Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rule#1: Cardio, The Best Condiment Ever, and Saving Your Steak

First off, Late Edition Edit:  I realize I have a wicked case of dyslexia, and I'm actually not even joking.  Re-reading this post 5 hours later, I can't believe the grammatical errors.  So, if a sentence doesn't make sense, just assume I meant what you thought I meant.  Capeesh?  Ok then.

Back to completely cryptic blog titles!  Yay Me!  Ok, first up, some completely gratuitous bike porn, for no other reason than the weather is beautiful and singletack is calling my name!:

This is my main steed, a 2009 Santa Cruz Nomad; I spent waaaaay too much on this bike last year, but it's worth every cent.  The geometry, the stiffness, how it climbs, how it descends...unreal.  I had  a custom built Gary Fisher Cake 1 DLX before, and that can't even touch the Nomad.

This was actually my first hardtail; a 1999 Kona Explosif.  Made from 853 Reynolds steel, it has nearly the same strength:weight ratio of titanium.  Right now I'd got street slicks on it, and this baby is what gets me to Crossfit and the fire station.  Huge amount of positive Chi infused in that beauty steel frame.

I was trying to follow the CFE (Crossfit Endurance) programming in addition to our CFLA programming, but it's damn near impossible with my shiftwork; what I've been doing instead is hitting various intensities while commuting.  I'm lucky enough to have a steep hill both ways (Only a true Crossfitter would consider "uphill both ways" as a good thing!"), and fairly empty side-streets to hit sprints.  My reason for all this?  I've blathered about it a bit, but it's for this, happening July 24th:

And, what would a post by Mike be without some sciencey goodness?  From the vault, a classic that every Crossfitter should know.  In fact, one could say almost the whole methodology of metabolic conditioning could be based on this study: (In case you're wondering, this is the original Tabata protocol, named after the lead researcher, Dr. Izumi Tabata)

Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max.
Department of Physiology and Biomechanics, National Institute of Fitness and Sports, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.


This study consists of two training experiments using a mechanically braked cycle ergometer. First, the effect of 6 wk of moderate-intensity endurance training (intensity: 70% of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), 60 min.d-1, 5 d.wk-1) on the anaerobic capacity (the maximal accumulated oxygen deficit) and VO2max was evaluated. After the training, the anaerobic capacity did not increase significantly (P > 0.10), while VO2max increased from 53 +/- 5 min-1 to 58 +/- 3 (P < 0.01) (mean +/- SD). Second, to quantify the effect of high-intensity intermittent training on energy release, seven subjects performed an intermittent training exercise 5 d.wk-1 for 6 wk. The exhaustive intermittent training consisted of seven to eight sets of 20-s exercise at an intensity of about 170% of VO2max with a 10-s rest between each bout. After the training period, VO2max increased by 7, while the anaerobic capacity increased by 28%. In conclusion, this study showed that moderate-intensity aerobic training that improves the maximal aerobic power does not change anaerobic capacity and that adequate high-intensity intermittent training may improve both anaerobic and aerobic energy supplying systems significantly, probably through imposing intensive stimuli on both systems.

The Best Condiment Ever

Mustard. It really is the best condiment ever. Why? It's about as close to a bottled, processed Paleo condiment that you'll ever get. Quick, run to your fridge, and grab the yellow plastic squeeze bottle you have,(or the $18 dollar tiny glass jar of expensive imported French Dijon, for you hoighty toighty folks) and check the ingredients.

Ingredients: Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Salt, Turmeric, Paprika.

That shit is badass!  Simple, and falls under Michael Pollan's Food Rule of "Avoid foods containing ingredients you can't pronounce."  Ok, but what's really so great about mustard?  The highlighted spice, Turmeric, which contains an active ingredient called curcumin; Google that, or plug it into Pubmed, and you'll get a shwackload of hits.  Like this(yeah I know it's mice but whatever.  The general public is more related to rats than humans, anyways.):

Curcumin effects on inflammation and performance recovery following eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage

J. Mark Davis,1 E. Angela Murphy,1 Martin D. Carmichael,1 Mark R. Zielinski,1 Claire M. Groschwitz,1 Adrienne S. Brown,1 J. David Gangemi,3 Abdul Ghaffar,2 and Eugene P. Mayer2 1Division of Applied Physiology, Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health and the 2Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia; and 3Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
Submitted 8 December 2006 ; accepted in final form 26 February 2007

Downhill running is associated with fiber damage, inflammation, delayed-onset muscle soreness, and various functional deficits. Curcumin, a constituent of the Indian spice turmeric has been investigated for its anti-inflammatory activity and may offset some of the damage and functional deficits associated with downhill running. This study examined the effects of curcumin on inflammation and recovery of running performance following downhill running in mice. Male mice were assigned to downhill placebo (Down-Plac), downhill curcumin (Down-Cur), uphill placebo (Up-Plac), or uphill curcumin (Up-Cur) groups and run on a treadmill at 22 m/min at –14% or +14% grade, for 150 min. At 48 h or 72 h after the up/downhill run, mice (experiment 1) underwent a treadmill performance run to fatigue. Another subset of mice was placed in voluntary activity wheel cages following the up/downhill run (experiment 2) and their voluntary activity (distance, time and peak speed) was recorded. Additional mice (experiment 3) were killed at 24 h and 48 h following the up/downhill run, and the soleus muscle was harvested for analysis of inflammatory cytokines (IL-1beta, IL-6, and TNF-{alpha}), and plasma was collected for creatine kinase analysis. Downhill running decreased both treadmill run time to fatigue (48 h and 72 h) and voluntary activity (24 h) (P < 0.05), and curcumin feedings offset these effects on running performance. Downhill running was also associated with an increase in inflammatory cytokines (24 h and 48 h) and creatine kinase (24 h) (P < 0.05) that were blunted by curcumin feedings. These results support the hypothesis that curcumin can reduce inflammation and offset some of the performance deficits associated with eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage.
Not only does it have implications in training, but due to it's potent anti-inflammatory effects (it acts much like a natural COX-2 inhibitor, like common NSAIDs...think ibuprofen, naproxen) it's currently being researched and studied for uses in everything from renal disease to Alzheimer's.

 Save Your Steak.  With Spice!

Well, since I'm on a sciencey goodness roll, I'll just keep a-rollin', BBQ style:

Antioxidant-rich spice added to hamburger meat during cooking results in reduced meat, plasma, and urine malondialdehyde concentrations1,2,3,4

Zhaoping Li, Susanne M Henning, Yanjun Zhang, Alona Zerlin, Luyi Li, Kun Gao, Ru-Po Lee, Hannah Karp, Gail Thames, Susan Bowerman and David Heber
Background: Emerging science has shown the effect of oxidation products and inflammation on atherogenesis and carcinogenesis. Cooking hamburger meat can promote the formation of malondialdehyde that can be absorbed after ingestion.
Objective:We studied the effect of an antioxidant spice mixture on malondialdehyde formation while cooking hamburger meat and its effects on plasma and urinary malondialdehyde concentrations.
Design: Eleven healthy volunteers consumed 2 kinds of burgers in a randomized order: one burger was seasoned with a spice blend, and one burger was not seasoned with the spice blend. The production of malondialdehyde in burgers and malondialdehyde concentrations in plasma and urine after ingestion were measured by HPLC.
Results:Rosmarinic acid from oregano was monitored to assess the effect of cooking on spice antioxidant content. Forty percent (19 mg) of the added rosmarinic acid remained in the spiced burger (SB) after cooking. There was a 71% reduction in the malondialdehyde concentration (mean ± SD: 0.52 ± 0.02 µmol/250 g) in the meat of the SBs compared with the malondialdehyde concentration (1.79 ± 0.17 µmol/250 g) in the meat of the control burgers (CBs). The plasma malondialdehyde concentration increased significantly in the CB group as a change from baseline (P = 0.026). There was a significant time-trend difference (P = 0.013) between the 2 groups. Urinary malondialdehyde concentrations (µmol/g creatinine) decreased by 49% (P = 0.021) in subjects consuming the SBs compared with subjects consuming the CBs.
Conclusions: The overall effect of adding the spice mixture to hamburger meat before cooking was a reduction in malondialdehyde concentrations in the meat, plasma, and urine after ingestion. Therefore, cooking hamburgers with a polyphenol-rich spice mixture can significantly decrease the concentration of malondialdehyde, which suggests potential health benefits for atherogenesis and carcinogenesis. This trial was registered at clinical as NCT01027052.

Bust out the grill, whip up a baddass dry spice rub, and pull the mustard out of the fridge.  Add to that some polyphenol-rich organic Argentinian Malbec (my fav right now, tequila aside), and I'd call it summer, baby.

Various and Random WODs

Like I stated, a lot of my focus has been on riding as of late, and it's a bit hard to quantify gains, or lack thereof, in that department.  It's subjective to me, and day-to-day, based on the typical variables of sleep/food/stress and all that.  I did blast past a couple of huffing and puffing teenagers biking up the westside hill, but that's neither here nor there. :)  Some notables:

Monday, April 12th, CFLA

1RM Front Squat, 265#.  Reference Dec 1, 2009, 250#.
I'll take it; Had 275#, but bailed in the hole.

Tuesday, April 13th, CFLA

10,000m row, 40:40.
I've never done this for time, so had no idea how it would feel; I wanted to just maintain a good pace, but it's hard NOT to get fixated on the time, as a Crossfitter.  I had interesting ups and down in how I felt, which I should have documented better; last 2500m I felt awesome.  Sub-40 would be my next goal.

Thursday, April 15th, CFLA

Overhead Press, 1RM, 130#.  Reference March 22nd, 130#
At this point, just happy I can do this.  Eventual goal, 165#.

Petranek Fitness Test
500m row
40 Squats
30 Situps
20 Pushups
10 Pullups
3:46.  Left some in the tank off the row, so I might be able to shave a few seconds off.  Felt good, though.  Andy Petranek, from Crossfit LA has made standards based on this test, but I won't bother listing them here.  A good little test of pure anaerobic endurance.

Friday, April 16th, CFLA

1RM Deadlift
405#x1 Holy Hell Booya!  Came up fast, lock out easy!!  
410#x1 Tough, and ugly, but got 'er done
415#x0. Came off the ground, but couldn't lock it out.  Odd.

Totally, utterly stoked about this, as my goal has been 412.5# (2.5x my BW of 165#) for a loooooong time.  The way 415# came up, I have no doubt that more is in store.