Monday, 27 September 2010

The Devil's Trick

Hat tip to Spark of Reason for this article from The Huffington Post:

People in America like to think that they eat with freedom. Ultimately, however, they can only pick what is presented to them, and what they can afford. Then, the decision is based on what they believe to be healthy, tasty and safe. With that in mind, can you imagine how great it would be for the industries mentioned above, if dietary advice given could be contained and restricted to just one organization that they could pour money into? That scenario is not just some North Koreanesque wet dream. It is USA 2010.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Strength Wk3 W/O3

A 3-hour walk this evening means no leg work today.  My (mildly) injured left elbow also demands a 'suck it and see' approach for this workout.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (35 mins)
1. Weighted Two-Arm Chins (5x20kg, 2x 40kg, 1x53kg, 1x53kg, 1x53kg, 1x53kg, 10x0kg/BW)
2. DB Press/HSPU (6x10kg, 4x12kg, 2x14kg, 1xBW*, 1xBW, 1xBW*, 1xBW*)
3. RLL (6, 6, 6)
4. Planche Press Ups (6, 5/6, 4/6)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Good Fat, Bad Fat

I had high expectations of this episode of Case Notes, given its Taubes-esque title:
  • Dr Mark Porter investigates how the good and bad fats we eat can impact on our health, including trans fats that are found in many take away foods and are associated with heart disease. And he discovers that the health benefits of eating Omega fats depend on which you eat and when you eat them - too much Omega-6 for example, can hinder the benefits of Omega-3. Case Notes unpicks health messages about fat consumption that are confusing and contradictory.
There are a few nuggets tucked away in the program but sadly the moderately sat-fat phobic opening limited my expectation.   I say 'moderate' because the news that sat-fat is nothing to be scared of has obviously permeated Radio 4, but they are not ready to do away with the old mantra just yet, as Dr Alex Richardson illustrates,
  • Really for most of the post-war period we were told that all fats are bad. The real issue is not the quantity of fat in our diets, it's the quality - it's the type of fat that actually matters. Dietary fats are divided into two main types - saturated fats, these are the ones which you'll find in meat fat, butter, lard, mainly from animal sources but also some tropical fats like coconut and palm. But these fats - they're not unhealthy in themselves but they are unhealthy in excess. So cutting down on the amount of fats that you get from meat and butter and cream and cheese and so on is probably a good idea for most of us in the Western world. Then you've got the unsaturated fats. Now these you can actually tell the unsaturation by asking yourself the question: How liquid is this at room temperature? Saturated fats, like butter or lard or meat fat, are largely solid at room temperature, the unsaturates are liquid oils.
The program also gives a heads up on the ratio of O3 to O6 (the latter prevalent in soy and cereals).  There is some discussion of O6 and inflammation.  There is also a good deal of focus on cutting back on O6 (avoiding processed foods and grain oils).  Dr Alex Richards even mentions HG!
  • In the diet on which we evolved, the hunter gatherer type diet, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the human diet was some people say one to one, in equal parts but certainly no more than about four to one in favour of omega-6. What we have now, we have an omega-6 to 3 ratio which at the national level in the UK is at least 10 to one and for many people's diets 20 to one or a 100 to one in favour of omega-6. This is not good. If there is one statistic or one piece of information that everybody would benefit from knowing it is their own omega-6 to 3 ratio in their own body tissues. The reason this omega-6/3 ratio matters so much is that they compete for the same enzymes in the body. So certain enzymes will use either an omega-6 fat or an omega-3 fat, they're blind to which it is, and they will turn it into a substance that will influence your immune system, your blood flow, your hormones. If it's an omega-6 fat the derivatives - the substances we make from our fats - will tend to be pro-inflammatory and pro-thrombotic - they will block and restrict blood flow and make the blood stickier and more likely to clot. If they're omega-3 fats the very same enzyme will produce substances that are broadly anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic
Change is definitely in the air, but we will have to wait a bit longer to witness the change we want to see.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Strength Wk3 W/O2

Ok - so the golfer's elbow might be no more of a strain of the muscles affected by GE!  But there is still discomfort - again I have to watch things on the chinning!  Arguably heavy DLs are going to be a challenge on this injury.

Fast DB Presses are in, in place of MBTs.  The focus is on speed, not the weight.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1. Deadlift (5x55, 5/3x95, 1x135, 1x140, 1x145, 1x150)
2. DB Press (Handwalking, 6@10kg, 5@12kg, 4@14kg)
3. ICMs (6, 6, 6, 6)
4. Wall Walk : BackBridge (2 reps, 15s, 15s)

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Strength Wk3 W/O1

I did some hard traversing on some limestone crags near where I work on Friday night. The fingers are lacking endurance but the arms and upper body in general felt good.

I have a little soreness on the inside of my left elbow from OACs.  It is Golfer's Elbow - which, with rest, should pass.  I need to moderate the intensity a bit....will suck it and see, and adapt as required.  Some deep massage will also be required.

Tonight's session will be as follows:

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (25 mins)
1. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
2. Stairgators (1)
3. Planche Variation (1x20s, 1x20s, 1x20s)
4. Scissor Splits/Cuts (3, 3, 3)
5. Basic MU Ring Routine to Lever (1x3-20s, 1x3-20s, 1x3-20s)
6. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)

Friday, 17 September 2010

Stairway To Heaven (Tower Climbing)

Follow this link and (if it has not been taken down), prepare for a scary few minutes of viewing!

Strength Wk2 W/O3

Today's routine:

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (40 mins)
1. Pillar Jump (6, 6*, 6)
2. (Assisted) One Arm Chins (4x55, 2x60, 1x70, 1x70, 1x70, 1x70, 1x70, 10-Two Arm Chins)
3. 4-Way Rotator-Cuff Rehab
4. Squat (6x20kg, 4x40kg, 2x80kg)
5. DB Press/HSPU (6x10kg, 4x12kg, 2x14kg, 1xBW, 1xBW, 1xBW*, 1xBW, 1xBW*)
6a. RLL (6, 6, 6)
6b. Planche Press Ups (6, 6, 6)


Rests were kept to less than a minute.  This started off well but turned in to a dog of a session.  I shouldn't have gone with the squats, and the impromptu rotator cuff stuff should have come at the end.  I took a tumble on the last rep of the second set of pillar jumps (on the high pillar).  Ouch.  Need to jump with conviction each and every time!

This unnecessary addition of squats meant by workout was at least 5 minutes longer than I wanted and so I lost momentum.  Same for the rotator cuff stuff - really it should have come at the end.

Glad to see the return of the HSPU.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Strength Wk2 W/O2

Another strength session.  Aim is to ramp things up a bit on the DL.  An extra set and some extra cookies (small weights).  The speed work must be explosive with a goal of around 5-8 reps.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1. Deadlift (5x55, 3x95, 1x135, 1x135, 1x140, 1x145, 1x145)
2. 5kg Vertical Medicine Ball Throws (6, 6, 6, 6)
3. Fast Chins - Alt Regular grip and Hammer Grip (6, 5, 6, 4)
4. Wall Walk : BackBridge (2 reps, 15s, 15s)

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Strength Wk2 W/O1

I am doing two 'Finger Strength' workouts a week.  These comprise of:
  • some wrist push ups.
  • rope climbing,
  • pinch grip pull ups (assisted) and then either:
  • a 321 workout  (front 3, back 3 - both with open and crimped) or 8a Hangboarding.
Reckon I might invest in a Lapis Rollybar.  I used one the other day and they are fun.  Pinching roof beams will have to do until then.

I have picked up a slight soreness on the inside of my left elbow, so need to adjust intensity and volume accordingly.  Last week should have been less instinctive and more of the prescribed light session I had intended!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Ming Nails the Problem with Modern Nutrition and Fitness

"Are your men on the right pills...? Maybe you should execute their trainer!"

Profound words from Ming (1'05").

Friday, 10 September 2010

Ze Game

Alongside Shut the Box, Perudo and the Rubiks Cube, this is one of the most addictive and innovative games I have played:

Strength Wk1 W/O3

Today's routine:

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (40 mins)
1. RLL (6, 6, 6)
2. DB Press/HSPU (6x14kg, 4x18kg, 2x20kg, 1xBW, 1xBW, 1xBW, 1xBW, 1xBW)
3. Pillar Jump (6, 6, 6)
4a. (Assisted) One Arm Chins (4x55, 2x60, 1x70, 1x70, 1x70, 1x70, 1x70)
4b. Squat (6x20kg, 4x40kg, 2x60kg)
4c. Planche Press Ups (6, 6, 6)

DeVany's Laws

Over time I have collected more than a few ideas from Arthur DeVany.  Today, his blog carried another excellent addition to my list (the one about homeostasis). 

Here are my top five DeVany words of wit and wisdom:

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Strength Wk1 W/O2

Having hit a stubborn fat plateau, I am training on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday (as opposed to Monday, Wednesday and Friday).  This means that my Lau Gar sessions on Monday and Wednesday now fall on a 'non strength training day'.  This rejigging means that I no longer fast for 24hrs before sparring - so I expect to get hit a bit more!  Fasts will fall to a standard 16 hours.

Finger strength will be a focus on Fridays (using a 321 model), and Monday (using a deadhanging sequence).   Both sessions will involve some rope climbing and some wrist push ups.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1. Deadlift (5x55, 3x95, 3x95, 1x135, 1x135, 1x135)
2. ICMs (4, 4, 4)
3. Fast DB Press (6x12, 6x12, 6x12)
4. Wall Walk : BackBridge : HyperX

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Fat; A (Sophisticated) Battery

More 'revelations' that fat is not simply a dormant storage mechanism for 'excess calories' and is in fact, part of a vastly more complex system. 

In 'New Evidence That Fat Cells Are Not Just Dormant Storage Depots for Calories' it is noted that fat "is an active organ that sends chemical signals to other parts of the body".  The article reports on 20 different hormones and other chemical that are used to manage the sub-system as a whole.  Some of us have come across the basics -  leptin (controlling appetite) adiponectin, but the article goes on to mention that,
  • "...scientists identified 80 different proteins produced by the fat cells. These include six new proteins and 20 proteins that have not been previously detected in human fat cells. The findings could pave the way for a better understanding of the role that hormone-secreting fat cells play in heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases."

Gettin' Medieval on Yo' Ass

The paleo approach is simple.  If you look back far enough in history, you can see how we were forged in the fires of evolution.  You could go back to the 1970's for nutritional direction , and your diet would probably be better than what is available now.  You could dip a bit further back - to what your great grand-parents ate and things would be better again.

What about going further back?  You might think that an Egyptian diet would be agreeable but evidence of tooth decay and arthritis in their skeletal remains suggest otherwise.  The Roman diet favoured by gladiators led to obesity and should similarly be avoided (obesity being a visible marker of a whole host of nasties).  A growing body of evidence suggests that an optimal diet requires that you go back at least 10,000 to leverage the pre-agricultural advantage...

Strength Wk1 W/O1

I have had three weeks off training apart from some random planching, chinning etc... nothing too formal.  The recreation continued last night with a gig (Muse) and now I really ought to get back with some intense workouts.  Last weeks intended 'come-back' workout never happened!

With my recent HSPU success I want to build on my strength gains and am trying to focus on my OAC somewhat.  I am looking at about 65% of RM (ish) today and will ramp up the numbers over the coming weeks.  Bottom line is to stop short of failure and genearlly auto-regulate.  Feel it; don't fail it.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (<40 mins)
1. Sprinting (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
2. Stairgators (1)
3. Planche Variation (1x20s, 1x20s, 1x20s)
4. Scissor Splits/Cuts (3, 3, 2/3)
5. Basic MU Ring Routine to Lever (1x3-20s, 1x3-20s, 1x3-20s)
6. Kill Carry  (1)

With the lever and planche I am looking for a minumum hold time of 3s a rep, working the hardest variation of each that I can, with a maximum 20s.  I might throw in an easier variation of 20s or so on the final rep just to maintain volume.  Similarly I might have a few goes at the hardest variation.

Stairgators make a welcome return to my routine.  I start from my kitchen on all fours, moving backwards through the house and up the stairs.  At the top of the stairs I move forwards, down the stairs back to the kitchen - as fast and as smoothly as I can.  Good fun.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

E Numbers: An Edible Adventure

Another good spot of informative broadcasting from the BBC.  'E Numbers: An Edible Adventure' provided an intriguing look at E numbers and their use in our food:
  • Food writer Stefan Gates sets off on a three-part adventure to uncover the truth about those notorious food additives, E numbers. He wants to find out where these chemicals come from and what they actually do in our food.