Saturday, 31 July 2010

Merlene Ottey


Merlene Ottey is an awesome athlete and at 50 she will today become the oldest athlete to compete at the European Championships should she be selected to anchor Slovenia's (her adopted country), 4x100m relay team.

She registered on my radar back in 1984 at the Los Angeles Olympics (along with 'Flo Jo'). I remember my dad (a big athletics fan) telling me to 'keep an eye on her' - something I have done for the past 26 years! In that Olympics Otteys grace (and beauty), really made an impact on me. I am guessing dad's 'keeping an eye on her' wasn't similarly restricted to 'athletic interest'!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Vitamin D

Another episode from BBC Radio 4's Case Notes, this time on Vitamin D:
  • After a cold winter with little sunlight lack of vitamin D is common, but how do you know if your levels are too low? Traditionally lack of Vitamin D is linked with poor bone health, but new studies suggest that milder deficiency may also be linked to asthma, some cancers and diabetes. Dr Mark Porter investigates and hears from a night shift worker who had such excruciating pain in her hands she thought that she had arthritis - when her doctor checked for vitamin D levels, 3 weeks of supplements cured the pain.
They discuss the role of vitamin D in diabetes, cancer (of the colon), colds, flu, TB and the immune system in general (including allergic disorders like hayfever, exzma and asthma).

"What Controls Physical Activity in Children?"

From Radio 4's Case Notes program; Childhood Obesity:
  • Dr Mark Porter reports on the unique study that is tracking obesity from childhood. Researchers in Plymouth have been following the progress of a group of 300 children since they were born. Now they are teenagers, and data from taking blood samples and weighing them has helped the scientists to reveal that obesity follows gender lines and that diet is more important than exercise when it comes to losing weight.
At 14:30 one of the researchers says:
  • "I think if you were to ask a health strategist who believed that physical activity was important in the management and prevention of childhood obesity I think he would say 'well what I want to know is what controls physical activity' because I need to know what controls it before I can do anything about it.

    And I think if you put that question to the public at large they'd give you the environmental answer - it's green spaces, it's physical education at school, it's leisure activities after school, it's parental encouragement.

Pretty Fly for a White Guy*

Lemaitre storms to victory (despite a poor start).  At 20 years old, time is on his side.  Awesome potential.



*"Talking about white sprinters, I find this absurd," he said. "I had a good race, I broke the record, but there is not much more to say. I did what I had to do, that's it. This story is too much. I don't like it."

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Running After Antelope

This is primarily one for the paleo-runners our there, but even for the non-runners, there is some beautiful prose here (fast forward to about the six minute mark; it runs until about the 50 minute mark), courtesy of This American Life
  • Stories of people engaged in a battle with nature — a battle they don't stand much chance of winning. Most of the show is Scott Carrier's story of trying for twelve years to chase down and catch an antelope by foot.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Caution With Numbers

With someone like Art DeVany so long at the helm, it was only a matter of time before 'Paleo' was subject to an outbreak of Mathematics.  Denise Minger and The China Study have opened up a whole swathe of interest in statistics that is really great to see.  Who'd have thought that having prised open nutrition, biology, anthropology and various branches of medical research, such an abstract discipline would be next on the list?

Continuing on from my earlier theme of maths books you really should read, I would like to add "1089 And All That" to the list.  This is a great read, much in the vein of "The Most Beautiful Mathematical Formulas: An Entertaining Look at the Most Insightful, Useful and Quirky Theorems of All Time".  And from it, I would like to offer this little anecdote:
  • "[an] astronomer, a physicist and a mathematician ...were on a train journey together in Scotland.  Glancing from the window they observed a black sheep in the middle of a field.
      'How interesting!' said the astronomer.  'All Scottish sheep are black!'
      The physicist, rather startled, said: 'Surely you mean some Scottish sheep are black?'
    But the mathematician viewed even this as a bit rash.  'I think what you both mean,' he said, 'is that there is at least one sheep in Scotland which is black on at least one side.'"
Let's hope that similar caution is applied to the results of TCS!

Volume Wk6 W/O1

I am chuffed to see an outbreak of theology on Free the Animal.  I similarly drew attention to the link between dietary dogma/fanaticism and theology some time ago.  Looks like they have more in common than even I thought - or is it simply the human condition?

I don't put myself above such criticism.  I evangelize, but heck, at least the roots of paleo are consistent with anthropology, anatomy, evolution, Darwinism, physics, biology etc... even if my particular implementation is not. 

We are in an odd situation where we want to trust Science, but Science has been abused and we have had reason to doubt that which came under the umbrella of science.

Nutrition science in particular has been ridden hard and put away wet for nigh-on 50 years!  I like to look on the bright side and, as the Internet has brought transparency, so Science is looking to scrub-up quite nicely.  Never again will it be so sorely treated.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1a. Sprinting (10s, 10s, 10s, 10s)
1b. Advanced Frog Planche (1x20s, 1x20s, 1x20s)

2a. L-Sit Rope-Climb to Lock Offs to One Arm Lowers (2, 2, 2)
2b. Cuts to Split Scissors (3x3, 3x2, 3x1)

3 Fingerboard Routine (10min)
4. Handstand (Play@LGKF for time)

Feeling a little 'tweak' in my right elbow.  This could/should be a time to take a week off....

US Debt Clock!


Friday, 23 July 2010

Cut Down On Meat to Lose Weight

I am sure we have all seen news this week advising we should 'Cut Down On Meat to Lose Weight'.  Reading through the story there is a subtext that is worth highlighting:
  • A European study of almost 400,000 adults found that eating meat was linked with weight gain, even in people taking in the same number of calories.
Now is it me or is this saying 'a calorie is not a calorie'?  Could it be 'hormones':
  • Although it is not clear why meat would lead to weight gain in people eating the same number of calories, one theory is that energy-dense foods like meat alter how the body regulates appetite control.
So what was the objective of the study?
  • The study looked at data from adults taking part in a large project looking at the link between diet and cancer.
It looks like the primary objective in gathering this data was nothing to do with obesity.  Was the data fit for purpose?
  • Overall, the researchers found that meat consumption was associated with weight gain in both men and women.
Association does not mean causation!
  • More detailed analyses showed that the link was still significant after taking into account overall calorie intake, physical activity and other factors which may have skewed the results.
Hmmmm - so did they account for ALL other factors that might have skewed results?  Nope ("...there could also be another lifestyle or dietary explanation for the link that was not accounted for by the study.").  Nutritional profiles?  Fat intake, alcohol intake, the GI and GL of carbohydrates?  And how closely did they look at the profile of exercise - not just in terms of volume but also intensity?
  • The team calculated that in people who ate the same number of calories, an extra 250g of meat a day - equal to a small steak - led to an additional weight gain of 2kg (5lbs) over five years.
Wow - I can gain or lose 2kg in a couple of weeks.  I reckon that depending upon my thirst and water consumption, some days I can vary my weight by 1kg!  Now trying to consciously manage my weight to within 2kg five years hence is a laughable objective.  I would eat 'paleo' for four years 364 days and still come in on target (allowing for improved body composition).  Which begs the question, did they adjust for body composition?  Not sure.

Let's hear from the British Dietetic Association;
  • Sian Porter, a dietician and spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, said there were caveats in the study, including the fact that at the end-weight was self-reported.
There is a saying in IT "Shit in, shit out".  Despite her initial reservations Sian Porter then went on to say "We eat more meat than we need."  And erm....where is your evidence for this Sian?

Study leader Dr Anne-Claire Vergnaud said: "Decreasing the amount of meat alone would not be an adequate weight loss strategy.".  Now that is something we can agree on.

*UPDATE - Dr Briffa has skewered the research here!

Volume Wk5 W/O3

I am itching to mix my routine up.  The overhead pressing type activities (1b), will now feature four different exercises.  Each one should be stopped one-short-of-failure.  The headstands are 'assisted' by which I mean I have my feet on a support.

The OACs also keep the 'one arm lowers' introduced last week (you do a normal chin or pull up and then take one hand off the bar, lowering yourself as slowly as you can).

The deadlifts feature an RLL and I am also looking to put in a Podium DL at some point.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1a. (Podium) Deadlift/RLL:Podium Dumbell DL (8xRLLs, 8xRLLs,10x18kg, 7xRLLs)
1b. Assisted HeSPU : Snatch: Press : MTBs (10, 8x18kg, 8x24kg, 8x3kg)
2a. Assisted OACs (8x47kg, 8x47kg, 7/8x47kg, 3/4xAlt One Arm Lowers)
2b. Double Side Kicks
3a. Tucked Ice Cream Maker (8, 8, 8)
3b. Wall Planche Press Ups (8, 8, 8 dropped intensity by moving hands forwards to reach target)
3c. Kneeling Wrist Push Ups (3, 3, 3)

The gym was busy so I couldn't get to deadlift.  I improvised, and I guess it will be beneficial longterm to embrace this randomness.  I could have gone much heavier on the Podium Dumbell DL; next time.

The overhead stuff was a gas.  Could have pushed the snatch with maybe 28kg, but lowering slowly gets taxing depending on how slowly you lower it.

the WPP killed me.  I felt I was running out of gas towards the end and this brought two things in to focus.  Firstly I no longer seem to have the energy to 'play' after a workout (this is one advantage of blogging your workouts, you have a detailed history to chew over).  Secondly I am mid-intense phase - some exhaustion is to be expected - and so could well do with a random week off.

Oh yeah - and I forgot all about the ICMs!  Missed 'em out totally.  Mental fatigue?

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Obesity in Kuwait


I am back to some of my old ways - getting sucked in to watching prgrams on obesity and diets.  "Big Meets Bigger" is one such program: 
  • Due to poor diet and the prevalence of obesity, 1 in 4 Kuwaitis suffer from diabetes. Carley and borderline diabetic Darran visit a diabetes clinic where they meet a man who's had his big toe amputated.
Kuwait is one hell of an obese country.  It was noticeable throughout the program that the fat kids from the UK focused on the eating junk food ("high in fat and sugar") as the cause of obeisty, whilst the Kuwaiti folk focused on 'laziness' as the cause.

What really caught my attention was the Kuwaiti medical staff.  More than once they talked of avoiding carbohydrates (...and fat!) to get lean.  And one surgeon said that 'pre gastric-bypass', a patient had to go "one month with no carbohydrates!".

In the UK it has recently been accepted in medical circles that obesity can occur before inactivity (specifically that "Fatness leads to inactivity, but inactivity does not lead to fatness").  Taking the focus away from an 'eat less and do more' model is of vital importance but I can't help thinking that although the Kuwaiti medical establishment have joined many more of the dots than the UK doctors ("it's the refined carbohydrate!"), they just cannot get to the logical conclusion at the end.  And so we have a solution of carb restriction as a temporary measure in preparation for Bones to hack away.

I'd love to head over there and try out some of my advice on a few subjects.  I mean just applying really damn basic paleo philosophy could have such a profound effect.  It is just tragic watching people become prisoners in their own body on the back of misguided dietary advice....help them join those last few dots...

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Volume Wk5 W/O2

The first pass through 3a-3c will involve a wall walk.  The second pass through will involve a back bridge.  The third is one set of hyper-extension. 

I sometimes feel that these backwards bending type activities are questionably healthful.  I cannot think of an evolutionary type of activity where this sort of movement would be required.  But I do find the general sensation of stretching this way quite pleasant.

I aim to ramp up the rowing with only 15s rest between sets.  The legwork see the addition of a rep - maybe more, we will see.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1. Rowing (5x100m:15s rest)
2a. Pistols/Pillar Jumps (10x56/57, 10x56/57, 10x56/57, 10x BW Wall Jumps)
2b. Straight Back Lever (3x3s, 3x3s, 3x3s)
3a. Wall Walk : Back-Bridge : Hyper-extension (1x4, 1x15s, 1x15s)
3b. Tuck Planche (3x3s, 3x3s, 3x3s)

I can definitely up the leg work.  Something to bear in mind for next session - although I had to work for the final rep on the final set.  The Tuck Planche almost seems to be going backwards.  Oh well.

I was reflecting after the workout on my paleo epiphany.  The moment I realised that my physique (body composition and strength), did NOT scale with inputs (low fat, carb rich, and, exercise dose - intensity and frequency).  Sure tweaking these things would elicit a response, but after a while my body would go off message and seemingly adapt its own way despite my tightening of screws that were already pretty tightly adjusted.  My body let me know I had to change - but only once I listened to it.  When the pupil is ready, the teacher arrives.

One of the big moments in the transition to paleo lead to the Asclepius Challenge.  Simply put, ask a veg*an to spend at least a week in winter, armed with a spade, foraging for wild food.  Whilst you, armed with a knife, hook, spear and snares (!) do the same.  Only one of you is likely to see the new year with anything other than sunken eyes and a gaunt appearance (eye-sinking might well scale with malnutrition and the onset of death).  As long as you avoid Rabbit Starvation, and given an opportunity to kill larger mammals as well as catch fish - you should have all nutritional bases covered with rudimentary hunting knowledge.  I have a plan to put some of this in to practice later this year.....but that is for another post.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

History of a Time to Come

Veganism, vegetariansim and arguably raw foodism are 'mature' eating models having their roots in the political movements of the 1960s (and raw-ism enjoying a renaissance in the 1980s).

By comparison, the modern paleo model (ignoring its 2.5m y.o pre-history), is a much more modern phenomena - so it is likely that it has yet to permeate modern athletic endeavours as it is an unknown quantity and has to be 'formally tested' in various capacities before it is to gain traction in the world of sport.

'Paleo' is also hindered by 50 years of nutritional disinformation (saturated fat anyone?), which has corrupted nutritional knowledge in sports science (complex carbs come to mind).

But a change is beginning to happen. Elite athlete Greg Parham is a Cat 1 mountain bike rider who has adopted 'paleo'.  In the interview linked, Parham lists the benefits of paleo as:
 
1. Less recovery time following difficult workouts or races.

2. I don’t have to rely on carbohydrates for long rides anymore. In fact, if I’m just out doing easy long rides, I don’t have to eat anything at all because my body now relies primarily on fat, with which I have a super abundant supply, even at 6% body fat.

3. Once my body learned to metabolise fat more efficiently, I could maintain moderate levels of exercise for longer periods of time without supplementation. However, supplementation extends the length even longer. I’m less likely to “hit the wall”.

4. In general, I have this huge weight lifted off my chest not having to worry so much about what I should eat and drink. Athletes are bombarded by supplement companies, all claiming their products are better than the other. Should I use Gatorade? Hammer Nutrition? Eas? Clif Bar? Cytomax? Powebar? The list goes on and on. The answer: none of them. Nature is smarter than science. By rejecting these claims and having all out faith in the Paleo diet, I not only save a lot of money on supplements, but have a mind at ease that I don’t need them.

Although it has been popular amongst the political vegetarians to accuse meat eaters (and by implication paleo dudes) as being environmentally irresponsible, genocidal, uncaring about animal welfare etc.... Parham goes on to express green credentials. 

He commented on his blog that 'Even more of the food I eat will come straight from the good earth, and less of it from a package'.  A comment he qualified as having  'a little more to do with a “spiritual” side of food sources and responsibility'.

He goes on:
  • I’ve taken up hunting and fishing as a new hobby and hope to be fortunate enough to harvest a lot of game on my own from now on. I also hope to procure more of my vegetable sources straight from a local garden, either my own, or from a farmer’s market. Maybe I can even forage fruits and nuts from friends or neighbors that have more than they can eat. In all these instances, I know directly where the food came from and can trust it has maximum nutritional value. Even buying organic produce from Whole Foods, I don’t know where it came from or how early it had to be plucked in order to be ripe by the time it reached the shelf. Regarding my preparation for the upcoming 12 hour race, nutritionally I won’t be doing anything different than I already am.
What I like about these comments is that they are unsolicited - and yet they are sentiments that have been expressed by many of the paleo enthusiasts I have met over the years.  You don't hear many athletes prompted to express such a 'green' conscience - nor the guys on T-Nation, when talking about their diet.  But it is part of the paleo territory.  (Even our gyms are wild, 'natural' and edible - check out Erwn Le Corre)

Moreover what could be 'greener' than local hunting and foraging?  You are directly connected to your food supply so it is in your interests not to over graze or over hunt.  The sustainabilty and health of the habitat is of direct interest to you.

Hunting requires 'un-farmed' land.  To sustain 'food sized' animals you need a 'natural' habitat.  A complete biosystem of plant and animals that are then allowed to develop their complex interplay which allows higher order life to build upon the work of simpler pioneer species.

The healthy habitat is self fertilizing.  No pesticides. No irrigation.  No dependence on oil.  No air miles.  Species diverse.  Abundant.  And it requires an apex predator to manage the herbivores and larger fauna - that is where we come in.  Seasonal plant food.  Sustainable meat from animals that live in optimal conditions.

'Green harmony' rather than some simplistic and misguided anthropcentric distortion of how life on earth is integrated and co-dependent.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Volume Wk5 W/O1

So no rope climbing this week as I return to MUs and rings.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1a. Sprinting (15s, 15s, 15s, 15s)
1b. Advanced Frog Planche (1x20s, 1x20s, 1x20s)

2a. Three MUs to L-Sit to Ring Routine to Body Lever(1x20s, 1x20s, 1x20s)
2b. Cuts to Split Scissors (3x3, 3x2, 3x1 - each way)
2c Fingerboard Routine

3. Handstand (Play@LGKF for time)

Saturday, 17 July 2010

A Boot on the Neck of The China Study

Denise Minger has her 'boot on the neck' of the China Study.  The China Study has been an major source of nutritional pollution for several years and witnesses have spoken of 'uncontrolledable gushing', but DM looks to have stopped the flow at source.

The latest post on her blog offers a cutesy and erudite installment that really cuts to the heart of Campbell's rather weak response to her initial 'Smackdown'.  Denise obviously has great energy, talent and intelligence - must be something she has eaten.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Lies & Damn Lies

Ned Kock at Health Correlator has provided a nice little refresher on the interpretation of quantitative research results.

Now personally I am a bit skeptical about how robust the original China Study data set actually is, so the current squabble between those who live in Banarnia and those who walk on the wild side might actually be more akin to two bald men fighting over a comb.

For the record, by pure coincidence I am half way through reading "Statistics Hacks: Tips & Tools for Measuring the World and Beating the Odds". (Yes, I am that sad). I recommend it especially if you are a bit rusty when it comes to stats.

Whilst I am at it, one of my favourite books is "The Most Beautiful Mathematical Formulas: An Entertaining Look at the Most Insightful, Useful and Quirky Theorems of All Time". Please do not pre-judge this book. If you can get your hands on it you will find it quite entertaining whether you are an armchair mathematician or not. If you are math-phobic then this book will leave you invigorated as it takes you gently by the hand through key areas of number science.

If you ARE an uber-genius when it comes to numbers, you might want to tackle "Mathematics: From the Birth of Numbers". In a word; awesome. Much more than a maths text it goes in to the history of mathematical language (including counting in different languages), numerology and all sorts. It lost me in a few places (I am no uber genius, more of a maths-monkey!), but is the kind of book you really could keep going back to over the course of your life.

Anyway, Ned's post is worthy of wider recognition and it will explain why umbrellas cause rain!

Volume Wk4 W/O3

Splits are gone. In come kicks to fill out the breaks (front, turning and side, inc. double-ups). At the end of some of the exercises I have added an intense change of flavour but the basic recipe is the same!

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1a. Deadlift/RLL (one or two warm up sets, 5x95, 3x118/115, 1x135/128, 4xRLLs)
1b. HSPU/Press/Snatch/MTBs (8x18kg, 8x18kg, 6/8x18kg, 4xHeSPU)
2a. Tucked Ice Cream Maker (8, 8, 8)
2b. Assisted OACs (8x47kg, 8x47kg, 8x47kg, 4xAlt One Arm Lowers)
2c. Wall Planche Press Ups (8, 8, 8 dropped intensity by moving hands forwards to reach target)
Bold = Achieved (if short of target)

Another great session. i reached all my chinning targets and added on the one arm lowers. The OALs were a bit too quick on the last set as fatigue set in, but reaching 3x8 on the OAC is an improvement on last time. A BIG improvement.

The deadlifts are coming on. I could push it harder and faster, and am tempted to do so. Today was more of a consolidation, but with a RM of 150kg, there is gas in the tank yet. The RLLs felt weird after the DLs and highlighted a loss of technique since dropping RLLs from my standard routine. It was a good idea to put them back in.

My ICMs suck. I don't have much room in my gym to work on technique, but even tucked, they lack quality. I need to reflect upon them in my routine.

The DBPs were taxing. I improved my reps and had little left for the HeSPUs, feeling strangely light and heavy at the same time. Again there is room for technique improvement here.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Titan Diet



I have followed Beyond Strong on and off for a few years now, dipping in and out periodically. It is run by Nick McKinless and he seems to move easily between bodybuilding, strength and athletic disciplines. It is a great resource for training ideas. You can check out his training in the YouTube clip above.

Here is an interesting interview with him (published on his site), which is well worth a read. He was a stuntman on the new Clash of the Titans film and in the interview he talks about his preparation. In particular, his diet caught my eye. When asked about nutrition he replied;
  • Itʼs the usual things like cutting out carbs after 4pm, donʼt eat anything man hasnʼt killed or grown on the land and reducing alcohol intake. That last one isnʼt easy for stuntmen! Seriously, nutrition these days should be a piece of cake (pun intended). Just buy good quality meats, fruits and vegetables (preferably Organic). Stay away from ʻwhite deathʼ foods like white bread, white sugar, white rice and donʼt eat anything with saturated fats. Drink more water. Having said that, eating less healthy foods isnʼt going to kill you as long as itʼs in moderation. If you eat 21 meals a week then 3 of them could be junk food or ice cream or whatever floats your boat. The rest should be things like steak and salad, salmon or chicken and brown rice or eggs and spinach.

Now I am not sure how on a diet of steak, eggs and fish you can avoid saturated fat, but the caveat about 'white death' and the recommendation not to "eat anything man hasnʼt killed or grown on the land" is bang on the money.

The photo of him in the interview is pretty impressive. Shredded, athletic and strong as hell!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Volume Wk4 W/O2

This session emphasises the engine room - core and legs. The fives sets of 100m sprints on the rower were great fun during the last session. I had rested for thirty seconds but will mess about with this rest period. Might do only 20s today.

I am also dropping the splits and cuts work. The ring-splits and ring-cuts I do on a Monday are superior IMO as they engage the muscles through a range of motion and strengthen them using a synergistic approach.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1. Rowing (5x100m)
2. Pistols/Pillar Jumps (9x56, 9x56, 9x56, 9xBW Wall Jumps)
3a. Wall Walk/BackBridge (1x4, 1x4, 1x4)
3b. Tuck Planche (3x3s, 3x3s, 3x3s)
3c. Straight Back Lever (3x3s, 3x3s, 3x3s)

The tucks were done on parallettes. I try to emphasise leaning forwards, but TBH, I still suck at them! The levers are much more to my liking and I continue to feel progress in terms of the quality of the hold and the degree of leg-extension.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Protein Debate

For those that have yet to read it, here is a link to The Protein Debate between T. Colin Campbell and Loren Cordain.

Loren, whilst being satfat phobic (a position he seems to be shifting from), is one of the leading lights in applying an 'evolutionary' interpretation to diet and fitness. Marrying Darwinian thinking to our understanding of diet and nutrition, Cordain has made a well referenced and compelling case for an animal-based diet having been our natural food source for at least the past two million years (my emphasis):

  • "[T]here is no credible fossil, archeological, anthropological, anatomical, ethnographic or biochemical evidence to show that members of our genus (Homo) routinely consumed low protein diets. In fact, without the inclusion of energetically dense animal food into the hominin diet, starting at least 2.5 million years ago, our large energetically active brains would not have evolved."
Campbell offers a rebuttal:

  • "My critique of Professor Loren Cordain’s proposition almost entirely depends on my philosophy of nutrition. It is clearly different from that of Cordain’s understanding of this discipline. He mocks the science of nutrition as if it has little or nothing to offer. I believe that it has much to offer even though its essence mostly remains hidden."

Erm....well that is that settled then! Stop laughing at the back! Go read.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Volume Wk4 W/O1

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1. Sprinting (10s, 10s, 10s, 10s)

2a. Advanced Frog Planche (1x20s, 1x20s, 1x20s)
2b. L-Sit Rope-Climb to Lock Offs (2, 2, 2)
2c. Cuts to Split Scissors (3x3, 3x3, 3x3)

3 Fingerboard Routine (10min)

4. Handstand (Play@LGKF for time)

The rope climbing pulls something deep out from within. You coil organically around it as you tube upwards. The grip is taxed as are the forearms, shoulders and upper back. The L-sit ensure the core partakes in these 'good times'. Lower on one arm is a killer; preceded each step of the way by a second or so of 'lock off'. So many hits in so little time.

The naure of this workout meant I had enough left to really tackle the fingerboard routine. I didn't completely finish the routine to satisfaction but in terms of dose and response, I had it nailed to perfection.

I feel I am finally getting the hang of making my workouts spontaneous and varied enough from week to week without getting stuck in a rut, nor lacking some coherence and pattern in my training.

I have begun to focus on planes of motion at each workout but use profoundly different exercises to traverse that plane of motion. Add in some set, rep and weight/duration variety and job's a good'un.

This workout was quite short (ignoring the fingerboard workout at the end). I was done in less than 20 minutes. It was hard, but I need to ensure I have some hustle left for Wednesday's workout.

Importantly this is yet another workout where I left feeling really positive and happy, whilst ever so slightly toasted!

Vegan Fatwa

Well, it looks like Freelee is mounting a response to Denise Mingers China Study Smackdown and in particular against the Paleos...erm I mean 'fully fledged corpse eaters'/'death-pushers'. Word has it that a pack of playing cards will be issued featuring the following 39 (at the time of writing) blogs. Only thirty-nine playing cards? Looks like those vegans are used to playing cards without a full deck. Freelee wants to redress the 'incorrect misinterpreted analysis' to swing the pendulum back towards Colin Campbell's 'correct misinterpreted analysis'.

Seriously though, on Denises blog there is some pretty detailed comment reaching in to the vagaries of statistical analysis that I'd guess would bamboozle most of us whether vegan or orthodox paleo. Veganmama made a very detailed and enlightening contribution (also posted on 30BAD).

Personally I hope that instead of taking sides and wanting to discredit Minger or Campbell or making appeals to authority ("i do find it difficult to believe that campbell after 20+ yrs of work on this, making raw data available, cautioning people right in the book about its misuse and having the resources of a university would make errors so blatant that they could be reveal by an amateur"), common ground can be found between both 'camps' and we can let the data speak for itself. I don't think either side of the argument should fear the outcome we should only fear self-delusion and, dishonesty under the guise of science.

I actually believe there is a lot of common ground between vegans and paloe-types. There is the interest in our personal health and also a wider environmental concern. The paleo types I know opt for animal produce that is farmed with high animal welfare standards and abhor animal suffering. I'd wager most paleos have an eye on ultimately actually catching their own wild food, and what could be more sustainable? Food, be it animal or plant based, from 'natural' ecosystems is way more sustainable (and offers greater biodiversity),than any farm - arable or pastoral.

The food wars have truly broken out in 2010, and The China Study looks like becoming the main battleground.

Friday, 9 July 2010

China Study Shakedown

Few people have emerged on to the Paleo scene in quite the explosive way that Denise Minger has!

Her smack-down of Colin Campbell's "The China Study" has had an incredible effect. Her erudite critique and analysis of Campbell's work has resulted in a post that is surprisingly accessible even to the statphobic!

So devastating is her analysis that I think we just might see Campbell's book fall off the Amazon charts - if not, result in slightly more reviews that result in 'less than five stars'. (DM has sufficient skill to perhaps write her own "'China Study" to supercede the former tome.) You can actually get your hands on some of the 1989 data here and the original study data here.

On further investigation it transpired that another paleo blogger put the book to the sword back in 2005 (hat tip to commentor Alex at Free the Animal), and although not as extensive as DM's work, does deserve mention. Brad Marshall is that blogger and his work concludes with the following diamond pulled from the China Study Turd:
  • In China, the main predictor of heart disease rates in a given population is how much wheat flour (and other grains except rice) that population eats. The consumption of vegetables or animal products doesn't play an obvious role in heart disease rates. Tuoli county, where they eat far more saturated fat than in the US, had far less heart attack deaths than the US and no more heart attack deaths than you would suspect based on the amount of wheat they consume compared to their Chinese Colleagues.
BM also linked to this interview with Colin Campbell (my emphasis):
  • "...what I'm now discovering is that science is not so ideal, in the way I once thought. I was very naive. The institution of science is closely related to who provides the funds for the science to be done, either directly or indirectly.

    I think the indirect effect is even greater than the direct effects, and people in science advance their careers by how much research they do, and how much publicity they tend to get. And of course, they are going to advance their careers and get the publicity if they do the research that's generally accepted, in other words supporting the status quo. If a scientist comes along and says something different, they do it at their peril, because they just may not get the publications, they may not get the advancement in their careers. That's a rather indirect effect, but nonetheless, it's a very serious effect, and they know it. And so, I think the institution of science, which has basically served a very reductionist way of thinking, that is producing little pills and magic bottles to do this that and everything else, that's what medical science has largely been, been fostering, been concerned with, and interested in.

    And of course it serves the free market system and it serves our sense of how to control disease through cure, but, it doesn't serve the public. Prevention is really the way to go, and at the centre of the plate for prevention is nutrition, how we decide to eat and how we decide to behave otherwise, and that's a very comprehensive sort of lifestyle dietary change. That's where we get good health - that's what the public needs to know, and science is not delivering it. When I find I get hounded for my views by some of my colleagues, on these particular points, it makes me angry and in a sense pursue the question even more
    . "
Whilst it is quite sad for CC to have been thusly exposed on the blog-o-sphere, what the past few days has shown is the value of Scientific Method and peer review in addition to the power of the T'interweb.

To the credit of DM and BM, they focus on the figures, not the man. And although they focus on Campbell's interpretation of the data, NOT on Campbell himself, there is more than a whiff of his prejudice that hangs over both the interview and his book. Given his status as a scientist and educator it is hard not to reflect on his character given the abuse of his position that such bias constitutes. As those of us who follow paleo believe, Campbell is far from alone and greater damage is being wrought at much higher levels of society as Ancel Keys' meme shows (and in honesty I cannot put myself above such bias).

Bottom line; Scientific Method has broken through, and for that, we should all be thankful. In the wake of this high profile smackdown, we now enter a calmer period of shakedown where we can digest what this analysis means in practical terms...

Volume Wk3 W/O3

My god - this blog is just turning in to a training log. Will attempt to post something of greater interest soon!

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1. Deadlift/RLL (one or two warm up sets, 5x95, 3x115, 1x128)
2a. HSPU/Press/Snatch/MTBs (8/8x18kg, 7/8x18kg, 6/8x18kg)
2b. Splits to Cuts (3x10s 3x10x 3x10s)

3a. Tucked Ice Cream Maker (6/7, 6/7, 6/7)
3b. Assisted OACs (8/8x47kg, 7/8x47kg, 6/8x47kg)
3c. Wall Planche Press Ups (8/7, 8/7, 6/7)

Bold = Achieved

FCUKing beauty! Somed days it just REALLY happens for me in the gym. Today I didn't hit all the reps and set no PB strength records but of the work I did do, it felt goooooood. I felt quite strong and importantly am absolutely flying now.

Not felt this good post-workout for some time. Double good given my ambivalence about the last couple of sessions. Of course the sunshine helps!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Volume Wk3 W/O2

I try to guide myself through activity using points of reference governed by novelty, instinct, habit and effort. I need to keep myself challenged with new movements. But too much variation has lead in the past to my routines drifting; lacking sufficient structure to capitalise on efficiency and thusly demand genuine physiological adaption in the body.

I am trying to integrate some varitety whilst maintaining a theme. Thus greater variation will feature in my planche training for example. I will also cut back on session volume given the number of sessions I will tax the planching muscles.

This side of the workout, today feels like it will be tough for all the wrong reasons...but I will suck it and see.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1. Rowing (5x100m)
2. Pistols/Pillar Jumps (8x56, 8x56, 8x56)
3a. Wall Walk/BackBridge (1x4, 1x4, 1x4)
3b. Cuts to Splits (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
4a. Tuck Planche (3x3s, 3x3s, 3x3s)
4b. Straddle Lever (3x3s, 3x3s, 3x3s)

Monday, 5 July 2010

Volume Wk3 W/O1

After training with a colleague the other day, I have taken on board some criticism about 'softness' in some of my exercises.

By softness I mean that 'sinking' you might do before a pull up, to try and gain some momentum. I want to try to focus on immediate force generation without the sinking, so am cutting back slightly on reps.

My aversion of 'going to failure' is also recurring once again, but that is something I seldom do. Once form breaks down I usually call it a day....usually....

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1a. Sprinting (10s, 10s, 10s)
1b. Advanced Tuck Planche (1x20s, 1x20s, 1x20s)

2a. Three MUs to L-Sit to Ring Routine to Body Lever(1x20s, 1x20s, 1x20s)
2b. Cuts to Split Scissors (3x1 each way)
2c. Fingerboard (5x1, 5x1, 5x1, 5x1, 5x1)

3. Handstand (Play@LGKF for time)

Friday, 2 July 2010

Volume Wk2 W/O2

Next week I ramp up to 100%.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (35 mins)
1a. Deadlift (3x95kg, 3x108kg 3x122kg)
1b. HSPU/Press/Snatch (8x18kg, 8x16kg, 8x16kg)
2a. Ice Cream Maker Lever (6, 6, 6)
2b. One Arm Chins (7x44kg, 7x44kg, 6x44kg)
3a. Pseudo Planche Press Ups (7, 7, 7)
3b. Splits/Cuts (20s, 20s, 20s)

Maaaan! That felt hard - especially the last rep on the last sets of DLs, and the last rep of the last two sets of OACs. Guess I am just not firing on all cylinders today. It was meant to be deloaded so I had to fight the ego and 'let go' of trying to really push it to make my intended weight and reps. There will be another time when I demand max-effort from within.

The value of a blog is that I can record such feelings. I have been here before and being able to look back to previous workouts gives you a track of your history, your feelings and (if you blog honestly), signs of fatigue/overtraining/other....

No failure. Only feedback.

*UPDATE: I remembered that I actually gave blood the day before this workout!