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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Don’t Stretch?

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Many people have brought to my attention this article from the New York Times, with the somewhat provocative title, Reasons Not to Stretch.

Mobility?

Mobility?

While I certainly appreciate the desire to educate people about fitness myths, I feel like the article left a lot to be desired.  Of course, that could just be my frame of reference.

First, most of us in the fitness community have known for quite some time that cold static stretching doesn’t really help, and could actually hurt your performance.  There have been a number of studies showing this and it’s pretty much widely accepted at this point.  The findings of these studies are slightly less applicable for endurance athletes and more applicable for people who require explosive power at near maximum capacity– people lifting weights or playing any type of combative or contact sports.

Second, while the article points out that warming up is important, in my opinion, it underplays the importance of mobility and dynamic stretching.  Performing some key dynamic stretches that put the joints through a full range of motion with some load are important not only for performance, but for increasing flexibility and preventing injury.  We do a lot of movements that are at the terminal end of our range of motion– squats to full depth, overhead presses where the shoulder fully opens, front rack involving rotation of the shoulder and extension of the wrist, and so on– and loosening up the muscles around the appropriate joints is necessary for proper technique, which leads to better workouts and less injuries.

Finally, the article underplays the importance of stretching after the workout.  Sure, static stretching after might not actually do anything aside from make you feel a little better.  But isn’t that enough?  I mean, why do you work out, if not to feel better?  On top of this, the article is only talking about static stretching, they say nothing about additional mobility work such as myofascial release, PNF, trigger points, etc.

So we’ll stick to this formula: Warm up. Work out.  Mobilize.

Thoughts?

Whoa!

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Here’s the video of Josh Golden getting 387 reps in the CrossFit Games Open workout 13.2, putting him in a three-way tie for first.

Or not?  According to this article on the Games site, this video popped up on YouTube and once it was recognized that Mr. Golden didn’t perform all of the movements correctly, they rejected his score.

In the Open, the Athlete is responsible for performing the workout as prescribed and meeting all movement standards. The Judge and Affiliate Manager are responsible for validating that performance. In this case, all three parties failed to fulfill their responsibilities.”

As a result, they are revoking that affiliate’s ability to validate scores, so anybody from that gym either has to video their submission, or go to another affiliate to do the next workouts.

Pretty harsh, but it just goes to show that they are not messing around when it comes to the seriousness of the competition or the movement standards.

I’m interested to hear what you guys think about this?

Maybe We’re Winning?

Monday, March 18th, 2013
Most popular drink in the US? <a href=

Most popular drink in the US? water

For over 20 years, the top drink in the US was soda, according to Beverage Digest.  However, this year water took the top spot.

According to the article in the Huffington Post, soda consumption has been declining since peak average consumption in 1998 of 54 gallons per person per year.  To put that in perspective, that’s about two 2-liter bottles of soda per person per week. I used to drink soda, but even so, I can’t imagine having ever drank that much.

The average American now drinks about 44 gallons per year, which is still absurdly high, in my opinion.  However, we have increased our intake of water to 58 gallons per year, which works out to about two and a half 8-ounce glasses per day.  Unfortunately for the environment, most of this consumption comes from bottled water.

Could it be that people are starting to realize that soda is unhealthy and leads to obesity and a whole range of other negative health effects?  Hopefully.

Let’s continue this trend, but please, avoid disposable plastic bottles if at all possible.

Soda Kills

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Recently, a woman in New Zealand died of a heart attack.  That wouldn’t ordinarily be a big deal, except that the medical examiner who did the autopsy attributed her death to her addiction to Coca-Cola.

Poison!

Poison!

According to the article from Discovery News, the woman drank up to 2.2 liters of Coke per day, and her family described her as suffering withdraw type symptoms if she ran out.  Apparently, she suffered a variety of serious health issues due to the sugar, caffeine, and phosphoric acid in the drink.  The article says she had fatty deposits in her liver, cardiac arrhythmia, and had lost all her teeth.  In addition, one of her children was born with no enamel on its teeth.

While this is clearly tragic, I can’t help but have a morbid interest in the physiological effects of overdosing on Coke.  You could say that any soda is bad just on account of the vast amounts of sugar in it, but Coke and other colas are particularly nasty because they pack a triple punch of sugar, caffeine, phosphoric acid.  The last two in particular can work to offset electrolyte levels in the body.

Her family said that they didn’t think her Coke habit was dangerous because there was no warning labels on the drink.  Now, this brings up a question of responsibility.  I feel that you can be dumb as a rock and still understand that drinking an excessive amount of soda is unhealthy.  By the same standards, you shouldn’t need a warning label to understand that fast food, alcohol, and cigarettes are bad for you.  These are things that, I feel, are common knowledge.  At the same time, people didn’t always know that cigarettes were bad for you–my aunt was told to smoke during her pregnancy by her doctor in order to “keep the birth weight down and make for an easier delivery.”   It took a major paradigm shift, legal fights and legislation, advertisement campaigns, and labels to finally get the public to realize how bad smoking is for you.

What do you think?  Do we need to go a similar route with soda and fast food, or should it just be common sense?

Miss America & CrossFit

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

For those of you living in a cave, the most recent Miss America, Mallory Hagan, lifts heavy weights.  Here’s a quick article about her doing CrossFit and the fact that she’s bucking the stick-thin model of… um.. modeling.

Here’s a video of some of her training.  The part where her trainer talks about getting bulky is great.  ”If you’re female and looking to work out, you really want to prioritize lifting heavy weights because, counter-intuitively, it’s going to make you smaller and hotter.”

Ladies, don’t shy away from the barbells!