Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Easing Joint Pain: Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM

Not Conducive to Bustin' Out a Heavy Fran

Achy knees.  Creeky elbows.  Stiff shoulders.  Old hat for the athlete giving it his/her all every week.
But should it be?  Is it "Par for the course", or is it preventable?  Through a number of methods, perhaps.  This article will briefly outline some common OTC (over-the-counter) supplements that are specific to the treatment and prevention of skeletal joint issues.

Sports and osteoarthritis.

Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA. joseph-buckwalter@uiowa.edu
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Participation in sports improves general health but increases the risk of osteoarthritis. This review analyzes the relationships among increased joint use, joint injuries, and injury-induced joint degeneration that causes posttraumatic osteoarthritis. The purpose is to help people who participate in sports minimize their risk of joint degeneration. RECENT FINDINGS: Participation in sports that cause minimal joint impact and torsional loading by people with normal joints and neuromuscular function may cause osteophyte formation, but it has minimal, if any, effect on the risk of osteoarthritis. In contrast, participation in sports that subject joints to high levels of impact and torsional loading increases the risk of injury-induced joint degeneration. People with abnormal joint anatomy or alignment, previous joint injury or surgery, osteoarthritis, joint instability, articular surface incongruity or dysplasia, disturbances of joint or muscle innervation, or inadequate muscle strength have increased risk of joint damage during participation in athletics. SUMMARY: Gaining the benefits of participation in athletics while minimizing the risk of osteoarthritis requires understanding of the relationships between sports participation and joint injury and the relationships between joint injury and joint degeneration. People who wish to participate in sports should have an evaluation of their joint structure and function, muscle strength, and neuromuscular function, and people with a history of joint injury or mild osteoarthritis should select sports that have limited risk of accelerating joint degeneration. Copyright 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
PMID: 15314507 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

So did we need a study to determine that high-intensity activity coupled with either previous injury or muscular imbalance could cause increased risk of joint damage?  Nope, that's pretty much a given fact of life.  In a later post I'm going to go into into injury reduction more.  But this one is for the dudes already hurtin'

Some quick definitions:
Osteoarthritis: (OA) In osteoarthritis, the cushioning (cartilage) between the bones wears away in the joints. As osteoarthritis gets worse, the cartilage disappears and bone rubs on bone. Bony spurs or growths usually form around the joint. The ligaments and muscles around the joint loosen and become weaker.
Often, the cause of OA is unknown. It is mainly related to aging, but other factors can also lead to OA.

Osteophyte: also known as bone spurs, are bony projections that usually form along joints.

Ok, onto the supps:

Triple Whammy

Glucosamine is a monosaccharide (2-amino-2-deoxy-D-glucose; C6/H14/NO5); it is produced naturally in the body (key point here), and is involved in the production of proteoglycans.  Cartilage, the soft, cushioning structures if the joints (think of a turkey leg at Christmas.  The white end of the leg?  Cartilage) is made up of collagen fiber and proteoglycans.  While the collagen fibers give it "structure", the proteoglycans attract water to give it cushioning and resiliency.  OA causes a breakdown in collagen fibers, and these proteoglycans are lost.

The rational for supplementing with glucosamine sulfate is that a deficiency, either through aging or genetics, has occurred in the endogenous production; adding an OTC supplement will potentially boost natural production.

Res Sports Med. 2007 Apr-Jun;15(2):113-24.

Glucosamine administration in athletes: effects on recovery of acute knee injury.

Institute of Sports Medicine, Sports Academy, Belgrade, Serbia. sergej@panet.co.yu
The main aim of this study was to examine the effects of 4 weeks of glucosamine administration on the functional ability and the degree of pain intensity in competitive male athletes after acute knee injury. This study was a randomized, double-blind parallel trial of glucosamine (1500 mg per day) or a placebo for 28 days, utilising 106 patients with an acute knee injury. Pain and functional ability were evaluated at the beginning of the study and at 7, 14, 21, and 28 days after starting treatment. Pain intensity at rest and while walking was assessed using a visual analog scale. Passive knee flexibility (flexion and extension) of the injured limb was measured using a modified goniometer, and the degree of knee swelling was measured and compared with the noninjured limb. No significant difference was found between the glucosamine, and placebo group in mean pain intensity scores for resting and walking, and degree of knee swelling at the 7-day, 14-day, 21-day, and 28-day assessment. There was no significant difference between passive knee flexibility at the 7-day, 14-day, and 21-day assessment. After 28 days of treatment the patients from the glucosamine group demonstrated significant improvement in knee flexion and extension as compared with the placebo group.
PMID: 17578751 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Chondroitin, just like you thought it'd look.

Chondroitin is a glycosaminoglycan, similar in function and structure to glucosamine; it is found in the articular cartilage of skeletal joints.  In addition to serving as a hydrophilic polymer (Water finds it VERY sexy, like the screaming hoards of readers of this blog find me), it also has a couple of other interesting functions:  in inhibits the enzymatic breakdown of cartilage (and potentially helps rebuild it), and plays a role in the secretion and creation of synovial fluid.  Think of a lack of synovial fluid like running a car without oil---metal on metal = serious friction and wear.  Same thing with a skeletal joint.  Lack of lubricating fluid = erosive osteoarthritis.  Both chondrotin and glucosamine may work together synergistically to enhance secretion of synovial fluid.

MSM.  It ain't "The Sh*t"

MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, is an organic sulfur compound found naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables.  A different form, DMSO, gained popularity years ago for it's purported health benefits---everything from snoring to gout to cystitis (bladder infections) to osteoarthritis.  The main mechanism of action is anti-inflammatory, and most studies that have trialed MSM have been based on subjective quality of pain control---keep in mind this has nothing to do with regeneration of cartilage or inhibition of cartilage degradation.  Results, at best, are mixed and subjective, but manufacturers usually add it to joint support formulas.

Meta-analysis of the Related Nutritional Supplements Dimethyl Sulfoxide and Methylsulfonylmethane in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee.

Aldermoor Health Centre, Aldermoor Close, Southampton, Hampshire, SO16 5ST, UK. s.brien@southampton.ac.uk.
Dimethyl sulphoxide and methylsulfonylmethane are two related nutritional supplements used for symptomatic relief of osteoarthritis (OA). We conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate their efficacy in reducing pain associated with OA. Randomized or quasi-randomized controlled trials (RCTs), identified by systematic electronic searches, citation tracking and searches of clinical trial registries, assessing these supplements in osteoarthritis of any joint were considered for inclusion. Meta-analysis, based on difference in mean pain related outcomes between treatment and comparator groups, was carried out based on a random effect model. Seven potential trials were identified of which three RCTs, two DMSO and one MSM (total N = 326 patients) were eligible for inclusion. All three trials were considered high methodological quality. A significant degree of heterogeneity (chi(2) = 6.28, P = 0.043) was revealed. Two studies demonstrated statistically significant (but not clinically relevant) reduction in pain compared with controls; with one showing no group difference. The meta-analysis confirmed a non significant reduction of pain on visual analogue scale of 6.34 mm (SE = 3.49, 95% CI, -0.49, 13.17). The overall effect size of 1.82 was neither statistically nor clinically significant. Current evidence suggests DMSO and MSM are not clinically effective in the reduction of pain in the treatment of OA. No definitive conclusions can currently be drawn from the data due to the mixed findings and the use of inadequate dosing periods.
PMID: 19474240 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

So, Does This Stuff Work?
 Well, lets look at it like this:  the GAIT (Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial), which was a 12.5 million dollar study of over 1500 patients, found 67% relief of OA with glucosamine/chondrotin, and 70% with the prescription NSAID, Celebrex.  I'll leave you with that to chew on.
So, Should I Take This Stuff, Mike?
I can't answer that!  If you're an athlete over 35 that's had a previous injury, it's something to consider; if your a 17 year old female volleyball player, I'd ignore this post and ask your coach to teach you to power clean.  See what I'm getting at?  It's specific to the individual, but a certain subset of folks might be nodding their heads at home right now.  This post is just an info-teaser, if you will, for you to look further into it.

How Much Should I Take?
 Dosing may vary based on what brand you buy, but in the GAIT trial, doses used were 1500mg of glucosamine and 1200mg of chondroitin, so I think it'd be prudent to start at that.  One must consider that relief may not be noticeable for AT LEAST 4 weeks, and in some patients, no relief at all---if you have an acute injury, aren't over 40, and don't have a reduction in synovial fluid or the beginnings of osetoarthritis, these supplements may prove useless to you.  Caveat Emptor.

I hope this answers a few questions for folks, and even more so, stimulates the desire to investigate further.

Just a heads-up:  I won't be posting much over the next few weeks; I have surface ice rescue training this week, then I'm heading to a much more comfortable area of the world (called the Caribbean!)...then when I get back I have a week of fire recruit testing and interviewing, and then I'm off to Sunnyvale, California, for the Putting It All Together: Combining Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Gymnastics, and GPP to Work for You Seminar at Catalyst Athletics in Sunnyvale, California.

Life is good. :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hydration, Food Porn, and International Hits

First things first: A solid video on hydration. I'll go into why I like after. Grab a java and watch, it's only a few minutes long.  The embedding of the video cuts the right-border off, but it's still watchable.

So Max makes a couple of really great statements in this clip:
  • Half your BW (pounds) in ounces of water.  I LIKE this equation.  Why?  It works, it's EASY, and it's not overboard.  So, for me, 165lbs BW * 0.5 = 82.5 ounces; so, if 1 US fluid ounce = 29.5735296 ml, then I'm drinking roughly 2400mL a day.  Yup, 2.4L.
Is that a lot? Might be more than YOU are used to drinking, but let's make a clear distinction on WHAT. I'm fairly sure Max is talking straight H20, but I'm of the mindset that total body hydration comes from total fluid intake---be it from water or food. Food? Yeah. Worth trying to calculate? Nope. But it's there.

Back to the 2400ml: I drain a 1L bottle before noon, usually. Dehydration is pretty evident, especially in our dry northern climate, first thing in the morning, secondary to insensible water loss. Throughout the day I'm drinking coffee (I'll bust that myth in a second), and then I'm onto my second liter usually before I workout by mid-afternoon.  So honestly, 2400mls is *NOT* that much.
  • Training = 16-20 ounces per HOUR.  At 20ounces, that's 500ml.  Half a liter?  Are you f*cking kidding me?  Um, no, I'm not.  Ever actually track how much you drain right after a killer workout?  I'm betting it's more than you think.  Since most Crossfit workouts entail a max of one hour(warmup, instruction, workout, peel yourself off the floor) start to finish, adding an extra 500ml is no big deal.  Neither is 500ml/hour for endurance athletes.

Also, if you've trained that day, your body is in a state of increased metabolic activity as it frantically tries to repair the damage you've done by beating the shit out of it in the gym, like any worthy Crossfitter should.  Along the same lines, most folks will have an increase protein intake in the PWO period; protein is a metabolically expensive macronutrient to metabolize (say that fast 10 times after 10 NorCal margaritas!) and requires increased hydration to do so.
  • Take your "caffeine is a diuretic" and go f*ck your hat.  I like how Max points out that plain 'ol water is just as much a diuretic as caffeine; I tell people this, but I get the deer-in-the-headlights look just like when I tell folks eating fat is good for them.  I know this, Max knows this, and much smarter folks, like Larry Armstrong, know this also: (I've pointed this out previously in my definitive caffeine guide)
Fluid, electrolyte, and renal indices of hydration during 11 days of controlled caffeine consumption.
Armstrong LE, Pumerantz AC, Roti MW, Judelson DA, Watson G, Dias JC, Sokmen B, Casa DJ, Maresh CM, Lieberman H, Kellogg M.

This investigation determined if 3 levels of controlled caffeine consumption affected fluid-electrolyte balance and renal function differently. Healthy males (mean +/- standard deviation; age, 21.6 +/- 3.3 y) consumed 3 mg caffeine . kg(-1) . d(-1). on days 1 to 6 (equilibration phase). On days 7 to 11 (treatment phase), subjects consumed either 0 mg (C0; placebo; n= 20), 3 mg (C3; n = 20), or 6 mg (C6; n = 19) caffeine . kg(-1) . d(-1) in capsules, with no other dietary caffeine intake. The following variables were unaffected (P > 0.05) by different caffeine doses on days 1, 3, 6, 9, and 11 and were within normal clinical ranges: body mass, urine osmolality, urine specific gravity, urine color, 24-h urine volume, 24-h Na+ and K+ excretion, 24-h creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, serum Na+ and K+, serum osmolality, hematocrit, and total plasma protein. Therefore, C0, C3, and C6 exhibited no evidence of hypohydration. These findings question the widely accepted notion that caffeine consumption acts chronically as a diuretic.
PMID: 16131696 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

--->Just for reference, the C6 group took in 6mg per kg; for me, that'd be roughly 450mg.  A typical cup o' joe has about 125mg, (give or take), and a standard caffeine tab is 200mg.

***So how much fluid are YOU taking in per day?  Have you ever calculated?  How many times are you filling your water bottle up?  How clear, or dark, is your urine?  These are questions that YOU need to find answers to.

Props to David for shooting me the email about the CFE hydration video; I have about 1000 blogs/websites on my Google reader I subscribe to, and when I get my Firefox Tabs just a-blazin', I'm kind of like a kid with a really, REALLY bad case of ADHD in front of 47 TV screens. I see a lot, but absorb little.

 Food Porn.  Giddyup!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Two omega-3 eggs, poached, leftover spiced pork tenderloin medallions over spinach.  Side dish of chopped apple and two mini-cukes.
And of course, organic fresh ground coffee.

Ginger-Lime Salmon with a mixed green salad, glass of organic Argentina malbec.
Special Pre-Valentine Meal! King crab, organic, grass-fed beef strip loin topped with garlic mushrooms, steamed spinach, and stuffed tomato.  Organic Chilean cab sauv. 
And of course, dessert: one square of 90% cacao dark chocolate!  One square  = 6g fat, <1g carb, 1g protein.  Plus kick-ass antioxidants and epic dopamine release!

International Hits
Ok, no big mystery topic here, but just a call-out: If you look on the right, I have a Feedjit widget map that tracks where I'm getting page hits from; I seem to get some pretty cool international hits, and I'm always curious as to why people are coming to this page and how. If you're not from my neck of the woods, give a shout-out in the comments!

CFLA, Friday, Feb 12th, 1PM
Snatch Tech Work
115#x1,0,1 Missed the 2nd "in the hole", power snatched the 3rd with ease.  Hmm.
125#x0,1,1 Missed 1st in the hole, 2nd and 3rd power snatched with ease.  Hmm.  Hmm!
Did dowel work for speed between all sets.
Overhead Squat
Haven't snatched in a million years, and I figured since Heather and Cory were heading down to Cali for a Burgener Oly seminar (Woo!), I better brush up.  The missing-in-the-hole (the overhead squat the bottom of the snatch) is interesting, as the weights I used were stupid easy to power snatch.  Core stabilization?  I dunno.  The OHS felt solid.
3 Rounds For Time:
45 Double Unders
30 Kettle-bell swings (24kg/53lbs)
15 Pullups
9:34.  Did this one Jan 14, 2009, for a brutal time of 13:43.  That same day, Coach Brandt did this for 6:52.  I'm damn happy with my improvement, but Chad's time always puts things into perspective for me.

Allison Creek, Crowsnest Pass, Feb 14th, 12PM
Cross Country Ski, 15km.
FUBAR'd my back about 7km in as I slipped on some ice; "sprung rib" is the layman's term, technical term is a subluxation of the posterior rib at the joint articulation.  Yeah.  Result?  Massive back spasm.  Uncool when you're 7km into the backcountry.  Nice day, though.  Tam and I crushed a couple of pizzas about 7PM that night.  Damn well earned it.

Firehall #1, Feb 15th, 11AM
"Only Women's" Metcon
3 Rounds, each exercise 30sec on/30 sec off
Goblet Squats
Dumbbell Swings
Mountain Climbers
Push Press
Side-to-side lunge
Dumbbell-T pushups
Push-up Dumbell Row
Plyometric Lunge Jumps

After icing my back all night, it felt pretty good in the A.M, so I decided to join in with the guys while on-shift; this is actually a workout out of a Men's Health mag, and one of the guy said "Pfft, only WOMEN would do THAT!".  Needless to say buddy got his ass handed to him.  We had about 10 guys doing this, 5 on, five off, timing, and a whole assortment of dumbells from 20's to 45's, so guys could grab what they could handle based on their ability.  I'd been itching to try this out after hearing about it.  It's decent!  It's a helluva lot more rest than I'm used to, so I didn't feel "warm" until the 2nd round.  45on/15off would work well for this.

Firehall #1, Feb 16th, 11AM
Did the infamous "300" workout that Mark Twight from Gym Jones put together; 300 reps of various movements:
  • 25 pull-ups
  • 50 deadlifts at 135 pounds
  • 50 push-ups
  • 50 box jumps with a 24-inch box
  • 50 "floor wipers" (a core and shoulders exercise at 135 pounds)
  • 50 "clean and press" at 36 pounds (a weight-lifting exercise)
  • 25 more pull-ups -- for a total of 300 reps
Had to mod a crapload of stuff since our equipment blows at the firehall; only had 65# dumbells for deadlifts and floor wipers, and had to jump to the back bumper of the fire engine for box jumps, which is tight for face-space.  I like my teeth the way they are.  Clocked in at about 18 minutes or so, but no reference since it's so modded. Ran some sprints in the parking lot after, about 6 sets at roughly 100m or so.

Saw Dr. Chelsea Layden-Power of Power Health that night, and she 1) fixed my back up just fine, and 2) gave me shit, rightfully so, for continuing to work out. Also gave me the red light to rock climb that night, so no WOD today, either. Back is pretty tender. On a postive note my shoulder and knees are fine, Ha!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Optimistic "Conventional" Sciencey Goodness, Swanky Logbooks, and Self-Redemption

Why the Triad?  I'll Explain

Because of Helen, Jackie, Cindy and Kelly.  The classic Crossfit "Girls" that involve 3 different movements.  Honestly, that's the reason I title my blogs like I do, because I like those workouts (and I hate the couplets)  Plus, I rarely ever have more than 3 things going on upstairs at one time.  No, not really.  More like 4695 half-thoughts baked-out by fried neuro-synapses and too much caffeine.  But I'm sticking with the first reason.

Ok, I know I promised someone a nice educational post about joint supplements like glucosamine, but it'll be a bit; I always get caught up in "compiling" info, because I'm afraid I'll miss a significant study.  It'll happen, just like the Vitamin D post, the Fructose post, and Part Deux of why I hate(love) Crossfit.  In good time.

Optimistic, even in a sea of stupidity

In the meantime, I have some quick sound-bites of semi-interesting sciencey goodness; I find both of these "optimistic", because I've stumbled across them on mainstream medical internet feeds.  The blogs/websites I subscribe to, like the listing on the left, are out-of-the-box-thinker type sites; they basically kick conventional medicine and science in the balls on a daily basis.  But sometimes, just sometimes, the mainstream surprises me: Red Wine, Microwaves, and Local Produce: Preventing cancer Through Our Diets

"The optimal approach [is] to consume vegetables grown within zero kilometers [of where you live], in the right season," he says, emphasizing that the way in which we prepare our food is also important." adding that "it's really important to promote microwaved and steamed cooking, two great techniques."

I like that---especially the part about consuming fruits and vegetables in the right season. I'm fairly sure NONE of my ancestors, which is a mix of English, Cree (great-great-great grandmother), Hungarian, German and (I just learned last night) Irish consumed bananas and oranges year-round. It's an intriguing concept that the Paleo community has picked up on.

Prof Giacosa also advocates the consumption of a glass or two of wine every day, as it contains "all the active principals of fruit, especially polyphenols a component of great significance because even the very colour of wine, the colour red or ruby, the flavours, the fragrances, are tied to specific compounds linked to polyphenols, themselves extremely beneficial to our organism."

Yeah well I'm not arguing with that, either.  :)  The rest of the article goes a little into the prevention vs treatment of cancer, which makes nothing but perfect sense.  The microwave issue can get the folks that wear their tin-foil hats a little to tight all bent out of shape, but I find that more amusing than anything.  Now if the mainstream would just pick up on reducing refined PUFAS, Vitamin D supplementation, and low-carb lifestyles...

Long-term consumption of a carbohydrate-restricted diet does not induce deleterious metabolic effects.

Department of Experimental Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences Medical Research Center in Warsaw, 02-106 Warsaw, Poland.

Carbohydrate (CHO)-restricted diets have been recommended for weight loss and to prevent obesity, but their long-term effects have not been fully elucidated. This study was designed to evaluate the effect of long-term (>1 year) consumption of a low-CHO high-fat diet ("The optimal diet," developed by Dr Kwaƛniewski referenced herein) on lipid profile, glycemic control, and cardiovascular disease risk factors in healthy subjects. Of 31 "optimal" dieters enrolled in the study (17 women and 14 men, aged 51.7+/-16.6 years), 22 declared adherence to the diet for more than 3 years. Average energy intake and principal nutrients consumed were assessed from 6-day dietary records provided by the participants. In most dieters, concentrations of beta-hydroxybutyrate, free fatty acids, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol exceeded the upper limits of the reference ranges for nonstarved subjects. The metabolic profiles of most subjects were positive for several indicators, including relatively low concentrations of triacylglycerols, high levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and normal ratios of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol/HDL-C and total cholesterol/HDL-C. In most subjects, plasma concentrations of glucose, insulin, glucagon, cortisol, homocysteine, glycerol, and C-reactive protein were within reference ranges. Notably, in all but one subject, the homeostasis model assessment index of insulin resistance remained below the threshold for diagnosis of insulin resistance. These results indicate that long-term (>1 year) compliance with a low-CHO high-fat "optimal diet" does not induce deleterious metabolic effects and does not increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, as evidenced by maintenance of adequate glycemic control and relatively low values for conventional cardiovascular risk factors.
PMID: 19083495 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

The reason I posted this is that there's been a bit of a back-lash against low-carb lifestyles, with the common argument that "It'll mess up your metabolism".  How improved body comp, better energy substrate use, reduced cardiovascular and cancer risk turns into a "messed up metabolism" is beyond me", but there's folks out there that truly think this.

So a while back I was fairly pumped up about my new OPT Log Book, but then made the super-novice mistake of leaving the cap loose on my water bottle and soaking everything inside my bag.

Well, it seems that karma shines on me in some weird and mystical way, because today I got my paws on one of CFLA's new Log books.

These turned out to be totally awesome!  I was expecting a basic lined book with the CFLA logo, but what showed up was badass.  In fact, if you look close....
...they are in the same format as OPTs logbooks.  Except they are more baddass because they say "Globo Gym" and "Crossfit Lethbridge"

Co-branding is badass like an Olympic gymnast wrapped in kevlar and trained by ninjas.  True Story.

CFLA, Sunday, Feb 7th, 4PM
5000m Row
This was self-redemption in the sweetest form of a PR; a few days earlier, this had come up in the CFLA programming.  I've done my share of 5k rows before, with the last being in around Sept or so, with a time of 19.25.  On Feb 3rd, Coach Fyfe and myself decided to take a crack at it at noon.  Well, sleep deprivation + 5000m of rowing makes for a mental battle of epic magnitude, which I ended up losing at 2000m, and just said "f*ck it.  I felt bad for leaving Dave to battle by himself, but I just didn't have it in me.  It had been chewing on my mind ever since, so Sunday night before my nightshift it was throwdown time, and it went well, with a 7sec PR.  I'll take it.

Solo accountability + proof of purchase.

Firehall #1, Monday, Feb 8th, 4:30PM
Had to blast from CFLA after coaching 11/12 for a fire-dept related meeting at 1:30, so I swung by the hall early to get a lil' sumtin'-sumtin' in before nightshift.  No, not that, you sick sex-crazed freaks.  I'm talkin' treadmill sprints and handstand pushups super-setted with strict pullups.  Ha!
Treadmill 10x10 Sprints (10mph at 10% grade)
8 intervals@ 30seconds, recovery at 6.5mph
10 Strict Pullups
1 min of static plank (on toes + elbows, "plank", and hold midline stability)
5 sets

CFLA, Tuesday, Feb 9th, 1PM
30 reps, The Ultimate Lift (Power clean to Push Press to Back Squat to Push Press), 105#
If you've ever made the mistake of asking me about compound lifts in metcons, or read THIS, point #4, specifically, then you know how I feel.  Well, after putting two classes through it, I felt I was obligated, opinion aside, to do it myself.

There's some sore and raw spinous processes today. :)  My stance hasn't changed on this, but I do have to admit, there was good overall full-body soreness when I rolled out of bed this morning, lol.  Props to Coach G who pulled a 7 min time with 135#.  Beastly.

CFLA, Wednesday, Feb 10th, 1PM
8 Rounds of:
250m row
20 Leg Raises
1 Min rest between intervals.
Ugly, painful, and so purely magnificent in it's acidosis-ness.  After coaching (and witnessing) some truly epic effort at 11 and 12, I was chomping at the bit to do this.  I have a love/hate thing with the C2 rower---it can be so brutally uncomfortable, but there is, without a doubt, not a single piece of fitness equipment that even comes close to touching it, in the "cardio" (I really dislike that term) category.  Couple a home gym with a C2 and a squat rack, and you need nothing more. 

After these 4 sessions, I'm taking tomorrow off.  Maybe.  ;)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sunnyvale, My Lipids, And Ghee

No, This isn't the Sunnyvale I'm going to.

More exciting education travel news: I'm heading to Sunnyvale, California (just outside of San Jose) for a Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Gymnastics, and GPP Seminar put on at Catalyst Athletics. I'll be heading down there with Crossfit Coach/Conquest Conditioning Guru Cory Gillespie, and we are both super stoked about it; check the presenters:

Dan John – “Philosophy of Training and Coaching”
Greg Everett - “Observation & Correction: Technical Coaching for Weightlifting”
Matt Foreman – “Dividing the Barbell Disciplines: Combining Power and
Olympic Methodology”
Gant Grimes – “Functional Fitness Myths, Hybrid Programming, and
Evaluating Sport-Specific vs. Multi-Sport Needs”
Scott Hagnas
– “Developing Gymnastic Strength for Non-Gymnasts”

Tell me that doesn't just rock!  While I just absolutely geek out on nutrition, this is a seminar that I need from a coaching development point of view.  We will more than likely have a couple of coaches heading to the Black Box Summit 2010, so CFLA has some serious trainer development going on!

Lipids!  A Misnomer, but you get the idea.

So every year I get a full-blown physical with the fire department physician; this was started (with Lethbridge Fire) 3 years ago, and it's one part of a 3 part program entitled the Wellness-Fitness Initiative. The 3 parts include yearly medical screening, yearly physical fitness testing, and ongoing on-shift fitness training. As an American Council of Exercise (ACE) PFT, I'm involved with the physical fitness testing and on-shift training.  Out of all three parts, though, the medical screening is the most important.  As firefighters, we are exposed to occupational hazards in the form of known carcinogens and toxins daily---everything from blood-born pathogens to products of incomplete combustion from structure and auto fires.

Since starting this program 3 years ago, I've kept copies of my bloodwork, and I'm going to share it here as a quantitative measure of how a whole food, Paleolithic-style diet plus HIT(high-intensity training)/heavy strength training works.  For reference I've include both the SI (Canada, Europe), and American Values.

Chol: 5.06mmol/L (norm less than 5.21)
HDL: 1.70 (norm 0.9-1.6) 
LDL: 3.1 (norm 2.0-3.4)
Triglycerides: 0.6 (norm less than 2.31)(American  = 53.16mg/dL, multiply by 88.6)
Chol/HDL ratio: 3.0 (norm less than 5.1)
American Values: TG 53.16, LDL 119.97, HDL 65.70 TC 195.66
Triglyceride/HDL ratio: 0.8

Chol: 5.67mmol/L
HDL: 1.80
LDL: 3.6
Triglycerides: 0.52
Chol/HDL ratio: 3.2
American Values: TG 46.07, LDL 139.32, HDL 69.66 TC 219.25
Triglyceride/HDL ratio: 0.66

Chol: 6.35mmol/L
HDL: 1.88
LDL: 4.2
Triglycerides: 0.66
Chol/HDL ratio: 3.4
American Values:  TG 58.47 LDL 162.54 HDL 72.75 TC 245.55
Triglyceride/HDL ratio: 0.8

Other vitals:
Electrocardiogram: sinus bradycardia w/ regular irregularity (normal for athletes)
Resting heart rate: 52 BPM
Blood Pressure: 100/60
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 165lbs
BF%: est 8.0% (7.0% by BodPod) I'll have an accurate air-displacement value in the near future on this.  Trying to do your own skinfolds is an effort in futility and inaccuracy.  I came up with 6%, but that's pure garbage.

So there you have it.  By conventional wisdom, I should be ready to have a heart attack at any minute, and be on a shitload of pharmaceuticals for my "dangerously" elevated cholesterol.  But, as any well-informed reader of this blog knows, conventional wisdom and it's scholars can GFTS.  See that TG/HDL ratio in red?  That's not on a regular lipid screening.  I added that in, because: 
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.

Even my physician is at odds with what he's been trained to do; he clearly admits that "Your HDL is excellent", but is unsure on what to say about my LDL. When I explained the TG/HDL ratio, my training, my diet, my supplementary intake, he admitted the nuances of oxLDL, VLDL and IDL were beyond his training, but stated "whatever you're doing, keep doing it". Kudos to him for stating that, and yes, Doc, I will keep doing what I'm doing. :)

As a side note, I had asked for my LDL particle size, my VLDL, IDL, and 25(OH)D (vitamin D) levels to be drawn, but the joke of a lab we have here won't do it.  I've had my vitamin D done before, and it sits nicely at 90ng/mL, but I'll go into this more when I do my Vitamin D thread. 

 I didn't even bother asking about Lp(a), since I'm sure no one in this city knows what the f*ck it is anyways.  But like I've mentioned before, SFA (saturated fatty acids, the so called "evil" fats that cause heart disease *ahembullshitcoughcough*) lower Lp(a), and I'm sure MINE aren't an issue, because...

Lowers Lp(a).  Statins = Fuck Off.

Organic Virgin coconut oil + Ghee (clarified butter, basically liquid butter, no solids) from grass fed cattle?  Sweet Mother Of Gaia!!!!  I stumbled across this while just picking up my regular weekly allotment of whole milk.  Pricey?  Yes.  Cheaper than being dead tomorrow or alive but in shitty health, though.  This shit is pure ambrosia.

***Warning---Odd, Introspective Note:  A couple of very weird things have happened to me lately.  The first is that I was thinking "I need to attend a seminar to make me a better Strength + Conditioning coach.  Literally, in the next few days, David "Millionaire" Muryn shoots me a link to the Catalyst one.

Secondly, in the stupidly vast-yet-disorganized-and-dusty-and-muddy-at-times vault of the coconut that sites atop my neck, I was thinking "I really need to find out what the f*ck this ghee is all about".  And Voila, Mark Sisson over at Mark's Daily Apple reads my mind and fires out a great post on what? Coconut oil + Ghee. And then I find it on the shelf the very next day.  Spooky.

The Power of Positivity clearly has no bounds. :)

Feb 1st, CFLA, 1PM
AMRAP 12 Minutes:
3 Clean + Jerk, 115#
6 Ring Dips
9 Pullups
7 rounds +3.  This one trashed my left shoulder---but not the C+J.  Ring dips seem to really stress my anterior delt/pec insertion area.  This re-enforces my thought that it's NOT bursitis.  Clean and jerks were stupidly easy, and pullups not so bad.  I was failing on mere singles of ring dips near the end, even with kipping.

Feb 2nd, CFLA,1PM
21-15-9 of:
Hand-stand pushups
Double unders
Sit-under (anchored sit-up holding a 10lb plate overhead.  It's cool.  You should do them.
Just under 10 minutes, but highly modded after the first 21 HSPU; I haven't done these in any sort of volume in a million years, and since my shoulder was sore already, I figured "why not".  Did this with Coach Fyfe, and there was a lot of swearing and laughing going on.  I did 21 strict HSPU, which surprised the hell outa me, but after that it was a disaster.  Modded down to the 70% scheme of 11 and 7 for rounds 2 and 3 on the HSPU, but it was a struggle even to kip out of the hole.  DUs and Sit-ups weren't an issue.

Finished with some Deadlifts:
285#x5 (double overhand grip, slipping on left)
315#x5 (mixed grip)

After these two days of testing my shoulder hard, nearly two months of diligently "working" on my rotator cuff, I called Dr. Kwan's office as soon as I walked in the door, and I see him in March.  And I'm not going to ASK for an arthroscope, I'm going to grab it and do it myself right then and there.  Well, not really, by that's the mindset.  Positive thinking.  ;)