How to tell if you’re overtrained.

Giving yourself enough recovery time from training is just as important, if not more important, than the training itself.

From Whole9

Here’s a few things to look out for:

  1. You used to be excited about going to the gym – not so much anymore.
  2. Your performance (or lack thereof) is seriously stressing you out , and a poor workout ruins your day.
  3. You’ve got chronic muscle soreness after every workout, and/or that lingering “shoulder thing” that just won’t seem to heal.
  4. Your sleep pattern has become irregular.
  5. Even though you’re in bed for enough hours, you never feel well-rested in the morning.
  6. You need a Monster drink or three espressos to get fired up for your training sessions.
  7. You crave carbohydrates (sugar!) more than you used to.
  8. You’re getting sick a lot, or just can’t seem to kick that cold you picked up.
  9. You’re training hard and “eating right” but that little belly just isn’t going away.
  10. You’re actually gaining fat, instead of losing it.
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Recovery from injury could be dependent on your diet

I came across an impressive list of things that proper diet has cured in many people. It looks very impressive, and to those who are unfamiliar with Paleo/Primal type diets, may seem far-fetched.

But to us in the know, those of us who have tried and applied and seen actual positive long term changes in health, body composition and so on, those of us who have an intimate understanding with the link between diet and our immediate and long term health, those of us who have a basic even limited understanding of our biological mechanisms, we understand how possible and real these results are.

Among the list of ills that Paleo has cured:

Joint pain, regular bouts of gout, Depression, chronic fatigue, mental fog, Lyme, arthritis, Diabetes, Obesity, Inflammation, Sugar addiction, Stress, Better Sleep, Mental clarity, Migraines, mild obesity, kidney stones, No “fire-in-the-hole” scorcher bathroom visits, lower back issues, and acne, Nails and teeth are stronger and my senses seem to be like they were when I was in my teens. It’s like somebody turned the lights on in the world.

It seems that everyone’s body (at least those that reported these changes) is now able to heal itself naturally. That’s the common theme. In my personal case, I no longer wake up fatigued, sore, or groggy. I don’t have those mysterious sore muscles during the day. My old football knee injury (which used to show itself after long walks) has disappeared. Chronic eczema and GERD have been cured. Bad acne. Headaches. Cold, flu, fever, ear infections. You name it, I’ve been free of it for a full year plus. I also train hard in the gym often, have seen very radical results in terms of muscle tone and recovery.

Now, let me move on to something a little more scientific I found regarding healing, relating more directly to sports injuries:

Ligamentous tissue, because it is poorly vascularized, takes much longer than soft tissue to heal. However, there are a number of elements of the Paleo Diet that may promote rapid tissue healing:
It has been demonstrated that protein deficient patients recover more slowly than a control group. This makes the Paleo Diet, because it is a high protein diet, a perfect intervention in this MCL injury and similar injuries. In such cases, it is desirable to have a diet in which protein reaches 1.2 grams/kg/day.
Increased branch-chain amino acids (valine, leucine and isoleucine) from the high animal protein diet will also speed up healing time.
More rapid resolution of the acute inflammatory stage of tissue injury will occur because of increased consumption of long-chain fatty acids (DHA, EPA, and AA).
Increased trace nutrient density (such as zinc, iron and phytochemicals) further promotes healing and tissue regeneration.
In addition to the diet, there are also supplements that could help in wound healing.
Vitamin C is an important cofactor in synthesis of collagen and proteoglycans, and other components of bone, skin, capillary walls, and other connective tissues. It is important for hydroxylation of proline and lysine residues in procollagen. Vitamin C is also an important supplement in immunomodulation and antioxidation.
Oxidative stress delays wound healing so wounds increase the necessity of vitamin C due to the increased reactive oxygen species generated. Vitamin C is also able to regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin E.
It is recommended that you not exceed 2 grams a day since some adverse health effects have been demonstrated, such as hemolysis (red blood cell destruction), especially in glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficient patients. The recommended dosage is 1-2 grams per day.
Glucosamine increases hyaluronic acid synthesis, which is an important substance in extra cellular matrix composition. Glucosamine may increase insulin resistance and glucose levels so it should not be taken by diabetic patients. Otherwise, it is safe at a dose of 500 mg 3 times per day.
Omega-3 fats will reduce inflammation and help promote the healing process.
Glutamine has been demonstrated to decrease the number of days in the hospital for wound patients. It supports the immune system in the initial phase of inflammation, and serves as an energy source for fibroblasts and protein synthesis. The recommended dosage is 0.2 grams/kg/day.
Arginine is another important amino acid in tissue regeneration. Some of its actions include stimulation of cell migration (for wound recovery), and it is a precursor for proline during collagen synthesis.
Zinc is essential in DNA synthesis, protein synthesis and cell division. All of these are important factors in wound healing. Zinc content is high in the Paleo Diet. A recommended dosage to promote healing is 15-30 mg per day.
Other nutrients that could be beneficial for wound healing are garlic (with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties), pineapple (because bromelain accelerates wound healing and decreases inflammation), and grape-derived phytochemicals (such as proanthocyanidin) that exert anti-inflammatory effects and support healing of elastin and collagen.
We expect both athletes and surgery patients to recover more quickly on the Paleo Diet than they otherwise would eating a conventional modern diet.

So again we see a common theme, that proper nutrients and avoiding anti-nutrients in grains and sugar etc, promotes proper healing. Don’t take this to mean that we can simply supplement to make up for nutrient deficiencies. That’s not the case. You have to take into consideration that all the nutrients in whole food work in harmony together, so one will not necessarily function without the other.

That’s why nutritionists just add confusion to everything. They take the focus off the whole food, and focus on single nutrients, as if we even know the whole story. We don’t. You can’t weigh and measure shit food and get the same results as you can with Paleo, and adding supplements to a shit diet won’t do you any good either. Along those lines, I want you to take a good read at this post by J. Stanton: “what is nutritionism?” It takes a look at some of the more important anti-nutrients, and asks some really hard questions. Things you need to think about. Read it, then come back. I’ll still be here…

What’s my point?

My point is that there are a lot of people out there training, including the most elite athletes, who take every aspect of training into account, analyzing everything they can and taking advantage of the newest-in-new hip-technology supplements or training protocols, but they just haven’t considered their diet may be one of the most contributing factors to their ability to heal after they beat the shit out of their bodies day-in-and-out just to compete in the Ironman. They aren’t asking themselves the tough questions. You need to question everything, to come out on top with the best answer.

I’ve questioned everything, and it seems blatantly obvious to me now that grains screw up every system in your body, along with sugar and too many veggie oils. There’s tons of info out there, so don’t just rely on me to spoon feed it to you. Sometimes you just have to ask your own questions and be able to filter out the bull-shit. Honestly, give me one GOOD reason why I should even bother eating grains. Is there anything in there that I can’t get from veggies, meat or tubers or fruit?? Thought not…

My point is that if you know about inflammation, and you KNOW that you are overtraining and about cortisol, and you KNOW that you need to limit systemic inflammation in order to recover propery, why don’t you pay attention to the biggest item contributing to your inflammation: YOUR DIET. Get it under control and only eat what you could pick, dig, or spear (mostly spear) in the words of J. Stanton.

If you couldn’t tell, this post was inspired by a good friend of mine who is training for Ironman, and has found out very quickly what systemmic inflammation can do to your ability to compete.

 

So what’s a good diet for marathoners and Ironman-ers? Here’s a great post from Mark Sisson about marathon fuel, the cleanest way possible. 

End rant…

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles!

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

Stretching is for dummies

Stretching won’t prevent injury or sore muscles before or after exercise. Stretching won’t even help you “warm up”. So what is stretching good for?

People like to stretch. It feels good. It makes you feel like you are doing something good for your body. If you look around the gym and pay attention – where most people have no idea what the heck they are doing – you see people stretch as if it’s expected of them. It has been programmed into us from a young age throughout school gymnasiums.

Everyone assumes that stretching is the right thing to do. But how useful is it really? Well, it just so turns out….

 

Stretching won’t prevent muscle soreness:

Researchers looked at 10 relevant randomised trials looking at the effect of stretching before or after physical activity on muscle soreness. The studies produced very consistent findings – there was minimal or no effect on the muscle soreness experienced between half a day and three days after the physical activity.

The best available evidence indicates stretching does not reduce muscle soreness. However there are other justifications for stretching,” they wrote. “Some evidence suggests that once muscle soreness has developed stretching may provide a transient relief of soreness: some people stretch to reduce risk of injury, others stretch to enhance athletic or sporting performance, and yet others stretch because it gives them a sense of well-being. The current review does not provide any evidence of an effect or otherwise of stretching on risk of injury, performance, or well-being.

Authors’ conclusions:
The evidence derived from mainly laboratory-based studies of stretching indicate that muscle stretching does not reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness in young healthy adults.

[Here’s more about stretching and reducing muscle soreness]

[Even more: Link, ]

Stretching won’t prevent injury. Stretching actually promotes injury:

Most of the studies that show increased flexibility and range of motion with stretching fail to address one thing: The problem with stretching is that muscles become too loose, and weaker, allowing the associated joint to move in a wider range of motion.

That’s extremely bad, since heavy lifting usually employs your full range of motion, you need your muscles to be able to stabilize the joint in place, not give it more range. I can see now how easy it would be for many lifters who stretch to get rotator cuff damage from heavy bench presses. Increased range of motion puts more stress on the joint, increasing the risk of injury.

Damaging the muscle through stretching can also have an adverse affect on an athlete’s gait. The loss of smooth efficient movement puts stress on virtually all structures – ligaments, tendons, joints and bones. They body tries to compensate for this irregular movement, and in doing so uses up more energy, reducing ones performance.

A recent study showed how stretching can result in poor running economy. increasing energy consumption during an endurance event, and decreasing performance.

Stretching will reduce muscular power:

In this study, acute bouts of static stretching have been shown to impair performance. Most published studies have incorporated static stretching that stressed the muscle(s) to the point of discomfort (POD). There are very few studies that have examined the effects of submaximal intensity (less than POD) static stretching on subsequent performance.

Ten participants were pre-tested by performing two repetitions of three different stretches to assess range of motion (ROM) and two repetitions each of five different types of jumps. Following pre-testing, participants were stretched four times for 30 s each with 30 s recovery for the quadriceps, hamstrings and plantar flexors at 100% (POD), 75% and 50% of POD or a control condition. Five minutes following the stretch or control conditions, they were tested post-stretch with the same stretches and jumps as the pre-test. All three stretching intensities adversely affected jump heights.

With data collapsed over stretching intensities, there were significant decreases in jump height of 4.6% (P = 0.01), 5.7% (P < 0.0001), 5.4% (P = 0.002), 3.8% (P = 0.009) and 3.6% (P = 0.008) for the drop jump, squat jump, countermovement jump (CMJ) to a knee flexion of 70 degrees , CMJ using a preferred jump strategy and short amplitude CMJ respectively. An acute bout of maximal or submaximal intensity stretching can impair a variety of jumping styles and based on previous research, it is hypothesized that changes in muscle compliance may play a role.

[Here’s more about stretching and how it reduces muscular performance Link, Link, Link, Link, Link]

[More reasons not to stretch before exercise]

So, when is stretching beneficial, if at all?

One thing some studies do show, is that stretching with no other exercise following is able to significantly improve performance.

Note: Statistical significance – means the likelihood that a finding or a result is caused by something other than just chance. (i.e. not a large amount, but just enough to matter) Just sayin’…

This study showed that, in the ascence of any other exercise, stretching has some benefit. Simply stretching the muscles had a training effect. The trainees got faster, stronger, and more flexible. The article suggests that stretching may be a good introduction for those who are out of shape or just beginning an exercise routine, or for those not yet fit enough to do other types of training.

[Article: Static stretching improves exerxcise performance]

Conclusion: “This study suggests that chronic static stretching exercises by themselves can improve specific exercise performances”

My opinion is that stretching should be done only by those in rehab or those who are unable to do regular training. If you are able to train, however, you probably should train, since results will likely be much greater than just static stretching. Plus, stretching just sucks!

Just sayin’….

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

Decrease Your Recovery Time

The benefits of decreased recovery time include: stronger immune system, more muscle growth, less down time away from the gym, and less down time in general. Sometimes it does feel good to get DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), but generally I feel stronger when I’m not sore for 2.5 days. I mean, what’s the point of getting stronger and spending time at the gym, when all you do is lie around afterwards moaning and groaning because you lifted so much? Am I right?

Lectins, Gluten, Phytic Acid, Rapid Blood Sugar Spikes: That’s what you get when you ingest grains in any form.

Phytic acid is the storage form of phosphorus in grains, and it all but eliminates your body’s ability to absorb key vitamins and minerals that are necessary for proper immune function and recovery.

Gluten and Lectins hurt your gut, and overall health is directly related to gut health. When you irritate your gut, you induce an immune response. You are hurting your body’s ability to recover and fight off illness.

Prolonged raised blood glucose is stressful for your body. If you keep it spiking multiple times per day, it will be too busy to properly heal itself while it has to manage all that excess glucose. Plus it makes you feel like a pile of shit. (mid afternoon slump anyone?) No wonder you feel starved and hungry a few hours after your pastry-breakfast!

Get smart, eat like a predator. Eat like you were designed to. Follow my simple rules for diet. You are an animal, after all. The best way to keep an animal healthy is to feed it what it would eat in the wild. For humans, grains are not one of those things.

My recovery time has decreased by 50% since going Paleo/Primal. I also get laid more!