Archive for the ‘Knowledge’ Category

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Let’s face it guys, chicks dig the long ball.  The funny thing is that there seems to be little correlation between being big and strong and hitting the long ball.  I have seen many a mighty man swing as hard as he can only to duff the ball just past the ladies’ tee or hit a duck hook that ends up 2 fairways over.  The proof that you don’t need to be a big & strong guy to crush your tee shot can be seen in the stats of the top 5 drivers on the PGA tour (list includes a couple other big names):

                               Driving Distance Leaders on the PGA Tour (in yards)
       Rank             Name          Height         Weight   Average(yds)
          1    J.B. Holmes        5 ft 11 in          190 lbs           311.7
          2    Bubba Watson         6 ft 3 in          180 lbs           310.7
          3    Dustin Johnson         6 ft 4 in          190 lbs           310.0
          4    Chris Baryla         6 ft 0 in          180 lbs           309.0
          5    Angel Cabrera         6 ft 0 in          210 lbs           303.1
         14    Phil Mickelson         6 ft 3 in          200 lbs           296.9
         67    Tiger Woods         6 ft 1 in          185 lbs           289.6
Note:  Y-T-D statistics through Shell Houston Open Apr 03, 2011
Source:  http://www.pgatour.com

 
Looking at the top 5:  Average Height = 6 ft 1 in, Average Weight = 190 lbs, Average Drive = 308.9 yds.  I think that it is safe to say that none of the above have ever been mistaken for Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno or Mr. Olympia AND I doubt anyone has ever asked any of them how much they can bench, squat or deadlift.  The point I am making here is that these are not the biggest and strongest guys so, you wouldn’t suspect that they can crush a 300 yard drive.  So, what’s their secret?

Arnold is Bigger & Stronger, but JB Holmes drives it longer!!!

Whereas most other sports require you to move back and forth or side to side, golf requires that you twist.  Hence, most sports operate Read the rest of this entry »

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In 490 BC, after the Battle of Marathon, Pheidippides ran 25 miles to Athens to announce the Greek victory over the Persians.  When he arrived in Athens he said, “We have won!” and then he collapsed and died.  Thus, the Marathon was born.  Rather than make a correlation between Pheidippides death and running a distance of 25 miles immediately prior to his death, runners have decided to celebrate this event by attempting the same feat without suffering the same fate.  Long Distance running can kill you by inducing arrhythmia, increasing coronary plaque, and causing scar tissue to be formed in and around the heart.

The first Marathon did not end well.

 

Well known distance runners in good shape who died at a young age:

490BC – Pheidippides, a messenger by trade, runs 25 miles from Marathon to Athens to deliver news of a Greek victory.  After delivering the message, he collapses and dies at the age of 40.

7/20/84 – Jim Fixx, author of “The Complete Book of Running”, drops dead of a heart attack at the age of 52.  Dr. Eleanor N. McQuillen, Vermont’s chief medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Mr. Fixx, said in an interview that all three of his coronary arteries were damaged by arteriosclerosis, the underlying cause of heart attacks. Read the rest of this entry »

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I had an epiphany the other day as I was walking out of the gym.  When I tell you, at first you might think to yourself, “Yeah, I know that, so what?”  But, when I really thought about it for several days, I truly realized how profound it was…YOU CAN’T BUY STRENGTH, IT MUST BE EARNED!!!

Here is what prompted the revelation.  I was walking out of the gym and I almost got clipped by some jackass in a Jaguar while walking to my car.  As I looked to see who the person was who was enjoying their last seconds on Earth, I recognized the guy and started laughing so hard, the thought of bludgeoning him became a distant memory.  Come with me and I will tell you a story…

Last year I was training my back and needed to do Weighted Chin-Ups.  I waddled over to the Chin-Up Bar with a 45 LB plate hanging from me, trying to not have it bash into my knees.  I had to wait b/c there was a guy struggling to get his 4th and then 5th and final rep.  He had a full head of gray hair, looked to be in his late 40′s and had the muscle mass of a stick figure.  So, when he came down, I was pretty pissed when he looked at my 230LB frame and stared at the 45 LB plate hanging from me and uttered the following, “Wow, that’s pretty ambitious!!!”  It was in a very wise ass tone, like, “I can only do 5 and I am in great shape, but you will probably only bang out a couple at best.”  I got onto my tip toes and wrapped my hands around the bar…I DID 18 REPS!!!  When I came down, this clown’s jaw was dropped and I stared him right in the face as if I was ready to decapitate him with my bare hands and I walked away.

5 Chin-Ups? You talkin' to me?

In light of that experience, it was ironic that the same punk almost clipped me on the way to my car.  As he got out, he looked around Read the rest of this entry »

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Caffeine and Performance – Part 2

In my last post (Caffeine and Performance – Part 1), I looked at the benefits that Caffeine provides in fat loss and burning calories as well as the best form of Caffeine for the greatest results (pill form is better than coffee).  In Part 2 of this 2 part series, I am going to look at how Caffeine impacts Cognitive Performance (Brain Function) and Endurance & Strength.  There are numerous studies which look at the combination of Caffeine & Creatine and Caffeine & Carbohydrates as it relates to Endurance and Strength, but I am focusing on Caffeine specifically so, for our purposes, these pieces of research are excluded from my analysis.

3) Cognitive Performance
Several studies have shown that Caffeine improves both cognitive performance and mood in the general population (1,2).  A study by McLellan et al. (3) showed that soldiers given Caffeine were able to complete a vigilance task with less errors and an obstacle course faster than their non-Caffeinated counterparts.  These tasks were performed in a sleep deprived state (4 hours of sleep) where Caffeine was supplemented 3 times at 200 mg per dose (600 mg total) with about 2.5 hours between doses.  The last dose was given 30 minutes before the testing.  The Caffeine was administered via a caffeinated gum.  The Vigilance task involved observing a building for 2 hours and recording any observations.  Within each 20 minute block, an activity lasting 5s was presented.   The Caffeine group had fewer errors than the placebo group.  There were 3 Obstacle Courses and the Caffeine group completed them faster and with fewer errors than that placebo group.  The study concluded that Caffeine “maintained both vigilance and physical performance during sustained operations that require periods of overnight wakefulness and restricted opportunities for daytime sleep.” (3)

Another study by Lieberman et al. (4) looked at cognitive performance of U.S. Navy Seals in a sleep deprived state when supplementing with Caffeine.   Participants were randomly assigned doses of either 100, 200 or 300 mg of Caffeine in capsule form.  One hour after consumption, participants performed a battery of tests related to vigilance, reaction time, working memory, motor learning and memory.  Caffeine had the most significant effects on tasks related to alertness.  Results were also significant for assessments related to vigilance & choice reaction time for those who received the Caffeine treatment.  What was really interesting was that there was no statistical advantage of taking 300 versus 200 mg (i.e. the 300 mg group did not perform better than the 200 mg group) though there was a significant improvement in performance of the 200 mg group versus the 100 mg group.  In fact, 100 mg was no more advantageous than a placebo! (4)

"Caffeine makes me more alert and helps me function better!" - Brain

These studies (3,4) demonstrate the effects of Caffeine on cognitive performance Read the rest of this entry »

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Caffeine and Performance – Part 1

Go to any gym on the Planet early in the morning what do you see?  Alright wiseguy, fat people walking on treadmills was not the answer I was looking for!  Coffee, and lots of it, as far as the eye can see.  The majority of these folks are drinking it to make sure they don’t fall asleep and knock their front teeth out while walking on the treadmill.  Little do they know that caffeine can aid them in performance and their goal of fat loss, though drip coffee is not the most efficient nor effective method. 

In this 2 Part Series, I am going to look at:
1) The Best Form of Caffeine to consume (i.e. drip coffee vs. powder (caffeine anhydrous))
2) The effectiveness of supplementing Caffeine for Fat Loss (lipolysis)
3) The impact of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance (i.e. Brain Function)
4) The Ergogenic (performance-enhancing) effects of caffeine on Endurance and Strength

Here is a brief overview of caffeine:
- Caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive substance(1)
- In North America, 90% of adults consume caffeine daily(1)
- It is the most commonly utilized substance in “energy” drinks
- It stimulates the Central Nervous System (CNS), making us feel alert

1) BEST Form of Caffeine
When consuming caffeine for performance, the best form is to consume is caffeine anhydrous (caffeine powder in a capsule).  The reason for this is that it is a) cheaper and b) more effective than consuming coffee in liquid form (i.e. drip coffee).

WARNING: This is NOT the best way to get your caffeine!

a) Cheaper
I use NSI Caffeine Anhydrous which I purchase from Vitacost.com.  There are 240 capsules and each contains 200 mg of caffeine.  The whole bottle costs $7.  So, let’s do the math… Read the rest of this entry »

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The biggest problem that we have in the United States is the concept of Instant Gratification.  Whatever we desire, we want it now and if there is a way to get it now then, we will do it.  We don’t consider whether it is sustainable or optimal, we just consider the time aspect of it and the sooner, the better.  Achieving the body we desire is not an exception, we want a lean and strong body and we want it NOW!!!  First, let’s go through what I mean by Instant Gratification with several real world examples:

Problem: Want to Lose Weight
Instant Gratification Solution:  Get Bariatric Surgery or Liposuction

Problem:  Want to Feel Great
Instant Gratification Solution:  Go to Doctor and ask about the numerous “options” (pills) you see advertised on TV.

Problem:  Want a new car or other material object
Instant Gratification Solution:  Put it on a Credit Card or get “no money down” financing.

"I can only afford a Hyundai, but this Lamborghini will make me feel important!!!"

As you can see, these “Solutions” are very typical, though they are not SUSTAINABLE and they are far from OPTIMAL, they are quick fixes.  Neither Bariatric Surgery nor Liposuction address how or why a person became obese.  It addresses the symptom (obesity) of a greater problem (overeating, addiction to refined carbs, etc.).  Not feeling great usually has more to do with dissatisfaction with one’s situation (job, spouse, home life, etc.) not a chemical imbalance.  Buying something that you can’t afford may feel good in the short-term, but saving up for something, and sacrificing other purchases in order to get it, is more gratifying and it is SUSTAINABLE.  Think of the things that you have saved up for in order to purchase.  Whether it was your first car, a bicycle or a baseball card, you always think fondly about what you did to get it and you treat it with care and pride.  Read the rest of this entry »

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1) Define your goals

At one point in the children’s story Alice in Wonderland, Alice comes to a fork in the road.  She is confronted by the Cheshire cat and she asks which path she should follow.  The cat answers, “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter what path you take.”  It is very simple, before you can figure out what path to go down, you have to figure out where you are going!

“If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter what path you take.”

Strength Training:  Do you want to build muscle?  Do you want to Burn Fat?  Add 50 LBS to your Deadlift?  Become a Powerlifter?  Become a Bodybuilder?  Without defining your goal, you cannot determine what program and protocol is optimal.  Figure out your goal and work backwards from there.  Once you implement a plan, you can determine your progress.  You can track whether or not you are getting better, stagnating or falling behind.  If you are getting better, keep going!  If you are stagnating or failing, assess the situation and determine why.  One thing is for sure; you can’t progress if you don’t have a goal to strive towards.

Life:  The most frustrating feeling in life is to feel that you have stagnated or that you do not have a purpose.  Every time the lottery gets big, people go out and buy the tickets and decide what they will do if they win.  Once they lose, that excitement goes away, but why?  Most of us feel that we have no control in our lives and if you do not have a goal or a list of goals that you want to accomplish then, you are wandering aimlessly through life.  As the story goes, many years ago in the early 1900’s, a consultant named Ivy Lee approached Charles Schwab and asked him what it would be worth to him to discover the greatest productivity enhancer known to man.  Schwab was skeptical and asked what it was.  Lee said to him that every day he should write a list of the most important things he needed to accomplish for that particular day and cross them off as he accomplished them.  After a few weeks, Schwab was so amazed at the effectiveness and results of this seemingly simple piece of advice that he sent Ivy Lee a check for $25,000 as a sign of gratitude!!!  Set long-term and short-term goals that you want to accomplish.  Start simple: make a To Do list and do it.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Get Fit and Get Fast – Speed Training with Martin Rooney

Martin Rooney gave a phenomenal presentation at the Perform Better seminar at the Parisi Speed School in Fair Lawn, NJ on December 4th.  His presentation focused on getting back to basics by utilizing sprinting to get in shape.  The following are excerpts from his presentation.

Compared to our ancestors, we are out of shape, tired and weaker.  This is the result of having a bad diet, not getting enough sleep and not getting enough of, nor the right type of, exercise.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Vegan Athlete – A Conversation with Jon Hinds

Vegan + No Weights = BEAST

Even those who are not good at math would say that there is something wrong with the above equation, but I can assure you that when it comes to Jon Hinds, it is 100% true.  I always try to challenge myself by being exposed to new things, including exercises, philosophies on strength & hypertrophy, etc.  Keeping an open mind, especially in the World of Strength & Conditioning, will make you more well-rounded and better at your craft in the long-run.  I am a self-professed Carnivore who loves throwing around weights so, when Jon Hinds told me that he is not a fan of weights and that a plant-based diet is superior, it was definitely a shock to the system. Read the rest of this entry »

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Underground Kettlebell Seminar

I took part in an excellent Kellebell Seminar at Zach Even Esh’s Underground Strength Gym down in Edison, NJ.  The Seminar was run by Coach Steve Rizzo who is certified through IKFF and he taught us some excellent circuits in addition to the basics.  I have used Kettlebells in the past and I plan on doing an RKC (Russian Kettlebell Certification), but I needed a nice overview of the basics and Zach came through by providing exactly what I was looking for. Read the rest of this entry »

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