Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Run

 Part 3: The Run

Finally, onto the run. In this section the biggest thing I learned was that the majority of forces I have tostruggle with while runningare not horizontal, despite the fact that I am running forwards. The majority of forces are vertical. Studies done on elite runners show that their vertical displacement is less than 7.5cm from the ground on each stride. That’s about three inches. Next time you go run, take a note of how high you step each time, and then realize that for every little bit higher you step, you are forced to deal with far more force on the return to earth. That means you’re going to tire your legs out more and more and that will increase the amount of contact time on the ground. And this final part is very important - the higher you go in the air, the more energy you need to expend landing, decelerating, accelerating, and taking off from the ground again.

The solution to this is to run at a cadence of 180-190 steps per minute. Studies on this show that it decreases contact time on the ground by 32%, reduces vertical force displacement by 76%, and increases leg stiffness (how efficiently your legs are working in terms of absorbing and then redirecting the energy to keep you moving forward) by 100%.

The takeaway from the entire book is that pacing becomes important from the moment you get in the water. Swim too fast and risk slower times on the bike and run. Ride too fast and risk tired legs on the run. The use of a power meter at all distances beyond a sprint race will help to ensure you leave T2 as fresh as possible.

Overall, I thought Faster was a great read. It’s given me a lot to think about in terms of my own training. I think that any triathlete who is either racing for a front of the pack finish or just working to be the best they can be would enjoy this book immensely. It puts complicated science in terms that are easy to understand and then links it back to purchasing decisions. This is probably the best thing about the entire book. Triathlon can be an expensive sport, and people often feel like they need the latest and greatest to compete, but that isn’t the case as the Gourley explains quite clearly via research and science. Not only that but he has a great sense of humour and takes the boringness out of what could be an incredibly dry topic.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Seven Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Running

JASON FITZGERALD Strength Running Success in Distance Running Takes Time

A lot of time. Greg McMillan tells his elite runners that it takes 2-3 years to start seeing their potential. This amount of time is on top of their high school and college running years—so it’s really about 10 years. Distance running success is about consistency and a gradual, yet progressive, pattern of training.P

One of my previous problems is that I jumped from 40 miles per week to 70 in three months. I got hurt. After six months at 60 miles per week, I tried to jump to 90 miles per week. I got hurt. I disregarded the basics of gradual training. Be patient and recognize that modest increases in mileage done over a long period of time will have you running fast over the long-term. There are no shortcuts.P

Runners Don’t Just Run

I used to think I only needed running to be fast. I thought I just needed a strong heart and powerful lungs. I never did core exercises, rarely did drills, and avoided the weight room entirely. That was a huge mistake.P

Being athletically well-rounded and coordinated helps you prevent injuries and run more efficiently, which corresponds to long-term consistent training. I’ve talked a lot about this recently, so I won’t beat a dead horse.  

All those little things help keep you healthy: icing when you need it, taking a nap after a hard workout, eating a healthy diet, and taking care of those small aches and pains before they become a real injury. Running gets you in good shape, but what you do before and after you run enables you to keep running.

If you need to be nudged in the right direction, then here we go: buy a foam roller, consider a personalized training plan, or bet a friend that you’ll stick to your program.

Run in Less Shoe
I used to wear bulky ASICS Kayano running shoes (I wonder why my achilles always hurt?) and never wore flats during workouts. Things have changed and the evidence is piling up that wearing a little bit less shoe and being strategic with barefoot running can really help your overall training.P

Just one session of barefoot strides per week and a good pair of minimalist running shoes can dramatically help you reduce your injury risk. You’ll strengthen your lower legs and feet and become a more efficient runner. It’s easier to run with better form in less shoe—and much easier barefoot.P

Ease into your new minimalist shoes. They can help you a lot—but only if you’re smart and gradually introduce them to your training program.

How Often Should You See God?

Not that often. I’m talking less of an actual religious experience and more about the intensity of your workouts. “Going to the well” or “seeing God” are phrases often used to described those workouts that are harder than races. I did a lot of these types of workouts in high school and college. Many of my teammates puked after them. I’d usually lose my appetite for the rest of the night and need an extra hour of sleep just to feel normal the next day.P

There’s a time and a place for these types of workouts, but I don’t do many of them these days. They increase your risk of injury and make you peak quickly. Do too many and you’ll feel stale or flat. You should avoid them for most of your training cycle and only do a handful in the last 4-8 weeks before your goal race. It’s the icing on the cake.P

Form Matters. Work on it.

We never worked on our running form in high school and rarely did running drills. That’s a crying shame, since every other sport relies heavily on form training. Swimmers focus on the correct way to swim before anything else. Basketball coaches are always preaching, “Bring that elbow in!” and “Square your hips!”P

Running is a skill, like any other athletic movement, and needs to be done efficiently if you want to prevent injuries and run fast. Learn the correct running form early in your running career when it’s not as hard to change.P

Get Off the Roads

I’m being dramatic. There’s nothing inherently wrong with running on the road, but I truly believe every runner can benefit from trail running. With a softer surface, it can help you recover more quickly from hard workouts. The varied terrain helps you build more coordination and work more stabilizing muscles.P

As a junior in high school, we had a cross country captain who mapped a handful of trail runs on conservation land in our town over the summer. During the next season, we did almost all of our runs on these trails and had a helluva lot more fun than our old training runs. Getting lost in the woods (physically and mentally) is therapeutic.P

The Kenyans always say that “Roads kill fresh legs.” They do almost all of their training on rolling, dirt roads. There’s something to be said for the rolling terrain that helps them train consistently – it’s easier on the body and builds more strength. Move a few of your runs every week to the trails instead of the roads.P

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Physiology of Morning vs. Evening Workouts

By Alex Hutchinson;

There's plenty of evidence that athletic performance depends on the time of day (as I discuss in detail in my book!). In general, early evening seems to be the time of maximum performance, which coincides with the point at which your body temperature is highest. But it's still not clear exactly how circadian rhythms affects performance, and which particular aspects are most affected. A new study in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, from David Hill at the University of North Texas, takes a look a few specific parameters of interest.

The key part of the study involved 20 volunteers doing time-to-exhaustion tests on a stationary bicycle, at a constant power that they were able to maintain for about five minutes. They did it once in the morning (between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m.) and once in the evening (between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m., on a different day). As expected, time to exhaustion was about 20% longer in the evening (329 vs 275 seconds).

So what were the specific aspects of performance that enabled this increase? The most surprising finding is that athletes were actually less efficient in the evening. At a given constant power, they consumed more oxygen (and thus more energy) by about 6%. This negative was outbalanced by a bunch of positive effects in the evening:

- higher VO2max by 4%;

- higher anaerobic capacity (as measured by "maximum accumulated oxygen deficit") by 7%;

- faster VO2 kinetics, which essentially means they were able to ramp up aerobic energy production more quickly, and thus make their anaerobic energy stores last longer;

- higher max heart rate (193 vs 189).

Why does all this happen? Not clear. The paper discusses the fact that circadian rhythms are much more complicated than we used to believe -- there isn't just one clock, there's a "master" clock in the brain (in the superchiasmatic nuclei) that's in constant two-way communication with "slave" oscillators located throughout the body. There's some evidence that muscle contraction may actually be what "sets" some of those slave clocks. As for the role of temperature, higher temperatures speed up the rate of metabolic reactions in the body, though this doesn't explain why the volunteers became less efficient in the evening.

A question the researchers pose for future study: does this mean that athletes should train in the late afternoon or early evening, since they will be able to achieve higher levels of performance? It's worth remembering that research back in the 1980s showed that training at a specific time of day preferentially improves your performance at that specific time of day -- so I'd think the question depends on when your competitions tend to be held. For marathoners, that's a pretty good argument in favor of morning workouts.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Flying eagle point of view

The incredible footage was captured, via eagle-cam, over the famous Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice) glacier in the French Alps near Chamonix

Saturday, September 21, 2013

D'angelo Osorio cleans 200kg/440 pounds

Age: 19 (Junior) BW: 90.65/198 pounds

Friday, September 20, 2013

Did you know that certain foods can help naturally curb your appetite?

So keep these common foods around to help suppress your appetite.

Apples ~Hot and Sweet peppers 
*Sleep! (Get at least eight hours’ sleep a night to prevent over-eating.)

Check out Ben Greenfield Fitness

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Milk: The Pros and Cons of

From Megan's Clements

Depending on who you ask, a gallon of milk a day will either turn you into a muscle bound machine or make you fat along with having some serious sinus congestion and acne. There’s a lot of information out there about milk consumption, and strong opinions on either side of whether it should feature in our diets, so deciding whether it fits into your nutrition plan and in what form can be pretty confusing.

On one hand, milk is the stuff most of us were literally raised on - mother’s milk. (Although there are some significant differences between human breast milk and the milk you find in supermarkets.) Surely something that took us from a helpless bundle to the beginnings of a fully functioning human being couldn’t be bad for us right? Having grown up in dairy farming country, drinking milk like normal kids drink water (or soda these days), I certainly found it hard to wrap my mind around the idea milk might not be ideal nutrition.

The reasoning in support of milk is that in its raw form it is a complete nutritive source, providing almost equal parts protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as plenty of calcium as icing on the cake. Some would say it’s relatively natural since we drank mother’s milk as babies, but the amount of processing modern milk goes through leaves it in a far from natural state.

On the flipside, one of the biggest reasons you would want to exclude milk from your diet is if you are either allergic to casein or lactose intolerant:

Casein is one of the proteins in milk and has a similar structure to gluten. Many opponents of milk suggest casein has the same effects on our guts to those of gluten, destroying our intestinal lining and causing autoimmune diseases (and not just in celiac individuals). Symptoms of casein allergy include nasal and sinus congestion; skin rashes; swelling of the mouth, face, and throat; and anaphylaxis in more extreme cases. Some people are also allergic to the other protein in milk, whey, and experience similar symptoms.

Lactose is the sugar in milk, and there is evidence to suggest many of us are not adapted to digest lactose after age four. This also explains in part why babies can drink their mother’s milk without any problems, but then lactose intolerance shows up later in life. On the flipside there are also some of us who can consume milk with no ill effects. So how do you know which group you fall under? Well, some of us have pretty obvious reactions to lactose, such as rumbling tummy, explosive diarrhea, and cramping and bloating. But for many of us the reaction is much more subtle, so the easiest way to tell if you suspect you might be intolerant is to cut out milk for a month and see if your symptoms change.

The third main reason why many avoid milk is the effect it has on our insulin response. Milk is highly insulinogenic, meaning it stimulates your body to produce insulin. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you are and when you’re drinking your milk. If you’re a hard gainer, the Gallon of Milk a Day (GOMAD) program might be an option for you, purely from a body composition perspective. Drinking milk post-workout will spike your insulin, which assists transport of protein and glycogen to muscles in need. However, if you’re trying to lose body fat and drinking milk throughout the day without any workout stimulus, that insulin spike is storing energy as fat rather than your muscles. So if you’re trying to lose weight, milk might not be a good idea.

Similarly, if you have skin problems or acne, you might reconsider milk consumption. Milk not only increases the production of insulin, but is also linked with higher levels of insulin like growth factor (IGF-1), which in turn is linked to acne. The evidence is far from clear cut, but it’s growing, so if your skin isn’t looking as great as it could, milk might not be for you. So, still not much clearer, are we? Well, to cut a long story short, if you’re not where you want to be either body composition or health wise, or even maybe if you are, it’s worth having a milk-free month and seeing how you feel at the end of it.

Monday, September 16, 2013

9 Surprising Foods With More Sugar Than a Krispy Kreme Doughnut

1. Luna Bar: 11 grams
2. GRANDE STARBUCKS latte: 17 grams
3. Subway 6" Sweet Onion Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich: 17 Grams
4. 8 oz Tropicana 100% Orange Juice: 22 Grams
5. Yoplait Original Yogurt: 27 Grams
6. 20 oz Vitamin Water: 33 Grams
7. Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcake: 45 Grams
8. California Pizza Kitchen Thai Chicken Salad: 45 Grams
9. Odwalla Super Food Smoothie (12 oz): 50 Grams


Football’s Big Men: Fit, or Fat?

From Different sports reward different body types. Gymnasts are small and wiry. Basketball players are tall. American football players are big. Almost every play in American football begins with a collision between the offensive and defensive lines, with one side trying to push the other back and open or close holes for other players to run through. Big players have a clear advantage in such collisions, and the offensive and defensive linemen tend to be the biggest players on the team. (For readers not familiar with the game, a discussion of the offensive and defensive positions can be found here.) football, football and obesity, football and cardiovascular disease, nfl diseaseRecent studies have shown that body mass index (BMI) is not a good measure of overall fitness, especially in athletes. Dense muscle can allow an athlete to be heavier than average for his height without adverse health consequences.1 Merely being big is not necessarily unhealthy. Nonetheless, studies of retired NFL linemen have found that they are 52% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than comparable members of the general public. One study found that 60% of retired linemen had metabolic syndrome, a collection of risk factors that includes poor blood glucose control, elevated triglycerides, and high blood pressure, among other symptoms. While we think of athletes generally as fit and healthy, is that really true of football players? A study at Miami University of Ohio attempted to answer that question.2 It considered 123 high school and 82 college football players, of whom 74 were offensive or defensive linemen, 58 were wide receivers or defensive backs (considered “skilled” positions in football jargon), and the remainder (72) were quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends, and so forth (the “athletic” positions). The study measured body fat percentage, blood pressure, fasting glucose, and fasting levels of both triglycerides and high-density lipoproteins (HDL; “good” cholesterol). The researchers found significant differences between positions, regardless of playing level. The average body fat percentage for linemen was 24.8%, compared to 15.3% for athletic positions and 12.1% for skilled positions. 6.8% of the sample population had three or more markers of metabolic syndrome, and 92.3% of those were linemen. To put these numbers in context, though, as many as 34% of U.S. adults over twenty years of age have three or more markers for metabolic syndrome. As many as 16% of teenage boys are obese. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome among players in the study was comparable to or lower than among their non-athletic peers. football, football and obesity, football and cardiovascular disease, nfl diseaseIt’s also difficult to differentiate between cause and effect. Are linemen more likely to carry excess weight because the demands of the position encourage them to do so? Or do large individuals gravitate to the position because it is a good fit for their existing body type? While this study cannot answer that question, a clue may be found in the difference in obesity rates between the high school and college students studied. The average body fat percentage for high school linemen was 26.1%, compared to 22.9% for college linemen. It’s possible that the more sophisticated game at the college level places more emphasis on athleticism over sheer mass. Nonetheless, linemen are the biggest players on the team at every level, from high school to professional. A lineman who is merely average-sized in high school may need to get bigger or change positions in order to continue to play in college and beyond, even though excessive weight gain can have clear consequences for the athlete’s long term health. Most high school athletes - in any sport - will not compete at the Division I college level, much less play professionally. As the researchers emphasize, strength and conditioning coaches have a responsibility to help athletes balance short-term athletic goals against longer-term health consequences. Metabolic syndrome markers like waist circumference and blood pressure are easy to measure; they can and should be used to identify athletes who are at risk.

Friday, September 13, 2013

How Sleep Deprivation Affects Athletic Performance


Being sleep deprived for competition is probably the average state for most of us. Last minute travel, jet lag, unfavorable sleeping conditions, and anxiety are amongst the common reasons why we might have a tough time getting a good night’s rest when competing. Often the anxiety or excitement of competition seems to outweigh the fatigue and sleepiness of missing out the night before, but it’s important to understand the real effects of being sleep deprived on performance.

The more we know about how exactly sleep deprivation impacts performance, the better we will be able to adjust and prepare. Even better, if we see the effects of sleep deprivation on the actual sport rather than only lab tests we may get even more of that information that we need. To that end, in a study this month in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, researchers examined sleep deprivation on the performance of judo players, or judoka.

Like many combat sports and martial arts, judo imposes a broad variety of physical demands on a person, including power, flexibility, endurance, and quick reaction times. Because of the breadth of physical needs to perform well in judo, if sleep deprivation impacted any of them, it would show through in the performance.

The researchers used a few tests including hand grip, an isometric curling test, and a cardio test for testing power output. They also checked on perceived exertion, or how hard the athletes felt like they were working. The tests were done before and after a judo match at two different times of day - 9:00 in the morning and 4:00 in the afternoon. The researchers did the tests at two different times of day to see if the effect on sleep varied depending on the time of competition.

It wasn’t just the competition time that varied. When the sleep deprivation occurred actually varied as well. The judoka each participated in one of three conditions, one in which they received normal sleep (7.5 hours), one in which they got four hours of sleep at the start of the night, and finally, one where they received four hours of sleep at the end of the night. The only difference between the last two groups was when they slept in the night rather than the amount the slept, which is called “partial sleep deprivation,” when you do get some sleep, but not enough.

The results were fascinating. First, without deprivation, the athletes were stronger and had greater cardio power at 4:00PM than 9:00AM. Second, this difference went out the window with sleep deprivation, just as it did after the judo match. That means sleep deprivation had a similar effect as actually exhausting yourself during a performance. Not only that, but the judoka who slept in the beginning of the night and were awoken very early suffered further, with more weakness at the 4:00PM session. The morning session for both sleep deprived groups was the same.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

H. Pylori Integrative Care


If you walk into your doctor’s office with symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, frequent burping and heartburn you will likely be evaluated for a potential H. pylori infection. This common bacterium can, but does not always, cause unpleasant symptoms. However, if symptoms do arise, it’s important to address the infection in order to protect against chronic stomach inflammation, ulcers , increased risk of stomach cancer and beyond. The most common treatment for Helicobacter pylori is a combination of three medications – two antibiotics and an acid suppressing drug.

The combination or “triple therapy” described above is the current standard of care. Unfortunately, the addition of certain complementary, natural treatments is not yet widely accepted. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t inform yourself about an integrative approach to H. pylori care. And, once you do, you can share the information you’ve learned with your doctor in order to improve the quality of your care.

If I were diagnosed with an H. pylori infection I would incorporate three, evidence-based natural approaches. For starters, I would eat a few servings of probiotic yogurt every day for 4 weeks prior to treatment and for several weeks following successful eradication. The addition of kefir and other cultured foods may also be of benefit. Vitamin C, at a dosage of 500 mg, twice-daily, is another alternative therapy I would employ. And finally, Saccharomyces boulardii is a probiotic yeast that has been extensively studied in patients with H. pylori. These foods and supplements have all been shown to improve treatment outcomes and reduce drug-related side effects – diarrhea, nausea, yeast infections, etc. What’s more they are inexpensive and safe.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

This Simple Graphic Explains the Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics


Probiotics vs Prebiotics Graphic

Two very popular health buzzwords unheard of of ten years ago are probiotics and prebiotics. Most of us have associated these two with benefits to our digestion, but we don’t really know much more than that. Fooducate is here to clear up the confusion once and for all.
The short version:
  • Probiotics are friendly microorganisms inhabiting our digestive tract that aid digestion and may confer additional health benefits. 
  • Prebiotics are non-living, non-digestible carbs that serve as food for Probiotics.
Now the details:
Probiotics are, for the most part, bacteria that reside in our intestinal tract. Other types of probiotics are yeast. Probiotics get into our intestines from foods we eat or supplements. There are many types of probiotics, and each one behaves a bit differently in our gut. Although the term “probiotics” is relatively new, we’ve been ingesting them for thousands of years. Any food that is cultured or fermented has probiotics: yp
Foods with probiotics include:
  • yogurt, kefir, and buttermilk
  • aged cheese such as cheddar, Gouda, or Parmesan
  • sauerkraut, kimchi and other pickled versions of veggies
  • sourdough bread
  • miso (fermented barley or soy or rice)
  • tempeh – fermented soy
  • kombucha – a fermented tea that is gaining in popularity in the US
  • beer, wine (yay!)
The health benefits of probiotics are potentially wide and varied, but scientists are only starting to understand the complex symbiosis between the gut, the bacteria, and the rest of our body. Some potential health benefits, aside from keeping us regular, include treatment of diarrhea, reduction of lactose intolerance, improved immune system, lower chances of colon cancer, and reduction of blood pressure and cholesterol.
By the way, when you are sick and take antibiotics, you’re killing off the germs that made you ill, but also the probiotics.
On to prebiotics. Unlike probitoics, these are not alive. Most prebiotics are some form of fiber. Our body does not digest fiber, but the bacteria in our gut, including the probiotics, digest the fiber. Feeding these helpful bacteria keeps them doing what they are supposed to do in order to help our health.
Foods with prebiotics include:
  • raw chicory root – the top source, with almost 60% fiber
  • raw Jerusalem artichoke
  • raw garlic, leeks, and onions
  • whole wheat
  • fruits and vegetables
  • legumes
Since each of us has different bacteria swimming around in her gut, the effects of the consumption of the same exact probiotics and prebiotics may be very different. Experiment with different foods and see what works for you. The best way to consume probiotics and prebiotics is via food, not supplements.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Inverse Relationship Between Max Effort, Short-Term Complex Skills and Multiple Repetitions


The two extremes make sense when looking at both ends of the energy continuum. They clearly show the opposite ends of certain qualities and abilities, such as:

  • A short sprint vs. an ultra-distance run
  • Immediate energy output vs. long-sustained energy output
  • Fast speed vs. slow speed
  • Maximum muscular contraction vs. complete muscular relaxation
  • High intensity vs. low intensity effort

  • Simple skills: 50 burpees or 200 mountain climbers. No external resistance is used and thus a lessened risk of injury.
  • Complex skills: 20 barbell hang cleans to push press with 50% of your one repetition maximum or 15 one-arm kettlebell clean-squat-presses with significant resistance.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Short on Time: 3 Fast Workouts to Switch It Up 

Research has shown that you can experience as much, if not more, benefit when you cut your workouts down to extremely short bouts of high intensity training, also known as metabolic training, as compared with traditional (more mellow) exercise. The most pronounced benefit will be to your endurance, but you’ll also see big gains in strength and muscle mass.

The following are three of the most effective methods of metabolic training we use at Training for Warriors:

Workout #1: Tabata Intervals

Tabata training allows you to maximize your results while spending only four minutes exercising. You can tag these four minutes onto the end of another workout, or if you’re really pressed for time, perform your four-minute Tabata and call it a day.

One Tabata session consists of 8 sets of 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest. During your 20-second working sets, you must challenge yourself to perform at the highest possible intensity. You will then be rewarded with 10 seconds of rest for every 20 seconds of work. In only four minutes, you will put your body through a workout that it won’t soon forget. Here’s a sample workout:

  1. 20 seconds: Side lunge - 10 seconds off
  2. 20 seconds: Front lunge - 10 seconds off
  3. 20 seconds: Side lunge - 10 seconds off
  4. 20 seconds: Front lunge - 10 seconds off
  5. 20 seconds: Side lunge - 10 seconds off
  6. 20 seconds: Front lunge - 10 seconds off
  7. 20 seconds: Side lunge - 10 seconds off
  8. 20 seconds: Front lunge

Workout #2: The Hurricane

The Hurricane is named after the storm system of the same name. This is a quick and destructive workout that focuses on building endurance through intense bursts of anaerobic exercise. Categories range from two to five, with increasing intensity from one category to the next. Originally based on alternating sequences of treadmill and resistance work, the Hurricane incorporates strength, endurance, and muscle building. Try this category-three hurricane:

Round 1
1a. Treadmill at 11mph and 10% grade incline for 3 sets of 30 seconds
1b. Incline Pushup 3x10 reps
1c. Overhead Press 3x10 reps

Round 2
2a. Treadmill at 11.5mph and 10% grade incline for 3 sets of 30 seconds
2b. Barbell Curl 3x10 reps
2c. Pull-up 3x10 reps

Round 3
3a. Treadmill at 12mph and 10% grade incline for 3 sets of 30 seconds
3b. Upright Row 3x10 reps
3c. Russian Twist 3x20 reps (ea. side)

*Perform sets 1-3 in each round one after another for a total of 3 sets. Rest for 1-2 minutes only after you complete the final set then move onto the next round.

Workout #3: Complex Training

Complex training utilizes various pieces of training equipment in a fast-paced, total-body workout. The goal is to perform multiple exercises without switching between equipment types. For example, you might pick up a pair of dumbbells, perform a set of hammer curls, then lift it overhead for a set of triceps extensions, and finish with a set of standing shoulder presses, all without a resting phase. Complexes are also often performed using barbells and kettlebells. Generally, a maximum time period is set for the performance of an entire complex.

After warming up, perform each exercise for 5 repetitions (explosively, but with good form) consecutively - one through eight, with a goal of doing it in less then sixty seconds. Use a 1:2 ratio when resting between sets. Do a maximum of five total complexes per workout.

  1. Straight-Legged Deadlift
  2. Overhead Press
  3. Jump Squat
  4. Triceps Press
  5. High Pull
  6. Barbell Curl
  7. Shrug
  8. Bent-Over Row

Any one of these three types of metabolic training workouts will add a whole lot of intensity to your fitness program without adding a substantial financial or time commitment. Pick one to perform at the end of a less intense workout session, or on a day when you can’t fit in an hour of training, or even completely replace your old routine with all three types, performed on alternating days. You’ll be happy with the results you experience, and surprised at just how little time it takes to truly take control of your fitness.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Fruit should be eaten, not drunk

A study published by the BMJ this week affirms one piece of conventional wisdom — that eating fruit is highly beneficial to your health — while refuting another — that fruit juice is just as good as the unprocessed stuff. Analysing the dietary habits of 187,382 subjects over multiple decades, the research team concluded that "greater consumption of specific whole fruits ... was significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas greater fruit juice consumption was associated with a higher risk."
A steady diet of whole fruit may help you avoid diabetes
Type 2 is the more prevalent kind of diabetes and, unlike type 1, can be actively prevented through a balanced diet. The new data from the BMJ identifies blueberries, grapes, apples, and pears as among the most significant reducers of diabetes risk, which echoes findings published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition last year. Where the new research goes further, however, is in looking at the effects of drinking fruit juice, which you might expect to be equivalent to eating whole fruit, but turns out to slightly increase your chances of developing diabetes. 

In juicing the fruit's flesh away, you remove the dietary fiber and other nutrients that may be contained in the peel, while increasing the glycemic index by making its sugar easier to digest. Diabetes is a disorder of the body's ability to regulate blood glucose levels, which is why you might want to reconsider that glass of orange juice in the morning.

"Fruit juices lead to more rapid and larger changes in serum levels of glucose and insulin."
As usual with epidemiological studies of this kind, there are a number of limitations to the findings. The participants were self-reporting their fruit intake, some fruits (like apples and pears) were grouped together due to their nutritional similarities, and others weren't included at all. Consequently, the associations found can be considered informative, but the study's authors themselves point out that further research will be required to confirm their results and "to further elucidate underlying mechanisms."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Athlete Development or Abuse?


In the United States this is Labor Day weekend. Traditionally this is the kickoff for youth soccer season. I was reminded of this yesterday when I overheard two parents talking at Starbucks. They were talking about the tournament their kids were playing in. It was 2:00 PM and their kids had played two games already that day and were going to play the third game at 3:30. Yesterday it was 92 degrees with 73% humidity - heat index well over 100 degrees! Today they will come back and play again. They will play at least two more games and a third if they survive to play the championship game that will be played; you guessed it at 4:00 PM. This is not how you develop players. In this scenario skills quickly erode due to fatigue. As they fatigue they are more susceptible to injury. By the time they get to the second day of the tournament they look like they are playing in slow motion. The same thing happens in basketball, with heat being less of a factor. When are we going to wake up? This is borderline child abuse and highly negligent. The fact of the matter is nothing will be done. These tournaments are big money makers for the clubs that sponsor them and those who promote them. They epitomize the youth sport business that has grown up as sport has declined in the schools. I wish I could offer a viable solution, but realistically I am afraid there is none. The inertia of this economic engine would be tough to reverse. Ideally at the very least you should have a training to competition ratio of 5 or 6 to 1 with periods of no games. Despite all the hoopla of the new US Soccer development plan this is what still goes on. Players do not learn how to play the game the way it should be played. They learn how to survive. That is not athlete development.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

All About Nutrition & Bone Health

Nutrition strongly affects bone health throughout our lives. For instance, what our mothers eat while pregnant with us will affect our eventual bone mass as adults.
As children, our bones are almost exploding with rapid growth. If we break something, no problem — we knit back together like Plastic Man. (Which is good, considering how many times we’ll probably fall face-first off the monkey bars.)
By around 18 or 19 years old, we’ve reached about 95% of our peak bone mass. We can continue to build some bone in our 20s.
But by age 30, we stop making any more “bone deposits”. Then the withdrawals start.
This leads me to some bad news and some good news.

The bad news: You’ll lose bone density

Most people in the U.S. lose about 0.5% of bone mass each year after the age of forty. Chronic bone loss leads to low bone mineral density and the deterioration of bone tissue – otherwise known as osteoporosis.
It gets worse.
Fractures from osteoporosis are more common than heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer combined. At least one in three women and one in five men will suffer an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime.
Osteoporosis is often known as the “silent thief” because the disease proceeds without symptoms.
Many older adults are not aware that they have weak bones until they happen to fall. Women typically lose bone mass drastically during menopause, when bone-protecting hormone levels drop.
And if you’re elderly and you fracture a bone, your chance of dying shortly afterwards skyrockets.

The good news: You aren’t doomed

Luckily, there is a lot you can do even as an adult to protect and even strengthen your bones.
If you understand how bones work, then you’ll understand how you can use good nutrition to keep them strong, solid, and healthy

Read More

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Why Smokers Gain Weight When They Quit Smoking: Changes in Intestinal Flora

When smokers wave goodbye to their cigarettes, eighty per cent of them put on seven kilos on average. Their weight increases even if their calorie intake remains the same or even falls compared to the level before quitting smoking. What is the reason for this weight gain?
Researchers working with Gerhard Rogler of Zurich University Hospital attribute the cause to a changed composition of the bacterial diversity in the intestine. As they recently showed in a study in PLoS One, the bacterial strains that also prevail in the intestinal flora of obese persons take the upper hand in people giving up smoking.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Chopping boosts testosterone more than sport

Rachel Sullivan

Chopping wood to clear land and feed the family produces more testosterone in men than competitive activities like sport, a new study has found.
The discovery is changing scientists' understanding of testosterone's role in the human body - and it isn't all about competition and aggression.
Dr Ben Trumble from the Institute of Social, Behavioural and Economic Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara and colleagues studied a group of Tsimane forager-farmers in the Bolivian Amazon.
Their saliva was sampled after playing soccer, and after chopping down trees while clearing jungle to grow crops.
The study, which was published in Evolution and Human Behaviour, found that one hour of tree chopping resulted in a 48 per cent increase in salivary testosterone levels in all men, regardless of age or state of health. By contrast levels increased by only 30.1 per cent during a soccer game.

Trade-off for survival

Trumble says that in males there is a trade-off between survival and reproduction.
"Previous studies showed that in men, testosterone drops very rapidly when men fast, or get sick," he says. "There are only so many calories available for the body to use as energy, and so we face a trade-off between investing in survival-related tasks like immune function, or in less critical functions like [maintaining or growing] muscle mass."
"Muscle mass is expensive to maintain; it takes about 20 per cent of the male resting energy budget just to maintain muscle mass, and even more to grow additional muscle."
However, acute increases in testosterone enhance muscle performance, he adds.
"This can be advantageous for men who are using their muscles for sports competition, but also for men who are using their muscles for food production.
"Larger spikes in testosterone enhance muscle performance, and increase men's ability to chop trees, resulting in more food production."

Beyond the battlefield

Trumble says that testosterone research in humans has often focused on male-male competition, but in fact testosterone is a vital metabolic hormone that plays a number of roles in the body.
"By focusing so much on the role of testosterone in aggression and competition, we have missed out on the importance of testosterone in a variety of other tasks," he explains.
"In animals like birds, where males compete to control a territory, and then mate with all of the female birds in that territory, links between testosterone and aggressive competition make perfect sense."
"In humans, men tend to compete for the attention of women via economic productivity as opposed to fighting other men in the street, so examining changes in testosterone during food production is important."
"Never in human history have we lived in an environment where we have such an abundance of food, and where we so rarely face illness; this is very different than the hunter-gatherer lifestyle experienced by our ancestors."
The lifestyle of subsistence populations like the Tsimane is more representative of the conditions throughout human evolution than our own current living situation, he says.
People have to hunt, fish, or grow all of their food, and the environment contains higher levels of parasites and pathogens, and their bodies have to trade-off between investing in immune function or growing muscle mass.
Trumble says, "By examining how the environment affects hormone-behaviour interactions in populations like the Tsimane, we can get a better idea of how these systems were calibrated in environments that are more relevant to our species history."
He says the research has one final interesting insight.
"Tsimane men, who have a far more active life, have lower levels of testosterone when compared to age-matched US men, but also appear to have less of a decline in testosterone with age.
"Even late in life, these men can express the same spikes in testosterone as younger men."