Saturday, 30 January 2010

In the News

Britain's Daily Mail today had an article by Hannah Sutter titled 'The Big Fat Lies about Britain's obesity epidemic'. Putting aside the Daily Mail's intention to politically isolate the government at every possible turn, this nevertheless illustrates how the concept of 'eat less' do more' is being continually picked apart and attacked:

  • For the past 30 years we've been told to eat less and exercise more, to cut back on calories and on saturated fat and, on the whole, we're doing it.
Sutter goes on to note,

  • Our calorific intake between the years 1974 and 2004 decreased by 20 per cent. We are eating about 20 per cent more fruit and vegetables than in the Seventies. We are doing approximately 25 per cent more exercise than we were in 1997.

    But are our waist lines shrinking? No. In fact, a quick glance around most High Streets would suggest the opposite is happening - with even young girls displaying 'muffin tops'.
As with the BBC story I commented on the other day, what matters is that we are getting exposure to the problem of thinking we can 'out-exercise our eating, or under-eat our hunger'. We can't.

Sutter is a Lawyer by training but kind of nails the basics of the problem pretty well. In a word, insulin. (The article is extracted from her forthcoming book 'Big Fat Lies: Is Your Government Making You Fat?'.)

The comments section is littered with the usual half-arsed armchair-physicist style comments from those who only see half the problem - that you can increase calories out (exercise), or reduce calories in (eat less), without some compensation elsewhere in the complex biological system that is the human body.

This is the point where I should direct people to 'Good Calories, Bad Calories' but to some people 'they just KNOW' that you need to 'eat less and do more' - so what is the point of reading GT eh?

A guy on Art DeVany's forum picked up on this paper 'Combining fat and sugar in diets leads to increased weight'. Now I am always of animal models but this paper at least tackles the notions held by the armchair physicists above - so let's cut to the chase:

  • “The results showed that the mice that ate sugar together with fat became significantly fatter than those that ate protein combined with fat. The mice that ate protein and fat had a lower increase in weight than a third group of mice fed a diet with less calories,”

It is almost as if a calorie simply is not a calorie.

Finally, a link pointing to the Iron Lady's low carb excursion.....

Friday, 29 January 2010

Four Minute Warning

Today I undertook the Four Minute O'Neill Test on a Concept 2 rower:

  • The O'Neill Fitness Test is designed to give a simple and reliable test of aerobic fitness. Aerobic fitness is a good indicator of general condition as it underpins 95% of all forms of activity.

    After about 10 mins familiarisation with the Concept2 Indoor Rower, the test can be carried out to get an indication of baseline fitness by simply comparing the distance covered in four minutes on the chart.

    Further regular tests will indicate progress and are suitable for people of all ages and gender.
I understand that you should have the rower set to level three (I usually use level 8). I also tried an approximate SPM of 20, whereas I usually aim for 27+ on a 500m section.

Oh yeah - and I am neither a rower (I only row when it is too grim outside to sprint), and I don't really 'do' aerobic fitness. Certainly none of that steady state endurance work, but plenty of episodic high intensity stuff with periodic rests.

As this is the first time I have done this kind of distance, my pacing was well out and I could have pushed much harder over the middle 200m.

Damn good fun. The result: 1122m

This makes me 'Above Average' and I know I could get in to the 'Good' category, if not the 'Excellent' group. Watch this space!

Reverse Pyramid

Today's workout.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (25mins)
1) Rowing (O'Neill Test - L3:4':1122m)
2) Weighted Chins (6 reps + 5kg)
3) Deadlift (2-3x90%RM - 125kg)
4) Wall Walks (3)

5) Weighted Chins (6 reps with 10% less weight than in the last set)
6) Deadlift (4 reps with 10% less weight than in the last set)
7) Wall Walks (3)
8) Chin Ups ('just short of failure')
9) Leg Extension (BBS - 90s)

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Low carb diets like Atkins 'better for blood pressure'

Ooooh check out the BBC with their crazy notion that there are other benefits to a LC diet along with (excellent) fat-loss:
  • A low-carbohydrate diet like Atkins is better at cutting blood pressure than weight-loss pills, say US doctors.

    Twice as many people on the low-carb diet lowered their blood pressure compared to those taking the drug, orlistat.
This story has also been picked up by the usual suspects (Conditioning Research and John Briffa amongst others). But the reach of the BBC is what is crucial here.

Next to this story is another one that suggests low carb diets can damage arteries. Oh, silly me, I meant "Next to this story is another one that suggests low carb diets can damage arteries in MICE". Damaged mice.

So the message is clear. If you are a human and you are reading this blog - you might want to adopt a paleo diet to improve body composition and arterial health. If you are a mouse reading this story, low carb may not be appropriate for you.

Oh and if you are considering taking a pill to lose weight you might want to read this story. I am not questioning weight loss pills per se, simply the robustness of testing employed my pharmaceutical companies in the pursuit of profit in the very lucrative field of weight management.

There is such a thing as a free lunch. Boringly, it simply involves eating REAL food. No counting of calories, no branding, no gimmicks, no copyrights, no patents. No interest from business in this approach then!

Baise Moi

Monday, 25 January 2010

GTG Ladder 10x1

I am having a light week after last weeks efforts. Things are going well so it is time to reward my body with a bit of a rest.

This weeks GTG will be ten rungs on a ladder of one rep.

1) Fingertip Pull Ups (one)
2) Tuck Planche (one second)
3) Horse Riding Stance (ten seconds)

(Repeat ten times - and finish well short of any kind of fatigue)

I really feel I am hitting the sweet spot on the Tuck Planche. I am now able to lift my hips higher when entering the planche which is significant progress. If I enter the planche with my hips too low, I am still unable to correct. But technique-wise, progress! I suspect the planche assists significantly on the deadlift.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Butter Stupidity

Today's Guardian has an great article titled 'I Can't Believe It's Not Healthy' by Felicity Lawrence. It picks apart the commercial inertia that drives the infomercial world of food manufacturing ever onwards towards profit. She looks at the history of the relationship between heart health and fat, noting,

  • [early] in the decade, scientific evidence emerged suggesting that the trans fats produced by hydrogenation affected foetal and infant growth. Then in 1993 Professor Walter Willett, the principal investigator in the Harvard nurses study – on which much of the current advice for heart disease and cancer is based – published evidence that nurses in the study who ate significant amounts of trans fats were twice as likely to have a heart attack as those who consumed few trans fats. In 1997 he called hydrogenation "the biggest food processing disaster in US history". In 2004 he told an interviewer that the advice to switch from butter to vegetable oils hydrogenated into margarine had turned out to be "a disastrous mistake".
In 2006 Lawrence took Unilever's director of external affairs Anne Heughan to task about their use of trans-fats in their products long after evidence had emerged of the health implications to which Heughan replied,

  • "As a responsible manufacturer we can only go with the evidence at the time. When Walter Willett's evidence in 1993 indicated that trans fatty acids were as bad as saturated fats we felt that the weight of evidence had moved and we set about removing them. It took about two years."
You can't help but get angry at the hand wringing and doe-eyed pleading from the margarine manufacturers upon finding evidence that their products were actually quite harmful, but JP Morgan seem to have found at least one answer,

  • City analysts JP Morgan point out a further powerful commercial reason in their report on how the food industry is responding to the obesity crisis. According to their estimates, Flora pro.activ fat spread sells at a premium of more than 300% on standard products.
Follow the money! With that kind of profit, you'd imagine that there would be a LOT of machinery lined up to protect markets. Machinery to misinform and obfuscate. At the very least, to maintain the status quo for as long as possible.

For me I can't help thinking shouldn't it be incumbent upon manufacturers to prove that their product is safe? Hey, come to think of it, and given their strategy of making us scared of saturated fat, shouldn't it be incumbent upon them to actually back up this satfat phobia with some evidence?

Thankfully, Ron Krauss has done the job for them and guess what? There isn't any evidence that saturated fat is actually harmful. (This is also a fact that escapes Lawrence but I have found an email address for her, and will be sending her this link !)

In fact with all the research and brainpower at their disposal, why haven't Unilever done their own meta analysis and discovered this for themselves? At the least, you'd think they would be looking in to this (or in to The French Paradox).

Kind of makes you wonder what the point was of inventing margarine.....oh that's right, we get to blame French. You see according to Lawrence, French scientists developed margarine "[in] response to a call from the French government to invent a cheap, long-life butter substitute that could feed its armies on the march".

Jokes about French military prowess aside (I am not Franco-phobic - I am English with French lineage which, according to Ricky Gervais, means 'I have bad-breath and I'm shit in bed'), it is ironic that the nation that gave us 'The French Paradox' should also have given us such a substance.

Baise moi!

Lawrence also has a book out called 'Eat Your Heart Out' which has just made it on to my reading list on the strength of this article alone. The Amazon reviews are quite compelling:

  • I can't remember when a book made me more angry. Lawrence's book should be compulsory reading . . . nothing is what it says on the packet (Evening Standard )
  • Challenges each and every one of us to think again about what we eat. It's almost like uncovering a secret state within the state (Start the Week )
The fightback has truly begun.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Statics

Looks from the tag count that I have been slacking on the static work. The aim is two cycles through (plus and extra set where noted) - but adjust for the pain/strain on the last set (it should not actually hurt!)

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (25 mins)
1a) Rows (500m:L8:1':40")

2a) Chair Sits (2x60s)
2b) Handstands - Wall Assisted (2x60s)
2c) Tuck Lever (2x30s)
2d) RLLs (1x8)/Deadlift (1x RM, 5xRM75%)
2e) Back Bridge (2x15s)
2f) Frog Planche (2x30s)

3) Leg Extension (BBS 90s x 55kg)

I tested my RM on the deadlift and it came in at about 140kg. I have only recently taken to it and only perform it once a week, so I am chuffed with my progress. I think planching might help as this strengthens the back.

The handstands were pretty solid, with fatigue and shaking only manifesting in the dying seconds. My shoulders do not seem to be getting any more flexible from the back bridges - another area that might need attention. I need to be mindful that this whole workout savages the shoulder complex. It is easy to lose sight of where you are loading.

The chair sits were pretty solid and after the first 'wave' of lactic acid I found I could still hold the position for time (it is important to keep driving through the heels throughout). The leg extension was just a finisher - nice and slow.

I am off climbing tonight so I avoided chins and pull ups. It will be interesting to see what I have left. Currently I have the 'lightly toasted throughout' feeling and could do more.

One final thought - I am currently about 82kg - up from 80kg at the beginning of the year. I think I look a bit bigger around the upper arms and shoulders and I am stronger. Now this might be something or nothing. Noticeable changes I have introduced are, GTG activity three times a week, more sleep (I aim for 9 hours a night), a tighter paleo diet (no cheats) and more goat's cheese. I am definitely eating more.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Climbing Routine

The main workout today was as follows:

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (25mins*)
1a) Sprints (10s, 10s)/Pistols (5)
1b) Frog Planch (30s, 30s)
1c) Tuck Lever (30s, 30s)

2a) Ring Splits/Cuts (3, 2, 1 each way)
2b) Rope Climb to Cirques (2 x 1 'lap')

3a) Kill Carry (*+5mins)

4a) Fingerboard Laddering Foot Off (12, 8, 4)

I am feeling last night's Lau Gar session so trimmed this workout back a bit. Lau Gar was heavy on the press up activity - and this workout is not. But, the intensity of the Lau Gar work is such that I need to adjust accordingly.

Monday, 18 January 2010

GTG 123123123

More Greasing the Groove ladders this week. It took about 5 minutes and was based on a ladder of 123123123 (the same as last week):

1) Fingertip Pull Ups
2) Tuck Planche
3) Horse Riding Stance

The big news is that all my planching was tuck rather than frog - so GTG is definitely resulting in some improvement! A lot of this is due to technique improvement - not least the fact that I lean much further forwards now.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Climbing and Rings

This cold weather really does up the game. It demands motivation just to kick things off. Once moving though, things take a change for the better and the automaton kicks in.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (25 mins)
1a) Pistols (3x4)
1b) L-Sit Muscle Ups to Basic Ring Routine to Tuck Lever (5, 3, 3 MUs)
1c) Laddering

2a) Ring Splits/Cuts (2x4 each way)
2b) Frog Planche (2x '10s on, 10s off')

3) Deadhang Repeaters (321, 3a:7r:120s on small rungs)

4) 10 Minute Fingerboarding

In this cold weather it is important to feel fully warmed up particularly before any finger work. I usually wear mittens throughout the workout, removing them only when on the fingerboard. You need to raise your pulse to ensure warm fresh blood courses through to your extremities and primes them for work, but the mittens prevent rapid heat loss and re-cooling.

Monday, 11 January 2010

GTG 123123123

I completed a quick Greasing the Groove ladder tonight. It took about 5 minutes and was based on a ladder of 123123123:

1) Fingertip Pull Ups
2) Tuck Planche
3) Horse Riding Stance

The pull ups started with units of one, the planche in units of 1 second and the HRS in units of 10s. Then, 2 reps, 2 seconds and 20 seconds, and finally to 3 FTPUs, 3s Tuck Planch and a 30s HRS.

I prefer this ladder than the previous version and will use it for the remainder of this week (Wednesday and Thursday), if not longer.

I have found I can lean much further forward on the planche than I realised. It feels odd at first but makes the planche itself easier. I think technique might well have been holding me back.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

The Greatest Show on Earth

The interview with Lierre Keith got me thinking a lot about the suffering and death that is so intricately woven in to life and evolution. We have compassion and most of us hate to see suffering - especially in mammals. But we would also find it within ourselves to rescue a dog or cat from a pound or feed a duck at the village pond, and then go home and wipe your kitchen work-surface down with an anti-bacterial agent!

This got me thinking about Richard Dawkins' 'The Greatest Show on Earth' which I had read over Christmas (a very good read which I recommend along with Jerry Coynes 'Why Evolution is True'). One passage in TGSOE in particular stuck out and has stayed with (haunted) me ever since (and is actually extracted in TGSOE from 'The Devils Chaplain'). It ties in neatly with some of what Lierre Keith was getting at:
  • "The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease."

Grim stuff I am sure you will agree, but it is what follows that really shook me,

  • "It must be so. If there is ever a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored".

He is right isn't he? An abundance will automatically lead to a 'corrective adjustment'. The 'natural state' is evidently one of 'starvation and misery'. We got here through competition. Our ancestors were successful in this struggle. We were forged in these brutal fires. Just think what some of our ancestors must have endured. It kind of makes me not want to 'blow' my 'three score and ten'!

Death twitches my ear. "Live," he says, "I am coming." ~Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro), Minor Poems, Copa

Friday, 8 January 2010

Lierre Keith

This evening a quick trawl of YouTube turned up this six part broadcast featuring Lierre Keith, author of The Vegetarian Myth, on the spookily named 'Supernatural Mom' site. As a decade long vegetarian with some 'vegan-previous' many of her arguments resonated with me.


Part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6.

Keith really does take the gloves off, and although I cannot verify much of what she says without references (I have ordered the book), her argument was sufficiently framed for me to be unable to simply refute it off-hand.

Most of her arguments were deeply compelling and noetic, I mean, when you look at a mono-cropped field, acres in size, of course you have destroyed whole ecosystems. Of course you are having to use pesiticides and insecticides to kill parasites (and non destructive fauna), that would otherwise swarm (mono-cropping of an area is a poor evolutionary strategy for a plant, shrub or tree).

This very issue incidentally, is the basis of Patrick Whitefield's hugely entertaining How to Make a Forest Garden. Whitefield discusses the lack of effort to maintain such a no-dig garden, the lack of any kind of pest control - the pest population is part of the ecosystem and is auto-regulated by natural predators, and, maintenance of the crumb-structure of soils. He also talks about the variety such gardens could add to our diet and so forth.

Keith covers pretty much every base including the consequence of vegetarianism and veganism on ones' health. In particular she addresses the poisons in grain and the hormonal implication of eating soy.

She makes some pithy comments (I like her talk of hammering on an anvil to make reality the shape you wish it to be), and really warms to her theme when tackled by a vegetarian. Some of her comments are really poignant - "Plants to want to be eaten either. They cannot run so they either develop thorns or chemical weapons they fight back....we can participate or dominate, but there is no way to avoid to death." She goes on to talk about how agriculture pushes all other life out of an ecosystem and how in contrast, letting 'natural' forests and wetlands restore, we could not only create superior carbon-sinks but eat the fauna.

The fact that Mike Eades has given Keith the thumbs-up should be enough for anyone to give the interview a listening. Of The Vegetarian Myth he says:
  • "But I can tell you that Lierre Keith’s book is beyond fantastic. It is easily the best book I’ve read since Mistakes Were Made, maybe even better. Everyone should read this book, vegetarian and non-vegetarian alike."

Damn high praise indeed. But if it is anything like this interview then it will be deserved.

12-8-4 Pyramid

So, the first big workout of 2010.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (25 mins)
1a) Rowing (L8, 500m, 1':33")
2a) Dumbell Press (10kg, 12kg, 14kg)
3a) Chins (12, 8 +3kg, 3 +2kg)
4a) Handstand Leg Raise/Deadlifts (85%RM - 100kg)
5a) Kneel Backs (1x60s)
6a) Frog Planche (30s, 20s, 5s tuck)

The rowing was two seconds faster than my usual (1':35"). I felt slow towards the end and could have gone at least a second faster. I do it in around 40+ strokes and with a tweak to my technique, could probably get this figure down, making more use of my height.

The dumbell press was a killer and I could not nail the fourth rep on the last set! I think I was lowering the weights too slowly, shifting the emphasis to 'negatives'. The Frog Planche was a big killer as well and I was well short on the first two sets.

I think I need to revisit my deadlift RM with a view to shifting it upwards. But then I could do with reviewing a few other RMs as well.

Still, a challenging and fun workout. I am injury free and hungry for more!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Diet: A Horizon Guide

There was lots to take in with this program:
  • "Dr Susan Jebb takes a look through nearly fifty years of amazing BBC archive of mankind's relationship with what we eat, charting the shift from the malnutrition of the past to today's obesity epidemic.

    This is the story of our attempt to control nature through the wholesale industrialisation of food production in our search for enough to eat, and the consequences of that massive shift in our diet on the shape of our bodies, and the diseases that kill us.From the BBC's original eccentric scientist Magnus Pyke comparing the virtues of artificial additives to a Beethoven sonata, to the tragic side effects of diet pills, Horizon and the BBC have covered it all.

    On her journey through the decades, Dr Jebb explores how scientists have played a crucial role both in transforming the way our food is produced, but also in attempting to understand the biological mechanisms that determine why it is that some of us have become so large.
    "

The twist at the end was that it was 'Leptin wot dun it'. At least there was some notion that it is hormones rather than sloth, gluttony and mental weakness that cause obeisty.

Highlights included:

  • The doctor who note 'if we change the pattern of food that we eat, we would expect the pattern of diseases to change also'.
  • The 1970s Weight Watchers class. Barely one of the members would even qualify as obese by today's standards.
  • The overfeeding experiment conducted in a prison where early release was promised to those prisoners who could put on 25% extra bodyweight. One inmate, despite the promise of early release and unlimited food could only put on 18% extra despite eating 10,000 calories a day!
  • Psychologists determining that some women became obese to avoid the attentions of young men.

Available for download for another week.

GTG 1234321

I completed a quick Greasing the Groove ladder tonight. It took about 5 minutes and was based on a ladder of 1234321:

1) Fingertip Pull Ups
2) Tuck Planche
3) Horse Riding Stance

The pull ups started with units of one, the planche in units of 1 second and the HRS in units of 10s. So by set four I completed four FTPUs, a 4s Tuck Planche and a 40s HRS.

I find that the quality of the planche in particular is heavily dependent upon the frame of mind with which I approach the exercise. Some exercises (those I like or am good at), I instinctively approach with the appropriate mental focus. But exercises I find awkward, less so.

Keith is right again!

Taubes Radio Discussion

Ok, I am even starting to freak myself out with the current level of Taubesophilia I am exhibiting. But these discussions are good. Taubes is going in and mixing it with experts who have had a medical background and decades of clinical experience - and coming out of the altercations with his reputation in tact, if not enhanced.

Taubes can also be credited with not only changing the opinions of many experts, but also of at least making many experts reconsider their views. They are beginning to see what it is that makes GT's GCBC compelling and worthy of further investigation.

In this radio series of four parts, Taubes discusses a wide variety of topics including the inertia that afflicts research and the Mediterranean diet, calorie restriction and the application of Occam's Razor.



Part 2, part 3 and part 4.

Taubes vs Oz (Larry King)

Reader Beth has provided a few more links featuring GT. (Thanks beth):





IMHO - GT makes the better case than Oz. Far better. Andrew Weil goes a good way to support most of GT's conclusions.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Battle of the Diets

One that was doing the rounds last year and worth looking at again:

Fat, Sugar and Fry Ups

This article on EurekAlert suggests that diets high in fat and sugar are especially fattening:
  • a diet that is high in fat and in sugar actually switches on genes that ultimately cause our bodies to store too much fat. This means these foods hit you with a double-whammy as the already difficult task of converting high-fat and high-sugar foods to energy is made even harder because these foods also turn our bodies into "supersized fat-storing" machines.

The mice used in the experiment were fed a diet high in fat and sucrose. The article goes on:

  • In the research report, scientists show that foods high in fat and sugar stimulate a known opioid receptor, called the kappa opioid receptor, which plays a role in fat metabolism. When this receptor is stimulated, it causes our bodies to hold on to far more fat than our bodies would do otherwise.

For a HG tribe you can imagine that you'd be hunting your staple animal all year around - be it buffalo or bison, mammoth or woolly rhino. Big beasts contain higher levels of fat than smaller fauna (in addition to seasonal variation in fat levels).

In summer, you'd imagine the HG sweetening his/her diet with available fruits. Your body cannot store large amounts of carbohydrate, or rather the storage space is limited. But fat? Your body can store a lot of fat.

Summer provides the perfect macronutrients to optimise energy storage for the winter months ahead where moving from one place to another, hunting and/or simply sitting still and keeping warm would require more energy. The amount of carbohydrate available during the winter months would fall dramatically.

When you think about it, this means we store fat in summer when 'calories out' is likely to be much lower. No freezing temperatures to compete with (and no heavy animal skins to carry around to keep warm). No snow to plough through in pursuit of food or fuel for a fire.

Logical and simple eh? Nothing really that hard to follow and nothing truly revolutionary. Notice how our HG didn't have to restrict calories at any point? No animal 'leaves the table' hungry if it can help it.

The Fry Up

So now we come to the Fry-Up. A serial killer convicted over 40 years ago - it now turns out that he might actually be innocent!

The Telegraph reports today that "Bacon and eggs 'could help mothers-to-be boost the intelligence of unborn child'":

  • "MUMS-TO-BE should tuck in to regular fry-ups to boost their baby's brain, scientists have claimed.

    Researchers says a nutrient found in eggs, bacon and pork sausages helps brain development."

This is all to do with Choline. A water-soluble essential nutrient found in beef, chicken and eggs that plays a significant role in the central nervous system.

I am particularly fond of the journalistic (and arguably scientific), Pendulum of Crap which swings back and forth tick-tocking the between the message that 'food x is bad' and then 'erm....food x is good'.

Following the paleo model of 'eating close to the ground' with as much unprocessed food as possible, grass-fed meats and seasonal salad/fruit/vegetables, I am rather unmoved by such content. But it does raise a smile and remind me that diet and training research is right too often to be ignored and wrong too often to be relied upon.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The Consistent Story

GarageStrength has two good interviews with Gary Taubes:




GTG for 2010

I ended 2009 with some GTG work on Pistols and Handstands. I am not sure how this will translate to my RM (and have yet to test it), but will aim to play with this idea over the coming weeks.

I think my GTG workout is going to be a ladder of:

1-5 of Fingertip PullUps,
1s - 5s Tuck Planche, and,
10s - 50s Horse Riding Stance.

Each of these are done with up to 50%RM and I currently only have five rungs on my ladder, as I am using so many exercises. They will be done in between my regular workouts.

First Climbing W/O of 2010

The main workout today is as follows:

Warm Up
Snowboarding down my street and walking back up (for time)

Main (25 mins)
1a) Pistols (5, 4, 3)
1b) Frog Planch (30s, 20s, 10s)
1c) Tuck Lever (30s, 20s, 10s)

2a) Ring Splits/Cuts (2x6 each way)
2b) Rope Climb to Cirques (2 'laps')

3a) Intermediate Fingerboarding

The pistols felt pretty solid. The cirques hurt a bit! As for the warm up - snowboarding had me fired up head to toe.

DC's Improbable Science

I mentioned a few days ago of a review of Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories (aka The Diet Delusion), by David Colquhoun.

The comments have been unfolding in the usual pattern by which I mean that there is much support for the ''eat less, do more" model and plenty of incredulity from those that obviously have not read Taubes book.

What got my attention though was comment 19 by 'anoopbal' who says:
  • And honestly, do you really think all these obesity researchers got it all wrong all these years?

DC faces straight up to it thusly:

  • Yes, I think that if you were involved in research yourself, you would realise that it is entirely possible for researchers to get the story wrong over many years. That is particularly true in an area like this where so much of the data are based on unreliable observational epidemiology.

You have to be impressed by his frankness here. I can't help thinking that it is very significant that someone such as DC has picked up on "Good Calories, Bad Calories". His favourable review will undoubtedly prompt others to read it also.

Incidentally he has posted an excellent piece about the strength of the evidence that processed meat causes colorectal cancer (conclusion, very weak).

Monday, 4 January 2010

Pavel's Ladder - More Volume, Less Time

Clarence Bass has another useful article regarding the use of synaptic facilitation to achieve more volume in less time.

I have been using a similar (but much less well structured) approach over Christmas. I didn't really focus on my planche and levers (which is actually where I wanted to progress). I ended up throwing sets of pistols, HSPUs and pull ups on the spur of the moment as the place I was staying was best suited to this.

The CB article suggests ladders of up to 70-80%RM. You start with one rep, then 2...3, 4, 5 and so forth, stopping a few reps short of your RM. The idea is to maintain freshness.

(A more traditional approach to 'Greasing the Groove' is provided by Mike Mahler who suggestes a five day approach with two days rest, using a 50%RM, 60%RM, 70%, 60%RM and 50%RM profile. The recommendation if for rests between sets of at least five minutes to several hours for a total of three sets per day.)

I need to really only try to develop one exercise at a time. The fingertip pull up is tempting target as it would boost climbing strength, but I so want to up my planche!

A new year, but the same old Asclepius trying to cover too many bases. Still, this means that my motivation is high - and if there is one thing I am aware of, it is over-training and burnout.