Sunday, November 29, 2009

5 Keys to Self Mastery

This video is very inspirational and should be taken to heart because several successful individuals support the concepts. Use it as a guide to help you achieve whatever goals you have set for yourself. Cheers.
video

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Enjoy all the turkey you can because you deserve it!
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Monday, November 23, 2009

STEROIDS!

Gregg Valentino

Hey folks, as you all are catching on to my style of blogging, I am sure you know I have a knack for finding some articles once in a while that I like to feature. I found this essay on steroids that I felt was well written and gives a great overview of steroid use in a very fair and balanced way. I must make the disclaimer that I do not in any way advocate the use of illicit drugs because in my opinion the negatives outweigh the positives 10:1. Enjoy, and think twice about your choice of use if you are currently experimenting with it.


The Effects Of Steroids On Muscle Training

What are steroids? Steroids are synthetic chemicals that mimic the hormones produced by the body. Hormones control bodily functions and are separated into various classifications such as adrenal, cortical, cardiac, bile salts, vitamins, and sex hormones. Anabolic steroids that build muscle tissue are classified as sex hormones and they stimulate the action of the male sex hormone testosterone. When testosterone is released at the appropriate time it has the natural effects of creating body size, bone size, body hair, sex organ maturation, and muscle tissue development. They often have many different trade names or brand names. Commonly used anabolic steroids are Anavar, Sustanon, and Dianabol. Anabolic steroids are prescription-only medicines. They are not controlled under the misuse of drugs act. It is not illegal to possess them for personal use. It is an offense to supply them. They can only be acquired from a chemist with a doctor's prescription. In addition, there is a large illicit market in anabolic steroids. The primary use of anabolic-androgenic steroids is in replacement therapy for male testosterone. Other medical uses include growth promotion in certain forms of stunted growth, osteoporosis, mammary carcinoma, animas, and hereditary angioneurotic edema. The use of various physical and chemical aids in performance enhancement has been a feature of athletic competition since the beginning of recorded history. The ancient Greeks ate sesame seeds, bufotenin was used by the berserks in Norwegian mythology, and the Andean Indians and the Australian aborigines chewed, respectively, coca leaves and the pituri plant for stimulating and anti-fatiguing effects (Bowman, 1980). Athletes have used anabolic steroids to enhance appearance and performance for years. The first ergogenic use of anabolic-androgenic steroids was reported back in the 1950's among weightlifters and bodybuilders. Bowman reported that one-third of a sample of elite track and field athletes in Great Britain admitted to systematic anabolic-androgenic steroid use by 1972 (Bowman, 1980). Silvester reported that 68% of a sample interviewed at the 1972 Olympic Games from 7 different countries, and who were competing in such diverse activities as throwing, jumping, vaulting, sprinting, and running up to 5000m, admitted to having used anabolic-androgenic steroids (Bowman, 1980). Although it was actually suggested early in 1973 and stressed later, it is now evident that the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids is not limited to the elite athletes but has now trickled down to the amateur, professional, college, high school, and even junior high athletes. Due to the estimated prevalence of non-medical anabolic-androgenic steroid use and the implications for society and public health there were several scientific meetings set up. Moreover, a technical review at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 1989 was set up, and both federal and state investigations to reclassify anabolic-androgenic steroids as controlled substances despite arguments from the American Medical Association. Patterns of anabolic-androgenic steroid use among athletes have been determined from several surveys. Hickson and Kurowski interviewed 24 weight-training athletes at a gymnasium in a metropolitan area of the southwestern United States. The Subjects surveyed took a combined steroid dose of four to eight times the recommended medical dose, Used more than one anabolic-androgenic steroid at a time, which is known as stacking, and combined the use of intravenous and oral anabolic-androgenic steroids (Hickson, 1986, p. 465). Although Hickson and Kurowski questioned a specific sample of anabolic-androgenic steroid users, they concluded that their subjects seemed to be representative of the type of athletes who used anabolic-androgenic steroids. Two other groups of people also conducted very similar surveys and found that their subjects were also taking well over the recommended medical dose. In 1990 Baldoenzi and Giada conducted a survey and found that 110 out of 250 weightlifters he interviewed in several gymnasiums in the metropolitan Chicago area, many of, which had no intentions of being competitive, also used a variety of anabolic-androgenic steroids. 50 weightlifters were interviewed in detail, a majority had no competitive interests in weightlifting, bodybuilding, or any other athletic event just used the steroids because they wanted to. Baldoenzi and Giada concluded that anabolic-androgenic steroid abuse had reached alarming proportions in noncompetitive athletes (Baldoenzi, 1990, p. 205). The Buckley survey in 1988 suggests that one-quarter to one-half million adolescents in the United States has used or is currently using anabolic-androgenic steroids. Anderson and Mckeag reporting on a nation-wide survey of alcohol and drug use among college athletes indicated that anabolic-androgenic steroids were used in all men's sports, one women's sport and that the sport with the greatest admitted use was football with 9% (Bowman, 1980). The overall anabolic-androgenic steroid use rate in all sports was 4%. Anderson and Mckeag replicated their original study four years later and although they found that overall use rates for anabolic-androgenic steroids remained the same, anabolic-androgenic steroids were now being used in two additional women's sports (Bowman, 1980). The psychological and behavioral aspects of maleness were noted by Aristotle prior to 300 BC and were studied in numerous uncontrolled experiments up through the 1800s. The effects of the purified sex hormones, including those on mood and mental disorders, began to be experimentally and clinically explored more intensively a half century ago when commercial preparations became available. Since that time a large number of literature reviews have been reported on these and other effects. The most potent sex steroid produced in human males is testosterone. Testosterone has been chemically characterized and more than 100 derivatives synthesized, some of which have found uses in human and veterinary medicine, animal husbandry, and most recently, in athletics. A Purely anabolic steroid has not been found and, therefore, Kockakain suggests that the appropriate nomenclature should refer to anabolic-androgenic steroids. What do steroids actually do for you? Steroids increase your strength. They also increase your muscle mass and allow you to train harder. Steroids also reduce recovery time needed after training. Some people believe the benefit from taking steroids is psychological, they make people feel that they are stronger or faster. Others believe that they make people feel more aggressive and so they are able to train harder. There is no doubt about that. The major question is Are the positives worth taking the risks for. There are far more negatives to using anabolic steroids then there are positives. Anabolic steroids affect males in seven major ways: 1) They can make the testicles shrink and deteriorate (even after just six to eight weeks of use) 2) they can reduce sperm count for up to four years 3) they cause the development of tender and enlarged breasts 4) they cause early aging symptoms 5) they cause sterility and impotence 6) also they make your voice high-pitched 7) They cause baldness. Anabolic steroids affect females in eight major ways: 1) They stop or cause irregularity in your menstrual periods 2) they cause permanent reproductive damage 3) they cause infertility 4) they make hair grow on your face and chest 5) they deepen your voice 6) they cause fetal damage and birth deformities 7) they make your skin very oily 8) they increase testosterone production and take on masculine characteristics. Anabolic steroids have many other more dangerous affects that can occur in both genders. They are as follows: 1) Cause addiction to steroids 2) hallucinations, hearing voices, schizophrenia, and mental disorders 3) aggressiveness, violence, hostility, irritability, roid rages or uncontrolled temper 4) purple or red spots inside mouth or nose 5) yellow tint to skin, jaundice, chronic hepatitis 6) swelling of hands, face, feet 7) acne, rashes, hives 8) severe depression and suicidal tendencies 9) increased size of heart, liver, kidneys 10) increased cholesterol count and blood pressure 11) suppress immune system and retard healing 12) fever, headache, insomnia, chills, gallstones 13) diarrhea, stomach ache, muscle cramps, black tarry stools 14) liver cancer, heart disease, stroke, obstructed blood vessels 15) bone deterioration. Steroids have been used to enhance performance and appearance since the beginning of recorded history. Now all ages of athletes are using anabolic steroids, not just the elite athletes are using them but now even high school athletes are using them. In 1989 anabolic steroids became a controlled substance because of an investigation conducted by the American Medical Association. Several Surveys have shown that there are patterns in the use of anabolic steroids. Now athletes who don't actually participate in competition are using the drug, where before it used to be only competing athletes as the primary users. Steroids have both positive and negative affects. The positive affects are generally short-term affects while the negative affects tend to be more long-term. Using anabolic steroids and testing positive on a drug test will more than likely ruin a sporting career for anyone. The bottom line is taking steroids is cheating, it's addictive, and they can kill you.

Bibliography

Baldoenzi G, Giada F. (1990). Body builders during and after self-administration of anabolic steroids. Metabolism Clinical and Experimental, 39, 203-8. Bowman S. (1980). Anabolic steroids and infarction. British Medical Journal, 300, 750. Hickson, R.C. and Kurowski, T.G.(1986). Anabolic steroids and training. Clinics in Sports Medicine, 3, 461-469 Unknown. (1996). IDEA Prevention Guide. Naperville, IL: IDEA

Words: 1446



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Friday, November 20, 2009

Olympic lifts and throwing

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I have no idea when the concept of using Olympic lifting for strengthening the modern day thrower began but I imagine it caught on when the realization that it was the quickest way to to gain strength and mass. In my opinion, the concept people have to understand is that with the advent of Olympic lifting also came the onset of illegal drug usage such as steroids. Although I agree that Olympic lifts are wonderful for achieving great levels of strength, the sad truth is that there is a limit the average athlete always hits which cannot be overcome unless the use of illicit medication is involved. The harsh reality is that a majority (not all) of world class athletes that have monstrous numbers in the O lifts are not to be envied because they are not attained without the help of substances, which are banned.
The problem I have with O lifts is the concept that you constantly have to continue to increase the amount of weight you lift in order to throw farther. I admit that this is true on many levels but at the same time it makes it seem as though if you cannot lift a certain amount of weight, you cannot throw a certain distance, which i disagree with. There are many other avenues of strength out there. Just because you do not have the best power clean does not mean you will never throw any farther.
Although I admit that Olympic lifts are the fastest way to increase strength and explosiveness, they are not the only solution. Olympic lifts are not for everybody and can actually contribute to many severe chronic injuries in the future if over emphasized. I am a firm believer in a concept I like to call the balanced diet of fitness. Imagine a pie chart that is cut up into various types of exercises, which include power lifts, aerobics, Olympic lifts, body building, plyometrics and throw specific. Now make a mental image on how big a portion of the pie is dedicated to each and you will find that we are all guilty of overcompensating with the Olympic lifts and power lifts versus putting more time into doing throw specific and plyometric strength training. My philosophy is that everybody will have a realm which will be their weakest, all this means is that they will have to dedicate a bigger portion of the other slices of their pie to other exercises which will help them improve. Therefore, understand that variety is the spice of life and realize that although the Olympic lifts are wonderful, there are other, less harmful ways to get stronger.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Squats Vs. Deadlift

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I have been doing some research into the world of squatting and deadlifting and I have come to the conclusion that both are equally as effective for gaining strength if implemented properly. Several articles I have come across are biased either one way or the other. The avid supporters of the squat support it because of the following reasons.
  • Greater range of motion because the hips can drop below the hips
  • Works the anterior chain leg muscles very well
  • Good for lower back strengthening
Critics of the squat mention that
  • It is hard on the knees
  • Strains the lower back
  • Can cause spinal compression
As far as deadlift enthusiasts are concerned the pros of the lift include:
  • Less strain on spine due to a larger recruitment of muscle groups
  • Works posterior leg muscles better, which is more important for explosiveness
  • Easy on the knees and lower back
  • More natural movement than squatting
Critics might say that the deadlift is inferior due:
  • Inability to attain the same range of motion as a full squat
  • Less explosive with the hips
  • need a lot of grip strength to lift heavy
I personally feel that doing both exercises improves overall leg strength. Squats are great but sometimes I feel like doing too much weight does a number on my back and knees, much more so than the deadlift, which allows me to push more weight without causing much pain in the knees. I am not one to use knee straps so that is why I prefer to go heavier with the deadlift than the squat, which just requires a good weight belt.
It all comes to choice in the end and choosing which one better fits your situation is what it all comes down to. If you have knee pain, deadlifts are just as good for leg strength in my opinion. If you are short and have have small levers, the squat will benefit you more because the range of motion you can attain with the squat will far outweigh the deadlift. Do what fits your goals and body.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Belief Before Proof: Throwing Really Is A Miracle

Every once in a while I read something that I cannot reiterate better than the source articulated it. This article by Joe Donahue gives us a great insight into mental preparation and training for the discus. Please enjoy.

"There are only two ways to live your life, one is as though nothing is a miracle, and the other is as though
everything is a miracle." Albert Einstein

Joe Donahue
Northeastern University

Believing before ’doing’ is of primary importance not only generally but specifically. It does require, however, an effective understanding of biomechanics, and learning by the coach and athlete and the rapport necessary for both to learn these in principle. In performing motor and psychological exercises, it can be effective to tell athletes to train muscle groups for the events and to ’tell’ the groups ’what’ they must do! Do not take the chance that somehow various body parts automatically follow the ’correct’ technique without occasional direct intervention and cues. Have them imagine-think-visualize what the movement looks and feels like in the muscles BEFORE they do the movement as well as after. They do not need to understand this before they do it!
Extra intellectual activity proximal to the throw can cause motor conflict. Many coaches have discovered this. Yogi Berra the great Yankee baseball catcher used this phenomenon to distract the hitters’ performance by engaging them in conversation and it worked! "Keep your eye on the ball" can be a merit for other sports as well and we should add "stop thinking about it while you throw!"
You can hear the verbal commands in many sports which are derivatives of larger motor movement. In gymnastics the vaulter is sub verbalizing to ‘stick the finish’. The metaphor is representative of a complex motor task. You can ’whack’ the finish in the shot or tell your thighs to push ’down harder’ as you squat. One a general metaphor cue, the other a specific cue to a body part. Most of us want to analyze everything we must do but some or most of the things that will be done by us come before we understand it. Remember how it was when you first rode a bike? You wavered, fell and the next time without thinking you ’let’ your body do the adjusting. Soon you were doing it automatically. The idea that understanding and ’knowing’ intellectually comes before ’doing’ and ’discovery’ is a rather new phenomena historically. We can ’blame’ it on rationalism. It is not an accident that many of the most famous and productive artists, musicians and scientists came at the dawn or before Rational thought kicked in. Blame it on Rene Descartes. Here are his Laws of the Cartesian Method:

• Accept nothing as true which is not clear and distinct;
• Analyze a problem into its parts and discuss it part by part;
• Arrange thoughts from simple to complex as the order of study;
• Enumerations must be full and complete and nothing must be omitted.

If we waited for all these to occur in throwing and other creative acts we would be back in the dark ages of sport! Scientists attempt to prove what cannot happen and when something ’happens’ that they cannot explain but they can replicate it they call it discovery. They then analyze it to death to try to have its phenomena match what they already believe. A rare few (Einstein, Newton, Kepler) accepted what they could not further explain and ’it’ became a law! Just ’Do it’ and check the results after a reasonable amount of trials, modify the performance then do it again. The ’ahah! comes AFTER you stub your toe....not before!

Good practices in personal life and beliefs will protect you from harm. Use the Cartesian method to examine what you have done after you have done it and away from the field of play. Effective science and discovery lead to good practice efforts from observation of what works before understanding. As long as we leave a little pinch of curiosity and wonder for what we do the ’new’ discoveries will come. ’Ahahs’ have there own agenda we have ours. Let us leave little openings in our ’agenda’s for the ’Ahah’s’ to peak through.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Secret to Happiness

A Smurf dances and smiles
My wonderful readers, thanks for your continuous support of my blog. Today I want to inform you of what the real secret to happiness is. This is very important because we all seem to go after it everyday. For some it is a destination, for others it is now and yet for others it is unattainable. Why is it so hard to be and stay happy? In my opinion it has to do with our western industrial society as a whole telling us what happiness means. It feels as though everyone nowadays has lost their internal capacities to decide what their true definition of happiness is and as a result, rely on their societal fads to choose it for them through the media and popular notions.
What is your source of joy? I know mine lays in the satisfaction that I am alive for a reason that has to do with acquiring wisdom from everyone and every experience I encounter in a way that helps me help others in my realm of influence solve mental, physical and philosophical problems. Again, I ask you, what is your joy? Don't be vague or rely upon others for your joy and happiness. Remember that true happiness flows from the internal to the external and not the reverse.
Now, what is the secret to happiness? It is simple because just as you choose which clothes you put on in the morning or as you choose which throwing implement to throw for competition, it is a choice. Don't let anybody convince you otherwise. Bad things happen in life all the time, at times we are unlucky and at times we finish last place in competition but we still have the choice to be happy after all is said and done. Choose it always.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Don't Be Afraid of Failure

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I was once very afraid of failure but after I failed enough I realized that it helped me succeed in many other aspects of my life. Failure has shaped what I am today because it has prepared me for success. Think for a minute about the last time you achieved something after attempting it several times. Remember how it felt to think back on how you finally achieved your goal? If you are like me it is a marvelous feeling.
Throwing the winning distance on your last attempt would not feel as great if you hadn't fouled all prior attempts. The fact that you tried your hardest on your last throw meant that you weren't scared of failure because although you won on your last throw, you could have lost if you didn't try your hardest. At the same time, you forgot about the possibility of failure because the mental cost of loosing was far less than the cost of not giving the last throw everything you had.
Think of failure as an occasional incidence and you will be prepared to succeed when it happens. Lying to yourself as to the reality of failure is foolish and unwise. Be reasonable about it and learn from it because it will become motivating.

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.
Robert F. Kennedy

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Monday, November 2, 2009

DRILLS DRILLS DRILLS!

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I'm always on the hunt for new media to learn from. I found some great videos courtesy of http://www.coaching-track-and-field-athletics.com/
Take a look at some of these drills and try them out because I know I will. Click on one of the many videos the site has to offer on my You tube bar to the right of the page


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