Sunday, September 24, 2006

Today's goodtime...

My good friend and training partner Cueca came today to pass the day with me.
We started with some joint mobility for a wake up call, then went on to perform 3 sets of the elbow lever 20sec per arm and ecc one armed chinup. After this we went on to do some balance work on the slackline and handstands on the floor. We changed between those two stations back and forth for 4-5 sets. Then we had a nice protein banana shake and went down to the beach. We met the whole gang at the beach and played a game of american football at the sand. It was physical and a nice change of pace for us. After the game we went on to the grass and fooled around with some acrobatics. After seeing that we werent going to train seriously that day, I suggested we do 5 diffrent acrobatic exercises for 5 reps each and go to eat. We completed it without rest just going back and forth between me and him. We then went up to my house and had some grilled chicken and veggies. We drank some organic green tea outside and kicked back for a couple of minutes. We then went on to take a quick shower and did some myofascial work on the foam roller and tennis ball. After going through the whole body, we did some dynamic strength-stretch work with the elastic bands and finally isometric stretching. That was a nice day of training today, covering diffrent aspects of physical work and whole body control. Sometimes people need to open their minds up and vary their routines a bit, not only for better results but for longevity in sports and art - motivation wise and not only physical-wise. This world is so interesting. Art is so interesting. Sports have so much to offer. Physical culture and culture are such huge subjects. Dont make your life and training boring. Explore.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Holyday season?? Sickness season!

I don't know if you've noticed, but the holyday season brings with it not only joy, rituals, family and laughter but quite a large share of illnesses and sickness. This is not a coincedance, its a statistic fact. The reason is mainly our bad dietary habits during this time, combined with a lack of physical exercise compared to normal times. One of the worst things you can do is increase your sugar-carb intake and combine it with a sedentary lifestyle. So, if you want to minimize the amount of harm you are inducing with your holiday meals, here are a few tips:

1. Take your Fish Oil capsules before the 'bad meal', it will help to lower the glycmic effect of the whole meal and provide some good nutrients along the way.
2. Eat your protein first, it is best to fill yourself up first with the good stuff, and help with the digestion process by providing the protein in the first place.
3. Take an insulin mimicker agent after your meal - 300-600mg of R-isomer Alpha Lipolic Acid, Vanadyl Sulphate or even Chromium Picolinate. It will help to transfer the newly digested carbs to replenish your glycogen stores and not to fat cell storage.
4. Don't eat yourself to death, as in large quantities it is very hard to deal with the glycmic load, even if the nutrient breakdown is a good one. Just dont eat too much or else nothing would help.
Some interesting abstracts:

Cardiac mortality is higher around Christmas and New Year's than at any other time: the holidays as a risk factor for death.Phillips DP, Jarvinen JR, Abramson IS, Phillips RR.

The "Merry Christmas Coronary" and "Happy New Year Heart Attack" phenomenon. Kloner RA.

Mortality spike at New Year but not Christmas in North East England. Milne EM.

Dying to go on holiday.Alsop JC, Langley JD.

Shana Tova, and happy holydays to everyone!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Soft tissue work

Last night I've done some soft tissue work on my whole body using the foam roller and a tennis ball. This is the 'poor-man's' deep tissue massage, and helps you to create a better elasticity and health in your soft tissues.
I started the protocol in my feet and went up through tibialis, calfs, hams, quads, glutes, hip flexors, lower back, upper back, rotator-cuffs. I was a bit sore before it, felt a lot better after, took a hot shower, and had a slow digesting protein before bed - for a slow, consistant supply of amino acids over the whole sleeping window. One of the best choices here is cottage cheese mixed with some nuts and sweetend with some stevia. (natural sweetener)
I woke up this morning feeling a lot better and recuperated. By the way, soft tissue work hurts like hell. Imagine someone digging his fingers through your skin with a varied pressure of 5kg-65kg (my bodyweight), you can play with the amount of pressure by shifting and moving on the foam roller or ball. Try it, even if you can only afford the tennis ball option. A good place to start is:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Early training before breakfast

This was today's morning workout:
A 15 drops GSE in water
B Joint mobility
C Groin static-dynamic flexibility
D Ginga and variations 10 min straight
E Dynamic leg lifts 10 rep each X 4 positions
F Armada 3 diffrent fintas X 20 rep / 60 sec rest
Mei Lua 3 diffrent fintas X 20 rep / 60 sec rest
G Handstand, no walking 40 sec X 3 sets / 60 sec rest
H 6 min of alternating static splits 30 sec each position
I Dousing 3 buckets on head
J Breakfast: 2 fish oil capsules, chicken breast, small salad, multivitamin, 1 cup organic tea

I'm a bit sore from last nights acrobatic and s&c workout, but after the mobility work felt better.
I have so much inspiration for so many fields and diciplines, I can hardly sit still. Saying that the last thing I have to worry about is a lack of motivation is an understatement. I feel sorry for the people who don't have a natural curiosity and a healthy understanding that you need to cultivate your motivation. I have a lot of students that are exactly like that. They expect me to fuel their curiosity without understanding I wont be there forever to play that role. Reading, writing, experimenting, keeping an open mind, seeing, smelling, touching, etc are your main tools in the job of creating the right state of mind that will allow you to work hard.
No one is able to work hard with no motivation. Not for the long run. Keep pushing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Morning ritual

This morning ritual:

A. Wake up
B. 15 drops of GSE in a half cup of water
C. Gymnastics warm up with joint mobility, balistic flexibility and general movements
D1. One ring-one handed Curl&Bridge slow and controled, 1 rep per arm / 3 sets
D2. 20 sec one arm elbow lever 1 rep per arm / 3 sets
E. Dousing with 3 water buckets on my head in my yard
F. Shower and a good scrub with my new russian scrub (peels off the dead skin)
G. 3 capsules of Omega 3 fish oil, Hacasa brand (People interested in the best fish oil product on the market - kept in refrigeration from the moment of creation until it reaches you, call our office at 04-83773340 and we'll ship it to you)
H. Breakfast - 3 eggs fried in a drip of olive oil, half a tomato, one cucumber salted with atlantic sea salt
I. A cup of organic green tea, not sweetend of course
J. 1 multivitamin/mineral

Short and sweet, and to the point. This is the way to wake up and feel alive and in full throttle within minutes from getting out of bed. Try it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fucking pigs

Ben Gorion airport, Israel, 4 AM...

Its been said a million times before, but I cannot sit quietly or I'll explode. People are disgusting. I mean Israelies. Its realy fucked up and I wish it was some prejudice, but it is true. Israelies are pigs and they have no limits. You see people gobbling down huge amounts of food and beverages, cup after cup, kcal by kcal. 'Whats that, lady? You have whisky over there? Why didnt you say so.. I hate whisky, but it is the most expensive drink offered in your cart, so why dont you pour me a cup. Well, make that a bottle.' Only in El-Al would you see people comming up to the stewardess grabbing her by the sleeve asking for a 4th extra. Or the sight of the flight staff begging some old stubburn moutha to sit down and belt up because we are practicly touching the ground in landing sequence.. That is truely fucked up, people, and I have to say, I'm ashamed.
I hate those human pigs, treating their stomach like a garbage can, and thinking the world owes them something. I hate even more the fact that it is part of almost every man and woman today, in me, you and he. Our culture has led us to become something we truly hate and despise, and all for the price of instant pleasure. So dont go selling me that: 'Dont worry be happy' and 'live for fun' slogan BS. I dont buy it. Not any more. You want a cure? You want to finaly look at the mirror and to be able to live with yourself in peace? (Besides seeing a shredded 6-pack also)

I have two words for you: SELF CONTROL.
But thats for another column.

By the way, go back in the blog and have a look at the pictrues I've added. I was finaly able to transfer the Russia material into my PC and upload it. Have fun, and lets hear the people's voice... (If they are out there....)


Rostov on Don airport, just before departure...

The human organism is an amazingly adaptable one. Its in our nature, in our genes, in evolution, in our spirits and hearts. You get used to anything. Anything.
I forgot how diffrent Russia is during my stay here. I got used to it. The most contrastic parts were upon arrivel and now - departure time. You enter the airport, hear the diffrent langueges flow through the air, and they carry warmth and are soothing to your ears, unlike the sharp, crisp, aggresive pronounciation of the Russian languege. But its more than that, much more. Its in the way you break every legal rule here, because you know you would be reaching into your pocket and paying the policeman anyways. Its in the registration procedures you have to go through as a tourist a couple of times a day, for the govermant (I should write Govermant here, just like the english use the capital G for the word God) to know your whereabouts at any given moment. (Its an old Soviet procedure that still exists, and no, I did not register at all when I was here, we just payed off the guy at the airport...)
The human spirit takes a beating here. The individual is not important, transparent. The system and order are the centrum of all.
I'm inspired by the Russians dislike of comfort but I'm also afraid of the side effects. Or is it the other way around?
My gift to these people is Capoeira - in a nutshell, the art of freedom. They need it so much, they just dont know it yet. Capoeira is such a strong medication it will even conquer the hearts of Russians. It has done so in other places, taking over the way of life, creating a comunity, effecting everyone around it, anyone that is willing to touch..
You wait and see, motherland R. Once your sons will get a taste of freedom, there is no turning back.
I was told that in Russia there is a hierarchy of freedom - starting with the only true freeman here - Putin, the president, and going down to the simple person on the street, that has his limited freedom. Well, it may be true, but you can create a protective bubble around you and live you life as a pseudo freeman. Capoeira is such a bubble.
I now know it is a strange place for us foreigners - beautiful and enigmatic, but at the same time heartless, dark and cold. This was my first time here, but if I had learned anything from the Russians, it is only the begining of a long lasting addiction. Dasvidanya.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Morning training...

My recent morning routine, just after waking up and before breakfast:

A. full body mobility routine
B. dynamic stretching lower body + upper body
C1. ecc one arm chinups 1 rep per side lowering 4-10 sec
and going up with the help of the other hand pinky finger only
C2. 15 sec one handed elbow lever one rep per side
D. extra training - this varies from morning to morning,
sometimes some jumping pistols, some times muscleups or
some kind of handstand work or pressing

The intention is to reach the one arm chinup again in both arms, and to improve control in the one handed elbow lever - to 60 second total time without touching the floor.
Usualy afterwards I do some dousing with cold water - 3 buckets on my head or swimming in the sea.
Then come breakfast - some kind of a protein rich in L-tyrosin - omega 3 eggs or red meat with a handfull of nuts and my morning supplements. This is the ultimate breakfast choice for someone looking for energy in the morning, as opposed to the 'old school' and wrong view of a carb loaded breakfast. This bad choice would lead you to play the 'insulin-blood sugar' rollercoaster game the whole day, while feeling drained of energy and tired. Try it.

Russian sauna and real presents...

We went to a russian sauna today. Just 5 guys. the real deal. We got a VIP sauna suit with a changing room, dinning room, showers, bedroom, a cold pool and of course a quality sauna. First we ate some good food. I had some chicken breast with a cooked cabage thing they have going on here. We drank a special tea mix they make by themselves here, very good. Afterwords we got to work.... first a warm up of 5-10 min in the sauna until you start sweating heavily. Then a quick shower, then back to the sauna for another 5-10 min, then cold pool, (steam comes out off you when you go into the cold water) then the 'Banshi' came. This guy was a buffed dude. He wears a hat and holds up two branches full of leaves of an oak. You lie down on the topest floor in the sauna, and he starts to hit you and blow very hot air on your body. It is almost unbearable. You sweat very heavily, and you have to wear a special hat to protect your head from over heating. After 5-10 min of torture you go to the cold pool again, and then come back to a second round. The guys with me were amazed that I did not scream, as apearently most men scream the first time, but I couldn't give up so easly after I busted their butts in training... The whole experience was great and we had some great laughs and quality conversation. This is what russian men are made off. They have this special bond going on between them, and I thought it was all about drinking your head off together, but now I realize there is more to it. It got me thinking about the way pleasure is percieved here. They do not run after pure pleasures here. Their pleasures are mixed with some pain. It makes it much more interesting and builts charecter. I love it, and I could realy get into it, as this is the way I see it also. As we drove home I could feel my limbs dig into the car seat. I'm gonna sleep like a baby tonight.
Walking to the apartment from the car, I got a present from Vadim, who is one of the guys I realy connected here with. He gave me a 'shapochka', a knitted hat. He told me it was very special to him, and that a good friend gave it also to him. I replied that it means a lot more now that he said it. As a kid, when I had to give someone I liked a present, I would think: 'what can I give him that I wouldnt miss too much'. When I got older I understood that it is the other way around: 'what can I give him that I would miss in the future'. True presents are hard to give. The sacrifice itself makes you remember the man involved, and makes it so much more special.
I'm glad I made so many friends here. There is no faking going on in Russia. These are true, frank, hard people with pig sized hearts. I'm going to come back here in the future. I'm sure of it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Cossacks and real training...

I went today to see the city of Novocherkask. It's a 300,000 people city near Rostov that used to be the capital of the Don's Cossacks. (The Don is the river that Rostov is located on his right bank)
The Cossacks did not let any Jews or Armenians live or even enter Novocherkask at the old times, and due to that isolation from strangers the city remained very small and never grew to fullfill the destiny the Cossacks hoped it will have. Instead Rostov took the glory and became the 1 million citizens city it is today.
The Cossacks were strong people. They were great horse riders, and used beautifull and sophisticated weapons in their wars and resistance to the Zhar Peter the Great.
In Novocherkask we went to a boxing gym. When we got in, the only man present was the 60 year old trainer and his helper. The boxers were out running to warm up. The room consisted of a ring, two old leather heavy bags and a swedish ladder in the corner.
When the boxers came back it was interesting to watch that the same technique I have learned from my Russian boxing coach in Israel is taught here. The room was packed and the guys were sweating heavily and working hard. This gym is situated inside a university and the students need to complete some sports courses requirements. Boxing is one option.
Inside the gym I got into a conversation with a nice russian kid that speaks good english (russian standarts), and he told me he is a 1st dan Karate practitioner as well as a competing boxer. He was very nice and descirbed their weekly training and strength work with the bar, dips, pushups, the Gyria and some lower back hyperextensions. Its interesting to see this completely diffrent training methodolegy and physical culture. Let me tell you, while those poor souls over at the west are doing some machine biceps curls and leg extensions, these kids are realy training here. Swedish ladders, Gyrias and heavy plates are everywhere, and used heavily. The full ROM back hyperextension off a back of a gymnastics horse is a staple. Bodies are forged here with Iron, sweat and blood. No air conditioning, gym gloves and pull down machines for us, thank you. This is the real deal, 'Brotan.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Morning training at the beach of Haifa, Israel...

I usualy spend my mornings training by myself. Sometimes I do it in my house, other times I like to get out and get some fresh air. My training consists of a some joint mobility, dynamic stretching, and elements from Capoeira, slacklining, some kind of of strength training, gymnastics and other diciplines.
One morning a few weeks ago, I was training as usual at the beach and a strange guy came up to me to ask what the hell was I doing and if he can take some pictures. I recieved them today. Enjoy, and please, people, lets hear some comments...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The true Russians

I've been here for a few days now. I mean realy BEING here. You don't come to Russia for a nice 'visiting outsider' trip... You need to embrace the whole experience. (No Vodka, though, for me... You know me, I'm a good boy)
While doing my routine of living with 3 russian guys here, sharing an old apartment in a tall, dark building in one of the North parts of Rostov, I've learned some basic truth about life here and about the people:

1. They are hard on the outside, but something completely diffrent goes on the inside. Some are crule, due to the life they've had, but some are good hearted in a way that touches me a lot more than the soft spoken type.
2. Russians drink a lot. I mean they drink. Alot. It finally hit me why... They don't have anything else to fill their lives with. They don't know what to do about it, so they drink.
3. Rostov have some of the prettiest female faces I ever saw. I'm walking down the street getting a stiff neck (neck...right...) from all the turning around. They are very similar, but beautifull.
4. Comunism and the Soviet mentality still exist. Its in every corner. In the old people. In the younger ones. In the 'Baboshka' (old woman in Russian) house manager that sits in her small carton made cubicle in the entrance to the building. In the number of doors you need to unlock in order to go inside your house. Its in the languege and the slang. Communism did not happen here by mistake. It's in their blood. (for at least another 100 years)

I'm going to down a cup of pickel juice and hit the hard mattress... No other way to pass your quality time here. Russia trusts no tears.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My first Russian meal

- 2 Tiny slices of tomato
- 1 invicible slice of cucumber
- 10 grams of 'going up you nose real fast' hot-hot mustard
- 1 small chicken breast chunk
- 5 black beans
- A 20 grams jar of some kind of a pink salty as hell fish eggs

The rest I didn't want to touch, since it was all processed.
The man in front of me with the huge forearms just dug in with a spoon and ate a small package of Margarine while humming in delight...

On a plain to Russia

How do you know you are on a Russian plain heading there?
A. No AC, and man, the air is thick, if you know what I mean...
B. Scratched metal parts were painted on with a cheap white oil-based paint.
C. The flight staff consists of at least one thick-blond-ex-shot-putter lady.
D. No plain walls for us. The inner walls of the plain look like a persian rugg. Gives you a headache when combined with point A.
E. You know that bi-lingual airflight magazine in the pocket in front of your seat? its not bi-lingual here....
F. 'Here is a grape juice for you, sir!' Don't like it? want a coke or god forbid water? we are sorry, comrade. The party is always right.

Gott'a love 'em, I'm psyched. Here comes Rostov.


Natbag Airport, Israel, on my way to Russia...
People. So many diffrent shapes and forms, sometimes its hard to believe we are one specie.
One sleepless night, last week I found myself staring at the TV screen, watching a National Geograpic production, marveling the quantity of diffrent forms of Jellyfish in the world. But people are also very diverse. We have them at a smaller selection of colors and the size of the packaging doesnt vary as much, but that's only on the outside. If you take into consideration their knowledge base, souls and charecters, mankind is the most diverse and interesting specie of all.
So next time the optimistic guy standing next to you blabs out: "we are all alike, brother", you had better take it with a grain of salt, my friend. Don't take my word for it. Look around.