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Lose Fat, Gain Muscle, Get Strong, and Laugh a Little

Posted Feb 09 2011 9:36am

This might turn into a new weekly feature, as it essentially unifies two of the things that are the most important to me:

a. Complete randomness (just ask my wife about my ADD)

b. Laughing (my late grandfather always reminded me that you are supposed to laugh every day – and I do)

To that end, these posts will replace “Random Friday Thoughts.”  Everyone was copying that idea, anyway – but look at who is ahead of Robertson, Gentilcore, Neeld, and St. Pierre (among others) in Google rankings if you search for “Random Friday Thoughts.  That’s how you know you’re dealing with the original, folks.  I give them all a month before they start copying this idea.

The same thing actually happened with my “What I Learned in <Insert Year>” idea.  To continue to be a trendsetter and separate myself, I didn’t even start writing mine until February – so I get 13 months to their 12.  How you like them apples?

But I digress…in this random feature – as the title implies – I’ll cover ways you can lose fat, gain muscle, get strong, and even laugh a little (or a lot).  Here we go.

1. I’ve written quite a bit in the past about how diagnostic imaging (x-rays, MRIs, etc) doesn’t always tell the entire story, and that incidental findings are very common.  This applies to the lower back , shoulders , and knees (and surely several other joints).  The scary thing, though, is that we see these crazy structural abnormalities not just in adults, but in kids, too.  Last month, I highlighted research that showed that 64% of 14-15 year-old athletes have structural abnormalities in their knees – even without the presence of symptoms.  Just a month later, newer research is showing that the knee isn’t the only hinge joint affected; young throwers’ elbows are usually a structural mess as well.  In an American Journal of Sports Medicine study of 23 uninjured, asymptomatic high school pitchers (average age of 16), researchers found the following:

Three participants (13%) had no abnormalities. Fifteen individuals (65%) had asymmetrical anterior band ulnar collateral ligament thickening, including 4 individuals who also had mild sublime tubercle/anteromedial facet edema. Fourteen participants (61%) had posteromedial subchondral sclerosis of the ulnotrochlear articulation, including 8 (35%) with a posteromedial ulnotrochlear osteophyte, and 4 (17%) with mild posteromedial ulnotrochlear chondromalacia. Ten individuals (43%) had multiple abnormal findings in the throwing elbow.

For me, the 35% with the osteophytes (and chondromalacia) are the biggest concern.  Thickening of the ulnar collateral ligament isn’t surprising at all, but marked osseous (bone) abnormalities is a big concern.

Also, as a brief, but important aside, this study was done at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota – which isn’t exactly the hotbed of baseball activity that you get down in the South.  Recent research also shows that players in Southern (warm weather) climates have decreased shoulder internal rotation range of motion and external rotation strength compared to their Northern (cold weather) climate counterparts. In other words, I’ll be money that the numbers reported in this study are nothing compared to the young pitchers who are constantly abused year-round in the South.

The next time you think to yourself that all young athletes – especially throwers – can be managed the same, think again.  Every body is unique – and that’s why I’m so adamant about the importance of assessing young athletes.

2. I wrote Monday night about how I was enjoying (and getting my butt kicked by) the Lean Hybrid Muscle program from Mike Westerdal and Elliott Hulse.  As I was panting heavily yesterday at the end of one of their hybrid circuits yesterday, I came to realize that the biggest factor that is making this strength and conditioning program a challenge for me is that the rest intervals are very specifically regulated.  In the world of high performance training and strength training programs seeking to increase strength, the rest between sets is more “casual.”  You pretty much go when you’re ready because you want to be very fresh when you’re training the nervous system.

However, when the goal is to lose fat or gain muscle (independent of strength), you generally want shorter rest periods.

So, logically, if you want to lose fat, gain muscle, and get strong (or at least maintain strength), you need to have a good blend of longer and shorter rest periods – and that’s exactly what the Lean Hybrid Muscle program includes within each strength training session.  Logic at its finest.

3. Laugh!

4. My seminar schedule for 2011 is filling up quickly in spite of the fact that I’m working to cut back on travel this year.  You can check it out HERE .

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