Lots of Updates

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I have not written in a long time as life has gotten in the way.  In this post I will provide some updates on various things.  Please bear with me.

Hypertension:

The DASH Diet works.  In 90 days I took my blood pressure from 145/90 to 122/60 simply through dietary manipulation.  While the DASH Diet has many factors to it as long as you get less than 1,500mg of sodium per day and 4,700mg or greater of potassium per day I suspect you will see results.  I get my potassium from light orange juice, avocados, potatoes, steak, bananas, and some forms of potato chips when I crave a snack.

Sleep:

I recently acquired a TEMPUR-Cloud Supreme Breeze which, while very expensive, has been a life-changing event.  You spend 1/3 of your life in bed, if you can afford it, buy the best mattress you can.  Lots of good research into mattresses is available at the website Mattress Underground.

Exercise:

Regarding my recurring right bicep tendon annoyances I took some advice from Blaidd Drwg on IrongarmX which amounted to “Don’t fuck with it.”  Of note is that I interpreted “Don’t fuck with it” as don’t try to train around the injury, literally, don’t do anything near the affected area.  As such from January until August of 2017 I did nothing but walk or light yoga for exercises and, drumroll please, the pain went away and has not returned.  “Don’t fuck with it” — simple as that.

In October I began bringing back some pull-ups and kettlebells into my life and below is what I am doing these days which, is a great balance for me of strength, flexibility, and endurance based upon my time available and how much I want my workouts to effect the rest of my life i.e. not being worn out when I am trying to spend quality time with my family.

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Ladders are Shaf’s Ladders — autoregulate your workout however you need to.

I like the Single Arm Kettlebell Clean for my Hinge Exercise as it feels as though it involves a bit more forearm and bicep strength usage during execution than the traditional Kettlebell Swing.

For Yoga I love the Yoga Studio App as it can be tailored to the needs of your body.

Naked Turkish Getups are an amazing exercise and I highly recommend them.  I can’t really describe how they make me feel other than energized.

I like the Single Arm Kettlebell Strict Overhead Press as while it uses less weight than the double kettlebell version it feels as though it requires more use of balance / stabilizer muscles which I like.

I like the Single Arm Kettlebell Rack Squat because I can get the same depth as the Goblet Squat but I also get a clean (hinge) to get the kettlebell to the rack position and I need to balance / stabilize more during the squat as compared to the Goblet Squat.

For the Take it Easy circuit — you need to take it easy.  Relax.  You should feel better after than before.  Let me explain the exercises a bit.

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Ab Wheel

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Stand on One Foot for 20 Seconds Right then Left

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Trunk Twists – Right then Left is One Repetition

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Bird Dogs for 20 Seconds Right then Left

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Daily Hypertension Cocktail

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Some medical studies point to Beet Juice reducing blood pressure.

Some medical studies point to Hibiscus Tea reducing blood pressure.

In addition to pursuing the DASH diet each morning I am also drinking what I call my Hypertension Cocktail.  The ingredients are as follows:

8 ounces of Beet Juice

8 ounces of Wild Berry Hibiscus Tea

8 ounces of Water

I mix the above into a travel coffee cup before I go to bed and put it into the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning it is the first thing I consume upon waking.

The results?

I don’t know yet.  I will post more after a month or so.  I can say at this point that drinking my Hypertension Cocktail every morning makes me feel better than drinking coffee ever did.

 

 

 

Half Marathons & Hypertension

The InfoVisual.info site uses images to explain objects.

The night before the half marathon my right foot began hurting so much it took my breath away.  When I woke up the next morning the pain was still there so I skipped the race.  The Doctor declared a sprained tarsometatarsal.  While I didn’t get to run the race it turns out my last long run before the half marathon was 14 miles so mentally I checked the block for my goals this summer.

While at the Doctor’s office my blood pressure was extremely high, around 153/92.  I have taken it two more times this week and it is at this level or slightly lower.  In response I am pursuing the DASH diet.  As I scoured my blog and workout notebook I found this post that I had forgotten about.  In it I note a correlation between my weight lifting, specifically using barbells, and lowering of blood pressure.  Based upon all of the above it looks it’s time to get back under the bar.  See below for my next template.

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Bicep Tendonitis and the Scapular Plane

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I annoyed by bicep tendon again.  This time it is my left one.

I sugested to my Doctor and he agreed after an assessment that the cause was likely strict overhead pressing a 28kg kettlebell at an angle outside of the scapular plane.

What is the scapular plane?

Click on this article by Scott Iardella at Strong First to find out.

The article is also available here in PDF format:  The 3 Key Distinctions of the Kettlebell Press – StrongFirst

Bottom Line:  Staying within the scapular plane when pressing overhead is safer than not.

Question arising from this situation thus far are:

Is barbell strict overhead pressing safer than the same exercise with a kettlebell since a kettlebell can naturally drift out of the scapular plane easier than a barbell?

Is there a substantial difference in performance gains when utilizing equal resting weight and pressing weight as compared to light resting weight and heavier pressing resistance?

Example…

When I stand with a kettlebell in the racked position I feel weight.  When I strict press it overhead I feel weight.  When I stand with one or more Iron Woody Resistance Bands looped over my Ross Enamait do-it-yourself resistance band handles I feel little to no weight.  When I strict press overhead I feel resistance.

More to follow once I know more.  For now it is a cortisone shot and six to eight weeks of physical therapy.

Carbohydrates & Minimum Effective Dose

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Last October I did an experiment based upon a modification of Dan John’s Meat, Leaves, and Berries eating plan.  You can read about it HERE.

While it worked quite well, it was not sustainable for me.

Why?

Because by the time dinner rolled around I was craving carbohydrates like a madman.  It took a lot of work to restrain my inner grump.

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So my new experiment, as a scientific sample of one, revolves around trying to figure out what is the Minimum Effective Dose (MED) of carbohydrates that I need at dinner to ensure I am a happier version of me.

So…  For the next 30-ish days I am going to do the same thing I did last October, but I am going to add one cup of basmati rice to my dinner.

Stay tuned!

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After Action of Dan John’s Meat, Leaves, and Berries

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Dan John

In this article Dan John spoke of eating only meat, leaves, and berries.

The plan as written would not work for me.  I need my morning coffee with cream and sugar and also need my Friday night pizza and popcorn with my family.  Based upon this I executed as follows:

  • Eat as much meat and as many leaves and fruits and berries as I want to.
  • No eating after 7pm (Except on Friday).
  • Cream and sugar are allowed in my morning coffee.
  • On Fridays I eat pizza and popcorn with my family.
  • Walk for 45 minutes upon waking Monday through Friday prior to consuming anything with a caloric value.
  • Do 100 two-handed kettlebell swings with a 24kg kettlebell following the walk.  I did this by four sets of 25 repetitions.

Thirty days later I have:

  • Lost 14 pounds.
  • Feel more energized and less sluggish in almost everything I do.
  • Sleep much better.

All of the above has led to an improved quality of life.  Due to the quantity of food I consumed I never felt hungry but still burned fat.  I suggest you give this a try for 30 days and see where you end up.  Note that this was all I did for 30 days.  I think the key to this being sustainable was that I wasn’t doing a lot of activities that increased my appetite.

Weight Gain and Perceptions of Health

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Abs and Drop Two Sizes — Yay!

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Abs and Gain Muscle / Lose Pounds — Yay!

 

Society tells us running a lot and being skinny and having six-pack abs indicates health.

Doctors tell us that an appropriate mix of resting heart rate, blood pressure, and body composition indicates health.

I am six feet tall.

One year ago today I weighed 175lbs, nearly had four pack abs, looked good at the pool, did just enough cardio to negatively impact my kettlebell work, and my blood pressure was in the pre-hypertension range of with a systolic pressure from 120 to 139 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure from 80 to 89 mm Hg, and my resting heart rate was 62.

Today I weight 202lbs.  I have two pack abs, more love handle than I would like, my back and shoulders are the only parts of me that look good at the pool, do virtually no cardio, my blood pressure is 110 over 72, and my resting heart rate is 57.

What does this mean?

For me, as a scientific sample of one, a structured strength template has made me less healthy according to society, more healthy according to Doctors, stronger than I have ever been in my life, and greatly improved my overall quality of life.

 

Heart OHP

The only thing that would make this picture better was if the heart was doing a military press.