Saturday, July 5, 2014

Inner Demons - the voices telling you No - Quit - Stop - DO NOT LISTEN

I've been up and at em' since just
after 5 AM this morning.

I love getting up early and
getting work done before
there is a sound in the house.

The mornings are my most productive times,
and countless successful people say the
same thing, "wake up early."

There is an inner voice in your head which
will tell you to sleep in, to do the work
later, to do it next time, etc.

Those inner demons are always trying to
hold you back.

You must fight back, and fight to never allow
those voices to beat you.

I teach this to the athletes I train as well.

When they get tired, I see some of them slow
down because they are listening to their
inner demons telling them to slow

The truth is that your slight bit of physical
and emotional discomfort will all be
over in a few short minutes, so rather
than cower to the inner demon, fight
back and punch it in the face.

I realized that yesterday, I didn't link you
directly to my latest blog.

You will find the power
behind this lesson, so
check it out on the blog
right here:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How Cardio Kills - Wait, read the whole thing before you say - why are we doing this HIIT stuff then....

by Mike Sheridan T-Nation

Here's what you need to know...

•  There are benefits to regular exercise, but as far as heart health and longevity go, marathoners may be no better off than the guy on the couch.

•  Research has suggested that free radical damage from long and frequent cardio workouts is especially detrimental to cardiac and skeletal muscle.

•  The long-term effects of chronically elevated cortisol such as you see in endurance athletes have nearly as detrimental an effect as oxidative stress with respect to disease, showing associations with metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and in fact all causes of mortality.

•  Many mistakenly blame food for putting our bodies into an acidic state, yet conveniently forget that their 2-hour run that same morning results in an acidic environment with a higher likelihood of causing damage.

•  If you love running or endurance training, you might want to find a new hobby.

Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise daily continues to be the standard recommendation for improving overall health and longevity. This is why it's common for most to select running, cycling, swimming, or any other form of endurance training as their predominant form of exercise. It also appears to be standard practice to set a goal of completing a marathon or triathlon in order to stay motivated. If some cardiovascular exercise is good, then more must be better, right?

Wrong. Exercise becomes damaging when it's excessive. Unfortunately, when your method for getting fit is moderate-intensity cardiovascular training or steady-state endurance exercise, that excessive line is crossed more frequently than not. Don't get me wrong, there are benefits to regular exercise and daily movement, but as far as heart health goes, marathoners may be no better than the guy on the couch, and as far as longevity goes, they may be worse off.

Gunked Up Arteries
The human body is extremely adaptable, which means diminishing returns in progress are inevitable unless a unique or more challenging stimulus is repeatedly introduced. Those selecting running, cycling, or swimming as their method for "getting fit" must continuously go farther or train harder or more frequently in order to experience any benefit from exercise. Five miles last week becomes 8 miles this week, and quickly reaches 30-40miles/week for those with aspirations of completing a marathon or triathlon. As the endurance athlete seeks more miles and higher speeds they put additional stress on their body, which results in excessive free radical production, cortisol secretion, lactate accumulation, and inflammation.

Nearly every type of workout – aerobic or anaerobic, high-intensity or low-intensity, isometric or isokinetic – produces free radicals (or reactive oxygen species), although the amount generated, and whether there's corresponding oxidative damage, depends on the workout design and delivery (mode, intensity, duration). A model developed in 1992 by M.B. Reid suggests that free radicals are generated faster during strenuous exercise than any buffering agent can handle. Above the optimal threshold, antioxidants are outnumbered and harmful oxidative stress prevails. This leads to muscle dysfunction and muscle loss, along with damage to proteins, lipids, and even DNA.

Some argue that higher levels of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) from exercise are beneficial because they increase the body's internal production of antioxidants. However, science has demonstrated that there's a breakeven point where the accumulation of free radicals overburdens any antioxidant defense. Sadly, most that choose cardio as their method for staying healthy or getting fit consistently surpass this point.

The oxygen requirement during exercise is a determining factor in the number of free radicals generated. Consistent movement for greater than 45-60 seconds is predominantly aerobic, meaning oxygen is required to produce energy (ATP). Conversely, short and intermittent (or anaerobic) exercise does not use oxygen to produce energy. Not only does this suggest higher free radical production during aerobic training, but unlike the anaerobic energy system, the oxidative stress (or cell damage) takes place inside the mitochondria. Since mitochondria are the dominant producers of free radicals, skeletal muscle has one of the highest concentrations of mitochondria, and muscle represents the largest organ in the human body, this is a BIG problem.

The oxygen demands during aerobic exercise produce considerable damage within muscle cells that leads to eventual cell death. Essentially, the muscle cells are "oxidized," and once destroyed they unfortunately can't be replaced. Research from as early as 1987 has suggested that free radical damage from long and frequent cardio workouts is especially detrimental to cardiac and skeletal muscle. As Dr. James O'Keefe discusses, endurance training causes "structural cardiovascular changes" and "elevations of cardiac biomarkers" that appear to return to normal in the short term, but when taken on as a regular activity results in "patchy myocardial fibrosis... an increased susceptibility to atrial and ventricular arrhythmias, coronary artery calcification, diastolic dysfunction, and large-artery wall stiffening."

Dr. O'Keefe and other researchers have suggested that it's common to see extreme variations (5-fold) in atrial fibrillation when elite level endurance athletes are compared to non-runners, and other studies have found troubling medical anomalies such as:

• Impaired Cardiac Contractile Function
• Decline in Peak Systolic Tissue Velocity
• Cardio Myocyte Damage
• Myocardial Fibrosis
• Cardiac Arrhythmias
• Poor Left Ventricle Function

In April of 2014, The Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association published research showing that "long-term male marathon runners may have

paradoxically increased coronary artery plaque volume." And in another study, the researchers compared a group of sedentary men to men that competed in at least one marathon annually for 25 years. Compared to the inactive group, the runners had nearly double the total plaque and calcified plaque volumes, and almost 1.5 times the non-calcified plaque volume.

Not surprisingly, the marathoners in the study from Missouri State had lower resting heart rates, BMI (Body Mass Index), and triglyceride levels than the sedentary group. The fact that "all looks good on the outside," is potentially the most frightening thing. This can be seen in the cardiovascular health of ultra-endurance athletes and cardio kings and queens who continuously put their bodies through a pounding. These guys and girls aren't just running farther than everyone else, they're running more consistently and faster.

The Cardio Dead Pool
Generally, many (including me) have idolized these individuals as we couldn't envision ourselves doing one marathon, let alone two in a row on a Saturday afternoon. However, as the evidence suggests, duration and intensity have a profound effect on free radical accumulation. Despite the natural increase in antioxidant production, the adjustment is short-lived and serious damage ensues over time. This resulting heart damage may have played a part in the early (or near) death of several famous ultra-endurance and marathon runners:

Micah True (Caballo Blanco) One of the ultra runners featured in the popular book, Born to Run, died in 2012 at 58 years old of Phidippides cardiomyopathy – an enlarged heart from chronic excessive endurance exercise.

Alberto Salazer Won three New York City Marathons and one Boston Marathon between 1980 and 1982 but had a near fatal heart attack at 49 years of age.

Jim Fixx The man credited for popularizing jogging and author of the best-selling book, The Complete Book of Running, died of a heart attack at 52.

One study, from the European Heart Journal, looked at marathon runners, triathletes, alpine cyclists, and ultra triathletes who competed in races lasting 3, 5, 8, and 11 hours respectively. Dysfunction in the right ventricle after the race was least in the marathon runners (3 hours) and highest in the ultra triathletes (11 hours). Although it's been suggested that sudden death during marathon training only occurs in 1 in 100,000 people, the majority of those fatalities are from a cardiovascular event. As Dr. O'Keefe writes:

"If we went out for a run right now and you ran hard... by 60 minutes something starts happening... the free radicals blossom, and it starts burning the heart. It starts searing and inflaming the insides of your coronary arteries."

If that weren't bad enough, excessive free radical accumulation and resulting oxidative damage increases your risk of degenerative disease and accelerates aging. Anyone with a goal of living a long and disease-free life should avoid instances that promote excess free radical production, as the damage that ensues is at the root of many chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and many more.

Telomeres Shorter Than Tom Cruise
Although the free radical theory of aging is still considered a hypothesis, it's been proven that DNA damage to mitochondria increases our disease risk. Telomeres are found at the ends of chromosomes that protect DNA and the length of these tiny caps can determine our rate of aging. One analysis of skeletal muscle from a 90-year-old man revealed that only 5% of his mitochondrial DNA was full length, while that of a 5-year-old boy was almost completely intact. Our telomeres shorten during normal cell division, but if they get too short, chromosomes get damaged, cells stop dividing, and our ability to repair tissue is inhibited.

Numerous studies have found that short telomeres are associated with older cells and an increased risk of mortality and disease, and longer telomeres are associated with younger cells and a higher resistance to disease. The exact cause of telomere shortening is still up for debate, but the leading hypothesis points to chronic stress. The researchers believe that excess exposure to stress overwhelms anti-oxidant protection, resulting in cell damage – specifically to DNA and the telomeric region. Not only does oxidative stress cause DNA damage, but it appears to disrupt the enzyme responsible for telomere elongation (telomerase), meaning any chance of future repair and growth is inhibited.

Enough Cortisol to Kill a Moose
Another harmful byproduct generated during aerobic exercise is cortisol. Similar to free radical accumulation, its concentration is determined by intensity and duration. When our bodies are under stress, cortisol helps to increase the concentration of glucose in our blood so there's readily-available energy for our muscles to utilize. Cortisol secretion is a natural response to stress and it's a good thing when released infrequently and for short periods as it helps the body deal with the threat to homeostasis. However, when we're exposed to chronic and consistently elevated cortisol for extended periods of time, we experience long-term consequences.

Unfortunately, prolonged endurance training causes the body to release an abundant amount of cortisol. Research from 1976 in The Journal of Applied Physiology showed no increase in cortisol secretion after 10 minutes (at 75% intensity), but cortisol doubled after 30 minutes. Another study, this one from 2011, analyzed the cortisol levels in 304 amateur endurance athletes and the average additional secretion above the control (in white in the graph below), was 42%!

Athletes who ran more kilometers per week, trained for more hours, or took part in more competitions over the year exhibited higher hair cortisol levels.

Intensity seems to play just as important a role, as 80% exercise intensity for 1 hour produces high cortisol levels while exercise at 40% intensity for 1 hour actually lowers it. With an activity like walking, cortisol is removed faster than it can be secreted, yet, as individuals looking to get fit, we're consistently told to train harder, run farther, and burn more calories.

Likewise, when cortisol is elevated, Testosterone is inhibited, meaning that consistently elevated cortisol lowers Testosterone. Cortisol increases steadily throughout a workout, while Testosterone levels peak at 20-30 minutes. That means the longer the exercise bout, the more unfavorable the Testosterone-to-Cortisol ratio (T:C). A better T:C ratio promotes muscle growth and tissue repair, while a higher proportion of cortisol leads to muscle and tissue loss.

In a nutshell, cortisol burns muscle (catabolic) and Testosterone builds muscle (anabolic), and unfortunately the increases in cortisol from endurance training leads to the former. Other than muscle loss, chronically elevated cortisol leads to injuries, sickness, and inflammation in the brain, reproductive system, intestinal tract, and heart. The elevated inflammatory markers experienced after aerobic training are much higher than those tested after alternative forms of exercise. The long-term effects of chronically elevated cortisol have nearly as detrimental an effect as oxidative stress with respect to disease, showing associations with the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and in fact all causes of mortality.

Blood so Acidic it Can Clean Grease Off an Engine Block
Lactic acid is another problem associated with endurance training. Large amounts of it are produced during exercise that's beyond a certain intensity or duration, which increases oxygen and acidity (lowers pH) inside and outside muscle cells. This accumulation of lactate depends on a balance between production by the working muscles and removal by the liver and other tissues. If exercise is continuous, lactate production persists while removal declines.

Lactic acid is of relevance to health and longevity because it lowers pH. The act of simply running for a few minutes drops our normal pH of 7.4 to 7.0. Continuing or repeating the same activity can lower it to 6.8, which is considered the lowest tolerable, survival pH. Many mistakenly blame food for putting our bodies into an acidic state, yet conveniently forget that their 2-hour run that same morning results in an acidic environment with a higher likelihood of causing damage.

To handle an acidic meal, the kidneys regulate pH by excreting more or less bicarbonate. This buffering system (to bring pH up) is hampered during exercise as it can take several hours to initiate. Unlike acidic food, which only affects the pH in urine, exercise lowers pH in extracellular fluid and blood. This lactate build-up not only adds to the stress put on our cells, but arterial pH disturbance alone has been associated with life-threatening rhythmic disturbances of the heart. As written in 2002 in The Journal of Internal Medicine:

"Although acids and bases are present in foods, the major threat to bodily fluid pH is acids formed in the metabolic processes."

Alternative Choices?
If you're looking to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's and dementia, heart disease, and diabetes, daily low-intensity movement will cut your risk in half without increasing stress (walking, in fact, reduces stress) or promoting oxidation. Just 30 minutes of walking 5 times per week has been shown to reduce death risk by 50%!

If performance is your goal, you're better off doing High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Short sprint intervals produced equal aerobic improvements (VO2 max, lactate threshold, aerobic power) and better fat loss when compared to moderate intensity jogging, and that was with 1/18th the time commitment!

If you're in search of a six-pack, your time is better spent lifting weights and eating right. When you work out to build muscle (not burn calories), you burn more energy throughout the day. Any new muscle needs energy just to exist, which means an increase in the number of calories burned, even while sedentary. Unlike resistance exercise, aerobic training does not produce significant positive changes in muscle size or strength, only producing favorable increases in endurance capacity. A strong, muscular physique is not only more aesthetically pleasing, but research suggests that strength and muscle mass are the two most important biomarkers for health and longevity.

And lastly, if you love running... I suggest finding a new hobby. I love eating chocolate and drinking wine, but that doesn't mean I'm consuming them 5 times a week for 3 hours at a time. In all seriousness, anything you love about running (endorphins, alone time, camaraderie, competition) can be experienced elsewhere, while potentially increasing your lifespan instead of knowingly shortening it.

Source: http://www.t-nation.com/training/cardio-kills

Wedenesday 2, July 2014

Grab your jump rope!!!

Warm up - full body


25 double unders
100 yard/meter SPRINTS

walk/jog back to start and GO!

Heart rate should be pumping on this one!

Tuesday 1, July 2014

This one will be a few minutes, and you need to set a good goal pace for HIGH intensity, and a consistent pace for your moderate or recovery intensity.

5 min warm up


7 rounds or sets of

1 minute HIGH intensity Sprint, airdyne, row - your choice
2 minute moderate/recovery

5 min cool down

Monday 30, June 2014

It is that time of year when it is getting HOT HOT HOT outside and we need a little more hydration to get through our day!!!

Warm up - nice full body


Inch worms
Mountain climbers
Sprint 30 seconds after each circuit

Rest for 2-3 minutes and complete

4x100yard SPRINTS

Friday, June 27, 2014

Macro #3 - FATS

Learning About Fats

1 gram of fat is equal to 9 calories


Although fats have received a bad reputation for causing weight gain, some fat is essential for survival. According to the Dietary Reference Intakes published by the USDA 20% - 35% of calories should come from fat. We need this amount of fat for:

  • Normal growth and development
  • Energy (fat is the most concentrated source of energy)
  • Absorbing certain vitamins ( like vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids)
  • Providing cushioning for the organs
  • Maintaining cell membranes
  • Providing taste, consistency, and stability to foods
Fat is found in meat, poultry, nuts, milk products, butters and margarines, oils, lard, fish, grain products and salad dressings. There are three main types of fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat, and trans fat. Saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, lard, and cream) and trans fat (found in baked goods, snack foods, fried foods, and margarines) have been shown to increase your risk for heart disease. Replacing saturated and trans fat in your diet with unsaturated fat (found in foods like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and canola oil) has been shown decrease the risk of developing heart disease.

The misconception about fat is that it is always bad for you. In fact, fat is essential for maintaining a healthy body.

The trick is to eat more of the good fats and less of the bad fats. Saturated and trans fats should be avoided while increases levels of unsaturated and the essential fatty acids, such as omega 3 and omega 6, can be good for you. Replacing sweets and high fat meats with foods such as nuts, avocados, and olive oil will help shift the balance away from unhealthy towards those fats that are useful to the body.

Fat has many roles in the human body. One of fats main functions is protection. This includes insulation to keep body temperature and cushioning to protect body organs. It also promotes growth and development, as well as maintaining cell membranes. Fat, in addition, plays a vital role in the digestion of vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble vitamins, meaning they need fat in order to be absorbed into the body.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Macro #2 - Carbohydrates

Learning about Carbs
Just like Proteins - Carbohydrates are also 4 grams per calorie

 Carbs provide your body with the fuel it needs for physical activity and organ function - so any diet that gives a blanket statement of "Don't eat carbs" is not only unsustainable, but also unhealthy.  Your brain and nervous system relies on a steady stream of glucose, using about 130g/day (about 45% of the recommended daily intake). Instead of choosing no carbs, choose good carbs.

Carbs are built out of sugar molecules, and we have often thought of simple carbs as 1-3 sugar molecules linked together, while complex carbs are made up of 4 or more sugar molecules.

Almost all carbs are broken down by the body in the same way, breaking them down into single sugar molecules, glucose, which are then able to cross into the bloodstream. Your pancreas responds to an increase of glucose by releasing insulin. Insulin then travels and binds to your cells membranes allowing cells to take up glucose from the blood and normalize the levels of sugar in the blood.

Thus, carbs play a role in diabetes, if you swing too far in one direction, continually creating insulin you eventually wear your pancreas out - and get type II diabetes.

There is one carb, however, that is not digestible - fiber. Fiber is unable to be broken down, and thus passes through your system. Soluble fiber binds to LDL and transports it out of the system, lowering your bad cholesterol. Insoluble fiber helps to push food through the intestinal tract.

Good Carbs
Choosing good carbs, those that are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index, leads to a healthier body. The glycemic index (GI) of a food is a marker of the effect that a food has on blood glucose levels, with a lower number being preferable (55 or less is considered a low GI food). Common low GI foods include beans, nuts, seeds, most fruits and vegetables and most whole intact grains. High GI foods, ones to steer away from, are things that seem obvious; white bread, cookies, corn flakes, potatoes and pretzels to name a few. Check out an extensive study on the GI of foods worldwide, or see the Harvard study for a nicely compiled table.

That wraps up our chat on carbs, next newsletter - beans! Good or bad?