Monthly Archives: June 2010

Dr. Lon Kilgore’s Genetic Potential

Rest Day Read (SR-34)
Genetic Potential by Dr. Lon Kilgore
“Humans are built to be active to survive, but the modern sedentary lifestyles lead to inactivation of the genes related to survival (the fitness and performance genes)”
“What is preferable for most of us is a broad-spectrum adaptation that will make a more functional human animal. To be truly fit to survive, fit to live, fit to work, fit to play, we need to drive across-the-board adaptations, aerobic and anaerobic, metabolic and structural, and we need a system of training that activates every performance gene in its path. Unlike weight training or traditional endurance work alone, Cross-Fit style mixed-mode training capitalizes on an athlete’s complete set of performance-related genes and produces a comprehensive fitness adaptation.”

Dr. Lon Kilgore hits the nail on the head with this article. Genetically, we Homo sapiens are designed and programmed to lead a physical lifestyle, yet we are constantly inventing and choosing ways to avoid or hide from our genetic destiny. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this complex problem, become physically active and become physically active across the board with a variety of strength, power and endurance activities. There is great wisdom in Dr. Kilgore’s words, but we must implement these ideas and begin to use exercise to trigger the dormant genetics we have neglected. Change will happen. It has to happen, it is written in you genes.
Dr. Kilgore is one of the best in my opinion. Of course, being a Kansas State University A&P graduate doesn’t hurt, but he has a tremendous gift for breaking down the complex principles of kinesiology and anatomy & physiology into digestible pieces. His book, Starting Strength, co-authored by weightlifting legend Mark Rippetoe, is a must read for anyone interested in strength training the correct way and a foundation of my personal library. It is a well of information and technique perfectly suitable for self-teaching the basics of strength training in a safe and correct manner. I highly suggest owning and reading this book.
When I used to be the volunteer summer strength and conditioning coach at Clay Center Community High School, my whole program was based on the genetic potential our athletes. We are population of genetically middle/low weight wrestlers. Athletic, explosive, talented, but not big. We could not do anything about our physical size, so we focused on developing explosive powerful athletes that would play violent, aggressive football. Our credo was to get a little more explosive, get a little more stronger, get a little more faster every day! More on this later…

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Thrice Blessed: The Rip Van Winkle Story

Rest Day Read (SR-33)
Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
“Whoever has made a voyage up the Hudson must remember the Kaatskill mountains. They are a dismembered branch of the great Appalachian family, and are seen away to the west of the river, swelling up to a noble height, and lording it over the surrounding country. Every change of season, every change of weather, indeed, every hour of the day, produces some change in the magical hues and shapes of these mountains, and they are regarded by all the good wives, far and near, as perfect barometers. When the weather is fair and settled, they are clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky, but, sometimes, when the rest of the landscape is cloudless, they will gather hood of gray vapors about their summits, which, in the last rays of the setting sun, will glow and light up like a crown of glory.”
Washington Irving not only wrote great stories, but his descriptive narrative virtually takes the reader away to simpler days and transports one right smack into the middle of the Hudson River valley. Look at the passage above and the way Irving described the Kaatskill Mountains. Beautiful stuff.
Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow are foundations of the American short story canon and are two of my all time favorite reads. There are very few characters ever set to paper which are as sympathetic as Rip Van Winkle and his trusty dog, Wolf. I think I would really enjoy sitting around Vedder’s Inn and deliberate the day away. How about you?

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The Power of Youth

Rest Day Read (SR-32)
excerpt from 1776 by David McCullough
Chapter Two
Rabble in Arms
“His commitment to the Glorious Cause, as it was called, was total. And if his youth was obvious, the Glorious Cause was to a large degree a young man’s cause. The commander in chief of the army, George Washington, was himself only forty-three. John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress, was thirty-nine, John Adams, forty, Thomas Jefferson, thirty-two, younger even than the young Rhode Island general (Nathaniel Greene). In such times many were being cast in roles seemingly beyond their experience or capacities…”
The Power of Youth is endless. The Energy of Youth is boundless. The Potential of Youth is immeasurable. I have worked with young athletes for over a decade and I have seen their potential, energy and power first hand. I believe in these young people, they can do incredible things if and when they set their minds to it. I believe they will be able to rise to the occasion when their time arrives. I believe they will be able to solve the “big” problems. I believe they will pick up the balls we have dropped, clean up the messes we have made and ultimately save our asses from ourselves. Have at it, kids!
P.S. I do find it absolutely amazing that right now, I am two years OLDER than General Washington was at the start of the Revolution. This group of amazing young minds and wills not only liberated a young America from England, then the greatest power on the face of the planet, but they also dreamed, devised and implemented the greatest social-political system in the history of civilization. I guess it is past time for me to get to work.

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Blame it on Mr. Rogers?

Rest Day Read (SR-31)
Blame It on Mr. Rogers: Why Young Adults Feel So Entitled
by Jeffrey Zaslow, The Wall Street Journal
“Fred Rogers, the late TV icon, told several generations of children that they were “special” just for being whoever they were. He meant well, and he was a sterling role model in many ways. But what often got lost in his self-esteem-building patter was the idea that being special comes form working hard and having high expectations for yourself….”
…The world owes you nothing. You have to work and compete. If you want to be special, you’ll have to prove it.”

I don’t know if you have to blame it ALL on Mr. Rogers, maybe just a little bit. But you have to blame this entitlement attitude on the ” ‘special’ just for being whoever they were” approach our society seems to have adopted. If you work with youngsters, especially young athletes, you have seen an explosion in the prevalence of this attitude. It is a struggle and a fight to convince kids they will reap greater enjoyment, confidence and self-esteem by working hard toward obtaining the goals they set for themselves. Mom and Dad cannot do the work for you. They can complain and moan and groan on your behalf to make things easier for you, but it doesn’t do you a dang bit of good in the long run. There is no way around it, hard work is the magic.

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The Monty Python School of Soccer

Rest Day Read (SR-30)
For the 30th installment of this series, we are taking a break from reading and turning our focus to some relaxing sports entertainment. And with World Cup Soccer from South Africa just around the corner, we will pay homage to the world’s most popular sport.
And now for something completely different…

Who in their right mind thinks of this stuff? Man, the Monty Python crew was funny. And no, they weren’t at all in the right mind. Still aren’t. For some reason, I remembered this skit as having a real soccer team playing against the Long John Silvers and they were also celebrating. That may have been even funnier.
When I was young, back in the 70′s, the only place you could see Monty Python’s Flying Circus was on PBS and only late, late, late Saturday nights. It was so cool, such subversive humor for the times. Watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus was like stepping into an alternate reality where us with a whacky view of the world felt right at home. It was like being 14 and sneaking into a R-rated movie.
Of course, the wide open, raw uncensored products of the BBC that we saw, mainly Flying Circus and The Benny Hill Show, were NOTHING like anything on American TV at the time. Brash, raunchy, politically incorrect and made satire of just about anything and everything. Yet, it seems tame compared to some of the crapola put on the airwaves today.
Creativity and imagination are golden. Shock and trash are just venom.

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We hold these truths to be self-evident…

Rest Day Read (SR-29)
The Declaration of Independence (Preamble) by John Adams
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Goosebumps. Yes, goosebumps. I get them every time I read these words. These words ring true across the chasm of time and space. Beautiful, powerful words. Words we, as Americans, have responsibility to live by and live up to. Unrest and unease in our nation, dissatisfaction and frustration at an all time high. Corruption, influence peddling, a ever bloated, ineffectual federal government, fueled by paranoia and distrust. It appears we have drifted from the course so eloquently laid out and fought for by the Founding Fathers.
Is it time for a revolution? I don’t know. I really don’t think the taking up of arms against our government will solve any problems. But you know, there is a solution. And that solution is an inalienable right passed down to each of us through the centuries by the architects of the Great American Democracy; the right to vote. Too simple? I think not. Right now we are a federal governing body whose inability to tackle and solve the biggest problems in our country is costing us and our future citizenry dearly. And why have we become only right and only left in our government? I heard a political scientist who researches these issue theorize that our government has become so polar because we have a less than 30% of the registered voters in this country actually exercising their right to vote. He went on to explain that most of these 30% are polar right or left and are angry enough or issue driven enough to actually get out and vote, so their polarizing candidate become the ones elected. His suggestion for real change in this country and to establish real order is to motivate the masses to vote. Motivate the masses, thus electing more middle of the road candidates, who agendas are more in line with the voting populace and provide a real stabilizing force for our nation.
I often wonder what the Founding Fathers would think if they came back to USA 2010. Would they consider their project a failure? Would they feel let down and abandoned? Did they design gridlock intentionally to make sure no huge mistakes or power abuses occur by Congress?
Thomas, John, George? Anyone? Anyone? I need your help. I just don’t know…

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