Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Play More

I have had a busy weekend of birthday parties. The rollerskating and swimming were great fun, but the cake and other sugary crapinabox left their mark...

I have sacked all 'formal' workouts this week and, given the weekend's wheeled fun, have decided to just do some good old fashioned 'play. Today I went to the gym and worked on my backflips and handstands. I finished off with some (tuck) planching and (tuck) levers for a couple of rounds of 30s.

It was quite relaxing and enjoyable throughout. The sunshine helped. The flips really did flow and I am starting to 'get with them' - losing all anxiety and manipulating tuck time to control rotation. TBFF is now 22!

LGKF Walks

HARNG MA PING CHOI - basic walk & punch
HARNG MA LIN WAAN CHOI - basic walk & three punches
BEU GEE PING CHOI - spear hand punch
SERN BEEU GEE - double spear hands
SERN PING CHOI - double punches
SERN YEEU KIU - Double bridge hands
CERN DONG PING CHOI TSIN TAK - Upper block, punch & front kick
JOUN DONG PING CHOI WARNG TAK - Middle block, punch & side kick
HAR DONG PING CHOI YEUN TAK - Lower block, punch & turning kick
SERN PAK JURN FARN CHOI HOU TSARN - Double palm block, back fist & back kick

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Experts and Other Gods

Whenever I see a phrase such as 'formulated by experts' or 'formulated for athletes' on packaging, I actually tune in to the underlying driver; 'formulated for profit', and latterly, 'formulated by politics'. 

I see the tail wagging the (usually nutritional/medicinal) dog.  Predators adapt to their prey.  Prey does not adapt to be tastier, more wholesome and healthier for the hunter!  (And in fact inate inability to adapt leads to extinction.  At the other end of the spectrum, anything that can quickly change its colours in a chameleon-like fashion, should also be treated with suspicion - especially if the change reflects the latest nutrition/exercise trends).  The foraged 'may' become tastier, but this will be a Faustian pact in favour of the grazed.

Nutrition is an interesting area.  Maybe experts can formulate optimal nutrition, but our requirements are rarely static.  I suspect that important signalling from hormonal cascades generated by the ebb and flow of micro and macro nutrients may also be blunted by 'static' nutrition; something akin to a hormetic effect perhaps?

Pharmaceuticals also offers interest.  We have so many diagnoses.  The range of human behaviours and conditions are medicalised, behind which comes therapy and remedy - all at a price.

Then there is the emphasis on extending lifespans.  A lot of 'expertise' is devoted to this.  Again it hinges on an axis of profit and politics.  In Greek mythology, Tithonus fell in love with Eos, goddess of the dawn. Eos realised that Tithonus, a handsome mortal, was destined to age and die so she begged Zeus to grant Tithonus immortality.  Zeus granted Eos's wish, giving Tithonus immortality, but not eternal youth. 

We seem to have stumbled in to a Tithonusian world.  Profits lie in extending lifespan, not healthspan. Does 'do no harm' apply if you maintain a harmful state?

Friday, 27 May 2011

Baise Moi

There was a time when cholesterol was BAD.
Then, HDL was good, and LDL was BAD.
Then, LDL subtype A was benign and LDL SUBTYPE B was BAD.

Notice a pattern here?

Well, it looks like it has finally been sorted.  'ULTRABAD' cholesterol is BAD!

  • Researchers have discovered a new type of 'ultrabad' cholesterol that has the potential to raise the risk of heart disease.

    According to scientists at the University of Warwick, the fatty material has higher chances of attaching to artery walls because it is stickier when compared with normal 'bad' cholesterol.

    They said the cholesterol, called MGmin-LDL, is especially common in people suffering from the most common form of type 2 diabetes as well as in older people. The findings were documented in the journal Diabetes.

    The fatty plaque - which sticks to arteries - is often created with the help of harmful cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), triggering strokes and heart attacks.

    It contains sugary molecules that are smaller and denser, in comparison with those of normal LDL.

    The altered shape readily sticks to artery walls, offering a starting point for the build-up of dangerous fatty plaques.

    The discovery may explain why the widely prescribed diabetes drug metformin appears to reduce heart attack risk.

    Metformin is known to lower blood sugar levels, and may block the transformation of 'normal' LDL into stickier MGmin-LDL.
No doubt this should remind us to eat heart healthy whole grains and engage in jogging.  Alternatively you might want to ignore any diet and exercise advice you get unless it comes from an anthropologist discussing those activities as relates to pre-agricultural peoples.

Baise moi.

Friday Strength Wk1 W/O3 (P1)

DLs are the order of the day!  My legs are fatigued slightly but I should be ok.

Warm Up (5 mins) - TBFF is now 18!
Main (40 mins)
1a. Deadlift (5X104kg, 5x120kg , 3/5+X136kg)
1b. One Arm Chin Ups (5x47kg, 5x54kg, 5x54/61kg)
2. Back Bridge to In-L-Sit (15s, 15s, 15s)
3. HandWalk/Ass. HSPUs - Lowers/Dumbell Press/MBTs ('for time', 6xHSPUa, 6x16kg)
4. Ice Cream Makers (4, 4, 4)
5. Four-Way Rotator Cuff (10)


Last night I went for a 15 mile bike ride.  The terrain was quite hilly and after 80 minutes battling wind and rain I got back home feeling drained.  I hit the biscuit tin big time!  After the shit-fest of biscuits and chocolate I hit half a chicken with cabbage (and lots of butter).  I then downed a pint of water and hit the sack.

I awoke this morning and completed the same ride in reverse.  It felt much easier even though it took the same amount of time.

The reson for this riding is to do with my plan to complete the Trans-Penine Trail Coast to Coast (TPTC2C), later this year from Southport to Hornsea over three days:
  • Length: 215miles/346 Kilometers,
  • Height Climbed: 2304m/9840ft.
As with my Welsh 14/3Ks last year, I hope to exploit a bit of my paleo-hustle.  Whereas the 14/3Ks was done fasted and vFooted, I was thinking of doing the TPTC2C on just one meal a day.  What horrified me after last night's inaugural training session on the bike is just how carbcrazy I went afterwards.

I would imagine there needs to be a period of adaption, so I won't panic too much just yet.  Normally I exercise for no more than an hour in a saw-tooth pattern of activity.  With the headwind and the hills, what I did last night was pretty much full on throughout.  The riding this morning did much to calm my anxieties.

So despite the mileage and the leg work over the past 12 hours or so, I will DL today!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Nature's Medicine Cabinet

The superlative Radio 4 has a great series called 'Costing the Earth'.  This week's episode is called "Nature's Medicine Cabinet" which looks at medicinal cures sourced from plants and animals ('borrowing drugs from nature'):
  • "Take the venom from a scorpion, the suckers from a starfish and the sting from a bee. You won't create a spell to turn a prince into a frog but you might just find a new anti-asthma spray, a way to prevent the failure of heart by-passes or the answer to drug-resistant bacteria.

    Rapid advances in genetic research are throwing open the medical treasure chest of the natural world. Chemicals that perform a clear function for a plant or animal can be isolated, studied and, in some cases, applied to complex medical problems.

    This is obviously good news for patients but could it also be good news for endangered wildlife? Could we soon be concentrating our limited conservation resources on saving the plants and animals that offer up something to humanity?

    Dr. Alice Roberts and medical writer John Naish explore nature's medicine cabinet and consider the ethical dilemmas."

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Tuesday Strength Wk1 W/O2

Think I will opt for pistols over pillar jumps today.  One set of 10-15 on each leg should do it.  I will see how I feel.  On this cycle I have increased the chin reps in the first week by one, from 10 to 11.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1a. Planche Variations (30s, 20s, 10s)
1b. Pillar Jumping/Pistols (10x42kg, 10x52kg, 10x62kg)
1c. Chins (11, 11, 11)
2a. Handwalk/MBTs/Handstand/Assited HSPU (for time, 10, 10)
2b. Lever (10s, 10s, 10s)
3. LGKF Forms*


Sunday, 22 May 2011

Wheel Of Life

Well, the end of days did come for Great Grandma Asclepius this morning at 0430hrs.  Today is actually her birthday, and having clocked up 97 years - of which maybe only the last five or so years saw her really deteriorate, she proves that you can be very active with a diet based upon simple foods, saturated fat and seasonal fare.  I don't think she dieted a day in her life, nor did she ever run or jog. 

She did do a lot of walking and read sermons at the local church until well in to her 90's.  Many commented on her strong delivery and precise diction.  The sight of this small and elderly woman projecting so well in a cavernous church with no amplification was commented upon by many of the congregation.

She lived through two world wars and countless other battles, through pandemics and epidemics of disease and influenza.  She survived depressions and recessions.  I asked her what she thought of the recent recession, and if she was worried.  She replied something along the lines of, "I have seen it all before.  There is nothing to really worry about.  People will find a way through".

Having survived real hardships (and no, a 37in plasma HD TV does not constitute 'hardship' just because it hsan't got 3D), humbler times and rationing, she knew what it meant to be resourceful, to make do with less, not to waste, to improvise, adapt and overcome.

She really was a role model.  She was incredibly strong willed, hard working, industrious, diligent, honest, caring, generous, a real rock.  I'm not sure they make them like that any more.  She'll be sorely missed.

Sunday Strength Wk1 W/O1 (P1)

After a week off of active rest, I am psyched for another cycle of strength, again building up from a deloaded phase to pushing the max in a couple of weeks time.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1. Stairgators
2. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10, 1x10, 1x10, 1x10)
3. 2xMU to L-Sits to Ring Routine (3x1)
4a. Scissor Splits/Cuts (3x3-way)
4b. 321 (7:3x8 A4, 7:3x8 A4, 7:3x8 A4)
4c. Tuck Planche (1x3s, 1x3s, 1x3s)
5. Barefoot Kill Carry

Friday, 20 May 2011


It looks like this will be my last post!  Thanks for the support, comments and general readership over the last few years.

UPDATE: What better way to end the week than some climbing and a last wild swim?  So I spent just under an hour at a local crag and then on the drive home decided on a quick dip.  The water was damn cold - moreso than I remember the wildswim at the end of March, but the post-swim warmth (and appetite), is a great feeling.

A Simple Measure of Heart Risk

If I had to name a few 'manly measures' that you should aspire to I would list them as:
  1. The O'Neill Test (with a GOOD rating),
  2. Double BW Deadlift,
  3. OAC,
  4. 100m in <12s (adjust for age)
  5. Vertical jump of 40 inches
  6. A quality pistol off each leg
  7. An HSPU
If you want to get a measure of your 'insides', then you might consider a 24-hour fast (this should be 'comfortable'), after which you should also be able to complete some intense activity.  This is a great indicator of metabolic health.

Reporting on Mediplacements, another measure with more scientific credibility than my personal whim, was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.  Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that  'Low levels of midlife fitness were found to be linked to significant differences in cardiovascular risk'.  Specifically,
  • "The research indicated that a 55-year old man who took 15 minutes to run a mile would have a 30 per cent lifetime risk of heart disease as opposed to a man of the same age who takes just eight minutes and has a lifetime risk of less than ten per cent."
Correlation does not equal causation etc...  This does not make a case for running per se, but it does make a case for pursuing activities that develop a metabolic headroom, such that should you seek to run a mile on your 55th birthday, you come in in good time!

Thursday, 19 May 2011


So the paleo diet wars are raging.  What to do?  For me, nothing.  I have no change to make.  My approach was pretty much to divide my plate in half and fill half with meat (including any fat that comes with the cut), and half with green veg and some seasonal fare.  I used to restrict potatoes, but they have been back on the menu for a while.

Other meals included soups made from the juices of roasted chicken and lamb.  The soups comprised of squash, turnips and other starchy tubers.  So I am not sure I could ever have been 'low carb' although I have never worked out the macro nutrient composition and I don't count calories.  Ever.

Light Workout

A rest week. Figured I'd nip out and do some Lau Gar. I really enjoy it as I find it clears the mind. I still feel like a douche if I dwell upon it though.

I threw a few backflips in the warm up. Number three wasn't that good (I didn't hold the tuck long enough), but I still landed it comfortably. The other three were fine. TBFF is now 15!

I also threw in a planche and a couple of composed handwalks.

Weight is at 82kg.

•KAY BOON SAU FA - Basic hand movement
•JORN SAU - Set hand movement
•CHARP CHOI - Drilling punches
•FAR KUIN - Flower fist
•FAI LOONG GEE - Finger movement of the dragon
•LAU GAR LUK HUP KUIN - Fist of six co-ordinations
•BAC PYE JURN - Palm of the bac pye mountain

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

How The Change Will Come About?

So how will the 'sat fat phobic' and 'wholegrain health' message be quietly killed off?  Given the investment of money, academic research, credibility capital and the like by governments, academics and NGOs in the areas of heart-health and cancer research, I think we will see a quiet but continual release of stories in the media suggestive of a 'factor X' causing Western Disease. 

In addition, the words 'saturated fat' and 'wholegrain goodness/health' may well disappear from the usual lexicon.  The 'message' in its current form will be quietly dropped.

Subtle changes in the coverage of these stories will eventually enable a position to be adopted whereby it can be claimed that tacit acknowledgement of the complexity of Western Disease had never been in denial, and that for some time, none of the groups above have actually been saying that we should eat a low fat diet, or imbibing copious amounts of wholegrains.

There will be a dark age where no advice is given beyond the generic and bland 'eat a balance diet'.  Of course 'eat less, do more' will be harder to kill having (ahem), stood the test of time.

I think we see this position manifesting already.  In this article on an Egyptian mummy exhibiting heart disease we get the following observation:
  • "Her diet was significantly healthier than ours. She would have eaten fruit and vegetables - and fish were plentiful in the Nile at that time.
    "The food would have been organic - and there were no trans-fats or tobacco available then.
    Yet, she had these blockages. This suggests to us that there's a missing risk factor for heart disease - something that causes it that we don't yet know enough about."
Bloody hell, a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fish and yet STILL there was heart disease.  What I find interesting is that recommendation of a low fat diet would suggest exactly that we eat 'a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fish'.  In fact the British Heart Foundation make that recommendation here.
The BHA also recommend grains.  Now this is in keeping with the ancient Egyptian diet, the backbone of which was cereal and bread.  Hey and get this, it would have been WHOLE GRAIN!  No steel rollers here.
It seems that grain oils were used,
  • ".. in the preparation of food. We know of beef, goat and other fats, and the Egyptian language had 21 different names for vegetable oils obtained from sesame, caster-oil plants, flax seed, radish seed, horseradish, safflower and colocynth. Horseradish oil was particularly popular. Oil and fat was mostly used for frying meat and vegetables, though food was also cooked in milk or butter."  
Sugar was a rarity in the diet until quite late in the Egyptian times and dairy wasn't a particularly dominant staple.  This leaves our old friend 'meat' (although the sedentary life of the rich suggests that 'do more' may also make an appearance in this tale).
Cattle were eaten by the rich so clearly we have our smoking gun.  It is a shame that they only preserved the bodies of those in the elite classes because I would hazard a guess that the working classes would also exhibit a lot of heart disease and arthritis as well.
This is old news in the paleosphere but it is good that some light is being shed on the lives of those we KNOW followed broadly what we would call a balanced diet and still succumb to a disease of western civilisation.

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Truth Wears Off

NTT has written extensively about the disproportionate effect of a black swan event. But it seems that there is a subtle trick in the Black Swan's armoury; it can appear white!  What is more, the transition from white to black is progressive!

Evidence is coming to light of a real phenomena where an experiment can capture a black swan event from the outset, and from which conclusions are drawn.  It is only on successive repetition of the experiment that the problem is identified, as the results of the initial experiment not only prove to be unrepeatable, but the initial 'effect' becomes less and less with each reptition of the experiment. 

This has been termed the Decline Effect, where the truth seems to 'wear off' and the black swan reveals himself.  The New Yorker carried this article titled 'The Truth Wears Off' which explores this phenomena, in the course of which, they provide a quite-staggering example:

Friday Strength Wk4 W/O3 (P1)

The warm up included a backflip (just the one).

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (40 mins)
1a. Deadlift (5X58kg, 5x72kg , 6/5+x86kg)
1b. One Arm Chin Ups (5x26kg, 5x32kg, 6/5+x39kg)
2. Back Bridge to In-L-Sit/Wall Walk (4, 15s, 15s)
3. HSPUs (Assisted)/Lowers/Dumbell Press/MBTs (8/6xHSPUa, Handwalk, 6x18kg)
4. Ice Cream Makers (6, 5, 4)
5. Four-Way Rotator Cuff (10)

Thursday, 12 May 2011

India: Spiritual Home of Vegans?

I had the impression that veganism and India are heavily intertwined. Not so!  Furthermore the Times of India today carried this story 'Vegan lifestyle ups risk of heart attack':
  • "People who follow a vegan lifestyle - strict vegetarians who try to eat no meat or animal products of any kind - may increase their risk of developing blood clots and atherosclerosis or "hardening of the arteries," which are conditions that can lead to heart attacks and stroke, according to a new study."
The recommendations are as follows:
  • "It concludes that there is a strong scientific basis for vegetarians and vegans to increase their dietary omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 to help contend with those risks. Good sources of omega-3s include salmon and other oily fish, walnuts and certain other nuts."

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Gospel of St Douglass

This starts slow (mired in blesphamy), but reaches majesterial heights of comedy with the arrival of "Evil Wizard Cat!" A "Life of Brian" for the Google generation!

Nice Life

Gneissly Schist is a bibliophile with a voracious appetite for the written word.  Her interests are diverse and whenever I am looking for something to read, I canvas her opinion!  You can find her brief reviews of the books she has read at Gneiss Life.

Tuesday Strength Wk4 W/O2

Suffice to say that backflips WILL be chucked in to the warm up! Still got some fear going on....

My shoulders are tired from last night's Lau Gar session so I should adjust. My plan is to try to repeat last week's workout (particularly on the chins), rather than pushing for new ground.

I have only eaten a tin of sardines since yesterday lunchtime, and in addition have had maybe four of five cups of instant coffee with a splash of milk. I am not feeling hungry but am feeling rather sharp and psyched for the workout....

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1a. Planche Variations (30s, 10s, 5s)
1b. Pillar Jumping (8/7, 8/7, 8/7)
2. Handwalk/MBTs/Shoulder Press (Distance, 10 per arm, 1x4x18kg)
3. Chins (11, 11, 11)
4. Lever Variations (30s, 10s, 5s)
5. LGKF Forms *(optional)
  • KAY BOON SAU FA - Basic hand movement
  • JORN SAU - Set hand movement
  • CHARP CHOI - Drilling punches
  • FAR KUIN - Flower fist
  • FAI LOONG GEE - Finger movement of the dragon
  • LAU GAR LUK HUP KUIN - Fist of six co-ordinations
  • BAC PYE JURN - Palm of the bac pye mountain

Monday, 9 May 2011

Climate Change Farm

Natural Messiah radio-favourite 'The Food Program' features the practice of Silvaculture/Agro Forestry.  I have touched upon this theme before having recently read Patrick Whitefield's 'How to Make a Forest Garden'.

The program explores low-maintenance perennials, ground cover (so no 'planting in rows'), and rails against monocultures.  A list of links to the program are available here.

"The Fear"

After the failed backflip (2 of 4) last Friday, I knew I had to get back on the 'horse' ASAP. 'The Fear' has been building all weekend.

I have always used visualisation techniques when learning a new physical skill and the backflip is no exception. I have thrown I guess around a hundred successful backflips since teaching myself a few years ago. In that time I have had one bad landing (apart from the one last Friday).

But the impact of the black swan flip runs deep. Over the weekend I kept replaying by backflip technique trying to imagine the dynamics of a successful flip, but each time I kept 'crashing' - even though it was only in my mind.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Sunday Strength Wk4 W/O1 (P2)

Week four.  Time to give it the cookies for this week's three workouts.  My neck and spine have all but reovered from the flip-incident last week!

My fingers are slightly sensitive from some bouldering on Friday night. Lots of mantleshelfing on a new problem. It also had an overhanging start which worked my lats a wee bit. Good fun. So, I want to push it today, but will auto adjust if and when appropriate, given this extra activity.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1a. Wrist Push Ups (10, 10, 10)
1b. Assisted Pistols (3, 3, 3)
2a. Rope Climbing (4, 4, 4)
2b. Planche (1x20s, 1x20s, 1x20s)
2c. Pinch Grip Pull Ups (3x3s, 3x3s, 3x3s)
3. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
4. Hangboarding (Intermediate)

I combined exercises in a set (a, b, c..) to allow around 4 minutes rest between sets. The rop climbs take about four moves to climb to the top of the rope. I locked off and then lowered on one arm as much as possible (got to watch out for elbow troubles), in a kind of 'negative'. Seriously demanding stuff.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Friday Strength Wk3 W/O3 (P1)

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (40 mins)
1a. Deadlift (5X101kg, 3x122kg , 1+X137kg)
1b. One Arm Chin Ups (5x49kg, 3x55kg, 1+x62kg)
2. Back Bridge to In-L-Sit/Wall Walk (4, 15s, 15s)
3. HSPUs (Assisted)/Lowers/Dumbell Press/MBTs (8/6xHSPUa, Handwalk, 6x18kg)
4. Ice Cream Makers (5, 5, 5)
5. Four-Way Rotator Cuff (10)

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Tuesday Strength Wk3 W/O2

Back to bodyweight for today. I didn't make all three sets of chins last week so that is the goal for today.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (20 mins)
1a. Planche Variations (30s, 10s, 5s)
1b. Pillar Jumping (7, 7, 7)
2. Handwalk/MBTs/Shoulder Press (Distance, 10 per arm, 1x6x 16kg)
3. Chins (11, 11, 11)
4. Lever Variations (30s, 10s, 5s)
5. LGKF Forms *(optional)
  • KAY BOON SAU FA - Basic hand movement
  • JORN SAU - Set hand movement
  • CHARP CHOI - Drilling punches
  • FAR KUIN - Flower fist
  • FAI LOONG GEE - Finger movement of the dragon
  • LAU GAR LUK HUP KUIN - Fist of six co-ordinations
  • BAC PYE JURN - Palm of the bac pye mountain

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Rigby's Body

Having nailed the diet in this episode, Rigby and Mordecai here expose the dangers of not looking after your body - including the dangers of over-exercising!

Sunday Strength Wk3 W/O1 (P1)

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1. Stairgators
2. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10, 1x10, 1x10, 1x10)
3. 2xMU to L-Sits to Ring Routine (3x1)
4a. Scissor Splits (3x3)
4b. 321 (7:3x8 A4, 7:3x8 B3, 7:3x8 F3)
4c. Tuck Planche (1x5s, 1x5s, 1x5s)
5. Barefoot Kill Carry