Monthly Archives: June 2017
So, I just recently returned from my first vacation in almost a year! My better half and I took a trip on a 5 day cruise to the West Caribbean to Costa Maya and Cozumel. As always, this vacation offered some much needed time off from the real world. I haven’t been on a cruise since 2003, so it’s been quite some time for me, and it was my girlfriends first time experiencing it. The ship was massive and had endless entertainment for all passengers for the duration of the trip. One of our favorite places was the serenity deck at the very back of the ship, which was set aside for adults 21 and over. These cruises are certainly family friendly, so that goes without saying that there were plenty of children on this ship so it was nice to have our own little escape.
We met a few couples and families during our time and shared a couple of stories back and fourth to each other. I can recall on the 3rd day that we were on the ship. We were approaching Costa Maya, which was our first destination and we were on one of the top decks looking out into the horizon. There was a middle aged man that was standing next to the rail, and decided to strike up a conversation. He and I were talking about how we could see some land in the distance. As we got closer, it became more and more visible. He looked at me and said, “you know”, these waves dont’ really look like it, but if you were down in the water they’d probably be about 6 or 7 feet high.” I nodded my head and agreed with him. ” you know?” he said. “Its probably about a hundred foot drop off the ship into the water from here.” Again I nodded to agree with”Um, I think we may still be in the Gulf of Mexico, or actually the Caribbean Sea.” My girlfriend nodded and said, “no, I think this is the Mediterranean.” I looked at her and him, and just agreed. Soon after he walked away, and I looked at her and said, “you do realize this isn’t the Mediterranean?” She said she did, but she just wanted him to feel like he was right and for us to avoid an argument with this guy as to where we were geographically. You just never know what type of people you are going to encounter on these trips.
We had a little bit of rainy weather here and there, but all in all it was a much needed and relaxing vacation, and I can’t wait for our next one! It’s taken me just a little bit to get used to not being out on the sea, and I still slightly feel as if I’m on a swaying ship, but it’s gotten better everyday. I am already looking forward to my next trip, and another guy not knowing where in the hell he actually is.
So yea, that’s basically what I’m trying to do here. Some of you may or may not know that I started playing the guitar around the time I was 14 years old, just like every other teenage boy who need a way to impress the ladies. Seriously, I started playing around that time and kept with it for about 7 to 8 years after that. Eventually, it stated to fade and I started to have less and less time for something that I really enjoyed doing.
For me, playing guitar was kind of like going to the gym to train. It was a way for me to take my mind off of everything else that was going on in my life and push off some stress. I would go through periods of time when I would play almost everyday and get really good, then go through periods of time when I wasn’t able to play as often and my ability to play would suffer as a consequence. Since high school I’ve always had many friends that knew how to play other instruments. whether it be guitar, bass, or drums and occasionally I would try to do a little picking with them.
Music has always played a major role in my life and I always felt even more connected to it when I could actually play, or even play along with many of the bands that I enjoy listening to. There’s something to be said when you can actually play the music that you like. I feel as if you almost hear it differently than people who don’t play any type of instrument. Now, I doubt there’s really anything to that, but maybe some people who are reading this and do play know what I’m saying.
Anyways, I went to guitar center for the first time in probably years yesterday and purchased a couple of pairs of new guitar strings, acoustic and electric, as well as some new picks. Also, I got a book that transcribes all of Lamb of Gods Ashes of the Wake. I know, I’m setting my sights pretty high on my ability to play so well when it’s been so long since I have been serious about it, but hey, why not?
I would like to be able to set aside maybe and hour a couple of times a week to devote to playing and learning some new stuff. whether it be new songs, or re-learning the infinite amount of chords and scales that there are to play on. There are a lot of people out there who probably wish they could play an instrument, and I at least some capability to do it, so why should I let it go to waste? Who Knows, maybe 10 years from now you’ll hear me on the radio…lol! Not!
I will try to post again about this in the future, and may even include some videos of my progress if I feel they are worthy of your viewing.
Over the past several decades, fitness in golf has been a highly debated topic. Until recently, fitness was viewed negatively on the golf community and was something you “never” should do. However, even though times are changing, people still critic the place of fitness and lifting within the golf community. Prime examples of this are Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Both of these elite golfers are known for their tremendous talent, as well as their love for fitness. Unfortunately, both golfers have had their fair share of injuries, which many blame lifting in the weight room as the main cause. However, that is not the case. Tiger was ahead of the time when it came to fitness and golf. He and his trainers did not have the knowledge we have now when it comes to the importance of posture and proper movement patterns. Rory’s injuries are not a result of lifting weights. His injuries are from improper movement patterns and poor technique when lifting weights. Not only did he have poor form, the exercises he was prescribed were not beneficial to his game or the sport of golf.
As a fitness professional, I can confidently say that all golfers need to lift weights. Why you may ask? Despite what many people think, golfers ARE athletes. Just like any other athlete, golfers need strength, power, mobility, stability and endurance to be competitive. Brooks Koepka is a prime example of this. The morning before the final round at the U.S. Open, his trainer posted a picture of him doing heavy incline bench press. You can imagine the buzz this picture creates around the golf community. His accomplishments show the golf community that you need to also work on your game off the course in weight room.
Lifting weights are not the only thing you need to focus on when it comes to the weight room. What’s the best way to train? I suggest you work with professionals in your area if you’re trying to be competitive and improve. But, if you don’t want to do that, here are a few tips. It is vitally important that your workouts focus on mobility, stability and strength. Depending on the time of year or your competition schedule, you should focus on different aspects of strength, power, and endurance. Mobility should always be a part of your routine all year round before and after your workouts. Remember it’s important to warm up and prepare your body for the workout ahead. Hopefully, some of this information helps you. But, whatever you do, remember golfers ARE athletes and because of that we need to train like athletes!
The Dexter Jackson Memphis classic has come and gone. I was really fortunate to be able to win my figure class. If you have been following me for a bit, you know that the past few years have been full of 2nds, so it was nice to finally win one.
So now what? Now I gently get out of this deficit. Heres the plan going forward:
Diet: Upon completing the competition, I immediately went back to what my diet was at the four week out mark with an additional meal added to it, which has thus far resulted in a mere 2lbs of weight from stage. I am really happy with that, as stage weight was a very depleted, dry Annie. The carbs make training not feel like hell, and I’m really enjoying my time back in the gym.
Cardio/Training: I’m taking 2 days off per week now as opposed to one when it comes to resistance training. My cardio has been the exact same as it was the week of the show, and I will peel off 5 minutes each session each week. So, everyday this week, I woke up and did 45 minutes of fasted cardio. Next Monday, I will get up and do 40 minutes, the next week will be 35, and so on until I’m doing minimal cardio.
Goals: So, obviously after each show, you evaluate what you would like to do better next time. I will spend this off season hammering my back and shoulders, while trying to bring my legs down a bit. I will likely stay in figure for the foreseeable future, and have some adjustments to make in order to fit into that class.
The first half of 2017 has been extremely busy at Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance. Between the addition of spring coverage of Memphis athletics, continuing education seminars, and the growing population here at Mid-South SSP, we are set up for our best year yet. We are hoping to be able to end the summer with some great news about new options for care that will help our patients save money, as well as news on bringing an RPR seminar to Memphis late this year or early 2018!
With the start of fall sports right around the corner and a busy July ahead, I will be taking some time to enjoy the week of the Fourth of July in Ouray, CO. For me, personally, there is nothing more enjoyable than time spent out in a secluded area enjoying nature, and the Rocky Mountains are some of the best that nature has to offer in the United States. Furthermore, as an avid Jeeper, this area in Southwest Colorado is proclaimed to be the “Jeeping Capital of the World,” so this is also a bit of a bucket list trip for me. I’ve been planning this trip since January and have added some modifications to my Jeep since then in order to handle some of the terrain that the San Juan Mountains will throw at us. I lifted it 2.5 inches, upgraded the suspension, armored up some of the more vulnerable parts of the underbody, added some off-road lighting, and swapped for an aftermarket bumper for better clearance. To me, a week long road trip exploring the Rocky Mountains with the only production vehicle in the world to have won a war sounds like the perfect way to celebrate America and some freedom.
I want to wish all our patients at Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance and members of NBS Fitness a happy 4th of July, safe travels, and hope that everyone gets a chance to appreciate the privilege that we have to live in the most unique and free country in the world. Things may sometimes seem less than ideal in America, but some of the most seemingly trivial opportunities and rights we have as citizens of this country are not equal opportunities and rights that not every other country gets to celebrate or even complain about. So whether you’re staying at home or planning a grand American celebration trip, please take the time to reflect on how awesome our country is.
So as a reminder, I will be taking an entire week off and will likely not be back for regular office hours until Tuesday July 11th. I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running with the second half of the year and continuing to serve the patients of Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance to help them achieve their goals in 2017. Catch you in a week!
P.S. Please try not to jack yourselves up too much while I’m gone, Y’all.
In the short time that I have been involved in strength training and powerlifting, there are many things that I’ve noticed throughout that time, and something that sticks out more than most of the atrocities that I come across. That is the act of “program hopping”. Yep, I’m talking about your friend that in one month is on 5-3-1, the next month is on Conjugate, and the next month is doing the Bulgarian Method. Your buddy begins to wonder why he never progresses in his strength endeavors, and places blame on the program themselves. The thing about strength programs is that you have to give them time. Just like you need to give a coach time to get accustomed to you and how your body reacts to a certain stimulus, such as how well you recover and how much total work volume you can take before you start digging yourself in a deeper hole than you can get out of.
Running a certain program for 3 to 6 weeks and not hitting a PR during that cycle isn’t a good way to judge whether or not a program is working for you. As I’m sure you’ve all heard before, building strength is a long-term goal. One doesn’t go from benching 135 to 500 overnight. Now, hopefully that is not the way that you thought people who benched 500 pounds got that way. I am still learning myself that these things take time. Try not to look at things from a weekly perspective, or even a monthly perspective, but where will you be strength-wise in another year? If your current 1 rep max on bench press is 300lbs, and you find a style of training that can add 15lbs to your bench every year, then in 6 years you’ll be 10lbs shy of a 400lb bench. In 10 years you will be pressing 450lbs! That’s some pretty good progress if you ask me.
The thing that you have to realize is that there are a ridiculous number and variety of programs out there to choose from, and you cannot expect one out there to magically give you the numbers that you dream about hitting. What really matters is that you choose a program and stick with it for longer that 4 to 6 weeks. Run a program for a year, and then see what has it done for you. Even if it doesn’t make you stronger, at least you now know that this particular program is not right for you. That doesn’t mean that it won’t work for everyone, it just means that it didn’t for you.
Another thing I would like to mention is that it isn’t always the program. Sometimes it’s you. If you’re just picking and choosing what you want to do and don’t have any type of consistency in your training, well duuhhh! Of course it isn’t working, you aren’t even doing it! Additionally, there are numerous factors that contribute to whether or not you come out stronger after running a program for a period of time. Are you eating only twice a day? Do you only get 4 hours of sleep a night? Do you train with any type of intensity, or are you a timid, and scared lifter? Do you have training partners, and if so, do they push you outside of your comfort zone to make you a better lifter? These are just a few things that can help to determine just how well a program will work for you. Like I said, the biggest factor is that you are on a program, and you are sticking with it.
Obviously there are changes that you can and will need to make eventually. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Law of Accommodation. I’m not going to make this a scientific article and plunge into that topic, but your body will adapt at some point to the stressors that you are putting on it and will need a change. Once you’ve run a program for an extended period of time, think about what some of your weak points are and how you can make changes in the program to target them. It is through this process that you can begin to find out what works for you, and develop your own style. You can put your own twist on things. My coach has had me on the same type of programming for almost two years now. There have been small changes made here and there throughout the training cycle, but I’ve stuck with it. In this time, I have been able to add almost 250lbs to my total. Now, a good bit of that probably has to do with me still being fairly new to the sport of powerlifting, but you can’t argue with numbers.
I will admit, there have been times in that almost two year period that I have said how sick I am of doing this particular type of training, and how I wish I could do something new. In the long run, I stuck to my guns and kept going, and it has paid off to do so. Sometimes if you think a program isn’t working for you, you need to take a step back and determine if every other factor is in check, and give the program a little more time before you decide to ditch it and move onto the next. Just my opinion.
As I mentioned my recent article on online training, one of the best parts about having a coach to program for you is that sometimes you get to do cool shit that you’ve never done before. Sometimes, however, this concept can backfire on you. As I am currently training hypertrophy with the goal of putting on quality size, my last phase had me questioning the sanity of David. For the entire last 3 and a half weeks, I’ve been training three to four sets of movements per training day. Sounds easy, right? From just that information you would think so, and at first glance, I thought the same. Then I realized those three movements were actually three sets of movements, and that those movements were all to be done as a superset… So what seems like 3 movements is really 9-12 movements with minimal rest. My only conclusion is that David must have just watched Bro Science video on supersets and decided to one up him with the creation of what I can only describe as the Super-Duper Set.
I will be entirely honest that doing 30 plus reps across three different movements that tax the same body part on every set may definitely be the most taxing thing I’ve done since beginning with David in 2015. Out of 4 total cycles of this hypertrophy phase, I cramped at some point in time from the leg day for the first 3 cycles. In fact, the first cycle was literally after the my first set.
Having discussed the above experiences, one of the other points that I’ve pointed out about the advantages of having a coach programming for you is that right when you’re about to run yourself into the ground and question whether you can do another cycle of the never ending Super-Duper Set, you are thrown into the next phase with a completely different stressor. This is something not to be ignored as your typical gym bro may think up a similar formula and “go HAM” for 12 weeks on this same shit and then be surprised when he is not recovering or is injured by the end of it. I can’t quite say I loved the training, but I am definitely one more step in the right direction because of it. You win this cycle, David.
Modern day society has taken out most of the hardship of previous human existence and replaced it with comfort and ease. While I definitely appreciate having a nice warm bed, air conditioning during the summer, and not having to grow, pick, or hunt everything I want to eat, I can tell that living like this has made me soft; it’s made us all soft. Somewhere within our DNA we have the genes of those people who gutted out brutal winters, conquered the wilderness, and crossed oceans in sailed ships. Struggle was their daily existence and they figured it out, they learned how to survive and thrive. We are the result of the hardest among those surviving over thousands of years and yet we seem to have managed to take a steep decline in mental toughness over the last century or so.
The fitness arena is a prime example of this decline. Most gyms have a 10% usage rate, 90% of people who begin a health/fitness change eventually quit within the first 6 months, obesity is on the constant rise. This is in the face of overwhelming evidence that sitting on your ass and eating like shit will pretty much inevitably result in your heart exploding, getting your foot cut off from diabetes, or you having t0 drive around walmart in a scooter to replenish your 2 liter cola stock. A thousand years ago: if you don’t build a fire right now you are going to freeze to death and die. GOT IT!!!! Today: if you just utilize the unlimited knowledge and resources of the internet, join a community of people who will help you and encourage you along the way, take small steps like drink diet cola or go for a 20 minute walk a day you can reduce your risk of a horrible life existence and eventually death. I CAN’T DO IT, IT’S TOO HARD.
Beyond the physical downsides of being mentally squishy, we also have the mental and emotional effects. There are middle aged soccer moms that require Xanax to get through everyday life of driving kids around in $70K SUVs while women in Africa wake up everyday hoping they don’t get raped, mutilated, and killed by boko haram. Maybe that’s an extreme example but hopefully my point was made. We constantly seek two things: stress and stress relief. In a previous millennia that stress may come from hunting a wild animal and the relief come from the whole community celebrating in a giant ritualistic feast. Now a days that stress comes from traffic, social media, and the pursuit of comfort in place of happiness and the stress relief comes from food, alcohol, drugs, and amazon. But I have a better remedy to recommend.
Humans beings are made to struggle in groups. Think about it, in the wild most humans wouldn’t last very long by themselves. We don’t have fur to keep us warm, we’re not fast, we don’t have good sight, hearing or smell, and we’re not very strong. We gain our advantage from our intellect in groups. Through those we can build things, communicate, and live like no other creature on earth. What we have done is not only removed the struggle but we’ve also removed the group. Social interaction isn’t shared in the deep seeded emotions of survival anymore. Instead it sits in the shallow water of social media posturing and the occasional birthday get to together. Unfortunately someone liking your IG picture doesn’t have quite the same effect as a someone saving your life from a charging rhino. But there aren’t any charging rhinos to be saved from anymore (at least not in my neighborhood), so what can we do?
Simple. First, you must seek a physical challenge. It needs to be tough, it needs to be difficult, it needs to make you push yourself to limits you didn’t know you previously had and it needs to make you forget about everything else that is going on in life and put all your focus into the simple act of inhaling enough oxygen to keep from passing out. Second, you need to find a group of other crazy (or actually sane?) individuals who are also willing to put themselves through that same scenario. Then together you need to find a way to get it done. Through that you’ll learn something about yourself. You’ll learn that you can get through some tough shit, that you can physically go a little farther than you previously thought, that misery loves company and there are some bonds that can only be forged in fire, and that all those worries you had before disappeared so easily once you got a little bit into the suck. So now that you know what you need to do, go fourth and seek the suck, find victory in the pain, and become a little less likely to become zombie bait.
Thank you for registering for the Second Annual Memphis Classic RPS Powerlifting Meet.
The discount code for the 3 month meet programming is:
Once you have chosen the trainer you would like utilize for programming, choose the 3 month paid in full option and apply the coupon code at check out.
For Christian Anto’s programming, click here
For Bobby Scott’s programming, click here
For Annie Gunshow’s programming, click here
For David Allen’s programming, click here
Its that time again athletes where we dial in our training and peak our strength to show it on the platform and put up a fight against the bar!!! Are you ready to take that step, have you planned out your training to lift the most amount of weight at the meet? If not, DONT WORRY, I have structured a training program to aid you in dialing in your strength for this meet! You will be able to experience all that NBS has to offer using specialty bars, chains and bands in an educated way to peak your performance at a discounted rate!!!! Hop on the NBS Website now to set it off!
Ok, I Lied
First of all, I don’t love the Airdyve (AD), as a matter of fact there have been times when I have hated the AD. Wait, that too is a lie, I almost always hate the AD. Buuuuut, I have seen many benefits to its training, so in all fairness, I must express an appreciation for it.
Below are ways my fitness has improved over the last few months by training on the AD weekly.
- Training on the AD makes me feel like I’ve dropped into hell. I discovered cuss words I never knew existed and it just makes me an angry Angie, and I often think I will die. Yet here I am, somehow I always survive it and can live to write about it! So, you won’t die.
- I only thought I had been training all energy systems. Since I primarily train by myself, I don’t always train with the intensity I should. That was the first thing that struck me that fateful first day on the AD.… the absence of my capacity in an anaerobic state.
- My time training on the AD can span from 10 second intervals up to an hour, my engine has thus become bigger which means I have more sustainability in almost any given workout, no matter the duration of it.
More on the Energy Systems being trained:
- The Anaerobic A-Lactic (ATP-CP) energy system provides high bursts of start-up energy for activities that last less than ten seconds in duration. Interval training for 10 calories or less on the AD can train the ATP-CP energy system.
- Whereas the ATP-CP system will only produce energy for 10 seconds, Anaerobic Lactic (Glycolytic) Energy System (fast glycolysis) works at capacity for as long as two minutes. As a result, waste products such as lactic acid accumulate in the blood and in muscle cells. A burning sensation in the muscle, shortness of breath and fatigue are all symptoms of lactic acid build up…this is death knocking at the door. Interval work that includes 20 plus calories can put you into the glycolytic system.
- The aerobic system is the most utilized of the three as it provides energy for low intensity activities that last anywhere from two minutes to a few hours. Unlike the other two systems, the aerobic system requires oxygen and takes much longer to overload. Often, on my ‘active recovery’ days, I can be found on the AD for up to an hour at a time and typically watching episodes of The Office to keep my mind off of dying.
- I recently tested my 400 meter runs by doing multiple sprints with a 1:1 work:rest ration. Never before have I ever ran them as fast as I was able to that day. I bet I’ve knocked off at least 15 seconds off of my 400, so it MUST be the training on the AD that has contributed to it.
- Best of all, my quads get swole!
You don’t have to like it for it to work
In summary, we may not always like some of our training, matter of fact we may hate it but if we just dig in and continue to work through the cussing and anger, there’s usually a reward waiting just on the other side.
Beware of language but pretty much how I feel….and I get to cheat and use both legs!
Where do I start, sigh, here is a quick re-cap. I came to this gym (NBS Fitness) thinking powerlifting was dumb, who wants to be good at only three things, fast forward 5 years and I’m only half way decent at three things ….
David Allen took a chance on me as a front desk staff member, no pay, just training as payment. I say for a long time at that desk and got the opportunity to train with him. I was also fortunate enough to have him pour a TON of information into my tiny brain. I had no clue what I was doing and did 90% of what he prescribed wrong, yet he still kept pouring into me. David also introduced me to EliteFTS, hard not to, everything in the damn facility is EliteFTS (for good reason). The moment I found out what EliteFTS was and their mantra I wanted to be a part of it. Without David this sponsorship probably would have never happened and for that I will always be grateful. He put me in a position to learn, understand, and teach in a way that I could be “on their radar”. This company watched me develop for over 3 years while being mentored at NBS.
Lets skip forward to the good stuff, this past weekend! I was brought up to train along side my fellow team members, mostly athletes, but a few coaches as well. I went up knowing I was not going to be going crazy on the weight and that was ok with me. I still made it in a bunch of the media video bombing EVERYONE but, it was because I was helping. My sole purpose (planned in my mind) going up there was to listen, learn, and try my hand at coaching some of the best in the sport. To put this in perspective, just about every athlete in that building is stronger than I including female athletes. The chance to coach elite athletes is different, they are very in tune with their setup, stance, movement, and exertion. What does this mean, it means they don’t like to change shit a lot, they exceeded elite levels doing their current style of lifting so having someone suggest something different throws a wrench in training.
I had the opportunity to have one of the strongest 220 lifters IN THE WORLD give me a chance to give him bench advice…. yes thats right, bench advice. As you know my bench is terrible, I do however know proper mechanics and see inefficient movement patterns. The difficult part to this is addressing it then CORRECTING IT. All to often we see the issue being addressed but nothing to correct it. I ended up aiding a handful of people on bench (all who bench more than I) and squat. The most satisfying thing in the world as a coach / mechanic is seeing the face of an athlete who finally got it and feels something completely different!
I may not be the greatest programmer, personal trainer, Lifter, coach or salesman but, I am a technical lifter and have a gift of making this become “stupidly easy” for me to understand and explain it to others. I will never be on a board debating what methodologies are better suited for (insert sport here) but will be the first in line barking proper technique to anyone who dare touches a barbell weather I like you or not.
I have been working through a workbook lately that has me examining my actions/habits and putting a bit of consideration into why I do the things I do. It has occurred to me that a LOT of my actions are based on advice that I have put into play. Below are a few tidbits I have repeatedly found useful:
- ) Do not fear tasks that are hard: When I was 16, the first actual “coach” I ever had said this to me when I was consistently shying away from squatting. I have repeated this very phrase to myself a million times since then. Often enough, the amount of effort that goes into achieving something is daunting. You don’t get shredded overnight, you don’t graduate college after a week, you don’t stomp out of the womb with an elite total. All of these things take hard work. And that hard work is worth doing. As cliché as it sounds, I have found that the endeavors I have had to work hardest for are those that I treasure the most.
- ) You can only help those who want to be helped: This was a tough one for me to learn. Since before I can remember, I wanted to have the answer for people. Especially those that I love. Unfortunately, that is unrealistic. The truth is, you can’t help anyone who is set on being a victim. In fact, bailing out chronic damsels will only enable their helplessness and have you pulling your own hair out.
- ) Words matter: Be careful how you speak to others. Further , if you don’t care how your words impact people, then perhaps you don’t have a say in if others words impact you.
- ) Make Lists: I have described myself as a “scatterbrain” several times. One things that ensures I stay on task is that I make lists and keep them within eyesight. My laptop currently has two post-it notes with things that are imperative that I get done. Often enough, I will start to feel distracted. Notes of daily goals pull me back in.
- ) Tell the people that you love that you do, in fact, love them. Daily.
As you can see, theres not much about lifting here.
I can never emphasize enough the importance of eating a healthy diet. I also cannot believe how often this is ignored. You don’t have to go on a fish-and-broccoli only diet, but American’s have a terrible relationship with food as a whole. Make sure that the food you are consuming each day SERVES A PURPOSE.
Protein: Protein, aside from water, is the most abundant substance in our body. It is necessary to maintain muscles, as well as helps with proper functioning of almost every cell in the body. Everytime you work out, you will do micro tears to the muscle. You need protein to recover and heal these tears. Without protein, you will not build muscle. It is necessary for an active adult to consume protein. This doesn’t mean you have to start eating a chicken each day. In fact, there are plenty of protein sources that don’t require eating meat. If you are into that sort of thing.
Sources of protein: seafood, poultry, meat, eggs, egg whites, some dairy, soy, protein powders
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are broken into two categories: simple and complex. Both types of carbohydrates break down into glucose molecules. From there, carbs become fuel for your muscles and brain. If your body does not immediately use it for energy, it is converted into glycogen and stored it in the liver and muscles to be used as energy in the near future. Your body can store about a half a day’s supply of glycogen. Excess glucose becomes fat.
Simple Carbohydrates: Many health professionals blame simple carbohydrate intake as the leading cause of obesity. However, simple carbohydrates can be useful in the time frame around or during your training. Examples of simple carbohydrates include: fruits, dairy, table sugar, honey, molasses, candy, and many processed snack foods.
Complex Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates provide more energy than its partner, simple carbohydrates. These carbs take longer to digest and often boast a lot of micronutrients. Examples of these include: Vegetables, oats, whole grain breads/pastas/etc.
Fats: Fats get a bad rap. Their name alone is just icky. However, they are important for the functioning of the body. They yield over twice the amount of energy per gram (9 calories/gram) as carbs and protein (4 calories/gram). Healthy fats help brain development, blood clotting, control inflammation, maintain hair and skin, and helps transport vitamins A, D, E, and K through the blood stream.
Saturated Fat: Saturated fat is okay in controlled doses. Molecularly, there are no double bonds between the carbon atoms, thus the carbon chain is saturated with hydrogen. This type of fat is clearly labeled on food labels and should be kept to less than 10% of your daily caloric expenditure.
Unsaturated fat: Unsaturated fat is what we think of when we think of good fats. They can help lower cholesterol when used as opposed to saturated fats. As I mentioned earlier, they are still quite calorie dense and you will want to keep their use to less than 30% of your caloric intake. Examples of unsaturated fats would be avocados, fish oil, and nuts.
Trans fat: Trans fat is bad, bad news. It is the result of hydrogenation, which is when vegetable oil hardens. Trans fat should be ELIMINATED from your diet for optimal health. It raises LDL levels, lowers HDL levels thus increasing your chances for getting coronary heart disease. Trans fat is mostly found in fried foods, processed foods, and margarine.
Now that you have some bare bone facts as to what the macronutrients are, make sure that what you are putting in your body serves a higher purpose.
Welcome to our third and final installment of the NBS Fitness Guide to Supplements. In Part 1 we discussed the importance of protein and the different types and qualities available. In Part 2 we discussed the importance of a peri workout protocol. We are going to finish this series off with talk about products that can help improve your health and well being. While most lifters are quick to jump on the latest and greatest supplements to improve training, few put as much emphasis on their health as they should. This article will go over multi vitamins, fish oil, sleep aids, and nootropics and adaptagens. I’ve listed them in order of importance based off my own personal beliefs. Take a look and learn what you can take to feel better, recover better, and be healthier:
As unsexy as the idea of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are to people who are wanting to be swole and tan, the truth of the matter is that they play a vital role in your every day functions. Vitamin deficiencies can not only slow your progress but they can also significantly impact your health and well being. That is where a multi vitamin comes in. It ensures you’re getting a decent dose of all the essential vitamins that you need to survive and thrive. Now this doesn’t mean that all you need to do is take a multi vitamin and nothing else matter. It’s still important to eat a balanced, healthy diet that is rich in nutrients and there are still instances in which you still may need to supplement something, like the next supplement on our list. I recommend that males use M Factor Hero from 1st Phorm and that females use Prenatal Plus or M Factor Goddess
It is estimated that three quarters (75%) of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a major role in the development and growth of bones and has been linked to numerous other functions in the human body. Primarily we get our vitamin D from being in the sun but due to spending an increasing amount of time indoors and utilizing sun screen, many people need to supplement with it. I personally, have had to use as much as 15,000 ius to get my Vitamin D up to appropriate levels. I’m not suggesting you start with that but I definitely recommend that people get their levels checked and supplement with Vitamin D3 if necessary.
Supplementing Omega 3 fatty acids has been shown to have a major effect on lowering inflammation in the body. This helps improve blood pressure, lower triglycerides and cholesterol level, increase HDL cholesterol, and has been shown to have a positive impact on everything from brain function to insulin sensitivity. It’s important that you choose a fish oil product that has a sufficient amount of EPA and DHA and comes from a quality source. I recommend using Full Mega from 1st Phorm.
Around half of all Americans report sleep issues. Whether its from stress, schedule, or other factors, the fact is that most Americans are not getting the sleep they need to live healthy, vibrant lives. For those who train, lack of sleep can lead to under recovery and a host of issues from decreases in performance and even an increased likelihood of injury. There are three supplements that I have found to be amazing at helping improve sleep quality. Zinc and magnesium are essential nutrients that play major roles in circadian rhythms. They also just so happen to be a common deficiency in many. ZMA has been a proven supplement over the last decade for ensuring proper amounts of zinc and magnesium are attained. Melatonin is a hormone in the body that increase with a decrease in daylight and which signals the body to prepare for sleep. Being constantly surrounded by bright lights can have a negative impact on this production so supplementing melatonin can help make you a little more sleep and ready for bed. Valerian root is another supplement that can cause drowsiness and make you want to close your bed and head off into dream land. I have the combination of these three supplements make getting a restful night of sleep easy and consistent. I haven’t had a single night with any sleep issues since I started taking them. The best part is that all three supplements plus some others can be found in Night T by 1st Phorm.
Nootropics and Adaptogens
Nootropics are supplements that help increase cognitive function in areas such as memory, creativity and motivation. They can increase feelings of well being too. Adaptogens help your body adapt to stress better. Some different nootropics and adaptogens include ginseng, Bacopa Monnieri Extract, caffeine, Rhodiola Rosea Extract, Ashwagandha Root Powder, GABA, 5 HTP, and Alpha GPC. Now I realize that’s a lot of different supplements to try and take. Luckily for you they can all be found in Master Brain AM and PM by 1st Phorm.
If you’re serious about your health and want to ensure you’re getting the best results possible, you have to take care of body. That includes training intelligently, have a good nutrition plan, and taking the necessary supplements to support them both. While health supplements might not bring the same attention as performance enhancing supplements, I promise they are worth the investment. Give them a shot and see what you think.
When I was in college, my dorm mate and I had an alarm clock that would play a song off a CD as your wake up alarm. We thought this was the coolest thing ever so of course we picked a song we thought we would love to wake up to everyday. But after a month of being woke up for 6am football practice we pretty much hated that song. Our human nature wants to take the path of least resistance, it’s built into every one of us, and waking up and training that early is definitely not the path of least resistance. When I took a break from powerlifting, I struggled to find the motivation to train. My knees hurt, I was way out of shape, and I was quick to move training around for other priorities. I knew the group training of CrossFit would help but I also knew that with my schedule, if I don’t train early in the morning, I’m not likely to train at all. So, my wife and I made the commitment to training at 5am at least twice a week. Here are two of the benefits I’ve found from training this early
- It makes training a priority. I’ve been in this business long enough to see what happens to people when they fall off the wagon hard, I know what spending the first 50 years of your life focused on work does to your physical and mental health, I’ve seen what happens when health isn’t a priority and becomes a giant, almost impossible to overcome obstacle. I know what lies on the other side of that life decision and it isn’t pretty. I don’t want to be 40, 50, or 60 and playing catch up on my health. I want my children to live a health and happy life so I want to model that behavior for them. I don’t want to waste the gift of being able bodied and healthy by letting it slip away and the only way to do that is to make it a priority.
- It builds your confidence in overcoming obstacles. When that alarm goes off, it is a serious battle to turn down the temptation of hitting the snooze button. But when you win that battle, you start your day with confidence and winning becomes a habit. Likewise, if you hit the alarm clock, losing becomes a habit and your confidence will falter. You start feeling down on yourself and start making poor choices in other areas. I’ve seen so many people who wake up late, skip breakfast, snack on poor food choices at work, then try to make it to the gym just to have a terrible workout because their nutrition was terrible during the day. Each day, they wake up, and solidify the fact that they “can’t” do it. One poor decision leads to the next and each new decision seems like a mountain to overcome. Win the battle against the alarm clock, win the battle of going to the gym, celebrate your success and the rest of the day will seem so much easier.
If you enjoyed this blog post, check out some of my other blogs about my adventures in CrossFit:
We were fortunate enough to enjoy some much needed time with our grandson last weekend. Jackson is absolutely our greatest joy and we treasure our time with him. During our customary trip to Target on Saturday, he picked out a 1000 piece puzzle for us to do together. I always enjoyed putting puzzles together with my children when they were young, so I was excited to do this with him!
This would be his first 1000 piece puzzle, however, Jackson is no stranger to large tasks. He has completed numerous large Lego sets, including the 1250 piece Millennium Falcon. At 8 years old, he and Papaw erected it over a weekend.
Sunday afternoon we began facing all the pieces up and setting aside the framework. Papa entered the room, scratched his head and made a comment about how overwhelming the puzzle looked. Jackson, without much hesitation or a look up from his puzzle said, “That’s ok, Papa, we’ll do it one piece at a time.”
I don’t think Jackson quite grasped the gravity of his comment (or maybe he did) but his comment gave me pause for thought about something I’d like to share with you.
Our Tasks Are Not That Big
How often do we face something and immediately bemoan the task? We see the entire challenge and our very first thoughts are of fear, concern or stress. It happens in our daily lives with work, trying to lose weight, cleaning the garage, the house and even doing the laundry. We CERTAINLY do it when we have a challenging workout. This is NOT some sort of weird genetic condition that you have no control over, this is a LEARNED behavior!
Stop Letting Emotion be in Control
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “I can’t do 100 of those!” If I write a workout, similar to this:
25 Wall Ball
10 Pull Ups
10 Box Jumps
Many will see the workout and immediately think, “holy crap, that’s 100 WB and 80 Burpees, I’m going to die!” What you should say to yourself is this: “Ok, this is a tough one, if fact, a terrible one, but I’m going to tackle this challenge and do the best I can with it, ONE REP AT A TIME. I know I won’t die.”
This seems like a very simplistic approach. Guess what? It is and it’s a simple fix but you have to want to fix it and retrain your thinking.
Perceive Things Differently
“Unhelpful perceptions can invade our minds. You must train your brain to see things for what they are, do what we can, endure and bare what we must.” This is an excerpt from a book I recently listened to, The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. When we stop allowing emotion (fear) to be our first reaction, then we can stop seeing problems as problems and focus on what things really are, and typically, they’re never as bad as our emotions tell us they are. You have to train yourself to view any challenge with reason and logic. This takes practice and essentially muscle memory. You have to be willing to change your perception of things however and see things more as an opportunity and less as a problem.
To begin learning to see things differently, consider this:
Perception – see the (challenge) clearly
Action – act correctly (without emotion)
Will – endure and accept (find a way)
I don’t think we really appreciate stoicism enough. To appreciate stoicism is to learn to disregard our initial emotional reaction to things. This is a learned behavior and may come easier for some than others…but it can be learned. We, as humans, spend far too much time commiserating about our experiences and far too little time learning how to endure during our hardships, knuckle down and pursue without complaint. Spend one minute reading comments in a hotly debated topic on Facebook and that’s all you see is emotion. Rarely does one stop, see the situation clearly, and then act upon it correctly. Now, I’m not suggesting we all become stoics, but I am suggesting we try to see our challenges as more opportunity and less “problem”.
Jackson asked that I not work on the puzzle unless he is here to work on it with me. He said he wanted it to be something he and I do together. I respect, love and appreciate that very much, so my dining room table will be held hostage for awhile and that’s really ok by me. After all, often it’s really not the end result that we should be looking for, in the journey is where true experiences lie.
Chiropractic is a very unique profession. As such, there are a good amount of questions concerning the perception of chiropractic education. Unfortunately some of the reasons for these questions is the lack of a common and unified voice from my profession in educating the public. One of these lulls in public education and of the most common questions I get is the education required to become a chiropractor. According to a recent Gallup poll, there is a reason I get that common question as a majority of Americans are unaware of the education of a chiropractor. Of the 5442 people polled 67% underestimated the education of a chiropractor (49% answered 4-6 years, 18% answered 2 years or less) and another 19% stated that they did not know. Only 15% of those polled correctly identified the 7 or more years required to become a chiropractor. These answers represent a wide amount of individuals who have seen a chiropractor within the last 12 months, within 5 years, more than five years ago, or those who have never seen a chiropractor. Interestingly enough, although individuals who have recently been to the chiropractor had a higher likelihood of correctly guessing the education requirements, a significantly large amount did not. This means that there are individuals currently receiving care that are asking this exact question. So in an effort to help educate and inform past, current, and prospective patients of chiropractic, here is both a summary of the educational requirements of chiropractors vs other common health professionals as well as a few takeaways from these statistics.
Comparison in Education
In order to earn a Doctorate of Chiropractic, a chiropractor must first achieve a bachelors degree and apply for chiropractic school. Much like the prerequisites for medical school, chiropractic school requires a large amount of education in basic and biological sciences and require a proficient passage of these courses with at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Although many chiropractic schools have a different breakdown in the academic calendar (some use semesters, others, trimesters, and even others quarters) all chiropractic programs are essentially a 5 year degree condensed into just over 3 years. This means that per academic term, chiropractic students will have between 26 – 35 credit hours per term. In my school we used trimesters and the average number of hours was 30+ per trimester. That accounts for class schedules that start as early as 7am and go until 4 or 5pm (sometimes even later). Chiropractic education is also year round schooling and there is no break from start to finish in the curriculum. Medical and Osteopathic schooling is 4 years of schooling which is typically back loaded in terms of hours. Initially, med students get summer breaks and only operate at about 24-28 hours a semester. This cranks up after their second year into pretty much year round training. As you may notice below, the educational hours that chiropractors go through is very similar to the educational hours of an M.D. and D.O. during medical school. There are, however some very important differences between medical school and chiropractic school, as well as the extended training required after schooling is completed. These are the things that I wish to explore, and explain the reasons for these differences in training.
So what constitutes the difference in hours between doctors of Medicine, Osteopathy, Chiropractic, or even Physical Therapy. First and foremost, it should be said that Doctors of Osteopathy and Doctors of Medicine are, for the sake of simplicity, one in the same when it comes to their schooling. There will be minor differences in curriculum but it will be essentially the same education. This is what accounts for the small difference in hours which only really accounts to a handful of classes. Medical/Osteopathic school is essentially a foundational education in medicine. Classes are heavily weighted in cover chemistry, microbiology, physiology, pharmacology and toxicology, immunology, and pharmacology.
Chiropractic education contains all focus subjects listed above, however its roots are more embedded in musculoskeletal diagnosis, neurology, physiologic and rehabilitative therapy, anatomy (most specifically spinal and musculoskeletal anatomy), and hands on assessment and treatment techniques specific to the skills of a chiropractor.
Physical therapy will lend itself to a similar schooling as chiropractic, but has traditionally been less in depth and less rigorous. A DPT program encompasses 3 years or less of education. This involves a heavy dosage of physical rehabilitation, physiological therapy, musculoskeletal diagnosis, and some anatomy. Some schools spread their hours out over the entire year, whereas others still are able to enjoy a summer break. Overall, the class loads of Physical Therapy are much lower per term than Chiropractic or Medical school, which accounts for the difference in overall hours shown.
The reason for these differences in focus? The differences in profession of course! Medical, osteopathic, and chiropractic education are all focused on having a broad knowledge portal of entry level knowledge of many different conditions across all systems of the body. They branch off from here due to their scope of practice, treatment strategies, and management duties. In the medical and osteopathic professions most treatment surrounds drugs and surgery and less around physical treatment and rehabilitation. Therefore, these schools are going to be much more heavily weighted towards chemistry, biology, pharmacology in toxicology, and immunology, and less on physical rehabilitation and physiological therapeutics and musculoskeletal anatomy. Furthermore, because medical and osteopathic doctors directly handle more systemic and disease conditions than chiropractic or physical therapy, they will focus less on specifics of musculoskeletal diagnosis and anatomy.
Chiropractic education requires well-rounded knowledge of each body system and pathology in order to properly refer to the correct medical specialist. The vast majority of services that chiropractic provides will be physical in nature and less invasive. They’re also, by professional nature, more specialized to musculoskeletal conditions and many also take their own x-rays. This is why chiropractic school must be so heavily weighted in subjects such as anatomy (specifically spinal and musculoskeletal anatomy), physiology, radiology, rehabilitation, and physical treatment of the musculoskeletal system.
It is important to note that these comparisons are made on the basis of schooling only. On one hand we can look at this and see that for musculoskeletal conditions chiropractors are the most educated profession. On the other hand it is very important to understand that one’s education is only a small indicator of the clinical skills and abilities of a practitioner. The letters behind a given health practitioners name are merely an indicator on their educational background. It is very important to understand that just like in any other profession there are good and bad practitioners in each profession, and even though all these professionals are doctors there is still a spectrum of skill in each profession. There are some physical therapists that are better skilled and produce better results than chiropractors and vice versa. The reason for this is not because of the base level of education, but rather the application of that education and the focus on improvement of that education following graduation. There is also a case to be made about the level of specialization that occurs across these professions as well. Medical and osteopathic doctors complete many more years of education following graduation of medical school than chiropractic doctors or doctors of physical therapy. In part two of this series we will explain why these two points should be taken into account by the patient when seeking healthcare for various conditions. The goal here is not to put down or prop up one profession over the other, but to understand each profession (specifically chiropractic education) and when you should seek one professional over the other.
The Best Post Meet Recovery Ever!
We always talk about taking a break after the meet to let our bodies recover. For those of you who follow this advice, you understand why. Those that do not implement this will understand one day. For me personally, when I finish a meet I don’t have motivation to even get under a bar to move a bunch of weight. I had my battle and either won or lost. This time after the meet is to either lick my wounds and figure out what went wrong or enjoy the success and allow repairs to be made to my body (because there was damage done). Following my most recent meet, my recovery was completely different and I think it aided me more than it ever has before.
This past meet took a toll on me mentally and it was hard for me to shake. This was the first time I decided to take a trip right after a meet. I figured it would work well since I would not be occupied with intense training. Not only was it a “trip” it was an international trip which I have never done. This caused a bunch of mental variables that removed my focus completely from powerlifting and training. One could say it was the complete opposite end of the spectrum from training. I was not worried about working out, food measurements, and prepping for a heavy or light training day forcing myself to bed early. What I was worried about was making my flight on time, did I have my passport, what this trip was going to be like!
Training for powerlifting causes me to create poor habits over time when under heavy loads. I begin to walk with a waddle due to my inability to keep my posterior pelvic tilt fixed and keep from externally rotating. The ironic thing is, I walk like this because it is the most comfortable but it doesn’t actually fix anything. One could say it’s making it worse. In real basic terms, I could not even walk properly.
So tucking my tail and walking without a waddle was a large focus during this trip. It took so much focus because it actually hurt to walk properly. To give you an idea of this “struggle,” when I was visiting Japan we averaged walking 5 miles a day; that’s roughly around 15,000 steps. I am not going to lie, when I start addressing my compensations, other areas begin to hurt because I was guarded and locked into a poor position for so long. By the end of the 5th day, I could physically feel my strides and hip position were better, my waddle was decreased and I felt much better… JUST BY WALKING!
So after finally returning from my trip, (and the additional recovery from jet lag), I think this was the best post meet recovery I have ever experienced. I am ready to get back to training with weight. I can tell my base needs a lot of work and hopefully will fix more lingering mechanical issues along the way.
Remember, you cannot out-train recovery, and you cannot sustain maximal strength 365 days out of the year, so look into taking a break after a meet and enjoy what we have been blessed with on this earth.