Month: June 2013

First Day Back

I had my first session back on the mats in 10 months this week. I have to be honest I was nervous about going. I have had to move schools due to the cost of travelling and also just to make sure I got more mat time. I manage to grade for my blue belt just before the surgery rollercoaster started, but after 10 months off and only 2 months of training out of 18 since getting my blue belt, I did not want to come across as a fraud or trying to make up excuses. When I probably would look like I suck. So all these things were running through my head, yeah that nasty chimp voice telling me to put it off until tomorrow. (it reminded me of a first day at school when I was a little young munki). But I took a deep breath acknowledged that I would probably suck, as long as I came out of it unharmed and with a smile on my face it would be a win. It would also be the first step of getting my life back on track. Dramatic much? I know, but just lifting weights and yoga are not really hitting the spot at the moment. These are cool and I enjoy them but they are not “play” so I need to get back on the mat.

So after packing my gi and getting my stuff ready, which all felt a bit weird after all this time. I turned up. The instructor Steve Campbell was really friendly and really understanding about my shoulder issue. Also all the other students were really accommodating of my problem and friendly too. Some of the end drills I wasn’t so good at and I struggled with aspects of the techniques we were shown. But overall I did have a first positive experience, there was a nice vibe to the school and I am definitely going back.

Looking back on the session I am pleased that I am looking at the techniques more analytically now. Thinking over the technique there were tweaks that I could have made that would have made it less of a struggle. I am pleased that my brain is starting to work this way to look for improvements and trying to “understand” the technique. Before I would get shown the technique and struggle to retain the details, until I had gone through a lot of repetitions.

There were a lot of positives from this first session and I am really pleased to be back on the mat…finally.

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Self experimentation is not something rude

This was prompted by a talk I attended last night by a guy called Barefoot Ted. If anyone has read the book “Born to Run” he is one of the people featured in the book and a massive advocate of barefoot running, hence the nick name.

There was a part of the talk that really stuck home with me and where I am at right now. It was when he was talking about his first steps into barefoot running and it was about experimentation and find out what was right for him. But also as homo sapiens we are a species of experimenters and that is why we achieve and move forward. This experimenting attitude is undeniably true but I do believe this is something as we grow older we forget. I know I did, as this is just now something I am trying to rekindle. I don’t know whether as you grow older you become less of a risk taker and more conservative. Or whether you just start to believe what you are told by the media as to what is the “right way”. I’m not sure what it is. All I have realised now is that I am my own individual and need to find what works for me; my body, my psychology and my happiness.

So looking at experimentation, my very first experiment was a couple of years ago when I tried the Paleo Diet. I read about it seemed to have scientific merit, compared to the others I was looking at so I tried it. What did I really have to lose? It was the best choice I ever made. For the first time since I was a teenager I had a flat stomach. I lost about 20 pounds in weight without even trying. I was still eating when and how much I wanted, but this way of eating worked for me. I have stuck with it and see constant benefits. So that was a definite thumbs up for experimenting without me even realising what I was doing.

More recently I have been trying to make a conscious effort to experiment with my life.  A guy that has inspired by in this is Tim Ferris the author of “The Four Hour Body” and other books. In his books and his videos he challenges the scientific theories and the anecdotal theories to see which actually work. Then explaining how he practically applied them.  A lot of what he says makes sense.  His view is if something doesn’t work for you, think outside of the box and go against convention.

I have started to reflect this thought process onto my training, as I have physical “limitations” due to my osteoarthritis and surgeries; I just need to find what works for me. I have personal training, strength and conditioning and lots of other qualifications and experiences. So I know the scientific processes, which does have positives and negatives when experimenting. As I know what I should be doing, but is that going to benefit me? I really have to push myself to think outside of the norm. To just try something and see what happens I have been finding a little difficult in some areas.

My main current target is to reduce the impact of my physical issues and at the same time improve physically, which at my age as on old munki, in not supposed to be that easy. (Ah coconuts to that!) As you can see my last couple of posts have been about me experimenting with supplements to achieve this. Showing the ones that have been successful and the ones that bombed.  I am also currently looking at my physical training, as to what is the most specifically beneficial for me right now, in the long term and for my BJJ.

In addition to the supplements, I been working with high intensity interval training, yoga, endurance training, along with reviewing the actual exercises that I perform and how I do them. I do think that this application and evaluation process is effective and has been benefiting me. I will let you know how these processes go.

Does anyone else consider themselves and experimenter munki? Let me know I would be really interested to know what you have done.

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Mr T(estosterone) says……..

I have been back at the gym finally and after my prolonged break, I am concerned about actually building any muscle back.  Especially in my shoulders.  So being the type of old munki to do a bit of research to try and find a solution, I went on Google.  The main thing that concerned me, was that due to my long period of inactivity my testosterone levels would have dropped, to that of 10 year old girl.  Its bad enough being an old munki and the issues that brings to my T levels. (yes I got sick of typing out testosterone)

I managed to find a supplement that actually had some scientific evidence, to back up that it improves testosterone levels. The supplement I found was Bulbine Natalensis.  I managed to find this article which is quite an in depth scientific review of the product.  In summary it does say it works, but it does have an effect on your kidneys and liver so needs to be cycled.  As with anything that supports something your body naturally does, you do have to cycle otherwise your body has no need to keep up its natural processes.

Having read this I thought “fair enough, just be smart and see how it goes”.  I bought some and stuck to the suggested dosage. For the first week I did not really notice anything, but moving into week 2 I noticed my body was starting to thicken up, which I was pleased about.  Especially as I had lost so much weight post both the operations.  I have put on about 4 kg (9 lbs) in weight and with a 4 site calliper measurements I calculated I have approximately 20% body fat.  Admittedly I would like to half this, but that is the next stage and I am sure this will happen when I am able to hit the mats.  One thing that really highlighted that this thing was working, was my change in mood.  I did notice it affected my aggression.  I would fire up a little quicker than previously.

I have stopped taking this at the moment, as obviously you are supposed to cycle.  Besides the cycling the main reason I stopped is I am not a body builder and I was simply looking to give my body a boost.  I would do it again whilst I am recovering, but it something I would do for two or three cycles maximum.  By this time I will be back on the mat and into my strength power and not necessarily size (hypertrophy) building programme.

Following my own experiences with this supplement I found this post on another forum, about another guy who had similar experiences to me.  One thing I would say is I agree with the findings of the poster (Russianstar) to stick to 3 week cycles.  Some articles and suppliers suggest you can go to 4 -8 week cycles.  I think this is too long especially with the negatives that can go with it.

I would be interested to hear from anyone has tried it themselves and the effects it has had for them.  As always if you have any questions let me know.

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Supplementary recovery support for the Old Munki Part 2

I wrote an original post a while ago about the supplements I started taking for the recovery of my shoulder operation.  You can find part one here.  So I thought it was time to give an update as to the usefulness of the various powders and potions I have been taking.

So lets start with HMB (Beta hydroxy beta methyl butyrate) this is supposed to slow down muscle breakdown.  We I did experience some muscle wastage on my shoulder.  Not as bad as previously, but number 2 wasn’t immobilised for as long as the first one. Decision on whether it worked? Possibly but as I can’t be conclusive, I doubt I’ll be splashing my banana money on any more.

Collagen tablets, well these definitely didn’t work.  These were supposed to help my skin as well as my shoulder joint.  No changes to the old munki skin. Plus when I went periods not taking them, I didn’t notice any improvement when I started retaking them.  So I’ll finish off my current supply, but I’m not getting anymore.

Krill oil, actually this did ease the pain in my shoulder.  However no more than the Fish Oil capsules I got from Costco. So yes they did work, but for the price there are cheaper alternatives that are just as effective.  I am keeping up with the fish oils, they are reasonably priced and do have an effect.

Glucosamine Sulphate I have not been taking this for a while and I can’t tell any difference to when I was taking it.  So once again as far as the noticeable effects go, this was a poor result.  As a consequence I will not be buying any more.  Even Arthritis Research UK says ” It’s been tested in many trials, but the evidence for its effectiveness is mixed.”

Coconut Oil is one of the few I will be continuing with.  I think this worked well with the fish oil as it did seem to ease the “pain” in my shoulder.  I am aware that coconut oil is supposed to be good for overall body inflammation and it did live up to the hype. Plau out of all of the supplements tested it was the cheapest.

I have kept up with with my clean paleo style diet.  I have the odd cheats here and there as I’m only a munki after all.  I do think this played a big part in my recovery too. As on the cheat days the next day my joints, especially my shoulders felt sore.  I do not think this was psychosomatic, as there was other physical occurrences that shows how a bad diet can affect me negatively.

So in conclusion the oils have worked pretty well and eating a mainly clean diet.  The additional powders and pills had no effect and I would definitely not advocate.

Now I am able to get back in the gym, but unfortunately not on the mat yet I have started to try something new and I’ll explain that in my next post.  If I don’t split it up this will become a mega (boring) post.

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