Friday, May 20, 2011

Seasonal Confusion Disorder, randomness

I can't decide whether to climb, paraglide, mountain bike, run, kayak, or go speed flying. Hell, the skiing is still pretty good too! And there's a fence to paint, winter debris to pick up, plus some office work I haven't done, etc. Rather than actually doing any of the above I'm on the computer. This is what Seasonal Confusion Disorder, or SCD, can do to you. The weather isn't really perfect for any of the above, so it's easier to spin in circles than settle on any one activity. SCD is serious, ha ha!

I think I'll ride my bike to the post office the long way, send the books out to people that are overdue, continue on to the climbing gym (I need a savage bouldering style workout) and finish it all out with some mobility/WOD stuff. Happy spring, hell YEAH!

Here are a few things I find interesting lately:

Training types: I'm starting to think there are a few different types of people who "train." There's the "trainer" who is training purely to train, or perhaps to look better in a tight T-Shirt. There may be excuses made about training for other sports etc, but really "trainers" are just training to train. Bodybuilders, most big-box members and most people who even go into a gym of any kind are in this category. Even Crossfitters to a certain point; that's the point of a generalized training program. Then there are the Sport-Specific People, or SSPs. These are the actual athletes who want to be better at a sport, whether it's at an amateur or pro level, they are training to be better at a sport or activity. Then there's the Participation In General people, or PIGS. I'm mostly a PIG; I go kayaking, climbing, mountain biking, whatever, and that's 75 percent of my activity. About 25 percent is "training" for one activity or another, often a blend at the same time. Note that rehab etc. fits into SSP guidelines.

I break out these slightly tongue in cheek classes of people who train to maybe help people think about their own training. Are you a "Trainer," "SSP," or "PIG?" Because I see a whole lot of "Trainers" who think they are SSPs... If you don't do your sport more than you train for it then you're a Trainer. If there's not an end goal to whatever it is you're doing for training then either you're a Trainer or a PIG. And that's cool as long as you understand what's going on and are into it, but it's not cool when you're claiming to be training for sport X while doing something that is useless for doing sport X better, at least as measured on a time-invested basis. Training for a SSP must be measured in performance; does it help the person perform better? Otherwise it's just Training for the hell of it, and that is not worthwhile unless it's the goal... Just something to think about, I can fit into all of the categories above at various points of my life, but I do better when I understand the different stages of training and why I'm training for what, when. I also see a lot of what I would call confused people in the gym...

Nutrition: My last post was all about wasting energy by thinking about what to eat instead of how to train or actually training. Eating well is a good idea and may help performance to some extent, but eating and performance are not the same thing even if some people want them to be. Performance is what counts. Crossfit (which I support but have no formal relationship with) workouts are great, but they don't burn much energy compared to most of the exercise I do. If you sit on your ass 15 and a half hours a day and only workout for for 5 to 30 minutes then you are going to have to be a little more discerning about what you eat than someone who goes out and hikes around in the mountains all day, or trains like hell for two hours or whatever. Most of the really lean athletes are in aerobic sports, and they eat whatever the hell they want. But if you want to be ultra-lean and only work out 30 minutes a day then it's not going to work without strict dietary control, which where the whole neurotic Zone and other whacky diet action came from in the fitness scene. "Paleo" is a less restrictive and all-around better idea, but even one of the leading lights of Paleo (and a guy who knows more about nutrition than possibly anyone) says that if you're going to actually exercise hard for longer periods of time then you're going to need more carbs. Most of the athletes I hang with aren't just working out for 20 minutes four to six times a week; that's only two hours of activity, or one decent after-work mountain bike ride. So, if you're just doing short workouts and want to be really lean (for why I still haven't figured out, nor can anyone tell me why other than to look good nekkid) then by all means eat a convoluted diet that I guarantee will "fail" in a timespan of weeks, not years, but certainly within years. Or accept being somewhat higher in body fat, enjoy life, eat relatively simple foods, great. Or do higher-volume aerobic sports and eat whatever the hell you want, be reasonably lean, enjoy life. The only "losers" I see here are those who spend more time worrying about what they are going to eat than training and doing what they love in life.

Really Risky Jobs: this is cool.

Bad-ass people in the local gym: Yesterday I did a sort of "WTF + rehab" workout in the gym because I'm having some knee and back issues, it was raining and cold outside, so into the gym. My local gym (other than the garage, where Cultfit Coyote Way is back in action after the coach took a break for kidlet delivery) is Athletic Evolution. There are some good athletes who train in there for sure (Canmore Eagles, hockey team here), but there were two guys in there yesterday just giving it. One guy was doing deadlift sets of three with 325 pounds, maintaining absolutely beautiful form. Plus some other solid stuff. Another guy was throwing down some really clean heavy squats, bend the bar kinda shit. This amazes me because most of the "heavy" stuff I see in gyms all over the world is just piss-poor. I'm used to seeing no-name climbers do incredible stuff in the climbing gym, but in the weight room it's generally a gong show of technique (often including mine, no pretensions there). Really good form with heavy weight is an absolute rarity, I don't know who those guys were but it was cool to see. It's just odd how little really amazing ability I see in regular gyms compared to climbing gyms, on the river, mountain biking, whatever. I don't know what to make of this disparity; maybe the sport-specific athletes do their sports for longer and get better? Even without any formal coaching a kid can climb 5.14 and have amazing technique, but I rarely see anyone do a half-solid squat in a gym anywhere, even with "coaching." Something weird in all of this...

Happy Spring



AlanL said...

And if I'm climbing or bouldering two or three times a week, and doing weights once a week not directly to get better at climbing(`), but largely to counteract the postural imbalances etc. that climbing would otherwise be inflicting on me ... then is that SSP?

(*) your classic article on the subject having been once of the big influences convincing me how futile that would be

sdizzle said...

Will Gadd I was wondering if you had any insight into losing muscle? I played (and dedicatedly trained for ) contact sports for 10 years before i fell in love with the mountains, and it SUCKS hauling vanity muscles up mountains. Right now my only non activity training is cardio base training

Will Gadd said...

Alan--If you feel good, are climbing well and aren't injured then whatever you're doing is working, great, keep doing it!

Sdizzle--In a world where everyone is trying to gain muscle you want tips on how to take it off? Seriously? Oh hell, I'll have a go at it, but I'm truthfully stunningly ignorant on the topic so have a laugh if it makes no sense. But here goes:

If you hike and climb up mountains regularly while eating a decent diet I'd be surprised if your body didn't adapt within a year or so. Unless you're one of the very few genetic superstars who hold muscle (my wife being one) with little muscle stimulus it'll go away. If you are one of the people who truly holds that muscle then you'll have enough horsepower that it probably won't matter a whole hell of a lot unless you're racing. There are a few large guys around here who do very well in the mountains. Email me a current photo of you, I'm curious (and won't post it).

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed your posts in the past, but lately I've noticed a tendency towards energy spent in decrying what others are doing, whether it be their diet plans, exercise plans or motives etc. (I guess those are the exigent ones in the last two posts). Is this because you coach perhaps, and sincerely see a lot of the behaviour you talk about?

Some of the commentary just seems a bit overly judgmental; I mean really, who cares if someone trains and says they are training for something in particular but maybe aren't, or are dieting in a particular way etc etc.? Everyone's got their own lives to lead, and spending a whole lotta time worrying about them seems silly, at best.

Anonymous said...

yeah, I have to agree with the previous anonymous poster. its not that wills rants are wrong, they are just unnecessary and arrogant. tell us how much fun yer having will, not how much fun other people would be if there were as cool as you.

Mike said...

@Anonymous: Piss off. The rest of us like Will's rants and find them informative. :)

Will Gadd said...

Anons: "Some people say I'm negative, but they're not positive."

-Public Enemy, Don't Believe the Hype.

What's fun got to do with it?

-Some band more or less.

Anonymous said...

Will, I'm disappointed! You deleted my post simply because I pointed out the fallacy of some of your assertions?

At least correct your mistaken claims regarding diet, young man.

Will Gadd said...

Anon 8:27--I didn't delete anything, not sure what's up with your comment going missing as I saw it go through in my email--there have been a few of those with Blogspot, irritating. Anyhow, I've cut and pasted your first post from what came through my email; let me know if this is what you mean. if you want it attributed I'll try to figure out some way to do that as well.



@Anonymous: Piss off. The rest of us like Will's rants and find them informative. :)

if you find them "informative", i suggest you do a little more research outside the confines of this blog.

in particular, Will says something like "endurance athletes eat whatever the hell they want."
as humorous as this statement is, it becomes not so humorous if those inclined to believing anything some relatively well-known athlete says start taking this as gospel truth. no, endurance atheletes do NOT eat "whatever the hell they want." SOME do, and have been successful; MOST do not. read anything on the diets of Tour riders, elite marathoners, ultra-marathoners, etc etc, and you'll quickly see how patently ridiculous this statement is.

a quick endorsement of a book i just read (which agrees with some aspects of Will's "rants"): Racing Weight-how to get lean for peak performance, by Matt Fitzgerald. well-researched, lots of info about weight optimization, etc etc.

have a nice day!

-public enemy, fear of a black planet.

Anonymous said...

thanks will, and sorry for the quick assumption; didn't know such glitches even existed!

weight has been a subject of interest for me as of late, so sorry if i come across as an ass.

i recall reading that a 5% weight increase in a 150 lb. runner leads to a 9% increase in effort to maintain the same running pace (i think these were the numbers). i'm not sure how a similar weight increase would affect climbing (perhaps more? perhaps less?), but the point is that weight certainly plays an enormous role in climbing performance, and the more advanced one gets, i think the greater the role it plays (not too many V10+ 5.14+ climbers who are above 10% bf, no? can we agree that most really top level climbers are probably closer to 5%?).

anyway, that's all.