Friday, 30 March 2012

Gymnastic Week 2 W/O3

Another sunny day, so looking forward to this one...

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Handstand work (10 mins)
2a. Chin Variations (Two Arm + 35kg x 7/6, +45kg x 3, Slow One-Arm Eccentric 1 x each arm 10xBW 2 Arm)
2bi. Headstand RLLs (7)
2bii. Deadlift (2x135kg, 2x135kg)
2c. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
2di. Wall Walk (3)
2dii. Backbridge (15s, 15s)
3. Two-Way DB Rotator Cuff (12 x external and internal shoulder rotations)
4. Reverse Dumbell Curls (12)
5.  321 (8L, 8L, 8M)/Bouldering

Class-action suit against Vibram

Sports One Source report a class-action suit against Vibram USA,
  • The lawsuit asserts that; 1) health benefits claims Vibram FiveFingers has used to promote the shoes are deceptive; 2) that FiveFingers may increase injury risk as compared to running in conventional running shoes, and even when compared to running barefoot; 3) that there are no well-designed scientific studies that support FiveFingers claims.
I can't help thinking that point three applies to most modern sportswear products, cosmetics and, to be honest, the pharmaceutical industry.  The irony here is that V5Fs force runners to adopt a more 'evolutionary concordant' forefoot strike.  The product is sold with cautionary materials emphasising this point and offering guidance, but for some people somewhere, "..SOMEONE MUST PAY BECAUSE I HURT MYSELF!"  Sales of V5F have grown 300% a year for the last 5 years, so we should follow the money on this one.

I've achieved ultimate paleo-wanker status in that I often train completely barefoot.  My V5Fs are reserved for wild terrain, but much of my training is physically barefoot.

I await the day some train-wreck of a fat person with metabolic syndrome sues a water company for recommending they eschew 'DietSugarCrap' in favour of a glass of water.  No doubt Mr Trainwreck will injure himself/nearly drown during the the transition...and those bastards in hydrology will be forced to pay....

Baise moi.

Thursday, 29 March 2012


28th March 2010 "Sooner or later all 'movements' tend to thrash themselves to death on the rocks. Like all groups that reach a maturation stage, paleo seems to be splintering. It happens in all activities...

It is a natural consequence of maturation. As an idea, philosophy or movement becomes more mature, different themes are explored and ideas are mined to their logical conclusion (if not beyond). Sport, politics, science and religion all suffer from this to some degree.

I can see a signs of a similar split appearing in paleo. As people become more familiar with it, and have their own unique success, we get more gurus. Their way is the only way. Now me, I reckon we are all false prophets.."

31 March 2011 " is clearly high-time to '[leave] the tent to erect a proper building'...

I speculated a while ago that 'paleo' (or rather Paleo v1.0), was eating itself - becoming just another worthless term for narcissistic self-indulgence. Commodified."

After the cleansing actions of the flames you have to look around and see what's left - and to be honest, you SHOULD have something solid and meaningful left to work with.  An excellent example can be found here.

For me, I reckon we push on to Paleo 3.0 which should focus on sorting the planet out.  Shortening our food chain.  Buying local food from sustainable sources.  Reclaiming control over your health and life in general.  

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Gymnastic Week 2 W/O2

Time to max it!

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes).
1. Handstands (over 5-10 minutes)
2a. Pistols (Bwx4, Bwx4, Bwx4)
2b L-Sit/Manna Variation (3x5ish seconds)
3a. OAC (2x69kg, 3x64kg, 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, 25 March 2012

Gymnastic Week 2 W/O1

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
3. Planche Variations (20/25s, 20/25s, 20/25s)
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 (8L, 8M, 5/8M)

Wow- this workout left me feeling on a big high.  Odd how you can go in to the gig feeling ambivalent at best, but you come out the other side mentally refreshed!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Gymnastic Week 1 W/O3

Last day of deload.  I've a big walk tonight so will sack the 321 work.  I've also been thinking that in this training cycle I might focus on seeking to add reps rather than weight.  Once I repeat my maxes from the last cycle, I will go for one more rep.  I might have to make a modest drop in weights to achieve this in some circumstances.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1a. Handstand work (10 mins)
1b. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)

2a. Chins (10, 10, 10)
2bi. Headstand RLLs (4)
2bii. Deadlift (2x135kg, 2x135kg)
2ci. Wall Walk (2)
2cii. Backbridge (15s, 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)

I mixed in the handstands and manna work.  HS felt ok, but only one hold was in the sweet spot to my satisfaction.  I finished with some handwalking.  The last few reps of the last set of chins was tough.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Moving Target

Dr B.G. has a great post up which features this line,
  • "A couple of things I harass and harp on are now shaded in grey instead of the archetypical black-white..."

Forget 'reps of 3x10' or 'nutrient ratios of x:x:x'.  These are static models and entirely inappropriate for an adaptive biological system that evolved to respond to variation on a diurnal and seasonal basis, variation in temperature, in energy in (including nutritional profile), and physical exertion.  Washes and waves of hormones are part of the picture.

Grey is the new black! 'Health' is a moving target. The measure of YOUR health is your ability to pursue that target. Once we realise this Paleo becomes a damn sight easier.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Truth About Fat

After tackling some of the ideas around 'do more' in The Truth About Exercise, the BBC's Horizon program tackles some of the notions behind 'eat less' in The Truth About Fat (news release here),
  • Surgeon Gabriel Weston discovers the surprising truth about why so many people are piling on the pounds, and how to fight the fat epidemic.

    She discovers the hidden battles of hormones that control people's appetites, and sees the latest surgery that fundamentally changes what a patient wants to eat by altering how their brains work.Gabriel is shocked to find out that when it comes to being overweight, it is not always your fault you are fat.
The short, sharp summary is that Weston has discovered that obesity is not simply a matter of willpower, and there is evidence that it is heavily linked to genes, hormones and neurological factors.

Gymnastic Week 1 W/O2


Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. HSPU/Handstand (For time)
2a. Pistols (BW: 3, 3, 3)
2b. L-Sit/Manna Variation (for time)
3i. OAC (4x57kg)
3ii. Two Arm Chin (BWx10)
4. Backlever (5s, 5s, 5s)
5. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (10)
6. Two-Way DB Rotator Cuff (10 x external and internal shoulder rotations)
7. Wrist PUs from the Knee (10)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Free From....

Captain Kid and Flash have recently been listening to Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds (yeah, I know that link doesn't take you to the original).  Reading through the narrative, this line caught my attention,

  • Directly the invaders arrived and drank and fed, our microscopic allies attacked them.  From that moment, they were doomed.
The pertinent point here is that the diet of the martians was well ahead of their ability to adapt.  This very theme was a subtext to this week's 'Food Program' on Radio 4,
  • There's been a huge growth in the range of 'free from' foods over the last decade. Sheila Dillon asks whether this is due to more people being diagnosed with food allergies, or whether retailers and manufacturers are finding their own ways to grow consumer interest in dairy and gluten free foods. 
My mantra for some time has been to avoid foods that have the same name globally, and specifically to avoid any food that can change its nutritional stripes to reflect the dietary wisdom of the day.  Any food with the words 'low' and 'reduced', and even 'added', 'improved' or 'fortified' just pass me by.  It looks like I can add 'free from...' to the list.  Food is what it is - it shouldn't swap horses mid stream, but that is the elephant in the room.  When we look at the foods we are advised to eat, that is EXACTLY what they do.  Ergo, they are not food.

The press release accompanying The Food Program carried some great comments including this insight,
  • The experts believe as new foods are developed and adopted new allergens will develop. 
Hell yeah!  And Kristian Bravin make an acute observation about the nutritional profile of our diet,
  • "People in the UK are eating a much higher level of wheat-based products," says Kristian Bravin. "People are often eating wheat-based foods (such as bread or pasta) three times a day."
Of note is a wider acceptance of how our diet has changed and whether technological improvements in our diet are actually making things better,

  • Our diets have changed more since the 50s than they have in the last 2,000 years and even more so in the last three decades.
    And this, says Bravin, is the background to many of the theories about the rise in food allergies.
    There has been a massive decrease in Vitamin D in our diets from fish, eggs, and grass-fed animal products, which has already been linked to some cancers and cardiovascular problems.

    We have also switched from eating butter and other saturated fats to consuming lots of vegetable oils in margarines and processed foods - a development some scientists believe is also involved in stimulating the immune system in a way that can cause damage.
Can't be long before a lot of these dots are connected.  Pay the farmer of pay the doctor.  Remember that by the time you are in the hands of the medical community it is probably already too late!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Gymnastic Week 1 W/O1

My right wrist is feeling good at the moment.  I was looking back to some of my past 'week 1s' and I'd mentioned a 'tweak', but it feels good today.   Sadly the left elbow feels a bit 'tweaky'.  Doh!

After a week off I am back to a deloaded week.  One of each:

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

A Tale of Two Studies

The Harvard School of Public Health continue to piss away their intellectual capital and general esteem.  I am starting to think that their nutrition researchers couldn't empty piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel.

But what has really annoyed me is the reaction of NHS Choices - a media outshoot from the UK's widely loved, much supported and highly regarded National Health Service.  NHS Choices has a 'Behind the Headlines' section which was set up with this aim:
  • Behind the Headlines provides an unbiased and evidence-based analysis of health stories that make the news.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Cosmic Unity

If you've been looking at the night sky in the early evening over the past few weeks, you can't help but have noticed two very bright celesital bodies to the west.  These are actually planets; Venus (the brighter of the two), and Jupiter.

They will keep closing in the sky to over the coming days with the conjunction climaxing between the 12th - 15th March, beyond which they will again diverge.

(Picture from National Geographic)

Friday, 9 March 2012

Chrome Users

I've just noticed that if you browse my site using Google Chrome it embeds links on to certain keywords like 'claims', 'diet' and so forth.  This is really fucking annoying GOOGLE, so please stop doing it.  I do not endorse any such link and please do not think it is me adding these grubby little links in to the text.

IE users - you can relax as no such embedding occurs with IE.  However users of IE shouldn't relax too much given the historical security issues with this browser!

Gymnastic Week 4 W/O3

Feeling quite 'on' for today's session.  The sunny spring day is definitely part of the inspiration - as is a personal success at work.  Positive feedback!

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Handstand work (10 mins)
2a. Chin Variations (Two Arm + 35/30kg x 6, +45kg x 3, Slow One-Arm Eccentric 1 x each arm)
2bi. Headstand RLLs (7/6, 7/6)
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 Dumbell Curls (12)
5.  321 (8L, 8L, 8M)

First things first.  If you become so obese that your anus is more than an arm's-length away, then it is time to do something about your weight.  If it is YOUR anus we are talking about, and YOUR arm's-length we are using as the unit of measurement, then this instruction matters doubly so.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Getting Fat but Staying Fit

You can be fat and fit!
  • They chose 3,148 adult men and women, most in their 40s at the start of the study and all normally active but not athletes. None at first had any indications of heart disease or other risk factors, like high blood pressure or cholesterol.

    The researchers then compared the patients’ body fat and aerobic fitness during their second checkup, usually two or three years after the first. A majority of the people had, by that time, gained body fat. Paradoxically, many also had become more fit, a surprising statistic, unless you consider that these were men and women who were dutifully showing up for medical checkups and receiving repeated admonitions to exercise.

    None during that second visit yet showed discernible risk factors for heart disease.

    But by the time they showed up for their third checkup several years later, almost a quarter had developed high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels or a combination of risk factors called metabolic syndrome.

    Those at greatest risk for these health problems were, unsurprisingly, those who’d both lost fitness and gained fat. If someone had grown less fit over the years while adding fat, he now had a 71 percent greater chance of suffering from metabolic syndrome than those who’d lost fat.
Best NOT to get fat.  How to do that...?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Gymnastic Week 4 W/O2

A tough night last night (Lau Gar), has left me feeling a bit gassed in the shoulders and arms today. And thighs (deep horse-riding stance does that to you).  It is a fantastic day - blue skies and sunshine - so I am keen to get outdoors and 'do stuff'.  As usual, I'll attempt to autoregulate as I come across exercises.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes).
1. Handstands (over 5-10 minutes)
2a. Pistols (8x10kg assistance, 8x10kg assistance, 9x10kg assistance)
2b L-Sit/Manna Variation (for time)
3a. OAC (2x69kg, 3x64kg, 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, 4 March 2012

Gymnastic Week 4 W/O1

Again I don't really feel that inspired tonight.  I've left the workout until late and it is cold and wet out!  Oh well, 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 (8L, 8M, 5/8M)

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Killer Carbs

A while back I kind of stepped back from the science of nutrition and exercise.  I am still interested in it but I have enough of a handle on things to get favourable results without the burden of paralysis by analysis that comes with having to dissect every study that comes along.  It doesn't help that there seems to be so much conflicting information out there and there are smarter folk than me, with specialist knowledge who stand on opposing sides.  I don't want to be to trite (and I am most definitely NOT antiscience), but if paleolithic man can survive without 'the science', why can't we?  Or rather, there is a simpler way to achieve health.

I've ended up with an idea that a lot of what we do is about signalling, along with the idea that we have an inner actuary.  I, like MANY lean people, simply do not have to count calories.  Calories count, of course, but that is not to say that I am doing the counting.  Furthermore it is the case that nutrition is only one side of the coin, exercise is another.  And now here's the thing, those gaps between eating (the gaps that trigger hormonal changes that drive your ancestors to forage and hunt), and those gaps between exercise (the gaps in which energy is conserved, muscle and tissue are rebuilt, where bones grow), are also vital parts of the jigsaw. 

Just as your PC is comprised of hardware, software and firmware - our health would appear to be similarly layered by energy input and expenditure, and the periodicity of this.  There is crucial interplay that works through these layers.

But these gaps between eating and the gaps between exercising, they're what interest me.  This seems to be where the real 'information' that your body can work with is.  That is how your body understands the world YOU live in, and these ebbs and flows of data - data on energy intake and expenditure - are crucial to the ability of your inner actuary in planning for future energy requirements and provision of energy to support survival over the short and medium term.

To generate data rich patterns I believe it is important to explore 'the most you can do' and 'the least you can do' in terms of exercise.  Power laws rule.  It is important to work across metabolic pathways, dip in and out of  ketosis, to fast and to feast.  Well, that's how I see it anyway!

And so to carbs.  For so long the bete noire of the paleosphere, and the current starlet of a paleo shit-storm.  I've said before I ramp them up to account for intense exercise (not for health).  But I have a eye on their seasonal availability and how they might have been consumed in the past.

We shouldn't lose sight of the favourable utility of animal over plant.  Nor should we lose sight of the availability of carb-rich foods with regard to season and geography.  The question is, how did these factors affect the patterns of consumption?  Consider that there may well have been extended periods of LC, and what this would mean for the body.

Interestingly it seems that carb consumption can, over time, lead to neural degeneration in cells that control appetite,
  • A Monash University scientist has discovered key appetite control cells in the human brain degenerate over time, causing increased hunger and potentially weight-gain as we grow older. The research by Dr Zane Andrews, a neuroendocrinologist with Monash University's Department of Physiology, has been published in Nature.

    Dr Andrews found that appetite-suppressing cells are attacked by free radicals after eating and said the degeneration is more significant following meals rich in carbohydrates and sugars.

    "The more carbs and sugars you eat, the more your appetite-control cells are damaged, and potentially you consume more," Dr Andrews said.
    Dr Andrews said the attack on appetite suppressing cells creates a cellular imbalance between our need to eat and the message to the brain to stop eating.
Viewed this way, obesity at least in some cases, is a symptom of ageing.  We also have a positive feedback mechanism that, without those gaps afforded by seasonality, and fasting, compress the spiral of degeneration.

Is The Devil

Denmark gets it!  Fast food just went primal:
  • While modern Nordic cuisine has catapulted the Danish capital to the top of the culinary world, the chef behind takeaway restaurant Palæo looked for inspiration from the stone age – or palaeolithic period – to create "primal gastronomy".

    "Bread is the devil," says Thomas Rode Andersen, 43, who has created the menu for Palæo and is head chef at the Michelin-starred Kong Hans in Copenhagen. After divorcing in 2005 he started dating a younger woman and swapped late-night beers and snacks for "paleo" food and exercise.

    In the last couple of years he has become something of a poster boy for the paleo movement in Denmark, but he still allows himself the odd break from the diet.
 From today's Guardian.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Waterlog: The Moat

Just to give you a flavour of Roger Deakin's Waterlog,
  • The warm rain tumbled from the gutter in one of those midsummer downpours as I hastened across the lawn behind my house in Suffolk and took shelter in the moat.  Breaststroking up and down the thirty yards of clear, green water, I nosed along, eyes just at water level.  The frog's-eye view of rain on the moat was magnificent.  Rain calms water, it freshens it, sinks all the floating pollen, dead bumblebees and other flotsam.  Each raindrop exploded in a momentary, bouncing fountain that turned into a bubble and burst.  The best moments were when the storm intensified, drowning birdsong, and a haze rose off the water as though the moat itself were rising to meet the lowering sky.  Then the rain eased and the reflected heavens were full of tiny dancers; water sprites springing up on tiptoe like bright pins over the surface.  It was raining water sprites.
This is truly a love letter to swimming and one of the great adventure/nature books.  Get inspired for the lighter evenings!

Wild Swimming

Wild swimming time is nearly upon us.  My local watering hole is one of several marked on this map from the Outdoor Swimming Society (good work guys).  I am going to see if I can tick a few of these venues off over the course of the year.  RALSA (The River & Lake Swimming Association) have a similar index of places to swim.

When wild swimming in the UK, you'll see plenty of signs warning of deep water, forbidding paddling or swimming, and, carrying a variety of other intimidating messages (many of them a consequence of the Draconian 1984 Occupiers, Liability Act).  But where does the law stand on this issue?

Things are restricted in England and Wales (unlike Scotland where they have right of access secured by the Scottish Land Reform Act of 2003).  From Waterlog by Roger Deakin, 'only where a river is navigable do you have rights of access along its bank' (p33, Deakin 1999), and tidal waters (with exceptions - check local bye laws).  This right extends to places where there exists a historical precedent, custom, longstanding tradition or established use.  Swimming in reservoirs is a 'no no'!  (Take this last one from someone who was caught by the fish-Fuzz doing just that).

Access to the water is a trickier thing altogether.  When determining access think public rights of way, bridges and footpaths, lake shores and fjords.  If confronted, be aware that for a start, trespassers CANNOT be prosecuted (trespass is covered by civil law of Tort and not criminal law, and you can only be prosecuted under criminal law).  If you are courteous and have not led the landowner to incur damage by your actions then there is little the landowner can do, short of requesting you leave the water.  You are within your rights to request proof of identity or authority.  If you are on a public footpath then you cannot be asked to move on.
You can find more details here and here. There are plenty of grey areas, but be discreet and you should be ok!

The other big scare tactic is Weils Disease.  This is a bacteria (Leptospira) carried in the urine of rats, cattle or dogs which enters the human body through lesions in the skin or 'mucous surfaces' (nose, mouth or conjunctiva)

To Roger Deakin's Waterlog once more, in which he quotes epidemiological research from the University of Bristol,
  •  "There are on average each year in the UK, some 2.5 cases of Weil's disease associated with bathing and water sports (ie one case among every two million annual recreational water users).  As the case fatality rate in the UK is 10-15%, the chance of dying from Weil's disease associated with bathing and water sports is about 1:20 million expose persons"
The bottom line is to go see a doctor if you suffer from any 'flu like symptoms.

Gymnastic Week 3 W/O3

I was down the park last night with a mate, messing about on the monkey bars.  I tested my OAC using my free hand to pinch the upright posts to offer (pressing) assistance.  Things felt good - definitely stronger in the general movement.  I only did a few reps as I knew I was going to train today, but am mildly worried that even with the low level of stuff I did last night, I should take it a bit easier today.  We'll see.

The park is unlit and it was dark but I still managed to demo some handstands.  I hit the sweet spot a couple of times and in the darkness really had to dial in to feedback, proprioception and kinaesthetic awareness.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Handstand work (10 mins)
2a. Chin Variations (Two Arm + 30kg x 6/3, +45kg x 3, 10 x two arm/Slow One-Arm Eccentric 1 x each arm)
2bi. Headstand RLLs (6, 6)
2bii. Deadlift (single 140kg/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 Dumbell Curls (12)
5.  321 (8/8L, 8/8L, 8/8M)

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Sleep and Potatoes

A little something from the BBC by a guy called Iain Wilson:
  • "I grew up among the Yali people in Papua, Indonesia. When I was born, my parents lived in a remote area. My mother was a medical worker and my father was an anthropologist. We lived there until I was 16, and as a child I used to camp and go hunting with my friends in the Yali tribe.

    When I stayed with them, we would go to bed more or less after sunset and people would always wake up during the night.

    I would hear them talking and someone would start a fire. Sometimes we would eat some sweet potato before going back to sleep until 05:30 or 06:00. "
My take-home from this is to let children use engage in adventurous pursuits, even with an element of danger (don't be over-protective, trust your child's evolving judgement, don't try to learn on behalf of your child).  The requirement for eight hours of contiguous sleep IS a myth.  Carbs are bad.*