Friday, March 30, 2007

The Hierarchy of NEEDS

Found this diagram in a T-nation article by Chris Shugart. It basically outlines the hierarchy of NEEDS for athletes and bodybuilders. As elementary as this information may be to those of you reading this right now, it's nice to come back to the basics and realize what truly is essential.

DIET - The foundation for life and for training must start with diet. If you disagree with me, OBVIOUSLY you have not spent alot of time in gyms or working with clients. Some of the most overweight and FAT people I know workout seven days per week, often many times per day. Are they fit? Perhaps. Are they healthy - hmmmmm - don't think so. If your diet sucks and you're living on processed crap...who cares who fancy your training program doesn't matter.

TRAINING - Training would be the second level or need that is required for optimal results and an awesome functioning body. If you don't will never reach your potential...never. Train intelligently and eat well....then you can get somewhere.

LIFESTYLE - To me lifestyle is almost as important as the first two. If you are totally stressed out, depressed, overwhelmed and SLEEP DEPRIVED, you are not going to put on muslce. You will never look and feel your best if your out at bars all night picking up on chicks. Get your sleep, keep your stress levels down, and have some down time to relax and de-stress.

SUPPLEMETS - Supp's would be the peak of the pyramid because they are just there to "supplement" your diet, training and lifestyle, not the other way around. I think many teenagers and younger athlets fall prey to the marketing vultures of secret formulas and magic potions. Can supplemetns help? Sure. But are they the holy grail of health....? I think we all know the answer to that one. Supplemets are can be useful only when your DIET, TRAINING and LIFESTYLE are in check.

Thursday Training

Feeling a bit overtrained this week. Lots of stress this week and work schedule is very busy. Therefore my training load is way down.

A-1 Reverse Lunges
2x16kg 3 x 8/8

B-1 See Saw Press
2x24kg 3 x 5/5

C-1 Pull Ups
16kg 2 x 5

D-1 Snatches
24kg 10/10/10/10

Friday, March 23, 2007

Eric Cressey Info...

Found this in one of Eric Cressey's article. It outlines the primary joints of the body and what that part of the body needs in terms of training, either mobility or stability. I agree with him and believe that all strength coaches and trainers need to memorize this list.

Lumbar Spine/Stability
Thoracic Spine/Mobility
Glenohumeral (Shoulder)/Mobility/Stability

Most of you who have been at this long enough will see similar patterns with clients. Although these are generalizations, they more often than not are true.

Monday Training

A-1 Double Clean + Squat + Press
2x20kg 5 x 5 (these felt great - awesome cardiovascular effect)

B-1 KB Snatches
24kg 5 x 10/10 (1 min rest)

C-1 Pull Ups
16kg 3 x 5 reps

Saturday Sprinting Sessions

10 min warm up
2 x 60 meters on track with spikes
2 x 100 meters on track with spikes

Felt great!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

God Bless This Great Country! Yoana became a US Citizen Today!

Today was a great day; Yoana was sworn in as a United States Citizen along with 1525 other people. It was amazing to see how emotional and excited these people were. I think as a native born American it is easy to take for granted the incredible liberties and freedoms that this country offers. Alot of these people from other countries appreciate the liberties of this country because life in their countries is often very, very VERY DIFFICULT! It was incredibly touching to see my wife and all the other people become US citizens. I was so happy that I was able to support my wife on such an important and monumental occasion. Seeing this ceremony made me realize how awesome this country is and how awesome freedom is. We are so blessed to live in this country and for those of you who have traveled oversees, you can relate. As fun as it is to visit foreign countries, it is always so nice and comforting to return to the United States.

Thank you God for this country. May You continue to bless and protect this country!

Thursday Training:

A-1 Snatches
24kg 6 sets x 10 reps (left hand only)

B-1 Double KB Dynamic Lunges
2x20kg 5 sets x 5/5

C-1 Jump Rope
3 x 1 min


A-1 Clean + Squat + Press
20kg 10 sets x 6 reps (left arm only)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Double KB Front Squats

PIC of Yoana's Saturday Morning Class. Yoana let me take her class out to the track; big fun!

I have a new favorite exercise; the double KB Front Squat. Although it can put alot of load on the spine, I find that with a reasonable and smart weight it gives me the perfect balance between my quads, hamstrings and glutes as well as the spinal erectors. This "Big Bang Exercise" really should be a staple in most people's program in my oppinion. The fact that you are stabilizing and keep two seperate weights close your chest and shoulders requires a tremendous amount of core strength and endurance. RKC Team leader Ken Black really taught me the importance of digging in equally with the entire foot, and man has it made a difference. My pee wee herman legs are starting to look a little better and more importantly, they feel STRONGER.

A-1 Double KB Front Squats

24kg's 4 x 5 reps

B-1 Weighted Pull ups

32kg 2,2,2,2,2 = 10 reps

C-1 Reverse Lunges

16kg's 3 x 8/8

Saturday: Speed Day at the track

Warm up = 15 minutes

3 x 40 meters

1 x 100 meteres (flying - meaning that I started from a running start)

1 x 150 meters

This was the first time that I had put my spikes on all year. Felt Great!

I have a track meet coming up next month in April so time to get used to the spikes.

I loved it, felt awesome!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Nutrition Expert Lyle McDonald

Recevied the following information from Lyle Mcdonald's great nutrition newsletter.

Feature Article - Dieting by Percentages Part 3

Last week, I looked at some problems with using percentages to set up diets, you can read it in the archive. This week I want to finish up by looking at several other ways that focusing only on the percentages of nutrients in the diet (or in a meal) can be misleading and inaccurate.
It's quite common to see statements of "Such and such is a high-fat diet and hence bad." or "High-protein diets are bad", things of that nature. Most commonly, those statements are based on the percentages of a given nutrient in a diet. For example, diets containing 30% or less total calories from fat are generally considered 'low-fat' while, by definition, higher fat intakes are considered high-fat. But this can be terribly misleading as well as misused. Here's an example.

Let's say we have a person who's currently eating 2000 calories of which 150 grams (600 calories) are protein, 176 grams (707 calories) are carbs, and 77 grams (693 calories) of fat. Using the math from the last chapter, this yields a diet that is 30% protein, 35% carbohydrate, and 35% fat. Most would refer to this as a high-fat diet and deem it bad because it contains 35% fat calories. They would probably also call it 'low-carbohydrate' and 'high-protein' based on the percentages.

Ok, so let's say we add 200 grams (800 calories) of carbohydrates (let's use table sugar just because) to the diet without changing anything else. Total calories now go to 2800 and the percentage of calories from fat drops 35% to 25% (protein drops from 30% to 21%, carbs increase from 35% to 53%), even though the total fat intake in grams hasn't changed. By typical naming conventions a 'high-fat' diet has now magically become a 'low-fat' diet and nobody will have a problem with the protein or carbohydrate intake, based on the percentages. Of course, total fat intake in grams didn't change. Neither has protein intake in grams. All we did was skew the percentages by adding 200 grams of table sugar to the diet. And I don't think anybody would argue that adding 200 grams of table sugar to this diet is particularly healthy. Yet many clueless folks would automatically assume or claim that the second diet (25% fat) is healthier than the first (35% fat) because it's a 'low-fat' diet even though both diets contain the same number of grams of fat.

On a related note, many food companies will use this strategy as well. By simply adding table sugar to a food, to increase the caloric content, they can drive the percentage of calories from fat downwards below 30% and call it a low-fat food. You can make vegetable oil (100% fat calories at 14 grams fat/140 calories) a low-fat food if you add enough table sugar to it. Does that make it healthy because it's now 'low-fat'? Obviously not. Or perhaps not so obviously because some folks fixate so hard on the percentages that they miss the forest for the trees. Using the same starting diet from last week, say we decide to take all of the carbohydrates out of the same diet. Now it contains 150 grams of protein (600 calories), zero grams of carbs, and 77 grams of fat (693 calories) and 1293 total calories. Now it contains 46% protein and 54% fat. Most would call this a high-protein, high-fat diet and go into an apoplectic fit even though it contains the exact same number of grams of protein and fat as the previous diet. By simply changing the total carb and caloric content, we can skew the percentages. But we haven't changed a damn thing in terms of absolute protein or fat intake.

Or an even more extreme example, let's say we decide to move this guy to nothing but protein (an approach called a protein-sparing modified fast or PSMF). Now he's eating nothing but 150 grams of protein per day. That's a 100% protein diet, which most would call 'high-protein'. First they'd freak out, then they'd tell you that his kidneys are going to fall out of his ass. Except that it contains no more and no less protein than the previously two described diets; once again, by manipulating the total caloric content of the diets we've changed the percentages even if we really haven't changed the gram intake. On that note, this is a common criticism of 'low-carbohydrate' and/or 'ketogenic diets'. Most will call them high-protein and/or high-fat because the percentage of total calories from protein and fat is very high. But this can be misleading because ketogenic diets are also commonly low in total calories. Studies typically show that total protein and fat intake change very little when people move to ketogenic diets. Rather, total calorie and carbohydrate content come down, and the percentage from fat and protein go up. Nitwit diet critics will look at the high fat percentage and condemn the diet, without looking at the actual gram intake.

Another example: one of the popularly referenced studies by lower-carbohydrate diet advocates refers to a group of athletes given only 40% of total calories from carbohydrates, who are able to maintain performance. This is frequently used (by low-carbohydrate diet proponents) to argue that a diet of 40% carbs is sufficient and/or that 'high-carb' diets are unnecessary. Here's the problem: because of the extremely high total caloric intake in these athletes, 40% of total calories still yielded in excess of 400 grams of carbohydrates per day (a far cry from the 150-200 grams/day you might get on a typical lowered-carb diet). So even though it was 'low-carbohydrate' by percentage standards, it was still high-carbohydrate relative to their bodyweight needs. Even at only 40% total calories, they still got close to the 5 g/kg value listed above needed to sustain glycogen stores. Once again, the percentage had absolutely no relevance to the actual gram intake.

And, finally, here's a rather humorous example from my college days. At some point or another, during a nutrition class, a professor of mine had made the rather common statement that "As long as you don't eat foods with more than 30% total fat calories, you will be fine" something to that effect. It seemed like a logical extension of trying to get total fat intake below 30%: make sure no individual food contains more than 30% fat calories and you should be safe. At some later date, I took him a cookie recipe of mine that contained approximately 20 calories/cookie and 1 gram of fat (the cookies were mostly air, with a little sugar and some chocolate chips). My professor bristled, because these cookies contained nearly 50% of calories from fat (9 calories out of a total 20). Well, yeah, but they still only contained 1 gram of fat/cookie. ONE GRAM. A cookie that was 200 calories and 30% fat (70 calories) would contain 8 grams of fat even though it's below the magical 30% cutoff point. Yet he would have considered the second a better food choice based on just the percentage even though it had 10 times as many calories and 8 grams of fat vs. 1. Go figure.

Making my point

Looking simply at the percentages of a given nutrient contained within a diet or food can lead people down entirely incorrect paths. Whether it's in setting up a diet, on interpreting a given diet, looking at the percentages alone is a mistake. A 15% protein diet might contain too much protein if calories are absurdly high, and far too little protein if the calories are very low. And a diet which contains 'only' 40% carbohydrate may contain more than enough actual carbohydrates by grams as long as the total caloric intake is high enough. A diet which was considered 'high-fat' by percentage can be made 'low-fat' by simply adding carbohydrates/calories/sugar to the diet but that's not necessarily improving anything.

As I pointed out last week, daily nutrient requirements are (generally) based on bodyweight, not the percentage of that nutrient in a diet. If someone requires, say, 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, they need 1 gram per pound whether it represents 10%, 50% or 100% of their total calories. If someone needs 5 g/kg of carbs to maintain performance, that's what they need whether it's 40% of their total calories or 60% of their total calories. If they need X grams of fat (X not really having been established at this point except for minimal essential fatty acid requirements), they need X grams no matter the percentage. Are we clear now on the different between percentages and total grams? I certainly hope so.

My Training


Tempo Running 8 x 100 yards @ 65% intensity


A-1 Reverse Lunges
2 x 16kg's 4 x 6/6

B-1 Snatches
20kg 5/5
24kg 4 x 10/10 = 80 reps

Felt good.


Bikram's Yoga

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Healing Power of Cinnamon

Every winter I usually have a "perpetual" cold that last for months. This has been the only winter that I have only been sick once. One of the things I have done differently is take large amounts of Cinnamon in drinks and my morning oats. I have never felt such a dramatic immune response or "BOOST" from taking cinnamon. There is a little science behind it so I know it's not all in my head. Read the following short article from Dr. Mercola.

The Health Benefits of Cinnamon

So go ahead and start eating your cinnamon!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Monday Training...Damn I love ipods!

Yoana and I recently got Ipods. I never knew how awesome these things were. Not only is having alot of your favorite music in one location efficient, now I can download educational Podcasts from so many cool sources. For those of you that have them, I'm sure you can relate.

Pull Ups

24kg 1 rep

40kg 1, 1, 1

Double Front Squats

24's 5, 5, 5

short and Sweet!

Single Arm Jerks

24kg 5/5 5/5
40kg 1/1 1/1

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Video of USC Trojan Chris Penrose hitting a 3-pointer

Sometimes the fairytale ends right, and this one did for sure. My former client Chris Penrose Jr, a senior at USC on the Trojan basketball squad, hit the most amazing 3 point shot at the end of the game versus CAL last Saturday night. What is special about this is that Chris is a walk on, has never really played much at all in his four year career with USC. He has been the "Rudy" of the team, the practice player who gives 110% every time he plays and pumps all of his other teammates up during every game & every practice. Even though he doesn't play, he is a fan favorite because he is small, white and well......not your typical division one basketball players.

Well, this one ends great. He was one of 3 seniors to walk out on the court before the game that night to be honored for his hard work and effort throughout his playing career. His whole family was there to cheer him on, and little did they know that they were in for a surprise. Picture yourself in his shoes and how amazing it is to end your career like he did, sinking a three at the buzzer. Rumor has it that in the last 5 minutes of the game the entire student section started chanting "WE WANT PENROSE, WE WANT PENROSE, WE WANT PENROSE."

Check out this clip. AWESOME!!!!!