Sunday, June 3, 2012

Army of Red (Regionals Update), Data Intake, & Dumping Caffeine

Meredith would have been wearing red, but it exploded after Day 1.
SO.  Regionals are over, everywhere.  I thought I'd start with a few thoughts on the athletes I had competing in various Regions.

I have to admit, while I've been a critic of the whole "Sport" of CF, the coverage, the personalities behind the scenes, I was pretty damn impressed with the whole deal.  Plus, I actually had my shit together early enough to be able to attend the Can West Regionals, which was a fantastic weekend.

Heather G, going to Cali!

Here's a listing of the athletes I had competing:
Taryn making it look easy
  • Jeremy Meredith, 1st, Can West (Qualified)
  • Heather Gillespie, 2nd, Can West, (Qualified)
  • Steve Howell, 3rd, Can West
  • Joey Lutz, 4th, Can West
  • Alicia Connors, 6th, Can West
  • Taryn Romanowich, 14th, Can West
  • Jason Tillsley, 35th, Can West (pulled out due to injury)
  • Rachel Seimens, 1st place Team Taranis Can West, (Qualified)
I had a few other athletes sprinkled around, too:
  • Steve Pinkerton, 4th, Mid-Atlantic
  • Colin Jenkins, 7th, So Cal
  • Connor Nelson, 14th, North West
  • Meghan Sweet, 22nd, South East
I'm pretty damn stoked about having 3 athletes make it to the Games.  As a side note, Rachel just placed 3rd at a Canadian National Olympic lifting competition:

Rachel is stronger than you.

In the athlete w/u area: JT stretching, Joey, Jeremy & I chatting.
 As you can see, I'm trying my best to build my very own Army of Red athletes. 

Data Intake Program For Adrenal Function

Right after Regionals, I had a few things come together at once, which resulted in my email going nuclear.  Due to the exposure, athlete placing, and talking with folks at Regionals, I had a lot of interest for my services.  Also, the project I had planned with James when I was in Scottsdale a while back was literally rolled out the day after.  The response was great, and the spots were filled right away.  I've gotten a fair amount of lab values back on athletes so far, and what I've found has been damn interesting.  The quick n' dirty so far:
  1. There's a significant amount of adrenal dysfunction in high end athletes.  Is this training induced, or pre-existing, and hindering the athlete, or both?  Important questions.
  2. Some athletes compensate VERY well; despite training load, hormones like DHEA, Progesterone, and Testosterone are all quite healthy.
  3. Despite relatively clean diets, GI (gastro intestinal) issues are common---low GI melatonin, positive indican scores, and elevated nightime cortisol.
The Project has kept me quite busy between interpreting labs, writing nutritional prescriptions, and Skyping with clients (which I love!  Very cool to hash is out face to face )  Unfortunately, I have a pretty long waiting list.  I'm a one man band with Dynamic Nutrition, and still pulling 48+hr/week at the fire dept, and also trying to spend as much time as I can with my wife and daughter.  So, if you are one of the ones waiting, please be patient.  Or hound me.  Or send me free shit...I love that.  And it's highly influential. :D

Bailing Off The Caffeine Band-Wagon

Point number 1 listed my biggest concern, and one of the main values I'm testing---adrenal capacity & health in athletes.  And, like I stated earlier, I haven't seen a single athlete that didn't have some form of dysfunction.  Some folks are smashed right down, with the adrenal function of a Diablo3 video-game playing, socially awkward, solar-ray avoiding Red-Bull ravaged, 120lb dweeb.  Yeah, that bad.

In this regard, I have a new outlook on stimulants, and their use in athletes.  Oh, there's no question they work, and work well.  But the long term effects, and especially chronic use, need to be considered---especially where pre-existing issues are a factor.
As athletes, our training is a stressor, in and of itself; this can't be changed, because then training would fail to be effective.  What we are trying to do is stimulate training adaptation.  As humans, this is where we kick ass: we are highly adaptable.  Think of all the stupid shit we do, yet still seem to thrive.  Darwin's Law of Natural Selection?  Pfft.  Fuckit, I'm human.  I'll bypass that lame shit.

It does catch up, though.  Training, bright lights, shitty sleep, poor diet, hot girlfriend that's as dumb as a sack of hammers but you can't leave and drives you mental, and of course, caffeine use.  These are all "stressors", some good, some bad.  It's best to try and remove the ones you can, or at least control the degree in which they affect you.  Enter caffeine.

 Caffeine works by antagonizing the adenosine receptors non-selectively; one of these, the adenosine receptor A2a suppresses neurotransmitters like epinephrine (aka adrenaline) and norepinephrine.  In other words, "the brakes are off" when it comes to secretion of these stimulating hormones from the adrenal glands.  You can see where I'm going with this, and the illustration of the vicious circle of stress and adrenal fatigue.  Caffeine is an ergogenic, but at a cost.

I've told 3 clients this week to back off all caffeine; and, for me, this is Day One of zero caffeine.  I can't, with any amount of integrity, ask a client to do something I wouldn't.  "Do as I say, and do as I do".  If any of you know me, you know how much I love that gal java.  I don't expect my n=1 to be easy, but I don't expect it to be brutally hard, either.  Despite my non-caffeine today, my coconut seems to be rather clear tonight, and I have a game plan:
  • Adaptogens:  I had mentioned these in an early post on Adrenal Fatigue.  What I'm currently using is a killer formula from Peak Biology, called Max Energy.  The name is a bit deceiving as it's not a stimulant, but an multi-source adaptogenic formula that deals with stress quite well.
  • Tulsi:  John Power, aka Kstar of the North from Power Health put me onto this.  It's common name is Holy Basil, and it's a strong adaptogenic herb with some interesting properties in regards to both testosterone and cortisol.  I'm using this as a tea, along with Gotu Kola, from Organic India
  • Licorice Root:  This is a staple in any adrenal dysfunction protocol; in a nutshell, licorice root extends the half-life of endogenous cortisol---what you make sticks around longer. 
  • Ultra B:  This is also a staple; the B vitamins are all required for proper energy production in the Kreb's cycle, and B5 is essential for hormone production.  The New Roots brand kicks total ass.
We will see what 30 days brings. :)  Next time I post, it will probably be post-Crossfit Games, but I'm always willing to answer emails or comments, so let 'em fly!