My Spirit is Willing, My Back it is Strong

Stole the tittle from wave or wave, a song by the great Jim Payne. I know, I know. There's supposed to be a post about tennis elbow treatment. It's coming. I have a valid excuse. The past two weeks were the olympics, and I'm Canadian. Enough said? Sorry folks, I found it incredibly hard to sit myself down on the computer and research/write while the olympics were on the go. Stick with me. I got some good posts lined up.

Aside from that, I have wicked DOMS. For those of you new to the exercise game, DOMS are Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Maybe that's an idea for an article, hmm. One thing at a time Brandon. Ok, so basically, DOMS are soreness you get the day after/day after the day after working out. Most likely you've all experienced it to some degree. Like when your lower back is sore a couple of days after shovelling. Anyway, my upper back and shoulders are SORE!

The funny thing about DOMS is that you kinda like them, or at least I do. It's like that good soreness you feel after a great game of basketball, or cutting a load of wood - it's the soreness of physical accomplishment, and that's why it feels good. Damned if I won't complain about it though. Good or not, soreness is soreness. If you're curious, it is a result of bent over rows, jump shrugs, and upright seated rows. Now, before you bust my chops on  shrugs being an isolation exercise I'll counter you in saying that it's in element of the power clean and I'm also jumping. 

Ok, so that's about all I have to say for today. Anyone else out there have DOMS? let me know in the comments below.

Sometimes I Lift, Sometimes I Drink Whisky.

But tonight I lift...

I will admit to you folk. I have been lazy. While living in St. John's for the last year I haven't been as active as I would have liked. I'm getting back into the swing of things lately and hitting the weights and playing some sports again. Like I mention in my last post, I've been using fitocracy to track my workouts. I got to thinking, "hey, I run a fitness blog, so maybe I should talk a bit about my workouts here." Then I agreed myself, congratulated myself on being so very clever and sat down to write this post. Usually at this time of night, when there's a basketball game on the TV, I would be sitting with a glass of whisky on the rocks. I'm out of whisky though, so I'll just blog.

Ok, some my workout. It started off with an hour and a half of volleyball. One time I could say I was a good player. Then I stopped playing for about four years. Now I'm just one of those guys who used to play and can still do a few things... jumping not being one of them.

After volleyball, my wife and I went to the gym. Usually I wouldn't go after volleyball, but I was feeling pretty good. I skipped doing any cardio - the volleyball took care of that. I've been doing olympic lifts and compound exercises almost exclusively. You may or not know my feelings about isolation exercises (I hate them), so I generally don't do them. Tonight I did flat bench press and power cleans. I threw in some deadlifts in between sets of cleans with the weight I already had on the bar. Here is how I structured it.

Bench PressPower CleanDeadlift
125lbs x 875lbs x 875lbs x 8
125lbs x 885lbs x 685lbs x 6
135lbs x 6100lbs x 6100bs x 6
115lbs x 6105lbs x 3105lbs x 3

So there you have it. I wasn't pushing big weights, and as you can see I couldn't hit 6 reps with 105lbs on the power clean. I'll blame that on volleyball. I also hate bench presses. I never did like them and I don't know if it's a mental block with me, but I could never push a lot of weight on it. I may take a video of my power cleans soon. 

Tell me about your work out, what kind of lifts do you like to do. 

Fitocracy and More of my Favourite Things

Just to fill you all in, I'll have my last post about tennis elbow up in a couple of days - tennis elbow treatment. I also have an updated review of muscle and motion software to post, I freaking love that program. Also, you may have noticed changes to my blog lay out. I felt a little trapped with the last layout, I couldn't adjust it the way I wanted, so I figured I'd start from scratch. I may tinker with a little more, but this is pretty much the permanence. I'm sorry for the changes. 

Aside from that here's a few things on the interwebs that I think y'all should check out.

1. Fitocracy: I signed up for fictocracy a few days ago and I really like it. At first I joined just to be able to easily track my work-outs, but there is a great social aspect to it to. It's basically like facebook, but for people interested in exercise. The people - or fitocrats, if you will - are very helpful and supportive, especially for those of you who are just starting out with the fitness and healthy living thing. I strongly suggest that you sign up.

2. Be Simply Strong: A little while ago Julie wrote a guest post for me and I love her attitude. She has a website and blog that shares her views. She also offers online personal training services which I think is a freaking great thing. She'll design exercise programs, consult on facetime, skype, or the phone, and she offers small group training programs as well. Again, I strongly recommend. 

3. CBC Olympics: There's less than a week left of the olympics. Canada is doing pretty well, as are you Americans out there. Hockey medals are coming soon. Exciting times. I track everything on the CBC olympics website and watch most of the programming on CBC, aside from a few events on TSN. 

4. Feedly: Since google reader called it quits I've been using feedly to follow blogs and the like. It's a great app for chrome. I don't know what alternatives to reader you guys use, but this has been my favourite. It's organized well, collects my subscriptions, and makes suggestions. simple.

5. Coffee. I love coffee. I don't have much more to say about that. Some of my favourite is Jumping Bean deep water dark, a newfoundland company. Gotta love local.

So, there you have it. A few of my favourites things of the last week. What are some of your favourite things? Articles, blogs, food, anything. I want to hear from you guys. Nothing beats word of mouth.

Also, if you like the post, be sure to subscribe to me by email for updates and events. You can also use one of great options in the left side-bar.

Lactic Acid Rant

Before I begin, this post will have no articles to back it up, but I promise to an article with science soon. This is purely a rant.

I'm watching speed skating on the television -#wearewinter (had to do it, go Canada!) - and one of the announcers keeps talking about how the last lap is so difficult because lactic acid is building up in the skaters muscles. This is an old myth that has been disproved, but continues to go around because professionals (the announcer was former olympic medalist) keep saying it! I usually don't get too riled up about it, because who really cares right? Well, this time I care because the olympics are probably one of the most watched events of the year, so this misinformation is getting passed to a large audience. Ok, so maybe no one really cares what causes the burn in your muscles with intense exercise, maybe no one cares that the pioneering study on lactic acid was done an a frog cadaver in 1929, maybe no one cares that there are so many other factors at play that cause the fatigue. But we should. We should know actual facts and we should pass on the facts and not the fictions.

My problem is not necessarily with the myth itself, or with the fact that the announcer continually said it. My problem starts before that. It starts with the highschool coaches or PE teachers telling their young students that lactic acid is causing your muscles to burn. Youth hold onto stuff, even when we find out the truth it's hard to forget stuff that you were told when you were a kid. Someone once told me that monsters live under the stairs leading up to your house. To this day I run up those stairs in night lest a gnarly hand grab me and pull me to the inner bowels of the earth below. I know it's crazy, but when I was a kid it made sense and I can't let go of it. So pass on scientific truths to you children, not something that your coach told you, and his coach before him, and so on. Find out facts first, then pass those on. OK? ok.

Sorry to rant folks. I just get irked when the truth is within grasp, but not told because someone's highschool coach told them that your muscle are burning because of lactic acid. I guess it seems to make sense, acid burns... So do protons, phosphate ions, fire! This one is right up there with the 1g of protein/pound of body weight myth. Except at least the lactic acid one at one point had research to support it. I guess that's why it has lasted so long.

Tennis Elbow Causes and Symptoms

Hopefully, since you landed on this page, you've read my previous article about the anatomy of tennis elbow. If you haven't I encourage you to, no pressure though. In this post I'll discuss the epidemiology of tennis elbow, it's causes, and it's symptoms. So, without further ado, here you go.
Tennis elbow 
Firstly, I want to clear something up. I mentioned in my previous that lateral epicondylitis is a misnomer and I'll explain why now. the suffix ,"-itis," typically means that there is inflammation present. However, with lateral epicondylitis, research shows that there is little if any inflammation, especially in the chronic stages3. One can also argue that referring to the pain as tennis elbow is also incorrect, given that roughly 5-10% of those presenting with symptoms are tennis players2. Now, moving on.

Guest Post: Ladies, Lift Heavy Things

The following is a guest post by Julie Gannon from Be Simply Strong. Normally I would have a disclaimer on guest posts that says "does not necessarily reflect the views of exercise basics. However, this time I will say that the following definitely does reflect the views.

Over in my little corner of the internet I share my passion for helping people Eat Well, Move Often, and Live Simply. One of the things I love to do is get women to start lifting weights!

As a former recreational runner, I loved training for races but ALWAYS seemed to be fighting off injuries. Strength training was something I did but it was secondary to the almighty "cardio".

Eventually, I found myself having to reduce my running due to health issues and injuries. As a result, I focused my attention on lifting heavy weights. A few weeks later I realized how empowered and strong I felt. I was proud of my naturally broad shoulders. I set goals like doing 1 unassisted pull-up or breaking triple digits on my bench press. And guess what, ladies?! I didn’t get “big”!

Do you know how hard it is to put on muscle? How much you have to eat and train? As women, we have lower testosterone levels than men so it is even more difficult.

Think about bodybuilders or fitness competitors who are “bulky” with tons of big muscles. Think about how much time and effort they dedicate to getting their bodies like that. You lifting weights two or three days a week will absolutely NOT get you the same result. Yet somehow, there is a perception that lifting heavy weights will give you manly muscles. What it will give you is a new shape because the ONLY way to change your shape is through strength training.

If you are a pear shape and lose weight by cardio exercise and diet alone, you will just end up being be a smaller pear. You must lift weights to change your shape!

If you are doing cardio 4 days per week, I challenge you to take two of those days and lift weights instead. It doesn’t have to be complicated or scary!

Keep it simple. Lift heavy weights, walk a lot, and you’ll be simply strong.

Don't Trust the Scale

As you may have noticed I'm in the process of updated my blog layout. I've also some work to do on finishing my tennis elbow articles. Sorry for the delay. they will be coming up. I also have a guest post coming up by Julie Gannon of be simply strong. Exciting stuff.

What I want to talk about right now is the scale. Please folks, don't rely on just the scale or your bmi as a marker of health and how fit your are. Along with that, your weight is not as important as your body composition. I wanted to share this because, according to BMI, and to a lot of folks a person who is 5'6 and 170 lbs is overweight. Well, have a look at Canadian bobsledder, Kaille Humphries. Just try and tell me that this girl is overweight and doesn't look good. Go ahead. try. 

On that note. GO CANADA! #wearewinter. (that is the first time I've used a hashtag outside of twitter, I'm not sure I like it.)


I'm refreshing my blog to look a little more professional. bear with me during the changes.

Guest Post: How to Turn Off a Little Known Cause of Muscle Pain – Myofascial Trigger Points

The following is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the views of exercise basics. 

Active myofacial trigger points are something that may already be holding you back from getting fit and flexible - without you even knowing it.

What are the trigger points? Small areas of spasm within the muscle that cause stiffness and pain. The unusual thing about the pain is that it is created in a pain distribution pattern that is particular to each trigger point - and may be far away from the site of the trigger point itself.