Fitness and Health

R5 Is Over – Exciting Times Ahead. Insanity:Asylum Finally Arrived!!


Done and Done!

Yesterday was the last day of the RKC Rite of Passage. It wasn’t the best heavy day I have ever done but it was a relief and a real sense of accomplishment to finish. Now at least I can pick and choose my KB workouts and throw a little spice in there.

Second, this morning I weighed in for Biggest Loser at work and won the month, not only that but I am now 239.8 which is a total of 52lbs down. Add that to the 39″ waist I discovered the other day and I am really hitting the marks here!

Third, and the really REALLY big news, Insanity:Asylum arrived last night!! I watched the fit test (or as Shaun prefers to call it: Athletic Performance Assessment) and it didn’t look super tough but I have already got an issue with the stuff they send you. The skip rope is terrible. Whoever decided to use a plastic rope instead of a leather or rope (go figure) is an idiot. So I will be going to Wallymart this afternoon to pick up a nice speed rope I saw there not too long ago. This means that today (time permitting) will be R6D1 – The IA Fit Test.

So the package included a crappy rope, an agility ladder (to put on the floor), the DVDs, a wall calendar and a couple of resistnace bands. The big deal for me at least is that the program is 30 days long but in their infinite wisdom, Beachbody have recognized that a lot of people who will be buying IA will have already done one or both of P90X and Insanity. Therefore they have put together another 2 30 day calendars, one integrating IA with P90X and one integrating IA with Insanity. Good call BB! Not only that, they will no doubt rope in the few renegades who may go straight to IA and squeeze some more BB$ out of them!

I am seriously looking forward to the Fit Test this evening before I go coaching. It is only about 25 minutes or so and I will be ready to start day 1 of IA tomorrow.

HOWEVER!!! I am going to try and dilute the 30 days of IA with some KB workouts, I am hoping to stretch it out to 60 days with the inclusion of some Crossfit / pullup workouts also. It’s not that I don’t think it will be hard enough, but I don’t want to lose my KB skill set or my pullups during the process. The biggest problem I had with Insanity was that there was no back work involved so I found myself doing extra chin ups when I could in order to get the balanced workout I wanted. Whatever I do, the day 1 workout will no doubt be a rude awakening as I move towards more mobility once again.




The Low Carb Fallacy – Changing The Way We Think

I posted this the other day over on Something To Prove and wanted to duplicate it here because frankly I like it.

The Fallacy.

Whenever I talk to people about Paleo diet the most often reaction I get is “low carb”. This pisses me off. It’s kind of like someone telling me that due to the fact that I only eat 1 breakfast I am on a restrictive low breakfast diet. Here’s a newsflash… You are only supposed to eat one breakfast! But the general population seems to be caught up in some bizarre world where everything they eat is measured, judged and assigned a specific limit APART FROM THE MOST DANGEROUS THING!

It’s easy to find protein calculators on the web, most will say you need to eat between 1 and 2.5g of protein per lb of body weight if you want to maintain your muscle mass or gain lean tissue. It is equally easy to find fat calculators that will tell you how much fat you need, what kind, when to eat it and how to avoid it. You can also drown yourself with Caloric Intake calculators based on crappy BMI calculations, crappy Body Type calculations and even crappy blood type calculations. So all this being said, why is there such a stigma attached to limiting the amount of carbohydrate you take in? It seems that the food industry that is basically controlled by the commodity companies (wheat, corn and soy) is fine with ignoring the limits that need to be placed on carb intake. Of course, if you all knew that the human body should be having a maximum of 150g of carbohydrate a day the demand for these commodities would plummet along with metabolic disease rates, diabetes rates and obesity levels. However, since it seems to be that we can’t vilify carbs at the risk of being labelled as extreme, what are we to do?

It seems as though there are several solutions to the problem of humans eating too much carbohydrate and at the same time increasing our assistance to our ailing planet and our ailing animals. For example, ask yourself why we are feeding animals with human food? Shouldn’t animals be eating things that we can’t so that we can use the human feed to feed the hungry? Let the cows eat grass, it is what they were meant for. Convert some of the wheat and corn and soy hectares to pasture and let the animals eat food that will increase both the quality and the saleability of the meat. it’s not just that they are not designed to eat wheat and corn, it is actually killing them in the process. The whole notion of feeding cattle to death with human food doesn’t seem to bother too many people, mostly because they have been duped by the meat industry (yes, I am not just picking on the commodity farmers here) into turning a blind eye.

While you are at it, let’s stop eating the corn all together and use it to make biofuel that will prevent the burning of fossil fuels and remove our dependency on oil from the middle east. Although this process is shunned by those who believe it is too costly to be feasible I say it is just a case of volume. The more you produce, the better you get at it, the lower the cost of production. That is why the target date for when we will run out of oil keeps getting further away, as technology increases, efficiency increases.

Yes, I am way off on a tangent here but let’s start to wrap this up. The SAD (nice acronym by the way) or Standard American Diet is filled with carbohydrate. In fact, the SAD should be labelled as a High Carb Diet. We don’t need to defend our choices of sticking to a 150g carb a day lifestyle, we need to ensure that anyone who eats more than that realizes that they are on a High Carb Regimen that will make them sick. I remember throughout my life my father used to tell me that when he was a kid everyone smoked because they didn’t know it was bad for them. In the same way, years from now I am certain we will look back at the 80s and 90s and 00s as the time when people ate a high carb diet because they didn’t realize how bad it was for them. Just in the same way that pop is as bad as drugs, high carb diets are as bad as cigarettes. It’s about time that people realized that the standard level of carb intake for an active individual should be 150g. Problem is, with muffins running around at 50g, bagels at anywhere from 50-70g and a regular pasta dinner pulling a massive 120-150g it’s not surprising that the Average Canadian or American or Brit is overloaded with carbs every day. If we are going to change the way we eat, live and survive as a species, it’s time we started changing the way we think.

Forget What You Know. Learn What You Need. Change What You Do. Now With Links!!

Comrade, I Have New Hero. His Name, Pavel Tsatsouline.

pavelETKI picked up a kettlebell and it may turn out to be the best thing I have done in years. Well, that and going Paleo along with my discovery of High Intensity Training. You can’t help but love Pavel, and you can check out a review of his Enter The Kettlebell here.

It’s tricky trying to accept things that we believed to be unalterably true. Sometimes it’s almost impossible especially when you have spent half your life telling other people the wrong thing. But we are all here to learn, to adjust and to judge what is the best for us.

As Pavel says, “If you don’t have good judgement, why don’t you stay on the machines you big sissy?”

Eating 5 or 6 smaller meals is physiologically better. Not true. It may help you to snack less since you have no time to do it, but it’s not based on scientific evidence. It may help with digestion, something which I am sensitive to but as long as the caloric amount is the same, the time doesn’t matter.

Spending time on cardio machines is hurting you, not helping you. That’s because the calories burned vs time spent is pitiful and it’s making you hungry so you overeat. Try higher intensity, shorter duration instead such as Crossfit inspired Olympic Lift workouts.

Want 10 reasons why that elliptical 30, 45 or 60 minutes is no use? Here you go.

How about the myth of skipping meals slowing your metabolism? More bull. Just check out any writing about IF (intermittent fasting) to find out why skipping meals can be good for you once you get the refined carbs out of your life.

BMI? Bullshit Medical Information. I know this being a muscular dude, but it’s true for everyone.

Let’s not forget the overwhelming evidence that carbohydrate not fat is the reason for the obesity epidemic. There is too much info to list here but authors like Gary Taubes, Mark Sisson and good link pages like this are a great place to start. Any information on the Paleo movement will help, as may reading the free version of “The Vegetarian Myth” over at Amazon.

You can also go to Whole 9, paleohacks (for great tips and general info from Paleo people) or The Paleo Diet.

Sadly, starting here may lead you on a journey that makes you uncomfortable, frustrated and confused. Keep at it, and slowly but surely you will come to see the new truth about fitness… The so called experts don’t always know what they are talking about but the truth is out there.

Eat bacon!

How Great Are You? The Winners Paradox.

I’ve been there. I have been the guy on top, the winner, the best at that time. I have also been the runner up, gone home without the trophy, been hurt, knocked around and beaten down but I am proud to say that I never stayed down. There is a philosophy of winning that goes against the notion of the top prize and that is to say that in order to win, you don’t always need to come first. It is true, there will be a winner, of that there is no doubt, however on any given day there may be one person out there who is better than you. So how do you reconcile that loss with your psyche? How do you continue to rise after each fall and as a coach how do you help your athletes to realize that winning isn’t about winning at all but about striving to be the very best you can be with no regrets? It is paradoxical to say that winning isn’t about winning. After all, there is a trophy and a payday for the winner, there is a place in history for the winner. Nobody knows who came second to Lance Armstrong during his 7 Tour De France wins, nobody remembers who lost to Michael Jordan during his 6 NBA Championships and you would be hard pushed to find anyone who could tell you the runners up who followed Michael Schumacher to the podium during his 7 Formula 1 World Championships. However, in the end, there can be only 1 and that leaves no room for error. So in order to keep ourselves motivated, in order to make sure that we have something against which we can measure ourselves winning becomes secondary. It takes a back seat to the individual struggle and victory over ourselves. There is a saying I used to repeat to my rugby players and to my gymnastics athletes that there is always somebody somewhere who is working hard enough to beat you and it is your duty, your responsibility to yourself to disappoint them. But it doesn’t always work out that way and when it doesn’t, there is only one thing that matters. The ability to look yourself in the eye, to look at your teammates, parents, children and friends and tell them that you did everything you could. There is no greater pain in the world than knowing that you could have done more. But in contrast, there is nothing that will comfort the sting of defeat like the knowledge that you worked as hard as you could, and gave it everything you had.

You may not think that you are a hero. You may not think that what you do on a daily basis matters in the grand scheme of things but you are wrong. Each time you do anything that challenges you, each time you take part in a project, a game or a workout that pushes you, you are taking stock of yourself and either building yourself up or tearing yourself down. From a fitness perspective, every time you cut your workout short you hurt yourself both physically and psychologically. Each time you finish the last set and wonder how you made it through you add to your stock as a person. You owe it to yourself to do your best, if for no other reason that at the end of the day you can look at yourself in the mirror and be proud. So pick yourself up one more time, push through the pain one more day and trust that in the end, victory will be yours.

Believe me, you don’t want to be in a place where you can’t look yourself in the eye because if you can’t be proud of you, nothing else matters.