The 4 Horsemen will usher in a new age of fitness. The traditional versions of Conquest, War, Famine and Death are represented in our focus on Goals, Competition, Nutrition and Metabolic-conditioning. We firmly believe that strength, power and fitness are best achieved by utilizing CrossFit methods and the 4 Horsemen of Lifts: Squats, Presses, Deadlifts and O-lifts.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Get Outdoors

(Flying sideways off a tree and over a ledge at Lindeman Lake, BC.)

Just do something fun and outdoors! It's summer time get off your butt and go hiking, swimming, running, etc. you can even try some gymnastics (just remember that nature's equipment is not as structurally sound as engineered equipment ie. the structural integrity of cedar bark is not enough to support a flag from a 165# individual - see pic). Getting some fresh air and a little sun it will do you good.

Elbow lever - Place hands facing backwards on object. Stab elbows into stomach on either side of belly button. Lift head and legs slowly until straight. Open elbow angle to bring body horizontal. (Tutorial)

Sunday, August 23, 2009


T-shirts are coming! The crest will be on the back, the front will have Conquest, Death, Famine and War around the collar. Does anyone want a saying on the back as well? Add your sayings to the comments section.

"the iron never lies"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Survival of the Fattest

" All God's creatures get fat and have high cholesterol and high blood pressure and then go to sleep, or at least starve for sugar for a while. That's why only our pets have heart disease, get too fat to walk, and have cancer. They live with us." T.S Wiley, Lights Out

In nature you could not live off sugar for very long, seeing as plants only fruit in one season and flower in the next. With seasons leaving food supply unpredictable we only had one option-obesity. A major killer now was once the key to survival. In order to put on enough fat to live off of during winter months you had to become insulin resistant when the carbohydrate (sugar) supply was available. The goal was to eat so much sugar that your muscle cells would close up shop (become resistant) to the effects of insulin and therefore store all incoming sugar as fat or pumped into cholesterol production. The evolutionary purpose of insulin is insulation.

" The point of being really fat is to keep you from starving and freezing. Insulin stores excess energy as internal fat around your vital organs first, before you ever see it ripple under your skin. The purpose is to insulate your heart, lungs, and digestive system from the cold, just as the fetus in a pregnant women is protected with a layer of fat energy."

This higher than normal insulin would flip the switch on increased cholesterol production to keep your cell membranes from freezing. The greatest evolutionary edge would come with the out of control high blood sugar seen in type 2 diabetics .

" A higher than normal concentration of blood sugar would keep the interior of your cells from freezing because of the effect carbohydrates have on water molecules. All anti-freeze, even what you use in your car, tastes sweet."

Type 2 Diabetes is truly the end-state of the vestigial hibernation instinct. The problem is we don't live in the real world anymore, the food supply (sugar) never runs out and we never turn the lights off!

" As a mammal, you are hardwired to eat sugar, make babies, store fat, and then sleep it off, and then do it again and again."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Over-training or Under-recovery

When performance drops the 1st question you need to ask is WHY? Most likely it is due to over-training or under-recovery both terms are basically interchangeable. When you are over-trained it is because you are have not fully recovered, therefore over-training is simply under-recovery. You must be very careful to not train in excess of what you can recover from, it is all about time management - how much rest do you need between workouts to be recovered. Will one day of rest allow you to recover from 1, 2, or 3 days in a row of hard workouts or do you need 2 days of rest for every 3 days of workout. Finding the right work to rest ratio is a tricky task and differs from individual to individual and also varies for each individual based on their current workload, nutrition and sleep habits. Workload or Volume is the sum of the loads you lift multiplied by the repetitions you perform (eg. 300# x 20 reps = a 6000# workload, 150# x 60 reps = 9000# workload), usually it is easiest to disregard the warm-up sets and only calculate this for the work sets. Depending on your program you may want to have a high workload (muscle gaining phase) or a low workload (right before a competition), but either way, the higher the workload the longer it takes to recover. Nutrition has a profound impact on recovery - you need to put the right building blocks into the body so it can repair itself (branched chain amino acids, glutamine, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, calcium etc.) not to mention you have to refuel for the next workout. For proper eating check out Foundations and Post-workout-feeding or check out Crossfit Cowtown's blog, or Robb Wolf's site. I recommend that my athletes eat a fairly "clean" diet (ie. as close to paleo as possible) to reduce inflammation and auto-immune responses caused by grains etc., to increase their rate of recovery. Protein:Carb:Fat ratios will depend on the needs of the athletes but most O-lifters can keep the carb intake very low. The last major aspect of recovery is sleep. As an athlete you need a minimum 8 hrs of sleep in order to recover I recommend 9-10 hrs for anyone wishing to be a highly competitive athlete. Make sure this is quality sleep - Super dark room (with no lights). When you are sleeping your body is performing the majority of the repair work. Workload, Nutrition and Rest are the main factors to recovery but there are also small things you can do to aid recovery. These minor aspects include - post-workout stretching, PNF stretching, foam rolling, contrast showers/baths, Epsom salts. The Most important thing is to listen to your body! If you are overly sore, tired, sleepy, or tight you might be on your way to being over-trained, remember it is better to take more rest than not enough. Use the rest-day to actually rest!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Warm-up!

A good warm up is the key to a successful workout. In general, the shorter the workout the longer the warm-up! The quicker or more explosive you are while doing something under load the higher the potential for disaster/injury. High acceleration = High Force (F=m*a) especially at high mass/weight. So if you are going for a slow jog you probably don't need to warm up the muscles because the jogging is such a low stress/shock on the system that it will essentially be your warm-up. However if you are going to hit 6x50m sprints then you are probably going to want to do some amount of warm-up - like a light jog, then a faster jog, then a slow run, then a fast run and finally a sprint at ~90%. The same goes for heavy lifting do a few reps at 45% (5reps), 65% (3reps), 85% (2reps) before attempting your first lift (100%). The warm-up should not be too hard and essentially just there to get your muscles full of blood and loose, allowing you to move all your joints/limbs through the full ranges of motion needed in the exercises you will be doing. Do the warm-up at a comfortable pace but don't take to long, save some time for the actual workout!

My favourite way to warm-up is as follows:
1.) 2 minutes skipping - singles (so easy to do, very little range of motion, very low effort but get the heart pumping)
2.) dynamic movement (arm and leg circles, toe touches etc. just get those limbs moving in a full range of motion)
3.) basic body movements (air squats, pushups, situps, pullups, back extensions - pretty basic stuff, nothing fancy but it warms up the muscles in a large range of motion)
4.) the sticking points. I only use static stretching on anything that is super tight - hips, and ankles are the big ones here. The preferred method to loosening up the hamstrings, glutes and quads and pretty much everything else is PNF. *Note* most static stretching should be done post-workout as it can have a detrimental effect on performance if done pre-workout (hips are usually only exception to the rule).
5.) If needed foam roller on the sore areas
6.) raise the heart rate a bit (all that stretching can lower the heart rate and you start to get cold, you should have a slight sweat on before you start the workout) I like to do skipping -Double Unders.
7.) Practise - go through any movements which you are unsure of or rusty that are in your workout. If it is a lift do reps with the bar and then 45%, 65%, 85%.
8.) Mentally focus on the task at hand - take a minute or two to rest and think about how you will complete the workout, close your eyes and image yourself doing each exercise to completion until you are finished
9.) Grab some water to rehydrate, and chalk up.
10.) Kick butt on the workout.

Competitive O-lift training.

The training protocol for O-lifting can be found at 4 Horsemen Weightlifting Club (posted hopefully at 7pm the day before) so for all those interested in competing you can follow along. Each day there is an AM lift and a PM workout, you are expected to complete all the AM lifts and at least 3 out of 5 PM workouts, additionally you must take at least 1 full rest day (the other may be an active rest day). The AM lift classes will be from at 6:45 or 7:30am and the PM classes are the usual 2pm, 6pm and 7pm times. For those interested the Blue Mountain Open is Aug. 22nd in Collingwood - registration ends August 8th!