From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 9 (And a wrap up talk for the week)

 

It’s 3 minutes of the most basic plank tutorial and then 4 minutes of philosophizing about Inspiration V Motivation. At one point this video was 16 minutes long, I got a little rambly.

But I think it will resonate. Being a total beginner is great, you can do no wrong because everything’s an experiment, everything’s a learning experience, and you’re better off backing away than pushing through because you’re more likely to get injured. At some point though you transistion to being a late-stage beginner, still a beginner but it’s time to baby yourself a little less.

At first you use inspiration to build habits and once they’re built you use motivation to maintain them. Other than that I think I say it pretty well in the video…

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From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 6

Like so many great things in life the answer is books, big piles of books.

 

You can train your grip strength by gripping anything really but wider is better because you’re using real squeezing force generated by muscles rather than curling something in your fingers and letting gravity play a part.

Really almost all exercise is about working against gravity as obtrusively as you can, now that I think about it. So be difficult in your battle against gravity, taunt it.

Look at me gravity, I’m doing pull ups, temporarily escaping your hold on my earthly body. Oh gravity you’d like to pull this stack of books from my hand but my mighty forearms prevent you, ha ha.

It’s okay, be a weirdo. It’ll make training better.

Studying Up On The Heart Impact Of Running

Marathon running is bad for your heart, there I said it.

It’s been coming across my desk a bit lately, most recently last night reading The Longevity Paradox, that yeah running marathons puts chronic stress on your heart and builds up scar tissue and unreversible calcium deposits. Really I’ve been bummed about it since I heard Micah True died after Born To Run.

To me it means it’s important to recover properly and to take an off season. And it reinforces the spiritual connection between ultra-runners and addicts, like we have to do something that’s killing us to feel alive. In running, like drinking, it’s important to abstain sometimes, do it in moderation most of the time, and have the occasional binge so that too much sanity doesn’t drive you nuts.

As I’m reading more on it you do have to be running a fucking lot and ignoring warning signs for the few people who that runner’s heart really happens to. 15 – 20 miles a week is apparently the sweet spot for running health and that’s a lot of miles as far as the vast majority of people, even runners, are concerned.

What I’m curious about is if you can build up your health with intervals and other cardio to make running quicker to recover from and less damaging acutely. And as I’m wading deep into I found this gem: Favorable left ventricular remodeling and increased left ventricular ejection fraction occurred after HIIT …which hopefully means I’m right…

I’ll let you know more as I find it, in the meantime pray for Karnazes

Book Review: The Virility Paradox by Charles J. Ryan

The title sounds like a paperback thriller but it’s the subtitle that hooked me; The Vast Influence Of Testosterone On Our Bodies, Minds, And The World We Live In.

And of course the book proves its point, I’m astonished at the effects of testosterone. What’s most interesting is when you give test to low test people they become more focused on systems and less on feelings.

People with what Chuck calls the Virility Triad (high fetal testosterone, high androgen receptors – meaning the body’s ability to receive test -, as well as high testosterone itself) get tunnel vision, collect things, love to win, track numbers, etc.

The thing is, it’s true regardless of gender. In fact if you simply give a woman with baseline female levels of testosterone a bunch more she’ll become more systematized and less empathetic. And feel an increased love of winning.

Testosterone and dopamine are closely linked and there’s a feed-forward mechanism with both, the more you get the more your body designs itself to receive. So winning at something gives you a boost of testosterone which makes you more likely to win, and to want to win, at something else. You want to know who has high levels of testosterone? Trial Lawyers. Makes sense now doesn’t it?

Now of course female athletes have more than average testosterone and success tracks upward with it, some even have T levels that are naturally as high as if they were doping and are so successful the sports don’t know exactly what to do about that. It’s a natural advantage like height or muscle fiber so you don’t want to dampen it but if no amount of training will get other women up to that level then should they be allowed to supplement?

Maybe in the future instead of gender-based divisions in sport it’ll go by base-testosterone.

Just when the book has you convinced that boosting your testosterone would be inherently great it gets into the effect on rape and massacres so don’t go running to your pharmacist. But a little boost, by working out or priming with virile images, can help you get stuff done.

It’s also interesting that lowering testosterone, which happens naturally to men as they age, makes one more nurturing and interested in the feelings of others. The book has a bit to say about the role of grandfathers from an evolutionary perspective that’s quite touching.

Speaking of touching, oxytocin causes T levels to drop as well, which again makes sense because evolution wouldn’t favor someone being organized and aggressive when cuddling his mate or offspring.

All in all, great book. Read it if you see it.