Friday, August 20, 2010

Finding Yourself, Cressey on the Deadlift, and getting OPT'd

It's actually both.

Be forewarned, faithful reader: cathartic dumping of thought ahead; the exact point and focus may not be concise and clear.  It's also 7AM, and I've been up all night at work.  You've been forewarned. :)

   Sometimes the hardest thing in life is finding yourself---your passion, your career, your focus, your purpose.  As far as athletics is concerned, finding what you are genetically "good" at is usually a crapshoot of trial and error.

That's why I love Crossfit.  You become very, VERY aware of what you completely suck at well before you find out what you are genetically gifted towards.  And for those of you saying "Trust me, I'm NOT genetically gifted towards anything", I say you're wrong---everyone is, to some degree, towards something  You just need to find out at what.

What I'm digging at here is the individual genetic makeup of muscle fibers each person has; a very simple breakdown of muscle fiber types:

Type I: slow oxidative, aerobic, uses triglycerides (fat) as main fuel source.  Think marathon.
Type IIa(IIx): fast oxidative, long-duration anaerobic, glycogen is main fuel source.  Think "Cindy", kinda.
Type IIb: fast glycolytic, short duration anaerobic, creatine phosphate main fuel source.  Think Clean & Jerk.

For the most part, everyone is, as a HAY-OOGE generalization, split 50/50 between Type I and Type II (let's just say fast twitch and slow twitch).   Specific muscle groups, like the lower leg (gastrocnemius and soleus) and the rectus abdominis (abs, yo) are mainly slow twitch, due to their constant firing and stabilizing actions.  Muscle groups like the biceps and latissimus are mainly fast twitch.

As far as everyone's genetic muscle fiber  makeup, well, this is determined from birth, thanks to Ma and Pa.  If your Dad was a football player, and your Mom ran track, well, you may just be a bit of an explosive athlete.  If your Dad ran marathons and your Mom went to Jazzercise, you may gravitate towards slow twitch stuff.  If your parents were've got some self-exploration to do, son.

Somatotypes, or "physique", for lack of a better term, can give a hint as to the type of muscle fiber.  Ectomorphs, or skinny-folk, tend to be slow twitch.  Endomorphs tend to be predominately fast twitch.  Mesomorphs?  You guessed it, a combo.

So Have You Found Yourself?  If so, congrats.  Do you tend to gravitate towards activities that favor your muscle fiber type?  Chances are you do, because this is obviously more enjoyable than fighting nature.

BUT:  Can you change your muscle fiber type?

The short answer is yes, and no.  Exercise physiologist are renowned for having in-your-face, spit-flinging, profanity throwing discussions on this.  For the most part, it's agreed that you CAN'T change the number or ratio of fiber types, but you can change the cross-section or efficiency.  If you are predominately slow twitch and kick-ass at marathons, working diligently on your front squat in the 3RM range and clean and jerk WILL make you more explosive and a helluva lot stronger.  Will you ever win Oly comps?  Maybe not.  But you won't suck at picking up heavy shit, either.  And you'll still be able to run fast. 

Finding yourself is hard, but creating yourself can be even harder---but more rewarding, in the end.

Cressey on the Deadlift
Eric Cressey is a strength & conditioning coach from Boston; he's mostly known for his solid coaching at Cressey Performance of MLB players and being a "shoulder specialist".  His video, Magnificient Mobility, is a true gem.  What he may not be as well known for is his previous life as a competitive powerlifter, and at 165lbs has lifted over 600.  When this guy talks deadlift, I listen.
  Type in the password "deadlift", and you can listen, too.
Teaching the Deadlift from Eric M. Cressey on Vimeo.

Solid stuff, especially since we've started up Wendler's 5/3/1 at CFLA, with Friday being our deadlift day. 

This weekend I'm heading up to Calgary to take part in Jame's Fitzgerald's Optimum Performance Training Coaching Certification in Nutrition.  I've been stoked about this since the announcement back in December, and had my name on the list and the calender cleared long ago.  From what I've seen from the Functional Assessment and Program Design Certs, I expect the nutrition to be mind-blowing.  What makes this even better is that Mat Lalonde is co-presenting---and anyone that listens to Robb Wolf's Paleolithic Solution knows that Mat is Robb's go-to guy when HE doesn't have the answers.  I fully expect my head to explode prior to the weekend being over.

Another cool aspect is that there's a wickedly hard test AND practical client assessments---30 of them.  I'll be a busy guy over the next few months!

Various Training
Aug 13th, CFLA, 1PM
OHP/PP/PJ 45#x10x10x10
PP/PJ 95#x10x10
PP 115#x5
SJ 135#x5
OHP 95#x5.  Just getting overhead volume in; trying to be consistent with this weekly, so I'm not weakly. :)

Row for Cal
95# Front Squat, cleaned from floor

Aug 16th, Firehall#1, 10:30AM
5 Rounds of:
50ft Farmer's Walk, 65lb DB x2
20 Side-to-side medicine ball Pushups
10 40lb DB squat cleans
10 20lb medball situps
40 Double-Unders
10 Strict Pullups
Time unknown as I didn't start my watch, and we had a staggered start. Everyone was waxed from this, DB squat cleans were sneaky tough.

Aug 17th, Firehall#1, 11AM
Kickboxing, 3min rounds x5
Did some pad work with KH, throwing various combos.

Aug 18th, CFLA, 1PM
High Bar Back Squat
225# x5
245# x5
245# x5
245# x3
225# X5. Legs felt weak today, adductors especially; expected higher numbers. Probably gassed from the past two days.

power cleans(135#)
ring dips
7:58. I need either 20lbs of lean muscle or Chris Spealler's mitochondria to break the 6 minute mark.
Aug 19th, CFLA, 1PM
Over Head Press
45#x10, 65#x10, 95#x5, 95#x5, 115#x3 (oops, ha!), 105#x5, 110#x5, 95#x8
Push Jerk, 95#x15, Unbroken x2.  115x15x1
Kipping pullups, 25x2