Been eating primal for a few months now, loving it, but I just started doing some workouts and the soreness that comes a day or two later is just killing me. Does it get better? Maybe I?m doing them wrong?
Thanks, Jill, for the question. It?s a subject that, had you not mentioned it, might never have popped up. What you?re describing is delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and it?s completely normal ? especially for people just getting started exercising. The symptoms include muscle tenderness, soreness, weakness, and even swelling. As you?ve noticed, DOMS usually manifests a day or two after a particularly strenuous workout. It afflicts millions of people, from weekend warriors to hard-core athletes. Some dread it; others relish the feeling for days as proof that they?re making progress. But despite its ubiquity, science still hasn?t been able to nail down the precise cause of DOMS.
Luckily, when we get injured, we can have surgery and then simply recline on the couch and catch up on old episodes of “The Wire” in between visits to the physical therapist. And for us Primal Blueprinters, staying off our feet doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll gain weight. Our body composition is, after all, mostly determined by diet, so sticking to healthy fats and protein (with copious amounts of vegetables) while watching the carbs will keep us trim. Grok didn’t have it so easy. If Grok broke a leg or dislocated a shoulder, he wasn’t bouncing back after a quick visit to the local shaman. He became a detriment to his clan, unable to hunt, forage, or fight. Without the type of medical knowledge we’re lucky to have today, what would be a relatively simple injury for us could end up being a life ending calamity for Grok, especially if necessity demanded he fight through the pain and risk further damage.
In the past, we’ve highlighted the importance of sleep in our lives as evidence mounts. A healthy amount of the stuff can help with memory, and a study showing that those who toss and turn to the tune of five or fewer hours of sleep per night have a higher incidence of “silent” heart disease suggests its importance in cardiovascular health. But it’s not like we needed science to tell us that getting plenty of sleep was good for us; the sluggish thoughts, rotten moods, and general uselessness we experience on inadequate sleep is our body’s way of telling us to sleep more and sleep better.
A particularly difficult workout session the other day, along with the holiday fast approaching (not a holiday fast, mind you – really, who would fast on a holiday?), prompted this post.
As is typical of many mornings for me, the other day I bagged breakfast and just had a big cup of really strong coffee with a splash of heavy cream and nothing else. Figured I’d eat later at a business lunch. I had a full schedule and not a lot of time, so I decided to do a quick set of modified burpees, where instead of simply jumping, landing, and doing a pushup, I would toss a pull-up into the mix. Nothing but a rotation of squats, pushups, and pull-ups – and lots of them. I did this for twelve minutes straight with intermittent breaks, which got progressively more frequent as time went on (admittedly). It’s an ass-kicker if you are ever pressed for time. By the end, I was feeling all the typical effects I’ve come to expect from my occasional hard workouts: throbbing legs on the verge of giving out; arms that don’t seem to work anymore; sweat pooled around my feet; and a pretty high heart rate. But I was also incredibly nauseated, which is unusual for me – almost to the point of vomiting. I didn’t feel like moving for about five minutes, and I quite frankly wasn’t myself for the next hour. If it hadn’t been an early morning workout on an empty stomach, I probably would have emptied its contents. This got me to thinking – is too much intensity (to the point of nausea and vomit) a bad thing? Or is the nausea that comes with a particularly intense workout telling us that maybe we’re doing it right?
Lance Armstrong has always been seen as the exception, rather than the rule. Conventional wisdom told us that he succeeded in spite of his cancer; that exercise is the realm of the healthy, rather than the ill. And it is that popular image of the bedridden, languishing cancer patient so prevalent in movies, media and culture that informed our reaction to Armstrong’s resurgence. How the hell was a guy with debilitating cancer able to repeatedly succeed on the world’s stage – in one of its most grueling athletic feats? Well, a recent spate of research (probably, in some small way, influenced or inspired by his Tour wins) into the relationship between cancer and exercise suggests that Lance Armstrong’s recovery may have actually been aided by his training regimen.
For a while now, scientists have been examining the link between body fat and cardiovascular disease. Back in 2005, researchers from two Texas universities found that human fat cells produce a protein called C-reactive protein (CRP) with an interesting property – the tendency to cause the type of inflammation that leads to heart failure. A direct link between being fat and getting heart attacks had finally been established, corroborating years of general intuition suggesting that fat people seemed to have more heart attacks.
You’ve known for years that cranberries can help stave off urinary tract infections (UTIs), but now scientists have figured out the mechanism behind the benefit!
In a study published in this month’s Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts analyzed the Gibbs free energy of adhesion changes between bacteria and uroepithelial cells exposed to varying concentrations of cranberry liquids. In English? Essentially, the researchers extracted some cells from the inside of the urinary tract, threw in some bacteria, doused them with cranberry juice and watched to see how they would interact.
Perhaps at some point in all our personal fitness careers (however advanced or modest) we’ve all had one of those “doh!” moments, when we realized we did something really stupid that now has us writhing in pain. (It could be an immediate or slightly delayed awareness – stuck in the recliner later that night unable to move. Anyone?) Sometimes these strains are the result of momentary carelessness, and sometimes they’re caused by ongoing ignorance (coupled with bravado or bad advice).
And then there are the exercises that maybe don’t leave us regretting our very existences but that seem to keep us (knowingly or unknowingly) endlessly circling the same fitness territory with little to no measurable progress. How come none of the other Saturday gym rats seem stuck in the same rut? What am I doing wrong?
The marathon. An epic struggle of the individual against his/her own body. A kind of “Mt. Everest” for athletic practice, it exacts a sizable toll on anyone who dares attempt it. (The first marathon man died after all.)
The seasoned athlete knows and respects the physical claim of a marathon, and it is substantial even for the best trained. But marathons are becoming increasingly popular in the last few years. Once limited to the athletic elites and diehards, marathons are now the stuff of social events and charity drives. We’re all for the social element of sport, and we’re suckers for a good cause like anyone. But this recent popularity has changed the face (and emergency support requirements) of marathons. While we believe that everyone’s got to start somewhere, we definitely believe this ain’t the place.
We aren’t talking estrogen here, but this latest news does concern the ladies of the community.
In the recent “Hunt Study” conducted by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science, women with thyroid function in the less active part of the “normal” clinical reference range showed an increased risk for fatal coronary heart disease relative to those with numbers in the more active part of the clinical range.
The findings were based on a follow-up with 17,311 women and 8,002 men who had shown no signs of heart disease, diabetes or thyroid disorder at the beginning of the study in the mid-1990s. All participants were 40 years or older when initial tests were done to measure levels of thyrotropin, a hormone released by the pituitary gland that is known to stimulate the thyroid. During the follow-up examinations that were completed in 2004, researchers found that 192 women and 164 men had died of heart disease. Of these subjects, none had shown signs of thyroid malfunction. However, women whose readings showed the relative lowest (but still clinically normal) thyroid gland activity were “69 percent more likely to die from heart disease than women with more active glands.”