SS 150 – Blog Programming
Episode 150 Show Notes
Grant and Heavey discuss the concept around blog training and whether it’s something you need to do to achieve fitness. They debunk crazy opinions written by a guy about blog training to finally set the records straight. Plus, they cover topics including a serious health issue where your body can attack your brain as well as how to best enjoy your glass of whiskey!
Shout out to State and Liberty for sponsoring this show. They provide athletes with the fit and feel they deserve in a dress shirt.
[03:00] Your Brain Can Attack You
Grant mentions this article about a professional figure skater who was a college student. As a sophomore in her university, she was paranoid that somebody was following her one night, until her paranoia grew to the point she became psychotic. Her family took her into a psychiatric facility.
It turns out what we used to think of as a very rare condition is actually an autoimmune disorder. When the immune system starts to attack our brain, this can lead to a disease called anti-NMDA receptor autoimmune encephalitis (NMDARE). Had she had this disease years before, they would never have been able to diagnose it. They would have locked her up in a mental facility thinking she has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. They’ve tried all sorts of medicine. By the time they finally diagnosed it and started treating it as an autoimmune disease, she was no longer able to walk. A year after being released from the hospital and getting treatment for the right thing, she was able to get back on the ice again and do all the normal stuff she used to do.
[05:56] It’s Actually More Common Than You Think
Some people are putting to test people showing signs of schizophrenia. In 2007, they had about ten cases known. Three years later, about 100 cases have been diagnosed. And now, thousands of cases have been found. It’s not because it’s becoming more common but it’s because they’re diagnosing it more. And why is there a push back for a blood test for people that seem psychotic.
To treat her disease, she was subjected to a lot of things including a few hospital stays, steroids, autoimmune suppressants, etc. Moreover, The Lancet Psychiatry did a study of 228 patients with first-episode psychosis and 9% of these patients had antibodies against a range of brain cell receptors indicating some sort of neurological issue beyond the psychiatric issue.
[07:35] More Awareness, Better Understanding
As Heavey mentions this multiple times on the show, most people feel like we understand the way the human body works but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We’ve got some ideas but in the realm of mental health, it’s almost as if we’re back in the bloodletting days.We need to continue to learn and understand a lot about the drivers of these issues. One day, hopefully, we’ll find that they can be diagnosed as easily as a simple blood test. We’d have more options than just unnecessarily locking people in a mental facility. Perhaps a medication or some change in diet could fix the problem.
[08:22] Autoimmunity and Gut Health
The article also mentioned that not all doctors agree that we should be routinely testing for it. They think it might be doing more harm than good to make people think there’s a physical problem. This is just crazy.
Grant points out how this is similar to the gut bacteria relating to various health issues, which are things we may not understand. Heavey mentions there is a strong autoimmune gut connection where we see disrupted gut microbiome patterns in people that have autoimmune problems.
So we don’t know if one causes the other or whatnot. But this is a pretty interesting data point we’re starting to uncover more about. With that said, these two fields are getting into the limelight now – autoimmunity and gut health.
[10:00] Your Body Can Attack You From the Inside!
Heavey is suffering from Raynaud’s Disease, an autoimmune thing caused by poor circulation to the hands or feet characterized by frostbite-type symptoms. This is often associated with people that have autoimmune conditions like thyroid issues and rheumatoid arthritis for instance.
There has been a large increase in the diagnosis of autoimmune conditions. For the most part, it’s due to increased detection. While some may be be due to drivers from your daily lifestyle accelerating these problems.
[12:00] We’re Active on Social Media
[13:05] Blog Fitness
Recently, someone sent in an article and wanted to get their take on it. The article is called Blog Fitness: Dead End Training for CrossFit Athletes. One of these sites isn’t “CrossFit” but is trying to appeal to those CrossFit athletes. And most of the cases, they try to be more hardcore. They train you harder than a regular crossfit class.
In one of their previous episodes, Grant and Heavey actually covered the different programs like Invictus, Opex, and Main Site. They tried to help people understand why they may want to follow one or the other.
Nevertheless, the author of the article says not to bother with anything but CrossFit’s programming other than individualized. Reason for this is that unless you’re a 20-25 year old athlete in your prime with no injuries and an advanced fitness athlete training with frequent training while eating a well-planned diet and spending time on recovery protocols, these programs are not for you.
[15:48] Should an Everyday CrossFitter Follow the Invictus or the Comp Train Program?
Heavey explains programs like Invictus or CompTrain are a lot more work than you’re probably doing right now in the gym. And they’re not really any different than CrossFit. It’s still “crossfit” training. But it’s typically more volume work than you’re used to doing. Plus, they’re geared toward people that likely want to compete and excel within the sport.
So Heavey adds what the article writer was trying to convey is that these programs are not really appropriate for everyday people. More doesn’t mean it’s better. Just because you’re doing three hours of training a day doesn’t mean you’re going to get better results than doing an hour training.
[17:15] That Athlete, Rick
In this article, the writer talks about this hypothetical gym member that decides to do this blog program. He calls him Rick. “Rick is “that athlete.” That athlete who isn’t all that great, but for some reason feels like his gym’s regular class programming is simply too inferior for his high level athletic needs. Then he bashed Rick about how he didn’t do very well in the competition.
So Heavey sees the need to pull out a couple of points here. First, just because you’re not a top athlete doesn’t mean that your regular everyday CrossFit gym program is a good thing for you.
Grant adds that the writer seems to stress two things here. One is that if you really want the best results, you need individual training. Two, if you don’t and you’re a normal person, just do your regular CrossFit training.
[18:23] CrossFit: What Is the Right Program for You?
CrossFit started as a blog fitness thing. So what is the difference between following that CrossFit gym workout or the CrossFit Main Site blog workout and one of these?
Heavey explains that every time a blog starts up, they’re trying to appeal to a specific person. In their mind, they have this person they’re writing this training program for. For instance, for Comp Train, it might be somebody that wants to focus on making it to the regionals. Whereas the Main Site is meant for an everyday Joe looking to just improve his fitness.
So you have to keep in mind what the intention is of this program before deciding if it’s something that’s right for you. It’s possible one program could be right for you and better for you than another one. But it all comes down to who you are and what you want out of your training.
[19:45] Is Blog Fitness Bad?
Grant’s take is that putting all into one group of “blog fitness” and saying that every time you’re following a blog’s outline is just bad. This is straight wrong. Grant also looks at the article writer’s reasons for why that is wrong and why you need individualized training. On one level, he’s right that everybody is different, but Grant still finds some of his other reasons crazy.
He talks about males and females should not be on the same training protocol. He goes on saying that “women can handle much higher volumes of training than men. Their strength ratios are different and females typically have a neuromuscular efficiency than males.” And further goes out saying that “blog fitness does not take this into account and just shotgun everyone with volume.”
Heavey clarifies that neuromuscular efficiency is actually a real thing. On average, women tend to require a little more volume in order to get stronger. So the writer is not wrong about this point. But again, Heavey stresses you have to get back to the intention of the person training. If she’s just a mom that wants to get fit, she doesn’t need to have individualized training that accounts for her neuromuscular efficiency because she wants to drop some pounds.
Heavey suspects this is coming from somebody that makes their living off of writing individual training programs for people.
[21:57] When Heavey Works with Clients: Should You Get Generic or Individualized?
When Heavey works with new clients, they have this conversation for the first time and they’d sit down and talk about their goals. Then Heavey would tell them whether or not it’s a good fit to work with him or not. Part of this is figuring out if they’re just better off doing something generic. Maybe it could just be something they can get at their local gym.
Especially when you’re first getting started and you don’t have weird imbalances or injuries, you can just hop into a program and get great fitness from it. You don’t necessarily have to do something.
Heavey only wants to work with people where he feels like he could give them a substantially different outcome than they would have achieved otherwise. He doesn’t intend to make the most money and get the most clients possible. What he does is conducting his coaching operation with integrity.
[25:14] Developing a Coaching Relationship
However, it’s a different story if coaching is what you’re trying to get. This means you’re not getting the specific sequence of lifts and WODs and diets. But it’s that coaching relationship. This is what makes the biggest difference for people is that accountability and having somebody to share your improvements with, your concerns, your hopes and dreams. All this wraps into working with a coach. And again, Heavey stresses that you can get a feeling for this during the conversation. And if they need coaching and he feels it, then he would work with them. He knows they could actually get the same results if they followed a blog training program but he also knows they won’t follow the blog and would follow him instead because of the accountability and because they’re paying for it.
[26:26] Paying as a Huge Driver
Heavey explains how paying for something is such a big driver because people don’t want to part with their money. There’s something very strong about spending your money and being intentional about it that motivates you. It forces you to do something.
DietBet, for example, allows you to put money on the line and say if you don’t lose ten pounds in three months, your money goes to some cause. This might seem stupid. But for some people, they may not actually be able to lose weight unless they put their money where their mouth is.
[28:00] Back to the Article: Some Conflicting Points
Grant reads the summary of the article earlier mentioned, where “blog fitness is a dead end for serious athletes trying to improve while chasing down goals like going to the regionals or going to the games. For the rest of us, they pose a training risk due to high volume and lack of knowledge about the individual athlete.” And he goes on, “Also, Rick, stop working out in the corner and join the class. You’re a terrible athlete. No one cares about your super cool training…”
The problem Grant finds here is that getting into the class doesn’t get you that individualized attention. Heavey cites this as one of the conflicts he found in this article. Just because everybody is doing the same training, if they’re in the group class where the coach knows them well, the coach can actually alter things as necessary for that individual.
Nevertheless, the writer is implying that the group class is better than the blog. But at the end of the day, as Heavey puts it, you can’t say anything is better for anyone unless you know who that person is. He adds that this is total hypocrisy. He’s making arguments for individual training and how that’s superior. But then he’s telling people to do the class. Say what now?!
[30:02] The Red Queen Theory
Then the writer also goes on to talk about the Red Queen Theory, where “we must constantly adapt and evolve to survive while pitted against an ever-evolving opponent or changing environment.If someone is better than you and you both follow the Comp Train blog, they will always be better than you”
[31:15] Grant and Heavey’s Verdict
So as Grant and Heavey would summarize this “article,” they think this is just a bunch of crap. When they talk about absolutely maximizing your performance, it’s always going to be individualized training. And if you’re not one of those athletes, the best thing you can do is to do whatever it is that’s going to keep you doing it – whether that’s a group training or an individualized training.
[32:30] You Don’t Call Your Clients Terrible
Plus the fact this writer calls “Rick” a terrible athlete because he only finished 18th in his regional competition just makes him a terrible coach. You shouldn’t be calling your clients terrible. You should be coaching them so they understand what they need to be doing. And if they can’t understand then you are falling short as a coach. It all comes back to you and your shortcomings.
Heavey adds this is something where you need to understand the psychology of coaching. This is how it manifests in your relationship with your coach is being able to sit down and have conversations and reach people. If you can’t do that, it’s on you, not on your client
If you want to be a great coach, also invest your time in understanding how to communicate with people.
[34:33] A Follow Up Question: Let’s Talk Whiskey
Samuel (the guy who asked about the article) has a followup question asking for their preference for chilling methods (ice, rocks, stones) for scotch and whiskey.
Grant explains that “‘preference” is personal. Grant wants to reiterate that it’s entirely about what you like. If you like a chilled whiskey without any water dilution then the stones and the rocks are perfect. For Grant, he adds ice if he’s drinking something he doesn’t think is a very fine whiskey and if he wants to dilute it and chill it because it’s hot. But he would never do it with a really nice single malt. He would go for something that’s a blend. He wants the ice to melt a little bit. This will slow him down a little bit preventing him from getting wasted at a party. But there’s not a right or wrong answer here.
[36:15] Finding that Perfect Balance
Grant wants people to take note of this though, that not all whiskeys have the same percent alcohol. This is something very important to take note of.
Most times, we want to find the balance between pure alcohol with all flavors underneath. So if we diluted the alcohol too much and dilute the flavors too much, it’s not going to be good. On the other hand, if you pour something to 55%, you may not be tasting everything that’s there because the power of the alcohol is overwhelming your taste buds. In this case, you can add water but not as ice. Because when you cool that drink down, you’re actually changing the flavor as well. If you add water or you change temperature, you change the flavor. This is the reason we drink white wines a little chilled than red wines which we drink close to room temperature because you get to enjoy the flavor.
And the same goes for whiskey. If you’d rather drink it chilled, go ahead and use stones or ice. But if you’re trying to dilute it, use straight water over ice.
[37:45] Whiskey and Weights: Just Enjoy It the Way You Want to Enjoy
Heavey points out how people can get nervous about drinking whiskey because they might be judged by the bartender or their peers. But drink whiskey the way you like it. And just enjoy it!
This is the same with walking the first time into a gym and the buff dudes are lifting and you’re scared about picking up some weights next to him because you’re new to this. But who cares about what they think?
Grant ends with a note that no good whiskey drinker or no good bartender will ever think less of somebody for adding water or stone because they enjoy it. As for Heavey, he is never afraid to ask for recommendations at a restaurant. Not only does it start a conversation, but the more you’re willing to be vulnerable, the more you can learn and enjoy the process.
So don’t be too uptight about it. Acknowledge you’re a beginner. Just experiment and enjoy. It’s made to be fun!
Never add coke or diet coke to a single malt. Water is fine. Stone is fine. But never coke, please.
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