Friday, 31 August 2012

RPT Wk2 W/O3

DL Day!  Might try some handstand variations as well.  After this session I am off to hit some tuna and sweet potatoes.  This in turn will be followed by my new favourite dessert, steamed banana and apple! 

I find sweet potatoes VERY sweet for my palate, but I am trying to stick with macro ratios way more aggressive than anything I've done before! 

By retrospectively looking at the macros for what I eat in any given day, I realised that although I tended to eat HP/HF/LC on a rest day and HP/LF/HC on a training day, and mixed caloric intake by use of IF, I was crushing any benefits of such cycling by my indulgence in foods like tongue and black pudding, which really will blow your control of macros out of the water.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand Variations (air squats + side lunges, front lunges + floor touches, front/side/turning kicks)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Deadlift (4x128, 6x109, 8x90)
4. Wall Walk (3, 3)
5. Backbridge (15s)

Shoulder Prehabilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (12)
7. External Shoulder Rotations (12)

8. 321 (8L, 8L, 8L)/Bouldering

Thursday, 30 August 2012

5 Lux = Circadian Friendly

Another bit on the relationship between light exposure and melatonin:
  • The research team established that duration of exposure and the distance between the eye and the display, which determines the amount of light reaching the back of the eye, affects melatonin levels. Melatonin suppression after a one-hour exposure to the tablet was not significantly affected. However, after a two-hour exposure there was significant suppression.

    The type of task being performed on the tablets also determines how much light is delivered to the cornea and, therefore, the impact on evening melatonin levels. As shown by the team’s Dimesimeter measurements, the range of photopic illuminance levels at the cornea from the tablets alone varied from 5 lux, which is not likely to affect melatonin, to over 50 lux, which would result in measurable melatonin suppression after a two-hour exposure. Therefore, before any generalizations can be made, it is important to measure how much light one is receiving from these self-luminous devices.
Best to limit exposure to modern electronic devices in the evening.

Handbalancing Variations

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

RPT Wk2 W/O2

Not feeling that great today.  I've altered my macros (but not my food stuffs), to be more Leangains compliant and am feeling the change.  I've simply reordered what I eat so that I have higher carb foods (like broccoli, carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes), on a training day.  I try to keep fat low on a T-day so I tend towards fish.  As for rest days, I go for higher fat - which means chicken.  I've added some tuna on rest days to boost protein intake on rest days as well.
Macro management is calorie counting by the back door.  But now I know the macros of my typical foodstuffs (in terms of volume), volumes are 'eyeballed'.  I still don't measure.  Food selection drives the macros rather than portion control.

I have decided to cut back on tongue and black pudding as these are so high in fat and protein they can really blow the macros.  They will be an occasional treat (once a month of each).

I am still eshewing all supplements (bar occasional D3, magnesium and potassium).  Higher protein requirements are fulfilled with tuna.  Higher carb requirements are fulfilled by cooking fruit and starchy tubers.

Lithium and the Bodyclock

Another interesting bit from The Disappearing Spoon:
  • Curiously, for all its potency as a drug, lithium has no normal biological role. It's not an essential mineral like iron or magnesium, or even a trace nutrient like chromium. In fact, pure lithium is a scarily reactive chemical.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Devany Online

Good to see Art back in the public eye with a new blog.

CHO Superfood!

I've spent the past week looking at my diet from the perspective of macro nutrients.  I was delighted to find that my weekly consumption of an average Ox Tongue (560g when cooked and peeled), pans out as follows:

Calories = 2436
P = 118g
CHO = 2g
Fat = 116g

That opened my eyes.  I then went on to look at my other big love, black pudding (33g):

Monday, 27 August 2012

RPT Wk2 W/O1

I am really going to push the levers.  Not sure there is much progress being made on these so they need focus.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (30 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Planche Variations (25s, 25s, 25s)
3. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
4i. Rope Climb (1)
4ii. MU to Ring Routine (1, 1).
5. Scissor Splits (3x '2L, 2R, 2C') 
6. Weighted Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. Fingerboard Routine (10min)

Sunday, 26 August 2012

A Question of Taste

We think in discreet of discreet senses; taste, touch, sight, smell and hearing.  In complex biological systems like ourselves it is slightly more complicated.  Smell and taste are closely linked as anyone who has had a heavy cold and blocked sinuses can atest to; food can taste pretty bland.  In fact it appears that touch sensitivity is also linked to hearing!  Audio tests also show that those with good hearing were more likely to have sensitive touch (and touch is the principle by which percussionist Evelyn Glennie manages to overcome profound deafness).

I was listening to a pod cast featuring Jan Melichar, a psychiatrist at the University of Bristol, discussing how apples and onions trigger the same taste receptors in the mouth - and without the sense of smell, it is very difficult to differentiate between the two (save for some idea of the slighlty differing texture between the two).  Complex relations between the senses don't end there. 

Friday, 24 August 2012

RPT Wk1 W/O3

So looking at the app from which I calculate my loads, I should have started week 1 with lighter weights.  Oh for the last session, these numbers are approximates as I'm not sure what numbers to use in the transition from 531 to RPT (especially in a deloaded phase).

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats + side lunges, front lunges + floor touches, front/side/turning kicks)
2. Manna Progression (three rounds for time)
3. Deadlift (4x115, 6x96, 8x77)
4. Wall Walk (3, 3)
5. Backbridge (15s)

Shoulder Prehabilitation
6. External Shoulder Rotations (12)
7. External Shoulder Rotations (12)

8. 321 (8L, 8L, 8L)/Bouldering

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Polypharmacy & the Inverse Care Law

Inside Health is currently running with at theme of overdiagnosis and polypharmacy:
  • Dr Mark Porter asks whether doctors can try too hard in the early detection of disease and investigates the overdiagnosis of hypertension. This week he discovers that as many as 3 million people who have been told they have high blood pressure may not actually have it - could you be one of them?
One of the interviewees is chest-specialist Professor Alan Muarice who has a cholesterol level of 9.  When asked abour this he responds " is high yes. Do I take any treatment? No."

Asked if he shunned treatement and why he replied, "When the first trials came out suggesting you can effectively lower cholesterol I did think it was a good idea and then more and more evidence has accumulated showing that the amount of benefit you get from treating just an isolated cholesterol and ignoring all of the other things is a very poor way of judging it. Cholesterol is a risk factor but it is a minor risk factor."

He goes on to talk about the side effects of Simvastatin (muscle aches and pains), which cause people to give up exercise - which ultimately cause more harm than good. They go on to talk about focus on 'signs' rather than 'symptoms' and the general obsession with 'numbers'.

The program touches on the overdiagnosis of high blood pressure (and the new entity that is 'pre-high blood pressure' and 'pre-hypertension'; where people with normal blood pressure now find themselves in a medical category suggesting 'risk'.)

In fairness to many doctors, the 'worried well' seem to be driving much of this (see Inverse Care Law).

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Different Sides, Same Coin

I've often wondered whether a whole host of modern ailments aren't all simple manifestation of the same problem; poor nutrition and inadequate exercise.  This range of ailments may range from hair loss (not necessarily MPB) and tooth decay, to obesity, CHD, Altzeimers and cancer.

We are biological systems, incredibly complicated and research is continually turning up intricate relationships.  Recently I posted up a story on gut flora and mood.  Today the BBC carried a story on obesity and its relationship with cognitive decline (Obesity 'bad for brain' by hastening cognitive decline):
  • Being overweight is not just bad for waistlines but for brains too, say researchers who have linked obesity to declining mental performance.

    Experts are not sure why this might be, but say metabolic changes such as high blood sugar and raised cholesterol are likely to be involved.

    Obesity has already been tipped as a risk factor for dementia. The work, published in Neurology, tracked the health of more than 6,000 British people over a decade.

    The participants, who were aged between 35 and 55, took tests on memory and other cognitive skills three times over a 10-year period.
In some ways losing my mind worries me more than losing my hustle.  I don't want to live forever, I just want compressed morbidity.  Very compressed.

Talking of living forever, who'd have thought that popcorn flavouring posed a risk to workers?
  • A butter flavouring used in the production of microwave popcorn could be a respiratory hazard to workers and could even alter gene expression in the brain. This is the conclusion of researchers from the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and West Virginia University, investigating the effects of 2,3-pentanedione on laboratory rats. Ironically, 2,3-pentanedione was introduced to replace the flavouring diacetyl, which was found to have similar health effects over 10 years ago.
Popcorn; considered benign and sold largely to kids, bought by their loving parents.  Do people actually eat this stuff? (Yeah, yeah, I know that eating it is safe, it is the inhaling that is the problem.)

'Popcorn workers lung' (Bronchiolitis obliterans), is news to me.  I don't eat it, but what really surprise me was this line from one of the researchers:
  • ‘Our study also supports established recommendations that flavourings should be substituted only when there is evidence that the substitute is less toxic than the agent it replaces.’
Now that reads to me like 'they' are still happy to kill you, albeit with something less immediately terminal.

Baise moi!

RPT Wk1 W/O2

Onwards with the RPT gig.  I need to flesh out the weights and reps - so those below are for guidance only.  I will get my baseline established on the job!

Rests will be 2-3 minutes between sets.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)
1. Handstand (air squats + side lunges, one legged floor touches + front lunges, front/side/turning kicks)
2. Pistols (6x60kg, 8x55kg, 10x50kg)
3. OACs (6x60kg, 8x50kg, 8/10x40kg)

Forearm and Wrist Prehabilitation
4. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (10)
5. Wrist Push Ups (10)
6. Reverse Wrist Curl (10)

Weight : 80kg* (I lost 4 kilos whilst on holiday in France for a fortnight)

Another "Truth About..."

The BBC has output several fairly good 'Truth About....' programs of late in the Horizon series.  The latest installment was to do with fasting (Eat, Fast and Live Longer): 
  • Michael Mosley has set himself a truly ambitious goal: he wants to live longer, stay younger and lose weight in the bargain. And he wants to make as few changes to his life as possible along the way. He discovers the powerful new science behind the ancient idea of fasting, and he thinks he's found a way of doing it that still allows him to enjoy his food. Michael tests out the science of fasting on himself - with life-changing results.
I only got around to watching it last night and although it contained a few inaccuracies (AFAIU), it is good to see mainstream challenges to the idea that we must belt feed food throughout the day less we should atrophy.

Pregressive acceptance of fasting in its many forms (ADF, IF etc....), will hopefully move perception away from 'obsessive'.  I for one, found fasting to be a natural progression after adopting a paleo diet.  I just began to never fancy breakfast....then I found out about fasting.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Gut Flora and Mood

Long time readers will be aware of the mounting evidence that the profile of your gut flora can change depending upon your diet.  Poor diets can enable 'bad' gut flora to flourish, causing a host of problems around chronic inflammation, nutrient absorption and so on.

Today I stumbled across this piece on how 'Microbes manipulate your mind' which goes in to how microbes in your gut might influence your brain and behaviour:
  • The human gut contains a diverse community of bacteria that colonize the large intestine in the days following birth and vastly outnumber our own cells. These so-called gut microbiota constitute a virtual organ within an organ, and influence many bodily functions. Among other things, they aid in the uptake and metabolism of nutrients, modulate the inflammatory response to infection, and protect the gut from other, harmful micro-organisms. A study by researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario now suggests that gut bacteria may also influence behaviour and cognitive processes such as memory by exerting an effect on gene activity during brain development.

    Jane Foster and her colleagues compared the performance of germ-free mice, which lack gut bacteria, with normal animals on the elevated plus maze, which is used to test anxiety-like behaviours. This consists of a plus-shaped apparatus with two open and two closed arms, with an open roof and raised up off the floor. Ordinarily, mice will avoid open spaces to minimize the risk of being seen by predators, and spend far more time in the closed than in the open arms when placed in the elevated plus maze.

    This is exactly what the researchers found when they placed the normal mice into the apparatus. The animals spent far more time in the closed arms of the maze and rarely ventured into the open ones. The germ-free mice, on the other hand, behaved quite differently – they entered the open arms more often, and continued to explore them throughout the duration of the test, spending significantly more time there than in the closed arms.

    The researchers then examined the animals' brains, and found that these differences in behaviour were accompanied by alterations in the expression levels of several genes in the germ-free mice. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was significantly up-regulated, and the 5HT1A serotonin receptor sub-type down-regulated, in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. The gene encoding the NR2B subunit of the NMDA receptor was also down-regulated in the amygdala.
Many obese people describe themselves as 'emotional eaters' and the domian this approach to obeisty is the domain of psychologists.  This story makes me think that food quality may well play a pivotal role.  FEED YOUR MIND!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

RPT Wk1 W/O1

Back from a fortnight in France.  Paleo got dumped for lots of fresh French loaf, cheese and red wine.  All with no fasting!  Now I'm back I need to turn the paleo screw a bit.  I think I've lost a bit of cut.

I am going to follow an RPT gig for my weekday workouts.  My weekend workout is a bit more free form as it has more of a bodyweight edge to it.

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

Friday, 3 August 2012

RPT Deadlift

Another short workout.  I am on annual leave for the next fortnight so can't stick to a formal cycle at the moment.  Going to hit an RPT deadlift for variation:

1. Handstands/Handwalking
2. Deadlifts (3x140kg, 5/4x125kg) - RPT

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Serious Clowning

Hilarious in places, and bloody impressive throughout! This guy has hustle!


I am a big fan of prehab.  It is easy to get seduced in to big, basic moves without consideration to the smaller muscles and wider plains of motion that dictate our range of movement.

Climbing in particular can lead to problems with the elbows and shoulders.  Bodybuilding programs that focus on the trophy muscles and strength-based routines that focus on trophy lifts can also suffer from a damaging level of specificity.

A robust exercise program should anticipate such problems.  Here is my link of prehab/rehab exercises with videos and articles:

Shoulder Prehabilitation:
  1. Internal Shoulder Rotations
  2. External Shoulder Rotations
 Forearm and Wrist Prehabilitation:

  1. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation
  2. Wrist Push Ups 
  3. Reverse Wrist Curl
These are by no means the 'best' exercises or the ones you should do.  They are simply the ones that I need to do to achieve a balance in my training program.  There are certainly many other shoulder-focused exercises you can do but between planching and levers, I think I have these plains of motion covered.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Park Workout

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (35 minutes)

1. Handstands (20s, 20s, 20s)
2. Asynchronous Bar Muscle Ups (3, 3, 3, 3 - with 90s rest between sets)
3. 15s Sprints (5 reps with one min rest between sets)
4. Chins (12, 9, 6 with 60s between sets)
4. Planch Variations (25s, 25s, 25s - with one minute rest between sets)

So I headed to the park near my workplace to avail of the inclined monkey bars for some Bar MUs....sadly it is the summer recess for kids.  Now when you are a 40-something and hanging around the park.....well let's just say the first comments were deeply offensive.  Several rounds of MUs later the comments were of a kinder nature!

A short sharp workout leaving me gassed.  Handstands were bloody solid throughout though!  Must be Olympic fever.

On Digestion

BBC Radio 4's Inside Health has a good bit, concerning digestion (starting at around the 25 minute mark). It features Dr Anton Emmanuel, a consultant neuro-gastroenterologist who makes the following points:
  • Digestion Speed - it can take 8-36 hours to digest food, depending on factors like your emotions, food type and 'personal makeup'!
  • Peristalsis (the mechanism that drives food through the gut) - "The wavelike muscular contractions of the alimentary canal or other tubular structures by which contents are forced onward toward the opening". The muscle and nerves in our guts coordinate stomach, small intestine, colon, all the way to tail end (anus).  The brain can influence peristalsis (up-regulate or down-regulate transit time), via the autonomic nervous system (involuntary nervous system).
  • Most nutrients are absorbed in just 15ft of small bowel in a transit time of about two 2 hours.
  • The bulk of transit time is in the colon where water is rung out of the food (saliva, gastric acid, small bowel juices and consumed liquids).
  • Of particular note, fast transit times don't interfere with nutritional absorption!