Friday, November 28, 2014

Fat chance: How much obesity is costing us

Here is an article to digest the day after Thanksgiving. Hopefully you all had a great day and enjoyed some good food. The problem is that too many enjoy too much not-so-good food too often and it costs all of us. Be part of the solution, not part of the pollution.

Fat chance: How much obesity is costing us

Our expanding waistlines are costing the global economy almost as much to deal with as smoking and military conflict, according to a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute.

The annual global bill for obesity for lost productivity and treating treating conditions like diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers is $2 trillion. That's nearly as much as the $2.1 trillion smoking or war and conflict costs the global economy, a group of analysts at the research institute concluded.

Around 3.4 million adults die every year because they are overweight or obese, according to World Health Organization (WHO)statistics.

Root causes 

The long-term causes are well-known. Compared to a century ago, food is cheaper and more widely available in most countries – and lots of high-calorie foods are cheaper still. Technology means we are less likely to be walking a long way to work or school, and more likely to be sitting at a desk than tilling the soil.

The prevalence of childhood obesity is particularly concerning for future growth of the epidemic. In some low and middle income countries, "it is not uncommon to find under-nutrition and obesity existing side-by-side within the same country, the same community and the same household," as high-fat, low-nutrient foods form an increasing part of the diet, according to WHO.

Better healthcare also means that "carrying a few extra pounds is not as bad for one's health as it used to be," according to Eric Finkelstein and Laurie Zuckerman, in their book The Fattening of America. Despite several attempts, the pharmaceutical industry has not come up with a blockbuster pill-based treatment to help obese people lose weight, and the most effective, although drastic, treatment remains surgery.

The economic costs of obesity are particularly acute in the U.K., where "people are now living considerably longer than they did when the NHS was first established in 1948, but they are not living longer healthily," a group of MPs looking into primary care and public health warned last year.

Weighing up the options

Portion control is one of the most cost-effective ways of limiting the economic impact of obesity, according to the McKinsey study.

However, intervening in people's lives is a difficult problem for governments: Clamping down on portion size or otherwise limiting access to high-calorie food and drinks can be seen as violating the right of individuals. An example of such a measure back-firing can be seen in the campaign to ban super-sized sugary drinks in New York, which was defeated in the state's Court of Appeals in June.

The best way to contain the cost of the obesity epidemic is likely to be "a combination of top-down corporate and government interventions, together with bottom-up community-led ones", the McKinsey analysts argued.

So portion control, and changing the composition and availability of high-calorie foods could go hand-in-hand with educating parents and schoolchildren, under the plans outlined.

- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle

and here is another article.......

London • A new report by the McKinsey Global Institute released Thursday that the global cost of obesity has risen to $2 trillion annually — nearly as much as smoking or the combined impact of armed violence, war and terrorism.

The report focused on the economics of obesity, putting it among the top three social programs generated by human beings. It puts its impact at 2.8 percent of global gross domestic product.

"Obesity isn’t just a health issue," one of the report’s authors, Richard Dobbs, said in a podcast. "But it’s a major economic and business challenge."

The company says 2.1 billion people — about 30 percent of the global population— are overweight or obese and that about 15 percent of health care costs in developed economies are driven by it.
 In emerging markets, as countries get richer, the rate of obesity rises to the same level as that found in more developed countries. The report offers the stark prediction that nearly half of the world’s adult population will be overweight or obese by 2030 should present trends continue.

The report’s authors argue that efforts to deal with obesity have been piecemeal until now, and that a systemic response is needed.

McKinsey says there’s no single or simple solution to the problem, but global disagreement on how to move forward is hurting progress. The analysis is meant to offer a starting point on the elements of a possible strategy.

"We see our work on a potential program to address obesity as the equivalent of the maps used by 16th-century navigators," McKinsey said in its report. "Some islands were missing and some continents misshapen in these maps, but they were still helpful to the sailors of that era."
Not this ..........


Monday, November 24, 2014

The Only Two Things Strength Experts Agree On

Below is an article from Charles Poliquin that I really, really agree with. And that is....."experts" do not agree and yet have great success. Each individual is a unique human specimen and will respond to training differently. While there can be a wide range of what is optimal for each athlete, there are some constants, and overload is the big one. Experiment and learn to listen to YOUR body. Observe what other successful athletes are doing,but don't blindly follow anyone else's program. Champions find their own way and have confidence in what they are doing.
The above video of the legendary Paul Anderson is a great example of this.

The Only Two Things Strength Experts Agree On
November 10, 2014 by Charles Poliquin


Over the years, I have met some excellent strength experts who certainly practice what they preach.

The most interesting part is that there is a lot they disagree on.

For example, in terms of frequency Ed Coan is diametrically opposite to Dr. Abadjiev, yet you cannot disagree at the results they produced. Regarding reps, Roger Estep trained almost only on singles while Anthony Dittilo liked multiple sets of 3 to 5 reps. Bill Kazmaier used a great number of reps. Confusing? Yes. However, after spending 37 years interacting with the World’s best strength experts I can advance that there are two things they all agree on.

Agreement #1: Experiment, experiment, to find out what works best for you

At the end of the day, all of them tried multiple systems and they evolved into a groove/system that worked best for them. All of these experts tried loads of systems that had various degrees of results, and then made up their own mind. I have spent the last three weeks teaching with one of the World’s strongest men, Dmitry Klokov. He has been training twenty years, the first twelve years, he followed very strict programs. In the last years, he has followed more of an instinctive approach.

To be fair, the instinctive workouts are based on the workouts that were part of the systematic approach. He also stated that for peaking purposes i.e. World Championships, he has a favorite 3 week program which he never changes. Has kept it the same for the last 8 years. He advanced that the unloading approach particular to it made him peaked at the right time.

Getting strong is a quest. One must go do several roads to ultimately find out the ingredients that work best for him.

Agreement # 2: Overload will get you there

If you don’t coax your muscles into getting stronger, nothing will happen. The rule is rather simple: in order to get stronger, you need to lift heavier weights. However, besides simply increasing the weight on a regular basis, there are many ways to overload.

For example, here is a video of Dmitry paused for extended length of time in the back squat, he strongly believes, as I do, that dead stop pauses in extensor chain movements (squats, presses, and deadlifts) is a short-cut to maximal strength. Matt Kroc likes reverse bands, Dittillo liked functional isometrics.

At the end, experimentation and keeping accurate records will help you determine what works for you.

Always make progress,


Thursday, November 20, 2014


Debbie Millet Carroll - Team Praxis
Debbie in a lifting mode.

Praxis Gym is a hard core lifting facility and lifting team located in Salt Lake City. It is owned and operated by Debbie Millet Carroll who served as meet director for the 2014 Weightlifting National Championships last Summer. As we reported earlier, this event was generally considered the best ever nationals here in the U.S. The Utah lifters really put on a great meet with a beautiful venue and plenty of volunteers to make everything run smoothly.
I really like their approach to recovery as outlined below. It is simple, doable for anyone, and it really makes a huge difference in ongoing progress.
I recommend to all lifters and athletes who are serious about their progress..

Recovery is key to making progress.  Olympic lifters train hard and systematically in order to recover for improved strength and speed.

All athletes competing in the sport of Olympic weightlifting sign an agreement to comply with WADA regulations.

At Praxis, we do not use performance enhancing drugs.  We don't cycle on and off of them - we don't use the at all.  Period.  Ever.

This makes performance and recovery a challenge.  Working out day after day in a cold gym in the winter with nothing in your system but a big glass of water and a breakfast your mom would approve of is not for the weak.  It takes a lot of self discipline.  But it's possible.  It happens across the country in countless gyms day after day.

Here's what we do (in order of importance):

1. Sleep.  7-8 hrs a night. The hormonal response from a good night's sleep is critical. Growth hormone is released at night. 

2. Water.  Lots and lots of water. 

3. Protein.  Lots and lots of protein.  (avg. 1g per 2.5kg x bdywt per day)

4. Nutrition: The more seriously you take food, the better your lifts will be. Avoid sugar because of its inflammatory affects, eat broccoli and spinach by the handfuls.  Veggies of all diff colors, shapes, sizes and genders. 

5. Fish oil. Obscene amounts. (min 6 grams for younger lifters, 10 for older lifters or anyone struggling with inflammation. We're CRAZY)

6. Glutamine.  White powder from heaven. (5g before a workout, 10g after; add 5g extra before if the workout will be stressful and skip the preworkout if on a budget)

7. Multivitamin.  Every single day. 

8. Vitamin E.  800iu.  Yes that is double the daily allowance.  FDA bite me. 

9. Vitamin C. 2,000-3,000mg (antioxidant on the cellular level for stress from training)

10. Stretch. Post workout stretching. Spinal decompressions. 

11. Epsom Salt.  Soak in it.  Cold or hot.  Your choice.

12. Contrast Showers. The measure of a truly dedicated competitor. Only for the beasts and only when they are in beast-mode.

Supplement companies will sell to anyone who is willing to
 "drink the Coolaid". 

Be smart.  Train hard.  Recover clean.

Debbie Carroll
In a coaching mode.
the - gym - 1
A view of the Praxis Gym

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2014 World Weightlifting Championships

The 2014 World Weightlifting Championships just concluded. There is not space to do justice to the entire event in one post, but here are a couple of my favorite classes.
Lifters are some of the most amazing athletes. The first video shows highlights of the tough men's 105 kg class and the second is the entire women's 75 kg class including some warmup footage.
Watch and learn.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Floyd Clifford, 87 year old champion

Here is a great story about Floyd Clifford, a Utah man who is still lifting at 87 years old. A video of him at 85 is also shown. More power to you Floyd!

(KUTV) Floyd Clifford, 87, is soft spoken and iron hard. A gentleman of the gym, he has pushed, pulled, and lifted the limits of age and fitness, repeatedly locking in dead lifts of more than 300 pounds. Video on YouTube showed Clifford lifting 303 two years ago in Salt Lake City, at an event sponsored by the Utah-based World Association of Benchers and Dead Lifters. It was enough to earn him a "world record" for his size, in the 85-89 age group, but it wasn't his heaviest lift. "When I was 76, I did pretty well," Clifford told 2News. "I got 330 pounds up." At the Holladay-Lions Recreation Center, dressed in sweat pants and a t-shirt, he strapped on a leather weight lifting belt, cinched it around his 142 pound frame and hoisted 225 pounds. "I could do a little more in this, but you know...," he said. "You don't want to show off?" said 2News' Brian Mullahy. "No," Clifford replied. The understated Clifford described weights on either side of the bar as "just a couple of balloons." A psychological hold and workouts four days a week have given rise to enviable physical health. But the toned Clifford has also relished competition. "People are applauding you. They're yelling. They're applauding you on, urging you," he said. "Competition is what keeps people going. Without competition, the world would be very, very dull." When he was in his mid-70s, Clifford's son Joe, who had been weight lifting, talked his dad into giving it a try; but the seeds of Floyd Clifford's strength may has been sown as a boy in southeast Idaho. "I think it's more or less called power lifting when you're on a farm," Clifford said. He would sling sacks of potatoes and bales of hay, play football, basketball, baseball and track in school and go for personal gold over a girl names Goldie. "There was a girl in high school I wanted to impress," he said. "From then on, I tried to do the best I could. I ended up doing a little better than I thought." He married her, and they have four adult children, and as many grand kids. Clifford's secret is actually a series: exercise, eat well, "do the right thing," and help others. "When you see other people working out, go and pat them on the back, and say, 'You're doing great, keep it up. "Pay attention to other people. If they're not lifting right, try to help them if they can accept it. See if they can lift a little bit more." Clifford said his diet is high in vegetables, and low in sugar, no candy, no pastries, no soda pop, and the man from potato country, will not eat potato chips. Lean and fit, the WWII veteran and retired computer supervisor at a food wholesaler, has not yet reached every goal. At age 90, he said he plans to lift in competition again, this time with an eye on beating his best lift ever, 330 pounds. His aim: 331. _______

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mustang Volleyball 2014

Probably the top athletic program at Monument Valley high school over the years has been our volleyball team. Under legendary coach Lucinda Nash they won 999 games over a 34 year period including 8 state championships and 6 times as runner-up. A dozen or so former players have gone on to play at the collegiate level, with 3 alumni currently playing at New Mexico State, Adams State, and Texas El-Paso. The 2014 team started the season with high hopes and is coached by a Mustang alumnus, Rennel Gilmore, who played under Coach Nash as well as most of her assistants. With teamwork and great effort they completed their mission to bring home state championship #9 to Monument Valley. The girls have all taken the weight training class and lift at least twice weekly during the summer. Some who cannot fit the class into their schedule lift in the morning before school at 5:00am. Their program is basic, to the point, and sound. Back Squats, Front Squats, Push Presses, Cleans and Snatches are the core with some extra back and stomach work. In spite of the fact the our teams give up a great deal in height, they out jump their opponents and have the power to get the ball through blocks and on the floor.
Also it is worthy of note that all of the girls on the team made the Honor Roll academically for the first grading period.
Congratulations to the 2014  Mustangs.

Nash matures into a leader for NMSU volleyball team
Mustang Alumni Bradley Nash playing for New Mexico State
Captains Taylor Worker and Ohiyah Shirley holding the trophy. Both dedicated lifters who will play at the next level next season. Ohiyah will play at Northern Arizona and Taylor is in the decision process.
Former Monument Valley Mustang standout Naomi Whitehair prepares to pass the ball for the University Texas El Paso volleyball team. Whitehair played one year at New Mexico Military Institute before transferring to UTEP. (Courtesy photo)
Mustang Alumni Naomi Whitehair playing for UTEP.

Mustangs 2014 Arizona State Champions

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Protein for Breakfast

Start your day with protein for the best results

Here is a short article I saw recently about breakfast and protein. Nothing new or surprising here, just more evidence for what we already experienced.  Eating breakfast is better than skipping it and protein is the best way to start off your day. If you are in a hurry, you can pre-make things you can grab and go with. Protein shakes also work well if you are in a hurry. Plan ahead and eat some protein in the morning to start your day.

There’s new evidence that dieters should join the breakfast club—especially if it includes a lot of protein.
Skipping breakfast has long been associated with excess body weight, although scientists haven’t established a causal link. Now researchers at the University of Missouri are reporting that eating a high-protein breakfast is particularly effective at reducing food cravings and boosting dopamine, a brain chemical usually associated with feelings of reward. The study was a small one, but if the findings hold up they imply that a breakfast rich in protein may aid in weight control.
To investigate the role of breakfast protein in dopamine production, the scientists recruited 16 overweight or obese female volunteers, all of them about 19 years old and regular breakfast-skippers. During every other week, participants were randomly assigned to one of three breakfast patterns: none, normal or high-protein. Both breakfasts had 350 calories, but the “normal” breakfast had 13 grams of protein, while the “high” version had 35. By comparison, a large egg has six grams.
The researchers provided breakfasts to make sure the volunteers were eating what they were supposed to. Between each week “on,” test subjects had a week to resume their normal lives.
After each participation week, the volunteers were surveyed about their food cravings and tested for dopamine markers. Heather Leidy, one of the scientists, said that, compared with the normal breakfast, “the high-protein meal led to a 34-fold reduction in cravings for high fat foods and a 15-fold increase in dopamine.” The high-protein effect was even greater compared with no breakfast.

Eat some protein to start your day and feel great!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lift The Limit

Dmitry Klokov

Time for a little motivation and inspiration for hard core lifters.
The first is a video from the IWF and captures the attitude and excitement of competitive lifting.
The second is a nice biographical type of overview of the current "It Guy" of weightlifting, Dmitry Klokov. I got to meet him last summer at the USAW championships in Salt Lake City, Utah. Very impressive specimen and seems like a nice guy too. The video shows his progression from a young age which is interesting. I don't really appreciate the second portion of the music track, but the rest is great.