Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Getting Outside the Box: The Definition of Functional Strength

The following is a guest post by Katie Chasey of RXBound.com:
How is strength defined and who defines it?
Kinesiologists study muscles and have various ways to gauge muscle contraction, length, tension, and force. Therefore, kinesiologists typically measure strength by these primary factors and neglect individual variations of strength as a subjective concept. Whether one can lift X number of pounds overhead is meaningless in the overall definition of functional strength. Functional strength is the strength that gets us through life and daily survival.
Lifting a heavy load overhead is a fantastic measure for Hercules or the competitive weightlifter but the history of manual labor has consisted of something very different. Manual labor typically involved walking, running, pushing, pulling, and grasping. Take a minute to think back to your history books and those photos of the grueling pushing and pulling of primitive mechanical devices and the relentless building of the pyramids, to name just a couple.
What is wrong with “strength” as defined by Olympic weightlifting?
Absolutely nothing. I love it. I train with it, I teach it, and I encourage it. There is no better feeling than watching my athletes hit personal records of lifting heavy loads. Weight lifting (Olympic or not) has military value and athletic value. It increases stamina and power output. The technical skill that goes with the training behind it (Olympic lifting in particular) is second to none. For the sake of this article, however, I am not referring to this definition of strength, but rather I am talking about daily functional strength and the movement involved with everyday people living their natural lives. So what is this definition of strength? It is not very exciting unfortunately, but equally as important as load-lifting strength.
What is functional strength?
Functional strength is the ability to run your load-joints (shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles) through a full range of motion without pain, stiffness, or restriction. This is also known as load-joint articulation.
What is the goal of functional strength?
Load-joints must be able to open and close in a full range of pain-free motion. How does this work in a couch-potato environment where we are no longer pushing primitive machines around? It comes through movement. In today’s undemanding environment, we get stuck in a “box” of doing the same motions over and over again. We are no longer spontaneously stimulated by our environment, as we once were. More and more people are replacing the days’ motions with “work” (computers and typing, talking on the phone, and driving) or “recreation” (watching TV or playing video games), so we need to find ways to alter our environment in order to keep our load-bearing structure active and healthy.

Read More HERE

Friday, October 4, 2013

Women: Running into Trouble

By John Kieferarticles.elitefts.com

When I look at the fat guy in the gym wasting his time on forearm curls to lose weight, I don’t feel sympathy. The big tough guy getting stapled to the bench by 365 pounds, when just a second ago he couldn’t even handle 315 pounds — nope, no sympathy there either. The girl who spends thirty minutes bouncing between the yes-no machines (abductor and adductor machines), who is going to have trouble walking the next day — I can’t muster even an iota of pathos. Nobody told them to do these things. But then I watch my friend, Jessica, running on the treadmill, day after day, year after year, running like a madwoman and going nowhere. Her body seems to get softer with every mile and the softer she gets the more she runs. I do feel pity for her because everybody, everywhere has convinced her that running is the way to stay slim and toned.
There’s a Jessica in every gym and spotting one is easy. The woman that runs for an hour or more every day on the treadmill, who every month or so sets a new distance or time goal. Maybe the goal encompasses the treadmill workouts; maybe it will be her fifth fund-raising marathon; or maybe she’s competing with runners in Finland via Nike®. The goal doesn’t matter, because years of seeing her on the treadmill exposes the results: she’s still — I’m not going to sugar coat this — fat. Or worse, she’s fatter.
I tried to rescue my Jessica from the clutches of the cardio contingent, but to no avail until a month ago when she called to tell me that a blood test had confirmed her doctor’s suspicion: she had hypothyroidism — her body no longer made enough thyroid hormone. Her metabolism slowed to a snail’s pace and the fat was accumulating. Now she had a culprit to blame, it wasn’t the cardio causing her problems, it was her body rebelling. When Jessica asked my advice, I told her to do two things: schedule a second test for two weeks later and until then, stop all the goddamn running.
Don’t assume I’m picking on women or making fun. There are men out there who do the same, thinking cardio wipes away the gut resulting from regular weekend beer binges, but they are, in comparison, rare. I am targeting women for three very good reasons:
  1. They are often intensely recruited for fund-raisers like Team-In-Training, lured by the promise of slim, trim health resulting from the month of cardio training leading to a marathon in addition to helping the charity in question
  2. Some physique coaches prescribe 20-plus hours per week of pre-contest cardio for women (that’s a part-time job)
  3. Steady-state endurance activities like this devastate a woman’s metabolism. It will devastate a man’s too, but in different ways.
There’s not much I hate in the fitness world — well, that’s not true, I hate most things about its present state, but at the top of the list is over-prescribed cardio. I’m not talking about walking or even appropriate HIIT cardio, but the running, cycling, stair climbing or elliptical variety done for hours at or above 65 percent of max heart rate, actually anaerobic threshold is a better measure, but not practical for day-to-day use.
Trashing steady-state cardio is nothing new and the better of the physique gurus figured this out a long time ago, but even then, they only apply the no-steady-state-cardio rule to contest preparation. The non-cardio coaches fail to state the most detrimental effect, one that applies specifically to women and is a primary reason many first-time or second-time figure and bikini competitors explode in weight when returning to their normal diet. It’s the same reason the Jessicas of the world run for hours per week with negative results. Studies demonstrate beyond any doubt that in women, cardio chronically shuts down the production of the thyroid hormone, T3.1-11

Read More HERE

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Racing Weight Gain: Is this Possible?

I received a question about the following and am posting my thoughts, though not fully developed, what do you think?  Please post to comments.

4g of H20 per gram of Glycogen is correct.

Carb storage increase....Yes IF you switch your diet before the race from a protein/carb/fat mix to Carb loading.  Yes it can happen like that. Especially if switching from Ketosis(Fat burning mode) to Carb loading(and consequent carb burning) muscle will store tremendous Glycogen because the insulin receptors are so sensitive.

Alternatively and possibly MUCH smarter...Ketosis prior then 2 or  3 days prior go to a Carb and (MCT) Fat mix....New theory combines carb loading with MCT(Medium Chain Triglycerides) and Body Fat especially if going in to the race say up to week before you are in Ketosis = Body burns fat very easily, so, Fat stores + some MCT + Carbs = Tremendous LONG TERM ENERGY and no CARB CRASH at about the 2 hour or so mark.

I am not saying lots of extra lbs of body fat but at least around 10% BF.

Also a fair amount of that weight could be water retention due to Electrolyte drinks and rebound from dehydration. Rebound from Dehydration + Salt = a TON of retained water....especially if the electrolyte solution is consumed after the workout has ceased.

Any thoughts?  PLEASE post to comments.

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