Breath…

Breathing.
Or rather WHY we breathe.   Many of you may think you know the answer to the question of why we breathe, but let me talk a little about why it is we really breathe.  You are probably thinking, come on Dutch, we all know you breathe to get oxygen into the body.  You tell me that and I will tell you are wrong.

What really causes us to breathe is the LACK of oxygen in our body.  We breathe because there is too much carbon dioxide (CO2) in our cells which signals our body to exhale and try to get that CO2 out of the body.  We don’t breathe to get oxygen, we breathe to get CO2 out.  Sound like it makes a little sense?

breathe

So next time you are gasping for breath, think about getting all the CO2 out of your body by long exhales instead of gulping at the air like its going to make you feel better.  Slow your breathing and extend the exhale and i guarantee you will get your breathing under control quicker than if you are taking short gulping breathes.

-Dutch Lowy

Tuesday S&C Workout:
Cl+FS+JK x1+1+1,
plank x3;

EMOM x8
6 Thrusters

The Key for YOUR Success

Finding the key to YOUR success is really one of the hardest things to do now-a-days in fitness and health. Unfortunately ,we have been mislead by those we are supposed to trust the most and therefore are left with an empty feeling when it comes to finding the right thing. Sometimes the right thing for you goes against what some of the experts say is right.key

It’s unfortunate that we have been put into this cookie cutter lifestyle where “experts” tell us one thing is right for everyone; whether it’s diet, exercise, sleep of stress. Don’t get me wrong, if there was one answer for everyone, my job would be much easier and I wouldn’t have to learn so damn much, but in reality, and you already know this, WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT.

At Black Box Fort Worth we embrace that. We understand that an effective fitness program for one person includes only weightlifting, while for another it may include some running and for another, it may include a lower stress exercise program. We also see this in your diet. What works very well for me, may not show you the results you want or in fact push you the other way on the spectrum of health.

For this simple reason, WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT, Black Box Fort Worth takes the time to sit down with each new member and come up with a plan that suits them and supports their goals. Interested in finding out what is best for you? Call or email to set up an appointment TODAY!

Wednesday S&C Workout:
KB Floor Press x6,
Wt pullup x4;

3 sets:
40 sec jump rope,
15 sec L Sit hang,
Rest 2 min

Strength Training for the Endurance Athlete

Today I want to talk to those that insist on going long  in workouts (longer than 30 minutes). I want to quickly clarify that I am talking to the people that are endurance athletes (runners, rowers, cyclists etc…).

For those of you that enjoy this type of activity, I am sure you have experienced many of the fun syndromes, tendonitis (word?), and over use injuries. These are the fun parts of endurance and I’m sure something most of you have experienced. A friend of mine, Dr Brian Mulhall, is the expert of putting you back together AFTER injury; but what do you do to prevent that injury from happening?

Let’s take a deeper look at these sports as a whole and dissect what is happening and how to prevent any future issues. The first point to realize is that your training session consist of tons, I mean TONS of volume. In my world (weightlifting) a decent amount of volume for a day is less than 50 repetitions of work sets. For a runner going for a short 2 mile run you may end up with something like 3200 repetitions provided your stride is just over 1 yard. You also have to understand that each time your foot hits the ground, up to 4 times the force of your bodyweight is being absorbed by your body. Different running techniques will absorb force differently but doesn’t change the amount of repetitions at a shortened range of motion. Consequently in weightlifting I can barely squat double my bodyweight for more than 5 reps at a time.

swim bike run

So, what happens with all that volume? Not even looking at the pounding your joints are taking, it is a simple physiologic fact that high amounts of volume done at the same training session results in muscle endurance, but NOT muscle growth and even a bit of a catabolic (Muscle Breakdown) effect. Everyone knows that if you want big muscles you don’t go run 10 miles, right? Provided we have good movement patterns (good running form) you should be able to run to infinity provided we have proper fueling which is another post in itself.

With the above little tidbits in mind, it would only make sense that to combat the catabolic effects of endurance training you would want to add in some Anabolic (Muscle Building) training. To understand this we have to look at what types of exercise there are.
Exercise can be divided into 3 parts.

1. Strength training (1-6 reps) – Due to the way the muscles are stimulated and the intensity (read this as the amount of weight you can move relative to a maximum effort), this causes muscles to activate and strengthens connective tissue. You can think of the effects as being neurological. Basically, your nerves learn how to activate more muscle fibers. I like to explain this by looking at people that are the same lean body mass as your self, but can move way more weight. It’s not muscle mass, it’s muscle activation. This is good for endurance athletes.

2. Muscle Hypertrophy (7-15 reps) – The added volume (reps) and reduced load gives the muscles more time under tension (they are active longer) and causes muscles to grow. This is good and commonly what people think about when they think of strength training unless you have a strength related background. The purpose of this training is to stimulate muscle growth and make your muscles bigger. It is also the fastest way to get beginners stronger in the world of strength training. This is good for endurance athletes.

3. Muscle Endurance (16 reps and more) – This is your sport (endurance people). Running, rowing, swimming and biking as we saw above is tons of volume in a repetitive motion and causes catabolism of muscles and is why you rarely see big bulky endurance athletes.

From a pure training standpoint, endurance athletes need strength and hypertrophy training. Strength training builds strong connective tissue around the joints and muscles and provides stability in joints. Hypertrophy training counteracts the catabolic effects of endurance training while growing muscle and creating a more cushioned body. Muscle mass is important for things other than looks. It is very active in a couple hormonal cascades that are beyond the scope here, but trust me, they are very important.

-Dutch Lowy

Monday S&C Workout:
DB burpee broad jumps x2,
BS x4;

10min AMRAP
400m Row,
12 KBS,
9 pushups

Weightlifting:
Day 1:
-Cl x2
-FS x3
-RDL x4

Day 2:
-Hip SN x2
-Jerk Step Through x4
-SN pull x 3 (7 sec. descent)

Day 3:
-Clean from platform x1
-Clean x1
-BS x3

Day 4:
-Hip Clean + Hang Clean x1+1
-Pwr Clean x1
-Cl Pull x3

The Complete Package (Stress)

Today we talk about Stress:

Everyone has stress and it’s healthy to live your life under a certain amount of stress.  I say this so long as you are actively managing your stress and are maintaining appropriate levels of stress.  I know there are periods that can get out of control but you should always be working to manage it in a healthy way (No, drinking every night does not count as a way of managing stress).  We will get into stress management in a bit but first, what does stress do to our body?

Stress is associated mainly with a hormone called Cortisol.  Cortisol like all hormones in our bodies is very important.  Historically (like 50,000 years ago) it was a very important hormone and I would go so far as to say that it helped the human race survive.  It is what is released when your body is under stress whether that is physical (a lion chasing you) or mental (worrying about providing for a child).  Cortisol serves a couple purposes, two of which we will explore.

1. Cortisol is responsible for that little feeling in your stomach after a near miss in your car or when someone sneaks up on you and scares you.  When this happens, it’s called the ‘fight or flight’ response and it causes among other things, the release of glucose into the blood system (a very immediate source of energy for the body) so you have energy to either fight, or fly (run away).   It also is released if you are under any other kind of physical stress such as exercise, lack of sleep, or poor nutrition (see how all these are going to tie together?).

2. Cortisol also plays a big role in the way your body sleeps and wakes.  Throughout the day your cortisol levels fluctuate but for the most part they are highest in the morning (that’s why you wake up at 7 am even on Saturday and Sunday) and taper off during the day allowing you to get to sleep at a responsible time  (before 10 pm).  If these levels are off (and they commonly are, have trouble getting up in the morning?) then you will not function well throughout the day, sleep well at night or perform well in your exercise program.

-Dutch Lowy

Friday S&C Workout:
Hang Snatch x2,
Weight step up x8;

7 sets:
Banded partner sprint x1