Friday, October 28, 2011

Jacking Up Your Squat, Right Now!

I saw this ad recently.....
Metal Jack Pro Squat Suit
It's finally here! All components of the Jack suit are made of very thick Ace material, including the front. The legs of the Jack are turned on the sides, even more than the Ace suit. The seams on the Jack's legs are higher than the Ace models, allowing for more leg support. These high seams also tend to make squats look deeper than they actually are, a perk that we're guessing you might be interested in. Extra seams on the back of the suit help to stop the squat at depth and give rebound.

Price: $380.00
NOW: $349.00

Who would be so numbers addicted and insecure as to want to spend $350.00 on a suit that will artificially jack up their "squat" beyond what they are capable of doing? First, I have my doubts about the value of a 1 rep squat for anyone who is not a competitive powerlifter. You can get the full story here in a past post from our archives......
Second, even if I were a powerlifter, why would I want to squat more than I can squat? Why not just sit on a jack and pump yourself up? Why not add a new category, maybe call it the Science Fair division. Reward creativity and technology. Just don't call it strength.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Creatine and Soviet "Secrets"

A great creatine commercial. Probably recieved the Small Town High School U.S.A. Film of the Year award! lol

Here is a great new "secret" exercise from the Soviets. It's a great exercise for.....well....catching a heavy barbell on your neck! I am certain that supporting heavy weights at arms length while supporting several men standing on a platform full of nails is also very functional for.......well......... something.
It's a muscular guy doing it and it's got strange foreign writing so it must be a great exercise! Right?
It's all part of the Soviet mystique.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gale Gillingham R.I.P.

Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers exemplified athletic excellence for a generation of Americans

Gale Gillingham, starting guard for the Packers

For anyone who followed American football in the 60's, excellence wore green and gold. Vince Lombardi was almost worshipped as the personification of a winning coach and the Packers were the kings of the football world. It was a different time when players weren't automatically multi-millionaires and coaches still ran their teams with an iron fist. The Packers worked hard and put team first. They were physical and the Packer sweep was their trademark. Both guards pulled and led the sweep. For much of the decade the two guards were Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston. Later in the decade a young rookie named Gale Gillingham took Fuzzy's place and the Packers never missed a beat. They won the first two super bowls and who can forget the NFL championship game against the Dallas Cowboys when Bart Starr followed Jerry Kramer into the endzone for the winnig score in sub zero temperatures. Fullback Jimmy Taylor was one of the first players to use weight training and to publicize it. Gale Gillingham was another. It is inspiring to read that he was lifting at the time of his passing. While Gale was a super athlete himself with a great career of his own, perhaps his greatest legacy in the athletic world is his amazing offspring. I don't know of any other family in the world of strength that has reached the level of accomplishment of the Gillinghams. All 3 brothers have been world class performers in various aspects of powerlifting, strong man, and of course, gripping feats. We extend our condolences and sincere best wishes to them.
Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame guard Gale Gillingham died at his home in Minnesota while lifting weights, his son said Friday. He was 67.
Wade Gillingham said the former Pro Bowler appeared to have had a heart attack Thursday at his home in Little Falls, but his family doesn't have confirmation on a cause of death.
Gillingham, inducted in the Packers Hall of Fame in 1982, was Green Bay's first-round draft choice and 13th overall in 1966 from the University of Minnesota. He played off the bench as a rookie and took veteran Fuzzy Thurston's spot during the 1967 season opposite All-Pro Jerry Kramer during the Vince Lombardi era.
He blocked for Bart Starr when the quarterback was leading the Packers to the first two Super Bowl victories in 1967 and 1968 and after leaving the team in 1974, returned to play for Starr when he was coach in 1976. Gillingham was a five-time Pro Bowler, six-time All Pro and played in 128 regular-season games for the Packers.
Wade Gillingham, 40, said his father retired last fall after operating Goedker Realty in Minnesota following his professional football career.''He was a great Dad, a humble man and simple,'' his son said.

Gillingham, born in Madison, moved to Little Falls, Minn., with his family when he was in high school. He was divorced with three sons and a daughter and traveled the world watching two of his sons compete in strongman and power-lifting contests.

Karl Gillingham

Wade Gillingham

Brad Gillingham

Friday, October 21, 2011

Massage, No Longer a Privilege of the Elite

The stesses of hard training require aggressive recovery methods
Massage is a great recovery tool. It used to be that the only option was to have access to a trained therapist or practitioner. You could only get a real massage treatment if you were a member of a high level team with resources to provide it, or if you were wealthy enough to hire your own therapist. (Sometimes a sympathetic spouse with some kinesthetic apptitude can almost get the job done). While there is still nothing like a real professional massage treatment, the past several years have seen more and more products become available that really make a self-massage possible. Products such as foam rollers of various sizes, flexible massage sticks, canes, and various types and sizes of balls are now widely marketed. For the price of one or two sessions with a therapist, you can purchase enough of these products to do a pretty good job on  yourself. Most of these massage products are simple in design and easily used. Since you are working on yourself, you can apply the proper pressure in the right places pretty effectively. Below is a pretty comprehensive article I found recently that details how you can use massage yourself even if funds and resources are limited. Recovery is essential to progress and this is another set of tools that require a relatively small financial investment and a little extra time. Try some of these methods and see how much better you feel.
Athletes don't always need to see a massage therapist for treatment. There are plenty of self-massage tools and techniques available that you can teach them to use.
By Keats Snideman
Keats Snideman, CSCS, CK-FMS, LMT, CNMT, is the Owner of Reality-Based Fitness, LLC, a performance training and massage center located in Tempe, Ariz. He has worked with athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB, USA Track & Field, and the collegiate and high school levels. He can be reached through his Web site at: www.realitybasedfitness.com.

As an athletic performance specialist and massage professional for the past 15 years, I have witnessed several evolutions in the fields of strength and conditioning and rehabilitation. One of the greatest advancements has been increased awareness about the importance of recovery and regeneration--both by athletes and the coaches who work with them. After all, gains from any training session are realized during periods of rest, not work.
Specifically, there has been a boom in the use of self-massage devices such as foam rollers, massage sticks, and other tools. Having a background in massage certainly makes me biased towards the importance of maintaining soft tissue health, but self-massage has been a staple of my work with athletes since the late 1990s because I've seen the advantages firsthand.
First, self-massage can alleviate basic superficial ischemia and tenderness after a workout. The practice can also help an athlete prepare their muscles for better elasticity and compliance prior to static or dynamic stretching.
Additionally, by taking responsibility for their own soft-tissue health, an athlete can monitor whether any specific muscle groups require extra attention. For example, excessive soreness or tenderness in a specific body part or muscle group can indicate overtraining. If soreness is caught and treated before any real pain or loss of function is realized, injury can hopefully be avoided.
The many different self-massage tools and techniques available may be confusing at first. But with proper safety precautions, athletes of all types can easily use self-massage for better recovery and regeneration between workouts.
Although there is little documented research available on the benefits of self-massage specifically, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that proves massage is beneficial for athletes. Though the research is slow to catch up, I'm confident that it will. In the meantime, the bottom line is that if a technique isn't harmful to the athlete, I'm all for trying it.
Massage can benefit athletes' biomechanical, physiological, neurological, and psychological systems. Here's how:
Biomechanical: Exerting mechanical pressure is theorized to decrease adhesions between various tissue layers, improve muscle compliance, decrease passive muscle stiffness, and increase joint range of motion. It is not well understood whether collagenous (scar tissue) fibers or adhesions can actually be altered through any type of massage, but theoretically, massage can influence the organization of collagenous fibers as they are being laid down to repair myofascial tissues damaged during a workout.
Physiological: Again, there isn't much hard data to support it, but massage seems to help athletes improve ischemia by increasing skin blood circulation, blood flow to the muscles, parasympathetic activity (the "rest and digest" part of the autonomic nervous system), and the release of relaxation hormones and endorphins, while decreasing stress hormone (e.g. cortisol) levels.
Neurological: The possible neurological effects result from reflex stimulation of the various receptors in the skin, like mechanoreceptors and proprioceptors, fascia, muscles and their respective tendons (including the golgi tendon organs), nerves, blood vessels, and even ligaments. The goal of reflex neurological stimulation is to decrease neuromuscular excitability of the muscles and minimize trigger point activity and pain, muscle spasm, and excessive tension or "tonus" of the muscles.
Psychological: Athletes who practice self-massage may experience an increased sensation of relaxation in the muscles and decreased anxiety. It is also interesting to note that there is no definitive research showing whether massage is effective in diminishing post-workout soreness--otherwise known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). However, there are too many anecdotal accounts of athletes feeling a subjective reduction in pain and stiffness following post-workout self-massage to completely dismiss the positive psychological effects.
Self-massage techniques can be used both before and after training, as an adjunct to a warmup or cool down, respectively. For example, a popular protocol is to begin a training session with three to five minutes of self-massage work on the major muscle groups, including the spinal erectors, gluteals, lateral thigh/iliotibial band, hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, adductors, and anterior shin. The athlete would then perform any stretching (static and/or dynamic) necessary. Additional self-massage work with the foam roller could be done after the training session as a means to restore muscle length and tone.
Self-massage is also effective as a separate recovery and regeneration session, especially when performed in conjunction with mobility and flexibility work. One of my favorite times to perform self-massage work is at night, just prior to sleep. Adding static or corrective stretching creates a potent combination that can both enhance the athlete's sleep and possibly reduce stiffness and soreness upon waking.
A variety of self-massage implements and devices are on the market today. Some of the most popular tools that have stood the test of time include foam rollers, massage sticks and canes, and various massage balls or spheres for use with small-ball release techniques. Athletic items such as tennis, lacrosse, or golf balls can also be used.
For athletes who utilize most of their major muscle groups in workouts and competition, I favor using a massage stick and various foam rollers for general release work. For more specific trigger point work or tender spots, using some type of small ball can be more helpful.
There are several sequences I like to use with my athletes who perform self-massage. Though programs will depend on the devices available and the needs of the athlete, here is an example of a general self-massage session utilizing a ball and a firm foam roller:
Bottom of foot: Placing a ball (golf, tennis, or lacrosse) under each foot, emphasize long, slow rolls moving the ball from the base of the metatarsal heads to the heel. Divide the foot into thirds, making sure to cover the entire plantar surface of the foot. Thirty to 60 seconds per foot once or twice should suffice.
Erector spinae and postural reset: Lie with a foam roller under your back so your head and sacrum make contact with the roller. Keep both knees bent so your feet are flat on the ground comfortably spaced apart. Perform small side to side movements while trying to keep your torso and pelvis facing upward toward the ceiling with the head remaining on the roller to avoid neck strain.
Climb the rope: To perform this mobilization, start from the same position as the postural reset exercise. Put both hands at the side of your torso as if performing a dumbbell bench press. Reach up with one arm straight toward the ceiling while rotating onto the opposite ribcage and shoulder. Keep your head down against the roller to avoid neck strain. This mobilization movement effectively targets the lateral erector spinae muscle on the ribs while also affecting the intercostals rib musculature. This is a transverse plane or "rotational" mobilization.
Overhead reach: From the same position as the previous mobilizations, place both hands outside the shoulders as if about to perform a dumbbell military press. Reach up with one arm overhead so the bicep comes next to the ear while simultaneously bending the spine (like the letter C) to the opposite side. Both the roller and torso will rotate slightly toward the arm you are reaching up with. Continue to alternate reaching overhead between the two arms for a great lateral ribcage, spine, and latissimus dosri stretch. This is more of a frontal plane or "side to side" mobilization.
Spinal erectors & T-spine extensions: Lying on your back (knees bent, feet flat on floor) with a foam roller underneath your shoulder blades and perpendicular to your spine (like a T), roll back and forth with arms hugging your body while gently pushing your feet into the ground. This should lift the hips off the ground so you assume a table-top alignment. Then roll down from your upper thoracic spine (top of your shoulder blades) to the thoraco-lumbar junction. Although you can traverse down into your lumbar spine, I am not a fan of doing this with a dense foam roller as the last two ribs (ribs 11 and 12) are "free-floating" and can become irritated in some people.
Thoracic spine extensions from T-2 to T-7 or T-8 can also be performed from this position by returning the hips and buttocks back to the ground while supporting the head with clasped hands. Starting right below the shoulder blades, gentle extensions can be performed for three to five repetitions at each spot before moving up a few more segments. Two and sometimes three spots can be utilized for these mobilizations. Again, make sure to stop right before the thoraco-lumbar junction.
Lattisumus dorsi and lateral scapular attachments: From a side-lying position, place the roller underneath the bottom outstretched arm in the armpit/axillary area. Slowly roll up and down the lateral border of the scapula to treat the key muscles attaching or crossing that area, including the latissimus and teres major muscles. These are often very sensitive and care must be taken to prevent irritation of the soft tissue structures in this region.
Gluteals and hip rotators: Sit on the foam roller with your arms extended behind you, palms on the floor. Some weight should be placed on the fingers and palms. Cross one leg over the other so that they make a figure "4" shape with the foot/ankle complex of the crossed leg resting on the lower thigh and knee region of the bent leg still on the floor. Lean slightly onto the gluteal area of the crossed leg and gently roll up and down a few inches to treat the superficial and deeper musculature of the buttock area.
Hamstrings and calf musculature: While seated on the ground, place the roller perpendicular to your thighs under the belly of the hamstring muscles. With arms extended behind you for support, shift your weight so the posterior surface of the thigh moves forward and backward over the surface of the roller. By crossing one leg and foot over the other, more load can be applied to target the hamstring musculature.
By sliding down the roller to the center of the calf muscles, the same process can be effectively repeated to treat the gastrocnemius-soleus musculature. Care must be taken to avoid direct pressure behind the knee in the popliteal area and also to protect the wrists and hands by ensuring they are not excessively strained.
Lateral quad/iliotibial band, and tensor fasciae latae muscle: While lying on your side with the bottom forearm propped underneath the shoulder in a side-plank type position, place the roller underneath the bottom thigh. Roll upward and downward from the top of the knee to the top of the thigh. A slight rotation toward the floor with the roller at the top of the thigh can address the small, but thick tensor fascia latae muscles which often harbor some pretty challenging trigger points.
Prone quadriceps and anterior shin: While lying face down, place the roller perpendicular to your body along the mid-thigh. Prop yourself up onto the forearms in a plank position. From here, move forward and backward over the roller so that the entire surface of the anterior thigh and quadriceps musculature is massaged.
By splaying one thigh outwards, the roller can be positioned obliquely to the body to apply pressure to the groin/adductor region of the inner thigh. Also, by propping up onto the hands and wrists, the roller can then be placed underneath the anterior shin in a "tuck" type of position. By then rolling back and forth on the anterior surface of the shin, one can effectively treat the tibialis anterior and other extensor muscles in that region.
The easiest way to teach athletes how to perform self-massage is through demonstration and clear verbal instruction. Explanation of basic muscular anatomy and fiber direction can help athletes visualize the intended effects prior to treating a specific area.
It's important to have the athlete practice the technique in front of you so you can assess their work and make any necessary corrections. For example, proper pressure should be applied to the desired areas, but athletes should take care to hold or support their body safely throughout the process. They should also pay special attention to vulnerable areas such as the wrists and shoulders to ensure they don't strain or irritate them when performing certain foam roller techniques such as rolling out the gluteals and posterior thigh. For some athletes, a massage stick may be a better choice for lower-extremity exercises to avoid overloading the wrists and hands.
One of the main keys to ensuring a quality response from self-massage is to perform each technique slowly with steady, constant movements while focusing on deep, diaphragmatic breathing ("belly breathing"). Many practitioners of self-massage mindlessly go through the motions quickly, without any real focus on what they are trying to accomplish, which yields less than desirable results.
I also like to educate the athletes I work with on the continuous nature of the body through the fascial system, and that there really aren't any isolated muscles per se, only chains of connective tissue (called fascia) that weave throughout the entire body. Once athletes understand this, they become more aware of the interconnectedness in their body and realize that tightness or discomfort in one area of the body could come from a more remote, distant region or group.
Finally, it is important that athletes understand self-massage should not hurt. This is a major misconception about massage in general, and it is especially important to dispel when it comes to self-massage. The old mantra of "no pain, no gain" does not apply here.
Some of my athlete clients are shocked when they realize how little pressure or force I use when treating a sensitive or tender area. I tell them the key is the specificity of the work on the targeted area, which often makes it feel like I'm using a lot of pressure when in fact I may be using very little at all. The same concept applies to self-massage.
One of the things I like to do when working with a new client is talk about the pain scale (on a scale of one to 10, one being no pain and 10 being unbearable). I tell them that therapeutic work should be manageable from a pain standpoint and that we should stay in the range of mild to moderate discomfort, which falls somewhere between four and six on the scale. The simple goal to improve tissue tone and quality can be achieved without excessive pain during or after a self-massage session.
Self-massage work has become an integral part of the athlete performance process, including recovery and injury prevention. When performed properly, it has many benefits for athletes, including maintenance of soft tissue and orthopedic health, as well as assistance in the process of optimizing mobility and posture for improved sports performance. There is a place for self-massage in every athlete's regimen.

Though this article is about the benefits of self-massage, it's hard to beat the skilled hands of a licensed massage therapist, athletic trainer, physical therapist, or chiropractor. When combined with a skilled assessment of an athlete's needs at a given time of their training year, hands-on soft-tissue therapy can be invaluable. But in reality, this is not always practical or affordable for athletes.
The best way for athletes to stay on top of their recovery and regeneration is to use a combination of self-massage and visits to a clinic or athletic training room for hands-on work. I recommend athletes commit to at least one hands-on treatment per month.
When performing self-massage, the athlete should be tuned in to what is bothering them and communicate this to the massage therapist or sports medicine professional they visit. Together, the athlete and therapist should be able to stave off many injuries, especially those chronic in nature.
We welcome your feedback on this article. Please e-mail us at: tcfeedback@momentummedia.com

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Truth About Exercising On An Empty Stomach

Lean athletes don't have to starve themselves.
 If you are interested in burning a little fat, a pretty nice article recently appeared in the NSCA Performance Training Journal 10.5 that sheds some credible light on the question of whether you burn more fat by exercising in a fasted state. This is not the first attempt to shed some light on the myth that with holding carbs will cause fat burn. Clarence Bass, Mr. Ripped himself, has always maintained that it is important to have some fuel in your system when exercising and that healthy carbs should not be eliminated. It seems that the fasting cardio recommended by many trendy "fitness trainers" is shortsighted and ineffective. Fuel your body first, then burn the fat.
Even today, there are still many aspects of diet, exercise,
and weight that remain controversial. Some health professionals
believe that it is all about what is put on your plate
that determines the number on the scale whereas others
are more prone to rely on physical activity to keep the
pounds at bay. The reality is that whether you are looking
to manage weight or maximize athletic performance, the
key is in balancing both diet and exercise, especially when
fueling with food before a workout.
Among others, Bill Phillips, a former competitive bodybuilder
and author of “Body for Life” has argued that performing
cardiovascular exercise on an empty stomach will
force the body to use stored fat rather than burning available
carbohydrates. The reasoning may sound convincing,
but in fact, recent research has found that the opposite is
A review published by Brad Schoenfeld in the February
2011 issue of the Strength and Conditioning Journal states
that although overnight fasting for greater results may
sound like a tempting idea, the science just doesn’t support
the theory (4).
All Fat Burn is Not Equal
The reaction of the human body to a workout is aff ected
by a multitude of factors. Fuel is certainly one of them, but
Schoenfeld also lists hormone secretions, transcription
factors, and enzyme activity as potential limiting factors in
fat burn during exercise (4). Additionally, fat burn during
exercise alone is not indicative of fat burn over the course
of a longer period. Based on the outcomes of prior studies,
Schoenfeld explains that although the blood fl ow to fat
tissue is lower during high-intensity exercise, those who
engage in high-intensity versus moderate-intensity exercise
experience greater fat loss over time, meaning that
the immediate eff ect during the training period is less important
than how your body sustains that burn.
Fasting and Fat Oxidation
Although previous studies have found that the breakdown
of fatty acids is greater in fasting individuals performing
low-intensity activities for a long period of time,
no diff erences have been found in individuals performing
moderate-intensity activities (1). Additionally, Schoenfeld
discusses a study in which endurance-trained athletes
cycled after being given a placebo, a placebo and a carbohydrate
drink, or only a carbohydrate drink with variations
on the timing before or during exercise. The study
found no diff erence in impaired fat oxidation between the
carbohydrate and placebo-fed groups (1). Together, these
fi ndings demonstrate that consuming a carbohydraterich
meal before exercise will not impair the breakdown of
fat. The increase of carbohydrate intake before an event,
known as carbohydrate loading, is known to increase
the stores of muscle glycogen, and potentially lead to increased
athletic performance. However, this is only seen
in activities greater than 90 min in duration. According
to research, unless exercising for more than 90 min at a
continued low-intensity, fasting will not lead to greater fat
oxidation (5).
Quality Food is Fuel
Additional research has found that it isn’t just when you
eat, but what you eat that can aff ect the quality of your
workout. Research found that individuals given lentils, a
low-glycemic index food, experienced enhanced endurance
running capacity when compared to individuals given
potatoes, a high-glycemic index food or a placebo (2).
Exercise on an Empty Stomach Will Only Slow You Down
In order to fuel a workout properly, your body needs proper nutrition. A
focus on what goes into your body before exercise can lead to enhanced
performance during exercise. A healthy, high-carbohydrate meal eaten
prior to exercise is important to ensuring that you reach your athletic goals
(3). Make sure you leave enough time for digestion after a meal in order to
strike a balance between feeling energized versus weighted down. Finally,
understand that the best way to fuel is diff erent for every athlete. For some,
a larger meal 2 – 3 hr before sustained activity is best whereas for others, a
smaller meal 30 min before is more eff ective (3). The key to optimal performance
is to fi nd just what food combinations work best for you.
Debra Wein, MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, NSCA-CPT,*D and Katie Andrews, MS, RD

1. Febbraio, M, Chiu, A, Angus, D, Arkinstall, M, and Hawley, J. Eff ects of
carbohydrate ingestion before and during exercise on glucose kinetics and
performance. Journal of Applied Physiology 89(6): 2220–2226, 2000.
2. Karamanolis, I, Laparidis, K, Volaklis, K, Douda, H, and Tokmakidis, S. The
eff ects of pre-exercise glycemic index food on running capacity. International
Journal of Sports Medicine. Published Online, 2011.
3. Mayo Clinic. Eating and exercise: 5 Tips to maximize your workouts. Retrieved
August 23, 2011, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/exercise/
4. Schoenfeld, B. Does cardio after an overnight fast maximize fat loss?
Strength and Conditioning Journal, 33: 23–25, 2011.
5. Sedlock, D. The latest on carbohydrate loading: A practical approach.
Current Sports Medicine Reports 7: 209–213, 2008.
It will take more than proper nutrtion to fix this guy's problems.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pure Rebellion

Today weight training is so much a part of athletics and fitness, it is hard for the  younger generation  to even imagine the time when we had to train in spite of our coaches. Even into the 60's and early 70's many coaches discouraged weight training claiming it would make athletes "musclebound", whatever that is. We lifted in our garage with weights and equipment that we scrounged, saved up to buy, and made ourselves. Hard as it is to imagine now, weight training really was an act of rebellion. In many ways, real training still is. While the fitness and athletic training markets are thriving, training like a Warrior, throwing out your balance boards, bosu balls, and whole body vibrators and training multi-joint exercises with heavy weights still puts you in a select minority and can even get you kicked out of many commercial "gyms". Below is an advertisement I got on my e-mail from Atomic Athletic, a company that specializes in supplying good stuff,  made well, and preserving the heritage of real lifting. It brought back memories. Train hard and enjoy the journey.
Picking up the phone I heard silence, followed by the distinctive sound of an old man clearing his throat. I still answer the phone and talk to customers. I used to love it, but in today's world of instant gratification I rarely hear from anyone with a clue about how to hold a conversation. This guy was different. I knew I could help him out.

Still lifting sixty or more years after he first picked up a barbell, he told me of a time when that act alone was pure rebellion. It was an age before Arnold. No one had a gym membership, because you were lucky if there was even a YMCA in your town, regardless of whether or not there was a set of weights in the basement. Almost all the gyms were garage gyms, because commercial ones didn't really exist.
Tough guys in motorcycle jackets lifted weights and wore white undershirts, to show off their rebellion. Today, everybody wears t-shirts, with or without a clever picture or slogan.
Athletes, you defied your coach if you lifted weights, because weightlifting made you “muscle bound”.
I never considered my weightlifting to be an act of rebellion, but this old guy remembered that first day he picked up a barbell. That thing could have been red hot out of the foundry, burning the experience into his brain because it screamed rebellion. His older brother learned to lift weights in the navy, the one who had come home with the tattoo of a hot red head pin-up girl, not his brother the army officer.
I guess things have come full circle. When you lift in your garage, instead of a commercial gym, you are rebelling. If you lift free weights, instead of running on treadmills and lifting with machines, you are rebelling. Heck, just lifting heavy low reps is considered an act of rebellion today. “Cut abs” seem to be more important than a strong back.
That old guy was building a gym for his grandson. He sent me a couple photos and told me to match his gym as closely as possible. You guessed it. He hadn't updated anything since the 1950s: lots of standard sized iron, bars, kettlebell handles, speed bag & heavy bag, thick handles, iron boots. You get the idea.
Now, you ask, why wasn't the kid doing this project himself? I asked the same question. The quick answer was that he had, but because of a divorce, Mom did not approve. It was up to Grandpa to help instill a little rebellion in the kid.
Live strong,
Roger LaPointe

PS. The old guy had also included a picture the red head tattoo and he was right about it, she did have the right amount of curves. I made sure to point out that Red Head Retro Pin-Up poster we did. It's now framed in the kid's bedroom.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What Kind of Yogurt Does Pyrros Eat?


I really like Yogurt. It is a great after workout snack and very convenient. Here is a little information on Greek yogurt which is the best choice.
Move over, regular yogurt. Going Greek is in, and this exotic option has elbowed its way onto refrigerator shelves everywhere. Most give a big thumbs up to its taste—tangier and less sweet, as well as creamier—but is it healthier than its conventional counterpart?

First, to be clear: Both Greek and regular yogurt, in their plain, nonfat or low-fat forms, can be part of a healthful diet. They're low in calories and packed with calcium and live bacterial cultures. But our Mediterranean friend—which is strained extensively to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar, giving it its thick consistency—does have an undeniable edge. In roughly the same amount of calories, it can pack up to double the protein, while cutting sugar content by half. Those are "two things dietitians love," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian and author of The Flexitarian Diet. "For someone who wants the creamier texture, a little bit of a protein edge, and a sugar decrease, going Greek is definitely not all hype." And it's really got a following: In the past five years, Greek yogurt sales nationwide have skyrocketed, likely because it satisfies consumers' needs for health, convenience, and taste, according to Nielsen, a global marketing and advertising research company.

Here's a closer look at how the two stack up nutrition-wise.

Protein. Greek yogurt is high in protein, which helps promote fullness. A typical 6-ounce serving contains 15 to 20 grams, the amount in 2 to 3 ounces of lean meat. That makes it particularly appealing to vegetarians, who sometimes struggle to get enough of the nutrient. An identical serving of regular yogurt, on the other hand, provides just 9 grams, meaning you may feel hunger pangs sooner.

Carbohydrates. Going Greek is a smart choice for low-carb dieters. It contains roughly half the carbs as the regular kind—5 to 8 grams per serving compared with 13 to 17. Plus, the straining process removes some of the milk sugar, lactose, making Greek yogurt less likely to upset the lactose-intolerant. Remember, however, that "both types of yogurt can contain high amounts of carbs if they're sweetened with sugar or another sweetening agent," says Kari Hartel, a Missouri-based registered dietitian. "No matter which type you choose, opt for yogurt with less added sugar."

Butter or Margarine? Experts Reveal What's in Their Grocery Cart
Fat. Be wary of Greek yogurt's fat content. In just 7 ounces, Fage's fill-fat Greek yogurt packs 16 grams of saturated fat—or 80 percent of your total daily allowance if you're on a 2,000-calorie diet. (That's more than in three Snickers bars.) Dannon's regular full-fat yogurt has 5 grams of saturated fat in an 8-ounce serving. Saturated fat raises total and "bad" LDL cholesterol levels, increasing the risk for heart disease. Read nutrition labels carefully. If you're going Greek, stick to low-fat and fat-free versions.

Sodium. A serving of Greek yogurt averages 50 milligrams of sodium—about half the amount in most brands of the regular kind. (Low-sodium versions of regular yogurt are available.) Too much salt can boost blood pressure and increase the risk of other heart problems. The federal government's 2010 Dietary Guidelines urge Americans to cap sodium at 2,300 milligrams a day, or 1,500 milligrams if they're older than 50, African-American, or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.

Nutritional Labeling Gets More Sophisticated
Calcium. Regular yogurt provides 30 percent of the federal government's recommended daily amount. Greek yogurt loses some of its calcium through the straining process, but still packs a wallop. A 6-ounce cup typically supplies about 20 percent of the daily recommendation. If you're still worried about calcium intake, load up on milk, seeds, and almonds, says Sarah Krieger, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Still undecided on which team to join? Compare the labels of Dannon's regular and Greek varieties. (Other popular brands of Greek yogurt include Chobani, and Stonyfield Farm's Oikos.)

Greek (5.3 ounces, nonfat, plain)

Calories: 80
Total fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol: 10 milligrams
Sodium: 50 milligrams
Sugar: 6 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Calcium: 15 percent on a 2,000-calorie diet
Regular (6 ounces, nonfat, plain)

Calories: 80
Total fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol 5 milligrams
Sodium: 120 milligrams
Sugar: 12 grams
Protein: 9 grams
Calcium: 30 percent on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Though most experts agree that Greek yogurt has a nutritional edge, both kinds help you lose weight by keeping you full on fewer calories. The key is sticking to plain, nonfat, or low-fat varieties. In a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Harvard researchers found that yogurt can keep help keep age-related weight gain in check. People tended to lose nearly 1 pound every four years if they added a daily serving of yogurt to their diet, probably because of the way bacterial cultures affect our intestines.

If you do opt for Greek yogurt, take advantage of its versatility. Mix it with seasonings like garlic, dill, and parsley to create a unique dip for carrots, celery sticks, or cucumber slices. Toss in some berries or high-fiber granola. You can also substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream on tacos, for example, or for the eggs and oil in baked goods. It's an acceptable replacement for fatty ingredients like cream cheese, mayonnaise, and butter. "Its thick texture makes it an excellent swap for mayonnaise on sandwiches, or in dishes like potato salad, egg salad, pasta salad, and coleslaw," Hartel says. "Since these are comfort foods, it makes it easier to transition to using yogurt in recipes."

This story was originally reported by Katherine Hobson on April 6, 2009.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Schwarzenegger Dedicates Museum to Himself

I have to admit that over the years Arnold has inspired me. Even though I was never a competing "bodybuilder", those early pictures of Arnold, Franco and the gang training certainly gave me motivation to train hard in my quest for greater strength and power. I liked the fact that he used heavy weights and basic exercises and that while becoming the icon for bodybuilding, never seemed to take the "sport" or himself too seriously. He seemed to have fun training hard, doing things outside the box, and poking fun at guys who were so wrapped up in themselves. He projected confidence, bordering on arrogance, but with a smile and manner that made you like him anyway. I liked the fact that he really competed in both powerlifting and weightlifting as a teenager and earned his living as bricklayer for awhile. His story of coming to America with nothing but a gym bag and the breadth of his achievements since then is one of the great inspirational stories of all time.  In spite of all of these accomplishments, I cannot see Arnold as worthy of admiration. I can cut some slack for the steroid use as it was not illegal and was typical of the time. I can even cut him some slack for the joint smoking as well. Most of do some stupid things from time to time. Even the pre-marital relationships, which I wouldn't do myself, don't keep me from acknowledging his accomplishments. I have my own values that I live by and try not impose them on others. Still there are some values that I can't overlook. Cheating on your wife is something that a real man does not do. When that sordid news came out last year, I could no longer thnk of Arnold as anything more than a over- inflated joke. Of course Arnold is only joining a large group of otherwise powerful men who lose perspective of what is truly valuable. I have never been champion of the world in anything, The only way I'll ever earn a million dollars is if I can live long enough to work another million hours. But I have been married to the same wife for 32 years and I can look myself in the mirror knowing that I have kept my covenants. I wouldn't trade places with Arnold. Real strength and real manhood demands some basic self-discipline and commitment to honoring your promises. Everything else is just worthless window dressing if you can't be trusted. Sorry Arnold, you aren't a real man in the things that really count.
I could only laugh when I saw this article in USA TODAY this morning.

Interested in all things Ah-nuld? Then pop on over to the new Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum housed inside the renovated house where the actor-turned-politician grew up in Thal, Austria.
The Governator took a private jet to his homeland today with son Patrick to dedicate the museum, which officially opened in July. The day's festivities include the unveiling of a bronze statue molded in Schwarzenegger's likeness.
One can only imagine the treasures for sale in that museum gift shop.
That is one place I will not be visiting.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

63 Year Old Busted for Steroids

The former governator greeting Tommy Kono, one of his early inspirations.
Aging is unavoidable. Why not enjoy the journey while living to the fullest?

I came across this headline this morning as I was looking over the morning news. The article was brief....
A 63-year-old Masters track and field athlete has been suspended from competition for two years for testing positive for a doctor-prescribed steroid without a therapeutic use exemption.
S. Craig Shumaker of Glenmoore, Pa., tested positive at the USA Masters Track & Field Championships in July in Berea, Ohio. He won the men's 60 shot put and was second in the discus for his age group.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Friday those results will be forfeited.
This piqued my curiosity so I typed the name into Google to see if I could learn more. I couldn't believe that anyone 63 years old would be trying to cheat in Masters meets. It would seem that the risk vs. reward would discourage cheating. After all, what rewards are there for Masters competition other than self-satisfaction? Why would anyone knowingly assume the risks involved (Both the health risks and risks of getting caught) at age 63? I figured there must be more to it than was reflected in the newsbrief. Here is more (if not the rest) of the story......(as was posted on the Masters Track website:)
More details to come. But here’s the USADA press release. Appears to be someone who should have gotten a TUE waiver. USADA says: “Colorado Springs, Colo. (September 30, 2011) USADA announced today that Stephen Craig Shumaker of Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, an athlete in the sport of track and field, has tested positive for a prohibited substance and accepted a suspension for his doping offense. Laboratory analysis of a sample provided by Shumaker, 63, at the 2011 USA Masters Track & Field Championships, on July 28, 2011, in Berea, Ohio, resulted in an Adverse Analytical Finding for the administration of a steroid. Anabolic Androgenic Steroids are prohibited under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing and the rules of the International Association of Athletics Federations, both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.”
The doping offense involved the use of a prescribed medication under the care of a physician but without first seeking a therapeutic use exemption as required by the applicable rules.
Shumaker accepted a two-year period of ineligibility, which began on September 9, 2011, the day he accepted a provisional suspension. As a result of the sanction, Shumaker is also disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to July 28, 2011, the day his sample was collected, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.
In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes,
and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation.
USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.
So it seems that Craig was using prescribed medications, but failed to file for the precompetition exemption. That made a little more sense, but I still wondered if that was all there was to it. I looked further and found a statement that he posted.....

 “This is all I will have to say on the matter and hope that someday masters associations will have an honest and open discourse regarding legally prescribed medications and how they may/may not improve performance at the masters level.”Here is Craig’s statement:
I was recently informed that I had tested positive for banned substances at the 2011 National Masters Championships. I do admit to taking legally prescribed medication for high blood pressure and hormone replacement therapy, all under the care of my family physician. I will also state that as a 63-year-old I should not have to ask someone’s permission to do what is best for my health and well being, at the risk of not being able to compete.
I did not take any medications to gain a competitive advantage and for those who know me, my body type has not changed in over 15 years, my throws have shown no dramatic improvement over time or any one point in time, I have arthritis in both hands and hips and have recently undergone a total hip replacement.
While the inevitable character inuendoes will occur, I ask you to consider the following: Why should masters level individuals have to scurry around checking a massive list of banned substances and change medications that might not work as well just so we can comply with procedures designed for Open/Olympic competitors where individuals chase thousands of thousands of dollars and individual fame?
I did not pursue a TUE because it would never have been approved; yet there is no research done on masters level athletes that would indicate hormone replacement therapy (Androgel) is in fact a PED. It is easier for organizations to hide behind generalities than to have an open and honest debate about legal medications and how they may/may not improve performance with regard to master level athletes.
What is the purpose of masters athletics? To set world records and improve one’s reputation as “the man”? I believe it should be about encouraging participation and wellness, trying your best given where you are in life at any given moment. At our ages, we all have medical issues that medical science can help alleviate, so why not have a reasonable, well-intentioned PED policy?
For those who have made it their mission to “clean up” the sport in the name of a level playing field you are chasing an illusion. Not because of drugs but because it is unattainable. We all compete against others who are bigger, stronger, faster, have better training facilities, a coach, someone to pay their travel expenses or whatever they are fortunate enough to have access to,
so you will never level the playing field.
As for me, I am sure my throwing days are done and hope that this country can someday have an
intelligent discourse about masters athletics and legally prescribed medication usage. I will miss seeing all of my friends around the circuit and wish all of you good health.
It seems that Craig is trying to make some kind of political statement here. While I can understand frustration with governing body bureaucracy, I really can't agree with his reasoning here. First, as we stated in an earlier post a month or so ago, I think this whole hormone replacement business is an exercise in futility to begin with. Second,  if you choose to do it, why not just apply for the exemption and play by the rules? Anyway, best wishes to all who try to hang on as long as possible. Why go quietly into the night when you can go out kicking and screaming? Live strong and live well. Never forget that the real "Fountain of Youth" is regular, smart exercise and sound eating habits. Save your money and forget the drugs and hormones unless you have a real disease.

Tommy Kono in his prime. Always a champion.