Don’t Train. EAT!

Seriously… a recent article on 220triathlon.com suggests:

What’s the message? Don’t modify your goal to suit the reality of how much you can train… train less because you don’t need to train… all you need to do is fuel & hydrate properly in order to achieve your athletic goals.  Here is another article on Triathlon Magazine Canada, by Coach Paul Duncan stating this is no uncertain terms:

What is being sold to us is that it isn’t training that gets us to our goals – OK… train a bit – but the point is that these so called coaches are making is that far more important than training to peak performance is EATING (oh, and don’t forget your hydration toolbelt)!

Just take a look at these article titles (click on any to link to the article):

Training… that’s for losers!  The message is winners, ‘real’ athletes, especially those who know the ‘secret‘ to success in sport… don’t waste their time doing it the long way, they take the short cut… they just eat their way to the finish line, to their goals.

EATING… THE SOLUTION TO ALL THINGS IN SPORT, IN LIFE

Let’s get one thing on the table before we load it up with food, food, and more food. The average lean individual has enough fat stored on them to last for over 500 km of running… and that is without EATING anything while on the run. Again, that’s LEAN individuals; let’s not even consider right now the typical North American who has not just a couple of extra pounds on them, but tens upon tens of extra pounds on their frame.

You can last about 3mins without oxygen, you can last about 3days without water (yes… no water for 3days to all you water-holics who carry around water bottles the size of oil drums), and you can last about 3weeks without EATING! Think about that…

If the average person burns around 1,500 calories a day, multiple that by 21 days… and you get 31,500 calories in reserve!

Evolution – over millions of years – has taught our body one thing… food is scarce, there are times of plenty, and there are times of scarcity therefore always carry a store. It is only in recent times, where the constant abundance of food (and we now waste almost 1/3 of all the food that is grown/harvested on the planet) has become available.  That has happened in what… two generations, maybe three… definitely not enough time for evolution to work its wonders and rewire our DNA adapting us to 24 hr grocery stores where foods from around the world are on constant display and 24hr drive thrus offering a solution to whenever even the slightest hunger pane hits our hypothalamus.

Wakey wakey, we do not have an under-eating issue!

At last check, we – as the collective we of society – are somewhere between 2/3rd and 75% overweight, with 1 in 12 OBESE, with the projections being that by 2020 over 85% of North Americans are going to be overweight.

Yet we are told EAT, EAT, EAT? Why? Because corporations need us to buy too much, eat too much, and throw away so they can grow sales & profits; cause it sure ain’t for our own health!

The last thing we need is a mindset of EAT, EAT, EAT as if eating is the cure-all to all things. Have we not been trying this strategy for the past decade and so far its gotten us epidemics in diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, strokes, and now its starting to spill into mental health disorders which will only lead to the collapse of our health care system when we sit our double wide asses all at once in the Emerg department of our local hospital.

To be fair… there is some merit that we can improve performance by proper fueling, but “curing” undertraining, insufficient and sup-par preparation for athletic events with ‘proper fueling’ is bulls#!t. Take for instance this article which claims to be a “nutrition case study”:

The writer of this article states that an athlete who completed an iron distance triathlon ended up in the medical tent after crossing the finish line because of cramping, swelling, and then vomiting. These worsened into tachycardia, confusion and hearing difficulties, which later escalated into cerebral edema and a seizure. The medical diagnosis: severe hyponatremia.

The solution proposed by the writer so that this athlete avoids finding themselves in this scenario again… proper hydration with proper levels of sodium.

Seriously!

There is absolutely no mention of actually training to be ready to take on an iron distance triathlon to avoid pushing oneself to such exertion extremes that would result in the above list of signs and symptoms.  Nope. The fact that this athlete should not have even considered completing let alone competing in an iron distance triathlon until they are properly trained doesn’t even come into the discussion. And, this is what passes as “coaching”.

How bout this… stop teaching weekend warriors that insufficient and inappropriate fueling is the root of their problem. Why? Because it isn’t poor fueling or hydration its plain and simple not enough training! If you train enough, at least if you train properly enough then you should encounter every conceivable problem in training that you can expect to encounter in racing. By encountering these problems, the point of training is to solve them BEFORE you compete.

But with coaches claiming that you don’t need to train that much… just a few hours… athletes never come close to swimming, biking or running the full distances they will face in the event so its no wonder that athletes never encounter the problems the will face in the event. That athletes blow themselves apart, risking not only finishing, but gambling with their lives just to cross a finish line should be no surprise. And, this is what passes as “coaching”.

If you are encountering issues in racing that you do not encounter in training, then guess what:

YOU AIN’T TRAINING ANYWHERE NEAR WHAT YOU NEED TO BE FOR THE EVENT YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN

and/or

YOU ARE EXERTING YOURSELF WHILE PARTICIPATING IN EVENTS AT AN EFFORT LEVEL FAR BEYOND ANYTHING YOU HAVE TRAINED, AGAIN REVEALING THE EXTENT OF YOUR LACK OF TRAINING & PREPARATION

But no one wants to tell an athlete… no you cannot do this or that race because no one says “no” to anyone any more. If we don’t blow sunshine up everyone’s ass 24-7 then we are taken as naysayers, disbelievers, or haters. Meanwhile, those who do blow sunshine, teaching that all you have to do is click your heels 3x and you will be back home, that all it takes is enough positive thinking to ride that rainbow to your goals… well, if that’s the strategy that gets you into the mess of severe hyponatremia, why shouldn’t that be the strategy to get you out?

If you as a coach do not have the courage to tell your athlete… “NO, you do not have the quality or quantity of training to safely compete in an event so you shouldn’t”, then you do not have what it takes to be a coach because you are willing to compromise the health and well-being, and even play with an athlete’s life.

One day… all this EAT, EAT, EAT bulls#!t will catch up to those promoting it, just like taking supplements is now coming up as yet another empty set of promises of instantaneous health:

Research is now coming up revealing that all the supplement and multi-vitamin claims are coming up empty or close to empty, and in some cases taking supplements and multi-vitamins is coming up as posing a risk to health.

Its the same thing over and over again… short cut, short cut, short cut.  When will we learn?

There is no short cut to health, to performance, to our potential… the long journey is the short cut, everything else is simply someone blowing up sunshine up your arse in hopes that you will buy, so that they can sell you… vitamins, supplements, and now these days its protein powders, recovery smoothees, sports nutrition that will keep you fueled, hydrated, and going going going.

But no… we want the finish line photo so badly, sooo badly, to prove to ourselves that we are healthy, we want that participation medal sooo badly to shove into the face of our friends to prove that we are so awesome, that when something like this happens…

Instead of asking… did I really train enough for the event?  Am I truly healthy enough to engage in an event that can take as many hours in a day that I am used to being awake?  Why do that? Why actually face the reality that… we are not as healthy as we think we are… we need far more training than what we are told we need in order to compete respecting our body and brain.

What about actually respecting the signs and symptoms our body/brain are communicating, like… sensation of gripping pain which is there to attract your attention so that you hear: HEY MORON! You’re not ready to handle 12hrs of continuous swimming-biking-running (a) because you have not trained anywhere close to enough to be ready, (b) because not once have we even come close to training for this period of time in one single session so no body system is prepared even in the slightest for this undertaking, and (c) because you’ve spent the past decade sitting behind a desk you have become weak, stiff, and barely capable of climbing a flight of stairs from disuse… do you seriously think the 12 weeks of what you call training is enough to do what you are asking of me… your body and brain?

No, no… it must be a fueling or hydration issue. Why? Because such issues require no training to solve, no effort whatsoever. Making this a fueling or hydration problem allows me to sign up and do another event next weekend because all I need to do to “solve” this problem is head to my local tri shop or bike store… and BUY a solution (on credit no less, much like how we pay for athletic performance… using our health as the credit to pay for the lack of training when competing).

You want sunshine blown up your arse… no problem… the internet is full of coaches who will blow you as many rainbows and unicorns as you can pay for.

You want health, a dose of reality… then you will have to find a coach who has the courage to tell you the truth, a coach who has the courage to confront you and your illusions that you are still 18 and still in the physical shape you were when you were 18, a coach who cares enough to tell you the truth that they are willing to risk you walking away. Such a coach will smack you upside the head with truth, AND then they will take the time to train you… properly, so that you can compete in an event, pursue your goals but in an healthy manner… physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Bigger Fish to Fry

I will be continuing the posts titled “Movement is A Language” on the TOETT (The Olympian Experience Triathlon Team) website as the thread is more sports oriented which is more suited to that website. Here is the link to part [2]:

Movement is A Language [2]

On The Athletes Cloud blog I will continue to focus on concepts which need to be addressed from a wider perspective. In short, there are bigger fish to fry and I have a couple lined up that need to be confronted asap… because what is going on in sport and in the overall health & fitness industry is truly getting out of hand.

Movement is A Language

I may finally have arrived at a way to concisely and effectively communicate why I hate HiiT (hi intensity interval training)? And when I say hate, I use the word unemotionally, its an authentic expression to the depth at which it hurts when I hear athletes/parents/coaches talk of it.

If movement is a language, then how we study movement should be comparable to the manner in which we study language, to the manner we use language… be it in poetry, in speech, in song.

Imagine if a teacher of language encouraged you to learn only a handful of sounds, not even words, just sounds, and then suggested that effective communication was the mere repetition of those sounds. If the goal of communication is not achieved thru these sounds, the teacher then suggests that the alternative approach is to escalate the intensity of the sounds until a zenith of screaming, screeching, yelling is reached, because effective communication can be achieved if sufficient decibels are put behind the sounds.

Sound familiar?  This is identical to that of a coach prescribing only workouts focused around targets of wattage, speed, or split times (i.e. decibel level), with sport specific technique dumbed-down to a handful of universal principles (i.e. sounds).

There is nothing more moronic, idiotic, ignorant, even evil for a teacher of language to do then to massacre language by dumbing-it-down to a handful of grunts and groans with intensity made the centre piece of communication. It is equally as moronic for a coach to dumb-down peak performance in sport to hi intensity interval training (HiiT).

As caveman grunting is to Shakespeare…
HiiT is to athletic training, to sport, to peak performance.

Those who teach that sport is nothing more than HiiT – i.e. caveman like activities of suffering in a pain-cave (no coincidence that a caveman approach wants a cave to hide in to train), via a “no pain no gain” mindset, where hurting oneself to the point of self harm or self mutilation is believed to be the source of strength, endurance or speed – are morons, idiots, ignorami who should be kept as far as possible from sport, especially from children who are experiencing sport for the first time.

Like language, movement is supposed to be beautiful, inspiring, captivating, intriguing, a creative outlet of self-expression, where an athlete – one who studies the language of movement – arrives to competition commanding such presence, attention, awareness that all eagerly wait to witness what awe-someness they will undoubtedly experience.

What does language have?

  • It has an alphabet which represents all the basic sounds of the language.
  • Those sounds, represented by letters are tied together in syllables, and syllables tied together to form words.
  • There are different types of words: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and every word has a specific meaning, sometimes multiple meanings.
  • There are rules on how words are linked together to form sentences, how sentences are united to create paragraphs, and paragraphs linked to create essays, short stories, novels, and so forth.
  • There is complexity to language… there is figurative language: simile, metaphor, personificaiton, symbolism, and hyperbole.
  • There is more complexity when language uses literary devices: anachornisms, analogies, foreshadowing, imagery, irony, satire, understatements, etc…

The palette may consist of only 26 colours (letters in the case of our alphabet), but the number of paintings an artist can render from those simple starting points is infinite. Hence movement is limitless, hence sport is limitless.

Why is HiiT the training tool of the ignorant?  Because it is the equivalent of stripping language of all its complexity… dumbing-it-down to grunts and groans, teaching that communication is a simple matter of intensifying the grunts and groans to exchange concepts, ideas, to negotiate, to interact.

What sort of individual would dumb-down the beauty, the sweetness, the creativity, the white canvas that is language into grunts and groans? They would have to be the moron of morons.

Any coach who relies on HiiT… is just such a moron.
A moron you must avoid at all costs.

Because the risk is that their ignorance will get all over you, and that ignorance will take you down… in injury, in illness, in blow out, burn out, or meltdown; far short of your potential, far short of you experiencing peak performance.

Find a coach whose love for sport is no different than that of a teacher whose love of language compels their students to inhale book after book, to fall in love with verse.

Find a coach whose appreciation of movement leads athletes to fall in love with the complexity of the language that is movement. A coach who inspires athletes to explore, to play, to engage in movement encouraging not only self expression, but self discovery so that the potential of the athlete can and will be truly experienced.

To become the highest performing version of you… you need to find a coach who is willing to take the time to teach movement as a language so that as an athlete – a student of movement – you can start to learn how to write creatively, and then to write your own essays, your own short stories, perhaps a novel, maybe an entire series.

When movement is seen as a language, then you will come to appreciate that there truly is no limit to pursuing your potential.  If this was not the case, then long ago we would have decided as a civilization that there are no more combinations of words possible… that every book, song, story, play, movie that could be written has been written and we have reached the pinnacle of our existence, of our creativity. It hasn’t happened with words, it hasn’t happened with music, therefore it has not happened in movement, thus not in sport.

Every World Record that stands today is a single chapter in a novel of that sport… its waiting for you to come along and write the next chapter in the history of the sport. But to be able to write that chapter… you will need more than grunts and groans, you will need a full vocabulary, a thorough understanding of the rules, the patterns, the process to writing and sharing ideas.

I challenge you… become a student of movement so you can write yourself into the history of sport.

HiiT Claims Another Life

First, a 15 year old cyclocross cyclist dies in his sleep of a cardiac arrest, after having suffered numerous silent cardiac arrests that went unnoticed.

Now, 23 year old Michael Goolaerts (Veranda’s Willems Crelan team) suffered a cardiac arrest while racing in the Paris-Roubaix Spring Classic event this past weekend. As a result of the MI, he crashed, was taken to hospital and died later on that same day.

Links:

How many athletes will have to die until coaches, team managers, and other athletes realize that its not undiagnosed or missed heart abnormalities… we have made a fatal error in our understanding of hi intensity interval training (HiiT) by failing to truly appreciate the long term risks it poses to both young and old, to both pro as well as amateur athlete?

We are not talking about 40 or 50 year olds who as weekend warriors decided to “crush” it in a training session or a race and ended up with an heart attack.  We are talking about teenagers and adults in their peak physiological and psychological years blowing up… pushing so hard, so often or being pushed so hard, so often that they end up dead. Dead!

If your coach/trainer continues to stuff your training schedule with HiiT workout after HiiT workout then they are gambling with your health, your life, gambling with the risk of you suffering a cardiac event.

Let this serve as your warning: when you wake up (that is hoping you wake up) with tubes coming out of your body, monitors tracking your vitals realizing that you are in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit of your local hospital… remember, someone did warn you.

Don’t want to end up an “I told you so” then wake up… HiiT is a short term solution which is designed specifically to spike your performance using every single system in your body to force more output, it is NOT healthy, neither physically, nor mentally, nor emotionally. HiiT is no different than an unnecessary TUE: its cheating legally in sport by gaming your body systems.

Do it long enough and you will suffer some consequence… death in the worst case.

Is it – death – really worth the carnal desires of your ego? Is driving yourself via self mutilation (internally, if not externally evident) using a “no pain, no gain” mindset into the ground (like 6ft in the ground, in a casket) the way you want to go out?

There are healthy and unhealthy ways to exercise, to workout, to train. Choose carefully.


Day after online articles:

“No Pain, No Gain” Deafness

Wonder why athletes – who are supposed to be healthy – end up developing heart arrhythmias, heart attacks, strokes, or worst, end up dying? Part of the reason is because they have become deaf. No, not deaf as in cannot hear sounds from with-out, but unable to hear from with-in.

Think about it this way…

If you train yourself to deny what you are feeling, train yourself to repress feelings of discomfort, soreness, pain, well… how are you going to feel when you want to and need to feel?

If you train with the goal of deadening yourself to the messages your body sends, effectively numbing yourself to yourself, what happens when your body actually sends you a signal that you are in… distress? Numbing yourself so that in competition you can ‘hold on’ and live to survive to see the finish line may seem like a winning strategy… but it isn’t. It isn’t because it does not translate out to real life, as in the life you lead the other 20+hrs a day when you are not training, not ‘an athlete’.

What happens when you are in respiratory distress, cardiac distress, or as the athlete in the Runners World article (click here for link)… having an actually cardiac arrest? That’s right… a runner living an active “healthy” lifestyle that he likely boasts all about on Facebook and Instagram had an heart attack, and continued on his way as if nothing had happened, as if nothing was wrong. So “healthy” that he could not hear nor properly interpret the signs and symptoms that his body was communicating that he was in fact in the midst of an emergency situation, a life or death moment. A moment that he is blessed to have lived through and to tell about is a miracle!

If there was ever a time when the cliche was appropriate: “lights on… but no one home”.

This is how we have been collectively instructed by well-intended (but 100% clueless) trainers, coaches, and fellow athletes to train. This mindset of self denial, self suffering, self inflicted harm of “no pain, no gain”, to the point of self mutilation (i.e. I couldn’t walk for days after that CrossFit session… gnarly!) which is supposed to be building us healthier, is in fact doing the diametric opposite.

Look around… today the average person is unhealthy.

How do you think that after training day after day, training not to hear from within, that what… by magic you will hear from within, become self aware of significant health issues when necessary. How?  How will you discern between what you have trained yourself not to do (i.e. hear), when you need to hear in order to take affirmative and possibly life saving action?

You cannot.

You won’t.

If you train yourself to deny what you feel, then guess what… you are training yourself to be an expert in not hearing what your body and brains want to tell you, needs to tell you so that you can make healthy decisions… at work, at home, at the grocery store, at the gym, when out on the town.

That is why we all have heard from family, from friends… stories of people receiving diagnoses of heart disease, dementia, cancer yet absolutely and unequivocally blindsided by the fact that they are sick, they have a disease, they are ill, even terminally ill.

As if cancer is one day not there and then poof all of a sudden you have a golf ball sized tumor, or your arteries just overnight clog up, or your neural connections just all of a sudden deteriorate, or your endocrine (i.e hormonal) system is fine and then next day breakdowns as if abused for a decade or more.

It doesn’t happen that way.

Guess how ‘good’ decisions are when you are missing vital information to make a ‘good’ decision? They are random, and they are not decisions, because without all relevant info they are at most gambles of hope [that you are making a good decision].

Imagine running a business where the CEO refuses to listen to anyone, and I mean anyone in the entire company.  What if the CEO refused to listen, not just listen – has trained themselves not even to hear – the corporate lawyers, accountants, the other C-level executives, to the Board of Directors, to the shareholders? How long would that company last?

Well… that is exactly how we are running our bodies.  We are CEOs of our body and brain, and with “no pain, no gain” we train ourselves stupid because we train ourselves to not only not hear and not listen to, but we train ourselves to purposefully ignore the messages, the signals, the communication that millions and billions of years of evolution have programmed into us in order to keep us healthy.

Yet, we wonder in amazement… how did it happen?

How did I get 50, 80, 100lbs overweight?

How did I get heart disease, end up with a stroke or cancer?

Meanwhile, its back to the gym, pounding the s#!t out of ourselves believing that working out hard, harder and harder still is the right course of action.

Yeah, right.

I do not know how to say it, or how many times to say it… hi intensity training is stupid. HiiT should be reserved for highly trained athletes under the direct and watchful and caring supervision of a coach, or a team of coaches ensuring that nothing stupid happens to the athlete when they are pushing themselves to their limits. HiiT should never have been popularized due to its inherent risks, but that’s industry for you… screw you, all that matters is their revenue and profit targets.

If you are not a highly trained athlete – i.e. an athlete who has thousands upon thousands of hours of appropriate physiological and psychological base training – then there is absolutely no reason for you to be doing HiiT (hi intensity interval training).

If you are a highly trained athlete, then only if you are in a state of health (i.e. no injury, no illness, not recovering or still in rehab) should you perform HiiT.

If you are a highly trained athlete, only if you have developed and trained a profound sense of self awareness, a keen sense of intuition, or are being coached by someone who is well trained and well versed in evaluating and training athletes who are riding the red-line of peaking to perform in competition should you perform HiiT.

Peak performance, and exploration of your peak potential happens only in the condition of consistent training, not peak training. If you do not train consistently, then there is no reason to peak… for you have nothing to peak.

Find and work with a coach who can evaluate where you are at, can progress you in an healthy manner by developing capacity, skill and technique, and refuses to spike performance using HiiT in order to pacify your or their ego, a coach who places health as the priority. There are few such coaches, but taking the time to find one may mean the difference between life and death.

If HiiTs So Bad, Then Why Do We Do It? [2]

Because HiiT is a bandaid not unlike alcohol, recreational drugs, energy drinks, a poor diet, and even certain prescription medications, it gives the illusion that the stress level of our life is temporarily less leading us to go back for hit after hit of HiiT (again not unlike alcohol, etc…) to help us manage, cope, to keep us moving, because the “show (i.e. our life) must go on”.

Because HiiT works in the short term, and because we live in a drive thru, yesterday is still too late, instant gratification society where anything that takes actual time is too long too even consider a solution, it has become our go-to.

So what is the process that causes HiiT to work in the short term, but fail in the long term?

Let’s say that your day to day stress level between work and home on a scale from 0 to 10, averages a score of 7. This is not a manageable level of stress because daily you are at your red zone threshold, at your limit, and with so little slack in your system that any one thing or any one that goes off, wrong, late, … there is no capacity. As a result, during the course of each and every day you are repeatedly pushed beyond healthy stress levels and into the “red zone” (refer back to post [1] in the thread on more about the “red zone”).

Attr: Joe DiStefano, TEDxLugano, BREATHE

When this happens in life, when we are constantly riding our limit, there are two options:

  1. We have the option to reduce our stress load by subtracting stressors, reducing the number of commitments we have to put back a bit of slack, a bit of wiggle room, breathing room, add capacity and flexibility to our day allowing average stress levels to fall to a sustainable level (as in sustainable health-wise), or
  2. We can decide that instead of reducing our stress load, instead of admitting that we have over-promised and are under-delivering (everywhere in life), we alter our perception of our stress by taking on or doing something even more stressful to make our day to day life appear less stressful.

In option 1, we reduce the total amount of stress.

In option 2, we reduce the perceived level of stress by changing how stressed we feel.

Can you see why HiiT works until it doesn’t? You can manipulate how you perceive stress, but only for so long. When the underlying stress level isn’t reduced, the damage from the prolonged stress triggers protective inflammatory processes within your body and brain. In time, the inflammation compromises your ability to function, and your health starts to deteriorate. By delaying dealing with stress for long periods of time your health will deteriorate to the point that you will self-inflict enough damage that your body and brain will yield to injury, to illness, to full blown medical conditions, even medical emergencies (e.g. an heart attack or stroke).

When you arrive at this point, stress levels are so far off the chart and have been for so long, that one day off, a vacation is not even close to being a solution. By this point, your body has been deprived of so much rest and rejuvenation and daily repair that the recovery process requires a complete commitment to health being prioritized above all else. At this point, exercise and diet changes are insufficient without drastic lifestyle changes and can actually add to greater stress because they each become one more commitment on top of an already ridiculous list of ‘to dos’.

As an aside, this is where the entire gluten free craze enters. Remember that only about 1% of the population actually has an adverse reaction to gluten, the rest… well the rest are going gluten free in order to attempt to reduce stress somewhere in their life.  Instead of dropping ‘to dos’, they will spend insane amounts to eat gluten free. By the time you are going gluten free to try and make the stress needle drop… your stress levels are so far gone off the chart that this is at best a bandaid situation. Yes, it will buy you some time, but its not a long term solution.

Its old news, but news that should be repeated… 80-85% of doctors visits are for conditions which are entirely stress related.  We do it to ourselves, we burn the candle at both ends, believing or hoping that we can get away with it… and then surprise surprise… heart attack, stroke, TIA, insomnia, food sensitivities, urinary retention or incontinence, male impotence, and other pelvic floor issues, and so on and so on.

This is where HiiT, alcohol, recreational drugs, technology/social media, energy drinks, a poor diet, and even prescribed medications come into play. We ‘use’ all of these (and this is by no means an exhaustive list of the distractions available to us) to alter our perception of life, of our stress levels.

If your day to day stress level is a 7 out of 10, but you go to the gym and grind through an intense workout… a spin class, a Tabata or CrossFit workout, a masters swim or triathlon team training session… a workout that is an 8+ out of 10, how do you think your perception of stress will change?

Attr: Joe DiStefano, TEDxLugano, BREATHE

The greater the gap between the intensity of your stress level at work, or at home and that of training and guess what happens? Your perception of how stressful was your day changes. All of a sudden, after pushing yourself even further you realize that you have another gear, that you have more in you, that you can handle the stress, that a stress level of 7 out of 10 is ‘nothing’ because you just crushed a workout where the effort demanded of you was no less than 8 or 9 out of 10… and you survived (yeah yeah… in pain, popping anti-inflammatories, chugging sugar in some form, to cover up the damage… but I did it!)

There is an healthy way to push your limits and there is an unhealthy way to push your limits.

When your perception of your limit is a 2 or 3 out of 10, then absolutely, exercise performed in an healthy manner that pushes you to appreciate that you do have “another gear” and can perform at a 4 or 5 out of 10 level… that’s healthy.

Using exercise to manipulate a life that’s at the edge, at a 7 or 8 out of 10 day in day out by going into beast-mode in the gym (i.e. 10/10 all out, no pain no gain sessions) is not only unhealthy, its mentally and emotionally unstable to think that inflicting repeated ‘exercise’ to the point of self harm is actually doing any good. When coaches and trainers do this – especially to children (i.e. 15yr who died from doing HiiT… after suffering numerous silent heart attacks) – then perhaps you can see why I rail against HiiT, against the ignorance that all exercise, no matter in the context is healthy.

The long term consequence of teaching yourself to repeatedly spend the reserves your body has set aside for absolute emergency situations (like life-death situations)? Look around…

  • A society which has 2/3rds of everyone overweight, obese if not morbidly obese.
  • A society where morbid obesity has just hit an all time high of 7.7% (almost 1 in 10).
  • A society which is the most medicated and most addicted to recreational and prescription medications ever to exist. A society excited about the legalization of marijuana!
  • A society buckling under skyrocketing deaths due to painkiller overdoses.
  • A society collapsing under the weight of mental health disorders, where anxiety and depression are predicted to be the primary diagnoses by the year 2020 (as in 2yrs).
  • A society which is more interested in cosmetic health, then true health.

You do not become healthier by learning to lie to yourself, by deceiving yourself, by manipulating stress levels to pretend that your true stress load is lower than it is in reality.

You do become addicted to HiiT, to so-called sports nutrition, to factory food, to distractions including smartphones, apps, toxic relationships, and anything else that will stress you to no end, helping you pretend that your stress levels are manageable, are healthy.

You know how you become a master of stress management? You train: aerobically, you develop cardio-respiratory capacity, you stretch, regain your flexibility, then translate it into mobility. You train to become a dynamic individual with a keen sense of self awareness, one who has a long list of strategies for engaging and handling all types of stress. You develop a core, a core which allows you to say ‘no’, to stand your ground, to make healthy decisions, to impose limits on others and yourself. It takes time, it takes practice, it requires a balanced lifestyle that has the space and slack in it to allow you the time, the energy, and the freedom to have a home life, a work life, for rest, for exercise, for play.

There are two options to start dealing with stress in an healthy manner: (a) insight – these blogs are to serve as a warning that if you do not heed, if you do not take action prophylactic-ally, will lead to option (b) after suffering sufficient pain that you are made to finally lift your head up from your dead end life and realize that it is a dead end you hopefully appreciate that something has to change.

Which will it be? The less painful road or the all-out blow to head (hopefully not a fatal blow) from which you will have to go cold turkey with all the changes? Up to you… but it will be one or the other that I can guarantee.

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If HiiTs So Bad, Then Why Do We Do It? [1]

Because its become the short cut of short cuts for everything from burning calories quickly, to gaining quick fitness, to pretending that we are truly healthy. HiiT allows us to cosmetically change our image so as to give the appearance of health. As a result, HiiT has become the short cut for those unwilling to put in the actual time and effort to truly regain and restore their health.

Does HiiT burn an inordinate amount of calories per workout? Yes

Does HiiT cause rapid changes in fitness? Yes

But the question that should be equally asked, is at what cost do we obtain these short cuts?

Benefits of HiiT come at the cost of your health, not the benefit or restoration of your health.

It may not make sense, how exercise can be detrimental to your health and well-being, but it can. Too much of a good thing is not good-er, if anything its bad. Too much water, too much air, too much food – even if its non GMO, organic, free range, grass fed,… – too much is too much.

Lets start with what exactly is HiiT (hi intensity interval training). HiiT, also called maximum or sprint level effort, all-out intensity, and it also goes by the name of red zone training, and for good reason…

…because on RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) charts it is literally coloured red. With the colour red typically correlated with danger, red zone training should be approached with knowledge, experience, wisdom, and an healthy dose of respect that it is training which can be dangerous to your health when performed incorrectly, excessively, and/or for excessive periods of time.

For whom is HiiT appropriate? There is an entire chain of posts that detail when and who should perform HiiT sessions found in the Blog Library under the heading of “Posts on Physical Training”. If you are serious about training, serious about performance, serious about your health and well-being then you are encouraged to read all the posts.

For the purpose of this post and to cut a long story short, HiiT is suitable for athletes – i.e. those individuals who have developed the physiology and psychology from years of base training – who have the health, the conditioning, the flexibility and the sport specific technique and who are specifically preparing to peak and taper for am upcoming competition.  That’s it.

For anyone else… there is absolutely no need to exert yourself at such extreme intensities in order to lose weight, to regain your health, to gain fitness, to train for a road race, a grandfondo, or triathlon event. In fact, it is absurd thinking that HiiT is appropriate for any group of athletes except elite or pros, or age groupers attempting to qualify for national team membership and international events.

For anyone in pursuit of health, regaining their health, losing weight (permanently, not yo-yo), then HiiT is the exact the type of training NOT to do.

For anyone with any pre-existing health conditions, HiiT should be avoided at all costs. The risk of cardiovascular accident is simply not worth it (recall, its red-zone training, as in dangerous level of exertion especially for those with health conditions). In most of these cases, the short cut that is HiiT ends up becoming a much much longer road to recovery as the short cut sets the individual further back as a result of suffering pain, injury or illness from exerting themselves repeatedly at their limit, and then encouraged to push that limit has far as possible.

There is another way to look at the red zone…

If you have ever revved your engine, then you have heard the “working speed” of your car engine roar, and then reduce to its idle as soon as you take your foot of the gas pedal. If your car has a tachometer – a instrument which measures the “working speed” of an engine typically shown in revolutions per minute (rpm) – then you are able to watch the rate to which your engine roared.

This is an excellent example of RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion), because your car engine just like your engine has a red zone, a danger zone.

What exactly is “The Red Zone”?

Its a range in which the car engine can enter, but it should only be in the zone for a fraction of a period of time. Why? Because your engine can only operate up to a particular rate of “working speed” beyond which mechanical damage is inevitable. In the red-zone, the timing of the engine cannot be maintained to remain orderly and what typically happens is that the valves and the piston collide mid-stroke and it becomes an extremely expensive lesson. In plain language, red-line or red-zone your car engine, and kaboom. Since red-zoning your car poses such a risk, most cars have rev-limiters which prevent the car engine from even entering the red-zone.  Engines will cut the gas from being injected into the car engine, so as to prevent further acceleration in the “working speed”.

The human body works in a manner not dissimilar, there is only one difference… the rev-limiter in an athlete is their brain, but the problem is that when we enter the red-zone our brains are not typically working in a rational decision making state.  As a result, our rev-limiter which should make the decision to cut off fuel to our body and slow down effort, tends to make the exact opposite decision. When we should be holding off the fuel, we do the opposite. Inexperienced athletes and coaches with little to no understanding of how to train properly, instead of easing back from HiiT, go full bore into it, fueling their HiiT effort by reaching for the liquid rocket fuel which is their neon coloured sport drink, energy drink, or gel.

Whereas we limit machines to stop at the red-line, preventing them from entering the red-zone, the entire sports nutrition industry is obsessed with only one thing: giving you the products to fuel yourself so far into the red-zone that the only fuel you can use is their products (the fact that you should not be training in the red-zone is clearly not in their interest to market).

In the red-zone your body can burn and use only one type of fuel: liquid sugar (aka “sports nutrition products”).

Wonder why there is so much emphasis on HiiT in the health, fitness and sports nutrition industries? Its because one fuels the other which then fuels the other…  HiiT requires liquid sugar, and sales of liquid sugar require HiiT workouts (i.e. spin classes, bootcamps, Tabata workouts, etc…) to be of any value.

Wonder why you cannot lose weight or are not losing weight and may in fact actually be gaining weight with all those wonderful HiiT workouts? Its because you are un-training your body from knowing how to burn anything other than liquid sugar.  Wonder why you have crazy cravings for sugar? You are training in a manner which is teaching your body to burn sugar and only sugar, so guess what happens when you need fuel… having taught your body to burn only sugar, it craves what you have taught it to crave!  After gorging on sugar, you feel like crap, feel crappy about yourself… so guess what you do… back to the gym, back to the CrossFit WOD, to punish yourself with another HiiT workout perpetuating the cycle, slowly deteriorating your health, and encouraging dis-ease.

The engine of the human body like a car engine can tolerate a short period of exertion in the red zone, but it is not a zone for training, its an overload zone, a safety barrier with a bit of extra capacity for when you are inadvertently pop over the red-line (like accidently downshifting in a car with standard transmission while driving… oops).

HiiT is not a long term training strategy, it is not a pathway to health.

HiiT is to be used exclusively by highly trained hi performance athletes under direct and experienced supervision, that is it.

Ego Not Health [2]

Sean Parker (founder of Napster and former President of Facebook) and Chamath Palihapitiya (former head of AOLs Instant Messaging division and a former executive at Facebook) have both come out in recent months dispassionately expressing their remorse, regret, and guilt over working with Facebook in order to lure the masses into the addiction that is social media. Palihaptiya went so far as to call social media “internet crack”.

If social media is “internet crack” then HiiT is “fitness crack”

Until we – not collectively as society, but individually – recognize that the human being has a vulnerability in that it is highly susceptible to addiction then we will continue to be at the mercy of those who understand this vulnerability and who are willing to exploit this vulnerability manipulating us for profit, power/control or both.

Today, the business of addiction is booming! Need proof? Simply identify the top performing stocks in the stock market and they are all going to be addiction based businesses (i.e. FANG stocks). Industry has figured out how to sell to you, and not just how to sell, but how to make you buy believing that you are buying of your own free will, based on a logical rational decision making processes. Hah! If you believe that then I’ve got swamp land, oops… I mean valuable development land for sale that you will be interested in.

And no… this vulnerability is not just in a handful of people – those unfortunate who became addicted to alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, sex, porn, internet surfing, food, exercise, opioids, etc… – but in each and everyone of us: we are all vulnerable, at risk, at high risk of addiction.

The issue is not whether or not we are potential addicts, the issue is what are we already addicted to but unable to realize it because society has collectively decided that our addiction is an acceptable one, or even a ‘good’ one (e.g. Netflix binging: the phrase just overwhelms with an image of mental and emotional stability, wellness, and health.. doesn’t it?)

It is the EGO which prevents us from accepting the truth… we are all addicts; only by freeing ourselves from addiction can we truly regain health, be healthy, live to our fullest potential.

The goal is not to be a good addict, or to use your addiction vulnerability to your advantage because that is an even grander illusion where you fall to the belief that you can control your addiction, able to manage “how addicted you are”. If the concept crossed your mind that you can control an addiction, then your addiction has you so whipped that you actually believe you are in control. Hah! Guess what the alcohol, gambling, cocaine addict says… I’m in control, I know my limits, I only drink, gamble, snort, ____________ (fill in the blank with your addiction) within reason, and stop well before I place anyone or myself at risk.

I call… BULL S#!T on your “I’m in control” delusion. And if your pride is so grandiose that you cannot call BULL S#!T on yourself, then I can only pray for the victim(s) who will suffer at your refusal to humble yourself, at your refusal to learn from insight defaulting to having to learn from pain (both your own pain and that of those you injure or kill). Who will it be? A cyclist or pedestrian you kill because of having just one more drink which you ‘knew‘ you could handle (bull s#!t), the financial crisis you bring upon yourself or your family from that one last trip to the casino where you were ‘knew‘ you would ‘win it all back’ (bull s#!t), the devastation you unleash on your relationships from your addiction to pain killers or whatever else that you firmly believed that you were in control of (bull s#!t)… until you weren’t.

But, but, but… my addiction is something healthy… like exercise (i.e. HiiT – Hi Intensity Interval Training), so none of what you say applies (bull s#!t).

The problem with using the human addiction vulnerability for good is that its an illusion and it all starts the same way… oh, just a little… that can’t hurt… right? The stockbroker uses just a little cocaine… and voila, they improve in their trading… see… I’m not hurting anyone, and look I am making profits for myself and all my clients. The athlete uses just a little HiiT… and voila, look I’m faster than ever before and with less training… thats gotta be a good thing… and it looks like I have a chance at a podium. The single parent who uses just a couple painkillers… and voila, I can handle the stress of my life and I am able to handle everything that needs to get done.

Of course… with these narratives, what could go wrong? Nothing ever has ever gone wrong when someone says those words! That is until… the stockbroker does just a bit too much crack and blows up their own and every other account they oversee on a major trade, the athlete does just a bit too much HiiT and ends up injured, ill, missing cuts for a sponsored team or a National Team and the opportunity to compete at the international level, and the single parent overdoses on opioids… drops dead leaving their kids with no one. See… nothing goes wrong.

Society has a great way of approving of certain addictions that are on trend (e.g. social media, HiiT, technology upgrade cycle) and it tries to cause us to turn a blind eye to the consequences… e.g. obesity, juvenile diabetes, anxiety and depression in children… but hey… they connect with friends while playing Call of Duty 24hrs straight over weekends… I cannot take that away from them, I cannot take them away from their “friends”.

Society has approved of Hi Intensity Interval Training. Why wouldn’t it? The most medicated, diseased, obese, ‘high’ on illegal and recreational pharmaceuticals, anxious, depressed, withdrawn society ever to exist has to cover up its addictions (and lack of health) somehow, so why not with something as delusional as HiiT which gives the impression of an active, health lifestyle, of one who is pursuing wellness, which provides a cosmetic appearance of health which we are agreeing is to be called… fitness. If you are ‘fit’ like a triathlete, ‘fit’ like a CrossFitter, ‘fit’ like a spin class instructor… my oh my… you must be healthy… and with that our ego brims with pride, and we can reject any notion that we aren’t in control [of our addictions].

Whereas social media convinces us that we are popular, important, unique, special by providing the platform to post so we can feel superior as a result of having experiences others have not had; HiiT convinces us that we must truly be athletes. HiiT convinces us that if we look like those in ads for sports apparel, nutrition, and equipment… sweaty, exhausted, throwing back gels and neon fluids, after just crushing a workout… then we are real athletes (bulls#!t).

A century ago, we were all convinced that smoking was cool, on trend, and medical doctors smoked during our annual appointment. It was a phenomenal addiction: actors smoked, athletes smoked, everyone who was anyone smoked. Then it all went up in smoke, when the cost of dealing with everyone who ended up with COPD, lung cancer, other cancers, plus the cost of supplying the equipment for those who need bottled oxygen to remain alive added up to an amount that was no longer cool. All of a sudden instead of accepting the lobbyist bribes, we turned on the tobacco industry and said… wait a second… smoking… its bad!

Yesterday it was tobacco, today its sport nutrition, its the sport & fitness industry selling HiiT, its tech companies selling social media apps, smartphones, its the media selling pandemonium.

Will society change… ever… no. It will just move from one addiction to the next, never realizing that its stuck in a feedback loop for eternity. One addiction will replace another: the old addiction will be labeled as horrible, the new addiction labeled as the one and only, the true addiction, the addiction that will save us all from our miserable selves.

To break free, you have to do exit the loop, swallow the red pill and leave the matrix.

You have to call bulls#!t on the addicts lifestyle, on your lifestyle.

How will you decide to live: addicted or healthy?

Your choice, but don’t look for society to support you with your decision, because if you decide to live differently – effectively calling everyone’s lifestyle wrong, calling their lifestyle an addicts lifestyle – you won’t find support from anyone and you will be deemed the nut case.

Do it not for likes, in spite of your ‘followers’, do not do it for social approval, do it for yourself, for your kids, so that both you and your kids can be free to pursue your fullest potential.

Ego Not Health

Its time to turn our attention to the growing trend of doing exercise – whatever that may be (e.g.) running, cycling, triathlon, CrossFit, bootcamps, etc… – in the name of living an active healthy lifestyle but training in a manner and racing in events which is not and cannot be defined as healthy.

Perhaps we initially intend to improve our health but why do we end up convinced that self inflicting harm is healthy?

We do this not just at the gym, in working out or training, we are susceptible to this pattern everywhere in life… at work, in business, in relationships both professional and personal… inevitably ending up reliving periods of pain, suffering, sometimes injury and illness over and over, with the answer to how did I end up here circling back to us… everytime.

We promise, no, we vow never to do it again, never ever ever to compromise, settle, give in, fall to temptation, jump on the shortcut, but we do.  We allow our ego to take over, to take command. Why? Why is it that the needs of our ego contrast with the needs of our well being, with our health? Why does our ego direct us to join in on things that we know are harmful to our well-being? And knowing this pattern, why will we over and over again give in to our ego and inflict self harm?

 

To start the thread lets use a few articles found in runningmagazine.ca to set the tone:

Runners would continue racing if they learned ultras were bad for them, study says

“If you were to learn, with absolute certainty, that ultramarathon running is bad for your health, would you stop your ultramarathon training and participation?” the study asks
https://runningmagazine.ca/ultra-obligatory-running-among-ultramarathon-runners/

 

Yukon Arctic Ultra runner at risk of losing hands and feet

Bone-chilling temperatures leaves Italian participant’s limb health in jeopardy
https://runningmagazine.ca/roberto-zanda-2018-yukon-arctic-ultra/

HiiT Kills 15yo Athlete [2]

Excerpt from:

Teenage Cyclocross Champion Died in Sleep After Heart Attack

https://www.bicycling.com/news/charlie-craig-cyclocross-death-heart-attack

Why was the death of this 15year old a coroner’s case? Because death by heart attack at the age of 15… well that’s just not right is it, so it triggered a coroners inquiry as it should. What did the inquiry reveal? That “high surges of adrenaline left his heart scarred and vulnerable” and led to repeated heart attacks over a period of time.

The philosophy of training that has this effect…
HI INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HiiT).

Performing HiiT causes adrenaline surges which can result in scarring of the heart and eventually even heart attacks. How? Excessively intense training will trigger a neural-endocrine reaction which results in adrenaline being released into the bloodstream.

But like believing that it is even possible for a 15year old to die by way of multiple heart attacks, believing that exercise – especially the most hyped exercise of our time… HiiT – was the cause of death… that we do not want to believe. Having been force-fed that exercise – any and all exercise without any conditions or criteria – makes us healthy, to add the detail that healthy exercise is dependent on how intensely we exercise… that is just too much. Most will argue that its challenging enough getting out and exercising without having to concern ourselves with how we exercise, so its easier to believe that exercise in any shape or form is beneficial to our health (aka ignorance is bliss… and it is, until you suffer the consequence of your ignorance, provided you are still alive).

It is only moderate exercise which is healthy, whereas excessive exercise (as in excessive in intensity, duration, and especially both simultaneously) is unhealthy and this reality has been researched and published in physiology and medical journals repeatedly: it is referred to as the ‘J’ curve (because it looks like a ‘J’ or a backwards letter ‘J’ depending on the relationship of excessively intense exercise and a specific disease).  Although the J curve is widely known in the field of electro-physiology, it is less well known in health care, and even less in the fitness industry. In the fitness industry it seems no one has heard of the concept of the J curve because all that’s available at health clubs are HiiT programs: bootcamps, Tabata workouts, spin classes, with personal trainers having no reservation pushing clients so hard that “no pain, no gain” is sold as the mantra to the path to success in health and fitness goals.

The ‘J curve’ is entry level physiology in university. Meanwhile, the cardiologist from whom the article seeks a “second opinion” despite having no involvement in the coroners case thus no access to the medical findings to offer any sort of reliable or valid conclusion, cannot bring himself to state what is already known: again, moderate exercise is healthy, excessive exercise is unhealthy. Why? Because as a cardiologist – like all doctors – he can see only what he has been trained to see… it must have been some undiagnosed irregularity of the heart that unfortunately was ‘missed’ by another doctor. That the athlete through excessive exercise could inflict upon himself an heart irregularity… well that’s just downright impossible (of course, because we have been force-fed that all exercise is good, is healthy, is right).

Are endurance athletes hurting their hearts by repeatedly pushing beyond what is normal? – Velonews.com, by Lennard Zinn

Critical to this point, the coroner on the other hand noted specifically that there was no evidence that the heart condition of this 15year old was in any way congenital.  Point being… if it wasn’t congenital then there is only one other option: it was acquired. How? It was self inflicted or in the case of a 15year old athlete, they were caused to self inflict the damage by way of repeated excessive exercise (i.e. RED ZONE / ALL-OUT training) by an unrelenting ignorant coach/parent.

Neither does the writer address the fact that the cardiologist found to offer a “second opinion” is in a conflicted state. The cardiologist being a medical doctor who is supposed to know ‘how to be’ healthy, who advises patients how to be heart healthy, is also an avid triathlete who likely exercises excessively as most triathletes do, and likely self inflicts similar heart damage to himself. But being an athlete who damages their heart is a conflict that this cardiologist cannot accept… because they are a medical doctor after all, and medical doctors are never wrong. The outcome is that this cardiologist cannot ‘see’ the plain and simple truth before them.

This state of mental conflict in psychology is called:

We have to remember… doctors are human, not demi-gods.  Most of you won’t recall but back in the day it wasn’t uncommon for doctors to be smoking cigarettes during patient appointments. Could you imagine these days if a medical doctor asked you to hold onto their ciggy (aka cigarette) while they listened to your chest while you took deep breathes in their smoke filled medical appointment room. A few decades ago this was normal. Think about that. The thought of the medical profession using leeches to heal may seem primitive, but smoking during patient appointments isn’t centuries old, it happened only a few decades ago.

Meanwhile the research coming out of Australia on atrial fibrillation has shown that atrial fibrillation is an acquired disease, a disease of indulgence:

Excerpt from:

drjohnm.org/2014/05/exercise-over-indulgence-and-atrial-fibrillation-seeing-the-obvious/

Inflammation arises in the body when adrenaline is released because along with adrenaline, cortisol is released and it is cortisol that results in inflammation. Repeatedly stress the human body via excessive exercise to the point that adrenaline is required to “fuel” the performance and along with it there will be enough cortisol that anything even remotely stressed in the body… from ligaments, to muscles, to blood vessels, to the heart itself… will become inflamed.  Repeat the cycle enough times and eventually something will become so scarred as a result of the repeated stress and following inflammation that it will start to breakdown and in time will eventually break.  It can be a tendon, a muscle, it can be a blood vessel, it can even be your heart that eventually breaks altogether.

There is an healthy way to exercise and there are unhealthy ways to exercise… ways that will lead to weight gain, to illness, to injury, even death.

Unhealthy exercise increases inflammation in the body.

Healthy exercise decreases inflammation in the body.

If health is the priority, if health is the point to why you are exercising then find an health professional, a coach, someone who is not sold by industry on HiiT, someone who instead understands and appreciates that your health, your athletic potential, your ability to perform at your peak is related to skill, technique, form and posture, not because you entered ‘beast-mode’, not because of your willingness to enter the red zone or put out repeated all-out efforts.


With that said… there is a trend of exercising not for health, but for “experiences” (aka for the purpose of ego inflation) as the reality is that there are many who would and will continue to exercise as they do, even if they learnt that the way they exercise is harmful to their health and well-being.

Why? Because the experience of their training and racing serves to inflate their ego and has nothing to do with health. The mindset works as follows: because I finished _________ (name the event: typically a marathon, grandfondo, or the mother of all ego events… an ironman triathlon, especially Kona), the logic is… I am therefore a better human being than those who haven’t. And if someone did do one of those events, then you look at their race results and if you were faster than them… the logic is that you are still a better human than them.

Next post… the trend of growing mental impairment in sport (and society in general) where the perception is that self-harm through exercise is normal, appropriate, even a part of an active healthy lifestyle, and where claiming that ego training is the equivalent of training for health.

Engaging purposefully and repeatedly in HiiT – training known to cause injury, illness, & disease – is a state of mental and emotional impairment.

To inflict self harm, irrespective of how “healthy” you may think you are by exercising excessively is not congruent with a state of health. It doesn’t take a medical doctor to diagnose self inflicted harm as not being mentally healthy or stable. If its clear when to perform CPR on a person even if you are not an EMS responder nor a medical professional, then its fair to suggest that there are cognitive-behaviour patterns that would benefit from the equivalent of CPR to attempt to reinstate some higher functioning in executive levels of the brain as opposed to the instinctual self preservation reactions that HiiT causes.

My hope is that through these blogs someone will stop for a moment and consider, will think, will re-evaluate for a moment… whether or not their training is truly healthy. Are you truly benefiting from the exercise you are doing, the training for sport that you are doing, or is there a chance that you are hurting myself, inflicting harm in a way you never thought possible?