Archive for the ‘Health & Fitness’ Category

Relay For Life

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

I have a good friend that is doing the Relay For Life this year in Derry New Hampshire on June 24-25, 2011. To use her own words as to why she is doing this:

“On June 12, 2010 I lost the most amazing, wonderful, caring, warm, beautiful person… my mom… after almost 5 years to cancer.  For years I had thought about joining a team, making donations or doing whatever I could think of to support the fight for cancer, but had never been able to do it, that is until mom passed.   We need to find a cure, and I want to be a part of it.  I’m doing this for my mom, my uncle, my friends, and all those that I don’t know. Won’t you join in helping me? 🙂

Cancer Sucks!”

Please help out if you can by donating to her cause.

The Army Is Getting Smart

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Army toughens fitness test for first time in 30 years

Sounds like the Army is looking at what the soldiers actually need to do in the field and basing their fitness standards on those requirements. Hopefully these standards will be the same for men and women. Lowering the standards  for women is an insult to strong women and could place other soldiers in harm.

 

Get A Clue

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

When I go to the gym I have a chance to observe what’s going on around me while resting between lifts. I won’t comment on some of the stupid stuff I see people do that makes me scratch my head (I’m talking to you with the 5 pound dumbbells flapping your arms like chicken wings), but rather the clueless people I see wandering around the gym. First, if you are getting to the gym that is a good start.  Once you are there you should have an idea of what are going to be doing there. For many people its simple, 30-60 minutes on some type of cardio equipment such as a treadmill, pat yourself on the back and go home. Others I see using some type of strength training equipment, be it a circuit machine, dumbbells, or a barbell. This is where you see two types of clueless people.

The first type is the new person to the gym. They are unsure on how to use the equipment or do a lift, kind of look at it, maybe fiddle around with it a little bit, and some reason never seem to want to ask for help but rather “figure it out on their own.” My advice is if you don’t know how to use or do something, ask someone. Hopefully the staff may know how, but not always, or ask someone that you jusy saw using it, they may not always know either. But you can save yourself a lot of grief by just asking.

The second type is usually male teenagers. They will travel in a small pack, 2-3 of them, stop and stare at something, debate about if they should do it, then either do the exercise or move on to the next spot in the gym and repeat the debate procedure. For some strange reason the debate appears to be centered around how many different variations of a bench press can they perform that day. This group doesn’t really know why they are in the gym, besides wanting to work their chest and biceps. My advice to this group is when you go to the gym, before even stepping into the gym, you should know what you are doing for a workout. This includes reps, sets, amount of weight to be used, etc. Going to the gym and making it up as you go along is not a productive way to spend your time.

So have a clue when going to the gym, know what you are going to do and how to do it.

Jack LaLanne – RIP

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Jack LaLanne passed away the other day at the age of 96. I won’t summarize as it has been done multiple time the last couple of days, but over at RossTraining.com they have a nice blog entry.  LaLanne did much for the world of fitness and his message boils done to this:

  • Eat good food, stop putting garbage into your body.
  • Exercise (Jack did strength training and some type of cardio, good combination)
  • Get plenty of sleep

I’ve said these are the keys to fitness too, glad to know I was on the right track

Dave Castro Is An Idiot

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

I’ve pointed out before that I am no fan of Crossfit Headquarters (CFHQ), for many reasons. I think Crossfit has some good fitness ideas, just the  people running it leave something to be desired. The latest comes from the the Crossfit Journal entry Roundtable in Tahoe: Outside Domination. Many just plain stupid statement were made at this round table, but Dave Castro takes the bonehead award with this statement about athletes outside of Crossfit trying to compete against Crossfitters:

“None of these guys are going to come in and do well without any CrossFit training. That will never happen,” Castro says. “They don’t have that mindset to push like CrossFitters do.”

Professional athletes don’t have the mindset to push themselves? I’m sure many would be surprised they lack the mindset to push themselves, to win Super Bowls, gold medals at the Olympics, or win the World Cup. Yeah Dave, they don’t have the mindset you do.

Fun reading some of the comments from the Crossfit Kool-Aid drinkers too.

The masses and dim-witted

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Crossfit Headquarters (CFHQ) announced changes to how people can qualify for the Crossfit Game. Main point was doing away with sectional qualifiers and going to on-line qualifications at that level. I’ll stay away from how silly this is if you want to be considered a “sport”, but think of how many sports out there on the professional level (baseball, football, basketball) that have teams or people qualify for their championships by having a video submission? What is this, “America’s Stupidest Home Videos?” There is a nice thread discussing these changes you can read through if you really care to do so.

If you have read the thread you probably came across Greg Glassman’s comment (founder of Crossfit) giving his thoughts on those that disagree with the changes:

“This entire fitness concept was launched amid near universal derision and consternation. I’m quite comfortable making unpopular decisions that irritate the masses and dim-witted. I’m proud of the decisions we’ve made, the deliberative processes we’ve engaged, and our track record generally.”

Kind of a nice thing to say to those that pay you money in some way or another isn’t it?  Many of us know that the whole “open-source” and all the other stuff that CFHQ says is mainly hot-air, CFHQ will listen and discuss things with you as long as you agree CFHQ is right and you are an idiot if you think otherwise. I’ve met Glassman before and heard him speak. He came across as a nice guy that had some information he wanted to share. But reading comments like this above makes him come across as an asshole in my opinion. This isn’t isolated either, many more comments, Glassman has many more comments like the above, not to mention kicking out any subject matter expert that doesn’t tow the CFHQ line 100%.

I don’t do Crossfit, I prefer doing a smarter training program focused on my goals. And I don’t knock people that want to do Crossfit. I would ask those people to stop and consider if they want to send money to someone that makes comments like the above about his customers? Even ig you go to an affiliate money is making its way back to CFHQ. You don’t need to pay anyone any money, especially the $100 a month or more so affiliates charge, you can do it in a home gym, at the local track, or youur local gym that charges you $10 a month. Just something to think about.

He has a lot to learn

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

You can always tell the new kool-aid drinker to Crossfit. A prime example is one Erich Anderson in a post he made on the CF boards:

“Censoring is what china does, not crossfit.”

Actually Erich Crossfit HQ is very good at censoring those that voice a disagreement with them, much like China. Even posting something CFHQ (Crossfit Headquarters) doesn’t like can get you censored, like one of my last posts on the boards. You can also check out the post made by Emergent Fitness on why they are leaving Crossfit.

Crossfit has some good affiliates out there doing some good programming. Others do not so good programming (main site being one of them). But censorship is something CFHQ  does very well.

Way too much money

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple has introduced a new product, Primal Fuel. Now before I give my thoughts on this product I want to make two things.

First I like Sisson’s book “The Primal Blueprint“. I’ve read it and have suggested it to others as I’ve found a lot of good information in the book. The second point is that I have not tried Primal Fuel but for the points I want to make that is irrelevant.

Primal Fuel is a whey protein supplement, often used either as a meal replacement or for a quick jolt of protein post workout. Primal fuel contains the following ingredients: Whey Protein Isolate, Coconut Milk, Inulin (from artichoke), Guar Gum, Sucrose, Cocoa Powder, Natural Flavors, Maltodextrin, Sodium Caseinate, Kelp Plant Extract, and Stevia Leaf Extract. The most unusual thing I see is the inclusion of coconut milk. I’m not aware of any other whey protein supplement that contains coconut milk. A 30 serving container of Primal Fuel will set you back $99.

For a comparison I looked at a couple of other whey protein supplements out there. First on the list is Jarrow Formula Whey Protein, Caribbean Chocolate. Looking at its list of ingredients: 100% Ultrafiltered Whey Protein from milk, fructose, natural cocoa powder, natural semi-sweet chocolate, lecithin (from soy), guar gum, Fibersol-2 (resistant maltodextrin), vanilla flavor and Lo Han Guo (Momordica grosvenorii) and sells for $18.17, offering 35 servings Very similar except for the lack of coconut milk. Another one is Natural Factors 100% Natural Whey Protein. It is composed of Whey Protein Natural French vanilla flavor and guar gum and sells for $29.37 and has 45 servings.

So here we see two products offering more servings at a lower cost, with the main difference being the lack of coconut milk. If you really want coconut milk you can buy a can pretty cheap, add a few ounces to one of the above products,, top off with milk or water, and still have a much cheaper product that offers the same benefits.

Sisson has some good information, but when I look at the supplements he is selling under the “Primal” brand I just find products that you can purchase at a much lower cost at many other places. Even that nice over-priced local GNC store has supplements of the same formulation at a cheaper price. Save your money and purchase your supplements elsewhere is my advice.

A Challenge to the Standard American Diet

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

The Standard American Duet (SAD) is a high carb, low fat approach pushed by the US Government. The idea behind AD is carbs, especially whole grains are good while things like saturated fats are bad for you. Many people such as Mark Sesson and Robb Wolf have challenged this proposition and now we have new article in the Nutrition Journal called In the face of contradictory evidence: Report of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee that does a really good job of dismantling the SAD. All I’ll say is go read it now.

Book Review: The Paleo Solution

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Robb Wolf, biochemist, strength and conditioning coach, blogger, podcaster, and now author of the recently released book “The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet“. In his book Wolf outlines a lifestyle that spans the gauntlet of human evolution, from the paleolithic period to modern day times. Wolf makes the argument that the typical modern day diet, especially the American one, is the cause of many modern day diseases from diabetes, heart disease, to cancer.

When looking at Wolf’s diet suggestions one will notice a similarity to many other diets out there, especially the Atkins’s diet. The heart of the Paleo diet is the avoidance of grains. legumes, and dairy, foods the hunter-gathers of the Paleolithic time would not have eaten. Now the easy argument to make is that ancient ancestors never ate these foods so we shouldn’t either. Wolf avoids this argument to give a scientific one on the damage these foods do to our body, especially our digestive system, which in turn effects our entire body. While making this argument Wolf does a good job of avoiding any unnecessary “geek speak” by breaking things down to a simple to understand manner, with Wolf’s sense of humor sprinkled throughout. How many other diet books talked about “Completely cock-block your fat lose” or “Robb’s Rule for Boozing: Drink enough to optimize yor sex life, not so much that it impacts your blood lipids.” Not many is my guess.

Besides explaining the ideas behind the paleo diet, Wolf also offers advice for exercise, sleep, and how to get started with the program. Beginning exercises are put forth with a model for progression, and knowing that that many people have a hard time trying to figure out how to get started eating this way Wolf provides a 30 day menu program, including recipes. This section can be a big help to many in overcoming that first hurdle in starting a program like this one.

The Paleo Solution is aimed at the person not familiar with the ideas behind this lifestyle, and it does a good job of doing this. Wolf’s book is the type you can give to a friend of family member and they’ll be able to understand implement Wolf’s ideas.  Reading it I feel it is a great book for someone that realizes they are out of shape and want to better their health. Even if you consider your self in good shape and just want to learn more about the Paleo diet you’ll find this book helpful. If you are in shape, working out, and have specific questions about diet and training then this book may not be for you.

As for downsides to the book, for me it was the lack of an index. With books like this I like having an index so if I want to look up a specific topic I can find the references to it quickly in a book. My other minor criticism is in the acknowledgments section. Robb, how could you not acknowledge the one that truly suffered with your writing of this book, your cat Gato?

I give Robb Wolf’s book a big thumbs up. It will be one of the books I’ll recommend to people, along with Mark Sisson’s “The Primal Blueprint“, that are looking to get started on improving their health.