Sunday, January 31, 2010

Calories in the USA:

Americans are obsessed with calories — counting them, burning them and searching for new ways to avoid them. And yet, over the last four decades, we've increased our caloric consumption by nearly thirty percent.

Why has this happened? What accounts for this increase? Are other countries experiencing the same thing?

Below are some visual aids to help answer these questions. Check them out to get the inside scoop on Calories in the USA.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Running

I arrived at the library this morning at 6:30 half-hoping that no one else was silly enough to run when it was 2-4 degrees out. No such luck as 6 fools showed up. I ran only 5 miles, but the others were bravely running 8-12. The sunrise was gorgeous, taking over the huge wolf moon (I don't know what that is, but apparently that's what was in the sky last night) and making our decision to run worthwhile.

Siobhan started out wearing gloves, but by the time we took our first break, the gloves were off already. Maybe it wasn't really that cold after all....

Bob O - I am calling you out. Where have you been?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why Burpees Rule

The Benefits of Burpees
The burpee is the ultimate full body exercise. There’s a reason why football teams, prisoners and elite military forces use the burpee in their workouts. Just one simple movement tests both your strength and aerobic capacities. Below we go into a few more details on the benefits of the burpee:

Strength. The burpee is a full body, strength training exercise. With each repetition, you’ll work your chest, arms, front deltoids, thighs, hamstrings, and abs. Trust me. Your legs will feel like they’re pumping battery acid after you complete a set of burpees.

Fat burning. Because you’re using your full body when doing burpees and because they’re such an intense workout, the burpee is one of the best exercises to burn fat. Studies have shown that high intensity exercises, like burpees, burn up to 50% more fat than conventional strength training exercises. They’ve also been shown to speed up your metabolism which helps you burn more calories throughout the day. If you’re looking to get rid of that spare tire, step off the elliptical machine and start doing burpees.

Conditioning. Many men today spend hours a week in the gym sculpting washboard abs and bowling ball biceps. While those muscles look nice, they don’t do much for you when you have to split a giant pile of wood or even save your own life. Burpees are an effective exercise for developing the conditioning and endurance, the manly vim and vigor to tackle any challenge. They’re also a great exercise to include in football conditioning drills.

Free. There are no fancy gizmos, classes or gym memberships required to perform a burpee. All you need is your body, a floor, and an iron will.

Portable. You can do this exercise anywhere. On the road? Bust some out in the hotel room. Don’t have a gym membership? Get your burpee on at the park. In prison? Do them in your cell.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Saturated fat

Saturated fat is often referred to as "Bad Fat", sited as the culprit for raising total and LDL cholesterol levels and contributing to the development of heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) and many other health organizations recommend restricting saturated fat to less than 10% of total calories in order to avoid high cholesterol and heart disease. These guidelines call for limiting intake of and/or avoiding animal products (meats, eggs, high fat dairy) and highly saturated plant fats (palm, palm kernal and coconut oils, coconut products). But are all of these recommendations really necessary? Is saturated fat really as bad as it's been made out to be?

A meta-analysis study published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that there is no significant evidence linking saturated fat with increased risk for heart disease. So why has saturated fat gotten such a bad reputation? Credit several flawed and misinterpretted studies, dating back to Ancel Key's work in the 1950's, and multi-billion dollar vegetable oil and drug industries.

Saturated fat is - a neutral, sometimes beneificial body substance.
Saturated fat is NOT - the cause of, or a risk factor for heart disease.

Here's a list of real culprits:

•Trans-fats - artificially hydrogenated oils
•Refined vegetable oils - high in omega-6 fatty acids (soybean, corn, cottonseed, etc., oils)
•Refined sugars - high fructose corn syrup, etc.
•Refined carbohydrates (flour, pasta, rice, cereals, etc.)
•Lack of physical activity/exercise
•Excessive stress

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

No indoors tonight

Max Effort 8x200's rest is run time x3.Went to Woburn High to run these....

Monday, January 25, 2010


The Dehydration has more than just an effect on your running…
“Mean power output decreased as much as 7.17% in the upper body and 19.20% in the lower body in those who were dehydrated. Peak power showed an even greater margin of shift between the two groups with a 14.48% and an 18.36% negative change in the upper and lower body of those who were dehydrated. Those are big numbers.”

Sunday, January 24, 2010

If you are going to stretch one thing, let it be your calves

Did you know that tight calves can cause knee pain, hip pain, lower back pain, and foot pain?
Your calves are made up of two muscles--the soleus and the gastrocnemius. Together, these two muscles are constantly working. They enable you to stand, move forward, bend your knee, run and jump. Tight calves severely effect the alignment of your foot, knee and hip which changes your running and walking gait (eventually leading to injury). uat.
If you stretch your calves a few times a day, you can stop the muscles from shortening. If you already have tight calves, you should stretch them frequently and also do some myofacial release on them once a day. To perform myofacial release, use "the Stick" or tennis ball or massage them with your hands by starting just above your Achilles tendon and moving upwards to the knee. Use a lot of pressure!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating

1.Beets: Think of beets as red spinach, Dr. Bowden said, because they are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.
How to eat: Fresh, raw and grated to make a salad. Heating decreases the antioxidant power.
2.Cabbage: Loaded with nutrients like sulforaphane, a chemical said to boost cancer-fighting enzymes.
How to eat: Asian-style slaw or as a crunchy topping on burgers and sandwiches.
3.Swiss chard: A leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes.
How to eat it: Chop and saute in olive oil.
4.Cinnamon: May help control blood sugar and cholesterol.
How to eat it: Sprinkle on coffee or oatmeal.
5.Pomegranate juice: Appears to lower blood pressure and loaded with antioxidants.
How to eat: Just drink it.
6.Dried plums: Okay, so they are really prunes, but they are packed with antioxidants.
How to eat: Wrapped in prosciutto and baked.
7.Pumpkin seeds: The most nutritious part of the pumpkin and packed with magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death.
How to eat: Roasted as a snack, or sprinkled on salad.
8.Sardines: Dr. Bowden calls them “health food in a can.” They are high in omega-3’s, contain virtually no mercury and are loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins.
How to eat: Choose sardines packed in olive or sardine oil. Eat plain, mixed with salad, on toast, or mashed with dijon mustard and onions as a spread.
9.Turmeric: The “superstar of spices,” it may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
How to eat: Mix with scrambled eggs or in any vegetable dish.
10.Frozen blueberries: Even though freezing can degrade some of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables, frozen blueberries are available year-round and don’t spoil; associated with better memory in animal studies.
How to eat: Blended with yogurt or chocolate soy milk and sprinkled with crushed almonds.
11.Canned pumpkin: A low-calorie vegetable that is high in fiber and immune-stimulating vitamin A; fills you up on very few calories.
How to eat: Mix with a little butter, cinnamon and nutmeg

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Too much snow and ice out there for me tonight went indoors.

2 rounds of the Russian Mile

800(rest 30 seconds)
400(rest 30 seconds
400 rest 5 mins repeat

1st mile 5:36
2nd mile 5:53

It doesn't look bad on paper but this workout is hard.........

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Best Drug in the World....

This is a post from my Crossfit Boston web site and I thought it was worth posting here. Thanks to John Z; CFB superman and chiropractor for Gentle Giant Movers.

The best drug in the world is incredibly cheap. It has pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties without side effects to the stomach, liver, and kidneys. It will not increase your risk of stroke or heart attack. It is not addictive, and won't make you sick. It does not cause cancer. It is good for most acute injuries and post workout recovery.
There is no billion dollar ice company. You will not see an ice commercial every thirty seconds on tv, or an ice advertisement on every other page in newspapers and magazines. You are lucky if your doctor recommends it or even mentions it at all.
Ice is not perfect. It is not a "cure all". It is not recommended for areas with poor circulation. It can give you frostbite. And it won't fix a crappy diet or make up for lost sleep.
If you have reached a plateau in your workout results, try using ice in your post workout recovery. Here are three different tried and true methods:
1.) Big, flexible gel pack. This should set you back about $10 bucks at most stores with a pharmacy/ first aid section. I recommend using these for 20 minutes at a time, and then 40 minutes off. Do this once or twice for post workout recovery, or more often for acute injury.
2.) Ice massage. Fill a small paper cup with water and set it in the freezer. After it is frozen you can peel off a strip of paper around the rim of the cup to expose the top surface of ice. Use this area to rub on any sore areas. Keep the ice in motion, and do not use for more than five
minutes at a time. This is better for small areas with acute injury.
3.) Cold shower. Run cold water on sore arms and legs after a workout for a few minutes. This one is the best kept secret in post workout recovery.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010




cool down (tabata)


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Going overhead

Benefits of Pressing Overhead. You can lift more weight with the Bench Press than with the Overhead Press. But the Overhead Press has many benefits over the Bench Press. Some examples:

•Full Body. The Overhead Press works your body as one piece. Your trunk & legs stabilize the weight while your shoulders, upper-chest & arms press the weight overhead.
•Builds Muscle. Abs & back stabilize the weight. Shoulders, upper-chest & triceps press the weight overhead. The Overhead Press builds the physique of old-time strongman like Eugen Sandow.
•Healthy Shoulders. The Bench Press works your front shoulders more than your back shoulders. The Overhead Press works all shoulder heads equally. Alternating the Overhead Press with the Bench Press minimizes risks of shoulder injuries caused by muscle imbalances.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday 6:30am Group Run

8.5 Shamrocks gathered at the Woburn Library parking lot at 6:30 this morning. It's so funny when we run - we automatically split up into groups of 2. Kind of like Noah's ark. The groups are never the same week to week, so you end up chatting with different people, catching up on how everyone's week was, etc.

The streets were icy since temps were below freezing after yesterday's thaw. The beautiful sunrise more than made up for that. Totally worth getting up early for.

I am pretty sure I spent more time hanging out with the group at DD afterwards than I did actually running. Go figure.

Safe running, everyone.

Friday, January 15, 2010


3x 2.5 mile pond loops. Five rest

18.20 (drop off a little here)

Saw Brian Foley down at the pond. He was working,still injured hoping to back this comeback at the Old O'Brien/Boys Club race..

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cherry juice a runners best friend or not....

According to the article, cherry juice can protect you from pain and injury. This is based on research showing that runners who drank 10.5 ounces of 100% cherry juice twice daily for a week leading up to a race reported less muscle pain afterward. This is said to be the result of antioxidants that reduce inflammation and is suggested to reduce dependence on drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin.

While I’m certainly a fan of using natural food to reduce inflammation, I think any type of commercial fruit juice is a questionable recommendation. Most fruit juices are highly processed to extract the juice from the fruit, and then pasteurized to destroy pathogens. Even if you choose juice that has no sugar added, which the article recommends doing, these processes eliminate or damage many of the fruit’s beneficial nutrients. Furthermore, fruit juice is high in sugar, even if none is added. Without the fiber from the original fruit, the sugar may very well cause blood sugar fluctuation which certainly isn’t good for performance and can also compromise your health if it happens frequently enough.

A much better approach to reduce inflammation would be to adjust your overall diet to exclude the foods that promote it and include more of the foods that prevent it. Any food that’s processed or high in sugar is likely to promote inflammation, as will dairy and grain based foods for the many people who have trouble digesting them. In contrast, following a diet based mostly on natural whole foods will be much less likely to promote inflammation, and including more high quality seafood will provide a balanced intake of essential fatty acids which will help to reduce inflammation even further.

Finally, the research presented makes the antioxidant effects of cherries sound very promising, but to take advantage of this, it would make more sense, be more nutritious, and likely be more effective to eat fresh cherries instead of drinking highly processed cherry juice.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cold weather talking

I ran this morning (two Weds in a row!) Yes, the temp was in the single digits but with little to no wind it didn't bother me, until I tried to speak.

I stopped at Dunkins for a coffee on the way home -- and could barely tell the barrista (do they call them that at Dunkins? - ha) what I wanted. My mouth was completely numb. It was quite humorous.

I've noticed an inability to speak well during very cold weather runs in the past -- but I have never heard other people mention it. Is it just me?

Please post thoughts to comments.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Why We Should All Eat Avocado

No track tonight instead 10x Sturgis St Hill sprints

Unfortunately many people avoid Avocados when trying to eat healthy due to their high fat content. This is very unfortunate as they are packed with nourishing fats and anti-oxidants. It is packed with Mono-Unsaturated fat which:

* Speeds up your metabolism.
* Gives you a feeling of fullness.
* Nourishes the Skin and Joints
* Soothes the gut and digestive system.


More info on Spirulina

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids (a type of antioxidant that can help protect cells from damage). It contains nutrients, including B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid).

Spirulina -- like any blue-green algae -- can be contaminated with toxic substances called microcystins, and can also absorb heavy metals if any are present in the water where it is grown. For these reasons, it is important to buy spirulina from a trusted brand.


Sunday, January 10, 2010


Spirulina is microalgae, powdery and brilliantly green, that is touted as a “superfood” because of its nutrient profile, which includes a lot of protein, vitamin B-12, the essential fatty acid GLA, beta-carotene, iron, and other vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. It is sold in powder and capsule forms as a nutritional supplement to be added to smoothies and such.

While it is not often claimed that spirulina affects exercise performance, a team of Greek researchers went ahead and investigated the effects of spirulina on running performance. Nine moderately trained male subjects received either supplemental spirulina or placebo daily for four weeks. Before and after this intervention, all of the subjects ran on a treadmill at 70-75 percent VO2max for two hours and then at 95 percent VO2max to failure. The whole experiment was then repeated with subject who received spirulina the first time receiving placebo the second time and vice versa.

On average, subjects were able to run more than 30 percent longer after spirulina supplementation (about two minutes and 40 seconds with spirulina versus 2:03 without). Researchers also found that spirulina supplementation increased fat oxidation and reduced carbohydrate oxidation during the two-hour run and reduced oxidative stress and increased antioxidant activity after exercise.

It is possible that spirulina supplementation enhanced performance in the high-intensity portion of the workout by reducing carbohydrate use and thus leaving more carbohydrate available. But spirulina’s antioxidant affects may also have played a role in boosting endurance at 95 percent VO2max, as free radical build-up in the muscles during exercise is an underappreciated cause of fatigue.

The study was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Inflammation – The Root of All Evil (health-wise, anyway)

Many of us associate inflammation with what happens in the picture above. A bug bites you on the arm, and that area gets inflamed. Eating certain foods causes inflammation to happen internally – at a CELLULAR level. The cells in your body literally get irritated and swell. Glutens, saturated fats, high-glycemic foods, and high-carb/low protein diets are main causes of inflammation, and unfortunately very common in today's eating culture. Studies show that inflammation continues to be linked to a laundry list of chronic diseases. Reducing inflammation will ensure health and longevity, and even alleviate joint pain and stiffness.

Here are the key things that have been proven to reduce inflammation:

* Take your Omega 3's Long chain not the short chain omega 3
* Balance your meals (to avoid insulin spikes which put the immune system on high alert, thus creating an inflammatory cellular reaction)
* Eliminate glutens, and replace it with fruits and vegetables.
* Eat lots of leafy green vegetables, minimize starchy vegetables (i.e. potatoes)
* Take a blood test regularly

Friday, January 8, 2010

Anaerobic Training For Runners

Written By: Matt Fitzgerald

Often I hear athletes talk about “going anaerobic” when their running intensity exceeds the anaerobic or lactate threshold, which is a moderately high but not extremely high intensity—one that most fit individuals can sustain for a full hour. This expression—“going anaerobic”—reflects an incorrect belief that the working muscles get their energy either entirely aerobically or entirely anaerobically, whereas in fact they almost always get their energy from both systems simultaneously, with the balance shifting gradually from aerobic toward anaerobic as exercise intensity increases. And indeed, exercise intensity must increase far above the lactate threshold before the muscles even get a majority of their energy anaerobically. If you were to run as far as you could in two minutes (in other words, as hard as you could for two minutes), your muscles would get about half of their energy aerobically during that effort.

Read More

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Early morning run

For various and sundry reasons (many of them not even legit) I haven't done a solo early morning run in several weeks. I finally forced myself out the door yesterday.

I had forgotten how much I enjoy running on cold winter mornings. The sky was perfectly clear with a half moon lighting my way. There was a bit too much ice but since there was no traffic I had the streets mostly to myself. I ambled along at my geriatric pace (even slower than usual as my weekly mileage has been in single digits since Oct) There was no wind at all so I quickly adapted to the cold and even regretted wearing my heavier gloves. I followed the New Year's course part way and relived last Friday's race, but imagined finishing with an 8 minute pace instead of closer to 9 :-)

I was surprised not to see other runners out and about -- in January I usually find myself passing groups of resolution runners, or groups starting their Boston training chatting excitedly and bouncing up and down as they go by.

Afterwards, I stopped at Dunkins for a coffee and walked the last 1/4 mi home.

This is a big reason why I run. I loved every minute of it. I hope that you find the same satisfaction from your runs and take the time to go it alone once in a while.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


9x400's in groups of 3 get faster




Challenge 1 minute of stott presses 14

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain*

How does Dr. Oz recommend we detoxify our livers? Let’s read and see.

I like a simple cleansing fast as an easy, inexpensive means of flushing out toxins and rebooting the system (a juice detox, say, which involves a short-term diet of raw vegetables, fruit juices and water). But it is important to remember that detoxifying the liver, the organ responsible for detoxing our bodies, would take a month of healthy living.


Let me see if I get this straight. You detoxify your liver by a fruit-juice fast, right? Which means throwing back at least three or four glasses of fruit juice a day. Okay, got it.

Sounds great. But bit of critical thinking.
Read More

Saturday, January 2, 2010

BU Mini Meet

I went in the BU mini meet again today. Decided to try the 400 and 800 meters. I got there at 9am. Thinking it started at 9 . I was wrong it starts at 10. Ok need to make myself comfortable I'm going to be here a while. 1st event the 3k(200 meters short of 2 miles) I watched this guy run 8.18 which is 4.27 pace wow.I bumped into Chas in there so I had some to watch in the 200's. He runs a fast time 25.58 wins his heat.
I start to warm up the milers are going at it. The 1st heat the winner runs a 4:10. The guy who ran the 3k was in that heat also runs a 4:16. Patrick shows up and he's in my heat that's cool. He has lane 1 and I have lane 2.I'm going to try to stay with Patrick as long as I can. Its Patrick and I and 4 women. I'm not wearing a watch. There's no time to even look at your watch. We line up after the 150 meter mark. You don't have run in your lanes.The gun fires Patrick quickly catches me and passes me my the first turn.Patrick hits the 150 mark 1st. I think I hit it 2nd but the women are right on me.I'm passed by a few women at the 200 split. I'm like I have hold on for another 200 meters this is going to be tough.I hit the 300 meter mark my legs are like someone is pouring cement into them.The 50 meter was brutal. I end up 4th out of 6 with 1:02:58. I was very happy with that time. Now I'm think I have to run 800. There's about 6 heats before me and I'm feeling the effects of a max effort 400. I start running slow laps after about 5 minutes. I'm still feeling the 400.I start doing some dynamic drills and about 5 minutes later I'm feeling a lot better.

The 800 its me vs the Holy Cross women's track team. I'm the only guy out there. We all start from the line. I'm in 7th person over, so I'm not going to try to get to the corner first.We come around the first I'm in dead last.The was a lot of jockeying for position and people cutting in front of you. I wasn't used to that and your forced to change your stride a lot. I can hear Patrick yelling about that at me.We hit the 400 mark still in last but feeling pretty good.Bell lap and after the 1st turn I'm up on 3 runner and I'm able to pass them. One turn to go I'm in lane 2 and another runner in lane 1. We are neck and neck. I hear Patrick yelling. Some how I'm able to out kick her. Finished up with 2:29:11. I felt so much better in the 800 than the 400. I told Patrick the 800 was easier than the 400. All and all a good time. Things were moving so fast I can baring rememeber them. I'v figure one thing out. I can only race against women and most of them beat

Friday, January 1, 2010

The pre race report

New Year's Day Race Report

The weather today was near perfect for a winter race -- no wind and relatively mild temps. I ended up 44:xx. It should've been much easier than it actually was but I'm not going to complain. I've taken a couple of weeks off from running to take care of some knee pain - which left me in no position to actually race today. Thanks to Chris for staying with me and to all of the volunteers who helped pull the race together. It went off without a hitch, and continues to be my favorite race of the year.

During the race, I was tailgating some poor dude from Winchester who eventually turned around and said "DO YOU WANT TO PASS ME?" I didn't realize we were trailing him so closely but I do know what it feels like to have some loser right behind me the entire race. Sorry guy, but it helped pace me.

Major props to Bob O - who lit the course up today.

After the race (and before too many beers) several of us decided that we would join Noel in next year's polar bear New Year's dip in the ocean. I have to admit that it's something I'd like to do once in my life, and it might as well be next year. So far, we have Noel, Shawn, Sarah, and Chris on board. Anyone else?