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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Feelin' Crappy? Take a 'Power Shower'

Recovery is often overlooked in, well, pretty much every training program. When you lift hard, run hard, and train hard week after week, month after month, your going to have to start putting an emphasis on recovery. Even after the most intense of workouts, muscle damage only takes about 48 hours to repair. Unless the damage is done during an intense session with the face trainer:



"She SHREDDED 20lbs of that stubborn, hard to lose face weight. Now, those old jeans fit again, she has her long forgotten college-slut confidence back, and walking down the street with he skull exposed scares off would be purse snatchers."

Anyway, muscle damage is easy to fix. Your body is pretty efficient at doing it naturally but things like food, water, supplements, stretching, ice packs, steroids, etc. help get the damage under control faster so that you can train again. Sometimes, the inflammation from the recovery process takes a little bit longer to subside. Also, another big problem is the amount of stress that your nervous system takes during bouts of heavy training. Like I mentioned before, muscle damage is pretty much fixed within 48 hours. Nervous system activity can take up to two weeks to get to levels that don't mimic that of a schizophrenic serial killer.

"My Fran time is down, my bench press is up but, I am running out of places to hide the bodies."

Damn. She could really use a shower. Actually, she could probably use a Power Shower. Hydrotherapy has been used forever for a wide array of medical and psychological problems... which the women in the above picture has plenty of both. What a Power Shower, or a contrast shower for those who don't like things that sound bad ass, entails is alternating between hot and cold water in certain timed intervals in order to speed up nervous and muscular recovery. Everything from decreased muscle soreness, to increased ROM, to increased levels of Growth Hormone have been found in studies involving Power Showers.

'Well, how do I do it?'

A ratio of 3:1 to 4:1, hot to cold seems to work best. Instead of standing there with a thermometer in one hand and stop watch in the other, just turn the water up as hot as you can stand and count to 45, turn it down as cold as you can stand and count to 15. Do this at least 10 times. Always start with hot water and always end with cold to room temperature water.

You should probably go take a shower now anyway. I can smell you from here.

Sprint. Kill. Eat.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

You've Already Lost



So, you want to lose? You want to push yourself hard everyday, eat well, and totally change your lifestyle to completely and totally set yourself up to lose? Of course you do, you want to lose weight. You want to lose fat. Let's look at some synonyms for "lose":

be careless, be impoverished, be reduced, become poorer, bereave, capitulate, consume, default, deplete, disinherit, displace, dispossess, dissipate, divest, drain, drop, exhaust, expend, fail, fail to keep, fall short, forfeit, forget, give up, lavish, misplace, miss, misspend, oust, pass up, relinquish, rob, sacrifice, squander, suffer, suffer loss, surrender, use up, waste, yield.

Holy hell. That doesn't sound like something that is good for you. Think about it. Think about you and your goals. Why the hell would you make a goal based on such a negative connotation?

Well, here is what you have to look forward too:


I'm sure her goal is to lose weight... most people wait until after its actually happened to put the bikini on though.

Turn on the news. Right now. Is it something negative they are discussing? Probably. The world sucks. People suck and do sucky things everyday. Basing your whole training and living regime around a goal that sounds negative and sucky will make you a negative and sucky person. So, how do can you change your goals around to make them sound and seem less sucky and more superhumanly-bear wrestling-kill'em all awesome? Here are a couple tips:

Use Your Scale-... for target practice.



Bathroom weight scales should be illegal. You should need a prescription from your doctor to get one. Unless you have some Biggest Loser-going to die if you don't lose 500lbs-scenario on your hands, you don't need one. Why would you? Are you striving for a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI). Guess what? Insurance companies made this up so they could charge you more money. It has nothing to do with your actual health and well-being. What is more important to you:

-A number on a scale

or

-Having a body that looks like a masterpiece of Roman architecture?

Here is a practical example...



Guess which one weighs more? Neither. They weigh the same.


Replace Your Body weight Goals... with personal record goals in the gym. You'll start to find the harder you work, the better you feel, and the better you look. Keeping track of records on everything you do in the gym accomplishes two goals:

1. You keep track of and have quantifiable data for progress

and

2. You build a mental fortitude that can't be broken.

Stressed at work? Stressed at home? Stressed with life in general? The weight of life's problems seem a whole lot more manageable after you've squatted a 30lb personal record. You carry the weight of other people's problems and your own problems all day long. Take all of those pent up, everyday aggressions out on something constructive for yourself. Like putting yourself through a brutal Hell of a workout at the gym. The world can't touch you if the hardest part of your life you put yourself through... so, train that way.

Stop Eating Like You Don't Know... the crap that is bad for you. Eat veggies. Eat meat. Stop eating meals cooked in a microwave or ordered from a crack-head at a Wendy's drive through. You are short on time? Make time. Your life depends on it.


"Welcome to Wendy's, would you like some straight, un-cut rocks with your Triple Classic?"



Just some stuff to think about. Your scale is not a measure of your health and well-being. If it were, all scales would tell you the same number or the only way you would be able to use one is if you were at a doctors office. Blood lipid profiles, resting heart rate, and blood pressure are much better measures of if you are fat or not. If for no other reason, just because these are tests that only a medical professional can administer. You can't just drive to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and just pick up a blood lipid tester. Well, maybe you can, Hell if I know. I've never been inside a Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Anyway, stop doing the easy stuff and start doing what's actually good for you. And, for God's sake, don't jog.

Sprint. Kill. Eat.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Losing Weight Will Make You Fat

What in the hell does "weight loss" mean? Think about it. You have a lot of things in your body that contribute to how much you weigh. Water, muscle, hair, skin, eyes, fat, bones, undigested double cheeseburgers, spider eggs, baby aliens, tape worms, and lots of other little icky things that make up your body mass. I would assume most people that partake in some sort of diet and exercise program are looking to lose weight. Well, I have a sure fire plan to lose 20% of your weight in less than 10 minutes. It's going to work 100% of the time. You don't need a gym membership and doesn't require diet OR performing any actual exercises. Here is what you do, go buy a bone saw and cut your left leg off. Next time you get on the scale you'll be shocked and pleased at the amount of body weight you lost. Cut off an arm too to lose even more. That will be $500 dollars. That might seem steep but, once you cut it off all that stubborn unwanted body mass, I'll send you one of those "I did P90X T-Shirts."

Don't actually do that. Unless you are an idiot... then go ahead.

"Weight loss" is a term diet companies use to get you to buy something. Something that is killing you inside when you put it into your body or (in the case of diets) stop putting things in your body. Do you know that when you eat less than 120g of carbohydrates a day it can put your body into a constant state of catabolism. This means, your body starts frantically eating stored fat and protein in order to convert said macronutrients into usable forms of carbohydrates/keep you from starving to death. This is why the low carb diets work. You lose a ton of weight fast when you don't eat any carbs. Some of that weight is stored fat, which is a good thing. Most of the weight is water and stored protein. Pop quiz: Where is protein stored in your body? The answer is your muscles. Your muscles keep you strong and healthy. You don't want them to go away. Then you will be weak, slow, and one of the first people to be eaten during an unexpected lion attack.

The same holds true with low calorie weight loss diets. Anything less than 800 calories a day is killing you. Plain and simple. 800 is the magic number for things like thinking, walking around, being productive, not crapping your pants unexpectedly, and just general survival. 800 is also assuming you aren't exercising. If you are just barely eating enough to survive and exercising at the same time, you are going to die. Ok, maybe not die but, you sure aren't going to feel too good or be very productive. Low calorie is the same as low carb. The only difference is instead of tricking your body into thinking its starving, you are actually starving.

So, why would anyone ever recommend these types of weight loss diets? Because the number on the scale goes down. WEIGHT goes down. Yes, that means fat. That also means water, stored carbs that your body uses for energy, muscles mass, which has a direct correlation to, bone mass all go down or are eliminated from the body.

At this point you are probably wondering how losing all of this weight is making you fat. You can't stay on these diets forever because you will incur the wraith of biology and become and extremely inefficient organism. One of the mechanisms of your body that is thrown out of whack from doing these awful things to yourself is your insulin sensitivity. Basically, the lack of carbs and calories causes your insulin to react as if you just at a 10 pound Hershey bar covered in high fructose corn syrup with a side of pure cane sugar for dipping the first time you take a bite of a piece of bread. Your body will go into freak out mode as soon as you go back toward any kind of normalcy with your diet, storing absolutely everything you eat in worry that you are going to try to starve it again. This will make you gain all that weight back and then some. There are even studies out there that suggest restrictive diets + cardio will cause NEW fat cells to form once normal foods are re-introduced. Not only will you get fat, you'll get fat(ter).

Hopefully now you realize your weight is not a problem. Your fat is the problem. How do you lose the fat? Build as much muscle as you can, eat a ton of protein and veggies, drink a ton of water, and kick ass every time you step into the gym. Don't go through the motions, don't half ass your diet and make a bunch of compromises with yourself every time you binge on an entire bag of oreos or eat so much crap you can't sleep because your stomach hurts and have to cram a bunch of pills down your throat to help all these stupid made up problems people have because they eat a 100% crap diet. You won't have to make these compromises if you don't eat it in the first place. See how that works.

Sorry no pictures or videos in this post, I didn't write it on my computer and didn't want to save a bunch of novelty cheeseburger pictures and Scott Herman fitness debacles on here.

Make good choices, eat real food, and train your body in the gym like a juiced out maniac.

Sorry if there are any grammatical errors in this one, I didn't proof read it at all. The Walking Dead is coming on in a few minutes and watching that takes precedent over making sure all my writin' words look good.

Sprint. Kill. Eat.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Plans for Future Posts

So, as much as I love doing it, writing smarmy and sarcastic nutrition and general, *sigh*, "fitness" advice can get a little boring. My next couple posts are going to focus on my own personal training philosophy for a wide range of goals. Weightloss will be covered but I would much rather be writing about more complicated concepts like training for sports and optimizing your own personal human condition. Human condition in terms of being as strong, fast, and mobile as you possibly can just because you are alive and healthy and there is no excuse to not have those things maximized in your life. Do you think guys like Henry Thomasson and Derek Poundstone are worried about things like a few extra pounds to lose around their love handles:





Nope. They are too busy kicking ass because they have set goals, worked so hard that there was no room for failure, and are nuttier than squirell poop.

More to come soon, in the meantime... dont do this:



You've really got to ask yourself which is worse, the "exercise" that guy is doing or the jealous hint of an illiterate upbringing in the trainers voice? Either way, they have both made the world a more awful place.

Eat the biggest steak you can get your hands on today.

Sprint. Kill. Eat.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Glut4 and Caffeine Cheat Code

The human body does all kinds of crazy impressive scientific stuff that is very hard to explain, if it can even be explained at all. For example, in regards to exercise, there is a phenomena called DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). Pretty much everyone who has done intense or high volume physical work has experienced this. Simply put, it is getting sore up to 2-3 days after cessation of the physical task. Science offers a wide array of explanations for this strange happening but nothing 100% conclusive. Personally, I think it is a survival mechanism that we, as hunter-gatherer humans, have adapted over thousands of years of sprinting after and killing our food or sprinting away from becoming food for something else. Think about it. If you started getting sore the moment you started running after your dinner, you would slow down, fall down in excruciating pain, and then your dinner would turn around and eat you. Our evolved ability to not get sore for a couple hours to three days after strenuous physical work has kept our species alive long enough to not have to worry about survival induced DOMS as much. Also, it has kept us alive long enough to enjoy the sweet deliciousness of whatever the hell this is:


When DOMS happens in your arteries, it's called a heart attack.


So, you may ask, why do I need to care about any of this fancy science stuff? Well, you hillbilly, some book learnin' might help you drop a few pounds, get lean, and improve performance if you are an athlete.

This post is going to basically outline a cheat code to trick the crappy foods you eat actually work for you. Will this help you keep weight off during your month long McRib bender? Absolutely not. And you need professional help because those things taste terrible. Yea, I said it. What the following suggestions will help you with is those little cheat meals you slide in while already eating, mostly, like an efficient human being.

Here is a scenario:

You have been eating clean and making very good food choices all week. Saturday night, a Friend calls you up and says, "All you can eat pizza, wings, and all you can drink beer all night for $10 at (insert local establishment here)." Turning this down will make you less of a human but you do not want to feel guilty about all of the good work you have done since your last Miller High Life and stuffed crust binge. If only there were a way to control where this bountiful meal is being stored in your body and a way to use all of these calories to help you lose fat, build lean body mass, and not eat yourself into a coma/some horrible-crap-food-walrus-with-diabetes induced disease. Hmmmmm...



Part 1: Controlling where the food goes.

The only places you need to worry about where food is stored in your body is in your muscles and in your fat cells. When/how much you eat during the day combined with your daily activities determines where the extra stuff gets stored. Everything you read about exercise tells you to eat as soon as you can after your workout and to eat higher glycemic foods paired with protein. Why high glycemic? Because they digest and absorb faster than low glycemic foods. This means they get to the muscle faster, restore spent energy (glycogen) faster, and, when paired with protein, slow down the rate of muscle damage and begin the recovery process. During this time period, most of what you eat is sent directly to your muscles due a a protein inside your muscle cells called Glut4 (hey, that's in the title of this post!). Glut4, when activated, moves to the surface membrane of muscle cells and opens the flood gates for nutrients to be absorbed and stored inside.

Two things activate Glut4. In the time period, up to 4 hours, after exercise, Glut4 is activated by the muscular contractions that occurred during the workout you just completed. This is how your body knows that your muscles just incurred some damage due to physical work and that they are in need of nutrients to begin the recovery process. So, most of the food you eat in the time after contraction induced Glut4 is activated is sent to your muscles for storage rather than your fat cells. Pretty cool stuff. While I explain part 2, keep in mind that Glut4 can be activated via muscular contraction.

Part 2: Not going into a diabetic coma.

Every time you eat anything, but especially crappy food, your insulin goes up. Insulin is one of the most anabolic, building up and storage hormone, compounds in your body. The problem with insulin is that it stores the byproducts of the food you eat wherever it can, which will mostly be fat cell and maybe muscle via the pathways discussed above. Insulin activates Glut4 proteins as well. The problem is fat cells also contain Glut4 and are exclusively activated by increased insulin, since you can't "flex" fat. Eating a butt load of crappy food=giant insulin spikes=being a fatty.

This begs the question, How do you activate just your muscular Glut4 protein while keeping insulin low in order to control where the all night wing, beer, and pizza fest ends up in your body?

The answer is coffee and muscle tension.

Coffee (well, caffeine) actually LOWERS insulin sensitivity in normal, healthy people. This means eating, even some crappy foods, will keep your insulin levels lower than if you didn't have any caffeine. The only problem with this is the amount of caffeine is enough to kill a horse. 400mg to 1g seems to work. Keep in mind the half life of caffeine is 5 hours in most people. So, if you ingest a gram of caffeine at one time, don't plan on going to sleep for a while.

Now that you are all jacked up and your insulin is all jacked down, how the heck do you get those Glut4's activated in your muscles? Like a buffalo in a small kitchen with a midget, here is where things get awkward.


He might just be sitting down and not actually a midget. Either way, this would be awkward to walk in on.

Tim Ferriss (4 Hour Body guy) recommends 60-120 seconds of exercise should be enough to activate Glut4 proteins in muscle. The keys are to do big movements (squats, push ups, dips, lunges), keep tension on the muscles for the full 60-120 seconds, and for God's sake, don't let anyone see you doing this stuff. You should do these immediately before gorging yourself to near death with food and then 1.5 hours after you take your first bite. So, sneak off to the bathroom, do your exercises, come back to the table, go nuts on your all you can eat, and return to the bathroom 1.5 hours later and repeat your exercises... which should be pretty interesting after 38 of the all you can drink beers.

To recap:

-400mg to 1g of caffeine about an hour before you head out on your maximum food mission to lower your insulin sensitivity
-Immediately before eating- 60 to 120 seconds of constant tension exercises
-1.5 hours after your first bite, repeat the exercises

These little tips should help you get the most out of your "cheat" meals with the least amount of guilt and fat accumulation. No, you can't do this every time you eat and just eat crap all the time!!! Get your life together!!! These are for those occasional gigantic food and beverage outings that we all need every once in a while just to have some fun and keep our sanity intact.

Just remember you are what you eat. So, eat a bunch of crap and you'll be a bunch of crap.

Sprint. Kill. EAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Workouts That Suck... So You Know They Work.

Want a quick workout that destroys every energy producing mechanism in your body, will leave you rolling around on the ground in agony, and will probably be impossible to finish the first time you try it? Great! I have a workout for you:

You will perform Front Squats and Powercleans for 4 minutes. The layout looks like this:

Front Squats for 20 seconds
10 seconds of rest
Power Cleans for 20 seconds
10 seconds of rest
Repeat 4 times. Including the final rest interval, this only takes 4 minutes.

Here is how you Front Squat:


Here is how you powerclean:


Here is the biggest d-bag I have ever seen:






The set up (20s on/10s off for 4mins) is called a Tabata interval. I am pretty sure Dr. Tabata was watching "SAW" one day and thought, "I can do much worse than that." You can basically insert any exercises you want (1 exercise for 8 reps, 2 exercises for 4 reps, 8 completely different exercises for the whole 4 mins) but these two exercises put together will leave you questioning why you want to get in better shape.

A couple rules to follow:

-Pick a moderate weight that you can do 6-8 reps within the 20 seconds and get at least 6-8 reps during each 20 second time period.
-Never let go of the bar. You can rest it in the Front Squat position, hold it at your waist, or hold on to it while it is on the floor, but do not take your hands off until the 4 mins is done... this is more terrible to do than you could ever imagine.
-Don't die.

Tabata intervals are excellent at stimulating oxygen debt. By the end of the 4 minutes your body will be frantically trying to figure out why there is no more air in your muscles. The elevated breathing rate required to "refill" all of your lost oxygen will last anywhere from 12-36 hours depending on how well trained you are. Why is this important? The elevated breathing causes and elevated resting metabolic rate. In other words, you use more calories and go through more metabolic processes than you normally would during the time you are not exercising. This whole process is called Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption... and its awesome.

Good luck.

Sprint. Kill. Eat.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Six Pack Abs! How to Get Them and Why They Are Terrible For You! Part 2.1 The How to Diet Without Dieing Edition

In the final installment of this series (I guess), I want to talk about dieting. I think it was the great and wise Richard Simmons that said, "The first three letters spell die... you don't wanna die, do you?"


One of the greatest minds of our time? Or a closet serial killer... one or the other.

The US weightloss market grossed $68.7 billion dollars in 2010. This includes weightloss drugs, diet plans, fad diet book sales, trips to the vomitorium, those vibrating belt things that I hope to God no one reading this actually bought, and, of course, p90X. The average weight lost in the first 6 months of venturing out on one of these weightloss excursions is 5%-10% of your total bodyweight. Those are pretty good results and 10% reduction in weight would greatly improve body composition (i.e. get ripped, brah) for most of the population. The problem is that 66% of people that diet gain the weight back in a year or less... and 97% gain it all back in 5 years or less.

This is a lot like every time I get a new cellphone. It works for a little while, something breaks, then I either spend money to get it fixed or have to get a new cellphone entirely. This is how diets work. They draw you in with fast results, sell you on the idea that you will keep making progress, then you are hopelessly hooked. Now they have a customer for life. Imagine how much of your own money you have contributed to that $68.7 billion dollars.

In short, most diets do not work.

The key to losing weight, gaining weight, or basically being successful on any journey to accomplish any goal you may ever have is changing your life style to maximize the possibility of achieving that goal. You know you are almost 2x more likely to be obese if you hang out with obese people? I am not saying ditch all of your fat friends but maybe stop partaking in the daily pizza roll eating challenges with them:


Did you make it through the whole video? Because I sure as hell didn't.


Ok so, the purpose of this post is to share with you some diets (like I said before, most diets don't work) that include an eating plan and also changes in life style to get you to where you want to be. The first one I have personal experience with:

Carb Cycling Diet

I partook in a powerlifting competition last year that did not have any specific weight classes. So, the winner was completely determined by amount of weight lifted compared to the lifters bodyweight. I was 15 weeks out from my competition and decided to see how much weight I could lose, while hopefully maintaining or gaining some strength, in that period of time. After discussing my goal with several of my meathead cohorts, I decided Carb Cycling was the way to go. I knew very little about this diet so I decided to hire Shelby Starnes to help me out. He can be reached at www.TroponinNutrition.com or www.elitefts.com. Hiring him was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. From July to October, I lost 51 pounds and did not lose any strength. Which for any one who participates in strength sports can understand, this is a pretty incredible feat. I dropped from 280lbs to 229lbs and ended up finishing 5th place overall.

I would like to re-iterate, if you are serious about your goals, spend the money and hire Shelby. He knows his stuff.

Anyway, the diet itself is very simple to understand. It involves only keeping track of your macronutrients (fats, carbs, and protein) and the carbs are cycled from day to day in order to keep complete control over your blood sugar and insulin levels. Carbs are cycled in three dosages, high, medium, and low. Protein intake stays about the same everyday. Fats are increased on low carb days in order to fill the caloric gap that is created by the lack of the other macronutrient. Also, high fat diets a lot of fat... I'll explain this one in a future post.

So how does it work? Here is how it works:

High Day:
Carbs: 2-3 grams per pound of bodyweight (0.9-1 gram for women)
Protein: 1-1.25 grams per pound of bodyweight (0.75 grams for women)
Fats: No added fats

Moderate Day:
Carbs: 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight (0.5 grams for women)
Protein: 1.25-1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight (1.0 grams for women)
Fats: .15 grams per pound of bodyweight (0.1 grams for women)

Low Day: I like to call this day "Cranky, Yell at Everyone Day." Try it, you'll see what I mean.
Carbs: 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight (0.2 grams for women)
Protein: 1.25-1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight(1.0 grams for women)
Fats: 0.35 grams per pound of bodyweight (0.2 grams for women)

Some carb choices: Brown rice, sweet potato's, oats, gluten free bread, basically anything with low (or no) sugar or gluten.
Some protein choices: any lean meat and protein shakes
Some fat choices: all natural peanut butter, almond butter, olive oil, and walnuts

Split the numbers up and eat 5-7 meals a day. Try to eat all of the carbs in the first three meals of the day. Drink a ton of water.

The big reason I like this diet is because there are cardio recommendations that go along with it. No, not cardio like jogging. Cardio like low intensity (50-60% Max HR for 30mins) which can be done dragging sled, doing smaller workouts, or walking on an inclined treadmill 3-4 days a week. Also it is recommended to do high intensity interval cardio 2-3 days a week (an example would be getting on an exercise bike for 15 minutes with an interval of, 15 second all out sprint, 45 seconds at 50%). All cardio is done either first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to take advantage of the ideal fat burning environment you are in after fasting all night (i.e. sleeping... unless you sleep walk to the fridge and sleep eat an entire honey baked ham... yes, I have done this before).

Like a mentioned before, go hire Shelby Starnes at www.troponinnutrition.com if you are interested. At the very least check out some of the books he has written on dieting here: http://troponinnutrition.com/store.htm#book.

The Slow Carb Diet

I don't want to give too much away about this one because all of the information can be found in Tim Ferris's book "The 4-Hour Body." Everyone who even cares a little bit about their health and well-being needs to go get and read this book.

Anyway, the general outline of this diet:

6 days a week:
No carbs other than vegetables (minus starchy ones like baked potato's and corn) Except for after you workout. You want faster, crappier carbs ASAP after a workout. Protein should come from lean meats and high quality protein shakes. Fats should come from high quality oils. Eat as much as you want and shoot for as many meals a day as you can. That's about it... until...

1 day a week:
Go nuts. Eat everything in site, drink a keg of beer, fill a kiddie pool with butter and try to eat your way out of it, do whatever you want! The goal of this day is to drastically increase calories for one day and then take advantage of the rebounding effect the rest of the week. You may notice a few pounds gained the day after but it quickly drops back off and then some.

There are many tips, tricks, and supplements that Tim Ferris recommends in his book to help accelerate the weightloss processes and mechanisms but, again, I don't want to give too much away. Just go get the damn book:



I plan on trying this diet out November through March to get ready for a competition. I am already excited for my first "cheat" day.


If All Else Fails, Go On The Don Fyre Diet

Who is Don Fyre? This guy:


Whatever he was looking at is dead now.

Don "The Predator" Fyre was one of the first big American MMA fighters. He was very good and kicked a lot of ass. He was always known for being a pretty big guy, 6'1'' weighing around 230lbs when he fought, while being very lean for his size. In one interveiw when asked how he was able to have so much muscle and so little fat when he fought, he replied: "I ate 5 steaks a day and all my carbs came from beer." So, there you go. The Don Fyre diet. It seemed to work out ok for him.


I wonder if it was the beer or the steak that kept his mustache so thick. I heard he won three fights because of that thing alone.




That's it for this one. I will try to update more frequently. I have been very busy chasing animals down, beating them to death with my bare hands, and eating them on site.



Sprint. Kill. Eat like a maniac.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hydration Recommendations That Aren't Stupid

I don't know about the rest of you out there but, I train primarily in my garage. My uninsulated, un-air conditioned, 12x12 death box that has been more like crossing the precipice in to Hell than a home gym.


A picture I took on one of the cooler days this summer. At least the humidity wasn't too bad.

Training in an environment similar to an active blast furnace really gets you thinking about hydration. Especially when you look down and see that you have sweated out a puddle on the ground that looks like more water than you have drank in a month. I remember reading a study one time that said over 85% of college athletes are in a mild state of dehydration all the time. These are some of the healthiest, strongest (supposedly) people on Earth. I am willing to bet, for the average population, that number is somewhere in the high 90's.

A couple of tips that have helped me keep death at bay this summer:

1. Drink 1oz of water for every kilogram of body weight you have. 1 kilogram equals 2.2lbs. So, for a big fella like myself, I weigh 275lbs on average, that's 125oz everyday. At first it will feel like you are choking down water but it gets much easier the more you stick with it. Eventually it will become routine. Just always have a bottle of water (or gallon in my case) and sip it all day long.

2. Don't pee. The more you pee the less water you keep in your body. So, hold your pee all day... just kidding. Don't actually do that. The reason you do pee a lot when you drink a lot of water is, the water gets sent to the filtering system of your body, which is the kidney's. There, the water collects, basically turning your kidneys into water balloons. Your kidneys are not very big so they empty often. Hence, a pee pee happens. An easy way to cut down the frequency to which you go potty and also utilize the water you are chugging into your system is to add a little salt to your water. Salt helps retain water in your tissues. You don't need to empty a shaker into your bottle of Fiji, just a pinch per every 8oz or a teaspoon for every 16oz should do the trick. A good guideline to follow is if your water tastes too salty... you probably put too much salt in it.

On a side note, you are basically spewing salts out of your body 24/7 during hot summer days. Salt is extremely important, not just for hydration. There is a relationship between sodium and potassium (which is also lost somewhat in sweat) that determines the efficiency of muscle contraction and also every message (action potential) sent and received by your nervous system. Take that low sodium foods.

3. Replenish after you workout. Weigh yourself before and after each workout. With every pound of sweat you lose, drink one pint of water. A pound of sweat weighs 16oz (or one pint). You've got to get that stuff back in there. This water loss is how you get dehydrated in the first place. Don't count this in your total ounces for the day because this water is just meant to return you to normal hydration, not help keep you hydrated all day.

Try to limit stuff that dehydrates you. For example, anything that makes you pee more like coffee, tea, standing inside of a human sized dehydrator, whatever else there is out there. Don't take them out of your life forever, just maybe cut them out until you rehydrate yourself or until it stops being a trillion degrees outside.

How do you treat dehydration?


He looks like he is having a good time. Just drink water...

Now that the general population is covered, on to some cool meathead stuff:


Dehydration and Muscle Contraction

Muscle contraction (like flexin' your bi's in the mirror while taking a cell phone future facebook profile picture, brah) occurs due to something called the Sliding Filament Theory. Basically all it says is, the flexing of a muscle happens because of thousands of tiny filaments (myosin and actin mainly) get pulled in towards each other, overlap, and develop tension in the rest of the muscle. In a hydrated muscle, there is plenty of space to move around (contract and slide) for these filaments. In a dehydrated muscle, the tissues basically collapse and shrink, decreasing the space the filaments have to move in. This causes three problems:

1. The amount of force a muscle can create has a lot to do with how far a muscle can contract (length tension relationship). With shriveled up, beef jerky muscles, the length the muscle can shorten (contract) is greatly reduced because of the decreased space the filaments have to slide over one another.

2. This limited space also cause these filaments to excessively rub against one another. This creates and unnatural friction force between normally easily sliding filaments. So, not only has the distance that the muscle can shorten (contract) decreased but, the time it takes the muscle to shorten to the decreased distance has increased due to friction. Basic physics (Work=force*Distance) tells us that this situation is much more stressful on the muscle (friction), increasing the amount of work that it has to do to perform tasks that would be much easier if hydrated (shortened contraction distance), thus, decreasing the amount force the muscle can exert.

3. Most importantly, when in a dehydrated state, the instance of significant trauma to the muscle GREATLY increases. In other words, if you don't stay hydrated, you are going to tear all of your muscles off all of your bones.


The above recommendations aren't the most scientific, I guess. I can tell you from personal experience that I haven't died of heat stroke yet so something must be working. Drinking a lot of water sucks. That's how you know it's good for you. So start doing it and stop complaining about the heat. It's hot for everyone.

Sprint. Kill. Eat. CHUG!!!!!!.

Creatine for Weight Loss... Wait, What?

No. That is not a typo. This post is going to be an explanation of how to supplement with Creatine to help accelerate weight LOSS and how it could, theoretically, help with endurance oriented sports/training. There is literally no information out there about how this could possibly work but, through some common sense and a short exercise metabolism lesson I think I will make a pretty good case.

First off, for the love of God, Creatine is NOT A BANNED SUBSTANCE by any governing sport body. This includes the NCAA, the Olympics, and any sport associated with WADA (the world anti-doping agency). These organizations basically ban only three types of substances: anabolic steroids, stimulants, and illegal street drugs. So, as long as you aren't taking your Creatine with rhinoceros testosterone and a crack rock, you don't have to worry about failing any drug tests.

Creatine is a combination of three amino acids (arginie, glycine, and methionine). Amino acids are just broken down proteins and they are used to make pretty much every tissue and cell in your body. The average person eats at least 1g of Creatine a day. What foods contain Creatine? Beef, pork, and fish have the highest amounts with up to 10g of Creatine per kg of meat in some cases. Surprisingly, there are trace amounts in milk, vegetables, and other carbohydrates as well. As you can see, this is what makes it impossible for Creatine to be a banned substance. In order for it to actually happen, the foods that contain Creatine would have to be either banned or restricted. If, for some reason, these governing bodies actually made meat illegal in sports, I think I would have to sit in front of The White House with 100lbs of steak, bacon, and ground beef and eat myself to death in protest...



In a meatless world, the 100lb Cheeseburger is King! Mmmmm... sweet, delicious protest.


What does Creatine actually do?


There seems to be a lot of confusion about what Creatine actually does in your body. In order to clear it up, I will give you a simple diagram:


There, that should clear everything up.


Just kidding but, by the end of this post, you will have a pretty good understanding of what is going on up there. Here comes that short metabolism lesson I was talking about earlier:

Your body uses a substance called ATP for energy. The problem with ATP is that it breaks down quickly during exercise. If ATP was not replenished in your body via metabolic pathways, we would burn it all up in less than 10 seconds of sprinting and less than 3 minutes of low intensity aerobic activity. Want to know what happens when you run out of ATP? Finishing your workout will be difficult because you will be dead. It is the break down of the high energy third Phosphate bond (ATP actually stands for Adenosine TRI-Phosphate, meaning 3 phosphates) that makes this substance so important for all human movement and activity. Once the Phosphate is removed, you are left with ADP (Adenosine DI-Phosphate, or 2 Phosphates). ADP can't do much in terms of cellular energy but its accumulation in your body signals other metabolic processes to become more active and help replenish ATP via different substrate/product pathways. Let's just consider short duration, intense activity for now.

So, ATP is being broken down into ADP during your highly anaerobic (no oxygen present due to high intensity/short duration of whatever physical task you are performing) exercise making it so your aerobic systems (oxygen present) are not working as much to replenish ATP during exercise. Your anaerobic energy systems do replenish ATP quickly but only in short bursts and only a very limited number with each cycle. Aerobic energy systems work much slower but supply much larger amounts of ATP over longer periods of time. This means some other mechanism needs to be replenishing your energy stores. Here is where Creatine comes in like Mighty Mouse to save the day.


He doesn't really seem to be doing a good job, actually.


ADP kinda sucks at getting phosphate on it's own (which would create a high energy third phosphate bond, making an ATP molecule). Creatine, on the other hand, binds very easily and rapidly to phosphate (creating phosphocreatine). An enzyme that hangs around ADP, kinda like it's wingman, is Creatine Kinase. This enzyme breaks apart the Creatine from the phosphate, pushes the creatine away, and shoots the phosphate towards nearby ADP. So, you don't take creatine to get "Jacked Up!" before workouts. You take it in order to make sure you have enough of it floating around to help ADP and phosphate to bind in order to, hopefully, keep a positive supply of ATP for energy.

Phew. Hopefully I haven't completely lost too many people, on to the cool part:


Creatine for Weight LOSS

Now, all recovery from all exercise happens aerobically. It doesn't matter if you just finished a Tri-Athalon or if you just did a 5 second maximal sprint. Think about it, what is the first thing you do after you do very intense strenuous work (like sprinting, heavy lifting, bare-handed lion hunting, speed eating, etc.)? You take a huge deep breath. Almost like you are fighting your lungs to pull air into your body... which you basically are. When you do intense exercise, the air is squeezed out of your muscles, creating a hypoxic (no oxygen) environment. Once you finish your intense efforts, your body goes into breathe or die mode until that oxygen is replenished. Sometimes, if the exercise is intense enough, this can take up to 36 hours. During this time, your breathing is elevated, the processes and mechanisms that work to replenish oxygen are in overtime, and you burn a significantly larger amount of calories while at rest.

Here is the question though: When doing high intensity anaerobic work, what activates your aerobic systems to kick start your recovery? One very big answer is a mechanism called the Creatine Shuttle. This mechanism takes that leftover Creatine from the breakdown of phosphocreatine and shot-guns it into your cellular mitochondria (part of your cells where aerobic metabolism initiates). This is basically a switch between anaerobic metabolism and aerobic metabolism. But, the thing is, they both start going nuts trying to replenish as much ATP as possible. When you go out jogging, energy primarily comes from aerobic pathways (unless you are running 3 minute miles or something ridiculous).

The common sense portion of this post: More Creatine in your system means more Creatine available for the Creatine Shuttle mechanism. This may or may not cause a 1)faster and more often activation of this mechanism at rest and once exercise has ceased, 2) a kick start to the excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) phenomena (responsible for the increased in calories burned up to 36 hours after intense exercise has ceased), and/or 3) a more intense and/or longer lasting EPOC effect.

Do I have any proof of any of this? Nope. Do I care? Nope. It's my blog, I can say what I want. Poop. See?

I can however tell from personal experience that there is a lot of misinformation on Creatine out there. "Don't take that, it's steroids" or "It's bad for your *insert organ here*" or "You're going to gain a lot of weight when you take it."

It's not steroids. Hopefully that has been cleared up now. There no research that suggests any negative side-effects from taking suggested doses in the short term. As far as weight gain, I lost 51 pounds from July 15th to October 23rd last year while taking Creatine. I increased the amount I was taking leading up to a Powerlifting competition. My weight loss had stagnated for 2 weeks before the increase and then fat was literally melting off again after.

So, there you go. Keep in mind, just like any other supplement or drug, Creatine is not the magic bullet and not everyone responds to it. I guess the point of this whole post is to always be thinking and always be critical to the information you get from media sources or stupid people (basically the same thing) in regards to what is best for YOUR own health and well-being.

Sprint. Kill. Eat several Kilograms of Meat a day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fitness Myth's Exposed: Why The Glycemic Index and "Calories" Are Stupid

Fitness loves to lie to you. The lies Fitness sells you allows Fitness to sleep in a solid gold-shake weight-plated mansion and drive a monster truck fitted with wheels that were fashioned out of your hopes, dreams, and used P90X infomercial fake sweat spray bottles.




If Fitness did drive around in a monster truck, this would be my whip.


So, you want to lose weight, gain weight, get healthy(er), look good naked, become a male escort, or learn how to use a bowstaff, no one will argue that diet is a very important, if not the most important, factor. Ask any fitness enthusiast or search any website and the first two concepts they will throw at you are:

1. You need to watch your calories and
2. You need to eat low glycemic index foods.

The concept of "calories" and glycemic index are misguided to say the least. To say the most, they are worthless and stupid.

Calories


How did the Wendy's Classic Triple Baconator not make it on there? It must be low cal.

Without going into ridiculously complicated scientific jargon (that pretty much means nothing) I am only going to talk about "food" calories. Not kcals, thermochemical calories, or the other billion stupid little concepts that Fitness people over complicate for the sole purpose of confusing people in need of help into buying something terrible for them.

A calorie, in the context I am talking about, is defined as the amount of heat needed to heat 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius. So, how are the calories in food determined? Some guy in a lab coat puts the Thermunator in a big oven, waits till it is reduced to ashes, takes that ending temperature, puts in a very big equation, and then that resulting number, probably around 6,000 in my example, is the resulting caloric load of the food in question.


If eating a Thurmanator Burger (Thurmans Cafe, Columbus, OH) is on your bucket list, make sure it is near the bottom. And yes, I have eaten one of these.

This whole process has birthed the term "burning calories." We all hear this term a million times a day on a million different TV ads or in any number of Fitness related conversations. Given the process I described above it makes sense, right? We eat calories, we burn calories, right? We burn more calories and eat less calories, we get ripped, right? Absolutely not.

The mechanisms by which we digest foods has to do with using millions of chemicals and enzymes to break food down into substrates to be used in metabolic activities later on (or it can be pooped out). We do not have a giant bonfire inside our bodies that the food we slop down falls in to. If the whole calorie thing were as easy as eat less and burn more to lose weight, that would assume all calories are created equal which is absolutely insane.

I am not a big research study person for the most part. I can't stand some guy or lady in a lab coat who has never eaten well or lifted a weight before in his/her life telling me what is best for all 285 meat fueled pounds of myself. But, this one is very, VERY interesting in regards to calories. Dr. Alan Kekwick did a study years ago to try to figure out which macro nutrient (carbs, fats, or proteins), when eaten in high amounts (90% of total calories) during a calorie restricted diet (1,000 calories a day) would help obese subjects lose the most weight. So, three groups were formed, a 90% carb, a 90% fat, and a 90% protein group, and each group only ate a 1,000 calories a day for... I have no idea, a couple of weeks or something.

The carb group GAINED an average of .2lbs a day
The protein group lost and average of .6lbs a day
Here is the crazy part... The fat group lost almost ONE EFFING POUND A DAY.

If all calories were equal and we "burned" them equally then the results of all three groups would have been exactly the same... or at least in the same ballpark.

Whatever your goals are, I firmly believe it is not how much you eat, it is what you eat. Someone who eats 2,000 calories in fruit loops a day is definitely not going to look as good, be as strong, or have as much human dignity as someone eating 2,000 calories in lean meats, vegetables, and nuts a day.


Finally, a food pyramid I can relate too.

Glycemic Index

Unless you live under a rock or you have absolutely no concern about your physical well being (then how the hell did you get to my blog?) then you have heard of the Glycemic Index (GI). The GI is a list of high carbohydrate containing foods and it describes the foods effects on your blood sugar levels. Maintaining constant healthy blood sugar levels (no sharp peaks or drops) throughout your day is key to whatever your physical goals may be. Blood sugar levels trigger numerous chemical and hormonal responses in your body. These responses determine what substrates get sent to your muscles, what get stored as fat, and a bunch of psychological and mental factors. The lower a foods glycemic index, the less impact the food has on your blood sugar levels, the less likely hood of the foods you eat being stored as fat (during most times during the day anyway). Here is a list of a couple foods and their GI:



Sounds pretty cut and dry, right? As long as you stay low GI you should be good to go in regards to not turning yourself into a 900lb "Discovery Channel Special" human land monster, right? Absolutely wrong again.

The GI is 100% accurate on measuring a carbohydrates effect on blood sugar. The problem is, there is more than just carbohydrates in 99% of the foods on Earth and those other compounds also elicit a blood sugar response.

Let's take milk. The chart above gives whole milk a GI of 27. Milk has actually been shown to be anywhere from 15-30. This would be considered a very low GI and is a major source of calories in many diets that follow the GI. There is an index developed that examines a foods direct response on insulin levels (shoot up when blood sugar spikes) called the Insulinemic Index (II). Due to the fermented properties of milk and also the large amount of lactic acid (lactic acid actually lowers the GI of carbohydrates but has a huge inulinemic response) the II of whole milk is 90-98. Which is about the same insulin response as eating a loaf of white bread.



Anyway, the moral of the story. Don't just take the advice people give you about your own well being. Ask questions, do your own research, and become as knowledgeable as you can in regards to efficient systems to reach your goals. These are just two bright and shiny examples of ways Fitness enthusiasts, infomercials, and Fitness magazines mislead people. There are literally thousands more out there.

Sprint. Kill. Count Calories?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Crazy Fat Loss Tips That Actually Work Part 2

There are about 50 billion research studies out there that prove the benefits of caffeine in regards to fat loss/mobilization. A big problem that arises from the research is the amount of caffeine that is being studied. Somewhere in the upwards of 1,000mg for some of them. To put that in perspective, that is equivalent to about 14 cups of strong coffee. So, how do you get the most out of the positive effects of caffeine without having pitch black teeth and a permanent case of the jitters? The answer is grapefruit juice.

There is an enzyme in grapefruit juice that has some very interesting side effects when paired with certain pharmaceuticals and supplements. Bergamottin (kinda sounds like a snooty British guy, doesn't it?) has been shown to help extend the half-life of some drugs and also increase that amount that is absorbed into your system. There is a butt-load of science behind this that I won't get into but the gist of it is:

Bergamottin can DOUBLE the half-life of caffeine. Caffeine ingestion has been shown to increase fat mobilization for up to 6 hours in some cases... that means bergamottin can extend that to 12 hours.

So, how do you make this work for you? Just chug 8-12 ounces (or more) of grapefruit juice before you have your morning/afternoon/pre-midnight S&M party cup of coffee.

Obviously, this is not the secret x-factor to losing fat. You still need to exercise and you still to eat non-crappy foods. This will, however, augment the benefits of not living like a lazy non-human.

Good luck... and grapefruit juice is tasty!

Sprint. Kill. Or Just Eat A Grapefruit.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Crazy Fat Loss Tips That Actually Work

With the wealth of horrible information that exists on the internet coupled with the "scientific peer reviewed research" that doesn't actually do or apply to anything in real life, figuring out how to drop a few pounds can seem almost impossible. Here are a few things that actually do work and a short explanation of what you are actually doing to yourself:

-Drink Water... A Whole Lot of Water: at least one ounce for every kilogram of body weight. To find your weight in kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. Every chemical reaction in your body takes place in water because it is a universal solvent and about 80% of your body is made of it anyway. The more water available in your body, the more efficiently it's systems work. Like the systems responsible for mobilizing and oxidizing fat.

-Don't Diet: Just don't eat crap. If you are old enough to read this, then you know what crappy food is. Here is a good guideline to follow, if the food you are about to eat wasn't walking around and moo'ing or wasn't grown out of the dirt at some point, then it was probably processed to the point of zero nutritional value. "Well, what about bread?" you might ask. Here is the way I look at it: bread is essentially wheat and grains all processed to hell and formed into bread. Go out to a farm, grab a hand full of wheat stalks out of the ground and attempt to eat them. God help you if you actually swallow any because your bowels will go into survival mode to get it out of your body as fast as possible. If your one of those people that need a structured food plan to follow, here you go:

-Eat lean meat with EVERY meal
-Eat vegetables with EVERY meal

That's about as complicated as it needs to get. Weight will melt off when you make the stitch from double cheeseburgers, potato chips, and "healthy grains" to steak, spinach, oats. "But I don't like how it tastes" or "Those foods don't have any flavor." Well, my response is learn how to cook and stop being a whinny fatty and start being an efficient human being.

Here is a big one:

-Do Cardio in a Fasted State: You can't burn fat when your insulin is high. Your insulin spikes anytime you eat anything, regardless of the glycemic index. High insulin levels put your body into an anabolic (growth and storage) state in regards to the food you eat. So, when you hop on the hamster wheel and start pudding along, you may have to be on there for double the amount of time in order to activate fat mobilizing mechanisms depending on when you last ate. The calorie counter doesn't mean anything if you are burning straight glucose (blood sugars that become primary fuel source when insulin is high, it burns up quick and you feel awful when it's gone). In order to get the most out of your ab shredding cardio, your body needs to be in a catabolic (breaking down) state. Since food makes you anabolic, cardio (with the intent to lose bodyfat) needs to be done at the longest time period between meals. This time is between the end of dinner and the beginning of breakfast.

Guidelines for cardio: 50-60% max heart rate (can be found by subtracting your age from 220) for 20-30mins. If you have read any of my previous posts, you know that jogging will most likely give you bad knees and AIDS. This cardio can be done at a brisk walk on an incline, attached to a heavy sled, carrying a sandbag, flipping/rolling a tire, and/or pushing something. Get creative.

Just a couple quick tips. I guess they aren't too crazy. I'll probably make another part to this talking about how different spices affect different enzymatic reactions related to fat loss and also how mustard might be the best ergogenic aid on Earth.

Sprint. Kill. Eat... lots and lots of cows.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Sprint, Kill, Eat Guide: Sprinting Yourself Back To Humanity. Part One.

Hopefully by now you realize that jogging is not only stupid but, it's also killing you. The purpose of this post is to take you from the slow crawl away from the lion that just mauled you to the full sprint into his den just to slap him in his stupid, non-human face. First off, let's examine some proper jogging technique:



Yep. That's about right. Make sure to increase your distance if you don't experience enough delirium. Ok, this is an extreme example and all fairness, Ironman's look really really hard and I have a ton of respect for the crazies that train and participate in these events... but this is just so much more badass:





What Makes a Sprint a Sprint?

The first obvious question after watching these two videos is, what is the difference between a sprint and a jog? The short answer is the speed of movement. A sprint is much faster than a jog... well, in most cases anyway.











At his top speed, he almost took two complete steps forward.











So, if speed is what dictates the difference between these two movements, then what the heck dictates the speed at which we move? Here is where things get a little crazy.

The first basic difference is the angle at which the upper body is positioned in relation to the ground when a sprint or a jog take place. Jogging requires a much more upright position and sprinting a much deeper angle, closer to the ground. For example:

You can see here a typical fitness enthusiast. relatively upright posture compared to the ground, hat pulled down just high enough so that he can see where he is going but low enough so that he can appear mysterious to all of the ladies he passes during his 10 mile ab-flex-fest around whatever city that is. Notice his perfect jogging attire. Hat, gloves, and sweatpants contrasting his skin tight JogTech Performance Tank Top and $400 dollar JogRight Fitness Plus Running Shoes. You may ask, "Why didn't he finish putting his gloves on?" When it's jog time, there is not enough time to strap up your jogging gloves. Fitness waits for no one. Even though I don't even know this guy and I hate him already, he actually has excellent running technique, I will explain why shortly... but I still hate him.


Now a sprint. Huge difference in upper body angle, huge difference in speed of movement. That backround is not a special effect. Bolt is accelerating so fast, that the high tech, high speed camera is having trouble keeping up with him.


Why is this angle so important for running speed? Ok, here is where I am seriously going to piss of A LOT of people. This angle is important because when sprinting THERE IS NO PUSH OFF. THERE IS NO PUSH OFF when you jog either. The propulsive force behind running, jogging, sprinting, and walking is gravity, not muscular effort. There is a term in running called the Extensors Paradox. This just explains how at peak knee flexion (basically right where Bolt's lead knee is in the above picture) the leg extensors deactivate as a response to the gravitational pull on the leg. This means when that lead foot hits the ground, there will be a hard contraction of the glutes, hamstrings, and calves as it moves under the upper body into a support position. At no point during this motion does it contribute to propulsive force. Crazy stuff, huh?

Think I am full of crap? Stand perfectly upright and try to push yourself into a sprint without leaning forward. If you tried this, you would jump straight up into the air. This is called vertical displacement. Jogging, walking, and sprinting are all horizontal displacements.

It should now be clear why this body angle is so important to speed of movement. How do you accelerate using gravity? You fall down. A sprint, a jog, and a walk are basically a series of falls and catches over and over again. The harder you fall, the deeper the angle you fall at, the harder you have to work to keep from smashing your teeth on the ground, the faster you move through horizontal displacement.

All things being equal, a stronger sprinter will be faster because they will be able to resist gravity at deeper angles. This is why most marathon runners look like they are starving to death and most short distance sprinters are jacked.

Funny thing about Usain Bolt, when he broke the World Record in the 100m, he accelerated at an angle of 21.4 degrees from 20m to 80m. Optimal acceleration angle is 22.5 degrees. So, if he could ever get to that acceleration angle, he has the potential to run the 100m in 6.75 seconds.

Still don't believe me? Still think there is a push-off and all of those stupid running mechanics textbooks are correct? Then explain to me how humans can run on frictionless surfaces?



If an actual push-off took place, he would have a mouth full of ice cubes.

Looking deeper into these concepts also eliminates stride length as a factor in running speed. The bodies reaction from the series of catches and falls now places emphasis on the speed of leg turnover (stride frequency) based on cadence (the number of times the foot strikes the ground per minute). Probably more information that is going to piss someone off.


The next few factors that translate into faster stride frequency and cadence are all very inter-related. Ground reaction forces (GRF), muscular tendon elasticity, and muscular contraction speed all play a big role in haulin' ass. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Every time your foot strikes the ground, the reactive force of the ground strikes back. Sometimes with upwards of 5 times your own body weight. This is the same force as when you first jump on a bathroom scale. You know how the weight shoots up really fast, then levels off at your actual body weight? That is a reactive force. Good sprinters are very efficient at storing the energy received from the GRF into the elastic components of muscle. The storage and dispersal of this energy during sprinting, or any cyclic activity like it, is due to a working mechanism of the body called the stretch shortening cycle. This system is meant to conserve as much energy as possible while performing actions like sprinting, running, cycling, and river dancing. There is tons of science behind this stuff but no one really knows why it happens. My personal belief is that it is a survival mechanism that has evolved after about a million years of either sprinting after our dinner or sprinting away from hungry bears and dinosaurs. Wherever it came from, we have it now and it can be trained to work more efficiently.

Contraction speed does not necessarily mean concentric (shortening) muscle action alone. A major factor that separates elite level athletes from novice athletes is the speed at which one can relax a muscle after concentric action. This ability to relax after contraction greatly contributes to the ability to shortening time in between cadence steps and increase stride frequency. Think about it, if there is interference from residual contractions after the lead leg has been pulled into flexion, the amount of time between relaxation and foot strike will then increase. Thus, decreasing cadence and stride frequency.

Now, the next question, which will be part two, is how can us normal non-elite level sprinters develop these skills and use them to augment the effectiveness of our training to reach our personal goals? It doesn't matter if you want to lose weight, gain weight, get stronger, get faster, or if you are just trying to become a more effiecient human, sprinting is a basic human movement that everyone should be good at. Back in the day, if you couldn't get up and run as fast as you possibly could, you either didn't eat or you got ate. So, for the sake of your own humanity, get good at it.

SPRINT!!!!!!! kill, eat.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Caffeine Might Make You Weak... A Meatheads Perspective

Before I go and offend all of those people who just sit in coffee shops all day on their laptops typing, well, whatever the hell they are typing, consider this:

If you are a coffee drinker, whether it be just a cup a day or if you are that guy that downs about 50 of those torpedo sized Monster's a day, then you might have a slight caffeine addiction. Wanna test it out? Don't drink or eat anything that contains caffeine for a week. You'll know you have a problem when you wake up day two and look/feel like this little guy:




Top 10 Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms

1.Headache- A caffeine headache usually starts behind the eyes and then moves up the front of the head.

2.Sleepiness- This just isn’t your normal tiredness, this is sitting up straight but still can’t keep your eyes open tiredness.

3.Irritability- Everyone and everything gets on your last nerve. It’s best just to lock yourself in your room during this stage.

4.Lethargy- Forget about productivity at this stage because you’ll be unmotivated to do anything.

5.Constipation- Caffeine stimulates the bowel, so without its daily does the colon gets a little cranky too.

6.Depression- Caffeine withdrawal can take away all hope for living. Temporary blues are one thing, but if you already struggle with depression this could be a big issue.

7.Muscle Pain/Stiffness- If you normally have some caffeine prior to exercise then during caffeine withdrawal you could feel as though your muscles have weights strapped to them.

8.Lack of Concentration- Forget school, studying, brain surgery, or jet engine repair during this stage of withdrawal.

9.Flu-like symptoms- Stuffy nose, blocked sinuses and even vomiting have been reported by people withdrawing from caffeine.

10.Insomnia- Some people are strange and actually can’t sleep when going through caffeine withdrawal.



I stole this list from some "hippy" website that I was accidentally reading one day. As you can see, I highlighted the only important side effect mentioned. "Muscle Pain/Stiffness." Instead of just reading that and thinking, "Oh, that's a bad thing," I really wanted to figure out why that happens... and the answer is terrifying.

Don't get me wrong, caffeine has some serious positive effects on sports performance, and normal life as well. Increased focus, glycogen (energy) sparing during exercise, increased lipolysis (fat transport and usage, i.e. mechanism for getting ripped, bro) are just a few of the upsides to caffeine ingestion. How do these ergogenic effects actually happen though? The answer, and problem, is caffeine's interaction with calcium.

Quick little physiology lesson: Calcium is stored, basically, in two places in your body. Your bones and your muscles. Calcium in the muscles is responsible for signalling the binding of actin to myosin (contractile untis of muscle) once an action potential is received from the nervous system (through the synaptic cleft which is were the muscle and nerve come together, but the don't actually touch). This shortens a muscle and causes movement. Just so you get an idea of how complicated the human body is, the action I just described happens every time you move any part of your body. Just imagine the amount of nervous activity that is occurring next time you send a text or update your facebook status. "OMGZ! My synapses are going banAnAs!!! ROFL."

Anyway, more calcium available in the muscle=more efficient muscle contraction. Calcium is, unfortunately, caffeine sensitive. When calcium interacts with caffeine it switches the body into a hypersensitive "fight or flight" state. Hence the jitters when you drink too much and the Roid Rage when you don't drink any. The good news is the calcium is protected by a trap door protein called Ryanodine... the bad news its that it is sensitive to caffeine too and explodes open like a broken fire hydrant when caffeine is in the system.

I am not anti coffee or caffeine by any means. As I type this now, I am shotgunning Venti black coffees and chewing espresso flavored gum. Just wanted to share some thoughts on a topic that hasn't really been discussed too much. So, if you do ingest a lot of caffeine before the gym, work, preschool, or performing brain surgery, don't be surprised if you turn into this guy if you have a day without your bitter, dark, muscle gas:



Sprint. Kill. Eat. Get All Jittery. Then Go Be A Butthead At A Terrible Commercial Gym.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Action Movies!... Suck Because of Fitness.

Wrap your head around this:

Think about some of the popular action movies ever. I don't know about all of my fitness hating readers but, a good portion of my childhood was spent watching Arnold beat the living crap out of people. Or watching Stalone shoot about 50 billion rounds of ammunition into a bunch of commies. Those were the days.




I don't know whats more awesome, the fact that he is about to cut that guys head off or the fact that the expression on his face suggests that he is having absolutely no moral issues with cutting that guys head off.

Now, I want you to think very hard about some recent action movies that have come out. Think about the actors Hollywood has been casting to portray these icons of American badassery. Lets take one of the highest grossing superhero movies of the 2000's. Who esle embodys super-human ability, fearlessness, and bravey more than the likes of... Tobey-effing-Maquire????????



Oh. Em. Gee. He is so fit. Assuming this scene was real and he did get himself wipped into shape for the movie, how in the hell are we supposed to believe that someone as skinny as a toothpick is going to defend the city-folk from super villians. I don't know about you but, I would much rather root for Doctor Octopus (kinda fat guy with evil giant robot arms that could provide endless hours of bottle opening,college party tricks) than a Spiderman that looks like he could comfortably exchange outfits with Spiderwoman.

By the way, here is a comparision of Spiderman on-screen and in the offseason:



Sigh... if only he did one more cycle of P90X...

This has to be an extreme example. This can't be happening to us in every recent action movie. Enter Matt Damon and the "Borne" movies. In case you didn't know, Matt Damon makes action movies now. If this doesn't make you pissed off, then you never saw "Stuck On You." Here is a clip of Matt Damon's acting skills:




The only glimmer of hope (to me anyway) for action movies recently was the release of "The Expendables." I was more jacked up than words could ever describe. For those of you that have not seen the movie, just look at this:





It features basically every badass in every action movie since 1980. How could this fail? It's even got Arnold in it, for God's sake!!!!How could this not be the best action movie ever made????!!!!! Well, I will tell you how. Within the first one minute of the movie, there is already more plastic surgery than every combined second of the entire Sex and The City series. Also, the only aspect of the movie that was more lifeless than the expressions on the actors faces was the plot. Fitness, and some useless misguided drive to retain youth, has ruined most of these actors. Thus, ruining there ability to even be a little bit badass in an action movie. The whole thing was actually pretty depressing.

If you feel the same way I do let me know and boycott these testosterone-lowering atrocities. I haven't completely lost faith yet but, until we start getting some real action movie stars back, we will just have to keep watching Commando over and over and over again:



Lean Out, Get Pasty, Become Spiderman, Then Get Fat Again... wait, what?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fitness Just Tried To Kill Itself.

I am speechless... this is nuts. Not only is this a new world record but he looked like he could have gotten 50 more pounds. Way to go Benni.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dieting Mayhem: Why I Should Be Dead Right Now.

So, this was my lunch today:

-Footlong Buffalo Chicken Sub, double meat, double cheese
-About a half gallon of Coke
-Spicy Tuna and Crabmeat Roll
-Bag of Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips
-Half a gallon of Water
-2 Heaping tablespoons of peanut butter

An hour after:

-1370 calorie shake

An hour later:

-About a pound of spaghetti and 10oz of chicken sausage


That's only 3 out of six times I will eat today. It hasn't always been this way. I used to eat clean. So clean it would probably make a normal human kill themselves out of sheer taste-boredom. I am attempting to gain weight for the first time ever. Believe it or not, gaining weight has always been hard for me. Especially in high school and the beginning of college.

High School:
Freshman year I weighed in at a sickly 160-170lbs. Needless to say, I was almost killed on the football field every time I got hit. Once the season was over, I started smashing weights everyday and eating anything and everything.By the time the next season started, I was 6 inches taller, and weighed 230lbs. I wish I still had growth spurts like that. I made it through high school alive somehow and got the opportunity to play college football.

College:
Got to training camp around 250lbs but in terrible shape. College football made me realize I was a horrible athlete so I knew my only hope was to become un-humanly strong. That was postponed several times due to injury after injury/surgery after surgery. I had some pretty lousy surgeries. Two hernias. A stupid ankle. Punched a wall that was much stronger than my hand. Anyway, when football was over, I was a sloppy 275lbs. That was in 2007. I pretty much hung around there until July of last year... that's when the insanity started.


July 2010 to October 2010:

I lost 51lbs in 15 weeks. Anyone who is serious about losing weight and can't do it on their own: Go to TroponinNutrition.com, hire Shelby Starnes, and try not to shrink too fast. The guy is a genius. I wanted to get as light as possible for a powerlifting competition. I went from 280 to 229 and did not lose any strength. The diet, after a few adjustments, looked like this:

-6 meals a day
-65g protein per meal- fish, steak, chicken, and shakes.
-4 medium carb days a week
-3 very low carb days a week<~~~~ which made me very cranky
-40mins of low intensity cardio 4 days a week
-20mins of interval sprints usually on a bike, 20mins of low intensity cardio 3 days a week
-No gluten
-No dairy

My body fat percentage went from mid 20's to 5%. I was shredded up, totally ripped, brah! By my own stupid accord, I dropped and extra 5lbs the day before the competition by making a homemade sauna in my hotel bathroom, even though Shelby told me not to do this. Needless to say, I felt like a walking poop-cicle going into the meet. I tore my right semimembranosous (medial hamstring) attempting to deadlift 810lbs. I was very dehydrated and very stupid.

October 2010 to February 2011:

Still eating very clean, just more clean food. Added in 2 cheat meals a week. Cheat meal is code for "entire stuffed crust pizza." Weighed in at the Arnold Sports Festival at 250lbs and smoked an 810lb deadlift with my hamstring only at about 80%.

February 2011 to Present:

I just don't care anymore. There is only one goal now: Be as strong as possible. I am already back up to 275lbs just by adding in 2 more cheat meals and keeping everything else relatively clean. I shoot for about 500g of carbs and 300g of protein a day.


Just thought I would put this up because I have received several questions on how/what I eat. It makes more sense to showcase the history of how my diet has evolved than just throw worthless numbers out there. The diet I was on from July to October completely altered my body chemistry, I think. I am stuck at 275 and I'm not getting any fatter? Maybe I'll take up jogging to get fatter.

Anyway, sorry for the short, pointless post. Thanks for reading. Now that I've talked some about sprinting and eating, I guess the next one will be on how to make you an efficient killing machine....


Sprint. Kill. Eat. Eat. Eat. Eat. Eat.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jogging: No, The "J" is Not Silent. Yes, This is Killing You.

My "Sprint. Kill. Eat." mantra is getting pretty popular. Some people have suggested I get t-shirts made. I will look into that and keep everyone posted.

If you have read any of my previous posts, you already know that I am about to rip jogging a new one. This might be one of the all-time fitness go-to's. When most people want to "get in shape" their initial thoughts are to buy a fancy new pair of 10 million dollar running shoes, shoot out the door, and start externally rotating his or herself to death down the sidewalk. Before I send jogging back into the bowels of fitness where it can be digested into a much more useful form (yes, that was a poop joke), I will start with a real life scenario:

Imagine that you are sitting there, minding your own business, reading my snide/sarcastic veiws on how fitness is making you a less efficient human, when all of a sudden you realized you left your front door open. No big deal. Maybe the weather is nice wherever you are. Maybe you did it on purpose. Maybe you live in a barn and the hinges on your stall door rusted off. You continue reading. Then, this guy comes flying through the door:



Yep. That guy is in your living room now and he is pissed off and hungry. Actually, he was so hungry that he ate your neighbors already. Now, he has tasted human flesh and it has put him into a man-craving frenzy that can only be satisfied by your face meat. Your reaction to this situation will put you into one of three catergories of human being:

1. Let's call this one the Jogger. Jogger is not too worried about the killing machine standing in his house. The Jogger is fit. The Jogger jogs everyday and talks to all his/her jogger friends about all the places they have jogged. The Jogger looks at the bear, laughs, and says, "That bear easily weighs 600lbs, there is no way it can catch me because I am in shape!" Jogger then stands up, yells "Fitness!!!", and takes two brisk steps away from the bear to begin his jog to safety. The bear then almost immediately catches Jogger. Jogger is then brutaly murdered by the 600lb serial killer is such a way that if I were to attempt to describe, it would probably get me kicked off the internet.

2. Now it is the Sprinters turn. Sprinter doesnt waste any time at all. As soon as Sprinters, now terrified, brain recognizes one of natures perfect weapons of destruction wants to take Sprinter on a human meat picnic with no picnic basket, Sprinter heads towards the back door. No need to waste time unlocking or opening the door. Sprinter is generating enough forward momentum to lower a shoulder explode through the door like a heat seeking missle. Sprinter is just fast enough to evade the bear... or at least fast enough to get in front of the first jogger they see so that the bear eats them instead.

3. The third person that could turn up, and that will be discussed in great detail later on, is called the Alpha. The Alpha recognizes the danger but calmy stands and walks around the bear. The Alpha keeps direct eye contact with the bear the entire time. Once he reaches the front door, the Alpha closes and locks it to ensure the bear cannot escape. After he has beaten the bear to death, he cooks and eats all 600lbs of him.


So, assuming you don't want to die, lets talk about why sprinting as hard as you can will make you a more efficient human. A lot of people think they can't handle the impact from a maximal sprint. Well, thats stupid. The ground reaction forces of jogging and sprinting are almost exactly the same. The difference between these two actions are the amount of time you can sustain the movements. A normal healthy person could probably lightly jog, I don't know, forever. A maximal sprint could only last for about 10-15 seconds AT MOST. Any longer than that and it's not sprinting anymore. Ever go for a jog and get that "swole" feeling in your lower back? That is not a good thing. The propelling force, if you can even call it that, during a sprint is gravity. The harder you fall down and catch yourself, the faster you will run. When most people jog, they jog straight up and down. Knees lock on ground contact, the foot strikes from heel to toe, and at some point the knee, ankle, and hip are all being crushed by the weight of your body. You fall so far forward when you sprint that is is impossible to now land on your heel and you push off of just the balls of your feet, which is the way humans were meant to run. So, because of the angle at which your body must maintain in order to sprint and the short amount of time you spend actually doing the movement, there is significantly less impact force on the joints. Imagine a caveman. If it hurt too much for him to sprint, guess what happened to him? He either couldn't catch, kill, and eat his dinner or he was too slow to not become dinner to any of the numerous badass killers mother nature has perfected since the dawn of time.


Which one looks like they would stand a chance when Mr. Smiley the frenzied grizzly bear comes storming through the front door?

Now, with all of that stuff out of the way, this guy asks:




Well, how do I use sprinting to get ripped abs like my heroes on The Jersey Shore, bro-Namath?




It is true that jogging is a superior method of utilizing fat for fueling exercise. There are several problems though:

1- It's easy. Your body adapts quickly to low intensity work like this. When your body adapts, progress stops. Once this happens you need to keep increasing duration and frequency to elicit training responses. Everyone knows these people. Those people that have to run 50 billion miles a week and eat like a borderline anorexic to stay at that lean, sunken, can-count-every-rib-because-they-stick-an-inch-out-from-your-body frame.

2- You burn calories... only while you are actually jogging. Going off of what I said in number one, you will adapt. You will eventually have to do more to achieve the same results. Which is fine assuming you don't work or have a personal/family life that you would have to neglect. Eat less. Jog all day. Sleep? Just doesn't sound right.

3- Fat people can do it. If you want to lose weight, get "ripped", fit into that old dress, or whatever your goals may be, watch a fat person go about their daily life... then do the total opposite of EVERYTHING they do.


Here is how sprinting kicks the crap out of jogging when it comes to losing body fat:

1- It's not easy. So it's good for you. Stop being lazy. It's hard to adapt to an exercise when you are heaving your brains out trying to swallow any available molecule of oxygen to keep yourself from passing out because you just finished 5 minutes of interval sprinting.

2- You burn calories... up to 36 hours AFTER you finish the workout. When you preform highly anaerobic, no oxygen available, work with short rests you create an oxygen deficit in your muscles. It takes a long time to pay back that deficit. 36 hours from the conclusion of the exercise, your breathing remains elevated and the increased oxygen exchange causes a big increase in your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Calories are only burned in your body in three different ways. Exercise makes up 10-15% of total calories burned. The Thermic Effect of Food digesting makes up another 5-10%. The remaining 75 to 85% is RMR. A higher RMR means more calories burned while sitting on the couch, in class, or in your cubicle.

3- Fat people can't do it at first... because it will probably kill them. Get on a good diet, walk with a weighted sled 3 days a week, walk a mile the other 4 days a week, and once you can accomplish this without being so exhausted you want to kill yourself, start sprinting.

How do you get the most out of sprinting? Using the interval method. What the hell does that mean? Well, settle down, jerk, I'm going to tell you.

10-15 seconds of all out sprinting
20-30 seconds of rest

Do that until you pass out. Aim for 6-10 total sprints. Do this at least twice a week, ideally between heavy weight training sessions, which also creates the oxygen deficit effect. When you get bored, do it up a hill, use a weighted sled, instead of 10-15 seconds try for certain distances like 50 to 100 yards with the same rest intervals, get creative and vary the movements anyway you want. Just make sure the sprint is an all out effort and you are adhering to the rest intervals.

Now you have the knowledge. Don't let the bear eat your face.

Sprint. Kill. Eat.