Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Goals, Everyday is NOT a PR Day, and Vitamin D and Testosterone

The Lamest List Ever.

Well Hello 2011.  And look at this---I'm ahead of schedule for my one-blog-post a month!  Ha!  Seeing as how everyone is, and should be focused on setting and achieving new goals, I thought I throw down my own personal thoughts on goal setting.

  • Actually Set Some Goals:  Seems pretty damn obvious, but you'd be surprised at how many people flounder into the New Year with zero focus, from a fitness/nutrition/lifestyle angle.  And then I hear complaints that nothing has changed.  Positive change is self-initiated; there's always people around you to help, but YOU have to start the process.
  • Don't Set 'Em Low:  This is one of my bazillion peeves---setting extremely low goals that you know you can achieve, literally, the next day.  Pointless?  No, because a goal has been achieved, but it doesn't exactly instill consistency, work ethic, or a sense of achievement.
  • Don't Set 'Em Too High:  On the same frequency, don't set insane goals.  If your deadlift is 200lbs and you weigh 135#, setting a yearly goal of a 405# DL is a bit...excessive.  Goals should be damn tough to achieve (which is VERY subjective and individual), but achievable
  • Set Interval Check-Points:  All your goals do not (and should not) be for Dec 31st.  Set goals at 3 months, 4 months, and 6 month intervals.  Whoa!  Am I talking about PERIODIZATION?  Maybe.  But this also sets the bulls-eye within closer range---the target is closer, and the positive pressure to succeed is more palpable.
  • Quantify & Specify:  I despise goals of "Eat Better".  What the fuck does that even mean?  How about "I'm cutting out eating bread".  Along the same lines would be "Get More Sleep".  Fuck!  How about "I'm going to be IN bed AT 10PM every night".  Fitness related goals are usually number-specific, so I won't go there.
  • Re-Evaluate:  Once again, this isn't a Dec 31st dealio.  Do this at intervals.  Are you on track?  Are you behind?  Then re-set your goal date, and adjust your habits.  This is pretty common, as we don't know just how hard that path to the goal might be.
  • Accountability:  Tell your friends, tell your cat, tell your Mom, and most importantly, tell your Crossfit Coach your goals.  Make 'em public.  Also, tell yourself:  Write it down, and post it where you'll see it everyday.  But I don't recommend the goal of "Get laid more" being posted on your bathroom mirror
  • Goals NOT achieved are NOT failures:  This is so key I swear to Odin (because Norse Gods are cool and kick ass) I'm going to write this on the wall at the gym.  If you have a goal of dropping 30 lbs over the year, and by Dec 31st you've dropped 20, is that a failure?  Hell no, son!  Think about the groundwork you've laid, the habits you've created, and the health you've created.  Not to mention the 20 el-bees!!
 Not Everyday Is A PR Day.  Even With Those Shorts.

What I want to discuss, and it's a bit of a nice segue from Goals, is that Not Everyday Is A PR Day.  I've had this topic in mind for quite a while now; it's funny how similar topics seem to pop up from time to time, like there's a strong cohesive group thinking mentality.  Cryptic and weird, I know!  This topic, for me, started to come to fruition over the fall as I saw some of our best athletes succumb to chronic injuries and one, in particular, dove off the deep beyond overreaching and into serious over-training (and potentially adrenal fatigue).  

  I absolutely, 100% completely, fully back the opinion that Crossfit is to blame for this mentality.   No where else are people encouraged to to train to 100% capacity without periodization, peaking, and tapering.  Now, you might be asking:  "What the hell is wrong with giving 100% everyday?" Whoa there, hoss.  Let's get some clarity.  Recently, as I was mulling over this New Years Topic, Freddy Camacho of Crossfit One World posted up a very similar topic: (which was also wisely posted on the CFLA website)

   There are no competitors at any sport that train 100% effort at every workout. Training at 100% effort every workout can lead to loss of technique. Loss of technique during a high intensity workout (on a daily basis) eventually is gonna bite you in the ass.  
   So about right now you’re thinking, “Well how much effort should I give?”

Simple: Never mistake “100% effort” for HARD WORK.
Very wise words that make a ton of sense. For those of you in the Crossfit community for a few years now, you'll probably be familiar with Josh Everett; track star, Oly lifting machine, and all around insane ass kicker.  Top 3 in the2007/2008 games, S & C coach by trade.  Needless to say, this guy knows a few things about training---and recovery.  After his 35th placing in the 2009 games, Josh himself became a victim of serious over-training, which resulted in taking FOUR complete weeks off, and tapering back slowly.  One of my favorite quotes from one of his interviews comes from HIS old track coach, who stated:

"Everyone only has a certain number of max efforts per year; this is about 12, or one a month.  This should be saved for competition."

The reality of that hits home like a sledgehammer.  If we are trying to push max efforts 6 days out of seven, where will that eventually lead?  To overreaching--->over-training--->chronic injury--->adrenal fatigue--->depressed immunity--->decreased capacity.

The problem is that newbies have such awesome linear progression that they get used to "PR'ing all the time"---when in fact they are still learning technique and intensity.  Once an athlete has both down, then true max efforts are attainable.  But, but this time, unless quality coaching is adhered to, the mindset of "Every day is a PR day!" still dominates.  And this leads to the aforementioned issues.

The take home for this is train hard, but save those max effort days, and limit them over the year.

Horm Metab Res. 2010 Dec 10. [Epub ahead of print]

Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Testosterone Levels in Men.

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Medical University of Graz, Austria.


The male reproductive tract has been identified as a target tissue for vitamin D, and previous data suggest an association of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] with testosterone levels in men. We therefore aimed to evaluate whether vitamin D supplementation influences testosterone levels in men. Healthy overweight men undergoing a weight reduction program who participated in a randomized controlled trial were analyzed for testosterone levels. The entire study included 200 nondiabetic subjects, of whom 165 participants (54 men) completed the trial. Participants received either 83 μg (3 332 IU) vitamin D daily for 1 year (n=31) or placebo (n=23). Initial 25(OH)D concentrations were in the deficiency range (<50 nmol/l) and testosterone values were at the lower end of the reference range (9.09-55.28 nmol/l for males aged 20-49 years) in both groups. Mean circulating 25(OH)D concentrations increased significantly by 53.5 nmol/l in the vitamin D group, but remained almost constant in the placebo group. Compared to baseline values, a significant increase in total testosterone levels (from 10. 7±3.9 nmol/l to 13.4±4.7 nmol/l; p<0.001), bioactive testosterone (from 5.21±1.87 nmol/l to 6.25±2.01 nmol/l; p=0.001), and free testosterone levels (from 0.222±0.080 nmol/l to 0.267±0.087 nmol/l; p=0.001) were observed in the vitamin D supplemented group. By contrast, there was no significant change in any testosterone measure in the placebo group. Our results suggest that vitamin D supplementation might increase testosterone levels. Further randomized controlled trials are warranted to confirm this hypothesis.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.
PMID: 21154195 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]  

My Thoughts:  Vitamin D supplementation, for the past couple of years or so, has been Le Bonne Soupe De Jour, aka flavor of the month.  It seems to pop up in numerous studies per week.  While I had been planning a post on vitamin D, it's just too massive a topic.  This study caught my eye, though.  Why?  Because nearly every single person is more than likely vitamin D deficient.  Here's some reasons why:

-Our Northern Latitude:  We just don't get the direct sun at optimal angle for much of the year.
-Our Solar Phobia:  Dermatologist have caused a brutally unjustified fear of the sun.
-Our Modern Lifestyle:  Wake up in your house/get in your car/go to your office/go to the gym/go back into your house.  Sun?  What sun.

And that's just an ultra abbreviated version.   A few years back, after supplementing with 10,000 iu for 6 months, I tested my 25(OH)D levels, and they came back at 70ng/mL (Optimal, as per the Vitamin D Council and Dr Cannell is 50-90ng/mL); in hindsight, I should have tested before supplementation, but hindsight is always 20/20.  I now take 6000iu/day, and 4000iu in the summer.  It's always something I prescribe for every single client I do a nutritional consult on, for numerous reasons---disease prevention, optimal immunity, and optimal hormonal secretion.

How much do YOU take?

Various Training

December 26th, Sherwood Park, 10:30 AM
Run x25 minutes
Even though it was -15 Celsius, I was going nuts for some movement.  Plus, I had to test out my new Inov8 F-195s 
Result: They were sweet and I was fast.

Dec 30th, CFLA, 1PM
Hang Power Snatch
65x10, 85#x5, 105#x3, 115#x3, 125#x3, 135#x1,1,1
5 Rounds For Time:
5 Toes-To-Bar
10 DB Snatch 40# (5R/5L)
15 Pushups

Jan 4th, CFLA, 1PM
As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) in 12 minutes:
3 Muscle Ups (regular grip, no false grip)
6 Box Jumps, 31"
9 GHD sit-ups
7+1 rounds

Jan 6th, CFLA, 1PM
Deadlift 3R, 75%/80%/85%, current 1RM 415#
135#x10, 225#x5, 285#x3, 311#x3, 335#x3, 355#x6
On my last rep, I heard, and felt, and audible "crunch" from my low back, in the sacral area.  Very uncool and scary.  Ice the hell outa it right away, and while it seems stable, hyperextension aggravates it.

Jan 11th, CFLA, 1PM
AMRAP in 14 min:
2 ManMakers, 40#DB (Pushup, row right, row left, squat clean to thruster)
10 Ball Slams, 20#
20 Jumping Lunges
9+1 round

Dec 29th/Jan 9th/Jan12th, U of L Climbing Wall
Indoor Rock Climbing
Still working on that 5.11b, and today I successfully redpointed it (climbed without falling).  While everyday is truly NOT a PR (personal record, PB, personal best), it's damn nice to hit goals.  MD just set a new route this morning, and after my redpoint, I jumped on it and was flailing and bailing like a newbie.  New project, yay!