Friday, April 30, 2010

The Importance of Hip Mobility

Everyone has to pick up groceries, or walk up stairs, or perform any number of mundane tasks requiring the use of joints and limbs. If those joints and limbs are going to be useful, they have to be mobile. They need a full range of motion.

And if you are an athlete, mobility is even more important. Strength without the ability to move your body and limbs fully and completely – without the ability to use your strength in the real world – is pointless. Strength development itself suffers without proper joint mobility. The strongest lifters are the ones who move weights (or just themselves) through the full range of motion using compound movements and utilizing healthy, active joints. If you have poor joint mobility, performing quality squats, deadlifts, presses – any compound movement that requires precision and communication between joints and limbs – it’s going to be that much harder, and the risk for injury that much higher.

Power output and speed will be compromised with poor joint mobility. When you shoot a rubber band, the farther back you pull it, the more tension there is, and the farther it shoots. The greater your joint mobility, the greater your range of motion, and the more tension – and therefore power – you’ll be able to generate.

Our joints, limbs, and muscles represent a collective of individual pieces, all working together to move the body, manipulate objects, and propel us through three dimensional space. Mobility in all areas is crucial, but it helps to consider them in segments. After all, different people will have different levels of mobility in different areas of the body. Perhaps the most common mobility deficiency resides in the hips. In my own case, it was a lack of hip mobility that was the proximate cause of my downfall as a runner/triathlete. I basically “seized up” after fifteen years of overuse in a very limited plane of movement.

People have forgotten (or don’t know) how to use their hips the way evolution designed them to be used. Instead of sitting back with their hips to pick something up, followed by a hip extension (thrust forward) to bring it up, they’ll bend at the waist and lift with the lower back. Picking up a potted plant? You can get away with poor hip mobility – for a while. Picking up a weighted barbell, a child or a bag of peat moss with poor hip mobility using your lower back? That’s an injury waiting to happen.

We sit too much. I know I do, and it’s especially bad to do so right after working out (yet I still do it sometimes). Sitting impacts hip mobility in two major ways: it weakens the glutes and it shortens the hip flexors. Both your glutes and your hip flexors figure prominently in the activation of your hips, so when they’re weak and/or inactive, the lower back takes over. Now, the lower back, or the lumbar spine, isn’t designed for a ton of activity. It’s mainly there to provide support and stability. It’s the core, after all. But with poor hip mobility brought on by excessive sitting and a weak posterior chain, your hip extension is no longer sufficient, and in comes the lower back. That potted plant is beginning to look a little heavier, eh? And that’s not even mentioning the barbell.

It’s a shame, because our hips are obviously designed to generate a ton of power. The ligaments, the tendons, the musculature, and the bones in that region are all dense, hardy, and robust – they’re made for activity and mobility – but too many people are selling their hips short. And when that happens, the other joints and muscles (like knees or lumbar spines) have to pick up the slack. It’s an adaptive mechanism that perhaps any multi-limbed animal possesses: the quick substitution for an injured limb/joint by an adjacent one. It’s not meant to be a lasting solution, though. We’re not meant to limp through life using one joint to do another’s prescribed task. It just doesn’t work, and it’s exactly why most people lift with their backs instead of their hips and then complain about back or knee pain.

Restoring hip mobility will help in several areas. It should reduce or eliminate lower back and/or knee pain stemming from overcompensation. It should improve your power output by allowing you to fully engage your posterior chain in training exercises like squats, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, and any of the Olympic lifts, while making them safer. It should improve the strength and power of your hip extension, extremely vital for performance of the aforementioned lifts, but also for vertical leaps, sprinting, and any basic explosive movement. It will improve your rotational strength; instead of rotating with the lumbar spine (a huge no-no), you’ll generate power with the hips – perfect for throwing a good punch, swinging a golf club, or tossing a big rock at prey. It’ll improve speed, especially sprinting speed.

Most of all, hip mobility will improve your relationship with the rest of your body. Because the hips are the most common sites of poor mobility, many people are walking around with dysfunctions borne of overcompensation. Fixing hip mobility won’t fix everything, but it will eliminate a major stressor on your system as a whole and allow you to focus on the smaller, but no less important, sites and joints.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

High Cortisol

High Cortisol

We all have stress in our lives. The problems begin when we can’t handle the stresses that are thrown our way. That is when stress starts negatively impacting our health. Chronic elevated levels of corisol is just one symptom of that impact.


* Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress


* Stress management – meditation, breathing techniques, psychiatry, psychotherapy, mindfulness practice, biofeedback + a million more techniques available on late-night infomercials and the inter-web.
* Insulin control diet – Paleo/Atkins/Mediterranean
* Reduce intake of stimulants
* Supplements – Multi-Vitamin/Mineral, magnesium, B5, B6, Phosphatidylserine, adaptogens such as ginseng – talk to your naturopath.
* Get your hormone levels checked

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


A good crowd up at the track on rainy chilly night. We ran 5x800's 4 mins rest.
Chris Negron was running his sub 2:30

my splits


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cruciferous Vegetables

Probiotics/prebiotics can alter gut bacteria, but clearly food is a primary factor. This is a neat study that tested the potential of cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli) to alter gut flora.

Subjects consumed refined grains with no fruits and vegetables (sounds like the typical American diet!). Then they added only cruciferous vegetables to the diet. Just this addition was enough to alter gut bacteria. The results were individual-specific, but the addition of crucifers did sucessfully alter the balance of gut bacteria in the subjects.

As the old saying goes, everyone should eat their broccoli.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Is eating less saturated fat and more carb good for the heart?

Is eating less saturated fat and more carb good for the heart? Actually, the reverse may be true.
Posted on 7 April 2010
Dr Briffa

If you want to cut your risk of heart disease, reduce intake of saturated fat and eat more carbohydrate. That’s what most doctors, dieticians and Governments would have us believe. So it must be true, right? It’s a message we’ve heard a thousand times, so surely is based on sound science?

So what does happen when individuals follow this ‘eat less saturated fat/eat more carb’ advice? Well, one way to attempt to find out would be to monitor people’s eating habits over time, and see what relationship exists between eating habits and risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction). A study published today did just that. Its subjects were more than 53,000 individuals assessed over an average of about 12 years [1].

This study looked at not just the association between saturated fat and carbohydrate and risk of heart attack, but also the type of carbohydrate consumed. Specifically, the authors of this study looked at whether the extent to which the carbohydrate eaten disrupted blood sugar levels had any apparent impact of heart attack risk. Individuals in the study were split into three groups according to the glycaemic index of the carbs they ate (low, medium and high). Higher GI foods are generally associated with biochemical and physiological changes that have adverse effects on health.

In summary, this study found that:

Substituting low-GI carbs for saturated fat was not associated with a statistically significant risk in heart attack risk.

Substituting medium-GI carbs for saturated fat was not associated with a statistically significant risk in heart attack risk.

Substituting high-GI carbs for saturated fat was associated with a statistically significant risk in heart attack risk. Increased risk was to the tune of 33 per cent.

One of the interesting things about this study was how its authors reported the results. In their conclusion, they state: “This study suggests that replacing SFAs [saturated fatty acids] with carbohydrates with low-GI values is associated with a lower risk of MI [myocardial infarction], whereas replacing SFAs with carbohydrates with high-GI values is associated with a higher risk of MI.” The latter comment is correct. The former is not: the results clearly show no statistically significant reduction in risk with the lower-GI carbs. Even scientists, from time to time, won’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

What the results actually suggest, however unpalatable, is this: taking saturated fat out and putting carbohydrate in its place at best will do nothing in terms of heart attack risk, and at worst actually increases risk.

Now of course this is just one study, and it’s epidemiological in nature, which means it looks at associations between things but cannot really be used to prove one thing (e.g. less sat fat, more carb) is causing another (e.g. increased risk of heart disease). However, it’s not the only study that has found such a thing. Only last year saw the publication of another study (this one, an analysis of 11 studies lumped together) which linked swapping carb for saturated fat with an increased risk of ‘coronary events’ [2].

I’ve yet to see any convincing evidence that taking conventional advice and replacing saturated fat with carb improves heart health. Evidence in this area suggests no effect or a worsening of risk. And if these broad findings reflect reality, we might ask how this can be.

Well, the explanation perhaps lies in two key facts:

1. There really is no good evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease (there really isn’t). For more on this, see here.

2. Evidence suggests that carbohydrate, and particularly relatively high-GI varieties, induce changes in the biochemistry and physiology of the body that would be expected to increase the risk of heart disease. See here for more about this.

Now, I suspect these inconvenient truths will not stop some from chanting the low fat/high-carb mantra. Not so long ago I wrote about how the UK’s Food Standards Agency’s Chief Scientist (no less) apparently sees fit to keep his own blog a largely science-free zone.

His last attempt to convince us of the ‘facts’ without science prompted a barrage of criticism which has been met, by the Chief Scientist, with nothing more than stony silence.

Now, the next time someone urges you to cut back on saturated fat and eat more carbs for the sake of your heart, I urge you to ask for the science on which this advice is based. Because from what I can tell, this oft-quoted piece of dietary dogma is nothing more than an old wives’ t

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Training Myths

1. Static stretching prepares you for competition/practice.

Static stretching actually reduces power output. Athletes should prepare for practice by doing a dynamic warm up that progresses from basic, low intensity movements to faster, more explosive movements as the muscles loosen up. The goal is to simulate movements that athletes will be using in practice or a game. What happens when you try to stretch a cold rubber band? You can think about your muscles the same way.

2. Strength training makes females too bulky

Many of the female athletes we train have this popular mindset. However, look at some elite female athletes like Mia Hamm or Lisa Leslie. They certainly train with weights, but no one would accuse them of having manly physiques. Strength training will improve performance and reduce injury if done correctly.

3. You can’t train speed.

For some reason, the popular belief is that you’re born with a certain amount of “speed” and you can’t improve it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most young athletes are so physically weak and mechanically out of tune that significant improvements in speed can be made often just by working on technique and form. Athletes at any age and any level can improve speed when implementing a complete speed training program designed to improve and develop the entire athlete. {Use the link for the words “speed training” in the last sentence.}

4. Training slow makes you fast.

I don’t think coaches directly think this way but their training techniques imply otherwise. This is especially true in sports that involve a higher aerobic element such as soccer, field hockey, or lacrosse. I see kids out running mileage and doing long, slow intervals of several minutes of continuous running. This will get them in shape. However, in games, I see kids jogging, jogging and then sprinting at full speed for 20–30 yards. Then they run, jog, and sprint for 20–30 more yards. If you want kids to improve their acceleration and top speed so that they can get to the ball faster or get back on defense, you have to train by running at full speed in practice.

5. You must train hard every day.

The workout itself is only a piece of the training puzzle. It’s the time between intense workouts—the recovery—where athletes make their improvements. Generally, it takes 36–48 hours to recover from high intensity training. If athletes are doing too much too often, they become overtrained. Coaches can expect to see an increase in injuries, complaints about being sore more often, decreased performance, and higher levels of fatigue earlier in games. It’s always better to under train an athlete than overtrain. Err on the side of caution to get maximal results.

6. The harder the workout, the better the result.

Some athletes (and coaches) have this mentality that if a workout doesn’t reduce them to complete exhaustion and/or make them vomit, it wasn’t an effective workout. I can tell you that those who have this mentality probably see many injuries and frustrating performances. The purpose of a workout is to stimulate an adaptation by the body. If the body is forced to do too much work in a given time period, it will break down. The skill in coaching is to stimulate the adaptation in the body without reaching a point of diminishing returns.

7. Interval training is the same as speed training.

Repeatedly running 100s, 200s, etc. won’t improve top speeds. Even running repeat 40s with short recovery periods won’t improve acceleration and top speed. Speed work is defined as 2–8 seconds of maximal intensity running with full recovery. That means there should be at least two minutes of light dynamic movement between each effort. This goes against the experience of some coaches but is the only way to improve speed. An athlete must be able to focus on proper form and maintain intensity in order to get faster. If they don’t recover properly from each interval, they won’t be able to replicate proper mechanics with consistency and they can’t improve.

8. Flexibility won’t help you get faster.

Both coaches and athletes spend so much time on the skills of their sport, speed training, and conditioning, they often forget a fundamental component of success—flexibility. After practice or a game, the muscles are warm and loose. This is the time to work on increasing flexibility. So many athletes suffer injuries or compete below their capacity because poor flexibility inhibits their range of motion and speed. We see this in the hips and hip flexors where the stride lengths of athletes appear conspicuously short. Most often we see this in male athletes who will lift weights, train hard, and then skip out on their cool down and flexibility work.

9. Lift your knees.

When parents and coaches want their kids to run faster or when the kids are beginning to fatigue, I hear many yell at the kids, “Lift your knees. Get your knees up.” This is one of the most backward cues that we can give to athletes. The way to run faster is to apply more force to the ground. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction so the more force that you apply to the ground, the more the ground will give back. So when we cue athletes to lift their knees, we’re doing two things incorrectly. One, we’re telling them to use their hip flexors to lift instead of their glutes and hamstrings to drive down. Just think about the size of your hip flexor versus the size of your glutes and hamstrings. Now which muscles do you think can create more force and therefore more speed?

Second, we’re cueing them to do a movement that is in opposition to what generates speed. If an athlete learns at age seven to lift his knees when he needs a burst of speed, the improper cue will be hardwired into his brain. To unlearn that as a teenager and to do the opposite and drive down will delay the athlete’s progress. He or she will have a difficult time coordinating an entirely new way of running and will potentially have to take a step or two backward. That’s why it’s critical to learn proper form early and get an advantage over those who still aren’t getting the best instruction. So cue athletes to step over the opposite knee and drive the foot down into the ground with the foot landing underneath the hip.

By Patrick Beith is the co-owner of Athletes’ Acceleration, Inc. He holds his bachelor’s of science degree in exercise physiology and is recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCS), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (PES), the American College of Sports Medicine (HFI), the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA), and the USA Track and Field Coaching Level II (jumps, sprints, hurdles, and relays).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


We had a big crowd up there for the 1st night of track. Probably my favorite workout 10x400's with 2.30 rest. We had Ray Johnson and Chris Smith leading the pack and pulling us along. They probably ran 70-72's for there 10. Everyone looked real fast up there tonight. Every Tuesday Night the place to be is the Woburn Track.......

My 400's


We did tabata burpees and lunges as a cool down ....

Saturday, April 17, 2010

TOTAL 425......

Linda placed 1st in her weight class at her gym's in-house comp....
She had 3 shots for a max lift at the back squat, shoulder press and dead lift.

Her total was 425....very impressive.....

Friday, April 16, 2010


Food is an important part of your training regimen and how you eat will determine how you look, feel and perform. Your muscles are fueled by something called glycogen and this glycogen is basically sugar in your muscles that gives the muscle fibers energy to contract. Everything that you do to workout is based around this glycogen and after your workout everything is based around getting the glycogen back and strengthening those muscle fibers. If you lift heavy and eat clean you will get strong and lean, however if you lift heavy and eat crappy you will get some strong and lots of big. What I often hear and see is "I will eat crappy today and run it off tomorrow". Technically yes you could eat a 5000 calorie meal and do a workout the next day burning 5000 or more calories however realistically this will not happen (unless you are Michael Phelps). More important than calories there is an associated hormonal response which occurs from your food. When you eat an unbalanced high fat/carb meal it spikes blood sugar and throws off your hormonal balance and shifts from using fat as the primary fuel source (ideal) to glycogen as the primary fuel source. This explains why some people work out intensely and still complain about stubborn belly fat… change your fuel and you will change your fitness.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Preparing for Hot Weather

Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2010 by Jane Hahn
How to alter your 10K training, half-marathon training, marathon training, or triathlon training to get acclimated to the heat

The fitter you are, the better your body can tolerate exercise in the heat. But no matter how fit you’ve become during your winter 10K training, half-marathon training, marathon training, or triathlon training, your body still needs some time to adapt to hot weather conditions.

By modifying your workouts during the first long string of summer-like temps, your body will adapt by increasing its sweating capacity and reducing the electrolyte concentration of the sweat to boost your ability to maintain a safe core body temperature. So try this when the first really hot day comes:

• Do a shorter- and slower-than-normal workout.

• Go a little farther and a little faster on each subsequent hot day.

• Expect that it will take about 10 days for the body to fully acclimatize to the heat.

• Complete this process and you can train more or less normally through the rest of the summer.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Running News

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - In front of 710 fans, freshman Robby Andrews opened his 2010 outdoor track and field season running a personal-best 4:01.53 in the mile run to break the meet record set by former Cavalier All-American Andrew Jesien at 4:02.18 last season


Participation in USA road races was up 16% in the first quarter, according to an exclusive survey by Race Results Weekly, an industry news and results service.
In a survey of 75 American road running events held in the first three months of 2010 in 18 states plus the District of Columbia a total of 477,787 finishers were reported, up 66,727 finishers, or 16.2%, compared to last year. Percentage changes ranged from +92.3% for the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8-K in Chicago, which had a depressed turnout in 2009 due to a spring snowstorm, to -20.9% for the Union-Tribune Race for Literacy 8-K in San Diego, Calif., which changed its date from May to March and was held in rainy weather.

Hallie Kulhman , now in her Sophomore year in high school, won the Class 1A 100M, 200M, 400M, and 800M races at the Kansas State High School Track and Field Championships last season as a Freshman. The order in which the races are run at the track meet calls for an extremely high capacity for work and fast recovery as the 400 and 800 are separated only by the 300M hurdles and the 200M is immediately following the 800. This incredible feat placed her second in the team standings with 40 points. She trains using a mix of Crossfit, Crossfit Endurance, and adding in a good bit of sprint training and barefoot running. Her work ethic is unreal. Add in the fact that the only track in town is cinder which makes it difficult to work on starts and acceleration phases make this feat even more unbelievable.
Hallie also excels in the sport of powerlifting where she placed 2nd overall in her weight class at the Kansas Class 1A State Powerlifting meet (Bench, Squat, Clean). Hallie is a three sport athlete and started on the Volleyball team which won a league title and is now the starting point guard for the basketball team.

100M – 12.3
200M – 26.2
400M – 57.8
800M – 2:20

2 APRIL 2010: The world's coolest marathon, the North Pole Marathon, took place in near blizzard conditions on 7th April. Twenty-five athletes from 10 countries braved 45km per hour winds, sub-zero temperatures and snowdrifts to complete the 42.2km race at the top of the world.

Marathoners first flew by jet from Spitsbergen, Norway to a drifting Russian camp at the Geograhic North Pole on 6th April. On the following day, the race commenced at 15:00 GMT in less than ideal conditions for runners. Although the core temperature did not plummet to the -37C experienced in the 2009 event, strong winds led to snowdrifts developing on the course and wind chill temperatures that reached -20C on occasion.

But despite the strong winds and unfavourable terrain on the frozen Arctic sea ice, every competitor managed to finish the race.

In the men's event, Joep Rozendal, a former Dutch marine, began to take control at the half-way point. Over the first 20km, the lead had changed several times with Rik Vercoe (Great Britain) and Yen-Po Chen (Taiwan) also vying for top spot in the opening stages of the race. However, Rozendal went on to record a victory over his competitors and the elements to win in a time of 5:00:58. Vercoe finished second in 5:07:30 with Chen, a 2:30 marathoner in normal conditions, coming third in 5:29:47.

Four women took part in the women's competition. Emer Dooley of Ireland
proved a decisive winner in a time of 5:56:54 while Julia Tizard (Great Britain) and Sarah Oliphant (USA) finished second and third, respectively.

Jamie Cuthbertson, a 49-year-old former British Royal Engineers captain, also succeeded in a challenge of a lifetime to finish the marathon. Cuthbertson lost his sight in an explosion in 1986, but accompanied by his guide, Alex Pavanello, he demonstrated it was no impediment to his ability to complete the world's coolest marathon.

After a celebration at the Pole, all compeititors returned to Norway on 9th April.

The next North Pole Marathon is provisionally scheduled for 7th April 2011. For more details, see

Men's Marathon
Name Time
1. Joep Rozendal (Netherlands) 5:00:58 Bib No. 21
2. Rik Vercoe (Great Britain) 5:07:30 Bib No. 7
3. Yen-Po Chen (Taiwan) 5:29:47 Bib No. 6
4. Michael Stashin (Canada) 6:07:27 Bib No. 22
5. Luis Pallares (Spain) 6:21:15 Bib No. 16
6. Andrew Carnie (Great Britain) 6:39:01 Bib No. 4
7. Paddy Clark (Great Britain) 6:48:25 Bib No. 26
8. Matt Nicholls (Great Britain) 7:11:04 Bib No. 13
9. Brent Underdahl (Canada) 7:17:36 Bib No. 25
10. Mark Fell (Great Britain) 7:21:14 Bib No. 10
=10. Zachary Reeder (USA) 7:21:14 Bib No. 19
12. Ben Boyne (Great Britain) 7:31:05 Bib No. 3
13. Jamie Cuthbertson (Great Britain) 7:37:02 Bib No. 8
=13. Alex Pavanello (Great Britain) 7:37:02 Bib No. 17
15. Andrei Rosu (Romania) 7:53:58 Bib No. 20
16. Terry Harker (Canada) 8:09:02 Bib No. 11
17. Krzysztof Szachna (Poland) 8:36:07 Bib No. 23
18. Michael Langton (Great Britain) 8:43:06 Bib No. 12
19. Arnold Oliphant (USA) 8:44:24 Bib No. 14
20. Delbert Baker (USA) 8:48:12 Bib No. 4
21. Jason Bolton (Great Britain) 9:50:22 Bib No. 2

Women's Marathon
Name Time
1. Emer Dooley (Ireland) 5:56:54 Bib No. 9
2. Julia Tizard (Great Britain) 7:31:05 Bib No. 24
3. Sarah Oliphant (USA) 7:58:14 Bib No. 15
4. Ivano Pilarova (Czech Republic) 7:59:56 Bib No. 18

Monday, April 12, 2010

This should be a joke but its not..

Gwyneth Paltrow's Workout Routine
Uploaded by vidavivien. - Discover more life & style videos.

Key points
No women should lift more then 3 pounds....
You can either starve yourself or do tons of cardio...
Wave your arms around a lot..
Dance your your room in 80 degree temperature ....

I can believe she put this on video......

A article I in found in the NY Times

Lifting heavy weights makes you big and bulky — or at least that’s the conventional wisdom. It’s the reason many women (and some men) who want slim and “toned” physiques opt for lighter weights, lifted more times.

But the notion is not supported by science. Producing bulky muscles requires not just heavy weights but heavy calorie consumption as well, typically far above the 2,000 daily calories recommended for many adults.

For people who lift weights to tone up and slim down, experts say, a regimen that includes a combination of challenging weights and fewer repetitions can help significantly. In a 2002 study, for example, scientists looked at what happened when women performed various resistance exercises at different weights and repetitions (85 percent of their maximum ability for 8 reps, versus 45 percent for 15). Subjects lifting more weight fewer times burned more energy and had a greater metabolic boost after exercise.

In another study published last year, scientists followed 122 women for six years. They found that those who were assigned to do resistance exercises three times a week — sets of 8 reps at 70 to 80 percent of their ability — lost the most weight and body fat. A similar two-year study of women who did strength training with challenging weight twice weekly found similar effects on body and “intra-abdominal” fat.

Back from Comp

Things went well in Queens on Sunday. Got new PR's in the snatch and clean and jerk

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Off to Comp.......

Heading down to the Master O-lifting comp down in Queens. Should be interesting to say the least. This was a taper week ,more or less I'v only working out with a empty bar...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I want you all to understand just how important insulin is

More nutritional thoughts from One World trainer Alex Cardenas.

Insulin is a metabolic hormone that is responsible for the transport of sugar from the bloodstream into the cell where ATP is produced. Without insulin, sugar stays in the blood stream. Insulin is the key that opens the door to sugar and without it sugar stays in the bloodstream. The cell in demand of sugar screams to the body, “Gimme some damn sugar.” Without insulin the only solution the body can respond with is switching over from carbohydrate to fat breakdown. Also known as gluconeogenisis, or the formation of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources. This is a complicated process but simply put, the body will break down fats, which is where we see the the loss in weight.

For years, we have heard that reducing fat intake is the only way to lose weight. We have seen companies make billions of dollars on fruitless products that claim they have the answer to weight loss. Our children are besieged by television adds and allured at school by vending machines that sell high fructose at high value. It’s not a conspiracy, but it is an attack that we fail to address. As the pundits scream low-fat, low calorie as our only viable hope for health, our statistics paint a different picture. Obesity is on the rise, and our kids are the main target of this dreadful pathogen.

So I ask all of those scholars who feel low fat low calorie diets are the only hope to weight loss, “Why does a type one diabetic who is not taking insulin lose weight at an uncontrolled rate despite the increase in appetite and food intake that includes fat?”

The mayo clinic identifies unexplained weight loss as a clinical symptom for an individual who loses the ability to produce insulin.

The mayo clinic also states the following;
“Insulin and weight gain go hand and hand.”
“Weight gain is a common side effect for people who begin to take insulin therapy.”

So I’m following the advice of physiology and preaching insulin regulation not diet starvation.

Contrast a type one diabetic and a type two diabetic and you will see that the type one diabetic, or the one who does not produce insulin is thin and frail while the one that produces too much insulin is obese.

Many diabetics who after initiating insulin therapy gain 10-15 pounds immediately after taking the first dose. Pharmaceutical companies who see these side effects provide patient education on the frustrations of weight gain after initiation of insulin therapy.

When we, those who are healthy, eat a carbohydrate it will eventually break down to its simplest form, a sugar (glucose) molecule. The more carbohydrates we eat then naturally the higher the circulating sugar molecules in our blood. Because our bodies are healthy, our pancreas will send insulin to regulate the amount of sugar that circulates in our blood. Remember this, the more carbohydrates (most vegetables excluded) the higher the sugar content in our blood, the higher the insulin levels that are released.

So everything that I have talked about to this point is to give you a better understanding to why ketogenic diets work.

We know that insulin leads to weight gain.
We know that insulin is released in response to carbohydrate intake.
We know that a decrease in insulin level will lead to an increase in weight loss by switching from carbohydrate use to fat break down.
If we decrease our carbohydrate intake, we can decrease insulin, and increase weight loss dramatically.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What Are Medium Chain Triglycerides Food For?

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are a type of fat that get their name from their chemical structure. They contain fatty acid chains with six to 10 carbon atoms, which is fewer than are contained in long chain triglycerides. Because of the difference in their chemical structure, the two types of fats are metabolized very differently. MCT are more water soluble and are less prone to storage in adipose tissue. They are also more readily used by the muscles during exercise and they are even more satiating than long chain fats. In fact, MCT's are among the most satiating of all fats. Researchers have studied the effect of MCT on both exercise performance and body weight/body composition. In a new review, researchers from Oxford University analyzed past studies on these uses of MCT and concluded, "From a health perspective, MCT increase fat oxidation and energy expenditure as well as reduce food intake and beneficially alter body composition. Results indicate that MCT feeding is ineffective in improving exercise performance and future work should focus on the health benefits and applications of MCT."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Simple Paradigm - Time For Adaptation

When you think about going for the quick fix, just quickly run this simple paradigm through your head. It all relates to time for adaptation. Nothing complicated. Don’t over think this. This is a just a general guideline, a reminder, that the process of adaption to training takes time.

Flexibility improves day to day

Strength can be improved from week to week

Speed (A fine motor quality) improves from month to month

Work Capacity improves from year to year

Based on the law of reversibility

You can lose flexibility from day to day

You can lose strength week to week

Speed declines month to month

Work Capacity declines year to year.

From Functional Path

I ran 10x200's with 45 seconds rest tonight.

Woburn beat Lexington in Track also.........

Sunday, April 4, 2010

How do you over use your muscles ?

Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee pain and tennis elbow are just some of the many conditions that all have one important thing in common: They are often results of overused muscles.

How do over use muscles occur?

1) acute conditions such as: pulls, tears, collisions, etc

2) accumulation of small tears - something called micro trauma's

3) lack of oxygen, or hypoxia, typically found in tighter muscles

Each of these factors can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected areas. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue accumulates, muscles become shorter and weaker, while the tension on tendons can cause tendonitis and nerves can become entrapped. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength and eventually pain. If a nerve is entrapped you may also feel tingling, numbness and weakness.

The Cumulative Trauma Disorder and Cycle

As you can see, the acute injury (tear or crush) is the beginning. These are caused by repetitive movements or for most of us, from sitting. The repetitive positioning of sitting can actually cause many of the aches and pains that you deal with on a daily basis, simply put - posture. Poor posture is the result of repetitive sitting for extended periods of time.

As we move from acute injury to the inflammation response by the body we then bring about adhesion formation (or scarring) within the injured tissue. This leads to a weaken of that tissue as well as increased tension within it, leading to a combination of increased friction, pressure & tension which eventually will cause a Chronic Pain Cycle.

Injuries occur, or at least symptoms from these injuries, at any time along this cycle. The basis for symptoms is simply how weak, unstable or inflamed that particular tissue is. There are a host of variables that go along with that as well. For example: your job, stress, diet (what you eat more specifically), exercise or activity level and so on. These all play into your overall health and function.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup

HFCS is a difficult one. Some people believe it is an evil poison. Others believe it is no different than table sugar.

New research leaves us with a disturbing conclusion:

Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.
It gets worse. Rats fed High Fructose Corn Syrup also showed evidence of Metabolic Syndrome - "including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly."

This research complicates the belief that all calories are equal. It seems they are not, and if there's any advice we can take from this: choose sucrose over high fructose corn syrup.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The key to running fast on race day: Muscle Tension(Kind of Long but Interesting)

The problem arises when we need someone to be ready to race at a specific time. We’ve all experienced a race where we completely fell apart from the start of the race and felt completely off, despite going into the race with training going well. How does it happen?

Have you ever wondered why most coaches have you do strides the day before a race? Through experience, most have figured out that if you do just a little faster stuff the day before a race, you feel really good the next day. One of the reasons is muscle tension.

If you want an example of this, go sit on your bed with legs extended for a while. When you get up and jog around, your quads are tight. Why? Because they've been shortened for a long time because of the way you were sitting. Similarly, what happens after u sit in a car or airplane for a while? Your hamstrings are tight because they’ve been in a shortened position for a while. Because these muscles have been in shortened state for a while the body adjusts the resting tension. These are examples in a passive state, but it works very similarly in a dynamic state like running.

For running think of it like this, if we do a lot of long slow running or even a lot of threshold like running, the body is not worried about high force development, it is worried about efficiency. The length/tension needed for maximal force development is going to be different than that needed for a lot of medium force contractions. Your body is amazing at adapting so if you do a lot of work where only moderate contractions of mainly Slow Twitch and a little Fast Twitch-a fibers, then its going to adjust and optimize efficiency for this type of contraction. If you do this type of training continuously, then one day decide to perform a race that is much faster (let’s say 1500m pace) then your muscles are pre-conditioned to be most efficient at a lot of moderate contractions. Thus, you feel flat for that 1500m. Your tension wasn’t right going into it.

Applying this to running and peaking:
You know how you feel super bouncy or have a pop in your stride or you feel flat? That’s muscle tension. If you feel supper bouncy, you’re tension is probably pretty dang high. If you feel really flat and non-responsive, your tension is probably pretty dang low.

The last week or so before the big race, you’re not going to gain any fitness, so why workout and not just rest? Wouldn’t it make sense to just store up all that energy and be ready to race? Well, if you’ve ever backed off too much for a race, you know what happens. You feel horribly flat. The reason: you screwed this whole tension relationship up. The last week is about altering tension, not gaining fitness. It’s about getting a runner to the line with his muscles in the optimal place.

What’s optimal? It depends completely on the race and the person. In general, the shorter the event, the higher the tension needed. Contrasting this, the longer the race, lower the tension needed. This only makes sense if we think it about it logically. Having tension that is for high force might be great, but is it most efficient for an activity that takes a lot of small contractions? No. Similarly, with sprint events, having tension that is optimal for max force may seem like a great idea, but if it’s too high, then it might take longer to contract, thus a decrease in power. Not something we want.

And it is going to vary for each individual. Each individual will have a different fiber type make up that will alter his optimal tension. If we have an individual with a lot of Fast Twitch fibers, he’s probably going to need to be at a higher tension than someone with a lot of ST fibers, even if they are running the same race.

So how do you alter tension in running?

Increase it-
-Sprint work, both flat sprints and hill sprints
-Ballistic/Power work (think med ball throws, squat jumps,etc)
-faster Pace/rhythm work (i.e. for 5k runner, 1mi pace work)
-running in spikes, on harder surfaces

Decreases it-
-longer duration work
-Very taxing workouts (i.e. “anaerobic 400’s)
-threshold work
-moderate paced aerobic running
-soft surface running (sand, heavy grass, wood chip trails)

Now the above workouts will alter tension to a varying degree. Generally, the things listed first will impact a bigger alteration in tension than the things listed later.

Now modifying it and getting it right on the exact day is a work of art. It's hard to do. As a coach, you've got to be acutely aware of how the runner looks and feels. Look at their stride to see how responsive it is and ask the runners how it feels.
To what degree you alter tension depends on how far out you are from the competition. What I’ve found works best is if big changes are needed in altering tension, go for them further out from the race, then as the days get closer, go for small/tweaking changes. This generally works much better than waiting till the day before to try and make big changes in tension.

In looking at training there are a few options:
1. Increase tension dramatically- Sprints or hill sprints for example.
2. Increase tension slightly- ex: 8x200 at 2mi down to 1mi pace
3. Tension is good-maintain- either do race pace work, or blend work that has athletes do some moderate running and some fast running (ex: fartlek with 5min moderate segments to start and end with 10sec segments fast)
4. Decrease tension slightly- short threshold run
5. Decrease tension dramatically.- long run or long threshold run

What you do depends on what the athlete needs and how far out you are from a race. As I said, go for big changes far out (3-7days) and small changes closer. If big changes are needed closer to a race, know how an athlete reacts to certain types of training. I.e. he might get sore from flat sprints so while that may raise tension, it makes him sore so its useless. Generally with distance runners, you’ll almost never use option 5, unless it’s for a marathon. Below I’ll give you some examples of how this works:

If it's monday and an athlete is crazy bouncy, well, you might do something that slightly lowers tension, i.e. a short threshold run, then come back wed or thurs. with some short pace work, i.e. 200s at 3200 down to mile pace. The threshold run lowers tension, then later in the week, the pace work maintains tension or prevents the continued lowering from the threshold work combined with easy distance running.

If it's tuesday or wed. and they look pretty good, you might just do something to maintain. A combo of sorts. My favorite is 5min medium, 5 easy, 5 medium, 5 easy, 5min of 10sec sprint 50sec easy. Then strides the day before to raise tension a little and your good.

If it's early in the week and they look flat. faster work or sprint time. You have to be careful with sprints because if they haven’t done it in a while they'll get sore, so that would take away from the purpose.

Generally with true distance runners it's about raising tension b/c the mileage we do keeps it pretty low. Middle distance guys are a little more dicey.

Tension should also play a role in the pace of the strides done the day before a race.

I'll give you guys an example of when I nailed it with Ryan. Going into NXN south, Ryan was flat. Granted I'm not present so it's even harder to adjust tension. But anyways, he was flat on that sunday, monday. So, the only workout we did was tuesday. A mile in 4:33 on trails, then 5x 8-10sec hill sprints. The mile was just there to get some confidence and keep the body reminded of what it feels like to work pretty good and get out fast and relaxed. The real key was the hill sprints. Just 40-50seconds of total work. But they alter tension a lot. Come saturday, his legs felt great and he had his best race of the year. Now if only it was always that easy.