Captain Marvel and Neurokinesis

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Nothing lasts. You think it’s going to. You think, ‘Here’s something I can hold on to,’ but it always slips away. 

Status: good. overslept a little bit this morning. not fuzzy, sinuses are clear. My mood: good, not depressed and am generally upbeat.

Writing.

Sitting here struggling to write a review on Captain Marvel. I have that sinking unproductive feeling as I’m staring blankly at the page while intermittently watching the minutes tick past, and then distracting myself with a little YT dopamine loveliness to avoid experiencing that feeling.

I can charitably define it as a hit piece, which I’ve already decided I’m going to post to a number of different review sites. But, I’m hesitating. I’m thinking that this is overly venomous and negative, and at the end of the day I don’t know what I’m going to gain from doing this. Yes, I’m disappointed that they appropriated one of my favourite characters and turned it on its ear with a foreign narrative in order to sell more product. As companies do. However, my two cents won’t change that. Maybe it’s best to concentrate on more productive endeavours.

Fitness.

I’ve been struggling with shoulder injuries for years, tearing both rotator cuffs multiple times and then making numerous mistakes in both treatment and subsequent training regimens which have then perpetuated the injury cycle. Fortunately I’ve learned a little bit along the way, and I now know what to do and what not to do, so it’s not a completely wasted exercise.

Earlier this year I started to feel a pinching in my left shoulder when I raised the elbow above shoulder level. I’m not doing any exercises which require that movement anymore; a result of the frequent injuries and the implementation of preventative measures in order to enable me to workout normally and stay healthy. But I would feel it pinching when putting on a t-shirt or applying deodorant, and while mildly alarming, I did what I normally do: ignore it. As long as I can workout then I’m good, which is not the smartest thing to do.

I finally decided that it’s been long enough and I should probably have someone take a look at it before it get’s worse. (Side note: I need to start rewarding that kind of productive self-care type behaviour.) In any case, I booked an appointment with an RMT I’ve used in the past to see if the issue could be resolved.

Calling Tim an RMT is not the best descriptor. A kinesiologist by training, he’s also certified in a number of different techniques to promote healing and alleviate pain from sports injuries. And he clearly has a passion for what he does. I booked an ART (deep tissue massage) session online, but when I arrived he suggested neurokinetic therapy instead, explaining that this will permanently solve the problem.

It is honestly a very odd treatment; a combination of light touching, functional movement and viewing cue cards with either an ‘X’ or an ‘=’ sign on it. The end result however far exceeded expectations. At the end of the session, and even now as I write this, the pain is gone and the shoulder is moving freely. Tim explained that the muscles surrounding the rotator cuff had contracted and become “locked” in place which was preventing the shoulder from rotating properly when I moved it in specific ways. The end result of which was the rotator cuff muscle would get pinched between the bones in the shoulder, thus the pinching feeling. By releasing the “locked” muscles, the shoulder was able to rotate properly and therefore was no longer pinching the rotator cuff muscle.

It’s a fkn miracle. I’m so impressed with the treatment. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I move back to the island, because I’m pretty sure they don’t have this level of (cutting edge) sports/physical therapy there.

Photography.

Finished processing the food photos from my visit to The Chase last Saturday night. Other than the desert, the food wasn’t very photogenic. Despite my poor photography skills the end results were passable, but not great. I’m beginning to suspect that I don’t have the right lens for this kind of photography, but a poor workman blames his tools, so I’ll take it as a learning experience. I’m likely not going to post these to IG as I don’t think they’re good enough, but I will put them on YT for completeness’ sake.

Nikon D3400
1/80 sec
f/3.5
18mm
ISO 1600

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Hack Your Hormones: 5 Natural Shortcuts For More Sex, More Muscle, and More Power

Reblogged from Scrawny to Brawny here: http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/hack-your-hormones

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Learn how to safely and naturally manipulate your hormone levels (including testosterone) with 5 simple workout, nutrition, and lifestyle tips.

The Sex Education That Wasn’t

I have fleeting memories of my junior high “sex education” class: A well-meaning but clueless PE teacher, complicated chalkboard diagrams of various glands and body parts, and lots of penis jokes followed by hysterical laughter. (We were 13, what do you expect?)

Yeah, we were just a bunch of prepubescent boys about to enter a period in our lives where much of our existence would be governed by hormones. Too bad we had no idea what the heck was going on or what the teacher was talking about.

We’re older now, but most guys still don’t understand the chemicals flowing through their blood — or how they can naturally manipulate those hormones to become bigger and better men.

This article will give you a quick primer on the things you need to know — and how to put that knowledge into action immediately with our Top 5 Hormone-Boosting Tips.

What The Heck Is a Hormone?

Hormones are like tiny chemical messengers that transmit information from one part of the body to another. Most hormones are produced by glands located throughout the body and are collectively known as the “endocrine system.”

Once the gland produces their respective hormones, these hormones are secreted into the bloodstream where they travel to all parts of the body looking for particular cells.

Each cell has receptor sites (imagine a locked door) for specific hormones (imagine the matching key), which can open and enter the cell. Once inside, the hormone goes to work flipping on and off switches that govern pretty much every function in the body.

Hormones don’t last forever and must be made and released at precise times to maintain optimal balance within the body.

4 Hormones To Hack

So here’s where the fun comes in: you can easily and safely “hack” your endocrine system and strategically influence certain hormones and use them to your advantage to help you build more muscle, increase your sex drive, and generally feel more powerful.

The hormones we’ll focus on are testosterone, growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and insulin.

For easy and quick reading, the most important points are bolded. If you want to skip the science, just skim down and read the section, “Top 5 Ways To Naturally Boost Your Hormones.”

Testosterone

Testosterone is a steroid hormone that has androgenic and anabolic effects in both men and women. It’s considered the daddy of all hormones and has many important functions like regulating libido, energy, bone health, immune function and muscular development.

Special cells in the testes convert cholesterol into testosterone when they get a signal from the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. Testosterone is then secreted in a circadian pattern. Though no two guys have the same cyclical pattern, it’s safe to assume that for most guys, testosterone levels peak early in the morning and slowly tapers off as the day progresses.

Growth Hormone and Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1

The pituitary gland makes and secretes growth hormone (GH) in a pulsating manner, much like testosterone. However, unlike testosterone, GH levels peak at night with a big spike in the first couple of hours of sleep and smaller spikes every four hours or so.

Once GH enters the bloodstream it positively affects metabolic functions, glycogen production, protein synthesis, fat metabolism and structural elements such as bone and cartilage. Perhaps the coolest thing GH does is to stimulate the production of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 triggers a chain of events that ultimately make your muscles grow.

It appears that GH mostly impacts the fat burning process, while IGF-1 mostly impacts muscle growth. So GH and IGF-1 working together lead to the greatest results in looking better.

Insulin

Insulin is a hormone secreted in low levels by the pancreas and will spike proportionately in response to increased blood sugar levels, usually following the ingestion of food and/or beverages. As the level of blood sugar subside so do insulin secretion levels.

Once insulin is in the blood it transports nutrients like glucose, amino acids and fatty acids into tissue cells. If these nutrients are shuttled into muscle cells, then the muscles will grow. Conversely, if these nutrients are shuttled into fat cells, then body fat increases.

The key is to get insulin to store more of the nutrients into the muscle cells and less into the fat cells by increasing insulin sensitivity in the muscle cells while decreasing insulin sensitivity in the fat cells. Doing this turns insulin into a powerful anabolic hormone.

Top 5 Ways To Naturally Boost Your Hormones

Here are the top five strategies you can do today to hack your body and improve the levels of anabolic hormones flowing through your veins:

1. Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

To place the body into an anabolic (muscle-building) state, adequate sleep is essential. While you’re sleeping, protein metabolism occurs at a more proficient rate, mainly due to a big spike in GH release within the first hour or so of sleep. Then, smaller bursts of GH are secreted about every four hours. The more sleep you get, the more GH you produce.

On the other end, a lack of sleep contributes to an increase in cortisol production, a catabolic, muscle-damaging hormone, which will lower testosterone levels. Not good.

 

2. Do stress-reducing activities like meditation or yoga every day.

The modern way of life that most of us have become accustomed to also creates a constant, high degree of daily stress. Being overly stressed will quickly increase cortisol levels, cause testosterone levels to plummet and decreases the secretion of GH. Doing a daily stress-reducing activity will allow you to manage daily stress and minimize any negative effects.

 

3. Perform regular, high-intensity exercise with short rest periods.

Compound, multi-joint exercises (think squats, lunges, pull-ups, and presses) at high-intensity with minimal rest between sets increases GH, IGF-1 and testosterone secretion. The release of this hormonal trifecta is proportionate to intensity. The more intense a workout, the more anabolic hormone is released.

The daily frequency and amplitude of these hormones will increase when this type of exercise is followed consistently. (That means you gotta make it to the gym and actually follow your program!) This will allow more anabolic hormones to pulsate through your blood more frequently throughout the day.

 

4. Drink a protein/carbohydrate drink within an hour after working out.

The post-workout drink is arguably the most important “meal” of the day for anyone looking to build muscle. High-quality, fast digesting protein consumption immediately after a workout allows for the proper “building blocks” to be in plentiful supply.

Adding some carbs into the mix will create an insulin spike that will shuttle all of those muscle-building nutrients directly into the muscle cells, jumpstarting the repair and regrowth process.

 

5. Eliminate or significantly reduce your intake of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and other drugs.

If you want to be super-anabolic, you need to stop or seriously reduce the amount of alcohol, caffeine and other drugs you take.

Alcohol interferes with protein synthesis, dramatically reduces testosterone levels, decreases GH secretion and lowers insulin sensitivity causing nutrients to be delivered into fat cells rather than muscle cells. Caffeine and other drugs will elevate cortisol levels, which drive down testosterone production as previously mentioned.

(It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some coffee or a beer a few times per week; it just means you need to be aware of the potential effects.)

Warning: 3 Things That NEGATIVELY Affect Your Hormones

Now that we’ve gone over 5 things you can do to naturally boost your hormones, let’s quickly talk about 3 things that can negatively affect your hormones.

Interestingly, the factors that decrease insulin sensitivity in the muscle cells and suppress testosterone, GH, IGF-1 levels are essentially the same.

Here are the top three things to avoid:

Stress

Overtraining, sporadic or poor sleep patterns, lack of quality nutrition, excess alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, drug use and environmental stressors are all forms of stress that will cause the body to limit testosterone, GH and IGF-1 production, decrease insulin sensitivity in the muscle cells and in turn increase stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine A.K.A. adrenaline.

Aging

All right, so you can’t really avoid this. But it’s good that you know this, too. GH and testosterone level drop significantly around age 30 and will continue to drop by as much as 10% every decade thereafter. This will decrease insulin sensitivity and decreased insulin sensitivity can escalate the aging process leading to a vicious downward spiral.

(Note: even though we’re getting older, hope is not lost. You can still boost your natural hormones significantly by following our 5 Tips above.)

Extra Body Fat

Extra body fat will cause insulin to shuttle more nutrients into fat cells. (Which you don’t want.) Also, extra body fat throws the optimal testosterone and estrogen ratio out of whack causing more testosterone to be converted into estrogen. Just another reason to stay relatively lean.

Your Homework: Follow The Top 5

Now that you have a basic knowledge of the hormones that make you a man, try following our top 5 tips. Don’t worry about trying to follow them all at once, however. That’s how plans fail.

Instead, pick just one strategy from below — the one that sounds the easiest to you — and practice it for two weeks without missing a day.

Give it a few days and you may just feel like a brand new man.

  • Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep every      night.
  • Do a stress-reducing activity like      meditation or yoga every day.
  • Perform regular, high-intensity exercise      with short rest periods.
  • Drink a protein/carbohydrate drink      within an hour after working out.
  • Eliminate or significantly reduce your      intake of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and other drugs.

 

About the Author: Calvin Buhler is a Scrawny to Brawny Coach. You can find him on Facebook.  

 

Walking the Earth, Having Adventures

I’ve decided that from now on whenever someone asks me what I do for a living I’m going to tell them, ‘I walk the Earth having adventures’. Piloted it on some woman at a bar on Saturday night, but couldn’t keep a straight face when I said it. Will try again though and report back on the responses received.

 

 

The Start of the Journey

At the gym where I’ve been working out, I’ve been paired up with a personal trainer to help me take my fitness to the next level – I was convinced by the petite and cute New Client Onboarding Trainer, Jessica, that I can become the Greek Adonis I’ve always wanted to be as long as I eat properly and train “balls out” (her words not mine). I think she meant the latter figuratively instead of literally. On my first day with the trainer I was expecting an affable professional who is more concerned with what people think of him/her than getting actual results, much like the pedestrian lot at The Athletic Club, but no, this was not meant to be. The first words out of his mouth were: you are going to hate me. And after 2 weeks I can honestly say I do hate him. The previous weekend, after two training sessions, I couldn’t raise my arms over my head. Last week, after training legs, I couldn’t get my hands close enough to my feet to tie my shoelaces (Luckily, a female classmate took pity and tied them for me). Over the weekend I couldn’t completely straighten my arms nor bend them enough to scratch my chin, which was the result of our training session on Friday. Life is good. Life will be even better after I parade around Jessica’s office in crotchless workout gear – see, I’ll tell her, I WAS listening to you and not staring at your boobs. 

Krav Maga. In the last 2 weeks I’ve been hit in the crotch 3 times, had an open palm to the face, been scratched so deeply on my right arm I’m sure I’ll lose some of the tattoo at some point and as of Saturday I’m sporting two red lesions down the right side of my neck. I bought a cup and a mouth guard yesterday and am feeling much smarter for it. I’m loving every second of it.

 

 

Fitness

Now that the volunteer work has been completed, I’ve been devoting more time to my training, which at times can be up to 3 hours a day. As a result I’m bigger, and leaner. I can leap over small buildings. I eat nails and Advil for breakfast. My gait has changed. I vacillate between prowling the city streets at the ready position, my massive lats holding my arms out at 90 degree angles from my body, and moving like a hundred year old man with severe arthritis. I’m gingerly making my way down the stairs of a local eatery, the railing a welcome companion, when the bartender calls out behind me, would you like some help, SIR?!?! Young lady, if by help you mean me placing my hands on your ass while I navigate these stairs then yes, I’m confident it will assist in my safe passage.   

Increased time in the dojo means more opportunity for injury. I’ve rolled my ankle. My hands are perpetually sore. A couple of weeks ago, I took an elbow to the jaw and was sporting a nice sized goose egg as a result. A palm to the face during a particularly intense training session resulted in a red lesion which stretched down my forehead between my eyes and ended on my nose. The instructor took one look at me and broke out in a broad smile. Dude, I said as I examined the damage in one of the dojo wall mirrors, I’ve got a date tomorrow night, what the f*ck?!?! Trust me, he chuckled, it’s an improvement.

 

 

Against The Grain

Here is an interesting blog by John T Marohn on diversity, addiction/recovery, psychological growth issues, global perspectives, the disenfranchised,  aesthetics, and cultural values. You can access it here.

 

 

First Krav Maga Class

When I first toured the Krav Maga dojo 2 weeks ago the owner told me, “we train until we puke”. I thought this was a bit of macho hyperbole, but nope, every class has been INSANELY intense. At the end of each session we’re soaked to the bone and utterly spent – you leave with nothing, every ounce of effort has been left in the dojo. Each class is structured the same way: warm ups, fitness, drills, practice the lesson’s maneuver solo, then with a partner and finally in a group. The class builds in intensity until we hit the final group exercise where it crescendos in intense group combat. This past class we were split into groups of 5, a defender and 4 attackers. The first attacker’s goal was to choke the defender from behind, the other three were to push/hit the defender with tombstone pads. The defender’s job was to execute the maneuver we’d been practicing earlier on the first attacker and then take control of the other three attackers using successive and rapid fist, elbow and knee strikes. For kicks and giggles, and to ramp up the intensity during the exercise, the instructors played very LOUD speed metal music, flicked the lights on and off (and then turned them off altogether – the only light in the dojo came flooding in from the waiting area), and then circled the groups while screaming at the defenders, ”HARDER!!!! FASTER!!!! HIT THAT FCKN BAG!!!”. It’s just utter chaos – a mass of moving bodies in a dark, confined space. Deep into the exercise all of this insanity falls away; I couldn’t hear the music or the shouting anymore, I was barely aware of the dark, it was just me and the tombstone pad (or that prick trying to get his hands around my neck) – focus. The best part of all this? Sitting in the waiting area after class comparing swollen, skinned knuckles with my teammate Jordan, a pixie-ish blond who swore like a drunken sailor throughout the combat exercise. She asks, have you done martial arts before? Your form is very good and you hit REALLY hard! Excellent complement. Excellent class.