Categorized as: Informative

You’re ALL wrong about Lactic Acid

Contrary to common belief Lactic acid (lactate) is:

  • NOT responsible for the burn in the leg muscles when exercising very fast
  • NOT responsible for the soreness you experience in the 48 hours following a hard session
  • NOT a waste product

Lactate, which is produced by the body all day long, is resynthesized by the liver to form glucose that provides you with more energy. Sounds like a friend to me.

Here is what is really happening…

Lactate Shuttle

The lactate shuttle involves the following series of events:

  • As we exercise a chemical called pyruvate is formed…
  • When insufficient oxygen is available to break down the pyruvate then lactate is produced…
  • Lactate enters the surrounding muscle cells, tissue and blood…
  • The muscle cells and tissues receiving the lactate either breakdown the lactate to fuel (ATP) for immediate use or use it in the creation of glycogen…
  • The glycogen then remains in the cells until energy is required.

65% of lactic acid is converted to carbon dioxide and water, 20% into glycogen, 10% into protein and 5% into glucose.

Conversion into glycogen. 20% Conversion into protein. 10% Conversion into glucose. 5%

It has been estimated that about 50% of the lactate produced during intensive exercise is used by muscles to form glycogen which acts as a metabolic fuel to sustain exercise.

Hydronium ions

The breakdown of glucose or glycogen produces lactate and hydronium ions – for each lactate molecule, one hydrogen ion is formed. The presence of hydronium ions, NOT lactate, makes the muscle acidic that will eventually halt muscle function. As hydrogen ion concentrations increase the blood and muscle become acidic. This acidic environment will slow down enzyme activity and ultimately the breakdown of glucose itself. Acidic muscles will aggravate associated nerve endings causing pain and increase irritation of the central nervous system.

So next time someone tells you they’re sore from lactic acid say hey, “cite your source”!

Integrity in the Workout Place

“One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.”
Chinua Achebe, Nigerian Writer

“Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn’t blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man (or woman) who won’t cheat, then you know he never will.” John D. MacDonald

As I head into my 2nd year of CrossFitting, I realize one of the greatest lessons I learn each day is to practice CrossFit with Integrity. In life there are so many ways we can cut corners, do something good but not great, finish a project half-heartedly, or finish something that you know was not done 100% correctly either for lack of time or interest. We all have those days when we figured that no one would really notice if we didn’t try quite as hard every time. In our personal lives with our family and friends, we may sometimes omit tiny bits of information or tell a little white lie here or there, whether it’s to protect ourselves or others. All of this makes up what we call our personal integrity. What is integrity? According to Webster dictionary,

in·teg·ri·ty   [in-teg-ri-tee]

1. firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: INCORRUPTIBILITY

2. an unimpaired condition: SOUNDNESS

3. the quality or state of being complete or undivided: COMPLETENESS or WHOLENESS

To have personal integrity is to DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’RE GOING TO DO. What does Integrity have to do with CrossFit? Read More…


The squat butt wink is one of the most well known and dreaded of all squat movement faults. If you haven’t heard of butt wink before, it is the term used to describe the excessive flexing of the lower back during squats. This puts the body in a sub-optimal position for developing and transferring force.

While some research supports the idea that this unnecessarily loads the spine, that is a much deeper discussion than we will get into here. But in my opinion, if given the choose between a spine staying “neutral” or flexing, I choose neutral.

Before we dive deeper into the causes and fixes of the squat butt wink, it is important to note that a small amount of lumbar flexion is unavoidable, especially when squatting deep. When I discuss butt wink, I am specific to the excessive lumbar flexion.

Butt wink is often labeled a mobility problem but so often motor control issues play just as big of a role. To correct the butt wink, we must first accurately identify the cause of it rather than taking the “shotgun approach” so many coaches and athletes use by throwing random exercises at the problem and hope that something sticks. Read More…

Why Use a SkiErg?

You no longer have to wax your skis to benefit from the full-body impact-free workout of Nordic skiing: the SkiErg provides all the aerobic and strength benefits, and is available even when there’s no snow or you can’t get to the trails. Even if you’ve never put on a pair of skis, the SkiErg is the perfect tool to help you reap the benefits of a skiing workout.

An Effective Full-Body Workout

The Concept2 SkiErg helps you build strength and endurance by working the entire body in an efficient, rhythmic motion. Skiing is a low impact, high calorie burning exercise suitable for all ages and abilities. You are in complete control of the resistance: the harder you pull, the faster the flywheel spins, which creates more resistance.

A Safe, Effective and Convenient Training Tool

The SkiErg provides excellent sport-specific training using the poling motions that are integral to both techniques of Nordic Skiing. It also provides a range of resistance similar to that found on snow. The convenience of training on a SkiErg is hard to beat, especially when rollerskiing just isn’t an option—whatever the weather or conditions, the SkiErg is always available. It’s safer than training in traffic and is an easy way to add poling to your indoor workouts. Read More…

What Are the Benefits of Barbell Rows?

Lats Are the New Biceps

The barbell row is one of the most effective exercises for developing a strong back. The prime mover, which is the muscle responsible for completing the movement, is the latissimus dorsi. The lats are one of the biggest muscles in the upper body and are instrumental to an impressive physique. In addition to substantial latissimus activation, the barbell row works all three areas of the trapezius with very high activation in the upper and middle traps. The rhomboids — a key postural muscle — is called upon heavily as well. It’s safe to say that the barbell row is a top exercise for packing on size and strength in the back muscles.

Jaw Dropping Boulder Shoulders

Shapely, balanced deltoids are immensely important for one’s physique. There are three separate parts to the deltoid muscle: front, middle and rear deltoids. The majority of exercisers have well-developed front deltoids from doing pushups, bench presses and military presses. They often have balanced middle deltoids from doing dumbbell lateral raises. But few exercisers focus on the rear deltoids, which takes away from the round, defined appearance of the shoulders. Barbell bent over rows are the best exercise for this often neglected area of the shoulder. Also, the rear deltoids are increasingly activated when performing barbell rows with an overhand grip compared to the underhand grip.

Stability, It’s a Full Body Thing

With all of the upper body benefits it’s easy to overlook the full body stabilization effect of the barbell row. The bent over barbell row requires strength from the hands all the way down to the feet. The feet, legs, hips and core have to work just to maintain a stable position throughout the exercise. Of course, more muscles working means more calories burned, so by activating an array of muscles the barbell row turns into a fat-burning exercise as well. Read More…

The Top 10 Mistakes Made by Crossfitters

Crossfit first came onto the fitness scene about 5 years ago, and at that time, most people thought this was an exercise fad that wouldn’t last. Little did they know that Crossfit would become one of the fastest-growing sports worldwide. Today there are over 13,000 Crossfit affiliate gyms (also know as “boxes”) in 142 countries across 7 continents. With those kinds of stats, it’s fairly safe to say that Crossfit is here to stay.

This fitness regime, which combines functional movements with olympic lifting and weight training has gotten a bit of a reputation for being pretty hard-core, even dangerous. It’s true that the work-outs (or “WODs” in CF lingo) are physically challenging and are meant to test your limits and maximize efficiency and with this kind of challenge comes increased risks and can leave participants prone to injury. There are of course steps you can take to minimize these risks, like knowing these ten common Crossfit mistakes…

1. Not Starting Small

When you first start Crossfit, it’s important to build a solid foundation on which you can build your skills. This is still important even if you’re coming from another fitness routine or consider yourself an athletic person. Read More…