Thursday, May 31, 2012

Awesome, or Overreach?

New York Plans to Ban Sale of Big Sizes of Sugary Drinks 

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Mr. Bloomberg on Wednesday with Linda Gibbs, deputy mayor for health. By each soda is the amount of sugar in it.

Soda is awesome at about mile 40 of a a 50-mile race.  It replenishes everything an athlete has been using after 5-6hours of activity.  Whenever I see someone buying soda I think 'good luck on your endurance event'.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

1st Amendment versus Counseling

Is dietary advice considered counseling?  Is for-fee coaching that includes dietary advice a crime?  There's interesting points on both sides.  Registered dietitians work hard for their certifications and deserve to be recognized.  But 'what-if' their advice isn't helping someone?

Thursday, May 24, 2012



Why a Bay Area gym has ­become a destination for the world’s top athletes
Upward mobility
Upward mobility    Photographer: Illustrations by Chris Philpot

Kayaker Brad Ludden, pro cyclist Levi Leipheimer, Olympic rowerErin Cafaro—they’re not coming to CrossFit San Francisco for traditional coaching. They’re seeking out Kelly Starrett, a doctor of physical therapy, to glean his tips on natural mobility. Starrett preaches that joint range of motion matters beyond just injury prevention or rehab. The real benefit of mobility, he says, is the mechanical advantage: ideal positioning allows for optimal power output. Until you’ve got proper range in all your joints, you simply haven’t discovered your body’s real potential. “The typical athlete is brutally inefficient,” says Starrett. “Improving mechanics by resolving problems with tissue restriction and positioning is like taking the emergency brake off a Ferrari.” Running? Let’s see what you’ve got when a tight hip capsule isn’t ruining your extension. Rowing? Healthy dorsiflexion means you move more water. 
For the past year, Starrett has posted daily mobility workouts on his website, and the videos have become a viral sensation in the CrossFit community. Here he offers six exercises to increase mobility for specific sports—everything from running to climbing. Spend just two minutes a day on each move—the 10-minute squat requires more time, of course—and make sure to contract and relax in each position. Also, test your range of motion before and after: you should notice improvements almost immediately.
1. Posterior hip mobilization
On all fours, position a stretching band around one quad, then place that foot in front of the opposite knee. Oscillate your hip against the band’s pull. GOOD FOR: Loosening up a stiff hip capsule or making you more efficient on a bike, in a kayak, or whenever you are in hip flexion.
2. Shoulder extension, external rotation
Place your hand through a stretching band and rotate your palm up. Grip the band and lean back, stretching your arm above your head and engaging the lat muscle. GOOD FOR: Opening up shoulder joints, which are particularly tight among swimmers and climbers. 
3. Anterior hip mobilization
Place the stretching band around one quad’s hip crease and stretch that leg back, placing the knee on the ground and slowly rotating the hip forward. GOOD FOR: Loosening up tight hip flexors, common among runners, cyclists, and rowers.
4. Ankle dorsiflexion
Standing up, place stretching band just above the ankle and step forward with that leg. Move knee forward and oscillate outward. Repeat facing the other direction. GOOD FOR: Ankle flexibility, which helps save runners tremendous energy.
5. 10-minute deep-squat test
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and lower your hips to your ankles, making sure to keep your feet flat on the ground. Remain in that position for 10 minutes, moving slightly to stimulate circulation. GOOD FOR: Increasing mobility in the ankles, knees, and hips.
6. Couch stretch 
Start on all fours with your feet against the wall. Raise one leg so the shin and foot lie flat against the wall, then step the other leg forward, foot beneath you. Engage glutes, quads, and hip flexors by arching and relaxing your back. GOOD FOR: Opening up the entire anterior muscle chain, allowing you to fully extend your hips, knees, and ankles

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Relaxation = Endurance

When teaching athletes a weightlifting move that is new to them, we spend a lot of time on which muscles to contract and equal time on which muscle to relax.  Tensing or activating the wrong muscles doesn't help; in fact, it can often hurt one's form.  For example, for a kettle-bell swing, the athlete's arm should be as useful as spaghetti noodles and the powerful hip-opening should be the work horse.  It's similar with kipping pull-ups and rowing - athletes should save any arm pull for the end of the movement and do just 4-5 inches of work with those extremities.   

Relaxation is a common theme I'm hearing lately.  I'm taking my wife to Bradley-method natural birthing classes.  The theme there is "relaxation is key." Things will hurt more when we're tensed up.  We see this often in our realities: the drunk driver thrown 200 feet from a car crash and being uninjured because he was relaxed (and mostly unaware).  Getting a shot at the doctor's when you're tensed up with anxiety versus relaxed and letting it happen.  Relaxation is also a huge component in running.  

Relaxation in running means turning off the muscles you shouldn't be using, and turning them on only when you need them.  I'll explain how this is done based on the forces of running (pictured left):
  • Gravity - pulling straight down
  • Torque - a product of your lean, and
  • Ground force reactions - elasticity in your muscles, tendons, ligaments, even cushion in your shoes  
Gravity is fixed. It only varies if you are on a mountain or in death valley.  

Torque is variable. If you lean more, you have more torque. The torque pulling your forward combined with the force of gravity pulling you down translates to speed.  

The elasticity in your body that reflects the ground force reations is variable too - and this is where relaxation comes into play.  If you are able to relax, then you can return (and utilize) most of the energy of the forces your body has experienced.  The more tired you get the more unable you are to relax (and the more your body absorbs the shock of the energy forces expended on your body).  Muscles that fatigue stick in their on (or engaged, un-relaxed) state.  The more tired you are and the more your muscles are unable to relax, the more work it is to maintain your desired pace. You're working against natural forces.  You become less and less efficient and less able to utilize the ground force reactions.  Imagine filling the spring in a pogo stick with cement.  A cramped up muscle is the polar opposite of relaxation - we all know that feeling!

How do I fix this??  Good question. Some under the skin electrodes and a nine-volt battery...just kidding.  The way to adapt to this phenomenon is to: 

  1. Consciously relax relax relax. Your brain is preventing these muscles from relaxing, it is also capable of reversing that.  I always tell my athletes "Do you feel your calf jiggle when your foot lands?  That's good, look for that!"  
  2. Stay in control. If you feel muscles (such as lower leg muscles) not relaxing then take a break.  Stop and stretch, walk, self-massage, and get acquainted with the differences in your muscles' rest state.
  3. Add volume/get exposure. It's important to reach the point where you're no longer relaxing in an attempt to push that phenomenon out farther.  Slowly adding volume or rests between sprints are times to assess and practice relaxing.
Strength, distance, practice, and above all patience are tools you'll need to tell your muscles to chill and operate the way they're intended.  Cool?  Chill?

Monday, May 14, 2012

BMI - does not equal 'fat'

The outdated BMI formula [BMI = weight in pounds/(height in inches)2×703], developed nearly 200 years ago by Quetelet, is not a measurement of adiposity, but merely an imprecise mathematical estimate [7],[8][10][14]. Defining obesity based on percent body fat, as with BMI, also has arbitrary cut-points. In 1995, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined obesity based on a percent body fat ≥25% for men and ≥35% for women [15], while the most recent 2009 guidelines from the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP), an American Medical Association (AMA) specialty board, used percent body fat ≥25% for men and ≥30% for women. ...

BMI ignores several important factors affecting adiposity. Greater loss of muscle mass leading to sarcopenic obesity in women occurs increasingly with age. BMI does not acknowledge this factor, exacerbating misclassifications [17][18]. Furthermore, men's BMI also does not consider the inverse relationship between muscular strength and mortality [19]. It fails to take into account that men lose less muscle with age than women.

read about BMI and Leptin - the horomone that tells us we're full (sated).  HERE

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why the Campaign to Stop America's Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing

There's a new HBO documentary coming out on the subject and it looks like they may again miss the boat!  This is very sad that some are still sticking to the 'calories in / calories out' myth and ignoring the fact that there's a fat hormone in the human body and we keep messing with it.  "Portion Control" will always fail.  The order is much more like this:

Food type
Your reaction to it
Food Quantity

Here is Gary Taubes's opinion of the HBO film. From here

Why the Campaign to Stop America's Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing

The nation’s most powerful anti-obesity groups are teaming up for a new HBO documentary—but it pushes the same tired advice. Gary Taubes on the research they're ignoring. 

Most of my favorite factoids about obesity are historical ones, and they don’t make it into the new, four-part HBO documentary on the subject, The Weight of the Nation. Absent, for instance, is the fact that the very first childhood-obesity clinic in the United States was founded in the late 1930s at Columbia University by a young German physician, Hilde Bruch. As Bruch later told it, her inspiration was simple: she arrived in New York in 1934 and was “startled” by the number of fat kids she saw—“really fat ones, not only in clinics, but on the streets and subways, and in schools.”

What makes Bruch’s story relevant to the obesity problem today is that this was New York in the worst year of the Great Depression, an era of bread lines and soup kitchens, when 6 in 10 Americans were living in poverty. The conventional wisdom these days—promoted by government, obesity researchers, physicians, and probably your personal trainer as well—is that we get fat because we have too much to eat and not enough reasons to be physically active. But then why were the PC- and Big Mac–-deprived Depression-era kids fat? How can we blame the obesity epidemic on gluttony and sloth if we easily find epidemics of obesity throughout the past century in populations that barely had food to survive and had to work hard to earn it?

These seem like obvious questions to ask, but you won’t get the answers from the anti-obesity establishment, which this month has come together to unfold a major anti-fat effort, including The Weight of the Nation, which begins airing May 14 and “a nationwide community-based outreach campaign.” The project was created by a coalition among HBO and three key public-health institutions: the nonprofit Institute of Medicine, and two federal agencies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. Indeed, it is unprecedented to have the IOM, CDC, and NIH all supporting a single television documentary, says producer John Hoffmann. The idea is to “sound the alarm” and motivate the nation to act.
At its heart is a simple “energy balance” idea: we get fat because we consume too many calories and expend too few. If we could just control our impulses—or at least control our environment, thereby removing temptation—and push ourselves to exercise, we’d be fine. This logic is everywhere you look in the official guidelines, commentary, and advice. “The same amount of energy IN and energy OUT over time = weight stays the same,” the NIH website counsels Americans, while the CDC site tells us, “Overweight and obesity result from an energy imbalance.”

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Great List From Whole9 of Paleo Nutrition Books and Documentaries

Great list, from the "whole 9" site:

Books and Movies – Beginner 

The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf
Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, by Michael Pollan
The Inflammation Syndrome, by Jack Challem
Food, Inc. (documentary film)
King Corn (documentary film)
SuperSize Me (documentary film)
Fat Head (documentary film)

Books and Movies – Intermediate 

The Paleo Diet, by Dr. Loren Cordain
In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
The Future of Food (documentary film)

Books and Movies – Advanced 

Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes
Lights Out:  Sleep, Sugar and Survival, by T.S. Wiley and Bent Formby
The Ethics of What We Eat, by Peter Singer
Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer
The World According to Monsanto (documentary film)

Talking About Nutrition

The Paleo Pitch. Whole9 helps you explain how you eat to friends, family and co-workers.
How to Win Friends and Influence Paleo. How to help others find their way to the Whole30 program.
(NEW!) The 400,000 Hour Body.  There are no shortcuts to optimal health and fitness.  Sorry.
Generation P:  Our newest series on growing Paleo kids.
Conversations With a Vegetarian. How to talk Paleo nutrition with your vegetarian friends and family.

Bonus: Lectures You Gotta See
How Bad Science and Big Business Created the Obesity Epidemic
 Sugar the Bitter Truth
An Organic Chemist's Perspective on Paleo
Gary Taubes, Why We Get Fat 

Kids Training for Real Life

I was going to title this "paleo-kids" but you see, that's redundant.

This past weekend, my honey bunny and I had a wonderful baby shower thrown for us.  Such a nice turn out - very supportive and loving.  Many age groups were invited and it was impossible not to notice how well the kids got along.  Some of these kids were new friends!  I tried to capture these kids playing together in some pics, but they were moving too fast.  Running.  Constantly.  Why do kids think this fast movement and "doing laps" around our tables is "fun"?  

Think of other animals that play in a very active way.  It is obvious that the playing they all do is a preparation for the skills they'll need as the mature.  The wrestling kittens, the easily command-able puppy getting ready for prowling or pack-lifestyle.  Does it therefore stand to reason that a child's desire to do 117 laps around the tables of our wedding shower to stave off boredom may be their instinctual way of preparing for a life that thy are supposed to be destined for?  

It is well established that our ancestors, prior to cultivating crops and domesticating animals, were endurance athletes.  Our tools were our bodies and our ability to persistence hunt was necessary for survival for millions of years.  What makes you think we've lost that and why would we want to?  Our sweat glands, our hair, our tendons and alignments of muscles are much closer to a kangaroo that an office chair.  If we were "smart" about it, we'd make our kids practice what they'll need in today's world.  Sit quietly in a tetris-piece shape and type.  

...Or maybe it's the other way around, we need to mimick our kids' behaviors and get back in touch with why we're made the way we're made...