Wednesday, March 31, 2010

GSP Video, Testing at SSI, Direction of My Training

While this is nothing more than an ad for Under Armour, I think it's cool on a number of fronts:
  • One, it's an ad with GSP; I'm hoping most of you watched GSP absolutely dominate Hardy on Saturday night. 
  • Secondly, it shows GSP training with/in a number of different modalities; plyometrics, LSD, "battling ropes", suspension training.  If you think that just stuff he's doing for an ad, think again: the dude watching GSP jump hurdles is Jonathan Chaimberg, of the Adrenaline Performance Center
  • Third, it shows that an elite athlete, even with GSP's talent and natural athletic ability, has to both formulate a gameplan to reach his goal, and put in the hard work after the plan is formed.  The best thing that EVER happened to GSP was his loss to Serra---since then he's had mental focus like no other athlete I have ever seen.  Ok, maybe I read into that last one, but keep it in mind, because after you watch the video, it's the segue into my second topic.

Remember those ads from the 90's "Be Like Mike"? Now everyone wants to be like GSP. And rightly so.

Today I had the pleasure of going through a bunch of testing for the fire department at the Sports Science Institute here in Lethbridge with Lori and Carrie; this is a cooperative pilot project, and strictly voluntary for the guys on our department.  The testing included:
  • Bodyfat % using the air-displacement "BodPod" (accurate to +/-0.5%)
  • Explosive power measurement with Keiser leg and chest press
  • Vo2 max (tested in full fire gear) to measure oxygen utilization
Well, today was a mix of good and bad.  First, the good:  

I came in at 7.7% bodyfat, which totally rocks; I expected a decent number but nothing like that.  I feel I have a pretty good handle on my diet,  so all's well there.

 I also did quite well at the explosive power measurement; Lori and Carrie used a protocol of specific resistance based on my total body weight, and measured output against a percentage of that---I know that means nothing to anyone not there.  I scored above optimal wattage output for upper body, and blew the charts off the scale for lower...they had to actually bump up my resistance by 100#, and then retest me, because my speed was the same for the low and high, and I errored the machine, lol  I came in at 816 watts for upper body, and 2905 for lower; the highest on our department was 3050, by a guy over 50 pounds heavier. That's also the SSI record.  Optimal values for me would be over 650 and 2000 for upper and lower body, respectively.

Ok, the bad.  This is actually the reason for this whole post.  My VO2 max only came in at 40.4ml/kg/min.  Now granted, there's a couple of things to consider:

1) I had 40 pounds of gear on, and it's weight based,
2) Wearing a shitload of heat-resistant bunker gear is good in a fire, but not for body-heat dissipation, and
3) I still have a head (and now lungs) full of crap from the tail end of a cold; I was breaking a sweat and huffing doing demos of rowing and warmups to clients yesterday.   I honestly don't know the bearing it would have on my oxygen utilization, but one of the values that came out of the BodPod was a Thoracic Gas Volume of 4.154L; this is basically the "size" of my lungs, for lack of a better description.  Usage during my V02? 3.56L/minI'm missing 500ml somewhere.  One of the guys previously tested ended up having a HIGHER litre-per-minute value during his testing than measured by BodPod.  Now THAT is impressive.  He's a crusher in his own right, and chucks 250# motorbikes around during long-distance Enduro racing for fun.  He got 46ml/kg/min

Also, kinda bad: I officially weight in at 160#.  Fuck, eat a sandwich, already!  This actually *isn't* a bad thing, because it kinda elevates the numbers I throw around, but c'mon already.  I need another 25lbs in there.  Sure, I'd love to say I have a 225# clean and jerk and a 405# (might already, hehe..10lbs off)deadlift at 160lbs BW, but I rather have 25# of muscle and have those numbers a helluva lot higher.  Time to head to Mexico and talked to Jose about Dianabol and maybe a lil' Winstrol and a sprinkle of Sustanon.  No, not really.

So why is this an issue?  I have good numbers across the board.  The issue is I have a 24 hour mountain bike race coming up in 4 months.  That, and I should have scored way the hell higher.  I had a back in my 20s.  Holes.  In my programing.  Need to be FIXED.

Finding the piece to my Training Puzzle

After the testing, I got into a lengthy discussion on training periodization and specificity with Lori; I told her what I do with Crossfit, and I could tell she wasn't keen on the programming (as a whole, not CFLAs).  I gave her free rights to blast it, no holds barred, and while (I'm sure) she held back, she did make some fairly accurate assessments of MY programming, without actually knowing what I've been doing (or not).  She knew I trained Oly lifts, knew I trained metcon at max effort (heart rate), and new I didn't do sweet fuck all for long, slow distance (70% max heart rate).  Wow, talk about bang-on.  She went on to basically blasted me for not working on this area, and told me to "get my butt in gear, because that race is in 4 months".  LOL!  Fair enough.

One of the quotes Gant Grimes made that has been gnawing in the back of my mind is  that "Everything has a purpose"---and he talked specifically about the LSD that fighters do to create a solid aerobic base.  Yes, even in this day and age, fighters, be it BJJ, MMA or boxers, still put in roadwork.  Crossfit, as a "whole" almost dissuades any form of lower intensity aerobic work, with the mindset that running 400m laps in a 12 minute metcon is enough for a massive aerobic base.

Specificity in training is SO important---if you have a specific end-goal, in which case I do, and I need to tailor my training to meet that end goal.  So what will my training look like?

--->  Well, between now and July, LOTS of time on my bikes---both my road and mountain.  Weather permitting, I'll be biking to Crossfit, and it's roughly 15km each way.  My strength training will consist of the typical CFLA programming for Mon/Wed/Fri, of a compound resistance movement in a 5/3/1 rep range, followed by a short met con, probably twice a week.  This doesn't include long-ish forays into the coulees on my beautiful Santa Cruz Nomad, which I've been tweaking out of hibernation as of today.

Anyhoo, that's where I'm at.  Last year (The Year of The Bum Shoulder) obviously helped me gain leg strength and explosive power.  4 months of dedicated aerobic base training should elevate my V02, and have carry over into metcon once I'm back at it.

CFLA, March 29th, 1PM (Taken from here.)
  • Mid-hang muscle snatch - 50%(65#) x 3, 55%(70) x 3, 60%(80#) x 3, 65%(85#) x 3
  • Mid-hang power snatch + snatch - 55% (70#) x 3, 60%(80#) x 3, 65%(85#) x 3
  • Jerk - 75%(145#) x 3 x 3
Used a reference of 1RM snatch@135# and 195# for jerk.   First time using percentages of 1RM; snatch and power snatch felt light, but my 1RM is low due to technical brutality. 
3 sets:
15 hanging leg raises; no rest
10 bent DB row(40#s, heaviest we have at the gym); 1 min rest

Monday, March 29, 2010

Central Canada Sectional Results, Fat Soda Rats, and a Bit O' Humble Pie

Top 31 Men & Women.  Hi Heather!  Hi Kat!

This weekend the Crossfit Central Canada qualifier went on in Edmonton; CFLA had three athletes attend (Carlee, Kris, and Heather) and both Kat and Chad from Action Conditioning, also.  The talent pool was as deep as an ocean, and ALL our athletes and friends did phenomenal!

A good breakdown can be found HERE.  Props to Heather for crushing her way to an amazing 2nd place finish, and Kris for the complete sneak attack 18th place, after deciding late to "just give it a shot, what the hell".  You crack me up Kris, you are a beast.  Also some huge props to Kat for an awesome 12th, who truly was a little girl at a big girl's weekend---just based on that picture alone.  Ok, time for me to go do some curls.  Wow.

David "MOAH" Muryn provided those of us not in attendance with some awesome Twitter updates...and from what I've read, I wasn't the only one on the end of my seat!!  Much appreciated, David.

Regionals are slated for May 29th-30th (which of course, the gods hate me, because I'm working again), so mark your calenders!

High-fructose corn syrup causes characteristics of obesity in rats: Increased body weight, body fat and triglyceride levels.

Department of Psychology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA; Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) accounts for as much as 40% of caloric sweeteners used in the United States. Some studies have shown that short-term access to HFCS can cause increased body weight, but the findings are mixed. The current study examined both short- and long-term effects of HFCS on body weight, body fat, and circulating triglycerides. In Experiment 1, male Sprague-Dawley rats were maintained for short term (8weeks) on (1) 12h/day of 8% HFCS, (2) 12h/day 10% sucrose, (3) 24h/day HFCS, all with ad libitum rodent chow, or (4) ad libitum chow alone. Rats with 12-h access to HFCS gained significantly more body weight than animals given equal access to 10% sucrose, even though they consumed the same number of total calories, but fewer calories from HFCS than sucrose. In Experiment 2, the long-term effects of HFCS on body weight and obesogenic parameters, as well as gender differences, were explored. Over the course of 6 or 7months, both male and female rats with access to HFCS gained significantly more body weight than control groups. This increase in body weight with HFCS was accompanied by an increase in adipose fat, notably in the abdominal region, and elevated circulating triglyceride levels. Translated to humans, these results suggest that excessive consumption of HFCS may contribute to the incidence of obesity. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Seems pretty damning, no?  There's some weak controls in the study, which I'm not about to pick apart, but what really irked me was this quote, taken from HERE:

The Princeton researchers note that they do not know yet why high-fructose corn syrup fed to rats in their study generated more triglycerides, and more body fat that resulted in obesity.

Ok, I'm not a Princeton researcher; hell, I'm not a researcher, period.  I'm some clown behind a computer who geeks out on this stuff.  But I've got two words to answer the why: Reactive Carbonyls.  The Princeton research article even alludes to it regarding bound vs unbound molecules.  "Reactive", being the unbound molecules.  Think of the single guy at a wedding in Mexico.  Yeah, reactive carbonyl.  Watch the train wreck happen!

There's an interesting twist, though; savvy readers out there might be saying "This is bullshit, Mike, even regular fructose creates reactive carbonyls."  Yeah, hold on to your hat there, hoss.  The reactive carbonyl content of ONE can of soda equates to FIVE times the level of reactive carbonyls in the blood of diabetics; HFCS containing juice (MmMMmm Sunny D! Child abuse, anyone?) is about 1/3 of soda.  Fruit?  You go look it up, smarty pants.  Actual fructose content, in it's beautiful naturally bonded form, is pretty low. 

Take home message?  Drink only water, coffee, tequila, tea, or wine.  And maybe not in that order.  Carbonated diet beverages?  I'd avoid 'em.  Phosphoric acid is uncool for ye' old bones, and seeing as how carbonation + HFCS = bad shit, who really knows what happens when you throw aspartame into the mix?  This doesn't even get into the cephalic insulin response of artificial sweeteners. 

Gotta eat a piece.  Or  face-full.
First, a recent WOD, then an explanation:

Monday, March 22nd, CFLA, 1PM
Clean & Jerk
95#x1,1,1 (Powerclean, Splitjerk)
195#x1,1,1 (no split jerk on any. Huh?  Easy to get under a few more ELL-BEEs when Everett is watching, I guess.)
215#x,0,0,0 LOL.  Greedy.  Almost had it, just dumping it at the bottom.
Hang Squat Clean
165#x3.  This is boggling to me, because it's actually pretty easy.  Weird.
Overhead Press (this is where humble pie comes in)
105#x3 (wanted 5, but no.  Weak!  I suck!)
130#x1 Huh.
135#x0, immediately followed by split jerk x3

  • It's time for me to eat humble pie.  I'll say it here, and I'll say it again:  ,I was wrong and my orthopedic surgeon was right.  My shoulder seems fine, albeit weak (kinda).  Perhaps a loud mouthed wanna-be athlete should leave the diagnosing of sports related injuries to actual orthos.  As much as I've tried to push the envelope and reproduce the pain, I can't.  So, humble pie for me, healthy shoulder for me, and apologies to my ortho.  Will the bursitis flair again?  Maybe.  But I'm a helluva lot more self-aware about my shoulder, and armed with some serious mobility and rehab tools now.
  • WTF is with my Hang Squat clean?  Seeing as how 165# is cake n' pie, why can I not get under 215#, let alone 225# or more?
  • There's a huge discrepancy between my overhead press 1RM, 3RM and 5RM.  I should be able to throw 120# for 3 and at least 110# for 5.  Happy I got 130# up, but seriously, wtf.
A few other wods sprinkled in after the 22nd, nothing too noteworthy.  Still getting over a cold I probably got after a brutal circuit WOD at the firehall, followed by a 7 hour fire at an ironworks foundry.  Immune system was probably in my boots after that.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sick As A Dog, Central Canada Sectionals

I'm sick as hell right now with a nasty cold; I've been trying valiantly to crush it with various remedies, but to no avail.  I've had to miss two nightshifts at work (and if you know the crew I work with, it's a helluva lot more fun to GO to work than not!) and jam out on my first mountain biking foray of the year.

While trying not to sneeze and cough all over my computer, I am watching for updates on Heather, Kris, Carlee, Kat and Chad at the Central Canada Sectionals for the CF games.  Everyone is kicking ass, I LOVE it!  Wish I could have been there (but not in the state I'm in!)

Check the results here:

I'll be back with a more colorful post next week.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why I Do What I Do, Pics From Sunnyvale, and A Fish Oil Caluclator

Checking you out.  From EVERY angle

I wanted to go through a few points of why I do what I do when I'm coaching folks; on occasion I've been asked stuff like "Why are you standing there" or "What are you looking at?"  Well, here's some of the Why:

1) Why Are You Walking Around Me In A Circle?
  •  What I'm looking at is obviously YOU, but from different angles.  A 180 degree from the side lets me see different things that a face-to-face.  Likewise, a 45 degree from the front-left lets me see different things than from a back-right.  
2) Why ARE You Looking At My Ass?!?
  • Hey, you may be proud of that bubble butt, mister, but it ain't like that.  Yes, I might be staring at your glutes, or your chest, or the front of your pelvis, but there's always a specific reason.  Doing a bodyweight squat?  I'm looking to see if you are losing lumbar curve at the bottom.  Doing a deadlift?  I'm looking at your start position, to see where your hips lie in relation to your shoulders and knees.  A Sumo-Deadlift-Highpull (SDHP)?  I might be looking to see that you keep your chest (torso) upright and elevated.
3) Ok, Fine, But Why Are You Staring At Me From Across The Gym?
  • At times, I can see things easier from a distance than I can at 3 or 6 feet away; I've often spotted clients doing something from 50ft away as I was trying to correct a client right in front of me.  If I come sprinting across the gym to tell you something out of the blue, THAT'S why. 
4) Makes Sense.  But Now Why AREN'T You Correcting Me In The Middle Of A Workout
  • Good question!  Once fatigue sets in, technique is going to take a hit.  I don't like it, but it's like taxes and death, and it's the reason I much prefer simplistic movements in metcons to technically complex compound ones.  But back to correction:  I'd much rather correct you either before the WOD, in warmup, or early in the WOD.  If I'm yammering in your ear in the last set of the 5th round, chances are you're either stone deaf and just worried about taking your next breath, or you're so fatigued that verbal cuing won't help.
5) Hey!  Why Are You Touching Me!!!
  • Well, first off, you won't ever be saying that.  Why?  Because I'll always ask before I do put my hands on you.  There's times when I'll want to adjust your hip height in a deadlift start position, or if your complaining of say, shoulder pain, I may ask if I can poke and prod around to get a better idea of where your pain is at.
6) Why Do You Want To Know How I Sleep, What I Eat, Or How I Feel?
  • Well, I'm not collecting stalking data, for starters!  I'll usually ask this during warmup, because I'm trying to get a handle on how a certain WOD might have to be scaled for a certain client.  If you come in dragging your butt and unconsciously massaging your right arm, you're going to get some questions.  If I'm asking after a WOD, which I do frequently, I want to make sure everyone is intact and healthy when they walk out that door.  
     More Shots From Sunnyvale
    Freddy Camacho of Crossfit One World chillin' during a break with Cory and myself.  Very cool and friendly guy!!

    Cory getting some awesome coaching tips from Greg Everett.
    3rd pull (aka "pulling under") of my 198 C&J.  Damn metric Oly plates and bars had me messed up, even as a Canuck!  I had two 20kg, two 10kg, and two 5kgs for 70kg (154lbs), plus what I THOUGHT was 45# for the bar.  Realized after that it was a 20kg(44lb) Werksan bar.  Regardless still doing 225# this year, hopefully at heavier than 165#BW.

    Cory and myself with the legendary Dan John!!!

    The Best Fish Oil Calculator EVER

    The folks at Whole9, formerly Crossfit Whole9, formerly Crossfit 603 (long story!) have posted up a KILLER little app based on Robb Wolf's recommendations on fish oil intake.  I'm going to take the liberty of posting them here, but they are also include on the Whole9 page:

    Maintenance Dose: 0.25g/10# BW(bodyweight) =  For healthy folks who have been on a higher dose of fish oil for at least 3 months.

    Healthy Dose: 0.5g/10#BW = Training smart, sleeping well, eating no sugars, grains, dairy or legumes.

    Banged-Up Dose: 0.75g/10#BW = Training smart, sleeping well, eating no sugars, grains, dairy or legumes.

    All Banged Up Dose: 1.0g/10#BW = Sick/injured/obese, very stressed, eating a high carb, poor quality, Western diet.

    Check The Whole9 Calculator Here.  

    For a fish oil refresher, check my post here.

    March 16th, CFLA, 1PM

    After the seminar at Catalyst, I was stoked to Oly lift, so snatch day it was.  Kinda helps if you can snatch, though!
    Olympic Lifts
    Power Snatch(PS) 75#x3, 95#x3
    Snatch 115#x1,1,1
    Snatch 125#x1,1,1
    Snatch 135#x0,0,1.  Bah, wtf.  I'm so terrible at this it's not even funny.
    Overhead Squat 5-5-5, using 135#, 145#, 155#
    10 Minutes of "Cindy"
    5 pullups
    10 Pushups
    15 squats
    14 rounds; I surprised the hell outa myself here.  I don't know if it was the rest from training, High-Carbing it over the weekend with Big G (Glycogen, baby!), or a healthy(er) shoulder.  I was aiming for 13, with 12 and change being my PR.  After the 13th, I just threw the pain out the window and went for it. Squats slowed me down, probably due to the snatching and OHS.   I want 25 one day, but it's the NEXT 10 minutes of Cindy that matter.

    March 17th, CFLA, 12PM

    Thought I might have 12PM to myself, but my friend Jacob showed up a little after 12.  He was cool with me working out along side him (something I would normally NEVER do with clients), so we went through the Burgener warmup together, and then did a you-go-I-go with the deadlifts:
    Deadlift 3-3-3-3-3
    Worked up to 360#x3; very pleased with this, as I haven't worked my DL for a while.  360# felt pretty damn good, and contemplated busting out 5.
    Hang Power Cleans, 95#
    Hip Smashers
    3:40. This was a fast forearm burner, and didn't slow down till the last set of 10.

    Blogger Issues!

    I have some issues going on with my webpage right now; specifically, me FUBAR'ing it up.  I had a post done prior to leaving for work tonight, but an embedded image screwed it up, and I accidentally deleted my review of the Catalyst Seminar (F*ck!!!)

    When I'm off shift tomorrow, I'll get it fixed.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Coach Mike and Coach G: A Weekend At Catalyst Athletics

    Putting It All Together

    Cory and I just got back on home turf last night from a FANTASTIC weekend at Catalyst Athletics; I apologize for the lack of pictures, as my camera is now MIA---I have about 693 calls in to the car rental company, and 471 to the hotel.  Needless to say I'm pissed as hell at myself, but thankfully, Cory had his camera there as well. (EDIT: Looks like the car rental company found it.  Booya!)  Anyways, a recap:

    Greg Everett - "Observe and Correct"
    Greg knows a few things about Oly lifting.

    Things kicked off Saturday morning with Greg Everett talking about coaching and correcting Olympic lifts; Greg is the owner of Catalyst athletics, author of Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide For Athletes and Coaches, and co-founder of The Performance Menu.  Topics covered included:
    • Overview of Olympic lifting and basic criteria
    • Types of technical errors, Conscious vs Unconscious errors
    • Proper order of correction, and when to correct
    • Common errors, fixes, and verbal cuing
    Scotty Hagnas -Developing Gymnastic Strength for Non-Gymnasts 
      Scotty has mad skillz! Mad!

      Saturday afternoon was a generalist's overview of gymnastic movements by Scotty Hagnas, owner of Crossfit Portland and regular contributor to the Performance Menu; he's best known for Paleo contributions and his book, Cooking for Health and Performance.  What I didn't know is that Scotty has a fairly impressive list of credentials, including being a Poliquin International Certification Level 1 coach, and a Biosignature Level 1 & 2 practitioner. Topics covered were:
      • Overview of various gymnastic elements (handstand, front/back lever, muscle up, planche)
      • Considerations for performing 
      • Programing and integration
      • Coupling moves
      Scotty also kicked off Sunday morning going over some fantastic mobility and flexibility work, including series covering scapular/shoulder, wrist, elbow, glute movements.  He had us sprawled all over the place trying out these drills.  Expect to see some new and funky warmup drills at CFLA!

      Gant Grimes - Functional Fitness Myths, Hybrid Programming, and
      Evaluating Sport-Specific vs. Multi-Sport Needs
      Gant Grimes Owning Freddy C

      Next up was Gant Grimes, with his topic of Hybrid Programming; I didn't know a lot about Gant's background prior to landing in Sunnyvale, but he was the sneak-attack presenter of the weekend.  His "Aw, Shucks!" good-'ol boy southern drawl and wicked humor belayed the fact he has the razor sharp mind of a litigation lawyer.  Not to mention he's a high level competitor and coach in Judo.  Superstar Freddy C. from Crossfit One World helped put on a nice demo of Judo/BJJ, as you can see in the photo.  Topics Gant covered included:
      • Hierarchy of a Training Session (VERY valuable info!)
      • Various form of Strength programing (linear, Texas Method, Wendler's 5-3-1)
      • Various forms of Interval programming (Tabata, True, Sprint, HRI, Asc/Des)
      • How to correctly program metcons
      During a break, I was wandering around just checking out the equipment, and Gant came over and out of the blue started explaining the differences between powerlifting and Oly bars---this guy is a teacher at heart, and just can't help himself.  About 6 months ago, I had emailed Gant, asking him about heavy metcons for my own programming, and he had sent me a nice excel spreadsheet, without even knowing who I was.   Stand up guy?  No kidding.  My favorite presenter of the weekend.

      Dan John - Philosophy of Training and Coaching 
         Gotta read this one!

        Dan John gave us his insights and philosophies on training; he has a long history of training and coaching in strength sports and track & field, and is probably best known for his thought provoking articles found on T-nation and Men's Health.  Some of what Dan covered included:
        • Ranking needed specificity in athletics (4-Quadrant Rule)
        • Rules and Philosophies in Strength Training
        • Discussion on differences between Fitness and Health
        • Q and A on topics of health, programming, and nutrition
        Dan is an amazing and energetic speaker, and his 30+ years of training/teaching/coaching (Dan is a high school Track + Field coach) came through easily in his presentation.  I've been meaning to buy a copy of his book, and there's no doubt I'm putting it at the top of my reading cue! 

        Matt Foreman - Dividing the Barbell Disciplines: Combining Power and
        Olympic Methodology

        Matt Foreman, doing what he does best

        Capping off the weekend was Matt Foreman discussing both powerlifting and Olympic lifting, and combing the two in programming.  Matt is a another teacher by trade, specializing in Track and strength coaching (sound familiar?), and has been involved competitively in both Oly and powerlifting for years.  Some of what we covered included:
        • Video and still picture analysis of powerlifts and Olympic lifts
        • Discussion of differences and applicability
        • Combining both elements into programming.

        We also got a chance to meet some very cool folks at the seminar:
        • Andy from Crossfit Asylum, in Boise, Idaho, was our unfortunate first victim the Saturday morning.  We found him eating his Paleo eggs and fruit in the hotel restaurant, and slapped our plates down beside him and said "How's it going, Eh?!".  We then stuffed him in the back of our super-rocket Toyota Yaris, which Big G aimed (foot IN the gas), and I attempted to co-pilot, and hauled him around town for the weekend.  Andy is a Chris Spealer look-alike, grey Chuck Taylors and all, and can lift a shitload of weight. Super nice guy, but I'm thinking he's thinking we're a bit nuts.
        • Ruth and Sean from Crossfit Intrepid, in El Segundo, California, were what we call "good people".  Hell, if I didn't know better, I'd swear they were Canadian.  We had the pleasure of eating with them at Armadillo Willys, some odd buffet-style BBQ house, where we entertained them with our Canadian-isms, and got into some great discussion on Crossfit as a whole and the direction it's heading.
        • I met Thomas from Crossfit Santa Rosa on the lifting platform next to me Sunday morning at 7AM; he's a fellow firefighter and co-owner of CFSR.  We had the chance to train at Catalyst, and I have *NO* idea why folks weren't lined up beating down the door---Andy, Cory, Thomas and myself had the place to OURSELVES, along with Greg Everett giving US coaching tips.  Um, JACKPOT, anyone?  Between my clean and jerk attempts (made a PR of 199lbs, and LOTS more in the tank.  225# is doable.  THIS year.) and tips from Greg, Thomas and I shot the breeze on the differences in our fire services.  Cool dude!
        Notable Quotes From The Weekend:
            -"The GOAL is to keep the GOAL the GOAL"
            -"Hey, have you ever done 12 rounds of FGB" rebuttal, in stereo: "WHY?!?!"
            -"Tell your athletes what TO do, versus what NOT to do"
            -"What in the F*CK is a fish taco!??!?!"
            -"Conditioning is like a dirty whore: Easy come, Easy Go"
            -"Guess I shouldn't have drank all that beer last night"
            -"Do not confuse activity and effort with progress"
            -"Yeah, she's hot, but she ain't driving a YARIS"
            -"If it's important, do it everyday.  If it's not, don't do it all all"

        Friday, March 12, 2010

        Some Sciency Goodness...and Badness. Or Madness???

        A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef

        Cynthia A Daley, Amber Abbott, Patrick S Doyle, Glenn A Nader and Stephanie Larson
        Nutrition Journal 2010, 9:10doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-10

        Published: 10 March 2010

        Abstract (provisional)

        Growing consumer interest in grass-fed beef products has raised a number of questions with regard to the perceived differences in nutritional quality between grass-fed and grain-fed cattle. Research spanning three decades suggests that grass-based diets can significantly improve the fatty acid (FA) composition and antioxidant content of beef, albeit with variable impacts on overall palatability. Grass-based diets have been shown to enhance total conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (C18:2) isomers, trans vaccenic acid (TVA) (C18:1 t11), a precursor to CLA, and omega-3 (n-3) FAs on a g/g fat basis. While the overall concentration of total SFAs is not different between feeding regimens, grass-finished beef tends toward a higher proportion of cholesterol neutral stearic FA (C18:0), and less cholesterol-elevating SFAs such as myristic (C14:0) and palmitic (C16:0) FAs. Several studies suggest that grass-based diets elevate precursors for Vitamin A and E, as well as cancer fighting antioxidants such as glutathione (GT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity as compared to grain-fed contemporaries. Fat conscious consumers will also prefer the overall lower fat content of a grass-fed beef product. However, consumers should be aware that the differences in FA content will also give grass-fed beef a distinct grass flavor and unique cooking qualities that should be considered when making the transition from grain-fed beef. In addition, the fat from grass-finished beef may have a yellowish appearance from the elevated carotenoid content (precursor to Vitamin A). It is also noted that grain-fed beef consumers may achieve similar intakes of both n-3 and CLA through the consumption of higher fat grain-fed portions.

        --->Now, while I don't like the dogmatic slant of "cholesterol-neutral" and "fat conscious consumers", I do like the fact that this study illustrates the differences in grass fed vs grain fed beef, and does actually mention the O6:O3  ratios.  Is grass fed the be-all, end all?  No, I'd much rather see folks eating conventional feed lot beef and vegetables versus stuffing their pie holes with, well, pie and other similar facsimiles of frankenfoods, but I do think it's a wise choice to make.

        If you've dialed in your diet to where you've cut out processed foods, given up on useless bread, and said F*ck off to wheat and similar bullshit grains, think about making the move to grass fed beef.

        On a similar note, Brian St. Pierre, a CSCS and CISSN at Cressey Performace has a kick-ass blog and often posts up some great this little tidbit on pastured eggs: The Incredible Edible Pastured Egg
        I'd like to highlight here the differences between conventional and pastured:
        Vitamin A:
        • Conventional: 487 IU
        • Pastured avg: 792 IU
        Vitamin D:
        • Conventional: 34 IU
        • Pastured avg: 136 - 204 IU
        Vitamin E:
        • Conventional: 0.97 mg
        • Pastured avg: 3.73 mg
        • Conventional: 10 mcg
        • Pastured avg: 79 mcg
        Omega-3 fatty acids:
        • Conventional: 0.22 g
        • Pastured avg: 0.66 g
        If anyone is wondering, I get my beef and eggs from Harris Farms, and they deliver; Joanne (one of the owners) calls me up every few weeks making sure I'm stocked up on eggs and beef.  Good stuff!

        Yes, you can spaz.

        Ok, kiddies.  Hold onto your badass beanie caps.  This one is liable to piss a lot of folks off.  And that makes me smile, because I love when shit like this pops up.

        Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cancer: a prospective cohort study1,2,3,4

        Stephanie M George, Yikyung Park, Michael F Leitzmann, Neal D Freedman, Emily C Dowling, Jill Reedy, Arthur Schatzkin, Albert Hollenbeck and Amy F Subar
        Background: There is probable evidence that some types of fruit and vegetables provide protection against many cancers.
        Objective: We hypothesized that fruit and vegetable intakes are inversely related to the incidence of total cancers among women and men aged >50 y.
        Design: We performed a prospective study among the cohort of the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study. We merged the MyPyramid Equivalents Database (version 1.0) with food-frequency-questionnaire data to calculate cup equivalents for fruit and vegetables. From 1995 to 2003, we identified 15,792 and 35,071 cancer cases in 195,229 women and 288,109 men, respectively. We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate multivariate relative risks (RRs) and 95% CIs associated with the highest compared with the lowest quintile (Q) of fruit and vegetable intakes.
        Results: Fruit intake was not associated with the risk of total cancer among women (RRQ5 vs Q1 = 0.99; 95% CI: 0.94, 1.05; P trend = 0.059) or men (RRQ5 vs Q1 = 0.98; 95% CI: 0.95, 1.02; P for trend = 0.17). Vegetable intake was not associated with risk of total cancer among women (RRQ5 vs Q1 = 1.04; 95% CI: 0.98, 1.09; P for trend = 0.084), but was associated with a significant decrease in risk in men (RRQ5 vs Q1 = 0.94; 95% CI: 0.91, 0.97; P trend = 0.004). This significant finding among men was no longer evident when we limited the analysis to men who never smoked (RRQ5 vs Q1 = 0.97; 95% CI: 0.91, 1.04; P for trend = 0.474).
        Conclusions: Intake of fruit and vegetables was generally unrelated to total cancer incidence in this cohort. Residual confounding by smoking is a likely explanation for the observed inverse association with vegetable intake among men.

        Not convinced?  Check out another study , which concludes:
             Increased fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with a modest although not statistically significant reduction in the development of major chronic disease. The benefits appeared to be primarily for cardiovascular disease and not for cancer.

        More: This prospective cohort study demonstrated that, in the Japanese population, consumption of fruit is associated with lower risk of CVD, whereas fruit or vegetables may not be associated with lower risk of total cancer.

        Now, don't get me wrong:  Fruit and vegetables are GOOD.  They taste good, they have anti-oxidant and polyphenol goodness, they are generally light on the glycemic load, blah blah blah.  Just don't think they are the panacea of health.  Disease prevention has everything to do with what you DON'T eat vs what you DO eat.  Interesting sidebar: They treat patients with various cancers in Germany by utilizing a ketogenic (read: very low or zero carbohydrate diet) diet.  Why?  Most types of cancer can only use glucose as their main substrate.  Interesting stuff, chew on it for a while.  That light bulb just got brighter, I bet.

        Stuff You Should Read

        The Performance Menu - I like this once-a-month ejournal a lot...various writers, various topics, all relating to athletic performance and development. It's like 25 bucks a freakin' year, so you totally can't go wrong. Put out by Greg Everett and company from Catalyst Athletics.

        Alan Aragon's Research Review - Alan take the latest research studies and deconstructs them with an analytical eye, and, for the most part, generally turns them to dust. Scary smart guy. 10 bucks a month, one issue a month. Expensive? Yes. Enjoy beating people into a sobbing mess with sciencey verbal jujitsu and the latest research?  Then get it.

        Crossfit Journal  - For as much as I bash certain things about Crossfit, it's hard to diss this. 25 or so bucks a year for a SHITLOAD of well done content; everything from athlete profiles, pdf articles on running a Crossfit affiliate, and killer vids from the CF SMEs (subject matter experts)on everything from endurance running to powerlifting. Well, well worth the money.  The Barry Sears videos I completely ignore, but that's another topic for another day.

        CFLA, 1PM, Tuesday, March 9th
        Split Jerk 3-3-3-3-3
        Felt pretty damn good on these, but seeing as how I haven't done much of anything in the way of heavy OH loads, I kept it pretty light.  I love the split jerk---it's the one movement I feel I can REALLY "push" myself under the bar.  My goal for a 1RM in this is 225#.  Amazingly, as I type this at 1130 on March 12th, my shoulder feels awesome.
        Front Squat at 65#
        4:50; only went 75%.  When you're standing around after a 21-15-9 and NOT feeling like you want to die, you either 1) didn't go hard enough, or 2) didn't go hard enough.  Fair enough, I'd call it a 75%.  Hell, I just got off the boat Sunday night.  I'm fine with it, lol.

        CFLA, 7PM, Wednesday, March 10th
        Oly Class with Goach G
        OHS 2-2-2-2
        Could have gone heavier on the OHS; last time I tried, 175# was my 1RM, with the weak link heaving it off my back.  Felt pretty light at 155#, so I'm happy with that.

        Heaving Snatch Balance
        95#-115#-115#-135# (f) (f) (1)
        Great movement, and I KNOW this will fix my bailing-in-the-hole that I do with my snatch.  When I did get the 135#, it felt oddly easy; don't know what I did differently. 

        GHD Partner Raise x3 to failure
        These are just ugly; calf cramped like a mofo on the first set, and I was between laughing and crying it hurt so much.  Tough movement.

        Great class; I rarely get the chance these days to actually be coached, so I'm jumping at the opportunity for a number of reasons; first and foremost, I love Oly lifting.  Secondly, I get to watch someone else coach---this is LEARNING for me.  Coaching is still so new to me that I'll take any chance I can get to become a better coach, and Cory has been coaching and teaching for a long time.

        Bags are packed, and Big G will be by within the hour so we can jet to San Jose for the weekend!!  There's a optional WOD on Sunday morning that we're going to take part in.  I expect to be totally crushed by it, seeing as how there'll more than likely be some serious big dawgs there.  Good times!  I'll post up a recap and some photos when I get back.

        Monday, March 8, 2010

        Here But Gone, Light Reading, and The Science of Intensity

        This'll be a quick smash-n-grab/drive-by type post; I just rolled in the door last night about midnight from a week-long cruise of the Caribbean, have today and tomorrow to myself, and then I'm testing potential fire recruits on Wed/Thurs (technically, while still on vacation.  The things I do for the fire department...).

        Have I mentioned this before?  Yeah I've mentioned this before.  Think I'm excited?  Yeah, no kidding!  

        THEN I'm flying south again to SoCal with big Coach G to attend the Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Gymnastics, & GPP seminar at Catalyst Athletics, near San Jose.  With guys like Dan John, Greg Everett and others presenting, it's sure to be a phenomenal weekend.  Interestingly enough, it's NOT a Crossfit seminar; I'm curious to hear the presenters thoughts and opinions on "functional fitness across broad time and modal domains".  :)

        An Updated Classic!

        In the never-ending attempt to learn everything possible about athletic training, I recently splurged for an updated copy of Supertraining by Dr Mel Siff and Professor Verkhoshansky.  I'm about as excited as a geek can get about this, because it's really THEE textbook of textbooks on exercise physiology.  Light reading?  Not at 600 pages of Eastern European exercise methodology and cutting edge physiology.  It may take me quite a while and a few reads to crush this baby.


        It's not a mind-blowing study by any means (click on the text above to get to all of it), but once again, it proves the fact that INTENSITY matters!  Nothing drives me crazier than someone just "going through the motions", or as Chad Brandt of Action Conditioning calls it: glorified cardio!  Now, don't get me wrong, doing something is better than nothing, and getting anyone more active is a good thing, but bottom line, intensity matters.

        Among individuals who exercised the same number of MET-hours per week, vigorous activity was associated with a trend toward lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared with individuals who performed moderate activity. For example, for those who expended six to 15 MET-hours per week, there was a modestly lower risk of cardiovascular disease among those who performed vigorous activity, such as bicycling or running, compared with those who walked briskly or lifted weights.

        An interesting quote from Dr. Krauss, who recently published the meta-analysis that basically bitch-slapped everyone who's talked dirty about saturated fat over the past 50 years:

        "...suggested there might be a nadir of cardiovascular risk among runners who ran 20 miles per week, but an increased risk among those who ran 50 to 60 miles per week. Krauss noted that this increased risk was not statistically significant, and other studies have not shown an inverse risk with more time spent exercising."

        My Summary? Crossfit = best bang for your buck over ANYTHING, and science is popping up daily that proves this.(Note: Not Glassman science. There's a difference. I'll expand in Part Deux, ye patient faithful readers) Time efficient, cardiovascular kick-ass, makes you strong like bull, suck at nothing, and relatively good at everything. Running an ultramarathon is impressive, but having Mel Siff's Supertraining fall out of your limp wrists due to the weight is not. Having a 600 pound deadlift is impressive, but getting winded attempting to chase me down and crush me like a bug for making fun of your fanny pack is not.

        Workouts, Feb 27th-March 8th

        Honestly, not much to report.  The fact I got a couple of workouts in while on a glorified feed-lot in the shape of a luxury liner is, in my mind, amazing.  The gym on the ship was, at first glance, impressive, but only from a Globo gym perspective.  What the hell am I talking about?  Miles of treadmills.  Lots of fully-UNfunctional isolation machines.  Elipticals.  SEATED bikes.  I could go on, but you get my drift.

        Feb 28th, 10 AM, Atlantic Ocean
        Did some hamster-like running on the treadmill, which is a bit tricky while at sea.  I'm fairly sure being at sea level vs. 3000ft made a difference, as running at 9 miles an hour seemed like a joke, and 12 miles at hour at 2% grade seemed fine.  Must be what blood doping feels like.

        Spotted a pullup bar, and squealed with glee like Oprah at a Vegas buffet; decided to do strict pullups and chins, as the ceiling was pretty low.  How low?  Low enough to bash my head on the tin ceiling of the gym.  WHO the F*CK  gives mere inches of headspace on a pullup bar?  Christ almighty!  Had to settle for limited ROM pulls/chins.  Worked sets of 10 at BW, and sets of 5 with 45#.  A few sets of planks, and that was it.

        March 3rd, 9AM, Caribbean Ocean
        "Tabata Something Else"
        The classic "I've-got-nothing-handy" workout.
        20s on, 10s off, 8 sets per movement
        Pullups, pushups, situps, squats.  Wasn't too waxed after this, so did more treadmill stuff.  By this time I'm having barebell withdrawal, and dreaming of powercleans and split jerks.