30 November 2010

Read A Fucking Book, Already: Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf

Few facets of our daily lives are dominated so wholly by trends than dieting and nutrition.  Diets seemingly go through rapid shifts in popularity throughout the years, and without question one of the biggest trends in nutrition today is the paleolithic/ancestral/caveman diet.  I've blogged at some length about the history of the paleo diet and its apparent efficacy, utilizing a variety of texts on the subject, all of which seemed to be at odds with one another.  Though all of them provided some manner of anecdotal evidence to support their claims, and in some cases described the deleterious effects of certain modern foods on the body in some detail, none of them offered the comprehensive, heavily cited, and engaging and well written-but-denser-than-a-fucking-black hole Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf.  Thus, I present to you what I consider to be the seminal work on paleolithic dieting.

Short Synopsis
  • heavily cites archaeology, nutritional texts, and anecdotal evidence.
  • he explains that paleolithic man was healthier because of his lifestyle, not just due to food choices.
  • explicitly states that this should not become some sort of idiotic life-defining, quasi-religious excuse for people to whine like bitches and proselytize about their food choices.
  • his writing style is both intelligent and conversational, making it far easier to read than most nutritional texts, while providing ample support for his suppositions.
  • he adapts the paleolithic lifestyle to that of modern man- i.e. he takes into account people are going to party and their jobs consist of sitting around all day doing nothing, and explains how to work a paleo lifestyle into that. 
  • the workout section's more or less worthless- it's designed for your average coach-potato shitbag, not people who have a vested interest in being awesome.
  • he fails to get into the wildly impressive physical feats of paleolithic man, outside of a short bit lifted pretty much directly from Manthropology.
The John Holmes (i.e. Long) Treatment
Given that I could find fault with nearly anything anyone but Teddy Roosevelt has done, that's a pretty short list of cons.  I loved this book and ate it up.  As such, I'll give you guys some of the highlights from the book, and then you can read it for yourself:
  • he started out as a competitive athlete, then became a vegan because he (like I, which I thoroughly enjoyed) loved fucking dirty hippies.  Though I'd never take it to that extreme, I appreciated the fact that he go so into veganism that he was seeking semi-spiritual advice from vegetarian gurus at one point.  That story's actually pretty amusing.
  • After he stared death right in the fucking eye due to his idiotic foray into herbavorism, he spat in the Grim Reaper's face, got a degree in nutrition, and took a steaming shit on conventional nutritional wisdom, as any intelligent, free-thinking person should do as a matter of course.
  • He explains in great detail, the reasons why grains are particularly bad for you, but gives interesting and scientific reasoning for why rice and corn are ok to eat on occasion, which is something no other paleo writer has done.  To sum up his stance against grains, all grains contain lectins and protease inhibitors, which means that giant protein molecules end up punching holes through your intestinal walls and contribute to a wide array of literally shitty GI problems after you eat them.
  • He describes in great detail the metabolism of carbohydrates and explains how its the combination of sugars and fats that leads to arteriosclerosis.  Additionally, he scientifically ascribes virtually every medical problem plaguing modern humans on excessive carbohydrate consumption.  Excessive carbs force your body to flood itself with insulin, and hyperinsulinism is a factor in or the root of most prevalent diseases, including cancer.  It contributes to cancer by blocking the natural process by which your body regulates growth of abnormal cells, by the way.  
  • Though he glosses over the deleterious effects of legumes and dairy (presumably to prevent losing his readers by providing too much information, he gives some citations that offer answers to why those foods are also off the table, pun fucking intended.
  • He explains the negative effects of modern living on our cortisol levels, which contributes to a variety of metabolic problems.  He pointed out a couple of stressors that wouldn't immediately pop into one's head, like having a healthy and rich social life.  He also gives a decent, Paul Chek-esque explanation for how and why sleep is so important, which I found enlightening.
  • He gives the recipe for the infamous NorCal margarita, and explains why all of the included ingredients are there.  Curious?  
The Infamous NorCal Margarita
2 shots of gold tequila
Juice of 1 lime (the whole damn thing)
Splash of soda water

" There is some chemistry behind the recommendations.  The lime juice blunts insulin release and the CO2 bubbles in the soda water act as what's called a "nonpolar solvent." This actually lextracts the alcohol from the drink and delivers it to your system faster.  Better living through chemistry!" (139)
  • He goes on to mention that alcohol isn't paleo, but au contraire, my friends- being the nerd I am, I have evidence that disproves this:  studies of the Bertram palm show that it contains "alcohol concentrations in the nectar , and found that nectar inside the bud contained up to 3.8% alcohol (roughly equivalent to beer)."(Hodge)
  • Finally, Wolf rounds out the book with a treatment on protein choices and a list of decent recipes.
Did I mention Sarah B is a paleo dieter?

Think what you will about paleo dieting, but the shit seems to work, and Wolf's arguments supporting it are definitely compelling.  If you're at all interested in this type of diet, and you've no plans to purchase this book, you've failed at life. Get this book and caveman it the fuck up. 
Hodge, Anne-Marie.  "Boozing Treeshrews:  Heavyweight drinkers in Small Packages."  Nature.com.  http://blogs.nature.com/amch/2010/05/02/anthropological-studies-suggest-that-low-level
Wolf, Robb.  Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet.  2010

28 November 2010

Exercises You've Never Tried Before: Swingers

He's not gonna call her.

You've all seen the movie, and you can all quote it ad nauseam.  Luckily, this blog entry's not about swing dancing, as i've not got a zoot suit and have no interest in conducting ballroom dancing acrobatics while listening to the soothing sounds of notable musicians like the Cherry Poppin' Daddies.  Instead, this entry is about an exercise I started doing because I enjoyed it far more than Gibbon pullups- Swingers.
I think I just found my new gym.

Doing this exercise is pretty simple- you do a regular pullup, release the bar with one hand, swing out as far as you can, and then swing back, grab the bar, and do another.  To increase the level of difficulty, you can change your grip from supinated to pronated, which will shift the emphasis of the movement slightly and increase the difficulty of the movement considerably.

Shortly after you start trying these things, you'll understand why I do them.  They're fun as hell, you get to swing around like a fucking chimp by one hand, and you radically increase your grip strength.  I'd venture to guess they'll help your regular pullup, as well, and at the very least will provide you with one more exercise with which to allay any boredom you might have when you're hitting the gym 5+ times a week.

Start swingin', because they're money and you don't even know it yet.

22 November 2010

Festival of Pain- Friday at Iron Sport

I'll be in Philly this week, and what with a pack of you being from that area, I thought I might extend an invitation to hit up some sort of a lengthy, painful, chaotic workout.  Anyone who wants to, comment and/or email me, and we'll work out a suitable time.  No doubt this thing will metamorphosize into an impromptu odd lifts competition, and afterwards I'd imagine we'll all grab food and drinks.  I'm thinking Friday should work for everyone, so comment it up and we can see if a consensus of some sort can be reached.
I'm not promising horse lifting, but I'll see if it can be arranged.

20 November 2010

Dude, So and So Got SO Fucking Jacked For That Movie: Jason Statham

Few actors in Hollywood these days are as cool, or as fucking badass, as Jason Statham.  Though not a fucking powerhouse, Statham's not got a pretty boy build, either.  He's essentially 175 lbs of traps and abs, and he looks like he's going to bite someone at all times.  I realize that many of you right now are standing up and screaming aloud that no one should ever blog about this guy, as he's under 200 lbs, isn't a strength athlete, and it's trendy to talk shit about anyone who looks better than you, but before you spazz have a nice big glass of shut the fuck up and chill out.  You like his movies, you know he's a fucking badass, and you know people likely respect his physique far more than your sloppy man-tits.  Therefore, check out the shit this guy's into, because it's not a half bad routine, and at the very least, you might incorporate bits and pieces of the workout one day when you're fucking about the gym while waiting to go drink your face off.

For those of you sad sacks who are still horrified that I might blog about this epic motherfucker, consider the following, Jason Statham:
  • does his own stunts and hates wire work, making him a far angrier, jacked, and overall awesome Jackie Chan.  Whenever possible, he speaks derisively of wire-fu, cgi, and any poofter who gets involved in that sort of nonsense.
  • his last two girlfirends were a Playboy model and a Victoria's Secret model
Current gf.
  • he's practiced martial arts only since he started doing fighting films.  He practices various styles (including thai boxing, wing chun, and Shotokan karate) constantly, loves mma, and is regularly seen ringside at the UFC.  Call him a mark if you want, but the guy's considered legit enough by those in the community to be friends with Bas Rutten.
  • He took 12th at the World Championships in diving.  Ridiculous, I know, but it was off the high platform, which is pretty fucking metal.
  • makes fucking awesome movies
  • wrote a pissed off letter to Men's Health when they posted an article that made him look like he trained like a bitch, so they posted a retraction and listed his entire program online.
  • he got his break in Guy Ritchie's films due to his experience in selling stolen goods.  Yes, just like Danny Treho, Statham managed to parlay felonious activity into a massive film career.
  • His movies contain the following attributes of manliness, as listed my Maddox in the Bible:  Ass-Kicking (all of them), Boners (Crank 1 and 2), Copping a Feel (Crank 2), Enlightenment (London, Crank 1, Snatch, LS2SB), Female Wrestling (Crank 2), Gas (Crank 2), Irate (all of them), Knockers (Jessica Biel's and Amy Smart's in London and the Crank films), Metal (all of them), Quickie (both Cranks), Road Rage (Transporters, Death Race, Crank 1), Taunting (Transporters, Cranks, Death Race, London), Violence (all of them), Winner (all of them), XXX (Crank 2's porn star riot), Yelling (all of them).  [Note:  When I state "all of them, I'm not referring to the Uwe Boll abortion or the non-"The One" Jet Li collabs]  This essentially makes him manlier than just about any motherfuckers to ever grace the television screen, as he only missed a few of the other available letters, and the inclusion of  N (for Chuck Norris) would likely result in the creation of a singularity.  The destruction of the universe might result, especially if the scene including those two perhaps had one Mr. Leslie Nielson engaging in a bit of his patented slapstick in the background.
Irate:  man's default- and only- emotion.

Most of you, if you're like me, will pick up a Men's Health from time to time out of nothing more than boredom to see what's doing therein.  There has to be a reason why they print the fucking thing, you think to yourself, and about ten page in realize there is- it's for trendy yuppie pussies who want to look good when they take off their shirts so they can pull down dumbass, materialistic broads who will fuck them right up until the wedding night, and then only fuck them for procreative purposes until the dissolution of their unhappy, shallow union results in a costly, horrific divorce.  Thereafter, the same guys consult that mag to get back in shape so they can bang some sluts before making the same mistake all over again.
Statham's penis managed to grow bored with this broad.

In spite of that fact, the magazine will occasionally contain useful shit, Statham's workout (posted online) being  foremost amongst it.  You'll note that Dan John designed part of his workout, and that he's doing 5 sets of 5 of front squats with 175, making him stronger than 95% of the bitches who blabber endlessly online about training.  Thus, his lengthy Transporter 3 program, which I put into an Excel file in case you want to download it [Edit:  And Mediafire subsequently deleted, because they apparently thought there was some sort of copyright infringement].  As I said, I took the workout from a Men's Health article, so I truncated it a bit in terms of explanation and added some of my favorite Statham quotes for good measure.
Statham really took one for the team if he pulled down this broad.

That's hardly his only workout in print, however.  When training for the Expendables, for instance, he used this workout:

Monday – Short Circuit (30 Minutes)

1) 10 minutes: Rowing Machine.
2) Weighted-down Rope pull (i.e. attached to a weighted sled): 20 meter bear crawl.  Continue back and forth for 10 minutes.
3) 10 minutes: Rowing Machine.

Tuesday – Pushing Supersets (45-55 Minutes)

1) 5 minutes: Rowing Machine.
2) 5 minutes: Repeat 3 pull-ups, 5 push-ups, 7 squats until time limit or exhaustion.
3) Progressive snatch grip dead lift: Four sets of five repetitions; increase weight after each set.
4) Superset 1; 4 sets of 10 repetitions with 90 seconds rest between sets: Incline dumbbell press, standing military press, skullcrushers
5) Superset 2; 4 sets of 10 repetitions with 90 seconds rest between sets: Narrow grip push-ups, lateral raises, triceps extensions.
6) Abdominal rollouts: 5 sets of 10.

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Pulling Supersets (45-55 Minutes)

1) 5 minutes: Rowing Machine.
2) 5 minutes: Repeat 3 pull-ups, 5 push-ups, 7 squats until time limit or exhaustion.
3) Progressive Bulgarian split squats: Three sets of five repetitions; increase weight after each set.
4) Superset 1; 4 sets of 10 repetitions with 90 seconds rest between sets: 1 10 meter rope climb (no feet), 10 dumbbell shrugs, 10 Ex-bar curls.
5) Superset 2; 4 sets of 10 repetitions with 90 seconds rest between sets: 10 pull-ups, 10 incline front raises, 10 hammer curls.
6) Hanging knee raises: 5 sets of 10.

Friday – Interval Training (55-60 Minutes)

1) Warm-up: Two 50 meter sprints.
2) Cardio complex (Complete five rounds, rest period is half the time it takes to complete the round):
- Suicide run (Run 10m then run back, 20m then run back, 30m then run back, 40m then run back, 
50m then run back)
- 80m kettlebell farmer’s walk
- 80m one-arm kettlebell overhead carry (switch arms at 40m)
- 80m tire drag (SUV or small truck).

Weekend – Rest with some “Fun” Activities

 Ever a spazz about finding a workout wherever he is, Statham's been known to make them up as he goes along.  This is, presumably, how he stays pretty fucking lean year round in spite of the fact that his leisure activities appear to be ripping lines off models' asses and pounding beers, and a dietary regimen that can be summed up with this quote:
"I never gave a fuck about a calorie," Statham says. "An apple? It's good for me. I'd have five. Bananas? Eat the bunch."
  His bodyweight routines apparently come from his MMA workouts, and his exercise choice reflects this:
A typical workout: "Shadow-boxing to warm up the back and shoulders," he says. Lunging and stretching for the legs. Next, five 3-minute rounds punching and kicking pads, then hitting the heavy bag for three rounds, and doing a session on the speed bag. He finishes with a circuit like the one described below.
Use Your Own Body Weight 
For explosiveness and reflexes, Statham has always used plyometrics. A fast, hard circuit requires no equipment. "I'll jump rope, then do squat thrusts, burpees [squat thrusts in which you leap instead of standing up], star jumps [from a crouch, jump up and spread your arms and legs into a star, and come back down into a crouch], pushups, tuck jumps [jump, lift legs, tuck], stepups." The key is explosive execution: "If I'm doing a pushup, I go down slowly and, bang, push up."
Have a Portable Workout 
Even if Statham has only 20 minutes, he pulls no-gear, no-cost workouts from the manual in his head. One favorite came from his friend Bas Rutten, the mixed-martial-arts champion. "He uses punching combinations," Statham says. "He'll call out one' — a left. Then 'one, two' — a left, a right. Or three' — a left, a right, and a left hook. You can do that in a hotel room, anywhere." All you need is to bludgeon your excuses into a senseless heap. Just like Statham would.(Yahoo)
For those of you interested in the diet he used to get into the ridiculous shape into which he always gets for films, it's actually pretty simple:

  • he eats no more than 2,000 calories a day
  • he essentially eats paleo, as he never eats any refined flour or sugar, including fruit juice.
  • he records anything he consumes to accurately track his caloric intake
  • he drinks a shitload of water
  • he eats 6 meals a day, all of which are (like I stated before) paleo- "egg whites, vegetables, lean meats, fish, nuts, and protein shakes." 
**Upon rereading the article, I noticed this: "Statham jumps from one pullup bar to another above it; it's called "Dyno.". But the traditional move still works your shoulders and back. Do 8 reps."  IF JASON STATHAM CAN DO LEGEND PULLUPS, SO CAN YOU.  So get the fuck after them, already.  
... and there you have it.  Workouts from a motherfucker so manly that his jeans have probably pillaged a village all by themselves while Statham was sleeping.  The man smokes, drinks, parties his fucking ass off, looks better than just about anybody while doing it, can wreck fucking shop, and bangs models when he grows tired of the rest.  I'm not saying if you do his workout you'll be able to pull off that sort of shit, but there's nothing wrong with cherry-picking shit out of a bad motherfucker's workout and seeing what it will do for you... because the shit is definitely working for him.


17 November 2010

If You're Not Cheating, You're Not Trying 2: The Structure of A Cheat Meal

Free yourself from the strictures of your diet with a cheat window.  It's a metaphor.

In case you missed it, I outlined the necessity of cheat meals/free windows in the first installment of this series.  To recap:
  • they should be done either once or twice a week at regular intervals for 3-4 hours  or once a week for the entire day 
  • they're essential- at least one study has shown that short breaks from high fat diets will not have an adverse effect on lipolytic activity, and lipolytic activity in people who take high carb breaks from high fat diets are actually higher than those who are on a high carbohydrate diet.  
  • according to Dave Palumbo. if "you use a keto-diet, you'll need to have a cheat meal (to spike insulin) at least once per week to keep the thyroid functioning normally."  Also, as I stated in my previous blog on bulking, cheat windows speed the metabolism, (Matsumoto)  replenish your glycogen stores, (Bowden) and increase your thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormones, (Poehlman) in addition to providing an awesome forced break from clean eating.(Westrate) [See the 1st part of this series for full cites]
In that blog, I went into great detail as to why you should cheat, but only a bit into how to do so.  As such, it stands that a treatment on exactly how one should structure their diet before, during, and after their cheat to maximize their results.
This picture needs no caption.

The Overall Diet Structure
The overall structure of your diet can play an integral part in the efficacy of your cheat meals.  That's not to state that the general structure of your diet, unless it's an unabashed shit-show, is the end-all be all of the utility of cheat windows, but the manner in which your cheat meal will ultimately effect you changes with your overall diet.

Any dieter who's gotten into the game in the last ten years likely follows a low carb diet of one sort or another.  For the purposes of simplicity, I'll separate them into the keto diet (low/no carb, high fat, high protein) and the paleo diet (low carb, low/low-moderate carbs, high protein, low/moderate fats).  Though both of these diets can be altered further by modulating the number of calories eaten, I'll generalize and state that, by and large, people on a keto diet eat more calories than people on the paleo diet.  It's here that the primary difference lies, and the root of what I consider to be the key difference in the manner in which the cheat meal will effect you.  In paleo dieters, due to the lower calories, they'll see a much greater overall effect on thermogenesis and the endocrine system.  For  keto dieters, however, the effect will lie in the other positive responses paleo dieters also will enjoy- greater thyroid response, insulin spikes, and replenishment of glycogen stores.  Because they're far more likely to be in a caloric surplus than the paleo dieters, keto dieters' thermogenic response won't be as great.  For this reason, it's also far more advisable and necessary for paleo dieters to utilize two cheat windows a week than it is for keto dieters.
Weirdest physique ever, but he knows his keto dieting.

Warren Willey has a great analogy for a method by which dieters should view carbohydrate consumption.  In it, he has his readers envision an empty cup in front of them, which represents their body's ability to handle active carbohydrates.  
"When that cup is half full, your body will utilize the energy from the carbohydrates and the energy from fat.  As the cup approaches fullness, however, the body is more inclined to use the energy from the carbohydrates, and leave the fat alone (survivalist response).  When you eat too many active carbohydrates, or you eat too many at the wrong time of the day, "your cup runneth over" and that excess is stored as fat!  At the opposite extreme, when that cup is empty, your body has little energy to perform activities of daily living and exercise."  
Thus, Willey recommends periods of low or no free carbs prior to a scheduled cheat window in order to empty one's proverbial carbohydrate cup for a refill.(Z Diet)
A survivalist.  Obviously, you'd like to avoid the survivalist response.

Ori Hofmekler's Warrior Diet theory of over- and undereating seems to coincide in many regards with Willey's theory, and falls in line with my anecdotal evidence.  It seems that in all three cases, an undereating phase, followed by an overeating phase, creates a highly anabolic environment.  Ori's cycle is on a much smaller scale, as he recommends a daily period of undereating that is nearly a fast, followed by a large nighttime meal.  Expanding his timeline, one sees that eating a paleo or paleo-esque, lower calorie, low carb-high protein diet, followed by a large cheat meal, can elicit a similar effect.
"WE NEED NOTHING TO DO with anything close to perfectness! I've asked all the skeletons that have already made the sacrifice! To FOLLOW ME! Whether to walk further than all the rest or to stay behind and make the sacrifice... It makes no difference.  FOR AS THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR, I SURROUND US IN THIS FORCE FIELD!... There is no poison, no creation, and no medicine to cure what we have!"

That effect is, in Ori's words, that "nutrients are assimilated at a greater rate, there is an acceleration of the anabolic process of repairing tissues and building muscles" and all of the other shit I mentioned above.  (WDmore necessary and effective to use cheat windows in concert with paleo dieting than keto dieting (where a carb refeed could suffice as you're likely not in a caloric deficit), cheat windows are useful no matter which of the two you choose.  Frankly, I've got doubts if a cheat does any fucking thing at all when utilizing an isocaloric diet, it might give you a slight metabolic boost if your calories are on the low side.  I'll leave that to the more adventurous/dietarily lazy among you to decide, however. 
"Necessary? Is it necessary for me to drink my own urine? No, but I do it anyway because it's sterile and I like the taste." 

The Meal Itself
Interestingly, Hofmekler and Willey agree in many regards in their suggestions for the structure of cheat meals, in spite of the fact that their overall recommendations for dieting differ wildly.  The cheat meal,according to both authors, should have its foods ordered so that you eat your bland foods first, followed by more flavorful foods, and should be veggies first, followed by proteins, and ended with carbohydrates.  Willey doesn't actually give any reasoning in the works I've read, but Hofmekler's will serve- he thinks that the human body doesn't tolerate eating foods that are "aggressive" in taste before bland foods, and that conditioning yourself to eat blander foods will reduce your cravings for fast food.  Beginning, then, with veggies will prep your stomach to accept more nutrients, fight inflammation, and provide vital enzymes to aid in digestion and elimination.  Thereafter, you should eat your proteins and carbs, and both authors recommend that you include as many flavors, colors, and textures as you possibly can, as "the more variety you introduce in your diet the better off you'll be." (WD 57 and BTS 61)  Finally, both authors recommend that you stop eating when you're more thirsty than hungry, as this is a good indicator that you've eaten enough.
Time to commence the drinking.

While these suggestions are great guidelines, they're nonsense if you're out with friends, hungry, probably going to do a bit of drinking, and you're out to enjoy yourself.  What fucking pub serves vegetables?  None at which I'd ever drink, that's for fucking sure.  As such, I personally do the following- start with protein, make sure that I'm consistently eating protein throughout the meal, eat a couple of different things, and stop at exactly three hours.  I'll take digestive enzymes in addition to multivitamins before, during, and after the meal to take care of assimilation, and find that my digestion of the food generally goes off with little to no kickback from my intestines as a result.  Protein is my primary concern at all times, even during a cheat meal, and all else follows thereafter.  Once I've kicked off my meal with at least 40 grams of protein, I'll follow it up with a festival of carbohydrates and calories the likes of which I consider insane, but upon reflection are par for the course for most Americans.  
I guarantee this bitch is not settling for a small popcorn... or a medium.

I've listed a bunch cheat meals in my other blogs on the subject, but my recent favorites are generally something akin to Church's Chicken (a couple of spicy wings will do, as their wings have 1/4 to 1/2 a breast attached to each) followed by half a meat-lover's pizza and then popcorn with butter at the movies.  In keeping with Willey's recommendations in Better Than Steroids, I make sure I eat at least some spicy food, as capsaicin helps increase metabolism.(BTS 61)  Beyond that, I just eat my fucking face off and try to get as much protein as I can while I do it.  A bit of quick calculating tells me that with my average weekend cheat, I kick it off with 81g of protein (900 cals total) and follow it with 60g of protein (1480 calories) and then finish with 509 calories of fat and carbs, for a total of 141g of protein and 2889 calories.  
You'll notice that I eat my carbs last, which I do religiously.  For me, it serves a valuable purpose outside of the nutritive quality- I make sure I eat my protein while I still have room to do so.  If you wait until the end, you might find you've got no room left into which to stuff some protein, and then you'll be that jackass whose protein is low for no reason.  When you eat the protein first, it also serve to lower the glycemic load on your system, which is especially valuable if you're eating something sweet. Finally, this will help keep your carbs to a manageable level, so that your proverbial cup won't "runneth over" as the result of a single cheat.

If I have a second cheat during the week, it's usually something far more tame, like having high protein pasta with extra-lean ground beef in marinara, and maybe some low-fat cinnamon buns for dessert.  The second cheat meal occurs generally only if I'm doing a paleo or lower calorie keto diet, or if I simply happen to be starving no matter what I eat during the day on Tuesday or Wednesday.  Remember, a cardinal rule of cheat windows is to have them on non-consecutive days.
Bear Grylls eating a reindeer's heart- he's the ultimate fucking Predator.

One interesting and compelling argument that inadvertently supports my food choices in cheat meals comes from the Warrior Diet.  I just stumbled across it while researching for this blog, and I thought I'd pass it along, as it's metal as fuck.
"I strongly believe that eating warm food mimics the effect of a fresh kill.  A predator's first bite of its prey always tastes warm (since this is a fresh kill).  Scavengers, on the other hand, who eat leftover corpses, enjoy the cold taste of the animal that was killed by a predator beforehand.  It's my belief that when you eat and enjoy warm food, it triggers the Predator Instinct, and those people who settle with cold leftovers may trigger the Scavenger Instinct."(WD 65)

Finishing Out The Day
Ori recommends drinking water and "any tea that stimulates digestion" like "peppermint, ginger, green and chamomile", which is great advice, I suppose, but it's not really my primary concern.  If you follow my advice, you shouldn't have any problem with digestion.  If you're a Brit, or a member of some other wacky tea-drinking culture, by all means have at it.  Otherwise, just make sure you drink enough fluids to slake your thirst but not leave you overly full- you're still having protein every three hours.  This means you're likely having a shake three hours after the conclusion of your cheat meal.  That'll keep your metabolism rolling and prevent you from consuming a second massive meal later on.  You'll find yourself tremendously fucking hungry the morning after a cheat meal, and a middle of the night protein shake will serve you well in preventing your cheat from becoming a 24 hour affair.
Ridiculously hot champion armwrestler Sarah Baeckman prefers ribs, fries, and chocolate for her cheat.  Shit's obviously working.

So, the moral of this story is that if you're not cheating, you're not trying motherfuckers.
Hofmekler, Ori.  The Warrior Diet.  Dragon Door Publications, 2003.
Willey, Warren.  Better Than Steroids.  Bloomington:  Trafford Publishing, 2007.
Willey, Warren.  The Z Diet.  Bloomington:  Trafford Publishing, 2010.

15 November 2010

Someone's Got a Case of The Mondays

Actually, just being a bit lazy and have nothing prepared for today.  Thus, here's a pic I drew a couple of years ago with shit resolution because I lack Photoshop and MS Paint distorted the fuck out of it.

13 November 2010

Exercises You've Never Tried- The Old-School Military Press

Take a trip with me, back to a time where men were men, people rode horses or walked whereever they were going, and there was a rampant fascination in the Western world with professional wrestling, weightlifting, and skyscrapers.  A time when a guy in Britain decided to start holding the first mixed martial arts competitions in the world, only to be forgotten in everything but the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle until recently.  A time when drinking and weightlifting were activities that could be publicly enjoyed together.  A time when our President boxed and wrestled professionals in the White House. In other words, an awesome time.  This was the beginning of the 20th century.
Sir Edward Barton-Wright, grandpappy of MMA and superheavyweight of badassery in the early 20th C.

Imagine yourself in this time... maybe riding one of those ridiculous penny farthing contraptions down to your local beer garden for a couple of pints, and then walking into the adjoining building, taking off your shirt, grabbing a preloaded barbell and heaving the thing overhead while bullshitting with your buddies.  This, my friends, was the time we should be emulating in the gym.  This was the era of Saxon, Goerner, Hackenschmidt, Maxick, Sandow, and Aston- ripped, ridiculously strong guys who lifted weights no one can duplicate today, all natural.  These are the men from whom we can learn, and guys we should emulate.  

Every now and again I'll go back to the well on exercises, and dig up one that I've either not done recently or never done before, and it's invariably one from the pantheon of exercises these hard-as-nails motherfuckers held in ridiculously high esteem.  I recently did that again, and started doing an exercise that's about as unlike me as you could imagine, as it's not the kill-everyone-and-fuck-form-I'm-fucking-lifting-get-the-fuck-out-of-my way lifts, but rather the strictest of the strict lifts.  Allow me to present the old school military presses.

The Military Press can be done one of two ways- one handed or two handed.  The rules, essentially, remain the same, but I'll cover them both.  For the two handed version (according to Maxick's book Great Strength By Muscle Control), the lift is conducted thusly: "Holding all the muscles rigid, lift the bell upward and forward as far as possible by means of the deltoid, until you reach the position shown in Fig. 9.  It would obviously mean disqualification if the lifter were to bend farther back than illustrated by Fig. 9.  The rules provide that the heels must be kept closed, the legs straight, and the body quite erect throughout the lift.(Maxick, p.39)
"An excellent performance in this lift would be one and a half times the lifter's bodyweight."(Maxick, p. 41) Frankly, I only do these on ultra light days, and have thus not attempted all that much weight on these.  I like them, however, as a warmup for BTNPPs and for heavy push presses, and have started giving them a try as a stand-alone exercise.  They're... interesting.  Humbling, to say the least.  Having one's heels together definitely removes much of your base, so you're really left with just your pressing power and little else at play.  Having done them a bit heavier, I understand why random 150 lb guys in the early 20th century had such sick shoulders- it was strict military presses, along with a paucity of benching.
Saxon appears not to have been a fan of this lift, as he completely glosses over it in his book Text Book of Weightlifting, although "he pressed between 250 and 260 lbs., accomplished as if he had a lot in hand and let it be known that he did not bend back an inch or sway or move in any way, just forced the bell up with sheer power in a perfect “military” style of press as we then called that style of lift. He could have raised much more by leaning back" according to Thomas Inch. (Inch)   Saxon was, of course, the manliest motherfucker ever to walk the Earth, and a guy whose lifts are probably never going the be duplicated.  Another guy from that era who tore it the fuck up on this lift was Maxick, who hit a two hands military press of 230 pounds at a bodyweight of 145.  That lift, according to David Willoughby,  "which he performed in 1909, would be equivalent today to a lift in the same strict style of about 267 pounds, or to a Two Hands Olympic Press of about 312 pounds That is to say, in pressing power Maxick was the equal, in his day, of any of the light-weight Olympic champion pressers of the present time."
145 lbs of "fuck you up".
The other version, obviously, is the One Arm version.  Form on this is much the same:
"the One Arm Military Press strict rules are still followed, and the lift is just what it is called – a press while at military attention.
There are two ways that the lift has been performed. The athlete could use his discretion regarding what to do with his free arm. He could keep it at the side of his left thigh (assuming that he is pressing with the right arm), or he could hold it out at right angles to the shoulder. The strictest way would be holding the arm at the thigh, for that would be more in keeping with “Military Attention.”
For record attempts a dumbell would always be used and the athlete would spread his feet just far enough to allow the weight to be straddled. He would then lean over, and in a rather quick clean pull the weight to the shoulder, and almost at the same time snap his heels together and start getting his body braced for the lift. Here is where a little so-called “science” can be used.
The elbow is carried back a bit, the handle of the weight must be in line with the chin, and now the athlete can get his back rigid. He contracts his thighs, and at the same time his buttocks. This gives him stability and a firmness which the beginning does not realize is important in all overhead pressing. Here is where the lifter can use discretion as to how he wants to hold his free arm. If he holds it at the side he can, by pressing against his thigh and tensing his arm, give himself rigidness. He can also get almost the same effect by keeping his arm at right angles to the shoulder, and tense his upper back, by pressing it in a downward motion. All this is done by the experienced One Arm Military presser, but it is not apparent. It is just about all the “science” there is to the lift. Eyes are kept looking straight ahead. Some lifters will keep the palm of the hand facing them throughout the lift, while others may turn it just the least bit toward the front, which is also permissible, and may be of some help. Now the weight is slowly but steadily pressed over the head, without the body swaying front, back, left or right."  (Klein)
Seems pretty simple, and I've done them with reasonably light weights on more than one occasion.  While I've been content with 100 lb singles, however, old-school strongmen were not.  They took this exercise seriously, did it constantly, and had sick weights to show for it.  Edward Aston, for instance, could one arm military press 172 at a bodyweight of under 200 lbs, while Sandow put up 121, Saxon pressed 127, and Grimek easily did 120 for three with a barbell, which had to have take some ridiculous grip strength.  According to Alan Calver, the guys in Europe were even better at this lift, as "Witzelsberger, of Vienna, had done 154 lbs., but I have since been told that while Witzelberger kept his heels together and his legs straight, he bent his body over slightly. It is said that Cyr once made a military press with a 165-lb. bar-bell, and Mr. Jowett says he saw the giant, La Vallee, do 165 lbs."(Calver)
Grip strength appears not to have been a problem for Grimek.

Different writers seemed to have different ideas of what a good one arm military press was.  Sig Klein, champion trainer and all around awesome guy, though that "one-half of [a lifter's] body weight [is] a fairly good One Arm Military Press. If he can do two-thirds of his body weight he can be considered exceptionally strong, and very few athletes have succeeded in doing this." (Klein)  Maxick, however, thought that anyone who could put up 90 lbs with one hand and strict form was a badass.  They took this exercise seriously, though, and this was apparently the only way overhead lifts were performed for a long time.
No matter how much weight you're using in this lift, it definitely appears to have contributed far more to awesome shoulders than the highly vaunted lateral raises ever did.  The next time you're considering that exercise, think about this- when was the last time you saw a guy at your gym with truly awesome shoulder.  Probably on the 7th of never.  Even if you did, it's far more likely that they guy was an Olympic lifter than a bodybuilder.  No matter what the magazines might tell you, pressing builds shoulders.  Thus, grab a dumbbell, force it overhead with nothing but willpower, a fuck-you attitude, and a haughty disdain for gravity, and harken back to the good old days.

Just leave your penny farthing at home.

Calver, Alan.  Super Strength- Chapter 14- Lifting a Barbell From Floor to Chest.  http://www.bobwhelan.com/history/superstrength14.htm
Inch, Thomas.  "My Friendship with Arthur Saxon" http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2009/01/my-friendship-with-arthur-saxon-thomas.html
Klein, Sig.  The One Arm Military Press.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2010/06/one-arm-military-press-sig-klein.html
Maxick.  Great Strength By Muscle Control.  http://www.maxalding.co.uk/Great%20Strength/gs-intro.htm
Willoughby, David.  The Super Athletes.