Friday, July 23, 2010

Brain Food - 7/23/2010

To Eat Like a Hippy or Not?

I found this great article on the swirling debate regarding the cost/benefit of eating organic produce on T-Nation. Very interesting stuff...bonus points to the author for including shopping recommendations based on the relative contamination levels of different produce.

Interval Training Sucks for Fat Loss?

High Intensity Interval Training (or HITT) has become the latest fat burning trend in the fitness industry. Before reading the article,  I was 100% convinced of its efficacy having used it on myself and clients very successfully in the past. However, the author of this article takes the most admirable job in our industry - the constructive critic. In a thought provoking analysis, he shreds all of the studies that are often used to validate HITT as a fat burning method. After reading the article, I am still 100% convinced that HITT is a valid fat burner (practical experience always trumps 2nd level analysis IMO) but it did provoke some thought on how to better use and apply it. Clarification of the W's (who, what, where, when, why) is always useful in this industry, making this article a must read for that reason alone. If you aren't thinking critically, you aren't thinking!

Who Doesn't Love Charles Poliquin? YOU SHOULD!

Here are several articles (to be read in sequence) in which CP talks about why the average American woman  typically struggles to lose weight due to their dietary approach. Tons of great info but definitely not at all politically correct. I love CP for this exact reason - he tells it like it is and isn't afraid to riff on people who do dumb stuff. Regardless of your reaction to the tone of the articles, I guarantee that it will get you thinking! Bonus - you can probably read all of them in 20 minutes or less!

"The biggest problem that female athletes suffer from is the low expectations of male coaches"

     The following article is interesting for several reasons. First, it features Dan John, which guarantees that it will contain some great training insights. Second, it talk about developing upper body strength in female athletes, particular pressing movements. I am not sure if I agree with all of the points made but as someone who deals with primarily female athletes, the above quote really resonated with me. Many times over I have found the female athletes who were forgotten about by their coaches in the weight room are often the ones who make the most improvement once properly motivated and challenged. Check out Kasey's testimonial here for an example.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Training Thoughts - Pulling Barefoot

I have been playing around with doing deadlifts barefoot with both myself and my clients at the recommendation of Eric Cressey and top coaches. The idea behind this is to eliminate the unnatural heel lift typical of most athletic shoes, which mess with one's natural ankle mobility over time (an immobile ankle joint can adversely affect movement patterns at the knee & hip joints)

Before I started pulling deads barefoot (and with a trap bar), my low back was always the limiting factor on my deadlift, particularly the right side. After needing some chiro work on my R hip, knee, ankle this summer due a rugby misadventure, I have concluded that the root of my deadlift woes was/is probably my right ankle. It is stiffer and much less mobile than the left for some reason and probably always has been.  Ever since I have been pulling barefoot (and going shoeless more often) my back has given me almost 0 trouble so there is definitely something to this idea. However, I have found that rolling a lax ball on my feet (10x) and doing ankle mobilizations (10x)  really helps me get down deeper in my set up for deadlifts. If I don't do this, I don't feel as powerful at the bottom and my lifts aren't smooth past the knees.

Recommendation #1 - Pull deadlifts barefoot
Recommendation #2 - Roll your feet and mobilize the ankles beforehand to make it more effective. I have attached an instruction video by one of the top guys in our industry, Eric Cressey, on how to do this.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A snail's pace and evil laugh somewhere out there...

I just finished my first blog post and it took me 45 minutes. Blaes would probably chuckle at this since she is a gifted writer and I am not. Words come easy to her - she literally can paint a picture with them. Me? I trudge along like a sloth when I try to write creatively and sometimes the picture ain't so pretty. This dilemma takes me back to a creative writing class I took in college. Yes Blaes, you read that correctly - I took a writing class in college.

Basically, the premise was that to be a good writer you had to write alot and write often. The point was that the next great story could come out of the most trivial idea. You would never know unless you didn't write it down and try to develop it.  At the time, I HATED the class and its shrew-like professor. She got on my nerves so bad and I really sucked at that course.  I just wouldn't write enough content or nearly often enough to do the process justice and I got a Crap grade.

The ultimate irony? I have started a blog - a concept based on creativity and content because I wanted to write more. I also locked up all these thoughts for so long that I did exactly what this professor warned us against - I lost some of them at time when I desperately wanted them the most.

Damn those evil ironic laughs...aren't they the worst?

Time to create - 15 mins! HA!

Jumbled up

I have been a sports performance coach (or strength coach to some) for the past 8 years now. It has been a long, winding road filled with some amazing successes and also some pungent failures along the way. Somehow throughout the last 8 years, I have managed to persevere in this sometimes fickle and brutal industry to achieve some level of success - my own training business, Fury Performance Training.While I think FPT is on the verge of doing some big things in the Chattanooga training market, this is not really the reason I have chosen to create this blog.

1) To be honest, the kicker that forced me to start blogging was the sheer ease of it all - the ability to blend thoughts, articles, pictures, videos etc... all into one place. I had been experimenting with a traditional newsletter (complete with its own snazzy template) but I started to find it too limiting - I was beginning to spend more time editing the darn thing than thinking about the content! Even though the ol' FPT newsletter was getting good reviews from my 40 or so loyal suscribers, this month's issue will be the last. I think that taking the leap into the vast blogo-sphere will allow me to write and process info in real time and probably allow me to stop sending Jill and Blaes constant emails every time I find something cool for them to read.

2) Sports performance (strength & conditioning or whatever you want to call it) is becoming a blog based business these days. I have 7 blog subscriptions and counting on my tool bar and I am sure there are more to come. Many of the top coaches have blogs these days and they are an amazing resource if you take the time to read them. While my reputation pales in comparison to some of my fellow bloggers, I figured now is as good time as any to get started on my contribution to the performance blog trend.

3) In the past few months, FPT has really taken on a life of its own. While this is cool and pays the bills, you may notice that this blog is not devoted to all things FPT. Shameless plug alert - go be a fan of FPT on Facebook! While I will post FPT related stuff here, this blog is my actual training "voice".  Recently, I decided that I have something to add to the industry, my own content and spin on things. I have been a voraciously consuming all things performance-related and the info digestion process has resulted in some pretty cool stuff in my mind. However, my brain needs to shift over into production mode soon before it all gets lost in the synapses. Hence the title above...

So many danger of getting all jumbled up...