Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Check this blog out

My pal Ryan is blogging about his adventure in IF...

Targeted Ketogenics...

Right, so after some reading, a lot of freaking reading, I've realized that the occasional post-WOD fast is OK. I've also learned that most of my carbs, even on a ketocentric nutritional program should be derived around the time of my WOD. A few before hand and a few during and/or after. This apparently increases insulin, but since you are burning the glucose, or should be, during the WOD, it reduces the efficacy of insulin to have drastic effects on the circulating glucose. I've read that this ought to help with DOMS, which I am seriously hurting from today. It's about day 4-5 on ketocentric and I think this targeted approach might help. 

Onward and upward, Knowing is half the battle.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Post-fast feast

Not all hunts end in a feast, so today I tried a post-WOD fast. I ate breakfast at a little before 7am, worked out at about 9:45/10am, then did not have my next meal until about 10pm. Generally i felt great all day long. I was quite amazed that i did not cave and bail on the fast, but after a few hours i just settled in. In fact, i started to feel as good as i did on a regular fast.

Then at night, after my last class i wasted. I had a taco-less salad, essentially taco flavored beef on top of a large salad of mixed greens, a few tomatoes, a little sliced green pepper, and olives. Oh it also had avocado on it too. Then for dessert i had a protein smoothie with a few walnuts tossed in. On a whole this day was very ketogenic, the only carbs I've had all day were from that salad - estimated at about 10, maybe 20 grams (max) net carbs and the few grams of carbs in my protein mix, which equates to about 10 max carbs, so for the whole day, i had probably more than 30 carbs, loads of protein and some good fat.

Feeling very good now that i've feasted.

Next morning, early because I woke up, and because i. Couldn't sleep anymore. This was partly because my cat was run ing around and meowing, annoying, and partly because the del ayes not muscle soreness is amazing robust today. I had a hard WOD yesterday, which was followed by a long fast, ouch. I am really feeling it today. It has reemphasized the importance of postWOD nutrition and eating fret a big workout. But, i guess that the pain, the punishment associated with not "getting the hunt"...


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Release your inner cave-person....

On occasion, I'll post a suggestion, a challenge if you will, here, to release your "inner cave-person". I will provide a suggestion for an exercise or activity and hope that anyone who's tried it will report back and share about their experiences. These activities or suggestions will range from the relatively mundane to less mundane, but will not put anyone at risk of injury, arrest (I don't think), or excommunication from society or your favorite places.

This week's "Release your cave-person" challenge: avoid using hand sanitizer. That is unless you work, say in a hospital or place that serves food or something like that. Hand sanitizer kills the bacteria on our hands and while a lot of the bacteria we have on us might be bad, most of it's good. By killing off 99.9% of your cutaneous bacteria you might actually be reducing the efficacy of your immune system. Give it a try, i don't think you'll die trying it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nutritional Variability for the Caveman In us All

Ay my CrossFit certification, Justin, who was our nutrition lecturer posed this question to the group of students: "Would you piss in your gas tank? And, would you piss in the gas tank of your Ferrari?" this question really struck a chord with me, it makes a lot of intuitive sense. What you put in your body is the fuel your body needs to do a number of hints, not the least of which is sustain life, but also to drive physical performance of you are an athlete. So the question becomes what is the optimal diet (using the term the way animal researchers and anthropologists use it, not The way in which Dr Oz uses it) for someone who wants to take advantage of good physical performance, healthy (that is both disease free and physically fit) aging, and general well being, psychologically and physically. My venture into this has bee a long one, tracked with issues revolving around eating too much or eating too little. Over exercising, under exercising. Long periods of on and off periods of working out and eating healthy. When i decided to get certified as a CrossFit trainer, it was a decision that i was going to make some long lasting changes in my life regarding this whole issue. CF had already changed my life in so many positive ways: made me healthier, more energetic, excited about working out again, and stronger and faster! Exercise, however is the output. It's stepping on the gas pedal, and it became abundantly clear to me that if i was going to optimize any kind of physical performance and healthy living i had to also modify my diet which at that time consisted of whatever we bought at the grocery store and a few beers a week. Not a bad diet actually, compared to many, but certainly sub optimal and in need of change.

I'd known about the Paleo diet from my studies as an evolutionary neuroscientist, the plan is even outlined in Gaulin and McBunrneys text on evolutionary psychology. I'd played with it, but usually while in the company of individuals who were not very supportive of it. Thus, leaving me the odd man out and eventually succumbing toy old ways. And like an addict succumbing to those old habits is very easy and then extremely hard to break out of again. Recently, within the past year or so, I've Wally started to concentrate on dialing in my nutrition and fitness. I've even started my own gym - CrossFit Gwinnett - to help drive this effort. I have a fantastic team of athletes that make me proud every day, every WOD. I digress, i decided to dial in my nutrition. I started doing Paleo again, rather strictly. Immediately i felt better. I was sleeping better, had better performance, knocked upy wife, not that i was trying, but ;-) The benefits of eating a completely non-processed diet felt wonderful. Sure, I was still the odd bird out, but i didn't let it bother me as much, partly because i have the most supportive wife on the planet. She eats mostly Paleo too and supports me to the utmost degree. However, whey change my eating, i tend to get, well crazy. Crazed! It's all i think about. Sometimes, LOL. So i started a transition from pure unrestricted Paleo to a combined Paleo-Zone diet. Zone dieting is whee you count blocks of foods and eat regularly throughout the day, essentially you are constantly thinking about what you eat, when your next meal is and what macronutrients are present and in what quantities. Similar to weight watchers, but like a WW on steroids. It does dial in a low body fat %, and drives performance advances, but for me it does not work. Let me explain, briefly: my psychological issues do not allow me to simply eat zone diet and live a life, i get crazed about the diet. This is very unhealthy and it usually takes someone(s) else to take notice of this and set me straight. This just happened about a month ago and i decided to go back ton free, unrestricted paleo eating. I really love eating paleo and vie become quite keen on making up paleo version of common recipes (see: http://

A friend of mine reintroduced me to some literature that i had also know about for a while from my PhD studies on caloric restriction, and introduced me to a new iteration of that known as intermittent fasting (IF). So, I've been reading a bit about the nutritional, fitness, and health consequences of intermittent fasting. turns out that IF holds the same, or very similar benefits - increased longevity, reduced heart disease, reduced cancer, increased fertility and testosterone up regulation, etc- as CR. He is actively trying the IF, which consists of long periods without eating followed by periods of eating whatever you like, however he is sticking to Paleo foods, for obvious reasons and also because he reports tahr eating processed foods makes him feel bad, psychologically and physically.

I've now tried to fast 4-5 times, and it's surprisingly easy. Day 1 i went about 13-4 hrs, that was followed by two subsequent days randomly selected throat the week where i did another, similar length fast. Then i just recently did two fasts of greater than 15-16 hrs. Sure, according to what you might read on the web and in the literature these are "short" fasts, but you have to start somewhere. Furthermore, these short fasts work for me and my schedule and make me feel good. It's a hard thing to explain, but i tend to feel more focused and clean. I enjoy food more, i can control my hunger and my tendency to eat at times of the day Rather than when hungry.

Now ,lastly, most recently, within the last few days, I've turned to a new nutritional scheme. Ketogenic eating. I've been trying to reduce my carbs to low levels. The effects of this are supposedly 1) very close to those expected on Paleo and very closet o what our ancestors ate and 2) close to CR and IF, because while on keto eating, its just nearly impossible to ingest as many calories as you would with unrestricted carbohydrates. I am finding this very fun, to experiment on myself and the feelings i am getting are nice. I feel good. I will continue to utilize this space to discuss and track my progress, failures, successes, feeling about this, and perceptions others have of me.

I will also post some science on this shit as well. So, keep your eyes peeled.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

GGC Fit 2: WOD Day 2

WOD day 2 involves a series of crawls and walks that appear easy at first, but after 1 round you should fee quite tired.

Here's a way of scaling it so that you can complete the WOD, without dying.

Bear crawls and crab crawls are easy peezy. But many people have problems with their wrists, elbows, and shoulders while executing them. If you do as well, then scale it; that is make it easier. You can do this by breaking up the 100 meters into 5 sets of 20 meters, 10 sets of 10 meters, etc. Stopping is not weakness, it's smart if it helps you complete the WOD. The goal is to complete the WOD as fast as you can without dying, right?

Waiter lunges are a little more tricky. They entail a lockout of the arm at the shoulder. There are a few ways of doing this safely and the most important is locking the elbow. If you allow the elbow to stay bent you are putting a lot of pressure on that joint that it typically does not get and it will be sore the next day. So lock it out. And at the should you can rotate your shoulder up, like when you flex your lats (back muscles). This will give you the needed strength to hold the extension. When you are tired: Stop. Do not injure yourself. In between rounds stop and breathe. You should be trying to get your heart rate, metcon up, but you don't want your heart to explode. Just sayin'

Now go have fun!

Friday, January 29, 2010

WOD: Workout of the Day, WithOut Dying

WOD = WorkOut of the Day.

But, I heard this the other day: WOD stands for WithOut Dying! Hilarious! But important. The goal of the functional fitness program I follow - CrossFit - is to produce measurable results without dying. That is avoiding conditions such as dropping weights on oneself, blowing your back out, Rhabdo, heart attack, shortness of breath, shitting your pants, etc. I.e. WithOut Dying - physically or psychologically. So I thought I'd start a little side blog here that attempted to deconstruct the CF daily workout as well as some WOD's I create into manageable and doable routines. That is try to expound upon the effects of a WOD to help someone think about making a Workout of the Day that can b done WithOut Dying.

So, I will start with today's CF Daily WOD:

- 10 minutes of as many handstand pushups (HSPUs) as you can do
- 5 minutes of as many (air) squats as you can do
- 2 minutes of as many pull-ups as you can do
- 1 minute os as many push-ups as you can do

Score = total number of reps across all exercises

For those of you unfamiliar with CrossFit style workouts this might sound easy. It's not if you push yourself. However, pushing yourself is where we can run into problems with the WOD and it not killing you. If this is your first WOD, probably best to do it slow. That is try to focus on form as opposed to a high score. I like to take CF like other technically challenging tasks: start slow so that you master the form, which will then beget speed, power, etc. A question that might arise: can we rest. Yes. If you feel like you cannot go on, you can even stop. Although we don't like to recommend and/or encourage stopping. The best thing to do would be to scale the WOD so that you can complete it. Back to resting, sure. If you can do 2 HSPUs and then need to come down off the wall. Only to kick back up again in 5 minutes than that is what you have done. The next time you will do more. Trust me! As for scaling, this WOD is a tough one to scale because we are talking about body weight exercises, but there are possibilities. For example, you can scale the HSPUs by putting your knees or legs on a bench, the bar of the smith machine, or a box (making them parallel to the floor), which will alleviate some of the weight from your should press. It will, however, also detract from the midline stabilization aspect of the exercise, but that will come with time. You could even try having one leg on the bench and alternating legs. This will help train aspects of the core that you will not train by having two legs on the bench.

Air squats are harder to scale. The best thing to do is pay attention to form. It's useful to have at least one or two mirrors around so that you can see yourself from the front and side. The key is to maintain a close lock on the spine and pelvic area: keep them like a straight rigid line that intersects the middle of your body. Start standing straight up, full extension at knee and hip. Then Lower, and really lower to past parallel. None of this 90 degrees shit, go ahead, get low!  Scaling can occur by doing two things slowing your overall pace and setting. If you slow your overall pace you might lose some of the metabolic conditioning (metcon) associated with the WOD, but you may have to do this, or you may want to do this to increase your score. Setting entails doing quick bursts of sets of n number of repetitions. So you could do 10 squats as fast as you can. Rest. Do it again. And so forth. This should maintain a metcon effect, but give you some down time to recoup if you cannot go straight through.

Pull-ups can be scaled in a number of ways. The most basic way to scale a proper strict pull-up is to Kip it. Google Kipling pull-up, kip-up, or kips and you should get a number of videos showing how this works. Don't worry it's not cheating. Kips allow for you to do more work in faster time, thus producing a greater power output. They also effectively train the same movements and muscle groups necessary for the strict pull-up so you will actually get better at pull-ups by doing kips. Don't believe me, try it. Proper scaling can come in the form of a machine that allows you to set a weight differential to counter your bodyweight; i.e. the machine makes your body weight less to your arms and back so you can execute a pull-up. This is a great training tool for beginners who cannot do a pull-up because it trains all the right muscles, but it lacks the metcon aspect of the training. The other way that one could scale the pull-up is by attaching a stretchy band to the bar and then stepping on the band. This again makes your body feel lights, but it adds a component of core stability to be aware of. Each of these are great ways to scale the pull-ups.

Push-ups can be scaled simply by putting your knees on the ground. In gym class in school we used to call these girl pushups, but they are not girly. If you cannot do a proper pushup then this is a good way to exercise and strengthen the muscle groups necessary to develop the skill to do a push-up proper.

OK, well, I hope this helps people think about the exercises in question and how to WOD without dying. Until next time....