Category Archives: Meta

Stuff about the blog, and about me

“That’s not Paleo!”

This is one of my favorite topics ever! I just love hearing about how something “isn’t Paleo”; you can be assured I won’t swear my face off about this.

Yeah fucking right. It’s time to go Beastmode.

Yes, that is a thing. STFU a second.

My answer when confronted with the “cavemen didn’t eat that”/ “there’s no such thing as a ‘Paleo Diet'”/ “that’s not Paleo” sort of half-baked dumbass shit depends on which kind of idiot is saying it: do you just not have the time/ mental fortitude to read? Did you actually think that was a reasonable argument? Or are you an asshat trying to get a rise outa’ me?

In the first case, feel free to come on back when you’re willing to put in the same effort reading as you do whining. There are plenty of people, myself included, who’ve made it clear: this is not re-enacting. In the second, realize that we’re here to pass on sound health advice, not argue the details of human evolution (I’m not sure but that MIGHT have been in the disclaimer). In the third? Fine, you got your rise, now talk to the intro, douche-bag.

I’m too busy not having heart attacks and diabetes to deal with each of you, one at a time. Sorry, but fit people just have too much else to do: eat meat, lift heavy shit, be fuckable, DESTROMINATE, have sex, eat meat, be liked… among other things. We’re even good at grooming:

EPIC!

By the way, I sometimes have to hear related shit from a N00B-client or N00B-friend: “so-and-douchebag said that my hamburger wasn’t Paleo!” My response? “FUCK. THEM.” Guys, you should have known to ignore this POS when it first opened its bread-hole. Stop listening. You really need advice, Mr. /Ms. well-meaning and confused? Here you go: HTFU, or you get the WOLFSLAP.

That is all.

Mori

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Squat Shoes and Why

There is something that really chaps my hide about CrossFitters and Paleo enthusiasts: the arrogant purism that makes everyone and everything else into something inferior.  Often this comes free with a big bag of ignorance about the the topic in question.  Today’s subject is weightlifting shoes:

Bad OHS 1

“Ah, well, no, I don’t think so. They don’t seem to confer any kind of advantage — I certainly squat less with them than without them. I think most people do.”

BAD OHS 2

“‘Should’ is a bit unfair, but for the most part people can either can squat without them or can be taught to squat without them, yes.”

BAD OHS 3

OOH BOY Facepalm

NO.  If they were a work around for inflexibility they wouldn’t be allowed in the tightly controlled, minutely scrutinized sport of weightlifting. Further, weightlifters of all sizes, proportions, ability levels and degrees of flexibility wouldn’t use them.  What they are is an injury prevention device.  Here’s how the most famous weightlifting coach in America, Greg Everett, put it:

“Weightlifting shoes exist for a reason. It’s not an accident. You have a raised heel ‘cause that increases the range of motion of the ankle. And the ankle has to flex — dorsiflex — a great deal to hit those bottom positions with an upright torso, which is just unavoidable unless your femur is only four inches long. So in one regard, it’s a safety issue: If you bottom out that ankle, you’re going to be in big trouble. It’s not going to feel good, it’s going to take a long time to recover from, and it’s going to be a huge limiting factor forever, essentially.”

The principle problem I see with suspicion of lifting shoes is ignorance about how they work: people tend to think that increasing the flexibility of the hips will fix the problem being covered up by lifting shoes.  But there is no amount of hip flexibility that will re-balance a person whose weight is behind them.  I repeat: your hips can be as flexible as you like, if all your weight is behind the center of your foot, you’re going to fall over.  No two ways about it.  Thus Greg’s comment about the length of the femur: the longer your upper leg, the more your hips (and consequently your upper body and the weights it’s carrying) are going to be displaced behind your foot as you squat; that distance reaches it’s longest as the thighs get to parallel.  Increasing the flexibility of your hips isn’t going to do anything to change that.

To put it another way, here’s what people seem to think is going to happen:

mistaken squat

Someone should tell this chick that there isn’t any benefit to squatting in zero gravity

But this is so obviously wrong, and our subject is so obviously off balance that anyone can see it, right?  If you can’t, grab a ruler and hold it up so it shows a vertical line from the middle of her foot.  No, really, try it.

I hope you saw it: if she was an athlete in your gym, she’d be falling over backwards. The only thing holding her up is the power of illustration.

For those of you out there who think that you look this way when you squat, you’re fooling yourself: either your butt is closer to your mid-line (your ankles are dorsiflexed enough to carry your knees forward past your toes, and your femurs are, as Coach Everett puts it above “four inches long”)  OR your torso is inclined forward, so your chest and shoulders are over the midpoint of your foot OR your toes are pointing waaaay out. It has to be one of the three; physics doesn’t allow for other possibilities, including the hand-wavy, “because I say so” hip-flexibility voodo preached by Yoganistas.

And by the way, the picture above has more forward lean in the upper body than most, if not all, oly coaches would accept! Let’s let Coach E demonstrate:

G

See his upright torso? Cover up his legs with your hand. He could just as well be standing, right? Aimee Everett agrees:

AimeeHBBS

Alright, I’m being a bit too harsh, so lemme’ walk that back: you do need (NEED) hip flexibility in order to squat properly. Even with oly shoes. Coaches who preach every day about hip flexibility and range of motion aren’t wrong, they’re doing most people a big favor. That said, without the deeper knowledge it takes to improve intermediate athletes, most CrossFit coaches are going, ultimately, to fail their members.

For more, here’s an external link that should help: http://www.jtsstrength.com/articles/2013/04/23/fixing-the-snatch-and-overhead-squat-position/

Yoroshu ni

Mori

caveman_computer

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Mark Rippetoe, Happy 4th!

If Ripp said it, it’s probably true.

No, wait, it’s absolutely true and you’re a commie if you don’t agree.

Errr… whatever. Happy 4th!

RIPPfucks

“Just because some jackass asserts a thing does not mean that it is worthy of refutation. If the same guy tells you that every space shuttle launch perturbs the Earth’s orbit, and that the cumulative effects are just about to start the process of the loss of the atmosphere into space, thus creating a vacuum that will destroy all life on the planet in approximately 36 hours, would you deem this necessary to refute? How much time would you spend explaining to him why this cannot happen? Would not your time be spent better doing other things? And if you devise a concise explanation, why would you assume he would understand?”

“Yes, if you squat wrong it fucks things up. If you squat correctly, those same fucked-up things will unfuck themselves.”

“And the book is not any more expensive in Australia than it is here except for the shipping, which is what you get for living in Australia.”

“Poor form in the gym is caused by insufficient yelling.”

“Mediocre athletes that tried like hell to get good are the best coaches”.

“You are right to be wary. There is much bullshit. Be wary of me too, because I may be wrong. Make up your own mind after you evaluate all the evidence and the logic.”

“There is simply no other exercise, and certainly no machine, that produces the level of central nervous system activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat.”

“Ask Old Santa for a squat rack. Preferably one that won’t fit down the chimney. You can’t do the program without it, and that would leave you forever an elf.”

“Anyone who says that full squats are “bad for the knees” has, with that statement, demonstrated conclusively that they are not entitled to an opinion about the matter. People who know nothing about a topic, especially a very technical one that requires specific training, knowledge, and experience, are not due an opinion about that topic and are better served by being quiet when it is asked about or discussed. For example, when brain surgery, or string theory, or the NFL draft, or women’s dress sizes, or white wine is being discussed, I remain quiet, odd though that may seem. But seldom is this the case when orthopedic surgeons, athletic trainers, physical therapists, or nurses are asked about full squats.”

“Absolutely not. Never — and I mean NEVER — try anything that someone in authority, like Me, has not specifically approved in advance. This is not allowed, and is specifically prohibited, because if you do this irresponsible thing — this Trying Things For Yourself — you might learn on your own, and again, this is PROHIBITED…. Let me ask you a question: Are you from North Korea?”

“If nothing is wrong with your shoulders, benches are fine. But when someone asks me about rotator cuff injuries, I assume they’re not asking for their cat.”

“If you can’t train and work in a warehouse at the same time, you probably have ovarian cancer. Consult your gynecologist.”

“The vast majority of women cannot get large, masculine muscles from barbell training. If it were that easy, I would have them.”

“Okay, have you ever been around chickens? They are stupid, uncooperative, inconvenient, ill-tempered creatures. They get what they deserve. Fuck chickens.”

“Baby mammals drink milk, and you sir, are a baby mammal.”

“You must wear socks or workout pants on the Dead Lifts. We don’t want your DNA on the barbell.”

“There are few things graven in stone, except that you have to squat or you’re a pussy.”

“Soy milk is essentially Coffee-Mate laced with estrogen, and is best left to vegans and other socialist vegetarian types that can’t bring themselves to eat the completely natural-for-humans flesh of our friends the Animals but who have no trouble with slaughtering trillions of our other friends the Plants and processing — in gigantic factories run by multinational corporations with shareholders that eat meat themselves — very selectively chosen components of their poor little bodies into gooey shit that humans have never had an opportunity to adapt to digesting. Why, eating such material, with its high levels of isoflavones, touted by gynecologists as tantamount to Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT), will make you grow boobs, and this will screw up the clean lines of this fine young man’s Under Armor. I recommend against it.”

“Deadlifts that are too heavy to pull generally don’t take very long; the bar just kinda lays there. So if trying to move immovable objects was dangerous from the standpoint of stroke, the history of the human race would be littered with stupid people’s corpses.”

“Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general.”

“The only time LSD (long slow distance) is necessary is if your going to compete in a sport that requires it. It is far inferior to CrossFit-type metcon for producing an increase in VO2 max, it interferes with power and strength production, it can be quite catabolic and immune-suppressive in high doses, it destroys muscle mass, and the people that do it usually wear silly clothes. Read the stuff on the CrossFit website regarding this, and you will learn many good, important things.”

“We never consciously squeeze our asscheeks in the weight room. It’s not a valuable biomechanical cue, and it might get misinterpreted by the guys on the next platform.”

“You can’t make people smarter. You can expose them to information, but your responsibility stops there.”

Yoroshu ni

Mori

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Your Children Are Not Special

FIGHT_CLUB___Tyler_Durden_by_MovieGeek323

“You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

This is for all of you out there who advocate everyone finding their own way, who say that everyone is unique and their diets should be too.

Each of you most certainly are unique… unless you’ve been doing the same thing as everyone else and getting the same results as everyone else.  That doesn’t quite qualify as unique, and if that’s your excuse…

yourre-fat-dr-phil-demotivational-poster

I mean really, ‘if it doesn’t work why fix it’?!  Who the fuck goes for that logic?

While we’re on the subject, don’t give me this shit about ‘you have to understand how people are’ and ‘people need a more understanding touch’.  These are just excuses to keep codling folks so we can have more milksop assholes who only think about themselves and their inner childs.  YES, I SAID CHILDS.  FUCK YOU.  People don’t need more gentle let-downs, more ego-soothing or more excuses:  you just don’t have the ovaries to tell them the truth.  Maybe I just have more faith in humanity than most: I think you can read a whole blog-post or a whole email,  and I think you CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH.  What you do with it from there is up to you, but we don’t have to be supportive of cake-eating just because you were having a bad day.

The truth is, if you’re having the same problems as everyone else and doing the same things as everyone else, you’re not fucking unique.  And oh-by-the-way, trainers hear this shit all the time, so your excuses aren’t even unique.  Either do the work you need to in order to fix yourself, or admit that you’re too weak to save your own fucking skin, plop yourself down on your couch and wait to die.

Sad Bill Hicks

“If you have children here tonight, and I assume some of you do, I’m sorry to tell you this, they are not special.”

Yoroshu ni

Mori

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An Evolutionary Framework for Understanding Health‏

Hey all,

I wrote something on Facebook that I thought I’d post.  Here’s the article we were talking about:

http://hells-ditch.com/2012/08/archaeologists-officially-declare-collective-sigh-over-paleo-diet/

So this is the latest in a line of articles and books ‘attacking’ the paleo diet; the most recent previous to this were ‘The Paleo Fantasy’ by Marlene Zuk (http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/new_scientist/2013/04/marlene_zuk_s_paleofantasy_book_diets_and_exercise_based_on_ancient_humans.html) and the TED Talk ‘Debunking the Paleo Diet’ by Christina Warinner (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMOjVYgYaG8).  Each of these critiques are, in my view, mixed in terms of their value: some criticisms add something to the debate around diet, some don’t help at all. This article is particularly bad, but rather than talk about any of them on their own, it makes more sense to me to explain what the ‘paleo’ diet is, so that people have a better idea of what’s actually being advocated by people on the ‘other side’ of this critique.

The Paleo Diet is nothing more than a logical framework for looking at medical problems that’s been, yes I admit it, poorly named.  Essentially, advocates of ‘an evolutionary approach to medicine’ look at how and where humans evolved, and use that as a basis for asking questions about health, much the same way The Standard Model is used to ask questions and make hypotheses in physics.  From our perspective, as the famous quote goes “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”: if we see health problems (and we do), we advocate first looking at, and experimenting with, the environmental factors that differ significantly from those involved in our evolutionary milieu.  It’s a simple, logical and uncomplicated approach.

NO ONE IS SAYING THAT HUMANS HAVE STOPPED EVOLVING.  Nor is anyone saying that paleolithic environments were/ are all the same.  Well, no one sane, no one whose opinion is worthwhile, is saying that.  It’s annoying, but most of the time articles like these are arguing against this less-than-sane faction, and then throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  Indeed, when Chris Kresser posted this same article to Facebook he commented: “Another preposterous “Paleo critique” full of straw man arguments and mischaracterizations. I don’t even know where to start.”

The other big criticism that wasn’t brought up in this article, but anyone familiar with the topic will be quick to point out: there there are examples of animals changing their diets or other environmental factors and getting along just fine (proto-humans beginning to consume meat, as one good example).  Its a good thought, but we don’t seem to be getting along just fine: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/18/us-obesity-us-idUSBRE88H0RA20120918

Logically, this seems like the best place to start when thinking about how to address problems, and the recommendations of this framework have done a lot of good when actually tested.  What are those recommendations?  Handily, I wrote that blog-post already.

For any go-getters, here’s Robb Wolf’s critique of the TED talk ‘Debunking the Paleo Diet’ I linked to above:

http://robbwolf.com/2013/04/04/debunking-paleo-diet-wolfs-eye-view/

Yoroshu ni

Mori

caveman_computer

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To the Athletes of DKY

I here present to you, without comment, my farewell letter to Reebok CrossFit Daikanyama (Japanese at the bottom).

To the Athletes of DKY

I’m writing to inform you that I am leaving Japan to return to America. Our time together was short, shorter than I imagined it would be when I accepted this job a year ago. Still, for me it is has been an education in movement, human interactions, business and personalities.

I want to thank each of you for your smiles, your support of me personally and of us as a staff, and most of all the fresh, beginner’s spirit with which you approached each class, each challenge. It was inspiring to watch.

I never thought of myself as ‘Sensei’ while at DKY. Human movement is too complex, training theories too diverse for anyone to claim to have all the answers. I preferred to think of myself as ‘Sempai’: someone walking the same path, just a little further along. And so, in that spirit, I wish you all continued success on your journey.

‘Sempai’ Jason

DKYのアスリート達へ

来月の頭頃、米国帰国致します。一緒に居られた時間は短かったですが、私にとっては楽しくて、学ぶ事が大変多くて、豊かな経験になりました。

素敵な笑顔、ありがとう。私含め、スタッフを温かく見守って頂き、ありがとう。一つ一つのクラスに真剣に取り組んで頂き、ありがとう。お陰様で、元気いっぱいになり、私も新たなチャレンジに挑みたくなりました。

DKYに居た間、”先生”と言われるよりも”先輩”の方が自分に合っていると思いました。何故かと言うと私は生徒さん達を導いたと言うよりも同じ道を先に進んでいたとの感じをしていたからです。その気持ちで、これからの成功と発展、祈っております。

ジェイソン”先輩”

caveman_computer

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Why are video games fun?‏

video-game guys

What, would you say, are the intrinsic elements of a good video game? If you don’t play video games, get the fuck off my blog and never come back try to treat this as a learning experience, a window into another culture. You’re an anthropologist!

Anyway, I’m sure there are important elements to the visuals, the noises and how the user interacts with the game, and for now I’m going to exclude the community aspects of gaming, including online games. I submit that the two things, inextricably linked, that truly make a game good are challenge and self-improvement.

Challenge in video games comes in a few forms, but it always inspires that same hackles-raising frustration. The solution could be yet another repetitious trip through the same, mind-numbing dungeon you conquered three times before, just to rack up xp; it could be searching the entire map for the key to that one stupid door; or it could be something else, equally as mundane, drudgerous and time consuming. In any case it is, in part, that feeling of frustration that seems to keep us coming back. You feel like you’re leaving something unfinished, no? To put it another way: I’m pretty sure there is nothing worse than an easy video game.  Am I wrong? Isn’t that why we all laughed at that College Humor video ‘If Video Games had Super Easy Mode‘?

Scorpion vs 9yo

Yeah, so… that happened. We’re just going to have to deal with it, I guess.

Depending on the type of game, one may improve in various ways; further, it may be that one’s character (the representation of oneself in the game) improves, or it may be that the player gets better at the game, learning how to deal with its obstacles better and better as time goes on.

I have often wondered why it is that I would rather spend hours in front of a tv or computer screen struggling with a puzzle made by some nerd in his mom’s basement than struggle with real problems, real challenges that exist outside of fantasy. Both represent challenges that must be struggled with to be overcome; both are rewarding, in that we feel good about our accomplishments when they are completed.

You have to go back

“No, really. You have to go back.”

 

This really seems like an important thing to take note of in our characters: the activity we most associate with wasted time and slacking off is best defined by challenge and self-improvement.

It’s an interesting dichotomy: we’re a species willing to spend mind numbing hours on these hobbies in which nothing is ever truly gained except the ability to say ‘I did it’ (think stamp/ bug collecting, fantasy sports, writing a blog), yet we ignore the challenges that benefit us, like learning a new sport or musical instrument, studying the universe or caring about politics.

loser-video-game_2

I’m not condemning video games, I’m not. I love me a good game… in the right context. For some, though, it seems it’s easy to get ‘having a little fun/ relaxing’ confused with meeting our human needs for challenge, accomplishment and reward.

So think of this the next time getting up and getting food that’s actually good for you seems like too much trouble, or the next time you’re tempted to blow off a workout for a video game: could this desire for challenge and achievement be satisfied in a way that improves more than your score? Does your character really need the xp more than you do?

Yoroshu ni,

Mori

caveman_computer

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