Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Why Do You Train?

Video still of 93-year-old bodybuilder Dr. Charles Eugster (© BBC News, http://aka.ms/ripped)
As we've said many times on this site....if there is a fountaini of youth, it is exercise and resistance training is the king. There are many different reasons for training and motivation is an individual thing. This guy has found something that works for him.....
Dr. Charles Eugster has a simple reason to stay in shape: for the ladies. "The idea is to turn the heads of the sexy young 70-year-old girls on the beach," the beyond-ripped 93-year-old says. That's why the former dentist works out for two hours at a time (pausing only to politely ask his fellow gym members if he can "add a few kilos" to their machines). Our new hero didn't turn to bodybuilding until he was 87, but after six years, he can bang out more than 60 pullups and 50 pushups at a time. "I am of the opinion that no age is too old," he says. "Aging has become an enormous pleasure, a delight, a joy."

Friday, October 26, 2012

There is Hope

Two athletes worthy of emulation.

While the last post was a little depressing, even more than a little depressing, this article gives some relief and hope. There are still some great role models out there, they often just don't get the attention that the outlaws get. Indeed, Chad Lewis, a former BYU and NFL tight end came to our area for a presentation last year and said that the quality of individuals he associated with in the NFL is one of the the league's best kept secrets. As the article mentions, Chad was inducted into the Utah Hall of Fame along with Stockton and Malone. I am grateful for their examples of hard work and commitment to lifelong fitness. Warriors to the end. The other two gentlemen that were inducted, Doug Padilla and Richard George, were both great track athletes. Doug was a distance runner who now is a director of operations for the BYU track program and Richard was a top level javelin thrower for BYU and went on to graduate school at Harvard and success in business. 
With all of the negative publicity that the cheaters get, it is too easy to overlook the greatness of those who perservere and do things the right way.

SALT LAKE CITY – Nine years after they last played together, Karl Malone and John Stockton appeared Tuesday night at EnergySolutions Arena in game shape. That's no exaggeration.
Malone's biceps were threatening to split his suit sleeves, yet his stomach was as flat as his game-day glare. Stockton arrived looking cool and lean in a dark suit, the same size he wore when he retired.
"Same weight," Stockton said. "My goal is not to change that.
Both appeared fit enough, if not quick enough, to again play for the Jazz. Talk about a plan: Retire rich, keep your health and skip the game day shoot-arounds.
"If my life depended on it — which it don't — but if it did, I could play a little bit," Malone said. "But there'd be a lot of fouls. And I'm gonna foul you hard, by the way."
    John Stockton talks to the media prior to being inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 at Energy Solutions Arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)  
The occasion was the annual Utah Sports Hall of Fame banquet, held at the venue most familiar to Stockton and Malone. They were part of a five-member induction class that included NFL and BYU tight end Chad Lewis, BYU distance runner Doug Padilla and BYU javelin-thrower Richard George.
While Lewis, Padilla and George are deserving athletes, the night clearly was a Stockton-to-Malone event. When you honor the two most famous basketball players in the state's history, it's a spectacle. On a national scale, the Utah hall is a small deal. Stockton and Malone were NBA All-Stars a combined 24 times. Both are in the Basketball Hall of Fame and on the list of the 50 greatest players in league history.
So it's hard to imagine Tuesday's affair was their career highlight. Yet both acted as though it were their first award, saying they were honored and humbled.
   Karl Malone, John Stockton and Chad Lewis look at Karl's phone prior to being inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 at Energy Solutions Arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)  
Their return brought to mind the current Jazz, a talented but starless amalgam. There are no Hall of Famers on this year's team; at least not yet. That doesn't mean they'll be awful, but illustrates they're two superstars shy of contention. That wasn't the case for most of an 18-year span.
Year after year, game after game, Stockton and Malone were as reliable and relentless as the calendar.
What made them stars, though, wasn't just their talent, but their approach. They came to training camp each year ready to roll, no assembly required. While other players tried to play their way into condition, the two superstars had passed that hurdle the previous August.
Their body fat was four percent when the season ended and four percent on Oct. 1.
"He would leave me a message that said, 'Hey, you up yet?' We competed, even when weren't together," Malone said. "Our training, I think, is legendary. No matter what, no matter how tired, if I called him in summertime and said we need a 30-minute pickup game, he was in shape to play."
   John Stockton talks to the media prior to being inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 at Energy Solutions Arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)  
Malone knew that whatever the hour, whenever the day, Stockton would have the engine warming.
"So he drove me to train because of the way he looked," Malone said.
Malone said he doesn't make the early morning or late-night training calls to Stockton that he once did.
"I know what he'll look like," Malone said on Tuesday, glancing at the door before Stockton arrived. "He'll come in at fighting weight."
Stockton's rejoinder: "I (still) think about him when I'm in the weight room."
Today there are things that could intervene, if allowed. Both say family obligations are their top priority and both have numerous business interests. Stockton is typically guarded about those, beyond his car dealership. Malone, too, has car dealerships to augment a timber operation, commercial developments and a Texaco/Arby's. Yet they still act as though any minute they'll get the call from Jerry Sloan.
 Karl Malone talks with members of the media prior to being inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 at Energy Solutions Arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)  
Malone works out several times a week, two hours at a time.
"I train because I get edgy if I go a couple of days and don't work out," he said.
"Mostly I go in the weight room and visit," Stockton said.
Appropriately, Tuesday's ceremony was on the floor of ESA. It's uncertain whether they passed on dessert. But it's safe to assume that by this morning, they were running treadmills, lifting weights and putting in the work, just as they did for the last 27 years and counting.
-Brad Rock, Deseret News
Twitter: therockmonster

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Yet Another Steroid Story

Sadly, great performances will always be suspect.

Bet when you saw the title, you thought this post was about Lance Armstrong. Well, yes and no.  Below is an article from the London Olympics concerning the disqualification of the female shotput gold medalist from Belarus. A strange story about how her coach supposedly spiked her food without her knowledge. A similar scenerio occured in '96 in weighlifting when a Russian lifter tested postive and was allowed to lift when he presented the case that his jealous ex-girlfriend spiked his milkshake. The Russian Federation was assessed a fine and he was able to compete.
 It has been a steady stream of negative stories of steroid and drug usage for years now. Even those who manage to pass random testing are being exposed. Marion Jones and now Lance Armstrong are two examples of those who fell long and hard. I am all for a level playing field, but I'm not sure we have the means to ensure that. They can strip Lance Armstrong of his amazing 7 Tour de France titles, but they can't give another clean athlete the thrill of putting on the yellow jersey after a grueling ride those 7 times. It's over and done and too late to fix. Being awarded a championship days, weeks, or months after the event is not the same. There is often question as to whether the default medalists were any cleaner than the exposed cheaters.
The saddest part, in my opinion, is that the credibility of all sport is severely challenged in the eyes of the general public. Now every coach potato who has never worked or sweated for anything, who knows nothing about performance enhancing substances, legal or illegal,  smuggly sits watching great performances and attributing them to "steroids". They will still feed the major league baseball, NFL football, and the NBA machines out of habit and for the spectacle, but they assume that all great track and weightlifting or strongman athletes are on steroids. Sadly, I have to admit, it even makes experienced followers like myself view outstanding performances with some suspicion. The days of using athletics as a tool to develop fair play and work ethic among our youth have been replaced by cynicism. Who can we trust? When will they be caught?

MINSK (Reuters) - Belarus shot putter Nadezhda Ostapchuk, who was stripped of the Olympic gold medal last month after testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid, has been handed a one-year suspension, the country's anti-doping agency (NADA) said on Tuesday.

Ostapchuk, 31, was given a lesser sentence than a standard two-year ban after her coach Alexander Yefimov admitted intentionally spiking her food with the steroid.
"Yefimov confessed he had put the banned drug metenolone into Ostapchuk's food without her knowledge because he was worried by her performances in the lead-up to the London Games," NADA head Alexander Vankhadlo told a news conference.
Yefimov has received a four-year suspension for his part in the doping case.
"He had admitted his guilt," added Vankhadlo.
Ostapchuk has denied any wrongdoing, saying she was tested twice before competing in London and both tests returned negative results.
"In total, I've been tested 16 times since April. You must be a complete idiot to take doping just before the competition especially such an outdated drug as a steroid, knowing you're going to be tested not once but probably several times," Ostapchuk said last month.
Ostapchuk, who had won the Olympic gold with a throw of 21.36 metres, was world champion in 2005 and European champion two years ago. In July, at a meeting in Minsk, she threw 21.58, the best outdoor distance in the world since 1998.
New Zealand's Valerie Adams, who finished second behind Ostapchuk in London, was awarded gold, with Russian Evgenia Kolodko promoted to silver and China's Gong Lijiao getting the bronze medal.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Exercise as Punishment

Hard work is fun and should never be considered a punishment!

The article below is an example of why it is so hard to be a teacher or coach these days. First, I have to say that I have never used physical activity  as a punishment. I am of the opinion that physcial exercise is a good thing and it is a privilege to do it. As a young athlete I came up through a system where our scholastic coaches routinely prescribed extra sprints, grass drills, pushups,..etc. for whatever problems or shortcomings that we may have had, both performance or behavior wise. That was just the way it was done. Running sprints until someone dropped or threw up their lunch was the accepted way to keep us in line. As a freshman at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, our coaches used the same strategy. I remember one game in particular where our coaches thought we underperformed and we ran countless sprints immediately after the game while our coach swore at us the whole time. It wasn't until I got to BYU and played under Coach LaVell Edwards, that I found out that there was another approach to get results and excellence. Coach Edwards always stuck to his predetermined schedule, regardless of the outcome of the games. We ran as much as was necessary for conditioning and exercise was never used as punishment. When we had a good day, he didn't get too excited, just said "good job" and we got ready for the next test. If we performed poorly, he said "you didn't play very well today, we will do better next time." and we stuck to our routine. Things worked out pretty well and today Coach Edwards has a stadium with his name on it. When I began coaching I determined that I liked the BYU style the best. As a professional physical educator I didn't want to kids to grow up hating and fearing exercise. Over the years I have never used physical activity as punishment. I didn't want them to finish their careers and vow to never run another sprint or do another pushup. We worked hard and conditioning was painful at times, but I always told the players why we were doing it and promised that it would make them better. We stuck to our planned progressive routine and didn't add additional work for mistakes or poor performance. In fact, I chose to do the opposite. The ultimate form of discipline was to send a player to the shower. If someone wasn't focused or was underperforming, we sent them to the locker room. Working out with the team was a privilege. Exercise is good, not a punishment.
Once I had an assistant coach who still thought the only effective way to correct players was to run extra sprints. One day while I was away from practice he had the players run everytime he wasn't satisfied with their performance. All that he accomplished was to lose their trust and respect.
So, when I read the article below, my first reaction is that it is stupid and ineffective to have a student run in order to correct a non running related problem. If a player fumbles I would have them do more ball handling drills rather than run laps. If a player has a bad attitude, I would send them home until their attitude was adjusted. However, having said that, I think labeling physical activity as "corporal punishment" has it's own set of issues. I could never support that. Micro regulating the things teacher and coaches can or can't do turns the system upside down and puts the kids in  charge. In the long run this is a dangerous and slippery slope as the coach points out at the end of the article. Players need discipline and coaches need to be in charge, but a good coach will find better ways to discipline than mindless running or exercise purely for the sake of pain.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The practice of coaches using extra running to punish players for bad behavior and poor performance is getting new scrutiny in Iowa following a school district report about a Des Moines football coach accused of violating corporal punishment policies by making a student sprint and take laps.

The report released Thursday examined the suspended high school coach's actions, the Des Moines Register reported. The sophomore player was being punished for making derogatory comments about the varsity squad.

The Des Moines schools' investigation determined that the Lincoln High School player ran at least 20 hill sprints, completed 20 up-and-down drills, lapped the practice field twice and then went on to run more hill sprints. All of the activity was done in 25 to 30 minutes, and an athletic trainer said the student was not given a water break.

Corporal punishment is illegal in Iowa schools and is defined as physical force or physical contact made with the intent to harm or cause pain. That law provides a specific exemption for "reasonable requests or requirements of a student engaged in activities associated with physical education class or extracurricular athletics."

Thomas Mayes, an attorney for the Iowa Department of Education, believes that running or extra conditioning could be considered corporal punishment under the law, but said "there is no bright line that can be drawn between what is reasonable and unreasonable."

"There is a difference between girls' sports and boys' sports, between first grade (physical education) and high school P.E. and recreational athletes versus world-class athletes," Mayes said.

Some Iowa athletic officials contacted by the newspaper said making players run extra for punishment may soon be a thing of the past.

Tom Wilson, activities director at Dowling Catholic High School, agreed that times have changed, but called the issue is "a slippery slope."

"If they start disallowing any form of discipline in this way, I think youth sports are in trouble," Wilson said.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More Fit Politicians....

Piggy backing off of our last post on fit to lead......
This has got to be a sign that the apocalypse is almost upon us.......
An exercise book by......Sarah Palin?

Sarah Palin debuted a new look in Los Angeles this week: frosted hair, frosted lips, and a thinner figure than she's had in the past. Turns out, she's got a new project to go with it - penning a diet and exercise tome.
In an email to People magazine Tuesday, the former Alaska governor and VP candidate wrote, "Our family is writing a book on fitness and self-discipline focusing on where we get our energy and balance as we still eat our beloved homemade comfort foods!"
Palin, who famously made moose chili and moose cheese dogs during a 2008 interview, promised a book that's "unique and motivating." She added, "We promise you what we do works and allows a fulfilling quality of life and sustenance anyone can enjoy."
People noted that it's unclear if Palin has a book contract or publishing date.
This is Palin's latest foray into the entertainment world. From 2010 to 2011, she starred in "Sarah Palin's Alaska," a TLC reality show that featured her and her family (and Kate Gosselin, in one episode) exploring the 49th state's outdoor splendors. It was canceled after one season.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fit to Lead?

Gov. Christie is not on the list of the Fittest Politicians.
But I wouldn't want to take him on in a pie eating contest!

As we are in the midst of a big election here in the U.S.A. Here is information on what is really important to know. How physically fit are the candidates and what kind of workouts are they doing? It seems that we have some reasonable choices this time on both sides of the aisle, if this article is giving us the truth...lol
A few weeks ago we posted an article which questioned the fitness of our youth to train for combat. How fit are those who want to lead? Here are a few examples that are encouraging.....

Image is everything in American politics.
With a relentless 24 hour news cycle and an Internet full of bloggers ready to jump on every gaffe or goofy photo op, we look to our leaders to represent not only our intellectual and civic ideals, but our physical ideals as well.
Why do you think so many pro athletes get into politics? Glory earned on the playing field seems to naturally translate when it comes to the bruising arena in Washington and every state house. In this list of the Fittest Men in American Politics, you'll find many elected officials who crossed over from sports, along with gym rats, triathletes, pundits, a foreign dignitary, and, yes, three men vying for the most powerful position in the land. You may not agree with all of their politics, but their dedication to personal health and fitness is something we can all admire.
1. Scott Brown
You don't want to mess with Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts. After all, the man is a colonel in the Army National Guard, where he's served for 32 years. And, while he was in law school, Brown was fit enough to win a contest in Cosmopolitan magazine and appear in the pages in some unclothed but safe-for-work photos. He stays in cover model shape by regularly competing (and doing quite well, we should add) in triathlons and duathlons.
Get on the road to lifelong fitness by brushing up on the best exercises for men.
2. Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney may have taken on a younger running mate obsessed with training in Paul Ryan—but the 64-year old former Massachusetts governor is no slouch in the fitness department himself. Nor is he a slouch when it comes to style. An avid jogger, Romney has said he runs at least 3 miles a day and reportedly hits the elliptical machine for 30 to 40 minutes at hotel gyms while on the road. He loves peanut butter and honey sandwiches (getting protein and antioxidants without resorting to higher cholesterol lunch options), and counts skiing among his hobbies—after all, he was President and CEO of the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. All this may belie his rigid demeanor, but Romney insists he’s nothing if not flexible when it comes to health. He recently confessed that Ryan isn’t just his VP pick—but a personal trainer as well. “I might have him show me how to do  P90X someday,” he said. “I’ve never tried that.”

3. Cory Booker
Long before he became the mayor of Newark, N.J., Cory Booker was a Division I collegiate athlete, played tight end while an undergrad at Stanford University, and was selected to the All-Pac 10 Academic Team. As mayor, he started the innovative “Cory Booker Challenge,” which uses a Facebook app to reward points to Newark residents every time they exercise. Beyond that, Booker (a vegetarian) has become almost a folk hero in Democratic circles as an advocate for inner city youth and liberal ideals. The guy is also tough as nails—he's been known to accompany police during late night patrols in the most dangerous sections of Newark and was once a target of an assassination attempt by a local Bloods gang.
4. Adam Kinzinger
Adam Kinzinger is a rising star in Washington—TIME listed the 34 year-old U.S. Representative from Illinois in their "40 Under 40 list" and The Hill described him as the “Tom Cruise of Congress.” But the latter accolade wasn’t for any chair-jumping, Scientology antics. Kinzinger (who stays in shape through weightlifting and running) is a real-life Top Gun—an Air Force pilot who has done three tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. But his most heroic physical act may have happened domestically. In 2006, he confronted a man who had cut a woman’s throat with a knife on a Milwaukee street, wrestled the attacker to the ground, and held him there until help arrived (the woman survived). “It was the worst and craziest night of my life,” Kinzinger later said.

5. Adrian Fenty
It takes a strong mind and body to hold office in Washington, DC. Luckily, former mayor Adrian Fenty—a dedicated cyclist and triathlete—has both in abundance. The 41 year-old son of two avid runners who own a DC-area sporting goods store, Fenty has competed in multiple sports since high school, but only started training for triathlons in his mid-30s. It didn’t take him long to become a pro, finishing 16th in a field of 2000 at the inaugural Washington DC triathlon in 2010. Off the track, he lapped the field as well, spending $7 million in his first 20 months in office for road and trail improvements and initiating the SmartBike DC program. After losing out to Democrat Vincent Gray in the 2011 mayoral election, Fenty turned to consulting work, but there are rumors he may run again—in a sense, he never stopped running in the first place.
6. David Petraeus
You don’t get to be a four-star general and without pushing your body to the absolute max. For the 58 year-old David Petraeus (current director of the CIA), that means getting up at dawn and going on a five-mile run, then following up with 20 pull-ups and 100 pushups. But that’s just basic training. "When we bring a new guy in, I take him out for a run," Petraeus told Runner’s World in 2007. "I'll go out hard, then ramp it up around five miles to try to waste him. I want to know how he'll react and respond to the challenge, what his strength of character is." This is coming from a guy who was a soccer and skiing star at West Point and once ran a marathon in 2:50:53. So you know those new CIA recruits have a long road ahead. Hope they can keep up—this old-timer has plenty of leg left in him.
7. Barack Obama
No matter how you feel about his policies, there’s one thing you can’t deny about Barack Obama: the man is in great shape for someone who’s endured four grueling years of a recession, multiple wars, and an increasingly hostile environment in Washington. His secret is the same as always: Play basketball, eat right, and make it to the gym regularly. Back when Men’s Health interviewed the then-senator in the fall of 2008, he was trying to get in a 45 minute, 6-day a week workout (“I’ll lift one day and do cardio the next”). He also shared 6 Lessons That Shaped President Obama's Life. Now, with his presidential duties and a rigorous campaign schedule, it’s more difficult for him to find time to work out. But he still hits the b-ball court often, hooping it up with the likes of NBA stars past and present (Michael Jordan recently joined him for the “Obama Classic” fundraiser in NYC).
8. Aaron Schock
Last year, Men’s Health declared Aaron Schock America’s Fittest Congressman (Check out The Secret Behind Schock's Rock-Hard Abs). And for good reason: The now 31-year-old U.S. Congressman from Illinois is the youngest member of the House of Representatives and has dedicated himself to a life advocating for our nation’s health, regardless of party politics (the Republican praised Michelle Obama for her Let’s Move campaign that addresses childhood obesity). He also launched the Fit for Summer, Fit for Life challenge with the help of Men’s Health—even while taking some flak from pundits for appearing on our cover displaying his toned abs. Could they have just been jealous? We’re looking at you, Wolf Blitzer.
9. Paul Ryan
Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan wants to cut Washington excess—literally. The P90X devotee once led a fitness class on Capitol Hill and boasts that he only has 6 to 8 percent body fat, thanks to his strict diet and exercise regimen. OK, sure, he may have fudged his marathon time a little (he said he ran one in under 3 hours, when it was closer to 4). But for the Wisconsin Congressman, being in shape isn’t just for political theater—it’s personal. After his father died from heart failure at the age of 55, Ryan dedicated himself to staying in shape to avoid the same fate and even worked as a personal trainer. Now that he’s in the national spotlight, the electorate has taken notice of his sleek physique. In the 12 hours after Mitt Romney announced him as his running mate, “shirtless” was one of the top 2 search terms associated with “Paul Ryan.” Learn The Truth About Paul Ryan's Workout to get ripped like America's fittest politician.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Football Training

It's that time of year again here in the U.S.A. Football is the spectacle that pays the bills for most of the other collegiate sports. Training for American football is so laden with tradition, ego, and inbreeding (coaches hire former players and the programs are perpetuated for better and for worse). What football teams do in their palatial weight rooms can be humorous at times. I have seen teams invest in expensive platforms and bumper plates, then do nothing but hang cleans. I have seen big belts cinched on tight for a bench press workout and "strength coaches" cheering and exhorting 1 more rep while the athlete is power cleaning with a rounded back and pulling with his arms. I could go on and on but the point is, in most football weight rooms, enthusiasm generally far exceeds knowlege and technical expertise. Having ranted all that, below is clip that shows some pretty good teachnique by football standards. While I do not buy into the idea that bashing a medicine ball against the wall prepares the body to take a hit, overall the program and the feedback the players are recieving is commendable. I also like the platforms being unencumbered by the racks and good squat depth along with basic movements like rows. If you watch the whole thing, there are bunch of other programs featured that allow comparison. There are some commendable programs and then there are many teams that seem to win on the field in spite of what they do in the weight room.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Russian Junior Camp

We've had some posts on more general health and fitness types of things lately. Here is some real meat for real lifters and other athletes. This is a really interesting film clip of the Russian national junior team. It is alot of fun to see their daily routine and preparations. The former Soviet Union dominated the weight lifting world for several decades through the 60's and 70's. The Russian team does not dominate to that level as many of their former union countries also produce strong lifters and currently the Asian and Middle Eastern countries are very competetive as we all know. Yet, the Russian system is still venerable and consistently produces world class competitors. Here is an inside look with english language sub-titles. It is fun to see the reporter's humor and amazing to see the progress in the quality of facilities, food,..etc. from the old Soviet system in the 60's and 70's. It is ironic that we used to think that the Soviets were far advanced in technology and we were primitive amateurs (as portrayed in the stereotypical film clip below from the movie Rocky IV) when in reality it was us with the best equipment and facilities, not to mention better food and (dare we say it?)  better drugs. Anyway, that was then, and this  is now. As this clip shows they have facilities equal to anything in the west for weight lifting training.