Friday, 29 April 2011

Friday Strength Wk2 W/O3 (P2)

For every workout I have to versions (P1 and P2). The P2 is 'plan 2' or rather plan B. Plan B is usually premised on a 'bodyweight' approach to hit most of the same muscles as plan A, but without the need for weights.

As today is a bank holiday due to the Royal Wedding, I am away from a load of iron to deadlift! Hence I am going with plan B.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1. (Assisted) Pistols (3, 3, 3)
2. MU's (3, 3, 3)
3. RLL (6, 6, 6)
4. Handwalks (3x'for time')
5. L-Sit to Backbridge (1, 1, 1)

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Tan Time

So I headed to the gym at lunchtime due to the fine weather.  I put on some shorts on and progressed to the outdoor courtyard as usual and was surprised to see about six people from the same (work) team as me doing some circuit training.  We looked at each other aghast....!

Today was meant to be a rest day but I figured I could do my LGKF forms and top up the tan.  Due to a lack of room because of the circuit training I went for plan B.  Sunbathe on a sun-lounger.

This turned out to be a great move.  After about an hour, the circuit-guys moved off and me, having spent fifty minutes listening to the radio and turning brown, took to the vacated courtyard. 

I went through my forms, did three handwalks, three backflips (I need to do more of these) and called it a day.

It dawned on me how an hour of sunbathing can make me feel better than an hour of gym work!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


One interesting idea to come from Fairlie's 'Meat, A Benign Extravagence' is the that of 'climax vegetation' being nothing of the sort.

Let's cut to the chase here. When you think of 'optimal' in terms of vegetation, you think of trees....lots of them. I mean trees are great, right? Trees are 'natural' and the land without man would be covered in trees, right?  Trees are 'climax vegetation', right?

Meat, A Benign Extravagence

I have been meaning to post about Simon Fairlie's "Meat: A Benign Extravagance" for some time now.  It opens up so many lines of question and not only tries to qualify and quantify the cost of meat (in economical, sustainable and ecological terms), but goes on with incredible ambition to develop a model of how sustainable agriculture (and indeed the very bed rock of capitalism), may look in the future and how Earth's ecology may prosper with grass roots reworking of our current agricultural model.

Nagano Montage

Nagano is a legend on Ninja Warrior.  This montage shows his training - mixing agility and strength through a tough day job, some rock-climbing style finger training and elements of gymnastics:

Georges St-Pierre Using Gymnastics

A couple of videos showing UFC uber-legend Georges St-Pierre using gymanstics to train.  He uses muscle-ups (in to a skin-the-cat and partial lever), L-Sits and planches:

Tuesday Strength Wk2 W/O2

Time to increase intensity (through auto-regulation), but I don't want to give it 'the full beans' just yet...

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (20 mins)
1a. Planche Variations (30s, 10s, 5s)
1b. Pillar Jumping (6, 6, 6)
2. Handwalk/MBTs/Shoulder Press (Distance, 10 per arm, 1x6x 16kg)
3. Chins (11, 11, 11)
4. Lever Variations (30s, 10s, 5s)
5. LGKF Forms *(optional)
  • KAY BOON SAU FA - Basic hand movement
  • JORN SAU - Set hand movement
  • CHARP CHOI - Drilling punches
  • FAR KUIN - Flower fist
  • FAI LOONG GEE - Finger movement of the dragon
  • LAU GAR LUK HUP KUIN - Fist of six co-ordinations
  • BAC PYE JURN - Palm of the bac pye mountain

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sunday Strength Wk2 W/O1 (P2)

A touch of 'Man-flu' has struck. This WILL be compounded by a visit by the Easter Bunny!

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1. Wrist Push Ups (8, 8, 8)
2. Rope Climbing (2, 2, 2)
3a. Planche (3x3s, 3x3s, pad to 1 min)
3b. Pinch Grip Pull Ups (3x3s, 3x3s, 3x3s)
3c. Hangboarding (Intermediate)
4. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)

Ghost Acres (Response to a Fruitarian)

I think that if you lived at altitude, or at extreme latitudes, or in an environment where you had to live more tightly by the seasons, if you saw an animal, one that your peers hunted, you WOULD think to kill and eat it. Especially if you were hungry.

Of course in YOUR comfy western environment, you can pick and choose your diet. But I know one thing, trying to grow fruit year round in northern Europe is unsustainable – it’d carry a massive environmental footprint. I also know that shipping fruit in to such areas year-round from warmer countries is also unsustainable for the same reasons.

And I know that the reason early man ate meat was because herbivores thrived on vegetation in these marginal areas that would be unpalatable to him, but he in turn could eat that herbivore. This turns out to have been quite a good strategy as it fuelled our evolution as a species.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Thursday Strength Wk1 W/O3 (P1)

The weather is so good at the moment that I spent yesterday lunch in shorts, topping up the tan, and practicing my LG forms.  (Yep, I still look like a douche when I do them).

Because of the bank holiday tomorrow, I need to shift my lifting day forwards to today.  This, along with the form-work yesterday, means that I have done quite a lot of activity in the last week.  Last night's LGKB session was awesome, but started with an intense circuit.  There is a risk with lifting today....

As it is a deloaded phase, I should be ok.  I should be able to handle the slings and arrows of this kind of exertion profile, but only if I 'up' the rest.  Thus I will do very little over the coming weekend - and anything I do do, I will/should/hope to take it easy....or at least easier!

Weight selection for the DLs is based upon the Wendler system, and my RM is 160kg.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (40 mins)
1a. Deadlift (5X94kg, 5x108kg , 5+X122kg)
1b. One Arm Chin Ups (5x42kg, 5+x49kg, 5x55kg)
2. Back Bridge to In-L-Sit (15s, 15s, 15s)
3. HSPUs (Assisted)/Lowers/Dumbell Press/MBTs (6xHSPUa, 6xHSPUa, 6xHSPUa)
4. Ice Cream Makers (4, 4, 4)
5. Four-Way Rotator Cuff (10)

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Foraging For a Coffee Substitute!

Dandelions are springing up everywhere.  If you have a lawn then, then like me, your first though is probably "damn them".  From a foragers point of view, Taraxacum officinale is an edible proposition.  All parts of the dandelion are edible, the roots, leaves and flowers.  Dandelions are also renowned for their medicinal use, evidenced by the 'officinalie' in its Latin name (officinalis refers to its value as a medicinal herb).

In "The River Cottage Handbook No.7, Hedgerow" John Wright notes that the dandelion " an exceptionally healthy food containing vitamins A, C and K, along with potassium and calcium and  a reasonable amount of protein.".

Not a bad nutritional profile for a weed, right?  But Wright advises the leaves be collected before the plant flowers, otherwise they can taste rather bitter.  By most accounts, all parts of the plant have some degree of residual 'bitterness' which is usually masked with some form of sweetener. 

However, if collected prior to flowering, they add a 'bite' to a tossed green salad and can be boiled and used as a substitute for spinach.  The flower can be made into (superlative) wine, marmalade jelly, or simply boiled/stir-fried of even deep fried in to a 'fritter'. 

These above uses require flour and sugar.  Non-paleo eh?  So here's the paleo-thing - the root can be roasted as a coffee-substitute!  Although the roots are fleshiest towards winter you can still use those roots available now.  Simply collect the roots, scrub them clean, dry them thoroughly in a low-oven, and then roast them at 200C/Gas Mark 6 for 30 minutes.  Once roasted, grind them up for coffee!

Paleosphere, I give you the solution to the most ecologically unsustainable and most un-paleo part of our lifestyle! Dandelion coffee. 

Ithangyou :)

Tuesday Strength Wk1 W/O2

It is a nice day and although I should only be working out twice a week, I feel like some bodyweight action. My plan is below.

I am on a strength phase, hence the chins will be followed by a couple of One Arm Lowers (Alternate) on each arm*.

I'd like to work the LGKF forms as well, but we'll have to see how much of a dick I feel mincing around in a public space.

Again, as with the last workout, this is deloaded. Erm...although the OALs will clearly be hard-as fook. I might well do this workout as a cycle (so three laps), with short rests in between.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (40 mins)
1a. Planche (20s, 20s, 20s)
1b. Pillar Jumping (5, 5, 5)
2. Handwalk/MBTs/Handstand (3, 3, 3)
3. Chins (10, 10, 10)
4. Lever (3, 3, 3)
5. LGKF Forms

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sunday Strength Wk1 W/O1 (P1)

After a two week stretch of active rest, I am back on a strength cycle.  The goal is to 'own' 160kg in the DL.  I lifted this amount at the end of my last strength cycle, but didn't OWN it - and I mean really own it! 

I need to also work on my OAC.  The progress here has stalled a little.  I had a mild injury which impacted progress, and so I need to be mindful of aggravating it.

Finally, my continually lame planche hangs over me like the Sword of Damocles.  I have been working at this for years, but progress has been thwarted by so many other goals (see above).  The thing is, my planche seems to be going backwards.  Now THAT is not acceptable!  ;)

Deloaded for week one.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1. Stairgators
2. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10, 1x10, 1x10, 1x10)
3. 1xMU to L-Sits to Ring Routine (3x1)
4a. Scissor Splits/Cuts (3x3-way)
4b. 321 (7:3x8 A4, 7:3x8 B3, 7:3x8 F3)
4c. Tuck Planche (1x3s, 1x3s, 1x3s)
5. Barefoot Kill Carry

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Meat Your Maker

Not sure if many of you have seen the awesomeness that is the 'Regular Show', but here is a great meat-centric episode!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

"Isocaloric but not Isometabolic"

"If you want to cause insulin resistance in laboratory rats, says Gerald Reaven, the Stanford University diabetologist who did much of the pioneering work on the subject, feeding them diets that are mostly fructose is an easy way to do it. It’s a “very obvious, very dramatic” effect, Reaven says.

By the early 2000s, researchers studying fructose metabolism had established certain findings unambiguously and had well-established biochemical explanations for what was happening. Feed animals enough pure fructose or enough sugar, and their livers convert the fructose into fat — the saturated fatty acid, palmitate, to be precise, that supposedly gives us heart disease when we eat it, by raising LDL cholesterol. The fat accumulates in the liver, and insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome follow.
Michael Pagliassotti, a Colorado State University biochemist who did many of the relevant animal studies in the late 1990s, says these changes can happen in as little as a week if the animals are fed sugar or fructose in huge amounts — 60 or 70 percent of the calories in their diets....


Similar effects can be shown in humans, although the researchers doing this work typically did the studies with only fructose — as Luc Tappy did in Switzerland or Peter Havel and Kimber Stanhope did at the University of California, Davis — and pure fructose is not the same thing as sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. When Tappy fed his human subjects the equivalent of the fructose in 8 to 10 cans of Coke or Pepsi a day — a “pretty high dose,” he says —– their livers would start to become insulin-resistant, and their triglycerides would go up in just a few days. With lower doses, Tappy says, just as in the animal research, the same effects would appear, but it would take longer, a month or more."

From "Is Sugar Toxic" Gary Taubes in the New York Times Magazine.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Stop Motion

A great stop motion sequence via Gymnastic Bodies. Thejsap has gone 'paleo' recently with some impressive results.

Friday, 8 April 2011

After-Work Wild Swim

It was a hot day - the first real hot one of the year.  So, after a day in a hot, stuffy office I headed out after work for a swim.  Absolutely invigorating.  It is nice to live close to the ground once in a while.

The photo is taken from my phone - propped up in my trainer! All my kit was actually on a dam wall. The sticks in the foreground are in shallow water which quickly deepens at the point you see me splashing around.

After I dried off I headed home with the stereo blasting and blue skies above.  I really couldn't wipe the grin from my face.

*UPDATE:  I just want to add that at as we enjoyed a cloudless sky, at lunchtime I spent 30 minutes sunbathing.  I work next to a leisure centre with a secluded courtyard bordered by plenty of trees.  I just put on my headphones and gently walked in a circuit (wearing just my shorts), trying to top up on VitD.

I usually supplement VitD over winter, but stop when the clocks change.  In fact I have reason to believe I was overdoing the VitD....

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Technological Singularity

"Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion,’ and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make."

Good, I. J. (1965), Franz L. Alt and Morris Rubinoff, ed., "Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine", Advances in Computers (Academic Press) 6: 31–88.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Sprint King

'Paleo' is hitting mainstream.  My approach DOES contain a bit of 'paleo-reenactment'.  I have not got the time or the patience to go deep in to the research on metabolism.  Armed with a bit of imagination, a broad education and a mirror - I am figuring out what works by trial and error (with a side order of science).

Sprinting is definitely in my model.  My interpretation of hunting in the Paleolithic would have involved moving fast - expressing agility and vigour.  Some of the science points at the cascade of health benefits of sprinting over distance running and these benefits are also creeping in to the mainstream consciousness.  Today's Telegraph has a story that 'Sprints better than marathon for heart health'.  Wow!
  • Scientists found that a number of brief bursts of exercise were better for your heart and circulation than the equivalent long distance training.

    They discovered that the distance, time and calories burned in sprint exercises were much less than those needed in endurance in order to have the same benefits for the cardiovascular system.
We need to get out of the intellectual rut that we are currently in.  You know the kind of thing - that vegetarianism = healthy, that running = best for heart health, that eating less and doing more = fat loss, and that you need complex carbohydrate to fuel exercise.

These tenets of modern diet and exercise were shaped by the 'exercise revolution' started by marathoners in the 1970s.  The principles they espoused at this time have been compounded as a consequence of the information age.  It is good to see these ideas being challenged and alternatives gaining traction in the mainstream.

"I'm not chasing youthfulness. I'm chasing health"

There cannot be many 91-year old bodybuilders! What I like about Charles Eugster's story is that apart from the age, is Damascian conversion to sorting out his physique is the same as it is for most of us,
  • "At 85 I had a crisis. I looked at myself in the mirror, and saw an old man. I was overweight, my posture was terrible and there was skin hanging off me. I looked like a wreck"
This was actually his second bite at the fitness cherry,
  • As I crept into my 40s, I adopted my wife's sedentary lifestyle. We spent a lot of time doing nothing. Inevitably, my blood pressure plummeted and one day I felt a sharp pain in my legs – only to discover the dark, earthworm-like patterns of varicose veins across my calves. It was my first brush with old age, and I didn't like it. Immediately I resumed rowing to stay fit.

    Life went on. My wife and I divorced. At 60, I discovered veteran's rowing and started competing internationally, eventually winning 36 gold medals. I'm not a particularly talented sportsman, but I've always been a great trier. At 75, many of my friends began to pass away. People were getting older around me, but I was only just ready to retire.
Interesting that  he had such great potential even well in to his senior years.  Kind of makes you think how much we let ourselves age, and how most of our society subsist in a physically impoverished state for what, a third or half of our life?

The full article is here.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Tasting Human Flesh

PETA: April Fools

Chris just sent me this link which I can only assume is some kind of April Fool:
  • "Overwhelming scientific evidence has linked eating meat, eggs and dairy to obesity as well as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
    "Parents who want to help their children achieve a healthy weight should forget about the greasy sausages and burgers and provide their children vegetarian meals. Every generation is getting fatter and developing obesity-related diseases much sooner, and it's largely due to diets loaded with animal fat."

 The trivialisation of child abuse is unforgivable.  The misinformation we have gotten used to.