Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Is Your Trainer Like This?

One of my biggest pet peeves is the trainer or coach who isn't fully present when training or coaching - let's call this person "Disinterested Daffy". "Disinterested Daffy" is more concerned with their cell phone, or laptop, or the music, or last week's game, or next week's line-up, or what happened on Mad Men, or what another group is doing than they are concerned with the people and content they're coaching.
If you're a trainer or coach, be present. If you are a client and/or an athlete, and you have "Disinterested Daffy" as a coach, find someone else.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

30 DAYS OF SQUAT! in September

Yeah, I know. Boris, EVERY MONTH IS SQUAT MONTH! Of course that's true but, here at Squat Rx, we don't always talk about only squatting. That changes in September. September will be 30 DAYS OF SQUAT!

Tony Cardella squat pic from ironmind.com

Every day in September will be a different squat pic, squat vid, squat quote, squat nugget, or squat article. I hope you'll join us for 30 DAYS OF SQUAT! insight and inspiration in September.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Training Supplement Review #4 ("Runners")

Recently, I bought two 12 inch nylon "runners" from a local climbing shop for less than $10. These things are extremely handy in the weight room and can take the place of chain, carbiner, and cable attachments for some applications.
Minimum strength on these is 22Kn which, to you and I, means that you could hang 5000lbs off of them and probably be all right. You wouldn't want to test that, but it's nice to know that they're strong as hell.
Black Diamond Nylon Runner 120cm (48in.)

How am I using them? I use them with grenade balls (from elitefts) and smaller sized kettlebells for farmers walks. 60 centimeter nylon runners would probably be the most versatile length however it will depend on the size of the item(s) you are looping them around and through.

Related Squat Rx Posts:
Training Supplement Review #1
Training Supplement Review #2
Training Supplement Review #3

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ever Notice This?

Something to observe the next time you're in the break room, gym, or an internet forum...
(An amazingly insightful cartoon from xkcd)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

About Recent Happenings In The RKC...

... I don't know - people don't tell me things. I have no "insider information". I have opinions, but they are only opinions and they are only my opinions as far as I know. If you are curious about my opinions on this matter, re-read the Lessons From DUNE and pay particular attention to Lesson #3 (Sustainable Growth) - although I was not writing specifically about any one organization, I think it's applicable here (in my opinion, of course). 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Opinion of Others' Opinions - The Olympics

Thank God the Olympics are over so I don't have to hear every asinine comment about every action or tweet made by, to, about, or among Olympians. Don't get me wrong, I used to LOVE the Olympics, but I think that bloggers who know nothing about athletics, social media, and disgusting nationalism will ultimately ruin all enjoyment for me...

*Patriotism vs. Nationalism*
American Athlete Under Fire For Carrying Mexican Flag by Chris Chase
Leo Manzano, a Mexican immigrant who became the first American man to win a medal in the metric mile since 1968, draped himself in the flags of both his countries after his race at Olympic Stadium. That decision earned some cheers, but mostly jeers from Mexican-Americans. ...
Why would he carry a flag of the country his parents left when he was 4 years old? ...
I talked to a friend with a Mexican background and she was vehemently against Manzano's action. "It's fine to be proud of your roots," she said, "but not in this context."
"mostly jeers"... really? My guess is that if I were to walk up to 20 random Mexican-Americans on the street in my neighborhood, showed them the picture of Leo Manzano holding the U.S. and Mexican flags, not a one of them will think there's anything wrong with it. One Mexican-American CNN contributor and your "friend with a Mexican background" do not speak for all Mexican-Americans (or even 'most' of them).
Are you somehow dishonoring America by expressing love for the country of your birth? If your parents live separately, and you live with your father, is it a dishonor to your father to say you love your mother? Honestly, it puzzles me that anyone would care.

Personally, I'd be happy if all the medal counts and flag waving (outside of medal award ceremonies) disappeared. Never happen? Yeah, I know - it's an opinion.

*Drugs and Doping*
Unease, Anger as Chinese Swimmer Fights Doping Doubts by Mike Collett-White and Alan Baldwin

I thought the article above was pretty even-handed overall. There are reasons why China is scrutinized more than other countries. BUT, here's a thought (two actually): Maybe, just maybe, she's not the only one in the pool who could be using performance enhancing drugs. And, maybe, just maybe, she's THAT good.

Folks, John Q. Public knows almost nothing about drugs and sports. They think that if there's drug testing, and no one tests positive, then no one is using. That's essentially the same thing as saying that if a sport doesn't test at all, then there is no drug problem (and not that long ago, people thought that about baseball!!!!).

If you want to get drugs and doping out of sports, you have to test... frequently and for everything, AND with a zero-tolerance policy. One strike and you're out. A suspension is not enough. A suspension is not enough because the athlete has already gotten their scholarship, sponsors, endorsements, and pro contract. In the athlete's mind, if they are suspended after all of that, they have, essentially, already won.

For what it's worth, I don't have strong opinions about drug use in sport. I think that as long as there are high stakes, there will always be people who try to find an edge to exploit. When I was an athlete, it was a non-issue - my job was to do the best I could and let the chips fall where they may. If I won, great. If someone else won (who might have used drugs or doping to do so), well, I had some work to do. I didn't waste time wondering or worrying about who was and who wasn't. I still don't.

*Nature vs. Nurture*
What Make's a Great Olympian? Sometimes it's Genetics (and I wrote a book so it must be true!) by Jon Entine
This is so full of B.S. that I really don't know where to begin. The author says:
Running is the most egalitarian of sports, a natural laboratory. ...Theoretically, then, the medal podium for runners should resemble a rainbow of diversity.
...and so here, the author begins with a horribly false premise - that because everyone can run, then what happens on the track reflects genetic superiority of the finalists rather than their training, hard work, sacrifice, culture, and environment. He has fixated on a single characteristic and assigned causation from a very simple correlation without accounting for a multitude of other factors.

No one says that genetics don't matter - everyone, I think, knows that talent is necessary, but not sufficient. Talent is simply one of the many, many ingredients that go into a champion. It is the 21st Century and despite scientists debunking the myth of race, people keep trying to keep that artificial wall alive. 30 years ago, some people believed that blacks did not have "the genetics" to be champion swimmers, or football quarterbacks, or golfers... 20 years ago, a lot of people would have laughed at the idea of Asians in the NBA... Isn't it time people got away from assigning success or failure to a man-made construct like race?

Related Squat Rx Posts:
The Genius In All of Us
Commitment Follows Competence (and The Matthew Effect)
Do Your Heros Have To Be Heroic?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Time Is Running Out For T-Shirts!

This WILL BE the last t-shirt run until the holiday season. 

Sizes available are: Youth Medium, (Adult) SmallMediumLarge, and X-Large.

I still have 2 size Small SKWAT! t-shirts left in black - the rest are all royal blue. All shirts are 100% Cotton Gildan tees.

Shirts are $25 each (anywhere in the world, shipping included). For every t-shirt sold, $5 will go to the American Red Cross.

Please send me an email (boris_york@yahoo.com) to check availability and then we'll make payment arrangements through PayPal.

Thanks everyone! Hope to hear from you soon!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Survivorship Bias

A new fitness guru in the making!
If one puts an infinite number of monkeys in front of (strongly built) typewriters, and lets them clap away, there is a certainty that one of them would come out with an exact version of the Iliad. Upon examination, this may be less interesting a concept than it appears at first: Such probability is ridiculously low. But let us carry the reasoning one step beyond. Now that we have found that hero among monkeys, would any reader invest his life's savings on a bet that the monkey would write the Odyssey next?
In this thought experiment, it is the second step that is interesting. How much can past performance (here the typing of the Iliad) be relevant in forecasting future performance? The same applies to any decision based on past performance, merely relying on the attributes of the past time series. Think about the monkey showing up at your door with his impressive past performance. Hey, he wrote the Iliad.
The major problem with inference in general is that those whose profession is to derive conclusions from data often fall into the trap faster and more confidently than others. The more data we have, the more likely we are to drown in it...
...we tend to mistake one realization among all possible random histories as the most representative one, forgetting that there may be others. In a nutshell, the survivorship bias implies that the highest performing realization will be the most visible. Why? Because the losers do not show up. 
Fooled By Randomness, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, pp. 135-146

One needs look no further than fitness-reality-TV, strength and fitness gurus, and even the "training template of the month", to see this "survivorship bias" play itself out. On the surface, contestants, clients, and athletes make dramatic progress. Gurus, systems, and templates parade their success stories as proof of their efficacy as trainers and coaches. We want to believe that their athletes are successful because of a combination of the coach's wisdom and the athletes' hard work - sometimes this may be true. It is important, however, to understand that what we see are only the "survivors" - those that fail to prosper are not in the spotlight. For every "I ADDED 100lbs TO MY SQUAT IN 8 WEEKS!" or "I Lost 50lbs in 2 Weeks!" there may be dozens of failures, aborted attempts, and even injuries left in the wake.
Yes, there are many qualified and competent coaches and trainers out there. There are also many barely competent enough to hold a clipboard and shout encouragement, let alone design a training program. Honestly, a monkey in a golf polo shirt could do as well much of the time. The question is, why do we keep flocking to monkeys hoping for the Illiad? And, how many of us are willing put our money and bodies on the line, betting on the monkey writing the Odyssey?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Deep Enough For Ya?

Hiromi Miyake snatched 87 kilograms and clean and jerked 110 kilograms to win the Women's Weightlifting 48kg silver medal in London. Both her father and uncle were Olympic gold medalists.  This was her third Olympic appearance. Omedetou gozaimasu!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

SKWAT! T-Shirts

I have an order of SKWAT! t-shirts in. This will be the last t-shirt run until the holiday season.

Sizes available are: Youth Medium, (Adult) Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large.

I only have 2 size Small SKWAT! t-shirts left in black - the rest are all royal blue. All shirts are 100% Cotton Gildan tees.

Shirts are $25 each (shipping included). For every t-shirt sold, $5 will go to the American Red Cross.

Please send me an email (boris_york@yahoo.com) to check availability and we'll make payment arrangements through PayPal.

Thanks everyone!