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WOW – August 22nd

22/08/2011

This week’s WOW is a definite test of skills. I should have fun with this one.

Let’s get into it.

Hit 500 reps total, using the following:

Pullups
Pushups
Handstand Pushups
Planks
Weighted Lunges
Broad Jumps

How-to:

Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat, three light sprints at 70%.

Maybe I’m showing my age by making a reference to The Proclaimers in a workout post, but I do so unabashedly. Besides, is still one of my top training songs and it always kills at karaoke.

Remember how I mentioned WOWs might occasionally take the form of fitness tests, as opposed to workouts you’d do on a regular basis? That sometimes I’d ask you to perform a grueling, demanding task just to prove to yourself that you could do it, as a mark of progress? This is one of those times.

I’m always trying to come up with new workouts to keep things interesting (for you and for me), and my latest one consists of choosing a number of reps, usually in the hundreds, and then attempting to reach that number by way of various exercises. I might do a combination of pullups, pushups, planks, box jumps, glute ham raises, and/or lunges to hit four hundred reps. If I go for six hundred reps, I’d obviously do more of the easier stuff. 500 seems to be the sweet spot. It’s rough, but if you choose the right reps and exercises, you can usually finish it. It’s also a lot of fun, despite the effort involved, because you’re constantly moving onto a new movement, and you’re never relegated to grinding out single reps on one movement since you can just try the next one and come back later. It’s hard to give up when you have six other choices.

So, using pullups, pushups, , hit 500 repetitions. You can mix them, mash them, and alternate them in any order you prefer; just be sure you do at least 50 reps of each exercise (don’t go easy and just do several minutes of planks – although that’s harder than it sounds) and reach a total of 500. There’s no time limit, so rest in between sets – or even reps, if it gets to that point – as needed. And remember, you have the freedom to customize this workout. If you’d like to add box jumps or inverted rows or some other movement to the rotation have at it.

Make it easier:

  • Do more reps of the exercises that are easiest for you. Some people might have an easier time doing more lunges, rows, and planks, while others might find it’s easier to do more pullups and pushups.
  • Listen to your body and go with the flow of the workout. If another pullup just sounds impossible at the moment, save the rest of ‘em for the end.

Make it harder:

  • Do more reps of the exercises that are hardest for you. If you find handstand pushups difficult, do them anyway.
  • Wear a weight vest the entire time.

Variations:

If you can’t complete a pullup or a handstand pushup, for example, use the PBF Essential Movements Progression and Self-Assessment to determine which movements you can complete. Even if you’re doing knee pushups and chair pullups, that’s totally fine! Do what you can.

WOW – August 15th

15/08/2011
pbf wow 2

This week’s workout looks great. The fact that I actually added six rounds of sprints to last week’s clean and press workout is no big deal. I need to get sprinting and crawling back into the mix any ways. Training for September Warrior Dash so I need to get my movements up!!

Complete 10 cycles for time, using 10 meters of the steepest hill you can find:

Sprint
Grok Crawl Up and Down

How-to:

Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat, lateral, forward, and backward leg swings (10 each leg). Three light sprints up the hill at 60% intensity.

This one is quick and dirty, but it does require a very specific piece of equipment: the steepest hill you can find. I’m talking something with a grade between 25-30 degrees, or more if you can find it. Go as steep as you can, because you’re not running for distance here. You’re only doing ten meters at a time. These are all out sprints, both running and crawling.

You know how to Grok crawl, I’m sure. Just be careful on the way down and go deliberately. Since your shoulders will be accepting the brunt of the force, if you have existing shoulder injuries, I would advise that you simply walk to back, rather than crawl it back.

A few things to remember:

  • You may find yourself going slowly even as you push as hard as you can. This is normal when running steep hills.
  • Stay upright. Try not to lean forward when running uphill. Keep that tall torso.
  • Grok crawl sprints are most effective when you keep those hips low. Don’t form an upside down V with the ground and try to be conscious of using your arms (pulling yourself as well as pushing), along with your legs. Don’t make it all legs, which is often the instinct. Keep it balanced.

Variations:

  • Even better than a steep hill? A steep sand dune. Here’s a of the Pepperdine University men’s basketball team doing sand dune sprints on a hill just a few miles from my home. It’s steeper (and tougher) than it looks.
  • If you can’t find a steep enough hill, double the distance to make up for the lost gradient.

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Macro is the new Micro

11/08/2011

Macro is the new Micro.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one! A guy walks into a bar…. Wait wrong joke…. I am totally dropping carbs!

Like many of you out there, I fell for the ditching of an entire food group. I’ve done the Atkins thing. I’ve done the counting thing. I’ve done the liquid thing. I never did the Vegan thing! We’ve all been there done that.

Somewhere along the line we have managed to mistreat the way we eat. Show of hands who thinks this is old news….?

There is no secret to the fact that we must eat a shit ton of Macronutrients to survive. No scholar, scientist, biologist, day care worker, social worker, anthropologist, gas station attendant will deny this fact. So why have we become so macronutrient dense headed rather than Micronutrient conscious?

Let’s take a look a Macronutrient first; there are three basic macronutrients that our body requires. These are the nutrients we ingest regularly on a huge scale.

Protein

Basic amino acids.

Alanine                     Aginine

Aspartic Acid         Asparagine

Cystine                      Glutamic Acid

Glutamine                Glycine

Histidine                   Isoleucine

Lysine                        Methionine

Phenylalanine        Proline

Serine                        Threonine

  Tryptophan            Tyrosine

  Valine

Fat

Saturated Fats

Arachidic Acid                    Behenate Acid

Butyric Acid                         Caprioc Acid

Caprylic Acid                       Capric Acid

Compound Acid                  Lauric Acid

Myristic Acid                       Palmitic Acid

Pentadecanoic Acid         Heptadec Acid

Staeric Acid                        Tetracos Acid

Monounsaturated Fats

Eicosen                                 Erucic Acid

Heptadecenoic Acid       Myristol

Nervonic Acid                  Oleic Acid

Palmitol                              Pentadecenoic

Polyunsaturated Fats

Arachidon                           EPA

Eicosatrienoic                   DPA

DHA                                       Linoleic Acid

Linolenic Acid

Other Fats

Omega 3                              Omega 6

Trans Fatty Acids           Cholesterol

Carbohydrates

Starches

Sugars

Fructose                           Galactose

Glucose                            Lactose

Maltose                            Sucrose

OK, so Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate. If you’re like me your scratching your head saying”What the hell is all of that other stuff?” Let’s boil it down to something else.

From Wikipedia we learn that a Macronutrient is:

“A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism’s metabolism which must be taken in from its environment.[1] They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy. Methods for nutrient intake vary, with animals and protists consuming foods that are digested by an internal digestive system, but most plants ingest nutrients directly from the soil through their roots or from the atmosphere.”

So in laymen terms this is a substance that an organism must ingest (in whatever form it ingests by) in order to fuel day to day operation of the body and survive. I think in this example, the vegans are right; you cannot remove entire “Macronutrients” and thrive. I do, however, feel you can limit the types of nutrients you ingest.

As I said in the title paragraph, we’ve all tried the low carb, Atkins type diet so it comes as no surprise that grains are a no, no to us. But, to completely remove Carbs from one’s diet would not be best either. Carbs as we can see above come from a whole host of good sources. I for one love my rice and would have a hard time giving it up. Same goes for sugar. I am having an ever increasing harder time giving up and detoxing from all types of sugars, mostly the bad stuff. (Like brownies brought in by a co-worker today or the carrot cake brought in yesterday) I will agree with the purists of the Paleo shindig that limiting these carbs is best if you are looking to reduce fat. But certainly as a maintaining diet, there is nothing wrong (again in my view) with a nice bit of rice, or a post workout sweet potatoes.

So again I return to the newly formatted USDA shit storm. Again we are looking at macronutrients as the end all be all to our diet. So your plate should have Protein, Fat and Carb’s on it right. Well let’s look at this in a different way again.

After all a protein is a protein is a protein….right? A fat is a fat is a fat ….right? A carb is a carb is a carb ….right?

I think we should all know the answer to these by now. It is the same as saying “I am on a low calorie diet!” or god forbid your counting your calories. A calorie, what the hell is a calorie.

Again from Wikipedia we get this,

“Calorie – is the amount of energy obtained from food that is available through cellular respiration.”

So a calorie is simply the measure of energy when a nutrient is burned off. Along those same lines, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie …. right?

Wrong!

We all know that pound for pound (so to speak) Fat offers the best source of caloric energy, protein is a close second with Carbs rounding the bend last. We also know that the way these nutrients are treated in the body is completely different as well (their effect on blood glucose and so on…). So let’s take a look at this guy… Mark Haub ingested 1,800 calories a day and lost 27 pounds over a month’s time. Who the hell wouldn’t lose weight off 1,800 calories a day first off! A man his size should be well over 2,000 calories a day. Never mind that the man ate his weight in Twinkies to do this. It is a flashlights beam on a shit sandwich. A calorie of prime rib does not equal a calorie of Twinkie! A calorie of lettuce is far larger than a calorie of sugar!

So when I hear people counting their calories I cringe, I hope you all do as well. What’s worse is most people don’t understand how to count said calories.

Most people look at the nutritional index at left and say they just consumed 155 calories of ­­­­­________. WRONG!!!! If this individual just consumed the entire package they just consumed 620 calories!! Package = servings x calories people!!!

Now I’m not one to beat around the bush, although I tend to ramble, I too am lost on the calorie front. I don’t get it. Either should you.

I cringe when I hear of someone else going on Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig and all of the other Diet Fad’s that have been around or upcoming. Like the Twinkie guy, you count your calories; you restrict yourselves to a set limit of calories per day (calorie restriction?). End result: you lose weight. Well, shit, I could do that with Twinkies! But does this change the behavior; does this change the pattern of fault? NO!

In recent experience, I had someone I know restricted their caloric intake for the day on one of these diets to the point that they could squeeze in a few pints at the local brew pub, what he didn’t account for was the fact that his group was riding their bicycles to the brew pub. This exertion was enough to knock his ass to the floor. Again, calorie restriction, restricting the body from getting the required nutrients. Is. Not. Good. For. You!!!!

Well what the hell am I supposed to do then?

Most people in the Paleo community will agree that the Micronutrient density should pull a heavier weight than the Macronutrient.

Aw dang here we go again. What the hell’s a Micronutrient?

Again from Wikipedia;

Micronutrients are nutrients required by humans and other living things throughout life in small quantities to orchestrate a whole range of physiological functions, but which the organism itself cannot produce. For people, they include dietary minerals in amounts generally less than 100 micrograms/day – as opposed to macrominerals which are required in larger quantities. The macrominerals or trace elements include at least iron, cobalt, chromium, copper, iodine, manganese, selenium, zinc and molybdenum. Micronutrients also include vitamins, which are organic compounds required as nutrients in tiny amounts by an organism.”

So, again in laymen terms, a Micronutrient’s are Vitamins, Macrominerals, Trace minerals and Organic Acids.

Vitamins will include the likes of; vitamins A, B (B1, 2, 3, 5, 6) C, D, E, K etc…

Macronutrients are all of the Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium required.

Trace Minerals are the Cobalt, Copper, Zinc, Selenium and Iron we need.

Organic Acids are Acetic Acid, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid and Taurine.

Now I’ve skimmed over most of these Micronutrients, there is obviously a lot to mention. But, these are the bread to our butter, wait, these are the Ghee to our Ribeye!

These nutrients are the building block of a proper diet*. This is where the Paleo or Primal lifestyle shines. Where the Atkins diet says Protein is the end all, be all god of our diet. The Paleo Diet or Primal Diet says that we need to look at what is in our protein. That we need to look at what makes up our Fat and our Carbohydrates.

Shocking I know!

This is why we call for grass fed meat, free range chickens. These choices offer the best makeup of Micronutrients. Course they also taste the best.

In the parlance of my generation; “I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take a butcher’s word for it.”

So the bigger question is why can’t we trust those in governance to get this right? Why has the Paleo/Primal community had to go out on our own? Shouldn’t it be that I can go to my doctor or a nutritionist and they will tell me the truth, the right way to live? Why is it I have to trust the people on the fringe of science with my health?

Shouldn’t I be able to take my doctors, nutritionalist’s advice? Turns out they have their heads squarely up a politician’s ass! The USDA has forced the farmers hand into producing larger cattle faster. The grain industry has been forced to genetically modify its grain to grow bigger and faster. These grains are then fed to the cattle to fatten them up? If they fatten up cattle (again larger and faster) they wouldn’t do that to us as would they?

Moral of the story kids, let’s get our proper Micronutrients before we worry about our Macronutrients. Better yet, eat whole unprocessed foods from local farmers, butchers and other sources and you shouldn’t have to worry about anything.

On a lighter note…

This last weekend we were all treated to a wonderful new thing, the Ancestral Health Symposium.

I am still waiting for them to post the talks online, but spending the entire weekend following the tweets of Jimmy Moore, Melissa McEwen, Richard Nikoley and all of the other attendees and presenters was a challenge but really fun.

As others have put it, it was a Paleo Nerdfest.

Be sure to check their site out for pictures and videos coming soon.

*Diet – of course refereeing to an eating lifestyle not a fad, cliché, trite form of weight loss.

WOW – August 8th

08/08/2011
pbf wow 2

Complete 3 cycles, without putting the weight down:

6 Cleans
6 Presses
6 Squats
6 Bent Over Rows

How-to:

Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat, lateral, forward, and backward leg swings (10 each leg).

Time was of the essence this weekend, and I knew I wouldn’t find time to get anything done during the symposium, so I had to come up with a quick, efficient workout. Before I headed out to UCLA, I grabbed a reasonably heavy sandbag (around 70 pounds, maybe) and threw this together.

It’s pretty simple. It’s right there in the description. Grab a weighted object (sandbag, barbell, kettlebell, rock, slosh tube, etc) and do not put it down until you have completed three full cycles of the prescribed workout. It becomes sort of a metabolic, tabata-esque workout, because you’d rather just get it all over with than hang around holding a heavy object in between cycles.

Here’s a for reference. I went straight from the clean and press into the squats, and then straight from the squats into the bent over rows, and repeated two more times after a brief “break” (holding the bag hardly constitutes as a break).

A few things to remember:

  • Keep everything tight. Because it’s a tiring workout and you’re doing reasonably complex, compound movements, injury is a possibility. Keep that neutral spine and you’ll be okay.
  • Squats can be back or front.
  • Pick a weight that’s moderately challenging.

Variations:

Pick a weight that is suitable for you based on your fitness level. Add up to two more cycles if three doesn’t cut it for you.

Birthday wishes and revisiting an old friend.

04/08/2011

Happy Birthday to me!

Seems weird to say but I have officially been a blogger for a year now. Below is my second posting OF ALL TIME! I thought I would revisit it with my experienced blogger eyes!

My recent stint in the Northwood’s brought back my thoughts on GERD and heartburn. See, I don’t really go to the Northwood’s for the fishing or the cabin lifestyle. My family are no lushes but we drink a lot! This year was no exception. We have a whole host of home brewers (even I was at one point) so we brought up 4 ¼ kegs of home brewed beer. Not to mention cases of back up (well needed) beer and of course a whole treasure trove of hard liquor.

First request (since my planning and packing sucks) from my mouth to anyone, “Can I get one of your heartburn pills?” I was inundated with pills to last the entire week as well as an entire bottle of Tums.

I managed to take two pills and a few Tums the entire trip.

Not just the gluten laced beer, the diet must shift. Or at least it has in past years. This year just felt different. (Course, I spent a lot of these days fasting through most meals. Who knew drinking squelches hunger?) Our customary fish fry was pushed to the side due to our new custom of deep fried chicken carcasses! The unfortunate part of frying in peanut oil was pushed to the side for the goodness of fried flesh and meat. Morning breakfasts were eggs and bacon. Evening meals were salads and a shit ton of meat.

Almost felt like home!

Life just seems so much simpler now that I no longer worry over these trivial things. I don’t walk into a restaurant thinking what is the safest choice to eat, without getting heartburn. Course walking into a restaurant seems to be as scarce to me as my GERD symptoms.

So this brings me back to my pills question. Why have we led ourselves to be brainwashed into thinking this is the just and right way to treat an illness. Heartburn, GERD, Diabetes (TII), Beer gut, Lethargy, Insomnia and all other forms of diseases of civilization. You don’t fix your car’s engine by changing the color of the paint do you? Then why do we treat a symptom rather than the cause of discomfort?

It’s like putting a pine scented car freshener in your car to cover up your gym bag rotting in the back seat foot well!

It doesn’t solve the underlying issue. Much like Diabetic socks don’t solve the true issues of Diabetes TII. I guess it’s just par for the course. We solve our spending habits by increasing our debt limit, we solve out housing problems by shopping dead beat mortgages to other lenders. It’s no wonder we mask our pain with pills. So is it that we are too afraid to face our problems or is it truly that we cannot monetize the cure.

Is it true that you can’t make money off healthy people? I guess it can be if you’re Big Pharma, John Doe cattle mutilator and Sally Kraft food conglomerate!

What would happen to our open markets if there was a huge transference from grain farming raped soil to grass fields full of cows? What would happen to Big Pharma, Medicaid, and Medicare if we altered our diets to whole unprocessed foods? Would we really fight over the negative or positive benefits of switching to sugar from High Fructose Corn Syrup? Let’s not church it up; this world needs a diet enema worse than Lindsey Lohan needs rehab.

I guess it just goes to show, if you really look for it, you will find it. No one is going to help you! How many times did I rely on my Doctor to tell me what is right for my body? Reminds me of a great inspirational post over at Nerd Fitness. Not going to rehash what he says other than put on your hard hat and figure out your problem. If anything give up the shit food and see what happens. Remember, it’s not all water weight, and no, you will not die without your buns and cereal!

Well, if you’re truly nostalgic and missed it the first time. My second post OF ALL TIME! Is reprinted below. God, I was so wet behind the ears back then!

Originally posted on 16, July 2010

In my last post, I discussed the path to the Paleo lifestyle for me. The health benefits from the Paleo lifestyle. Well, there is of course more to it than that. Heartburn, we all have it, I had it for as long as I can remember. I can remember having it as a kid, is that even possible? I have been heartburn free since changing to the Paleo lifestyle. It’s been fun, see you later! Now, I can say there is a huge correlation. When I am off the diet, i.e. eating the wrong stuff, get it back with a vengeance!

Let’s talk for a minute about heartburn and GERD (Gastro esophageal reflux disease). I, like most of us, was brought up by the TV ads and print ads telling me I can reduce the acid in my stomach that causes all those sleepless nights by popping a few TUMS. All that stomach acid from that spicy Thai dinner is creeping up the back of your throat. All that can be stopped with May lox. I had a tub of TUMS in the car, in my desk drawer, at home and usually (just in case) I carried a roll in my pocket. I was a boy scout after all! I could be seen ingesting these tabs by the handful. Then, they came out with the OTC pills. I think I already mentioned my avarice to medication. Well this was the ONE and only exception. I was religious to the pill. Every day, pop my little pink pill and my heartburn worries would fly away. By the end of the day, I would have to really plan my meals, god forbid I eat something spicy when my PILL is wearing off! It was a part time job. Well, that honeymoon ended, again, the pill thing.

Well, the Paleo diet has changed all of that and I have been heartburn free for over 6 months. In fact, during my research I stumbled upon an article written by The Healthy Skeptic.

http://thehealthyskeptic.org/how-your-antacid-drug-is-making-you-sick-part-a

I highly recommend all four parts of that article. It is very convincing. Think back to all of those TV ads and print ads. Now think of what the pharmaceuticals are doing to the heartburn industry. Imagine if they can do that with something so simple. What can they do with all of the other ailments of society, diseases of civilization?

I am no alarmist or conspiracy nut. When it is proof in my body, it is true.

Now, what can be better than heartburn going away? How about more energy, better sleep and a much healthier outlook on life.

No more tossing and turning to get to sleep. I no longer need to have a TV on to go to sleep. I can now make it to work in the morning without feeling as if I am going to end in the ditch from falling asleep.

The proof is in the pudding, even if you can’t eat the damn pudding!

WOW – August 1st

01/08/2011
pbf wow 2Having just returned from a weeklong vacation to the Northwood’s. I think now is a perfect time to get back on that horse and get busy training.I have decided to take a break from the typical WOW’s. Instead I am going to give you an assignment from my own workout schedule. Something that I enjoy a lot!

Complete as many cycles as possible or feel like it:

Climb some trees

How-to:

Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat, lateral, forward, and backward leg swings (10 each leg).

ACXM-o3hhhALet’s keep this simple. Go out and climb some trees.

I like to go up to a tree and start to climb. I will then climb down, jump down and sprint to the next tree and repeat.

That’s as simple as it gets!

Try to go until you are exhausted, it may be in the top of a tree, if so, sit there and enjoy your surroundings!

Additional;

I thought I would add some additional thoughts to this weeks WOW. These are two tree’s I tend to stick to. on the first one, you have my pull up branch and muscle up branch. The second tree has my climbing branches, angled in such a way, almost like the poles on the swing set!

I decided rather than just climbing tonight, I would travel through the tree’s. So I went up then around as many times as I could think of going till i wound down it like a top. Both tree’s with burpees and push ups in between. Now bonus points for also shredding my bare feet!

WOW – July 18th

18/07/2011

Play, for 30 minutes:

Follow the Leader

How-to:

Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat, lateral, forward, and backward leg swings (10 each leg), 1 minute Grok Hang.

This week’s WOW is going to be a fun one. You need at least one partner (though more are better) and some open space. Implements to play on and implements to pick up and play with are also recommended.

You’re going to play follow the leader. If you’re the leader, you’ll be “leading” the workout. The other(s) will be following. If you’re using implements (like sandbags, kettlebells, rocks, or weights), scatter them throughout the workout area. After warming up, start off with a slow jog. Then, start throwing in random moves. Dive and roll. Shuffle to the right. Take off sprinting, then drop into a crawl. Grab and toss a sandbag, pick it up again, shoulder it, and blast out a set of squats. Climb a tree, if you see it. Do a quick set of five pullups on those monkey bars. I’m not going to lay out a specific routine, because that destroys the essence of the WOW. Just keep things interesting, and slow things down if you need a bit of rest.

If you’re following, keep up! Do exactly as the leader does, and take some mental notes, because halfway through it’s going to be your turn to lead – and you can’t do the same stuff the previous leader did. If you have three or more people, make sure everyone gets a shot at being leader.

Hat tip to reader Ben for the inspiration for this WOW.

A few things to remember:

  • While this WOW will leave you breathless and possibly sore, it’s mostly about the doing. Enjoy yourself. Embrace the moments.
  • Try not to go in with a preconceived plan of action. Tap into that “flow” mind space and go from there. Do not rehearse.
  • Have fun!

Variations:

Too many to name.

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