Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Truth About Barefoot Running

A pretty good article appeared in USA Today about barefoot running. It’s a follow up to a recent American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) periodical that focused on this craze and analyzed all of the research that’s been done on the subject. And while the evidence isn’t clear the truth is actually quite simple to sort out looking at the data and consulting a bit of lore and logic.

It’s funny the way crazes work in America. For something to be truly popular it seems rationale must be chucked aside so views can become polarized and everyone can stand on different sides of a fence slinging shit each other. Barefoot running is one of the strangest examples of this because almost nothing about this movement makes much sense except for the fact that the book Born to Run was a great read and businesses are always looking for an angle to make money. Shoes that promise to mimic being barefoot now take up nearly half the space in the running shoe section and, fer crissakes, how many pairs of shoes do you need to mimic being barefoot?

The article is worth reading because it examines both sides of the issue without taking sides. Running barefoot supposedly has become popular because it reduces injury rates but according to the statistics, at least so far, this hasn’t been the case. Runners get hurt quite regularly and percentages haven’t changed much for as long as we’ve been keeping data. In some demographics it’s gotten worse:

Podiatrist Paul Langer used to see one or two barefoot running injuries a month at his Twin Cities Orthopedics practice in Minneapolis. Now he treats between three and four a week. "Most just jumped in a little too enthusiastically," said Langer, an experienced runner and triathlete who trains in his barefoot running shoes part of the week.

The article points out that 30-70% of runners have a stress-related injury each year, no matter how they run. The ACSM goes further stating that this number has remained constant for the last 40 years. Granted, this is a laughably-huge range but the fact is clear in that no matter what you do if you run regularly you will probably get injured at some point. I’ve been to Mexico and seen Tarahumara run and I’ve seen them injured, too. Yes, I would bet the farm that they get injured less but is that because they run in tire sandals or something more rational? I don’t think we need a study to find out the answer.

While not quoted in the article, most of the numbers used come back to Daniel Lieberman’s work published by the ACSM. Lieberman has done exhaustive research on the subject, much of it cataloged on this website. In the article, What We Can Learn About Running from Barefoot Running: An Evolutionary Medical Perspective he writes, “We have much to learn. However, if there is any one lesson we can draw already from the barefoot running movement it is that we should be less afraid of how the human body functions naturally.”

And while it’s inconclusive from a scientific standpoint, as most things are, a few observations are clear.

1. Shoes and inactivity have made us weak. As we’ve become more sedentary our feet (along with everything that’s attached to them) has become weaker. To combat this we’ve made shoes with support in an attempt to avoid injuries and this has exacerbated the issue.

2. Everyone should train their feet, especially runners. The solution to the above is that we need to train our feet. I mean, we need to train everything but we need to train our feet specifically, especially if we want to become runners. Feet should/need to be trained un-shod. Injuries like plantar fasciitis didn’t really exist until recently and are easily combated with simple exercises, like this. The Tarahumara don’t get injured less due to magic footwear but because they spend their lives running, some of it barefoot, and their feet are stronger. Running barefoot also forces us to move naturally and focus on proprioceptive awareness, both huge advantages for runners.

3. We are faster with shoes. There is no dispute that footwear can allow us to mash through the elements with a greater margin for error, meaning we can run faster. When the Tarahumara are given shoes they get faster. Born To Run claims that opposite but no science backs it up. Here is one example but you don’t really need statistics, just a functioning thought process. A barefoot runner is at the same disadvantage on uneven terrain as is a rigid mountain biker in a downhill competition against a rider with 7 inches of travel.

The facts are that you are faster using shoes unless you get injured running with shoes. This is not so much a testament for running barefoot as it is for strategically training barefoot. To take this to mean that you should run barefoot all the time is a major point of conjecture. Not that there’s anything wrong with running barefoot all the time. Certainly there is not if you don’t mind embracing the obvious limitations. Barefoot runners inevitable claim of improved times comes from getting less injured, a point worth considering. But to state that it makes you faster is a fallacy.

A combination of barefoot and shod training will help you adapt best to all conditions and racing with shoes will allow you to run faster. What type of footwear you should use is a different topic altogether. Barefoot running and training should become standard protocol but the barefoot running shoe craze is a trend.

In conclusion, here's what Born to Run's protagonist, the late Caballo Blanco, had to say on the topic. “The point: None of that crap really matters, what or not one wears on their feet. Run Happy...Run Free" Still, you'll want to get those neon pink Five Fingers while you can because they won't be around forever.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Just Another @#$%! Video Chat

Video streaming by Ustream

Me n' Denis' latest ramblings on fitness and nutrition. Today for some reason we had an all-star cast of names. Even if they were all made up I'm giving the crowd props for creativity. Enjoy!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The History of Santa Barbara Climbing, Part I

Last weekend I did an interview for an article on the history of climbing in Santa Barbara. It brought back a lot of memories, many that I think will make for great reading, so for a short time the Friday Psyche will feature some tales on the history of climbing in and around Santa Barbara, California.

I spent a good portion of my life living in Santa Barbara and that most of this time was consumed by developing the climbing there abouts and writing about it. It’s one of the only places I’ve lived that actually felt like home and, despite a dearth of quality rock, a decade or so of my life was spent hell-bent on turning it into a climbing destination. And while that never happened those years were hardly wasted. Besides learning a ton about physiology, diet, and training, never before or since has life been filled with as much day to day passion. I guess it all didn’t amount to much in the guise of Western ideals but, man, it was fun.

Bob Banks has become the de facto historian for SB. Most of this series will point towards his blog. Let’s begin with the interview with local climber Stan Scheider. Hopefully pique your interest enough to keep tuning in for some good old fashioned lore. Btw, I don’t feel bad scooping it since only a small part will be used, interwoven with info from most of the other principles in the story.

lookin' strong, mate. bob banks on the tempest in sb

1. Any interesting stories on the old climbing routes and bouldering?

Sheesh, tons. During the Allez Magazine years our house (The Castle) was a flop house for climbers worldwide. I traveled a lot during the early 90s, competed and wrote for the mags and knew a ton of climbers and I don't think there was a time during, at least the Allez years, where there wasn't at least one foreign climber living there, and often there was 5, 10, sometimes 15 camped in the back. Before Allez I lived in either the shop or my van, which were also often occupied by others.

early castle denizens: players ball I

One thing that I have found interesting is how the scene has gotten so quiet since I left. I was really into the public service of development, even more than sending my projects. I wanted to make SB a good place to climb and ended up leaving the area with a lot of un-redpointed routes scattered around, hopefully to inspire the next generation. Hardly any of them have been done! Only Bernd Zeugswetter and lately Andy Patterson have shown any interest in this at all and, in fact, I think they might have the only ascents of some of my routes. It's been 12 years since my guide came out and there's been very very little activity on the scene, and most of that has been down in Ventura/Ojai and up at Owl Tor, where I have still been active. During the 10 years I was in SB the areas route count probably tripled. This still puzzles me.

2.Historical climbers in the area?

A lot of big names have come through the area but very few have left a mark. Chouinard lives here but never did much locally. Hans Florine is a part of our crew and has done a few things, including the Central Coast's first 5.14, but mainly focused on objectives elsewhere. Kevin Thaw is one of my best friends and has lived with me on and off for periods and lots of famous European and American sport climbers have been on my projects but no one has spent enough time to do much. Mainly they'd use SB as a place to chill and train (we had a great training facility) for more famous projects.

The developers were all local guys and not just our crew. Before me Steve Tucker was the keeper of the flame. He did some development but was also very active recording what went down, writing two guidebooks and some magazine articles. If it weren't for him the history might be completely based on rumors.

During my time there was kind of two camps and we didn't always get along but the competitiveness probably spurred it on because, for sure, it was the pinnacle of route development in the area. Our crew was mainly me, Phil Requist, John Perlin in SB and Russell Erickson and Reese Martin in Ventura, and a bunch of other friends who'd help out here and there (Utahn Stuart Ruckman for a short time who was way better than everyone and opened our eyes to possibilities and then Wills Young a couple of years later). Then there was the Pat Briggs, Tony Becchio, Dave Griffith crew. Those three guys, especially, were very good climbers and did a lot of exploring and route development. They were much more the driving force than others who may have been more famous like Chouinard or Hans or Scott Cosgrove (who did one notable FA, Smooth Arete). We had the odd heated moment but mainly it was civil. The funniest story, which Stuart laughed at later but was pissed when it happened, was one day at Cold Springs Dome when DGriff "Rock Warrior'd" (trying to pull people off the rock from the Masters of Stone films, which he starred in) Stuart for climbing Stealing Fire (13b--hardest route in the area at the time) before him.

about to rock warrior myself on stealing fire

Two other guys worth mentioning are Jeff Johnson and Paul Anderson and what they did at The Swimming Hole (Tar Creek) as that place was a decade or two ahead of its time. They were true visionaries in the bouldering world. All of the bouldering development that I did, which was extensive, trickled down from them inspiring Wills who inspired me. They completely changed our perspective (Wills, myself, and then Bob Banks when he got here) to ways to develop bouldering by looking at a new style of lines in non-traditional boulder fields. Now it seems normal but, back then, sans pads, most people would dismiss a place like The Swimming Hole and it took those guys to see the potential. This bit o' history got cut out of my guide (by Falcon because Tar Creek was closed at the time and I think they were afraid of getting sued or something) and it's important.

the type of shenanigans that went on at the swimming hole, johnson contemplates the all-star mantel

3. More detail of any old hang outs, The Shed, The Castle or any other plywood hangout areas with any stories?

A lot has been written in Allez, various guides, and Wills did a Castle article for Climbing (or R&I). So many stories. It was really a hub for west coast climbers, even if it was more about fun and training than actual local climbing.

4. Any info on your old video/climbing store in the 90s.

This is where that hub began. I was very psyched, as I said on the public service of making SB a good place to climb. I held competitions at UCSB (on a terrible little wall) that drew big crowds. Everything happened around @#$%! Video & Climbing Boutique. You'd come into the store and there would be people training, watching movies, drinking beer. Some people never left the shop. Really, Phil Requist, Todd Mei, and others were in the shop whenever they weren't climbing or at school.

there's more to like than new releases: phil, laboring away in the shop on his mono strength. note "forearm trainer" in foreground, a contraption built by phil

5. Where was the place locally in the 80s, 90s to get climbing gear.

After the BD lawsuits Chouinard became very disinterested in climbing and supported it less and less until giving up on it altogether. So then we just had my little shop and Mountain Air sports. I actually sold a fair amount of gear. I sold stuff pretty cheap at my shop because, again, I wanted people to be psyched on climbing. I was more into the public service than making money. I also designed the GVAC climbing wall for free for the same reason.

public servants hard at work

6. Did you make any of your gear?

Training gear yes. Climbing no. We were always tinkering with better ways to train. Trying to change the sport.

7. Did you?

The sport evolved a ton in those years and we probably had something to do with it. If I knew then what I know now, after all those years of trial and error, about training I would have climbed much harder.

8. Any info on Yvon Chouinard climbing in S.B.?

He was into big mountains. We don't have any of those so not really. He did, like, two FAs. One was with Chris Bonnington of Himalayan fame, which is super rad (at San Ysidro).

9. Any info on 1950s Herbert Rickert?

No, but he was very active very early so he was probably burly and adventurous. All of those old guys, climbing on terrible rock without decent gear, must have had a great sense of adventure.

10. Any info on Hans Florline in SB. Him and is wife was going to come down to Ojai for a School Climbing event, but fell through.

I met Hans through Phil Requist and we're all still great friends. These guys are two of my best friends and we've all done a lot together. Phil and I have developed most of Silly Rock (Tor, Mr. Lees) and Hans and I've done a few adventures and some fast climbing. We did four formations in Yosemite (El Cap, HD, Royal Arches and Manure Pile) in a day, ran up Half Dome without water on a 100 degree day, some birthday challenges, other stuff...

doing a first ascent with hans, somewhere deep into mexico

11. Any info on Tiffany Campbell/Levine, Peggy Oki, or boulders of the 70s Doug Hsu and Chuck Fitch climbing in S.B.?

Tiffany and Jason came around a lot but never did much (other than climb strong--though she and I had an epic chili pepper eating contest at Nationals one year). Peggy still climbs and lives in Ventura. Not much into development as she's more of a soul surfer/skater. I hear Doug and Chuck were very strong, maybe still are (rumors around Doug was climbing 5.13 wherever he was living during the 90s) but I never met them. Like so many others they spent some time and moved on. Their boulder problems are still hard. They must have been on the cutting edge for their day.

peggy, still shredding after all these years

12. Any other interesting facts like how did you get into climbing and discover the S.B. hills.

For me it was completely serendipitous. I moved here to go to grad school, basically. My brother was in undergrad at UCSB and we knew IV (Isla Vista) needed a video store so that's what I did. I kind of thought I'd run my course as a climber since I'd quit my job and moved to Yosemite and climbed everything I'd wanted to. I was ready to move into another chapter of life. But for some reason my psyche fully returned in SB and it became all I cared about. I was, like, I can spend my little bit of money on school or I could travel and climb full time and I did the latter and it was fantastic. I had a van and everything I owned was in it (except the store). I didn't have a home. I worked, trained, and went climbing. Life was simple. It was probably the coolest period of my life.

"nothing's going free." - discussing the possibilities of freeing the polish route on fitzcarroldo with uber author/alpinist gregory crouch, players ball II

photos: jonathan kingston, jason houston, bob banks, john perlin, actiongirl sports, me and other random castle-ites...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tips For Fast & Efficient Coaching

“I can’t know all this stuff so I let you guys do it for me.”
- Superstar Beachbody Coach Tommy Mygrant

Every time I speak with a group of coaches I’m reminded that many aren’t aware of Beachbody’s vast array of educational resources that can help you train your customers more efficiently. As a coach you’ve got plenty of things that take up your time without having to try and also be a personal fitness trainer or nutritionist. Beachbody already has a bunch of those so why not use them?

Of course you can’t call or email us personally (which you know if you’ve tried to email me). With millions of customers our trainer customer ratio is decidedly low. But we can still help. A lot.

Over the years we’ve probably experienced every scenario that you’ll encounter as a coach, and many many more, all of which have been answered somewhere in written format. Once you learn where to search you can become the coach with all the answers, most likely spending less time than you do now. By following this quick reference guide to smarter coaching the above pic can be you!

This should be your home page. It’s populated with popular subjects and content is rotated regularly. As opposed to, say, digging around Yahoo health or some other popular site, the information on this page is directly placed to help guide and motivate Beachbody coaches.


If you aren’t signed up for the newsletters than you’re missing out. Over the last 12 years our content has been praised again and again to the point we’ve had letters from people stating we are the only fitness resource they use. This is because our articles are written specifically to you. When we strategize what goes into each newsletter our primary concern is what our customers have been asking about on the Message Boards. Essentially our newsletter archives are one giant FAQ.

Unfortunately they can be hard to search and 12 years is a lot of pages to scroll through. Here’s the trick that works best for us when we need to find them for reference. Google “Beachbody newsletter and the subject you are looking for”. If you know who wrote an article, like me or Denis Faye, you can add an author for more specificity but Beachbody newsletter generally is enough to weed out the masses.


A Team Beachbody blog will be up and running shortly but, for now, we’ve got some more specific blogs that should be on your radar. Carl Daikeler‘s will keep you up to date on the latest happenings at Beachbody. Denis Faye’s “The Real Fitness Nerd” casts a critical eye on what’s going on both good and bad in the nutrition world. And where you are right now, The Straight Dope, is what I call tertiary information—meaning it’s advanced reading for those who want a deeper understanding of fitness and nutrition than what you’ll get in our diet guides and newsletters. And, while less frequently updated, Chalene Johnson and Tony Horton’s blog, as well as Tony's Huffington Post site is always worth a read. All of these should be on your favorites list and checked regularly.

Message Boards

If you’re not using the Team Beachbody Message Boards where have you been? Once the hub of everything Beachbody, this is the place where we’ve specifically answered all of those weird questions your customers hit you with. No matter how bizarre you may think a question is there is a very good chance we’ve heard it, and answered it, before. Our staff has cataloged these answers so they’re at their fingertips, meaning they can shoot you an answer a lot faster than it would take you to search PubMed and try and make sense out of a bunch of hard to decipher abstracts.

Another big plus of the Boards is that it puts us all on theme. Re-purposing FAQs to your customers keeps your coaching message consistent. As Beachbody grows our messaging grows too. The more consistent it is the easier everyone’s job gets.

For the most actively monitored Forums go to Info and Education. That's where the experts spend most of their time.

It should be noted that the boards' popularity once took a hit when coach phishing was rampant in the early days of TBB. That issue is now praciclly nonexistent as we monitor heavily for trolls.

To add more to Tommy Mygrant’s above quote, he also told me that the Boards were a massive time saver for his coaching, enabling him to focus motivating and selling instead of trying to fix issues that were better handled by others. He summed up by saying “I don’t know how any coach gets by without them.”

Friday, May 18, 2012

Red Wine, Hard Climbing, & Martinis

For your Friday Psyche I present some excellent research on the health benefits of wine as well as a video where it’s put into practice. Picky types might notice that increased stomach flora is unlikely to help athletic performance in a given afternoon but that’s nitpicking. Wine is good for you and this guy used it to help him have perhaps the best afternoon of climbing in history.

First, the wine part. From the NY Times:

When it comes to the health-promoting effects of red wine, its potential to protect against heart disease tends to get all the attention. But there are some who see it as a sort of probiotic delivery system, capable of benefiting the stomach as well...

In one, the subjects drank red wine, about a cup daily. In another, they drank the same amount of red wine daily, but this time with the alcohol removed. In the third, they drank up to 100 milliliters a day of gin each day. In the end, the researchers found that both types of red wine produced improvements in the bacterial composition of the gut, lowered blood pressure and reduced levels of a protein associated with inflammation.

The video is of German climber Permin Bertle doing something that’s never been done, climbing two 9a’s within a 75 minute window (only a few climbers have managed two 9a’s in a given day). According to the vid this happened after a volumous lunch featuring many glasses of wine. Also worth noting that this is the second non-conventional Psyche vid in a row, as this one goes into some depth on what’s required to do each climb. These vids, that perhaps lack the pace of pure climbing porn, provide a lot more information about what the sport entails. I like 'em.

Finally, while it wasn’t the focus of the study it was good to see that the odd martini has more than the obivous upside as well. The Times reports, slight improvements in gut flora were seen among gin drinkers, but the effects in the wine drinkers were much more pronounced.

Have a great weekend! See you at the crags, or the bar.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Morning Is A Special Time

Whenever my training transitions towards endurance goals the first lifestyle change I make doing yoga first thing in the morning. After long days in the mountains nothing works out the kinks and re-sets my mental state as well as 15-30 minutes of restorative yoga as part of the awakening process.

It’s something I’m sure would be good to do all the time but I always get out of the habit in winter and, especially since its filled with a lot of strength training, come spring I’m always fairly stiff. I do some amount of yoga all year and stretch after training sessions but there’s something about the ritual of morning yoga that helps my mindset switch into another gear.

The change is also physical. Yoga helps your body balance out, especially when it’s taking a beating getting used to transitioning for hour long gym sessions to many hours of pounding under the sun in the backcountry. Done first things in the morning it sets the stage for another hard day. When I wake up I’ll often feel stiff and sore. My breathing might be slightly labored and my mind clogged. A few minutes into yoga, without fail, I my breathing relaxes, head clears, and muscles come back to life. The rest of the day is always improved.

I’ve been doing this long enough that I generally make up my own routines. But once in a while, like when I’m first getting back into the habit, I’ll pop in the old go-to video Rodney Yee’s AM Yoga (note objective tone of ‘the Dope since Yee is not one of our trainers). Yee is the kind of calming yoga teacher you want first thing in the morning. His serene demeanor, the faux native-something or other music, the Utah desert setting and the decidedly hippie tone is a perfect symbiosis.

“Morning is a special time,” says Yee as the prelude to his intro that I often still listen to even though I know it by heart. It’s over-the-top, sure, but if it can calm to crazy cattle dogs in the morning I’m sure it’ll work on any human.

Friday, May 11, 2012

If You’re Not Falling You’re Not Trying Hard Enough

Cool vid this week featuring American Daniel Woods and a bunch of young Japanese crankenfranks (and Yuji) showing a ridiculous amount of motivation in terrible conditions. Since I’m actually going bouldering this weekend (last bouldering-specific trip was probably in, um, 2000) this seemed appropriate for the Friday Psyche.

This vid is long (30m), and is all in Japanese except when Woods is speaking, but it’s much more authentic as a bouldering experience that what you see in most climbing porn. You get to see what goes into a hard ascent: from falling all over something to piecing it together to dealing with bad skin, conditions, a finite amount of time and the reality that you may not succeed. Unlike boulders in a lot of vids these problems look really really hard, especially knowing the climbers are really really strong. It’s also got an odd Japanese perspective to it that I just happen to like.

Happy Friday. Have a faaantastic weekend!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

More Caffeine Fun

And now I'm not going to lose my memory either. Sheesh, the coffee/tea/caffeine studies exalting its benefits seem to hit the wires daily these days. Good thing I like my mine black as midnight on a moonless night.


The scientists from the Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology of the University of Coimbra in Portugal, whose work was published in the journal PLoS, showed that the long-term consumption of caffeine reduced weight gain and high blood sugar levels, as well as preventing memory loss, probably due to its interfering with the neurodegeneration caused by toxic sugar levels.

This hot on the heels of an article I just wrote, 10 Things To Like And Not Like About Coffee, which among many other things contained this nugget:

From Harvard Health, "The latest research has not only confirmed that moderate coffee consumption doesn't cause harm, it's also uncovered possible benefits. Studies show that the risk for type 2 diabetes is lower among regular coffee drinkers than among those who don't drink it. Also, coffee may reduce the risk of developing gallstones, discourage the development of colon cancer, improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of liver damage in people at high risk for liver disease, and reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease. Coffee has also been shown to improve endurance performance in long-duration physical activities."

So coffee is good for you. This is nothing every David Lynch fan in the world hasn’t known for years. What I find most odd is how it gets lumped into the category with garbage like soda and gas station cuisine. In fact, I happen to live among a populace that claims to have a divine document stating that coffee is evil but Coke is holy. It’s no friggin’ wonder our biggest threat to extinction is no longer nuclear war but expanding waistlines.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Yak Attack!

There’s no contest for this week’s Friday Psyche. Along with my acceptance into the Yak Attack in Nepal comes this video of the 2012 edition. Seems like there will be some good suffering involved but also, as the last guy says, it looks “awesome!” I still can't believe that I'm actually getting to go. It's the chance of a lifetime.

As an added bonus here’s an extra video on riding in Nepal, which looks a lot more serene than the madness of the race. Beautiful though. Thanks, Sonya!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

SAD to MAD: The Non-Diet Diet

As many of you know I’m a dietary lab rat. I’ve tested almost every diet known to man in the name of research but, mainly, my go-to plan when I’ve got to get into peak shape is the non-diet. The non-diet is our Utopian version of the Standard American Diet (SAD) that we give away with every Beachbody fitness program. The overall goal being to create a new template for America: the Modern American Diet, that some might call MAD.

The SAD diet is what’s become of nutrition in this country under the watch of the USDA and Big Food, which is basically by-products of GMO corn and soy and meat and dairy so toxic it has to be rendered practically devoid of nutrients before it’s safe to eat. A while back I commented on the new USDA “food pyramid”, citing that the issue isn’t that it’s too complicated but that most of what American’s eat isn’t on the pyramid at all! The SAD diet, the primary contributor to the most expensive health epidemic in history, is made up almost entirely of stuff that wouldn’t be food in the natural world.

In contrast the MAD diet is, well, food. It’s plants, grains (sorry Cavemen), nuts, seeds, and the occasional animal product from something that wasn’t raised in a dark prison cell and fed toxic garbage. When you eat real food you don’t have to worry too much about calories and such because it’s somewhat self regulating since it’s fiber filled, nutrient dense, and hasn’t been laden with chemicals designed to make you crave more: the direct opposite of what you find in 95% of most supermarkets. You eat based on feel and performance and with a little experience (or guidance) you’ll learn what works best and when. When someone on the SAD diet commits to this transition it will feel magical—like alchemy when, in fact, it’s exactly the opposite.

At this point you might note that Beachbody offers a different nutrition plan with every program. And while you would be correct in a sense, all of these are variations on the same theme; trying to get our customers to swap junk for real food to the point where they don’t need any type of nutrition plan and can eat based on feel. The entry points are different, the strategies vary, but our end result is always the same; you know how to feed your body so that it performs its best.

In my day-to-day life I feel great almost all the time. I sleep well, exercise a ton, have plenty of energy and stay pretty darn healthy. I was joking during my last dietary foray that the only time that I don’t feel good is when I’m trying a new diet. But I’ve still got to do it. Not only does it greatly aid my job it’s been my MO since I was a teenager so why would I stop? If a diet or supplement hits the market that is truly going to alter the planet I’m damn well going to be one of the first to know about it. So a-testing I will go.

The catalyst for this post is my recent experimentations with a taper diet. I’ve re-shuffled this a couple of times, and it’s getting better, but each attempt ends up causing a regression in my own fitness (small but noticeable) because I tweak until it goes awry. If you don’t know the point where something goes off the rails you’re never sure how to standardize your recommendations. So after a month of offbeat eating its time to get back to what I know brings everything back to homeostasis; the MAD diet. Or , ya know, just eating.

On this blog I've cited examples where I use my regular diet, slightly streamlined, to go from everyday weight to competition weight (always slightly under optimal health weight, which should have some extra body fat for reserve). At the end of any Beachbody plan that should be your goal: to understand your body’s relationship with food well enough to eat based on how you feel and get maximum results. Which, when you think about it, shouldn’t seem all the MAD.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Racing Over The Himalayas

I just receive word that I’m one of 25 international riders to get into the Yak Attack, a 10-stage mtb race around Nepal that goes over a Himalayan pass at nearly 20k feet. Can you say psyched? Instead of me yammering on about a race I’ve never done check out Sonya Looney’s account. She’s a professional mountain bike racer, and first female finisher ever, but was still was so broken down by the rigors of the endeavor that things came to this:

I don’t know if I can promise such detailed and candid race coverage but my friend Rebecca has vowed that “if any of you cry I’m videoing it and pasting it all over the Internet”. So there you have it; if I lose it because I can’t finish the race you’ll get a video courtesy of “The Queen of Pain” that Specialized will make sure gets plenty of action. It very well could happen.

Not that we’re making fun of Sonya because she’s as tough as they come and will kick my ass on a bike any given day. In fact, her blog is so rad it's the highlight of today’s (mid-week ‘cause I was too busy to write anything up last weekend) Psyche. It’s truly a fantastic account of the race and Nepal in general. Having been there I can say she captured it exceedingly well. So sit back, grab a cup o’ chai, and enjoy the ride (or hike-a-bike)...

Sonya Looney’s Yak Attack blog: Welcome to Nepal

It’s a long read and she posted it one day at a time (so you need to scroll forward). I savored it a couple of stages at a time.

Photos: Paul Topham and Jeremy Dean