Understanding Yourself And The Universe

Terence McKenna – Nobody Is Smarter Than You Are

We all must try to understand what is happening. We need to try to understand what is happening. In my humble opinion, ideology is only going to get in your way. Nobody understands what is happening. Not Buddhists. Not Christians. Not government scientists. Not… you know. No one!… understands what is happening. So, forget ideology. They betray. They limit. They lead astray. Just deal with the raw data and trust yourself. Nobody is smarter than you are. Continue reading Understanding Yourself And The Universe

In Defense Of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan

Notes and Quotes:

The entire book is an elaboration on:
“Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Interesting Quotes:
“A few years ago, Rozin presented a group of Americans with the following scenario: ‘Assume you are alone on a desert island for one year and you can have water and one other food. Pick the food that you think would be best for your health.’
“The choices were corn, alfalfa sprouts, hot dogs, spinach, peaches, bananas, and milk chocolate. The most popular choice was bananas (42%), followed by spinach (27%), corn (12%), alfalfa sprouts (7%), peaches (5%), hot dogs (4%), and milk chocolate (3%). Only 7 percent of the participants chose one of the two foods that would in fact best support survival: hot dogs and milk chocolate.”

“For a more complete (and fascinating) account of the biochemistry of these fats and the story of their discovery read Susan Allport’s The Queen of Fats.”

“Wild greens like purslane have substantially higher levels of omega-3s than most domesticated plants.”

“Two of the most nutritious plants in the world are weeds – lamb’s quarters and purslane…”

“Gas stations have become processed-corn stations: ethanol outside for your car and high-fructose corn syrup inside for you.”

Turf Toe

I recently sprained my big toe from barefoot Ultimate Frisbee. I should not have assumed that an ability to barefoot run for 40 minutes corresponded to being able to perform the side-to-side, twisting, and rapid acceleration and deceleration involved in Ultimate Frisbee for a full hour. Luckily, while I had to stay in Saturday night and walking has been a pain, I don’t expect this is more than a minor sprain. I’m recovering quickly and expect to be walking normally in 72 hours and back to the trails in a week or two. Unfortunately, if this is turf toe, this could be a serious problem. Continue reading Turf Toe

How to Train for 100 Consecutive Push Ups

I started Phase 2 of this plan 45 days ago, doing sets of 20 push ups. Now, I can do sets of 44 push ups. I expect to be able to do 100 consecutive push ups in 45 more days. From 20 to 100 consecutive push ups in 90 days sounds good to me.

Workouts and Rest Days
Always take a rest day after each work out. I recommend doing these workouts every fourth day. Day 1 will be the workout prescribed below. Day 3 should focus on back strength to balance your upper body, but I like to include dips, DB press, or shoulders if my chest feels fully recovered. Day 2 and 4 are rest days, lower body days, or cardio days.

Phase 0) Do sets of push ups with your knees on the floor until you can do sets of 3 or more without your knees on the floor.

Phase 1) Do sets of perfect normal grip push ups, all day if necessary, until you can do 100. Repeat this workout until you can do 100 push ups in less than an hour.

Phase 2) Do a set of perfect normal grip push ups and stop when your pace slows down or you lose form. Repeat sets of this number of push ups until you’ve done at least 100. If you complete the workout successfully, your following workout will consist of sets of push ups with a 10% increase in reps per set. For example, if you can do 12 push ups before your pace starts to slow and you lose form, then you will do 9 sets of 12. 9*12=108. Your next workout will be 8 sets of 13. 8*13=104. Continue this progression until you can knock out one set of 100 consecutive push ups.

The progression might look like this: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 33, 36, 39, 42, 46, 50, 55, 60, 66, 72, 79, 86, 94, 100. Even if you can only do sets of 1 today, you could potentially be doing sets of 100 in only 120 days following this plan. Though, notice an increase from 1 to 2 is an increase of 100%, not 10%. Be very careful when starting out.

Injuries
Be conscious of your body and how it’s responding to recovery. Your chest can handle more than you think, but your elbows may get sore, and if your form is poor you can injure your shoulders. If your elbows are ever sore, ice and proper rest should suffice. Avoid other upper-body work for a few days. Consider skipping your Day 3 upper body workout. If you strain your shoulder, stop your workout immediately and ice your shoulder. If it still hurts the next day, contact me or a physical trainer or therapist or your doctor. Always keep good form!

Read more: How to Train for 100 Consecutive Push Ups — Second Attempt

Active Fascial Contractility

Fascial tissue may the ability to contract and adjust stiffness, potentially to the benefit of athletes under prolonged periods of mechanical stress. Endurance training may include an element of fascial tissue training which would work in conjunction with muscular endurance to further develop our bio-mechanical endurance.

What is fascia?
“Dense irregular connective tissue sheets in the human body – such as aponeuroses, joint capsules, or muscular envelopes like the endo-, peri- and epimysium – are usually referred to as fascia. Ligaments and tendons may be regarded anatomically as local thickenings of fascial sheets, which are adapting to increased local tension with a denser and more parallel fiber arrangement.”

Why am I excited?
“it is also assumed that fascia is solely a passive contributor to biomechanical behavior. Contrary to this common conception, the authors propose the hypothesis, that human fascia may be able to spontaneously adjust its stiffness in a time period ranging from minutes to hours and thereby contribute more actively to musculoskeletal dynamics.”

“Interestingly, in the condition “frozen shoulder” the fascial contracture sometimes improves spontaneously within a few days [24] and [25]. This seems to indicate a fairly rapid release of cellular contractions, rather than long term morphological changes in the collagen architecture.”

“Suspending thin strips of this fascia in a superfusion system, they were able to induce clear and reversible tissue contractions in response to mepyramine, calcium chloride, as well as adenosine. (…) The rapid onset, the reversibility, the repeatability and the dose dependency of the contractile responses in all these tissues suggest that cellular receptors are responsible for the observed effects.”

For endurance athletes:
“When exposed to several hours or even days of high stress situations, an innate capacity to increase fascial stiffness may be invaluable.”

“Given the genetic capacity of fibroblasts to become contractile, it seems feasible that our bodies now may contain the ability to activate this advantage when challenged by periods of high mechanical and/or emotional stress.”

For body builders, power lifters, and mixed martial artists:
“A temporary increase in fascial stiffness would consequently improve fascial proprioception and increase muscular activation. An animal or person with an enhanced fascial stiffness would therefore have the advantage of a generally more precise and more rapid muscular reflex coordination in response to fascial proprioception, as well as the increased sturdiness.”

Implications

“If we hypothetically apply the same force ratio to whole fascial sheets in the human body, it seems clear that such fascial contractions could have substantial biomechanical influences.”

“Manual deep tissue therapies, such as Rolfing or myofascial release, which claim to influence fascial tone [38], may be able to benefit from more specific understanding (and new questions) from this new perspective. It is also possible, that acupuncture, which has been recently shown to be intimately linked with fascial anatomy [39] and [40], may be better understood and its effectiveness improved.”

“How is fascial contractility related to microinjuries, to hypoxia, to stress or infection related cytokines? How does it respond to different hormonal or pharmacological agents? Why does the fascial contraction in frozen shoulder often heal spontaneously, while this is rarely the case with the palmar fascia in Dupuytren contracture? How do different types of static and cyclic mechanical stimulation influence fascial contractility?”

Active fascial contractility: Fascia may be able to contract in a smooth muscle-like manner and thereby influence musculoskeletal dynamics
http://www.fasciaresearch.de/wcb2006.pdf

Tarahumara: Legendary Native Runners of Mexico

This rare video contains footage from the 1960s and 1930s of the Tarahumara playing their running game. The majority of the video is a documentary footage of a small Tarahumara “community in the transitional zone between the Sierra upland country and the deep canyons to the South.”

Scenes from Christopher McDougall’s Born To Run

Born To Run by Christopher McDougall is easily my favorite book. I’m ecstatic to have stumbled upon this YouTube video of people and places from the book. It was a lot of fun watching and comparing faces and landscapes to what I’d envisioned.

This may be a bit of a spoiler for anyone planning on reading the book that knows nothing at all about ultramarathoning and the Raramuri/Tarahumara. Enjoy!

Important Names in The World of Ultramarathoning

Ted Corbitt, “father of American ultrarunning”; 1952 US Olympic team member; former American world record holder at various distances

Scott Jurek, seven time winner and former course record holder of the Western States Endurance Run; two-time winner and former course record holder of the Badwater Ultramarathon; winner and former course record holder of the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run; three-time winner of the Spartathlon 152-mile race from Athens to Sparta, Greece

Ann Trason, thirteen time Western States Endurance Run winner and current female course record holder; holds numerous world records, including 100 mile (13:47:41 1991), 50 mile (5:40:18, 1991), and 12 Hours (147.6k, 1991); American 100k record holder (7:00:48)

Yiannis Kouros

Dean Karnazes

Anton “Tony” Krupicka

Lisa Smith-Batchen

David Goggins

Freedom: Reducing Personal Possessions

I want less stuff. I write things down so as not to clutter my mind. My soul finds comfort in the simplicity of proof. I find comfort, freedom, and space in the absence of possessions.

I find collecting is very rarely important. I’ve hardly ever returned to look at journal entries, pictures, or even class notes once I’ve passed the exam. I’ve always been far more interested in the future than the past. Lessons of the past come quickly and are only useful as applied in the present or projected into the future. It seems time is best spent appreciating the present and focusing on the future for the sake of building better presents.

Some collections are priceless; like the experiences we’ve had and the lessons we’ve learned. Most of all, I cherish abstractions, the apparent ease to which I develop or acquire them and assemble them into the apparatus of my working mind, and their endless ability to help me more thoroughly experience, accurately explicate, and deeply appreciate every moment of my life.

Any mental resources potentially wasted glancing around my room and checking in with or being distracted by furniture and stockpiles of recreational objects are elements that I could be putting to better use. I could be introspecting, meditating, contemplating, creating, designing, planning, learning, or otherwise feeding and building and developing the essence of me. I will never be my stuff, my tables and chairs, my keyboards and laptops, my pillows or my bed, no matter how much time I spend with them. I do become my lessons, my challenges, my ideas and inspirations; they weigh nothing, cost nothing, and are worth more than I could ever stockpile. And at the end of the day, if I’ve lost something, it could only ever be my mind.

Anyone want a microwave? It makes a great night stand.

I love my empty white walls.

I don’t even use that fan. Craigslist…