280119 Resistance Training in Cold Weather part 2

280119 Resistance Training in Cold Weather part 2

Resistance training places high internal and external load demands on the human body. It must be physically prepared to meet and exceed these artificially designed stresses. To successfully adapt, conditions within the body must be favorable. Temperature variations, however, can sometimes overpower the metabolic responses of the organism

The United States Air Force conducts one of the world’s premier Air Crew Survival Schools. The training provided through this school specifically addresses cold weather survival by stating the following in the instructor’s manual

“Cold is a serious stress source, even in mild degrees it lowers efficiency. Extreme cold numbs the body and dulls the will to do anything except get warm”. Cold numbs up the body by lowering the flow of blood to the extremities (we use these in ALL of our exercises) and results in sleepiness”. (USAF, 38)

The authors of Exercise Physiology state: “the normal heat transfer gradient is from the body to the environment, and core temperature is generally maintained without physiologic strain. In extreme cold however excessive heat loss can occur, particularly when the person is resting.” (Katch, 502)

Resting between sets is normal, especially when working in the 85-95% 1RM range. A recent article by Jason Schniepp, et al.,in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, reported the results of test run on ten well-trained cyclists’ and their response to the cold water immersion.

The cyclists, who were exposed to cold water prior to a strength-cycling test, clearly showed the adverse effects the cold temperature had on power output. The cold affected blood flow, metabolism, and the balance of agonist-antagonist muscular activity. “These factors will undoubtedly affect the rate of energy production and muscular efficiency.” (Schniepp, p561)

Furthermore, G.M. Ferritti et al.’s work reported in “Effects of temperature on the maximal instantaneous muscular power of humans”, Euro j. Appl. Physiol. 64:112-116. 1992 and cited by Schniepp “demonstrated a temperature-dependent relationship on the rate of Adenosine Triphosphate hydrolysis, as a reduction in ATP resynthesis occurs with a concomitant decrease in the rate of cross bridge detachment. A relatively greater number of cross-bridge attachments have been found in cooler muscles, resulting in an increase in power absorption proportional to the external work required to lengthen the muscle.” If ATP is slow in breaking down, power decreases cannot be far behind

J.A. Faulker, et al’s report entitled “Muscle temperature of mammals: Cooling impairs most functional properties,” Am. J. Physiol. 28:259-265. 1990, (cited also by Schniepp) suggests, in addition, that:

• “an increase in power absorption by antagonist muscles after muscle cooling may affect coordination, mainly manifesting at faster contraction velocities.”

• “results from this study demonstrated a significant condition by trial interaction as maximum power decreased significantly more after cold water immersion than under normal conditions.”

• “in cooler muscles there is an extended time of relaxation that reflects prolongation of cross-bridge attachment and will result in a reduction of cross-bridge cycling. A reduction in muscle temperature may also impair the activation of motor units during a short time interval, possibly because of lower nerve impulse frequency. As a result, coordinated movement may be affected adversely. The body tries to remain at the optimum temperature through a series of internal regulating mechanisms.”

• “the thermo regulatory defense against cold is mediated by internal temperature NOT by the body’s heat production per se,” according to Katch, et al. “The greatest contribution of muscle to defend against cold occurs during physical activity.” (Katch, 503)

Shivering is the body’s attempt to heat itself up through muscle action but it stops at core temperatures of 85-90 degrees. Normally a person exercising will not become this cold. If so then something is drastically wrong.

References Cited for Resistance Training in Cold Weather:

Arnheim, Daniel D. Modern Principles of Athletic Training. Mirror/Mosby. 1989: 303-4.

Houston, Charles, S., M.D. Merck Manual of Medical Information. Simon and Schuster. 1997:1345-7.

Katch, F.I, V.L. Katch, and W.D. McArdle. Exercise Physiology. Lippincott. 1996 (4th ed.): 351, 502-3, 505-21.

Michele, Lyle, J. The Sports Medicine Bible. Harper Collins.


Schneipp, Jason, Terry S. Campbell, Kasey L. Lincoln Powell, and Danny M. Pincivero. “The Effects of Cold-water Immersion on Power Output and Heart rate on Elite Cyclists.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 16 (Nov. 2002): 561

Search and Rescue Survival Training. Department of the Air Force, USAF. 1985. (Currently in use at the Survival School)

010816 Packing for a 14 day trip: Comparisons between female and male essentials


Female Words from her as she is packing

Have fun sweetie, ily

  • No, I am not washing my underwear and letting it dry overnight.
  • Because I need these shoes, that’s why (4 pair!)
  • No, I am not going to buy whatever I need.
  • Because every woman needs tweezers…
  • No, I am not going to use a Compression sack for any of my clothes
  • Because I need to have 9 blouses.
  • No, I am not going to use hand soap to brush my teeth with.
  • Because I need the hair jell in a smaller container (1/4 in shorter, same diameter)
  • No, I am not taking any MRE’s to save money eating or just in case.
  • Because I need to have all of my make up with me (in this trifold bag)
  • No, I am not taking just two pair of slacks and yes, I do know I will never see any of these people again.
  • Phone, tablet, and chargers
  • Tooth brush, paste
  • Deodorant
  • Vitamins and medicine if needed
  • Books and magazines to read
  • Because I want to that’s why

Male Words from him as he is packing

  • My normal bag with the flap zipper and the two inside pouches for my stuff.
  • Two pair of pants, if one gets dirty I can always wash out with hand soap in the sink, bathtub, or shower and let it dry overnight.
  • Four shirts, if one gets dirty I can always wash out with hand soap in the sink, bathtub, or shower and let it dry overnight.
  • Four pair of socks and tee shirts, and seven underwear (see above for cleaning advice)
  • One razor, hand soap for shaving, tooth brush and tooth paste (if it runs out use hand soap)
  • Deodorant
  • Phone, Kindle, camera, and chargers
  • Vitamins and medicine if needed
  • MRE’s for one day just in case…


160516 Steps to a happier and healthier you

160516 Steps to a happier and healthier you

If you are happier, you normally are healthier and vice versa. Getting there is not too difficult, it just takes a bit of effort to improve your well-being.

According to Dr. Ronald D. Siegel[1], 40% of what determines our happiness is directly under our control. Contrast this with the findings that a mere 10% of our happiness has anything to do with an outside event either good or bad.

“It’s not events, but our responses to events that determine our level of well-being,”[2] Dr. Siegel says. He went on to suggest these steps that you can take to improve your emotional and physical health.

  1. The first and most important step to take is to be happy-just like the song says. Remember, “It’s not events, but our responses to events that determine our level of well-being.”[3] You control the majority of your own happiness with your responses to what happens to you.
  2. Live in the moment, not in the past or future but right now. If you fully embrace the present activities, the enjoyment they bring is increases. This makes you less likely to be thinking or worrying about things in the past or future. Make the most of the moment.
  3. Keep a daily diary of things you are grateful for, things you have enjoyed doing, of people you liked spending time with…each of these promotes positive feelings, improves your outlook, optimism, satisfaction with life and increases your connections to others. The cycle continues onward.

Now that you have several ideas for becoming happier, we are moving onto the physical part of getting healthier. Once again, the resource is from the Harvard Medical School, this time from Dr. Edward Phillips who is the founder and director of The Institute of Lifestyle Medicine. He also is the faculty editor for Simple Changes, Big Rewards, one of the Harvard special reports.

Total health, both mental and physical, is a combination of the two. The better your mental health, the better will be your physical health, and vice versa. If you are presently engaging in poor habits then your health will suffer. By making efforts to change these unhealthy habits, you will be improving your overall health.

Dr. Phillips says, “two thirds of all illness is the result of our lifestyle choices.” Obviously, two thirds of illness is a large part of our health makeup and one that needs attention if we are to become healthier. His advice now follows.

  1. You must take the responsibility for your health. This means not only seeing your doctor on a regular basis but also following their advice. Getting the necessary regular exams, screenings, and tests included in this aspect of being responsible for your own health.
  2. Use your personal strengths to improve your health, for example use the discipline of your personal habits, or make use of the skills of your profession to improve your life. Create great tasting meals from basic ingredients by experimenting with contents. Do something different with your exercise program. If you run, then change your course, add weight to a backpack, find some hills, but change it up. On the other hand, if you lift weights then drastically change the routine around by increasing the reps into much higher numbers than you currently use. Alternatively, lower the rep numbers and increase the intensity up into the 85-100% range for lower number of sets.
  3. Make small changes in your goals so you see progress each week. Pick out a goal that you know for a fact you can accomplish. One such goal, if you are not already doing any cardio workouts, is to start with doing a cardio exercise for 5 minutes each day.
  4. Keep track of what you do with a logbook. A daily diary is useful in keeping track of your moods, the food, and drink you have each day, your exercises, and whatever else is important to you.
  5. The daily benefits you begin to notice will spur you on to even better habits that will most defiantly improve your health.

Each of one of these suggestions is simple to follow and easy to track. By incorporating them into your lifestyle, they will begin the remaking of you into a healthier person.


[1] Dr. Ronald D. Siegel of the Harvard Medical School, an assistant clinical professor of psychology and faculty editor of Positive Psychology, a special health report from the school.

[2] Dr. Ronald D. Siegel of the Harvard Medical School, an assistant clinical professor of psychology and faculty editor of Positive Psychology, a special health report from the school.

[3] ibid

Optimizing the mind body connection

Optimizing the mind body connection

In the gym, you will frequently hear a strength coach talk about the mind body connection. This is especially true when discussing bar speed. Think speed, is a common phrase in my gym because more speed on the bar translates to greater power output and superior sports success.

As much as I hate to admit it, there is a life outside of the gym and if your brain is working at its best then your life will be better. Do now the question arises, just how do you make this mind body connection work, and how can you develop it outside of the gym?

One way is to give the brain the best possible environment in which to operate. You do this by staying physically active throughout your life. There have been a number of studies demonstrating a clear link between physical activity and higher levels of brain functioning. The neurons tend to regenerate and grow leading to the ability to concentrate better all with a daily regimen of physical activity.

As one would suspect, the counterpart to physical activity is sleep. The loss, over time, of even small bits of nightly sleep can begin to affect daytime functions and efficiency levels. Truly, a good night’s sleep is worth its weight in gold. Some people may find it difficult to sleep well, therefore a few of the following ideas may help.

One of the proven ways to get a good nights sleep begins with an active day, followed by a period of unwinding before going to bed. Naturally, another source of sleep disruption is caffeine, thus avoiding caffeine could be a solution to this problem. Even drinking less of this substance during the day could help get you better sleep later on in the evening.

On a different note, if you are having nightly sleep disturbances or are accumulating a serious sleep deficit then talk to your doctor. There may be other conditions causing this to happen such as chronic pain, or maybe sleep apnea (1) .

(1) A temporary cessation of breathing during sleep, experienced by some people.

070512 Weight gain and your health

Weight gain and your health

Eating less protein increases your chances to gain weight

Researchers at the University of Sydney, Australia and Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand believe that a low-protein diet causes people to add weight. They compared individuals whose daily diets consisted of 10% and less protein with those who daily consumed 15% and above protein over a four-day period.

Those who were eating only 10% protein averaged 1000 more calories over the four-days of the study. Granted this is a short-term glance at the connection between low-protein and weight gain but it still shows a link.

The possible reason for the weight gain in the minimal protein group could be this group may have not felt as full as those eating more protein did.

Weight gain and prostate cancer

In a study of 2,498 men conducted by the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore it was found that prostate cancer survivors have a higher risk for recurrence if they gain weight.

After looking at the data compiled from the study, it was found that gaining five or more pounds five years before the surgery and one year afterwards had a decidedly negative effect on the individual’s health. The results indicated those who had gained the weight were twice as likely to experience a recurrence of the disease when compared with those who maintained or lost their weight.

Reducing your hospital stay by walking

An article recently published in the Archives Of Internal Medicine stated that people who walk the most in the hospital after surgery leave earlier. This study looked at 485 people who were 70 years and older.

They found that patients who were able to walk and walked around their rooms or the hospital wards at least once a day decreased their hospital stays an average of one day. These patients were compared with those who stayed in their beds or remained seated instead of walking around.

Those patients who walked around the same day of the surgery spent even less time in the hospital.

The message here is to get moving, yes it may hurt, nevertheless, when the doctors are encouraging you to be mobile and you don’t take advantage of this then you’re going to spend more time in the hospital.

appq� T��� x�� lems may be held at bay by greater lean muscle mass. A new study reports that increasing skeletal muscle mass by as little as 10%, is also associated with an 11% reduction in the body’s resistance to insulin and a 12% lower risk of developing transitional, prediabetes or diabetes.

Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles look at the data and 13,644 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Since these people were involved in the study between years of 1988 to 1994, the research is somewhat old. However when the muscle mass of one quarter of the participants was compared between those with the most muscle mass and those at the bottom with the least muscle mass, those with the greatest amount of fat three muscle mass were 63% less liable to get diabetes.

After making adjustments to leave out those with diabetes, the connection between muscle mass and improved insulin resistance became even stronger. According to the study[2], “increases in muscle mass above even average levels were associated with additional protection against insulin resistance and prediabetes.”

Not only is increasing your lean muscle mass important, but also losing weight helps to improve your metabolic health. Most of us already know that the fitter you are, the healthier you are probably going to be.

[1] Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass and coordination that results from the process of aging.

[2] Preethi Srikanthan, MD of the University of California Los Angeles, USA

010112 Blood pressure, daily walking and the connection with being overweight

Blood pressure, daily walking and the connection with being overweight

If you are overweight, then daily walking may not dramatically decrease your blood pressure. The healthy benefits that walking has on the blood vessels of a normal weight person may be lost on the overweight individual.

In general, terms this means that your arteries are not widening and the blood flow is not improved with walking, thus your blood pressure may not change to more optimum numbers.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern conducted a study that analyzed over 35,000 Caucasian men and women. Each person in the study had regular checkups that included measurements of their Body Mass Index (BMI), and readings of their systolic blood pressure each visit. Additionally these participants exercised at each visit so their fitness levels could be assessed. The results may give anyone who is overweight a reason to reassess their situation.

The results were published in the American heart journal and they revealed that a normal weight person had an average of 12 mmHg lower systolic blood pressure than one who was obese. The blood pressure of the fittest was only 6 mmHg lower than for those who were least fit. Still, that wasn’t all they found.

After analyzing the blood pressure, BMI, and fitness data of the participants, they found that physical fitness was an important element in lowering blood pressure in those of a normal weight person. However, it was not as effective of a component in those who were overweight. Interestingly enough, many in this overweight group were physically fit yet their blood pressure was still high.

The take-home message here certainly indicates that diet alone may not help lower your blood pressure. The combination of losing weight, by engaging in regular exercise, and calorie counting will need to be in place before you begin to notice the beneficial effects of exercise on lowering your blood pressure.

110312 Keeping the weight off by eating more

110312 Keeping the weight off by eating more

Well here we are, nearly at the end of March, still struggling to keep up with our New Year’s resolution to lose weight. If it is not going too well, perhaps you need to change your plan of attack. Most adults know food volume plays a critical part in controlling hunger pangs. This is because the stretch receptors in the stomach largely control the feelings of satiety.

Therefore if you eat large amounts of healthy foods that are also low calorie in the stomach receptors are going to turn off the hunger sensations. This is something that is not going to happen when you are eating snacks, high fat or fried food. Unless of course you are really eating a bunch of this unhealthy stuff.

Thus, the answer to the question of filling your stomach begins with not filling it with calories.

For example, take two identical twins, each of them has the exact same stomach but with different contents. Twin number one has 400 calories of a great tasting candy bar. Twin number two has 400 calories of a salad on board.

Now we all know, having eaten candy bars, that one candy bar is not going to fill our stomach up. Even though our stomach is not full, we still have eaten 400 calories, which means there is an awful lot of spare space down there waiting to get filled up. Twin number two, the good twin, has a stomach full of salad and the stretch receptors are saying “I am full”.

At this point, which twin would you rather be?

Which one is going to reduce their weight and move forward with their New Year’s resolution of losing useless fat?

The moral to this story is to eat 2 to 3 servings of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other healthy bulky foods at every meal, preferably before the main course shows up on the table.