Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Don't go see 'Marley and Me'

Total sentimental clap trap.

Jennifer Anniston looks exactly the same the entire movie, while 15+ years passes, her children grow up etc...

Plus I cried for like 30 minutes at the end.

Don't go see it.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas

Happy Chanukah

Monday, December 22, 2008

Can't beat 'em

The last few years its dawned on me that your chances of not breaking your diet rules during the period 11-15 through about 1-5 are very slim.
We all here the anecdotes about pounds, the complaints about the types of foods, etc. If it were really such a problem, you'd just go to Vietnam. Have you seen those skinny bitches?
Really, what you are looking for is an excuse; an out. But I'm with you this time. Me too, boo hoo hoo.
So for the last couple of years, I have relished this period, and I have made lemonade. Not literally, as you can buy that at Chik-Fil-A, but rather figuratively, in that I have made every 'Holiday Season' into my corner of the year to actually pack on some pounds.
So, while everyone else is crying about getting fat, I am eating their babies. I started for the seconds time on my 'Superer Squats' just over two weeks ago. I am done squatting for now (can you believe my parents don't have a power cage???) but I will continue with some other hypertrophy workouts through Jan 1st. It's gone good so far; I was light at the end of the last IF cycle, ~ 152ish, and I am nearing 167lbs now. Not too shabby for 3 weeks.
This is pretty consistent with the results I received the first time I worked this program, as well as the time I have led one client through it.
Here's a video of me wrapping up my last workout; it's ten sets of five, performed every minute on the minute in the back squat. This load is 185lbs. I did this program last year, peaking at 172lbs, with a final workout at 215lbs, but it was done off a box, not the ball, and was likely a tad higher.

Superer Squats at 185lbs from Full Circle on Vimeo.

Here's some other dude doing a similar program on a smith rack

You Need Me

Check out a little essay from Jon Gilson

look him and his gym up the next time you wanna learn how to do anything;


29 Reasons why you're Vegetarian diet isn't Working... yet

This Got me Laughing. From

You haven't reached the magic 2-year mark yet. (Or if you have, then you haven't reached the 11-year mark yet...) If you aren't getting results, you simply haven't been on the program long enough. Just hang in there awhile longer. (After all, natural methods take more time.)

2. You aren't sick, you're just going through a healing or detox crisis. There is no such thing as being sick if you're doing the program right. When you are getting better the body has more energy for "toxic elimination episodes." Be patient, wait it out some more. (And some more, and some more...)

3. If you are feeling bad, that's actually good. It means your body is making needed adjustments and detoxifying years of bad habits that have gunked your body up. Do you really expect that to feel good? The worse you feel the better you are getting, and the more it means needed good things are happening to set your body straight.

4. You aren't trying hard enough. You just gotta have more discipline and be more pure! Even one chocolate bar a year could be too much junk and block your body from succeeding.

5. You're trying TOO hard. You could be doing everything right, but if your mental attitude is too uptight your body won't be given the chance to heal properly.

6. You've got bad heredity or weren't breastfed long enough. The damage has been done. (You poor sucker.)

7. If your body is adversely reacting to things more than before, it is only because you are becoming more refined and sensitive. Don't forget, the more cleaned-out you get, the less your body can handle the bad stuff--which is as it should be. Your body is trying to tell you something: you should take the hint and move to Guam where you won't have to be bothered by anything at all.

8. You're not doing things the RIGHT WAY (which is the ONE TRUE WAY I subscribe to). You should be eating more fruit in your diet--humans were originally fruitarian, you know. And fasting for 7 days really isn't long enough--you've got to go for at least 10 to 14 days to get into the truly rejuvenative phase. Also, you're eating too many dead, cooked foods--gotta eat more live, raw stuff. But some people should try LESS fruit in their diet--too much can wreak havoc with your blood sugar making you tired all the time. Or DON'T fast at all--perhaps your reserves are too low and you need to rebuild your body first before you ought to attempt any fasting. Or maybe you need to try MORE cooked foods like potatoes and squashes in your diet--you can't get enough energy from an all-raw diet, the calories just aren't there.

9. You need to be combining your proteins correctly. All essential amino acids have to be present at the same meal to ensure utilization. Combine beans with rice, potatoes with pasta, papayas with pumpkins, and so on.

10. Nope, don't do that, because if you are combining proteins with starches like potatoes and pasta, none of it will digest efficiently. Different foods require different digestive secretions which are sometimes incompatible. You need to be combining foods for best DIGESTION, not for PROTEIN complementarity. Besides, more modern research has shown the existence of a recirculating amino acid pool in the body that makes protein combining obsolete.

11. You're not getting enough trace minerals. Modern farming methods have eroded and stripped our topsoil and depleted it of essential elements. Spend more money on premium-priced organic foods raised with regenerative agriculture.

12. Grow your own SPROUTS! It's the only way you can ensure you're getting REALLY live, unadulterated foods with a high vitamin content.

13. No, you should eat ALGAE instead! Sprouts grown in jars aren't getting the benefit of minerals in soil or if they are grown in trays the soil is probably depleted. Algae is the richest source of all known elements since everything drains into the lakes and oceans including the topsoil destroyed by modern farming.

14. Pollution. You can't expect to feel perfect if you live in a city.

15. You need to move to the tropics. The human species originally evolved there and is not suited for the temperate zones everyone lives in now.

16. You're overlooking the crucial importance of vigorous exercise. Get out and walk, run, bicycle, swim, do aerobics, whatever. (But don't breathe the city air if you live there.) You can't expect to have energy if you don't exert it. (ED: Notice the inclusion of only aerobics :) )

17. Huh-uh. You're doing TOO MUCH exercise! Anything more than slow walking is excessive. The body wasn't meant to run long distances or do unnatural exercises like bicycling that weren't around when the species was evolving. Too much peak performance depletes you and siphons off energy the body could be using for healing purposes. Walking is better than running, sitting better than standing (causes varicose veins), reclining or frequent napping best of all. (Remember, cats sleep 18 to 20 hours a day, and look at the bursts of energy they are capable of.) Be nice to yourself, slow down, relax, sleep more, do nothing.

18. Modern life is too stressful. Quit your job, learn to meditate. In general, tune in, turn on, drop out, and trust things to come to you. If you love enough, the universe will support you. If it won't, it's proof you're selfish and thinking about yourself too much.

19. Insecticides and herbicides are poisoning you. Make sure to wash your produce carefully!

20. You might be low on vitamin B-12 so DON'T wash your produce! When eating natural unwashed produce you get B-12 from the microorganisms in the dirt on it. Since vegetarians don't get B-12 from animal sources, and all B-12 is ultimately manufactured by bacteria anyway, it's important not to wash your food TOO carefully.

21. Drink only distilled water. Even bottled spring water has inorganic minerals dissolved in it that the body can't assimilate and that will only clog up your system. Distilled water leaches out toxins and helps purify your system.

22. No, no, no! You shouldn't be drinking ANY distilled water! It's artificially man-made and like a solvent that ROBS your body of important minerals. Drink spring water!

23. Wait! Don't drink any water at all--eat a high-water-content diet! Humans are NOT drinking animals. (Do we lap like dogs? Of course not!) Having to drink any water at all is a pathological sign. If you eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables you will get all the water your body needs, and in a purified form perfect for your body.

24. You might be getting too much protein at the expense of carbohydrates in your diet. Protein doesn't give you energy--carbohydrates do! Human breast milk is only 5% protein--and growing babies do fine on it! Too much protein requires calcium to metabolize the excess, which robs your bone reserves and leads to osteoporosis anyway. Don't worry about protein, focus on carbs!

25. You may need to add several ounces of nuts or seeds to your diet since you might NOT be getting adequate protein. Vegetarians have pooh-poohed protein for too long. Newer research shows it really is important after all. Nuts and seeds are the only ALL-RAW high-protein source.

26. You shouldn't be eating ANY nuts and seeds. Actually, you can get enough protein without them if you are doing other things right. And in addition to causing all that bad mucus, nuts and seeds overstimulate the sexual system, leading to excessive sexual activity (any is probably too much) which drains your energy.

27. You're eating too much. Overeating is the worst dietary sin and overwhelms the digestive system so it can't absorb nutrients efficiently. Also, since even the best of nature's foods have naturally occurring levels of toxins, you should eat as little as you possibly can of them to make sure you aren't ingesting anything more than is absolutely necessary.

28. You're probably not eating enough. Many vegetarians get too few calories because they don't eat enough. If you eat mostly all raw foods, it is impossible to overeat anyway.

29. You aren't spiritual enough. Finally, never forget that vegetarianism is an entire way of life. You can't focus just on food and expect to get complete results. Only people who are really evolved can be vegetarians. (ED: this is probably the right answer)

Sunday, December 21, 2008



In Crossfit, typically defined as work capacity. Over broad time and modal domains.

That could mean I am good at a lot of stuff, at a lot of relative outputs; big heavy things once, light things many times, or over great distances.

Traditional wisdom says doing both is basically impossible. There's a little truth to that. You can't be the World's Strongest Man and win the Boston Marathon. Between extremes like this, you're gonna have to choose.

Somewhere in the middle, and Greg Glassman hopes at just about every point between the two widest outliers, fall elite Crossfitters. What do I mean by 'elite Crossfitters'? I mean Crossfitters that are substantially better than most others at Crossfit stuff. The ones that perform very well on a variety of benchmark workouts. For example, upon statistical analysis of the results of the 2008 Crossfit Games, it was found that the combined total time of Fran and Grace was a reliable predictor of rank in the games.

What these workouts have in common is that they move a moderate (depending on who you ask) load a pretty great distance (in weightlifting terms) very fast for quite a few reps. They tend to represent work periods of about 2-12 minutes for the best Crossfitters, at power outputs approaching (and even sometimes exceeding) 1 Horse Power. This intermediate time period, and this supramaximal intensity ( > 100% VO2max) combined with incomplete or non-existant rests remind of another famous and much discussed, debated and mostly applauded training schema;
The Tabata Protocol
Tabata found that by taking existing Exercise Physiology knowledge to it's categorical imperative, that he could improve VO2max values substantially while additionally gaining other conditioning benefits. You see, some eggheads, from here to Sweden/Finland, have understood since at least the late 1960's that as the intensity of aerobic exercise increases, so do the increases in VO2max. And somehow, just about everyone decided that rather than running faster, we'd just run longer. Seeming to completely ignore the facts they themselves discovered, and published time and time again.

Exercise Physiologists have also been using things like the Wingate Test to measure 'power' output. As you can see, this is a 30 second test. Before you underestimate it's correspondence to a broad range of power outputs, be advised that the bike is weighted, and that initially, power output is something akin to 12-14 W/Kg. Considering that elite Olympic lifters in the lower weight classes reach values of 20-25 W/Kg, it ain't bad. The test is first and foremost a test of your ability to 'embrace the suck'. Power output stays at one level for the first few seconds, and then drops some for the period 4-14 or so, and then it plummets rapidly. This represents the storage and utilization of ATP and the phosphocreatine sources of energy more than anything else. To 'game' the test you'd want two things:
The ability to extend the knees and hips powerfully
The ability to do this as fast as possible as many times as possible in 30 seconds, without a reduction in performance (power output)

Tabata's research concluded that his protocol was equally (if not more) effective in rendering an improved VO2max value. What he also found was that lactate clearance and other major factors affecting 'anaerobic' performance were also substantially increased, in contrast to traditional (60-85% VO2max for 20-60+ minutes) protocols which provided entirely insignificant adaptations if any. His protocol calls for a supramaximal effort for 20 seconds, and then a 10 second respite, repeated 8 times. When done correctly, this can and will induce things like tears, vomiting and bargaining in the hardest of men. It's not difficult to predict that this type of training would make one better at tolerating higher concentrations of lactic acid, lower pHs, clearing said lactic acid, storing more ATP/CP and other adaptations. All of these things would increase your performance on a Wingate Test. They'd also raise the 'holy grail' of ultra endurance, the 'lactate threshold' the max speed at which one could operate before lactate accumulates, and therefore one of the (if not THE) limiting factors in endurance racing of all sorts.

Changing directions, let's step away from energy metabolism and look at force production. It's undeniable that there's a strong correlation between deadlift performance and that upon similar strength and power based movements, such as:
particularly when deadlift performance is viewed in terms of relative strength rather than absolute strength. Having a 600lbs deadlift may not improve your vertical that much if you're a super heavy. However, a 600lbs deadlift in the hands of a 195lbs man makes him an instant threat on the basketball court, even if he's a midget. And remember, in the case of a test like the Wingate, what we're measuring is peak power, and then what percentage of that peak is maintained for how long. So, all things being equal, that super midget has such an advantage, becuase peak power, both absolutely but especially W/Kg, is starting SO high.

Any athlete who develops the ability to produce that much force, and then maintain it for a moderate period, is gonna be blowing most of the world out of the water. So here's my proposal:

Raise the deadlift
Measure/Increase performance on a Tabata workout

While thrusters and the clean & jerk require there own skills, the raw strength to move a lot of weight off the floor and then doing something hard and fast viciously for 8 minutes is sure to make you a stud in a few worlds; you will be concurrently increasing your prowess as a powerlifter, a Crossfitter and an endurance athlete. What would be particularly frightening is to see the performance enhancement derived from a program such as this on a sport that relies primarily on anaerobic energy and has short-moderate time periods, perhaps free-style wrestling at 3 sets of 2 minutes, or Judo at 5 minutes (speaking from my own experience).

The Deadlift done right

There are many protocols for lifting heavier weights:
Linear Periodization
5x5 based programs
Texas Deadlift
Power to the People
I prize PTTP for it's simplicity as well as it's focus on relative strength, or avoidance of hypertrophy. I also dig the basic concepts behind WestSide training; gaming the lifts and working them from different angles (ME/DE/RM).

Look into some of those answers on the Force production side, and on the tabata side, I would recommend the following:
Tabata n Dumbbells
Ross Emanait Article
classic tabata; a bike
better tabata for most; an ergometer

Combine these two intensively for a two to six week period. See what it does for you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Assistance to Muscle Up

Muscle Up Techniques from Full Circle on Vimeo.

Here's some things I am working on to increase my muscle up capacity; The kips and bent arm muscle ups are not a problem, but I'd like to do a true, strict dead-hang muscle up. Like they do in them there Olympics.

Go to my Kettlebell Class

If you are on the Revolution team, you need to think about coming.

All the cool kids are doing it.

If you've got questions about how KBs can transfer to your on mat training,
you may like to check out the link below;
Me 'n Klint: KBs


Friday, December 19, 2008

Plan to Fail

Great Empires are not maintained by timidity



Join the party

Take the poll

The culture gets 'interactive'


Kettlebell Workshop

Kettlebell Workshop

Eric Burdo ( www.richmondbjj.com )(sexiest vegan I know) is going to be hosting a 2 hour workshop at his academy January 31st.

Space is going to be limited; our goal is to present a smaller breadth of material but to explore that material in much greater depth than most coaches/classes.
It is with this in mind that we've decided to call our class a 'Kettlebell 101' workshop, and to focus on the fundamentals.
After all, a house is only as sound as it's foundation.
After completing the workshop, most students should feel confident practicing the techniques on their own in solo training or with a partner. After some review, they will be well prepared to begin training in more advanced techniques later on, as they will have increased their capacities in the basics substantially!

I will post a little more on this soon.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Superer Squats

The Communist Party

I'm not saying, I'm just saying

Not my favourite dude ever, but sometimes we misunderstand Texans,
and we have to give them a second chance.
And a wide berth.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Me working a special program I adapted for Hypertrophy

Superer Squats from Full Circle on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Some snatch lifts

High Hang Squat Snatches
4 sets of 4 at 100lbs
(1 set of 4 at 100, 2 sets of 4 at 105)

Snatch Balance
5 sets of 2 at 145lbs
(2 sets of 2 at 145, 1 set of 1 at 155 and 165lbs) (PR)

I felt really good snatch balancing 165lbs, though depth and speed could be better. The main thing is it's 20lbs heavier than I have ever done before (never did heavy snatch balances before). I think that if I keep making progress, doing 175 and perhaps 185, then I can make 155lbs look as for sure, and that's the main goal; perfection at the more realistic weights of 145-155lbs that I am struggling to achieve snatch-wise right now.

Here's the view;

High Hang Squat Snatch and Snatch Balance from Full Circle on Vimeo.


63kg Womens Snatch Competition from 3lusive on Vimeo.

The final lifter is Nathalie Woolfolk whom in addition to being a Burgener by marriage, is a woman-sized woman who can snatch at least 70lbs more than I can ( at a significantly lower bodyweight)

but then again, she brings it!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Losing fat

If you've been reading, you may have noticed that the counsel given to 'lose weight' is different than that given to 'lose fat'.
They are not the same thing. A caloric deficit alone (eating less) will allow you to lose weight, but in all likelihood will not allow you to lose much fat.
Typically, a reduction in caloric intake over a prolonged period (72 hours to 2 weeks or more) leads to a downward trend in resting metabolic rate, or so biology, physiology and nutrition texts tell me.
But why? Is it a loss in lean or metabolically active mass? Not in 72 hours.
It is most likely due to the downregulation of hormones like Thyroid stimulating hormone, or responses to changes in blood glucose or glycogen stores that shift the body towards an emphasis on preserving energy.
Fat is energy. If you want to lose fat, the last thing you want to be is 'energy efficient'.
If you want to win a marathon you must be energy efficient; that's why most ultra endurance athletes share a common look with refugees, internees, prisoners of war and survivors of genocide. Harsh perhaps, but it's just common sense.

This is , one of the world's leading 10K 'ers

In order for your body to lose fat, there has to be a regular supply of food, and the balance of hormones has to slide towards things like Growth Hormone, glucagon, testosterone and IGF-1.
Most of these hormones are produced or released in greater amounts as the intensity of exercise goes up, there are numerous studies (mostly misapplied to running... at 70% VO2max versus 100%VO2max etc) showing this. They show that serum GH goes up while Insulin goes down as % VO2max goes up. Taken to it's categorical imperative it should be clear what a positive impact resistance training, which is always in excess of 100% VO2max as far as relative power output (work done/time) is concerned, can and will have on the balance of metabolic hormones. This is part of why bodybuilding via weighlifting is effective, whilst bodybuilding via jogging is by comparison an absurd idea. But people still try to do both at the same time...

The hormones responsible for the mobilization of fat as an energy source are for the most part the same hormones that enhance protein synthesis. Ie, in the sense of fat loss or muscle gain, the prescription for exercise is much the same. What is different is energy intake.
That's right folks. That's what I am saying. Do the same workout. One goal requires you to eat more. One goal requires that you eat less.

Am I oversimplifying? Yes. There are things that I would change in programming for each, but the similarities would far outweigh the differences.

Let's face it; Exercise alone won't make you big or lean.
Diet alone won't make you lean either. Small maybe, but not for long. We'll discuss that soon.

You can only train for so long each day. Let's say you do Crossfit, and you go 3 on 1 off. That means on average you train 5.5 days a week. Let's assume you spend 45 minutes doing your Crossfit workout. That's 248 minutes, or about 4 hours and some change a week. What about the other 164 hours (or 97.5%) of the week? If exercise choice, selection, volume and performance (and in this case 2-3 times the exercise most americans get) only accounts for less than 3% of the time can it really be the sole component in success? Doesn't there have to be something else going on?
There's plenty of research out there that shows that people that diet regain most of the weight lost in a few months to a few years. If you take it for granted that diet alone isn't very effective what's the missing link?
Exercise changes hormones. Hormones change body's use of food. Exercise for hormones 3% of the day, have hormones do the work for you the other 97% of the day. Endocrinology is the missing link. Exercise that directly and expressly enhances hormones that will change your metabolism.
These athletes run too. The only difference is how fast and for how long. Same exercise.
They are Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt. Two jamaicans who contest the title of 'World's fastest Man' every couple of weeks it seems.

They look different don't they.

Friday, December 5, 2008

how to lose fat and gain muscle

do one,

then the other

How to lose Fat

Maintain a caloric deficit

While exercising (preferably intensely)

How to lose weight

Eat less