32 Simple Ways to be an Awesome Human Being

32 Simple Ways to be an Awesome Human Being
-by Norcal Strength & Conditioning

1. Don’t be a bully and don’t condone it. If you see something uncool, SAY SOMETHING!
2. Teach someone something new. Human interaction speaks louder than Google.
3. Break your routine. Never know who you’ll run into, what you will see or how you will change.
4. Stop talking about yourself.
5. Donate something to a person who truly needs it.
6. Stop yelling. It escalates the situation. Breathe. Talk.
7. Pick one topic per week and learn about it. Have something interesting and new to bring to a conversation.
8. Offer before someone has to ask.
9. Discover a new area. Get out of your own way. See stuff!
10. For one day-week-month, keep all negative comments to yourself. Feel the difference.
11. Be a leader not a preacher. Set a good example.
12. Look people in the eye as you pass them on the street. Smile.
13. Learn about your co-workers.
14. Surprise someone with a gift. Make their day.
15. Leave your “baggage” at home. Negativity breeds negativity.
16. Be inquisitive. Ask others questions about them without waiting for your turn to speak.
17. The big stuff is obvious, remember the little things. They often matter the most.
18. Cook, build or make something from scratch. Even if it tastes bad, looks bad or falls apart, you did it yourself and you’ll do better next time.
19. Turn off the technology. Pay attention to your surroundings and what’s happening NOW!
20. Make a list and accomplish one thing you’ve been putting off each week.
21. Set goals. Write them down. Achieve them.
22. Listen more. Talk less.
23. Remember that when you have a rough day, you’re not the only one.
24. Think about what you say AND how you say it. Body language and tone matters.
25. Make someone else’s problem your problem and do your best to help.
26. Be incredibly nice to everyone for one whole day. Watch the reaction and hope for a chain reaction.
27. Own up to your mistakes and deal with the consequences immediately. Move on.
28. Cut the drama out of your life.
29. Take initiative. Don’t wait to be told to do something.
30. Be a hard worker for yourself but have confidence that others take notice.
31. Ask nicely for things. Say please and thank you.
32. Make time to live life, stop going through the motions of just living.


Stay Tight, Double Breath and Squat….

In one of Tony Gentilcore’s latest videos, he goes over the benefits of “staying tight”. In this short video, Diesel Strength & Conditioning covers the “double breath” to create that tightness.

Before you unrack the weight, take a big, deep belly breath, and get tight. Press into the bar and stand up, but don’t step back yet! Instead stand up and let the plates settle for a second. The more weight you get on the bar, the greater the tendency will be for the plates to “whip” you around. This is a great routine to get into – if you step back immediately when the weights are light, it’s going to throw you off completely when the weights get heavy. After you unrack, setup isn’t complete until you’re actually squatting, so go through one final checklist: Take one more big breath, lift the chest as high as possible (which will “set” your upper and lower back with a slight arch), and “spin” your elbows underneath the bar.

Now you’re ready to squat!

Training Tips…

What percentage of your lifts in training are misses? If you know an actual number, you’re spending too much time on the math and not enough on the lifting, but if it’s a big chunk, you’re probably aware of it. I’ve talked a lot about practice and how important it is to practice lifting the way you want to lift even on the seemingly inconsequential sets or accessory lifts because that will be the majority of your training volume, and therefore the majority of your training time.

Your misses count as practice just as much as your makes do. Not only is it practice in the physical, technical sense, i.e. you’re practicing the movement that produces a miss, but, more importantly, you’re practicing mentally to miss. If missing is a regular occurance in your training, it’s a serious problem you need to address both through adjustments in your programming and in your approach to your training.

If you’re constantly missing prescribed lifts, your prescription is off. Some misses are to be expected–if you never miss, you’re probably not training hard enough–but this should be a very small number relative to your total training repetitions in a given workout or time period. Take a look at your program and ask yourself if you’re missing a lot because you’re prescribing (or being prescribed) weights/reps that are unreasonable. If so, quit beating your head against the wall and adust the program!

Missing can become a habit like anything else you practice. If you get accustomed to missing lifts, it becomes routine and suddenly it’s not a big deal anymore. You may find yourself more than happy to simply miss and try to repeat the set to make up for it. This is fine in some cases, but making this a habit is training yourself to not be prepared and focused when necessary. Decide beforehand in a workout what you will accept as misses and repeats–don’t get sucked into letting yourself repeat a set several times just to make it.

Catalyst Athletics

Talk To Me Johnnie…..

By John | Published: February 26, 2013

How about a 2012 “Year in review” TTMJ post?

In early January I was working on a year in review, it got scraped it as it seemed much of the same content regurgitated in humorous ways. So, I decided to offer a different format. These are the 42 things I have learned leading up to 2013.

1. Know what you are training for.
We often sat at the seminars and my gym, “What are you training?” This translate into, you need a goal, a destination for your journey. Without you are left to wander, and this site is not called Kung Fu and you are not Caine. Pick a goal, chart a course, keep your head down and don’t come up for air until you meet it.

2. The squat is the foundation of any good program.
A program that does not involve the squat is incomplete. Any coach that tells you, you shouldn’t squat as it is bad for your back and knees, but if it is done you should not squat below parallel needs to be punched. Email me and I will send someone out who specializes in punching people who need a punch. And when I say squat, I mean the one where you put a heavy bar on your back. If I were talking about the front squat or overhead squat, I would have said front squat or overhead squat.

3. Be a performance whore.
Your only mark for progress should be performance and success. Don’t get caught up in dogma, realize all that matters is performance. Don’t get married to one philosophy or stuck in one circle. Look to expand your training arsenal and realize your only master is getting better.

4. “Know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em.”
When you start hitting the weights, certain days you feel like the weights are made of foam and you could lift the gym. Other days, the weights seem to be made of adamantium. Realize on the days when the weights are light, go for broke and set a new personal record regardless of what the program says. On the days when the opposite is true, all you need to do is survive and realize the weights will be there tomorrow.

5. Don’t fall prey to the Secret Squirrel Program.
This is what happens when late at night while scanning the internet you decided to hybrid CrossFit Football’s strength WOD with CFE’s running 2 days a week with CrossFit’s hero WODs and Outlaw’s Olympic programming just for good measure. All the while doing 23 hours a day of ketogenic interment fasting. If you think this secret squirrel program will help you become the fittest man on the planet you are delusional. All that will happen is you become a massive ball of injury, end up doing nothing but Mobility WOD for 2 years with the testosterone levels of a 14-year-old eunuch.

6. You need to warm up.
Warming up is key to raising core temperature and getting the muscles, tendons and fascia warm. You are warming up because you are preparing to train. Take the old boxing proverb to heart. “If you go into the ring cold, you come out cold.”

7. Use Lacrosse balls
If rolling out with a soft foam roller is painful, you have led a life of luxury and share the energy expenditure with a veal. Real athletes roll out with two lacrosse balls and Kelly Starrett sitting on your body part adjacent to it.

8. Static Stretching is great way to cool down. Period.

9. The first movement at the beginning of your training week needs to involve a heavy bar on your back.

10. All the machines and praying in the world will not build a physique like the one crafted from lifting free weights over 85% of your 1 RM.

11. Weighted Pull Ups can cure world hunger.

12. Isometric holds build stability and strength.

13. It is better to live like a farmer than a bartender.
Farmers go to bed when the sun goes down and wake when the roosters crow. Bartenders hang out with drunks, don’t go to bed till 3 or 4 in the morning and sleep all day. Be a farmer.

14. Heavy prowler pushes cleanse the soul.

15. Sleeping 8 hours or more a day makes you bullet proof.
Yes, if you sleep more than 8 hours a day, bullets will not harm you and you will be able to control the minds of those around you.

16. Shower in ice-cold water in the morning. Hot shower before bed.

17. Vitamin D is the most important vitamin of all, so go outside and get a tan. As George Robert’s dad once said, “Georgie, even fat looks good tan.”

18. The only proteins that count are the ones with faces, souls and a mother. I do not care how you process hemp and peas…it is not real protein.

19. Earn your carbs.
Don’t get lulled into thinking a primal or Paleo diet is low carb diet. If you are a hard charging athlete that lifts heavy weights, sprints and moves, eat some carbs. Low carb diets are for fat people and sedentary people with metabolic disorders. If you are training for the CrossFit Games, playing football or trying to run a hundred miles you have earned your carbs.

20. I don’t care how far or often you run, running slow will never help you get fast. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and marathon runners. I am not impressed that you finished a marathon in 5 hours. I am more impressed that it took you 7 hours to sprint 421 100-meter repeats.

21. Percentages are a waste of time for beginners.
Why you ask, because to efficiently lift a true 1 RM you need an extremely well training central nervous system. And efficiency in the CNS comes from prolonged training. Hence, how could a beginner have enough control over their body or their CNS to put forth the ability to lift a true 1 RM? They can’t. So don’t do it.

22. Every man should own a slow cooker and a grill that uses lump wood charcoal.

23. Meat from grass-fed cows should make up the bulk of your daily food consumption.

24. Drink water.
Anyone who tells you they don’t like to drink water needs to grow the fuck up. How much…at least 1 ounce per 2 lbs of body weight.

25. Dont let fear be your limiting factor.
Louie Simmons told me, “To master kung fu, the training must be severe.” What Louie means is, don’t take the easy way out. Winners and champions are forged in the crucible of competition and hard work. Don’t let fear of not meeting your goals be your limiting factor when it comes to training or success.

26. Full Fat Greek Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and probiotics. Anyone that tells you dairy from pasture raised animals is bad, should be pushed in the mud.

27. Have the talent to rest.
If you think taking a rest day is weakness, you have never really trained hard. And you definitely have low testosterone levels.

28. The Second Amendment was put in place to guarantee the First Amendment. Problems arise when we allow our leaders to suspend the First Amendment and many other rights given to us in the Bill of Rights because of fear. When terrible things happen in society, we are so quick to give away our rights so the government can protect us and make it so it never happens again. It is impossible to stop bad people from doing bad things, but you can train and prepare for the day when good men are called upon to stop evil men. That is Edmund Burke.

29. Guns are inanimate objects that can be used to do harm. Much like cars, airplanes and knives, all these things can be turned into weapons if someone so chooses. Banning the sale, use or ownership of inanimate objects will no better cure the world of evil, and then eating low-fat food will cure a fat ass.

30. Lift heavy and awkward implements.
The power from picking up and lifting awkward and heavy objects creates a strength not found in a weight room. Anyone that grew up on a farm or wrestled or played football with farm kids knows what I am talking about. We also call this Field Strong.

31. Having kids puts everything into perspective.
My wife and I had twin girls in late 2011; I just came up for air in late 2012. Kids put things in perspective. The things that mattered so much, seem small and unimportant. What is important is raising your kids, providing a positive role model and keeping your wife happy and loved so she doesn’t drive the whole train off the tracks.

32. Learn to cook.
Even if it just involves adding meat, water, salt and root vegetables to a slow cooker or burning meat on a grill. Learn to cook. Nothing is as unimpressive as someone who cannot or will not learn.

33. Stop posting on message boards. If you have more than 100 posts on any message board, kick your own ass.

34. Twitter rocks.
If you can’t say it in a 140 characters, it doesn’t need to be said.

35. Training Vs. Testing.
Learn certain days are training days other days are testing days. Have a plan each day and realize professional athletes don’t compete everyday. They save that for when the money is on the line and the crowd is in the stands.

36. Read. Real. Books.
In this Internet age, digital books, periodicals, websites and blogs consume us. I feel something is missing, hard copy books.

37. Bacon.
I started eating bacon in the 70’s. I am not sure when many of you found bacon, but if it was last two years, I am sorry. Up until recently for many, bacon has been a mystery. But upon finding it, it is all they talk about. I am proud of you for finding bacon. I am sorry your dad didn’t make bacon on Saturdays when you were growing up. I believe it makes you feel primal and talking about bacon on social media is your way of thumbing your nose at society, but enough. Welcome to the party and guess what? We are serving bacon.

38. I don’t care that you are 100% Paleo; if a friend offers you a beer, drink it. Nothing says “FU” like not accepting a drink from a friend because of a diet. Grow the fuck up.

39. Work the tissue.
Active Release Therapy. Graston. Deep Tissue Massage. Mashing. Do something to mobilize tissue and speed recovery.

40. Move the bar as fast as possible.
When lifting weights, you should move the bar as fast as you can at all times. Think compensatory acceleration. If you have never head the term “compensatory acceleration”, go google it now. I will wait. Slow reps are akin to the splinters in your ass from sitting on the bench watching the explosive guys play. The only thing moving slow did, was make me slow. Fuck slow.

41. Don’t be a cartoon character.
In today’s age of social media and virtual existence, people are not held to the same standards they were so long ago. Individuals are more cartoon characters than real people. Be a real person that can be depended on and does not take every opportunity to take advantage of those around you. Being a man involves more than growing a beard and drinking whiskey…even those things do help.

42. High testosterone levels = nice guys.
I read a study a while back that related mental wellness and all around nice guys having higher testosterone levels than their male dick head counterparts. Next time you meet a douche bag, instead of cursing the day he was born, realize he is a lesser male and just has low testosterone levels. Pity him, because there is nothing worse for a man than having low testosterone levels. If you are reading this and think you might have low test levels, go see a doctor.

It’s The Sugar Folks…..

MARK BITTMAN February 27, 2013
It’s the Sugar, Folks

Sugar is indeed toxic. It may not be the only problem with the Standard American Diet, but it’s fast becoming clear that it’s the major one.

A study published in the Feb. 27 issue of the journal PLoS One links increased consumption of sugar with increased rates of diabetes by examining the data on sugar availability and the rate of diabetes in 175 countries over the past decade. And after accounting for many other factors, the researchers found that increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher diabetes rates independent of rates of obesity.

In other words, according to this study, it’s not just obesity that can cause diabetes: sugar can cause it, too, irrespective of obesity. And obesity does not always lead to diabetes.

The study demonstrates this with the same level of confidence that linked cigarettes and lung cancer in the 1960s. As Rob Lustig, one of the study’s authors and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said to me, “You could not enact a real-world study that would be more conclusive than this one.”

The study controlled for poverty, urbanization, aging, obesity and physical activity. It controlled for other foods and total calories. In short, it controlled for everything controllable, and it satisfied the longstanding “Bradford Hill” criteria for what’s called medical inference of causation by linking dose (the more sugar that’s available, the more occurrences of diabetes); duration (if sugar is available longer, the prevalence of diabetes increases); directionality (not only does diabetes increase with more sugar, it decreases with less sugar); and precedence (diabetics don’t start consuming more sugar; people who consume more sugar are more likely to become diabetics).

The key point in the article is this: “Each 150 kilocalories/person/day increase in total calorie availability related to a 0.1 percent rise in diabetes prevalence (not significant), whereas a 150 kilocalories/person/day rise in sugar availability (one 12-ounce can of soft drink) was associated with a 1.1 percent rise in diabetes prevalence.” Thus: for every 12 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverage introduced per person per day into a country’s food system, the rate of diabetes goes up 1 percent. (The study found no significant difference in results between those countries that rely more heavily on high-fructose corn syrup and those that rely primarily on cane sugar.)

This is as good (or bad) as it gets, the closest thing to causation and a smoking gun that we will see. (To prove “scientific” causality you’d have to completely control the diets of thousands of people for decades. It’s as technically impossible as “proving” climate change or football-related head injuries or, for that matter, tobacco-caused cancers.) And just as tobacco companies fought, ignored, lied and obfuscated in the ’60s (and, indeed, through the ’90s), the pushers of sugar will do the same now.

But as Lustig says, “This study is proof enough that sugar is toxic. Now it’s time to do something about it.”

The next steps are obvious, logical, clear and up to the Food and Drug Administration. To fulfill its mission, the agency must respond to this information by re-evaluating the toxicity of sugar, arriving at a daily value — how much added sugar is safe? — and ideally removing fructose (the “sweet” molecule in sugar that causes the damage) from the “generally recognized as safe” list, because that’s what gives the industry license to contaminate our food supply.

On another front, two weeks ago a coalition of scientists and health advocates led by the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the F.D.A. to both set safe limits for sugar consumption and acknowledge that added sugars, rather than lingering on the “safe” list, should be declared unsafe at the levels at which they’re typically consumed. (The F.D.A. has not yet responded to the petition.)

Allow me to summarize a couple of things that the PLoS One study clarifies. Perhaps most important, as a number of scientists have been insisting in recent years, all calories are not created equal. By definition, all calories give off the same amount of energy when burned, but your body treats sugar calories differently, and that difference is damaging.

And as Lustig lucidly wrote in “Fat Chance,” his compelling 2012 book that looked at the causes of our diet-induced health crisis, it’s become clear that obesity itself is not the cause of our dramatic upswing in chronic disease. Rather, it’s metabolic syndrome, which can strike those of “normal” weight as well as those who are obese. Metabolic syndrome is a result of insulin resistance, which appears to be a direct result of consumption of added sugars. This explains why there’s little argument from scientific quarters about the “obesity won’t kill you” studies; technically, they’re correct, because obesity is a marker for metabolic syndrome, not a cause.

The take-away: it isn’t simply overeating that can make you sick; it’s overeating sugar. We finally have the proof we need for a verdict: sugar is toxic.

This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 1, 2013

An earlier version of this essay misstated the linkage between obesity and diabetes. Obesity can, in fact, be a cause of diabetes.

Lose Body Fat Without Losing Muscle or Compromising Performance…

Poliquin Live

Lose body fat without losing muscle by doing heavy weight lifting and getting adequate protein and nutrients. Rapid weight loss methods such as those used by athletes to make weight classes can have many negative effects and increase injury risk. There are a few training and dietary methods that will allow you to avoid this.

A recent review of rapid weight loss methods used by combat sport athletes (judo, tae kwon do, and boxing) who have to “make weight” to compete showed that more than 60 percent of competitive athletes engage in rapid weight loss, losing 5 percent or more body weight in a short period. Methods used are often extreme, including fasting, restricting fat, restricting liquids, using diuretics or laxatives, or vomiting.

Unfortunately, it appears that rapid weight loss strategies can significantly impair cognitive function and mood, but they seem to have less of a negative effect on anaerobic and strength performance. At least three studies suggest that as long as athletes have a chance to rehydrate and refeed after weigh in, greater weight loss leads to better performance.

However, the long term effects can be devastating, and include everything from death to imbalanced hormone response similar to that seen with severe overtraining. In former athletes who engaged in rapid weight loss, the risk of being obese, overweight, or having serious health problems is greater than among athletes in other sports. Other negative effects of rapid weight loss include lower bone mineral density, particularly in women, greater injury risk, and muscle loss.

Clearly, weight reduction is a tricky issue since the immediate ends such as winning appear to justify the means since long-term detriments don’t seem relevant. Reasonable strategies to avoid decreased performance and health problems from weight loss include the following:

Gradual weight loss in the range of 1 kg a week is reasonable for athletes, assuming nutrient deficiencies are avoided and adequate protein is consumed. For instance, a recent study showed that when elite athletes involved in heavy weight training reduced energy intake by 500 compared to 1,000 calories a day they were able to completely avoid muscle loss and they improved 1RM squat performance by 12 percent. They also increased jump height by 7 percent. It took them 3 weeks longer to lose the same amount of weight as the 1,000 calorie reduction group, but their athletic performance improved significantly.

Athletes should aim to maximize body fat loss and minimize muscle loss and dehydration by eating a high-protein diet and getting adequate water and electrolytes.

Take branched chain amino acids in conjunction with a weight training program to avoid muscle loss. Creatine supplementation has also been beneficial.

Short-term low-carb diets of a few days have led to decreased physical performance, but longer term low-carb, high-protein diets have produced strength and power gains. For example, a study of elite male gymnasts showed that putting them on a very low-carb diet in which they ate 54.8 percent fat, 40.7 percent protein and 4.5 percent carbs for one month with training produced a 2 kg loss of body fat and no decrease in muscle mass. Just as important, the gymnasts performed equally well on strength and power tests before and after the low-carb diet.

Franchini, E., et al. Weight Loss in Combat Sports: Physiological, Psychological, and Performance Effects. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2012. 9(52).

Paoli, A., Grimaldi, K., et al. Ketogenic Diet Does Not Affect Strength Performance in Elite Artistic Gymnasts. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2012. 9(34).
– See more at: http://www.charlespoliquin.com/Blog/tabid/130/EntryId/1870/Tip-519-Lose-Body-Fat-Without-Losing-Muscle-or-Compromising-Performance.aspx#sthash.iwAA18J6.dpuf

Is This Getting Harder, or am I Just Getting Older?

Is this getting harder, or am I just getting older?
Feb 24, 2013 by JoshBunch

Age is a funny sort a thing that looks a little different to everyone. Some people fear it more than public speaking. Others, like my brother, can’t wait to get older; he wants to drive slow in front of young people and tell really loud and inappropriate jokes in public while wearing pants up to his armpits.
“Is this getting harder, or am I just getting older,” a friend texted me about six weeks ago. He’s 37-years-old, and trying to lose a few pounds before the beginning of his third Worldwide CrossFit Open. He thinks he can make Regionals again, but only if he’s at his “fighting weight.” Otherwise, “muscle-ups don’t work,” he says.

I think it was K-Starr who said we don’t really perform any worse as we age, we just need more maintenance to keep performing well. He says most people just don’t wanna to do the maintenance. This works the same with dieting.

Take me for instance, I’m the type of guy who could eat one cheat meal a week, and automatically walk around 10 lbs. heavier than I am now. Add in carbohydrates, even the paleo kind, at every meal and I will be an easy 225 lbs. Knowing this about myself helps me make food choices.

But, I’ve noticed that those same choices that used to work, don’t work so well anymore. What I mean is, the exact same diet or training program I used two years ago, or even eight months ago, won’t do what it once did.

A lot of times we wrongly blame weight retention and strength loss on age. But it’s not about the age, it’s about adaptation.
CrossFit works because we, and it, are always evolving and growing. Once we master HSPU’s, we do them on the rings. When Grace at 135 lbs. is just too light we add weight. When Murph seems like a warm-up, we wear a weight vest. This is adaptation, and it happens with food not just training.

The older we get, the more times we have to be boring with our diets. The more times we have to build patterns our bodies figure out. It’s not that these aren’t good patterns, it’s that they’re not different patterns anymore. Basically, we’re more comfortable at something that made us uncomfortable before.

So, how do we fix it?
My friend usually worked out in the evening, I told him to workout in the morning. He usually ate four times a day. I told him to cut that in half for six days, and on the seventh day only eat once. But, even though he ate less meals, he still had to eat close to the same Calories. I also upped his fish oil, and dropped the pre-workout caffeine thing he loves so much.

He sent me a text message yesterday; “Fighting Weight.”
Here’s the tricky part, all I did was guess. These were of course educated guesses based on experience, but nothing more. The next time he stalls, I’ll tell him something completely different. I bet it works too. If it doesn’t, I’ll try again. No matter how old we get, we’ll keep trying.

Dieting and training and competing are going to become more elegant as we get older. And they will all seem a lot harder if we expect to attack them the same way forever. Success at any age, especially masters, will require more willingness to experiment, a more open mind, and an abundantly patient soul. Basically, it will require wisdom.