High impact exercise is good for you. Yes, it is.

A recent article in the health section of the NYTimes highlights how important high impact exercise can be for improving bone density. This goes hand in hand with the overwhelming evidence that weight bearing exercise can dramatically improve and restore, or at least minimize the loss, of bone density.

Th article goes on to point out how difficult applying these protocols are to the populations most at risk, since this is the same population most likely to sustain injuries from these very activities. Here’s the article, followed by my advice to older populations who want to safely follow the research in their personal workouts:

http://nyti.ms/1ceYdAi

If you are over 50 and have been warned about your bone density, start a traditional strength training/ muscular conditioning program. Minimize cardiovascular exercise to the minimum necessary to insure heart health, because too much aerobic training can reduce your body’s ability to build muscle.
Train 3 times per week, doing two or three exercises per body part for the legs and torso, and two exercises for biceps and triceps. Each exercise should consist of three sets of 10-15 reps each set, for 2 weeks. Each week thereafter attempt to increase weights incrementally; don’t over-expose yourself to injury; as long as you can complete a minimum of 6 reps. For the next three months your goal is to train 3 times per week on non consecutive days with weights that pose a significant challenge between 6-8 reps each set.
After the 3rd month, begin adding some small jumping movements into your routine, in small doses (box jumps, jump ropes, etc.) gradually adding more jumps over a period of months, not days or weeks, and always on non consecutive days!

If you experience joint pain during or after any session, take 3-5 days off before resuming any jumping, and start your jumping type activities over from the beginning.

There you go.

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NYTimes: Herbal Supplements Are Often Not What They Seem

Nutritional supplements can be a tremendous aid for a variety of people seeking better health, weight loss, muscle gains, and performance enhancement during athletic activities. But the reality is disconcerting. I can fill a gel cap full of powdered ragweed and call it purified echinacea and you’d have no way to know. There is no regulations. There is no “governing body” ensuring quality control, and your congress stripped the FDA of the power to regulate even the validity of the ingredients decades ago.

Read. And be careful.

http://nyti.ms/1bQ9QbC

A study using DNA testing offers perhaps the most credible evidence to date of adulteration, contamination and mislabeling in the herbal supplement industry.

“ Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. ” – Arthur Schopenhauer

Is Foam Rolling Bad For You?

“ Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. ” – Arthur Schopenhauer

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Date: October 4, 2013 at 9:09:52 AM EDT
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Good or Bad? Coach Mike Boyle’s Take on Foam Rollers
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Is Foam Rolling Bad For You?
By Mike Boyle

I wrote this a while ago but finished it after getting three different versions of “Stop Rolling Your IT band”. As is always the case in life an on the internet, someone has to decide to take the other side of an argument. I often think that those who do so are simply looking for recognition in a crowded field.

We have had two widely distributed “articles” critical of foam rolling. The word articles is in quotes because both so-called articles were actually blog posts.

I find it funny because it seems difficult to me to criticize something that universally makes people feel better. In one article (which was actually written five years ago), the author, Mike Nelson, makes the very basic case that pain is bad and the foam roller causes pain; therefore, the foam roller must be bad too. However, in reading the authors bio, I can’t help but notice that he has been a student for the last 16 years as opposed to a coach, and carries a clear bias toward the neurological origins of pain.
I am not discounting the neurological basis of pain as that would be as illogical. However the author’s primary premise seems to be that pain is bad and should be avoided at all costs. It is also worth noting that the author is a paid practitioner of a technique he feels is better than foam rolling.
It is obvious that I don’t agree and, I intend to make a scientific case for my disagreement rather than a personal one.
I am also of the belief that pain is bad. However, I will qualify that statement and say that most pain is bad. In the case of the foam roller, I will go so far as to say that pain is good. I frequently tell my athletes that the foam roller is the only violation of our Does It Hurt rule. In a nutshell, my normal reaction to any question as to whether someone should do any exercise is to ask “Does It Hurt”? If the answer is no, then the exercise is generally acceptable. In the case of foam rolling, however, I think we actually need top seek out painful spots. Foam rolling is very counterintuitive.
Mr. Nelson’s theory is based on the belief that pain is neurological and that pain causes reflexive actions, all of which are negative. However, in the world of physical therapy, the belief is widely held that often painful techniques of soft tissue mobilization are in fact essential to produce long-term healing. What Mr. Nelson fails to acknowledge in his treatise on foam rolling is that in the end, the process is about chemistry, not electricity. All mechanical and neurological inputs become chemical inputs. It is clear scientific fact that the disturbance caused to tissue via mobilization (rolling, massage, Graston. ART) in effect irritates the tissue. This irritation is painful in the short term, but the response is often a healing one, not a negative one. In soft tissue mobilization, the tissue is deliberately disrupted in order to produce the exact substances that tissue needs to heal and to realign.
Mr. Nelson attempts to draw a line between massage and foam rolling by saying that the skilled hands of a therapist in essence make soft tissue mobilization OK. His premise is that soft tissue work done by a person is infinitely better than pressure provided by an inanimate object. Again, this logic is flawed.
Mr Nelson makes the case that a skilled therapist knows how much pressure to utilize while a person working on themselves will produce so much pain as to render the technique useless. To be honest , I think most people are much easier on themselves than a therapist would be on them. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen a bruise produced by a foam roller but I have seen numerous bruises produced by a well meaning massage therapist.
The second, more recent, anti-rolling article focused on the IT band. The author, a muscular therapist, focused on the fact that the IT band could not be changed through foam rolling. He implores us to stop rolling the IT band. Again this “anti” article was widely distributed on the internet.
However, if you continue to read into the comment section of the post, the author makes two critical points. In one post, he says that he is ranting and is not sure if he even believes himself. (Yes, I read all the comments). In another, he eludes to the fact that maybe he just wrote this when he was having a bad day. In any case, both blog posts were widely read and widely distributed without the accompanying comments.
So, back to why we foam roll. In the simplest sense, rolling is step one on the preparatory process. Our goal pre-exercise is to prepare the tissue for the stresses about to be applied. Proper tissue preparation allows an athlete to perform a workout without injury. I think or hope that we can accept the position that tissue changes in response to stress.
If the tissue is stressed optimally, the resulting adaptation is positive. If the tissue is overstressed by inappropriate volume (too many reps), speed of lengthening (too fast), or inappropriate overload (to much weight) the tissue response can shift from positive to negative. Although tissue soreness is deemed normal, we must acknowledge that there is an ideal amount of that normal response, and the response should be limited to the muscle tissue and not be present in the connective tissue. In other words, sore quads would be OK, but sore knees not be OK.
In addition, muscle soreness and tissue damage can be the result of blows to the tissue instead of the planned application of stress. This tissue damage must also be mitigated, not just by time. It is important that tissue maintain its ability to deform properly. Loss of this tissue deformation ability results in what is called a stress riser. These stress risers set up us up for later injury.
The big take away point is that thousands of athletes are rolling every day and getting a good result. Two blog posts should not be enough to relieve us of our common sense. Pressure to tissue when well applied seems to produce positive results. Even if we are not confident of the exact physiological response, the results of thousands of athletes speak for themselves. Don’t be fooled by internet writers looking to take a contrarian stance to get site hits. Focus on results. Massage works and so does foam rolling. Just ask anyone who does it.
Quick note. I have often said that the density of the roller corresponds to the density of the athlete. If you lack muscle, try Yamuna balls or white soft rollers (yes, I know they don’t last, but it’s a compromise). Progress to the Perform Better black as your tolerance improves.

–Coach Mike Boyle

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Nutrition is critical

Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or improve athletic performance what and how much you eat is of critical importance.

If you’re interested in building muscle you have to over eat tremendously. You also have to lift tremendously heavy weights (relative to your personal ability). If you eat a lot, but don’t lift a lot, you will not build muscle. You will get fat instead. It’s the exercise, or lack of it that determines how your body uses the excess calories.

If you’re interested in athletic performance you have to eat a lot more than normal to be able to fuel that performance (marathon runners carbo load before race days).

If you’re trying to lose weight you must eat less than you burn off .

Here’s a great article by a great coach who’s workshops I attend every chance I get:
http://nicktumminello.com/2013/09/personal-trainer-myths-nutrition-isnt

Interval Training: More evidence that working out harder in shorter time periods is better for you than working out for longer time periods

The interesting NYT article below, about recent studies on the efficacy of intense interval training for weight loss and weight management, is well written. It clearly states that this study is preliminary, used a small sample of young males only, and so no long term conclusions for the general population should be assumed.

It also pointed out that these intense intervals (which many people erroneously conclude last 4 minutes or 7 minutes only) actually last 30 minutes alternating between short bursts of 100% intensity with longer intervals of low intensity activity in-between.

These conclusions are not new or earth shaking. Any track and field athlete or coach engaged in sprinting events could have told you most of what this study says. Read on.

http://nyti.ms/1ap1ZlW

NYTimes: How Exercise Can Help Us Eat Less

Strenuous exercise seems to dull the urge to eat afterward better than gentler workouts, several new studies show, adding to a growing body of science suggesting that intense exercise may have unique benefits.

Training Gimmicks and Training that Works

Training Gimmicks and Training that Works

Exercise should be fun is a common sentiment I hear all the time from clients, prospective clients, health club members, and trainers trying to build their client base, but should it be fun?

That depends on what you consider fun, I suppose. Some people love grueling hard work and find enormous physical efforts bordering on the impossible to be fun. Most people don’t.

The argument is often made that any activity that gets a person doing more than they normally would have, must also be beneficial; hence *exercise classes like Zumba and SoulCycle*

[Wendy Learns to SoulCycle – YouTube](

“Wendy Learns to SoulCycle – YouTube”)

that are only marginally more intense than a fast paced walk are promoted as fun alternatives to the harder workouts associated with traditional weight lifting, Spinning, running, etc.

On the other end of the exercise spectrum you have the *extreme intensity activities like CrossFit [What is CrossFit? – YouTube](

“What is CrossFit? – YouTube”)

[The Problem(s) With Crossfit – Gawker](http://gawker.com/5928989/the-problems-with-crossfit “The Problem(s) With Crossfit – Gawker”)

and all its derivatives*. These encourage you to workout at extreme intensities with no real specific goal in mind beyond getting better at doing those specific workouts, unpredictable body shaping results (maybe you’ll bulk up or maybe get skinny), no transferable improvements for sports or other athletic activities, and an extremely high risk of injuries.

Michael Boyle is one of the most highly respected strength and Conditioning coaches in the world of NCAA collegiate athletics and professional sports, with dozens of published books to his credit. This is what he has to say about CrossFit.

Members and inexperienced trainers often fail to understand that the chronically out of shape civilian has no concept of what exercise intensity means. They actually believe that coming to the gym 2 hours a week is a lot of work. They believe pushing 50 lb. on a leg press is tremendous, even though they might weigh 180 lbs themselves. It’s not their fault. They have no reference points at all. Also, they’re really not that interested in whatever goals they might tell you and themselves, they have. Anyone who really cared about fitness and athletics would likely have been engaging in fitness and athletic activities most of their lives to begin with. And then there is belief. Most of our clients don’t really believe they can get in shape. They don’t really have goals. They have fantasies that deep down they believe are impossible to achieve, and so undermine their own efforts every chance they get by consuming junk food or too much food or exercising without consistency or jumping from fad diet to fad workout to discouragement and abandonment of any effort.

Many believe it is just strictly the luck of good genetics or bad, and there is some truth in that. But good genetics that get you by when your 20 will fail you when you’re in your 30’s unless you take action. The sooner you start the better, but it’s never too late.

Photo 1

Photo 1

First, I’d like to thank Monica for the kind praise, as it was all her hard work and willingness to follow my slightly sadistic advice to the letter.

Monica isn’t an actress or professional model. She’s a “real” woman with a real job and has a real commitment to her workouts and getting the results that she wants. She doesn’t live in the gym 4 hours a day, and she knows that when it’s time to work out you work out damn hard and real smart (or hire a real smart trainer like me) and then you go home. I won’t be specific about her age, but she wasn’t a child when we started, and 10 years later she looks better than she ever did. Period.

Forget the trends. This isn’t rocket science. I’ve been at this for 29 years and the fundamentals haven’t changed. Do what I say you need to do in order to achieve your goals (or whatever shorter term measures I deem more appropriate for each individual) and you will.

Train smart. Train hard. Don’t be a mark for every con game that comes around.

See you in the gym.

 

Hmm…

How much should YOU exercise? This article has no advice for you. It does say how little exercise is necessary for a sedentary adult over their initial 12 week period of beginning an exercise regimen.. Is that you? Do you fit that description?

The problem that this research is attempting to address is that the vast majority of our fellow Americans (upwards of 90%) engage in absolutely no regular exercise at all. Zip. Zero. Despite all the health info available, most American perceive the effort of exercise as too much, for results that are too nebulously distant, to warrant their attention.

These researchers are attempting to address this by finding the absolute minimum effort necessary to improve health. It’s sort of like trying to address world hunger by figuring out the absolute minimum amount of food a human needs to remain alive. Great idea.

My own opinion is that most people, deep down, don’t want to extend their own lives. They may be afraid of death when it’s staring them in the face, but their day to day lives are such efforts of futility that any distraction, however unhealthy, is preferable to the hard work it might take to extend these futile lives most of us are forced into. And I believe that this is how most people feel, even if its only subconsciously.

If you read the article carefully, all the way to the end, it does talk about the limitations and flaws of these studies as they’ve been done thus far. Worth a read, so long as you read carefully to the end.
http://nyti.ms/11WeJJK

NYTimes: The Rise of the Minimalist Workout

People have long been trying to figure out what the right amount of exercise is, but the focus lately is on the shortest period possible.

Atheism and the Martial Arts

The problems with magical thinking…not really related to my blog, but understanding the difference between reality science based training and magical faith based beliefs is important. The lesson is the same. If only bad training could punch you in the face.. Read the interview through the part about the two video’s. then watch the video’s in order to get the magnitude of how anyone can get seduced into delusional beliefs and become CONVINCED it is real and true.
Then repeat this mantra “magic is make believe, or insanity when you can’t turn the make believe off”.

Here’s the link to the full article:
http://m.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/04/what-martial-arts-have-to-do-with-atheism/275273/

Scott