Thursday, 20 December 2012

Paleo Fight Club

 The end of days approaches and my training is going the same way.  Christmas preparations and festivities, seasonal illnesses and general hullabaloo means that that is it for 2012 on the training front.  But like the Mayan calendar, my training is cyclical rather than linear, so I will be back to iron in the new year.

I have a few ideas in the pipeline but I have also been pretty busy at work and so have not had time to write much.  One element in particular that I was hoping to expand upon was my interest in Bartitsu.  Oh well, here goes...

Friday, 14 December 2012

Wk2 W/O2

I am platueauing at the moment.  Not sure there is much I can do apart from persist.  Stimulation is a moving target and performance does not move in a linear fashion.

I've incremented the weights by 5kg on the DLs.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats + side lunges, floor touches + front/side/turning hanging/back kicks, Tornado Kick/Dragon Sweep/Back Kick)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Deadlift (3x105, 3x125, 4/3+x135)

4. Wall Walk (3)
5. Alternate One Legged Backbridge (15s, 15s)

Shoulder Prehabilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (12)
7. External Shoulder Rotations (12)

8. 321 (8L, 8L, 8L)/ 16/20 pull ups

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

James Gallaugher

Remember the name as this Australian kid may be THE next big thing in sprinting,
  • Gallaugher has run the 100m in 11.72 seconds. To put that into context, that time would have been comfortably enough to have won gold in the 100m at the first Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, which was won in 12 seconds flat.

Check out the video below where he closes down a 20m gap in the 4x100m:

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

531 Wk2 W/O1

Again I have missed the first workout of the week (my Sunday workout). Xmas socialising is taking a front seat. I miss the sprints and planches but am not going to sweat it.  I came short on the OACs last time, only managing one rep on the last set.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats + side lunges, floor touches + front/side/turning hanging kicks, back/tornado kicks + dragon sweep)
2. Pistols (3x60/55, 3x10/65, 6/3+x75/70)
3. OACs (3x60/55, 3x65, 1/3+x70)

Forearm and Wrist Prehabilitation
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
5. Wrist Push Ups (12)
6. Reverse Wrist Curl (12)

7. Chin ups (16/20) + '321'

Friday, 7 December 2012

531 Wk1 W/O3

Deadlift day! 

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats + side lunges, one legged floor touches +  front/turning/side hanging kicks, tornado kick/jumping back kick /spinning hook kick to dragon sweep)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Deadlift (5x100, 5x110, 6/5+x130)

4. Wall Walk (3, 3)
5. Alternatve One Legged Backbridge (15s)

Shoulder Prehabilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (12)
7. Internal Shoulder Rotations (12)
8. 321 (8L, 8L, 8L) or 18/20 Pull Ups

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

531 Wk1 W/O2

Not feeling too enthused for the following:

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats + side lunges, one legged floor touches +  front/turning/side hanging kicks, tornado kick/jumping back kick/spinning hook kick to dragon sweep)
2. Pistols (5x60, 5x65, 8/5+x70)
3. OACs (5x45, 5x50, 6/5+x55)

Forearm and Wrist Prehabilitation
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
5. Wrist Push Ups (12)
6. Reverse Wrist Curl (12)

Weight: 82kg

Sunday, 2 December 2012

531 Wk1 W/O1

As with the last 531 ramp up phase, I hit the candy last night.  Whereas before it was due to Halloween temptations, last night was driven by alcohol.  Alcohol consumption was driven by victory against the mighty All Blacks!

I tested my maxes last week and they were not improved.  This phase, although broken by Xmas, may prove more fruitful.

Today's workout:

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Planche Variations (25s, 25s, 25s)
3. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
4i. Rope Climb (1)
4ii. MU to Ring Routine (1, 1, 1).
5. Scissor Splits (3x '1L, 1R, 1C')
6. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. 321 (8L, 8L 8L)

Friday, 30 November 2012

531 Wk4 W/O2

In my last 531 cycle I was contemplating repeating it with 5-8, 3-5 and 1-3 format.  I still think this is a good idea.  I need to change some stuff up - not least the pistols which could benefit from a 5x5 approach.  But with regard to pistols, I need to allow for the amount of horse-riding stance work I am doing atm.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats + side lunges, one legged floor touches +  front/turning/side hanging kicks, tornado kick/jumping back kick /spinning hook kick to dragon sweep)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Deadlift (5x70, 5x80, 5x100)
4. Wall Walk (3)
5. Alt One Legged Backbridge (15s, 15s)

Shoulder Prehabilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (12)
7. External Shoulder Rotations (12)

8. 321 (8L, 8L, 8L)/Bouldering

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

531 Wk4 W/O1

Time has been in short supply so I am having to jig stuff around.  This weeks' workouts will be spread over two weeks!

I am going to introduce some new kicking techniques to work on.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats + side lunges, one legged floor touches + front lunges, tornado kick/jumping back kick/dragon sweep)
2. Pistols (5x65/31, 5x70/38, 5x75/46)
3. OACs (5x50/29, 5x55/36, 4/5x60/43)

Forearm and Wrist Prehabilitation
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
5. Wrist Push Ups (12)
6. Reverse Wrist Curl (12)

Friday, 23 November 2012

531 Wk3 W/O3


Deadlift day!  Not looking forward to that 150 but will push for two reps (my RM is 160kg).  I'm interested to see what I have in my legs as I've been pushing my horse-riding stance on an almost daily basis for the past month or two.  I was doing 3 minute stances morning and night - which dropped to once a day when I hit 3':30".  I am now at 4 minutes so have cut back again to non-training days. Once I get to 5 minutes it is Golden Bridge time!

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats + side lunges, one legged floor touches + front lunges, front/side/turning kicks, hanging/back kicks, cartwheels)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Deadlift (5x120, 3x130, 1+x150)
4. Wall Walk (3)
5. One Legged Backbridge (15s, 15s)

Shoulder Prehabilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (12)
7. Internal Shoulder Rotations (12)

8. 321 (8L, 8L, 8L)/Bouldering

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

531 Wk3 W/O2

So today it full Hustle Day. Unleash the Kraken!  Hammertime!  I recall my RM for the OAC is 72kg so I hope to get multiple reps at 70kg (and I've rounded this up from 68kg) - even after the previous two work sets.  It may be ugly, but I will pull hard for two reps!

The pistols are a more intriguing.  As I can now do bodyweight (80kg) for multiple reps, I've been thinking of a 5x5 rep workout with a minute or so between reps.  Today the last set will involve me holding a plate cross my chest to raise the working weight to 90kg (but this is a suck-it-and-see approach).

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats + side lunges, one legged floor touches + front lunges, front/side/turning kicks, hanging/back kicks)
2. Pistols (5x65, 3x75, 3/1+ x '+10kg')
3. OACs (5x55, 3x60, 1+x70)

Forearm and Wrist Prehabilitation
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
5. Wrist Push Ups (12)
6. Reverse Wrist Curl (12)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

531 Wk3 W/O1

Been for a great autumnal work today - and now on a cold dark evening it is time to head out for a workout.  NOT looking forward to this one....

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Planche Variations (25s, 25s, 25s)
3. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
4i. Rope Climb (1)
4ii. MU to Ring Routine (5, 5, 5).
5. Scissor Splits (3x '2L, 2R, 2C')
6. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. 321 (8L, 8L 8L)

Thursday, 15 November 2012

531 Wk2 W/O3

Deadlift day and still with the man flu.  I'd normally wait until Friday to do my DL workout but I am heading off to the House of Commons tomorrow with Captain Kid, so I'm having to bring this workout back a day.


Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats + side lunges, front lunges + floor touches, front/side/turning/Spinning kick, hanging/back kicks, cartwheels)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Deadlift (3x100, 3x120, 4/3+x130)

4. Wall Walk (3)
5. One Legged Backbridge (15s, 15s)

Shoulder Prehabilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (12)
7. Internal Shoulder Rotations (12)

8. 321 (8L, 8L, 8L)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

531 Wk2 W/O2

Hmmm - manflu has flared again.  I've got some aches - but these could be to do with Eskrima last night.  Man, I love stick fighting but getting locked up around the shoulders and wrists can hurt.

I am cutting and pasting the current workouts from a phase earlier in the year.  I just round the working weight up to the next round number (and in some cases 'plus a bit'), so I am not really sure if these are optimal or not.  But I going in with a 'suck it and see' approach.  Once I've hit my RM next week, I will have a better idea of working weight.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats + side lunges, front lunges + floor touches, front/side/turning kicks + low /reverse/spinning kicks)
2. Pistols (3x55, 3x65, 8+x70)
3. OACs (3x55, 3x65/60, 1/3+x70)

Forearm and Wrist Prehabilitation
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
5. Wrist Push Ups (12)
6. Reverse Wrist Curl (12)

Monday, 12 November 2012

Denmark's Fat Tax 2

Denmark's Fat Tax has come unstuck according to a report in Nature,
  • A world-leading ‘fat tax’ has been abolished in Denmark, with the country admitting the controversial attempt at engineering a healthier populace has failed. A planned tax on some high-sugar foods has also been abandoned, marking a setback for advocates of this method of encouraging health.

I had my doubts it would work but didn't think Adam Smith's invisible hand would deliver the knock out blow!
  • ...the country’s tax on unhealthy, high-fat products had driven up prices and put jobs at risk.
Follow the money.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

531 Wk2 W/O1

I'nm still being gnawed by manflu.  It seemed to come and go, and I figured I'd get away with it - but over the last week I've had a congested chest.  I now feel I'm well on the road to recovery.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Planche Variations (25s, 25s, 25s, 25s)
3. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
4i. Rope Climb (1)
4ii. MU to Ring Routine (3, 3, 3).
5. Scissor Splits (3x '2L, 2R, 2C')
6. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. Hangboarding (10 min)

Friday, 9 November 2012

Supply & Demand in Evidence-Informed Policy


A great article from KirstyEvidence.  Go click!

531 Wk1 W/O3

Deadlift day!  Will also be curious to see how the handstanding goes.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats + side lunges, front lunges + floor touches, front/side/turning kicks + low /reverse/spinning kicks)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Deadlift (5x100, 5x110, 5+x130)

4. Wall Walk (3)
5. Backbridge (15s, 15s)

Shoulder Prehabilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (12)
7. Internal Shoulder Rotations (12)
8. 321 (8L, 8L, 8L)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Ecosystem Services

This blog has featured a few stories over the years with regard to sustainable agriculture and how it may manifest.   Vegetarianism is NOT the answer as any and every know ecosystem you'd regard as self sustaining, requires flora and fauna.  Animals are part of the solution.

The guys running one farm down in Boone County Iowa get this.  In Big, Smart and Green, from Wired, there is a great article giving an example of who 'traditional farming techniques' can bring enlightenment,
They essentially took a step back to the well know approach of crop rotation,
  • [T]he researchers rotated over three years between corn, soy and oats, with red clover planted in winter. The clover, which absorbs atmospheric nitrogen, was planted between crop rows and plowed under as soil-replenishing “green manure” in spring. On another plot, instead of red clover the researchers planted a fourth-year crop of alfalfa, which can be used to feed livestock. The animals’ manure came back as fertilizer.
I love the phrase 'ecosystem services' that underly this approach; why pay a chemical manufacturer to do something nature can do for free - and in a superior fashion?
  • Having different crops with different life cycles made it harder for weeds to grow. What might flourish among corn and soy, for example, was disrupted by oats. When red clover and alfalfa were mowed, weeds were chewed up before they flowered. As for insect problems, low pesticide use, along with habitat provided by cover crops, allowed pest-eating bugs and birds to flourish.

    After eight years, Liebman and Davis used eight times less herbicide in the three- and four-year rotations than in the conventional plot, they report in the new study. Ecotoxicity in surrounding water was two orders of magnitude lower. Thanks to clover and alfalfa, the experimental plots also used 86 percent less synthetic fertilizer.

    Most important of all, the experimental plots were as productive as the conventional. They produced just as much total crop biomass. When the researchers calculated the value of their environmentally friendly harvest, it was every bit as profitable.

    “We exceeded those goals — not by pumping chemicals in, but by maximizing ecosystem services,” Davis said. “We’re not throwing away those tools. They’re very important. But you use a strong cropping system as the foundation for your agriculture. Then, when you need it, you tweak it a little bit with the inputs.”
 Awesome!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

531 Wk1 W/O2

Damn work!  It is just eating in to my life.  I'm doing long hours and working in to the evenings - skipping lunch, going in early.  Bothered daily by email, Sametime and phone calls.  Everything is "urgent and needs doing now".  Take a number dude.  I also have a touch of Manflu.

Managed to escape for lunch today and put together the following:
Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats + side lunges, front lunges + floor touches, front/side/turning kicks + low /reverse/spinning kicks)
2. Pistols (5x60, 5x65, 5/6+x70)
3. OACs (5x45, 5x50, 5/6+x55)

Forearm and Wrist Prehabilitation
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
5. Wrist Push Ups (12)
6. Reverse Wrist Curl (12)

Monday, 5 November 2012

Beyond Powder Treason


Remember, remember the fifth of November
The gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.


Guy Fawkes, twas his intent
To blow up King and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England’s overthrow.


By God’s mercy he was catched
With a dark lantern and lighted match
Holler boys, holler boys, let the bells ring
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the King.


Our politicians make decisions that affect our lives but they are too far removed from the lives of everyday people to make informed decision.  Every MP really does live in an ivory tower, even if just for the term of the job (it comes with the job), and even those from working class origins may quickly forget the pressures manifest on the minimum wage (a wage below the living wage).

Few things annoy me in politics like a politician saying "we've listened to people...", I mean come on, they're supposed to represent us.  How they hell can they justify losing touch?  Surely listening to 'the people' is a fundamental prerequisite to be a politician?  We need a mechanism to ensure they do not lose touch...

Parliament is currently dominated by millionaires, many with privileged backgrounds and so it is unsurprising that they can lose touch with the common wo/man.  We're ruled by a bunch of career politicians who bring the unpleasant whiff of student politicking to the House of Commons.  They seem more focused on what politics can do for them, rather than what they can do for the electorate.  Few are what you'd call leaders - although they hide behind titles that give them leadership status and rank.  Even fewer seem to have been to the edge of British economic life which makes it easy for them to deal with the cold numbers of a budget, slashing expenditure, and to ignore the real people affected by their actions.


How can we change this?  Here is my three point plan.

Year 1: Work Experience.  On being elected, politicians will defer entry to parliament for one years and instead work as a front-line nurse (but drawing their MPs salary and benefits). 

This will filter out the work-shy and those who have never really done a hard days graft in their life (there are many of them in the House of Commons).  Even though their income will be several times that of career nurses, I think this will add some perspective on what real work is about, and make MPs themselves reappraise their own value.   Who knows - this may even make them think twice about voting a pay rise for themselves - particularly in these harsh economic times.

Year 2: The MP enters Parliament, on a nurses wage for one year!
 
When it comes to leaders of industry of selecting MPs we seem to hear a lot about 'attracting people of the right calibre'.  Yet when it comes to jobs like nursing, when mention is made of the lowly wages we hear justification along the lines of "well it's not all about the money, and people go in to nursing for different reasons...".

Now to focus on 'people of the right calibre', Parliament is filled with ex-convicts, thieves, swindlers, fraudsters, (possible) sexual deviants and other dishonest and avaricious types who easily fall before swords of power, money and fame (politics has been referred to as 'rock and roll for ugly people').  There are a few good-guys in politics but we need to filter out those with a weak grip on their own moral compass. 

After a year working as a nurse (step one), I reckon most MPs would be happy to work their second year as an MP on a nurse's salary.  This will give a visceral understanding of the financial pressures key workers in society are under and give some measure to their decisions when it comes to wielding the axe.  

We like to think that MPs seek election for altruistic purposes, and perhaps steps one and two will filter out weaker career politicians who, thus far in life, have walked a privileged path without the wisdom of experience.

Year 3 Onwards: MPs get their full wage (and benefits), but remuneration works like a student loan! 

So now our MP has done some hard frontline work, and earned a realistic salary.  How good does that sound?  But there are further problems.

Many people who have been an MP and particularly those who enter high office seem to do VERY well on leaving politics and some simply view it as a stepping stone.  Being an MP gives them a degree of fame and a general raised profile that they can (and do) exploit for personal gain.  Being a politician confers a commercial value on the MP.  Furthermore their wealth is often underpinned by morally dubious activities including manipulating expenses, lucrative property investments, and taking up jobs after leaving office with companies that they'd have been VERY closely involved with via their position in office and other practices illustrative of conflicts of interest and vested interest.  This STINKS! 

We need to restore the public's faith in politicians and redress this financial mire.  First of all we need transparency in how they are spending OUR money - including expenses - which should be published online.  But the bigger picture is to tackle how they cash in on their time in office? 

The increased profile enjoyed by politicians gives them a great advantage on the jobs market on leaving office.  They are hired not for talent - but for who they are; their commercial profile. So for every penny they earn over a rather generous limit of, say £150,000 per annum, all MPs should have to repay their MPs salary and expenses. 


Voila!  Power corrupts.  The change can start here!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

531 Wk1 W/O1

On the nutritional front I have eaten quite a bit of candy over the past week due to Halloween.  A quick aside from the night of Halloween itself:

Flash (aged 5): "Halloween has started!"
Captain Kid (aged 8):  "How do you know?"
Flash (aged 5): "I just heard a woman screaming."

I need to test my maxes.  I'd be gutted not to beat my 160kg DL or find that I am getting closer to the OAC.  Over the past 5 months I've focused on RPT training and the volumes for the chosen weights have gone up - but it is the top end I am curious about.  Capacity has increased but have I pushed the 'head room?  So after a week of rest and with Christmas looming, I am going to take up some short sharp 531 work.

Today's workout:

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Planche Variations (25s, 25s, 25s)
3. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
4i. Rope Climb (1)
4ii. MU to Ring Routine (1, 1, 1).
5. Scissor Splits (3x '1L, 1R, 1C')
6. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. 321 (8L, 8L 8L)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

J.E.R.F

J.Stanton struck a great blow against nutritionism (and antinutritionism).  Two lines that resonated in particular with me were listed under the unspoken assumptions of nutritionism,
  • We already know all the important nutrients and their functions.
  • There are no competitive or synergistic effects between the thousands of chemical compounds found in one bite of real food. 
 The BMJ has just published a paper that illustrates these very points  With the objective '[t]o clarify associations of fish consumption and long chain omega 3 fatty acids with risk of cerebrovascular disease for primary and secondary prevention', the paper concluded,
  • Available observational data indicate moderate, inverse associations of fish consumption and long chain omega 3 fatty acids with cerebrovascular risk. Long chain omega 3 fatty acids measured as circulating biomarkers in observational studies or supplements in primary and secondary prevention trials were not associated with cerebrovascular disease. The beneficial effect of fish intake on cerebrovascular risk is likely to be mediated through the interplay of a wide range of nutrients abundant in fish.
Eat a diverse range of nutritious food.  Eating seasonal foods makes this an easier task.  Unless directed by a doctor, get rid of the supplements and buy quality food.  D3, potassium and magnesium are exceptions.

Save money and improve health; JERF!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Gut War

I've posted up loads about gut flora and ecology.  Your inner biome is critical to your health.  Whilst illness, injury and death by 'tooth and claw' has diminished, the threat posed by accident is ever present, and the danger posed by bacteria and virus is ever-changing. 

But with bacterial attack, the BBC reports that we should be equipped to fight back against some of the most lethal strains,
  • The gut infection Clostridium difficile can be defeated by a cocktail of rival good bacteria, experiments in mice show.

    When C. difficile bacteria overwhelm the gut, it can be fatal and difficult to treat with antibiotics.

    A UK team showed a combination of six bacteria could clear the infection.

    The study, published in PLoS Pathogens, builds on faecal transplant procedures - which are used to introduce competing bacteria.

    C. difficile bacteria live in many people's guts alongside hundreds of other species - all fighting for space and food.
Think about that last line!

RPT Wk4 W/O3

I've been thinking of pushing the pistol session (workout 2/3), in to a 5x5 template.  I think I am getting close to being able to work on multiple set of body weight alone.

On a bigger-picture scale, I think I need to think about wrapping up this cycle.  Things seem to be going well and a Wendler cycle will give me chance to recalibrate my maxes.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand Variations (air squats + side lunges, front lunges + floor touches, front/side/turning kicks + low /reverse/spinning kicks)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Deadlift (6/4x135/140, 8/6x110/120, 10/8x95/100)
4. Wall Walk (3, 3)
5. Backbridge (15s)

Shoulder Pre-habilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (12)
7. Internal Shoulder Rotations (12)

8. 321 (8L, 8L, 8L)/Bouldering

Weight: 80kg

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Guilt Free

'Free From' is a pernicious marketing phrase used to mask highly palatable non-foods as healthy.  'Guilt free' is an equally potent phrase.  I was listening to an interview with Sian Jarvis on Radio 4 the other morning and this latter phrase cropped up again in what is being generally considered a 'gaffe'.

Jarvis used to be a director-general for the Department of Health but recently left to work in PR/spin for Asda.  On the Radio 4 interview Jarvis unwittingly opened the window on commercial exploitation of 'Cash at the Candy Register' (which I tweeted about on 12th October).  The Independent takes up the story,
  • Sian Jarvis inadvertently admitted that two-thirds of the chain's stores are still "guilty," as they say in the trade – guilty of flooding their checkouts with confectionery. Critics say this encourages shoppers to overindulge on sweets and children to wrangle chocolate out of worn-down parents. It was during an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme that Ms Jarvis proudly announced: "One in three of our checkouts are what we call guilt-free checkouts."
 This comment was seized upon by the interviewer,
  • Spotting the statistic underlying the spin, however, presenter James Naughtie quickly highlighted the rather more embarrassing truth of the statistic. "If you're telling me that one out of three Asda checkouts are guilt-free," he said, "then by your terminology two out of three are guilty. Two out of three are guilt-laden and one is guilt-free."

What followed was an awkward few minutes of back-peddling by Jarvis.  The concept of 'Cash at the Candy Register' hinges on the cognitive burden place upon 'consumers' by careful product placement (for which we should read 'a parent with a bored child stuck in a queue at a cash register surrounded by chocolate bars').  The NEJM article concludes,

  • We need to test new approaches to risk reduction that do not place additional cognitive demands on the population, such as limiting the types of foods that can be displayed in prominent end-of-aisle locations and restricting foods associated with chronic diseases to locations that require a deliberate search to find. Harnessing marketing research to control obesity could help millions of people who desperately want to reduce their risks of chronic diseases.
 Follow the money.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Dose Makes the Poison

In Nature, Dan Fagin asks 'what if the Paracelsian presumption is wrong?',
  • "What if, for a large and potent class of compounds, lower doses pose higher risks? A growing number of academic researchers are making just such a claim for endocrine disrupters, a large group of synthetic chemicals able to interact with cellular hormone receptors. These compounds, which range from the common weed killer atrazine and the plasticizer bisphenol A (BPA) to the antibacterial agent triclosan (used in cleansers) and the vineyard fungicide vinclozolin, don't play by the usual rules of toxicology. On the basis of conventional high-dose testing, regulators have set maximum acceptable levels for each of them that assume all doses below that level are safe. But academic researchers who have studied a wider range of doses, including very low ones found in the everyday environment, say that their experiments usually do not generate the tidy, familiar 'ski-slope' dose-response graphs of classic toxicology. Instead, most endocrine disrupters have 'non-monotonic' dose-response curves, meaning that their slopes change at least once from negative to positive, or vice versa, forming 'U' shapes, inverted 'U's or even stranger shapes that resemble undulating Chinese dragons."
Endocrine disruption is different to conventional toxicology.   The implication of this arouses heated debate.  I will continue to 'live close to the ground' until it is settled.

Prehistoric Autopsy

A great program on Homo Erectus from the BBC!
  • At the Prehistoric Autopsy HQ in Glasgow, anatomist professor Alice Roberts and biologist Dr George McGavin continue their journey back into our evolutionary past.

    They are going back 1.5 million years to meet one of the earliest humans. Once again with the help of a team of international experts, this shows the recreation of one of our most successful prehistoric ancestors from the bones up. They walked the earth far longer than any other human species and were the first ancestors to look a lot like we do today. The species is Homo erectus and the individual being reconstructed is known as Nariokotome Boy.

    To make the reconstructions as accurate as possible, Alice and George have travelled the globe, gathering evidence from the world's leading scientists. In the lab at the Prehistoric Autopsy HQ, scientists put the latest theories to the test to see how similar or different we really are to our ancient ancestors, while experimental archeologists look for clues as to how they lived.

    All the research has been fed to a team of model makers who have spent months painstakingly reconstructing his skeleton, muscles, skin and hair.

    The team reveal the latest research that suggests Homo erectus were good hunters, were skilled at making stone tools and could probably control fire. They also look at evidence that suggests some individuals were helping those who couldn't help themselves. It may be the oldest evidence we have for something we think of as a human trait - compassion.

    And in the end the carefully reconstructed Narikotome Boy will finally be revealed as we come face to face with another of our prehistoric ancestors.
 There was a great analysis of a 1.5 myo burnt bone which it was determined, was burnt in temperatures of at least 350C.  Grassland fires only reach 300C so it suggests that the bone was subject to burning in a controlled environment - cooking!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

RPT Wk4 W/O2

Looking forward to this session!  No sure if I will aim for another OAC rep on the head-set, or extend the negative phase of the exercise.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand Variation (air squats + side lunges, one legged floor touches + front lunges, front/side/turning kicks + hanging/spinning/back kicks)
2a. Pistols (4x80kg, 6x75kg, 8x70kg)
2b. OACs (4x65kg, 6x55kg, 8x45kg)

Forearm and Wrist Prehabilitation
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
5. Wrist Push Ups (12)
6. Reverse Wrist Curl (12)

Weight : 80kg

Don't Lose Your Head & Stackelberg

I was spooked when I first learnt about acrylamide.  I've blogged about it before a couple of times.  Despite industry assurances, this really is something that you don't want to consume in the doses afforded by modern baked goods and snacks.  One reason for this is that it can, in sufficient doses, affect foetal head development.  And we are not talking implausible doses.  We are talking doses present in a standard Western diet.  From today's Telegraph, "Chips in pregnancy can cause underweight babies",
  • Consuming a vast quantity of chips, crisps and biscuits during pregnancy can lead to babies having a lower than average birth weight, the study found.

    Mothers-to-be who have a high intake of acrylamide - which is found in commonly consumed foods and coffee - are also more likely to have a baby which has a smaller head circumference.

    The size of a child's head has been associated with delayed neurodevelopment while lower birth weights have been associated with adverse health effects in early life and as children grow up.

    Babies born to mothers with a high dietary intake of acrylamide were found to be up to 132 grams lighter than babies born to mothers who had a low intake, researchers said.

Although a food frequency questionnaire has several flaws, these findings were backed up by analysis of the cord blood and the impact with regard to reduced birth weight may be on par with smoking.

Food manufacturers are interested in profits and will 'satisfy' regulation - but as with dopers and testers, the Stackelberg version of game theory shows us that the manufacturers will be one step ahead of what is harmless to our health,
  • "[Stackelberg] requires one entity to establish its defences first whilst the other conducts surveillance to identify weak spots. The notion of a sequential move, with the opposite entity responding to measures established by the first"

Ironically, regulation can help identify areas of legislation to exploit for weakness.  We are edge dwellers.

We've seen quite recently that products like popcorn can cause illness far beyond metabolic syndrome and this is yet another example of modern foods, disarmed of suspicion by their familiarity, posing very real dangers to health.

There is a growing call to advise pregnant women on diet  - but I think we know the answer - just eat real food!  Buy raw ingredients.  (And don't forget exercise).

Sunday, 21 October 2012

RPT Wk4 W/O1

Working the horse-riding stance for Lau Gar is starting to wear me down a bit.  I am aware of residual aching in my thighs.  I will auto regulate my workouts accordingly.

Captain Kid and Flash are still dragging me out every weekend to put some mileage in on the bikes.  This means my wheelies are getting better (the last kid-skill I really want to master apart from spinning a ball on one finger).

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Planche Variations (25s, 25s, 25s)
3. Sprints (15s, 10s, 10s, 10s)
4. Rope Climb (3)
5a. MU to Ring Routine (3, 3).
5b. Scissor Splits (3x '2L, 2R, 2C') 
6. Weighted Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. Fingerboard Routine (10min)

Friday, 19 October 2012

RPT Wk3 W/O3

I've spent several nights this week with Captain Kid and Flash observing the International Space Station (ISS) transit overhead.  Transit times have been up to 5 minutes in length.  The ISS travels at 17,500mph at an altitude of 120miles above the earth, and makes for quite a spectactular event, particularly where it suddenly turns orange and disappears as it moves in to the Earth's shadow.  (For those in the UK wishing to get regular updates on ISS transit times and other space-related phenomena, I recommend you follow Virtual Astronomer on Twitter.)

Captain Kid and Flash buzz with excitement and awe each time we've spotted it.  They have both headed to school to spread the news on a daily basis (and to inform their class mates and teachers how they too could spot the ISS).  Times like these are really rewarding as a parent and remind me why I chase health (not youth or performance).

My last DL workout was quite rewarding and so again I am going to work technique.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand Variations (air squats + side lunges, front lunges + floor touches, front/side/turning kicks + low /reverse/spinning kicks)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Deadlift (6x135/130, 8x110, 10x95/90)
4. Wall Walk (3, 3)
5. Backbridge (15s)

Shoulder Pre-habilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (12)
7. External Shoulder Rotations (12)

8. 321 (8L, 8L, 8L)/Bouldering

Weight: 80kg

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Identically Different (Extra)

In Identically Different Tim Spector (Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College London) looks at the 'heritability' of various diseases, illnesses and other physiologic phenomena.  He covers similar ground to Nesse in The Epigenetics Revolution but in a less technical style.

As with all these books, what is of particular interest to me is epigenetics can uncover with regard to obesity, and in this regard, Spector comes down firmly (but not exclusively) on the side of food reward,

  • "...we believed that different metabolic rates and different types of fat were the genetic factors in why people differed.  We now know that the brain may be more important.  The first and strongest gene found so far is called FTO, and is expressed in the brain, especially in the key reward centre of the pypothalamus in the base of the brain (hypothalamus means under-chamber in Greek).  For some rare humans who have two copies of the variant, chances of being obese increase by up to 70 per cent.  Experiments in rats and observations in humans have shown that having different variants of FTO genes directly alter the chosen diet - influencing total calories and fat content of food eaten and man release oxytocin - the cuddle hormone.  Other forms of a newly discovered gene called amylase we helped uncover dramatically alter the wish for starch and fatty foods and influence obesity.

      Most of the other 30 or more genes associated with obesity found to date are actually expressed mainly in the brain, not the fat or intestines or liver, where metabolism mainly occurs."

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Identically Differernt

Tim Spector is Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College London and in 'Identically Different' he teases apart how identical genes do not lead to identical outcomes.  We are of course talking about epigenetics.

Much of Spector's work involves looking at the genetics of twins.  Twin can be identical (concordant), or non-identical (discordant).  Identical twins share all their genes while non-identical twins share, on average, about half. Factoring in the likely similar upbringing of twins the heritability of a particular trait or condition can be calculated by analysing that trait of condition amongst the populations of discordant and concordant twins.  The two main epigenetic principles are DNA methylation and Histone modification.

RPT Wk3 W/O2

To quote myself  "So it is time to up the weight and lower the reps for the pistols.  The first set should be free-standing bodyweight!  I also need to add more weight on the OACs particularly for that first set!"

With regard to pistols, as I am greasing the groove with HRSs, I will not add weight or reps this time around.  The OACs look like they are due an extra rep on that first set at least!

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand Variation (air squats + side lunges, one legged floor touches + front lunges, front/side/turning kicks + hanging/spinning/back kicks)
2a. Pistols (4x80kg, 6x75kg, 8x70kg)
2b. OACs (4/5x65kg, 6x55kg, 8x45kg)

Forearm and Wrist Prehabilitation
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
5. Wrist Push Ups (12)
6. Reverse Wrist Curl (12)

Weight : 80kg

Sunday, 14 October 2012

RPT Wk3 W/O1

I've been working my horse-riding stance for Lau Gar so my legs are feeling generally fatigued at the moment.  I normally brush my teeth in HRS so that is roughly two two-minutes sessions a day.

Captain Kid has also really gotten in to her cycling, and so much of the weekend has been spent exploring the roads and gennils/twitchells/jitties/alleyways of the locale.  We also spent some time riding around the local park where I happened to catch up with a member of the Bar-Zerkez and ended up chatting with him for a while.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Planche Variations (25s, 25s, 25s)
3. Cycling
4. Rope Climb (3)
5a. MU to Ring Routine (3, 3).
5b. Scissor Splits (3x '2L, 2R, 2C') 
6. Weighted Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. Fingerboard Routine (10min)

Friday, 12 October 2012

RPT Wk2 W/O3

There is still something bothering me about my DL technique.  I don't think I keep my back straight enough.  I am debating dropping the weight and working my technique for a while.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand Variations (air squats + side lunges, front lunges + floor touches, front/side/turning kicks, Low Kicks + Reverse Kicks)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Deadlift (6x130, 8x110, 10x90)
4. Wall Walk (3, 3)
5. Backbridge (15s)

Shoulder Pre-habilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (12)
7. External Shoulder Rotations (12)

8. 321 (8L, 8L, 8L)/Bouldering

Weight: 80kg

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Stress. The Roots of Resiliance



Nature on the roots of resiliance.  Or to quote Humbolt again:
  • "I am more and more convinced that our happiness or unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life, than on the nature of those events themselves."
    Wilhelm von Humboldt

Memory

New Scientist gives some tips on improving memory which include diet and exercise.  There are no surprises with diet:
  • Everyone's memory fades with age, but your diet could help you to keep your faculties for longer. You would do well to avoid high-sugar fast foods, for instance, which seem to encourage the build-up of the protein plaques characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.
    In contrast, diets full of flavonoids, found in blueberries and strawberries, and omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish and olive oil, seem to stave off cognitive decline by a good few years - perhaps because the antioxidants protect brain cells from an early death.
 The impact of exercise, and intense exercise at that, is perhaps less well known:
  • Short, intense bursts of exercise may be the most effective. In a recent experiment, participants learning new vocabulary performed better if their studies came after two 3-minute runs, as opposed to a 40-minute gentle jog. The exercise seemed to encourage the release of neurotransmitters involved in forming new connections between brain cells.
 The abstract from the aforementioned experiment is interesting:
  • We found that vocabulary learning was 20 percent faster after intense physical exercise as compared to the other two conditions. This condition also elicited the strongest increases in BDNF and catecholamine levels. More sustained BDNF levels during learning after intense exercise were related to better short-term learning success, whereas absolute dopamine and epinephrine levels were related to better intermediate (dopamine) and long-term (epinephrine) retentions of the novel vocabulary. Thus, BDNF and two of the catecholamines seem to be mediators by which physical exercise improves learning.
 I'm a big fan of feats of memory.  I myself use the DOMINIC system. Feed your mind, work your body and your sole will grow.

Seizures

Ketogenic diet resolves epilepsy (hat tip to Escape The Herd):


What is frightening is the lack of awareness of the medicinal quality of diet.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Rise of the Machines

Who'd have thought that the motions of the heavens themselves could be captured in the gears of engineering? This is pretty much the coolest frickin' thing I've seen in some time. Hopefully they'll produce a kit for this sometime soon.


The Antikythera Mechanism in Lego from Small Mammal on Vimeo.

If this floats your boat then check out Michael Wright's Antikythera Mechanism.  You might also appreciate Kurt Hertzstark's beautiful Curta, and for fans of Lego, check out this Lego Babbage Difference Engine.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

RPT Wk2 W/O2

So it is time to up the weight and lower the reps for the pistols.  The first set should be free-standing bodyweight!  I also need to add more weight on the OACs particularly for that first set!

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand Variation (air squats + side lunges, one legged floor touches + front lunges, front/side/turning kicks + hanging kicks)
2a. Pistols (4x80kg, 6x75kg, 8x70kg)
2b. OACs (4x65kg, 6x55kg, 8x45kg)

Forearm and Wrist Prehabilitation
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
5. Wrist Push Ups (12)
6. Reverse Wrist Curl (12)

Weight : 80kg

Monday, 8 October 2012

Stay Curious

I was born curious.  Now I am middle aged, 'curious' is translated by those around me to 'in-crisis'.  If I can sustain my curiousity in to old age, I will be rewarded with a lable of 'eccentric'. Being curious is one of the greatest qualities you can maintain - and an inate quality that I cherish within my children.

You've got to let your kids explore.  They have to test their own boundaries - physical and mental, calibrate their risk taking, their judgement and so forth.  This can only be done by experimentation.  There is no failure, only feedback.  Education should light a fire, not fill a bucket.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

RPT Wk2 W/O1

I was at a wedding last night so the diet has been distinctly non-paleo - although I stuck mostly to red wine (with a G and T thrown in for good measure).  I managed to stay shy of both the Lagavulin (the 16), and Caol Ila.

It is a glorious autumn morning today.  We are blessed with blue skies and bathed in sunshine.  Looking forward with relish to this session.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Planche Variations (25s, 25s, 25s)
3. Barefoot Sprinting (1x15s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
4. Rope Climb (3)
5a. MU to Ring Routine (3, 3).
5b. Scissor Splits (3x '2L, 2R, 2C') 
6. Weighted Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. Fingerboard Routine (10min)

Friday, 5 October 2012

RPT Wk1 W/O3

Training is going really well.  I am in and out of the gym quickly, and keep it intense when there.  DL day always sorts me out - and I will be looking to hit my maxes from the previous cycle.

I have some residual soreness from the weeks' activities but generally am in good form.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand Variations (air squats + side lunges, front lunges + floor touches, front/side/turning kicks, Low Kicks + Reverse Kicks)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Deadlift (6x130, 8x110, 10x90)
4. Wall Walk (3, 3)
5. Backbridge (15s)

Shoulder Pre-habilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (12)
7. External Shoulder Rotations (12)

8. 321 (8L, 8L, 8L)

Weight: 80*

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain

  • "I am more and more convinced that our happiness or unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life, than on the nature of those events themselves."
    Wilhelm von Humboldt
In Elaine Fox's Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain we get a pop roundup of the mind of the optimist and the pessimist - which reflect 'primal inclinations to seek pleasure or avoid danger'.  We are evolved to tune in to danger but as Fox illustrates, this protection mechanism can come to dominate, yielding a negativity - with detrimental results.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

RPT Wk1 W/O2

Full steam ahead!  The only variation from now onwards is that I will stop handstanding after two quality handstands (and wrap up with a handwalk 'for time').  I will also resist the lower down from a handstand to work my planche muscles.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand Variation (air squats + side lunges, one legged floor touches + front lunges, front/side/turning kicks + hanging kicks)
2. Pistols (8/6x75kg, 10/8x70kg, 12/10x65kg)
3. OACs (6/5x60kg, 6x55kg, 7/8x45kg)

Forearm and Wrist Prehabilitation
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
5. Wrist Push Ups (12)
6. Reverse Wrist Curl (12)

Weight : 78.5kg

Sunday, 30 September 2012

RPT Wk1 W/O1

I think I will stick with an RPT program for the next phase.  I brought my last cycle to an end simply to fit in a fight (Lau Gar).  As a consequence, I took last week very lightly - deloading by cutting sets rather than backloading weights or cutting reps.

This phase I might experiment with bicarbonate of soda as an ergogenic.  Diet wise I am still mindful of daily macronutrients but foodgroups are 'paleo' and there is no calorie counting per se - although trying to eat to macro ratios imposes some limit.  Although often I am eating a bit more than my appetite leads me to do.

My raspberry canes are groaning under the weight of fruit so cheesecake has been high on my list of foodstuffs.  The digestive base makes it particularly non-paleo, but heck, I don't sweat this stuff.  If I am going to eat 'crapinabag' I just do it.  As a proportion of my diet it is largely insignificant and only features for limited time in my diet.  You've got to go with the seasons at times like this.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Planche Variations (25s, 25s, 25s)
3. Barefoot Sprinting (1x15s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
4. Rope Climb (2)
5a. MU to Ring Routine (2, 2).
5b. Scissor Splits (3x '2L, 2R, 2C') 
6. Weighted Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. Fingerboard Routine (10min)

Friday, 28 September 2012

Bad Science: Negative Data

If you read my post on Bad Pharma you will be aware of Ben Goldacre.  Goldacre looks like the result of an experimental high-energy collision in the Large Hadron Collider between Ron Weasly and Brian May, but make no mistake - he is a sharp cookie.  Here he gives a talk about the quality of drug trials and how they often fall short of the scientific standards you'd expect (a theme that underlies the thrust of his book 'Bad Pharma').
  • When a new drug gets tested, the results of the trials should be published for the rest of the medical world -- except much of the time, negative or inconclusive findings go unreported, leaving doctors and researchers in the dark. In this impassioned talk, Ben Goldacre explains why these unreported instances of negative data are especially misleading and dangerous.

Too Fat to Fight

Copyright WIRED magazine

Both US and China's military leaders are facing up to potential problems with recruiting battle-fit recruits  Wired reports,
  • The state-controlled China Daily reported Wednesday that China’s National People’s Congress is loosening the standards for overweight recruits in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). China’s wanna-be soldiers can now super-size that order of szechuan beef without fear of discrimination as long they don’t tip the scales further than 25 percent of the  normal weight requirements — a 5 percent uptick from last year.
 Reports suggest that 25% of Chinese are overweight or obese.  The US ex-military are launching an initiative to address this problem,
  • At the intersection of fat-shaming and war-mongering comes a bizarre public health campaign: an effort by retired generals and admirals to ban sugary sodas and snacks from public schools. The kids today, say the former brass, are too fat to fight for their country.
 There is even talk of transplanting brown fat to obese soldiers in a bid to tackle this problem

Another light workout.

I am still exhausted from last weekends acitivies so today will be very short and sharp.&nbsp.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (20 minutes)
1. Handstand Variations (air squats + side lunges, front lunges + floor touches, front/side/turning kicks, Low Kicks + Reverse Kicks)
2. Manna Progression (3)
3. Deadlift (5/6x130)

Shoulder Pre-habilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (10)
7. External Shoulder Rotations (10)

Weight: 79*

Thursday, 27 September 2012

More from Fat, Fate & Disease

More nuggets from Fat, Fate & Disease

Some (ongoing) research conducted by Southampton University which has followed several hundred children from birth, turns up some further interesting epigenetic effects - and it is bad news for Low Carb,
  • "The Southampton studies have shown clearly that birthweight is not the most important factor in setting the risk of chronic disease.  The thickness of the carotid artery of a child at nine years of age, an early and highly objective marker of risk of cardiovascular disease, was statistically related to low carbohydrate intake by the mother in late pregnancy, and this factor was independent of the child's birthweight."
Birth order seems to be a significant factor in obesity, with the first-born at a greater risk.  This is important as child mortality falls, families comprise fewer children and so more of the planet are 'first-born'.  In China this is particularly significant with its one-child policy,
  • "In the early 1950s, a doctor in Motherwell in southern Scotland made substantial recommendations about the diet that his women patients should eat during pregnancy.  The offspring were studied until they were 30...[Southampton University researchers] analysed how fat these 30-year-olds were from the point of view of whether they were first-born or not...those who were first-born have about 25 percent more body fat than those who were second or subsequent children.  More recently, data from Cesar Victora's group in Brazil have shown that first-born children are more likely to have higher blood pressure later." 
The Southampton research program mentioned above has gone in to significant analysis of body composition,
  • "In our first study we found that the degree of epigenetic change measured at birth in one particular gene, associated with the control of fat metabolism, explained about 25 per cent of the differences in body fat between children nine years later"
 This particular research was repeated in a second birth cohort study and supported the idea that methylation of a gene at one site determine likelihood of becoming obese more than genetic variation.  This methylation was identified within the umbilical cord (which had been sampled as part of the study), and firmly establishes the relationship between mother's diet and child's physiology.

Gut flora is another theme explored in the book,
  • "Generally these bugs inside our bodies are very useful.  They help by predigesting our food and play a major role in determining our nutrition and our metabolic health.  We know that people with diabetes have different patterns of gut bacteria.  We also know that how we develop this internal family of gut bacteria influences whether we get allergies..."
A quick aside here.  Just think how rapidly generations of bacteria pass in a single year of human life.  Now consider the fact that they are evolving and adapting to their environment (YOUR gut).  So now we can see a feedback mechanism; that your nutrition in particular,  and also your pattern of energy expenditure (and the hormonal milieu that follows), may well be affecting the epigenetics of your gut flora!  This change in gut flora may affect YOUR epigenetics.  Pretty incredible stuff.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Fat, Fate & Disease

In Fat, Fate and Disease by Peter Gluckman and Mark Hanson, we see an attempt to synthesise the scientific research from various sources in to one volume that explains why our current strategy is not working, drawing heavily from evolutionary biology and evolutionary theory.  As you'd expect, epigenetics are a big part of the puzzle.

They pull some interesting examples of epigenetic 'predictive, adaptive response' from various sources of the animal world.  The Pennsylvanian meadow vole for example, can be born in either spring or autumn, which determines the thickness of it coat of fur.  The type and density of its hair follicles are set before birth, but temperature clues are thin on the ground as the temperature in the womb is pretty consistent.  The trigger in this case are melatonin levels in the mother which reflect the length of day and so the season.  They also indicate how biological decisions early in development can be outside of our individual control.  Butterflies also pull a similar trick.  Their wing colour needs to reflect the seasonal colour of foliage.  In this case the temperature the larva is exposed to triggers the relevant epigenetic change.

Comet!

Heads up for a Christmas star!  Well, sort of.  New Scientist reports that a comet has recently been discovered which could eventually shine as brightly as the moon:
  • Skirting our star means that, to viewers on Earth, the comet will appear close to the horizon and to the sun's glare, making it difficult to see at first. ISON will fade but become easier to spot as it heads back towards the outer solar system. By 9 December it should be about as bright as Polaris, the North Star, according to Remanzacco Observatory astronomers. ISON should continue to be visible to the unaided eye until mid-January 2014.

    But veteran astronomers warn that fresh comets with orbits that almost skim the sun are notoriously unpredictable. Results can range from the spectacular comet McNaught of January 2007 to the infamously fizzled comet Kohoutek of 1973. 
Celestial phenomena like this is incredibly humbling.  I can't wait to let Captain Kid and Flash in on this news.  We can only hope that ISON delivers on its early promise.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Light Workout

After the weekend's high jinx in the ring, I am feeling pretty blown out. I need to wind things down for a week so today I am going to hit some pistols and Lau Gar forms, but generally keep things minimal.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (25 minutes)
1. Handstand Variation (air squats + side lunges, one legged floor touches + front lunges, front/side/turning kicks + hanging kicks)
2. Pistols (6x75kg)
3. OACs (5x60kg)

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Bad Pharma

There is something of a seismic shift going on in the UK.  Where once we revered celebrity chefs, Geek are now taking over the airwaves - or as I like to call them, intelligent people offering informative, educational media content. 

Ben Goldacre is one of a whole host of 'antiwoo', scientifically-minded people to have entered popular culture - following on from the likes of Feinman and Sagan, through Dawkins and Hitchens, and now alongside the likes of Brian Cox and Robin Ince.

Goldacre probably can't cook as well as 'Jamie', but when it comes to 'science', and in particular medical research Goldacre is one of the brightest guys out there.  I blogged some time ago about Bad Science, his first book, and he has now followed this up with Bad Pharma, an audacious expose of how the pharmaceutical industry is motivated largely by avarice, and how those quality gates at every level, designed to protect the patient, have proved largely worthless,
  • ‘Bad Science’ hilariously exposed the tricks that quacks and journalists use to distort science, becoming a 400,000 copy bestseller. Now Ben Goldacre puts the $600bn global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope. What he reveals is a fascinating, terrifying mess.

    Doctors and patients need good scientific evidence to make informed decisions. But instead, companies run bad trials on their own drugs, which distort and exaggerate the benefits by design. When these trials produce unflattering results, the data is simply buried. All of this is perfectly legal. In fact, even government regulators withhold vitally important data from the people who need it most. Doctors and patient groups have stood by too, and failed to protect us. Instead, they take money and favours, in a world so fractured that medics and nurses are now educated by the drugs industry.

    Patients are harmed in huge numbers.
There is a great extract in today's Guardian.  Me?  I am eagerly awaiting delivery of my copy and in the meantime am happy to leave the tin foil in the drawer.  Follow the money!

UPDATE: David Calquhoun has a great review of the book here.



Thursday, 20 September 2012

Sodium Bicarbonate

Not sure if you've seen these posts on Suppversity, but they contain some pretty astonishing conclusions about the ergogenic benefits of sodium bicarbonate.  Naturally I am investigating as we speak....
  • ...you will probably share my excitement about the rapid increase in total time to exhaustion:

    +28% in the bicarbonate group after 3-weeks and +34% after 6 weeks;
    +8% and +10% in the placebo group.
Astonishing!

The is another post worth reading here.  In fact browse the site dammit.  Lots of good stuff there!

Popcorn Lung

I blogged about popcorn lung a month or so back. It seems that it is not just the workers at risk. From the BBC:
  • A US man has been awarded $7.2m (£4.4m) in damages after claiming he developed "popcorn lung" from inhaling the artificial butter in microwave popcorn.

    A Colorado jury agreed with Wayne Watson that a popcorn manufacturer should have had warning labels that the bag's fumes were dangerous to inhale.  
Next visit to the cinema, look around at who is eating this stuff!

Taubes on Bloggingheadz TV

A good (video) discussion with Gary Taubes.

RPT Wk5 W/O3 Deload

Last stage of deload.  The eat and rest until Saturday night when it is showtime!

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (20 minutes)
1. Handstand Variations (air squats + side lunges, front lunges + floor touches, front/side/turning kicks, Low Kicks + Reverse Kicks)
2. Manna Progression (1)
3. Deadlift (4/6x130)
4. Wall Walk (3)
5. Backbridge (15s)

Shoulder Pre-habilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (10)
7. External Shoulder Rotations (10)

8. 321 optional

Weight: 80*

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

RPT Wk5 W/O2 Deload

Deloading again.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand Variation (air squats + side lunges, one legged floor touches + front lunges, front/side/turning kicks + hanging kicks)
2. Pistols (6x75kg)
3. OACs (5x60kg)

Forearm and Wrist Prehabilitation
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
5. Wrist Push Ups (12)
6. Reverse Wrist Curl (12)

Weight : 80kg

Sunday, 16 September 2012

My New Guide!

Nutrition 1970s style!



Ahead of its time!


I am sure if the author saw the diet of today's youth, she would be horrified by the various veg*n processed food, Special K and 'engineered' low fat food we're recommended to eat.

Where's My Foil Hat?


Sometimes I do feel like a member of the 'Tin Foil Hat Brigade' when it comes to health and fitness.  But whilst I am confident that man walked on the moon and that 9/11 was NOT an 'inside job', when it comes to Big Pharma, my Spidey sense tingles big time.

RPT Wk5 W/O1 Deload

Deloading this week due to some Lau Gar action this coming weekend.  I need to approach this refreshed, so I am cutting volume this week.
Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Planche Variations (25s)
3. Barefoot Sprinting (1x15s)
4. Rope Climb (1)
5a. MU to Ring Routine (1).
5b. Scissor Splits ('2L, 2R, 2C') 
6. Weighted Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. Fingerboard Routine (10min)

Friday, 14 September 2012

Obesity and Captivity Go Hand in Hand


From the BBC, a story about obese elephants,
  • "...Almost all the elephants kept in temples in the state have been found to be obese.

RPT Wk4 W/O3

I'm quite enjoying how my training is going at the moment.  I am pushing things and am uninjured (something I like to frequently reflect upon due to long history of carrying a 'niggle' here and there without trying to resolve it). 

I can feel muscle soreness from my current workload and Lau Gar activities demand I ramp down training over the coming week as I have a 'challenge' next Saturday that requires my A-game.

I am not sure how I will deload.  Do I reduce volume, intensity, or increase rest period?  There is a lot of conflicting advice.  I think I will reduce volume down to one set of heavy.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand Variations (air squats + side lunges, front lunges + floor touches, front/side/turning kicks, Low Kicks + Reverse Kicks)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Deadlift (6x130, 8x110, 10x90)
4. Wall Walk (3, 3)
5. Backbridge (15s)

Shoulder Pre-habilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (12)
7. External Shoulder Rotations (12)

8. 321 (8L, 8L, 8L)/Bouldering

Weight: 80*

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Knee News

Another good episode of Radio 4's Inside Health:
  • Dr Mark Porter dispels myths about osteoarthritis. It is usually put down to ageing and the result of wear and tear with people told that the condition inevitably leads to surgery. Mark Porter investigates the latest research on the condition and discovers that a third of patients will get better through the natural repair process.

Porter discusses osteoarthritis which is now being considered as a problem of inflammation rather than 'wear and tear'. The general idea amongst doctors and the wider public is that once you succumb to osteoarthritis, things will only get worse and that surgery is inevitable. Pushed further, many would suggest that there is a scenario of bone-on-bone in the affected joint.  This is incorrect!
It is a thinning of the cartilege that causes pain.  It is a whole-joint disease that is subject to a repair process (your body is trying to make it better), hence the inflammatory response.   Furthermore it CAN get better. Research suggests that 1 in 3 people with arthritic knees get better. Another third get no worse.
Muscle strength protects joints. To help yourself in these situations it is recommended to strengthen your muscles which in turn reduces pain, improves function and 'repairs the arthritis'.  (I've been using a similar approach myself to cure a tension in my left hip as you'll see from the routines).

Don't rest your joint, strengthen it!  Work your body.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

RPT Wk4 W/O2

I aim to repeat and consolidate last week's highs, particularly with the chins.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand Variation (air squats + side lunges, one legged floor touches + front lunges, front/side/turning kicks + hanging kicks)
2. Pistols (6x75kg, 8x70kg, 10x65kg)
3. OACs (5x60kg, 6x55kg, 8x45kg)

Forearm and Wrist Prehabilitation
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
5. Wrist Push Ups (12)
6. Reverse Wrist Curl (12)

Weight : 80kg

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Carb Restriction/Higher Fat

Just a quick post to a couple of links regarding macronutrient cycling.

Richard Feinman has an extensive post on carbohydrate restriction:
  • It was now clear that we had a consistent set of scientific ideas that supported the importance of insulin signaling in basic biochemistry and cell biology and that there was a continuum with the role of dietary carbohydrate restriction in obesity, diabetes or general health.  All the practical considerations were still problematical but now we had the kernel of a scientific principle. In fact, it was not so much that we had the answer as that we had the right question.  In science, the question is frequently more important than the answer.
And on a sporting front, one of the comments at Gnolls had this item about a low carber winning an ultramarathon (a subject which brings us back to met flex and indeed, Gnolls.org),
  • Steve Phinney says that more and more endurance athletes are choosing low-carb, high-fat.  They’re choosing this diet both to get over digestive problems that hit in such a demanding event, and to win the race, and win it BIG!  That’s what Tim Olson did this year.  A self-proclaimed low-carb eater, Tim won the race — with a record-breaking pace.

The Epigenetics Revolution: Nutrition

Some further extracts from Nessa Carey's excellent The Epigenetics Revolution

The Agouti mouse is no stranger to those who have spent any time in the paleosphere.  Epigeneticists have used these mice to uncover some pretty intriguing phenomena:
  • [Emman Whitelaw changed the expression of epigenetic proteins]. No matter how tightly scientists control the environment for the [agouti] mice and especially their access to food, identical mice from inbred mouse strains don't all have exactly the same body weight. Experiments carried out over many years have shown that only about 20-30 per cent of the variations in body weights can be attibuted to the post natal environment. This leaves the question of what causes the other 70-80 per cent of variation in body weight. Since it isn't being caused by genetics (all the mice are identical) or by the environment, there has to be another source for the variation.

RPT Wk4 W/O1

It was tough working the levers in this workout.  I think that all the punching in Lau Gar through the week fatigues my shoulders.  Being in to so much 'physical stuff' it is hard enough to stay uninjured, never mind improve.  I should perhaps specialise to some degree but when you have the thrill of the fight, of the excitement of climbing/bouldering or the play of gymnastics, how can you choose?

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Planche Variations (25s, 25s, 25s)
3. Barefoot Sprinting (1x15s, 1x15s, 1x15s)
4. Rope Climb (2)
5a. MU to Ring Routine (2, 2).
5b. Scissor Splits (3x '2L, 2R, 2C') 
6. Weighted Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. Fingerboard Routine (10min)

Friday, 7 September 2012

Men's 800m T36



We watched this excellent race last night.  Captain Kid (8), has really got in to the Olympic spirit, but started to cry in sympathy at the outset when Gabriel de Jesus Cuadra Holman immediately started to fall behind the pack.  She just wanted to reach in to the TV and help him.

She managed to compose herself until about 3:20 when the until-then leader Fabio Gutierrez Torres, was broken down by the chasing pack, and then she was off crying again. The look on Torres' face really pulled at my heart strings too (but as a dad, I had a duty to 'keep it together').

Stirring stuff from these athletes and truly inspiring. Also good to see that CK has developed a degree of empathy!