Archive for the ‘General Exercise’ Category

The Dangers of Too Much Sparring

Jamie Varner wiki: and image:

Jamie Varner, former UFC fighter and WEC lightweight champion has spoken out on the dangers of excessive sparring.

Verner had an impressive 11 year, 35 professional fight career. During this time he has fought some of the biggest names in MMA. These include former UFC champion Ben Henderson and contender Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.

But Varner believes his career was cut short because of the high volume of sparring done during training.

In preparation for his fight against Drew Dober last December, Varner took a series of blows to the head, giving him concussion.

After taking scans, doctors estimated Varner had suffered more than 30 concussions throughout his fighting career.

More concussions, they were quick to point out, will have serious and long-term consequences. They strongly recommended Varner retire after his fight against Dober.

Varner lost the bout via first round submission.

But he followed the medical advice and retired soon after.

“I don’t think I was really ready for retirement or prepared for it,” Varner said to Cage Fanatic.

“If  I wasn’t so concerned with my brain I would still be competing; but I want to have kids some day and I don’t want to have early onset Alzheimr’s or dementia when I am 40 or 50 years-old.”

Varner was completely unaware he’d suffered so much head trauma through training.

“I felt like I was in a perpetual state of just constant migraines,” he said (referring to training) to MMA Hour.

“I thought it was nomal and that’s what we have to do as fighters. Part of the cross that we bear is having headaches and being beaten up.

“My career got cut shot because I was aparrng three days a wek, with bigg3er opponents,” said Varner to Cage Fanatic.

“I had Ryan Bader, Aaron Simpson and Carlos Condit. Those were my sparring partners from like 2006 to 2010. So I had a lot of head trauma just sparring with those big guys.”

Varner believes most fighters are doing the same thing – cutting short their careers with too much heavy sparring.

“Sparring is a tool that is used to work on game plans and to see where you are, condition-wise, caridovascularly. You don’t need to spar three days a week to prove you’re tough.

You don’t need to spar in off-season. You don’t need to spar 12 weeks out from a fight. Sapr maybe four to six weeks out from a fight.

“You don’t need to get hit in the head to become a better fighter.”

Varner believed the protective head gear worn by fighters was enough to protect them from cuts, but not enough from concussion: “It’s still blunt force trauma.

“You can still gt a concussion and not get knocked out. So headgear or no headgear, I just think spar once a week.”

Varner now works with a cognitive therapist several times a month. They are trying to arrest and reverse the damage already done to his brain through the concussion he suffered throughout his career.

Varner says he has some occasional short term memory loss about small things – like whether he brushed his teeth.

The Dark Origins of the Nike Logo


Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ slogan has become one of the most memorable and successful advertising tagline in history. But Dan Wieden, of Portland’s advertising firm Wieden & Kennedy, has admitted its genesis was anything but wholesome.

Wieden & Kennedy were approached by Nike in the 1900s. The shoe company was in a decade long battle with rival Reebok for control of the US footwear market.

Nike had targeted its branding towards the female market. Its success was buoyed by the popularity of jogging during that time, but widespread appeal was still lacking.

The night prior to presenting the new campaign, to Nike boss Phil Knight, Wieden still had no idea about the tagline to be used to tie the campaign together. He, and his firm had suggested, and rejected, countless ideas.

And then Wieden – for no apparent reason – thought of Gary Gilmore.

Gilmore was one of society’s outcasts. He’d endured a violent upbringing and had been in and out of institutions and prisons all his life. His rap sheet contained all manner of violent crimes and robberies.

After being released from his latest stint behind bars, in Indiana, Gilmore moved to live with distant relatives in Utah. But it wasn’t long before he returned to his life of crime.

In July 1976 he robbed and murdered petrol station attendant Max Hensen. The next evening he murdered motel manager Bennie Bushnell.

The police quickly apprehended him. He was convicted of the murders and sentenced to death.

Gary Gilmore. Image:

Gary Gilmore. Image:

When given a choice Gilmore chose to die by firing squad rather than hanging.

During 1972 and 1976 various US states were abolishing capital punishment. And there was a great deal of public opposition to Gilmore’s impending execution. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and Gilmore’s mother were vocal opponents. They worked to have his sentence commuted to life in prison.

Gilmore himself told them to “butt out”.

After a last meal of steak and potatoes, milk and coffee – the steak and potatoes were left untouched – Gilmore was strapped into a chair in front of a firing squad.

Before the hoodwas brought down over his face Gilmore was asked if he had any last words. To which he famously replied: “Let’s do it!”

Wieden isn’t sure why he thought about Gilmore’s final words at that moment. He was trying to come up with a pithy way of appealing to all women interested in fitness – from those beginning a walking regimen to world record holders. But Gilmore’s words just popped into his head.

“Gary had killed some people in Utah,” Wieden told reporters, “which is not a good place to kill people because they kill you right back. He was convicted and sentenced to die by firing squad.

“So they brought him out, put him in the chair … and before they put the sack over his head they asked him if he had any last words. And he said, ‘Let’s do it’.

“I remember when I read that, I was like, ‘That’s amazing! How, in the face of that much uncertainty, do you push through that?’

“I didn’t like the ‘let’s’ thing. I just changed that because otherwise I would have to give him credit. Now I don’t really have to.”

The ‘Just Do It’ tagline featured alongside the 80 year-old runner Walt Stack in 1988. It jettisoned Nike sales from US $877 million to $9.2 billion in a decade.

6 Tips for Achieving a Better Handstand


Handstands are one of those elusive skills that most people dream of being able to do but which very few are actually able to hold. Handstands take a lot of dedication and training to master, but there are also a few key tips that anyone can take heed of to easily improve their chance of pulling off the trick. As a hand balancer, I have had many years of experience in standing on my hands, so I thought I would reveal a few tricks of the trade to assist the struggling hand stander.

Whether you want to show off to your friends, beat your mates in those not-so-friendly handstand competitions or make your Instagram posts more interesting, here are five tips to make nailing your handstand that little bit easier.

1. Use Your Fingers

Most people are unaware of this simple but incredibly helpful tip. It may sound logical but you really need to use your fingers in a handstand. No I don’t just mean simply put weight on them, because you obviously don’t have a choice in the matter – I mean use them to maintain balance. Bend your fingers in your handstand so that knuckles are pointing up. This allows you to distribute the weight out along your whole hand rather than jus on the palm and balancing on the balls of your fingers increases your chances of staying up for longer.

2. Push Up Your Shoulders So That They’re Touching Your Ears

I always tell the gymnasts that I coach that in a handstand you should try and get your feet to touch the roof. The point of this is to make yourself as long as you can, which you can do by ensuring that your shoulders are making contact with your ears. Pushing up in your shoulders enhances balance and give your handstand a much better, tighter shape. In line with this, you also need to ensure that your chest is pushed in not sticking out. To guarantee this, make sure your arms are straight and you’re squeezing your core.

3. Look at Your Fingers

Many people think the head should be in a neutral position looking out. However, your head should be pointed down and you should always look at your fingers when in a handstand!

4. Squeeze Your Bum

Squeezing your gluteus maximus is one of the most important things for a solid handstand. This ensures your legs aren’t piking (concaving) and guarantees your hips are open so that your whole body is nice and straight. You always need to be consciously squeezing your bum as hard as you can for the entire duration of any handstand.

5. Practice With Your Stomach Against the Wall

Practicing handstands against the wall is the easiest way to build the specific muscles required for a freestanding handstand. The best way to practice is with your stomach facing the wall as this encourages better shape. You should place your hands as close to the wall as you can and walk your feet up the wall. Try and hold it without touching the wall and then just tap your feet against the wall as you need.

tuck handstand6. Practice with Bent Legs

It makes sense that the lower your feet are and the tighter your body is, the lower your centre of gravity and the easier it is to stand on your hands. Work your way up to holding a full handstand by starting crouched on the ground and kicking up to a tuck handstand. Hold it with your knees close to your chest and make sure your shoulders are in line with your hands. Most people tend to let their shoulders drop forward and their head stick out. Make sure your shoulders are on your ears and your whole body from your hands to your shoulders, your back, bum and eventually legs are in the one straight line. As you become more comfortable with holding this, then start to go from a tuck handstand, opening it up into a full handstand and tucking back down. Be sure to open your legs up vertically not on an angle.



Titans Need to Stop Recruiting Other Clubs’ Throw-Aways

Greg Bird does it again. Image:

80 to 1: That’s the odds on the Titans winning this year’s premiership. Anyone with even a passing interest in rugby league wouldn’t even waste the dollar at this rate.

Opinion is divided as to whether the Titans should even be in the competition. Investors have lost all their money, fans (what few poor tortured souls who remain) have lost all hope, and the players themselves have lost whatever pride they may once have had in their light blue jerseys.

The Titans have been preceded by six failed NRL Gold Coast clubs. The Titans themselves haven’t had a year go by when they weren’t part of some scandal – either in the boardroom or on the park. If they haven’t already used up all their lives they must be getting close.

One thing, by now, must be clear – the club’s policy of buying ‘troubled’ players on the cheap and turning them around has failed. The Titans have, since they began, been using a Moneyball selection process which, they hoped, would allow them to compete with the more well-heeled clubs.

And now (with the benefit of hindsight) we can see two conclusions to have emerged from this experiment:

  1. To the last man they have all under-performed; treating their tenure at the Titans more as a working holiday than a real job.
  2. Once a loser, always a loser. No amount of counselling, support, guidance, or incentives can change these losers. They are and will be what they always were.

These are not the type of people or players the Titans, the NRL, or the Gold Coast want.

There is one glaring difference between the Titans and, say, the Broncos: I have never seen the Titans finish a match too exhausted to move. But I can remember half a dozen games (just off the top of my head) where nearly every Bronco’s player was on his knees or back gasping in air. The Broncos take pride in their performance – win, lose, or draw.

If the Titans are serious about coming back from the grave (again) it’s time they looked for quality players, not other clubs’ throw-aways.

Illegal City Night Racing Booming Around the World


Street night racing for cyclists is gaining momentum in the US and around the world. But sporting bodies don’t think it will catch on here, in Australia.

Night racing started in Los Angeles in 2004 when six cyclists and two skateboarders decided on a course to take in the fountains of the city. Their course meandered for more than 25 kilometres though what is normally built up traffic. They quickly realised that at night the city was open to them. They could ride where they wanted with fewer incidences of traffic and pedestrian rage.

The idea caught on in other cities. Soon regular ‘alley cat races’ were a part of the night-tie sub culture.

The races have the feel of illegality – that’s because they are. Only recently have several city councils (none Australian) lent their stamp of authority to the gatherings.

Riders are flashy, brazen and not above taking a few risks. Crowds flock to the sidewalks, beers in hand, and cheer (or jeer) their riders.

And with the crowds came the money.

Riders now compete in events across the world. It’s still not a formally recognised sport, so you most likely wouldn’t have heard of any of the big names. Spectators say the appeal is in the danger and that it is illegal, fast, and exciting.

But don’t hold your breath for races to start in Australia. Cycling hasn’t the appeal here that it does everywhere else in the world. And while some cyclists might organise their own night races, it’ll be for fun rather than kudos or money.

Cadel Evans Ends Career With Fifth Place in Great Ocean Road Race


The curtain came down on the career of Cadel Evans this week as he finished the new one-day international named after him – the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

Despite its beauty the course took its toll on riders. Persistent early rain and an energy sapping pace saw 61 of the 115 riders leave the race before the finish line; though no one was badly injured.

Evans was with the leaders in the final stages. Though also, unfortunately, were many of the sprinters. And while Evans has the power to ride the legs off most other professional cyclists he lacks the raw top-end speed of a serious sprint finisher.

Belgian powerhouse Ganni Meersman, 24, of the Extixx-Quick Step team held off rivals Australian Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin) to win. Englishman Luke Rowe, (SKY), flew across the line fourth; with Evans breathing down his neck in fifth.

Evans (37) was philosophical about not being able to mix it with the sprinters, “The competitive spirit is what drives me, but I have to remind myself it is important to enjoy it too.”

Supporters lined much of the twisting 173.9 kilometre course, many of them with placards wishing Evans well in his retirement from professional road racing.

Crowd numbers took even the organisers by surprise. They will now use the obvious interest in the event to push for the race to become a regular part of the international one-day circuit.

Second place getter Simon Clarke was thrilled with his performance. He considered it ideal preparation for the upcoming Herald Sun Tour where he will be defending his championship.

The Herald Sun Tour begins on Wednesday in the Southbank precinct, Brisbane and finishes on Sunday at Arthur’s Seat on the Mornington Peninsula.

Footy Show Fight Night Gives Boxing a Black-Eye


In a ridiculous night of mismatches Sonny Bill Williams emerged victorious against a grossly obese Chauncy Welliver. Known more for his ability to take rather than deliver punches Welliver never looked a chance. His body wobbled seismically with each blow, he finished the second round conceding Williams was ‘too strong’, and he never landed a significant strike against his opponent.

At 137 kg Welliver was having his first fight in two years. He was clearly underprepared and was gasping before the end of the first round.

But he did his best to put on a show – He laughed at Williams’ shots and clinched when he could, leaning his full bulk on his opponent. That he could take the best punches Williams threw at him might be cause for concern should Williams ever consider fighting a real opponent.

In fact, the script was followed by all the fighters at the Footy Show Fight Night with all the footballers winning against vastly less experienced and prepared fighters.

Like Williams, Gallen was unable to put away his opponent, despite ridiculous advantages in conditioning and training. His mixed martial arts opponent looked uncomfortable being restricted only to boxing. Nevertheless he used his height and reach intelligently.

Several times Gallen rushed in, swinging for Queen and Country, only to be jabbed away – his punches windmilling through empty air.

The glorious victories of both fighters opens the door for a possible match-up between them. Such an event, should it happen, will most likely be held after the NRL season.

Brazilian Surf Champion Shot Dead

Ricardo dos Santos

Brazilian professional surfer Ricardo dos Santos has lost his life after being shot several times in the stomach and chest outside his beachside home. The 24-year-old suffered a perforated lung and kidney and died after four operations failed to stop his bleeding. It is still not entirely sure how the shooting occurred but Brazilian media have reported that police have arrested a young man and his 17-year-old brother. The older man has been identified as an off-duty police officer – 25 year-old military police officer Luis Paulo Mota Brentano – who claims he shot dos Santos in self-defence and that his behaviour was justified. His brother alleges that two men, one being dos Santos, threatened them with knives near Embaú Guard beach, Brazil.

Ricardo dos Santos was a popular personality who made waves on the world surfing scene in 2012 when he eliminated fellow competitors Taj Burrow, Jordy Smith and Kelly Slater at the Billabong pro competition in Tahiti – on the notorious Teahupo?o reef break. He also picked up the Andy Irons award for Most Committed Performance and in 2013 was awarded The Wave of The Winter for an impressive barrel he caught at Hawaii’s Pipeline. Fans and fellow surfers alike have gathered at Pipeline in honour and remembrance of their friend and hero, a man described as “one of the greatest barrel riders of his short time” (Kelly Slater). Fellow surfer and good friend, Adriano de Souza, posted on Facebook saying he had lost a “great friend…a cheerful person, good hearted and good about life”. Brazilian surfer, Gabriel Medina asked “Why does this happen to good people?” and wrote that dos Santos was “always helping others, smiling from ear to ear everyday”.

Dos Santos’ passing is all the more tragic given his own personal efforts to curb violence in the Embaú Guard area of Brazil. In 2011 he posted on social media imploring his local community to unite together and”put an end to this farce”. He was bothered that people did not value the beauty and purity of the area he called home. The fact that Ricardo’s killer was a member of the police force who are meant to protect its citizens is a sad reflection of Brazil’s internal social and often violent problems.

Ricardo dos Santos passed away the day after being shot after many operations and 40 litres worth of blood transfusions, some of which were donated after fellow surfers posted online asking specifically for blood donations (due to a national shortage of blood in Brazil). The tragedy is a senseless loss of life highlighting the growing number of murders yearly in Brazil, a beautiful yet scary place to be.


The Me Clinic – Cosmetic surgery for face, body and skin


Basketball Coach Suspended for Team Winning by too Much!


The San Bernardino Arroyo Valley Hawks are a girls high school basketball team in inland southern California. On the 5th of January they crushed the Bloomington High school team by a staggering 161-2!

Because of it the Hawks coach, Michael Anderson, has received a two-game suspension.

“It wasn’t a good feeling,” said Anderson about the lopsided match. “It’s not something I’m proud of. It’s not something I would put on a mantel.’

The Bloomington girls’ coach, Dale Chung, told the Inland Valley daily Bulletin, People shouldn’t feel sorry for my team. They should feel sorry for (Anderson’s) team who aren’t learning the game the right way.”

Losses like this can have a profound impact on self-esteem – especially in the teenage years. No one yet knows if any of the Bloomington girls have decided to walk away from the game, but coach Chung is going to have his work cut out retaining his full squad.

Not only does he have to retain his squad, but he has to convince them that playing for the love of the game is still more important than winning. After having the disgrace of losing by 159 points broadcast around the world!

To be fair, however, both sides have form: Bloomington has previously lost a game this season by 91 points. While Arroyo Valley has won by 98.

Coach Anderson admitted he wanted to run his best team at full throttle. He and Dale Chung met before the game.

“This was our last game before we started league, and we were going to come out playing hard,” said Anderson. “I wanted to let him know there was no harm intended, and that if he had any ideas or concerns to let me know … And he seemed fine with that.”

Anderson admitted to the daily Bulletin that “the game just got away from me.

“I didn’t expect them (Bloomington) to be that bad. I’m not trying to embarrass anybody. And I didn’t expect my bench to play that well. I had one player make 8 of 9 3s!”

Chung questioned Anderson’s honour when it came to winning: “He knows what he did was wrong.”

‘Pot Roast’ Fined for Being Overweight


Terrance ‘Pot Roast’ Knighton has been fined yet again for missing his team weight markers. Over the course of his playing career he has amassed a staggering $300,000 in fines for weight-related issues.

His current team, the Denver Broncos, is intent on a shake-up. And Knighton is on the list. Team management believe his weight problems are now affecting the success of the side.

“The Broncos will undergo a number of changes in the coming days and weeks. John Elway (the general manager) won’t sit back and chill. He will be aggressive in fixing the team’s problems.

“One of those issues is Knighton.”

Knighton is listed in the players’ report as weighing in at a trim-taut-and terrific 152 kg. But everyone knows that’s not true. It’s more – maybe a lot more.

But after forking out $300,000 it seems obvious that fining him isn’t working. Elway will need a new strategy.

Knighton is arguably one of the nicest and most respected players in the NFL. He laughs about his weight problem and tells how he got the nickname ‘Pot Roast’:

“It was dark on the plane and everyone was sleeping. The stewardess was walking down the aisle saying, ‘Pot roast? Pot roast?’ and I raised my hand, as if that was my name.

The guy sitting behind me, (former teammate) Clint Ingram is probably the biggest comedian I ever played with – he said, ‘I’m going to start calling you Pot Roast.

“I was like ‘Yeah, whatever.’ But it stuck with me.

“I’m just glad I ordered that instead of the shrimp Alfredo. I just thought it was going to be something to laugh about for the week. But five years later we’re still talking about ‘Pot Roast.’”