Author Archives: MGrodski

Enough is Enough of “Do-Gooders”

Its time we called enough is enough with all the “do-gooders” claiming to have the solutions for what ails society: they come up with some scheme that on paper sounds reasonable, perhaps even do a PhD on the subject just to substantiate the logic behind their solution, but without any actual long term studies and evidence just egotistical naivety that good intentions are good enough and that good intentions always translate into good outcomes… in the end we are left worse off.

Take for instance the “do-gooders” who wanted to help the world quit smoking. These egotistical a-holes came up with e-cigarettes claiming that they will help all those seeking to quit, and… what do we have?

We have an epidemic on our hands of an entire generation – todays teens – who were highly unlikely to become addicted to nicotine due to the decreasing levels of cigarette smoking amongst their population becoming enchanted with the flavors of e-cigarettes and with e-cigarette companies using teens or at least young looking individuals in their marketing which was heavily skewed to social media (which teens just happen to inhale), and we end up with an entire new generation addicted to nicotine.

Congratulations do-gooders… didn’t see this one coming now did you?

How are you gonna solve this now? With more good intentions?

Oh, but the do-gooders didn’t stop there with screwing up society… hell no, they were just beginning because the so-called harmless or at least less harmful effects of e-cigarettes vs cigarettes which were made based on hope and not on any evidence that would occur with long term studies were just that… hope and nothing else. Long term studies? Who has time for that… its about monetizing any scheme you can come up asap especially if its labelled as being put in place by some do-gooder whose intentions are to heal the world. Do-gooders sell themselves as such virtuous individuals that obviously their ‘solution’ has nothing to do with making millions or billions but simply to ‘save the world’.

Now those vaping (i.e. using e-cigarettes) are coming down with mysterious pneumonia type symptoms and with a growing number of them dying, US states are starting to clamp down on e-cigarettes by either taxing them heavily or banning them. India on the other hand is clearly far smarter and has decided that enough is enough and has banned them entirely.

The shitshow that these do-gooders have unleashed doesn’t stop there… with e-cigarettes causing mysterious illnesses and killing people faster than traditional cigarettes guess what is coming up as the short term solution to vaping? That’s right… smoking good ole fashioned cigarettes!

Just when we were moving away from cigarette smoking, do-gooders come along with their short term solutions based on little more than their egotistical belief that their virtuousness is enough evidence and… re-addict the world to cigarette smoking.

If you didn’t read this blog on the connection between heart disease and smoking and not the connection we were sold (i.e. dietary fat and heart disease) you may want to read about perhaps the largest con job pulled by do-gooders… then again, e-cigarettes being sold as the “healthy” way to quit a nicotine addiction is coming darn close.

So instead of solving something, do-gooders have made the world a worse place because not only have they failed to offer a way to quit cigarettes, they have addicted an entire new generation to nicotine and now have introduced additional health problems – as if our health care systems needed another problem to deal with – and guess who is now going to have to pay to cover… that’s right, the taxpayer.

Great job all you do-gooder a-holes!

What is the connection to sport? This is exactly what is happening in sport with HiiT. Do-gooder personal trainers and do-gooder coaches are taking advice from do-gooder exercise physiologists who have done as much long term research on HiiT (hi intensity interval training – e.g. Tabata, Bootcamps, CrossFit, et al) as was done on e-cigarettes and are promoting HiiT as ‘the solution’ to everything related to health, wellness and peak performance in sport.

HiiT we are told is the short-cut to fitness and health the way e-cigarettes have been promoted as the short-cut to quitting smoking. Yet the reality is… neither is the solution they claim to be, and in fact both are creating far more problems than either is solving.

Be careful the next time you run into a do-gooder selling you on their short cut solution to saving you and/or the world… its a short-cut alright, a short-cut to them monetizing your fears and leaving you worse off.

References:

  1. Teen Vaping Linked to More Health Risks
  2. Vapers Are Quitting E-Cigarettes… And Switching To Regular Cigs Instead
  3. New York Becomes 2nd State To Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes As ‘Vaping Illness’ Claims 7th Life
  4. Altria Tumbles To 5 Year Low As Mystery Vaping Disease Cases Rise To 530

Numb Yourself And… You End up Numb

Two recent studies both from Ohio University have ‘discovered’ the shocking fact that… taking pain killers makes you less sensitive – i.e. desensitizes you – to your own pain, and also to the pain experienced by others. Shocking! You take a pain killer not to feel pain, and can you imagine that the drug does what it says and… makes you less sensitive to pain!

The article at Running Magazine.ca is titled:

Is your pain reliever making you less empathetic?

Your acetaminophen use could be making you less sensitive not only to your own pain, but also to others’

Click here to link to the article at runningmagazine.ca

That this is noteworthy research is puzzling because what exactly is newsworthy? The only point that carries any value is the final sentence in the article where the author cites the researchers:

“Researchers recommend that if you need to take Tylenol regularly, you may be overdoing it in training, and you should consult your health professional.”

I would assume that if you are popping Tylenol like its candy, then hopefully at some point you clue in to the fact that there is a problem, that you have a problem… but based on the ‘numbing’ effects and the problem avoidance which is inherent to the solution of ‘numbing’ oneself be it by prescription drug, recreational drug, or illegal drug then perhaps it is worth noting that addicts rarely believe they are addicts and need an intervention in order to ‘see’ the light.

So… if you are a painkiller addict or better yet, if you know that someone is a painkiller addict… they need help and I do not mean picking up more painkillers for them. Want to be done with numbing yourself to life, then you need to get to the root of why you are trying and dig into why are you running away from life, attempting to avoid life by desensitizing yourself to it, to yourself, and by default to everyone else around you. There are solutions, there are options, there are those who are able and willing to help, but you need to take the step of waking up and realizing that there is indeed a problem.

Why Nutrition “Research” Verges on Useless

This article sums up well why nutrition research – in general – is not worth the paper its written on, and explains why we are constantly reading contradicting and conflicting headlines…

e.g. eggs good, eggs bad, back to good, oh no… eggs are definitely bad, and so on.

Click on the image above to enlarge

Click here to link to the full article

So next time you read that kale will do this for your health, and that acai berries mixed with avocado will cure this, and that quinoa mixed with barley will heal that… don’t waste your time chasing yet another poorly conducted study in hopes that health comes by eating a diet of a magic mixture of ‘super-foods’.

There is no magic to health… it starts with a life that is lived on purpose, a life that has meaning, supplemented with strategies to dealing with stochastic as well as consistent stresses and stressors, plus a daily does of aerobic exercise which respects your individual capacity, skill and ability level, and a common sense diet consumed in an appropriate eating window (i.e. intermittent fasting). In time – no, not over a weekend or two at Bernie’s – and you will slowly restore and regain your health.

Fail to have all these components, and your health will fail (sooner or later).

There is no magic. And, there is definitely no ‘super food’ that is a cure all.

Short vs Long

Ask runners and the key event for them will undoubtedly be either a half or full marathon. Ask an open water swimmer and their event will be 4, 5 or 10km open water swims (with a few going so far as to suggest that nothing short of 15k is the pre-eminent event). Ask triathletes… actually you don’t have to ask triathletes because they will tell you before you get a chance to ask that nothing less than a 70.3 or full 140.6 iron distance triathlon is the metric of a triathlete.

You mean nothing except the longest distances pose a challenge?

I beg to differ, and not only do I but the author of this article…

Click here to link to the full article

Excerpt from the article:

“…on the hierarchy of running achievement, longer doesn’t automatically mean more difficult. Another way of putting this is that it’s less about what you run and more about how you run.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Real satisfaction comes not from mindlessly trying to finish longer and longer distances in any sport.

Real satisfaction comes from performing in sport at higher and higher levels of technical excellence.

Success in Supplements

Recently I blogged on the TOEST.ca website how the hyper competitive environment in amateur sport is leading children and their parents to explore and pursue every opportunity that may offer a competitive advantage. In the past, this usually led to additional training opportunities but today, the mindset is that training is for losers and the ‘low hanging fruit’ to being faster is in equipment and supplements. Why waste time training, when being faster is as easy as lighter components, more aero gear, or supplements yielding performance benefits?

Click here to link to the article

Undoubtedly there is benefit to equipment and supplements, the point is not to argue that, the point is to highlight that when process and progress in training is not the primary focus, and when everything else does become the focus… its unreal how far athletes, their parents, and coaches will go. No red spinach vs beets is not the issue, the issue is that today children and their parents are resorting to ‘legal doping’ in order to obtain desired outcomes. Children and parents have figured out that some of the prescribed medications children are on actually yield performance benefits. So what happens now, when some children are on such drugs for medical reasons which have performance enhancing benefits, yet other children are not? How exactly is competition fair? How exactly is qualifying fair if cut off times are being established based on times achieved with performance enhancing drugs… even if they are legal, even if mom & dad have a TUE? How long before parents of children who are not on meds starting seeking options to ‘help’ level the playing field?

This is how perverted amateur sports is becoming. Its not about children using sport as a metaphor for life and developing a skill set to succeed as adults… its all about putting children in head to head competition for the sake of selling the 0.1% chance that the child is going to Worlds, to the Olympics, etc…

Big business has taken over sport, and as big business does… it seeks to monetize the dreams of children & parents selling short cuts with massive price tags instead of selling process and proper progression with the price tag being proper training (not equipment & supplements).

If it was only red spinach or beets, then there would be no issue but the point of linking to this article is to showcase the overall mindset that has been emphasized. Training on sport websites, on sport teams and in the sports media has been cut down to cookie cutter 10, 12 and 16week training programs dumbing-down training to HiiT and eliminating any discussion as to skill, technique, and physiological capacity. Its hard training, end of discussion.

When training is dumbed-down to this extent, then athletes start looking elsewhere. And the elsewhere is now prescribed medications used along with a TUE in order to obtain cuts, qualifying times, to make it onto various teams.

We need to go back to basics, back to the beginning, emphasizing the development of body/kinesthetic intelligence seeing it as the primary engine of performance; and leaving all the supplements and equipment as the turbo effect. In this way, remembering that a turbo is useless without a proper engine should help us keep first things first.

Training Plan = Heart Attack

So you want to run in an event… probably a marathon, right? Everyone wants to run a marathon these days, because anything less if for whiners not winners.

So where do you begin? With Google! Search for a training plan to take you into your event of choice. But, let’s say you are a mindful individual, conscious of the fact that stepping up into a full marathon is perhaps a bit excessive for your body & brain, so you decide on a half marathon as a warm up to the full marathon.

Can’t go wrong… right?

Well, what if things do go wrong…

Click here to link to the full article @ RunnersWorld.com

But… he trained right, didn’t he? He didn’t do a full marathon, he started with an half and he trained “properly” because he followed a plan… isn’t that the right way to train?

Indeed, he followed a training plan, and even with a training plan… he was unable to avoid having an heart attack. And now as a result he has to live with a defibrillator implanted in his chest for the rest of his life, but fear not… the goal of a marathon is not abandoned.

Just need to find a “better” training plan, right? One that avoids heart attacks, because of course the one used to do the half-marathon must have been defective?

Point: training for sport does not follow a cookie cutter pattern… there is no one size fits all. The only reason training plans exist is because there are coaches who are willing to ‘sell’ the fantasy that there is an one size fits all for any and all events. Problem is… these coaches don’t have the smarts to know how dumb that statement is, and the problem that arises from that is that individuals who want to complete events end up believing dumb-ass coaches who sell fantasies and then end up dead, or almost dead.

Training – even at the age of 24 – needs to take into consideration far more than whether or not you can bang out the mileage… that is if you do not want to compromise on your health in the process. Otherwise you risk participating in the event by using your health like a credit card in an attempt to pay off the effort of the event (and hoping you have enough credit to get yourself to the finish line).

In the case above, this young man had the mileage but didnt have the health to race a half marathon, proper coaching could have prevented this… but hey, today everyone is so smart, no one needs a coach… all they need is a training plan.

Good luck with that.

Too Much of a Good Thing

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing…

Click here to link to the full article at Bicycling.com

But our hi intensity lifestyles coupled with our hi intensity training and our mindset that rest is for losers is supposed to lead us from one epic high to the next doesn’t accept that there are limits, let alone too much of anything.

The mindset is… if a little is good, then more is better, and even more is best.

It doesn’t work that way.

Iron-Clown [2]

Since so many triathletes who complete iron distance triathlons end up with tattoos, figured that all the iron-clowns should also have an image to commemorate their finish line crawl…

Think that a m-dot sad clown face should do justice for all those who think the finish line actually holds some secret special power of making one whole, or that the words spoken by the commentator that “you are an Ironman” is something other than a mindlessly repeated corporate motto, conveying some special meaning in regards to who you are as a person.

Its not that you cross a finish line that matters.

Finish lines are arbitrary pieces of pavement, in and of themselves they are meaningless.

Its how you cross a finish line that matters, but when you realize that the how begins not at the start of the race, but with the how that you approach each and every day that you are alive… only then do you appreciate that there are no finish lines.

All that there is… is life… and how you succeed in life is what matters. Everything else is temporary but the how with which we live is what immortalizes us and is what we take with us beyond this life.

Iron-Clown [1]

/ˈī(ə)rn kloun/

noun

  • An individual who lacks awareness of the fact that they do not have the health nor the basic physical skill set to swim, bike, and run with the degree of competency required to compete in the sport of triathlon, yet who subsequently enters and competes in the longest endurance events in the sport of triathlon, namely iron-distance triathlons, believing it will serve to accurately portray the superior state of physical fitness, emotional stability, and mental health they believe they have

Misrepresentation

Can science lie? I mean… isn’t science objective, as in 100% objective?

Science may be, but we must remember that scientists aren’t.

Case in point…

Click here to link to the full article

Researchers did indeed show – in this study – that parachutes don’t work, or more correctly, work as well as backpacks (which were worn by the control group). The spoiler… the study subjects jumped from planes that were not flying, weren’t even moving, were actually parked on a nice piece of grass with the jump off point from the plane a mere couple of feet above the ground. Refer to the picture in the linked article to see exactly how researchers ‘proved’ parachutes don’t work.

The point… this is exactly how scientists can use research to cause readers who fail to dig into the details of the scientific study to come to false conclusions. Worse, sports writers who rarely are versed in scientific literature (you need a minimum of a university level course in statistics to understand the data points precisely and in order to draw conclusions), defer to the scientists study title in order to write articles which are then posted on triathlon, running and cycling websites. With few of the website readers digging into the depths of the research the dissemination of false information grows and grows until you have a meme develop like… take for example all the articles that showcase only the upside of HiiT and fail to ever mention any downside, any long term costs or consequences to hi intensity training.

Its not only the setup of the study that matters – e.g. jumping from a plane on the ground vs a plane flying hundreds of feet above the ground to test a hypothesis over parachutes – everything about science matters… from the number of participants, to who are the participants, how they were selected, how the study was performed, and whether the results of the study are in fact statistically significant.

Every study will yield results, the questions that need to be dealt with are the results meaningful, reproducible, valid and reliable? If not, then the study, irrespective of how awesome the conclusion may be… is irrelevant because it wasn’t science that was performed, it was a hack or hobbyist attempting to do science.

Google “research fraud” and you will find that the number of reported and unreported cases of scientists messing with their scientific studies in order to deliver “results” is growing. This has huge implications not only in sport, but everywhere, especially in areas such as health care.

In the meantime, be cautious about accepting scientific research study results just because someone says the data was published even in a noteworthy journal.

Scientists unlike science are not 100% objective. They are prone to the fleshy pursuits of profit, power and prestige and if the opportunity to mess with results offers the potential to eek out a nicer slice of the pie for themselves… well… some scientists won’t blink twice to take the opportunity even if it means disseminating incorrect information hence compromising on their name and their reputation.