“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”
Franz Kafka

So I’m slowly but surely crawling out from beneath the rock of internet semi-exile, the result of my recent (and rather chaotic — snow!  slush!) change in abodes, catching up on all my podcast listening and blog reading.  Plenty of good stuff to be had out there, for all of you DIY U’ers to check out.

And by all means do check out Patrik’s new venture, Paleo Hacks.  What an asset to the Paleo community this has already turned out to be.  Part Q&A repository, part FAQ — all with a decidedly Paleo bent, of course.  Kudos to Patrik for having the vision — and putting forth the effort — to bring this together.  Think of it as the communal campfire that we can all gather around at the end of the day to share ideas.  I love it!  I haven’t posted anything yet because I’m too busy reading; like a kid trying to absorb all the cool adult conversations going on all around.

Had a post-workout conversation at the gym recently (good ol’ steam room chit-chats), and the talk turned to Mike Boyle, and specifically Mike’s being such a big proponent of foam rolling.
So, do I foam roll?, came the inquiry, half drowned by the bellowing steam.
Yeah, I do.  But I use a 4-inch in diameter, 36-inch section of PVC pipe for my rolling.
Huh?  You (bleep!)n’ with me?
Nope, and it’s always worked fine for me.  You just have to find the right surface to lay the “roller” on, something with a bit of a grip and a little give works best; gym matting is good, title and hardwood, of course, is not.
And if foam rolling is a poor man’s ART and/or sports massage, then I suppose “pvc rolling” is the ghetto-punk version; fitting for yours truly.  I still think it works fine, though.  At least give PVC a try before you splurge for the expensive stuff.  Hell, if you don’t like it, you’re only out a couple of bucks, and you can always repurpose the PVC as a nifty bazooka.


Hehe, juuuuuust kidding, kids.  Best keep to the rolling.

To kip or not to kip, that is the question…
From reader Eric, an interesting question:

Greetings! I know you’re busy so I will keep my query straightforward: when you do muscle-ups, do you kip or not?

My goal since the summer was to be able to 10 muscle-ups (I use the rings for these primarily, but can also do some on the pull-up bar, though not as many, which in itself is a clue). Anyway, I can do about 10-12 muscle-ups in a given session, but I use a kip. I’ve been reading some CrossFitters who say kipping MUs are OK, others say they are not OK, because you’re not building true MU strength and aren’t learning the movement.

As someone I respect, what’s your take?

…and my reply…

I prefer to start each rep from a dead hang, but if you want to kip – especially as you begin to fatigue – that’s, in my opinion, fine as well. Kinda like the difference between a push-press and a jerk. Physically, there’s just not that much difference. If done for competition, though, it’s an easy thing to eliminate so as to level the playing field – kinda like eliminating the chest bounce in the bench press. If you’re training for the xfit games, and kipping mu’s aren’t allowed, then you have your answer. This still doesn’t exclude you from kipping in training, as a means of bolstering your “competition” mu.  I’d also suggest experimenting with some supra-max hangs and partials from the dead hang position.  And note that when I say “dead hang”, I don’t mean a loose hang, i.e., your shoulder structure and traps should be tight/semi-contracted.  Pardon my blasphamy here, but it should not be a Jesus-on-the-cross/shoulders dislocated hang.  Nice visual, huh? Anyway, kip away as you need to — smartly — as you fatigue.

And I would add to my reply to Eric: kip smartly.  Again, I’ll use the push-press to jerk example — there’s plenty of gray area within the continuum running from the strict military press to the push-press and continuing on to “competition” jerk, with each movement having a rightful place within the exercise pantheon.  So sure, kip away — just don’t allow your form to deteriorate into something atrocious.

And now I’m off to the Raleigh Farmers’ Market for a little 21st century hunting and gathering.

In health,


  1. The PVC pipe is the “advanced secret” foam roller. When your soft tissue is…erm…soft you need something harder to get any tight spots. This is 5 bucks well spent.

  2. Hi Keith,
    Your foam rolling with a PVC pipe – ouch! You are amazing to pull that off. Most people, at least women I know find the foam roller to be too hard on their muscles.

    I have been reading around your blog and like your stance on health. I am a nurse who is very fed up with all the dogma, and like you I find that most of it is garbage. I hope that I am open to all new things. I do try.

    Congrats on your health and fitness at 44. For most, this is the time of the downhill slide. I am 51 and need to do more intense, short sessions as you suggest to get rid of the blubber.

    I present my ideas on health at bodywindow.com. I am fit, but not that fit. I will follow your blog to get into the groove again.

    Best to you,

    • 45 now, Elle 🙂 And I think one just becomes accustom to the harder PVC surface. And since I’m a cheap-skate, I had plenty of incentive to acclimate 🙂


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