5 Questions from Leigh Peele for Mike T Nelson: Energy Drinks, Mobility, Static Stretching, and More
5 Questions from Leigh Peele for Mike T Nelson: Energy Drinks, Mobility, Static Stretching, and More
Leigh Peele in music mode
Below is an interview I did with Leigh Peele over at http://www.leighpeele.com/ about a year ago, so I have updated it a bit here and there but left the questions and most of it the same.
Notice that some of this is not the same way I exactly think currently.
Why publish “older” thoughts? I debated about publishing it, but a friend made a good comment that he wanted to see how I have changed and evolved over time. He noticed some trends as he went back and read the earlier posts I wrote (almost 3 years ago now). So I decided to run it as it may resonate with where you are currently at right now. If I can help you become just a bit better today than yesterday, I feel my job is done.
Sit back and enjoy and take it away Leigh!
Alright there Mike, I have been checking you out and I know all your dirty secrets. Let’s see if I can’t get you all Barbra Walters crying on me.
1-What the heck is Z-Health? Pretend I am a complete newb (no jokes there buddy) and explain to me in the simplest of terms.
The Short Answer
Z-Health is a way to elicit maximal gains in athletic performance in minimal time by targeting the nervous system. Why the nervous system? It is what actually CONTROLS movements. Muscles are dumb and only do what they are told to do by the brain and nervous system.
How does an athlete’s brain get information?
1) By proprioception (positional feedback from the joints, so if I get pulled over by a Smokey, I can still touch my nose with my eyes closed).
2) eyes–visual information (try to play your next soccer game with your eyes closed and get back to me)
3) vestibular or inner ear “balance” There are a series of 3 canals in the ear that determine head position and movement.
Z Health works to optimize EACH of these for higher performance.
The Long Answer
I find the science in this area amazing. Just a few years ago we thought that the brain would not change and now we know this is not true at all. The brain actually has an amazing ability to adapt and change (just like everything in human physiology). Most probably seen the PBS special “The Brain Fitness Program” which is fantastic.
The key to this idea is that learning new movements can have a huge effect on neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to “rewire” itself). While hardcore research studies in this area are a bit lacking currently, there is enough data to show that when we learn movements there are concrete changes in the brain. The keys to enhanced athletic performance are finding ways to harness this neuroplasticity since the brain and nervous system control movement. The flip side is also true, for optimal health, we need to learn more athletic movements and challenge the brain in new ways.
Survival vs. Performance
The human body is wired for survival instead of performance. This really bums me out personally, but once we realize this we can optimize it for survival and see an increase in performance! I have a whole presentation I did at the Z Health Master Trainer Eval in California recently on this topic. The short version is that we need to first look how we get information.
We get information to create movements primarily from:
1) Eyes (visual and eye muscle movements)
2) Vestibular (inner ear “balance”)
3) Proprioceptive (info from the joints)
In order to optimize the body for performance (and pain reduction), we need to optimize each one of these systems. Z Health works to optimize each system and then combine them in a meaningful way. The result is superior athletic performance for virtually ANYONE. Everyone can learn to move more athletically and do things that they thought were not possible with the correct approach.
(Editor’s note, while I still believe this is true, we need to keep the big picture in mind also. Getting someone to move better every time we see them is the goal. Loading of the tissue in the gym in the correct orientation can NOT be forgotten. A good way to determine what is best is to test your range of motion ala biofeedback with every movement).
2-Alright so lets hear it, static stretching dead? I’m not sold so sell it to me.
Static stretching is dead and sucks large moose balls. I can’t understand why you would put a muscle (and joints) at an extreme range of motion (ROM) and wait there for the muscles to get WEAKER. I don’t want to teach my body that!
I want to have STRENGTH at an END range of motion.
Remember, your body is uber smart and is CONSTANTLY adapting, so what do you want it to adapt to? The question to ask is “Why Should People Static Stretch?” I said “should” because the average gym rat does not do much for static stretching any way.
I think people still do static stretching to some degree because they have nothing else to replace it with.
Here is the big revelation
You can replace virtually all static stretching with precise joint mobility work and correct movement.
Even dynamic mobility drills are much better than static stretching. Remember that the brain is in charge and ALLOWS flexibility changes. For optimal changes we need to directly target the nervous system.
Efficient movement, strength and great mobility are the goals, but I don’t think static stretching is the most effect tool to achieve it.
For those that want to argue using research, here you go
Decreases muscle strength/power (1, 2, 5, 9-11, 13-17, 21, 27, 30, 32, 34, 35)
Dose dependent? (22)
May be speed specific (31)
Dynamic motion is better (15, 37)
It is not just me making this stuff up. Here are a few referneces for you. For the pubmed ninjas, these studies are mainly in reference to reductions in strength seen with standard passive stretching.
1. Avela J., H. Kyrolainen, P. V. Komi. Altered reflex sensitivity after repeated and prolonged passive muscle stretching. J Appl Physiol. 86(4):1283-1291, 1999.
2. Behm D. G., D. C. Button, J. C. Butt. Factors affecting force loss with prolonged stretching. Can J Appl Physiol. 26(3):261-272, 2001.
5. Church J. B., M. S. Wiggins, F. M. Moode, R. Crist. Effect of warm-up and flexibility treatments on vertical jump performance. J Strength Cond Res. 15(3):332-336, 2001.
9. Cornwell A., A. G. Nelson, B. Sidaway. Acute effects of stretching on the neuromechanical properties of the triceps surae muscle complex. Eur J Appl Physiol. 86(5):428-434, 2002.
10. Cramer J. T., T. J. Housh, G. O. Johnson, J. M. Miller, J. W. Coburn, T. W. Beck. Acute effects of static stretching on peak torque in women. J Strength Cond Res. 18(2):236-241, 2004.
11. Cramer J. T., T. J. Housh, J. P. Weir, G. O. Johnson, J. W. Coburn, T. W. Beck. The acute effects of static stretching on peak torque, mean power output, electromyography, and mechanomyography. Eur J Appl Physiol. 93(5-6):530-539, 2005.
13. Evetovich T. K., N. J. Nauman, D. S. Conley, J. B. Todd. Effect of static stretching of the biceps brachii on torque, electromyography, and mechanomyography during concentric isokinetic muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res. 17(3):484-488, 2003.
14. Faigenbaum A. D., M. Bellucci, A. Bernieri, B. Bakker, K. Hoorens. Acute effects of different warm-up protocols on fitness performance in children. J Strength Cond Res. 19(2):376-381, 2005.
15. Fletcher I. M., R. Anness. The acute effects of combined static and dynamic stretch protocols on fifty-meter sprint performance in track-and-field athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 21(3):784-787, 2007.
16. Fletcher I. M., B. Jones. The effect of different warm-up stretch protocols on 20 meter sprint performance in trained rugby union players. J Strength Cond Res. 18(4):885-888, 2004.
17. Fowles J. R., D. G. Sale, J. D. MacDougall. Reduced strength after passive stretch of the human plantarflexors. J Appl Physiol. 89(3):1179-1188, 2000.
21. Knudson D., K. Bennett, R. Corn, D. Leick, C. Smith. Acute effects of stretching are not evident in the kinematics of the vertical jump. J Strength Cond Res. 15(1):98-101, 2001.
27. Marek S. M., J. T. Cramer, A. L. Fincher, et al. Acute Effects of Static and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretching on Muscle Strength and Power Output. J Athl Train. 40(2):94-103, 2005.
30. Nelson A. G., N. M. Driscoll, D. K. Landin, M. A. Young, I. C. Schexnayder. Acute effects of passive muscle stretching on sprint performance. J Sports Sci. 23(5):449-454, 2005.
31. Nelson A. G., I. K. Guillory, C. Cornwell, J. Kokkonen. Inhibition of maximal voluntary isokinetic torque production following stretching is velocity-specific. J Strength Cond Res. 15(2):241-246, 2001.
32. Power K., D. Behm, F. Cahill, M. Carroll, W. Young. An acute bout of static stretching: effects on force and jumping performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 36(8):1389-1396, 2004.
34. Wallmann H. W., J. A. Mercer, J. W. McWhorter. Surface electromyographic assessment of the effect of static stretching of the gastrocnemius on vertical jump performance. J Strength Cond Res. 19(3):684-688, 2005.
35. Weir D. E., J. Tingley, G. C. Elder. Acute passive stretching alters the mechanical properties of human plantar flexors and the optimal angle for maximal voluntary contraction. Eur J Appl Physiol. 93(5-6):614-623, 2005.g
3-What is with your obsession with Energy Drinks lately, what is that all about?
Red Bull!!!! Red Bull!!!! RED BULL!!!!!
I kid, I kid
I am actually conducting a research study now on Energy Drinks as part of my PhD dissertation (editor’s note, study is completed, but I am working on writing it up for publication).
The overall principle is the concept of Metabolic Flexibility. Simply put, as your body gets closer to a Metabolically INflexible state (e.g. diabetes) you have a much harder time process any food and turning it into a good fuel sources, especially carbohydrates. Keep in mind that fats and glucose in high amounts in the blood stream are TOXIC; and they can “muck up” lots of processes.
If you are on the other end of the spectrum and you are very Metabolically Flexible, your body and efficiently process virtually any fuel source (e.g. various foods). Now this is not an argument for going crazy and eating Ho Hos and Krispy Kremes, there are limits!
We are testing a new way to non-invasively (e.g. without subjecting them to IVs and sticks in the arm for hours at a time) quantify how metabolically efficient each person’s body is at that time.
We are also measuring Heart Rate Variability (a measure of heart health), Flow Mediated Dilation (measure of vessel health), changes in Respiratory Exchange Ratio (amount of carbs and fat burned during exercise) and if an energy drink is ergogenic (do the darn things even do what they say –enhance exercise performance? )
Since you asked about Energy Drinks I will crawl up on my soapbox and go off on a rant.
Soap Box Rant Ahead on Energy Drinks
On one hand we have a group do people in popular media that Red Bull will give you a stroke such as this Mercola article that Red Bull Will Give You a Stroke and kids slamming back 2-3 CANS before a game or just for fun. Who is right? What are the risks?
Ok, articles like this one above by Dr. Mercola drive me absolutely nuts! I still can’t find the source of the article and the only thing I can find is the researcher was quoted in Reuters, but no study (in fairness to the researcher perhaps it is not published yet, editor’s note, I did find it as an abstract only).
Currently, data on Energy Drinks are sparse. Most will agree that you should not go out and slam back 3 of them in a row and believe that you are doing yourself a good thing; but how “bad” they are is also unknown.
After many many hours of searching, one of the only studies I could find that directly looked at safety (below) stated (1) , “Four documented case reports of caffeine-associated deaths were found, as well as four separate cases of seizures associated with the consumption of energy drinks. ” Keep in mind that this was primarily self reported data and not done in a controlled environment.
The study was done in 15 healthy people and there was not any significant ECG changes observed, HR increased 5-7 beats/min and SBP increased 10 mm Hg after energy drink consumption. Keep in mind that subject got 2 cans on the first day and then one every day after that.
The media (Fox news, cough cough) concluded
“Study: People With Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure Should Avoid Energy Drinks”
That is probably a good idea, but the study was in HEALTHY people and the conclusion is we do NOT know what happens in other populations!! No data doesn’t mean it is BAD or GOOD, it means we currently do NOT know either way.
Here is one of the studies you will see in reference to Red Bull (7)
“Postural tachycardia syndrome associated with a vasovagal reaction was recorded in a young volleyball player after an excess intake of Red Bull((R)) as a refreshing energy drink. Considering the widespread use of Red Bull((R)) among young people who are often unaware of the drink’s drug content, this case report suggest Red Bull((R)) be considered a possible cause of orthostatic intolerance.”
The effect of caffeine (the main ingredient in the drinks) in relation to blood pressure has more data (3-6), but we are still only talking about a handful of studies and does not guarantee that those with normal blood pressure will respond in the same way!
Energy Drink Summary
In summary, we can say more research is needed and I would agree with that; although energy drinks with the current available data do not seem as deadly as portrayed in the media although you will be hard pressed to say that you are low on your quota of caffeine and corn syrup and thus your body NEEDS an energy drink. Nobody has every shown up their doctor’s office suffering from an “Energy Drink” deficiency. Take 2 Red Bulls and call me in the AM.
1)J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2008 May-Jun;48(3):e55-63;
Safety issues associated with commercially available energy drinks.
Clauson KA, Shields KM, McQueen CE, Persad N.
2) Ann.Pharmacother., Arpil 2009
Effect of “Energy Drink” Consumption on Hemodynamic and Electrocardiographic Parameters in Healthy Young Adults (April)
Steinke,L.; Lanfear,D.E.; Dhanapal,V.; Kalus,J.S.
Ann.Pharmacother., Arpil 2009
3) Am J Hypertens. 2000 May;13(5 Pt 1):475-81.L
Additive pressor effects of caffeine and stress in male medical students at risk for hypertension.
Shepard JD, al’Absi M, Whitsett TL, Passey RB, Lovallo WR.
4) Health Psychol. 1996 Jan;15(1):11-17
Caffeine and behavioral stress effects on blood pressure in borderline hypertensive Caucasian men.
Lovallo WR, al’Absi M, Pincomb GA, Everson SA, Sung BH, Passey RB, Wilson MF.
5) “Int J Behav Med. 1995;2(3):263-75.
Adrenocortical effects of caffeine at rest and during mental stress in borderline hypertensive men.
al’Absi M, Lovallo WR, Pincomb GA, Sung BH, Wilson MF.
6) Am J Cardiol. 1985] “Am J Cardiol. 1985 Jul 1;56(1):119-22.
Effects of caffeine on vascular resistance, cardiac output and myocardial contractility in young men.
Pincomb GA, Lovallo WR, Passey RB, Whitsett TL, Silverstein SM, Wilson MF.
7) Clin Auton Res. 2008 Aug;18(4):221-3. Epub 2008 Aug 5.
Reversible postural tachycardia syndrome due to inadvertent overuse of Red Bull((R)).
Terlizzi R, Rocchi C, Serra M, Solieri L, Cortelli P.
4-What are your future plans in regards to your profession?
For now, my main goal is to graduate and if all goes well I will be done later this summer (update note, I have completed the experimental side and working on writing up the 4 studies for submission). At that point I will have completed over 14 years of college full time (eeeek gads man), so I am going to sit around for a week while I drool, scratch myself and watch Oprah (which ironically spelled backwards is Harpo). Ok, maybe not Oprah, but perhaps Myth Busters on DVD. I do have a bottle of 1994 Warre’s Late Bottled Vintage port that I am going to crack open (I’ve been saving it for over 5 years now).
Actually my fiancee Jodie (editor’s note, now wife) and I are planning to spend 6 days Mexico for our honeymoon in late March and I am really working to be done by then so it can also be a “graduation celebration” Whooo ha!! (editor’s note, yes I am still in school! argh honeymoon was awesome!)
I really want to teach in some capacity as I love teaching (editor’s note, sick of these yet? I do teach part time at Globe University now too) . I’ve done a few presentations locally and around the US and plan to do more that in the future.
My goal is to bridge the chasm between “research land” and “experience only matters” land. There are tons of things we can learn from both camps. Athletic performance enhancement is BOTH a science and an art. It takes BOTH to get optimal results.
I have a few products I am working on in my “free time” and I am looking forward to working with even more athletes since my schedule will free up quite a bit post graduation. I am looking forward to interacting with more fitness professionals and constantly improving my own craft.
Watch out, as I may call you up and show up on your door step in the future!
5-What is the last…
Book you read:
Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” I loved “Blink”
Album/Single you got:
I am a HUGE music nut. At last count I have over 1,200 CDs. Yes, I am old skoooool and buy music on the silver circular thingies. I listen to everything from Radiohead to Slayer but my taste tend to run on the metal side most of the time.
My last order to Century Media included
Lamb of God “Wrath”
Arch Enemy “Tyrants Rising Sun – Live in Japan”
God Forbid “Earthsblood”
Luna Mortis “The Absence”
Amon Amarth “With Oden on our side”
Strapping Young Lad “1994-2008 Chaos Years”
Nevermore “Year of the Voyager”
Lacuna Coil ” Visual Karma” DVD
Samael ” Eternal”
Diecast “Internal Revolution”
In Flames “Whoracle”
And a bunch more. The actual shipping cost of the order was over $17.
Film/Show you watched:
I have not seen many movies at all lately, not that I don’t enjoy movies but trying to carve out that much time at once is hard. I normally watch about 1 hour of TV a week, if even that. I do enjoy “CSI Vegas” and “Numb3rs” since any show that can make a math geek look cool I am all for! The last DVD I watched was Eric Talmant’s St Louis Seminar on Sheiko Training for powerlifters. Yikes, I am a geek. I do enjoy “Myth Busters” and “Dirty Jobs” on DVD since I don’t have cable.
Thanks again for giving me a chance to ramble on! Much appreciated.
–Mike T Nelson
I had some requests to run this one, so anything you want updates on, just post a comment below and I will get back to you!
Mike T Nelson