(626) 863-0008                                (818) 939-1188

824 HollywoodWay, Burbank 91505

WodWorks HERE

The FitWorks Promise:

After  a  nice  pre-workout   
protein  drink,

and  a  little  warmup,

how  about  some  core work?
And  some  interval  runs?
Be sure to hydrate,

and  always,
  no matter  the  sport,

    please  be  careful

and  plan  ahead.

Get  in  your  recovery  time

And this could be you!!!

Be excellent.  

Here: CrossFit Burbank

CrossFit Burbank

Live the Difference

Just a little instant info on male/female brain differences. A fascinating subject.

Male brains have a smaller hippocampus, which forms initial memories. Men, per their brains, don't sweat the small stuff. They hardly notice it. Some piece of jewelry, her eye-color ... um, what? It's not personal. An area in the limbic cortex, involved with emotional responses, is also smaller in men, and the region of the temporal lobe that processes language has a smaller density of neurons. So not only do they feel less, but they can't talk about it. Uh, yeah.

The male cortex -- the outer layer of the brain -- is thinner in many places, affecting comprehension and the processing of language cues. Specifically, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex has almost 25% less volume in men, and there's 13% less volume in the superior temporal cortex. Females seem to devote these thicker cortex areas to noticing and calculating the meaning of clueless behavior in males -- what does it mean, his failure to remember that this is the 15th-week anniversary of when we bought the sofa?!

Females prioritize memories according to emotional strength, relying on the left side of the amygdala, which determines affective responses to events. Men organize memories using the right-brain amygdala, which focuses on the central action and meaning of an event, rather than its finer details. This makes it sound like men might be less emotional. But the ratio between the amygdala and the, ahem, orbitofrontal cortex is much larger in women. The orbitofrontal cortex modulates the emotions the amygdala creates. So women may be more emotional to events, but they control those emotions better, in terms of determinative responses. They are calmer in the face of barroom boorishness.

On the up side, male brains produce over 50% more serotonin, a mood-influencing neurotransmitter, enabling men to deal more calmly with stress -- on average. And the preoptic region of the hypothalmus is larger by all measures in men than women. Twice as large. This is the part of the brain, one of them, that deals with mating behaviour. Yeah! It hooks up -- yeah! -- to the pituitary, which releases sex hormones. Yeah! Go, that long preop hypo word! Yeah!!!

So that's one of the major male/female differences. The brain. Another is the body. Bodybuilding, that sad, sad phenomenon, is doing what it can to blur the differences. Who knows, maybe that's a good thing? Thus, the TLC documentary called Supersize She. Female bodybuilders. Focus, very closely, on a female bodybuilder named ... well, who noticed. Joanna something. A figure not entirely mannish. Yet. Bosoms not completely gone. Steroidal face and voice. Skin like desert leather, beetle-brown body over a creped face pale as disease. Star of a sport identical in spirit to competitive eating. Excess and perversion. It would not exist without Big Pharma.

Then there's the bodybuilder woman from Napoleon Dynamite. The sensi's wife or whatever. Turns out she really was a woman. Who knew. Surprising.

We probably may all pretty much agree that, over all, it's a good thing that there are gender differences. But whether or not it's a good thing, it's a real thing. There are anomalies and overlappings of bell-shaped curves, but generally things fall within certain well-established parameters.

Not health nor fitness is about size. Neither is excellence. Maturity gauges itself by what is reasonable, and understands that there are natural biological limits that really ought not to be overcome by either drugs or fanatical effort. Most men really don't want to look like Arnold -- they want to be strong and skillful. Most women want to be thought lovely and to feel healthy. It's about being physically competent. That's excellence. Freakshows are politically incorrect, nowadays, and rightly so. Except in the gym.

Balance. Common sense. Not wasting time on half-baked theories that, even if they worked, would take you where you don't really want to be. Where should we put our effort? Where it will do some good.

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank


Part of the trouble with contemporary gym training is that it thinks it's a lot more scientific than it is. It's like a scene from Modern Times, the Chaplin movie, where he's strapped into an automatic feeding machine. The very last word in efficiency, don't you know. All figured out. What could possibly go wrong? Or the 50s idea about how to care for babies in hospitals. Have them all laid out in ranks and files of cribs, with meticulously timed feedings and changings. Exactly 1.32 minutes per hour allotted for cuddling and cooing. Cuz the babies will conform, y'see. We're all cut to a pattern, just an assemblage of organs or a complex but manageable interaction of chemicals.

Uh huh.

As for the gym, the standard model is to have arm day and leg day and ab day and back day and uh shoulder day and er neck day and huh kneebone day that's connected to the hipbone day. How very scientifical. Cuz y'see that way you give duh udder parts uv yer body a chanst tuh rest!

Alas, what's been forgotten in that otherwise very-brilliant-indeed theory is that the actual purpose of being in the gym isn't to move weights around, not to spend a lot of time making painful faces and emitting grunts and other impressive hard-working sounds, not to show off your latest choice in skin-tight gym fashion. All of these things are very beneficial and productive, it must be admitted. But the actual theoretically intended purpose of a gym, with the attendant work presumed, is to stimulate the release of hormones.

You can move as much weight around as is humanly possible, and if there's no hormonal response all you've done is tear muscle down and deplete your biochemicals. On the other hand, if you could generate a tide of hormones, you wouldn't have to do much work at all, and you'd gain lots of muscle. That's what steroids are about. A cheat. We don't cheat, now do we.

So what is it that stimulates the release of hormones? Loud groans and tight shirts? Well, uh, yes, sometimes.  Say no more, say no more.  But in the gym? The thing that tells your brain that it had better send out the signal to get the hormones flowing is engaging major muscle mass during the workout. That is the key. It's all about hormones, and not very much about weight. Except that the thing that provokes the brain, frightens it into reacting powerfully, is the weight.

So you have to move a lot of weight. Otherwise the hormonal signal is proportionally small. So arm day? Well, the biceps are small muscles. Doesn't really matter how much you work them, they are still going to require only a small hormonal response. Add some other body part into the workout and you'll get a little bit more of a response. And if that's what you want, a little response, keep doing arm day. Cuz that's so scientifical and stuff.

Or you could engage the whole body, every workout. Take something like kettlebell swings. Move the weight from knee level to overhead, in a straight-arm arc. Now, what part of the body does that work? The legs? -- back? -- shoulders? Is it an arm day? No, it's body day. Swings work everything, athletically. Major muscle mass is involved, so the signal to the brain is very clear: Need help, send hormones. This is why heavy squats are so productive. Two-thirds of the the body's muscle mass is below the waist. Lots of muscle doing hard work, therefore major hormonal response and significant strength gains. Easy. Why, it's almost like ... like science!

Case in point: deadlift static holds. This is not something to do without proper training. But the protocol is simply to lift a lot of weight at waist level, moving it only about an inch, off a rack. Hands hanging down, holding the bar, and just a little lift at the knees. Hold the weight for a count of ten. Then you're done. How much weight? Well you work up, only once about every week or so, adding weight every workout, 5 or 20 or 40 pounds or 5% or 10% -- doesn't really matter -- it's not a race -- just being safe and consistent. How much weight can you hold?  Grip strength is a limiting factor, but lifting straps or hooks take care of that. You can lift hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pounds. You don't believe it. But it's true.

Why do this? Because there is a major, massive hormonal signal, that comes from lifting that much weight under those conditions. It's a Gatorade-dump of testosterone. Testosterone and human growth hormone. It's perhaps the single most productive thing you can do. But don't do just one thing. In any case, there's so much more T coursing through your veins that your muscles can't use it all. So there can be a significant increase in libido. Highly significant. Whether or not this is a good thing is a personal consideration. But it happens. The upshot here is that it is direct and undeniable confirmation that there is a significant hormonal response, which is the point of the weightroom and of all those tight sexy gym clothes.

And it validates the theory, that body day works, whereas arm day and glute day is for posers, poseurs, wannabes and steroid users.

But that's not you.

It's not real trendy. It's about results.

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank


It's a necessary part of fitness, training. There's no getting around it. Our daily activities will most assuredly make us fit for doing what we usually do. But fitness is bigger than that. It's a general thing, rather than the specific of your daily routine. It's a preparation for the unexpected. When we hear the term survival of the fittest, it isn't about surviving normal things. If you run a lot, to train, that's good. But sometimes life requires you to stand and fight, rather than run. Did you train that? A metaphor, of course -- we're too civilized to need to fight. But you see the point. Running will not make you suited to carry fainted damsels down firetruck ladders. Strength matters too. So does speed. These are trainable. So train them along with the running. Be fit.

We've discussed it before, the ideas of activity, and exercise, and training. Activity is just an expression of metabolism. Living things move around, most of them -- even sponges. Going here, doing this, moving that -- just a part of being alive. Then there’s exercise. It requires an accelerated heartrate. There’s no intelligence required, it’s just working at a more intense level than usual. A good thing, pretty much, but possibly rather haphazard. Then there’s training: exercise with the addition of intelligence. It requires a plan, and a goal, and measurable progress, and consistency.

Life has its randomness. But it's not random. It's predictable, in a statistical way. No guarantees, but usually it's business as usual, usually. We don't however train for the usual. We train for the extraordinary. Yes, we may have to climb stairs every day. That counts as exercise. If we plan on climbing a mountain, though, we need to do more, we need to train. A reiteration, because important things should be remembered.

An athlete can’t be better than his deficits allow him to be. They hold him back, obviously. A weakest-link thing. So training must identify and address those shortcomings. They are not something to be ignored. They are to be embraced, as it were, and sometimes made the heart, the core of a workout. It’s not about idealism. It’s a necessity, for improvement.

The reason a standard gym-bodybuilder is so much weaker than he should be is that he has never trained his shortcomings. No, it's not about calves or forearms or deltoids or rhomboids. It's about the little stabilizers that hardly anyone knows the names of, and that don't show up in the mirror except subliminally, as the difference between a guy who works a few muscles so he can pose in front of a mirror, and an athlete who's trained his body the way it was meant to be trained -- completely.

Well ... the reason he's weaker, that bodybuilder, than he should be is the lack of meaningful variety, but also the sort of training itself, the reps and sets and loads he's carrying. No need here to go into it. It has to do with effectiveness and with goals. If you want to be big and sort of puffy, the muscle mags are full of advice on that. Lots of bad advice, some okay -- hardly any really sensible. Point is, train to achieve an intelligent goal. It's not about being one of the prettyboys. Just get the job done. Prettiness comes along with that.

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank
For more, click "Older Posts"

Contents copyright © FitWorks, Inc