Friday, October 29, 2010

Return of Gadfly: The Inside Dope at Beachbody

We used to have a gossip column in our newsletters, written under the pseudonym of Gadfly. While I can’t promise to be bringing him (or her/it) back here at TSD my insanely busy schedule has dictated that I explain some of what’s been going on around the office because I’ve been too busy to write about anything else.

Let’s start with Asylum, which is on the top of the list because I’m going over the cueing on the final (yes, should be soon) round of edits. As soon as I check this off we’ll officially be on the final road to release. For you folks who just can’t get enough of Insanity I’ll just say this: that program is like a warm-up for Asylum.

And speaking of upping the ante, we’re into the nitty gritty of the Tony Horton One on One previews for MC2 (if you’re not getting these you might want to start now). Why I say this is that we’ve got a host of outside experts pushing Tony out of his comfort zone. Since Tony’s always pushing you out of yours it’s probably nice to hear that he’s human. What we’ve got on tap—all shooting in November—are three workouts that are far different than what you’ve seen before from Tony.

First we have a new Core/Synergistics where Tony teams up with his ski buddy/trainer extraordinaire Steve Holmsen. Tony’s been training with Steve for years for you’ve seen some of his handy work already but we’re looking at this one as the next level.

Next, we’ve taken a huge step in upgrading Kenpo X by signing on with some of the biggest names in martial arts to create what we’re calling MMX. I’ll wait to reveal the names but Tony’s actually nervous about working with them, and he’s not exactly the nervous type. Wow (inside joke on P90x development).

Finally we have PAP, which you’ve been hearing plenty about here. And while the real expert is Dr. Marcus Elliott I’ll be filling in for One on One since I’m the one who’s been working on transitioning this elite-level training to the masses.

Conversely, success of both Body Gospel and Brazil Butt Lift have starting to bring our old core (non X/Insanity/hard core) audience back and we’re making plans to offer more intro programs, including a revamped Power 90 (our first hit program) and a simple Debbie Siebers IPhone app program that should be out fairly soon.

Oh, and speaking of apps I almost forgot that thing that’s taking most of my time later: our new P90x app. Deciding we were a bit late to this market we’ve contracted the best app builder team on the planet and made it our top priority. These guys really know their stuff. Prepare to be blown away soon.

There's the alarm. Don't want to get caught gossiping. Actually, it's a meeting reminder for the app. Hmm, I didn’t even get to all of our news. Maybe we’ll have to re-enlist Gadfly as a full time correspondent.

karla mohtashemi-reese's pic is so typical: me working away, tony on TV. ha! btw, the coaches beat us (in dallas) and tony summed it up nicely: "your before pictures couldn't have done that!"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Final Thoughts On The Workout From Hell

I guess it’s time to wrap up The Workout From Hell. I keep amending it and now it’s just a climbing training program, so I see no further reason to evaluate it as the WFH. This confirms, as I surmised from day one, that’s it’s more of an off-season program. Whether or not it’s worth your time is up for discussion, so let’s take a look at my results. I’ll summarize at the end but will start with a review of each phase of the program.

Block One: 30 reps: I found this to be good general conditioning. Perhaps because no other training focuses on high reps to failure it seemed to stimulate a lot of new fitness. In climbing I felt as though I could hang on longer. I definitely feel it’s a benefit and will continue to incorporate 30 rep phases into at least one block of training per year—something I used to always do in the 90s.

Block Two: 15 reps: While it’s technically necessary to transition from 30 reps down to teach the muscles to recruit higher threshold muscle cell motor units I’m not sold this has to be an entire phase. This is consistent with my thoughts from the 90s.

Block Two B: 10 second reps: This was hugely helpful for hypertrophy. For gaining mass with limited means (weight) it’s the ticket. In fact, even with all the weight I could want I would use super slow reps again any time I’m looking to create hypertrophy.

Block Three: 5 reps: Again, important for recruitment but I’m not sure it needs an entire phase to create this, given so much sport specific training is recruitment based.

Block Four: PAP (postactivation potentiation) training: This I think could be a breakthrough but in the constraints of the WFH I could not test it thoroughly. I think that it could evolve into the most efficient way to increase your power base.

Block Five: Climbing training. This is not really a part of the WFH but it’s still the most effective training for climbing, using almost any of the known modalities. Climbing is too specific to jump out of the gym and kick ass, if for no other reason than that your skin needs to be conditioned no matter how strong you get.

Overall impressions on the white mouse: As I guessed earlier I didn’t get the timing right. Most climbing specific training needs to be done prior to your actual season because the specific adaptations you need to climb hard (and a lot) take some time to develop, most notably skin. While I felt that I had the fitness to throw myself at hard routes I simply didn’t have the skin condition on my hands or feet to handle it. I would say that you need at least a solid month to climb yourself into specific shape at the end of the program.

My base fitness, however, is quite good. On 10/10/10 I did 10 routes from 13a down (12d, 12c, etc) which is a very good day for me, and something that I probably haven’t been able to do in some time. However, I think I could have gotten to this point quicker using a more specific training program, or maybe even just climbing. Where the WFH should shine is over time. As my climbing specificity comes around the deep base that I have should, in theory, allow me to push harder and longer.

For this reason I would recommend the WFH as an offseason program only. I would recommend doing it alone, during a break from climbing totally. I don’t see any benefit in concurrently attempting to do both, as I did. Because your climbing must be dampened, to the point where it’s not gaining you any fitness, it is simply a diversion from your actual goals.

As a base program whether it’s better than P90x, Crossfit, or whatever is up for debate. I added a lot of outside elements (yoga, PAP) that definitely made it more effective than the traditional program. What we have outlined here is a well rounded fitness base program for anyone. As I’ve begun getting back into my mountain sports I feel much more stable, and much less apt to get injured. I began this program with a somewhat major injury and I feel I’ve got it licked.

Modification Recommendations

This winter I’m going to flip flop the structure and do this again. Since I’ll be training for climbing, cycling, and running I will be doing this will getting ready for a full endurance sports season. This is a totally different focus than last time, when it began as rehab.

First, I think the hypertrophy phase should be isolated. If you need muscular size gains make them early, as far away from competition as possible.

Next, bring in the PAP training. Power takes the longest to build, as well as to educate(neuromuscular coordination). These should be the main focus in the off season. I think you can build power in one realm while building aerobic base in another. I will be putting this to the test.

I think the muscular endurance (30 rep) phase can be done quite close to your season. The gains made here are somewhat fleeting and seem tangible to climbing. I think you could do a three week cycle where you gain a lot of endurance and lose very little power.

But no matter how you train, for climbing you need to climb. So get outside--or at least into the climbing gym--as much as possible when you’ve got a big project to send.

So that’s it. My six month travail ends with no amazing breakthroughs, though with some new light shed. And that’s always the point; to learn something new with any endeavor.

To see the entire Workout From Hell series click here.

re: what better way to wrap this up than lynnie looking marvelous? maybe the snowbird comp from '88. oh how things have changed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Shake Zag Diet

At the Beachbody Leadership conference this past weekend I got a lot of questions about the Shakeology cleanse as well as a lot of “how can I figure out how many calories I need?” Here is the answer to both: a version of the Shakeology Cleanse that you can do as often as you want and in almost any situation without risk of any performance loss.

Straight Dope followers have heard it’s my new preferred weight loss (or gain) plan. It’s not really new but just perfected (thanks to Shakeology) and is the easiest way to figure out how many calories you should be eating for performance. It’s a simple diet to follow and can be done in any situation, whether you’re sedentary or training like a White Buddhist Nun (sorry, inside joke—“your nuns into leather, Dante?”).

It’s essentially a combination of three things I’ve done in the past: the egg diet, the zig zag diet, and the Shakeology Cleanse, mainly focusing on the latter two. Here’s how it works.

It follows the principles of zig zagging: low calories two or three (sometimes four) days per week and normal calories on the others. Reverse this is you want to gain weight or suspect you’re not eating enough. The days can be consecutive or back and forth but I find that stringing them together works best.

For me, when trying to lose weight, dieting early in the week and eating what I want later and on the weekends works best, which is especially true because my weekends tend to be very active to the point where overeating is virtually impossible. This means that I get three days of zig (low cals), two days of zag (high cal), followed by two days of what works out to be zagging with a ton of exercise so that it’s still undereating.

When you zig zag your body tells you what it needs, what’s working and what isn’t, and fairly quickly you’ll know both the number of calories you should be eating for optimum performance and even how the macronutrients of those calories should be structured. By adding the Shakeology cleanse component you’ll pinpoint these things even quicker.

Zig days consist of eggs for breakfast, usually three for me with some added veggies. This is my only homage to the egg diet, which was an old school high protein diet where you eat an absurd amount of eggs. I find eggs in the AM is a good way to boost your metabolism, especially if they are not eaten with many carbs. The rest of the day consists of Shakeology. Sometimes plain and sometimes with fruit (berries, banana, whatever) and some chia seeds. An average day has one plain and one more robust shake. Dinner is a salad or veggie dish. Starches are off but I do allow legumes, quinoa (a veggie). Dinner is modest , but not small, so that the daily calorie totals are low. This varies but should be over 1000 for sure. I generally go 1200 – 1500.

I get a lot of caffeine questions and in this scenario it’s totally fine: coffee or tea. I drop caffeine when I’m cleansing because of its heightened effects when you aren’t eating much food. But this is a lifestyle and caffeine is good for exercise and coffee and tea and quite healthy if they don’t have junk added to them. I also allow wine and or beer with dinner, though I try and stick with wine because it fits the theme better. I drink plenty of water and don’t alter my supplement plan. Again, it’s a lifestyle and not a cleanse.

Zag days aren’t extravagant. I just eat normal, which generally means bread, cereal, rice etc will come back on. Portions might get bigger, but things are similar. I eat a lot of salad, veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds. I don’t eat much meat of any kind. Most days I drink Shakeology and if it’s more convenient I’ll sometimes drink it twice. I eat for what I’m doing and this varies massively over the year. If it’s a easy day, which say includes an hour or so of training, I might only eat 2500 cals or so. If it’s a big day out I might eat 5 or 6 thousand calories. On average I’d say I’m in the 3000 ballpark on a work day that includes a couple hours of training and an easier hour or so dog hike.

I do this until I’m at the weight that I desire. While it can be done indefinitely you’ll probably grow bored of it in time. I do a version of it somewhat regularly just to get a check on where I’m at and how I’m functioning. There never seems to be a wrong time (except any holiday where culinary experience it vital) to follow this plan.

Of course when you do this it should be set up for you personally. Caloric calculators are always wrong. All they provide you with is a ballpark figure: a starting place. No matter what you will need take this figure and tweak it because almost any two people, even who are physiologically identical, will have different metabolisms. And even compared to yourself you need to consistently alter and tweak because your metabolism changes throughout your life, depending on many factors.

When zig zagging you’ll want to pay close attention to what you are eating. My casual attitude comes with years of experience. Your body will tell you, in time, what is working and what isn’t. Performance is your gauge. When you’re killing your workouts you’ll know you’ve got it dialed. Body composition change will then, by extension, be forced to follow.

pics: shakes and coffee, the cornerstone of any comeback.

Friday, October 15, 2010

6 Minutes

“It ain’t the six minutes. It’s what happens in that six minutes.”

This week’s psyche is a continuation of the Vision Quest videos posted from a few weeks ago. It’s also a tribute to our dog Beata. B passed away this week, before her time, but lived along the lines of the message from today’s psyche. It’s not about how long we live, but what we do with the time we have. She lived each day with panache, which is something I’ll always aspire to emulate.

This video embodies not just why we engage in sport but why we attempt to do anything. To me, trying is the essence of being.

Anyway, that's why I'm getting dressed up and giving up a night's pay for this function. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bad Medicine

Here's an excerpt from a beautiful eulogy Romney wrote for Beata. I think our old dog, Tuco, might miss her more than anyone. He’s REALLY old, seems out of it a lot, but when we were going to the vet before she died he was totally engaged and has been very clingy (which is exceedingly odd and not a trait natural to “Mr. Bitter”) since she did not come home.

For the past 9 years (minus one) Beata has been my friend, family, and love. She has never judged me for my poor culinary or film choices – or even been mad when I tell her not to bury her bones in the garden (because she always did it anyway). She never wanted anything more than to be loved and not abandoned. She was the cutest, sweetest, most loving little dog. My heart aches that I will never see her wag her body at me again, or get to cuddle on the couch with her while Edwards is on business trips. Edwards and I lost a vital member of our family last night, and Tuco lost his “girlfriend” who brought him back so much “psych”.

Anyway, this is a health blog so let’s get back to business. I didn’t do my homework on the medications she was taking post surgery, and this killed her. I figured—incidentally with the same rationale I used when I hurt my back and didn’t check on that medication—how bad can a couple of weeks of anti-inflammatory meds be? Bad, as it turns out.

What we have is the Vioxx scandal for dogs. The only reason we don’t hear more about it is that it’s for dogs, though it did make the Washington Post in this article:

Vioxx Debate Echoed in Battle Over Dog Drugs

And the medication that kicked it off, Deramaxx, is like candy compared to the one that killed B, Previcox. When I Googled it on the night she died I was shocked that EVERY SINGLE WEB SITE THAT WASN’T TRYING TO SELL IT WAS A WARNING OF ITS DANGERS. The net is littered with stories exactly like ours, of healthy animals seeing a vet for an injury and dying due to complications with the medication. Some of these pages also contain angry letters from vets (or perhaps pharmaceutical PR people but that’s another story) stating that slamming the medication would only serve to hurt other dogs. Well, at least it might hurt the ones that don’t die.

Being more of the scientific type, I dug into studies. Turns out even Merial’s (maker of Previcox) own studies on the drug are highly alarming. Most that they used were done on three day post surgery groups. In these groups many small dogs died (so it shouldn’t be used on dogs under 12lbs) and many had internal bleeding. Then there were some longer 180 days studies. In these many dogs died, almost all had side effects and internal bleeding. That is the POSITIVE research.

Then there are the FDA reports on drug safety. Here we see how Previcox has become safer through the years. In 2005 and 2006 it was killing over 10% of its users. Now it’s down to just over 1%. This is not a typo. How would you feel if every time you popped some ibuprofen there was a 1 in 100 chance that you’d die?

It’s not like we’re trying to cure an aggressive form of cancer where the patient would die without the medication. We’re just reducing some swelling. So why are vets shilling something almost certain to have side effects with a high risk of death? Even more so, why aren’t there at least strong warnings given to the customers? The answer, I suppose, comes right back around to Vioxx, which doctors continued to prescribe as it was killing thousands of people even though there were plenty of safe alternatives. Okay, that’s not an answer. An answer would be speculative so I’ll let you make one up. The only fact we know for certain is that it happened with Vioxx, it’s happening now with Previcox and Deramaxx, and, for those of you who don’t have pets, it’s still happening with other medications that are killing people.

Ironically that last article showed up the night B died. I will deconstruct it later this week. The point today is to warn you against the dangers of NSAIDS for both animals and humans. NEVER TAKE (OR GIVE TO YOUR PET) ANY MEDICATION THAT YOU HAVEN’T RESEARCHED AND ASSESSED THE RISK. Not even for something that seems innocuous, and not even for one day. Those in the medical field may call you alarmist (they often use analogies like “you aren’t qualified to understand the science”) but I call it being informed. And whether or not your information is “faulty” dead is still dead. You don’t need a degree to understand that.

pics: beata and tuco and, what we thought, might be one of HIS last trips to the coffee house where they were fixtures. mr. bitter is not happy. climbing won't be the same knowing b's not watching out for me.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Beata Romney Edwards (2001-2010)

Our youngest child, Beata, passed away tonight. She was the epitome of her namesake, angel; a perfectly well-mannered dog with a lovely disposition. For the past few years she has been my shadow. She would do anything that I asked of her, trusted me completely, and the only time I ever saw her confused was when I couldn’t cure her at the end. I miss her terribly.

The Straight Dope will go into mourning for a period. When I return I promise you a shitstorm. B died senselessly and, ironically, for part of the same reason that our country/world is in the health epidemic we are currently facing. Changing this has been my MO from the start but I’ve never been as personally affected. I guess you see, as advertised, the uncensored Steve on this blog, as compared to my work on our guidebooks and articles, but when I return it will be with a vengeance. If I said that I was mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore it wouldn’t be a clichĂ©. I’m just getting warmed up.

But this is not the time to go into detail. Instead, I want to reflect on a life well lived. We can’t choose how or when we will die. Our only choice is to live as well as we can while we’re here and in this Beata excelled as well as any being I’ve known. She lived for each day. Not recklessly but with abandon. All she wanted was to be loved and for the people and other creatures around her (except gophers) to be active, healthy, and happy. And, when you get right down to it, these are the only things that really matter. She was beautiful through and through and will be missed by many.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Ueli Steck: The Swiss Machine

This week’s psyche was an easy choice once I saw that this video was posted. I saw the full version last week at the Reel Rock Tour and can’t recommend it high enough. Even Romney, not a fan of climbing films in general, thought it was super inspiring. There’s always someone who’s climbing at a higher level than the rest of the world in the mountains and, currently, it’s Steck.

It doesn’t really need an introduction, so I’ll leave you with: “I really like fanatical training. I’m not better than anyone else. I’m just training like hell.”


To see the entire film check out the Reel Rock Tour dates.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


I’m a doper. A cheat. An un-American scallywag who has obviously put winning ahead of the principles of our greatest athletes. You know, folks like Roger Clemens, Marion Jones, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Wait, what?! Um, ok, never mind. Anyway, if I were subject to a drug test right now I would fail because I’ve been taking a legal substance that has recently been added to WADA’s banned list.

But here’s the rub: it does nothing. I mean, it’s complete garbage as an ergogenic aid. WADA claims it has some “anabolic properties” and, thus, they’ve banned something that’s been on the market for decades that has caused no great shakes in the performance world.

Early in the WFH I decided to dust off an old supplement strategy that I’d tried 20 years ago. It hadn’t worked then but I wanted to confirm that. One of these supps, Mesabolin, is actually a plant sterol called ecdysterone. It’s pretty common and shows up in a few plants. Anyway, I hit it hard, first with prescribed dosages and then with double that... and... nothing. Well maybe a little bit of gastric stress but not a tad of performance enhancement.

And now it’s banned, which I don’t care about at all except for the fact that it doesn’t work and I’d prefer it if WADA actually focused on things that are, well, doping and not some nutrient that you can get by eating completely natural plants.

So anyway, here’s the review of my WFH supplement strategies. Nada. I pretty well knew the argentine/pyroglutamate wouldn’t work because tests done on oral argenine have never confirmed what’s been done using injected argenine and I pretty well confirmed that. And now I've confirmed that ecdysterone does nothing, too. That is unless you are a competitive athlete. Then it will get you disgraced, turning you into a bitter scourge of society who’ll be bummed that you didn’t just suck it up and call Michele Ferrari and get on the real stuff so at least you could have gotten banned with some money in the bank.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The American Foodsaw Massacre

What if the scariest horror movie you’ve ever seen was taking place in your local market with everyday shoppers as hapless victims? Well I’m no conspiracy theorist but the case against genetically modified (GMO) foods is starting to look downright bone chilling. And even if monster movies rarely affect me I can’t help but start squirming in my seat at how this story is unfolding.

The results of Pusztai’s work were supposed to become the required testing protocols for all of Europe. But when he fed supposedly harmless GM potatoes to rats, things didn’t go as planned.

Within just 10 days, the animals developed potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partially atrophied livers, and damaged immune systems. Moreover, the cause was almost certainly side effects from the process of genetic engineering itself. In other words, the GM foods on the market, which are created from the same process, might have similar affects on humans.

Yesterday Mercola published an article on veiled science surrounding GMO foods by Jeffery Smith, executive director of The Institute of Responsible Technology. Smith is no fan is the industry, having penned two books on the subject, Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, so one may take his views as biased. But it pretty straightforward science that he’s presented and, let’s face it, the anecdotal evidence supporting GMO foods is not good. As they’ve become a more established part of what we eat we’ve gotten fatter, less healthy, and our estimated life span has decreased for the first time in modern history, all in spite of massive improvements in medical technology.

Irina Ermakova, a senior scientist at the Russian National Academy of Sciences, was shocked to discover that more than half of the baby rats in her experiment died within three weeks. She had fed the mothers GM soy flour purchased at a supermarket. The babies from mothers fed natural non-GMO soy, however, only suffered a 10% death rate. She repeated her experiment three times with similar results.

Dr. Ermakova reported her preliminary findings at a conference in October 2005, asking the scientific community to replicate her study. Instead, she was attacked and vilified. Her boss told her to stop doing anymore GM food research. Samples were stolen from her lab, and a paper was even set fire on her desk. One of her colleagues tried to comfort her by saying, “Maybe the GM soy will solve the overpopulation problem.”

To conjecture further, I believe it’s possible that GMOs are, eventually, going to become linked to the myriad of food allergies that have sprung up in the past generation. Take the recent case against gluten, for instance, where an Italian study showed examples of elderly people showing no signs of gluten sensitivity a decade ago (after eating pasta their entire lives) suddenly changing. Gluten is the latest rage but we’ve seen similar patterns with peanuts and soy (legumes), as well as many nuts, prior. Since the science used to support these diseases is often shaky (gluten labeling is not government regulated), it seems possible, perhaps even likely, that it’s because we’re barking up the wrong tree. Since GMOs were able to be patented in the 1970s food allergy numbers have skyrocketed so fast we don’t even have proper stats on them.

Epidemiologist Judy Carman used to investigate outbreaks of disease for a state government in Australia. She knows that health problems associated with GM foods might be impossible to track or take decades to discover. Moreover, the superficial, short-term animal feeding studies usually do not evaluate “biochemistry, immunology, tissue pathology, gut function, liver function, and kidney function” and are too short to test for cancer or reproductive or child health.

So who, you might ask, is the axe-wielding psychopath responsible for all this? As you well know this dude is hard to find. He wears a mask and hides out in (genetically modified) corn fields so dense you can’t even hear his chain saw idling. But as the plot thickens more and more evidence leads to a popular clique of characters.

When Ohio State University plant ecologist Allison Snow discovered problematic side effects in GM sunflowers, Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Dow AgroSciences blocked further research by withholding GM seeds and genes.

After Marc LappĂ© and Britt Bailey found significant reductions in cancer-fighting isoflavones in Monsanto’s GM soybeans, the seed seller, Hartz, told them they could no longer provide samples.

Research by a plant geneticist at a leading US university was also thwarted when two companies refused him GM corn. In fact, almost no independent studies are conducted that might find problems. According to a scathing opinion piece in an August 2009 Scientific American,

“Agritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers ... Only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of a peer-reviewed journal.”

For example, if there was any negatives surrounding GMO production why wouldn’t it show up on foods labels? Only someone very popular would be able to stop this and Monsanto, and perhaps his good friend Dow, are pretty much the homecoming king and queen around here. Not only has Monsanto been able to keep GMO off of labels in the USA, it’s currently trying to force the European Union to eliminate it as well. If these things were ok, we must wonder, why wouldn’t they want us knowing about them? But then we find out Monsanto won’t serve GMO foods to their own executives. Lacking the charm to get us to drink their Kool-aid on our own, they’re trying to force it down our throats.

Good thing the movie’s not over. This rag-tag group of survivors has one, last, desperate plan. Unlike in a zombie armageddon, we have a choice over whether or not to have our brains eaten. As Dr. Mercola says “Together we CAN get GMOs banned from the US. Europe was able to do it over a decade ago without any government assistance. All they did was educate the consumers, and that was enough pressure on the food industry to drop their ploys.
If we band together as an effective army we will be able to do this. Please understand that the VAST majority of people in the US do not want GM foods, so this is an EASY battle to win. All we have to do is a bit of organizational work.”

So bust out your best evil-empire fightin' artillery and lock and load, or just click here for Smith’s Non GMO shopping guide. Remember the bad guys don’t always have to win.

Monday, October 04, 2010

50 To 50 To 50

Last night Romney reminded me that today began the 50 day countdown to my 50th birthday, which is going to encompass my entire 50th year. I knew this was coming as I’d had a lengthy discussion with Hans the other day as to why I wasn’t doing (postponing, more accurately) my planned challenge this year. But I hadn’t thought about 50 days to 50 and I should have, given that a decade ago 40 days to 40 was the one that really tipped the birthday challenge scale for me. So I guess 50 to 50 is a good place to start given that my 50th birthday challenge is going to incorporate the entire year, or 50 to 50 to 50; nuthin’ like nice round numbers as an excuse to concoct a good challenge.

So I’m up at 4:50 AM and commencing the challenge by writing and Tweeting. As soon as I finish this entry I’ll do 50 reps of some exercise to get it started. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s ahead:

The Big Challenge will happen on 11/11/11 and where I’ll “tie the room together” with an itinerary that pays homage to all of my California-based birthday challenges as I spend 50 hours roaming around Southern California via bikes, boots, and running shoes en route to 500 kilometers of riding, 50 kilometers of running, and leading 50 rock climbs 5.10 or harder.

The year will revolve around reversing the obesity epidemic and, hopefully, target childhood obesity a bit more than I’ve been able to given my job is writing diets and making exercise programs for adults. But even with my company’s success obesity rates are projected to be 75% of Americans by 2020. If we can get the kids we’ll get the parents, so I’d like to do more kid stuff this year.

Physiologically I want to convert power to endurance over the year. As my friends and The Straight Dope faithful know, an injury curtailed my endurance endeavors this year and I’ve been focused on training power and stability. Marcus (or Dr Marcus Elliott at P3) thinks it would be very interesting (he actually said impressive) if I could flip pure power to pure endurance over the course of a year, so that’s the goal. Challenges that revolve around one discipline only have always bored me somewhat, mainly because we understand those individual templates so well. My 40th was all about trying to do both. I’ve learned a lot since then so I’ll work with Marcus and see if we can find any scientific breakthroughs.

There will also be some challenges spread throughout the year, which I’ll announce on my actual birthday. The 50 days leading up to this are sort of a prep period to work on accountability and self improvement, so here’s what I’ll do:

50 new things . This is something cool a lot of other people have done on their birthday challenges. Each day I’ll try and do something new each day, be it eat, drink, learn, practice; so long as I’ve never done it precisely this way. I promise this won’t all be cocktails.

50 days of Twitter. I never Tweet but I’ll get in the habit by Tweeting my diet and exercise. Sure, this may be boring (certainly for me) but I’m asked constantly what I eat and what I do for exercise so, if you’re really interested, now all you have to do is follow me. Currently I'm doing a zig zag diet very similar to the Shakeology Cleanse.

pics: the crew during reed's challenge in 2000 and my crew today.

Friday, October 01, 2010


“…October is the best month for climbing. Who knows how many I have left? If I want to do something, I’d better do it now.”- Chris Sharma

Joe sending Big G from Joey Kinder on Vimeo.

After months of rehab and training I finally feel up to getting after it a bit. Life has a way of interfering with my objectives in an in-opportune way and, as October rolls around, both work and home life are a tad hectic. At Beachbody we’re developing four new workouts programs, revamping our entire supplement line, and at home we’re dealing with two convalescing dogs. Good thing I live in Utah, where adventure is practically out the back door. I’m looking forward to six to eight weeks of climbing as much as possible before turning my sights on next year.

The week’s psyche video comes from the psyche man himself, Joe Kinder. It’s actually not a very good vid but he’s climbing a route here in the Wasatch and references fall temps, so it seemed appropriate. Tomorrow is, to me, day one of the season and as I'm starring down the barrel at 50 I feel every bit as excited as I did 20 years ago. When one is motivated life is always good.