Wednesday 150708

Texas Squats

Using 85% of your FSquat 1RM complete:


From CBS News

Avoid dangerous over-hydration this summer

As summer sports and outdoor activities heat up, researchers at Loyola University Medical Center want to shed light on an overlooked and potentially life-threatening condition: hyponatremia, or excessive water consumption.

Last summer, there were two reported incidences of death as a result of hyponatremia. Zyrees Oliver, a 17-year-old star football player at Douglas County High School in Georgia, drank two gallons of water and two gallons of Gatorade during practice. He collapsed at home later that day and died at a hospital. Another teen football player in Mississippi, Walker Wilbanks, was taken to the hospital during the second half of a game after vomiting and complaining of a leg cramp. He had a seizure in the emergency room and later died from exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH).

In recent years, researchers say there have also been more than a dozen documented and suspected runners’ deaths from hyponatremia.

Hyponatremia is a condition that arises when athletes or others drink too muchwater or sports drinks. Excessive fluid consumption can overwhelm the body’s ability to remove excess water, which dilutes the sodium content of your blood. Your body’s water levels then rise to equalize sodium levels in your cells, which swell. The swelling can cause mild problems including muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting and seizures. If swelling occurs in your brain it can be fatal.

“It can be lethal, but essentially all deaths from exercise-associated hyponatremia are 100 percent preventable,” Dr. James Winger, a sports medicine physician at Loyola University Medical Center told CBS News in an email. “We are, however, seeing hyponatremia in new settings, such as American football, paddling and long distance ocean swimming. This is supported by the common but erroneous belief that mild-to-moderate dehydration during exercise is detrimental to health or performance.”

According to a July 2015 report on the Third International Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia Consensus Development Conference in Carlsbad, California, smaller individuals and those who exercise at a slower pace tend to drink more than they lose through sweat. “Although the incidence of women experiencing EAH is greater than that of men, adjusted for BMI and racing time, the apparent sex difference is not statistically significant,” the report states.

To prevent hyponatremia, researchers agree that there need to be more educational programs available to athletes and coaches that stress the importance of appropriate hydration practices and provide information on how to recognize and treat hyponatremia.

The Loyola researchers advise athletes to consume water and sports drinks only when thirsty. Don’t drink a predetermined amount or try to “get ahead” of thirst by drinking more than you actually want.

“The risks associated with dehydration are small,” Winger said in a press release. “No one has died on sports fields from dehydration, and the adverse effects of mild dehydration are questionable. But athletes, on rare occasions, have died from overhydration.”

Thursday 150611

Texas Squats – Day 2 of week 2

Using 70% of your FSquat 1RM, complete:
7-FSquat + 13-BSquats

from Yahoo

We asked an exercise scientist how many days a week you need to work out to actually make a difference

Woman Jogging

How much should you exercise? Many of us have certain ideas in our heads about what works best to keep us “in shape” and what does not.Five days a week, four days a week? Is two enough?

Luckily, science has come to the rescue with a surprising conclusion — and a somewhat tough one to swallow if you have trouble motivating yourself to work out.

We spoke recently to Shawn Arent, an exercise scientist at Rutgers University, and asked him about this. He said there was a huge difference between working out two and three days a week. While any amount of exercise is an improvement over none at all, if you’re already in decent shape, exercising for just two days a week will not get you much additional benefit.

Here’s what he told us when we asked him how often you should exercise:

“A minimum of three days per week, for a structured exercise program. Technically, you should do something every day, and by something I mean physical activity — just move. Because we’re finding more and more that the act of sitting counteracts any of the activity you do.

“So let’s say you go work out for an hour a day and then you sit for the rest of the day — the health consequences are awful from the sitting standpoint. There’s a recent study that just came out on that. So, you need to be active at other points in the day as well besides just the exercise.

“But there’s an interesting split between exercising two days per week and three days per week, and it has to do with the frequency you stimulate the system. So with three days per week — you get significant gains early on, and you’re going to want to progress beyond that three, ideally. Two days per week, you don’t get much change — you just don’t do it frequently enough to have some of the other positive health outcomes that come along with it.

“In terms of resistance training — [you should do it] two to five days per week, it depends on the level you’re at, in terms of how advanced you are and how you train your body. Early on we can get pretty good gains in kids and older adults with two days per week, but we still want to progress them pretty quickly to three or four days per week.

Thursday 150528

Yep…It is that time of year…


using 65% of your FSquat 1RM, complete:
7-FSquat + 13-BSquats


I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How.

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

“Slim by Chocolate!” the headlines blared. A team of German researchers had found that people on a low-carb diet lost weight 10 percent faster if they ate a chocolate bar every day. It made the front page of Bild, Europe’s largest daily newspaper, just beneath their update about the Germanwings crash. From there, it ricocheted around the internet and beyond, making news in more than 20 countries and half a dozen languages. It was discussed on television news shows. It appeared in glossy print, most recently in the June issue of Shape magazine (“Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily”, page 128). Not only does chocolate accelerate weight loss, the study found, but it leads to healthier cholesterol levels and overall increased well-being. The Bild story quotes the study’s lead author, Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D., research director of the Institute of Diet and Health: “The best part is you can buy chocolate everywhere.”

I am Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D. Well, actually my name is John, and I’m a journalist. I do have a Ph.D., but it’s in the molecular biology of bacteria, not humans. The Institute of Diet and Health? That’s nothing more than a website.

Other than those fibs, the study was 100 percent authentic. My colleagues and I recruited actual human subjects in Germany. We ran an actual clinical trial, with subjects randomly assigned to different diet regimes. And the statistically significant benefits of chocolate that we reported are based on the actual data. It was, in fact, a fairly typical study for the field of diet research. Which is to say: It was terrible science. The results are meaningless, and the health claims that the media blasted out to millions of people around the world are utterly unfounded.

Here’s how we did it.

The Setup

I got a call in December last year from a German television reporter named Peter Onneken. He and his collaborator Diana Löbl were working on a documentary film about the junk-science diet industry. They wanted me to help demonstrate just how easy it is to turn bad science into the big headlines behind diet fads. And Onneken wanted to do it gonzo style: Reveal the corruption of the diet research-media complex by taking part.

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

The call wasn’t a complete surprise. The year before, I had run a sting operation forScience on fee-charging open access journals, a fast-growing and lucrative new sector of the academic publishing business. To find out how many of those publishers are keeping their promise of doing rigorous peer review, I submitted ridiculously flawed papers and counted how many rejected them. (Answer: fewer than half.)

Onneken and Löbl had everything lined up: a few thousand Euros to recruit research subjects, a German doctor to run the study, and a statistician friend to massage the data. Onneken heard about my journal sting and figured that I would know how to pull it all together and get it published. The only problem was time: The film was scheduled to be aired on German and French television in the late spring (it premieres next week), so we really only had a couple of months to pull this off.

Could we get something published? Probably. But beyond that? I thought it was sure to fizzle. We science journalists like to think of ourselves as more clever than the average hack. After all, we have to understand arcane scientific research well enough to explain it. And for reporters who don’t have science chops, as soon as they tapped outside sources for their stories—really anyone with a science degree, let alone an actual nutrition scientist—they would discover that the study was laughably flimsy. Not to mention that a Google search yielded no trace of Johannes Bohannon or his alleged institute. Reporters on the health science beat were going to smell this a mile away. But I didn’t want to sound pessimistic. “Let’s see how far we can take this,” I said.

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.2

The Con

Onneken and Löbl wasted no time. They used Facebook to recruit subjects around Frankfurt, offering 150 Euros to anyone willing to go on a diet for 3 weeks. They made it clear that this was part of a documentary film about dieting, but they didn’t give more detail. On a cold January morning, 5 men and 11 women showed up, aged 19 to 67.

Gunter Frank, a general practitioner in on the prank, ran the clinical trial. Onneken had pulled him in after reading a popular book Frank wrote railing against dietary pseudoscience. Testing bitter chocolate as a dietary supplement was his idea. When I asked him why, Frank said it was a favorite of the “whole food” fanatics. “Bitter chocolate tastes bad, therefore it must be good for you,” he said. “It’s like a religion.”

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

After a round of questionnaires and blood tests to ensure that no one had eating disorders, diabetes, or other illnesses that might endanger them, Frank randomly assigned the subjects to one of three diet groups. One group followed a low-carbohydrate diet. Another followed the same low-carb diet plus a daily 1.5 oz. bar of dark chocolate. And the rest, a control group, were instructed to make no changes to their current diet. They weighed themselves each morning for 21 days, and the study finished with a final round of questionnaires and blood tests.

Onneken then turned to his friend Alex Droste-Haars, a financial analyst, to crunch the numbers. One beer-fueled weekend later and… jackpot! Both of the treatment groups lost about 5 pounds over the course of the study, while the control group’s average body weight fluctuated up and down around zero. But the people on the low-carb diet plus chocolate? They lost weight 10 percent faster. Not only was that difference statistically significant, but the chocolate group had better cholesterol readings and higher scores on the well-being survey.

The Hook

I know what you’re thinking. The study did show accelerated weight loss in the chocolate group—shouldn’t we trust it? Isn’t that how science works?

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

Here’s a dirty little science secret: If you measure a large number of things about a small number of people, you are almost guaranteed to get a “statistically significant” result. Our study included 18 different measurements—weight, cholesterol, sodium, blood protein levels, sleep quality, well-being, etc.—from 15 people. (One subject was dropped.) That study design is a recipe for false positives.

Think of the measurements as lottery tickets. Each one has a small chance of paying off in the form of a “significant” result that we can spin a story around and sell to the media. The more tickets you buy, the more likely you are to win. We didn’t know exactly what would pan out—the headline could have been that chocolate improves sleep or lowers blood pressure—but we knew our chances of getting at least one “statistically significant” result were pretty good.

Whenever you hear that phrase, it means that some result has a small p value. The letter pseems to have totemic power, but it’s just a way to gauge the signal-to-noise ratio in the data. The conventional cutoff for being “significant” is 0.05, which means that there is just a 5 percent chance that your result is a random fluctuation. The more lottery tickets, the better your chances of getting a false positive. So how many tickets do you need to buy?

P(winning) = 1 – (1 – p)n

With our 18 measurements, we had a 60% chance of getting some“significant” result with p < 0.05. (The measurements weren’t independent, so it could be even higher.) The game was stacked in our favor.

It’s called p-hacking—fiddling with your experimental design and data to push p under 0.05—and it’s a big problem. Most scientists are honest and do it unconsciously. They get negative results, convince themselves they goofed, and repeat the experiment until it “works”. Or they drop “outlier” data points.

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

But even if we had been careful to avoid p-hacking, our study was doomed by the tiny number of subjects, which amplifies the effects of uncontrolled factors. Just to take one example: A woman’s weight can fluctuate as much as 5 pounds over the course of her menstrual cycle, far greater than the weight difference between our chocolate and low-carb groups. Which is why you need to use a large number of people, and balance age and gender across treatment groups. (We didn’t bother.)

You might as well read tea leaves as try to interpret our results. Chocolate may be a weight loss accelerator, or it could be the opposite. You can’t even trust the weight loss that our non-chocolate low-carb group experienced versus control. Who knows what the handful of people in the control group were eating? We didn’t even ask them.

Luckily, scientists are getting wise to these problems. Some journals are trying to phase out pvalue significance testing altogether to nudge scientists into better habits. And almost no one takes studies with fewer than 30 subjects seriously anymore. Editors of reputable journals reject them out of hand before sending them to peer reviewers. But there are plenty of journals that care more about money than reputation.

The Inside Man

It was time to share our scientific breakthrough with the world. We needed to get our study published pronto, but since it was such bad science, we needed to skip peer review altogether. Conveniently, there are lists of fake journal publishers. (This is my list, and here’s another.) Since time was tight, I simultaneously submitted our paper—“Chocolate with high cocoa content as a weight-loss accelerator”—to 20 journals. Then we crossed our fingers and waited.

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

Our paper was accepted for publication by multiple journals within 24 hours. Needless to say, we faced no peer review at all. The eager suitor we ultimately chose was the the International Archives of Medicine. It used to be run by the giant publisher BioMedCentral, but recently changed hands. The new publisher’s CEO, Carlos Vasquez, emailed Johannes to let him know that we had produced an “outstanding manuscript,” and that for just 600 Euros it “could be accepted directly in our premier journal.”

Although the Archives’ editor claims that “all articles submitted to the journal are reviewed in a rigorous way,” our paper was published less than 2 weeks after Onneken’s credit card was charged. Not a single word was changed.

The Marks

With the paper out, it was time to make some noise. I called a friend of a friend who works in scientific PR. She walked me through some of the dirty tricks for grabbing headlines. It was eerie to hear the other side of something I experience every day.

The key is to exploit journalists’ incredible laziness. If you lay out the information just right, you can shape the story that emerges in the media almost like you were writing those stories yourself. In fact, that’s literally what you’re doing, since many reporters just copied and pasted our text.

Take a look at the press release I cooked up. It has everything. In reporter lingo: a sexy lede, a clear nut graf, some punchy quotes, and a kicker. And there’s no need to even read the scientific paper because the key details are already boiled down. I took special care to keep it accurate. Rather than tricking journalists, the goal was to lure them with a completely typical press release about a research paper. (Of course, what’s missing is the number of subjects and the minuscule weight differences between the groups.)

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

But a good press release isn’t enough. Reporters are also hungry for “art,” something pretty to show their readers. So Onneken and Löbl shot some promotional video clips and commissioned freelance artists to write an acoustic ballad and even a rap about chocolate and weight loss. (It turns out you can hire people on the internet to do nearly anything.)

Onneken wrote a German press release and reached out directly to German media outlets. The promise of an “exclusive” story is very tempting, even if it’s fake. Then he blasted the German press release out on wire service based in Austria, and the English one went out on NewsWire. There was no quality control. That was left to the reporters.

I felt a queazy mixture of pride and disgust as our lure zinged out into the world.

The Score

We landed big fish before we even knew they were biting. Bild rushed their story out—”Those who eat chocolate stay slim!”—without contacting me at all. Soon we were in the Daily Star, theIrish Examiner, Cosmopolitan’s German website, the Times of India, both the German andIndian site of the Huffington Post, and even television news in Texas and an Australian morning talk show.

When reporters contacted me at all, they asked perfunctory questions. “Why do you think chocolate accelerates weight loss? Do you have any advice for our readers?” Almost no one asked how many subjects we tested, and no one reported that number. Not a single reporter seems to have contacted an outside researcher. None are quoted.

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

These publications, though many command large audiences, are not exactly paragons of journalistic virtue. So it’s not surprising that they would simply grab a bit of digital chum for the headline, harvest the pageviews, and move on. But even the supposedly rigorous outlets that picked the study up failed to spot the holes.

Shape magazine’s reporting on our study—turn to page 128 in the June issue—employed the services of a fact-checker, but it was just as lackadaisical. All the checker did was run a couple of sentences by me for accuracy and check the spelling of my name. The coverage went so far as to specify the appropriate cocoa content for weight-loss-inducing chocolate (81 percent) and even mentioned two specific brands (“available in grocery stores and at”).

Some dodged the bullet. A reporter from Men’s Health interviewed me by email, asking the same sort of non-probing questions. She said that the story was slated for their September issue, so we’ll never know.

But most disappointing? No one dipped into our buffet of chocolate music videos. Instead, they used vaguely pornographic images of women eating chocolate. Perhaps this music will take on a life of its own now that the truth is out:

The Knock

So why should you care? People who are desperate for reliable information face a bewildering array of diet guidance—salt is bad, salt is good, protein is good, protein is bad, fat is bad, fat is good—that changes like the weather. But science will figure it out, right? Now that we’re calling obesity an epidemic, funding will flow to the best scientists and all of this noise will die down, leaving us with clear answers to the causes and treatments.

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

Or maybe not. Even the well-funded, serious research into weight-loss science is confusing and inconclusive, laments Peter Attia, a surgeon who cofounded a nonprofit called the Nutrition Science Initiative. For example, the Women’s Health Study—the largest of its kind—yielded few clear insights about diet and health. “The results were just confusing,” says Attia. “They spent $1 billion and couldn’t even prove that a low-fat diet is better or worse.” Attia’s nonprofit is trying to raise $190 million to answer these fundamental questions. But it’s hard to focus attention on the science of obesity, he says. “There’s just so much noise.”

You can thank people like me for that. We journalists have to feed the daily news beast, and diet science is our horn of plenty. Readers just can’t get enough stories about the benefits of red wine or the dangers of fructose. Not only is it universally relevant—it pertains to decisions we all make at least three times a day—but it’s science! We don’t even have to leave home to do any reporting. We just dip our cups into the daily stream of scientific press releases flowing through our inboxes. Tack on a snappy stock photo and you’re done.

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

The only problem with the diet science beat is that it’s science. You have to know how to read a scientific paper—and actually bother to do it. For far too long, the people who cover this beat have treated it like gossip, echoing whatever they find in press releases. Hopefully our little experiment will make reporters and readers alike more skeptical.

If a study doesn’t even list how many people took part in it, or makes a bold diet claim that’s “statistically significant” but doesn’t say how big the effect size is, you should wonder why. But for the most part, we don’t. Which is a pity, because journalists are becoming the de facto peer review system. And when we fail, the world is awash in junk science.

There was one glint of hope in this tragicomedy. While the reporters just regurgitated our “findings,” many readers were thoughtful and skeptical. In the online comments, they posed questions that the reporters should have asked.

“Why are calories not counted on any of the individuals?” asked a reader on a bodybuilding forum. “The domain [for the Institute of Diet and Health web site] was registered at the beginning of March, and dozens of blogs and news magazines (see Google) spread this study without knowing what or who stands behind it,” said a reader beneath the story in Focus, one of Germany’s leading online magazines.

Or as one prescient reader of the 4 April story in the Daily Express put it, “Every day is April Fool’s in nutrition.”

Tuesday 140506


Texas Squats – 4x @85% 3 FSquats/6 BSquats

Press – 80% of your 1RM x5 x5

From The Atlantic

Another Solid Reason Not to Do a Mud-Obstacle Run

Endurance races that involve electrical shocks, ice baths, and pools of stagnant farm water are acutely popular. No one tells you about the bowel infections.
A man swims through mud underneath electrified wires during a Tough Mudder in Vermont (Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters)

On October 12, 2012, public health officials at Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas, got an unsettling call. Their medical center’s emergency department reported that in the last three days, three active-duty military had come in with vomiting and bloody diarrhea. All said they had recently fallen face-first in mud, during a Tough Mudder obstacle-course event on a nearby cattle ranch in the town of Beatty the week prior.

Mud is a standard part of any Tough Mudder, the substance for which the race isnamed. Actually, I shouldn’t say race.

“The Tough Mudder is not a race,” participants chant as part of the Tough Mudder Pledge taken in unison at the starting line of each 10-to-12-mile course. They also pledge to “overcome all fears” and not to whine (“kids whine”). Nowhere, though, does their pledge mention enduring infectious diarrhea. But it is a very real risk in this sort of event, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says.

In response to these three cases, Nellis Public Health mobilized local and state officials in an investigation, the results of which were released yesterday by the CDC. The team ultimately identified 22 similar cases tied to that October 2012 Mudder, most likely caused by infection with the fecally transmitted bacteriumCampylobacter coli. 

As the CDC reported there was a statistically significant association with “inadvertent swallowing of muddy water while competing” and Campylobacter infection. The investigators found no association with drinking water or eating food provided by event organizers. Participants did report seeing cattle and swine on or near the course on the day of the run.

A Tough Mudder “Mud Mile” obstacle in Osnabrueck, Germany, 2013 (Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters)

Lieutenant Colonel Chad Claar, the public health flight commander at Nellis Air Force Base who led the research, told The Washington Post he suspects there were many more cases; the 22 they found are only those who got sick enough to seek out medical care.

In the four years since Tough Mudder events began springing up around the world, more than a million people have taken part. In case you’re not among the million, or the millions more who’ve seen some promotional YouTube montage set to Read more Tuesday 140506

Tuesday 140422

Time to get back to Squatting
for 1 last time…80% of your FSquat 1RM for 4 sets of 4 FSquats/8 BSquats
Complete 10-Straight Leg DLs between each set.
From Upwave

Who The Health Knows: Can Exercising At Night Hurt Your Sleep?

The Rumor: Exercising at night can interfere with a good night’s sleep

Maybe you’re the kind of person who likes to lift weights while watching Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, go running in the park at 10 p.m. or practice Pilates after you’ve digested your dinner. If so, you’ve no doubt heard the rumblings that exercising at night is baaaaad for your sleep. After all, exercising raises your core body temperature, increases your heart rate and prompts your system to release stimulating epinephrine (adrenaline). While those are normally desirable outcomes (they’re kind of the reason you work out in the first place), popular wisdom says that at night, the effects of physical exertion can keep you up hooting with the owls. The question is: Is this true, or is it just a myth invented by people who are looking for an excuse to bail on their after-work workout?

The Verdict: For the most part, exercising at any time of day will help you sleep

There is anecdotal evidence that some people have difficulty falling asleep after vigorous bouts of late-night exercise — and Stuart Quan, MD, the Gerald E. McGinnis professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School and editor-in-chief of, acknowledges that these individuals should be wary of working out too close to bedtime. “Their adrenaline is high, their brain is active, and it’s difficult to wind down,” he says. If you fall into that group and have experienced trouble sleeping after a midnight-hour cardio workout or yoga session, Quan recommends that you give yourself a few hours between workout time and sleepy time. This strategy will allow your body temperature to return to its usual 98.6 degrees, your heartbeat to return to its resting rate and your adrenaline levels to stabilize so you can get your Z’s.

For most people, however, exercising close to bedtime doesn’t appear to adversely affect sleep quality in the slightest. A 2011 study determined that subjects slept just as well on nights when they exercised for 35 minutes right before bed as they did on nights when they didn’t exercise.

And the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 “Sleep in America” poll, which studied the sleep habits of 1,000 participants, found that an overwhelming majority (83 percent!) of people who exercised at any time of day (yep, including late at night) reported sleeping better than those who didn’t exercise at all. More than 50 percent of vigorous and moderate exercisers slept better on days when they worked out than they did on days when they skipped exercise completely. And only three percent of late-day exercisers said they slept worse on days when they exercised, compared to days when they didn’t.

So if right before bed is the only time when you can squeeze in a workout, do it! Not everyone is a morning go-getter who likes to sprint through the pre-dawn streets, Rocky-style. And even fewer have jobs where lunchtime trips to the gym are feasible (though that would be nice). Getting exercise is almost always better than getting no exercise at all. If nothing else, that’s definitely an idea worth sleeping on