Thursday, 30 April 2009

Garage Days

I was shifting some stuff around the garage tonight - which gave me the perfect opportunity to put my gymnastic rings up and have a quick swing!

Warm Up (5 mins shifting junk around)
Main (25 mins)
1a) Muscle Ups (6 assisted , 4 assisted, 3, 3)
1b) Basic Ring routine
1c) Assisted Fingerboard 3-Grip 'Walks' (4x1 minute)

2) FSQ (done an hour or so later after the above!)

There you go. Essentially three exercises in mini-circuit. Six or so minutes under tension across about 25 minutes. In between sets I was shifting light stuff around the garage, so by profile, this was real saw-tooth intensity.

Talking of saw-tooth, the Lau Gar last night was an absolute killer. Really exhausting in terms of drill intensity. We had long rests but the 4x3min skips, 3x30s Heavy Bag Drills and 3x20kick Pad Drills milked heart, arm and leg. But, tonight I felt my fingers and pull-muscles in general were ready for some action!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Mid Week Workout

Today was another sunny day broken by big lumps of could. I really like training in these conditions. The broad aim of this session was 3 sets of 12 reps with about 2 minutes rest between an exercise.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (20 mins)
1a) Sprint (2x15s, one minute rest between each set)

2a) Assisted Pistols (3x12)
2b) Frog Planch (2x30s)

3a) Handstands (Wall Assisted) (3x30s)
3b) Kneel Backs (3x30s)

4) Tuck Lever (2x30s)

It was quite a quick workout but the handstands were tough - and I can still feel them. I am off to Lau Gar tonight and then on to the climbing wall for some bouldering, so it is just as well that I keep some gas in the tank!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Friday Dynamics

Monday's strength workout gave me a big dose of DOMS. Today, feeling pretty much recovered, I emphasised dynamic movement at about 55% RM. Rests between sets were short - about 1 minute.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (40 mins)
1a) Sprint (2x15s, one minute rest between each set)

2a) Pillar Jumps (4x4)
2b) Frog Planch (3x20s)

3a) Wall Walk (4x2)
3b) Walk On Hands (4x 'for time')

4a) Rows (4x4)

5a) Muscle Ups (4x2)

6a) Tuck Lever (3x20)

The gym is not optimised for a bodyweight nor paleo workout, and it was awkward to combine one or more of the last three exercises - so the session over ran by about 5 or ten minutes.

The muscle ups felt solid and are getting smoother but the walking on hands felt slightly fatigued - so I guess I am still recovering from Monday.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Too Much Exercise

We are all familiar with the battleground that is nutrition. The concept of 'eating too much' and what constitutes a 'balanced diet' are well covered in the media in all its forms.

In the fitness world there are arguments about the optimal way to train and we battle over the details of how to get strong and what will promote skill and improve performance. Such details have however, escaped the popular media who think that simply 'exercise is good'.

That is why this story caught my eye:

  • "Fitness centres should do more to help people who do a dangerous amount of exercise, according to an eating disorder charity."
I am not sure what has the greater implication; that the wider media are covering the notion of 'dangerous amounts of exercise' in an age where obesity is seen as a function of laziness, or that an 'eating disorder charity' has raised the alarm.

Of course exercise addiction seems to go in hand with carbophilia. As Methuselah has pointed out, welcome to the merry-go-round.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Finger Strength Quickie

After tonight's technique based Lau Gar class, I came back and tucked in to some steak, lamb's liver and steamed veggies topped with cheese. In between cooking I nailed some deadhanging:

1) Open Handed Hang (7s x 3s x 1m10s)
2) Closed Crimp Hang (7s x 3s x 1m10s)
3) Half Crimp Hang (7s x 3s x 1m10s)

I rested about 4 minutes in between each of the three hand positions.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Strength Workout

Spring has sprung! Today there was barely a cloud in the sky and having had three weeks rest from all gym work (one of which was a rest from anything involving any kind of formal exercise apart from running around the park with my kids), I was raring to go.

I should add that the rest was assisted by a fair bit of chocolate that I am still trying to get through, and a few non-paleo foodstuffs like bread and potato (which I will not avoid for the foreseeable future).

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1a) Sprint (2x15s, one minute rest between each set)

2a) Assisted Pistol (Left Leg 4x3)
2b) HSPU (4x2)
2c) Assisted Pistol (Right Leg 4x3)
2d) Alternate One Arm Lock-Off to Lower (4x3)

3a) Tuck Planche (4x5s)
3b) Tuck Lever (4x5s)
3c) Back Bridge (3x15s)
3d) Splits (3x30s)
3e) Alternate Leg Cuts (3x30s per leg)

As always, after a rest, I get back in to my workouts with a quick sprint or two. For me there is no better way to announce to my body that we are back in business!

The main aim of this session was to perform 4-5 sets of 2-3 reps with about 3-4 minutes of rest in between (hence the circuit training format of sequential exercises). The RM was I guess about 75%. The big news is that I can manage two Hand Stand Press Ups (against a wall). I am not sure how I have arrived at this ability having never having got close before - but the rest period must have driven the breakthrough! Next goal is a free standing HSPU.

My top tip here is that if you have not had a rest from your resistance routine for a while (say 4-8 weeks), your biggest gains might come from kicking back a bit. I am going to try resting before I feel I need it, and resting longer than I want to.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

High GI Food - Risk to the Unborn

The Irish Independent ran a story today based on research published in the 'British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology' which found that "Mothers who snack on foods like chocolate and white bread during later pregnancy may give birth to heavier babies", and that "[t]he babies also have a greater risk of childhood obesity."

This might be shocking news to many of you out there. In the story is buried this gem; "Our findings show that maternal hyperglycaemia stimulates the production of insulin and suggest that this has a positive effect on fetal growth,".

I am truly astounded that insulin is being linked to obesity. I though that insulin ''was just stuff wot did stuff 'n that'.

In a bid to help with the nutritional side of things, the article warns against consumption of high GI foods. You can find elsewhere on the Paleo sites for advice on how poor the GI Index is as a measure of pretty much anything but the medical institutions like the crutch such measures offer.

It goes on to advise "sweet and sugary foods have high GI but so, too, do starchy foods like potatoes and white bread".

Bread? Potatoes? Hmmm, the winds of change are truly blowing.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Taubes Talk

Today I rediscovered this talk by Gary Taubes. It has done the rounds of the Paleo community before (several months ago), but really is worth another look!

I think much of the content might benefit from being condensed into a short five minute film!

A Tale of Two Films

Captain Kid and I were watching a program on Concorde this Sunday. In the break a new Change for Life advert was featured. Captain Kid is not yet five but was every bit as confused as I was by the message it conveyed. The full film can be viewed here.

Me Sized Portions
Having watched the film you will be struck by the irony that the portion featured is a mountain of mashed potato. That is SUGAR to you and me. Even the Change for Life people know that sugar is bad - and suggest 'sugar swaps'.

Sadly, even this advice shows someone swapping Sugar as in products made from refined/table sugar for a smoothie - which undoubtedly contains a lot of erm......fructose. If any of them are reading this I will let them Google 'lipogenic')

But back to the film. We see little 'Timmy' being given adult portions and the message is that this is making him fat. Timmy hands the excess to his dog - but hell, he still eats enough to turn himself in to a little fat bastard.

What this whole piece misses is the issue of HUNGER. Timmy gives half his meal to the dog, when clearly he has had enough. I'd bet on other occasions he would eat the whole meal if he had worked up an appetite.

Even if he force fed himself, I'd doubt he could manage to eat excessively at the next meal, and like most of us would either eat a smaller portion or go longer between meals to adjust for the excess imbibed.

The other side of the coin is that if a 'me' sized portion does not fill Timmy he is likely to pester for a snack. Snacks by definition are inclined towards quick food. For quick, read carbohydrate. REFINED carbohydrate. In my experience as a parent, clearing your plate of food (which is VERY much likely to happen if the portion is small/me sized), the child is indulged with a treat. For treat read carbohydrate. REFINED carbohydrate.

Anyone see where this is going yet?

Here is the money shot:
  • Why shouldn't we let our children respond to their hunger?
If Timmy was on a paleo diet he would be eating lots of quality protein and important fat. This would sate his appetite and allow him to eat as much of the paleo-food as he wants. With a side order of (preferably) seasonal vegetables, he will get all his necessary vitamins and minerals. He is welcome to an additional piece of fruit, and the occasional treat.

Paleo diets are nutritionally complete, very hard to gain weight on and conducive to fat loss, good health and facilitate a calibrated response to one's hunger rather than some vague notion of how much food a child should eat. These conditions allow parents to relax about their child's relationship with food and prevent food from becoming a battleground and all the anxieties and issues this can bring.

Making a child persist in a state of hunger, or arranging the environmental conditions for snacking is bizarre. The reheating of the 'eat less, do more' or 'calories in, calories out' corpse is pointless. These are failed models. They don't give us a usable framework in which to work.

What does work is letting people address their hunger. We just need to know how. We can't live our lives counting calories consumed and calories burned. Eating is not maths and shouldn't be a memory-trick. Evolution gave us hunger to do all that for us.

Paleo-Spielberg & And a Candidate for a 'Wild Oscar'
Here is a second film by Methuselah. In five minutes, most of your questions about 'Why Paleo', will be answered. You might scream 'consipracy theory' or 'simplistic', but it is simple and there are conspiracies out there. Dr Briffa and Dr Eades have both posted on several occasions about the business of sickness. This business needs sick people. Industries like the diet-industry is profitable because of failure. YOUR failure.

It is human nature that guys making money in pharmaceuticals and agriculture would want keep on making money. It is humand nature that guys making money in pharmaceuticals and agriculture would want to protect and grow their markets.

All I am saying is here is that we should respond to that little bit of human nature that governs our intake of food. Hunger.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Brown Fat & Sugar

Most of us paleo guys understand the weakness of the 'calories in vs calories out' argument. We understand there is a complex coalition of cells that make each of us, us. We also understand that there is a biological symphony going on between ourselves and our environment.

There is no opt out. The music does not stop. You are being changed right now by your decisions and lifestyle choices. Even if you chose not to chose, your body is adapting.

The New England Journal of Medicine has published two interesting articles on the role of brown fat in the body. Titled Cold-Activated Brown Adipose Tissue in Healthy Men and Identification and Importance of Brown Adipose Tissue in Adult Humans such biological sophistication will come as no surprise to the paleo crowd. The paleo compass would suggest such a mechanism - either still functioning or dormant. And, if not suggest it, then welcome it WITHOUT the raised eyebrows that would greet it's appearance to the wider fitness and health industry.

The notion that 'calories in vs calories out' has never been in such a parlous state.

Does He Take Sugar?
In the same issue of The New England Journal of Medicine is an article starting with this excellent quote from Adam Smith:

  • Sugar, rum, and tobacco are commodities which are nowhere necessaries of life, which are become objects of almost universal consumption, and which are therefore extremely proper subjects of taxation.
    — Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776
The article itself is titled Ounces of Prevention — The Public Policy Case for Taxes on Sugared Beverages. It can only be a matter of time before someone extrapolates and makes the connection between this paper and the fact that carbohydrates are simply long sugars......

The question is how much time? For me, zero!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Let Them Eat Fake

Of all the really crap diet/nutrition and exercise/lifestyle-oriented programs aired on UK TV, perhaps the most moronic and banal is Supersize vs Superskinny.

The basic premise of the program is this;
  • find an morbidly obese candidate and a chronically undernourished candidate.
  • undress the candidates to their underwear, weigh them and then drop each of their weekly food consumption in to a transparent cylinder
  • make fat-person eat the skinny person's diet for a week or two (in a 'feeding' clinic) and vice versa the skinny person's diet is fed to the fat person.
  • erm...that's it
All this is done under the eerie gaze of the creepy Dr Christian Jessen. I am not one for ad hominen attacks but there really is something of the night about him. I am sure he is a great doctor but looking at him reminds me of an embalmed corpse - you know the way they put make up on the dead, but it still looks like a dead person?

The weekly food consumption dropped into a glass cylinder is particularly pointless. Whose weekly diet wouldn't look pretty unappealing sloshing around all together?

What I would like to draw your attention to (your still thinking about dead people aren't you?), is that penultimate line in the list above "make fat-person eat the skinny person's diet for a week or two (in a 'feeding' clinic) and vice versa the skinny person's diet is fed to the fat person".

Now I am not a nutritionist nor a doctor, but even I feel qualified to ask "on what basis do you feed a diet that has resulted in morbid obesity, to a borderline anorexic?". Oooh wait a minute, I feel a second question coming on, "on what basis do you feed a diet that has resulted in undernourishment, to an obese person?". Baise moi!

The simple answer is that you should be giving people nutritionally complete meals. End of. but just when you think the program cannot get any worse, they role out the pooh-sniffing Dr Keith McGillian*

Calorie and Starving**
Now if you want to find out more about Dr Keith McGillian, or to give her her full medical title, Keith McGillian, you could do worse than to go to Ben Goldacre's Bad Science website. (Goldacre is likely to be the person to bring down mainstream journalism in the UK - and that can only be a good thing)

What irked about McGillian's appearance on the show was that she was mincing around a bowling alley followed by three semi-naked bodybuilders each of whom carried a tray of party snacks.

The objective was for members of the great unwashed to determine how many calories each platter contained. All under the watchful and disdainful gaze of McGillian. She howled and hooted, tutted and huffed as each aspiring individual piped up with a guess, "2000 calories", "1700 calories"....

Let me just ask you two questions:
  1. Could you really look at a range of foods and genuinely estimate the calorie content with any degree of accuracy?
  2. Is it 'normal' to do this (never mind to be able to do this)
In a word. No!

I cannot think of anything more dull and pointless than being able to look at food and accurately estimate its calorific content - apart from perhaps practising the ability to be able to look at food and accurately estimate its calorific content. To do so would border on obsessive.

More importantly, if you are hungry enough (and let's be honest, calorie counting leads to hunger), you are going to eat food regardless of its calorie content.

This is before we get to the actual practicalities of keeping a daily or weekly running total of calories consumed. A latte here, a pastry there, a smoothie or an apple - all would have to be meticulously measured on a daily basis and total allowance adjusted for. This is NOT workable.

Deep Breaths...Asclepius
For sure, you know what I am going to say now, about how we should simply follow our paleo-compass. It is not quite as controlled as the dietary GPS/SatNav above, but it gets you to where we have come from - and that is no bad place. There is not hunger and no counting. It is nutritionally complete and offers variety in taste and texture. It is underlined by REAL food and will deliver REAL results without drama and tragedy, nor struggle and pain.

But that does not make for good viewing does it?


*Dr Keith McGillian is a soubriquet as she, ahem, I mean he, is notoriously litigious.
**Extra points if anyone guesses the pun I was trying to work in here

Monday, 6 April 2009

Anatomy Site

I found this great little site devoted to anatomy from the Gymnastic Bodies site. It is pretty intersting and well worth a look!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Next Big Thing

Want a new body? Men, do you want rock hard abs? Women - do you want a lean body with curves?

Then read on....

Hollywood is in a Hot Buzz
Hollywood is in a hot buzz over a brand new diet! This amazing diet is :


  • your TEMPLATE for fat loss!
  • your TEMPLATE for thinness!
  • your TEMPLATE for improved bone definition!
  • your TEMPLATE for a Hollywood body!
The template for this transformation comes with the TenPlates diet. With TEN Plates it could not be easier.

The TenPlates Template
TenPlates is a revolutionary concept that expects you to eat upto ten full plates of food each day. And here's a thing - you can eat what you want and YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT!

Click on the image above and you will see just what makes the TenPlate diet so exciting and so easy. You will the see the patented TenPlate plate measuring a tiny 20mm across.

The TenPlate Method
All you need to do is load up the special TenPlate plate on the hour every hour with as much food as you can ten times a day. You must only fill the plate up once per hour and only eat what the plate can support*. That's it!

Soon the weight will fall from your body as it begins to illustrate inanition ("The condition of being inane; emptiness; want of fullness, as in the vessels of the body; hence, specifically, exhaustion from want of food, either from partial or complete starvation, or from a disorder of the digestive apparatus, producing the same result" - Dictionary.com) . Calorie restriction has never been so much fun.

Price
Each TenPlate plate retails for £99.99 and if you order before 1st April 2010 we will give you a free GoonSpoon (shown) measuring a tiny 15mm in length and a special Mug's Mug (also shown above) - each worth £19.99 if sold separately.

But hurry. This offer must end soon.

*The resulting calorie restriction may cause death. You must consult a doctor before undertaking this diet. If you actually buy a TenPlate plate and/or GoonSpoon or Mug's Mug, you should probably get your head examined as well.