Archive for June, 2011

Saturated fat and cardiovascular disease

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

“A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace saturated fat.”

I eat a lot of fat, compared to what most people think you should eat. What I don’t eat is a lot of carbs. I just wanted to post this to show some more proof to the sugar-isn’t-bad, fat-is deniers that they’re wrong. Think about it, for 100 or 200 thousand years, as humans, we’ve been eating mainly meat and fat. Bone marrow, organs, muscles, brain, entire animals, and the occasional nut. Fruits and veggies were rare, especially where we come from (Africa). This current state of food availability is completely unnatural. Cereal and bread? Fruit salads and vegan diets? Are you crazy?

Yes I eat the occasional piece of bread and LOVE IT, holy shit that’s my weakness. I could eat an entire baguette smothered in butter and that’s a gourmet meal.


Knee and spine

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

If you’re following my current 60 day workout posts you might wonder when I do legs and lower back.

I can’t, at least not as often as I want. My right knee has been plagued by things since I was 17 and broke it at summer camp one year. I slipped and my patella (kneecap) flung itself to the outside of my knee. Surgery fixed the tendons and pulled out a quarter sized chip that popped off something. About 6 months later I could walk without crutches, thanks to physio, but I never regained my flexibility. I’m stuck with a maximum bend of just over 45 degrees. Oh well, after a year I could ski and bike and run and do everything.

Much grinding and clicking and occasional arthritic pain followed me since then.

In 2007 I went on a canoe trip wayyyy up north on Atlin Lake, BC. One day we left the canoe behind and hiked 40 kms to Llewellyn Glacier. Once up on the glacier we were being really REALLY stupid by walking around on the edge of the breaking face, which was just riddled with crevices, fake crevice covers (thin ice), and the constant sound of rushing melt water just under our feet. We were making our way off, because we realized how fucking stupid we were being up there, when the ground under me disappeared and I fell into a hole. I saved myself by falling chest first a bit, and managed to crawl out of a deep hole. -50 points for being retarded and climbing up there without crampons, rope, or brains.

So during that little spill my knee did a funky pop snap thing, but since our legs were completely numb from the gazillion little stream / rivers crossings we had to endure to get there (ever step into a fresh glacier stream just a few hundred feet from their icy source? I didn’t know water could get that cold without freezing), I didn’t feel much other than “uh oh, wtf was that?”

We hiked 20 km back to camp, fell asleep, sunburned, hungry, and happy that we didn’t run into any grizzlies. We should have. Another reason we’re fucking idiots.

The next morning my knee was swollen badly, and I could hardly walk. Oh well, the rest of the trip was in the canoe. Eventually we were done and drove home to Vancouver, by then my knee was completely fucked. I couldn’t straighten it out, it was locked tight, and I could barely walk.

So, that turned into surgery. I tore the meniscus (little spongy squishy thing that sits between the bones so your parts can slide around properly). Physio and rest fixed it a bit, but its never been the same. Until just a few months ago I was in chronic pain, guzzling Advil and avoiding walks longer than 5 minutes. Yes, that made working out really hard some times.

Finally a few months ago (like a year and a half after surgery) it started to act a little more normal. Knock on wood, but for the last few months I’ve been able to go on long walks, long bike rides, and work out my legs at the gym. I can actually squat, fucking hooooorah.

As for my spine, I have a slight curvature and bulging disc. The x-ray is cool, I look like a snake. So deadlifts are out, which sucks hard.

Day 11 of 60

Thursday, June 30th, 2011


Workout: Shoulders, Legs

Today I skipped doing standing barbell overhead press, once in awhile you gotta mix things up.

Instead I did..

Dumbell overhead press: 50 x 7 x 4
Single arm dumbell overhead press: 35 x 12 x 3
Machine rear delt flyes: 60 x infinity and beyond, just reps out of hell, 30 second rest, repeat until arms hung limp.
Cable rotations + cable flyes: Three rounds, 10-15 reps, over and over until I cried a little.
Dumbell lateral raises: Using 10 pounds, raised and held until pain. 10-20 seconds per lift, side and front.

The knee was feeling OK, but a few days ago I had a lot of problems, so again I don’t want to aggravate it.

Leg press: 4 plates, 10 reps, 4 sets.
Calf raises:  Bodyweight per leg, alternating, reps until legs squishy.

Day 10

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011


Ahh there we go, back on the bandwagon.

Workout: Back

Close grip cable pulldown: 160 x 6 x 4
Yikes, 160 is pushing it, and the 6th rep on the last two sets required a bit of cheating. That’s OK though, just a few weeks ago 135 was killing me.

The rest of my back workout was higher rep, deeper contractions. I had a dream where I was doing face pulls and could really see and feel the scapula muscles getting a better workout that way. So I lightened the load, contracted like a maniac and goddamn that felt good.

Face pulls: lightweight x 20 reps, 2 sets
Seated cable rows, shoulder wide grip: 115 x 15 x 3
Wide grip lat pulldown: 100 x 15 x 3
Close grip pulldowns: 100 x 12 x 2

Day 9 of 60

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011


Weight is up a pound since Day 5, my fault entirely. We went camping this weekend, and although we went for a few hikes I didn’t get any exercise, and I ate a few things I shouldn’t have (like two huge burgers for dinner last night).

Workout: Chest, Core

Bench Press: 150×8 reps, 4 sets
Up 2.5 pounds from last chest day, 8 full reps on each set except for the last, 6 was all I could do.

Pushups + dumbell flyes (superset): 15 pushups, 8 flyes with 30 pounds, 3 sets

Core for 15 minutes. Planks, bird dogs, hanging leg raises (straight, then bent).

Day 5 of 60

Friday, June 24th, 2011


Workout: Back, Shoulders

Close grip cable pulldown: 155 x 7 x 4
Dumbell rows: 65 x 8 x 4
Wide grip lat pulldowns + close grip reverse pulldowns: 105 x 10, 105 x 5, 3 sets

Standing shoulder press: 195 x 8 x 3
Standing 1-arm dumbell press: 40 x 8 x 3
Cable standing shoulder external rotation + internal rotation + cable lateral raises: 2 sets each to failure, no rest


Day 4 of 60

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011


Workout: Chest, Core

Bench Press: 147.5×8 reps, 4 sets
Bench is an exercise I “rebooted”, as in I decided to lower the weight and start from scratch with about 4 weeks ago. I was up to 175 pounds for 5 reps, but just for 1 or 2 sets. I know strength is important for mass, but something didn’t feel right and I wanted to be at that weight for a solid 8 reps. What I did a few weeks ago was start back at 135 for 4 sets, 8 solid, perfect form reps. The next workout I went up 2.5 pounds on each side, and so forth. At 145 pounds (what I did last chest day) doing 8 reps was still good, but the last one was pushing it, especially on the 4th set. From here on I’ll be going up in 1.25 pound increments (praying those only two 1.25 pound weights don’t disappear).

Pushups + dumbell flyes (superset): 15 pushups, 8 flyes with 30 pounds, 3 sets
Machine bench press: 100 pounds x 15 reps, 3 sets

Core was done as usual, around 20 minutes. Planks, bird dogs, hanging leg raises (straight, then bent), side bends with a 45-pound plate in my fingertips (feels great on the forearms). Walked out of there exhausted, phew!

Day 3 of 60

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Today’s a day off … as far as my workout schedule goes its actually Day 7. I started this 60 day thing in the middle of a regular cycle. Usually it goes like this:

Day 1: Chest, core, cardio
Day 2: Back, cardio
Day 3: Legs, core, cardio
Day 4: Shoulders, cardio
Day 5: Arms, core, cardio
Day 6: Rest, cardio
Shower, repeat.

Sometimes I shower on day 4.

As far as diet goes, I generally incorporate the rules of Intermittent Fasting along with a low-carb Ketogenic plan (ie paleo diet). This means mainly fat, protein, and as few carbs as I can handle. I’m not super strict, but I will completely avoid unnecessary carbs during this 60 days such as junk snacks or desert or bread.

Since I’m eating at a calorie deficit, I need to make sure my protein intake is still high enough to prevent my body from digging into lean muscle as a fuel reserve. Contrary to what most think, this means making sure I actually ingest enough fat … in fact a ketogenic diet would suggest calorie intake by fat should be higher than protein (meaning, most of my calories should come from fat). A diet that’s too high in protein can result in what’s called Rabbit Malaise, look it up. The idea is that a body depleted of carbs will primarily use fat as a power source, so if fat is absent it will dig into protein. Since I need high protein to keep whatever muscles I did built up over the winter, that’s where the fat intake comes from.

As for the Intermittent Fasting goes, it just means I don’t each between dinner and breakfast. Easy right? Except my don’t break my fast until 16 hours after dinner, and I work out before I eat. I’m very used to working out on an empty gut, so that’s not a problem, and I was never one to be hungry in the AM anyways. Today, being a day off, I’m pushing it a bit further by skipping my usual 10 or 11 AM breakfast and will start eating only at 1 PM (mmmm steak). Between 1PM and 6PM tonight I can eat like a pig, within reason of course. Still high fat / protein only.

Well, the next 57 days will tell if I’m doing this right. So far Day 3 of carb depletion feels fine, I’ve done this many times in the past and pounds typically shed really quickly.

Thoroughly exhausted

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

As planned, I paddled around the edge of Buntzen Lake this afternoon, meeting up with Anita and the kid afterwards for a picnic on the beach. The lake isn’t huge, just around 11 km circumference, but I non-stopped it and am completely beat now. If it wasn’t so early I’d be sleeping by now.

Day 2 of 60

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011


Workout: Arms

Triceps and Biceps (all back to back):

Lying tricep extensions + wide grip standing curls (ez-curl bar): 50×20 reps, 30 seconds rest between each set
Close-grip Cable pushdowns: 135×10, 120×12, 120×10 (running out of steam quickly)
Seated cable concentration curls: 45×10, 45×8 (out of steam after the last one)
Machine tricep extensions: 3 sets x failure
Standing hammer curls: 25 lbs x 15 reps x 3
Rope cable extensions: 1 set of 15 reps … absolutely knackered after this and went home.

Still feeling underpowered at the gym this morning, but managed to push to failure on every set. Weights were lower or same as last time I did arms, but reps were up and I rested less between sets so that’s good. I skipped forearms.

The knee is shot from yesterday’s bike ride so I’ll stuff the canoe on Buntzen Lake this afternoon and circle it for a few hours. That should be fun, Anita will drop me off at 3, grab the kid from school and pick me up for a picnic at 5:30. I plan on paddling non-stop for 2.5 hours, very doable usually, we’ll see how my body feels this afternoon.