Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s personal trainer serves as a great example of why celebrity fitness gurus should be ignored. Despite recognizing how ignorant most members of the general public are when it comes to fitness, it is still amazing that this kind of pap gets play in the media, and that many folks actually give credence to what Paltrow’s trainer says.
Almost every statement attributed to this personal trainer, Tracy Anderson, is infused with bad information. Or more accurately, no information. Here’s the first example. “While running and cycling may burn calories, they do not design feminine muscles or get rid of an imbalance that may masquerade as a ‘problem area’—even on women who are genetically thin.”
This statement is total nonsense. “Design feminine muscles?” “Get rid of an imbalance?” Wow. You would think that this is as bad as it gets. But it’s not, there’s more.
Ms. Anderson claims, “Performing repetitive movements in fitness (such as running) creates a distinctive imbalance in the muscular structure and causes the large muscles in the legs to charge up.” Know-nothing says what? Large muscles “charge up?” Aren’t all movements repetitive? How about walking? Watch the video clip of Ms. Anderson’s routine and you will see all kinds of repetitive movements.
Check out the article at this link.
This article claims Anderson has “remodeled half of Hollywood,” and has worked with both men and women, although she won’t name the men. They are probably embarrassed to be associated with the baloney. And of course we know that Hollywood types and trainers would never rely on plastic surgery or drugs to help them remodel their bodies. Right?
Here’s one last heaping pile of fitness crap courtesy of this “guru.” “While bulkier muscle looks OK on women in their 20s and 30s, it doesn’t age well. The sooner you build a long, lean, and feminine arm, the more sustainable the results will be – and with no sacrifice in strength.”
It is a shame that a women would regurgitate this garbage to other women, being that women are the targets of misinformation and the misplaced and misguided emphasis on body image and being thin over being healthy. Do yourself a huge favor and ignore anything recommended by Tracy Anderson and Gwyneth Paltrow.
The NFL’s Heads Up Tackling Program will not work. This isn’t an opinion based on some subjective viewpoint of football and tackling, but is based on the recognition of legitimate scientific research and a basic understanding of motor learning, motor control and skill acquisition.
The NFL’s Heads Up Tacking Program will not work because it cannot work. Forget for a moment that there is no such thing as a safe way to tackle another moving person; even if this unicorn-like tackling form existed, the way the NFL is teaching kids to tackle cannot work.
The methods employed by the NFL and USA Football ignore over 100-years of research that shows teaching complex skills in segments is ineffective. When this kind of teaching methods is used, learning occurs in spite of what the coach says or does, not because of it.
This brain-centric model of teaching – “put the right foot here, get your arm up, keep your head up” – assumes everything is stored in the brain. However, this kind of process works only in simplistic laboratory settings, not in complicated environmental situations like sport. Certainly, this approach cannot work when teaching proper tackling technique
Motor patterns are related to external forces – “context related variability” – and there is no way a central command center – the brain – can control this. So for tackling another moving person, this motor pattern, the tackle, is dependent on an endless and unpredictable variety of external forces. The variety of ways to tackle cannot be prepared for by breaking down a complex movement into segments, while not wearing equipment against an imaginary opponent.
Now we have to delve into what is called Motor Learning Principles, Part-to-Whole Skill Training and Whole Skill Training.
In the NFL video there are 5 steps to the tackle and they breakdown each of these steps. This is known as the Part-to-Whole Skill training progression, which has been shown to be ineffective. Here we have at least 14-16 parts.
* On the Clinic Video they add “Stomp leading with the left and right foot.”
* Buzzing the feet
* Quick Rapid Ground Contact (can there be quick, slow GC or slow, rapid GC?)
* Moving forward
* Coming to balance
The NFL combines these last two, but they are separate actions, as you can’t both come forward and come to balance
* Have to be in the right position to make a good solid tackle
In the instructional video they are teaching kids to come to a stop to get into this position.
From what is known about motor learning this is a) not possible b) not controllable c) counter-productive
* Double-uppercut action
* Knuckles up
* Elbows Down
* Explode the hips – exploding the hips from a kneeling position is a completely different action than doing the same from a standing position, and moving is different than stationary.
* Head up
* Chest down
The different drills are shown practicing all of these elements in and out of equipment, which is an ineffective way to practice. Not being in equipment completely changes the way the body moves. If these moves aren’t practiced in an environment close to game and scrimmage conditions there is little, if any, carry over.
Teaching this hit position and separating from the actual tackle – stopping before the point of the tackle to be in the “proper” position – could be considered the worst part of this progression.
Which brings us to the research done by Rushman and Pike. The maximum benefits of a training stimulus – acquiring a skill as permanent behavioral changes – can only be obtained when the stimulus replicates the movements and energy systems involved in the activities of the sport. There is no better training than actually performing in the sport.
The paper, “Motor Learning Principles and the Superiority of Whole Training in Volleyball,” by Steven Bain, Ph.D and Carl McGown, Ph.D examined the method of Whole Skill Training as compared to Part-to-Whole Skill Training and their findings reveal how ineffective the Part-to-Whole Skill method is that is used by NFL and USA Football to teach tackling.
Bain and McGown write, “Part to whole progressions are used because they “make sense” but have no basis in scientific evidence and published research that goes back nearly a century that conclusively demonstrates that part progressions have minimal transfer to the whole skill and in a number of scientific studies part training methods have demonstrated negative transfer…The most important practice variable in terms of motor skill acquisition is practicing the skill itself…Taken together the weight of scientific evidence indicates that the specificity hypothesis may be as close to a law as any principle in motor learning science.”
Frans Bosch, a coach of elite jumpers, sprinters and rugby players, a biomechanics and motor learning expert and a professor of biomechanics at Fontys University in the Netherlands, had this to say about the methods used to teach the Heads-Up Tackling technique. “This is nonsense. There is not one aspect, biomechanical, motor control, motor learning, method or pedagogical that touches on how the body functions Totally inappropriate in real situations. The only good thing about it is that it is such bad teaching that it will not have any impact. It is just passing time.”
So breaking down the tackle – look at all the segments in the above list – into component parts is a waste of time. The bigger problem here is that a method of tackling is being sold that if it really is safer is not being taught in the proper way. Just like there is no nice way to put handcuffs on a criminal, there is no nice way to tackle another moving person while on the football field. The message should be that football is a violent sport that is not for everyone and that if you want to play you are accepting a great deal of risk, and if you have any doubts you, or your kids should sit it out.
The NFL’s Heads-Up Tackling Program cannot work because it does not properly teach kids how to tackle. There is a lot more to the issue, but the bottom line is that if there is a better way to tackle, the teaching method used by the NFL and USA Football isn’t the way to teach it..
With every new year comes another pack of fitness gimmicks and fads. Now I don't know what exactly the year 2013 will bring, but I can tell you that there will be a whole bunch of fitness types trying to sell you a whole bunch of crap.
I sound like a broken record, but you don't need a piece of equipment or clothing or anything to help you get in shape, to improve your fitness level. All the “equipment” you need is nestled up there in your noggin; use your brain, not a Shake Weight.
Movement is good for you, so if you are seated or lying down position, you are severely limiting the effectiveness of your exercise. Ditto for if you rely on equipment for your workouts. We move about in a 3D, 360 degrees of movement world where we are on our feet and need to be balanced and stable. Working out on a piece of equipment puts us in a 1D world that bears no resemblance to the world we need to negotiate.
So as you get bombarded with the new round of infomercial nonsense this year, for everything from diets, to workouts, to equipment, put your Common Sense Hat on and keep your money in your pocket.
Lying down when exercising is a bad idea, so why do so many people do it? We don't operate lying down; we sleep. Working a muscle, or muscles, when prone or supine or on all fours does nothing to prepare them for the reality faced 99% of our waking moments, when we are upright.
Our bodies need vertical stability, not horizontal stability. Gravity is the main factor to consider when performing an exercise, and when we are in a lying down position gravity has a completely different effect on us then when we are standing. As a hypothetical, take a bookcase that is meant to hold books in a horizontal position, and then tip it on its edge and watch all the books fall out. The books don't stay in the case because its being used in a manner not consistent with how it was built.
So if you get better at doing a plank or crunches (yuk!) or a TRX exercise, you are only better at that specific exercise while in the horizontal position. There is little, if any, transfer of strength to movements performed while horizontal.
The goal is horizontal stability, not vertical. So if you spend a lot of time exercising while lying down – bench press, crunches, planks, “hydrants” (yuk, again) – you are wasting your time.
As I sit here in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, waiting for the power to be turned back on and counting the days until I can get back to work, I realized that the holidays are right around the corner, and around that corner is lots of good food.
Certainly, I am not making light of the circumstances surrounding the recovery from Hurricane Sandy, and I realize the holidays will be tough for a lot of people in the New Jersey/New York area. However, dealing with the harsh reality that the storm has imposed upon us has made me realize how much I enjoy the simple things in my routine, and I look forward to Thanksgiving and into the rest of the holiday season.
With this in mind, I am struck by how petty and insignificant most day-to-day “problems” really are, especially when it comes to the way we eat. As clients, friends and acquaintances prepared for the storm, nobody I spoke to was concerned about scoring organic, gluten-free, fat-free stuff. People wanted bread, milk, eggs, booze, coffee, cookies, cake, ice cream and other comfort foods. Some of my most finicky eaters told me they were going to hunker down with their favorites and not be consumed by what they consumed. It was nice to hear that for a change, to be honest with you.
Now I realize we cannot go around every day, gorging ourselves, blah, blah, blah. But the thought of being “without” for a period time as a result of this storm made people show their true colors when it comes to what food they really want, especially when they “try so hard to eat good,” most of the time. So at the holidays keep this in mind, especially if you “try so hard to eat good.”
If you like pumpkin pie, eat pumpkin pie. Don't eat that garbage, no-fat/low-fat, substituted ingredient, ersatz abomination desert stuff that some people peddle at this time of year. Avoid all of that stuff because it does not satisfy your cravings and will lead you to eat other stuff that you may not want.
If you've ever eaten any of that fake desert crap you know that you eat more of it because it doesn't “scratch your itch.” And another thing, don't decide to start a diet during, or even close to the beginning of, the holidays. It is sure to fail.
Get it out of your system. Gorge yourself. And come January 7th (the first Monday of 2013) get your act together.
I am being polite when I say that there is confusion about hydration. The less delicate among us might say that there has been a purposeful effort on behalf of the sport drink industry to spread misinformation about hydration. One of these “less delicate folks” is a fellow by the name of Dr. Tim Noakes.
Dr. Noakes, who has a long and distinguished career as a researcher, educator, athlete and author, has written a book titled, “Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports,” that exposes the hydration myths that have been created and spread by the sports drink industry. This book is a must read for any athlete, recreational or otherwise, and for the parents of kids who participate in sports.
The simple fact is that, as Dr. Noakes writes, “Dehydration is simply a reduction in the total body water content. The only symptom of dehydration is thirst, and often it is an overwhelming sense. If at any time a healthy athlete does not sense thirst, the athlete is not dehydrated. Period.” So, there is no need to drink on a rigid schedule that disregards the sense of thirst. The people most at risk for the dangers of over-hydration are recreational athletes, not elites.
Furthermore, drinking more than thirst dictates does not improve performance, does not prevent cramps and offers no benefits. There really isn’t a heck of lot more to say on the subject. Despite what the well-funded sport-drink industry says, dehydration isn’t a major problem that can only be solved by drinking bottles of their product before, during and after activity.
When it comes keeping your kids hydrated for sports it is as simple as making sure that they have enough water to satisfy their thirst. You don’t need Gatorade, Powerade or any other “ade.” Tell your kids to drink when they are thirsty and do not force them to drink just for the sake of doing so.
Over the past few months I have been hearing almost constant radio commercials for raspberry ketone weight-loss/fat-burning supplements, with the tag line that they are the miracle fat-burning supplement recommended by Dr. Oz. Can you say, “Scam alert?”
The raspberry ketone scam follows the same tired script that has been used by supplement hucksters for years. Claim there’s research, pump the research, use jargon, take scientific data and use it out of context, get a celebrity endorsement, use a phony “expert” to recommend the supplement and then saturate the airways and the web with advertisements.
Do a Google search on “raspberry ketone research” and you will find bupkis. The entire raspberry ketone bunko con is based on two studies that used male mice as subjects. There have not been any human studies involving raspberry ketones, so who cares what happened with mice. Mice are vermin that eat crap.
Maybe Dr. Oz and his minions can pimp, “The Mice Diet” – or would it be the “Mouse Diet?” – that would help people lose weight. I can hear it now, “Mice eat crap and dead bugs and never gain weight no matter how much crap and dead bugs they eat! The Mice Diet; the new miracle diet and you will never have to worry about being fat again!”
These supplement hucksters prey on people who are insecure about their weight and people who are too lazy to exercise and make some modifications to their diet. People who are looking for shortcuts are suckers for this garbage. Folks who don’t want to sweat and make an effort want to believe that the rest of us are wrong, that they don’t need to diet and exercise and that a tiny pill is going to do all the work for them. This is all nonsense.
There is no nice way to say it and there is no need to wallow in the morass and decipher the mice studies and analyze the chemical make-up of raspberry ketones. The development and sale of raspberry ketones are based on nothing more than rabid speculation and the desire to sell product.
Stay away from raspberry ketone supplements as there is ZERO valid evidence that they can do anything for you.
Over the past decade the practice of “playing up” – letting the younger, bigger and “better” kids play an age group above their level – has become quite popular with youth team sports. “Playing up,” is an ineffective way to develop talent and, in the long run, can be more detrimental than beneficial.
Aside from the youth coaches who promote this philosophy, there is little support at the higher levels of the coaching community, and from the governing boards of various sports, for allowing younger kids to play up. This philosophy has come about principally because there is a misunderstanding/lack of understanding with regard to the stages of development for young athletes.
The root cause of this problem is that too often coaches mistake physical maturity for talent. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard a coach over-assess a youth athlete's ability based solely on their size. Also, while a kid may be the best player at his level, this usually does not mean that they are ready to compete at a level above.
Basing assessments on physical size/maturity ignores the mental/psychological component of a youth sport athlete's make-up. The physical and mental development of young kids are on different tracks and different timetables, and it is incorrect to assume that because a 7th grader is as big and/or fast as some of the older kids that they will be able to deal with the mental aspects of the higher level of play.
There are exceptions to this rule, but these cases are very few and very far between.
From year to year, there are huge differences between kids at the same level. The big kid one year can be the averaged sized kid the next and vice versa. There is no inherent relationship whatsoever between size and ability level, so the kid who doesn't grow much from one season to the next can still improve their skill level while the kid who sprouts up doesn't by definition get better just because he's bigger. Kids need to be evaluated objectively as individuals.
There is a huge social component to youth sports and the value of playing on a team with friends and peers cannot be overstated in the development of a youth sports athlete. Young athletes need to have the chance to compete, and even to dominate, at their level before any consideration is given to having them “play up.” This is another reason kids need to be objectively evaluated, and the coach of the team that wants the younger player should not be the decision maker in this process.
Parents need to keep a level head and not be swayed by the pressure and prestige that can come from having their kid play with the older team. Ultimately, this decision needs to be made by parents, not the coaches and certainly not the players.
The Lake County school system in Florida is considering installing cameras on their cafeteria trash cans in order to study what foods their students are throwing away. The school system says last year these kids tossed $75,000 worth of vegetables into the trash. The federal government requires by law that students take a healthy lunchtime meal, and that everyone knows vegetables are healthy. The problem is that the kids don't want them. At least not at school. This story serves as a geeat illustration for just how much is wrong with the Nanny State that has been created by elected officials at the local, state and federal levels.
While the school system says they will not look to identify the students tossing their veggies, who believes that? Also, where does the federal government get off telling us what to eat and what to feed to our kids? This legislative dictat violates just about every basic right we have as citizens of the United States. And really, do we want to be told how to eat by the same bureaucracy that hasn't been able to figure out how to profitably deliver mail despite having had a three century monopoly?
It is laughable that the federal government, that does nothing better than what can be done by the private sector, thinks they can force feed our children vegetables or any other food. And rather than common sense prevailing, we get school board members who are willing double down on the stupidity and throw more money away on a fruitless (pun intended) “study.”
These government forays into behavior modification have a perfect track record, a track record of failure that dates back to Prohibition. After all, nobody smokes cigarettes or takes drugs anymore. And illegal gambling has been eliminated. And over the past two decades with the awareness regarding obesity, obesity rates have increased and the overall activity level of people around the world has decreased.
The lesson to be learned by this school lunch debacle should be obvious to all, and despite the efforts of the ever expanding Nanny State, kids don't respond well to being force fed.
The Washington Nationals' handling of pitcher Stephen Strasberg has been a disaster. If the Nationals had properly thought this out they would have taken a page out of Roger Clemens' book. No, not HGH injections. But would have planned a delayed start and/or extended Spring Training.
If the Nationals had any inkling at all that they were going to contend this year and still wanted to limit Strasberg's innings, they would have started him late so that he would be hitting the 150-inning mark around the World Series, not during September call-ups. There's an old saying that it doesn't matter who starts the game, but who finishes it. And the same can be said about the season.
It could be said that without Strasberg staring the season the Nats would not be contending now. This may be true. However, the damage from having to sit him down at this point in the season could render this season-long contention meaningless.
With the best record in the National League it is more likely that the Nationals would have been in contention without Strasberg on the Opening Day roster, and over the first two months of the season knowing they had their best pitcher in their pocket, and be in a similar position now. Plus they wouldn't have alienated their pitcher, their players and their fans.
The Nats still may win the pennant and the World Series, but if they do not, the Strasberg decision will be looked at as the major reason if their season has a disappointing ending.