Fix chronic back pain without doctors or medicine.

I used to have fairly chronic lower back pain.

Do not underestimate the importance of core strength. A weak core leads to bad posture, and injuries, as we age. Posture has incredible downstream effects for the entire body. Ever lift something over your head to reach a high shelf, or bend down to get some medium sized object, just to tweak your back or stretch something the wrong way? That’s the result of weak core and bad posture. Trust me, you don’t want that.

A bad back can be crippling. It can really have an impact on your entire life. I know, I used to hurt my back a lot. Complaining about back pain was something I was prepared to do for the rest of my life. It happened so frequently, it was almost “normal”. Scary thought huh? Especially at my young age.

I used to be scared of deadlifts. Sometimes I would try them, and end up injuring myself again.

But, after some reading and re-motivation, I decided to try it again and make them a regular part of my lifting routine. Boy am I glad I did!

After lots of slow, careful progression and attention to good form, I was able to build my deadlift up to over 300 lbs. Mind you, this has taken me a couple years, and a few set backs. But the fruits of my labor have ripened.

The benefits of zero back pain, and the ability to lift almost ANYTHING I need to, without fear of injury, is priceless! My posture is great, and it shows in my outward appearance, the appearance of greater confidence!

I never have back pain, even after sitting for 8 hours a day at my desk job. This is incredibly important, especially for all you desk-jockies out there with chronic low back pain. Strength and posture is everything. Especially as you age. Deadlift. Do it!

Deadlifts are super important. They are one of the major lifts that promote muscle growth and strength throughout your entire body. They support the core, legs, shoulders, and even grip strength. Everyone’s goal should be to deadlift at least their own bodyweight. That, I would say, is a fair assessment of good health and strength. If you can at least lift your own bodyweight in the big lifts (bench, squat, deadlift, pullup) you’re golden. Go for it!

True, when I started lifting I would hurt my back doing deadlifts. But I also hurt my back in other lifts as well. Overhead press, squat, even bench. Why? Because my core was weak. I would strain my back to overcompensate for the fact that I was just lifting more than my core could properly support, and I would get hurt. I’d have to take a break from lifting to heal the injury, and inevitably end up right back where I started.

What was the problem? Poor form. Poor form because I was trying to lift too much weight. I wasn’t adapted to it yet. I didn’t allow myself to progress at the proper weight.

A lot of folks make this mistake. They go too big, too soon, and hurt themselves. Then they convince themselves that “this type of lift is just not for me”, or “I don’t really need it”.

The fix? Start light. This is way more effective for newcomers than just loading the bar to a dangerous weight. Start at a light enough weight so you can build neuromuscular adaptation, and then strength, to hold the proper form. If you try a deadlift, and you can’t keep your back straight, its too heavy. GO SLOW AND LIGHT. Form is everything here.

Slow progresstion, attention to proper form, and patience are key. Once you build up your core strength and the ability to lift heavy, say bye-bye to back pain!

 

Is rapid fat loss possible with very low fat/very high carb diet?

The biology says YES.

As long as it’s a nutrient dense whole foods diet that you are consuming, it’ll make it that much easier. (keeps you from being hungry. There’s hormones at play here too. A lot more going on than meets the eye)

But, here’s the kicker. Dietary fat MUST be extremely low, or ZERO.

Pancreatic beta cells require fat to produce the insulin necessary to regulate blood glucose. Loading up on glucose, with no or very little fat, and the fat to produce the insulin necessary to deal with the glucose is forced out of your fat cells.

Now you can do this the conventional wisdom way, and basically feel like you’re starving all the time, or you can do it the Paleo way, and avoid those feelings all together.

Check out the very detailed post at Hyperlipid. Tough to understand, but I got the gyst of it. If you feel like getting into the nitty-gritty details, I suggest you read that post a few times. (That’s about how long it took me, hahaah)

So. Eat only potatoes and no fat for a while to get that 6-pack?

Potatoes have a very low glycemic load, meaning they slowly release a gentle stream of glucose throughout the day as they digest. They’re also loaded with just the right amino acid profile to spare muscle mass. There’s a ton of other good micronutrients in there too. I mean, you can basically live off of potatoes alone….

Maybe worth a try once spring comes around…. Meh, we’ll see if I can work my courage up to go all out on that one. HAH!

My Progress

Was it all in my head?

This morning I did some things different, and noticed some things were different, and then I went and lifted like an animal at the gym.

And guess what, PROGRESS happened! Added weight and reps all over the board, which is especially great, because Wednesdays are chest and triceps days (with some ab work), which are usually my weakest days!

So here’s what I posted earlier about doing some things differently. Giving myself some seasonal variation.

I should probably take some pictures, which I have not done in quite some time if you look back at my older Progress Posts.

Overall things are looking good and feeling great, even considering that my linear progression has slowed as of late. But, there’s always a way! So, keep on truckin’, or liftin’. Yeah.

Here, take a look at the numbahs. I’ll scan in my workout logs later. It’ll give me an excuse to make another post. hoorah.

I busted out 10 reps to failure on decline barbell bench, with 175lbs. Not bad. It’s been slow progress.

After a couple sets there I moved on to incline dumbell bench, and busted out 10 reps to failure with 60lbs in each hand. Moved to one more set using 45’s x 10 reps.

Then the pec-dec for reps, 90lbs for 14 reps, then 75lbs for 10. Both to failure.

Cable push downs have been struggling, but today I busted through the plateau. Ripped out 10 reps to failure at 150lbs. Moved on to 110lbs x 12 to fail. Then 100lbs x 10 to fail. Not bad considering I’ve been stuck at 150 for about 9 reps to failure for the last handfull of weeks.

Finished up with some cable crunches. 185lbs x 12 reps to failure. Then bodyweight leg raises, knees straight, 32 reps. Not too shabby!

I didn’t vote. I never have.

I don’t have any say in your life or affairs. You don’t have any say in mine. Period. Based on that simple logic, voting is wrong.

I have more of an influence over my social circle, because my percentage of a say is much larger, and I have the option of “voting with my feet”, which means if I don’t like it, I can leave.

Can’t say the same about voting in America. The cost of voting with your feet is way too high. You can’t just get up and go as easly.

It’s also stupid, because the system is broken. Nothing will change unless the structure of the American IdioDemocratic fuckall-System changes. So I don’t participate, because I don’t support it. You support the broken system by voting, therefore, you have zero right to complain when it does not work. Change? Where the hell is your change? Good luck.

 

Mood and energy on the up today

I did something a little different today, to change things up.

I find a little variation can go a long way. Especially when you get bored with your routine.

I moved my intermittent fasting period to earlier in the evening, so instead of having my last meal around 8 or 9, I now eat around 6. I break the fast earlier at 10am or 11am.

Today I took my creatine and D-Aspartic Acid this morning at 9:00 on an empty stomach, along with High Vitamin cod liver/butter oil blend, and coffee of course. I started the DAA a couple weeks ago, and have been taking it later in the day when I hit the gym. But haven’t noticed anything until now. Maybe that’s how long it takes to start working? Maybe in the morning is just better? Who knows.

I also had a few eggs afterward around 10:00. All in all I’ve been sticking pretty strictly to the Paleo diet, including weekends, except for some beer on the weekend of course. Us young guys must socialize, you know!

Sometimes I work out fasted, sometimes not. It’s winter, so I’m focusing on just eating more to put on size, rather than burning fat. It’s a lot of work to keep doing fasted training, and I noticed it slows my muscle gains a little bit. Motivation is tough to maintain that way.

I noticed something a few minutes ago. My mood is quite elevated and energy seems to be nice and even, on the upper end of high. This hasn’t happened in a while. Is the DAA kicking in?

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit run down with stresses and life compounding. Progress in the gym has slowed a bit, and I found myself looking for something to change. I wasn’t happy in my current state of being. So this is a welcome change. I’m feeling good today. I’ll try to do things the same was tomorrow and see what happens!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

…Is a load of bullshit

Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) was created by drug company AstraZeneca. They make breast cancer treatment drugs. They don’t focus on finding out how to prevent breast cancer, they focus on YOU paying for THEIR research so THEY can make billions more when YOU and everyone else you know gets cancer, and is forced to pay for their treatments.

Where did the Breast Cancer Awareness Month pink ribbon come from?

In the early 1990s, 68-year-old Charlotte Haley began making peach colored ribbons by hand in her home. Her daughter, sister, and grandmother had breast cancer. She distributed thousands of ribbons at supermarkets with cards that read: “The National Cancer Institute annual budget is $1.8 billion, only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.”

As the word spread, executives from Estée Lauder and Self magazine asked Haley for permission to use her ribbon. Haley refused, and Self magazine was startled by Haley’s answer. “She wanted nothing to do with us. Said we were too commercial.” But Self really wanted to have her ribbon. The magazine consulted its lawyers and was advised to come up with another color. It chose pink, a color that focus groups say is “soothing, comforting, and healing” — everything breast cancer is not. Soon Charlotte Haley’s grassroots peach ribbon was history, and the pink ribbon became the worldwide symbol for breast cancer.

Breast cancer has become the darling of corporate America. Companies use the pink ribbon to sell their products and boost their image with consumers as they boost their bottom line. Meanwhile, breast cancer rates continue to rise every year. Ending the breast cancer epidemic will take more than just pink ribbons and awareness. It will take lifestyle change from Americans.

Know where your money is going

If you donate, make sure you know what kind of research it’s going towards. Ask how much of the total proceeds are going to this research. If you are buying a product from a company that sends a portion of it’s proceeds to research, is the product you are buying actually a link to causing cancer?

This doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about research. Find an organization that promotes less toxic treatments, while doing research to find actual prevention, not just treatment, of cancer.

If you Google “where does all the money for breast cancer go?” you’ll find organizations who are asking these tough questions and actually doing something about it. When you read about them, know the difference between “finding a cure” and “finding prevention”. Those are two totally different avenues. More often than not, I’m certain digging deper, you’ll find that “finding a cure” = “making more drugs”. That’s free money to them. Each new drug comes with a high price tag for the consumer, and a long patent for the developer. Who do you want to give your money to??

The Revolution: Flannel!

choosing your flannel:

“Aim for the classic flannel look. Hipsters, emo kids, and skateboarders are trying to popularize obnoxious patterns and colors. Before you make your purchase, ask yourself, “Can I wear this outside in a snowy forest and not look like a fuck-head?” If the answer is no, do not make the purchase and consider burning the building down.”

…Taking back manliness! Yes! Cheers, 70’s Big!

Epidemiological Studies Can Not Be Trusted.

 They, in all cases, cannot be used at all to ‘suggest’, ‘provide evidence’, or anything that might be interpreted as causing any effect, period.

To use epidemiology thusly is a travesty of rational thought. Basically they have very limited scientific utility. All that they can do is to say, “these effects were found in this group under these circumstances, with the caveats: 1) there are many unaccounted-for and in fact unknown confounders; 2) the data is suspect due to the way it was gathered; 3) any causal suggestions are totally conjectural; 4) science journalists should understand that research conclusions herein using words such as ‘linked to’, ‘associated with’, ‘shows’, ‘may be’, all are used in a scientific sense that is quite different from the usage by the man on the street, who thinks, not unreasonably, that these terms imply causality; and that 5) since this is an epidemiological study, it is by definition almost worthless, and should only be used to encourage debate and actual experimentation.”

The problem is many scientists have made a living at data-mining the old, long-term studies for new papers for so long, the methodology is very entrenched. And unfortunately, it does not lead to good experiments as often as it should, so the original ‘conclusions’, no matter how unjustified, hang in the scientific & public consciousness for a long time.

So next time you see some news artcle, headline, nightly-news-scare, or whatever, claiming that “red meat will kill you”, or some crazy nonesense, ask yourself “where’s the information coming from?”

Correlation is not causation. This is 6th grade stuff. Get with it people.

I really love bacon

No Magic Pills, Weight Loss Shakes, or Shortcuts

There are no shortcuts to losing weight and staying in shape.

You can’t take a synthetic-vitamin laden protein shake every day, eat whateverthehell you want afterward, and expect to lose weight permanently. That’s not a long term solution.

You can’t take a magic pill to speed up your metabolism and burn the fat off without exercise. It won’t work in the long run. Your body adjusts and builds tolerance.

The nutrients your body needs are in whole foods from animals, fruits and vegetables, not in some once-a-day protein shake that claims to magically burn off the excess fat you’ve accumulated over years of poor diet and laziness. If you’re eating whole, unprocessed foods, you won’t be hungry unnecessarily. You’ll be full for longer periods. There’s no need to put money in anyone’s pocket who claims that their snake-oil will cure your every ailment.

But of course you want the easy answer, the easy way out. No one wants to hear the hard-truth that YOU HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE to get meaningful, long lasting, permanent changes to your health and weight.

There’s no shortcut to losing weight and being fit your entire life. It takes dedication and hard work. You have to lift weights and eat lots of *healthy* animals. For your entire life. That’s the hard truth.

Of course, you don’t have to listen to me. You can take the “easy” way out. Have fun with that forever fluctuating body weight.

Simply Think Paleo

Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution. – Theodosius Dobzhansky

Now, go out there and don’t “do” Paleo or try to “be” Paleo. Simply think Paleo. Use the principles, science and knowledge of human evolution to inform your decisions over the many choices you have in life, not really obsessing over the elusive “optimal,” but just better and better, over time.

Accept the bumps.

Read it!: http://freetheanimal.com/2012/09/saving-private-paleo.html

 

Testosterone is cool

I posted this comment over at Mark’s blog. I thought it was interesting and entertaining enough to post it here, too.

I said:

[Quote from Mark’s post] “A recent vision study finds that men are better at detecting rapidly moving images and perceiving fine detail, while women are better at discriminating between colors. The study’s author was unable to establish a clear evolutionary reason for this development, but I’d love to hear your guesses.”

 

It’s the testosterone…

 

I cant remember where I found the article, but it was very eye opening.

Basically it reports anecdotal evidence from several women who had sex change procedures, which included hormones = testosterone.

They noticed significant changes in how they perceived things. It was easier to visualize their surroudnings. Focus improved. Details, drive, etc.

Whereas previously, before the treatment, they had less immediate focus on tasks at hand, and had a more pronounced “overall picture”, with less focus on details, and more focus on the final destination, so to speak.

I guess that’s why women naturally suck balls at driving…

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/weekend-link-love-208/#ixzz27PO4oVnt

BA training.

I don’t like playing around and saying fatness is fine. It’s not. It’s not healthy. And a recent NYTIMES Article is another instance of marginalizing the negatives of fatness. Not cool.

Wanna bet that the reason low bmi people who aren’t fit can be unhealthier than fit but fat people is that the low bmi people are just skinny fat, and in fact have a higher body fat % ? Just another reason BMI is retarded. Another reason to lift weights. Another reason to eat meat and support muscle growth. Another reason to not be weak. Another instance of America justifying fatness as it becomes “normal”

That is all.

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Saturated fat: A necessary component for health.

Sally Fallon Morrell of the Weston A. Price Foundation shared the following in a speech in 2010: (source – http://www.westonaprice.org/mentalemotional-health/nutrition-and-mental-development)

Now, if we look at the fats in the brain, the two major fats are saturated fat and a fat called arachidonic acid.  But we’re not supposed to eat saturated fats, right?  Yet saturated fats like butter, meat fats, lard, and coconut oil are the kinds of fats your brain wants and needs.  And if you don’t eat those fats, your body says, “Well, give me that next best thing:  refined carbohydrates.”  Your body can make saturated fats out of refined carbohydrates.  And that’s how people get cravings for refined carbohydrates – especially pregnant women and growing children.  Unfortunately, eating refined carbohydrates robs the body of nutrients, while natural saturated animal fats provide some very important nutrients.

The other really interesting fat in the brain is arachidonic acid.  Arachidonic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid that is only in animal fats, such as in butter, egg yolks, organ meats, and meat fats.  Like saturated fats, arachidonic acid has been the victim of demonization.”

And what happens when the brain is deprived of its preferred fuel?  Ms. Morrell tell us in the same speech:
“Today the horrible condition called autism – along with other manifestation of brain starvation such as learning disorders, mental problems, inability to concentrate, behavior problems, violence, addiction and mental retardation threaten the fabric of our culture.

I’m not going to mince words here.  These problems are the direct result of the dietary guidelines coming out of the Department of Agriculture since the early 1980’s,…

You need ’em, so EAT ‘EM!

ANIMALS YUM!!!!

We were put on this earth to help other people

…That’s what I’ve been doing. The reason I’ve been writing less here, is because I’ve been focusing on helping friends “out there” in the real world.

Someone I know has some chronic joint problems, and recently problems with fluctuating bodyweight. The joint pain doesn’t make exercise easy. I threw together the following email to her. Lots of the intervention I recommend below could also apply to a plethora of health issues, but I still tried to tailor it to my friend’s needs.

My Letter:

“You’ll probably think I’m crazy, but I’m willing to bet money if you give this a try for a few weeks, you’ll notice immediate improvements in pain and body composition, among other things. I did this research with you in mind, so I hope you read it thoroughly. Plus if you don’t try it, I’ll kick your butt 😉
 
And I’m not just trying to prove a point. I actually care a great deal about this stuff, and wouldn’t go to all this trouble if I didn’t think it would help you. I care. A lot. It’s my weakness.
 
I fixed a ton of my health problems this way too, and put on a good amount of muscle in a short time as a bonus (even though I was working out hard for years prior with no results). Anyway, I’ve been doing this for 2 years roughly. It’s definitely sustainable, but a lifetime commitment also. Totally worth it in my opinion.
 
Basically it comes down to minimizing systemic inflammation, which is pretty much the cause of all your problems.
 
(Your doctor likely will shrug this shit off, because they know very little about actual biology, and a lot more about “we can manage this by prescribing you this drug”. (I mean, they still accept the “heart-health hypothesis” for fuck-sake, that blames cholesterol on heart disease. It’s actually not cholesterol that causes heart disease, but oxidized LDL particles (which are not cholesterol, they just are vehicles that carry it around) due to excessive polyunsaturated fats, causing an inflammatory response within the arterial wall, as cytokines attempt to contain the oxidized lipids.) Ask me more about this if you’re curious. Polys are extremely unstable and oxidize rapidly, due to the double bonds in the molecule. Saturated fat has no double bonds, and is therefore nearly impossible to oxidize. Anyway, I’m getting off topic…)
 

Ditch the grains, especially wheat, and sugar: Avoiding grains in all forms – and yes, that includes beer (sadly, even though I drink it often enough, eh whatevs) was the single best move I made toward improving my skin problems, IBS, upper GI issues, chronic tiredness, depression, and random aches and pains every day. Gluten intolerance is often connected to arthritis, and there’s tons of papers on possible connections between dietary lectins and arthritis (PDF). They focus on rheumatoid arthritis, but I don’t think osteoarthritis and RA are so different.

Avoid excess omega 6 fats: Higher circulating levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory cytokine , is highly significant predictors of osteoarthritis of the knee. Can you guess which type of polyunsaturated fatty acid leads to excessive levels of IL-6? Exactly. Skip the corn, soybean, canola, and vegetable oil and the resultant pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. No fried food, duh. Use animal fat, butter, olive oil, and coconut oil instead, and eat plenty of fatty fish or take fish oil.

Avoid potatoesOPTIONAL. They’re not the worst things in the world, but some people report joint pain after consuming potatoes. I sometimes get tinges of my old knee pain from a football injury if I eat potatoes on consecutive days, though the problem seems to worsen if I eat the skins, which is where most of the anti-nutrients are held. Most people don’t have a problem with potatoes or tomatoes, but as they are nightshades, they can trigger responses in those with autoimmune diseases like MS or Chron’s disease. This one’s more of a suggestion just in case. You may not have an issue with nightshades, but either way, food for thought. (HAHA see what I did there?) Go for safer sources if you want starches, like sweet potatoes, yams, and winter squash instead.

Get plenty of sun or supplement with vitamin D: According to several studies, low vitamin D status is linked to increased osteoarthritis. I know for a fact it makes me feel better. High vitamin D also makes you feel good because it releases dopamine, and also supercharges your immune system. POW!

Consider glucosamine supplements: Art Ayers had an interesting take on glucosamine. Rather than it providing the raw material for cartilage production as it’s commonly assumed, glucosamine actually binds to free transglutaminase 2 (TG2). TG2 is a well-known marker for osteoarthritis severity, and it often binds with gluten, resulting in the formation of pro-inflammatory antibodies. If glucosamine binds with TG2, less TG2 is available to bind with more inflammatory compounds. This gives your joints more of an opportunity to heal.

Another option is to drink bone broth on a regular basis and gnaw on the articular endpoints of animal bones. I love ribs, and I’ll cook you up some mean slow cooked bbq ribs any time you want! Fucking BOMB!

As a side note, complete proteins are absolutely necessary to repair damaged tissues. So, along with eating lots of animals, the high protein diet improves calcium absorption in the gut. That greater calcium utilization, along with the high levels of vitamin K in the animal products, will produce a double whammy for your bones and joints. Calcium does not function without proper amounts of vitamin K.

Lift heavy things: In order to support healthy cartilage, your joints must bear weight. I use a more traditional barbell approach. Just don’t think biking or swimming is enough; those may be useful for folks with no cartilage at all, but if you want your chondrocytes to do their job, you have to provide the right stimulus, and that means load-bearing exercises. It remains unclear whether cartilage can actually regrow thanks to proper exercise, but we do know that resistance training improves osteoarthritis outcomes. In your case with the joint issues, actually moving a heavy load may not be realistic. But there are other methods that are just as effective, if not more so. the Body By Science method relies on basically holding a contraction for a set period of time to muscle failure, instead of moving a weight for reps. You still work all the muscle fiber types, without having to worry about joint issues. Ask me more about this if you are interested.

Either sprint or move slowly: Chronic Cardio increases systemic inflammation from excess cortisol, and increases your desire for inflammatory, cheap carbs like grains. Try sprinting or hiking instead. You’d have to work up to this slowly, obviously, but the benefits are retarded cool. I sprint once a week. So much more efficient than running on a treadmill for hours, torturing yourself. poo-poo.

Basically it comes down to diet first. Lots of animals, eggs, vegetables, and some fruit. Nothing processed, nothing in a package. High fat, moderate protein, carbs don’t really matter as long as you’re not bingeing in fruit and potatoes every day. There’s a plethora of research and anecdotal reports of people solving every type of health issue imaginable with this basic dietary intervention. Call me a quack if you want, but I honestly don’t think you should knock it until you try it.

Show me any other dietary intervention that has been able to get diabetics off meds, cure obesity, depression, improve autism, improve cancer treatment effectiveness, and help old people stay strong and build muscle while staying lean and healthy. I bet you can’t!”

Is the NFL full of children and pantywaists? Nope, just brain injuries…

In recent news…

more than 2,400 NFL retirees are sueing the NFL over head injuries they received while playing.

WTF??!!??!!!

That’s like Mike Tyson sueing his agent for his current “state of bewilderment” or whatever you want to call it. (Have you seen him speak?)

Football is a dangerous contact sport. I’m pretty certain if you elect to do that for most of your professional life, you are accepting that there are risks involved.

That’s like sueing your car company for your car accident. You got in the car. You accepted there might be a risk.

That’s like sueing McDonalds for your heart attack.

When a baseball player uumps over a fence to catch a ball, and hurts his shoulder, does he sue the MLB over the injury? Fuck no!

Freaking dumb-asses. Grow up. I think all the money and collisions went to their heads…