Home Posts tagged "Rants"

Bogus Workouts and The Official Blog of

Today's blog will serve as somewhat of a rant on how pro athletes and their training and nutrition are marketed to consumers.  I'll talk about a few examples, but first I'll pose a question: does NASCAR really need an official laundry detergent?  Anyway, I digress; let's get to the meat and potatoes. About once a week at Cressey Performance, we get a sales pitch - either via email, phone, or in-person - from a supplement salesman.  Generally, this person is not a regular exerciser, and almost all of the time, he/she shows very little knowledge of the product.  However, this individual always has plenty of confidence in its efficacy - which shouldn't be surprising, as these folks are almost always involved in some kind of supplement pyramiding scheme.  Needless to say, I get pretty tired of it. Usually, these salesmen drop the "It's the official <insert product genre here> of <insert pro sports team here> and <insert popular athlete here> swears by it."  An example might be "It's the official calf raise apparatus of Cressey Performance, and Tony Gentilcore swears by it."

Earlier this week, I heard that "XYZ is the official juice of ABC and JKL swears by it" - where ABC is a MLB team.  I couldn't help but laugh, as 74% of my athletes are baseball players (many of them pros) - so you could say that I know nutrition at the pro level pretty well.  If there is going to be an official drink of Major League Baseball, it's probably some kind of beer.  If you think they are pounding this magical Kool-Aid, you've got another thing coming.

Perhaps my favorite marketing scheme is when a magazine publishes a workout program from some pro athlete - and I know it's just flat-out untrue.  How can I be so sure?  I know their strength coach!  We've known for quite some time that editors write the programs for pro bodybuilders in some of the older muscle magazines out there, but nobody seems to grasp that they often do the same for the athletes they profile.  About two years ago, I heard that a 6-10 NBA guy notorious for his long arms and defense and rebounding prowess could bench press 455 pounds.

First off, I knew his strength coach, who told me that he would be lucky to do half that amount.

Second, the risk-reward of that 455 bench press is completely out of whack, and I know there is no way a strength coach (at least one who would like to keep his job at the pro level) would even let an athlete with a huge contract attempt that weight.

Third, I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen anyone bench that much raw.  In each case, they were shorter guys with short arms and big bellies to shorten the range-of-motion.  A 455-bench press is a HUGE raw bench, and the chances of an athlete in a sport with such a huge aerobic component hitting it are slim to none.

Just some food for thought: buyer beware when you hear claims like these.  Feel free to share some of your favorite examples below.

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A Week of My Life I’ll Never Get Back

I’m sure that most of you – particularly the regular readers – have noticed that we haven’t had a blog since Monday. This isn’t like me at all, so I felt the need to explain. In the process, I’ll have to deviate from the normal direction of this blog. For one, I like to keep this blog positive, focusing on training, nutrition, and other themes that are at least loosely related to what I do and what you (hopefully) enjoy. Today, I’ll be a completely bitter propagandist. Rather than write a letter that would be lost in the shuffle with the Better Business Bureau, I figured I’d write directly to people who – for whatever reason – seem to actually take what I write to heart. And two, I’m actually typing this blog into Microsoft Word – not Blogspot directly – for reasons I’ll get to in the paragraphs that follow. So, basically, you’ll probably be reading this after all the events of the past few days have transpired. With those days in mind, I think a quick chronological summary of the past week would be of assistance to you understanding my situation. Third, this is going to be pretty long. Trust me; it’s worth sticking it out. Wednesday, 8/14: My girlfriend and I moved to a new apartment closed to the city. Previously, I had arranged for Comcast to come and set up our internet and cable the following day between 11AM and 1PM. Thursday, 8/15, 9:30AM: We leave for a weekend in Maine with my girlfriend’s family, knowing that everything is under control (riiiiight) with Comcast because my buddy (who lives in the building and is also the landlord’s son) is going to let the technician in and sign off on everything. 12:30PM: I get a call on my cell phone from the technician telling me that our building isn’t wired for Comcast. My first question was “Huh?” This was the only internet provider our landlord told us about for the building, as they have some sort of exclusive deal. My second question was “Why didn’t Comcast inform us of this before scheduling the appointment?” The third question was “What do we need to do to make this happen?” He told me to call RCN for service or get an electrician in to wire us for Comcast. 12:40PM: I call RCN, and they tell me that they have never been in our building. 12:42PM: I call my leasing company, and they affirm that it’s always been an exclusively-Comcast building. They take care of the electrician. A few days later, my buddy tells me that the tenants who lived here before us were here SIX years and never had internet or cable installed. I’m pretty sure that they were actually the two cavemen from the Geico commercial and that they passed their time juggling the severed heads that they stored in their freezer, but that’s a different story. 3PM: I get another call from the technician telling me that he left some of his stuff in our apartment – and he wants to know if he can get back in. My buddy isn’t around anymore, and I’m in central Maine already. Sorry, dude; I’m about as useful as you were this morning (note sarcasm). I don’t know how many of you have seen “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” but toward the end, a delivery guy shows up on Christmas Eve to deliver what Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) thinks is his Christmas bonus. The guy looks completely confused, botched his job (lost the envelope and is delivering it late), and butchers Griswold’s last name when he answers the door. I’m pretty sure our first technician was this dude – minus the holiday wreath around his neck. I half expected him to offer me a “jelly of the month” membership as consolation for his epic inadequacy (which, you’ll find, was verified by at least four separate individuals – two from Comcast – by the end of the story). Sunday, 2:30PM: After a nice weekend in Maine, I call Comcast on the ride back, and find out from a service associate (SA, from here on out, although I’m sure I could come up with some better terms for them) that they can actually get us in on Tuesday morning between 8AM and 12PM. I’m ecstatic, as they had originally told me that we’d need to wait over a week. I book it without hesitation, and they guys confirms everything for us. See you on Tuesday morning; I make sure Brian and Tony can cover at the gym for me. Tuesday, 11:45-11:55AM: After just under four hours of waiting, I call Comcast to see what’s up. I get through to a SA, and she tells me that a “note was placed” on my account to be there between 8 and 12 on Tuesday, but it wasn’t actually put in the system. What that means, I don’t know. The SA starts throwing out times for next week that they can come out to install our service. Huh? You stand me up, waste four hours of my day, and I’m rewarded with another week of waiting? I think I need to speak to a supervisor. So, this precious little SA transfers my call – and I’m cut off while I’m on hold. I swear like a sailor, and continue to pace in my apartment as redial their number. You can’t trust chimps with anything. 11:56-11:59AM: I once again get cut off as I’m going through their obnoxious main menu (and no, for the 800th time, I don’t want to do this call in Spanish). 12:00-12:15PM: I get through and after informing the SA that I’ve been cut off twice, I am put through to a supervisor after another ten minutes on hold. Amazingly, the call transfer actually works this time. Apparently, I’m the only one who thinks it’s incredible that we can put a man on the Moon on our first try, but it takes 47 all-out efforts to transfer a call. 12:16-12:30PM: I make it through to SA #2’s supervisor, who speaks the most broken English I have ever heard. I don’t know his ethnicity, but when he talked, it kind of sounded like a billy goat making not-so-sweet love to a tuba. After some perseverance and a lot of “huhs,” I finally start to figure out what he’s saying after I’ve related my situation, consulted my “Gibberish for Dummies” guidebook, and cracked a can of Spike. First off, he apologizes profusely and confirms that it was, in fact, a big mistake on their end. I make it clear that I took four hours off from work at the facility, require the internet to do much of my job, and that waiting a week is simply not an option. He gives me his word that someone will be here on Wednesday between 8AM and 12PM. Installation will be free, and he puts a credit on our account (I didn’t even ask what kind of credit; I just wanted to be done with it for the day). Things are a go; luckily, Wednesday isn’t quite as crazy a day at the facility for me, so I can work with it and Tony can cover the 12-1PM group, which is only three athletes. Perfect. Interestingly, I sent a text to Mike Robertson as I was leaving the apartment to drive to work. He texts me back to tell me that Comcast’s “incompetence is legendary.” Apparently, they screwed up a bunch of stuff with him, too! I start to wonder if these guys didn’t like the Magnificent Mobility DVD or something. I joke with one of our pro athletes about it as I walk in, and her smile immediately turns to a straight face as she replies, “I hate that s**t.” I guess that’s why her email ends in verizon.net. 3:15PM: I’ve been coaching for over two hours by now, and SA #3 leaves me a voicemail that I missed my appointment; apparently, a Comcast technician was standing at the door to our building and we weren’t responding (probably because he was three hours late and never called me). We’ve got the appointment already scheduled for tomorrow, so I shrug it off. Wednesday, 10:30-10:37AM: After waiting 2.5 hours, I call Comcast to check on the status of our technician. I seemingly nice old female SA is incredibly friendly and helpful (to the point that I didn’t even think she was confused like the rest of them) and she confirms that there is still, in fact, a technician on his way. Sweet; I’ve only wasted 6.5 hours right now, so there is still some hope of salvation. As it turns out, this SA was about as accurate as Helen Keller playing darts on a merry-go-round. 11:45AM-12:00PM: Still waiting, I call back to check on things. As I’m on the phone with SA #5 to check on the status of the technician we were promised, I happen to be looking out our fifth-story window – only to see a Comcast van drive by. He never even tapped his brakes; he’s not ours. Stupid tease. Long story short, she informs me that we have nothing scheduled. Zero. Nada. Practically ready to flip out, I think back to what Dale Carnegie wrote: “The best way to win an argument is to avoid it altogether.” So, I stay calm and clearly illustrate how utterly unacceptable it is – and how it has actually escalated from unacceptable to flat-out disrespectful. She starts trying to “accommodate” me with a 12-4 or 4-7 time slot on that same day – which would essentially mean that I’d work an 11-hour day for Comcast. Neither of these will work, as Tony needs to be out of the office from 2:30PM on, so it’s my show to cover. Plus, I’m meeting with two of my high school guys to talk about college stuff. I think for a second about how I could book the 4-7PM time slot and just assume that they’d show up at 9PM or not at all, but figured I wouldn’t risk it. She says she has nothing available Thursday morning, so I ask to be transferred to a supervisor – and she starts to make it happen. Right before this confused SA transfers me, she informs me that she’s going to make sure that a $20 credit is put on my account. I actually started cracking up, at this point; it had been nine hours of waiting at this point, which would put the dollar value on my time at $2.22/hour. Factor in that I have to light and air condition my apartment while I’m waiting for them, and it’s probably not even break-even. 12:00-12:30PM – I get through to the supervisor, explain all that’s gone on, and see what we can do. He’s basically the Godsend I needed – or so I hope. He guarantees the 8AM-12PM time slot for today – and even calls back later on to confirm that he’s spoken to the regional director to make it a priority. He leaves me his direct contact info in case anything goes wrong. It seems to be a go. 1:50PM – The painful irony truly kicked in when I arrived at CP and found that there were two Comcast vans parked right outside our door. There is actually a Comcast location in our building, but they don’t cover the part of Boston in which I live. If any of them ever want to jump on the corporate fitness bandwagon in the building, they will be only be doing sled drags and barbell Bulgarian split squats…forever. Thursday, 9:32AM (today): Here I sit, typing this blog, again waiting for Comcast to arrive. I actually just a got a call from the regional director saying that he is personally overseeing our situation, and he passes along his contact info in case a technician is not here by 11:30AM. 9:59AM-10:15AM: The electricians just came back. As it turns out, they wired the wrong apartment on Friday. Still, everything should be all set. 10:22AM: The Comcast technician (who speaks very little English) arrived, so the electricians stuck around to see what the heck they missed the other day, as things seemed to be all set. He’s got an Arizona Diamondbacks hat on, and my buddy works for the D-Backs and is a really bright dude, so I’m hoping that it’s a good omen. 10:30-10:33AM: Apparently, one of our splitters is, in fact, in the bottom of our bathroom closet. While there was a pseudo electrical orgy taking place in my living room, I decided to excuse myself to go to the restroom. The technician followed me in and closed the door, basically cornering me in my own bathroom as knelt down in the closet and blocked my exit. Awkward, to say the least. I’ve never been trapped in any bathroom before, let alone with someone who doesn’t speak enough English to know to let me out when I ask for my freedom. Three minutes felt like an eternity; I’ve got even more reason to vote for McCain now. Being a prisoner of war (even if it is with Comcast, and takes place over the phone and in the bathroom) is a life-changing experience. 10:39AM: He’s drilling a hole in my wall (possibly looking for oil, or maybe just to pretend that he’s actually accomplishing something), and I need to get ready to head to CP, so I’m signing off with this one after a few notes: 1. I have, in fact, given Comcast approximately 12 hours of my life in the past week. At my $2.22/hour wage (which is actually on the high side now, considering that I’ve added three hours to the total) – and assuming a net income of 65% after taxes, I would need to work 639,000 hours to become a millionaire in Comcast’s eyes. Assuming a 40-hour work week and 52 weeks/year, I could do it by the time I turn 308 years old. If our government repeats the economic stimulus check of $300 each year, though, I can afford to take 208 hours off from work each year – more than a week’s vacation time – and still reach my goal in less than four centuries! 2. As a funny little side, this morning, my girlfriend went for a run and said that I should go with her. I told her I couldn’t make it, as I was working for Comcast – again – today. I might get a promotion if I log double-digit hours for them this week (late addition: I have, in fact, topped 13 hours at this point). 3. I had no hesitation in writing five pages in Word to create this blog. Ridiculous service mandates ridiculous sarcasm and detail. 4. All that said, if you have the option, go with RCN, Verizon, or even that illegal immigrant outside your apartment who doesn’t mind holding up an antenna for you 24/7. We are stuck in a mini-monopoly with our building, and right now, I’d rather get a colonscopy with a firehose than finance Comcast’s hopeless incompetence each month. I’m considering paying in pennies from now on. 5. It’s now 11:38AM, and our cable is running. However, the signal isn't strong enough to split it for both cable and internet - or even to just go directly to the modem, which requires more sauce. So, the electrician is going to need to come back to rewire. Had the schmuck from last Thursday known this, we wouldn't be here right now. 6. Huge kudos goes out to our landlord, though; he's been awesome in making good things happen. I'm posting this at the facility at 1:45PM and they should be resolving it by the time I get home. We shall see...
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Confessions of an Ex-Ironman

I have a confession to make: I'm an ex-Ironman. Sure, in late July, 2006, in Lake Placid, NY, I crossed the line following a 140.6 mile endurance event, but, following that race, mental weakness prevailed. This story shouldn't take away from the accomplishments of those who have tried and missed, succeeded once, or succeeded many, it's a lesson I learned from the heart of sport (not just triathlon). You see, training for any event takes many successfully repeated steps, over a long period of time; nothing of merit can be accomplished in short bursts of over-enthused effort. The mental divide between these two approaches is immeasurable. The ability start a long-term training program months to years before the true pay-off is a hurdle in and of itself, but, an athlete must package that with the same mental strength to overcome the tests of each daily workout. 52 weeks from your first event, pulling only five reps when you sat down for six might not seem like too much of a miss, but 52 reps later... you've missed a lot. Ask yourself: When you've set your mind on six and you come away with five... we're you listening to your body or your mind? Is it the same? There's the rub. The most successful people accomplish their goals by delaying gratification; as a species that has survived by seeking instant gratification, this is no easy feat. The strength effects, from that one missed rep may be minimal but that mental decision, to avoid a second... or two.. of pain, creates another mental brick that must be broken. Not only are you not getting that strength benefit, you're actually working backwards in the mental game. The mental game is hard enough, there's no need to make it harder. Leading up to my 2006 Ironman, I had days where I set the bar down early, took a bit too much time between sprints, or didn't bring my "A game" to my training hours. With 13 miles left in the closing marathon, I thought I had passed the brick wall... then it hit me. I was dehydrated, hungry, and my legs ached more than words could describe; my mind told me to stop running. I should've been prepared for it... 13 miles... the last few reps, but I started walking... and I wouldn't get back to running until that last half mile to the Olympic Oval. Eventually crossing the line, the glory was still there [and still is], but the mental defeat would keep me away from triathlon over a year. So here I am, a year and a half later, building back to register as a born again Ironman. Watch for mental bricks. Long term, dedicated training is more about the metal accomplishment than anything else; it's a commitment to your goal. - Jon Boyle jb@ericcressey.com Is your plan structured for long-term success? LearnThe Art of The Deload
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Six Lost Lifters

I'm normally somewhat of a bookworm and science geek, although – to blow a little sunshine up my own butt – I have to say, I'm getting better at reading people. T-Nation has been great for me in this regard. Your ordinary trainer might be exposed to 20 different clients in a week, and a typical collegiate strength coach might encounter 100 to 150 athletes over the course of a week. Like many others in this biz, I've been fortunate to experience both of those realms. However, I do have a few legs up on my colleagues in this regard. I routinely get dozens of emails each day from readers, and have the opportunity to interact with the T-folk on our Author's Locker Room threads and at seminars. I can also chat with other coaches, trainers, writers, and therapists on a daily basis. So, effectively, I get a broader pool of athletes, coaches, health care professionals, rehab patients, and ordinary weekend warriors from which to form my perspective on things. Sounds like a lead-in to my memoirs, huh? Shut up and get to the point already! Okay, you don't have to tell me twice. On the six-hour drive back from the D.C. T-Fest, I spent some time pondering who the typical T-Nation reader is. Hell, I'm writing articles for this typical lifter, so I might as well stop to consider what he really is. After a few hours, it came to me: there is no "typical" T-Nation reader! In fact, based on all the individuals I encountered in D.C., it was readily apparent that while all these folks had come to D.C. because they obviously wanted knowledge to help them achieve their goals, they all needed to be told different things – even in the broadest sense. With that in mind, I came to identify six types of lifters that I see on a daily basis. Below, I'll describe them and offer some suggestions on how to get the ball rolling if you realize you're one of these lost individuals. Read More Experience the Event that took 30 Trainers, Coaches, and Athletes, to the Next Level Eric Cressey
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Warning: Not Training Related!

On an average day, I get between 75 and 100 emails - probably 1/3 of which are random inquiries about training, nutrition, supplementation, corrective exercise - you name it. Let's assume that each email takes three minutes to read and answer. That's 75 minutes per day answering random emails - doable, although it goes without saying that I'll perpetually be behind given the other competing demands in my life. I'm all for helping people out, and I do my best to get to everything. However, I thought this might be a good avenue to note that shorter inquiries that can be answered quickly are always going to be handled more promptly than, well, something like this. "I have done some reading on the articles that you have wrote up on t-nation. It seems like you very knowledgeable, and know what you are talking about. What I was contacting you about is that I am having some problems, and pains that I was wanting to ask you, and I was really wanting know if you could maybe help me out, as this has been really bothering me. "The main thing that I am training for is American Football. I actually haven't been on the field, and played for about 4 years now I think, maybe longer. I really want to get back on the field, and start playing though. I was training so I can go ahead, and maybe start playing at the collage level. The thing about it, is that I have develop some problems, and pains that have kept me from training like I want to. Actually it has kept me from not training at all. "The first problem I am having is a constant pain in the left side of my upper back. I would say this pain has been there for about a year, and a half now, maybe longer. It feels like it is right under the scapula. Now this injury I believe came when I was doing power cleans. I was doing them in my basement. While doing them it felt like I was catching the weight wrong when I brought the bar to my shoulders. It felt like I was bending, and catching the bar more on my left side then right side. While doing those I felt a little bit of pain in my back. "So I stopped doing them. Next time I was training, I started to do power cleans again, but this time I was just trying to work on form. Then (don't know what I was thinking) added some weight to the bar. The lift was kind of heavy, but this time when I power cleaned it, and I brought the weight to my shoulders again. I felt like I was leaning to the left again to catch the bar, and this time I felt a really sharp pain in my back that time. So I stopped the lift, and didn't do them for awhile, as I was trying to let whatever I had done heal itself. Well it has been over a year, and it hasn't healed yet. The pain is basically constant, and I even wake up with the pain in my upper back. Now that I haven't been training at all (I will let you know really why I haven't been training with the other problem I am having) I have been on my computer allot. My monitor doesn't have an adjustment to it, and I notice I slouch over allot when I am on my computer. Now with the pain I am having in my back, I now think I might have some postural problems from slouching over on the computer allot. I have also devolved this popping sound around the area where my pain is at now sometimes when I take a deep breath. The left side of my back feels really stiff also. "Now the main problem I have been having that has kept me from training is this lower leg problem I have been having with my right leg. How this happened was when I was stretching to get ready to squat. I was squatting down (couldn't keep my heals on the ground when squatting), and I was up on the balls of my feet. I would try, and bend as far back as I could, and try, and get my heels to touch the ground. Then I would put a barbell to try, and add an extra stretch. Well this time while I was up on the balls of my feet, with the barbell on my quads. I was stretching but I really wasn't trying to sit back. I tried to just put pressure on the ankles as I thought that was the reason why I couldn't get my heels to stay on the ground. While doing this, I started to feel this weird sensation comming from the outside of my lower leg. So I got up, and checked around the area, and noticed that I had a little lump there. To tell you the truth I really didn't think much of it, and just stopped doing it, and just went on to squatting. Now the next time I went to squatting, I did the same thing. This time while doing it. I started to feel that same sensation again, but this time I heard a slight pop. So I got up to check the area again, and now there was a bigger lump there. I could really notice where it was at. The lump starts from a little bit above the ankle on the side of the leg, and continues down into the ankle. This time I stopped all the training. "I didn't train for about 2 weeks, to try, and let it heal. I noticed that it wasn't healing up though, and that I felt like I was walking on the side of my foot now. So when I tried squatting again, I felt like I was squatting on the side of my foot, and my ankle felt really tight. I then started to develop some knee pain. Now with the squatting on the side of my foot, and the knee pain, I had to stop squatting. At the time my training was basically allot of squatting (Doing the Olympic lifts) so I had to stop training for awhile. "Now this went on for about 6 months, or so, and it just stayed the same. So I finally got in contact with a sports ankle, and specialist. He told me that I have a hernia in my lower leg, and that is what was causing the knee pain. I asked about the lump, and he said that it had nothing to do with the pain I am having. So I went ahead, and had the surgery done. Took about 3 months for recovery. After the recovery I still noticed that I felt like I am still walking on the side of my foot, and my ankle still feels tight. The lump is still there also. So I tried squatting again, and I am feeling the same thing. I am not feeling the knee pain anymore, but I am still squatting on the side of my foot. If I try, and squat with my foot evenly, the side where the lump is feels like it is pushing my ankle inward, and it forces my knee, and hips to go inward instead of outward, and my hip feels tight if I do it that way also. If I squat down on the side of my foot it then it feels like my knees, and hips or going outward like they should be, and no tightness in my hip, but then I feel off balance. I can't go back to the foot, and ankle specialist, because I still have to make some payments to them. So I really can't do much right now, but see if you can do anything for me. I also don't want to go through anymore surgeries. "So as you can see I have a pain in left upper back, and a problem with the right lower leg. Also, forgot to say that I know feel like I am leaning more to left side then my right side now. Didn't mean to write so much, it's just that this is really bothering me, and keeping me from doing what I want to do. I haven't trained in about a year, or so because of this, and I really want to get back to training. So I am just asking you, if you could maybe help me out, and let me know what I can do? If you need anymore information let me know. Thanks." If you made it all the way through this one, I'm impressed - because I couldn't! If your shoulder hurts, please just tell me so in a matter of 4-5 sentences. I don't need to know your favorite color, the reason your mother didn't love you, or how you have a weird rash.
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Back on Track

I’m back in the US after a great trip to the UK. A huge thanks go out to Dave Fleming and Nick Grantham for all their hard work in organizing the weekend event and to playing such great hosts to me over the course of my visit. Likewise, I want to extend my thanks to Scott White and Daniele Selmi for pulling together an outstanding seminar in Oxford, showing me around town, and all the hospitality. And, above all, I want to thank everyone who came out to the seminars. As I mentioned on more than one occasion during my visit, I’m really humbled by the fact that people across the world actually care about what I have to say! With that said, I really appreciate your continued support and hope that you enjoyed the seminar as much as I enjoyed interacting with you. I look forward to visiting again soon!

These blogs are supposed to be about content, so I’ll come right out and say that I was an idiot for not packing any Greens Plus for the trip. I’ve got a lot of veggies to eat in the next week to try to catch up!

Keep an eye out for some pictures and more thoughts on the trip as soon as I’m caught up on work and sleep.

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Power What!?

As many of you know, I’m headed out to the UK on Thursday to speak at three seminars in six days – and see some of the sights and work with some great athletes while I’m out there. With that said, it goes without saying that the beginning of this week is pretty busy. I’m working out the plan for my in-person athletes and clients, online consulting clients, and making sure all the pieces are in place for my online stuff to run smoothly in my absence. So, as you can imagine, I am very busy and very focused right now. That is, I was focused until I saw a sign last night that nearly made me drive off the road:

Power Yoga

Here’s an oxymoron that ranks right up there with Jumbo Shrimp and Deafening Silence.

I’ll give a gold star to anyone who can tell me how an activity where you stay in one place for an hour, move slowly and rhythmically, and try to relax can possibly be powerful.

Call me a physics geek – or just a cynical bastard – but I’m not buying it either way.

(For those who missed it, check out Yoga This and Pilates That

Eric Cressey

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Is This Gatorade!?

Day in and day out, athletes are exposed to an onslaught of advertisements, most promising what they all want: increased performance. Something as simple as Gatorade has become the king of marketing and endorsements, the Gatorade Sports Institute is one of the leading researchers in athlete hydration. It is a wonder that such a praised product can also be so unpredictable. The product Gatorade is sound, as well as the science behind it; the problem is not the product, but the company.

Undoubtedly, Gatorade is one of the most researched products purchased by athletes (millions of them). Recently, many other companies have released similar products to compete with Gatorade, but the need to establish revenue has led to short changed products. After all, when Gatorade controls the market, the theory is to create a cheaper product to steal back the market. Companies like Powerade and All Sport, develop a product "exactly-like" Gatorade but cheaper.

To many athletes they appear the same, many just dismiss Powerade for being a bad product because it legitimately does not digest as well as Gatorade. This isn't just a "gut feeling", science supports this, as the main ingredient in Powerade is High Fructose Corn Syrup. Now, the actual debate of Fructose as a glycogen replenisher is a whole topic by itself, but all would agree, in the athletic environment, Dextrose / Glucose is superior. In fact, in the Fluid Replacement Position Statement released by the National Athletic Trainers' Association, and headed by esteemed hydration researcher and guru Doug Casa, ATC, PhD., the researchers suggest that athletes limit fructose. The statement goes on to recommend that no more than 2-3% of the solution be comprised of fructose.

This provides a bit more insight as to why many athletes have a better experience (barring endorsement temptations) with powdered Gatorade. The story doesn't end there. Many athletes, for the sake of time and money, will train on Gatorade powder as it is far cheaper. These same athletes will often experience problems in competition where preparing your own Gatorade is nearly impossible. The majority, if not all, endurance events have moved from made-from-concentrate Gatorade to ready-to-drink Gatorade, or similar sports drink. This creates many problems, as Gatorade itself has fallen to a similar fate as Powerade: Ready-to-drink Gatorade now has a main ingredient of High Fructose Corn Syrup.

If there is one thing to learn in the supplement industry, it is to avoid ready-made drinks. Ready-to-drink protein supplements, and now ready-to-drink sports drinks are far inferior to even their same-brand concentrate counterparts. Gatorade powder, lists the main ingredients as Sucrose and Dextrose, very different from a syrup concoction of fructose. While many will note that Sucrose is in fact a disaccharide sugar of glucose and fructose, it still is not the primary ingredient. It is more important that the proper sugars are available to prevent the body from having to rely entirely on fructose.

From my own digestion issues, I have learned to train and race on the same powdered Gatorade. There is absolutely no indication that the quality of ready-to-drink products will improve, simply because most companies will not trade out profits to improve a product many do not know needs improvement.

Train Smart,
Jon Boyle
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Basketball had Michael Jordan. Hockey had Wayne Gretzky. Martial Arts had Bruce Lee. Their abilities transcended mere stardom and redefined their sports. It's about time all bloggers recognize that we're all just humble villagers next to Bill Simmons - AKA Sports Guy. Eric Cressey
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