Nutrition and Performance Part 3

One thing as presented in my previous ramblings about my frustration with the science of nutrition is the bias that is all around. The more research I do the more I find bias. This was not apparent in my esteemed professor but did manifest itself in some of the articles that I read during my research of various topics. I think that maybe the reason we have so much confusion and disagreement, even at educated and elite levels is because of the bias of the industry. The food industry alone is a $680 billion market (including food and alcohol). Why wouldn’t any business want a bigger market share? People like me are few and far between, people who have a desire to understand how to fuel their bodies. Until we have an unbiased change in education at earlier ages regarding nutrition we will probably not make any further strides in what America eats.
One interesting group I have just learned about and discussed above is the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSi). One of the problems we have had in the study of what people eat for long periods of time is that the test subjects are told what to consume and then they go home. How honest are they in what they consume and what are their activities? We have been told for the last 35 years as a population to eat more grains and carbohydrates. During this time we have seen a dramatic rise in obesity and diabetes. Maybe, it’s not working. This group is loaded with M.D.’s, Ph.D.’s and a host of experts in the field. I have never really felt comfortable with the information I have received over the years from the U.S. Government regarding nutrition and I have a box of twenty five year old pamphlets I need to throw out. I’ll be following the NuSi group as this information is intriguing.
To wrap up this essay I should discuss the macronutrients. Carbohydrates have been the building blocks of energy. Glycogen production comes directly from carbohydrates and is used to fuel the muscles and brain functions. Glycogen is stored in the muscles, liver and blood. The question is not the need for carbohydrates but what should one consume to acquire the necessary amounts of carbohydrates. It would appear that fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries are a better source for carbohydrates than grains for some like me but the jury is still out and may be for a while.
Protein builds muscle. In the text the author states that it’s not protein that builds muscle but exercise. That statement is a little disingenuous. For one, when exercising muscle it breaks down the tissue with little microscopic tears. Protein repairs those tears and increases the muscle mass. If you don’t consume enough protein when working out you might as well not work out at all. You will sustain damage and actally break down muscle. I have found out that I don’t normally consume the protein necessary for my age and exercise routine.
Fats are necessary in the system. There wasn’t a lot of information in the text regarding fats but here is what I know. Fats are actually fatty acids or lipids. They come in monounsaturated, unsaturated, polyunsaturated and just plain saturated varieties. Some fats transport certain vitamins such as A,E,D and K. They insulate the body and organs from shock and help maintain body temperature.
Supplements should be used in moderation. I will use supplements when I feel I am short in a certain area. I normally will take a protein supplement after a workout, one that has branched chain amino acids. The branched chain amino acids account for as much as 35% of muscle proteins and are easily absorbed. I also do an energy drink in the morning which I substituted for coffee years ago.
In conclusion I think that the class was beneficial in that it allowed me to do more research that I probably wouldn’t have gotten around to and will keep my interest for years to come.

Nutrition and Performance, Part 2

Another issue that I think was misleading was the lesson on “Food Deserts”. In two studies released in 2012 and noted in the New York Times on April 17th, 2012 in an article by Gina Kolata finds that the idea of “Food Deserts” are a myth. The studies, one by the Rand Corporation which was published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine and the other by The Public Policy Institute of California cross referenced the poor neighborhoods and the sources of food within the neighborhoods and found that even though they did have a higher rate of fast food outlets these neighborhoods also had higher percentages of grocery stores. Kelly D. Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, who was not involved in the studies states, “ if you are looking for what you hope will change obesity, healthy food access is probably just wishful thinking (Kolata)” . My point here is that it seems that everyone has an angle and the references we are given seem biased and this initiated curiosity on my part which meant more research outside of the normal resources.
I think that everyone should apply some critical thinking skills and dissect the information presented and continue to grow through independent study and research. I took this class because I felt I had a history in the subject and now know that even though I do, I realize it will be a continuing field of study. This class did require me to make an applied effort and provided me with new directions in my quest.
One of the things that have interested me, not in what was specifically presented in this class but what I discovered in my independent study prompted by this class, was the hormonal effects triggered by the consumption of certain foods. Being allergic to fish and shellfish I have always had to find alternative proteins and ways to intake good fats and omegas. Some findings have lead me to believe that grains may have an adverse effect on my metabolism when I work out. This is informed by the exercise induced hives that occur 30 minutes into a workout. I did find interesting information in the supplement section of our studies. I have always tried to get most of my nutrients from whole foods but have taken supplements occasionally when I felt that I was lacking in specific areas.
I have a different perspective, I would assume, than most of my classmates. Since I have coached an individual, weigh dependent sport for so many years and have been involved in exercise programs longer than they have been alive (I am assuming that I’m twice the age of the others) I am probably more knowledgeable about the subject of nutrition and weight gain. I know that there is no quick fix. One has to apply themselves just as one brushes their teeth. One of the things that I will take away from the class is that moderation will be the best course of action. This is not something that can be done in a day; it must be done over a lifetime. (To be continued)

Nutrition and Performance

Last fall I took a class in Nutrition and sports performance in college. To be perfectly frank, this class brings to me even more confusion and frustration with the current state of science with regard to sports nutrition and performance. As I have stated many times throughout this course I have followed this subject for the better part of two decades as I have been involved in providing athletes information on the subject of nutrition. The more I study the more I find contradictory information. In my early years of study I found the guidelines that were presented in the text, Sports Nutrition Guidebook, by Nancy Clark were the best advice available. I think I even had an earlier edition of the text years ago (mid 1990’s). As of today, more studies have been released and a new group called the Nutrition Science Initiative is heading the way for a new way of determining how America eats.
I will address the topics as assigned but I feel compelled to present further discussion on my perplexity. In the early 1970’s Senator George McGovern headed the United States Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs sometimes referred to as the McGovern Committee. This committee held hearing on the subject of human nutrition and McGovern made a spectacle of the poor to illustrate the importance of his committee. After numerous hearing, in February 1977, the committee proposed six dietary goals (Committee) which would become the basis for what we know as the “Food Pyramid”. There was much hesitation from the medical community on applying these guidelines. Dr. Ahrens Jr., of Rockefeller University stated, “Advice to the public on changing its dietary habits in hope of reducing the rate of new events of coronary heart disease is premature and unwise.” In a letter from the American Medical Association they stated, “The evidence for assuming that the benefits to be derived from the adoption of such universal goals as set forth in the report is not conclusive and … potential for harmful effects.” Clearly there was apprehension on part of the medical community. Senator McGovern told one of the witnesses that the Senate committee didn’t have time to wait on such an important issue and issued the guidelines which were then presented to the Department of Agriculture for dissemination to the public. I state this to highlight the fact that these guidelines may have been prepared for the benefit of the grain industry. Senator McGovern had many influences from the grain and cereal industries.
The odd curiosity of these goals is that in research from the Nutrition Science Initiative ( they present graphs of obesity and diabetes since 1977 and the rates of incidence has risen dramatically. Refer to graphs below:slide-16


Is this just a coincidence? I’m not so sure. The textbook presented to the class as a guidebook relies heavily on the guidelines developed from this 1977 study. The Choose My Plate website is an extended version of the 1977 guidelines but it all relies heavily on cereal and grain carbohydrate consumption. (To be continued)

Just in time for Spring

March 23, 2013

Where has the time gone? I last updated the blog on August 24th 2012 when I felt I had recovered from a low back injury and was going to take it easy to rehab. Yeah, right. After I started back I was working out at the University Recreation and Wellness Center (RAW, I love that acronym) two days a week and then did crossfit WOD’s two days a week. By December the testosterone had leaked back into my brain making me think I was more powerful than I really was which in short time, aggravated the back injury again. I finally had to make the decision I dreaded. I had to stop crossfit until I could get my money’s worth.

Since January, I haven’t done a crossfit WOD but I have spent time at the RAW center gym. I go in for two days a week. I do a long extended workout of some cardio exercise: bike, elliptical, stair stepper and the like. I do one lift a day such squats or cleans, although no snatches. On one more day a week I go on a long walk, 40 to 60 minutes. I even did a 3 hour stent one day. Sometime the lifts do bother me even though I am lifting light weights, well they are light for me and I should probably be going lighter for injury protection. It’s not been the most exciting but I have resigned myself to this limited activity. The excitement level has dropped off the scale when not doing crossfit but I have always done something every week in the past so I have plugged away whether I wanted to or not.

I have been watching the Crossfit Games these past few weeks. My son is participating. He is an instructor at Crossfit NRG in Salt Lake City. So if you are out and about stop by and say hi. Along with him I have a few more friends participating and doing well. One friend is in the top 25 worldwide, GREAT EFFORT!

There are also the NCAA D1 wrestling championships happening with the final up at 5:00pm PDT. This is always a great event. I had informed everyone I was retiring from coaching this last year but still caved into the requests for helping. I did the strength and conditioning two days a week and took the girls to their tournaments. I enjoyed going and seeing friends, just glad I didn’t have to go in to the room every day.

As for getting medical attention for my ailments, I have that on my shopping list. Work is picking up and I’m thinking that I might be able to afford medical insurance. I have been inquiring with agents and nobody seems to know what is going on with Obamacare. Since I was out priced two years ago because of the Affordable Healthcare Act, things have only gotten worse. Prices are up another 25% and are expected to raise to 203% of the levels prior to the passing of the act. This appears to be a major FAIL. I’m starting to get pissed off because I need some surgery. I want to get back to working out properly.

I’ve found the strength to continue working as I can and I’ll find the strength to endure the stupidity of those who are so called “serving the people in Washington”, why?, because it’s not superhuman strength, it’s just old man strength.

How Have You Been, I’m Better Now.

My last post was on March 11th, although I had continued to crossfit for another month, it finally came crashing down on me toward the end of April. My lower back had been bothering me, I suppose from the four months of crossfit, weight training with the wrestlers and wrestling, and it finally went out. I was in debilitating pain for two months and then I added another two months rest for safe measure. Today, I returned to Crossfit for the first time in four months.

I’m going to be taking is real slow for a while until I build my strength back up but it was good to be back at it. Even before Crossfit came into my life I had always done some type of physical activity but never with any consistency. I would work for a few months, then a month off, and then I would be on to something different for a few more months and repeat the cycle over and over. There was some apprehension in coming back today as I always have a tendency to want to overdo it, damn male hormones (well what’s left that is). I played it safe today and only did 3/5th of the WOD. Hell, I was tired after the warm ups.

Because of the injury I did miss the veteran national wrestling tournament and I also missed the California Powerlifting championships that I wanted to compete in. If I keep healthy this time and don’t push too hard too fast I should be able to compete in the next tournaments. You never have to give up on the dreams, just postpone them a while.

I’m sure that I’m going to feel this workout today given my laziness for the last few months but I’ll take the weekend off except for a few light walks and be ready to hit it Monday. I’ll keep it light and build up to my last strength level. That is, if my testosterone (what little is left) doesn’t leak into my brain and spoil it all.

Is good to be back, not because it’s superhuman strength, it’s just old man strength.

Bigger and Better?

Last week I made three days of WOD’s. I had expected to make a 4th but let’s recap, shall we?

On Monday I started out with an 800 m run followed by 2 rounds of 10m knees to chest, 10 m burpee broad jump, 7 ring rows, 7 OHS with PVC, 7 lateral box jumps and 7 back extensions. The WOD of the day was 3-3-3-3-3 bench press then 21-15-9 reps of cleans and grasshoppers. I was a little cautious about the bench presses and took them easy. I started with a few warm ups with the bar only and added 20 lbs. I started counting at 95 and then my successive sets were 105,115,125 and I finished off with 135. The shoulders didn’t give me too much trouble and I didn’t seem to exacerbate the problems with them. For the cleans I used 95 lbs and finished the sets in 6:06. The Rx was 135 lbs and I probably should have gone with the 135 rather than the 95. The lifting part was a breeze and my time reflected that. I guess it is better to be safe than sorry, I’ve been out for almost 2 months.

On Wednesday, the WOD was one of those grab bag days, a heavy gymnastic day. The warm ups started with a 350m row then 2 rounds of 10m lateral kettle bell swings, 10m kettle bell pass through lunges, 7 goblet squats and 10 dislocates. The WOD was as many rounds a possible in 20 minutes of 18 box jumps, 15 toes to bar, and 12 pull ups. This WOD was not kind to a short stocky old man. I tried the toes to bar and it was wrecking the shoulders so I went to a floor version. The pull ups I went with a blue band. I finished with 4 rounds plus 12.

Friday I reached my pain threshold. The warm ups was a jump rope cycle of 100-80-60-40 single unders and in between we did 10 wall balls, 10 pushups and 10 back extensions. The second round omitted the jumping. Then we did the Zercher squats, 5-5-5-5-5. That was to be followed by 50m overhead lunge walk with 45lbs and then a 1 mile run. Seemed simple enough. I started with 95 on the Zercher’s and then 125 for warm ups. I started my count at 135 lbs with Buddy recommending that I not bounce in the squat. He suggested I hold then power up for the full effect. He then told me the weight was too light. Then I did 165, 185, 205 and finished with 235 lbs. Granted I probably could have gone higher but prudence suggested not. I then attempted the 50 meter overheads with the 45 lb plate but it proved too much for the shoulders. I then switched to the 25 lb plate and did the last 40 meters. As I was doing the lunges my lower back was pushing an extended arch in order to provide some protection for the shoulders. I was in pain but I tried to plug my way through. I got out the door for the mile and had to walk my lower back was so tight. I had to stop several times to stretch the lower back and ended up walking for about 600 meters. I could not go any further. I finished and rushed home and laid on a bag of ice for almost an hour before I got up to go back to doing some work. I have had lower back issues for several weeks now and this just set it off.

As I write this post on Sunday, I have just returned from doing a little construction surveying for the high school’s new athletic field and after standing for about 2 hours my back is still aching. The other sad fact that this morning I stepped on the scale and have regained all of the weight I lost previously. It seems that about 7 lbs of it just this week. I wouldn’t believe that I could have lost that much muscle in just two months but that’s another story.

I have much work ahead,… again. It’s not just superhuman strength, its old man strength.

I’m Baaaaaccckkkk

It’s the last week of wrestling. The Girl’s State championships were last weekend and we had one State Champ and one 5th place winner. Our two girl team finished 6th out of 169 teams. That last little fact cracks me up every time I think about it. Many of the teams bring many girls to State tournament yet our little two girl team always finishes in the top ten. Boy’s State is this weekend. We have one qualifier. He had some pretty tough matches at Master’s but still overcame his opponents and won the Master’s tournament. This kid is only a junior and has a chance to be in the finals. Since his father helps out the team and drives to tournaments during the year we let him coach on the floor and I get to be the local newspaper photographer. I have fun doing that.

Today was the first day back at the box. I did strength and conditioning in the morning with our State qualifier. I had him do a tougher WOD and I lightened my up. Since I wasn’t going in the room for only one wrestler I decided to go to the box for the first time in about two months. I have been spending a lot of time doing the mobility WOD’s I found on Kelly Starrett’s website for the past month so I was curious to find out how my performance would pan out.

The warm up was a 400m run, and then two sets of 10 dislocates, 20m walking lunges, 10 gliding kips, 10 ring rows and 10 wall balls. I did everything and after the gliding kips I knew I better take it easy on the shoulders. The WOD was 3 sets of 7 muscle ups and 21 thrusters. Knowing my limitations I went with a modified version of 7 pull ups with a band and then 7 box dips with some support to not let my shoulders blow out. That dip movement really kills my shoulders. For the thrusters I used 65 lbs rather than the 95 as prescribed. After all I haven’t been doing this stuff for the last two months. I finished all of that in 16:20 something, I don’t even remember, I wasn’t paying attention at that point. I was just glad it was done. With the exception of the shoulders everything felt fine and I had pretty decent movement. And even the shoulders weren’t that bad.

Earlier that morning with my wrestler I ran 300m and then did 2 sets of 10 box jumps, 10 med ball slams, 10 reverse pull ups (we do these because we don’t have rings at the school) and then 10 air squats. I finished it off with 3 sets of 12 deadlifts at 185 lbs.

Although I didn’t let the testosterone control the workouts (Really, at my age I need to reserve that testosterone), I focused on quality rather than heavy for my first day out in several weeks. With the championship season I had laid off of working out with the wrestlers so I haven’t got a lot of work in these past few weeks. I can certainly tell a difference from not attending. This week will be kind of light also because of Boy’s State this weekend but it’s the last week of the season and then I’m retiring.

Well not so fast, although I won’t be in the room on an everyday basis I have been asked to run the strength and conditioning program next year. There has also been talk of doing it for football too. One hour a day, three days a week, for 7 or 8 months and full access to the gym? I can do that because…. It’s not superhuman strength, its old man strength.

Making Champions

It’s been several weeks since I have posted and a lot has been happening. Our High School wrestling team went undefeated in league this year, a perfect 6-0. We then went on to win the Section Team Championships, the first time in school history. My daughter and our other girl wrestler won the Girl’s Section Championships and are qualified to go to the Girl’s State Championships and will have excellent seedings. Our team went to the league tournament and had 5 league champions one of which was my daughter at the 113lb weight class. The first time any girl has won a league championship in any league in our section, let alone ours. We will be attending Division 5 championships this weekend and after that the girls and boys will be splitting off. The girls will be heading to Girls State and the boys will be heading off to Masters. One week following Masters will be Boys State Championships.

Needless to say I have spent very little time on myself and have not attended any crossfit workouts at the box in the last 6 weeks. I keep wanting to go but with my going back to school and wrestling practice the only times I have available the box is closed. It is probably for the best though. I have been doing very light lifting with the kids in the morning when I have the strength and conditioning workouts. I have been stretching a lot but mostly I have been healing. The knees are getting a little better although this morning I was doing some front squats and I could feel some strain during warm ups. I only did three sets of three and I just ached all over.

The shoulders have only been getting worse and I’m to the point of doubting if I should still attempt the Veteran’s National Wrestling Tournament. I have also resigned myself to starting a new workout program from the beginning. I mean, just grab a plain bar as if I have never lifted before. I tried to do some pushups today and did only one strict before I had to adjust to modified’s. I am definitely going to have to see a doctor about the shoulders and knees. I tried to run 300 meters the other day and I thought my knees were going to explode.

I really love crossfit but there may be something to those stories of injuries because of no progression plan. I am going to try to get to the box this week and I will probably fail on that one. The box is changing hours and wrestling will be winding down so I should be able to get some work in. I will keep up on the stretching and will research more to see what I can do to improve the situation.

I started writing this blog in order to keep my commitment to myself and get in shape. But alas, what I expected to happen when wrestling season started did happen but only after school started. I guess the timing was right and the time off is necessary to heal but it sure doesn’t do anything for my psyche. I just have to trick myself into understanding the situation, you know “kill the head and the rest of the body will die” attitude. While I am making repairs I’ll keep you informed on the wrestling team and the individual girls and boys we expect to do great this year. Until next time, It’s not superhuman strength, its old man strength.

Closing a Chapter

On Wednesday night the wrestling team won their sixth straight league match making them at least a League Co-Champion. This is my 18th year of coaching the wrestling team in one form or another. I have coached the youth club, the junior high and the high school teams over the years and sometimes simultaneously. Prior to coaching wrestling I was coaching soccer, baseball, softball, football and Tae Kwan Do going back to 1990.

On Wednesday night I announced my retirement from coaching and officiating wrestling and other sports altogether. It is said that when a wrestler retires he leaves his shoes on the mat which is the reason I took this picture of my shoes. Those shoes have coached national champions, state champions, state qualifiers, master’s champions, section champions in addition to numerous league team and individual champions. Those shoes have seen wrestlers wallow in their own self-pity and agonize in pain. They have seen the wrestlers try to con their way out of doing grass drills or explain why they were tardy. They have seen wrestlers conquer their demons and overcome their weaknesses. They have seen tears and blood. They have seen the ecstasy of being a champion. But the time has come to put the shoes in the corner of the closet only to be pulled out as a reminder of days past, like the high school yearbook.

I have enjoyed these past 18 years and have watched many of the kids in this community grow into fine adults. Some have children of their own who will be wrestling soon. Wrestling imparts a sense of confidence and self-worth in children that goes with them throughout their whole life. Maybe that is what I liked about the sport most, the self-esteem that children obtained even if they only wrestled one year. Rather than dumb down classes in school to make the kids build self-esteem they should just make them all wrestle, bam, done.

As I close this chapter in my life I know that I won’t be far from the sport. I am still going to wrestle in the Veteran’s Nationals in May. I’ll always be available for our local tournaments and someday I think, when I have grandchildren, I can always get back on the mat but only for fun. I will leave with the knowledge of having taught somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 kids the sport of wrestling. I did so for only the love of the sport and for the kids.

It is time for me to spend a little time on me. I’ll keep busy with crossfit, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, blacksmithing, woodworking, leatherworking and maybe even pursuing another degree in spatial arts, industrial arts or something like that. I’ll never rest because…. It’s not superhuman strength, its old man strength.

Time to Catch My Breath

Sorry I haven’t written but I’ve been busy. I used to get letters like that when I was younger. It didn’t make me feel very important. It’s been a very busy week with wrestling. I haven’t been to the box for about three weeks now and I’m getting fat. I’ve still been running strength and conditioning workouts for the wrestlers in the morning but haven’t done much there either. I did spend about 40 minutes wrestling the other day and that didn’t feel too bad. So let’s talk about what is going on.

Since I last wrote in my blog I have been having pain and tenderness on the top of my kneecaps. They would act weak when I would do air squats or even just getting up off the mat when coaching. At first I didn’t think much of it but it just kept getting worse. I did some investigation and it turns out (self-diagnosis) that I think I have quadriceps tendonitis. After doing some research on the ailment and not getting very far I decided to go to by Kelly Starrett, DPT. He did this video on pain and stiffness on the knee. You take a ball and smash the tendons to loosen them up. After a few days I’m starting to feel some relief. I did some front squats on Thursday and although I didn’t get to my PR I did get close on a 2 rep series. I’ll still keep a lighter work out than normal for the next few days but I will be going back to his site to get more great tips on other ailment relief.

On the 13th and 14th we had split squad tournaments. Coach White took 8 of our best boys to Huntington Beach for the Five Counties Tournament. This tournament has had the reputation of being the toughest in the State and many out of state teams attend. Most of the boys got into the third or fourth round and we even had one win the Tournament. He had not been ranked in the State and is now ranked fourth. He is only a junior and I see good things happening for him. In California we have an all-state championship, only one of a few that do in the nation. That means if you place high enough in state it will have been out of 3,000 to 4,000 kids in your weight class: A phenomenal feat by any standard.

That same weekend is the girl’s toughest tournament in the State, the Asics Vintage Tournament in Napa. I took three of our girls to the tournament to get some tough competition. Adrienne is a first year wrestling senior so she doesn’t have much technique but she does have a lot of heart. Too bad I couldn’t get her when she was a freshman. She went 2-2 and was kind of shafted in here last losing effort. She had thrown an out of bounds takedown but didn’t get the call. Juliana is the number one ranked girl in the state and is currently ranked 6th nationally. She had some good matched but really didn’t have any tough competition. She took first in the tournament at 189’s. My daughter hasn’t been ranked or even received an honorable mention this year and has done a great job. She finished 3rd in the tournament losing only to the second ranked girl in the state in the semi-finals. She went down early in the match 1-2 but came back to a 7-5 lead in the third round. She then committed a technical violation which resulted in the other girl getting an escape setting the score at 7-7 with 30 seconds left. She gave up a takedown in those final seconds and lost the match 9-7 but it was a wild one. She is looking for a rematch. I have a feeling that she could catapult to the number 4 rank position in the State.

Time to get some rest I have strength and conditioning in the morning. It’s not superhuman strength, its old man strength.