An individual human existence should be like a river: small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being. – Bertrand Russell

Consummate wellness blogger and podcast host extraordinaire (and PFX12 attendee) Sean Croxton has put together one hell of an on-line, Paleo experience — the Paleo Summit.  Make sure to drop by and check it out.   Way too much info to go into here — 8 days and 23 presentations worth (including yours truly!) — so be sure to check out the Paleo Summit site to get all the nitty-gritty details.   It’s all good stuff, for sure.   And what a great educational lead-in to this spring’s Paleo f(x) Symposium.  Since most of the folks involved with the Summit will be at PFX12 this spring, it will give you not only a preview of material, but the chance to formulate some highly-informed follow-up questions to ask during the mastermind panels, or during the post-presentation Q&A sessions.  And hey — it’s precisely the highly-educated ground force that will accelerate this movement ever forward into the mainstream.  Gear-up, and be a part of that educated force.

If the summer of 1967 was considered the Summer of Love, then this spring will surely be remembered by the Paleo community as the the Spring of Paleo Passion.  Kinda cheesy?  Sure.  But my feeling is that 40 years from now we’ll look back on 2012 as a pivotal year indeed.

Health vs Performance…and hypertrophy?

So I continue to tweak and modify this idea of Health vs Performance, and one thing I realized is that there was really no accounting for increased hypertrophy (or the effort required toward that acquisition).  Just as with other aspects of fitness, hypertrophy must be considered on a sliding risk-to-benefit scale.

I’ve since added the red line to the health vs performance graph, “D”, to account for this oversight.  The area between the “health line” and the “hypertrophy line” might be called an additional “health buffer” of sorts.  All things being equal, he who enters a demanding period — serious illness, injury, extreme conditions, etc. — with more muscle mass stands a greater chance of surviving that period.

Hypertrophy, of course, is much more than just vanity meat.  It serves as the body’s engine (and a four-barrel V-8, hungry one at that), but consider the fact too, that it’s a thirsty blood glucose sponge (especially post workout) and that it serves for a ready fuel reserve if ever you should find yourself on the skids.  It also acts as a damn efficient shock absorber.  This is something I’ve put to the test many times in my football years, and currently, as I seem to have the penchant as of late for hitting the pavement during my fixie exploits 🙂 A loose bag-o’-bones hittin’ the mean streets just ain’t a pretty sight, kids. Nor is a hip break when we’re talking about older folks.  In all seriousness, though, we have to consider hypertrophy’s positive contribution to overall health.  On the flip-side, though — and there’s always a flip-side with these things — the over-extended pursuit of  hypertrophy can, just as in the over-extended pursuit of performance — result in a crash-and-burn scenario vis-a-vis one’s health.  Again, the middle way is never sexy, but it does seem to always be the healthiest option.


Physical Culture for Elite Athletes

So I’m way excited about moderating the Physical Culture for Elite Athletes mastermind panel at this years Paleo f(x) Symposium.  Working with panelists John Welbourn, Dr. Michael Hartman, James Fitzgerald, Eva Twardokens, and David Lee Nall will be a blast, to say the least, and ought to provide a wealth of information for the Ancestral Wellness-minded athlete.  Now it may be self-serving, but I do hope to gain a little better insight into the whole health vs performance issue by having these heavy-hitters together on one stage tackling directed questions — from me, from the attendees, and from the Twittersphere.  More specifically, here’s the general direction I plan on taking the discussion:

  • general thoughts on health vs performance, and is this a legitimate concern for the high-end (or aspiring to be high-end) athlete?
  • how do you, as coaches/trainers, address the volume/intensity question in respect to those clients looking to be “fit” only, and not necessarily “elite”?
  • training so as to minimize the negative impact of the sport itself (for example, football skiing) on the body is of overriding concern of team S&C coaches.  What do you make of everyday trainees mimicking these oftentimes (and by necessity) extreme techniques?
  • common signs of overreaching and/or overtraining?
  • Can the central nervous system really be trained in the weightroom to better perform on the field of play?
  • the importance (or lack thereof) of “surfing the force-velocity curve” in respect to training for (1) athleticism and (2) hypertrophy.

Got any other ideas you’d like to see covered here?  Remember, how often do you get the chance to get coaches of this caliber together at one time and on a single stage discussing these kinds of issues?  Hit me with your questions, and let’s make this a rockin’ — and hugely informative — mastermind panel!

In health, fitness, and Ancestral Wellness –



  1. I would make the argument that performance levels off while hypertrophy can keep rising, which would explain why high level athletes are never as strong/muscular as they can be under most circumstance. “Practical Periodization” makes this point as well.

  2. I’d love to hear more about concurrent training, and how it affects both performance and health. For instance, how football players seem to do large amounts of weight training and metabolic/skill work on the same days and still get huge, while many people don’t respond well to this kind of training. I would also love to hear about how the negative effects of excessive endurance training might be reduced with proper strength training.

    Thanks guys!


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