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So what is health anyway?

14/07/2011

So what is health?

That dirty six letter word.

To be healthy is in the eye of the beholder. I wouldn’t necessarily call a vegan healthy, but I am sure they will swear up and down they are far healthier than I. I wouldn’t call my teenager healthy either; cheetos are not a food group after all.

So what is health than. Let’ stake a look at two examples;

Healthis the level of functional and (or) metabolic efficiency of a living being. Inhumans, it is the general condition of apersonin mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free fromillness,injuryorpain(as in “good health” or “healthy”).” – Wikipedia

“A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – World Health Organization (WHO)

I think both of these entries hit it on the head. Health to one could be that they got out of bed this morning. Others could say, just because they eat well that is health. So are they all right?

Is health a snap shot or a panoramic all encompassing view? A snap shot would say I ate a health chicken sandwich from McDonalds sans bun and feel great about it.

I see two contrasting views in my opinion.

A: You have your gym rat that grunts in the corner doing deadlifts, sweat needlessly all over the equipment and generally bully most patrons. Yet another shining example of why I no longer do the gym thing.

I guarantee this muscle head can out bench, deadlift and generally lift everything more than I can. Can this guy scratch his back? Can he even bend over to tie his shoe? If he’s’ British, can he even see mister winkie?

This is a bulging example of what I don’t consider good health. This muscle head probably ingests around 5000 calories a day, if not more. Starves and dehydrates himself on a regular basis just to “Pop” at shows. My educated guess is this guy is from New Jersey too!

On a serious note though. This guy could no doubt heft me from a burning building with ease, though his stamina is in question. Could he scale a wall to get to me? Could he crawl through a burning house to get to his own kid? Could he swim a half mile to save a kids ball? And swim all the way back with it? Real life Fitness, real life health doesn’t come from a gym or bulging biceps.

B: You have your skinny, marathoner, vegan, vegetarian person. Swears up and down that they are clean, healthy, organic and all natural. (I wouldn’t even eat them if I was a cannibal; you know all that grain shit!).

Now I know what you’re saying, Justin!!!! AAAHHHHHH!!! No seriously, Justin may or may not be a vegan, vegatofu lover etc… It was more “Pop” than purpose. This is a very common body type that is touted as healthy.

I pose the same questions. Obviously this type of frame could never lift my six foot 210lb body. Let alone carry it out of the burning building. This body type could certainly drag me. Swimming, throwing, climbing all the same questions. Could excel where our gym rat falters.

Is it healthy though?

I believe I have taken the wrong context here. Like most, I have assigned a perception of health to a “look”.

In my mind I KNOW, this is the frame that could lift me from a burning building, rescue me from the lake, at least have the stamina to figure a way to save both of our lives and still have enough for a trail run afterwards.

I know what you’re thinking; this is Erwan Le Corre, of Movnat fame! Yah! Gold star for you for following my drivel long enough to know this. I know this is the type of person that can do these things because I know the training he puts his body through. I isn’t and can’t even be classed as training since he is just moving through life.

So what does all this mean?

This country if not the planet needs to change their thinking on what health is. There is more to just a “healthy” diet or “healthy” exercise. There needs to be a constant. There needs to be a mold. Above all there needs to be a complete enema of the thought process.

I was brought to this post by a tweet from Erwan. In 5 to 10 years will this be a staple of the diet and class schedule in schools? In Gym classes across the country, kids will be re-educated on natural movement. I guess in kids speak its just what they normaly do. So what the hell would we call it then. How about recess!

We truly need to keep our kids in the natural way, lest they sit on the couch and play video games. I still have to drag my kids out at times to play!

I think we can all agree that people still consider health to be the gym membership part of their diet. Because as we all know, calories in equal calories out. As long as I spend an extra 15 minutes on the elliptical, I’ll burn it off. Oh, how wrong can you be!

Hell, even I am still having a problem excepting that what I eat is far more important than how many push-ups I do.

And now…for something completely different….

Now that the year is half over, I realized I haven’t posted anything from the back yard playground this year! I need to get on that as I have added 40’ of 1 ½” of manila rope to the mix.

I have decided to run in the Upper Midwest Warrior Dash in September. I hope to have a disposable camera with me for super extreme shots!

Next week I will try and squeeze out a post on more of my thoughts and will try and get some of the backyard extravaganza. I will be on vacation in the northwoods the following week, so I promise to update you all on my adventures in the fun and sun and doused with a lot of alcohol!

Be sure to follow me on twitter and Facebook for uploads on the go.

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Check in with me and let me know who you are and how to follow you as well.

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WOW – July 11th

11/07/2011

Complete 5 cycles:

10 Clean-the-Walls (5 clockwise, 5 counterclockwise)
15 Floor Scrubs
14 Trash Bag Tosses (7 each side)
30 Meter Petulant Child Carry

How-to:

Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat.

Common housework is interesting in that it forces you to interact with the world across multiple movement plane using various objects. You’re bending, squatting, reaching, making circular motions with your arms while balancing precariously on one foot to dust the spot you missed. We’ve all spied that one errant sock on the floor while hauling an armful of laundry to the washing machine, that mocking sock that we can’t help but try to retrieve (with a single finger or maybe our foot) without dumping the rest of the laundry. If that isn’t a comprehensive exploration of the ranges of natural human movement, I don’t know what qualifies.

So with that in mind, I put together a WOW based on common moves you might perform while doing housework. They aren’t exactly what you’d do on an average day of chores, but they’re close enough. To make them tougher, I added weights.

Clean-the-walls:

Grab a moderate weighted object, one that you can shoulder-raise in front of you with two hands and elbows fully extended. You should notice the weight, but you should be able to do about ten reps pretty easily. I used a 25-pound weight plate. Hold the weight at your waist and squat down until you hit parallel. While maintaining that strong bottom position and keeping your core and hips tight and stable, make five big clockwise circles with the weight, and then five big counterclockwise circles.

Floor scrubs:

Use a towel to wrap the weight you just used for cleaning the walls. Get on your knees with the swaddled weight on the ground in front of you. Put both hands on the weight and scrub the floor with it, using your abdominals to pull the weight toward you and push it away. This is similar to an ab rollout, and a smooth surface, like linoleum or hardwood, works best.

Trash bag tosses:

Get something reasonably heavy that can take a beating, like a sandbag, a weight plate, a dumbbell, a kettlebell, or a duffel bag of old books. Grab it and give a good heave to the left, trying to toss it as far as you can. Drive the leftward toss with your right leg through the heel and squeeze that right glute, kinda like you were throwing a punch. Alternate sides until you hit fourteen total throws.

Petulant child carry:

Carry an awkwardly shaped, reasonably heavy (shoot for at least 1/2 your bodyweight) object for 25 meters, using any carrying method you like. Just get there and then dump the thing.

A few things to remember:

  • Core stability is absolutely essential, especially when cleaning the wall. Get tight before you drop into the squat, because once you’re at the bottom, you’ll be compromised.
  • Keep your elbows straight throughout the wall cleans and the floor scrubs.
  • If you find your knees sliding during the scrubs, put a towel or a floor mat underneath them.

Variations:

No variations. Just scale the weights to your strength level as needed.

Summertime fun

07/07/2011

Summer time fun.

My family and I have spent some time in the Midwest park system lately.

Mother Nature finally figured out what she wants to do, either warm up or cool down. For our benefit, it decided to warm up lately.

I decided it was time to break free of the local back country trail I have been using lately. I came across a very large pile of deer droppings. No, I did not “Bear Grylls” that shit! I wasn’t that thirsty. I decided to try and track these deer. So, using my hyper senses and exemplary tracking skills (read: none!) I set off to find me some deer.

So, I know you can’t see anything in this video, but trust me the deer was there and it was large. OK, I know what you’re saying. This could have been any deer not the pooping culprit I thought I was following. Granted, but it was fun none the less. Now what is not visible is the sheer amount of walking, crouching, crawling, climbing and general fun I was able to get out of all of this. In the beginning of the video you can see the sheer amount of tree falls all around. I was able to get an awesome work out, out of just natural movement. Good god, go figure. As I have spoken of (AT LENGTH) Movnat is not a gym in the jungle, or a treadmill on a log. This is natural movement, ancestral reconstruction? And damn fun stuff.

So the outcome was coming across and chasing a deer for well over two hours. Illegally trespassing several times. I had no more than four ticks on me and I think the chigger bites are still gaping and pussing!

I am still battle scarred and scratched to the hilt but damn it was worth every second of it. Sure as hell beats a simple 30 minute trail run any day. Movnat is more than just a way to get in shape. It is not an exercise regimen. It is not a guide for shiny abs and bulging biceps.

“You are not “beach-ready” because your body shape looks good but when you can run, swim and carry someone out of the water.” – Erwan Le Corre, founder Movnat

“Anyone can be exceptional when all’s going well. Show us how you play when it’s all falling apart.” –Robin Sharma

Does lifting or squatting 3x your body weight mean you can carry a person for 3x the distance needed to save their life? You may be in peak physical condition, but can you save your life in any situation. Can you save another life in that same situation? When I started this journey I was interested in losing my gut and looking good naked, along with improving my health. I no longer view health the same way though. I am still maintaining the need to be able to crawl around and play with my kids or even my grandkids someday. But, I am more interested in real world health and fitness. Real world fitness is more than big bicep curls or squat numbers. Real world strength is functional fitness. Natural movement is the skills of our ancestors. Everyday living is about eating healthy whole foods and moving constantly in a natural way. What are your thoughts on this? What are you doing to improve your life?

In my opinion.

This week we learned that the “Tot Mom” Casey Anthony will be set free, after be acquitted of all serious charges. This has helped remind me of why I no longer consider the news from all major networks to be either news worthy or vital to my existence. When I can go out on my own and learn of far heinous acts then The Anthony murder.

Flavia, on her site Revolt against the modern world has posted a wonderful write up that I am sure took her no more than 5 minutes to compile.

http://modernitysucks.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/everything-that-is-wrong-with-everything-part-11/

{Begin rant}

Not only does this highlight where we are as a society but as individuals as well. I for one (I’m sure I am not alone?) am disgusted at times to be a human on planet earth, as well as an American citizen. This may rub a few of you the wrong way but, let’s look at this. First, this is my opinion, as an American I have this Government given right of free speech. This right has given me the power to blog, speak out or generally shout to the heavens about my views. According to our Government it is by that rule your right to listen to my views, right? Just like the schmucks from the West Baptist church in Topeka, KS. They have a freedom of speech “right” to protest against our soldiers and homosexuals. As much as I and the rest of the US despise their tactics, it is their freedom to do such. And by that same token it is also our “right” to listen to these individuals. Is all freedom of speech rights equal? Secondly, since when has the plight of the world been the burden of the United States of America? Since when has it been decided that a malnourished, deprived child in India, Kenya, Sumatra etc… deserve our support ( monetarily, militarily and physically) over a child in Detroit, LA, Houston etc… Thirdly, if I cannot tell lies, steal, cheat, deal underhandedly, be bribed or over look basic freedoms of every person around me then why have we elected people to do these things? And why do we allow these types of things to continue. Our Government feels it is in their best interest (as well as mine?) to tell me what I can do, say, who I can marry, how I can marry that person, where I can live, who I can do business with, how I can do business and a whole host of other over protective assaults on my freedom. Our constitution has been picked clean and over used for far too long. I wonder what our founding fathers would feel about a backwoods Arkansas man claiming he has full government support to own 50 guns and protest a black/gay/lesbian/Jew persons rights. Is there a limit to free speech before it comes to harassment? Or a level at which the right to bear arms is maybe too many arms? Who should be the judge of these things? Can we, should we trust an entity that has proven time and time again, to fail the common citizen with these rights anymore? Maybe we can get them to sell off our rights like they have with their debt?

Course these are the same people telling me what to eat too.

{End of rant}

Snapped at my local big box store. Who knew you could get most of your day’s nutrition in a cookie! God, to think I am wasting my time with whole foods, vegetable and meat! Ah dang!

It is amazing what they are doing with food these days. In fact I am no longer going to use that term. When I speak of Broccoli, I will call it food. Roast beef, food. Omelet, food. Bread, birdseed. Cookies, fake food. Mac and Cheese, fake food.

You get the idea. These products marketed to kids in the blind faith that they are going to actually get something good out of them are criminal.

Final thought.

So where does this leave us? I know what you’re thinking. Much like I tell my kids, I don’t hate you, I hate what you just did or I don’t hate you, I hate the way you act. Like any parent we know the ups and downs of life. Same goes for my love of America. As much as I am proud to be in America let alone an American. I sometimes hate the way we act, govern, think, treat and mistreat. I am not proud of our government figure or the government as a whole. I think we are broke, and broken.

On the same token, I hate many Americans. This doesn’t mean to say I am racist or in any way hate minorities. This is completely different. I hate people like Casey Anthony; I hate the mother that microwaved her 4 month old daughter. I hate the media for televising 24 hours a day about the Casey Anthony trial and neglecting the plight of the rest of the world. I hate that I can’t sit (or stand) in front of my TV and not be bombarded with filth, smut and disgrace. What has happened to us as a country, a race or as a society? How did we get to this? Health, sanity, fitness, diet, socioeconomic status. I think I might just give up, buy a farm in western Kansas and live on my own terms, off the grid. Oh, wait, my government would label me a terrorist, my peers would label me a social outcast and a terrorist. Ah whatever, I give up!

WOW – July 4th (Late)

05/07/2011
Complete two cycles of the following, slowly:

12 Pushups
15 Squats
10 Pullups
2 Minute Plank

How-to:

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

I was privileged to speak at Bo Railey’s fabulous Indy HIT seminar last month in Indianapolis. While there, I had the the pleasure to train with Bo and Dr. Doug McGuff, of Body By Science fame, using the SuperSlow Systems equipment at one of Bo’s Exercise Inc. facilities. I did a row, an overhead press, and a leg press. “Pleasure” may not be the right word, because this was not pleasurable. It was over quickly, but it was intensely unpleasant in a good way. I’ll invite Doug to guest post on the concept in a few weeks.

I’m still not a machine guy – though I admit they are effective, especially when helmed by a guy like Doug or Keith Norris – but I thought it’d be interesting to see what it’d be like doing bodyweight movements using the super-slow protocol. It turned out pretty well. The pullups in particular got me sweating and straining, and I got a nice bit of DOMS the following day. For a change of pace, it’s worth trying. Let me know what you think.

A few things to remember:

  • For pushups, go four seconds down, pause for a second, then push up for four.
  • For squats, go four seconds down, pause for two seconds at or below parallel, then go up for four.
  • For pullups, three seconds up, hold for two seconds at the top, then lower yourself in four seconds.
  • Break up the reps as needed, but try not to.

Variations:

No variations this time, but feel free to do the movement progression step that you feel most comfortable doing. These are tough, even if they don’t look like it, so you’ll want to choose the progression that you can actually complete as described.

WOW – June 27th

27/06/2011

 

Complete, throughout the course of an hour-long walk:

30 Pullups
50 Squats
40 Pushups
20 Handstand Pushups
Climb Something, Twice
5 Short (30-ish meter) Sprints
Find Something Heavy to Carry for Seven Minutes

How-to:

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

I wrote about the concept of a walking workout a couple years ago, but this time I’ve tried to structure it more concretely. You’re free to operate as you wish within the requirements, but you still gotta hit the numbers. I gave this one a shot earlier this week and had a lot of fun with it. Not overly tough, but I still feel I got a great workout.

There’s not much more to say. It’s all fairly self-explanatory, don’t you think?

“Climb Something” – Trees are ideal, but tall fences, walls, light posts, and anything that you can scale safely and effectively will work.

“Find Something Heavy” – Think rock, log, bag of groceries. You might have to bring something with you from home.

Have fun and choose whichever rep scheme you want!

A few things to remember:

  • Scale your workout according to your ability. You might end up doing feet-assisted pullups and knee pushups, and that’s totally fine.
  • Enjoy yourself. Walks are to be savored, so try not to obsess over the workout part of it and miss the joy of simply walking.
  • Weird looks from confused passersby are okay and to be expected.
  • Get those shoes off (or those Vibrams on!)!

Variations:

Increase the difficulty by wearing a weight vest or carrying a heavy weight. Just realize that you’ll have to carry that weight along with you the entire time, and it doesn’t count as the “Find Something Heavy” aspect.

I recently visited a local farm and all I got was this crummy picture!

23/06/2011

I recently visited a local farm and all I got was this crummy picture!

This farm was having a “Moo brunch” where we got to come in and tour the facilities, see the animals. It was a truly disturbing and disgusting experience. From the poor animals being confined to shit infested stalls and pens. To the obvious poor diet. It took us all of about half an hour to give up and leave. Our youngest daughter loved the cows, so we had to stay and allow her to play.

I think this weekend I may try and squeeze in a tour of our local grassfed, prairie raised farm. Where they love their animals for who they are not what they produce or what they mean to the bottom line.

I would love to put one of these farmers in a 10 by 3 foot cell and see how they taste and produce afterwards!

Oh, wait; we only reserve those cells for the worst of the worst in our society. I guess that and our food.

Onto a happier subject.

 

I recently decided to move onto my next goal. This year I will compete in the Warrior Dash in the upper Midwest. I chose the Warrior Dash over the equally tough, Tough Mudder for the cost and the length. I felt my first challenge should at least somewhat be within reach!

The Warrior Dash is 3.08 miles of “hellish obstacles”. I may have to disagree just on the visuals alone, they seem like an everyday type obstacle being run by those that have lost their focus on life. I understand it is difficult to go from running through a forest straight into crawling through a tunnel, over a hale bale mound, through a mud pit, under barbed wire, through a salvage yard, over a wooden wall and finishing by leaping over a steaming pile of…fire. All seems pretty natural to me. At least it should.

Like most things on this blog, they all come back to natural fitness, MOVNAT or a paleo/primal lifestyle. These are certainly not common everyday obstacles by no means. Not to say any one of those normal gym rats can’t and don’t compete well in this. But to think of a hay mound or a salvage yard obstacles as foreign or obscure to a caveman would be a disgrace to our community. I certainly hope all this rings true in September when I am actually out there on said hay mounds and salvage yard obstacles! I hope that with my training and in the next three months, I can compete in this and have some serious fun. It will certainly be a proving ground for natural movement. I would certainly rather practice them there then during the zombie apocalypse or some other natural disaster!

The video embedded above is of my normal stomping grounds. The rock quarry. I spend a lot of my training time there, and of course my uber cool backyard. This and the video embedded below are taken as snippets of my trail run from the other day. (In my cool Minimus shoes!) This is also a great place to find rocks of all sizes. I do not of course recommend spending time in a real rock quarry, as that could be dangerous. This is a deforested hill, for the limestone beneath. Without this beautiful piece of nature we now have a bank!

I couldn’t quite find a way to video my climbing a tree or too many jumps. This was using my IPhone, so any type of dangerous activity is limited, “I will not break it, I will not break it, I will not drop it, I will not drop it”, is muttered at all times. Now I could hire one of my kids to video these things but a: they can’t keep up with me, 2: they don’t understand spacial tracking III: I bore them! Now, notice the form, the udder grace of the run. Whatever you do, do not notice the heaving breaths that are being taken.

I know staring at the ground is really cool huh?

Now, I have spoken at length in the past on my repulsive, loathsome, abhorrence, revulsion, spurn and any other name I can think of for running. But, I can undeniable say; it is getting better with time. I went for a jog a Saturday ago, and actually enjoyed it. I found a great trail through the country that is used by the local schools for cross country meets. So really, seeing deer, turkey and having a butterfly pace me for a few yards, this made it fun. I think most of my revulsion stems from the pain in my knees and lower back. Which is waning due to my barefoot activities and shoes. Whereas the bulk of my time running is spent sprinting. I am starting to enjoy the peacefully feeling of being alone in a field or on a trail. What do you prefer, running or sprinting?

SUMMER!

Summer has finally arrived, only a day old and already missed. What’s even worse is all of the dread I already have for the coming winter and the shoes that it brings. Course the snow, ice and frakking cold don’t help either.

Where in the hell has all the spring gone? We did finally get out and go to a local watering hole. There is a beautiful lake in the central Wisconsin area called Devils Lake. This is a giant glacially made bowl. Beautiful trails and hiking grounds, and if you are smart you get online or on Google maps and find some of the local treasures of trails that pot mark throughout the region, you are better off. From Parfrey’s Glen to Pewit’s nest, there’s a wonderful amount of attractions that can keep you and your cavekids busy. Last year I took the three rugrats out for a day of exploring and hiking. I included these locations and a few others. All barefoot and all primal. No technology was allowed unless it was for pictures and video.

Pewit’s Nest

This video was taken last year after some serious flooding.

What do you do on the weekend to keep your cavefamily busy?

Do you mandate shoelessness, chores, caveraves (?), anything? There are times when we struggle to think of what to do next. There are times that I will sit (yeah, yeah I know) at my desk at work and pour over Google Earth, finding a state park, trail or a posted picture of a local attraction. Using Google Earth is a surprisingly easy way to find local, out of the way, off the wall attractions. Give it a try, bring up

, switch to “Earth”, verify photos are chosen in the drop down menu and just start looking for something cool. You can of course download the program itself here.

Final thoughts,

I have seen a few new faces around here. Welcome to the experiment. This site was created as a vehicle for my own thoughts through a new phase. It has tried to educate (failure), extrapolate (failure), indoctrinate (failure) and evaluate (oh hai, success!) the primal lifestyle. I am educated, both scholarly and socially. But, to me, my voice was never asked for nor needed. I passed on the message passed onto me. This seems to work? I guess? Like today’s post, I like to show off that I actually do things. I try to conspicuously show off my Cavefamily. I would love to gather together a group of like minded people, but have failed there as well. I have decided to end this experiment several times just to keep coming back. This has all been very cathartic and rewarding to me, not so much you; the reader! I want to be like the rest of our primal, natural movement family, but sadly, I find my voice to be the whisper in the corner.

All of this is fine with me. I will continue to pass along others wisdom with a few tidbits of my own. I am nothing more than a Midwestern father, I have a libertarian view and voice (which most hate me for), I live primal, raising three beautiful girls and enjoying life.

Share your story with me.

Follow me on Twitter.

Follow me on Facebook. (I’m never there but post stories I find)

Give me a shout out.

The sidebar to the right is a whole host of smarter people than I, follow them but please come back. Bring some friends; I’ll keep the fire going. Make sure to wipe your barefeet at the door, mind the killer gato’s. Enjoy your stay.

WOW – June 20th

20/06/2011

Complete six cycles for time:

Stair Sprint
15 Bodyweight Rows
15 Feet-Elevated Pushups

How-to:

Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat, lateral, forward, and backward leg swings (10 each leg), 2 light stair runs at around 70% intensity.

I was listening to Led Zeppelin the other day while nursing my legs after a set of hill sprints, and the name came to me – “Stairway to Sore Thighs.” I thought it was a fun name and sprinting against gravity is always a good time. Plus, even the hill-deficient can find a few flights of stairs to sprint. Still, is it worthy of mangling a Zeppelin song title? Other than perhaps Crossfitting thruster fetishists with a penchant for anterior chain pain, no one would confuse a set of sore thighs with “heaven.”

This one is pretty simple. Find a set of stairs, minimum three flights. Shoot for five or more flights, though, or about fifty steps. Sprint up as fast as you can. Do fifteen bodyweight rows, using whatever is available. Walk down the stairs. Do fifteen pushups with your feet elevated. Rest for half a minute to a minute. Repeat five times.

Pretty simple, right? “Stairway to Heaven” hits me in the heart. “Stairway to Sore Thighs” will take care of the rest.

A few things to remember:

  • Do a few test runs on the stairs before going all out. Get a feel for the steps and figure out if you’re going to skip steps or hit each one while sprinting.
  • If you can’t find anywhere to do bodyweight rows, do pullups instead and drop the reps down to ten.
  • Try exploding upward during the pushups so that your torso becomes perfectly parallel with the ground. Throw a clap in there if you like.

Variations:

Remember, three flights at a minimum. Those who can handle it are free to double or even triple that.

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