Today’s Dear Mark is a four-parter with some fantastic questions (and passable answers, I hope!). First up, I answer a reader question from the comment section of last week’s Barbell Dogma post. Second, I discuss the number one nutritional trap of restaurant foods, and it has nothing to do with grains, sugar, or carbohydrates. After that, I field a question about the stability of the yolks in Primal Egg Coffee allowed to sit in a thermos for several hours. And finally, I present a few strategies for combating the insomnia resulting from a post-exercise late night cortisol rush.
In the Church of Iron, weight machines are the ultimate sacrilege. Using them is a heresy punishable by banishment to the underworld of Pilates, ruled over by the fallen powerlifter Qurl Sin Thuh Zkwaut Raq wielding his unpredictable ball of Bosu and condemning the damned to an eternity of weak stabilizer muscles, convex buttocks, and wildly imbalanced quad-to-hamstring strength ratios. Absolution is nigh impossible. You so much as touch a cable pulldown machine and you’ll be forever barred from entrance into the heavenly Weight Room, where the blessed souls clothed only in three-prong leather lifting belts and 0.75 inch heeled lifting shoes feed upon the protein smoothies gushing forth from the spurting teat of the great Rippled Toad that give them the power to PR on the deadlift every day, walk (but never run, for conditioning is a sin) the halls of infinite power racks, squat until glutes grace ground with nary a butt wink in evidence, and be forever protected from any injury save permanently scuffed up shins.
When thinking about ways to improve your workout recovery, you might start by going back to this post I wrote a couple weeks ago and then doing the opposite of the recovery-impairing items on that list. So, if you’re trying to do too much in the gym in too little time, you should probably start doing less. Since nutrient deficiencies can contribute to poor recovery, you should eat plenty of those nutrients. And if stress is a huge recovery killer, it would obviously make sense to figure out ways to reduce and mitigate stress in your life. Easier said than done, right? Well, today I’m going to give you some concrete tips and techniques I personally use to improve my workout recovery.
Let’s jump right in…
This is a guest post from Ben Greenfield. Ben is a strength and conditioning coach and sports nutritionist who teaches athletes and exercise enthusiasts how to achieve amazing feats of physical performance without destroying their bodies. He is the head triathlon coach at Pacific Elite Fitness, blogs and podcasts at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, hosts the Get-Fit Guy show, and has a new book coming out called “Beyond Training“.
Among other things, Ben is known for conducting self-experiments – often on very fringe ideas – to learn what can give him and his clients a competitive advantage. His next challenge that flies in the face of conventional wisdom is to win the amateur division at Ironman Canada in a fully ketogenic state. His experience training and competing at a high level using an ancestral framework is what I am particularly interested in, and I think you may be too. Now, enter Ben…
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a four-parter. First up is a question about using the cable weights at the gym to build strength. Should they be discarded by the serious trainee in favor of exclusive barbell work, or do they offer something unique and worthwhile? Next, I discuss potential strategies for the reversal of arterial plaque. It’s not guaranteed, but there are some promising leads. After that, I give my take on stem cell meat. Am I opposed? Am I intrigued? Finally, I give my take on replacing your desk chair with a Swiss ball for a reader who can’t get a treadmill desk and wants the next best thing.
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