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.