Saturday, December 31, 2011

Soundbites & Confessions to End 2011

Sneakin' in one last blog post before 2012...

First off, I have an actual educational, organized, and informative post on adrenal fatigue brewing for early 2012.  This, though, will not be that; in typical North American ADHD fashion, I'm going to puke forth a shwack of Soundbites and Confessions to ring in the New Year.  As always, some will be personal, some will be sciencey, and some will be sarcastic.

Confession:  I think Metabolic Typing is a bunch of Horseshit.

It's interesting that 1) I've been asked more than a few times about this in the recent months from folks all over the country emailing me, 2) Robb Wolf has addressed this numerous times in text (here) and on his podcast, (here, here, and here) 3) Alan Aragon did a recent a thorough ass-thrashing in his Research Review

  This is a bit at odds with my current journey of learning about Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, as FDN aligns itself with MT.  To clarify, though, they are two separate entities.  And yes, while I think MT is horseshit (I had my own metabolic typing done, to the tune of 150 bucks.  I was told to stop drinking coffee and eating spinach.  Because I'm a "fast oxidizer", and these are acidic foods.  When asked about PRAL and specific alkalinity (both of which spinach and coffee have a negative {read:alkaline} PRAL, there was no rebuttal.), I understand why they would align themselves with something like MT.   I'm biased, it's pseudoscience horsehit, but it DOES address individuality.  I still sure as hell wouldn't either use it or recommend it to ANYONE.  Hell, even the Zone might be better, and it sucks.

Soundbite: Chevelle is a fucking badass band.

Sure, bands like Killswitch Engage, Slipknot, All That Remains, and Sevendust are probably more likely to be found on my iPod at the gym, but you can't deny the awesome mesh of Chevelle. A bunch of geeky dudes who probably all have degrees in science, heavy guitar riffs, and actual cerebral lyrics. Figures I'd like em. And yes, their new single Face To The Floor can be found on my iPod. At the gym. LOUD.

Confession, Admission, Prediction

I'm a mediocre athlete Why am I bashing myself down?  I work with, and a train with, some of the best in the world.  It's hard not to suck around these folks.  Sure, I put up pretty good numbers for a skinny assed 38 year old, but fuck me, there's some wicked beasts in the Crossfit Community.  This is an awesome segue into an admission + prediction:

I'm seriously stoked for the 2012 Crossfit Games.  Yeah yeah I bash the whole dealio from time to time, but I'm obviously still waving the flag.  This year, I have a TON of clients that will be competing from coast to coast, so I can't help but be jacked. 

I usually throw out a prediction or two, which, in the evolving world of Crossfit as a sport, is a total crapshoot.  This one isn't specific to 2012 per se, and more targeted to the guys:  We will continually see faster athletes at, or above, the 225# mark.  In the past, 225# was "just too big" for Crossfit...dominate athletes in the male category were around 185-190, exceptions aside.  225#, in the future, will no longer be the exception, it'll be the standard.  Mark my words.

Soundbite:  Dr Terry Wahls on Paleo and Multiple Sclerosis.

Get a cup of coffee, sit the hell down for 17 minutes, and watch. It's Ted Talks. It's about nutrition. It's about curing the incurable. This shit is heavy.

Confession:  I love cooking bacon.

My BBQ lost a bet with 110km/hr winds, hence the shit-kicked look.

I know, that's not very revealing.  But cooking bacon on my back deck on Dec 31st wearing shorts with no snow and a balmy -1 Celsius is pretty freakin' cool.

Soundbite:  Fish oil won't FUBAR your lipid peroxides

I'm pretty sure I've posted on this before:  The idea that too much fish oil (an unstable polyunsaturated omega 3 fatty acid) will oxidize and do more harm than good.  This idea, while sound, is much like a lot of nutritional theories floating around the blog-o-sphere and interwebz, is susceptible to what I call the "Run-Like-A-Fucking-Idiot" syndrome.  Folks get a wiff, then take it to the end of extreme.  This goes both ways, by the way.  Think fructose.  Think dairy.  Think fish oil.  For that matter, think "Paleo".   People either want it all or nothing, and a vast majority don't seem to be able to find a happy medium.  Yeah, I get that folks want black and white.  But pull your head out of your ass on this one.

Back on target, let's look at some sciencey goodness:


Effect of fish and fish oil-derived omega-3 fatty acids on lipid oxidation.


School of Medicine and Pharmacology, The University of Western Australia, Medical Research Foundation Building, Box X 2213 GPO, Perth, Western Australia 6847, Australia.


There is evidence that omega-3 (omega3) fatty acids derived from fish and fish oils reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease via mechanisms underlying atherosclerosis, thrombosis and inflammation. Despite these benefits, there has been concern that these fatty acids may increase lipid peroxidation. However, the in vivo data to date are inconclusive, due in part to limitations in the methodologies. In this regard, our findings using the measurement of F(2)-isoprostanes, a reliable measure of in vivo lipid peroxidation and oxidant stress, do not support adverse effects of omega3 fatty acids on lipid peroxidation.
PMID:15479562 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 
Polyunsaturated fatty acids as antioxidants
Doriane Richard, Kaouthar Kefi, Ullah Barbe, Pedro Bausero, Francesco Visioli

Laboratory of «Micronutrients and Cardiovascular Disease», UMR7079, UPMC Univ 06, Paris, France
Accepted 13 May 2008. Available online 18 May 2008.


The susceptibility of fatty acids to oxidation is thought to be directly dependent on their degree of unsaturation. However, some in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that the relation between chemical structure and susceptibility to oxidation is not as straightforward as hypothesized from theoretical viewpoints. Indeed, long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) might be less oxidizable than others under specific experimental conditions. We investigated the free radical-scavenging potential of PUFA and the production of reactive oxygen/nitrogen (ROS/RNS) species by human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) supplemented with different fatty acids. Fatty acid micelles scavenged superoxide in an unsaturation-dependent manner, up to eicosapentaenoic acid, which was the most effective fatty acid. Supplementation of HAEC with polyunsaturated fatty acids of the omega 3 series resulted in lower formation of ROS, as compared with cells supplemented with saturates, monounsaturates, or polyunsaturates of the omega 6 series. This effect was maximal at concentrations of 10 μM. The effects of omega 3 fatty acids on reactive species production appear to be stronger when ROS were evaluated, as a milder, albeit significant effect was observed on RNS generation. Based on in vivo data showing reduced excretion of lipid peroxidation products after omega 3 intake and our data on ROS production and direct superoxide scavenging by LC-PUFAs, notably those of the omega 3 series, we propose that this series of fatty acid might act as indirect anti- rather than pro-oxidant in vascular endothelial cells, hence diminishing inflammation and, in turn, the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.
 Commonly heard quote:  Ok, so Mike dug up a bunch of studies.  Big deal.  I'm a BAMF fire breathing, low omega-6 eatin' athlete with body comp so tight I have striations on my striations.  I'm TOTALLY going to oxidize those excess O3s!"  (ok, maybe not so commonly heard quote, but you get my point).  Enter N=1 real life experimentation:
Mike's Recent Lipid Peroxide test: 5.48nM/mg
Optimal range of Lipid Peroxides: 1.00-7.50nM/mg 

Keep in mind this test was taken with the continual consumption of at LEAST 4.8g EPA/DHA per day; at times, I dose at 6g (5 caps of 600mg EPA/DHA x 2/day) In the far past, I've been at 10-15g to deal with a chronic shoulder bursitis.  

Also of note is that lipid peroxides can be elevated due to excessive or hard training, and can be attenuated by the consumption of anti-oxidants.  For the record, I did this test on a rest day, but had trained the previous 3 days in a row (and, this was prior to Maddy being born, so the training was still decent, ha!)I also do not consume antioxidants, and had stopped my Vit C intake day prior to the test.

Morale of the story?  Take your damn fish oil.  Use the bag of fat between your ears, and make decisions on what you do, or do not do, based on sound science.  Not the flavor of the month, and not what the goddamn masses are doing like herds of cattle.  Direct your own health.

Confession:  I'm continually blown away at the far reaching readership of this blog!

It makes me smile, shake my head, and just plain wonder.  Let's be clear:  I don't get a Satan-Klaus bag of mail every day, but I do get questions and comments from all over the damn globe on a regular basis.  I don't get as much hate mail as I probably deserve, but I do get some pretty cool questions.

I recently had a brief discussion with another CF coach about FDN in Florida; another, in New York.  I've had a few Aussies email me with just nice things to say (the rumors aren't true, they are nice folks!), and always lots of California.  I have to admit, my blogging frequency has fallen off the planet, but it's nice to hear from folks from all over, and it's a catalyst to get me to find the time.
That being said, I just got an email notification of a hilarious post left on probably my most popular and completely mis-understood post,  Some Things I Hate About Crossfit

Soundbite: Alistair Overeem

Just watched this absolute freak of nature man-handle Lesnar last night at my buddy Jake's house.  For some clarity, my nutritional consulting does 3 phases; one of the topics in phase 3 is supplements.  I don't do a "Phase 4".  Phase 4 would probably land me in jail.  

Then., at 205#

...Now, at 265#.

In the wise words of one of the best paramedics I know "I'm not sayin'...I'm just sayin'"  Uh huh.  Look at Joe Rogan in the background.  Even he seems bamboozeled by Overeems...transformation.

Confession:  My Adrenals are Trashed.  T-R-A-S-H-E-D.  But it may be normal.

The basis of the FDN course is testing lab values; as a student, one of the first steps is to test my own.  I did my testing prior to my daughter's birth, because I knew once she arrived, all semblance of training/diet/sleep would just be a beautiful memory.  While it actually hasn't been as bad as I thought, my sleep has taken a serious beat down.  BUT, I did do my labs before.  But when I got the results, my jaw hit the floor:
I'm in late Stage 2/early stage 3 adrenal fatigue.  I'll go into the actual ranges, values, and meanings in a blog post early in the new year, but for a primer, think of it like this:
Stage 1:  Elevated cortisol above normal at certain points of the day, total sum still normal
Stage 2: Elevated cortisol throughout the day, total sum elevated
Stage 3: Adrenal Exhaustion, sum less than normal.

My DHEA was low, cortisol low on all points except one, and total is low.  What I find mind-boggling is that I generally don't feel that bad most of the time, and this year I made some pretty decent progress in training, maintained a sub-8% BF, and didn't walk around like I had dementia.  Well, most of the time.  Also, my testosterone is decent at 960ng/mL on a scale of 400-1300.  I'd like to see that above 1000, but shit, considering, I'm happy.  My metcons have sucked ass lately, but my strength has increased at a rate I'm pretty stoked about.

What I Think Has Saved My Bacon Thus Far:  Completely dialed diet (lets assume I know what the hell I'm talking about here), smart training, and intelligent supplementation.  By all rights, I should be barely able to drag my ass out of bed in the morning.  Most of the time I just wake up, swear a bit, and I'm good to go.

The main strategies for dealing with this are, well, obviously, quality sleep; being a career shiftworker has probably been the main, far reaching cause that started 15+ years ago.  My recent deprivation is a drop in bucket, but exacerbating, nonetheless.  Friends that are parents promise me I will get sleep again :).  Also is the use of supplemental DHEA, Pregnenolone and Licorice root.  Think of this as "Phase 3.5"....some of this stuff isn't available in Canada, (which is complete, 100% horseshit).  BUT, being a resourceful sum-bitch, I have in my adrenal fatigued hands sub-lingual versions of all stated, and it looks like a fairly reliable source for the future.  SO, I will be able to treat myself, and my future clients.    More on this next year, and obvious re-testing in the near future ;)

Recent Training

Well since my last post Nov 6th, training has been a challenge, to say the least, but it's happened.  I'm fortunate enough to have a kick-ass garage gym (huge props to my friend, accountant, and owner of CFLA, David "I wear Millionaire" Muryn), and access to a sweet gym at the new firehall.  Motivation/energy has been more of an issue that location...let's be clear on that!

Current PRs:
  • Deadlift, 435#.  Just PR'd this on my first vist back to CFLA.  450# is just around the corner.
  • OHP, 141#.  It's 1 pound.  GFY.  I'm taking it, lol.  Seriously, this does make me laugh, because it's laughable.  Weak sauce, fo' sho.
  • Squat, 355#.  Had a PR of up to 350, and recently, 355.  Lots o' room in my deadlift, but this one is truly at max.  Going to take some serious work to get to 405#.
Nov 21st, CFLA, 11ish or so
CF Total
Back Squat 355#
Deadlift 435#
OHP 140#
Total: 930.  Very happy with this, and really not giving a fuck that I used a belt and went back and forth between my press and DL at the same time.  Came in just with the idea that I was going to squat, and jumped in with David to do the whole deal.

Dec 6th & 8th
TRX session at U of L, 1 hr/each.

This was...ok.  I have to be kinda politically correct here, because 1) there's readers that really like this thing, and 2) Guys at the station use it, and I'm just happy when they are doing pretty much anything.  I'm personally not a fan, though, and won't be buying one for my garage gym nor will I be wasting my time on one.  I purposely tried to kill myself during the last sessions "interval workout", and ended up with nothing more than mild DOMS in my obliques the next day.

Let me put it this way:  If I was stuck in Afghanistan, and my job required a high degree of physical fitness, and I didn't have access to awesome stuff like barbells, and all I had was a tank in the desert and some nylon webbing, I'd use it.  But I'm not in Afghanistan, my job DOES requires a high degree of physical fitness, and I have access to better shit.  'Nuff said.  Flavor of the month, it's not a shitty gimmick, but there way better options available.  (read: barbells, rings, rowers)

Dec 20th, Firehall #1, 10:30
135x10, 155x5, 205x3, 225x3, 245x3, 275x3, 315x3, 350x10.  BOOM.  That was a nice surprise.

Dec 25th, Garage, 11AM
OHP up to 141#.  You have no idea how pissed I was that I couldn't budge 145#.  Fuck around.

3 Rds
15 KBS, 32kg
30 DUs
10 Pullups
15 Ring Pushups
12min + change.  No fractionating expect the pushups, but time between movements taken.

Dec 27th, CFLA, 11 AM

1 set of 405x3, form was sketch, dropped to 365x3 for 4 more sets.
Tabata row, 908
5 sets of weighted chins, worked up to 50#
5 Sets of weighted ring dips, up to 40#

Dec 30th, CFLA, 11 AM

Front Squat
135x10, 165x5, 185x5, 225x5x5

AMRAP 10 Min
15 Power Snatch, 75#
30 DUs
4+3 rounds.  Hit this at 75%, fractionated the PS to 5's after the first round, purposeful breaks.