Z Health Level 4 Wrap Up and Good vs Bad Calories

Greetings! Thanks for taking the time to read to read my blog as it is much appreciated.

I submitted my abstract to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) last Thurs, so we will wait and see if they want me to do a poster or slide presentation at the ACSM conference in May 2008. Special thanks to all that made it possible–Dr. George Biltz, Dr. Don Dengel and Dr. Richard Winsley. Once I get the green light to discuss the data, I will have a write up here.

As promised, here is the Z Health Level 4 Wrap Up translation and download.

First off, I want to send a special thanks to Kathy, Shannon and Dr. Cobb at Z Health for all the work they put into it and everything they do. Each level is top notch all the way. Special thanks to all that attended as it was great to see old friends again and meet new ones. Everyone there was exceptional. If there is a Z Health trainer in your area, I highly recommend a visit to one. Click here to find out. I can personally vouch for all those at Level 4 and I would have zero hesitations sending anyone I know to them.

Here are what I consider the main points. Some of these will look familiar as they are covered in R Phase and I Phase also to some degree:

“All the body all the time”–Dr. Cobb
If I have one main complaint it’s that I don’t see enough people respecting this aspect. The standard therapy for a chronic shoulder issue is to only look at the shoulder. A vast majority of the time, that is not the SOURCE of the issue; it is only an indicator that there is an issue. I seem to get more shoulder complaints than any other complaint and I have yet to find an improvement by only doing shoulder work. Most of the time it is the opposite foot, ankle, hip, same side wrist or thoracic area; but since it is all the body all the time then anything can cause anything. This was really shown in level 4 where we were working on scars on other locations on the body and seeing some dramatic improvements in what would seem like an unrelated area.

ANY THREAT can be interpreted as pain and pain and poor performance are the same thing.
This completely changes the way we look at pain and poor performance. We need to ensure that when we are training an athlete, that we keep this in mind. It will be counter productive to do things that are always perceived as a threat to the body. So yes, sets, reps, exercise, volume, etc—all of those things are good to record, but I would add a threat level and RPE (rating of perceived effort) to your training journal. I hear more trainers talking about training off of only RPE recently and I think that is a great idea, but the next step is to log a threat level also. Using a simple 1-10 scale is fine. You should not be training at a high threat level day in and day out. Most training should be as Dan John says “punch the clock sessions.” You get your work done in the correct fashion and it may not be your best session ever, but you got it done. Day in and day out this will add up fast!

Pain lives in the brain
The older thinking about pain believed that there was a pain center in the brain, but newer research has shown this not to be true. If it was true, we could target that pain center and relieve tons of pain issues with ablation (think of high energy to zap tissue) and designer drugs. Again, physiology is messy and it is not that simple. The newer thinking is along the lines of the pain neuromatrix developed by Melzack (and Wall). I knew the Matrix was involved in this Z stuff some how!

Breath retraining
I predict that this will be a huge area of topic among top trainers/coaches in the near future. Many already realized this years ago. For those at the recent RKC, Brett Jones had us do some breathing drills while not lifting to see if we were breathing into our stomachs or chest area. Gray Cook has talked about this a fair amount lately also. Be sure to check out “The Secrets of the Shoulder” DVD by Gary Cook and Brett Jones here. In the interest of full disclosure, I have not picked up yet, but it is first on my list come December when my schedules slows up a bit. Anything from both of those guys is well worth owning.

For all you linear thinkers, think of an athlete that comes to you with say a left shoulder issue. One thing to add to your list in to check their breathing. A normal breath should have the stomach going out on inhale and coming in on exhale. Most of the time the reverse happens (paradoxical breathing). When you breath in with the chest area, it is using the accessory muscles to help lift the ribcage. These accessory muscles (like the upper traps, scalenes, etc) have a huge effect on shoulder function. The shoulder is allowed to move by a virtual symphony of muscle movements around the joint. Imagine the drummer in a world class symphony playing on the wrong beat. What do you get? A crappy song, that’s what! If your breathing is off, you can messs up the shoulder muscles and get a crappy shoulder (among other potential issues). Is it always that simple? Nope, but if you have tried tons of other work and the shoulder is still an issue, investigate how the athlete is breathing. It is amazing to me that I took a whole physiology class on Advanced Pulmonary Mechanics, but they failed to mention just how common poor breathing is in general.

All details matter
Either you believe in the SAID (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand) principal or you don’t. Sorry, no fence riders on this one. So if you believe in it, then pay attentions to the details when lifting. What is your posture? Do you feel better after each lift, set, rep or worse? Is your performance/movement getting better or not?

Z Health is about creating SUPERIOR athletes.
I don’t have much expeirence with other “systems” out there for performance enhancement so I can’t comment much on how Z compares to them, but I can say that Z leaves virtually no stone un turned in regards to superior performance based on physiology/neurology. Z Health helps you achieve better performance, no matter what your goal!

The 9S model for an athlete–Speed, Strength, Skill, Sustenance, Suppleness, Stamina, Structure, Spirit, Style and Sprint. Most people only work with athletes in 2-3 areas and you need all 9 depending on the state of the athlete on the day you are working with him/her. Expand your areas.

Stay out of pain!
If you are in pain, get out of it. Yes that is easier said than done, but I see athletes all the time moving into pain when they should know better. Unless you are a professional athlete that gets paid to perform, find something else to do that is not painful. If you are a pro athlete, you still need to get out of pain as it is hindering your performance. Each rep you perform is either taking your closer to your goal or farther away. If you are pushing through pain, it is taking you farther from your goal. Yes, this includes all your machos on the foam rollers!

Take Away points you can use:
Record a threat and RPE in your training journal. A simple 1-10 scale works
of 1 is just barely awake and a 10 is a level that you can not sustain anymore despite your best effort.
A threat level of 1 would be virtually nothing, and a 10 would be running from an angry bear.

Check your breathing–is it in the chest or stomach area. Breath awareness is key

All details matter to keep an eye on your training sessions and when you are not training. How do you feel? How is your movement? How is it connected?

Stay out of pain!

Z Health is about creating superior athletes
If you are interested in pain reduction and performance enhancement, click on here for more information.

Good Calorie, Bad Calorie debate
Gary Taube’s book “Good Calorie, Bad Calorie” seems to be creating quite a stir lately.

I’ve added it to my amazon wish list, but I have not picked it up yet, so I can’t comment on it directly. It revolves around the low carb debate which can be multiple blog entries on its own, but below is an excerpt from Gary, alternative medicine guru Dr. Andrew Weil and also Dr. Oz. Very interesting debate!

I really like Andrew Weil’s books and highly recommend them. “Healthy Aging” was just superb.

Post your comments on it below. If people are interested I will post more of my thoughts on it in the future. Any Z Health questions/comments are always welcome too.


Rock on
Mike N


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