Friday, 29 June 2012

531 Wk1 W/O3

Deadlift day!

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats, front/side lunges, front/side/turning kicks in between)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Deadlift (5x94, 5x108, 5+x122)

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

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

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

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Against the Existence of Immortal Souls

From Sam Kean's very good 'The Disappearing Spoon',

  • English philosopher Bertrand Russel...once used...medicinal facts about iodine to build a case against the existence of immortal souls.  "The energy used in thinking seems to have a chemical origin...", he wrote.  "For instance, a deficiency in iodine will turn a clever man into an idiot.  Mental phenomena seem to be bound up with material structure."  In other words, iodine made Russell realise that reason and emotions and memories depend on material conditions in the brain.  He saw no way to separate the "soul" from the body, and concluded that the rich mental life of human beings, the source of all their glory and much of their woe, is chemistry through and through.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Motion Control? Nevermind.

Nice piece by Chris McDougall:
  • Incidentally, this major source of “independent” shoe reviews has NEVER published a negative review — not, at least, since Nike temporarily pulled its advertising back in the ’80s. As Runner’s World’s founder laments, the shoe review he’d created as a form of consumer protection is now “a grading system where you can only get an A.”

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

531 Wk1 W/O2

I've retooled my workout.  Things have got a bit off track due to lifestyle factors so I'm off back to the temple of Wendler.  I will still aim to drive the OAC - that is a single and ongoing objective,  but there are other numbers that need pushing.  The moves will be basic.

Despite earlier proclamations that I would drop down to two workouts a week, I enjoy my Sunday session on the rings, so will seek to make space for it, but keep it short.  The other workouts will feature less volume but with the same kind of intensity.

I am starting from a good place - uninjured - and still need to be mindful of the taxing nature of Lau Gar and the occasional climbing.  I will also try to cut back on the handstanding a bit, throwing the same number but over more days (ie less in any one session). 

The trouble with handstands is that I get too sucked in to messing around with them.   Once fatigued I then start handwalking.  Great fun - but perhaps detrimental in the bigger scheme of things!

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats, front/side lunges, one legged floor touches, front/side/turning kicks)
2. Pistols (5x50, 5x57, 10/5+x65)
3. OACs (5x42, 5x49, 5+x55)

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

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Flash, Flying Blind on a Pedal Cycle

Around three years ago, Captain Kid learned how to ride a bike.  It gives me great pleasure to record that on this day of 24th June in the year 2012, Flash has also nailed cycling.  Flash turned 5 at the end of May!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

531 Wk1 W/O1

More volume focus:

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 (3)
4ii. MU to Ring Routine (3, 3, 3).
5. Scissor Splits (3x '2L, 2R, 2C')
6. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. 321 (8L, 8L 8L)

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Matter of Taste?

 James Mitchell Crow writes in Nature that,
  • 'What is strongly associated with obesity is not the consumption of carbo-hydrates or sweets — it is the consumption of fat'
And taste it seems, is a burgeoning area of obesity research:
  • What does chocolate ice-cream taste like? A simple enough question, you might think: sweet and creamy, with a slightly bitter cocoa kick. Delve a bit deeper, though, and the exercise becomes impossibly subjective, because what you taste when you eat ice-cream is not the same as the next person's experience. Your tongue and your taste buds are unique, and a sweet taste that seems strong to you might be almost undetectable to someone else. 
    Perhaps more importantly, individuals also vary greatly in how pleasurable and satiating they find ice-cream, or any number of other foods. Could someone's taste perceptions and preferences be a major influence on their weight? 
    The emergence of obesity as the world's largest preventable health disorder gives urgency to this question. Although the drivers of obesity are far more complex than simply a sweet tooth, study after study suggests that shifting taste preferences are a big part of the puzzle. The latest findings are forcing us to fundamentally re-examine our understanding of taste perception itself.
One of the latest ideas is that we can become desensitised to sweet tastes.  There is some evidence emerging that in a fashion, we can also taste 'fat',
  • "We still cannot claim that fat is a basic taste, but within the limitations that we do know, the relationship between taste perception and obesity is strongest with fat."
It is suggested that the obese are inclined to towards sweet and typically fat foods - but the underlying desire is for 'fat'.

Butter anyone?  Also, ever wondered why if you charge up on food, you don't go longer until your next refuelling point?  That seems to be how I operate - but then I eat a realfood (paleo) diet.

Of course some still blame 'sloth and gluttony'.  You read it here first fat people.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Routine Wk3 W/O 2b Volume*

First of all I have to say that Friday's pistols battered me!  My legs and butt were still sore on Sunday evening!  Keeping sets, reps and rests mixed up is as important as variation in exercise and offers an easy way to jazz up a staid routine.

Second point to note is that my left hip has felt stiff on occasion over the past six months, but has now cleared up.  What I thought was age was perhaps over-training!  Same thing with my wrist - I had a sensitivity in my left wrist (or was it right) - but all gone.  So I'm rolling uninjured.  Result.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes).
1. Handstand work and walking lunges to side/front (10 mins)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Chins (10, 10, 6/10)
4a. Headstand RLLs (8)
4b. Snatch-Grip Deadlift off a Deficit (BWx5, BWx5, BWx5)
5a. Wall Walk (3)
5b. Backbridge  (15s, 15s)

Wrist and Elbow Prehab
6a. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
6b. Wrist Push Ups from the Knee (12)
6c. Reverse Wrist Curls (12)

7.  321 (8L, 8L, 8L)/Bouldering

Sunday, 17 June 2012

A Scare at Bedtime*

Captain Kid and Flash have been making increasing demands for ghost stories.  (Their idea of a ghost story or horror movie is something along the lines of 'Ello Guv'nor).  This must be something in the blood because me, my parents and my grandparents love ghost stories.  In fact, there's a question - why do we yearn to be scared so?

We were in the car today and a request for a ghost story led to my mind throwing up a classic British chiller known as Lord Dufferin's Ghost - a terrifying tale that chilled my younger self to the bone (and one of several such ghost stories with a 'room for one more' subtext').  A quick google once back at my desk found the exact source of the story (via The Haunted Closet), a book called The Usborne guide to the Supernatural World (Jeez that book scared me back in 1982 - but I loved it!).

Other memorable sources of fear come from films such as The Omen, Salem's Lot and The Exorcist, but these seemed a bit too brash and although scary, I couldn't relate to them - the nightmares would quickly fade.  One film I could relate to was Hammer House of Horror's 'The Two Faces of Evil'.  This film was set in such a damn ordinary context - and every time I made a journey in a car, and especially when it rained, I'd be too scared to look at the landscape less I should see a man in a yellow waterproof!  God forbid we should ever pick up a hitchhiker!  The first five minutes of this film will show you why (although I recommend you watch the whole thing):

Hammer Horror was always a bit cheesy and there were other classier films that would haunt my youth.  Whistle and I Will Come To You is M R James at his best, but hell, at the end of it all, it is a man running away from a bedsheet.

This go me thinking - what film did I find most terrifying as a kid?  A further few minutes on Google and I found it;  a month before my sixth birthday I settled down with my brother and mum to watch Quiet as a Nun, which concluded with this scene:

Sweet dreams!

*Title courtesy of the most excellent Podge and Rodge!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Routine Wk2 W/O 2a Volume

Due to my other training - particularly Lau Gar, I am dropping from three formal sessions a week to two.  The second and third weekly workouts that I have been following for the past several months have had a pleasing content (containing ''Pistols & OACs" and "Deadlifts & Weighted Chins" respectively), so I am going to rotate them on a weekly basis.  So I will rest on Tuesday and my Pistols W/O will be done on Friday in Week 1.  In Week 2 I will do the Deadlift workout, and so on...

Again with the volume focus.  I've lowered the reps from my last cycle but increased the sets.  Rests are being kept short to less than 60s for all chinning and pistols.   

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. HSPU/Handstand/Handwalk (Leg work - side/front lunges, air squats, front/side/turning kicks)
2. L-Sit/Manna Variation (for time)
3. Pistols Assisted (75kg x 8, 75kg x 8, 75kg x 8, 75kg x 8)
4i. OAC (5x55kg, 5x55kg, 5x55kg)
4ii. Two Arm Chin (BWx10)
5. Backlever to Frontlever (5s, 5s, 5s)

Shoulder Prehab:
6. Two-Way DB Rotator Cuff (12 x external and internal shoulder rotations)

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Inflammation and Gut Flora

New Scientist had an interesting piece called 'Milk fats clue to inflammatory bowel disease'.  Various gut flora can thrive on particular diets - and in terms of our own health, not all gut flora is created equal,
  • Concentrated milk fats, a common ingredient of processed foods and confectionary, trigger blooms of otherwise rare gut bacteria in mice that may contribute to inflammatory gut diseases.

This comes hot on the heels of the Human Microbiome Project which seeks to map out the trillions of bactiera which inhabit the human body,
  • "Knowing which microbes live in various ecological niches in healthy people allows us to better investigate what goes awry in diseases thought to have a microbial link, like Crohn's disease and obesity," says George Weinstock, associate director of the Genome Institute at Washington University in St Louis and one of the Human Microbiome Project's principal investigators.

    They found that microbial cells outnumber native human cells by 10 to one, and collectively have 8 million genes compared to just 22,000 in humans. Of the 10,000 species identified, the most diverse range lived on the skin. Bacteria that colonise the teeth are different from those in saliva, and the vagina hosts the simplest range of bugs.

 Looks like you are what you eat, you are what your body does with what you eat, you are what your bacteria is and you are what bacteria does with what you eat. 
Trying to figure out first cause with the obese never looked so complicated.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Routine Wk1 W/O1 Volume

So I kick off a new cycle today. Volume focus. It might lack some continuity due to holidays, football fixtures (the Euros) and the rugby tour of South Africa.

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, 1x10s, 1x10s)
4i. Rope Climb (3)
4ii. MU to Ring Routine (3, 3, 3).
5. Scissor Splits (3x '2L, 2R, 2C')
6. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. 321 (8L, 8L 5/8L)

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Men Who Made Us Fat

Heads up for people in the UK, "The Men Who Made Us Fat":
  • "Around the world, obesity levels are rising. More people are now overweight than undernourished; two thirds of British adults are overweight and one in four of us is classified as obese. In the first of this three-part series, Jacques Peretti traces those responsible for revolutionising our eating habits, to find out how decisions made in America 40 years ago influence the way we eat now.

    Peretti travels to America to investigate the story of High Fructose Corn Syrup. The sweetener was championed in the US in the 1970s by Richard Nixon’s Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz to make use of the excess corn grown by farmers. Cheaper and sweeter than sugar, it soon found its way into almost all processed foods and soft drinks. HFCS is not only sweeter than sugar, it also interferes with Leptin, the hormone that controls appetite, so once you start eating or drinking it, you don’t know when to stop.

    British nutritionist John Yudkin was one of the first to raise the dangers of sugar but his findings were discredited in America at the time. Meanwhile, a US Congress report blamed fat, not sugar, for the disturbing rise in cardio-vascular disease and the food industry responded with ranges of ‘low fat’, ‘heart healthy’ products in which the fat was removed – but the substitute was yet more sugar. Meanwhile, in 1970s Britain, food manufacturers used advertising campaigns to promote the idea of snacking between meals.

    Outside the home, fast food chains offered clean, bright premises with tempting burgers cooked and served with a very un-British zeal and efficiency. Twenty years after the arrival of McDonalds, the number of fast food outlets in Britain had quadrupled

Friday, 8 June 2012

Short Workout

Still aching from LGKB on Wednesday.  I will keep today short and light:

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (25 minutes).
1. Handstand work and walking lunges to side/front (10 mins)
2. Snatch-Grip Deadlift off a Deficit (60kg x 5, 60kg x 5, 60kg x 5)
3. Chins (7, 7, 7)

Wrist and Elbow Prehab
4a. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (10)
4b. Wrist Push Ups from the Knee (10)
4c. Reverse Wrist Curls (10)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Diet and Destiny 2

So according to New Statesman it seems that fat is a political issue,

  • "In dense urban environments, it’s easier to be fat than healthy. A fear of crime can stop people going out. A world where poorer parents often have to work more than two jobs leaves little time. Leisure budgets are being cut. Fresh fruit and vegetables are expensive, both in price and in preparation time. Take-aways are easy because children love them; they give exhausted parents a chance to apologise."
It is an interesting angle - but plenty of lean people live in urban environments.  Factor that in to the statement above and you aren't left with much that is plausible.  We get the token mention of 'fruit and veg' but what about the meat?

Diet and Destiny

One of the many weaknesses with ELDM is it narrow remit.  For example, it singularly fails to address the impact of epigenetics, stress/sleep, mitochondrial expression and gut flora.  The latter is addressed in this piece by Science Daily which discusses research in to how microbes harvest energy,
  • In a new study appearing in the journal Nutrition in Clinical Practice, researcher Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and her colleagues at the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute in collaboration with John DiBaise from the Division of Gastroenterology at the Mayo Clinic, review the role of gut microbes in nutrient absorption and energy regulation.
Given my recent blow-out over the jubilee weekend I was particularly taken with the comment about the speed with which the profile of gut flora can change,
  •  After birth, diet becomes a critical determinant in microbial diversity within the gut. Recent research indicates that microbial populations vary geographically in a manner consistent with regional differences in diet. Children in rural areas of Burkina Faso for example showed much more abundant concentrations of Bacteroidetes compared with their cohorts in Italy, a finding consistent with the African children's plant-rich diet.While microbiomes appear to have adapted to local diets, changes in eating habits significantly alter composition of gut microbes. Variations in macronutrient composition can modify the structure of gut microbiota in a few days -- in some cases, a single day. Studies in mice show that changing from a low fat, plant polysaccharide diet to a Western diet high in sugar and fat rapidly and profoundly reconfigures the composition of microbes in the gut.

Glad I am back on board the paleo-mammoth!

Faster than the Speed of Sound

Hot on the heels of Gary Connery's recent wingsuit heroics, step forwards Felix Baumgartner.  Felix will attempt to jump from the edge of space this August, and in the process break several records set over half a century ago by Joseph Kittinger.  You can see an excellent video of Kittinger's jump here (starting around 4:21) and it is truly surreal,
  • On August 16, 1960, Joseph Kittinger jumped his last Excelsior jump, doing so from an air-thin height of 102,800 feet (31,334 meters). From that nearly 20 miles altitude, his tumble toward terra firma took some 4 minutes and 36 seconds. Exceeding the speed of sound during the fall, Kittinger used a small stabilizing chute before a larger, main parachute opened in the denser atmosphere. He safely touched down in barren New Mexico desert, 13 minutes 45 seconds after he vaulted into the void. The jump set records that still stand today, among them, the highest parachute jump, the longest freefall, and the fastest speed ever attained by a human through the atmosphere. Somewhat in contention is Kittinger's use of the small parachute for stabilization during his record-setting fall. Roger Eugene Andreyev, a Russian, is touted as holding the world's free fall record of 80,325 feet (24,483 meters), made on November 1, 1962.

Felix Baumgartner seeks to go higher and fall faster!  There is a great interview with him here,
  • Later this summer - the plan is to do it in August - I will get into a pressurised space capsule in Roswell, New Mexico, go up to 120,000 feet [36,600 metres], depressurise the capsule and step out. Within the first 35 seconds I'll accelerate so fast that I'll break the speed of sound.
One of the dangers mentioned is Felix going in to a flat spin,
  • If you spin with your head towards the centre, blood leaves the head and you pass out. If you spin with your feet to the centre, you get a red-out. The blood rushes to your head, you get an aneurysm in your brain or a cerebral haemorrhage. There is a g metre on Felix's wrist that controls for a flat spin and we developed an emergency drogue parachute, which can pull his head high and stop the rotation.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Well tonight's Lau Gar kickboxing session was a bloody killer!  Very intense.  This is on the back of roughly two weeks off from formal exercise.  In that time I've noticed three things:

  • My handstanding has become awesome with all this rest - with solid 15-20s on occasion.
  • My niggly left hip is clicking a LOT less,
  • Despite my ambivalence about the monarchy, on a jubilee I can celebrate with them best of them eating a whole ton of crap-in-a-box and drinking a lot of ale.
Point two is the critical observation.  I think I need to adjust for the amount of weights I do along with the Lau Gar.  This is something I will plan in to my next cycle which should start on Sunday.  In all likelihood the next cycle will be heavily punctuated by annual leave and so forth, so things might get a bit free form around here.

Still, best to roll with it.  Flow!

Transit of Mercury

Dates to book for your diary:
  • 9 May 2016: Transit of Mercury
  • 2 August 2027: Solar eclipse "Solar eclipses are one of the great natural wonders and one can usually be seen somewhere on Earth each year. But the one in 2027 will be exceptionally long with a maximum duration of six minutes and 23 seconds. It will pass through the Straits of Gibraltar then across the North African coast before dipping down to Yemen and Somalia."
Time to book accomodation in Gibralta before the astronomical price rise (Ithangyou).

Friday, 1 June 2012

More On Venus

I like my celestial phenomena.  Prepare for next week's transit of Venus (5th/6th June).  It is your last chance for 100 years.  Nothing better than something like this to let us know our 'puny earthling' status in the grand scheme of things!