Posts made in September, 2013


This is the same interval timer I loved for its simplicity and ease of use when I used to have an iPhone. It beats the pants off its competitors in its clean visual layout. I’m no longer an iPhone owner, and in the gap before I got another Android phone, I needed a web timer I could use for my workouts. I was happy to find that the makers of the iOS app I loved have provided the same simple, bold user interface online – for free! The interface has a +/- button for quick adjustments in one-second increments; initially I thought this was the only way to adjust the intervals, but this is just a weakness of the user interface. By clicking the large + sign on the top navigation (next to SOUND: ON setting), you can enter the intervals numerically, and also name and save up to 100 presets. Excellent. Bottom line: This is a great free app, easy to use and visually appealing. For simple intervals, I haven’t seen better. I can also recommend the iOS version based on my previous experience, and suspect that the Android app would be a good bet...

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The Pursuit Of Fitness

The Pursuit Of Fitness


Posted By on Sep 29, 2013

The pursuit of fitness can be a joyless, grinding affair, beginning with a new year’s commitment and ending in disappointment, resignation, and wasted effort. Or, it can be an empowering, lifelong journey of realizing your unique human potential; looking, feeling, and performing better; and becoming your best self.   If you believe the extent of fitness to be boring machine-based exercise driven by ego-centric goals, or a joyless obedience to exhausting routines and calorie-restricted diets, please allow me to shatter your preconceptions and introduce a much greater possibility.     Fitness is much more than most people give it credit for. It encompasses performance, health, and lifestyle. It is about our brains, bones and immune system, not just muscle mass. It is about vitality, hormonal balance, and regeneration, not just weight loss. It is about cultivating self-knowledge, confidence, and a pursuit of excellence, not just physical skill.   In this multi-part series, I’ll share with you the core perspective and attitude which will elevate your pursuit of fitness from physical drudgery to a life-transforming pursuit. I’ll define functional fitness, and discuss the three major goals of fitness, as well as some important additional benefits. The final article in the series will outline the basic principles and practical components of an effective approach to exercise and nutrition.   What does it the possibility of extraordinary fitness mean to you? Tell me about it in the...

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To Pace, Or Not To Pace?

To Pace, Or Not To Pace?


Posted By on Sep 17, 2013

To pace or not to pace in your workouts? That is the question for the day. Pacing is an extremely valuable principle and skill which focused, high-intensity training helps to develop. I favor pacing for most metabolic conditioning efforts, and of course, pacing is at the heart of both long-distance endurance events and high-load strength training with defined rest intervals. In fact, all-out efforts are a very unique stimulus, and not to be used without a purpose. They are extremely taxing, and increase the burden of recovery. The role of pacing is to maintain muscular freshness (capacity for tension in posture, strength and power) throughout the workout, while increasing work density for metabolic effect (cardio). It’s a balancing act, no doubt about that. “Maximum pace” is another way of saying “maximum intensity”; but it’s useful to distinguish the kinds of maximum intensity. Note that these definitions can apply both to strength/power training and to metcon/endurance efforts. Type 1 Max: All-Out Effort Maximum subjective intensity from beginning to end of the effort. This will be a lower average power output, due to the fatigue and exhaustion generated early in the effort, but a higher peak power output at the start. Type 2 Max: Paced Max Effort Maximum objective intensity that can be achieved through intelligent pacing. This will be a higher average power than Type 1, but with a lower peak power output. To understand this fully, it will be helpful to clarify a few more terms: Average Power vs. Peak Power: Average power output relates to a defined workload/timeframe and is generally measured in minutes or hours. Peak power output refers to the momentary maximum power expressed. Subjective/Relative vs. Objective/Absolute Intensity: Relative or subjective intensity has to do with the percentage of your personal best, in that moment, on that day, in those circumstances. Absolute or objective intensity refers to measurable work output over time, in other words, average power. Where does that leave us for general strength & conditioning efforts? Here are my recommendations: Rules of stamina and recovery: You cannot achieve maximum work density by going all-out to failure early in an endurance effort If your goal is to combine results in both metabolic effect and power-endurance, your best strategy is to pace yourself. Avoid going to failure so you stay relatively fresh on your efforts. You’ll get more cardio and strength/power this way. If you goal is to maximize muscular growth and systemic hormonal effects, all-out efforts to failure may be a better method or important complement to pacing...

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This is an excellent synopsis of Mark Rippetoe’s quintessential barbell training manual, Starting Strength, written by Michael Wolf of Wolf Strength And Conditioning. Starting Strength is a must-read, in my opinion, for anyone into serious, lifelong fitness, because (in the developed world at least) barbell training is an essential component, or at least phase, of any complete physical preparedness program. Fitocracy’s Knowledge Center has just published a great synopsis of this important strength training foundation. I recommend it for anyone not already expert in barbell training, or as an overview of the text if you’re considering buying it. Read the article here: Official Starting Strength Guide for Fitocrats | Fitocracy Knowledge Center....

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