Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fasting and athletes

So I have to admit something here. I'm guilty of yet again doing what I warned about in my bodyfat article.

Doing the whole Intermittent fasting thing can be a wonderful tool but it can be really easy to take too far. If you want to be able to perform at your best you still need to get in enough whole food. It may be an amazing feeling to look in the mirror every week and see positive change. Just don't get carried away with what you see in the mirror.

My case may be a little bit different than what most people are after.  If all you want is to be fit and healthy you can do a 16 hour fast every day and not notice and problems you will keep a healthy weight and have wonderful energy levels. Lots of people fast 16 - 18 hours and enjoy wonderful health improvements and energy levels. Those of us who strive to be elite athletes may have different energy requirements.

If you train like an elite athlete you already know your energy expenditure requires a considerable amount of calories to fuel For this I recommend backing off your fasts to one or two 16 - 18 hour fasts once or twice a week. I don't mean for the average person who spends 45 - 60 minutes in the gym three times a week. I mean for the serious athlete who trains at full intensity two hours a day five days a week.

For everybody though, I can't stress enough that you need to be able to listen to your body. Living the Caveman lifestlye is all about being in tough with what is happening in your body as well as your environment. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. If your abs are getting rock hard but your energy levels and mood are dropping, then back off on the fasting for a couple of days and allow youself to eat more.

Remember fasting is only a tool to be used for you benefit. It can be easy to get carried away. Use it to achieve and maintain your desired bodyweight but pace yourself and don't loose weight too quickly. The body needs to adjust to the composition changes.

Remember that it's almost impossible to have abs like you see on the cover of muscle and fitness. An impossibly low bodyfat level will only hinder athletic performance. If you look at the bodies of real atheletes you'll notice that they carry a little bit more bodyfat. It is needed to perform at the level of professional athletes.

So fast, just not everyday, and if you want to build muscle of perform at an elite level, then by god EAT!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Strong Women

It's a little bit late and I should be going to bed but I haven't done a post since arriving back at home and I have a few things I'd like to say.

Strong woman
You may have read my post about the type of exercise we do and the positive changes they will create in the human body. That was definitely not only intended for men to read. Strength is sexy and we should make sure we celebrate the beauty of strong women.

As is mentioned in the above video, it is sad that women can pick up a fitness magazine and be bombarded with images of emaciated women who obviously have no functional strength. Obviously weak, malnourished cardio junkies who have never lifted a real weight in their life. It is a bloody shame that women can be lead to believe that they should stick to stretching and avoid liftime real weights for fear that they will become "bulky" and have muscles like a man.

Strength in a woman is sexy. Lifting weights will not make a woman "bulky". On the contrary, Lifting heavy things develops the type of muscle that only accentuates a woman's natural curvature. It is impossible for a woman to "bulk up" with out the aid of certain "hormonal supplements". I have seen time and time again the results of women who aren't afraid to train hard and lift heavy and the results are nothing less that amazing.

I frequently include photos and videos of women doing impressive feats of strength and skill in my performance blog posts in the hopes of inspiring the girls who follow my workouts. To show them that strength and confidence are beautiful things. So are the women who possess them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm home! I'm home!

A quick one today to let you know that after almost two years of being in training and being shipped from province to province, I am finally home.

This has to be the greatest feeling in the world to finally be able to sit down with my wife, who I have missed dearly, and relax. To be able to go to bed at night knowing that I am not only here for a visit so every morning isn't one day closer until I have to leave again. I'm posted to the military hospital on the Halifax waterfront and I must say that I am excited for all the things I am going to learn during my next few years of working as a medic in a clinical setting.

Expect my regular posts to resume shortly now that things have finally become somewhat normal once again. I know it has been almost a month since my last post. Thank god that I'm living a normal human life again so I can find the time once more to begin posting once again. Once again I apologies for the sparratic posting over the past few months. The last few months of training were pretty insane but they are finally over. Expect to see much more frequent posts coming in the future.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Over Reaching, Over Training and recovery

I recently turned 30. I'm not old by any means but this means I'm officially not a kid any more (thought I still feel like one most of the time). This also means I can't train like I'm 21 anymore and expect to be recovered from one workout to the next. I need to pay attention to training volume, diet and recovery these days and if I miss piece of that puzzle, I begin to fall apart. I have a few general practices I follow in my daily routine and I'd like to share them with you in the hopes of helping to ensure you are recovering fully between workouts.

Recognize over reaching to avoid over training 
 What most people believe is over training is really just over reaching. In fact, it takes quite a while
and a lot of effort to become truly over trained. Over reaching is when you are beginning to exceed your optimal training volume and you aren't recovering properly. The first sign of this is usually decreased interest and performance during workouts. If you get to the gym one day end the weights feel extra heavy it's usually a good idea to back off that day and just nip it in the bud. This is hard to do sometimes, especially for us gym rats who are generally inclined to just push through it. I can speak from personal experience that if you get to the gym and you really aren't feeling it, you are dragging your ass through the warm up and all the weights feel extra heavy, dome something light and get outta there. Learn to listen to your body. This is the first and most effective step in avoiding injury.

Some other tell tale signs of over reaching include...
Lack of appetite
Loss of libido
Craving sugary foods
Difficulty sleeping
A general feeling of overall tiredness

If you are starting to feel a few of these symptoms you should probably back off on your training for a bit. Take an extra rest day, eat a little bit more and relax. Remember that you don't get stronger while you are in the gym. You get stronger while you rest. Nobody ever got weaker from one extra rest day. It takes about three weeks of not doing anything before you start to loose strength so and extra day and even the occasional week off will only do you good from time to time.

Over training
Real over training take a long time to achieve. It involves many hours of exercise beyond what the body can recover from. If you start to reach the state of being over trained you will know it. Most people over training will start to develop cold like symptoms, Moodiness, aches and pains, lack of interest in eating, activities and sex. Intense cravings for sugar and often it will be accompanied by weight gain from all the extra cortisol your body will be producing. This is not a fun state to be in. I have been there and my performance plummeted across all aspects of my training and it has taken quite a while to recover from.

If you do become over trained you need to take an immediate week off of training. At least seven days. Make sure you are eating enough and drinking enough water. Get back into the gym slowly and pay close attention to how you feel because it is easily to slip back into the state if you have not allowed yourself to fully recover. Over training leads to injury and should be treated like an injury itself.

Fortunately it takes a long time to reach that state. Most people recognize it when they are in the over reaching stage and are smart enough to back off on time.

Maximizing recovery
As soon as I finish a workout I like to get a quick source of easily digestible carbohydrate and protein into my system as fast as possible. I like to carry a banana and a couple of packets of honey with me to the gym. That way as soon as I finish stretching, I open a banana and some honey and dip that banana into the honey. This is delicious and it gets glucose into my system as right away to replenish my muscles. From there, I usually head to right to lunch or supper where I eat lots of meat and vegetables and some fruit.

It's that easy. A small glucose spike right before leaving the gym via honey and banana and a good quantity of real food as soon as possible. This works great for me, I find that by doing this my recovery is fantastic and I can attack each workout full on.

For some people this is not really that feasible. If you work out at an odd time and it isn't easy to get to a meal right after then I'd recommend bringing a source of protein with you to consume shortly after your workout. First this I'd recommend is real food such as chicken and fruit. Otherwise you may want to look into bringing a natural source protein powder. I know it's not exactly caveman given that it's from dairy and usually pretty processed, however, you do want to take advantage of your window of opportunity and get protien and carbohydrate within half an hour of your workout. Therefore, in this case I do recommend making a concession. Always take your post workout protein with carbohydrate and avoid added fats to maximize absorption.

Drink it! I know you hear it everywhere you go but without it you can't function. Drink it before, during and after your workout. You do not need any fancy sports drink, you do need water. It's easy and convenient. I have a metal one liter bottle of water, it goes every where my bag goes. I drink two a day, more if I work out extra hard or it's extra hot out. It is that important! If you drink water, you will have more energy, will recover better and you will be in a better mood. Look at your pee if it looks like apple juice you need to rink more. If it loos like lemonade you are doing ok. If it looks like apple cider you need to go to the hospital for intravenous re hydration.

I did a full article on stretching. I finish every workout with a thorough session and stretch my entire body. It is my favorite part of the entire workout, when I get to cool down, recenter myself and reflect on the workout. I can spend an hour stretching pretty easily. Though I don't necessarily recommend spending that long stretching, you should spend at least 10 minutes at the end of each workout. Stretching begins the recovery process by loosening up tight muscles and increasing blood flow, allowing damaged tissue to be transported away and new tissue growth to begin.  Expect an article soon with some basic stretches and start making stretching a priority.

If you are following the caveman lifestyle then you know the importance of eating properly. Your body functions in relation to the quality of food you put into it. If you eat like crap expect your recovery to be crap as well. So look back over some of my earlier posts and make sure you are putting the right food into our system.

The vast majority of your tissue growth occurs when you are sleeping. You have to make getting
enough sleep such a priority that you are almost willing to kill to get to bed on time. If you don't sleep you won't recover, that's the bottom line. You won't recover and you won't perform well enough to get the results you want. I know lots of people who stay up late playing video games every night and wonder why they feel like crap all the time. And these guys don't even exercise. I can only imagine how they'd feel if they had even a moderate amount of activity from which they'd have to recover.
Make sleeping a priority and see how much better your feel.

You need you down time as well. Look forward to your days off the gym and make the most of them. Take the time to pursue activities you love which are good for your mind and soul. If you do this you will feel invigorated, motivated and happy. Happy, relaxed people have more energy so take time to relax and do something you love every day.

These are my rules of recovery and I apply them to every workout. Take the time to place more emphasis on the things that will help you recover as well and it will not only benefit your workouts but you will have more energy and get more enjoyment out of you day to day activities as well.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Yes they are a fact of life.

Especially to those of us who regularly pursue some degree of physical activity on a regular level. We do our best to avoid them because, let's face it, injuries suck. Nobody likes to be laid up on the sidelines watching our friends have all the fun.

Unfortunately though, for most of us, an injury eventually becomes an inevitability. Be it from a momentary laps in judgment or attention. Or from some unforeseeable factor that just happens to be gunning for us, pretty much everybody is eventually going to be experiencing an injury.

A sprain is a stretching or tearing of the ligament. Which is the band of connective tissue which connects the end of one bone the the end of another. The degree of sprain indicates the amount of damage done. First degree being just a stretching of the ligament to a fifth degree which is a complete tear.  Some joints prone to sprains are knees, ankles, and wrists.

A sprain is usually caused by some form of trauma, such as a fall or blow, which knocks a joint out of alignment such as a football tackle.  Physical characteristics of a sprain generally include pain, swelling, bruising, loss of movement and instability of the affected joint.

A strain is the stretching or tearing of the muscle or tendon.  Often caused by forcing a muscle to move beyond it's normal of range of motion to contract too forcefully without proper preparation. Strains are often experienced by athletes trying to perform without warming up. As with sprains a strain can range from first degree to fifth degree and a fifth degree strain can lead to loss of function if not repaired medically. Sprains are often accompanied by pain, spasm and reduced strength and function of the affected muscle or tendon.

Treament for sprains and strains
When suffering a soft tissue injury it is important to get ice on it as soon as possible. The first 24 hours are the most crucial and ice can literally be the difference between being stiff for a couple of days or being laid up for a couple of weeks. Ice for 24 - 48 hours keeping the ice on for 20 minutes and off for 10 minutes at a time. Wrap the ice pack in a thin layer of cloth such as a t-shirt so you don't freeze the surface tissue but not so thick that you insulate the injury from the cold. If you are active  in sports it is a good idea to keep Styrofoam cups filled with water in the freezer. That way if you experience a sprain you can peel back the Styrofoam and massage the tissue.

A fracture is a crack or break in  a bone. Usually caused acute impact or sudden stress, a fracture can also be caused by repetitive stress over time. Acute fractures are generally accompanied by pain and swelling at the fracture site, a complete fracture can also be angulated or in some cases pierce the skin and stick out. If you experience a fracture immobilize the area to the best of your ability and get to the doctor as soon as possible. If a fracture is bad enough it can cut off blood supply and cause permanent damage

When experiencing any kind of injury the first thing you should do is follow the mnemonic...

This will help the healing process by immobilizing and protecting the injury so as to not make it worse, and will help control the pain and inflammation.

I recommend against using anti-inflammatory such as Advil and Aleve. These interfere with the body's natural inflammation process which is a necessary part of the body's natural healing process. Using these drugs will hamper the body's ability to heal. Ice should be used to keep the inflammation from getting out of hand and to help with the pain but I say again, except in extreme cases, stay away from drugs.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Stretching and Flexibility

Flexibility is  a key component of health, wellness, athletic performance and just retaining mobility as we get older. It is an essential yet often overlooked part of a regular training program.

All too often after an intense workout many of us opt to just head out the door without spending the time to do a decent cool down and stretch out. This slows down the recovery process and allows us to become less flexible over time which will hinder our sought after training results. So I'd like to take a few minutes to have a look at the various types of stretching

Static stretching
Quite possible the most commonly practiced form of stretching and arguably the least effective. Don't get me wrong, static stretching definitely has it's place. It helps limber up tight muscles and increases blood flow to tissues helping along along the recovery process. Static stretching is performed by moving a muscle as far as possible into a stretch and holding for 30 - 60 seconds There are definitely more effective forms of stretching out there though which are proven to get much faster results in the search for increased flexibility. Though I do like to use static stretching as a companion to PNF stretching which I will get into later.

Yoga comes in many different forms today and is essentially meditation combined with resistance stretching. Though my experience with yoga is limited I do highly recommend it's practice as both a means to strengthen and limber up the body and free the mind as well.

Yoga generally follows a series of poses which range from simple to quite challenging and emphasizes proper breathing as well. There are a great many internal and external benefits to be gained from doing yoga on a daily basis and anybody who thinks it's not a challenge worth doing or is only for the ladies should just give it a try and find out for themselves. I remember one day walking to class behind a fairly muscular gentleman  who seemed to be walking as if in a great deal of pain. When I asked him if he had a rough workout yesterday, he replied. "No, I did the hot yoga last night".  'Nuff said

Dynamic stretching
Dynamic stretching is often done as a warm up and should be done before every work out. Often movements which "rehearse" the workout about to be done are used to "grease the groove". Essentially one moves their joints through the entire range of motion without forcing them beyond what is "normal". This primes the central nervous system for the workout about to be done which primes the body to do certain movements more efficiently and reduces the chances of injury. Movements often used in dynamic warm ups frequently include lunges, squats, push ups, pull ups, jumps all using full range of motion.

Two examples of dynamic warm ups which I personally use frequently are the core performance warm up developed by Mark Verstegen and the Bergener warm up. Developed by world class Olympic lifting coach Mike Burgener which I do to grease the groove every time I do olympic lifts.

Resistance Stretching
Resistance stretching works under the belief that a muscle has to contract in order to properly stretch. Essentially one resists the stretch while moving through the stretch itself.
This type of stretching has been brought to light by Bob Cooley and many athletes nw claim that it has done wonderful things for their athletic performance. Olympic medalist swimmer Dara Torres credits her ability to win swimming medals into her 40's with Cooley's methods and has since gone on to her own branch of resistance stretching called meridian stretching.

Resistance stretching blends many aspects of Yoga with traditional chinese medicine and is claimed to open up energy meridian pathways within the body allowing for freedom of flow of energy. I have followed Cooley's method for quite some time and I can attest to his claim that his method creates greater body awareness.Whether I think that resistances stretching has brought great increases in my flexibility, I can't say I'm positive either way. I have always paid great attention to improving my flexibility and when I switched over to his method,  certain areas that I may have neglected have definitely improved while other areas have tightened up since I haven't paid quite as much attention to them while following his book. All in all, I do highly recommend it as a starting point to teach someone the value of flexibility and each them how to improve their whole body flexibility.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF stretching)
Quite possibly my favorite type of stretching for after I work out. PNF stretching requires that you move into a stretch as far as you comfortably can and then contract the stretched muscle. Build the contraction over three to five seconds  so as to not injure yourself and hold the contraction for 10 to 20 seconds of as long as you can. Then relax, breathe out and allow the stretch to move into a greater range. this method brings immediate increases to flexibility. I use it myself and have found great success with it. I use it by following about three cycles of contract/relax and then I hold a static stretch in the final position for 20 to 30 seconds before coming out of the stretch gently.

PNF works by essentially shutting off the muscle's stretch reflex. When a muscle moves into a greater range than it is used to it tightens up in order to prevent from moving too far and causing injury. So it is not the length of your muscles that limits your flexibility. You can potentially be far more flexible than you believe yourself to be right now. PNF tells the muscle to relax by forcing it to contract and then relax telling it that it is ok to move to a greater range of motion.

Practiced regularly PNF stretching can lead to great increases in flexibility but must be done with a degree of caution. Don't move into a range that causes you pain or force to muscle to stretch too far. It is possible to over stretch a muscle and that would be counterproductive.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Body weight training

First off, I have to divulge that I am sitting in my bed right now with an ice pack strapped to my lower back contemplating changes that I may have to permanently make to my own training regimen.

I threw out my back on Friday doing deadlifts and  this is starting to become a yearly occurrence.  Last time I did this was around the Christmas season and, like an idiot, I didn't allow it to properly heal. I didn't ice it from the get go and every time I thought I was feeling better I would go straight to deadlifts and re injure myself. Needless to say, it took lot longer than it should have  to heal because of my own eagerness to get back under a barbell.

I really love to lift heavy weight, it makes me happy but I definitely won't be able to do it for ever and heavy deadlifts may not be an option any more.

I have a condition in my spine known as a Pars Defect and I believe it may be catching up to me. This means I now face the prospect of making some drastic changes to my own training regimen.

Using your own body as resistance

I have always been a huge proponent of body weight training and have been fascinated by the feats of gymnasts and  masters of hand balancing. These are the people who I believe have the greatest relative strength of any athlete. I have used this type of training before to rehab back injuries with great success and may now have to change my training to center on these exercises instead of supplement with them.

Let's start with the basics. We have planks, push ups, sit ups and pull ups. These form the foundation of any bodyweight regimen and is where we should begin. There isn't a ton of mystery here and these exercises can be worked on the a great deal of proficiency. There are even entire websites dedicated to getting 100 push ups in a single set and a site on the way dedicated to getting 25 pull ups.

As I stated you can and use these exerises indefinitely to achieve a great amount of relative strength (strength to weight ratio). Eventually though you may become bored with the same exercises over and over and wish to aspire to some new feats to bodyweight greatness.

Lever, Planche and Manna

These static holds are the measurement of gymnastic strength. They involve all the muscles of the core chest and shoulder girdles. They require such intense contraction to achieve and hold that training them to any degree can have great benefits to anybody willing to dedicate some time and effort. They are difficult and require a great deal of skill to master but the idea is to start slowly.

Front and back lever
When learning the levers you will need to start with the tuck versions. Begin with the tuck front lever, when you can hold the tuck lever for 60 seconds then it is time to move on to the advanced tuck lever and then on to the full front lever. Follow the same progression s for the back lever as well.

Tuck front lever                                                                           Advanced tuck front lever


Front lever                                                                                  Back lever

Same as with the levers, when learning to hold a planche you will have to start with the most basic tuck versions, beginning with the frog stand. You may have to begin the frog stand with your head on the floor until you get the strength and balance necessary to raise your head off of the floor. Don't get discouraged the first few levels of progression cone fairly quickly.

Frog stand                                       

Tuck Planche

Straddle Planche                                            Planche

Manna is an extremely difficult move to learn. For anybody who has dedicated the necessary time to learn it it is the hallmark of extreme bodyweight control along with the iron cross

Ring training
If asked what is the single most effective piece of strength training equipment I own, I would say without a doubt, it is my rings. Gymnastic rings provide a tool for training all of the upper body muscles i all the ranges of motion and under unlimited tension. They can be used for pull ups, muscle ups, dips, levers, planches. The list goes on and on. They can be lowered to just above the floor to add difficulty to push ups. You can add them to any upper body bodyweight exercise to increase the challenge. They are pretty cheap to puck up from and I personally have to most fun with my rings than with any other piece of equipment i own.

The single  greatest advantage to bodyweight training is it is so convenient and accessible.  You can do it anywhere and any time.... for free. Playgrounds are wonderful and anybody who has seen me cut loose on a set of monkey bars will agree. You do not need a gym to get a great workout

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I haven't forgot about you

If you have noticed that it's been a while since I've posted a blog, My wife was visiting from Halifax last week so I was taking some time off to spend with her during her visit.

I'll be resuming shortly and I thank you for your patience.

All the best


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Musings

As of right now I'm just sitting on my bed on a Sunday morning. I have a cup of dark roast coffee with a little bit of cocoa powder in it beside me, it is one of my favorite Sunday morning rituals, and my roommate is watching tv shows about trucks.

We spent the last week in the grip of a record breaking heat wave here in Chilliwack B.C and it seems as though it is finally starting to crack. It is slightly overcast and the breeze seems, thankfully, to be a little bit cool.

We are in the midst of our final three exams here at paramedic school. We had a written exam on Thursday, a practical exam on Friday based on a trauma scenario and on Monday we have our final exam. It is to be a practical exam based on a medical emergency (ie; heart attack, anaphylaxis, athsma etc.) I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow, as I like the medical scenarios more than trauma when it comes to skit medicine. Though I can tell that when I get out in the ambulance I'll be looking forward to the trauma calls to keep thing interesting.

My wife comes to visit in six days. We've been married ten months on my birthday and we have spent half of it apart thanks to my military training. Though it will be all worth it in the end. Training is almost done and we can look forward to being together permanently very soon.

The hotel room is booked, flight arrangements are made I may still rent a car but monies are tight after getting the fancy hotel room for a week. I turn 30 on the 19th and I'm going to have my wife with me this year. That is the greatest birthday present I could think of. Last year I had just graduated from basic training the day before my birthday and I was shipped off to sit on base in Borden, Ontario to rot while waiting for my training to begin. It was a horrible experience.

So much has changed since then, it's amazing what can happen in a year.  In the last year I have graduated basic training, got married, spent a month in meaford sitting in a trench and on guard for an imaginary enemy while hallucinating from sleep deprivation. I've done  four months in Borden learning the clinical skills of a medic in the Canadian military. I am now three quarters of the way through the paramedic phase of our training in beautiful Chilliwack B.C.  I have climbed up two mountains, Started a health and fitness blog and revamped my own training so that I have been blowing all my old personal fitness records away.

Now so that you don't walk away from this post without gaining anything, I'd like to give you a few links for your paleo pleasure

Here is a good breakdown of the paleo diet, which CaveMan2.0 is based off of. It seems that everybody has their own ideas of how one should follow the diet so I recommend studying as many variations as possible and drawing your own conclusions.

Eat move improve's breakdown on the importance of vitamin D. I have linked to this one before but It is one of my favorites

I have spoken about how eating like a  CaveMan can improve testosterone, and hgh levels but how about the effects on estrogen in our feminine counterparts? Mark Sisson sheds Some light here.

Mike OD sheds some light on taking control of life's mental battle here

And finally a slightly humorous video of myself trying to show off and getting caught in the process. I figured I'd do some muscle ups for the camera with 20 pounds of ankle weights on. We didn't think ahead about how the straps were looping down and I got to star in my own epic fail video.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Ok so I know this may be a little bit off topic but I've been harassing the nice guys at to give me a  license to their product MacKeeper. They have been nice enough to agree so I feel I should give their product a fair review.

I do all my Blogging on a Mac. I just got my mac so maintaining it is still a bit of a mystery to me. I found this program called MacKeeper and downloaded the free trial and it is pretty incredible. At first I was looking for a program to fish out all my duplicate files and remove them because itunes and iphoto have an annoying habit of making two or three copies of every song and photo on my hard drive.

After stumbling upon MacKeeper I was pretty overjoyed. It did what I wanted along with tons of other features and it did it all with only the push of one button. I love the program and I would definitely recommend it to anybody who owns a mac.

I know this sounds like a shameless plug but I am accepting no money for this review. I have been harassing the poor guys over at zeobit for a free license and they have been nice enough to oblige. I have to like it if I am willing to risk a harassment suit for it. Find the link in the right  hand sidebar.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Reader Feedback

Before starting this article I would like to state that I have no desire to make a personal argument with any vegetarians. I did express in past writings personal feelings on vegetarianism however I intend no personal attacks on anybody who chooses this lifestyle. Though I feel that it would be a healthier choice to eat meat, this in no way influences my feelings towards my vegetarian friends. Especially some of my old Capoeira buddies who I sincerely wish not to alienate.

Now here is a letter from one of my readers

Hi Joey 

     All very interesting. However, you have to keep in mind a few things about meat - how it is produced and how it is processed. Meat and animal products are not in and of themselves negative things, it is the amount consumed and scale of production that is the primary problem. There is also the concern over bio-magnification which is a major issue in seafood but is also an issue in terrestrial food as well. Also the dietary quality of meat that is mass produced is lower in what we need from meat - omega oils etc. due to their profit driven diet.
It really not that easy to dismiss the value of a vegetarian diet - there are the internal benefits -eg. gastrointestinal health and exposure to high levels of pesticides and the external benefits eg. lower carbon emissions and destruction of natural landscapes.
Not to mention all the dietitians I know here at Acadia advocate for a low meat intake or no meat intake diet.

Its really not "good" research to discredit something based on "poor" research - find some good rigorous studies to base your information on - I am sure there are just as many studies out there that have been done badly that advocate for an animal product heavy diet. Keep in mind that there were and continue to be whole societies that were primarily vegetarian. Many much older than our own.

Thank you for bringing the subject to light and keep working on making people think about what they eat. Drop me a line if you want to talk about it.

In this letter they Brought up some very good points. So good in fact that I feel I need to bring it to light with a whole article of it's own.

In response...

        The points you bring up here are very good points and I thank you for bringing them to light.

Concerns about how meat and animal products are produced are no less valid than concerns regarding pesticides and genetic modification of fruits and vegetables. One has to agree that both these products have been so far removed from their original state that neither of them contain even close to the nutritional value they once did and we, the consumers, are the ones suffering for it.

I would also like to point out that nothing in my article mentioned how these goods are produced. That is, however, a great topic for a future article which will most definitely be addressed shortly.

If it is not "good" research to discredit somebody's "poor" research than what would you define as "good research" The studies I refer to are all "good rigorous" studies and I will happily provide references so you may review them yourself and make your own judgment.

I ask you to provide the references to the research stating that eating meat negatively affects one's gastrointestinal health and as far as exposure to high levels of pesticides... I'm not exactly sure which side are you arguing there?

In regards to destruction of natural landscapes, development of agricultural farmland has a far more devastating effect on natural habitats than farming livestock. The amount of landscaping required to produce fields for large scale agriculture requires large combine harvesters and vast open fields. This requires the destruction of thousands of miles of natural habitat. This destruction forces thousands of species of native wildlife from their homes, many of which fall victim to the machinery required to produce your agricultural fields.

Where animals are farmed (at least when they are farmed using fields), they require comparatively small fields to keep them in. This only requires fences or hedgerows and requires no alteration of the land they are kept on. In these fields they graze naturally and their droppings provide natural fertilizer. Therefore negating the need to provide artificial fertilizers in order to grow the vegetation to support the livestock.

In defense of the Moral vegetarian though, more and more of these animals are kept in pens when they should be allowed to roam free in the fields where they can graze naturally producing a meat which is much higher omega3's as opposed to the grain fed variety which produces a meat containing a proportionately high amount of Omega6 which lends itself to inflammation.

 I am not trying to argue that vegetarianism has no merit whatsoever. If you have read any of my past articles then you are aware that my position is that vegetarianism is a step away from the diet that we evolved to eat. We have thrived for millions of years eating a diet consisting of "paleolithic" foods. With the development of agriculture also came many of the diseases of civilization (ie diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, heart disease) that were largely unknown to our omnivorous ancesters.

Yes there are whole societies that continue to be largely vegetarian. The Kikuyu Tribe in Kenya are a prime example. Yet they were relatively shorter and in ill health compared to their largely carnivorous neighbors, the Masai, who were taller, leaner and in much better overall health.

The Madrassis, Bengalis and Kanarese of India also eat a vegetarian diet consisting of mainly rice yet they are short, overweight and unhealthy compared to their neighbors, Pathans, Sikhs and Hunzas. Who live in the same country, in the same climate, yet they eat meat and fish are much healthier overall.

Now I do have to thank you for calling me out on these points in my article. My intent is not to brainwash people into thinking the way I do. Rather, it is to provide people with information so they can come up with their own rational decisions therefore I do welcome any rebuttals to my articles and would love to  welcome any open discussion.

By Gary Taubes

Gary Taubes.. Good Calories bad Calories, Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease. Knopf. 2007

Gaulin S. J. C., Konner M.. On the natural diet of primates, including humans. In: Wurtman R. Y., Wurtman J. J., eds. Nutrition and The Brain. Vol 1, Raven Press, New York. 1977.  

Kovda V. A.. Soil Preservation. In Polunin N. ed, The Environmental Future. Macmillan, London, 1972.

Lee R. B.. What hunters do for a living, or how to make out on scarce resources. In: Lee R. B., DeVore I., eds. Man The Hunter. Aldine, Chicago. 1968. 

Bryant V. M., Williams-Dean G.. The Coprolites of Man. Scientific American, January 1975. 

Hawkes J. G.. The Hunting Hypothesis . In: Ardrey R., ed. The Hunting Hypothesis . Collins, London, 1976.

Crawford M., Crawford S.. What We Eat Today . Spearman, London, 1972. 

Yudkin J.. Archaeology and the nutritionist . In: Ardrey R., ed. The Hunting Hypothesis . Collins, London, 1976. 

Groves B A. The Cholesterol Myth . A Second Opinion publication, 19th revision, March 1999.

reeland-Graves J.. Mineral adequacy of vegetarian diets. Am J Clin Nutr 1988; 48: 859. 

Sanders T. A. B.. Micronutrients: vitamin B-12. Matern Child Hlth . 1992; 17: 19-20. 

Herens M. C., Dagnelie P. C., Kleber R. J., Mol M. C. J., van Staveren W. A.. Nutrition and mental development of 4-5 year old children on macrobiotic diets. J Hum Nutr Diet 1992; 5: 1-9.           

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vegetarianism Part II, Myths and Legends

Let's take a look at some of the studies done to prove whether vegetarianism is the healthier lifestyle.

In July of 1994, the British Medical Journal published a study which claimed that vegetarians experienced 40% fewer rates of cancer and coronary disease than meat eaters. The problem here is that the results of the study were obviously stacked before the study even began. Here's why.

-The vegetarians for the study were picked by the vegetarian society to be in obvious good health. Then The vegetarians also hand picked the meat eaters for the study as well. This was an obvious attempt to fix the results

-The vegetarian group was mostly comprised of women and the meat eaters were mostly comprised of older men. Younger people obviously have far fewer instances of death than older folks and in the age groups selected, the older men have about four times the amount of case of heart disease than younger healthier women.

For these reasons, the study was clearly biased and is therefore worthless.

Now lets take a look at the study which determined that meat eaters have higher instances of high blood cholesterol.....

For this study scientists used rabbits, which are obviously obligate vegetarians. They fed the rabbits pre- oxidized cholesterol. (As an aside note, is is not the amount of LDL in your blood that is harmful but the amount of oxidized cholesterol in your system that does the damage) Now imagine the amount of harm that would be caused by feeding an animal, that doesn't have the faculties to digest animal flesh, pre-oxidized cholesterol. Yet another obviously biased study, and therefore worthless.

Introducing Ancel Keys

In the 1950's, a scientist named Ancel Keys, became known as the father of the "Lipid Hypothesis". This states that eating high amounts of saturated fat will increase the amount of cholesterol in your blood and clog your arteries and cause heart disease.

He embarked on a journey to prove this hypothesis and to get his picture on the cover of time magazine. The problem here is that his studies would come to no definite conclusion. His results were literally scattered. He found countries where people ate relatively small amounts of dietary fat and have higher instances of heart disease. He also found countries where people ate high amounts of dietary fat and had lower amounts of heart disease (ie; France and Holland).

Unfortunately for Dr. Keys, his results were, quite literally, all over the map. This is no way to get your face on the cover of Time magazine, so Dr. Keys took the only logical action and threw out all the evidence which didn't support his claim. Thus earning him fame and fortune and kicking off the mass hysteria called the "Lipid Hypothesis". Therefore we have Dr. Keys to thank for the low in fat, high in processed carbohydrate and processed vegetable oil diet that has more than doubled the heart disease and obesity rate since 1950.

The French Paradox

For years, scientists have baffled over the fact that Europeans, particularly the french, eat approximately eight times the amount of dietary fat that Americans do yet suffer a fraction of the heart disease. At one point they even tried to say that it is because of the tannins in the red wine they drink.

It turns out that though the French eat a diet much higher in saturated fat, they also eat fraction of the sugar and processed carbohydrate that Americans do.

Now here's a little something to chew on with your cheese and wine

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Vegetarianism Part I, Animals are our friends, and we should eat them

I'll be honest, this is going to be a difficult article to write. I have some personal views on vegetarianism. It is directly contrary to the caveman way of life. Many believe that it is the holy grail of healthy eating. Yet why is it that in order to be a vegetarian and still get all the necessary nutrition, one must go to great lengths and do much research in order to make it a sustainable lifestyle.

Alright, heck with it. I was going to do my best to write a completely unbiased article exploring the merits of vegetarianism but I can't, in good conscience bring myself to do it. In my early twenties I decided I would try to be a vegetarian. To tell you the truth it was a huge mistake. As long as I can I have dedicated my life to the pursuit of fitness and trying to be a vegetarian drastically slowed my progress.

I am in no way trying to say that you can't be fit as a vegetarian. There are many accomplished athletes who are vegetarians.  But for the type of training I was doing it was the wrong decision.

Now I'm going to take it upon myself to present some supporting evidence  that we are evolutionarily intended to be meat eaters

First let's look at the anatomical design of humans compared to that of our closest relatives, the great apes.  Humans  have a comparatively smaller abdominal area than the apes and gorillas. This is because in order to digest and process the leaves and grass that these primates eat, they require large masses of specialized organs. Humans lack those organs and therefore can not make efficient use of the plants that are consumed in such large quantities my the great apes.

Now when you compare the relative skull and brain size of humans and apes you see that we have much larger more well developed brains. This is hypothesized to be because once we discovered that we get much more energy and nutrition from eating meat, we were able to dedicate more time and energy to evolution and advancing the species and less time foraging for the massive quantities off plants required to sustain ourselves on a daily basis

True meat does contain cholesterol and saturated fat, but if you have followed my blog at all then you know by now that they have been demonized and do not deserve the negative press that they have been given over the years. Scientists have been trying for years and have not yet been able to actually correlate a link between dietary cholesterol and clogged arteries. Likewise in a still going 40 year study scientists have been trying and are still unable to find an actual link between between dietary fat and heart disease. That's because it doesn't exist. People of the far north have exhisted for generations living almost exclusively off of meat and blubber. It is an extremely high fat by our standards, yet heart the diseases of modern civilization were largely unknown to these people until we "modernized" their diets and introduced them to the conveniences of precessed and canned goods.

The Masai in Kenya, one of the last hunter and gatherer tribes, lived for years off of almost exclusively beef and milk mixed with the blood of their cattle. Yet they were all taller, leaner, stronger and healthier than we are. That is, of course, until we introduced them to our civilized diet. Then they diseases of civilization began to effect them as well.

Our brains and nervous system's are largely made up of cholesterol and saturated fat. It is the same with our cells and blood vessels. We require these substances for proper brain and tissue development and we can not get them from eating plants. We have to get them from the animals that eat the plants. Without these long chain fatty acid molecules our brains would not develop properly. If we did not evolve by eating meat our brains would not be as evolved as they are today. We would still be simple primates.

Children of vegetarian parents, who are growing up on a vegetarian diet show a definite cognitive deficit. They are not getting the nutrients they need and have shown to be defficient in iron, calcium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, riboflavin and the fat soluble vitamins, particularly vitamin D. Meat poultry and fish are the best sources the these. One exerpt from an article by Dr.  Barry Groves states...

"With the more extreme macrobiotic diets the situation is even worse. Serious brain damage is seen in children on macrobiotic diets where it was found that " Vitamin B-12 is sufficiently low as to have psychological consequences that also raise legitimate concerns about neurological development " (21) . Other research confirms the depth of the problem. Mental development of four- to five-year-old children on macrobiotic diets (almost devoid of animal foods and fat) with long-term growth deficits, was studied. In addition food consumption and behavioural style of the children, and family and parent characteristics were assessed. Children had only seventy percent of the energy and forty percent of the calcium intake of that reported for children on conventional diets. Thirty three percent of the children studied failed to finish IQ tests due to an inability to concentrate"
This statement effectively shows that vegetarianism is a form of child abuse. Children require a large amount of energy in order to develop properly and the requirements can not effectively be met with a diet devoid of animal products.

Vegetarianism as a whole is not healthier. especially for an athlete trying to get faster and stronger. One can meet the minimum dietary requirements if a great deal of care is taken. However, most (not all) people can't really be bothered to dedicate the required time and energy  to learn how to do it in a sustainable way. As well, the foods which are believed to meet those requirements are mostly NOT caveman friendly and contain a host of substances such as Phytates and lectins which inhibit the absorption of the very nutrients that most vegetarians think they are supplementing with these foods in the first place.

This is going to be a longer article than I originally thought. It is going to require multiple parts so make sure you check back soon. Next I'll explore the very flaws in the studies which are supposed to lead us to believe that vegetarianism is the better choice

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Chief

Just a little note to let you know what I've been up to.

I climbed 2000 feet up the chief in Squamish  B.C. on Saturday. It was an amazing experience. The only problem is that I found out the hard way that 2000 feet up is much closer to the sun than sea level. Oooooh it burns!

It was an amazing weekend. Stay tuned for more CaveMan nutrition and wellness posts to come soon.

Take care!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A video you really must watch

If you would please take some time out to watch this video.

It does my heart good to know that there are people with as much influence as Jamie Oliver carrying the torch on the same crusade. I watched this video on Saturday and was very moved by it.

I'm sure most of you know who Jamie Oliver is.  He has made food his life's passion and has made a very good life out of it. I have always said that food is the most powerful of medicines and the ost powerful of drugs. What you eat directly affects how you feel and perform. Not only in sport and competition but in life.

When I first got into health and fitness, I was 14 years old. I got a book called "Getting Stronger" By bodybuilder Bill pearl. I got it because there was a section on training for wrestling and I was looking for anything I could find to be a better competitor. I had no Idea that that book would set off a chain reaction of events that would decide the direction and focus of what will surely be the rest of my life.

I spent the next 13 years trying to learn everything I could about bodybuilding. Not paying much attention at all to the importance of nutrition. Even working as a personal trainer I knew nutrition was important, but I didn't give it anywhere near the consideration I should have. I figured that if I could see my abs I was doing good enough. We all have situations in our lives where we say "If I could go back to then, knowing what I know now". Well that is mine.

Sometime between the ages of 26 and 27, so, two to three years ago I figured that if I spent the last thirteen years of my life obsessing about lifting weights (and most of that time was wasted lifting the wrong kind weights) it's about time I really take a look at my nutrition. So I picked up some books like "The Zone Diet" by Dr. Barry Sears, and "The Paleo Diet" By Dr. Lauren Cordain and found a new area to obsess about. Once again my life took a drastic turn and I have mad some shocking discoveries along the way.

Something that I hope you are starting to pick up on as you follow my blog, is that a side benefit of learning how to eat, is that that it becomes glaring obvious how not to eat. Now my wife Megan and I are both guilty of looking into people's shopping carts in the grocery stores, and if you follow the caveman2.0 lifestyle at all, I know you do too and evaluate people's food choices. It is, in  and of itself, a bit of food snobbery. What immediately jumps out at me is the processed artificial food that people choose to feed themselves is also the food they feed out children. This has resulted in a generation of children who not only look like the obese parents who feed them but share the same health problems as their overweight and obese parents.

I am quoting Jamie directly from this video when I state that "for the first time in history, we have produced a generation of offspring that will have a shorter lifespan than their parents" Please take a minute to contemplate the significance to that statement.....

The very thought of that last statement makes my chest tighten up and I begin to feel a slight panic for the future of our race. It's not even 100% the fault of the parents. How many times have I seen people struggling to loose weight. The poor misguided people turn to vegetarianism and wonder why their health deteriorates. We have been told to avoid dietary fat so we choose low fat options, eating food than can no longer keep us full but is also loaded with sugar and we are told that it is healthy.

People now live in a constant state of protein deficiency coupled with perpetual hyperinsulinism. We are told that we have to eat at least five meals a day to "stoke the furnace" so we choose high carb, low fat food and perpetuate the cycle wondering why we keep getting fatter. I know so many people hat claim that if they don't eat every 3 hours they get light headed and nauseated. They don't realize that it's because they are making their blood sugar run crazy and they have no idea how to control it.

It doesn't help that advertising companies intentionally lie to us and mislead us to think that their unhealthy products are the next big think in healthy eating. I have seen with my own two eyes the "Mars Slim" commercial. Who doesn't recognize that the word "slim" has been attached to a candy bar and then a fancy jingle sung by slim people is completely intended to mislead  us into thinking that you can eat this chocolate bar and loose weight. BUT IT'S A CANDY BAR FOR GOD'S SAKE!

Where I am going with all this is that people need to be educated about what they're eating and we have been inundated with false information that is completely misleading us into following a destructive path.

We are what we eat. There are few statements that are as true as this one. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves how to take care of not only ourselves, but our children, and our children's children.
Watch the above video and you will be absolutely shocked when you get to the part where Jamie takes a selection of fruits and vegetables into an elementary school and not one of the children are able to identify a single one of the products he puts before them. I can't imagine a six year old not being able to identify a tomato. But it happens and you will see it.

I can't tell you how important it is that we have people like Jamie, with a vast amount of resources and influence spreading essentially the same message as the likes of Mark Sisson, Mike O'Donnel and myself. The world needs to make a drastic change if we are to ensure the health of our generations to follow. We have gotten to the point that what we eat is not food at all anymore and that absolutely has to change.

Please, watch the video and spread the message.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Paleo In a nutshell

Here's a funny little video that should help explain why it is we do what we do :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Body Fat?

Here's a common scenario.
You are following the CaveMan2.0/Primal lifestyle to a T. You are doing it all perfectly eating very clean. Hitting the gym regularly with good intensity, You IF regularly, but but you can't seem to drop that last couple of pounds of body fat. You feel great. You have tons of energy and are hitting personal bests in the gym on a regular basis, but you feel that you'd like to lean out that little bit more.
Or you could be guilty of the opposite. You started the lifestyle and the fat just melted away. Your performance was steadily increasing in the gym and you felt like a million bucks. You got down to your best weight ever, but that wasn't good enough so you cut back on your portions a little bit to see how ripped those abs could get. You got there bot now your performance in the gym has plummeted. All you max lifts are down by 30 - 40 pounds and weights that were easy now seem to weigh a ton. This one actually happened to me (twice!)  and it took me a long time to recover.

It's not healthy to to let your body weight drop too much. Your body needs a certain percentage of fat storage to operate at optimum performance and if you let those levels drop too much you run the risk of stalling your progress.

We all have a healthy body fat range, called Healthy Homeostasis, where we feel and perform our best and we should definitely judging where those levels are by how we feel not how ripped our abs are. This range is different for all of us and the reality of it is that you will most likely perform your best with a little bit more body fat than you would like to see.

This is not License to start letting yourself get heavy around the edges now. Keep in mind that we tend to be our own worst critics. What you see in the mirror tends to be 400% fatter than what your friends see when they see you in a bathing suit. If you are at your best performance weight I can pretty well guarantee that you will look much better than if you manage to push it to where you are getting too skinny. If you drop the body fat to the point where your performance drops, you will look like it! Trust me (just ask my wife)

Here's an excerpt from detailing what the average bodyfat ranges are average Joe's and Jane's and for elite athletes.

"Your Ideal Body Fat Percentage

The absolute perfect body fat percentage does NOT exist. Age and gender make a big contribution to the ideal value, but most importantly...
Everyone is an individual. Some people might feel and perform better at a higher or lower body fat percentage than others of the same age and sex. And that's why...
Ranges and guidelines exist. Have a look at the tables below. The first table gives the ideal body fat percentage ranges for the general population. The second table is the average body fat percentage for different athletes. The important thing to remember is...
Anywhere inside the range is good. Staying below the upper limit should be your target but as you'll soon see lower is not necessarily better.

Body Fat Percentage for The Average Population
AgeUp to 3030-5050+

Average Body Fat Percentage of Athletes
Basketball6-12%20-27%Shot Putters16-20%20-28%
Body building5-8%10-15%Skiing (X country)7-12%16-22%
Football (Backs)9-12%No dataSwimming9-12%14-2
Football (Linemen)15-19%No dataTennis12-16%16-24%
High/long Jumpers7-12%10-18%Volleyball11-14%16-25%
Ice/field Hockey8-15%12-18%Weightlifters9-16%No data
Racquetball8-13%15-22%Wrestlers5-16%No data
OK, have you worked out the ideal range for you? Great. You've probably already know the risks associated with falling significantly above the upper limit of this range. But what about the lower end of the scale?

Lower is Not Necessarily Better

A certain amount of body fat is vital for the body to function normally and healthy. In fact striving for a body fat percentage that is too low can be dangerous. Here's why...
Measuring your body fat percentage calculates your TOTAL body fat. This total body fat can be split into 2 categories...
Storage Fat -- This consists mainly of fat deposited just under the skin or subcutaneous fat. Storage fat for men and women is fairly similar. For the average man 12% of bodyweight is storage fat and for the average woman 15% of bodyweight is storage fat.
Essential Body Fat -- For the body to function normally and healthily a certain amount of body fat is required. This is called essential fat. For women the average amount of essential fat is 12% of bodyweight and for men it is 3%.
Trying to achieve a body fat percentage that is so low it affects your essential fat stores is NOT good for your health.
Some storage fat is also required for good health. It's used to protect internal organs in the chest and abdomen. So remember...
Aim to stay within the range for age and gender and rest assured you are taking one of the most positive steps to life-long health you can."

So my take on the subject is this. You have to take how you feel during the day and how you perform during your workouts as when you are in your ideal body fat range. Don't let what you see in the mirror steer you into dieting hell. I guarantee that if you are in the body fat range where you perform your best, that is where you will look your best as well. If you are leaning out and you have a couple of workouts where you just don't perform as well, try eating more and see if you feel better. I speak here from experience.

Bonus post! 
I  have been reading a great book on stretching, it's called "The Genius of Flexibility". It is a whole new perspective on stretching for mobility and performance. I highly recommend you pick it up. It will change how you look at stretching forever. It has for me so expect to see some posts on stretching and recovery to come up soon! 

Until next time


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Caveman Salad!

Here is one of my favorite recipes from my beautiful wife Meghan.

We love to take everything we're eating in a meal and throw it together in a gigantic bowl!

Caveman Salad
(every thing we eat , we eat mixed together!)

Hamburger Salad (serves two)
roman lettuce
alfalfa sprouts
garlic powder
1 pack ground beef (use what ever grade you like, I use medium to lean)
olive oil

  • You will need two pans, with olive oil, one for the meat and the other for the mushrooms and the onions. While waiting for the pans to heat up, chop and ready your mushrooms and onions. I say cut them the way you want to eat them. You could even through in some chopped garlic into the mix if you are a garlic nut like me. I use a medium heat for the onions and mushrooms , stirring them every few minutes so they do not burn on one side.

  • You can make patties with the ground beef if you'd like too, but I keep in loose. Fry it up into the heated pan and add your garlic powder and pepper. A few shakes will do.. (again if you are like me, don't skimp on the garlic). Consistent stirring/flipping, keep it on a medium high heat until cooked to your perfection.

  • While our pans are doing the work of cooking, and in between the stirring, lets get the salad ready. Wash and pat dry the lettuce and prepare it the way you like it. I chop my lettuce with a knife as I like how much it gives you, but feel free to rip or even have it big leafed, it's really up to you. Through the lettuce into the bowl (if this is being made for 2, divide into separate bowls.) With this prep, add your tomato , avocado and alfalfa sprouts. I like to make my avocado into a “guacamole” ,adding the pealed and sliced avocado into a separate bowl, adding garlic powder then smashing it together. Then putting it into the salad.

  • By the time you have made your foliage into a salad, the meat, mushrooms and onions should be done. Divide and add to each bowl.. Grab some wooden spoons and toss away. Mixing all the flavors together.

  • To add the final touch , drizzle some olive oil over top.
(if you eat dairy, grate some cheese and put it on top. Also, I sometimes like to add a teaspoon of dejoin mustard in the mix, very very good! Or, with the olive oil drizzle, squeeze some lime and enjoy)