Friday, January 29, 2010

Creatine - Take 2, 50lbs of Beef, and Using Crossfit

That would be me.

It's funny how stuff happens; I get asked about creatine twice in one week, make a post, and the next day, a sweet lil' study pops up that has direct carry-over into creatine + Crossfit.

Creatine supplementation spares muscle glycogen during high intensity intermittent exercise in rats.

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010, 7:6doi:10.1186/1550-2783-7-6

Published: 29 January 2010

Abstract (provisional)


The effects of creatine (CR) supplementation on glycogen content are still debatable. Thus, due to the current lack of clarity, we investigated the effects of CR supplementation on muscle glycogen content after high intensity intermittent exercise in rats. Methods: first, the animals were submitted to a high intensity intermittent maximal swimming exercise protocol to ensure that CR-supplementation was able to delay fatigue (experiment 1). Then, the CR-mediated glycogen sparing effect was examined using a high intensity intermittent sub-maximal exercise test (fixed number of bouts; six bouts of 30-second duration interspersed by two-minute rest interval) (experiment 2). For both experiments, male Wistar rats were given either CR supplementation or placebo (Pl) for 5 days. Results: as expected, CR-supplemented animals were able to exercise for a significant higher number of bouts than Pl. Experiment 2 revealed a higher gastrocnemius glycogen content for the CR vs. the Pl group (33.59%). Additionally, CR animals presented lower blood lactate concentrations throughout the intermittent exercise bouts compared to Pl. No difference was found between groups in soleus glycogen content. Conclusion: The major finding of this study is that CR supplementation was able to spare muscle glycogen during a high intensity intermittent exercise in rats.

Cool beans. It spares glycogen at high intensity levels. I like that.

Now I still don't want to see every single wannabe-athlete running out and snorting lines of creatine monohydrate---like a broken record, I'll say it again: Unless you have your diet dialed in 100% and are an experienced athlete (read: training adaptations. Simple read: You've been at it for at least a year consistently, and some of your gains have topped out), I don't want to see this in your pantry.  Cory Gillespie has a great post that illustrates this over at Conquest Conditioning. Go look at it now. Creatine is good stuff, but real food is your base. Top out your protein intake at 1g/pound BW, and then come talk to me about creatine. No sooner.

 50lbs of organically raised, free range, grass-fed beef.  Think there's creatine in THAT?  F*ck yes.  Plus a bunch of other goodness like CLA (conjugated Linoleic Acid), higher omega-3 content, better03:06 ratio, iron, B vitamins....and no added hormones, no gluten from grain consumption, and no antibiotic use.

50lbs DELIVERED.  This I like.  I order from a small local family farm, Harris Farms; they also raise organic, free range, pastured poultry and pork.

Every cut of meat I've tried has been phenomenal, from the ground all the way to the roasts.  The short ribs rocked like no other, and they are by far my fav.
Some folks might think this is extreme, but to me, it just makes good sense for health and longevity.  Plus, it just f*cking tastes awesome.  Grass fed beef has a much more flavorful taste than grain or corn fed.

It can be kind of hard to find this type of quality meat in a place like Alberta, where the cattle industry and agriculture in general is a huge political machine all on it's own; some resources like Eat Wild and Local Harvest have some Canadian/Alberta links, but folks like Harris Farms are "off the grid", so to speak.  There's a few other places in and around town, so just grab a Crossfit coach and ask.

Using Fitness

So I've recently gotten back into rock climbing; it's something I've been doing since about 1994 or so, but only sporadically, on and off.  One of the new firefighters (anyone hired within a year or two is considered "new" to us old dudes) dragged me out last week to the indoor wall here, and my interest has been re-ignited.

It got me thinking: What Do YOU use Crossfit for?
  • Is Crossfit your main "sport"
  • Do you have other athletic hobbies?
  • And, have you found carry-over as far as fitness goes into your other sports?
Personally, and this may be contrarian, but that's just like me, I haven't found a HUGE carry-over into some of the other sports I'm involved with.  I know, I just heard all of Santa Cruz gasp.  But, (in my experience), I've still needed  sport-specificity training.  This has been especially evident the last few sessions at the wall; my technical proficiency is in the crapper.  What was once graceful climbing is now an imitation of a bag of hammers noisily making it's way up the wall.  I used to warm up on 5.9s and 5.10s and handle 5.12a routes, but now I get blasted on a 5.10b.

With mountain biking, I found more carry-over as far as anaerobic endurance on hills, but my legs at the beginning of the spring still felt "heavy", and it took time in the saddle to acclimatize, so to speak.  For the 24 Hours of Adrenaline race I'll be doing this summer, I'll have to 1) obviously put hours in on the bike, and 2) shift my training emphasis to more endurance-oriented WODs.

Post your thoughts to comments

My training.  Kinda "scattered"

As far as my training lately, it's been a bit all-over-the-place; I've been following some of our gym's programming, and interspersing my own strength WODs where I feel necessary.  I need to re-focus my goals and orient my training accordingly.

Some recent ones:
Jan 22nd, CFLA, 1PM
Death By Ten Meters
16 Rounds; I've done this one before, and busted out one more round this time. We didn't have to touch the line, so that made a difference, plus I did it with a hung-over and tired Coach Fyfe, who amazingly paced me the whole time. I think 17 is doable, since I ended with a few seconds left and pulled the plug.

Jan 25th, CFLA, 1PM
Snatch Grip Deadlift, 3-3-3-3-20
Worked up to 275#x3, and did 165#x20.  This is a great movement, and I think I could go up to 300 and still not have my thumbs rip off.  165#x20 was interesting.  Back was torched over the next few days from this.
125 abmat situps for time, 3:46.  No breaks, did better than I thought I would.

Jan 28th, CFLA, 1PM
Power Clean Tech Work
155#x3, Hang Power Clean
135#x3, High Hang Power Clean
Rowing Helen
3 rounds for time of:
400m row
21 Kettlebell swings (24kg/52.8lbs)
12 Pullups
10:29.  Lotsa breaks, wow, LOL.  Had a hard time hanging onto both the KB and bar.  I want to do a real Helen, with a 400m run; I'm going to go out on a limb and say it'll be much faster.

Jan 29th, CFLA, 1PM
Front squat
135#, 155#, 175#, 195#, 205#x6 to end.
I started low on these because I'm still leery about my right knee; Coach Gillespie just came walking through the door as I was screaming my way out of the hole on sets 7 and 6, said the depth was solid, but I'm unsure.  I know I'm favoring that knee.  Felt like someone was "ripping" the hair off my leg after the last set.  Odd.

Tabata Pushups, 8 sets, 20s on/10s off
Held 12s for all sets; I believe this is my average from about 10,000 years ago.  13 could have been doable.  I'll have to try a max effort set again soon and see where my true average is at.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Client Questions

Got Questions?  I got answers.  With facts!

So I had a couple of good questions from clients pop up over the last few days; I love when this happens, because 1) I really enjoy helping folks understand stuff, and 2) it let's me know what my clients are thinking and where they are at, in terms of nutrition.  So, without further ado:


1) Should I Throw Away My Egg Yolk and Eat Only The White???

Answer: My GAWD no. No! NononononononNOOO!

This question is a fairly common one, and based on a couple of myths; the first being that all the protein is in the white of the yolk, and the second being that whole egg consumption causes high cholesterol. Let's tackle the first myth, which is fairly black and white:
  • Egg whites contain only HALF of an egg's protein
  • Egg whites contain practically nothing else.
  • Egg yolks contain Vit D, E, K, Folate, Selenium
  • Egg yolks contain saturated and monounsaturated fats, and a lil' bit o' polyunsaturated
Whole eggs are practically a mini-white nutritional BOMB.  Why anyone in this day and age would consume only whites is beyond me.  The only area I would even consider it would be a bodybuilder/figure competitor looking to reduced calories in some form.  It still doesn't make sense in that regard, but neither does slathering your dehydrated body with self tanner and wandering around on stage in an electrolyte-depleted haze.

There is issues with just consuming whites as far as lysozyme, biotin, and avadin goes, but that's really neither here nor there.  Just eat the damn yolks.

Ok, cholesterol and eggs.  This one is a bit more complex, but it's essentially another non-issue.  The myth of eggs causing high cholesterol comes from the fact a single egg contains 200mg of cholesterol; if you follow the Recommended Daily Intake values (which you shouldn't, because they're crap), a single egg contains 70% of the RDI for cholesterol.  Hence the "doctor approved" limitation.

But take pause, dear reader, and dwell on this: These are the same folks that state fat makes you fat, PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids, like corn oil) are good, and diabetics would eat a 60% carb diet.

Some facts about cholesterol:
  • Your Body Makes Cholesterol. Your liver makes 3-6x more cholesterol than you can get eating eggs and other animal products.
  • Cholesterol is Vital To Your Body. You need it for the production of steroid hormones like testosterone and to build & repair cells.
  • Dietary Cholesterol Isn’t Bound to Blood Cholesterol. There's no correlation between dietary cholesterol intake and blood cholesterol levels.
And now for some Sciencey Goodness!

Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269, USA.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Extensive research has not clearly established a link between egg consumption and risk for coronary heart disease. The effects of egg intake on plasma lipids and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) atherogenicity in healthy populations need to be addressed. RECENT FINDINGS: The lack of connection between heart disease and egg intake could partially be explained by the fact that dietary cholesterol increases the concentrations of both circulating LDL and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in those individuals who experience an increase in plasma cholesterol following egg consumption (hyperresponders). It is also important to note that 70% of the population experiences a mild increase or no alterations in plasma cholesterol concentrations when challenged with high amounts of dietary cholesterol (hyporesponders). Egg intake has been shown to promote the formation of large LDL, in addition to shifting individuals from the LDL pattern B to pattern A, which is less atherogenic. Eggs are also good sources of antioxidants known to protect the eye; therefore, increased plasma concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin in individuals consuming eggs are also of interest, especially in those populations susceptible to developing macular degeneration and eye cataracts. SUMMARY: For these reasons, dietary recommendations aimed at restricting egg consumption should not be generalized to include all individuals. We need to acknowledge that diverse healthy populations experience no risk in developing coronary heart disease by increasing their intake of cholesterol but, in contrast, they may have multiple beneficial effects by the inclusion of eggs in their regular diet.
PMID: 16340654 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

methyl guanidine-acetic acid.  Or, simply, creatine.

2) Should I Take Creatine?

Whoa there, hoss.  If you're asking me if you should take something, dontcha think you should know WHAT it is, and WHAT it does, and HOW it works?  I'd say yes.  But, once again, this is a fairly common question.  Let's take a quick look at creatine:

What Is It?

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound derived from glycine and arginine and found primarily in the heart, brain, and skeletal muscle.  Through dietary sources like chicken, beef, and eggs, we intake roughly 1 gram a day.  Researchers have been aware of creatine in skeletal muscles and the effects of exercise and diet on creatine since the late 1800, but it wasn't until the early 1990's that it went mainstream.  Several Olympic athletes at the 1992 games had supplemented (legally) with creatine, and after that, it was GAME ON.  A US-based supplement company, Experimental and Applied Sciences (EAS) brought the first OTC (over-the counter) creatine supplement, Phosagen.

What Does It Do and How Does It Work?

Creatine has a few of positive benefits for the aspiring athlete:
  • Modulation of energy metabolism - Creatine operates as an energy and pH buffer during exercise. Creatine kinase catalyzes a reaction between free creatine and phosphor ions (from the breakdown of ATP to ADP), resulting in phosphocreatine (PCr), which is locked into the muscle cell due to its strong negative charge. The PCr can then react with ADP to form ATP during exercise, and during rest periods more PCr is generated. All of this equates to more energy during sets and faster recovery between sets, specifically in the short duration/max effort energy system.
  • Increased protein synthesis - Supplementing with creatine has been shown to increase intracellular water retention. Not only does this have the benefit of making the muscles appear larger, it may have an anabolic effect as well. Hyperhydration stimulates protein synthesis and inhibits protein breakdown, and cell volume has a correlation with catabolism in a variety of ailments . Numerous studies have confirmed that creatine supplementation prevents protein catabolism . 
  • Buffering acidosis - this is theorized to happen through two mechanisms: one is from creatine bonded with H+ (acid) ions, and through skeletal muscle cell volumization (hyperhydration), therefore diluting, or delaying, acidosis of myocytes.
What Kind?

  There's a crapload of various types and brands on the shelves out there, but keep this in mind:  All well controlled studies NOT funded my supplement companies have use the form of creatine monohydrate.  Don't waste your cash on Ticreatine Malate, Creatine Ethyl Ester (which has significant health drawbacks), liquid creatine (highly unstable), or any other god-forsaken form.  Just stick with monohydrate.  Micronized is fine, it's just a "finer" (as in, smaller particle size) or monohydrate.  A German company has a patented brand called Creapure that is sold under popular brands like Champion Nutrition, Optimum Nutrition, and Ultimate Nutrition labels.

How Much Should I Take?

 Most labeling will tell you to take 20g x5 days, then 5g thereafter.  The sole reason for this would be to reach "saturation" (your muscle cells can only hold so much) faster.  It's also a damn good way to experience side effects, as limited as they are.  Just take 5g (generally one tiny scoop that'll be in the container, or a level teaspoon) a day, optimally in the PWO (post-workout) period.

There's also this weird myth that you have to take creatine with a high glycemic carb, like grape juice.  Why grape juice, and why a high glycemic carb, I don't know.  It makes my brain f-ing cramp as to why these myths pop up, but they do.  While high GI carbs cause an insulin spike, and in the PWO period  our insulin receptors are sensitized, this really has nothing to do with creatine transport into myocytes.  The transporter, CreaT, is sodium dependent, so all those other reasons can GFTS.  *I think you guys can figure out THAT acronym.  There's other reasons as to why high GI carbs are fine PWO, so throwing 5g of creatine into a shake isn't a bad thing.  It's just good science to know why you're doing something.

Some Common FAQ on creatine:
Will it wreck my kidneys?  No.  It's the most studied OTC supplement in history.  It's safe.  Your kidneys will be fine.
Doesn't it cause water retention?  No.  It causes skeletal muscle hyperhydration.  There's a difference.
Does it cause muscle and tendon injury?  No.  Not warming up, training stupid, and being dehydrated causes that.
Don't I need to cycle it? No.  "Cycling" is a another bodybuilder-perpetrated myth based on the cycling of AAS due to down-regulation of hormones from exogenous sources; creatine intake, either from food or supplements, doesn't do this. 

Key point:  Since it causes intracellular hyperhydration, it *does* draw fluid from extracelluar space to intracelluar space.  What does that mean?  That means you need to stay hydrated.  Be diligent about this, unless you want to turn into a pile of dust while doing a burpee.  99.9% of side effect associated with creatine are due to bone-heads not drinking enough H20.  Don't be a bone head.

Do I Need To Take It?

Hell no!  Only roughly 70% of folks are actually responders, and those that ARE responders are only getting a MAX of a few pounds on their 1RM, or shaving off a few tenths of a second on a 100m sprint.  As far as pH buffering, that's pretty hard to quantify, and the same goes for increased protein synthesis.

Unless you have your diet dialed in so tight that it would make Robb Wolf squeal like a little girl, a person has no business taking this.  That's *MY* stance.  There's a million uber-low brow teenaged boys taking it, and there's NOT a million uber-teenaged athletes out there, so you do the math.  It ain't a silver bullets, as musch as MuscleTech and the like would have you believe.

There's a LOT more info out there on both these topics; for the curious, I urge you to dig around, and find out more. Be educated.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pigs Have Flown, More Education, and Slaying Cindy

Get Yer' Shotgun, Earl!  It's Christmas!

Well, it finally happened.  It's been posted on about a bazillion Paleo-type blogs, and I don't want to be the skinny athletic Paleo kid that gets left out, so I'm posting it here, too.

Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease

Patty W Siri-Tarino, Qi Sun, Frank B Hu and Ronald M Krauss 1 From the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute Oakland CA (PWS-TRMK)the Departments of Nutrition (QSFBH)Epidemiology (FBH) Harvard School of Public Health Boston MA. 

Background: A reduction in dietary saturated fat has generally been thought to improve cardiovascular health.
Objective: The objective of this meta-analysis was to summarize the evidence related to the association of dietary saturated fat with risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and cardiovascular disease (CVD; CHD inclusive of stroke) in prospective epidemiologic studies.
Design: Twenty-one studies identified by searching MEDLINE and EMBASE databases and secondary referencing qualified for inclusion in this study. A random-effects model was used to derive composite relative risk estimates for CHD, stroke, and CVD.
Results: During 5–23 y of follow-up of 347,747 subjects, 11,006 developed CHD or stroke. Intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of CHD, stroke, or CVD. The pooled relative risk estimates that compared extreme quantiles of saturated fat intake were 1.07 (95% CI: 0.96, 1.19; P = 0.22) for CHD, 0.81 (95% CI: 0.62, 1.05; P = 0.11) for stroke, and 1.00 (95% CI: 0.89, 1.11; P = 0.95) for CVD. Consideration of age, sex, and study quality did not change the results.
Conclusions: A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace saturated fat.

While that should make most mainstream "eat-your-grains-and-sat-fat-is-bad" nutrition, ahem, "experts" shut the hell up, it probably won't. But to celebrate, I'm cooking bacon tomorrow morning. And looking out my kitchen window into the sky, expecting flying pigs.

A minor news announcement, but announcement-worthy, nonetheless: I've registered for the Optimum Performance Training Certified Coaching Program (CCP) Nutrition component seminar; while I'd love to take ALL of the coaching components, nutrition is where my heart lies, and both my time and wallet are limited. Robb Wolf speaks highly of James Fitzgerald regarding performance nutrition, and seeing as how OPT is in my backyard, I'd be a fool to miss this.  It coincides with my regular days off from the fire department, so that's an added bonus.

Speaking of highly educated guys, I've been following the blog of Dr. Kurt Harris, who posts at PaNu - paleolithic nutrition - duplicating the evolutionary metabolic milieu. I really like the way he approaches Paleo nutrition---not from a weight loss perspective, not from an athletic performance perspective, but from a health and longevity perspective. He's a highly educated M.D. who basically picked up Good Calories, Bad Calories, and started his own Paleo journey a-rollin'. He tells it like it is, doesn't listen to bullshit, and is a bowhunter, also. How could I NOT like the guy??

He has a great "Get Started" Paleo list, which I'm going to reproduce in full here:

1 Eliminate sugar (including fruit juices and sports drinks) and all flour 
2 Start eating proper fats - Use healthy animal fats to substitute fat calories for carb calories. Drink whole cream or half and half instead of milk.
3 Eliminate grains
4 Eliminate grain and seed derived oils (cooking oils) Cook with butter, animal fats, or coconut oil.
5 Get daily midday sun or take 4-8000 iu vit D daily
6 Intermittent fasting and infrequent meals (2 meals a day is best)
7 Fruit is just a candy bar from a tree. Stick with berries and avoid watermelon which is pure fructose. Eat in moderation.
8 Eliminate legumes
9 Adjust your 6s and 3s. Pastured (grass fed) dairy and grass fed beef or bison avoids excess O-6 fatty acids and are better than supplementing with 0-3 supplements.
10 Proper exercise - emphasizing resistance and interval training over long aerobic sessions
11 Eliminate milk (if you are sensitive to it, move this up the list

12 Eliminate other dairy including cheese- (now you are "orthodox paleolithic")

***I highly recommend you check out his interview with Jimmy Moore here.

Jan 18th, CFLA, 1PM

AMRAP in 20 Minutes:
5 Pullups
10 Pushups
15 Squats

20 Rounds + 5 Pullups + 7 Pushups.

Pretty damn happy with this, considering just how bad my pushing/overhead strength is---plus, zero pain while doing it.  As I type this out at 6:45, I'm still pain free, so I'm extremely happy.  Pushups WERE the limiting factor.  I was on pace for a 24 round Cindy at 10 minutes (12 rounds), but the last 5 minutes I really hit the wall, and had to break my pushups into groups of 5,3,and 2.  Nasty.  Kudos once again to Coach Fyfe for urging me on after he finished his WOD---much appreciated, Dave!  Solid advice for next time, too.

Here's an actual Crossfit Confession:  I've never done a full Cindy.  Yup.  The only time I've attempted it was waaaaay back in 2007 when I first started.  I got to 13 rounds, and had some massive callus tears due to the pullups, and stopped.

Not much else to report in the way of WODs; did a little treadmill/double under/strict pullup/mini Cindy work on Friday at the firehall, but it's not worth posting.  One of the guys I'm stationed with trains at the Progressive Fighting Academy, and is going to bring in some Thai pads to kick around during our scheduled fitness training time.  I haven't done that in months!  Looking forward to it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Looking Into The Cave, The Sedentary Files, and some WODaged.

Crossfitter, circa 1,000,000BC.  Badass.

So the other night I had the pleasure of lecturing on nutrition at my local box, Crossfit Lethbridge; it was the kick-off for the 60 day "Look-Feel-Perform Better Challenge".  I threw a lot of information around in the hour and a bit I was there, and answered some great questions.  What I failed to do was A) create mealplans, and B) simplify a few ideas.

"A" isn't going to happen.  I don't handhold, nor do I spoonfeed.  What I will do is answer any question you throw at me, explain supplements, talk about strategies.  But I won't create mealplans.  I freely give, enthusiastically, I might add, the knowledge so that YOU can figure out what to eat.  Open source, baby.

"B", on the other hand, is going to happen right now.  Think of it as "Looking Into The Cave", or Paleo-With -Training wheels.  Nothing huge, just a couple of really, really simple ideas.

1) Start SMALL.  If you cut out every single food item you thought was healthy for the past 30 years, you're screwed, you're going to rebel both mentally and physically, and ultimately, fail.  Start small, one item at a time.   Really, REALLY love bread?  Cut out pasta first.  Can't even begin to think of not drinking milk?  Dump the orange juice first.  Baby steps, my Paleo children.  One item at a time.  I started doing this back in 2006, and it was brutally easy.

2) Cut refined sugar outI THOUGHT YOU SAID START SMALL!  Yup, and this isn't a big deal, and it's pretty easy.  Just don't eat crap, (sugar), and don't add crap (sugar) to your food.  There's no place for adding sugar to any food item; if you live on Twinkies and Mars bars, well, you need a bit more help, but if you're reading this blog, you're already searching for it.

This, by far, can be one of thee best things you ever do for yourself, even if you do nothing else.  By eliminating refined sugar (read: chocolate bars, soda pop, Twinkies, Freezies, Slushies, anything-ies in a package that's cold and sweet), you'll cut a HUGE amount of high-glycemic carbs, and slash your insulin levels to super low levels.  And yes, Fruit Loops in skim milk is "refined" sugars.

3) Think Red + Green.  Meat and veggies.  These two general items should compose the majority of your meals.  Re-train your line of thinking that you "need" whole grains, starches, and multiple items on your plate at every sitting.  Chicken and spinach salad.  Steak and steamed broccoli.  Rack of ribs and steamed + whipped cauliflower (faux-tatoes.  Texture is EXACTLY the same).

3 simple ideas.  That's all.  And if you're still of the line of thought that you "NEED" more, check this out:

15 different meats x 15 different spices x 15 different veggies x 6 different oils = 20,250 different combinations.  That's 3 different meals a day for EIGHTEEN YEARS.  Variety in Paleo?  You bet.


I'd like to point out a FANTASTIC series by Coach Gillespie over at Conquest Conditioning; he's coined it The Sedentary Files (click here for part 1), and it's all about the reasoning, theories, and issues behind today's obese and sedentary youth. It's compelling, it's well written, and it's damn important. Go read it. Now.

Jan 8th, CFLA, 8PM

Power Clean Tech Work

185#x0 (oops.  Hmm)
135#x1,1,1 Squat Clean
165#x1,1,1 SC
185#x1, easy power clean.  Done.

5Km row, 19:50.  Just wanted a 20-min sweat, surprised myself with a sub-20.  Had the damper at 6.5, then cranked it up to 8 at 2500m.  Paced at 1:55-2:05/500m, then bumped it up to 1:50/500m at 500m to go, then 1:40/500m at 250m.  PR is 19:25.

Jan 11th, Waterton National Park

Forum Falls Ranger Station.  

Snowshoed into Forum Lake, Waterton Park, with my friend and fellow Crossfitter Jacob.  10Km round trip.  5 Degrees Celsius, perfect weather.  Tough hike in, lotsa elevation and heavy snow.

Jan 12th, CFLA, 1 PM

Did a CFLA WOD from a couple of days ago with Coach Fyfe for some one-on-one competition:
10 Power Rows@135#
76 Fist Twists
10 Kettlebell Swings (32kg, 70.5#)

6:39.  135# barbell power rows for a 165# dude are damn hard.  Stuck close to Fyfe, though, he only got me by a few seconds.  Good quick workout, and it was awesome to have a competitor like Dave alongside me.

Jan 13th, CFLA, 1PM

800m row (2:46)
rest 2 min
65 Double Unders (0:45)
rest 2min
30 High-Pull Goblet Squat, 55lb (3:09) !!!
rest 2min
20 Hip Smashers (0:40)
rest 2min
30 Dip Unders (0:57)
rest 2min

Total work, 8:17.

True interval training at it's finest; hammered the movements hard and fast, then slightly recover, and do it again.  High Pull Goblet Squats were a sneaky killer---had to fractionate big time.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Land Of Moo, Sciencey Goodness(Shoes Suck), and Flux

Quality Moo

Like I alluded to in my last post, I'm doing a little n=1 experiment; I'm the sole participant, and the control is organic whole milk.  I'm going to blast a few Moo facts out there, and then explain why I've included it in my diet.
  • All milk in Canada, by law HAS to be pasteurized.  Pasteurization, by simple definition, is the heating of milk to destroy any enzymatic activity; this is turn, in theory, reduces the chance of harmful bacterial growth and prolongs shelf life.
  • Pasteurization also causes a large increase in 7-keto cholesterol, an oxidized form of cholesterol.  Now while cholesterol isn't BAD, per se, anything oxidized IS.  I've made reference to oxidized lipids in my Fish Oil Guide post. 
  • Homogenization  is a process whereby the milk is forced at super high pressure through micro-screens; this, in turn, prevents the fat from separating from the rest of the milk.  The issue here is that these microglobules of fat can "slip" through the intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream partially undigested.  This can trigger autoimmune disorders via molecular mimicry, and anyone who consumes a lot of gluten and lectins (Um, Alberta Cows anyone??  Slogan should be "Got Grain?") is even at a greater risk, due to the inflammatory nature of both lectins and gluten.   Robb Wolf mentioned trying to find a way to homogenize coconut oil so he could put it in his coffee.  I nearly spewed mine all over my computer when I was listening to the Paleolithic Solution, and seriously considered calling him.  But I'm sure he was joking.  I hope.
Now before any smarty-pants out there start crying that fat is actually absorbed lymphatically and not intenstinally, and that it's incomplete proteins that trigger autoimmune issues, I'd like point out that due to homogenization, the fat is more than likely bonded with casein and whey, and the former has also been implicated in autoimmune issues.  So there.

So why the frack am I drinking milk again?  A single reason, justified a couple of ways: I want to gain lean body mass.  Moo helps because:

  1) It's got some proteiney goodness in the form of casein and whey.  Casein is a slow-digesting protein, and whey is a fast digesting protein.  Most folks are familar with whey, as it's the most common protein found in supplements.

 2) It's crazy Insulinogenic.  WTF?  It causes a pretty damn substantial insulin spike.  The GI (Glycemic Index) of milk can range from a low of 11 (full fat) to upwards of 32 (skim), based, obviously, on the fat content and how fast it's absorbed.  In Insulin Index, of which there is VERY little research on, puts milk WAY above what the GI is, as far as insulin response.  So, from an anabolic perspective, this is optimal.  Especially combined with heavy resistance training.  Bodybuilders know this, a la the GOMAD diet (Gallon of Milk A Day). 

From a long term health point of view, downing a shitload of Moo ain't a wise choice if you'd like to avoid cancer.  It's anabolic, remember?  Makes stuff grow.  Combine that with crappy homo milk from grain fed cattle, and you're playing Texas Hold 'em at a table with Daniel Negreanu  You're going to lose.

Since my foray into a Strength Bias program, I've gained significant strength, but not an iota of weight; subjectively, I'm pretty sure I'm about the same BF%.  I'm starting to top out on my lifts, so it's time to change things up.

The milk I've found is from a local dairy called Vital Green Farms; it's whole milk, non-homogenized, from organically raised cattle.  They are raised on a combination of grain and grass, and they utilize low-heat pasteurization.  It's the best option I've been able to find.  Raw, organic, whole milk from free-range grassfed cattle that have multiple degrees from Harvard and do regular charity work would be optimal, but it's kinda hard to find.

And holy shit does it taste good mixed with vanilla whey, a banana, and some frozen mixed berries.  Day-um.  Oh, and the heavy cream (52% MF, BOMB!)???  for my coffee.  Why?  Adding the high fat makes the caffeine lipophillic (translation: lover of fat, lol), and therefore, it's absorbed much faster.  Yeah, I'm a junkie.  I'm fine with it.

Yes, yes they do.
PM R. 2009 Dec;1(12):1058-63.

The effect of running shoes on lower extremity joint torques.

JKM Technologies LLC, 525 Rookwood Place, Charlottesville, VA 22903(dagger).
OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of modern-day running shoes on lower extremity joint torques during running. DESIGN: Two-condition experimental comparison. SETTING: A 3-dimensional motion analysis laboratory. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 68 healthy young adult runners (37 women) who typically run in running shoes. METHODS: All subjects ran barefoot and in the same type of stability running footwear at a controlled running speed. Three-dimensional motion capture data were collected in synchrony with ground reaction force data from an instrumented treadmill for each of the 2 conditions. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Peak 3-dimensional external joint torques at the hip, knee, and ankle as calculated through a full inverse dynamic model. RESULTS: Increased joint torques at the hip, knee, and ankle were observed with running shoes compared with running barefoot.
PMID: 20006314 [PubMed - in process]


a. A flow or flowing.
b. A continued flow; a flood. See Synonyms at flow.
c. The flowing in of the tide.
d. Constant or frequent change; fluctuation

Right now, there's a bit of flux going on in my gym-life; one of the owners of CFLA, Chad "Action" Brandt, has left to pursue other aspirations.  Chad has been my mentor and coach since day 1, and I've learned a ton from him.  He gave me the the knowledge and confidence through his wisdom to obtain my level 1 cert, which I was over-prepared for (and was anti-climactic, but that's another post for another time), and after spending 50 hours mentoring with him, he prepared me to coach classes on my own.  Chad is one of the original Big Dawgs, trained under OPT.  Also leaving CFLA is Katrina Burton, athlete extraordinaire and CF HQ gymnastics SME.   Through the newly formed Action Conditioning they will continue to train athletes.  I wish them nothing but success, and I have no doubt I will be calling on their extensive experience with my coaching questions and for my own programing.

And speaking of coaching experience, I'd like to highlight one of CFLAs coaches, Cory Gillespie; I've mentioned him before here---he's husband to part owner of CFLA, Heather, and a Strength and Conditioning (NCCP Lvl 1&2) coach at one of the local high schools.  The incredibly lucky students and teachers have access to the school gym, which is run by Cory under the name Conquest Conditioning. I was fortunate enough to give a nutrition lecture there a while back, and I'll be doing some guest programming for Cory sometime in the near future.

Speaking of nutrition lectures, I'll be doing the initial nutrition intro on Jan 11th at 7PM for the kick-off to CFLA's Look, Feel, Perform Better Challenge; this will be similar to the lecture I gave the students, but more streamlined, and in two parts; I'll touch on basic nutrition bio, Paleo, Zone, suggested meals, eating habits for the first part.  Like always, I'm excited to have a captive audience that can't leave.  This time, I have a key to the gym, so you'll all be locked in there with me!  Ha!

Jan 4th, CFLA, 11 AM

Front Squat
205#x5.  Stopped there; knees felt good.  Last time I tried FS was Dec 24th, and hit 205#x1, with pain.  I have a 3RM of 245#, and a 1RM of 250#, so I'm guessing my 5RM is at 220#-ish.

3 Rounds For Time:
10 Pullups
15 Pushups
20 Situps
30 Squats
5:09.  Felt damn good about this WOD, but I favor ly left shoulder big time on pushups.  For reference, some of the fastest times at our gym were in the 4:20 range.  Schizen!

Jan 6th, CFLA, 1PM

365#x3. Y'all just get the still-frame, because the vid was UGLY.

365#x3  Barfable ugly form, but it came off the floor fairly steadily.  PR by 10#.

I want that 405# for my 1RM, dammit!  This, in theory, puts me at 395# (3RM = 92.5%), so I'm getting closer.  There's 165-pounders out there lifting stupid weight in upper 450's, so there's no reason I can't eventually obtain 412.5# (2.5x BW)

5 Rounds For Time
10 Push Press (75#)
30 Power Lunges (Lunge in place, explode up, switch legs.  15 per leg)

5:38.  Everything felt great, so much so, in fact, I thought I was doing something wrong; I was gauging my performance based on David "Millionaire" Muryn's 5:48, who regularly crushes the WODs, and himself.  The last round I stopped to check my barbell to make sure I had 75# on there, and make sure I had 4 rounds done already.  Sean'O de-stroyed this WOD in 5:12, which I doubt I could have done even if I had blazed straight through!