Scientists & Doctors Have a Responsibility

For someone who has obtained an advanced degree, the paper on the wall generally indicates a great deal of time and effort spent studying a certain discipline. As such, the individual holding the degree is generally considered an expert or authority in their chosen field. Law, medicine, and science are just some of the disciplines that offer advanced degrees. There is a tendency for society to be very impressed with advanced degrees and high-level credentials. In one way, an advanced degree gives some assurance that the person knows what they are talking about, but it cuts both ways; a degree is no guarantee and at worst an advanced degree can can be used as a tool to put others down. I recently had an email interaction that illustrates this situation. Note, I’ve censored the personal points below because my goal here is to not single individuals out, but to discuss behavior that I feel is detrimental to society as a whole.

I recently signed up for some customized remote programming. The customization was based on several tests that had to be performed in the beginning of the program. I was surprised that one of the tests was expecting a very high level of strength in order to be given their more advanced programming. The standard was set so high, in my opinion, that it made me question what the goal of the program was. I asked the individuals running the program to clarify and they maintained their upper body strength requirement (which I did not meet), is something that should be readily obtainable for a male. I asked them where they got their criteria from and they said that it’s readily evident from the many individuals they have trained or crossed paths with. Now, I know a thing or two about strength training and I have crossed paths with a lot of individuals as well, and my observations didn’t suggest such a tough strength criteria at all. They further elaborated that there were scientific studies that lead them to settle on their upper body strength requirement. I asked them to send me a list of the studies and the individual I was talking to didn’t have this list. He said he would have to ask his colleague.

A week or so later I still had not received any data, so I touched base again. The response I got was as follows:

“Hayden I forgot to send you the info on the data. It’s a meta analysis of research that we apply…”

So, at this point I was expecting them to send me a single meta analysis study. These types of studies systematically compile data from many other studies and run a statistical analysis on the pooled data to arrive and a conclusion. But the individual continued as follows:

“…Google scholar search for ‘strength and conditioning journal strength balance’ will give you most of the articles used. from there follow those articles for applicable cited sources…”

So, I asked for a list of references that had the relevant data and was told to perform a Google search. That search returned about 243,000 items. I then imagined myself at a scientific conference (I have presented at many) where a member of the audience asked me what I based my theory on, and I told them to perform a Google search. I would have gotten thrown out of the conference. That’s not how science works. I will also add that the very first reference in the list from the Google search has nothing to do with upper body strength – it is clearly not relevant to the question I was raising. This is a huge red flag against credibility. The response continued as follows:

“Regarding explaining the methodology of all of it to you, with a lot of respect the best answer I can give is that there is a reason we only hire staff with a doctorate or athletic training degree. The lengths to which we have extrapolated data goes above what is easily explained…I think the best option for you (since you live locally) would be to come out and go through a live exam if that’s in the realm of possibility for you.”

As if the initial part wasn’t disappointing enough, the individual has now proceeded to tell me that I wouldn’t understand the reasoning because a doctorate is needed. The individual writing possessed a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) and apparently didn’t realize that I too had a doctorate…and a masters…and a bachelors (all in hard medical sciences). But it really shouldn’t have mattered. Doctors should be able to explain their reasoning. Offering a live exam was even more strange. Apparently if I pay more money everything will become clear? I told them I did have a doctorate and would in fact understand their reasoning. The response was:

“I provided you with a means to find your answer. All I’d be able to say beyond that is ‘this is what we read, this is how we interpreted, this is how we apply’. It’s obvious that you’re intelligent and inquisitive, I like people like that in our circle. I also think is only makes you more qualified to understand that a simple answer to your complex question just isn’t realistic.”

Again, Imagine if I gave that response at a scientific conference. I would be shunned. From the above exchange there is no way to know if there is any substance to the programming I bought into. The creators based the program’s integrity on science and refused to provide references to those studies. Their advanced degrees were used as an excuse to remain aloof. Yes, science can be very complicated, but in these medical and health related disciplines the purpose of science is to help humanity – all of it, not just those with advanced degrees. One of the benefits of obtaining a PhD in my chosen field is that you are taught to communicate your ideals simply and succinctly. Every grant submitted to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) for funding must have a paragraph explaining the project in simple language. Regardless of the topic it can be done and it’s important that it be done. The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science says it beautifully in their mission statement:

“We believe that scientists have a responsibility to share the meaning and implications of their work, and that an engaged public encourages sound public decision-making.”

So, the next time you cross paths with someone holding an advanced degree, remember, if their theories are based on personal observation, they should say so. If their theories are based on studies, they should point to them. Scientists and doctors should be responsible, and information should be shared. If they don’t know how to make their ideas clear, they should learn how, and if they refuse to do so, they should expect you to call them on their refusal. The betterment of humankind depends on it.


High Intensity Training and Free Radical Damage

From Wikipedia

High intensity training (exercise) has become increasingly popular over the past decade. Those who conduct this type of training see excellent results in terms of body composition and cardiovascular fitness. Several recent scientific studies have confirmed these observations; High intensity training is equally or more effective than other types of training, and gives these results with notably shorter training times. However, the mechanism by which a few minutes of high intensity training affects these changes remains unclear. In a recent study (Place et al., 2015), scientists asked if single bouts of high intensity exercise affect change through increasing reactive oxygen species (free radicals) in muscle tissue, and if these effects are less prevalent in those individuals who are highly trained endurance athletes.

The Takehome: Reactive oxygen species (free radicals) are commonly associated with a variety of negative health effects, but they may be the mechanism by which high intensity exercise works. Recreationally active men who were exposed to a single session of 3-6 sets of 30 second high intensity cycling had high levels of free radicals and marked fragmentation in their muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum (the part of the muscle cell that regulates calcium release), but those who were highly trained endurance athletes had neither. Specifically, the ryanodine receptor 1 calcium channels were fragmented in recreationally active men, but not in endurance trained men whose receptors were intact and whose muscle cells possessed high levels of antioxidants. Thus, free radical damage may be the mechanism by which high intensity training works and endurance-trained athletes may be unable to reap the same benefits as those who aren’t.

Fragmentation of ryanodine receptor 1 calcium channel in mice was associated with substantial calcium leakage. Since calcium leakage from the sarcoplasmic reticulum is known to boost production of mitochondria (the parts of cells that produce energy and prevent fatigue), the authors propose that high intensity interval training improves cardiovascular fitness through the following series of events (note they don’t directly test all of these points – see below for details): high intensity training produces reactive oxygen species (free radicals), reactive oxygen species degrade specific calcium channels in the muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum, calcium then leaks out of the sarcoplasmic reticulum and into the rest of the muscle cell. The increase calcium levels in the muscle cell cause it to make more mitochondria which provides that cell with a greater capacity to produce energy, and thus greater capacity to complete work. This series of events appears to be ineffective in people who have substantial endurance training. So, if you want the benefits of high intensity training, it seems that free radical damage may be necessary and that a high volume of endurance training may result in sub-optimal results.

Note: This study is very dense and there are more experiments and details than can be summarized here, so I have highlighted only select portions below.

Experimental Design:

  • Recreationally active men and endurance-trained men (marathon runners) performed 3 sets of high intensity (all-out) cycling for 30 seconds each. 4 minutes of rest were given between sets.
  • Biopsies of the vastus lateralis (quadricep) muscle were taken after the high intensity cycling to assess the integrity of calcium channels in the muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum.
  • Force production was measured using direct stimulation of isolated vastus lateralis fibers taken from biopsies before and after cycling.
  • Molecular expression analyses were conducted using PCR and immunohistochemistry.
  • Observations in humans were tested in mice using a group of sedentary mice and endurance-trained mice.
  • In mice, isolated muscle fibers were subjected to a simulated high intensity cycling scheme using electrical currents.


  • 24 hours after high intensity cycling in recreationally active men, only 15% of the ryanodine receptor 1 calcium channels remained intact, the rest were degraded.
  • 24 hours after high intensity cycling in marathon runners, ryanodine receptor 1 calcium channels were destabilized, but none were fragmented.
  • 24 hours after high intensity cycling in marathon runners, antioxidant (superoxide dismutase 2 and catalase) levels were twice as high compared to levels in recreationally active men.
  • Maximum muscle contraction force decreased after the high intensity cycling bouts independent of neural activation.
  • Isolated fibers did not have reduced contractile function after high intensity cycling.
  • In mice, reactive oxygen (a free radical) levels were substantially higher in sedentary control mice than in endurance-trained mice after simulated high intensity training.
  • Ryanodine receptor 1 fragmentation was present in sedentary mice as it was in recreationally active men after simulated high intensity training, but not when muscles were exposed to an antioxidant before and during contractions.
  • In sedentary mice, simulated high intensity training resulted in a prolonged increase in resting calcium levels which was not present in endurance-trained mice.


  • The study was limited to men, so whether the results are applicable to women remains unclear.
  • Age effects were not considered as part of the study.
  • Although the study indicates that high intensity training increases free radicals, results in calcium channel degradation and calcium leakage, the experiments that show increased calcium leakage and support free radicals as a causative agent of this leakage (by applying an antioxidant) were only performed in mice.
  • Although previous studies indicate that excess calcium leakage from the sarcoplasmic reticulum can lead to increased mitochondria production and thus increased energy for muscle cells, these ideas were not directly tested in this study.


Resistance Training Prevents Brain Lesions in the Elderly

White Matter Lesions (WMLs)
from Smith et al., 2004

In older populations both cognitive function (mental capacity) and balance/coordination/walking speed tend to decline, placing these individuals at greater risk for falls and fractures and contributing to an overall lower quality of life with increased medical expenses. Impaired cognitive function and falls are associated with white matter lesions (WMLs) in the brain and this association suggests that the WMLs may at least in part cause the cognitive decline and higher incidence of falls. In a recent study (Bolandzadeh et al., 2015), scientists proposed that resistance training (weight training) would help reduce WMLs and thereby preserve cognitive function and movement patterns in older populations.

The Takehome: In women aged 65-75, 12 months of resistance training (performed twice a week) resulted in a reduction in WMLs. These reductions were significantly correlated with an ability to maintain their initial walking (gait) speed as measured at the beginning of the study. Thus, resistance training slowed the development of WMLs in the brain and helped maintain balance/coordination in the elderly. It is important to note that training without weights and training with weights only once a week did not give these results. A link between twice-weekly resistance training and improved cognitive function was not found in this study as only one test was used and the results were not significant. However, given that numerous studies associate WMLs with cognitive decline, it is likely that twice weekly resistance training counteracted this decline in some form. Nevertheless, future studies will be needed to confirm directly.

Experimental Design:

  • The study duration was 52 weeks.
  • Women aged 65-75 with no resistance training history over the past 6 months were randomly assigned to one of three experimental groups.
  • Quadricep strength (isotonic) one repetition maximum and peak muscle power were measured using a leg press machine before the study began.
  • Experimental groups were as follows: Once weekly resistance training (1xRT) – 18 participants, twice weekly resistance training (2xRT) – 13 participants, twice weekly balance and tone (BAT) – 11 participants.
  • Resistance training (RT) consisted of a combination of machine training (bicep curls, tricep extensions, seated rows, latissimus dorsi pull-downs, leg presses, hamstring curls, and calf raises) with a work range of 6-8 repetitions for two sets total. Over time the intensity was increased. Free weight exercises as well as mini-squats, mini-lunges, and lunge walks were also used.
  • BAT training consisted of stretching, range of motion practice, basic core strength exercises, balance training, and relaxation exercises. BAT participants served as controls for the RT groups.
  • The Stroop Color Word Test was used to assess cognitive function. This test requires participants to read out a variety of color words printed in different colors (i.e., the word red printed in blue ink).
  • White Matter Lesions (WML) are small areas of the brain that appear very bright when imaged by MRI.


  • The 2xRT group had significantly lower WML volume than the BAT group.
  • There was no difference in WML volume between the 1xRT and BAT groups.
  • In both the 1xRT and 2xRT groups, reduced WML volume was significantly correlated with being able to maintain gait (walking) speed over the course of the study.
  • Change in WML volume was not significantly associated with a change in Stroop Color Word performance.


  • Only women were examined in the study, so the results may be different for men.
  • The sample size in this study was low.
  • The specific combination of machine training and free weight training was not detailed, nor were the the specific loads or sets used over time detailed.
  • The specific combination of BAT techniques were not specified.
  • The Stroop Color Word Test data was inconclusive and additional measures of cognitive function were not used so the link between resistance training, WMLs, and cognitive function remains unclear.

Fascia May Contribute to Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Unpleasant muscle soreness often arises after performing exercises that are new, that have not been performed in a long time, or that include a large volume of eccentric contraction (muscle contracting/shortening against its lengthening, as when you lower yourself down from the top of a pull-up). In many cases, the pain from these exercises does not appear immediately, but surfaces a day or two later, giving rise to the term Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Once DOMS has set in, pain occurs whenever the affected muscle is moved, stretched or pressed. A variety of prior studies have looked at DOMS and damage to the muscle fibers was a fairly consistent observation. However, the specific areas within the muscle that were found to be damaged and the presence of inflammation has not been consistent among studies. Therefore, many researchers believe we are missing part of the picture. In a recent study by Lau et al. (2015), findings suggest that DOMS may result more from fascia damage than muscle damage.

The Takehome: Delayed onset muscle soreness is generally attributed to muscle damage, but fascia, connective tissue that separates, encloses and supports muscle, might also be important. This study could not immediately look at muscle and fascia’s contribution to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), though. The authors first had to find an external (non-invasive) readout for DOMS that could be linked to a more precise readout which targets a specific tissue type. They found that pressure pain threshold (pain from pressing on the affected muscle) correlated with electrical pain threshold (EPT) read via a needle inserted into specific tissues. Therefore EPT was used to see which tissue (muscle or fascia) was more sensitive to pain after eccentric exercise that resulted in DOMS. The authors observed that changes in pain from pressing the muscle correlated with changes in electrical pain thresholds in the fascia, but not in the muscle itself. In addition, as time progressed after exercise, fascia tended to be more sensitive to this electrical stimulation (maintaining a lower pain threshold) than the muscle. The study is a pairing of associations and correlations, but the authors present a lot of data to support the relevance of their model and don’t over-interpret their results. Their findings suggest that fascia is a greater contributor to pain from DOMS that muscle, but fascia and muscle are intricately linked, so more research is needed to see if the two are truly independent.
Experimental Design:

  • 10 Men (ages 22-28) with no resistance training of upper arm for the past 6 months.
  • 2 exercise bouts (separated by 4 weeks) were performed.
  • Exercise was 10 sets of 6 isokinetic (constant speed) eccentric elbow flexor contractions on a dynanometer.
  • Elbows were forcibly extended from 60 degrees by the machine while subjects tried to maximally resist the extension.
  • Indirect markers of muscle damage were voluntary isometric contraction torque (MVC), range of motion of the elbow joint (ROM), muscle soreness assessed by visual analogue scale (VAS), pressure pain threshold (PPT), and electrical pain threshold (EPT). Markers were assessed before, after, and 1-5 days after exercise.
  • Tissues examined were: biceps brachii fascia (BBF), biceps brachii muscle (BBM), and brachialis fascia (BF).


  • Muscle damage markers were, as expected for repeated bouts of eccentric exercise, less prominent after the 2nd bout of eccentric exercise than after the 1st (e.g., VAS increased after both bouts and PPT and decreased after both bouts, but the magnitudes were smaller for the second bouts as compared to the first).
  • A comparison of BBF, BBM, and BF indicated that after the initial bout of exercise, electrical pain threshold decreased (pain tolerance worsened) more in the fascia (BBF, BF) than in the muscle (BBM).
  • There was a significant correlation between electrical pain threshold (EPT) and physical pain threshold (PPT) of both the BBF and BF 1 and 2 days after the first exercise bout. This correlation was not present for the muscle itself.


  • Women were not included in the study, so sex-differences cannot be accounted for.
  • Life-history of arm training (particularly eccentric work) was not accounted for in the study and might yield different results if training history were different (extensive training vs no training).
  • Of all the markers for damage/pain, only EPT can be measured separately on fascia or muscle. All other markers are a readout of fascia and muscle combined.
  • Cause and effect cannot be conclusively established in this type of study as there was no way to separately damage the muscle and fascia.

Science for Fitness is a Top Fitness Blog of 2015

It’s always great to get some outside recognition. Science for Fitness made it onto two Top Fitness Blogs of 2015. One is by Wealthy Gorilla and the other is by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Click on the images below to see the full lists:

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Find Your Basal Metabolic Rate – Count Your Calories

In addition to questions about training and general health, I receive a lot of questions about nutrition. It’s a complicated topic because everyone is at a different place with respect to what they are eating, what they can eat (i.e., food intolerances), and how they need to eat in order to achieve their goals. As with anything, the more work one puts into their nutrition, the more they can get out of it. Depending on where you are at, adjusting when you eat and what you eat can go a long way. But over time this might not be enough. And if you goals change, your nutrition will likely have to change as well. These types of changes are hard to make if you have no idea how much you have been eating and no idea how much of that food was carbohydrates, fats and protein.

For many, there comes a time when the total amount of food (as represented by calories) and the ratio of the “macros” (the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) in their food becomes important. It can manifest with those who are just starting out for the first time and aren’t seeing the expected “beginner gains” from training and eating well. It can also be for those more advanced who want to optimize their training or because they are trying to dial in their body composition. Let’s take an example from my own training.

I’m one of those tall, thin types (ectomorph) who tend to have a naturally high metabolism (I burn through food at a very high rate even when not training). I also seem to have genetics that makes it very hard for me to gain fat even if I stop training. While this is great for staying lean, it makes it very hard to gain muscle mass through training. Because my body is wired this way, I need to eat a LOT when I am trying to bulk up in a strength cycle, and the easy approach is to just eat and eat – basically everything in sight. In this way, I make sure I’m getting enough calories (energy) to fuel muscle growth. I estimated how much food this was at one point and it was generally over 4000 calories. Beyond this I didn’t need to do much counting. Eating everything in sight worked well. I went from 180lbs to 200lbs (my body fat went from about 6% to 10%).

After my most recent strength cycle, I went back to CrossFit and added in some bodybuilding accessory work for my upper body (which is much weaker than my lower body). The goal was to get a little bigger, but largely drop my fat percentage back down – I typically carry around 6% when I’m not doing strength. So, what I did is switch my eating back to 3 meals a day (largely Paleo) and have 1-2 snacks interspersed. It worked. I got a little bigger and my fat percentage dropped. However, CrossFit is very quantitative. It’s about measuring and tracking your performance and what I noticed is that I wasn’t performing well in many of the workouts. I was getting drained very quickly, often in the warm-ups. In one session I stopped and had a protein shake, whereupon I felt 100% better. It was then I realized I wasn’t eating optimally.

I decided to sit down and calculate how many calories I was taking in at each meal, along with how many carbohydrates, fats and proteins were in each meal. On a typical day I was taking in around 2100 calories. As a reduction from 4000 calories (in my strength cycle), this was a huge drop. In addition, most of the calories were coming from protein and fat; there were relatively few carbohydrates. This is all seemed a bit off, but how is one to know for sure? It’s a fairly complicated question and the answer depends on what your specific goals are, but a great staring point is to calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and then estimate the number of calories you need based on that. The process starts with the Harris-Benedict equation. The original version (from the old studies in the 1900s) is as follows:

Harris Benedict

There have been a number of revisions to the equation over the years. A popular one is as follows:

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I use a slightly different version than this one, but its similar enough. There are also a lot of online BMR calculators that will do all the work for you. Once you calculate your BMR from one of these equations/online calculators, you can estimate calorie needs by multiplying your BMR by a number that estimates your activity level:

Calorie Intake

And there you have a rough estimation of the total calories you should be taking in each day in order to *maintain* your body weight. For me, I should have been taking in 3400 calories to maintain. To drop fat I could have reduced the calories a bit from there and I would have dropped my fat percentage back down gradually. At 2500 calories per day I was dropping fat very fast, but at the expense of having very little energy. It took tremendous effort to train during each session. Part of the problem was not having enough food in general, but another problem was the ratios of my macros were off. I wasn’t consuming enough carbohydrates to help me get through my training. What these different ratios should be is beyond the scope of this article, but it’s important to keep in mind that after assessing calorie intake, the balance of your macros is the next factor to consider.

The Takehome: Although not everyone needs to count their calories and find their BMR, if you aren’t achieving your goals, or if you’ve been training for a while and have never counted your calories, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. At least do it once. See roughly where you should be at and then figure out how much, on average you are eating. If you are serious about your health and training goals, more calculations might be needed such as the balance of macros and the timing of those macros (meals) relative to training. If you would like to arrange one of these more detailed assessments, or if you have general questions, I am happy to help – just drop me a line.


The Origins of “Don’t Squat Below Parallel!”

Today many are accustomed to performing squats below parallel during their training, but there are still those who remember the old days when it was very common for both trainers and doctors to say that squatting below parallel is dangerous for your knees. Recently, I was asked by several of my clients to explain how this notion came about. I wanted to get as much detail as I could, so I did some digging. It turns out that the credit for the notion that squatting below parallel is dangerous goes to Dr. Klein from the University of Texas. The study at the heart of it all is his 1961 paper in the J. Assoc. Phys. Ment. Rehabil. entitled “The Deep Squat Exercise Utilized in Weight Training For Athletics and Its Effects on the Ligaments of the Knee.”

The Takehome: As usual, the study details are listed below. If you have read this section in any of my other article reviews, you will notice some striking differences. The main difference is that I had a very hard time figuring out what was measured in the study. The methods used aren’t explained. Not being able to understand or recreate the technique(s) used for measurement is a massive problem. Publishing such a study today would be impossible. There are numerous other problems including statistics being unclear and data being tossed in the Conclusions section of the article. As if all this weren’t reason enough to dismiss the article outright (it certainly is), in the closing portion of the article the author admits his techniques for measurement are subjective and says that one needs to just trust him. That, my friends, is not science.


Experimental Design:

  • The study is concerned with squatting during weight training (squats where a weight is lifted up and down).
  • Initially 64 human cadaver knee ligaments (medial, lateral, anterior cruciate (ACL), and posterior cruciate (PCL) were examined in different positions (standing, partial squat, deep squat). Cadaver measurements were made for ligament lengths before and after being pushed into a deep squat.
  • 128 live humans were examined including competitive Weightlifters at the Pan-American Games (all had practiced deep squats) and compared to 386 “Control” humans who were from beginning Weightlifting classes, basketball classes, and gymnastics classes (none had performed any deep squat exercises with weights).
  • The standard orthopedic tests were used to determine ligament status (?…stability??).
  • Data from 95 paratroopers are placed in the conclusions section. Measurements were conducted as for the other groups and paratroopers were compared to the same Control group.


  • The author states that, by looking at all the cadaveric group data, the medial and lateral ligaments are exposed to an abnormal stretch effect in a deep squat.
  • For the Weightlifter/Control Group comparison, the lateral ligament was exposed to a greater stretch than the medial ligament in the deep squat group.
  • In addition, 19.4 % more right lateral ligaments were unstable than right medial ligaments and 12 % more left lateral ligaments unstable than left lateral ligaments.
  • Deep squatters (Weightlifters) had 56% greater medial ligament instability in the right leg and 58% more in the left leg, as compared to Controls.
  • Data from paratroopers showed no differences in ligaments when comparing their right and left legs, but overall their ligaments were weaker than those of the Control Group.


  • The review of literature in the beginning discusses how the knee bones and ligaments behave in weighted squats, but this is not referenced – it doesn’t point to any actual studies.
  • After measuring the “stretch” (difference in length for the ligaments above parallel and deep squat), the author states that, by looking at all the group data, the medial and lateral ligaments are exposed to an abnormal stretch effect in a deep squat. There is no justification for what a normal stretch would be.
  • The Control group isn’t a proper Control group. It is mixed with individuals of different ages, sports backgrounds, and training histories. Further, the deep squatting group is a collection of competitive Weightlifters who are invariably pushing their bodies to extremes in a variety of ways to win medals. This population is not indicative of individuals that would squat for health and fitness.
  • The Chi-Square test is used to determine if groups are different, but in this case the participants in the Weightlifter and Control groups are so different on so many levels that we cannot say these differences are due solely to deep squats.
  • The p-values to indicate statistical significance are unclear as worded. Typically [p] being above 0.1 and 0.5 (as indicated in the study) would indicate no statistical difference for the Weightlifter/Control comparisons.
  • The author indicates standard orthopedic tests to indicate ligament status, but the reader has no idea what those tests are and is left to guess that the status is stability. But how is this stability defined/judged? Bill Starr (author of The Strongest Shall Survive: Strength Training for Football) dug deeper into this on his own and found that the test involved pressing into the ligaments (often paining the participants). There was no procedure to insure equal amounts of pressing among participants, nor any work to indicate that this pressing was a good measure of stability.
  • The x-rays indicating abnormal external rotation are very difficult to read.
  • A major problem lies in the author’s perspective on science. He writes” Realizing the testing procedures used in the study were subjective tests, one has to accept the fact that an experienced tester [the author] is capable of demonstrating the evidence of stability or instability of ligaments with relative ease.” This equates to saying, the testing methods I used are subjective, so you will just have to trust me – I’m a professional. The author then goes on to say, “…one should also discount the factor of causal relationship as a chance relationship because of the medical writings related to the problem of ligament stability and instability as based on the specific movement in question.” This equates to him saying, you have to take the relationship I found as causal and not just random chance because others have written about this issue and have raised these concerns/theories. Neither of these viewpoints is scientifically sound.

How I Program for CrossFit

-1I wrote an in-depth article for the CrossFit Solace blog covering CrossFit programming, with specific emphasis on how I create programming for CrossFit classes in the context of the other classes we offer at Solace (e.g., Gymnastics, Strength, Weightlifting, Mobility, etc.). You can read the full article HERE.


Joining the Hylete Train Team

I have added a “Gear” section to my Product Recommendations Page and the first addition is the clothing company Hylete. Hylete was founded on three principles: 1) Train to push yourself both physically and mentally, 2) Compete so as to improve yourself, as well as those around you and 3) Live to be healthy in mind, body, and soul. I couldn’t agree more. Even better is that they make great products. It took me a while to find a company whose clothing line I felt comfortable training in, but better late than never. I am also happy to report that I am officially part of the Hylete Train Team which means I am part of a group of trainers/coaches who promote the company and encourage others to train with Hylete. This gets my followers some perks – just click on any Hylete link on my site, create a free account, and use promo code (TRT90UF1W) to get 20% off your next purchase.


Book Review – Lean Habits


I was sent a free copy of the book Lean Habits by Georgie Fear. Georgie is a registered dietician and professional nutrition coach who co-founded Georgie has a lot of experience working with clients, helping them achieve their weight loss goals and this book is a road-map to undertaking the challenge yourself.

Who The Book Is For: This book is targeted towards individuals that want to eat healthier and/or lose weight, but are struggling with the processes necessary for those changes. Very often people are eating the wrong foods, eating the wrong quantity of foods, unable to control the timing of their foods, unable to deal with food cravings, unable to separate emotional attachment to foods, and so on. For these people, just telling them where they need to be isn’t enough – they need a progression to get them there.

What The Book Gives You: This book gives you 16 habits that will improve your nutrition and enable you to reduce your body fat if you are overweight. Some habits include, minimizing liquid calories, eating the right amount of fat, shaping your social and physical environment, getting enough sleep. Each habit is presented with an explanation of why it is important (incorporating scientific studies where appropriate), as well as one or more progressions to help make that habit become truly second nature.

Where the Book Excels: This book excels in targeting a specific group of individuals. For those that are very far from a healthy lifestyle, specific, gradual changes are needed. Taking the wrong steps, or going too fast can set them back. This book explains how to improve your eating habits step-by-step, recognizing that the time process may be different for everyone. This book also excels in explaining the science of why things do or do not work. It’s done in a way that is accessible to the average reader, but references are given for those science-minded individuals like myself. Not nearly enough books on exercise and nutrition cite the studies they reference, so I was very pleased with how this was handled.

Areas for Improvement: There is very little I would improve about this book. This is largely because the audience is very clear. The book isn’t targeted to everyone trying to lose weight, so the focus is dialed in. One improvement I would have made is to put numerical references after each study that was cited in the text so it could easily be found in the references section at the end. Also, as the book progresses, a number of studies are mentioned, but authors and journals are not given (only the science), so one has to scan the reference list in the back (which is alphabetical by author) and figure out which study it was based on solely from the description of the science given in the text.

My Final Recommendation: This is a book I plan to keep in my personal library, so if you are someone who has been struggling with the proper behavior for healthy eating habits/weight loss, or if you train such individuals, I would definitely recommend this book.


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