The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
–Mother Teresa

Wow, who knew mama T was a budding Paleo?  Right on —

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From a photo collection by Jeremy Hughes

I stumbled across an eclectic weave of one on-line article and two video presentations this week that, all-in-all — separately and in conjunction with one another — reinforce my gut feeling that striving for the acquisition of athletic power is the way to proceed (workout-wise), if one would aspire to keep the body well steeped in a Paleo environment.  Now, presenting one’s body with a consistent  milieu of Paleo influences — especially within the confines of modern society — is, of course, one of the major challenges faced by Paleo/Evolutionary Fitness adherents.  With just a little day-to-day manipulation, though, this can — within reasonable limits — be accomplished.  And knowledge resources on this subject abound; I have a good many of them noted on my link roll.  Of what good, though, does this knowledge do us, if we can’t (or don’t — or won’t) apply it?

Enter the Paleo Workout

Let us then, for the sake of this post, narrow our focus to the proper manner of Paleo/Evolutionary Fitness-inspired physical stimulus.  Now, I might be a tad biased here (hell, let’s face it — I’m greatly biased), but I feel that American football — and rugby for that matter, too  — are pretty damn good, modern-day approximations of the ancient, hunter-gatherer life.  On the Micro level, consider how the game itself  is fractioned into multiple, varying periods (each play, for instance) of intense activity, followed by a (relatively) long period of rest.  At the Macro level, consider how games (football, at least) are spaced at roughly one-week intervals, over twenty or so weeks, out of the year.  Then off-season training enters the picture.  Now consider, as I’ve alluded to many times, that the best performers are (all else being equal — technique, game knowledge, etc.), the athletes with the better power-to-weight ratio.  Now ask yourself what attributes the prototypical “best hunter” (literally, the best equipped for survival) would have exhibited in ancient times.  All else being equal (weapon handling technique, knowledge, etc.), I’d bet my last lamb-chop on the hunter with the best power-to-weight ratio.  In my mind, this is the phenotype the body is primed (“blueprinted”, if you will) to exhibit.  And whether we like it or not, this is what evolution has wrought.  Our technology has advanced dramatically since the emergence of the flint tool; our bodies, though, have but just recently emerged from the primordial soup.  The brain, body and soul all require a different kind of “food”, so give ’em all separately what they require, and get on with things.

The T-Nation Article

First up is an article from the site I hate to love.  I swear, it’s as if Will Ferrell were some kind of a cosmic oracle, but that you had to suffer through one of his brain-dead films for each small spurt of pontificated wisdom.  Painful doesn’t begin to describe the experience at times.  But, I do have to give credit where credit is due — at least the editors have fine taste in the female form.   At any rate, this article by Chad Waterbury discusses some of the benefits to explosive lifting.   And although Chad doesn’t mention it, sprinting and plyos qualify for explosive “lifting” as well.

Art DeVany, and Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber Training

Next at bat is a short video segment from Art DeVany’s recent seminar (and subsequent DVD set).   I wonder if the combination of both a Paleo diet and Paleo-like exertion/rest intervals are what might trigger a gene expression cascade triggering the formation of FTx-type fibers.  Hmmmm.

Now, as I envision it, the Paleolithic version of the Faustian Bargain played out thusly:

Pssst.  Hey, squirrel-brain, wanna rise to the top of the animal kingdom pecking order?  Yeah?  Well, check it — you’re gonna need a much bigger brain, dude.  Problem is, that big, new noodle of yours is gonna require a helluvalot more fuel than before.  Which means you’re going to have to develop a taste for the high octane stuff (fat), my friend.  And that means you’re going to have to become adept at hunting the biggest, fastest and most powerful of beasts.  What, you thought you could suck this stuff out of a Paleo carrot?  C’mon!  And if you’re to be a successful hunter, you better be (1) smart and, (2) an explosively powerful and agile, bad-ass.   And both power and explosion translate to the bodily requirement of a preponderance of fast twitch muscle fiber — which are, by their very nature anaerobic and, therefore, highly inefficient.  Which now means you not only gotta have high octane fuel for that big, new-fangled brain of yours, but also for that inefficient-as-all-hell life support system that hauls it around.  But, here’s the deal-sweetener —  if you and your kind make it, I’ll bless you sometime in the future with beer, football and Jessica Simpson.  Ya down for that deal, Paleo dude?

Well, hindsight reveals that our Paleolithic ancestors latched on to the deal with gusto — the promise of a future Jessica was probably the sealer — but then McDonald’s and Little Debbie snacks and the internal combustion engine came along and the whole kit’n-kaboodle went to hell in a handbasket.  And to make matters worse, this increasingly “Paleo-less-ness” society/attitudes we gladly pass on to our progeny; kinda like the price-tag attached to Bush’s war.  But I digress —

Third in the line-up might be considered a bit of an unusual inclusion in an exercise and diet themed blog. Really, though, for this blog, its inclusion makes perfect sense. 

Why we don’t understand as much as we think we do

This comes from the fabulous TED Talks series.  So, why include it here?  Because, just as in the video example of the MIT students’ inability to figure out how to light a bulb with a wire and a battery, there is a serious disconnect between diet and exercise “knowledge” and what is actually practiced in the real world.   Metaphorically-speaking, the vast preponderance of gym-goers — and, hell, fitness “professionals”, as well — can’t figure out how to “light the health bulb” under real-world constraints.  That, my friends, is what I hope to address, both in my “real” life and as depicted in this, my TTP blog.

In Health,

Keith

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