Saturday, April 30, 2016
10m - 20m
-*10m broad jumps*
Double under Challenge
Goal is to go 2 minutes continuous double unders
(Success is 1 round)
400m run with a MB w/14 m/20
25 Weighted pull-ups with a DB w/10 m/20
400m run with a MB w/14 m/20
25 Handstand push-ups
400m run with a MB w/14 m/20
25 Chest-to-bar pull-ups
400m run with a MB w/14 m/20
Friday, April 29, 2016
Clean Warm up
Band rack stretch
Bar behind neck force extension both directions
(Add overhead if necessary)
Clean technique (add jerk if necessary)
20 minute AMRAP
3 full cleans
3 front squats
3 power jerks
*Must hold onto bar for whole complex*
3 power jerks
*Must hold onto bar for whole complex*
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Alright sleep fans; today we’ll follow up with the second installment of the 3 part blog series on sleep. In the previous post we discussed the melatonin production pathway, and why we become deficient in some of the nutrients involved in producing melatonin. For those of you that did not read the last post, I made the case that melatonin is a necessary trigger for normal sleep to occur, and described how our product is designed to kick-start the process of melatonin production—especially when sleep hygiene is less than ideal. I also talked about how our sleep remedy helps get things going in the right direction and best supports the full melatonin production cycle to help you get the best sleep possible.
Nonetheless, while melatonin—and the subsequent down stream effects—is necessary, it is not sufficient. To understand why, we have to do a little more geeky science talk. So, rub your eyes, sit up, splash water on your face, or whatever you need to do to ready yourself for a little neuroscience.
We have talked about how our bodies have a built in clock that helps us adjust our circadian rhythms to match the day’s length. We have also discussed that the SCN (supra-chiasmatic nucleus) is a big player in using external light to adjust our biological clock—by stimulating the pineal gland to secrete a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin leads to a host of other effects, which aren’t important to delve into right now.
However, falling asleep isn’t as simple as having enough melatonin. The SCN does several other things that help with the onset of sleep. One of these actions is to stimulate a region of the brain (known as the Ventro-Lateral Preoptic Nucleus = VLPO) to produce another neurotransmitter known as GABA (gamma-amino buyteric acid). Like melatonin, GABA has multiple functions. One function is to lower the resting membrane potential of neurons in our neocortex.
Okay, I know I just vomited a bunch of neuroscience gobbly-gook, but stay with me. Our “neo” cortex (new brain) is the convoluted mass that we think of when we see a picture of the brain. It is the part of our brain that sets us apart from other primates—especially the front part called the “frontal cortex”. I don’t need to go into a neuroanatomy lesson for our purposes. We only need to know that the neocortex is where most sensory and motor information is processed—meaning that it tells us about our world: temperature, touch, pain, movement, sounds, communication, etc., and it allows us to actively engage the world—by controlling movement, speech, etc.
Now, because the neocortex is telling us about the world around us, the more stuff going on around us (stimuli) the more active and energy consuming our neocortex is. That means that we have lots of neurons firing (something we’ll discuss in the next post), and it also means that the neurons are in a state that makes it easy for them to fire.
When GABA increases for sleep purposes, it changes the ions that can get into nerve cells. When these ions change the overall charge of the neuron decreases. This decrease is called “lower action potential”, which means what it sounds like: the neurons are less likely to act (or fire). Because of the GABA, it takes more energy to get one neuron to communicate to the neurons it is connected to, thereby decreasing the overall “action” of individual neurons, and groups of neurons.
This is the exact reason we have put GABA derivative in our sleep supplement. We spent a lot of time researching the best way to get GABA into the brain. There are only a few options, and we chose phGABA as our favored method for helping people get enough GABA in their brains to help them slow down, quit worrying and ruminating, and get some restful, restorative, and high quality sleep.
Breathe! Relax! We’re finished with the pseudo-science – I promise! Your SCN and the effects of GABA on the neocortex is all the groundwork we’ll need to complete our discussion on what else is interfering with how we are wired to sleep.
It goes like this: last week I described how putting light into your eyes (especially blue light)—after sundown—prevents the SCN from telling the pineal gland to secrete melatonin, and that melatonin decreases adrenal hormones (stress hormones). This week I am describing how external stimuli (sound, conversation, activity, movement, etc.) prevents the SCN from triggering part of your brain to produce GABA—and therefore makes your brain more awake.
When our neocortex’s action potential is decreased, it makes our brains less sensitive to the “wake promoting” neurotransmitters that we talked about last week, and therefore we are not as aware of our environment—we are taking in LESS stimuli.
But here is the rub; when we REALLY stimulate our brains, we can override the effects of GABA. If you’ve ever been super tired all day at work—dead set on going straight home to sleep—and then somebody talked you into going to happy hour, and after a little bit of conversation, and checking out potential mates, you felt wide awake—then you have experienced this. The same is true when you feel great after the late-day workout that you had to force yourself to do.
This principle is why simply blocking blue light isn’t sufficient to trigger sleep. Ancestrally, we would have very likely fought off the urge to sleep—using this mechanism—if we were being hunted by something or somebody. We also would use this mechanism to fight off the desire to sleep when we were starving—leading us to travel further to find food, or hunt novel prey etc. (more on this next week). In order for us to prevent external stimuli from interfering with our sleep, we need to purposefully decrease stimulation. To the extent that decreasing stimuli isn’t possible, the best solution is to leverage supplements, to help you “supplement” your brain in this effort. There is “ideal” and there is “practical”. We realize not everyone can build their lives around sleep.
By that, I not only mean sleeping in a cool, dark, quiet room, but also; stopping work at least an hour before bed, not exercising late at night, decreasing noise, vibration, conversation, and stress long before bedtime. It is actually better to go to sleep an hour later—if you’ve unintentionally worked or have been highly active right up til’ bedtime. Just as you would not step out of bed and immediately start lifting heavy weights, nor should you have a busy, excited brain right up until the moment you climb into bed.
In addition to reducing light saturation—what we talked about last week—try these interventions to improve your sleep:
- Make a list of everything that keeps running through your head an hour before bed.
- Make a pact with yourself that you will be best able to deal with that list AFTER a good night’s sleep—so you won’t let it into your head after lights out.
- Stop ALL work (employment work, paying bills, emails, research on the net etc.) at least one hour before your bedtime.
- Finish your work out at least 2 hours before bed—and if you are doing intense workouts, at least 3 hours before bed (the earlier the better).
- If you live in a loud environment, put in some ear plugs or wear noise cancelling headphones an hour before bed.
- If you sleep in a loud environment; don’t. If you must, wear earplugs.
- Minimize all activity, emotional or intense conversations, pain, extremes in temperature, and stress a few hours before bed.
Try any or all of these simple steps, and see how it improves your sleep. If you find yourself stimulating your brain awake—through worry or planning—concentrate on your breath, or systematically relaxing each muscle in your body. This is also a great time to leverage our sleep remedy to give you that extra edge and the best change at having a great sleep.
With light saturation and external stimulation under control, along with a nice little wind down hot tea of our sleep remedy, you will be well on your way to a better quality and quantity of sleep.
If you just can’t settle down, or your life-style prohibits you from following the advice above, give our sleep supplement a try.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Many people have heard of the concept that humans use the sun to adjust their biological clock. The overall driver of the biological clock is the circadian-rhythm controlling the SCN (suprachiasmatic nucleus for you neuro geeks out there)—often called the “master clock”.
But what does that really mean, what does the “master clock” really control, and what can we do about it?
To answer that, we have to talk a little bit of science—not too much—but some:
Humans (like every other life form on earth) use the light of the sun to regulate biological activities. Single-celled organisms and plants do it in a different way than more complex animals. We humans use our eyes. Our eyes have special nerve cells in them that sense a certain frequency of light (blue light), and let the rest of our bodies know—via our brain—what we should be preparing for. As the light decreases in our eyes, those nerves send that information to our brain’s “master clock” (SCN) which prompts the SCN to release chemicals that beget other chemicals, and ultimately change the activity levels of different areas of our brain, to get us ready for sleep. The SCN also notifies another area of our brain—called the pineal gland—that it’s time to start winding down, and in return the pineal gland starts secreting a hormone that many have heard of: melatonin.
Melatonin has many functions on many areas of the brain, but one of the main functions is to decrease our adrenal hormone secretions—because our adrenal gland’s job, is to keep us awake, alert, and ready for life.
Of course this is an oversimplification, and Dan Pardi (in his rightful awesomeness) will want to murder me over this explanation, but it gives us enough information to continue.
I can hear you all now; “Doc, can you give me an example of how all this affects us”? Well, luckily I can. Most Americans get to experience a small piece of this magical pathway on a special Thursday every year. I’m talking about the well-known Thanksgiving Day “tryptophan coma”. I’m not sure if any other countries have a designated day for excessive turkey ingestion, but they should!
If you haven’t heard of the amino acid Tryptophan, don’t worry. It’s not important to know the name, but it is one of the many amino acids that turkey has in spades. The unique thing about tryptophan, is that it is one of the primary nutrients used to produce melatonin. So, when we eat a bunch of tryptophan, our body can make a bunch of melatonin, and that can make us feel like taking a nap, right after over-stuffing ourselves. There’s a little more to it than that, but again, it serves our purposes here.
So, if we combine these two principles (light/SCN, and Melatonin production) we can get a sense of a few things that can go wrong with our wiring for good sleep in the modern society we find ourselves in.
First, we obviously have light streaming into our eyes, long after the sun has gone down. This is error number one, and very common. Due to the pathways we discussed above, electric lighting interferes with our SCN’s control of our biological clock—since our eyes are telling our brain that there is still plenty of light in the sky. This is why people tell you to quit watching TV, and using computers right before bed. Some folks try to block this light with special glasses, screen covers, and computer programs. All of these things help, but let’s keep in mind that they are only mitigating the deleterious effects—not removing them.
The second application of all of the geeky science above is a little more subtle. I told you that our adrenals keep us awake, alert, and ready for life. Unfortunately, many people in our post-industrialization world have lives that require them to be awake longer, more alert, and more ready than our ancestors did. This leads to an excess of adrenal hormones (also called stress hormones), and as you may have guessed, requires significantly more melatonin to decrease our adrenal function before bed.
So now we have two ways that melatonin production is being hindered:
1) No — or a significantly reduced — trigger from decreased light to tell the brain to make the magic happen.
2) We need more than our bodies are designed to produce, because we live such hectic lives. In essence, our adrenals are “too active” which requires more melatonin to quiet them down. This incidentally can lead to decreased serotonin levels, which, not surprisingly, can make us feel depressed.
And I’ll add one – ok more than one — more: because of our environment, work schedules, nutrition, toxins, and messing with our stress hormones, many of us are deficient in multiple compounds needed to make melatonin.
That is all of the science you need to know to understand one of the major reasons and goals behind our new sleep product “Doc Parsley’s Sleep Cocktail”. There is no big trick or bio-hack to make you sleep, we simply supplement all of the major compounds needed to produce melatonin, and give you just a little supportive boost (literally VERY little) of melatonin—to make up for that extra light in your eyes after sundown and extra stress from the lives so many of us are living.
It sounds too simple to be true, but it has worked for the most sleep deranged patients I have ever had. It has worked for hundreds of SEALs, professional athletes, entrepreneurs, CEO’s and homemakers—and it will work for you.
Here are some takeaways to help improve your sleep:
1) Decrease the blue light entering your eyes, at least 3 hours before bed. This can be done with blue blocking glasses, blue light shields on smartphones, and a computer program called “f.lux”
2) Remember that light (without blue light) is still stimulating to your brain, so keep all devices and lamps as dim as possible.
3) Do your most “stimulating” or stressful activities early in the day—as far from bedtime as possible. Late night exercise can shift circadian rhythms too.
To learn more about the product click here.
Please note: Robbwolf.com readers can get 10% off their purchase by entering the discount code “robbwolf” on the Order Summary Page.
Before you go curl up in bed: I have left out one other way that the product improves sleep (besides the melatonin production and boost)—GABA. However, you’ll have to wait for the next blog post to learn more about why we need GABA to sleep, and why we use the GABA product that we do. Until then; Get Some Sleep!!