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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Weighted Stretches

Stretching is vital for your health.  This is true whether you are an athlete or not- if you start to lose flexibility and strength in your back and shoulders, you will also lose mobility, and be cursed with pain!


This is your body scolding you for not taking care of it.  If you feel pain, you are either doing too much physically, like overtraining or training with too heavily, or else you are doing too little.  No matter which side you come down on, I know how you can fix it- by stretching.  But not just with static stretching, where you stretch and hold for time, although that is good as well.  You need weighted stretching. 


And, it need not be time consuming, since I am talking about only two simple weighted stretches to “bullet proof” your body, and strengthen and stretch at the same time the two most commonly pain riddled sites of the human body- your back, and your shoulders.


So here goes- for the back, and I mean the entire back musculature that surrounds and supports the spine itself, you need the Jefferson Lift.  It is simple, and effective, but must be done carefully, meaning starting with extremely light weights!   To start, just use an empty barbell- that will be plenty.  You will never go heavy with this, ever!


You can stand on a platform, or box, or just a stack of weight plates so that when you bend all the way over with straight arms holding the barbell at arms length straight down, nothing touches the ground.  I work out in my basement, and can just stand on the bottom step of the stairs leading upstairs, but then this won’t work for most. 


However you do it, just slowly bend down at the waist, and feel the backbone slowly extend, vertebrae by vertebrae.  At the bottom, hold for a complete stretch momentarily, and then come back up, the same slow, deliberate way.  10 reps is ample, and just one set will do it.  That one exercise will do more for your back than anything else I can think of, both for useful, protective strength, and flexibility at the same time.  Useful flexibility, since you will have strength building in every range of motion in your spine- static stretching does not have the strength component.


Then, for the shoulders, do the scapular dislocation exercise.  It sounds painful, but it’s not!  Take either a long dowel, rod, or exercise band or rope- hold it at both ends, wider than shoulder width at first, in front of your body.  Slowly lift upwards, at arms length, straight up and over the head towards the back, and then down as low as your arms can go behind your back.  At the bottom of the motion, your scapula will slowly “dislocate”.  Then, go back the other way, until arms are back in front- the scapula will relocate when you are half way up your back. 


Kind of hard to describe, but I will put videos of both lifts at  Easy to understand when viewed visually! 


To slowly progress on both lifts, just gradually add weight- light weights!  On the shoulder dislocate, don’t add weight for a long time, just work on mobility.  When you can, gradually move the hands in closer to shoulder width.  Eventually, after long practice, you can use a dowel with a very small weight on it, but this is very advanced.  This scapular control is what gymnasts use for straight arm strength, which is very different from the pushing and pulling strength in most forms of training.  And it is a very protective form of strength that most people do not have, and they pay the price in injury and pain. 


But, now, you will not be one of them!

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

No Heavy Lifting for Arnold!

When you talk about exercise in the usual paleo circles, ala crossfit etc., the mantra is to “lift heavy things!” The idea that you must lift heavy, meaning heavy weights on barbell back squats, deadlifts, and presses is a given.

Well, I am here to say that it is not necessary, and never has been. It is not the weight lifted that is important, it is the muscular contraction intensity that counts! This can be achieved very well with isometrics, for example, without moving a muscle at all under weight, and so perfectly safely.

For no matter what someone else tells you- lifting weights under heavy loads is extremely dangerous, and actually inevitably damaging to the joints, tendons and ligaments. For a testament from an expert, what does the now aged Arnold Schwarzenegger have to say about heavy back squats?

“ I always have done each body part three times a week, with the idea being to train six days a week. But when you average it out it ends up being five days a week. You know, there are weeks when you’re sick, or weeks when you travel.

Are there core exercises that you still do today?

Well, my favorite exercises I’m not able to do today, because of joint problems. For instance, the basic squat. I would love to be able to squat again, but in order to protect my knees I do mostly the Lifecycle and bicycling and the elliptical, but no more squats. The knees are like a tire. When the tires last up to 30,000 miles, you have to decide how you want to use them. Do you want to use them up in one year, or do you want to use them over a period of 10 years? It’s the same thing with joints. So, I decided 10 years ago, when I started to feel the wear and tear and was feeling pain in my joints, that now I should adjust my training and do more high reps with less resistance. Therefore I stay away from the squat, and I stay away from heavy bent over rows, but I do the heavier rowing on a Cybex machine and do the lighter exercises with free weights.”

So, that tells you right there: Arnold has damaged his body with heavy weights! And, he is one who knows how to do it right, and still- damage! Here is what he has to say about the heavy clean and press exercise:

What about for shoulders? You’ve had rotator cuff surgery.

“I used to love doing the clean and press, because you get the traps, the front deltoids, and the side. It’s really a fantastic exercise that I recommend to anyone who starts out weight training. I also liked to do the dumbbell press, but I can’t do either anymore. So now I just do my presses on a Smith machine, which is safer on my shoulders because it’s on a track. But I have to say, it’s so fantastic to see the development of all of these machines. It allows you to train around your injuries— you don’t have to stop training because of injuries anymore. These machines allow you to isolate your muscles without the risk of hurting yourself.”

Rotator cuff surgery?? This stuff is not paleo, folks! No One should be training in a manner that actually makes injury inevitable, even when doing the exercise perfectly.
Now, Arnold has had a wonderful career, and can be excused for giving his early heavy weight lifting background part of the credit. And luckily, he woke up in time (10 years ago), as he underwent surgeries and his body cried out in pain. (I’m sure it still does. Ronnie Coleman, an 8 times Mr. Olympia winner is now in a wheelchair (he is 52 year of age). Arnold won the title 6 times before retiring.


The point is that, either man could have built amazing physiques, cut and defined, with plenty of mass, perfectly safely and keeping their health intact, using Perfectly Paleo Exercise techniques. They might not have had quite the sheer bulk, but the bulk achieved with steroids and heavy weights has nothing to do with health, and actually has nothing to do with usable strength or aesthetics.

Using virtual resistance, creating the resistance by the power of the flex in self-resisting an exercise, coupled with blood-infusing pushups and situps, coupled with things like pull-ups and bodyweight squats, is more than enough for a perfect build and usable strength- without damage to your precious body.

So train naturally. Train for health, wellness, and a pleasing physique, not a bloated mass of bulk surrounding a bunch of injuries.






Check out this episode!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Recovering From Injuries

Injury is inevitable, unfortunately. It is part of the human condition. If you train properly, using body weight, perfectly paleo types of exercise, you won’t become injured from that. UNLESS you overdo it, which can always happen.

Overuse is the number one cause of injuries- just look at me! A few weeks back I posted about being injured from an overuse injury, painting a barn of a garage for just too many hours, and inflaming the bursa in my shoulder. I also did other jobs that overworked that same joint, and the result has been a few weeks of rehab. I used the occasion to research what worked and what didn’t, so here we go my paleo friends!

First of all, remember that it is not the end of the world. If you work out each and every day as I do, (and as I recommend for all creatures that exist on this earth), it is really irksome to have one part of your body that just…hurts. But, you just work around it- you exercise other parts of your body, and only work the hurting part through a limited range of motion (if you can) that doesn’t hurt! Of course, sometimes you can’t work, say, one arm at all for awhile. Don’t sweat it- just rest it.

But, there are some other things that will help dramatically as well. Putting a cold pack on the injured part (in my case this time- my right shoulder) is great. To alternate that with a warm, moist pack is ideal- this promotes blood flow. I would alternate cold with hot- in the shower is one great place to easily do this. But what about later, as you relax in your easy chair?

A bag of frozen vegetables is great to rest on your shoulder for awhile, but you can also get a re-freezable cold pack inexpensively, some even have straps to attach them to your body part. But how to alternate with hot? I have the perfect, although somewhat embarrassing answer-

Get a disposable diaper! That’s right, you can get about 30 for a few dollars. (Luckily, I have a new grandson who could use the rest!) I just took off the cold pack, and moistened the diaper from the faucet. Then, I microwaved it for a minute… hot and moist- perfect! And it attaches easily to any part of your body!!

Just don’t forget, and answer the door with a diaper attached to your shoulder- very embarrassing.

But the best solution of all, besides gently stretching and alternating heat and cold?? DMSO, or Dimethyl sulfoxide, is almost a miracle. Anti-inflammatory, it penetrated the skin and goes right into the tissues beneath, immediately relieving pain. It’s not really a drug, it is a solvent byproduct of the paper industry that has been known of since the 1950’s. The fact that it cannot be patented pinpoints why the pharmaceutical companies are uninterested.
It can’t be patented. There is no big money to be made here! Sad but true…

It is also a potent source of sulphur, which is a substance that is wonderful for any musculoskeletal ache or pain. Think of sulphur-rich hot baths, that people go to to rejuvenate their bodies. DMSO is a hot springs bath on steroids, that you just rub onto your body!

Anyway, for arthritis, bursitis, and any ache, strain, or pain- it is a miracle! Cheap, too- it is one of the veterinarians’ main tools for treating animals, mainly race horses that have been injured. Remember: even though the FDA might say that the effects from DMSO are a “placebo”- well, placebos don’t work on horses, do they?

So, get yourself some DMSO- 70% concentration is best, I like it in a cream form for easy application. Under $20 for a miracle drug! Just like white willow bark, this is something you should always have in your medicine cabinet!


Check out this episode!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fasting for Fat Control- and Health

One rather simple and easy method for both controlling your weight and also vastly increasing your health simultaneously is with fasting! Simply by limiting your eating window to a set amount of hours per day- say 6 am to 6 pm, you will eat less, without really consciously trying. If you then eliminate snacks, & go to just three meals in that allotted time span, that is another step forward! From there, you can gradually “up the ante” by further compressing that eating window. You can either eat from 8 am to 6 pm, for a 10 hr window, or skip breakfast, & only eat from 11am to 6pm, with a 7 hour window. You can do this gradually, & it seems very natural- not a hardship at all really. What really seems like a hardship to me is the conventional thought, which recommends 6 meals per day (constant grazing) with endless snacks- talk about unnatural! For the vast majority of our evolutionary past, being without food was the norm. It is what our bodies expect as a general rule, and it is what we thrive on. Cancer cells , for instance, thrive on food- particularly Bad Food like processed carbs ((which break down into sugar), and and any form of sugar itself. Sugar feeds cancer- it is what cancer thrives on. Protein does not feed cancer, unless you eat way too much, & then the body stores the excess as carbohydrates. And FAT is useless to cancer cells, but quite good for you, if it's real fat from coconut, pastured dairy or wild caught seafood, or grass fed meat and eggs. In addition, as you eat less often, and stick to these satiating 1
paleo types of foods, not only will you not be constantly hungry as you are on a diet of carbs and sugars, you will be freed of the constant urge to “feed”! That is very liberating indeed. One last thing- did you know that now in California and in Europe, cancer has superseded heart disease as the #1 killer? This bad diet is presumably to blame, as is too frequent eating. The wonderful side effect of fasting or intermittent fasting as this is more properly termed, is autophagy, which can only occur in a fasted state. When freed of having to constantly digest food,the body is freed to “clean house”- scavenging to consume damaged and precancerous cells. This alone, along with a slimmer waistline, is worth fasting for. And later, if you want to lose more weight- just compress your eating window more and more. It is even fine to skip a whole day of eating- it won't hurt you, and can only help you. 2

Check out this episode!