17 Apr
2013

Gabatrol Review

Alright, gabatrol. What the heck is it? What does it do? What’s in it?

Here’s an Amazon link if you just want to buy it based on recommendation alone:

So, aside from rare occasions, Chuck and I very rarely drink alcohol. That aside, I tend to have some anxiety issues and Chuck has frequent trouble falling asleep. Gabatrol is something that bridges these gaps and helps relax the body and brain, without toxicity or calories. No, it won’t get you “messed up” to the point of replicating being drunk, but it is great for overcoming stress and anxiety. This is especially true for people who can’t fall asleep at night because their mind is racing.

Here are some words from the Gabatrol folks before we get into the ingredients:

“Will Gabatrol work for me?
Most people who take Gabatrol experience increased relaxation, a sense of well-being, and reduced stress & anxiety within 30 minutes and some as quick as 15 minutes. The success rate of Gabatrol is extraordinarily high, with as many as 98% of users reporting positive results. Please keep in mind, however, that every person is different and individual results will vary.

How quickly does Gabatrol take effect?
Gabatrol works in about 15 minutes on an empty stomach and about 30-60 minutes on a full stomach.

How long does a single dose of Gabatrol continue working?
On average, Gabatrol’s effects last for 4-6 hours after a single dose. Of course, individual results vary, and some users report that Gabatrol continues working for eight hours or more.”

There you go, now let’s talk about what’s in it and how it works.

First up, Phenyl-GABA (4-Amino-3-Phenyl-Butyrate or 4A3P). While GABA is chemically an amino acid, we’re mostly interested in it being the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in your central nervous system (CNS). Traditionally GABA does not cross the blood brain barrier, but Phenyl-GABA does. This is important because it allows the oral ingestion to more effectively act on the brain. By increasing the amount of GABA in the brain, we are benefited by have relaxing and anti-anxiety effects.

L-Theanine (Theanine) is an amino acid that can also cross the blood-crain barrier. This guy increases GABA production as well as serotonin and dopamine, which are both considered “feel good” neurotransmitters. Theanine has been shown to reduce mental and physical stress, and can produce feelings of relaxation. It may also improve cognition and mood while also promoting alpha wave production in the brain. This helps people feel relaxed and positive.

L-Tyrosine (4-hydroxyphenylalanine) is yet another amino acid in Gabatrol. While it does contribute to an increase in dopamine, studies have found tyrosine to be beneficial during periods of stress, fatigue, prolonged work and sleep deprivation. It seems to be correlated with reductions in stress hormone levels and improvements in physical and cognitive performance. Another added benefit is that tyrosine helps maintain healthy levels of thyroid hormones which are super important for metabolism and fat utilization.

Fourth, we have L-Glycine (AminoAcetic Acid or 2AAA), yet another amino acid. In conjunction with all of the other ingredients, one of the best effects of this amino acid is normalizing electrical signals across neurons. Good ahead and think of this as making your brain function in a more optimal manner. Additionally, it is a anti-oxidant, an immune system stimulant, and a detoxifying agent that also gives cardiovascular support. If any of you tend to have frequent headaches, you might be deficient in glycine as brain tissue samples have shown that over two-thirds of migraine patients have reduced glycine levels.

Moving along, Taurine (Aminoethanesulfonic Acid or Taurine), yep, another amino acid. Like glycine, it works to optimize brain function by stabilizing electrical signals across neurons. There are also additional benefits as being a powerful anti-inflammatory that also benefits the immune system.

Next is, Sceletium tortuosum (Kanna), this guy isn’t an amino acid and is probably something that you haven’t heard of. Kanna is a rare, South African herb that for the last 400 years has been documented for its ability to reduce depression, increase tolerance to hunger and stress, and elevate mood. It is also often found that intoxicating doses can cause euphoria, initially with stimulation and later with sedation. Some people also find it contributes to increased personal insight, interpersonal ease, a meditative, grounded feeling (without any perceptual dulling), and enhanced tactile and sexual response.

Finally, our last ingredient is Bioperine, which is responsible for enhancing the bioavailibility of the ingredients in Gabatrol through increased absorption; it makes the other ingredients more efficiently absorbed and utilized in the body.

Well, there you go. Want to reduce stress and anxiety while also improving mood and sense of well-being (while also improving many internal funtions)? Give the Gabatrol a try and let us know what you think.

18 Mar
2013

A Game of Inches… I Wish.

hard-football-hitThe following quote has some naughty language, you’ve been warned:

” I don’t know what to say, really. Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives. All comes down to today, and either, we heal as a team, or we’re gonna crumble. Inch by inch, play by play. Until we’re finished. We’re in hell right now, gentlemen. Believe me. And, we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb outta hell… one inch at a time. Now I can’t do it for ya, I’m too old. I look around, I see these young faces and I think, I mean, I’ve made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I, uh, I’ve pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who’s ever loved me. And lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror. You know, when you get old, in life, things get taken from you. I mean, that’s… that’s… that’s a part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losin’ stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying! I’ll tell you this, in any fight it’s the guy whose willing to die whose gonna win that inch. And I know, if I’m gonna have any life anymore it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch, because that’s what living is, the six inches in front of your face. Now I can’t make you do it. You’ve got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now I think ya going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. Your gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it your gonna do the same for him. That’s a team, gentlemen, and either, we heal, now, as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys, that’s all it is. Now, what are you gonna do?” -Al Pacino “Tony D’Amato” Any Given Sunday

Lots of pieces in there that apply to life, but the context of this post is the fitness game.

When you first jump into CrossFit, it’s a game of miles. This is especially true if you don’t have an athletic background or if your diet has been abysmal for years. Every singlecrossfit-training workout is some kind of success, every single week your body composition is better, and every time you touch a bar you set a PR. These are the good times where life is easy and you can do no wrong. A handful of complex movements and a 70% diet puts you in the best shape that you’ve ever been. This is the high school of your CrossFit experience.

This road paved in yellow bricks gives way to games of yards and feet. But hey now, turn that frown upside down, life is still good! You’re still hitting more lifts than you’re missing. You’re still catching sweet glimpses of your new found abs in random reflections. You’ve actually learned how to move both your body and external objects. Hell, you’ve done some things that you never thought were possible. You still get to taste success on a regular basis, you just have to work a little bit harder for it. This is the college of your CrossFit experience.

You’re working hard now and not all days are fun, but you’re proud. You’ve earned some awesome PRs, but they’re getting smaller these days. You still get to make sweet notes to yourself in your workout log, but the pages are getting a little frayed around the edges. Compared to where you started, you’ve become superhuman. You can muscle up, snatch, and handstand. The high school kids want to be you. It’s not all fun and games, but you know that the difficulty and sacrifice are necessary. In this life-cycle metaphor, the game of inches is your first real job.

Chuck_GSX_Outlaw DB WODThe game of inches in CrossFit? That’s a short lived experience. Most of us that have been around for a while aren’t really sure where that went. It’s time to move in centimeters. You’ll look back at your workout log and try to remember what it felt like to write “PR!” on page after page. Oh, and that workout log? The pages are wrinkled, torn, and stained some off color of brown that’s only found in hotels built in the 1950’s; years, coffee, sweat, and blood have taken their toll. The sweet notes to yourself? They’ve been replaced with things like: “Shitty day.” “Try harder.” “FINISH BACK!” “WTF!?!?” and the simple minded math of percentage work that is always just rounded up regardless of where it falls. You forget what it’s like to not be sore. You miss lifts, often. You throw things and scream, often. You’ve kicked the plates on a loaded bar, hard. This is your dead-end job that has you leaving Fight Club on repeat.

But you know what?

“It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth.” -Thomas Fuller A Pisgah-Sight Of Palestine And The Confines Thereof

This symphony of failure and frustration breaks and reveals a beautiful paradigm shift. You start to realize how awesome it is that you can recognize the minor faults in your Snatch and Clean & Jerk. You’re okay with planning and running a 6 week cycle to PR a single lift. You’re happy with very literal inches, centimeters, and seconds of progress in your Front Lever and Planche. You hang out with the “high school” and “college” kids to let them know just how good they have it and to give themcouple__s_sunrise_beach_walk_by_bfarrell-d4yr3b4 advice for their “first job.”

You realize that you’re the best version of yourself that you’ve ever been, not because of your body composition or your lifts, but because of your character and determination. This is the career. This is the perfect spouse and beautiful baby. This is the white picket fence. This is home.

7 Mar
2013

13.1 Thoughts

I know it’s from last year, but take notes on the video.

CrossFit Games Open 13.1

Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:
40 Burpees
75/45 pound Snatch, 30 reps
30 Burpees
135/75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
20 Burpees
165/100 pound Snatch, 30 reps
10 burpees
210/120 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

Okay, so 13.1, here’s the secret sauce: Don’t move like a douche bag!

What most of you will see in your gyms will be sloppy, un-paced, inefficient movements. That will be for both the Burpees and the Snatch. You’re looking at 17:00 regardless and the majority of people in 12.1 hit around 100 burpees in 7:00. Moral of that piece of our story? Don’t worry about flying through the burpees at a “Fran” type pace, just so you can start missing lifts at 165/100. Pick a solid pace and work on consistency in your burpee pieces. Also pay attention to your hips and foot placement, avoid shooting the hip high from the bottom of the burpee and resetting to the ball of the foot as you come up. Try to pop from the top of the pushup position to getting flat footed as early as possible. Save your legs and lower back for the weightlifting pieces as much as possible.

Once you make it into the snatches, focus on your positioning and efficiency. Also, with the lighter/earlier sets, break it up even if you don’t feel like you need to. Remember the above video? If you took notes, you’ll have noted that two of the best exercisers on the planet deliberately breakup even the lightest snatch. Avoid unnecessary fatigue and failure like the plague. Nice measured reps are where it’s at.

Fast forward to 4:18. Watch the deliberate pull under. This is were you will see the good snatchers in the CrossFit community start to walk away from the slopfest clowns.  Under fatigue, this will start showing itself as light as the 135/75 set. Once you’re 70 burpees in and you start getting into moderate weight snatches, use your hips as much as possible and concentrate on pulling under into the power snatch receiving position. Don’t pull from the ground with the hips high and try to muscle snatch. Ass down, chest up, bar into the hip, elbows wide and back, and pull under. No “Diamond Dave’s” action.

Snatch with your hips, not your feet. Having to hit that super deliberate jump in all the burpees is going to smoke your quads going into the heavier weight snatches. If you’re only thinking “jump, jump, jump,” you’re not going to be able to hit the heavier weights. Keep your heels in and use your hips.

hips

Remember, the boys and girls who hit a single rep at 210/120 are going to score much higher than the boys and girls who make it to 165/100 first, but don’t make it past that.

Never be in a rush to fail and miss reps.

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