Friday, May 23, 2014

Fitness Friday - Fitness News and Information You Can Use

In this week's Fitness Friday, we get the truth on testosterone replacement for men, a review of Dan John's new book, a look at powerlifting squats vs. Olympic squats, the pros and cons of counting calories, and the good, the bad, and the ugly in powerlifting.

Testosterone Doesn't Up MI or Stroke: May Be Protective?

Miriam E. Tucker
May 18, 2014

LAS VEGAS — Contrary to recent findings, a new retrospective study of data from 40 specialized clinics around the United States has found that testosterone therapy in men is not associated with an increased risk for myocardial infarction (MI) or stroke and may even be cardioprotective.

The late-breaking results were presented here at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 23rd Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress by Robert Tan, MD, director of the Opal Medical Clinic, Houston, research director of the Low T Institute, and clinical professor of family and community medicine at the University of Texas.

Among 19,968 hypogonadal men who received testosterone therapy during a 5-year period (2009–2014) at Low T Centers nationwide (, the risk for MI was 7-fold lower and the risk for stroke 9 times lower compared with samples from the general population. Further, there was no evidence of worsening of preexisting MI or stroke in patients treated with testosterone.

"There has been a lot of hype and concern....I want to try to explain the other side of the story," Dr. Tan said in introducing his presentation.

He told Medscape Medical News, "When compared with other databases looking at rates of MI and strokes, it appears testosterone is cardioprotective."

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From Built Lean, a review of Dan John's new book, Intervention: Course Corrections for the Athlete and Trainer.

Intervention By Dan John Book Review

by Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT | May 20, 2014

I first came across Dan John at a Perform Better Summit a few years ago. Since then, I’ve heard his name pop up over and over again.

More recently, BuiltLean contributor Steve Bergeron reviewed the 8-Week BuiltLean Transformation Program I developed. Steve suggested I incorporate more hip-dominant movements and recommended I check out Intervention: Course Corrections for the Athlete and Trainer by Dan John. I bought the book and excitedly starting digging into it.

Dan John is an accomplished strength coach, discus thrower, and Olympic lifter. He has developed a large following of trainers and coaches who enjoy his no frills, strength-based approach to getting very strong and very athletic.

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From Breaking Muscle (be sure to check out the video of Donnie Thompson working his way up to a world record 1305lb squat):

Powerlifting Versus Olympic Squats: Which Is Better?

Robert Camacho
Contributor - Strength and Conditioning, Injury Prevention and Rehab
More Articles from this Author

Olympic Squat

Generally speaking there are two ways to squat: powerlifting or Olympic style. Even though they are both a squat and legitimate techniques in their own right, there is a bit of a difference when considering the utility and risks of each method.

Both squat styles involve tossing some weight on a barbell, placing it on top of your shoulders, and then dropping your butt down. But within that, there are some significant biomechanical differences between the two. These differences are mostly related to two factors: bar and foot position. Olympic squats are typically performed high bar with a narrow stance, while powerlifting are done low bar with a wide stance. Let’s take a look at some examples.
By the way, there is also the bodybuilder squat, with narrower foot position and the bar higher on top of the traps.

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From T-Nation, Dani Shugart on counting calories, who should and who should not.

Calories: Should You Be Counting?

by Dani Shugart   

Here's what you need to know...

  • Because their instincts are bad and their appetite is low, skinny guys seeking gains should spend some time counting calories.
  • Physique competitors are at risk of undereating more than overeating. Counting calories and macros keeps them on task when their contest-crazy minds get out of hand.
  • Average overweight people are better off focusing their efforts on other areas, like food quality, than counting every little morsel.
  • For most people, calorie counting is a useful but temporary strategy. If it makes you neurotic, you've been doing it too long or it's just not for you.
It takes a special kind of person to actually want to keep track of every last thing he consumes. He measures it, analyzes it, then determines whether or not he should adjust it. He plays accountant with his body. Some calorie accountants are very successful. They build more muscle, lose more fat, and become aware of deficiencies. Some of them even develop the skills to masterfully manipulate calories from different sources and achieve a specific look for a specific event. Anal retentive tendencies pay off for them.

But others play accountant and get nothing back for their efforts. They plug their weight into a formula or online calculator and track every morsel, then make either temporary progress or none at all. Why does it work for some people but not for others? While working with clients it's become clear to me who benefits from counting and who would get better results by placing their focus elsewhere.
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Finally, also from T-Nation, here is Charles Staley on powerlifting.

Powerlifting: The Good, Bad and Ugly

by Charles Staley   

Here's what you need to know...
  • Powerlifting is awesome, except for some of the fat physiques, the gaggle of federations, the rampant drug use and the supportive garb that allows you to artificially bench more than you can deadlift.
  • The rise of raw powerlifting has been positive. It's more relatable to the average lifter and appeals to those who'd rather see a more honest display of strength.
  • Despite its flaws, powerlifting is a primal rush, and signing up for a meet is one of the best things you can do to ramp up your training progress.
Back in the days when I was involved in Olympic-style weightlifting, I tended to view powerlifting with some disdain, which, by the way, is common in weightlifting circles. Weightlifters love to bag on their iron brothers for being fat simpletons who over-rely on high-tech supportive garb and who don't have the technical skills necessary for "advanced" skills like the Olympic lifts.

Powerlifting deserves some of this reputation. A quick search on YouTube will pull up video after video of bloated 350-pound dudes quarter-squatting about 40% more than they could actually squat to parallel without all the multi-ply supersuits and wraps. However, judging the sport by these unfortunate examples is about as fair as judging the sport of weightlifting by looking at some of its obese super-heavyweight competitors. The truth is, powerlifting is going through some very positive changes lately, which I'll discuss in a bit. For now though, I'd like to briefly share my personal experiences with the sport so that you have a bit of insight into my perspective.

I participated in my first raw competition in June of 2010 at the age of 50. Like many new competitors opt to do, I did a partial meet – in this case, I only competed in the deadlift event. One thing that's really nice about powerlifting, especially for newbies, is that you can just do one or two events if you'd like. This way, you can get started with a minimum of stress and anxiety. I lifted well and met lots of nice folks. I was hooked. Since then, I've gone on to win the World Championships for my age/weight category in the 100% Raw Federation. As I write this, I'm gearing up for my next meet.

I confess that I'm not exactly cut out to be a powerlifter. In fact, during a recent discussion with my insurance agent where I mentioned that I was training for a competition, he blurted, "Oh, you do triathlons?" At 198 pounds, powerlifting would reward me dearly for being 5'7" as opposed to 6'1", but so be it. I'd also be better off being 24 rather than 54, but guess what? I've decided to compete on my own terms.

Sure, my lifts would skyrocket if I brought my bodyweight up to 250 or so, but so would my waistline, and I'm not down with that. I'm using competitive powerlifting to test myself at my current height and weight, not to do whatever it takes to add a few pounds to my total. Keep this in mind as I transition to the less-appealing aspects of powerlifting.

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