Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another Intermittent Fasting Resource

Regular readers will have noticed that I often write about intermittent fasting (IF). A new blog has just started which is looking at IF and you may want to check it out:

The IF Life

Mike has a good introductory post on how to start IF and also a collection of studies (a few of which are also scattered around this blog) on a useful resources page. It looks like it will be worh keeping an eye on his writings.

If you want to read a bit more on the subject, I think that Fast 5 and East Stop Eat remain great introductions to the science and practice of IF.

Or just check out some of the previous posts here.

shock news...stretching doesn't help prevent sore muscles

We have looked at this before in the post "stretching doesn't prevent sore muscles" Now it appears that the New York Times has caught on......

The Claim: Stretching Can Prevent Soreness and Injury

Stretching — long promoted as a way to prevent injury, to reduce soreness and to speed post-exercise recovery — may not fulfill its promise. Over the years, scientists have found that stretching before or after a workout has little effect on either risk of injury or what is commonly known as delayed onset of muscle soreness, the discomfort that comes a day or more after challenging physical activity.

Of course readers of this blog now know how to prevent sore muscles ;-)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How to avoid sore muscles!

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the pain or discomfort often felt 24 to 72 hours after exercising and subsides generally within 2 to 3 days. Once thought to be caused by lactic acid buildup, a more recent theory is that it is caused by tiny tears in the muscle fibers caused by eccentric contraction, or unaccustomed training levels. Since lactic acid disperses fairly rapidly, it could not explain pain experienced days after exercise, and some concentric-only exercises produce lactic acid, but rarely produce DOMS

Well that is what Wiki says. But we have all experienced it, even - dare I say it - enjoyed it. I used to feel that it was a sign that I had really trained hard and had stimulated growth.....masochist to the last.

The thing is I am not sure that such soreness is necessarily good. Certainly for those of a less obsessive / masochistic tendency it can put them off exercise all together. Soreness itself is maybe a warning a sign of tissue damage, a signal of injury rather than health....

So how do we prevent DOMS?

I just spotted this new study that seems to indicate that DOMS can be prevented by using a certain training protocol: Aerobic cardioacceleration immediately before each set of resistance exercise It is hard to tell from the abstract, but presumably that means a brief sprint or whatever to get the heart rate up.

The conclusions was that this protocol rapidly eliminates DOMS during vigorous progressive resistance training in athletes.

That is quite a big conclusion!

Is anyone out there going to try this and see if it works? I wonder how it applies to things like interval weight training? I did an interval session of kettlebell snatches the other day and my heart rate got really high throughout the session.....but I was still sore the next day!

Anyway, here is the abstract:

Elimination of delayed-onset muscle soreness by pre-resistance cardioacceleration before each set.

We compared delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) induced by anaerobic resistance exercises with and without aerobic cardioacceleration before each set, under the rationale that elevated heart rate (HR) may increase blood perfusion in muscles to limit eccentric contraction damage and/or speed muscle recovery. In two identical experiments (20 men, 28 women), well-conditioned athletes paired by similar physical condition were assigned randomly to experimental or control groups. HR (independent variable) was recorded with HR monitors. DOMS (dependent variable) was self-reported using Borg's Rating of Perceived Pain scale. After identical pre-training strength testing, mean DOMS in the experimental and control groups was indistinguishable (P > or = 0.19) for musculature employed in eight resistance exercises in both genders, validating the dependent variable. Subjects then trained three times per week for 9 (men) to 11 (women) weeks in a progressive, whole-body, concurrent training protocol. Before each set of resistance exercises, experimental subjects cardioaccelerated briefly (mean HR during resistance training, 63.7% HR reserve), whereas control subjects rested briefly (mean HR, 33.5% HR reserve). Mean DOMS among all muscle groups and workouts was discernibly less in experimental than control groups in men (P = 0.0000019) and women (P = 0.0007); less for each muscle group used in nine resistance exercises in both genders, discernible (P < 0.025) in 15 of 18 comparisons; and less in every workout, discernible (P < 0.05) in 32% (men) and 55% (women) of workouts. Most effect sizes were moderate. In both genders, mean DOMS per workout disappeared by the fourth week of training in experimental but not control groups. Aerobic cardioacceleration immediately before each set of resistance exercises therefore rapidly eliminates DOMS during vigorous progressive resistance training in athletes.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Obesity and Carbs linked to Esophageal Cancer

Just spotted this on Science Daily

Cases of esophageal cancer (adenocarcinoma) in the U.S. have risen in recent decades from 300,000 cases in 1973 to 2.1 million in 2001 at age-adjusted rates. A new study shows that these rates in the U.S. closely mirrored trends of increased carbohydrate intake and obesity from 1973-2001.

Here are a couple of quotes that the orthodoxy may not like:

Obesity is a risk factor for many types of cancer, and a diet that includes a high percentage of calories from refined carbohydrates is a common contributor to obesity.


Carbohydrates were also unique in that no other studied nutrients were found to correlate with esophageal cancer rates.

The abstract is below if you want to learn more:

Carbohydrate Consumption and Esophageal Cancer: An Ecological Assessment

OBJECTIVES: The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma is on the rise in the United States. In this ecological study using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program (1973–2001) and national food consumption data (1909–1997), we evaluated the correlation between secular trends of dietary macronutrient intakes and esophageal cancer rates.

METHODS: Linear regressions were performed to assess the correlation between age-adjusted incidence rates of esophageal cancers and nutrients.

RESULTS: The increase in esophageal adenocarcinoma was found to be strongly correlated with the rise in carbohydrate intake (P < 0.0001). The decline in squamous cell carcinoma rates was negatively correlated with carbohydrate intake in the univariate model (P < 0.0001), but this correlation disappeared when adjusted for other nutrients. Correlations of esophageal adenocarcinoma to percentage of calories from corn syrup, representing refined carbohydrates, were statistically significant in the univariate model (P < 0.0001), but decreased in significance in the multivariate model (P = 0.0118). We also found a significant correlation between obesity and esophageal adenocarcinoma (P < 0.0001) during the same time period.

CONCLUSION: Our ecological evaluation suggests that high carbohydrate intake and obesity can account for at least some of the rise in esophageal adenocarcinoma. Within-population studies are needed to clarify these trends.

Football and broken bones....

If you live in the UK - and are a sports fan - you can hardly fail to be aware of the horrendous injury suffered by Eduardo de Silva this weekend.

All I remember is when I looked down at my foot it had turned the other way....

The Arsenal player was tackled in the 3rd minute of a match against Birmingham on Saturday in what initially appeared to be a late but not a serious challenge. However, the reaction of all players on the pitch spoke volumes about the seriousness of the injury. They were all sickened by the severity of the broken leg which Eduardo suffered.

If you have the stomach for it - and watching it on TV made me feel queasy - you can see a photo here which illustrates the severity of the injury.

Thankfully, it looks like the player will recover and play again, but such injuries do not always heal: David Busst had to retire from the game after a compound fracture go infected with MRSA and he ended up with much tissue damage, as he explained in the Guardian today.

I was thinking about this incident a fair bit - maybe because it was so horrific. I also had a look on pubmed for relevant studies.

I read a couple of abstracts which were actually a bit depressing:

Tibia and fibula fractures in soccer players - this study looked at the incidence of the injury suffered by Eduardo and worryingly noted that shin guards were not that good at guarding the shin! (A more recent study however does seem to indicate that there is value in using shin guards and that they have reduced the incidence of serious injury)

We've mentioned before that playing soccer is an excellent way to get fit - it is a sprint type activity with lots of balance work - and more effective than a jogging programme. However, all sports carry risks. Soccer is often characterised as a non contact sport when compared to rugby or american football, but it is not as you can see from the pictures of Eduardo.

It is great to watch, but I think we need to be aware of the dangers. If you are after fitness, there may be other, safer ways to achieve your goals.

Then again, life is full of risk and maybe the lesson is that we need to accept that too. Our current lifestyle is too safe, too protected as it is. Maybe we need to get out and move and play our sports, accepting the risks that go with the benefits?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

elite athletes have better balance.....

Balance, as I've noted before, is a neglected skill for most recreational athletes but it is vitally important, especially as we get older. Proven to help prevent injuries to the knee and ankle some sort of balance training should be in the arsenal of every competitive athlete.

However, to quote a cliché, everyone is an athlete even if your event is lifting your 90 year old body out of a chair. Balance often declines in the elderly and leads to damaging falls.

We should all be working on our balance - even simple things like regularly standing on one leg when you comb your hair can help.

That is the preamble to this interesting article I saw which says that elite athletes - Olympic level soccer players - do have better balance skills than the rest of us.

Maybe one conclusion from this is that football playing and training improves balance (well the abstract suggests that these athletes may have better inherent balance, but other studies have shown benefits from training balance). Perhaps we cannot all play and train like Olympic athletes, but we can do something to reap the benefits.

Do elite athletes exhibit enhanced proprioceptive acuity, range and strength of knee rotation compared with non-athletes?

The aims of this study were to compare proprioception in knee rotation in Olympic-level soccer players (N=18) with non-athletes (N=18), to explore between-limb differences in soccer players, and examine correlations between proprioception and years of playing, function, physical measures and skill level. The knee rotatory kinaesthetic device was used to present stimuli of different magnitudes to determine proprioceptive acuity for internal and external active rotation, and to measure active and passive rotation range of motion (ROM). Knee rotation strength was measured using a dynamometer. Proprioceptive acuity of the athletes was significantly (P=0.004) better than that of the non-athletes. Athletes displayed significantly less passive ROM (P=0.001), higher isometric muscle strength (P=0.006) and greater hop for distance (P=0.001) than non-athletes. No significant between-limb differences were found in the athletes in any objective outcome measure. Internal rotation proprioceptive acuity was negatively correlated with coach-rated ball skill (r=−0.52) and positively correlated with internal rotation ROM (r=0.59). Our findings suggest that highly trained athletes possess enhanced proprioceptive acuity and muscle strength that may be inherent, or may develop as a result of long-term athletic training.

Friday, February 22, 2008

What was a Paleo diet....

I sometimes get accused of pushing a paleo diet. I don' think I'm pushing anything, just giving you something to think about...

Anyway Matt points to an article (pdf) which speculates on at what a paleo diet was.....

synthetic vitamins and carbs bad....fat good....

Here is just a quick couple of tit-bits for the weekend:

Serious Dangers of Synthetic & Unnatural Vitamins (pdf) - Phil Maffetone looks at the same issue that I have pointed to recently. I really like Dr Maffetone. While I do not always agree with him, especially with respect to exercise, I think he was ahead of his time on things like shoes (simple, cheap and flat) and diet (low carb, higher fat).

Animal foods linked with reduced risk of breast cancer, while starch found to be associated with enhanced risk - Dr Briffa highlights "a piece of research which supports the notion that animal foods, even those rich in saturated fat, are not the dietary spectres they are so often made out to be. In addition, and I do think this is very important, it again supports the notion that the oh-so-health starchy carbs we are generally encouraged to have are fill of may have serious negative consequences for our health."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Down to earth training for football.

There so many videos out there of impressive athletes performing some amazing feats of strength or skill. I have linked to one or two in the past, for example this jump. Great - I like those videos and am entertained and inspired by them.

However, some things are better! I came across this video of some kids training for football (soccer for the americans). What I like about it is that it shows some great techniques and drills, yet the athletes are "normal". They are like the vast majority of us - not especially gifted, not hugely muscular or incredibly fast. They are just normal lads who are training to get better for their sport.

In many ways I find this more inspiring that some of the elite athletes out there!

Vitamin E supplements to be discouraged.....

Preamble - by the way, all these posts are, as much as anything, me recording things that I find of which I want to keep track . Often it is about me "thinking out loud" around these things. I am not prescribing anything for anyone - you can make your own mind up!

I have posted one or two things before that I have found interesting that - at first sight - seem to call into question the perceived wisdom of taking lots of supplemental antioxidants:

and from Emma's blog:
Here is another interesting one:

Vitamin E May Increase Tuberculosis Risk In Male Smokers With High Vitamin C Intake

Six-year vitamin E supplementation increased tuberculosis risk by 72% in male smokers who had high dietary vitamin C intake, but vitamin E had no effect on those who had low dietary vitamin C intake, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.......
.......... Vitamin E had no effect on participants who had dietary vitamin C intake less than 90 mg/day. Unexpectedly, vitamin E supplementation increased tuberculosis risk by 72% in those who had dietary vitamin C intake over 90 mg/day. The most dramatic increase in tuberculosis risk by vitamin E was restricted to a one-year period after the initiation of supplementation.

The researchers concluded that "the consumption of vitamin E supplements by the general population should be discouraged because there is evidence of harm for some people."

Interesting also that Vitamin C is mentioned here. In a previous post I quoted a study that found that :

Conclusion: Vitamin C supplementation decreases training efficiency because it prevents some cellular adaptations to exercise.
and mentioned that:

So don't take that Vitamin C - exercise itself is an antioxidant and taking antioxidants prevents useful benefits to training! I told you it was heresy!

I have said before that:

It is also worth pointing out that Vilhjalmur Stefansson lived for years on the traditional Eskimo diet of fat and veggies.......and was, like the Eskimos he was living with, exceptionally healthy. Gary Taubes in his new and excellent book Good Calories, Bad Calories suggests that scurvy and other vitamin deficiency diseases are actually only found when people are eating diets low in meat, eggs and dairy. It seems to be the high levels of carbs that prompt the need for all the vitamins in the veggies.....

The full study is here:

Vitamin E supplementation may transiently increase tuberculosis risk in males who smoke heavily and have high dietary vitamin C intake

Vitamin E and β-carotene affect the immune function and might influence the predisposition of man to infections. To examine whether vitamin E or β-carotene supplementation affects tuberculosis risk, we analysed data of the Alpha-Tocopherol Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Study, a randomised controlled trial which examined the effects of vitamin E (50 mg/d) and β-carotene (20 mg/d) on lung cancer. The trial was conducted in the general community in Finland in 1985–93; the intervention lasted for 6·1 years (median). The ATBC Study cohort consists of 29 023 males aged 50–69 years, smoking at baseline, with no tuberculosis diagnosis prior to randomisation. Vitamin E supplementation had no overall effect on the incidence of tuberculosis (risk ratio (RR) = 1·18; 95 % CI 0·87, 1·59) nor had β-carotene (RR = 1·07; 95 % CI 0·80, 1·45). Nevertheless, dietary vitamin C intake significantly modified the vitamin E effect. Among participants who obtained 90 mg/d or more of vitamin C in foods (n 13 502), vitamin E supplementation increased tuberculosis risk by 72 (95 % CI 4, 185)%. This effect was restricted to participants who smoked heavily. Finally, in participants not supplemented with vitamin E, dietary vitamin C had a negative association with tuberculosis risk so that the adjusted risk was 60 (95 % CI 16, 81) % lower in the highest intake quartile compared with the lowest. Our finding that vitamin E seemed to transiently increase the risk of tuberculosis in those who smoked heavily and had high dietary vitamin C intake should increase caution towards vitamin E supplementation for improving the immune system.

CoQ10 - A supplement that works?

If you have read previous posts (for example "Post Workout drinks are a waste of money") you may have picked up the idea that I think supplements are - by and large - a waste of money. Desperate athletes try anything to improve their performance but their purchases are often driven more by marketing than by any scientific research. This is something pointed out in the Intermittent Fasting book Eat Stop Eat.

However that isn't to say that all supplements are useless. For example I keep hearing positive things about CoQ10. Here is another study on this:

Reducing exercise-induced muscular injury in kendo athletes with supplementation of coenzyme Q10.

Intensive physical exercise may cause muscular injury and increase oxidative stress. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of an antioxidant, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), on muscular injury and oxidative stress during exercise training. Eighteen male students, all elite Japanese kendo athletes, were randomly assigned to either a CoQ10 group (n 10) or a placebo group (n 8) in a double-blind manner. Subjects in the CoQ10 group took 300 mg CoQ10 per d for 20 d, while subjects in the placebo group took the same dosage of a placebo. All subjects practised kendo 5.5 h per d for 6 d during the experimental period. Blood samples were taken 2 weeks before, during (1 d, 3 d, 5 d) and 1 week after the training. Serum creatine kinase (CK) activity and myoglobin (Mb) concentration significantly increased in both groups (at 3 d and 5 d). Serum CK (at 3 d), Mb (at 3 d) and lipid peroxide (at 3 d and 5 d) of the CoQ10 group were lower than those of the placebo group. The leucocyte counts in the placebo group significantly increased (at 3 d) and neutrophils significantly increased in both groups (at 3 d and 5 d). Serum scavenging activity against superoxide anion did not change in either group. These results indicate that CoQ10 supplementation reduced exercise-induced muscular injury in athletes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Zig Zag uphill.....

This is relevant for all of us hillwalkers......

zig-zagging is more efficient than a straight line

We know this already of course, intuitively and also with support from the wonderful stalkers paths scattered round the Highlands (my favourite being on Gleouriach).

Well, scientists have now looked into this with a mathematical model, showing that a zigzag course provides the most efficient way for humans to go up or down steep slopes.

"There is a point, or critical slope, where it becomes metabolically too costly to go straight ahead, so people move at an angle, cutting into the slope. Eventually they need to go back toward the direction they were originally headed and this creates zigzags. The steeper the slope, the more important it is that you tackle it at the right angle.”
The abstract is available here

Human and animal trails on steep hillsides often exhibit dramatic switchbacks and shortcuts. Helbing et al. have recently examined the emergence of human trail systems on flat terrains while Minetti and Margaria established the effect of gradients on human metabolic efficiency. In this paper we use these ideas to develop a semi-quantitative theoretical model of the behaviour of humans moving on a terrain with relief. The model determines the direction of movement by minimising metabolic cost per unit of distance in a desired direction. The structure of the theory resembles the Landau Theory of Phase Transitions, much used in theoretical physics. We find that both hairpin bends (switchbacks) and shortcuts appear as efficient strategies for downhill walkers, while uphill walkers retain switchbacks. For weakly inclined slopes, the best strategy involves walking directly uphill or downhill. For sufficiently steep slopes, however, we find that the best strategy should undergo a transition to a broken symmetry solution corresponding to the switchback trail patterns typical of rugged environments. The critical slope at which this transition takes place should be less steep for uphill and downhill walkers. The theory should be amenable to empirical investigation. Amongst other applications, this model will enable us to generalize the work of previous authors to real landscapes, eventually permitting the reconstruction of ancient patterns of movement in archaeological landscapes.

Make sure you have eggs in your low carb diet!

Those eggs look delicious!

Here is a study that came out today which, while confirming the health benefits of a low carbohydrate diet also indicates that such diets benefit from the inclusion of eggs.

Eggs modulate the inflammatory response to carbohydrate restricted diets in overweight men

The full article is available for free download, or you can just look at the abstract.

Here is the background:

Carbohydrate restricted diets (CRD) consistently lower glucose and insulin levels and improve atherogenic dyslipidemia [decreasing triglycerides and increasing HDL cholesterol (HDL-C)]. We have previously shown that male subjects following a CRD experienced significant increases in HDL-C only if they were consuming a higher intake of cholesterol provided by eggs compared to those individuals who were taking lower concentrations of dietary cholesterol. Here, as a follow up of our previous study, we examined the effects of eggs (a source of both dietary cholesterol and lutein) on adiponectin, a marker of insulin sensitivity, and on inflammatory markers in the context of a CRD.

.....and the conclusions:

A CRD with daily intake of eggs decreased plasma CRP and increased plasma adiponectin compared to a CRD without eggs. These findings indicate that eggs make a significant contribution to the anti-inflammatory effects of CRD, possibly due to the presence of cholesterol, which increases HDL-C and to the antioxidant lutein which modulates certain inflammatory responses.

One of the researchers - Dr Volek - has done a lot of work on low carb diets, as you can read here.

I am not going to offer much commentary on this - the paper explains things well. It is definitely worth downloading and reading the article if you are interested in some more benefits alow carb diet and particularly from consuming cholesterol.

Incidentally, low carb is not the only dietary weapon against inflammation. I've noted before that intermittent fasting - as in fast 5 or Eat Stop Eat - can reduce inflammation. (also a relevant post here)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More questions over the value of supplements....

A couple of new studies that again question the value of supplements:

Effect of Glucosamine Sulfate on Hip Osteoarthritis - glucosamine sulfate is widely used by patients to treat osteoarthritis, despite inconclusive evidence of any benefit.

The abstract is available here

Background: The effectiveness of glucosamine sulfate as a symptom and disease modifier for osteoarthritis is still under debate.

Objective: To assess whether glucosamine sulfate has an effect on the symptoms and structural progression of hip osteoarthritis during 2 years of treatment.

Design: Randomized, controlled trial.

Setting: Primary care in the Netherlands.

Patients: 222 patients with hip osteoarthritis who were recruited by their general practitioner. Patients were eligible if they met the American College of Rheumatology clinical criteria for hip osteoarthritis.

Intervention: 2 years of treatment with 1500 mg of oral glucosamine sulfate or placebo once daily.

Measurements: Primary outcome measures were Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) pain and function subscales over 24 months and joint space narrowing after 24 months. The main secondary outcome measures were WOMAC pain, function, and stiffness after 3, 12, and 24 months.

Results: At baseline, both groups were similar in demographic and clinical variables. Overall, WOMAC pain did not differ (mean difference [glucosamine sulfate minus placebo], –1.54 [95% CI, –5.43 to 2.36]), nor did WOMAC function (mean difference, –2.01 [CI, –5.38 to 1.36]). Joint space narrowing also did not differ after 24 months (mean difference, –0.029 [CI, –0.122 to 0.064]). Only 1 of the sensitivity analyses, based on extreme assumptions regarding missing assessments due to total hip replacement, provided results consistent with a glucosamine effect.

Limitations: Twenty patients had total hip replacement during the trial. Half of the patients had a Kellgren and Lawrence score of 1.

Conclusion: Glucosamine sulfate was no better than placebo in reducing symptoms and progression of hip osteoarthritis.

Then there is this one which looks at the Effect of carbohydrate-protein supplement timing on acute exercise-induced muscle damage

The full paper is available here

Purpose: To determine if timing of a supplement would have an effect on muscle damage, function and soreness.


Twenty-seven untrained men (21+/-3 yrs) were given a supplement before or after exercise. Subjects were randomly assigned to a pre exercise (n=9), received carbohydrate/protein drink before exercise and placebo after, a post exercise (n=9), received placebo before exercise and carbohydrate/protein drink after, or a control group (n=9), received placebo before and after exercise. Subjects performed 50 eccentric quadriceps contractions on an isokinetic dynamometer. Tests for creatine kinase (CK), maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) and muscle soreness were recorded before exercise and at six, 24, 48, 72, and 96h post exercise. Repeated measures ANOVA were used to analyze data.


There were no group by time interactions however, CK significantly increased for all groups when compared to pre exercise (101+/-43U/L) reaching a peak at 48h (661+/-1178U/L). MVC was significantly reduced at 6h by 31.4+/-14.0%. Muscle soreness was also significantly increased from pre exercise peaking at 48h.


Eccentric exercise caused significant muscle damage, loss of strength, and soreness; however timing of ingestion of carbohydrate/protein supplement had no effect.

Again, you have to question what is really useful and what is just the latest subject of an advertising campaign....

Monday, February 18, 2008

Why a high fat low fibre diet prevents constipation....

I just saw a great line in the comments at the Hyperlipid blog explaining why a high fat / low fibre diet helps prevent constipation. Great imagery:

For constipation, it is difficult to make bricks out of butter at body temperature. Making bricks out of straw is easy at any temperature!

Knee injuries....

I have had posts previously about knee injuries, especially anterior cruciate ligament tears.

Those posts noted that:

I was reminded of all these posts earlier today when I read a story from the New York Times as it came through my RSS reader: Big-Time Injury Strikes Little Players

In the article the journalist notes the incresing incidence of ACL injuries in children and the difficulties in treating them in those whose bones are still growing:

The standard and effective treatment for such an injury in adults is surgery. But the operation poses a greater risk for children and adolescents who have not finished growing because it involves drilling into a growth plate, an area of still-developing tissue at the end of the leg bone.

Although there are no complete or official numbers, orthopedists at leading medical centers estimate that several thousand children and young adolescents are getting A.C.L. tears each year, with the number being diagnosed soaring recently. Some centers that used to see only a few such cases a year are now seeing several each week.

It is not an overuse injury from playing one sport too intensively, like shoulder injuries in young pitchers. Instead, doctors say, the injury occurs simply from twisting the knee, and diagnoses are on the rise partly because it can now be easily detected and partly because the very nature of youth sports has changed.

These are serious injuries that can ruin a kid's sporting life, fitness and future health and the article emphasised to me the need to keep health and function at the forefront of your concerns when training. Whatever else are training should be doing, it should be making us more resilient not more fragile. So that means balance training and stretching, plus - as Lou Schuler has pointed out - strength training.

Vern Gambetta has written an excellent article about this:

On Guard: Multiple-plane, multiple-joint workouts are the key to an effective defense against ACL injuries.

The emphasis on ACL prevention needs to be on multiple-plane, multiple-joint work that puts a premium on balance and proprioception in functional, sport-specific positions. Instead of focusing on the knee alone, we need to address the entire kinetic chain to better reduce force on the joint. We must shift our thinking away from traditional exercises and training methods that emphasize force production to a more balanced program involving force reduction and proprioception. The emphasis needs to be on training integrated movements, not isolated muscles.

An important but often ignored fact is that 70 percent of knee injuries, regardless of gender, are non-contact. The typical mechanisms of these non-contact injuries are planting and cutting, straight-knee landing (no flexion on landing), hard one-step stops with the knee hyperextended, pivoting, and rapid deceleration. These are all movements that occur with high force and at high speed, and though they usually happen very quickly, athletes can be trained to make them more efficiently as part of a comprehensive prevention program.

Gambetta suggests some programmes, but his conclusions are worth restating:

All of the successful ACL-prevention programs share a few key components: mechanics of movement, proprioception, plyometrics, and strength training. They can be translated into the following five modules:

• strength/power, including basic strength, core strength, elastic/reactive strength (plyometrics)
• balance/proprioception
• agility, including body awareness, footwork, and change of direction
• dynamic flexibility
• sport-specific conditioning.

I've said before that such training doesn't have to be complicated - build it into your day. For example stand on one leg when putting your socks on, or when combing your hair.

Just to finish off the post, here is a quick video of some balance/proprioception training. I am really interested in balance at the moment, so if you spot any interesting balance videos or resources, please let me know.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Another Taubes Lecture

In case you haven't already seen this, Regina Wilshire and Jimmy Moore have both pointed to this new lecture by Gary Taubes. Excellent.

I'm sure this will irritate those readers that dislike Taubes. Still, if you have a spare hour it is well worth watching.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Post Workout Drinks - a waste of money?

I have posted about post workout nutrition before (where we saw that eating carbs after a workout can blunt the fat burning effect).

Here is a new study that indicates that - despite all the marketing to the contrary - a post workout carbohydrate or protein/carbohydrate drink does not enhance don't waste your money. Worth thinking through....

Carbohydrate-protein drinks do not enhance recovery from exercise-induced muscle injury.

This study examined the effects of carbohydrate (CHO), carbohydrate-protein (CHO+PRO), or placebo (PLA) beverages on recovery from novel eccentric exercise. Female participants performed 30 min of downhill treadmill running (-12% grade, 8.0 mph), followed by consumption of a CHO, CHO+PRO, or PLA beverage immediately, 30, and 60 min after exercise. CHO and CHO+PRO groups (n = 6 per group) consumed 1.2 g . kg body weight-1 . hr-1 CHO, with the CHO+PRO group consuming an additional 0.3 g . kg body weight-1 . hr-1 PRO. The PLA group (n = 6) received an isovolumetric noncaloric beverage. Maximal isometric quadriceps strength (QUAD), lower extremity muscle soreness (SOR), and serum creatine kinase (CK) were assessed preinjury (PRE) and immediately and 1, 2, and 3 d postinjury to assess exercise-induced muscle injury and rate of recovery. There was no effect of treatment on recovery of QUAD (p = .21), SOR (p = .56), or CK (p = .59). In all groups, QUAD was reduced compared with PRE by 20.6% +/- 1.5%, 17.2% +/- 2.3%, and 11.3% +/- 2.3% immediately, 1, and 2 d postinjury, respectively (p < .05). SOR peaked at 2 d postinjury (PRE vs. 2 d, 3.1 +/- 1.0 vs. 54.0 +/- 4.8 mm, p < .01), and serum CK peaked 1 d postinjury (PRE vs. 1 d, 138 +/- 47 vs. 757 +/- 144 U/L, p < .01). In conclusion, consuming a CHO+PRO or CHO beverage immediately after novel eccentric exercise failed to enhance recovery of exercise-induced muscle injury differently than what was observed with a PLA drink.

Brad Pillon author of East Stop Eat stresses that so much of accepted sports nutrition is driven by marketing, with people trying to sell you things. The Science of Sport blog
also said similar things when they pointed out that much of the idea of drinking sports drinks came from studies sponsored by the very companies which made sports drinks.....

Friday, February 15, 2008

That fast food study....

Deception, conspiracy or just bad reporting?

The more I think about the way that this study on fast food has been reported the more annoyed and puzzled I get. The scientists found one thing, yet the media have reported something quite different.

Yesterday I only pointed to the abstract, but it is worth reading the whole study in Gut, which is freely available.

Whatever questions you have about the method, the article says some straightforward things. As Dr Briffa points out in an excellent post:

Over the course of the 4-week study, those on the fast-food regime put on an average of about 6.5 kg in weight. In particular, waist size increased significantly. The level of the liver enzyme known as ALT (alanine aminotransferase) went up from an average of 22.1 U/L (normal) to 97.0 U/L (abnormally raised). This would be taken, generally speaking, as a sign of liver damage. Not only that, but the fat level in the liver cells of these individuals increased by over 150 per cent. One of the 18 participants developed full blown fatty liver (quite a feat in just four weeks of unhealthy eating).....

....they wanted to see if they could find out what it was about fast food that seemed to damaged the liver.

Here’s what they found:

  • Intake of FAT was NOT associated with ALT levels
  • Intake of PROTEIN was NOT associated with ALT levels
  • Total CALORIE INTAKE was NOT associated with ALT levels
  • Intake of CARBOHYDRATE WAS associated with ALT levels

The problem with the diet was not excess fat, but excess carbohydrates!

As Dr Biffa says:

Any of you wanting to remember that it’s carbs that cause fatty deposition in the liver can do this contemplating the making of foie gras. What is it that geese are force-fed to turn their livers into something that is mainly fat? The answer, of course, is grain.

However, did you see how was this study reported? I flicked thorugh the coverage on Google News and the media cannot see past their assumption - their presupposition - that Fat is Bad....

Here is a particularly bad example:

But blood tests revealed a more serious health issue; people eating the fast food had elevated levels of proteins in their blood that signaled potential liver damage. The liver is responsible for processing fat in the body, but the fat levels in fast food are too much for the liver to handle on a regular basis.

The excess fat builds up in liver cells and causes damage.

Forget what the study said! It was the fat what did it!!!!

(One or two other reports were more balanced e.g. this from Australia)

Regina Wilshire points this out as well:

Then there is the CBS article, "The study, published in the advance online edition of Gut, doesn't show which was more damaging - bingeing on fatty food or being sedentary."

ABC News, "The extra fat is the big enchilada here..."

My take? There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Deception? / Conspiracy? / Bad journalism? I don't know

Maybe it is simply that we live in a world in which fat is bad. Contrary evidence is just not understood, not heretical, merely incomprehensible. It is like when Copernicus came up with his heliocentric model of the solar system (with the sun in the middle rather than the earth). The old model was no longer working - things like the retrograde motion of Mars were being observed that were difficult to explain in the old model, but still people clung to that old model. They couldn't accept a different way of seeing the world. Perhaps it is time for a similar revolution with respect to fat?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Fast Food is bad?

I first saw this story when Peter over at the Hyperlipid blog pointed to it. He had seen the story reported on Yahoo News Fast-food binge harms liver, but boosts good cholesterol: study

PARIS (AFP) - A month-long diet of fast food and no exercise led to dangerously high levels of enzymes linked to liver damage, in an unusual experiment inspired by the docu-movie "Supersize Me."

But investigators, reporting their findings on Thursday, were also stunned to find that a relentless regimen of burgers, fries and soda also boosted so-called good cholesterol, seen as a key measure of cardiovascular health.

Researchers in Sweden asked 12 men and six women in their twenties, all slim and in good health, to eat two meals per day at McDonalds, Burger King or other fast-food restaurants over four weeks.
The study is reported in the Journal GUT:

Fast food based hyper-alimentation can induce rapid and profound elevation of serum alanine aminotransferase in healthy subjects

Objective To study the effect of fast food-based hyper-alimentation on liver enzymes and hepatic triglyceride content (HTGC).

Design Prospective interventional study with parallel control group.

Setting University Hospital of Linkoping, Sweden. Participants 12 healthy men and six healthy women with a mean (SD) age of 26 (6.6) years and a matched control group.

Intervention Subjects in the intervention group aimed for a body weight increase of 5-15% by eating at least two fast food-based meals a day with the goal to double the regular caloric intake in combination with adoption of a sedentary lifestyle for four weeks.

Main outcome measures Weekly changes of serum aminotransferases and HTGC measured by proton nuclear magnetic resonance-spectroscopy at baseline and after the intervention.

Results Subjects in the intervention group increased from 67.6 (9.1) kg to 74.0 (11) kg in weight (p<0.001).>19U/l, men >30U/l) during the intervention. Sugar (mono- and disaccharides) intake during week three correlated with the maximal ALT/baseline ALT-ratio (r=0.62, p=0.006). HTGC increased from 1.1 (1.9) % to 2.8 (4.8) %, although this was not related to the increase in ALT levels. ALT levels were unchanged in controls.

Conclusion Hyper-alimentation per se can induce profound ALT elevations in less than four weeks. Our study clearly shows that in the evaluation of subjects with elevated ALT the medical history should include not only questions about alcohol intake but also explore whether recent excessive food intake has occurred.

Peter points a couple of interesting things from the story:

"It was not the fat in the hamburgers, it was rather the sugar in the coke," he said.

But the most startling result implies that an intensive fast food diet might have some health benefits too, apparently from fat.

"We found that healthy HDL cholesterol actually increased over the four-week period -- this was very counter-intuitive," said.

HDL, sometimes called "good cholesterol," seems to clean the walls of blood vessels, removing excess "bad cholesterol" that can cause coronary artery disease and transporting it to the liver for processing [in the fairyland of the lipid hypothesis that is, Peter].

It is interesting to see how this has been reported elsewhere:

MedPage today says: Explain to interested patients that this small study suggested that overdoing it on high-fat foods, even during a short holiday period, for instance, and a failure to exercise can cause liver damage.

eh? the researchers said it was the sugar not the fat

NHS Choices says: The study does provide a further reason to avoid overeating (especially food high in saturated fat) if one is needed.

er...the researcher said that "The study showed that the increase in saturated fat correlated with the increase in healthy cholesterol,"

You wouldn't realise it from the way in which it is reported, but it looks like saturated fat is good and sugar is bad!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pacing Strategies.....start fast....

This is an interesting one. A study done to compare different pacing strategies for sprint / middle distance exercise (about 2 minute duration).

The study compared an constant / even pace to two other options - one in which the exercisers started fast but then slowed down and one in which they went the other way - started slow and speeded up.

The start fast and then slow down strategy was more effective than the other two.

Influence of pacing strategy on O2 uptake and exercise tolerance

Seven male subjects completed cycle exercise bouts to the limit of tolerance on three occasions: (1) at a constant work rate (340±57 W; even-pace strategy; ES); (2) at a work rate that was initially 10% lower than that in the ES trial but which then increased with time such that it was 10% above that in the ES trial after 120 s of exercise (slow-start strategy; SS); and, (3) at a work rate that was initially 10% higher than that in the ES trial but which then decreased with time such that it was 10% below that in the ES trial after 120 s of exercise (fast-start strategy; FS). The expected time to exhaustion predicted from the pre-established power–time relationship was 120 s in all three conditions. However, the time to exhaustion was significantly greater (P<0.05) for the FS (174±56 s) compared with the ES (128±21 s) and SS (128±30 s) conditions. In the FS condition, O2 increased more rapidly toward its peak such that the total O2 consumed in the first 120 s of exercise was greater (ES: 5.15±0.78; SS: 5.07±0.83; FS: 5.36±0.84 L; P<0.05 for FS vs ES and SS). These results suggest that a fast-start pacing strategy might enhance exercise tolerance by increasing the oxidative contribution to energy turnover and hence "sparing" some of the finite anaerobic capacity across the transition to high-intensity exercise.

This might be worth bearing in mind if you compete in "sprint" activities - e.g. concept 2 rowing contests?

Inspiration - Dustin Carter

This is getting posted all over the place, but it is inspirational and certainly makes you appreciate what you have.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The latest craze....ropes

It is funny how things suddenly become "fashionable" in this weird subculture of strength and conditioning.....

All of a sudden it seems to be about ropes:

You can also use a towel (to undulate?!), or use the ropes to train for wrestling?

Lots of people seems to be doing this:

Or here

Even the strange Primal Power guy has got into it......

how long before there are certifications in undulating ropes?!

Low Carb diets are good.....but nobody likes to admit it

Dr Eades has been pointing this out - even when there are studies or case histories demonstrating the effectiveness and safety of low carb diets, scientists and journalists do not like to admit it....

Just a few links to illustrate:

A recent study compared the Atkins (extremely low carbohydrate), Zone (low-carbohydrate, high protein), Ornish (very low fat), or USDA / Food LEARN (high carbohydrate / moderate-low fat) diet for 1 year. At the completion of the study, the women assigned to follow the Atkins diet lost more weight (~10 pounds average weight lost in 1 year) and also experienced metabolic effects that were comparable with or more beneficial than the other participants. Now however, it seems like researchers are bending over backwards to say that it was not about the low carb nature of the diet but simply the fact that the successful dieters stuck to the diet. Well maybe that is good? Atkins is easier to stick to?

I don't really know what to make of this one? Maybe the guy just had a stomach upset?
South Beach Diet associated ketoacidosis: a case report Whatever is going on, in the full paper
the researchers make some funny assertions, e.g. they say that a low carb diet produces insulin resistance, but there are studies out there (e.g. here and here) that claim that low carb diets improve insulin sensitivity!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weight training - like fasting - promotes autophagy?

This post is more about joining up a couple of ideas - just me thinking out loud. The following abstract was pointed to to me over the weekend. It looks at some of the effects of resistance training and the role of various amino acids in controlling protein synthesis.

Amino acids taken immediately before or immediately after exercise increase the post-exercise rate of protein synthesis. Therefore a protein that controls protein degradation and amino acid-sensitivity would be a potential candidate for controlling the activation of protein synthesis following resistance exercise.

Ok, now what is interesting is that they then point out a particular protein:

One such candidate is the class III PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase) Vps34 (vacuolar protein sorting mutant 34). Vps34 controls both autophagy and amino acid signalling to mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) and its downstream target p70 S6K1 (S6 kinase 1).

The abstract goes on:

We have identified a significant increase in mVps34 (mammalian Vps34) activity 3 h after resistance exercise, continuing for at least 6 h,

Now it is hard to be clear about what else the full paper is saying because I can only get the abstract, but it seems to say that resistance training promotes autophagy.

Autophagy is a fairly recent discovery in immunology that I have written about before in connection with fasting. Fasting turns on autophagy and now it seems that - potentially - so does resistance training.

Autophagy as I said before:

........... (literally self-eating) a process in which your cells consume and recycle damaged internal material.

The process seems to be triggered when the energy content of the cell declines so that the cell literally consumes itself. It goes after the damaged materials first, so there is a strong link between repair of damaged tissues and fasting or low energy state in the cell. So, it you are over-fed you down regulate cellular repair. You want to go hungy episodically to turn on cellular autophagy and repair those damaged tissues.

Anyway, just some ideas......

Scottish Indoor Rowing Championships

Davie from Crossfit Central Scotland has posted this video of his performance at this weekend's competition here in Edinburgh. Well done Davie! I was off hillwalking, or I might have had a go myself....

Options for making kettlebell exercises harder

This is nothing earth-shattering, but I thought that there were some interesting ideas in this video:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Quick Research Update

I just wanted to point to a few bits and pieces of research I'd spotted in the last couple of days. I don't have any real big insightful commentaries, only wanted to present them for you to take a peek at:

Low-carbohydrate-diet score and risk of type 2 diabetes in women

Objective: The objective was to examine the association between low-carbohydrate-diet score and risk of type 2 diabetes

This was over 20 years and they found that diets lower in carbohydrate and higher in fat and protein do not increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. In fact - the higher the carb intake, the higher the risk of diabetes.

So chalk one up for the low carb diet being healthy over the long term

How we’ve come to believe that overeating causes obesity

Decades of sound studies have continued to show that healthy obese people eat and behave no differently than anyone else to explain why their bodies are bigger. It’s not “overeating,” or eating “unhealthy” foods or not enough “healthy” foods, or too little activity, that explains why some of us are fat and others lean.

An interesting article ( I don't agree with all of it) from Junkfood Science in which Sandy examines the Keys experiment that was also commented on recently by Dr Eades, when he used it to illustrate that there is more to gaining or losing weight than simple equations about calories. It isn't only how much you are eating, rather it is also important to think on what you are eating.

Is there a new component of the Mediterranean diet that reduces inflammation?

A report that higher dietary intakes of choline and betaine in the Greek population reduce inflammation as assessed by several biomarkers in blood........Diets high in choline are also high in eggs and meat; diets high in betaine are likely to be high in plant foods.......

Sounds a bit like a paleo diet

Oh and berries might be good for you....

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Why is weight-training healthy?

A new study indicates why resistance training - more than endurance training - is good for you! The particular type of muscle growth prompted by resistance training counteracted the deleterious effects of a dodgy diet.

Fast/Glycolytic Muscle Fiber Growth Reduces Fat Mass and Improves Metabolic Parameters in Obese Mice

In contrast to the well-established role of oxidative muscle fibers in regulating whole-body metabolism, little is known about the function of fast/glycolytic muscle fibers in these processes. Here, we generated a skeletal muscle-specific, conditional transgenic mouse expressing a constitutively active form of Akt1. Transgene activation led to muscle hypertrophy due to the growth of type IIb muscle fibers, which was accompanied by an increase in strength. Akt1 transgene induction in diet-induced obese mice led to reductions in body weight and fat mass, resolution of hepatic steatosis, and improved metabolic parameters. Akt1-mediated skeletal muscle growth opposed the effects of a high-fat/high-sucrose diet on transcript expression patterns in the liver and increased hepatic fatty acid oxidation and ketone body production. Our findings indicate that an increase in fast/glycolytic muscle mass can result in the regression of obesity and metabolic improvement through its ability to alter fatty acid oxidation in remote tissues.

The associated press release explains things further:
Researchers used a genetic trick in obese mice that caused the mice’s muscles to bulk up as though they had been lifting weights. The researchers found that the “genetically reprogrammed” mice lost fat and showed other signs of metabolic improvement throughout the body. What’s more, those benefits were seen even though the mice continued eating a diet high in both fat and sugar and didn’t increase their physical activity at all.

Walsh’s group developed mice in which they could turn type II muscle growth on or off by flipping a genetic switch specifically in skeletal muscle. The gene they manipulated, known as Akt1, is preferentially activated in skeletal muscle in response to resistance training, but not endurance training, the researchers knew.

Rather than becoming strong and fat “sumo mice” as some of the researchers had expected, the modified mice gained type II muscle and strength while they lost fat. The mice also showed a resolution of hepatic steatosis, otherwise known as fatty liver, and improvements in a variety of other metabolic parameters. The Akt1-driven growth of skeletal muscle counteracted the usual effects of a high-fat, high-sucrose diet on patterns of gene activity in the liver and increased the breakdown of fatty acids there, the researchers showed.

This is an interesting one and shows that there is more to health than diet. There is an impact from exercise too and specifically from resistance training.

This is a call to us all to do more training to focus on the fast / glycotic muscle fibres....

You can read more about the research at:

Weight training melts fat and improves metabolism, says study of obese mice
'Weight training' muscles reduce fat, improve metabolism in mice

Monday, February 4, 2008

It's the first time you've done what I asked on the clean....

Put into it!

Superb 400lb C&J

How does fasting work?

I've posted a lot on Intermittent Fasting in the past. You may be interested in this article which looks at a particular mechanism by which fasting affects the metabolism. I do not pretend to understand all of this, but the conclusion is that fasting downregulates the HPT axis, which is assumed to be an energy-saving mechanism, allowing us to survive through famine and times of food shortage. As I said - I don't know how we apply all this, but it is interesting to think through some of the hormonal changes prompted by fasting. Exercise, all comes down to hormones and gene expression.


I suppose what is also going through my head is that the HPT axis affected by stress - these hormones go up when you are stressed - fight or flight stuff. If fasting sends them the otehr way, I wonder if this is associated with some of the psychological effects - like mental clarity - that are reported with fasting?

Fasting-Induced Changes in the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Thyroid Axis.

Fasting induces profound changes in the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. The alterations observed in humans and rodents are similar in many ways, although they may be more pronounced and more acute in rodents. The molecular mechanisms underlying the resetting of HPT axis regulation in the framework of caloric deprivation are still incompletely understood. Fascinating studies in rats and mice have shown a dramatic downregulation of thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) gene expression in hypophysiotropic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) neurons during fasting. Direct and indirect effects of decreased serum leptin, as well as effects of increased local triiodothyronine (T3) concentrations, in the hypothalamus during food deprivation contribute to the decreased activity of TRH neurons in the PVN. However, the relative contributions of these complex determinants remain to be defined in more detail. Pituitary thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) beta mRNA expression decreases during fasting, and this may be relatively independent of leptin and/or TRH, since leptin administration in this setting does not fully restore pituitary TSH expression, while it does restore TRH expression in the PVN. There may be a role for pituitary peptides, such as neuromedin B, in altered TSH gene expression during fasting. The observed decrease in serum thyroid hormone concentrations results to some extent from diminished thyroidal secretion of thyroid hormones, especially in rodents. Decreased thyroxine (T4) and T3 contribute to the downregulation of T3-responsive genes such as liver D1. The overall result of these complex HPT axis changes in various tissues during fasting is downregulation of the HPT axis, which is assumed to represent an energy-saving mechanism, instrumental in times of food shortage.

The Kettlebell Bible - Book Review

The Kettlebell Bible

I mentioned a few months ago that I had bough some Kettlebells from Stan Pike at Intense Fitness. They are well made and I am enjoying training with them. It was refreshing to be able to buy them from Stan as well, stopping off at his house on a trip down south, and have this great bear of a man explain a little bit of technique to me in his garage gym. If anyone in the UK (especially Scotland or northern England) is thinking of getting some kettlebells - or indeed any other toys - then check out Stan.

Normally in the world of the interweb, kettlebells are associated with a certain Russian and to be fair - wherever you stand on Dragondoor's marketing - Pavel has been responsible for reintroducing this tool to the West in the last 10 years or so. And Pavel's books and DVDs are good - especially at teaching basic technique in detail, with lots of hints and cues to get you going. "Enter the Kettlebell" is an excellent and elegantly simple manual.

Stan's Kettlebell Bible - co-authored with Rob Beauchamp (a former Royal Marine Commando) - is a very different proposition but an excellent addition to any training library. At 235 pages this is an encyclopaedia of programme design, sports science and exercise technique. There is no condescension or mock tsarist argot, just dense information clearly explained and illustrated. It is rare to read the sort of material that is presented here on exercise physiology, warm-ups and stretching - essential to understand, but rarely discussed in this detail.

Not a book to skim through, this Bible will repay repeated study and I would recommend it to anyone. Don't expect an easy read - you will be challenged, but it is worth the effort. You can order it here (I do not get anything for this recommendation by the way)

Local readers may be interested in this upcoming kettlebell contest sponsored by Intense Fitness:


Competition Lifts.

One Handed KB Swings
One Handed KB Snatch
One Hand Hammer Throwing
One Handed Standing KB Throw
The Farmer's Walk.
The Crucifix Strength Challenge
Single Arm Swing-Lock Out and Hold
The Ultimate Centurion Circuit.
Additional Features and Challenges
1. Traditional Archery
2. Horse Shoe Quoits
3. Throwing the Welly
4. Junior Tug O' War for Children
5. Blacksmiths Grip Challenge.
6. Middlebie Pebble Grip Challenge.

Trophy’s will be presented.

Here is a video of last year's event: