Thursday, August 12, 2010

Science FAIL, Rhythmic Exercise and Depression, & Nate Quarry: Failure or Regret?

I had a great week spent in Couer d'Alene, Idaho biking, hiking, and kayaking. Fantastic little resort town. But now, back to work (fire department), work (Crossfit), and work (this blog)...none of which are really work!

First off, a headline I just caught this morning; I was going to do a piece on human marbling, or the increase in intramuscular fat via high carbohydrate intake, like conventionally raised cattle---but it's actually a helluva lot more complicated than that, since both a high fat diet and athletes in general HAVE high levels of IMTG (intramuscular triglycerides). Anyhoo, onto the massive science fail:
I bet these next researchers aren't much smarter...

"Statins don't cut out all of the unhealthy effects of burgers and fries. It's better to avoid fatty food altogether. But we've worked out that in terms of your likelihood of having a heart attack, taking a statin can reduce your risk to more or less the same degree as a fast food meal increases it."

Holy shit I think I just vomited a little in my mouth; headlines like this can't even be made up, and that's the scary part.  The inefficiency and potentially incredibly harmful effects of statins is well known; what is also known is that pharmaceutical companies make insanely huge profits from the sale of statins---we are talking billions of dollars.  They want to give them to kids, they want to put them in the water, and they want to put it in fast food.  Sound like a wacked-out conspiracy theory?  All of the three latter points are true; read and weep:
Statin Fortified Drinking Water (scary.)
AHA Recommends Statins For Kids (even scarier, if possible)

This makes me want to scream more than the new USDA food guidelines, which is a mindblowing level of ignorance all on it's on.  Statins?  Proven ineffectiveness and harmful, yet pitched every which-way to make a buck.  If you don't e-travel in the circles I do, then maybe you haven't come across the plethora of well-written literature on statins; the cream of the crop would be Chris Kresser's The Hidden Truth About Statins (extremely comprehensive, especially the study breakdown) and Dr. Kurt Harris's recent Statins and the Cholesterol Hypothesis - Part 1. Dr Harris makes an excellent case for dietary changes vs pill popping for treatment of CVD.

Take the time to check these both out; they are just the tip of the iceberg.  Others, including cardiologist Dr. Bill Davis of the Heart Scan Blog and Dr. BG of Animal Pharm have also written on the topic of statins.  Yet headlines in the mass media (and mass science?) still paint statins in a glorious light.  Maddening.

Rhythmic, Cyclic Aerobic Exercise...ahhh, the stress is leaving...

Psychiatr Pol. 2004 Jul-Aug;38(4):611-20.

[Effects of exercise on anxiety, depression and mood]


This article reviews the studies on the effects of physical activity on the emotional states--anxiety, depression and mood. The meta-analyses of correlational and experimental studies reveal positive effects of exercise, in healthy people and in clinical populations (also in patients with emotional disorders) regardless of gender and age. The benefits are significant especially in subjects with an elevated level of anxiety and depression because of more room for possible change. The most improvements are caused by rhythmic, aerobic exercises, using of large muscle groups (jogging, swimming, cycling, walking), of moderate and low intensity. They should be conducted for 15 to 30 minutes and performed a minimum of three times a week in programs of 10-weeks or longer. The results confirm the acute effect of exercise i.e. the reductions in anxiety and depression after single sessions of exercise. The changes in anxiety, depression and mood states after exercise are explained most frequently by the endorphin and monoamine hypotheses. Exercise may also increase body temperature, blood circulation in the brain and impact on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and physiological reactivity to stress. The possible psychological mechanisms include improvement of self-efficacy, distraction and cognitive dissonance.

My Thoughts: Lately, I've been interested in the theory and mechanism of how rhythmic/cyclic exercise treats depression; it's been mentioned a couple of times in various conversations I've had, and it's piqued my amateur interest.  Some of the interesting points I've come across, in relation to treating depression/anxiety:
  • Low intensity exercise is more effective than high intensity,
  • Steady-state (LSD, or long, steady distance) versus Interva l(HIIT, or high intensity interval training) is more effective,
  • Aerobic exercise is more effective than resistance training.
  • Cortisol secretion is actually REDUCED with low intensity, steady state aerobic work
There's more than a number of variables at play here; as the study abstract states, the most likely and largest mechanism would be neurotransmitter secretion (think brain drugs). These neurotransmitters being endorphins---the "painkillers" (they actually work on opioid receptor sites, like the narcotic morphine) and monoamines like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

  As far as the "rhythmic", "cyclic", or repetitive aspect, I haven't come across anything pertaining to the actual physiology; anecdotally, the repetitive motion of say either yoga, swimming, or running is supposed to soothe us the same way rocking soothes an agitated baby.

Stressed?  Get your LSD on. :)

For those of you who follow MMA, Nate Quarry will be a familiar face; all but the die-hard fans probably don't know his complete story, though.  TED is a wickedly cool website dedicated to posting video of speakers from their various conferences. While the audio is kind of crappy at times, I found myself leaning into my monitor even when it was good. It's 18 minutes, but trust me, you'll want to listen.

Failure or Regret? Consistency and work ethic. A super powerful message that I think anyone can apply to themselves in everyday life.

"Fortitudine Vincimus" ---By Endurance We Conquer.

Various Training
Monday, August 2nd, CFLA
No class this day, but I NEEDED a workout.  Some days are like this.
5 Rounds For Time
90# sled drag, 25m
10 Sledgehammer swings per arm, 12lb hammer
90# backwards sled drag, 25m
5 Powercleans, 135#
10 Ring Pushups
16:30.  A wonderful grinder that left me waxed.

Tuesday, August 3rd, CFLA
Bench Press
45#x10, 95#x10, 135#x5
165# x5x5.  Hoping for 225# for a 1RM by years end, as long as the shoulder doesn't flare, which biking seems to have agitated again.  Boo.

Overhead Squat, 95#
Pushups w/ feet in rings
7:38.  Left wrist super-jacked up from OHS.  Gotta see Dr. Chelsea about that.

August 4th-9th, R&R in Couer d'Alene, Idaho
5th: 2hr hike, Tubbs Hill
6th: 2hr hike, Qe'milin Park
7th: 3hr bike, Trail of the Couer d'Alenes
8th: 3hr kayak, Lake Couer d'Alene

August 10th & 11th, Firehall #1
Did a 30s on/30s off circuit of 5 rounds of:
Goblet squats, 65#DB
Renegade Rows, 45#DB
Wall Ball Shots, 20lbs
Skipping/Double Unders
"Leg Cranks", via KH, a firefighter/paramedic who regularly does Muay Thai
3 Rounds:
5min skipping, 40 air squats, 20 lunges, 20 power lunges, 10 jump squats.  Legs jacked, fo' sho.

August 12th, CFLA, 1PM
135#x10, 135#x10, 225#x5, 285#x5, 315#x5, 345#x5, 360#x5
Happy with this, as the last time I did deadlift was in April.  360#x5 puts me at 410#1RM, where I should be.  450# for Christmas.
15#x10, 25#x5, 40#x5, 50#x5