Archive for October, 2008







Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Enjoy the Day!!!!!!


While there are many different types of bottled waters on the market, is one any better than another? That depends on your needs and your taste preferences. Read on to learn the differences between the most popular options. 

Spring water: This type of water comes from natural springs that get their water from underground geological formations. The water can be collected directly from the spring or it can be extracted through a tap. 

Purified water: Added steps to the purification process results in water that is reportedly lighter, cleaner, and more easily absorbed into the body than spring water. More impurities and dissolved solids are reportedly taken out of water that is purified than through the standard filtration process.

Mineral water: Some of the dissolved solids (sulfur, salts, gasses) that are typically removed are left in mineral water, or are added through an additional process. The minerals are believed to help cleanse the system and have restorative health properties.

Artesian water: To qualify as artesian, water must come from a well that taps into an underground layer of rock or sand.

Sparkling water: This bubbly water is filled with carbon dioxide, giving it a pleasant fizz similar to that of sodas and ginger ale. 

Electrolyte-infused water: Electrolytes—salts that are essential for proper muscle and nerve function—are commonly found in sports drinks, and have found their way into some brands of bottled water. The electrolytes can help remove toxins and excess waste materials that pollute the system.

Flavored water: Tired of plain water? Several brands on the market have added flavor—citrus, berry, etc.—designed to keep your taste buds entertained. Some do this without adding any calories, but most add a negligible amount (5 calories or less per serving).

Oxygenated water: Added O2 makes the water bubbly, which supposedly helps people feel fuller—making these waters attractive to people who are trying to suppress their appetites and shed pounds—and also can aid in muscle recovery post-workouts. Oxygen waters tend to have a heavier taste and a thicker consistency that regular H20.

Tap water: In most areas that draw from a municipal water supply, fluoride has been added to reduce tooth decay. However, fluoride is a toxen so don’t rely solely on tap water. Most bottled waters fail to add fluoride, and those that do don’t always add enough to make a difference. 

If you’re concerned about your oral health or that of your family, check water bottle labels carefully and opt for brands that have the most fluoride.

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (Stay Hydrated!)




How much sleep in enough? There is no one right answer, despite what you might have been told time and again about getting eight hours per night. Well, there are some wrong answers, including anyone who insists four to five hours of slumber is enough.

The National Sleep Foundation, which conducts yearly surveys on Americans’ sleep habits and serves as clearinghouse for researcher and consumer groups, suggests a healthy total for adults is seven to nine hours nightly, while teens are better off with 8.5 to 9.5 and five- to 12-year-olds need somewhere between nine and 11 hours. Notice there is a range for each age category; even babies are deemed to require 14 to 18 hours.

A number of studies point to seven to eight hours as optimal for the health of adults. Yet some research makes a case for getting eight to nine. For example, a University of Connecticut School of Medicine study of 12,000 women showed that who slept nine hours per night on average had a 33 percent less chance of developing breast cancer as women who slept less.

Interestingly, scientists have debated whether it is sleep itself or shutting down exposure to light that helps prevent breast cancer. There is a theory that too much exposure to artificial light at night lowers a woman’s melatonin hormone levels and in turn invites aggressive cancer cells to multiply. This nighttime light exposure is validated by research indicating women who work second or third shifts are more prone to breast cancer than females who work a usual workday.

While getting enough sleep seems to be more health bromide than cutting-edge information, the opposite is true. Researchers has discovered compelling evidence in recent years that sleep not only makes us feel, well, less sleepy, but it also restores mood through a documented modality of slowing down brain waves and plays a vital role in helping us remember things and reinforce what we learned during the previous day.

About 80 percent of our sleep is slow-wave. So getting enough sleep translates to getting enough slow-wave restoration of our emotional and mental capacities. Cheating yourself on sleep (less than six is compromising; less than four is damaging) leads to a lack of slow-wave recuperation. University of Wisconsin researcher Giulio Tononi has discovered that sleep-deprived individuals have larger and more frequent slow waves when they finally do get a good night’s rest when compared to people who sleep seven to eight hours daily. In effect, the sleep-deprived person’s body is attempting to catch up on the slow-wave count.

During our waking hours, Tononi says people “observe and learn much more than you think.” Getting enough sleep at night supports our brains to collate and store all of things that leave a “trace” in our days.

Bob Condor blogs for Alternative Health Journal every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He says 6.5 hours is about the shortest night’s sleep in which he feels fully rested—especially if he can get a 20-minute nap during the day. For more about napping, see Saturday Oct. 25’s final post of Sleep Power Week.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!  (then go take a nap!)


Examining the characteristics of the human body further assists in understanding function.  This allows for better understanding of human movement for improved program design and rehabilitation programs.  For e a more depth explanation and further discussion check out my freind and colleague JC Santana’s book Functional Training; Breaking the Bonds of Traditionalism.

 The proportions of the human body are distinct from one person to another.  Therefore we all have unique movement patterns that are consistent with our strength, weaknesses and utility.

Our bodies are made to fit us.  They are a product of what “function” we have dictated for it.  That is why athletes look like athletes and couch potatoes look as they do.

The next two concepts probably have the most significance to training.

Our bodies have the ability to adapt.  This was first discovered by a Canadian endocronologist (Hans Seyle).  He was looking at the adrenal response of rats and stress.  He developed the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS)  We have the ability to adapt both neurologically and morphologically.  Neurologic adaptations are what allow us to gain strength minute to minute.  Its due to synchronization, rate coding and proprioception.  Whereas morphologic changes are actual increases in the actual size of the muscle (hypertrophy).  This can take 6-12 weeks.

Lastly, proprioception is the communication system for reaction and interpretation of input from the body and its surroundings.   The body/brain uses all the proprioceptive info to make a decision on how and when to perform a specific movement or task.  Remember that muscles are dumb, they rely on proprioceptive and mechanorecptor info.  Proprioceptors are also a safety mechanism to inhibit harmful forces.  I think of proprioception as the foundation to human movement.  The muscles are slaves to the brain.  Power is nothing without control.  Most people are only concerned with strength without a thought to training balance.  I like to use the analogy that i would not put them in a formula 1 race car without brakes or a steering wheel.  Brute strength in function and sport is not as important as rate of force development.  Can you utilize the strength you have at have right time in the right amount to successfully complete the task or skill?  If you cant, your 300 pound bench press or 500 lb squat is meaningless (in function/sport).

So, based on the characteristics of the human body it becomes more clear the need to train the body functionally using more life/sport specific types of exercises.  Train the body for the task it is intended for using movements and positions that closely resemble the task to react /respond to gravity, ground reaction forces and momentum.

PS…unless your goal is body building.  In that case the body building approach is still the best way.

The question to ask yourself is are you training for “show” or “go”??

Get Strong! Stay Strong!  (But do it functionally!)



By Erin Jansen, AHJ Editor, Oct. 2008
I have always loved to read about how food and vitamins and supplements interact with and support a healthy body! I’ve poured through countless books and articles on the topic and I’ve taken vitamins and supplements for years. My best friend recently asked me “what is the end-all list of vitamins and supplements I should be taking?” so in an effort to keep my final list handy so I can share it with her and my other friends, I’m publishing it on AHJ.

I recently turned 40 and realized that what they say is true, your body really does change as you get older. Even though I eat a balanced, organic diet and exercise regularly, I know the importance of supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals –partly because some of these supplements your body no longer creates but still needs.

I know it can get confusing with all the different milligrams versus micrograms versus IU, but don’t worry, most of the natural supplements you find at the health food store are broken down in these measurements. Here is my end-all list of the most important vitamins and supplements every adult should be taking.

Baby aspirin (1x a day) – OK, so it’s not really a vitamin or a supplement, but a half aspirin daily (or 162 mg) can do wonders for your heart. Take 162 milligrams every day for life (it takes at least three years to establish the full benefit).  

CoQ is also a good for heart health.

Multivitamin (2 x a day) – Forget the “one a day” branding, you’re supposed to take a multivitamin twice a day. Your multivitamin is a fountain of micronutrients! Be sure to choose an all-natural multi and not a chemically produced one. Your multivitamin should have the following:

  • Magnesium (400 milligrams daily)
  • Calcium (600 milligrams twice daily)
  • Vitamin A (1500 IU)
  • Vitamin D (400 IU daily for those under 60 years old; 600 IU for those over 60)
  • Vitamin C (600 milligrams twice daily)
  • Vitamin E (400 IU daily)

(1 x day) – This is a B vitamin, you need a daily dose of 800 micrograms.

Vitamin B6 (1 x day) – Take a daily dose of 6 milligrams

Vitamin B12 (1 x day) – Take a daily dose 25 micrograms

Omega 3’s (DHA & EPA) (1 x day) – The all important essential fatty acids, you want an omega-3 that has DHA and EPA.  Take a daily dose of 2000 to 4000 milligrams.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – This is the third omega-3 fatty acid: ALA.  Take a daily dose of 2000 milligrams.

Coenzyme Q10 (1 x day) – A powerful anti-aging supplement, CoQ10 should be taken with a meal containing some fat or even better, in combination with soy or vegetable oil which enhances its absorption. Take at least 30 milligrams daily; you can take up to 300 milligrams.
L-carnitine (1 x day) – This is an amino acid that helps transfer energy between our cells. Take 1500 milligrams daily.

Resveratrol – This is a flavonoid found in red wine that acts as an antioxidant and decreases the aging of the DNA in mitochondria (the cell’s energy plant). A good dose is 100 milligrams.


  • SAMe – This in a natural amino acid effective with depression. The usual dose is up to 1200 milligrams daily (on an empty stomach).
  • Glucosamine – An important chemical for cartilage, ligament, bone and joint health, take 1500 millilgrams daily.
I would disagree and say that glucosamine should be taken regularly for joint health with chondroitin 1200mg.  As long as you are not allergic to shellfish.

Keep in mind this is my personal list of best advice practices I’ve compiled over the years.  It is not meant as a substitute for medical advice and if you have any questions, you should contact your physician or alternative health care provider. A Votre Sante!



Get Strong! Stay Strong!


When you think of human movement it can be broken down into 4 basic categories.  Locomotion, Level Changes, Push/Pull and Rotation. These represent the 4 pillars of human movement as described by JC Santana in his book Functional Training; Breaking the Bonds of Traditionalism.  When designing rehab or fitness programs that are functionally based it is important to make sure all 4 pillars are incorporated.

LOCOMOTION:  This is the foundation for ground based force production.  It is the linear displacement of our bodies center of mass.  It is a triplane event in which all the muscles and joints are moving simultaneously in all three planes.  While at first glance it appears the body (while walking) is moving primarily in the sagittal plane(SP) (forward) close look would reveal that it is the transverse(TP) and frontal plane(FP) movement that drives us in the sagittal plane.  The TP and FP movement become more apparent when running.  This also requires the ability to efficiently load into the ground (deceleration) followed by the unloading or propulsive phase (acceleration).

LEVEL CHANGES:  This represents non locomotor tasks such as getting up off floor, picking up the baby or taking someone to the ground.

PUSHIN/PULLING: We use various push and pull movements for many everyday activities.  Opening and closing doors, pushing the stroller, taking a hanger off the rack and punching.  Pushing and pulling usually done unilaterally in a reciprocal manner is cross wired neurologically.  As one punch is thrown the opp. arm is retracted to eccentrically load in order to prepare for the next punch.  The same is true for arm swing in walking.

ROTATION:  Responsible for changes in direction and rotational torque production.  Dancing, throwing, and  running are examples of activity with a significant amount of rotation.  The transverse plane is probably the most important and the only plane not loaded by gravity.  The example I like to use to demonstrate the point is that a bicycle only moves forward because the wheels are rotating.  Approx. 90% of all the muscles are oriented in the diagonal to enhance rotational deceleration and acceleration.

Obviuosly many tasks consist of combinations if not all the above categories, but each has a unique and important contribution to human movement.  So, whether you are rehabbing or training it is important to include movements from each of the 4 pillars.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!


In the 1980’s low fat and nonfat diets became a national obsession.  Manufacturers took the fat out and dumped high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in to make up for the taste fat provided.  The reduced fat and added sugar made the foods higher on the glycemic index, sending our blood sugar levels sky high before crashing quickly, making our bodies hungry for more high-glycemic food.  As a result, people got into the vicious cycle of eating and more high glycemic food to maintain to maintain the blood sugar rush, rather than eating foods the body needs to control appetite and blood sugar level.  According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Americans ate an average of about a pound and a half of HFCS in 1970.  By 1997, we were consuming up to 62 ½ pounds each!  Read your labels.  If HFCS is listed first or second in the ingredients or it’s more than 8 grams per serving don’t buy it!  Try to avoid it completely.

From Mark Verstegans book Core Performance.

Dont be fooled by the recent commercial…its poison!  Think of the money lost by the food industry if you stopped eating high fructose corn syrup.  Wouldnt you fabricate the truth to keep your fortune??????  They would!

Get Strong! Stay Strong!




Here is another great post from my good friend Adam from his blog:
As many baseball purists are aware, baseball players are evaluated utilizing the measuring stick known as the five tools: hitting for average, hitting for power, running speed, arm strength, defensive skills. Complimentary to these five tools, are a series of 5 training protocols collectively known as ‘Training to the 5th Power’ (T5). The protocols are: 1) train standing, 2) train with free weights, 3) train multiple joints, 4) train explosively, and 5) train “functionally. Based upon the environment and explosive speeds baseball is performed at, I believe that by following these five traning tools will transfer off-field training to on-field performance.  

(1) Train in a standing position; Training from standing positions trains baseball specific movements along with the respective muscle groups. Since baseball players rarely rely on strength from sitting or lying down positions, why are training programs still dominated with exercises performed from such positions. Utilizing modalities such as bands/cables from standing positions can target the same muscle groups typically trained in the sitting or lying positions while training movements beneficial to baseball.


(2) Train with free weights; Free weights can allow for multiple positions, as well as multiple ranges and planes of motion/movement. All of this movement can be tailoredor baseball specific training. Training with free weights, such as dumbells, allow a bit more freedom of movment, can identify muscular imbalances between limbs, enables unilateral training, and builds neuromuscular efficiency (coordination of muscle groups working in cooperation). In addition, training with other free weight objects, such as medicine balls, provides power development. The ability to toss a free weight, such as a medicine ball, in a manner similar to say hitting increases power potential; making free weight objects superior to machines in replicating and increasing power.  

(3) Train multi-joints – a.k.a compound movements; Movements involving more than one joint are known as compound movements. Training multiple joints allows for greater loads to be trained, thus greater muscle recruitment, thus greater strength development. I cant think of any baseball movement that doenst involve total body. As well, baseball players needing to drop a few pounds should incorporate multi-joint, baseball specific movements to assist with increasing caloric expenditure. All in all, compound movements provide the necessary fluidity for on field movements, more so than single joint isolated movements.


(4) Train explosively; Slow and controlled movements are great for developing technique and a certain strength training base level. However, most of baseball movements, even though strength based, are just as dependent on speed and power. Power can be defined as:

Notice how power is dependent on speed. And the speed component explains the importance of explosive training for developing baseball specific power for optimal on field performance.  

(5) Functional Training (FT); The main emphasis for functional training is based upon training movements and not body parts. FT encourages training in multiple planes of motions, in unstable environments, and at speeds specific to baseball. Basically, functional training is “train like you play”. In a larger scope, FT supports the other T5 principles. Training in a standing position is functional for ground based activities; Training with free weights allows functional training along any plane and at any speed; Multiple joint, compound movement, training is the way baseball is played, therefore functional. Much of how baseball is performed is power dominated, so training explosively becomes functional.

Implementing the T5 training guidelines are ideal for building overall baseball performance. However, like other training concepts, it has its exceptions and can be violated in exchange for effective results. For example, slow, isolated work in stable positions ( i.e. lying down,) might just be necessary for the hypertrophy (i.e. bodybuilding) phase for the ballplayer who needs a bit more muscle mass. Regardless of what type of training you incorporate into you program, the majority of your training should fit the T5. Please note that although bodybuilders look great, I dont recommend an all exclusive use of bodybuilding methodologies for improving on field, fucntional baseball performance. The question which would you rather train for “all go” or “all show”?

Go hard in the yard.


Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Here is a great post from my good friend Adam who trains many high school and professional athletes down in Florida.

As stated in my previous Training to the 5th Power blog, I commented on the importance of multi-joint training. As baseball players we cannot underestimate the importance of stromng forearms. However, in various baseball performance training circles wrist curls, a single joint exercise usually performed sitting dow and having minimal, if any, core involvement seems to be the exercise of choice for creating strong forearms. In my opinion a more advantageous way to train for forearm strength is via grip strength. I know this is going to sound real obvious, but…the grip strength necessary for hitting and throwing works in unison, not isolation, with the rest of the body. Therefore, training forearms with a single joint, isolated exercise ( like wrist curls) just doesnt make sense. Instead perform multi-joint exercies/movements that requires grip strength as a by product. One such exercise that also targets the core, is the recline row. Peforming this exercise greatly challenges grip strength so much that grip strength (or the lack of) becomes the limiting factor, not necessarily the prime movers, when knocking out the reps on this movement. The recline row can be performed by utlizing nautical ropes (from gym class days) or, my favorite, the JC 2.5″ clamp grip with JC 48″ specialty straps, designed by JC Santana. Visit for these and other training tools.

Be sure to maintain alignment from shoulders to ankles. Start at a body angle of approximately 45 degrees progressing to an advanced level or angle almost paralell to the floor. Each level will challenge grip strength thus developing strong forearms.

Go hard in the yard.
Get Strong! Stay Strong!

So many athletes are hung up on finding that “magicpill, powder, or potion” to give them a competitive

edge. They spend hundreds of dollars monthly on the

latest fad supplements, yet their nutritional foundation

is pathetic at best. Th ey use exercising for hours a day

as a justifi cation for their sub par nutritional intake of

processed carbohydrates and convenience foods. Th eir

bodies may look fit on the outside, which further justifi

es this rationalization. However, if more athletes put

the same eff ort into being properly fueled as they do

into training for their sport, their performance would

increase exponentially (1).

There is a really big difference between nutritional quality

and nutritional quantity. Nutritional quantity is

what most people focus on. They think they know what

is healthy because they look at the nutrition facts panel

for the number of calories, grams of protein, carbohydrates,

and fat. They first look at the calories and if it

is some relatively low number like 200 or less they will

think it is acceptable. Next, they look to see if the protein

is over 10 grams, the fat is less than five grams, and

the carbohydrates are less than 10 grams. If it meets

these rough criteria they will deem the product as

“healthy.” Instead, they should be focusing on the nutritional

quality of the product. What ingredients make

up the calories, grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat

and how will their bodies utilize these ingredients?

The key is to look at the history of nutritional degeneration

(what did we do before we messed everything up)

and what the rest of the animal kingdom is doing successfully.

Most humans disassociated themselves from

the source of where food comes from and are ignorant

to how food serves as a source of fuel in their bodies.

For example, protein is not just for building muscles

but it provides you with sustained energy (2).

The basic premise is that certain foods are optimal

for human consumption. We ate a particular way

for roughly all but the last 10,000 years of our over

2.7 million years of human existence and our bodies

have not adapted to processing these new man made

or genetically modifi ed convenience foods. On the

other hand, our bodies adapted to an omnivore diet of

healthy lean meats, veggies, a little fruit, healthy oils,

and nuts and seeds (3).

Now that we are in the 21st century, how do we apply

this prehistoric optimal way of eating into our chaotic,

modern day lifestyle? A good rule of thumb is “if it

does not spoil quickly, do not eat it.” Look for fresh,

raw, organic foods that can be sourced by nature not a

laboratory. As an athlete, if you put the same respect

and effort into fueling your body as a race car crew does

into fueling its car or a racehorse team does into nourishing

its horse, you will have the competitive edge you

are looking for.



1. Coyle, EF. Fat metabolism during exercise: Newconcepts. Sports Science Exchange  #59, 8(6) 1996.



2. Ha, E, Zemel, MB. Functional properties of whey, whey components, and essential amino acids: Mechanisms underlying  health  benefits  for active people (review). Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry  May;14(5):251-8. 2003 

3. Cordain L. Implications of Plio-Pleistocene Hominin Diets for Modern Humans. In: Early Hominin Diets: TheKnown, the Unknown, and the Unknowable. Ungar, P.


Article by Kyle Brown CSCS from NSCA Performance Journal.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!