In a week filled with news one story stands out head (I apologize about the bad pun(s) to come, please forgive me now before you keep reading, but I really fear you'll get it soon enough) and shoulders above the rest.
I am not referring to the Primaries between the democratic front runners.
However, I'm sure by now you know that the biggest story from last week is of course THIS one.
Not since the invention of Viagra have so many men across the world breathed a collective sigh of "Thank You God!"
As it turns out...uhhh...taking matters into ones own hand or hands does not lead to blindness or excess hairiness in unwanted places after all. It, in fact, leads to a happier and healthier life by reducing the risk of prostate cancer for especially industrial men.
Which of course means that hundreds of millions of men around the world can now honestly turn to their significant other, and look them in the eye, and with a straight face say, "I'm just trying to reduce my risk of cancer and lead a healthy lifestyle," as they fly solo.
As I read this story, I couldn't help but wonder what other long established taboos are counter productive and perhaps even good for us. Here's a few suggestions of such practices, taboos, and established norms that I hope some other enterprising Australian scientist will decide to study, and hopefully debunk as being good or bad for athletes.
How many times have you heard that stretching is essential to good health and fitness? I remember as early as elementary school having the often repeated mantra of stretching (before AND after exercise) drilled into my head. The funny thing about the stretching is that it is always being preached by the naturally pliable and gifted Gummi yoga coaches of the world.
You never see a 300 pound linebacker type who can barely touch his knees going on about the importance of pre and post exercise stretching. No sir, this hulk of a man lifts weights, runs up and down the football field a few times, grabs a towel, and jumps into his Cadillac Escalade for a quick dash to the local steak or rib shack right after he's done with his workout.
What if it turns out that a cushy ride in a heated leather seat, listening to your favorite music, followed by a high sugar and protein meal is the best post exercise routine you can possibly do? Just image the sound of all those empty yoga studies around that world. Are you listening? Do you hear anything? No, now that would be something truly transcendental.
Big Belly and Curvaceous Chest
When you think about it a big belly or an especially curvaceous chest is really aerodynamic? Has somebody seriously studied the aerodynamic benefits of a large tummy or a bountiful chest? For Pete's Sake, the newest and most expensive triathlon bikes now even come with areo brakes and cables. Just how much air does a cable really displace or block?
With all this attention paid to such tiny pieces of equipment how can scientist truly ignore the human body? I don't know about you, but when I run I feel like my round and slippery belly is breaking the wind like a sleek ship cutting through rough sees. Or am I confusing washboard with washtub stomach again as the ideal runner's body type?
How many times have you been told about the importance of adequate hydration to exercise? I think the current recommendation is that you bring about 500 water bottles to your next spin class and drink one every time you either stand up or sit down.
However, you may recall the recent news that scientist just debunked the notion of drink 800 quarts of water per day. A recommendation that I must say had all of us walking around with those one gallon purple mountain climber bottles of water all day. The newest and greatest thinking is that you drink when you are thirsty.
Wow, who would have guessed?
So now guess what?
When I'm running, or spinning, or flying solo, I'm not all that thirsty. In fact, I only tend to get thirsty after heavy exercise. And by the way water is really heavy. I have enough trouble dragging my areo washtub belly around the neighborhood on my daily jog without the mountain climber bottle of water strapped to my fuel belt.
I say it is high time that somebody does some serious research into this need for this so called hydration "fact" before we all strap a gallon of water to our backs like some deranged and dehydrated camel in the Sahara. Oh..yea..never mind, we already do that.
Two simple questions:
1) What's wrong with yellow pee?
2) What's wrong with getting some sleep before your next race?
The common and accepted "race urination wisdom" states that you should be peeing clear the night before your big race because that indicates you are fully hydrated. It also means that you'll spend the night before your big race running to the bathroom like a 60-year-old man who didn't take enough matters into his own hands when he was in his twenties.
I think somebody needs to seriously study if peeing a golden steam of yellow the night before your next race may indeed lead to a good night's sleep, and good day's run.
I just saying....they've been wrong before and they could be wrong again.
Let's face facts. Nutrition and the "science" of diet (think dietitian) is in the early stages of the dark ages. You wake up one day and an all protein diet is the best way to lose weight. The next day you'll need to switch over to only healthy carbs. The following day cholesterol is bad, but by the afternoon a new study confirms that some cholesterol is indeed good, and in fact...great.
Did you know that Chocolate can reduce the risk of diabetes?
Did you also know that by studding Mongolian Eskimos in Siberia scientist have determined that the secret to a healthy heart is to only eat raw vole meat and and reindeer testicles? But wait it turns out that the Eskimos have a genetic enhanced bowel that allows them to process vole protein that would kill your average Taco Bell eating human.
What is a athlete to do?
I say use common sense, and take matters into your own hands...at least five times a week.