Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Gymnastic Week 3 W/O2

So after a week of not really feeling with it, I go from strength to strength. I know ADV has said that he has not been ill for 30 odd years, but I clearly do not share his constitution!

I am going to try to push the reps on the pistols but will aim for heavier weights on the chins (or perhaps less rest).

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (25 minutes).
1. Handstands (over 5-10 minutes)
2a. Pistols (8x10/12.5 assistance, 8x10/12.5 assistance, 8x10/12.5 assistance)
2b L-Sit/Manna Variation (for time)
3a. OAC (2/5x69/62kg, 2/5x69/57kg, 10xBW)
3b. Backlever to Frontlever (5s, 5s, 5s)
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
5. Two-Way DB Rotator Cuff (12 x external and internal shoulder rotations)
6. Wrist PUs from the Knee (12)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Gymnastic Week 3 W/O1

Still suffering from lassitude. Not feeling it but here you go...

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
3. Planche Variations (25s, 25s, 25s)
4ai. Rope Climb (3)
4aii. MU to Ring Routine (3, 3, 3).
5. Scissor Splits (3x '2L, 2R, 2C')
6. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. 321 (8/8L, 8/8M, 8/8L)

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Make Me Thin Fast

Two rants in the hour!  Another example of novelty and invention going in to the (very profitable area of) treating a symptom of obesity rather than the cause!  Here we go...

So then, let's ask the question 'What controls physical activity?'  As noted here, the common response will be along the lines of the availability of parks, gymnasiums, PE lessons, time to train.  Yet from an evolutionary perspective it doesn't seem right that our level of physical activity is just left to chance or is dependent on the city council's provision of a playground.

Despite what the skinny folk, the (usually fat) Doctors and (usually fat) dieticians say, it is NOT simply willpower and ELDM!  And as long as this crap advice persists, we' have people going down the route of The Diet Tube (see the image above, courtesy of The Guardian)!

The Diet Tube is just the latest development in bariatric surgery, joining a whole host of balloons, rings, sleeves and bands that would appear to treat a symptom rather than the cause.  Incidentally this technology is being pioneered in Rome, Italy.  That's right - the Mediterranean, home of the Mediterranean Diet.  Shome mishtake shurely?

This piece in today's Guardian suggests that the treatment of obesity is moving away from ELDM and contains this powerful illustration,

  • "If you have a Body Mass Index (a measurement based on an individual's height and weight. A healthy BMI is anywhere between 18.5 and 24.9.) of 40 and you are seven stone overweight, [losing] it would be like walking across the Atlantic and running five marathons. That is the straight calorie equation. And running marathons makes you hungry.

In the same interview, Alberic Fiennes, president of the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society adds,

  • "There is a moral stigma to obesity," continues Fiennes. "These people are seen as weak, and stupid and greedy. But obesity is a disease."

So OK, there IS progress on how we understand this problem.  But what really lit me up was this bit at the end.  When the pioneer of the Diet Tube, Marco Gasparotti engaged in this exchange,

  • Has he tried Diet Tube himself?

    "Yes! Stavo benissimo. I felt happier. It was euphoric making."

    Like a medieval saint on a fast?

    Well, yes! Once, there was a week of fasting at Lent. And you only ate fish on Fridays. That's all gone now."

Return Ticket to Fatsville

We're all aware of the moronically oversimplified CICO and ELDM advice when it come to obesity.  The fact that things are slightly more nuanced seems to be creeping in to the mainstream.

CICO just restates the problem without offering much in the way of causality when it comes to obesity.  Worse, it assumes you have control over calories in and calories out.  You can never know your calories in to a degree of precision because not only is isocaloric not isometabolic (Asclepius' uncertainty principle - you cannot know the fate of a calorie of food), the bioavailability of food be affected my factors such as how well it is cooked and which foods we combine when we eat.

We then have hormonal factors (affected by such things as sleep, light quality and frequency, stress), levels of BAT, periodicity of consumption (ADF and IF can have a different impact on obesity than the consumption of the same number of calories on a regular basis).  Hell I've not even mentioned epigenetics (most of us in the West can ignore genetics).  Oh, don't forget (chronic) inflammation, mitochondria and gut flora...

Friday, 24 February 2012

Gymnastic Week 2 W/O3

I've a long walk planned tonight (10 miles over a few hills which takes just over 3hrs), so I need to spare some gas for my legs!

This session in the gym I'm going to repeat the 'W/O3' high point from my last cycle in terms of intensity, and maybe a little bit more...

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Handstand work (10 mins)
2a. Chin Variations (Two Arm + 25kg x 9, +40kg x 5, Slow One-Arm Eccentric 1 x each arm)
2bi. Headstand RLLs (6, 6)
2bii. Deadlift (single 150kg)
2c. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
2di. Wall Walk (3, 3)
2dii. Backbridge 15s
3. Two-Way DB Rotator Cuff (12 x external and internal shoulder rotations)
4. Reverse Wrist Curls (12)
5.  321 (8/8L, 8/8L, 8/8M)

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Real Meat Company

I've been a regular customer of The Real Meat Company for only a relatively short time.  I only found them when my local butcher closed.  The quality of The Real Meat Company's food is incredibly high and the best I have tasted.  Ever.

Where you can really taste this is with liver which can be incredibly strong - and is especially so if the animal has been treated heavily with antibiotics.  Liver from The Real Meat Company is much milder, of excellent texture and highly palatable - due to their policy of only using medication for medicinal purposes.

But I could have done more to support this company.  I could have bought ALL of my meat from them.  Sadly my lack of support is but one factor that has lead to their closing.

  • After 25 years of dedication to welfare, purity and eating quality, we have decided to desist.

    For a number of years, we have been grappling with a decline in turnover caused by customers drifting away. We believe that they were most likely beguiled by descriptions of meat purporting to be similar to ours. It is much easier (and more profitable) for supermarkets, butchers and farm shops to 
    sound like us than to be like us!
    During 2011, our final attempts to maintain a critical commercial mass did not materialise and so we decided to do the honourable thing against a backdrop of difficult choices.
It is sad that as the paleo model gathers momentum, and migrates to a "Paleo 3.0" level of activism focused on quality, equality, transparency, integrity, sustainability and localism - pushing animal and environmental welfare to the fore, such a great company should fold.

Still, there is still a chance to support what remains,
  • In January 2012, the final three authorised Real Meat Stockists were The Real Meat Company Shop, Sheffield, The Real Meat Company Shop, Bath and Whitings of Caversham.

    The proprietors of these businesses have been put in direct contact with the Real Meat Company approved farmers extant at the time.

    This means that these outlets are a good bet for quality meat properly reared. 
Hopefully my local outlet will continue to source from The Real Meat Company's suppliers and with my support, I know I will be doing my bit. 

Myth of Eight Hour Sleep?

The BBC site carries a really interesting piece on 'The Myth of the Eight Hour Sleep'.  It goes a long way to illustrate how we can generalise advice to a potentially detrimental point ('drinking 8 glasses of water a day' or 'eating 5 a day'):
  • In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month.

    It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects had settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep.

    Though sleep scientists were impressed by the study, among the general public the idea that we must sleep for eight consecutive hours persists.

Be Inspired

Sometimes you come across art that touches you deeply:

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Amazon Forest

Another interesting link posted in the comments section of Gnolls from the most excellently named Jeffrey of Troy.  He linked to an article in Discover Magazine that suggests that parts of the Amazon forests have a much misunderstood lineage - the forests themselves being modern phenomena under which is evidence of widespread slash and burn agriculture dating back nearly 10,000 years,
  • “Indian black earth”—is prized among local farmers, and it is a direct contribution of the vanished Amazonian cultures. While most Amazonian earth is notoriously nutrient poor, yellowish, sterile, and unscented, there are extensive patches of soil that are mysteriously dark, moist, fragrant, and filled with insects, microbial life, and organic matter. Scholars have come to realize that by devising a way to enrich the soil, the early inhabitants of the Amazon managed to create a foundation for agriculture-based settlements much more populous than scholars had thought possible.
Read more at Black Gold of the Amazon.

Eloquent Bones

JS pointed me towards a great article by Theya Molleson called 'The Eloquent Bones of Abu Hureyra'. You get a real sense of the physically demanding nature of the transition from HG to modestly advanced agriculturalist.

Gymnastic Week 2 W/O2

I am still aware of the fact that I haven't reworked my routine as much as I'd have hoped after reading 'Overcoming Gravity'.  I have several good books 'on the go' at the moment and am simply enjoying my workouts.  If my numbers go up, I will stick with things as they are.  Too long of a plateau, or regression and I will adjust things with a greater sense of urgency.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (25 minutes).
1a. Pistols (8x12.5 assistance, 8x12.5 assistance, 8x12.5 assistance)
1b. Handstands (over 5-10 minutes)
2b L-Sit/Manna Variation (for time)
3a. OAC (5/4x62kg, 5x57kg, 10xBW)
3b. Backlever (5s, 5s, 5s)
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (12)
5. Two-Way DB Rotator Cuff (12 x external and internal shoulder rotations)
6. Wrist PUs from the Knee (12)

The Eyes Have It

Back.  Of. The. Net:
  • “In modern society, most of the time we live in a controlled environment under artificial lights, which are 1,000 to 10,000 times dimmer than sunlight and the wrong part of the spectrum,”

 Aging of Eyes Is Blamed for Range of Health Woes

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Gods and Potassium

You know, although I am an atheist, I am quite willing to believe in a god/gods if I am shown some evidence.  I don't want, nor could I voluntarily, believe in 'anything'.  There needs to be a reason for me to favour the Abrahamic God over any one of the Greek, Roman, Norse and Egyptian gods - the latter which appear far more exotic and appealing.  And although the  Greek, Roman, Norse and Egyptian gods have gone the same way as a certain 'Norwegian Blue', there are still enough gods and demi gods in Hinudism alone to tease me towards that branch of faith.

Liberated from religious indoctrination (largely), in my youth, I am a 'theological blank slate' in a perfect position for a god or gods to communicate with me and recruit me accordingly.  I am still waiting.
My diet is derived from a similar standpoint.  What did our ancestors eat? We don't really know what our ancestors ate but we do have some clues (which I've posted before on Paleohacks):
 And even better, we can be sure of what our ancestors cannot have eaten.  Walk around your supermarket and any unseasonal plant based food along with just about everything in a coloured packet will qualify.

Liberated from dietary dogma I now make it the case for producers and manfacturers of food to make the case for the their goods to be included in my diet.  You see my default position is one of strength; unlike most diets, I don't have to defend what I have chosen to eliminate.  It is incumbent upon others to make the case of why I should add it in.

It is refreshing to see this kind of thinking creeping in to research.  Below is one fantastic abstract:
  • " An organism best fits the environment described by its genes, an environment that prevailed during the time period (millions of years) when evolution naturally selected the genes of its ancestors-those who survived to pass on their genes. When an organism's current environment differs from its ancestral one, the environment's mismatch with the organism's genome may result in functional disadvantages for the organism. The genetically conditioned nutritional requirements of human beings established themselves over millions of years in which ancestral hominins, living as hunter-gatherers, ate a diet markedly different from that of agriculturally dependent contemporary human beings. In that context, we sought to quantify the ancestral-contemporary dietary difference with respect to the supply of one of the body's major mineral nutrients: potassium. In 159 retrojected Stone Age diets, human potassium intake averaged 400 +/- 125 mEq/d, which exceeds current and recommended intakes by more than a factor of 4. We accounted for the transition to the relatively potassium-poor modern diet by the fact that the modern diet has substantially replaced Stone Age amounts of potassium-rich plant foods (especially fruits, leafy greens, vegetable fruits, roots, and tubers), with energy-dense nutrient-poor foods (separated fats, oils, refined sugars, and refined grains), and with potassium-poor energy-rich plant foods (especially cereal grains) introduced by agriculture (circa 10,000 years ago). Given the fundamental physiologic importance of potassium, such a large magnitude of change in potassium intake invites the consideration in human beings of whether the quantitative values of potassium-influenced physiologic phenomena (eg, blood pressure, insulin and aldosterone secretion rates, and intracellular pH) currently viewed as normal, in fact disaccord with genetically conditioned norms. We discuss the potential implications of our findings in respect to human health and disease. "
Messers. Sebastian AFrassetto LASellmeyer DEMorris RC Jr, take a bow.

Gymnastic Week 2 W/O1

I've opened the tanks a bit. Trying to push things each session (but autoregulate somewhat based upon fatigue/motivation and 'tweakiness'). I am not sure that 'tweakiness' is a word but what the hell, I roll with neologisms.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
3. Planche Variations (25s, 25s, 25s)
4ai. Rope Climb (3)
4aii. MU to Ring Routine (3, 3, 3).
5. Scissor Splits (3x '2L, 2R, 2C')
6. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. 321 (8/8L, 8/8M, 5/8L)

Friday, 17 February 2012

Gymnastic Week 1 W/O3

Last day of deload:

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Handstand work (10 mins)
2a. Chins (10, 10, 10)
2bi. Headstand RLLs (4, 4)
2bii. Deadlift (single 135kg)
2c. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
2di. Wall Walk (2, 2)
2dii. Backbridge 15s
3. Two-Way DB Rotator Cuff (10 x external and internal shoulder rotations)
4. Wrist Push Ups from the Knee (10)
5.  321 (8/8L, 8/8L, 8/8L)

Thursday, 16 February 2012

You Talkin to Me?

Making a dependent underclass does no one any favours - not least the dependant him or herself.  Society really does need a big kick up the arse.  We piss away so much of our resources and so much potential.

Just looking at things in terms of money and finances - consider how wasteful humanity over recent years because of the actions of bankers and rioters, the pissed and sick (the latter gently milked by a pharmaceutical industry intent of treatment of a condition rather than prevention or cure).

The current economic fuck up is a result of a lack of free markets (power was aggregated to the point of market control/manipulation), and the fact that those in power had no 'skin in the game'.  As  NNT observed, this is the first time in history where those in power have not had to have courage.  There is no personal downside to the risks they take.

Then there is the personal cost of potential unfulfilled - dissatisfaction and depression.  We all need a 'self stroke', some kind of feedback that rewards and encourages our (positive) behaviours but I am not sure that modern life lets us do that.  Certainly not easily.

Whereas Paleo 2.0 looked inwards at individual heath we need to formulate an outward-looking Paleo 3.0.  Maybe this is the place to start.  Maybe, with such economic upheaval and the progressive erosion of democracy - once by stealth but now by transparent means, the time is ripe for revolution.

UPDATE: So could captalism have fallen in to a Red Queen race?  We've automated agriculture which provides efficiencies and provides raw materials for industry (rather than food).  But look at the costs of this.  The exposed soils require application of fertilizers, pesticides and nutrients that are lost through leaching and run off.  We have charities set up to conserve the land and protect endangered species killed by modern agriculture, which require funding.  The jobs lost in agriculture create unemployed people seeking benefits.  Stratification of industry leads to low skilled jobs and demeaning jobs giving rise to mental health issues (whereas in traditional agriculture people had outdoor jobs that required skill, like ploughing, or were craft based but enriching such as tailoring or blacksmiths).  The food produced by industry leads to malnutrition and sickness.....

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Gymnastic Week 1 W/O2b

Yeah - ok, so I said I'd done this weeks second workout. Truth is, after some rocket fuel caffeine I need to crank - I WANT to chin!  I will add on my prehab.I am still on a deloaded phase so will simply do less volume.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (25 minutes).
1. L-Sit/Manna Variation (for time)
2a. OAC (4x57kg)
2b. Two Arm Chin Weighted 25kg (7)
3. Backlever (5s, 5s, 5s)
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (10)
5. Two-Way DB Rotator Cuff (10 x external and internal shoulder rotations)
6. Wrist PUs from the Knee (10)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Gymnastic Week 1 W/O2

Last night's Lau Gar rinsed me of energy so I am factoring in that as my second workout of the week. The opening routine (see below) is a killer and was followed by much hurt courtesy of 'low walks' and deep horse riding stance.
Warm Up (5 minutes)

The workout was a classic 'Escalator'/'Fugue' model where each exercise is undertaken for a fixed period of say, 20s, followed by a rest of 20s.  But in each subsequent round an additional exercise is added. There is no rest between rounds other than the allotted 20s as shown. Don't worry about reps, just quality.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

More Than Tiger's Penis.

I've always wanted to come up with a cryptic blog post title.  Job done.

It seems that Chinese Medicine offers more than woo and tiger's penis.  New Scientist reports on a Tibetan shrub that can trick cells into thinking they are starving causing them to blocks immune reactions that can cause disease via an active ingredient called halofuginone which 'mimics such a shortage by blocking an enzyme that feeds one amino acid to the protein-making machinery':

  • [This] triggers a chemical cascade that responds to amino acid scarcity, called AAR. This inhibits the growth of malaria parasites, stops blood cells from making proteins that cause inflammation, and stops the development of specific white blood cells that trigger conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.

    This could make the drug effective against autoimmune disease. But as halofuginone mimics nutrient deprivation, there is another possible use. Animals that receive only just adequate nutrition are known to live longer, partly because diseases which involve inflammation are prevented. That, says Keller, means halofuginone might possibly work as an anti-aging drug.
I do wonder if simple IF wouldn't be at least as beneficial...

Gymnastic Week 1 W/O1

After a weekend of Mastodon and a LOT of beer, I've returned home to training.  Mastodon verily did rock the University of East Anglia, and along with the social nature of the weekend (catching up with a few good friends), things should have been topped off with action in the Six Nations.

After scraping past a valiant Italian team, England managed to escape with their reputations intact.  Just!  The France vs Ireland game should have been THE game of the weekend.  Sadly it looks like the French couldn't empty piss out of a wellington if the instructions were written on the heel.  There is no excuse for cancelling a game so late.

Back to the session.  After a week off, this week is deloaded.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10s)
3. Planche Variations (25s)
4ai. Rope Climb (2)
4aii. MU to Ring Routine (2).
5. Scissor Splits (1x '2L, 2R, 2C')
6. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. 321

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


Captain Kid, Flash and I spent last summer down the local park with my slackline.  Slacklining is great fun - and a source of frustration!  But with practice comes skill.  We've definitley got a way to go before we can challenge these guys below!

As with all pursuits, it is good to see 'the edge' being pushed back.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


Yet another theme that has been circulating in the paleosphere for several years (see last comment here, and Conditiong Research), and which has no pricked wider public consciousness, cellular autophagy!

The New York Times has a great article 'Exercise as Housecleaning for the Body':
  • "It’s long been known that cells accumulate flotsam from the wear and tear of everyday living. Broken or misshapen proteins, shreds of cellular membranes, invasive viruses or bacteria, and worn-out, broken-down cellular components, like aged mitochondria, the tiny organelles within cells that produce energy, form a kind of trash heap inside the cell.In most instances, cells diligently sweep away this debris. They even recycle it for fuel. Through a process with the expressive name of autophagy, or “self-eating,” cells create specialized membranes that engulf junk in the cell’s cytoplasm and carry it to a part of the cell known as the lysosome, where the trash is broken apart and then burned by the cell for energy.Without this efficient system, cells could become choked with trash and malfunction or die."
 Pretty awesome eh?  This is something that is missed in the basic CICO model. The system can eat itself - so how do you work out the CI from autophagy?

Two triggers were identified that lead to autophagy,
  • "In petri dishes, the rate of autophagy increases when cells are starved or otherwise placed under physiological stress."
Certainly the former is something that ADV has been talking about for years (yet again he is ahead of the curve), but more generally, these fit the paleo paradigm.  Hunger triggers a intense exertion in the form of a hunt. 

The benefits of cellular autophagy are available to us RIGHT NOW,
"Still, it’s possible that at some point, autophagy-prompting drugs or specialized exercise programs might help everyone to fully benefit from exercise."

Skip a meal here and there (IF), exercise in short sharp burst (power law)....or wait for the pill!  ;)

The Lard is Risen!

It's not often that I agree with theists but...

Hat tip to Jerry Coyne at 'Why Evolution is True'.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Volume Week 4 W/O3

I'm looking to repeat last weeks intensity, and no more.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Handstand work (10 mins)
2a. Chin Variations (Two Arm + 25kg x 8, +40kg x 4, Slow One-Arm Eccentric 1 x each arm)
2bi. Headstand RLLs (6, 6)
2bii. Deadlift (single 150kg)
2c. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
2di. Wall Walk (3, 3)
2dii. Backbridge 15s
3. Two-Way DB Rotator Cuff (12 x external and internal shoulder rotations)
4. Wrist Push Ups from the Knee (12)
5.  321 (8/8L, 8/8L, 8/8M)