Back on the wagon

I’m finally back out there on all fours again.

I think I’ve mentioned previously that I have had some long standing problems with my back which has been making training difficult, well recently I’ve been doing some more breathing work in preparation for a book I’m supposed to be writing about breathing, and it has really really helped. I am starting to get some movement in areas of my spine that have just been completely jammed for ages. As a result I am starting to get a more natural movement on all fours.

I have made a few more tweaks to my body mechanics with the quadrupedal movement and it is feeling really good. I feel like maybe I finally have all the pieces now, my muscles are activating differently and my movement is gradually becoming more stable, fluid and sustainable. I feel like I’m going to be able to continue to build on this rather than keep running into road blocks and having to stop periodically.

I’m excited.

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Becoming like an animal

The video below is about Dim Mak, but in this bit he is talking about becoming like an animal and using the reptilian brain.  It got me thinking… Why aren’t we like animals all the time?  Why don’t we access this portion of our brain all the time?  It would make us faster, stronger and have better reflexes.

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Standing Cat

I just had to post this.

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On Raw Foods

I have been thinking a lot about diet and nutrition lately, and experimenting with a few things.  One thing I keep thinking about is raw foods.  Logically eating raw is a big step towards living a more ‘natural’ life, as someone put it – no other animal on the planet needs to cook its food, so why do we?

However, I have eaten raw before (I have experimented with many different types of diets over the years) and to be perfectly honest I didn’t achieve the kind of results I was looking for.  Since then I have learned more about nutrition and how my body works and maybe I would be able to achieve better results if I tried again, but somewhere inside I think that eating raw is not going to be a ‘magic bullet’. 

My experience with most raw foodies is that many of them look a bit sickly, some even have a strange color from eating too many carrots etc, and almost all of them are under weight.  Now this may be partially due to other lifestyle factors which could be mitigated to make  a raw diet more viable, but even if this were the case – would the end result actually be all that much better than some other diet that would be easier to implement in our modern environment? 

One of the great advantages of humans as a species is our great adaptability.  Yes I think we are probably capable of eating raw, but perhaps only in certain environments.  From a Chinese medical perspective eating large quantities of raw food would only be advisable in very hot conditions, and then only by people with a certain type of metabolism.  So for a raw foodie to truly thrive they would probably need to live in a tropical environment to eat that way year round.  Also, what foods can easily be eaten raw.  Most grains (which historically have formed the bulk of human diets in all cultures) do not make good candidates unless they are sprouted or fermented in some way and I hardly consider those to be any more natural a form of food preparation than cooking.  What animals can you think of that specialises in eating seeds that have just sprouted?  I can’t think of any.  They either eat the seed before it gets a chance to sprout, or wait for the seed to grow properly and eat the resulting foliage or fruit.   Many of the plant based foods that we as humans eat require cooking or some other kind of processing in order to be digested effectively and safely.  The most viable foods for eating raw would seem to be fruit or meat (including seafood etc), and these in large quantities.  I think most people would struggle to obtain sufficient of these in our modern environment to remain healthy without supplementation of some kind of grain or otherwise indigestible plant food. 

Cooking food greatly expands the options of climates and locations we can live in, it would seem foolish to give up these advantages for the sake of purism.   Also if a wild animal starts to be fed cooked food it doesn’t exactly roll over and die.  Animals fed on cooked feeds are often as healthy or healthier than their wild counterparts.

I don’t have the answer yet.  I may try another experiment with raw food, alternatively I will continue to explore other concepts for some sort of eating regime that makes sense for obtaining optimum health in our modern environment.

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Energy efficiency of quadrupedal locomotion

Found an abstract for some interesting research that suggests that quadrupedal locomotion can be just as energy efficient as bipedal locomotion.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/179/4069/186

This is interesting because it conflicts with other research on the subject which has suggested that bipedalism is up to four times more energy efficient than quadrupedalism.

I think that for the average person quadrupedalism would consume four times as much energy to begin with due to lack of skill and poor body mechanics.  I find it encouraging that there is research that suggests that each can be as efficient as the other though.  I would like to become fully efficient on all fours to see what potential it opens up in terms of speed, power and fluidity of motion.

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Warm-ups

A few posts ago I mentioned I had been experimenting with different types of squat and had come up with a new type that showed potential. 

Well I have continued with it and have broadened out the principle into a series of warm up exercises before going quadrupedal.  They are going really well.  I have a few other people doing them too and they are really enjoying them.  They work particularly on chaining the usage of the muscles together so that they produce smooth co-ordinated movements that conserve energy and maximise strength and power. 

So many of us have developed such unnatural habits of movement and body usage that we actually often contract muscles in ways that oppose our intended action, or fail to contract ones that would aid the action.  Some parts of our movements are essentially in reverse, kind of like cruising down a hill in your car and then accidentally shifting the gear into reverse, the car jumps and damage is done.  No wonder so many of us have aches and pains and our bodies wear out so easily. 

The warm up exercises make a start on re-educating our bodies so that our movements become fluid, graceful and effective again.  For myself I kind of feel like parts of me are slowly waking up as if from a deep sleep.  Some of it is kind of painful as I get out of old frozen body usage habits.  Kind of like if you have been sitting on your ankles and they have gone to sleep, it can be painful to get them moving again.  I think it will be well worth it to have things moving properly again though, just trying to figure out how to wake my body up more quickly.

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Sluggish

Its monday, back into some training after the weekend and I felt sooo sluggish this morning.  I think I know why too. 

For the last couple of months I have been experimenting with eating only once a day.  I figure that in the wild often larger animals only get to eat once a day, or even once every several days and there is good reason to believe that eating less often will increase digestive efficiency. 

It has been going ok, the main challenges are to actually eat ENOUGH in that one meal and also dealing with social situations that revolve around food.  Overall I have been feeling pretty good and I don’t think my physical activities have really suffered.

Well, a few days ago I thought I would try eating more often for awhile, I have been eating at least two meals a day and three meals on a couple of days… I think this led to my sluggishness this morning.  So I’m going back on one meal a day to see how this affects me again.

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Research from 1938 into dynamics of quadrupedal walking

 

http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/reprint/15/4/522.pdf

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Quadrupedalism comes naturally for some…

Heres a link to an article about families with members who naturally walk on all fours.

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article2671044.ece

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Research supporting residual quadrupedal limb control in humans

The following link goes to the abstract of some research into quadrupedalism in bipeds, done with an interest in potential application to rehabilitation.  You can also buy the whole article here.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T0V-46DFRR1-3&_user=10&_coverDate=09%2F01%2F2002&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1258399156&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=c50f94ac8f49c4578d0d5fea103b7a43

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