ (800-kcal) low-calorie diet. Participants were randomly assigned, in a two-by-two factorial design, to one of five ad libitum diets to prevent weight regain over a 26-week period: a low-protein and low-glycemic-index diet, a low-protein and high-glycemic-index diet, a high-protein and low-glycemic-index diet, a high-protein and high-glycemic-index diet, or a control diet.


A total of 1209 adults were screened (mean age, 41 years; body-mass index [the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters], 34), of whom 938 entered the low-calorie-diet phase of the study. A total of 773 participants who completed that phase were randomly assigned to one of the five maintenance diets; 548 completed the intervention (71%). Fewer participants in the high-protein and the low-glycemic-index groups than in the low-protein–high-glycemic-index group dropped out of the study (26.4% and 25.6%, respectively, vs. 37.4%; P=0.02 and P=0.01 for the respective comparisons). The mean initial weight loss with the low-calorie diet was 11.0 kg. In the analysis of participants who completed the study, only the low-protein–high-glycemic-index diet was associated with subsequent significant weight regain (1.67 kg; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48 to 2.87). In an intention-to-treat analysis, the weight regain was 0.93 kg less (95% CI, 0.31 to 1.55) in the groups assigned to a high-protein diet than in those assigned to a low-protein diet (P=0.003) and 0.95 kg less (95% CI, 0.33 to 1.57) in the groups assigned to a low-glycemic-index diet than in those assigned to a high-glycemic-index diet (P=0.003). The analysis involving participants who completed the intervention produced similar results. The groups did not differ significantly with respect to diet-related adverse events.


In this large European study, a modest increase in protein content and a modest reduction in the glycemic index led to an improvement in study completion and maintenance of weight loss. (Funded by the European Commission; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00390637.)

My Thoughts:  Unimpressed?  Yeah, me too.  But why am a bashing a study that seems to be in the best interest of global health?  IT'S BECAUSE THIS SHIT AIN'T NEW, nor, in my opinion, IS IT NEWS-WORTHY.   I find it frustrating, because, by default, for millions of years we've been eating the perfect (read: High protein, low GI) diet.  Meat, veggies, some fruit, few nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar.  While the mass media prances around making not-so-fucking-newsworthy news, folks in the know will just keep on keeping' on.
This is gonna rock.

Gray Cook's Functional Movement Screen is a system of movements and scores used to identify weaknesses and imbalances in athletes; I currently have training in this, and we utilize it yearly at the fire department to screen our members for potential injuries.  This is something I've wanted to incorporate at CFLA for a while, and while great minds think alike, greater minds make things happen.  Due to the amount of time Big G has spent in the physio clinic, it appears he's made some stellar connections: This weekend at CFLA we are fortunate enough to be spending two days with Tim Takahashi; he'll be teaching us the FMS, with a specific angle on treating Crossfit athletes.  This is going to be a phenomenal seminar, and something that will be invaluable for the coaches and clients.

Food Porn!
Bacon-wrapped ring-necked pheasants that my buddy JF (aka Mr White) gave to me.  Added onion, sweet potato, celery, and a super-secret dry spice rub.

We had some friends over for dinner, and BA whipped this up while I was downing some Patron with Sean'O.  It's an appetizer of carpaccio, cheese, cherry tomatoes, and lamb, and was totally awesome.

Breakfast of farm fresh eggs, avocado, spinach, a leftover steak, a nectarine, coffee w/ coconut milk, and a few walnuts.   This is standard morning fuel.

Various Training Sessions 

Right now life is a bit of a gong show for me outside of the gym; I haven't had the luxury of time, so I haven't been there much.  Nonetheless, training continues:

Nov 21st, Sunday, 10AM, Firehall #1
Treadmill run, 20min at 7MPH, 2% grade.
Just an easy run.  Some days, I actually crave this.  Weird, I know.

Nov 22nd, Monday, 1PM, CFLA
Over Head Squat, 5RM
65#x10, 95#x5, 115#x5, 135#x5, 155#x5, 175#x5(PR)
This felt pretty damn solid, which was surprising; my knee was fine (during), but my left wrist was screaming, even with wraps.  I'd like to eventually hit 225# for a single, but that's a goal that far in the distance for now.

2PM, U of L
Rock Climb x2hr
Finally finished off a 5.11a route that I've been trying for a while.  There's no question I'm getting stronger and more fluid with my climbs.

Nov 23rd, Tuesday, 6PM, Firehall#1
Set up a brand new C2 rower, and took it on a 5000m maiden voyage
19:11(PR).  Goddamn knee is still sketchy as hell, but once I got into it, it loosened up.  Was just planning an easy 5k, and was actually screwing around with a low S/R of 23-25, and pausing at the end of the stroke for a second.  I'd like to break into the 18 minute range, which is totally doable.

Nov 25th, Thursday, 2PM, U of L
Rock climb x 2hrs.  Working a new 5.11 that's kicking my ass, royally. 

Nov 26th, Friday, 12PM, Garage
Overhead Press
25#x20, 45#x10, 75#x5, 85#x5, 95#x5, 105#x5, 115#x5, 120#x3
Meh.  Expected more, and didn't expect to be trashed from climbing.

AMRAP in 12 Minutes
5 Ring Dips
10 Pullups
15 Ball Slams (20#)
8 Rounds.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturated Fat & Stroke, Lab Values! and Chasing Capacity

Green is good brain.  Red?  Not so good.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Oct;92(4):759-65. Epub 2010 Aug 4.

Dietary intake of saturated fatty acids and mortality from cardiovascular disease in Japanese: the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk (JACC) Study.

Department of Public Health Medicine, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, and Institute of Community Medicine, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan.


BACKGROUND: Prospective epidemiologic studies have generated mixed results regarding the association between saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake and risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke. These associations have not been extensively studied in Asians.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that SFA intake is associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality in Japanese whose average SFA intake is low.
DESIGN: The Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk (JACC Study) comprised 58,453 Japanese men and women who completed a food-frequency questionnaire. Participants were aged 40-79 y at baseline (1988-1990) and were followed up for 14.1 y. Associations of energy-adjusted SFA intake with mortality from stroke (intraparenchymal and subarachnoid hemorrhages and ischemic stroke) and heart diseases (IHD, cardiac arrest, and heart failure) were examined after adjustment for age, sex, and cardiovascular disease risk and dietary factors.
RESULTS: We observed inverse associations of SFA intake with mortality from total stroke [n = 976; multivariable hazard ratio (95% CI) for highest compared with lowest quintiles: 0.69 (0.53, 0.89); P for trend = 0.004], intraparenchymal hemorrhage [n = 224; 0.48 (0.27, 0.85); P for trend = 0.03], and ischemic stroke [n = 321; 0.58 (0.37, 0.90); P for trend = 0.01]. No multivariable-adjusted associations were observed between SFA and mortality from subarachnoid hemorrhage [n = 153; 0.91 (0.46, 1.80); P for trend = 0.47] and heart disease [n = 836; 0.89 (0.68, 1.15); P for trend = 0.59].
CONCLUSION: SFA intake was inversely associated with mortality from total stroke, including intraparenchymal hemorrhage and ischemic stroke subtypes, in this Japanese cohort.
PMID: 20685950 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

My Thoughts: Stroke, aka "Brain Attack", or more accurately cerebrovascular accident, is the damage of brain tissue secondary to either ischemia (blockage) or hemorrhage (bleeding); it's a debilitating condition that I've seen countless times over the course of my career, and has personally affected my family, as there is a strong genetic disposition on my father's side for CVA (Grandfather, Great-Aunt, and Grandmother secondary to IDDM).  But to the pertinent point:  Saturated Fat, once again, has been incorrectly labeled over the years as a negative and potentially dangerous fatty acid---yet, as this study shows, a LOW intake is associated with a greater increase in a very serious disease.

As I'm just a few days away from re-certifying my Advanced Cardiac Life Support, unfortunately, one of the elements I may have to sit through is the brutal diatribe of nutrition related to cardiac events.  It boggles my mind that the association that is supposed to lead us on cardiac and vascular health, is in fact, doing more damage than good.  I've seen a ton of changes (on a professional level as a paramedic) in the acute care setting over the past 15 years, yet I still haven't seen anything on the preventative side, nutritionally related.  

Yup, just keep on endorsing those Cheerios, American Heart Association.  

 Yay Lab Values!  Wow, I'm a geek!

So I got pretty excited a few days back---a buddy of mine wanted me to look at some labs he had just had done, and I had also just gotten some long-awaited values of my own back.  Before I get into mine, lets take a look at Mr. White's labs (He drives a white truck.  He's not Mr. White.):
Background:  34 y/o male, 5'10", 170lbs, approx 12-13% BF (rough estimate).  Crossfits x 3/week, Shiftworker, occasional adventure racer, and has been moving to a Paleo diet over the past year.

Labs, 2009
    Total Cholesterol:   4.63mmol/L (179.04mg/dL)
    HDL:                     1.32 (51.04)
    LDL:                      2.80 (108.28)
    Triglycerides:         1.15 (101.86)
    C-reactive Protein: 1.3mg/L
    Trig/HDL ratio:      1.98
    American Values(mg/dL) in orange
Labs, 2010
   Total Cholesterol:   5.17mmol/L (199.9mg/dL)
   HDL                      1.53 (59.06)
   LDL                       3.40 (134.48)
   Triglycerides           0.59 (52.27)
   C-reactive Protein <0.2mg/L
   Trig/HDL ratio        0.88

As you can see, Mr White has made some phenomenal changes in just the course of a year; his HDL has gone up (a good thing), his LDL has gone up (a good thing.  No, I'm not kidding.  And yes, I'm right), his CRP, which is a marker for systemic inflammation, has dropped to seriously awesome low values, Trigs have slashed in HALF, and his Trig/HDL ratio is now well below 1.0 (not a value his, or my, physician does.  I've added that in.

The Importance of Your TG/HDL Ratio

How can you tell which type of LDL you have? All you have to do is determine your ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol, which would be found as part of the results of your last cholesterol screening. If your ratio is less than 2, you have predominantly large, fluffy LDL particles that are not going to do you much harm. If your ratio is greater than 4, you have a lot of small, dense LDL particles that can accelerate the development of atherosclerotic plaques – regardless of your total cholesterol levels.

These are the type of changes that we WANT to see on a Paleo diet; some, though are completely at odds with what your physician will want to see. Why? Lack of proper education on the nutritional front, and the perpetration of misinformation stemming from over 50 years ago. I won't even get into the pharmaceutical companies.

HDL and LDL are both elevated because it is being shuttled about for hormone synthesis and cell repair; this is why using a standard lab value and ranges is inaccurate for athletes, the healthy, the sedentary, and the sick.

My Labs:  Back in March I had convinced my physician I needed a coagulation profile due to my high intake of fish oil (true) and my desire to return to full contact martial arts (not so true.  Ha!).  I had asked for an INR and a PTT test;
   INR:  1.1s, norm range 0.9-1.2s
   PTT:  26.0s, norm range 18-45s

Apparently, at an intake ranging from 6-9g of EPA/DHA per day, I'm not about to bleed out through my eyeballs should I sneeze.  I knew this, but it's something I wanted to see for myself; consider it a n=1 Mythbuster episode.

Home of Andy Deas

If you've listened to even ONE episode of The Paleo Solution, you'll know that Andy Deas is the dude that keeps Robb Wolf focused like a laser beam...ok, well, tries to.  He's also a trainer at NorCal Strength & Conditioning, and he happens to have himself a shiny new(ish) blog.  If it's anything like Robb's (opinionated, full of info, well written), it'll be worth checking out.  Word on the street is he's going to continue his series on the the love/hate with all things Crossfit.  Sounds familiar?  You bet.

Check out his blog here:  Chasing Capacity

Various Random Training Sessions

Oct 21st, CFLA, 12PM
Overhead Press, 65#x10, 95#x5, 115#x3, 125#x3, 135#x1, 140#x1 (previous PR from 2008)
Yeah, 2 years later and I'm only back matching my PR, but a PR nonetheless.  It's been a long-assed road, but thankfully, very minimal pain/popping/discomfort lately.

Oct 22nd, CFLA, 1PM
Deadlift 135#x10, 225#x5, 315#x1, 365#x1, 405#x1, 425#x0.  Got greedy and tried to jump 20lbs; 405# felt damn good, but the PR Gods were not shining down upon me.  Got 425# halfway up, but no lockout = no dice, brother.
As Many Rounds As Possible(AMRAP) in 12 Minutes:
10-40#DB snatch, right
10-40#DB snatch, left
10-Abmat situps, unanchored
10-Goblet squats, 40#

8 Rounds.

Nov 1st, CFLA, 1PM
AMRAP in 25 minutes:
250m row
12 Wall Ball Shots (squat-thrust-throw 20# ball to 10' mark)
12 Kettlebell swings(53#)
10 rounds; this was a longer burner that never got easier.  Sean'O and I hit this one together, and it was damn nice having someone racing along side of me!

Nov 2nd, U of L
Rock Climb x2 hrs.  I'm currently working on a 5.11a; I feel like I'm technically getting better, but more importantly, I'm more relaxed AND able to push fatigue limits, if that makes any sense at all.  My climbing mentor, MD, just got back from what was probably a stellar trip to Red Rock Canyon, Nevada.  Hopefully, we can hit Skaha Bluffs next summer.

Nov 3rd, Lethbridge Coulees
Mountain Bike x1 hr
Just a quick rip through the coulees; it's been a killer fall, dry, warm, and I haven't been on my bike much since the summer.  Legs seemed a bit heavy, but the home-climb wasn't too bad.

Nov 8th, CFLA, 1PM
High bar Back Squat, 10's and 5's, up to 225#.
Left knee is still aching all around the patella; this is worrisome, and I'm hoping it's just some stubborn tendinitis.  I'm thinking this goes back to my last snatch session at the beginning of Oct, but who knows.  Time for this old man to invest in some knee sleeves
AMRAP in 8 minutes:
5 Deadlifts (185#)
10 Lateral Bar Jump-Overs (there & back = 1) 
12 Rounds

Yoga x1.5hr.  I may have unintentionally P.O.'d a few yoga-goers, as I was asked "are you guys ready for a good workout tonight?!"  I responded by saying that I had already worked out, and was looking forward to some relaxing active recovery.  There was a bit of awkward silence.  I honestly wasn't trying to be snide---I thoroughly enjoy yoga, and I find it complements HIIT nicely.  For some folks it's their primary form of exercise, albeit low-intensity (for the record, the class was an Ashtanga style; I'm sure a Vinyasa/Bikram combo would be much more intense.)  There is a place in town that offers Bikram, and I'd love to check it out.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Coffee for the WIN, Fish Oil Rocks, and Why NOT To Run a Marathon

Yes, I've been MIA.  And Chuck Norris rules.

Appears that my time between posting has gone from 1 week to over 2.  Well, since I'm not trying to sell anything, I have two jobs, and apparently a life beyond the gym and blog-o-sphere, I'm cool with this (truthfully, the 20-odd nutrition profiles I'm doing for the OPT CCP Nutrition Cert are massively time-consuming.)  Oddly enough, it's been almost a year to the date I started this blog.  Who woulda thought?  Anyways, onto the goodies; no Jack-Handy-Deep-Thoughts this time around---just some awesome sciency goodness.

 And I have another reason why...

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Oct 13. [Epub ahead of print]

Coffee polyphenols suppress diet-induced body fat accumulation by downregulating SREBP-1c and related molecules in C57BL/6J mice.


The prevalence of obesity is increasing globally, and obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We investigated the effects of coffee polyphenols (CPP), which are abundant in coffee and consumed worldwide, on diet-induced body fat accumulation. C57BL/6J mice were fed either a control diet, a high-fat diet, or a high-fat diet supplemented with 0.5% to 1.0% CPP for 2 to 15 weeks. Supplementation with CPP significantly reduced body weight gain, abdominal and liver fat accumulation, and infiltration of macrophages into adipose tissues. Energy expenditure evaluated by indirect calorimetry was significantly increased in CPP-fed mice. The mRNA levels of sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP)-1c, acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1, -2, stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1, and pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase-4 in the liver were significantly lower in CPP-fed mice than in high-fat control mice. Similarly, CPP suppressed the expression of these molecules in Hepa 1-6 cells, concomitant with an increase in microRNA-122. Structure-activity relationship studies of nine quinic acid derivatives isolated from CPP in Hepa 1-6 cells suggested that mono- or di-caffeoyl quinic acids (CQA) are active substances in the beneficial effects of CPP. Further, CPP and 5-CQA decreased the nuclear active form of SREBP-1, acetyl-CoA carboxylase activity, and cellular malonyl-CoA levels. These findings indicate that CPP enhances energy metabolism and reduces lipogenesis by downregulating SREBP-1c and related molecules, which leads to the suppression of body fat accumulation.
PMID: 20943752 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

My Thoughts:  Mice aside, this is an interesting study due to the fact it's dealing with the coffee polyphenols, and not the caffeine content, which is the usual substance associated with thermogenesis.  Anyone who knows me well knows I'll get all glassy-eyed and mystical when discussing coffee, and for good reason---it's the highest source of polyphenols (antioxidants) that North Americans regularly take it in any decent quantity.  That being said, it's obviously not enough to offset the stupid loads of fructose, wheat gluten, and omega-6s.  Nonetheless, chalk up another reason NOT to put down that cup of java. 

Hook into another reason for fish oil...

Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010, 7:31doi:10.1186/1550-2783-7-31
Published: 8 October 2010

Abstract (provisional)


To determine the effects of supplemental fish oil (FO) on resting metabolic rate (RMR), body composition, and cortisol production in healthy adults.


S: A total of 44 men and women (34+13y, mean+SD) participated in the study. All testing was performed first thing in the morning following an overnight fast. Baseline measurements of RMR were measured using indirect calorimetry using a facemask, and body composition was measured using air displacement plethysmography. Saliva was collected via passive drool and analyzed for cortisol concentration using ELISA. Following baseline testing, subjects were randomly assigned in a double blind manner to one of two groups: 4g/d of Safflower Oil (SO); or 4g/d of FO supplying 1,600mg/d eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 800mg/d docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). All tests were repeated following 6wk of treatment. Pre to post differences were analyzed using a treatment X time repeated measures ANOVA, and correlations were analyzed using Pearson's r.


Compared to the SO group, there was a significant increase in fat free mass(read: lean body mass, aka muscle!) following treatment with FO (FO= +0.5 +/- 0.5kg, SO= -0.1 +/- 1.2kg, p=0.03), a significant reduction in fat mass (FO= -0.5 +/- 1.3kg, SO= +0.2 +/- 1.2kg, p=0.04). and a tendency for a decrease in body fat percentage (FO= -0.4 +/- 1.3% body fat, SO= +0. 3 +/- 1.5% body fat, p=0.08). No significant differences were observed for body mass (FO= 0.0 +/- 0.9kg, SO= +0.2 +/- 0.8kg), RMR (FO= +17 +/- 260kcal, SO= -62 +/- 184kcal) or respiratory exchange ratio (FO= -0.02 +/- 0.09, SO= +0.02 +/- 0.05). There was a tendency for salivary cortisol to decrease in the FO group (FO= -0.064 +/- 0.142ug/dL, SO= +0.016 +/- 0.272ug/dL, p=0.11). There was a significant correlation in the FO group between change in cortisol and change in fat free mass (r = -0.504, p=0.02) and fat mass (r = 0.661, p=0.001) CONCLUSION: 6wk of supplementation with FO significantly increased lean mass and decreased fat mass. These changes were significantly correlated with a reduction in salivary cortisol following FO treatment. 

My Thoughts: Hopefully, you've read my thoughts on fish oil; while most people in strength and conditioning circles "know" that it's great for reducing inflammation, not a lot are cognizant of the other benefits. Just because you have your diet "dialed", cut your O6s to low levels, and spend hard-earned money on grass fed beef, there's seriously no reason NOT to take fish oil. Reduced cortisol? Increased LBM? Jackpot.

Art De Vany. Kicking more ass now than you ever will.

If you've hung around the internet for longer than 2.5 seconds and you're interested in all things Nutrition/Paleo/Strength/Conditioning/Primal (read: Totally UBER cool shit), then you've heard the names Chek, Wolf, Sisson, Poliquin and Rippetoe thrown around.  The guy you MAY not have heard about is Art De Vany, who at 73, is probably kicking more ass than you as he runs sprints, lifts heavy shit, and pushes his Range Rover around his gated community. More impressive than what he's doing now, though, is what he's been doing FOR YEARS. Considered the father of the primal movement, Dr. De Vany has been melding primal nutrition, intermittent fasting, and functional fitness for over 25 years.

While he was at the forefront of the Primal movement, he opted early for a "closed-source" community (versus Crossfit's widely known open source, aka free information), essentially cutting himself off.  The reasons may be never known as to why, but thankfully, he has a forthcoming book in December, The New Evolution Diet , based on his concepts of evolutionary fitness.  Am I going to get it?  Does Oprah squeal like a piglet when she's eating corn chowder?  You bet.

A popular criticism amongst the fans of HIIT/Strength Training/Evolutionary Fitness/Primal Fitness (add whatever cave-man like label pleases you) surrounds chronic endurance training; while it ain't my go-to drug of choice, I kinda get why folks do it.  Nonetheless, I'm not a fan of early dirt naps, so I'm in Art's camp on this one:

Top Ten Reasons Not To Run Marathons
(click above for the full article w/studies)

10. Marathon running damages the liver and gall bladder and alters biochemical markers adversely. HDL is lowered, LDL is increased, Red blood cell counts and white blood cell counts fall. The liver is damaged and gall bladder function is decreased. Testosterone decreases.

9. Marathon running causes acute and severe muscle damage. Repetitive injury causes infiltration of collagen (connective tissue) into muscle fibers.

8. Marathon running induces kidney dysfunction (renal abnormalities).

7. Marathon running causes acute microthrombosis in the vascular system.

6. Marathon running elevates markers of cancer. S100beta is one of these markers. Tumor necrosis factor, TNF-alpha, is another.
5. Marathon running damages your brain. The damage resembles acute brain trauma. Marathon runners have elevated S100beta, a marker of brain damage and blood brain barrier dysfunction. There is S100beta again, a marker of cancer and of brain damage.

4. Marathons damage your heart. From Whyte, et al Med Sci Sports Ecerc, 2001 May, 33 (5) 850-1, “Echocardiographic studies report cardiac dysfunction following ultra-endurance exercise in trained individuals. Ironman and half-Ironman competition resulted in reversible abnormalities in resting left ventricular diastolic and systolic function. Results suggest that myocardial damage may be, in part, responsible for cardiac dysfunction, although the mechanisms responsible for this cardiac damage remain to be fully elucidated.”

3. Endurance athletes have more spine degeneration.

2. At least four participants of the Boston Marathon have died of brain cancer in the past 10 years. Purely anecdotal, but consistent with the elevated S100beta counts and TKN-alpha measures. Perhaps also connected to the microthrombi of the endothelium found in marathoners.

1. The first marathon runner, Phidippides, collapsed and died at the finish of his race. [ Jaworski, Curr Sports Med Rep. 1005 June; 4 (3), 137-43.]

Various Training

Honestly, the past couple of weeks have been a seriously de-load cycle for me; while not intentional, perhaps it's a good thing.  After a great sessions of snatching in early Oct, my left knee started barking like a reservation dog.  Uncool.  This happened earlier this year and seemed to resolve itself.  Worrisome, though.

Sept 30th, 1PM, CFLA
Clean Complex
3 Deadlifts/1 Hang Power Clean/3 Split Jerks/1 Clean & Jerk
95#, 135#, 135#, 155#, 155#, 165#
High-Hang Power Clean
135#x3, 135#x2, 95#x5

Oct 4th, Fire Station #1, 11AM
30/30 Circuit, 5 rounds, 5 movements, 25minutes
Typical circuit of various movements to a 30 seconds off, 30 seconds on.
WBS, DB Cleans, Med Ball Situps, Double Unders, Pushups.

Yoga, 7:30PMx1.5hr
I've been going to a local yoga studio with my wife once weekly for a while now; I thoroughly enjoy it, as I alluded to in my last post.  While I don't buy into the metaphysical ramblings, I do 100% buy in to the stress relief, enhanced static flexibility, and ability to levitate.  But for fuck's sake, I swear I'm going to shove one of those goofy fucking foam yoga blocks down the next person's throat that disrupts my savasana

Oct 5th, CFLA, 1PM
65#x1x3, 85#x1x3, 105#x1x3, 125#x1x3, 135#x1x3, 145#x1x3(PR)
This was post-NCCP-1 certification, and 145# felt great; I didn't want to get greedy, but I see a BW snatch of 165# easily in the next few months.  Felt like a million bucks about this until I watched this chick, who weighs the same as me, crush out some insane weight. FML!

Oct 7th, CFLA, 1PM
Deadlift, Wendler 5Rep
135#x10, 225#x7, 255#x5, 280.5#x5, 300#x5, 318#x10.  Nice, puts my 1RM@425#.  Ha!  We'll see.

Oct 15th, My Garage, 3PM
Got home early from some high-angle rescue training, and needed a little sumtin'-sumtin'.  Wendler+MEBB metcon+Bush-League garage Gym = good times.
You might have better weights, but I have the best signage.  And bike.
Over Head Press, Wendler 3Rep
45#x10, 75#x5, 95#x3, 100#x3, 110#x3, 115#x5.  Not exact, as my home weights suck ass, but good enough.  Still frustrated by my OHP, but I *think* it's coming along.  Like a f-ing turtle.

5 Intervals:
9 Thrusters(95#)
9 Pullups
Rest 2:00 between intervals.
40s, 36s, 37s, 35s, 34s.  Tried to butterfly the 2nd interval but lost it, and then successfully in the 4th and 5th round.  Interesting feel to this WOD; not quite alactic, but just starting to grind the glycolytic system.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Trifecta Balance, Whey and Muscle Damage, and BOOKS!

Athletes Need Balance

Everything on this planet strives for balance; this is the unwavering rule of homeostasis that is weaved into every aspect of our natural world.  Unfortunately, humans are too damn smart for their own good, and generally always try to screw this up, or think they supersede Ma' Nature.  It just ain't so, Joe.

Civilized cultures, particularly North Americans and Japanese, are totally awesome at destroying their health through stress; the 40 hour work week has become the 60 hour work week that's become the 80 hour work week.  (Weak!)  This isn't an "unknown"; it's fairly well documented.  Because of this, we now have to "find more time" to unwind.  Read that last sentence a few times, and let it sink in.  FUBAR'd comes to my mind.  This is why, in my next life, I'm coming back as a European.  They seem to actually understand the term "leisure".  But I digress.  

Athletes.  Do they need balance?  Sure.  Muscle imbalances cause all sorts of mechanical havoc.  Dietary imbalances?  Huge, of course.  "Don't get him started", as my co-workers will often warn the naive.  But what about the balance between life, training, and play?  A complex question that can be answered in a multitude of ways.

What I'd like to hear, if I asked this question of someone, is that Life, Training, and Play are all separate, but intertwined and dependent, entities.  Take a look at that symbol; each corner is needed for structural stability.  The triangle cannot exist with a corner missing.  But if one of the angles is stronger than the other, strength and stability are altered---it will no longer be a "balanced" equilateral triangle with 60 degree angles.

In Crossfit, we Go-Go-Go; it's always about faster, stronger, more intense.  PRs, faster times, bigger lifts.  In essence, we do this so we can play more effectively.  But what if we leave nothing left to play?  What if "The Gym" is our play?  Are we becoming unbalanced?  Fairly personal question I'll leave open. 

But what about the flip side to intensity?  Graham Homberg, 2010 CF Games winner, gets it:
Crossfit Journal Video: Om and Holmberg (If you don't have a CF Journal subscription, don't be a cheap bugger.  25$ a year is beans.  I know fools that spend that on coffee per week.  I don't pimp out many HQ things, but I have no qualms about the CFJ.)

I've posted on "Play" before; I think it's pretty damn important to utilize your fitness outside of the gym, and not for the sake of "getting fitter".  This is a concept that really goes beyond what I can verbalize, but it's an integral part of what makes us mammals---look at kids, look at puppies, look at dolphins.  "Play" makes them what they are.  It's a primal concept that Mark Sisson has talked about before.

An Athlete's Trifecta:  Training, Play, and Unwinding.  For me, this is Crossfit, Rock Climbing/Mountain Biking, and Yoga.

Post your thoughts to comments.

Whey protein isolate attenuates strength decline after eccentrically-induced muscle damage in healthy individuals

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010, 7:30doi:10.1186/1550-2783-7-30

Published: 22 September 2010

Abstract (provisional)


We examined the effects of short-term consumption of whey protein isolate on muscle proteins and force recovery after eccentrically-induced muscle damage in healthy individuals.


Seventeen untrained male participants (23 +/- 5 yr, 180 +/- 6 cm, 80 +/- 11 kg) were randomly separated into two supplement groups: i) whey protein isolate (WPH; n=9); or ii) carbohydrate (CHO; n=8). Participants consumed 1.5 g/kg.bw/day supplement (~30 g consumed immediately, and then once with breakfast, lunch, in the afternoon and after the evening meal) for a period of 14 days following a unilateral eccentric contraction-based resistance exercise session, consisting of 4 sets of 10 repetitions at 120% of maximum voluntary contraction on the leg press, leg extension and leg flexion exercise machine. Plasma creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels were assessed as blood markers of muscle damage. Muscle strength was examined by voluntary isokinetic knee extension using a Cybex dynamometer. Data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA with an alpha of 0.05.


Isometric knee extension strength was significantly higher following WPH supplementation 3 (P<0.05) and 7 (P<0.01) days into recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage compared to CHO supplementation. In addition, strong tendencies for higher isokinetic forces (extension and flexion) were observed during the recovery period following WPH supplementation, with knee extension strength being significantly greater (P<0.05) after 7 days recovery. Plasma LDH levels tended to be lower (P=0.06) in the WPH supplemented group during recovery.


The major finding of this investigation was that whey protein isolate supplementation attenuated the impairment in isometric and isokinetic muscle forces during recovery from exercise-induced muscle injury.

My Thoughts:  This is a pretty interesting study for reasons I'd normally be spitting mad and flingin' coffee around for:  The participants were untrained, and diets were NOT controlled.  The reason these issues are good is that untrained subjects are naturally going to have more eccentric damage from whatever they do, and uncontrolled diets, are, well, pretty damn normal in the real world.  This leaves the PRO and CHO groups fairly controlled, as far as supplementation.  The PRO group (signified as WPH) is actually a bit misleading---it's a hydrolyzed isolate with a very small amount of carbs thrown in, not just a straight whey protein isolate.  What would have been REALLY interesting was to have a third group, a PRO+ CHO, in the realm of 0.4g/kgPRO and 0.8g/kgCHO.  The PRO group (signified as WPH) is actually a bit misleading---it's a hydrolyzed isolate with a very small amount of carbs thrown in. 

Yay Books!

I recently just received two separate books in the mail, similar topics, yet vastly different for various reasons.  I've had the first book pictured, The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf, on pre-order since I first heard about it.  Robb has been a MASSIVE influence on the direction of my coaching focus, and his advice basically re-shaped the way I eat.  I plan on crushing this book, cover-to-cover, tonight at work if I have some downtime.

The second book, Food and Western Disease by Dr. Staffan Lindeberg, caught me completely off-guard when it came in the mail; as much as I wanted it, I didn't order it, as it's nearly a $100 textbook, and I enjoy being married.  It was actually a gift from a close friend, obviously one that knows me well.  It even had snazzy gift wrap and a bow!  This is THEE textbook of textbooks on hunter-gatherer nutrition and the issues with modern diet.  Lindeberg has done a shwackload of awesome research, including the famous Kitava study.

I've got geek material to last me a while with these two!

Various Training Sessions

Thursday, Sept 17th, Firehall #1, 1030
Did a really short circuit of mobility work/light strength work with MH, another firefighter and WICKED triathlete.  Right now, his training is consisting of rebuilding/strengthening via Core Performance Endurance; this consisted of sliding lunges, one-armed bench press, ab planks, and various mobility drills.  I always like joining in on other guy's workouts to get new ideas, and Verstegen's stuff is always solid.

3minx5 kickboxing with KH; went over more defensive maneuvers/evasions.  My hands are getting faster and crisper, and I feel like I'm starting to get a decent right hook.

Tuesday, Sept 21st, U of L
Rock climbing x 2 hrs; still working on various 5.10c routes.  Wicked fun, but relaxing, at the same time.

Wednesday, Sept 22nd, CFLA, 1PM
5/3/1 Press
135#1RM x 0.9=121.5#
115.5#x5. Would have liked to squeeze out a few more, but not today.  

500 m row (1:27.  Bah, 2 sec off my PR.)
rest 2 minutes
400 m row(1:17)
rest 1:30
300 m row (59s)
rest 1 min
200 m row (40s)
rest 30 sec
100 m row (19s) (total time, 4:42)
Rest 3 minutes
Row for Calories in 2 minute (44cal)

Thursday, Sept 23rd, CFLA, 1PM
AMRAP 20 minutes of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squats
26 rounds + 1.  Damn happy with this, as my last full Cindy was 20 rounds in Jan, and then back in May, a 10 minute version at 14 rounds.  Shoulder felt awesome and wasn't an issue at all, but legs were trashed from the get-go from the previous row.  I think I can hit 28 full rounds, someday.

3PM, U of L
Rock climb x2 hours.  While this wasn't too bad, the next 4 days I was smoked.  Speaking of balance...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Morrison's Take on Nutrition, Ketogenic Diets & Cancer, and a Mini Protein Review

Being Anywhere Fit.

Blair Morrison, 2010 European Regional winner and 23rd in the 2010 CF Games, has just put up a great post on how he fuels himself. I'm always saying you can make it as complex as you want, or as simple as you want.  I urge you to read the post in it's entirety, but here's some take-away bullets:
  • First off, we must acknowledge that different aims require different approaches.If one person wants to lose 30 pounds and the other wants to gain 30 pounds, their methods will be necessarily distinct.What most can agree on, however, is that this distinction typically hinges on quantity not quality.
  • I think it is important to mention here that the predominant benefit one gets from fruits and vegetables go unnoticed.Micronutrients are all the rave these days in anti-cancer circles and I am on the bandwagon.  Give me all the green I can get.
  • For one, I eat a ton of potatoes. Mostly sweet potatoes and yams because they have a milder effect on blood sugar, but plenty of the regular brand as well.  As far as I’m concerned, potatoes are still high quality food.  
  • And, before you say it, I’m not one of those cases where anything will work.  Flour knocks me out cold.  If I eat pizza, pasta, or garlic bread I’ll be horizontal on the couch before my grandparents finish their desert wine.
  • Point is, some developments are positive and not using them is plain stupid; those include post workout supplements like protein and creatine.  I know this because of how I feel after a workout when I take them compared to when I don’t. (Not to mention the overwhelming majority of scientific research). It’s night and day.  The only other supplement I take is fish oil, simply because I don’t eat enough fish and the human diet is wildly out of its Omega 3/Omega 6 balance.
My Thoughts:  Blair's take on nutrition is solid.  While one could split hairs on certain topics, the key here is that it's simple, and it works for him.  I like it.

The Ketogenic Diet Reverses Gene Expression Patterns and Reduces Reactive Oxygen Species Levels When Used as an Adjuvant Therapy for Glioma

Nutrition & Metabolism 2010, 7:74doi:10.1186/1743-7075-7-74
Published: 10 September 2010

Abstract (provisional)


Malignant brain tumors affect people of all ages and are the second leading cause of cancer deaths in children. While current treatments are effective and improve survival, there remains a substantial need for more efficacious therapeutic modalities. The ketogenic diet (KD) - a high-fat, low-carbohydrate treatment for medically refractory epilepsy - has been suggested as an alternative strategy to inhibit tumor growth by altering intrinsic metabolism, especially by inducing glycopenia.


Here, we examined the effects of an experimental KD on a mouse model of glioma, and compared patterns of gene expression in tumors vs. normal brain from animals fed either a KD or a standard diet.


Animals received intracranial injections of bioluminescent GL261-luc cells and tumor growth was followed in vivo. KD treatment significantly reduced the rate of tumor growth and prolonged survival. Further, the KD reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in tumor cells. Gene expression profiling demonstrated that the KD induces an overall reversion to expression patterns seen in non-tumor specimens. Notably, genes involved in modulating ROS levels and oxidative stress were altered, including those encoding cyclooxygenase 2, glutathione peroxidases 3 and 7, and periredoxin 4.


Our data demonstrate that the KD improves survivability in our mouse model of glioma, and suggests that the mechanisms accounting for this protective effect likely involve complex alterations in cellular metabolism beyond simply a reduction in glucose.

My Thoughts: This is a bit of a deviation away from the typical studies I post, but it's a topic that's had my interest for quite some time. For a long, long time we have known about the Warburg Effect; in a nutshell, the fact that cancer cells run almost solely on glucose, even in the presence of oxygen. The conclusion of this study points to a mechanism outside of this effect; one involving an anti-angiogenesis effect secondary to reduced ROS formation.

My question is this:  If we know how to treat cancers effectively from a nutritional standpoint, WHY AREN'T WE DOING IT???  I'll leave you with that (high fat) food for thought.

Protein Review

I've had the chance to try a fair number of different protein powders over the years; what I've done here is just thrown down my thoughts on each.  There's nothing scientific or quantitative, just my opinion.  If there's a brand here you cherish and love and I've pissed all over it, well, all I can say is it ain't religion, it's just protein.

First off, a mini-primer on different proteins:
Whey Protein Concentrate: The lowest grade. Think of it like crude oil. I make this metaphor because- like crude oil- the isolates and hydrolysates are derived from WPC. They all start as concentrate. It has the lowest % of protein per gram, so it's more difficult to increase your protein ratio by supplementing WPC as compared to isolates.
Whey Protein Isolate: Refined concentrate. There are varying degrees of refinement. Think of it like gas- there is a range from basic to premium.
Hydrolyzed Protein: Usually from whey, this is processed to break up the protein chains (of amino acids) into shorter chains. The shorter the chain, the more readily it can be absorbed by your body, making this the ideal post-workout protein.
Casein Protein: The primary protein found in milk (whey is secondary). Casein clots in the stomach meaning it is digested over a longer period of time.
Milk Protein Isolate: MPI is simply an isolate of milk protein, so it mirrors the ratio of casein to whey (80:20) found in milk.

Note: All brands tested are the "vanilla" flavor, or a similar facsimile of; I generally only use it in my coffee preWO, or PWO in my staple shake.

Biotest's GROW Bioactive Whey - Recently just tried this for the first time; It's a WPC, so the serving size only offers 20g PRO per scoop, and the damn thing is huge.  Really sweet-tasting vanilla.  Sweetened with sucralose.  Pretty damn cheap, but you get what you pay for.  I won't buy this again. Mixes like crap in my coffee, which I do everyday when coaching.

Dream Whey - This is thee fuckin' Cadillac of proteins: made from whey from hormone free New Zealand cows---and all they feed 'em over there is grass. It's a combo of WPI/WPC, and sweetened with stevia. Mixes well, tastes damn good, and lightens your wallet like no other: nearly 50 bucks for a pathetically small 1.5lb container. I like it, but hey, I have my name embroidered on my shirt and I get paid by the hour. I'd love to use this all the time, but I need to stock the fridge with real food.

Jarrow Whey  - A shitty knock-off of the above, plus it's sweetened with fructose. Knowing what we know about fructose, I think I'd rather take the Ace-K and Splenda. Crappiest vanilla flavor I've had to date, plus it's a pure WPC.  Not impressed.

MuscleMed's Carnivor - This was one of those Damn-I-Regret-It-But-I-Did-It impulse buys. Carnivor is...wait for it...a BPI (beef protein isolate); I should have done my homework here, as the BPV (biological value of protein) and PDCAAS (protein digestibility corrected amino acid score) of beef vs whey is a no-brainer.  Plus, it's hard to hide the fact it's DRIED AND POWDERED beef.  Well, they try to hide it, with a brutal "blue raspberry" flavor. WTF, Mike. Seriously. Needless to say this one ONLY has been tested in my PWO shake. 

Ultimate Nutrition's IsoSentation93 - This, by far, has been my standard go-to protein; microfiltered, cold temp processed high-quality isolate with a shwackload of other goodies thrown in, like protease, lactase, and alpha lipoic acid.  The vanilla bean rocks, there's a whopping 30g of protein per scoop, and it dissolves in coffee quite well.  And, at 45 bucks for a FIVE pound tub (where I get it online), it's totally affordable.

True Nutrition Custom Blend - Currently, I'm using a WPI sweetened with Stevia in a vanilla flavor.  5lbs for 58 bucks.  There's a bazillion different options to design your own.  Probably the cheapest way to get away from stuff like sucralose and Ace-K.

Extra STUFF: 
  • Don't be a fool---buy online.  You'll get raked over the coals if you buy from a health food store or some juice monkey establishment.  Some stuff, like the Dream, you have no option.  
  • Whey is a byproduct of dairy processing; much like your fish oil (you take fish oil right?  Right.), the more processed the better.  Why?  It REMOVES impurities, namely because it's devoid of fat, and in the case of hydrolyzed whey, it's processed even further by denaturing.  So, that top dollar you just paid for organic, grass-fed, hormone free cattle raised by 1000 flaxen-haired virgin Kiwis?  Yeah.
  • Don't get your panties in a knot over the fact it states "Contains Soy and Wheat".  The soy is from soy lecithin, a fatty emulsifier, which is devoid of xenoestrogens.  Plus, lecithin contains phosphatidylcholine, which is needed for the production of the essential neurotransmitter acetylcholine.  S-M-R-T, yo.  The "wheat" could be glutamine peptides, which are usually manufactured from hydrolyzed wheat gluten.  Yup.  If you are seriously gluten intolerant, test it out first.  Chances are, it'll be fine: glutamine, while being nearly completely fucking useless as an oral supplement for recovery/muscle mass/yada yada yada, is an EXCELLENT supplement for GI health and reducing gluten-mediated inflammation.  Yay science!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Henry Rollins vs McDs, Tea Science, Education Update

First off, a short, hilarious, but oh-so-true rant from Henry Rollins.  Just to warn you, there's a few F-bombs.  Hide the children, THEN turn the volume up:

Effects of green tea, black tea and Rooibos tea on angiotensin-converting enzyme and nitric oxide in healthy volunteers.

Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Drug Research/Pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, SE-581 85 Linköping, Sweden. ingrid.persson@liu.se


OBJECTIVE: Tea has been reported to reduce cardiovascular mortality, but the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. The aim of the current project was to investigate the effect of green tea (Japanese Sencha), black tea (Indian Assam B.O.P.) and Rooibos tea (South Africa) on angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and nitric oxide (NO).
DESIGN: Seventeen healthy volunteers received a single oral dose of 400 ml green tea, black tea or Rooibos tea in a randomized, three-phase, crossover study. ACE activity and NO concentration were measured (at 0, 30, 60 and 180 min) in all phases. ACE activity was analysed by means of a commercial radioenzymatic assay. Nitrite was analysed as a marker of NO concentration. In addition, ACE genotype was determined using a PCR method.
RESULTS: Oral intake of a single dose of Rooibos tea significantly inhibited ACE activity after 30 min (P < 0.01) and after 60 min (P < 0.05). A significant inhibition of ACE activity was seen with green tea for the ACE II genotype 30 min after intake of the tea (P < 0.05) and for the ACE ID genotype 60 min after intake (P < 0.05). A significant inhibition of ACE activity was also seen with Rooibos tea for the ACE II genotype 60 min after intake (P < 0.05). No significant effect on NO concentration was seen.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that green tea and Rooibos tea may have cardiovascular effects through inhibition of ACE activity.
PMID: 20144258 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

My Thoughts: By no means is this a performance enhancing effect; had there been a rise in NO, then maybe.  The ACE-inhibitory effect (ACE inhibitors are commonly prescribed blood-pressure lowering medications) could have potential implications in the PWO recovery periods, but that's just speculation on my part.  Nonetheless, it's just more ammo and reason why one should include various types of tea into their diet.  Personally, I'm a huge fan of Rooibos, Green, and White tea.  From the ECGC, anti-cancer, thermogenic, anti-hypertensive, and anxiolytic properties, one really has no reason NOT to drink some form daily.  I love my java, but tea just has too many benefits to ignore.

Education Update

Despite the fact I just finished up OPT's Nutrition cert, there's some pretty cool things on the horizon for the coaches at CFLA.  The education never stops!
  • Coming up at the beginning of October, Larry Mather from the Alberta Weightlifting Association will be putting on a NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program) Level-1 Olympic Lifting certification; I'm crazy stoked for this, as I absolutely LOVE Oly lifting, but it's also one of the most complex things to teach clients.
  • In November, we have a local physiotherapist coming to CFLA to do a certification in Gray Cook's Functional Movement Screen; I already have some training regarding this, and utilize it yearly with the fire department physical fitness testing. While all the coaches at CFLA are excellent in spotting dysfunction and/or restricted movement, this will be another extremely valuable tool in the toolbox to improve our athletes and identify weakness and potential injury locations.
  • I'm currently on ANOTHER nutrition journey---this time, with John Berardi, PhD.  I had started this a while back, but had to put it on the backburner to prepare for OPT.  The Precision Nutrition Certification will be an excellent adjunct to the OPT cert; I've been following Berardi's material for years, and have never been steered wrong.  He's counseled everyone from Olympic athletes to NHL players to UFC fighters in the realm of athletic performance related to nutrition.  It'll take me a long time to tackle this one, but it'll be well worth it.
Various Training

Aug 23rd, CFLA, 1PM
Squat Clean
Worked up to a heavy single@215#.  Ugly form, but tied my PR from May.

AMRAP 15 Min
6 Pullups
12 KBS (53#)
7rd +3 +6 +2.
Aug 30th, CFLA, 1PM
High Bar Back Squat
275#x1, 295#x0.  Got stuck halfway OUT of the hole, so I feel 295# is doable.  305# is my low bar PR, but it's been a while since I've work on my squat.  I'll be using 295# for Wendler's 5/3/1.  I wouldn't say my squat is a "goat", but it sure ain't my strong point.  Yet.

10 Rounds for Time:
3 Squat Cleans (105#)
5 Box Jumps (24")
5:14.  Fortunate enough to have Coach Fyfe join me at 1PM; I made the mistake of taking a couple of greedy breaths on the 3rd round, and never caught up to him again, as he came in with a wicked sub-5min time.

Aug 31st, CFLA, 1PM
Worked up to a heavy single of 135#, failed at 140#.  Very, VERY happy with this, despite the pathetic weight; my shoulder strength is improving, and my shoulder pain, or lack thereof, is good.  It gets sore after a workout like this, but it seems to disappear quick.  I'll take it.

Double Unders
Situps (anchored + abmat)
6:10.  Tripped up once on the set of 40, and situps seemed faster.  Gotta bust that 6 min mark someday.

Sept 1st, Firehall #1, 10:30AM
30s on/30s off, 5 Rounds
Med Ball Slams(20#), Renegade Rows (45#DBs), Plyometric Lunges, Push Press (35#DBs), Med Ball Situps(20#)
Myself, KH, and SG tackled this one.  After, KH and myself hit the pads for 5x3min each.  I'm getting faster and smoother with the hand combos, something that I totally lacked from my traditional martial arts background.  Jab-Cross-Bodyshot-Hook-Uppercut, goodnight!

Note:  I was seriously crushed for the next few days; Annie seems to do this, for whatever odd reason. A few shitty nightshifts over the long weekend didn't help, either.

Sept 6th, CFLA, 1PM
No classes today, but had a gym full o' friends: Team G, "The Body", Jake, PB, Al and Mich.
HB Back Squat, 5Rep, using Wendler's Percentages:
1RM295# x 90%=265.5, 75%=199, 80%=212, 85%=225
135#x10, 185#x5, 185#x5
75%(used 205#) x5, 80%(used 215#)x5, 80%(225#)x AMRAP, 8 reps.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 of:
KBS, 70#
5:46.  Had Heather, Cory, Jake, and Patrick join me, which just rocks.  I'm normally fighting myself, mentally, during my solo metcons; having folks sweating, swinging, and flying around me is like a contagious energy. Love it.