4 Things To Keep In Mind About The Qur’aan

The Qur’aan is God’s final communication of His divine will to human kind. It is the Creator speaking to human beings and it takes the form of human conversation. As humans change subjects randomly during conversation, the topics of the Qur’aan change in a seemingly random way. Consequently, the format of the Qur’aan is quite unique among books. As a whole it is not a book in the usual sense of the word wherein there is an introduction and explanation of the subject followed by a conclusion. Neither is it restricted to only a presentation of historical events, problems of philosophy, facts of science, or social laws, though all may be found woven together in it without any apparent connection and links.


Subjects are introduced without background information, historical events are not presented in chronological order, new topics sometimes crop up in the middle of another for no apparent reason, and the speaker and those spoken to change direction without the slightest forewarning. The reader who is unaware of the Qur’aan’s uniqueness is often puzzled when he finds it contrary to his understanding of a book, especially a “religious” book. Hence, the Qur’aan may seem disorganized and haphazard to him. However, to those who understand its subject matter, aim, and its central theme, the Qur’aan is exactly the opposite.

The subject matter of the Qur’aan is essentially man: man in relation to his Lord and Creator, Allaah, man in relation to himself, and man in relation to the rest of creation. The main theme that runs throughout the Qur’aan is that Allaah alone deserves worship and that man should submit to Allaah’s laws in his personal life and in his relationship with creation in general. Or, in other words, the main theme is a call to the belief in Allaah and the doing of righteous deeds as defined by Allaah.

If the reader keeps in mind these basic facts, he will find that from the beginning to the end, the Qur’aan’s basic topics are all closely connected to its main theme and that the whole book is a well-reasoned and cohesive argument for its theme. The Qur’aan keeps the same object in view, whether it is describing the creation of man and the universe, or events from human history. Since the aim of the Qur’aan is to guide man, it states or discusses things only to the extent relevant to this aim and leaves out unnecessary and irrelevant details. It also repeats its main theme over and over again in the presentation of each new topic.

The following four principles should be kept in mind by the new reader of the Qur’aan if he or she is to avoid unnecessary confusion and disorientation:

1) “The book is the only one of its type in the world.”

2) “Its literary style is quite different from all other books.”

3) “Its theme is unique.”

4) “Pre-conceived notions of a book are only a hindrance to the understanding of the Qur’aan.”

Dr. Bilal Phillips

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The Third Letter Directed at Mrs. Hilary Clinton


It’s me again.  Sorry I still haven’t formerly introduced myself, so for now will go with my statistical and political demographic description.

I’m going to jump back on that band wagon about the fact that you are running for president.  I’m sure you’ve noticed we have some serious issues on hand.  And someone, needs to take charge and do something about it.

I’m listening to what you are saying and boy are you off!

Everything I hear you, and your opponents for that matter, say, only adds to the chaos of the world.  We are spinning out of control and for some reason or another, or maybe its God’s destiny planned for the USA the whole world looks to the US to do something about it.  And we DO NOTHING.


We huff and we puff about the privilege it is to be an American but honestly, these days our money is hardly where our mouth is.  In fact, some say they don’t know where the money goes.  I at least admit I have an pretty good idea of where the bottleneck seems to be.

Let’s bring up an issue that you should have a pretty strong opinion on, one even that can separate you from your opponents even more; Maternity Leave.

The Navy announced late last week that it is tripling the amount of paid maternity leave that female sailors and Marines can take after the birth of a child.

The change, ordered by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, makes the Navy the first military service to provide more than the current six weeks of leave.  This is a big step and bravo to whoever stepped in and figured out we women NEED this!

“Meaningful maternity leave when it matters most is one of the best ways that we can support the women who serve our country,” Mabus said in a July 2 statement. “This flexibility is an investment in our people and our services, and a safeguard against losing skilled service members.”

I’m a little jealous I have to admit.  Do you have to fight and risk your life in order to get the time we should naturally be decreed to have with our children?  Isn’t that part of our NATURAL BORN rights as women who become mothers?  Why do we not already have programs like this in this country.  Last I understood we were among the “developed” nations in the world.

“When the women in our Navy and Marine Corps answer the call to serve, they are making the difficult choice to be away from their children — sometimes for prolonged periods of time — so that they can do the demanding jobs that we ask them to do,” Mabus said.

Well, excuse me, but women get called to service in all different types of careers.  I know plenty of mothers who never held a gun, who didn’t “serve” our country in the military but made the same choice.

Maybe in all honesty, this is the real problem.

Maybe as they say Peace really does begin at Home.

God, if you are brave enough to tackle this issue I hope at least you get some medical professionals on your side and some developmental psychologists so you can draft a law that is in accordance with raising a happy and healthy baby and ensuring that they have a better chance at being happier and healthier adults.

The current health statistics of our country says plenty.

Did you know, I’m sure you do since you’ve travelled all over the world that in Finland, you’d have plenty of time to prep for baby’s arrival. Paid maternity leave starts 50 days before your due date and continues for four months after giving birth.

In France, a mother’s postpartum leave is taken pretty seriously.French women are guaranteed 100 percent of their pay for 16 weeks (six weeks before birth and 10 weeks after). For families with two children, women can take an additional 2.5 years of job-protected family leave and their partner can take six months.

In Australia, there is no maternity leave. There is “parental leave,” meaning either mom or dad can take government-paid leave for up to 18 weeks. Or they can share the leave. One parent, for example, could use 10 weeks and the other eight.

On the other hand, only half of all first-time mothers in the US take any paid leave that payment usually comes from other benefits such as vacation time, sick days or short-term disability coverage. Only about 13 percent of the private sector workforce is employed by companies that offer designated paid family leave.

Maybe you should look into the bill at the federal level that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) have introduced.  The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act), which would provide 12 weeks of paid leave through an insurance system financially supported by employees and employers.

Personally, I haven’t looked at the bill to decide if it’s comparable to the rest of the world.  That’s your job.

All I do know is ours sucks, and as a woman, as a presidential candidate you have the power to change that.  Will you?

I hope my daughter will live in a different world than what is today.

Live and Learn. We All Do.

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Can We Be Truly Healthy And Still Eat Pork?

There are always those scientists that tell us that something is good for us even though it is bad.  Today we are becoming aware that there are some big problems in science, and the public are right to be concerned about the shortcomings.  Well documented problems exist in the funding and prioritisation of research, the conduct of trials, the withholding of results, and the dissemination of evidence.

Get educated.

What do you think?

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Another Open Letter For Mrs. Hilary Clinton

Hi Mrs, Clinton,

I am going to jump on Marianne Williamson’s band wagon about this presidential run.  You definitely don’t know me.  I don’t know how I can say I really know you?

But, who am I kidding, the reality is, to you I am just what they call, “a housewife”  and if you think that rhetoric still doesn’t exist today, well think again.

Sometimes, I get so annoyed that we as women feel that we have come so far but we really have gone nowhere.


Let’s get down to it.  You were once a mom, a wife, a young woman raising a new life.  You have to be able to relate to me right?  If not, I’m confused because your campaign is saying that you can.

You wouldn’t be lying to us now would you?

I won’t waste any time.  Each night I am responsible for providing a meal for my husband and three children.  I am going to skip the “feminist” debate that says I don’t have to do that.  That’s not the issue at all.  I like to do it.   It’s one of the few things that makes me feel good about at the end of the day, but ironically it’s also the most stressful – motherhood!

Tonight, as I scraped off the food into the trash can and thought of the state of the world today and realized how many people that I alone could help, I just got livid.

Who knew there was so much discussion about FOOD!  Ask a mom with kids today and they’ll admit it’s enough, to drive any sane person crazy.

I know I am not alone when I look at the amount of food that I toss away, whatever the reason.

We would be lying to ourselves if food hasn’t become an economic and constant debate in today’s family households.

According to the FAO, industrialized nations, that’s us, waste 1.5 trillion pounds of food a year, that’s an amount almost equal to the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa!

Though we’ve done our best to hide it from public view our Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs reality is beginning to sink in.

Filling cornucopias with an abundance that no one is even expected to eat is no longer something the world can abide. It’s too expensive, and it’s trashing the planet while millions go hungry.

As, Nick Nuttall,  of the UN Environment Programme, acknowledges “Food waste is a stupid problem.”

Mrs. Clinton we are displaying a woeful lack of vision with the eternal laws of life.  The American nation desperately needs a vision of its own purpose.

As a Presidential Candidate you can represent the mothers, the sisters, the wives and daughters of EVERY SINGLE PERSON doing evil in the world.  You can have the power to stop them.

Live and Learn. We All Do.

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I Finally Get It Mom, I Miss You….

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Calling All Moms! It’s Time To Take Back The Truth


A powerful accusation, sensational, provocative. When we think of fraud, what comes to mind? Images of avarice-driven men putting their greed before the best interest of a larger population. Does it feel different when it is a woman behind the mask? What about a woman charged with “Saving Lives. Protecting People.” as is the CDC’s claim? What if that larger population put at risk is our infants, babies, and children?

Today, I am calling all women, to hear this news, let it permeate deep down to the core of their primal instincts, and say, enough is enough.

As citizens of this capitalist nation, we cannot rely on corporate-sponsored news media for the truth. We must source it from trusted independent outletsinformed experts, and even going to the available science, ourselves. It is time to reclaim our health, and that of our families, once and for all. When we outsource our native wisdom, our belief in the fundamental strength of our minds and bodies, to corporations whose primary fiduciary responsibility is to their shareholders, we are sacrificing ourselves, and our children. Women and children are the sheep being led off the ledge. I have written about a known 4250% increase in fetal demise during the 2009/10 flu season, about evidence-based inefficacy and risks of the pertussis vaccine pushed on pregnant women, about Gardasil killing healthy girls across the globe, fear mongering about SIDS that is actually caused by a visit to the pediatrician, and of the corruption of an infant’s birthday by the Hepatitis B vaccine. In rejecting the paradigm of vaccination, it is important to grasp the nature of the political beast that is pushing vaccines into the arms (legs and buttocks) of every American.

This week, devotees to the shrine of conventional medicine that is vaccination, are called to the floor.

After Dr. Brian Hooker’s requests through the Freedom of Information Act for original MMR study documentation, a CDC Immunization Safety Researcher, Dr. William Thompson has buckled under the pressure of his conscience, and come forth as a whistle blower. These documents demonstrated a 3.4 fold increase in the incidence of autism in African American boys, expunged from the final study results in a violent act of scientific fraud.  Dr. Thompson has since corroborated the CDC’s retroactive alteration of the data to eliminate the signal of harm.  In light of a 2004 letter confirming CDC awareness and suppression of these findings, CDC head, Dr. Julie Gerberding committed perjury before moving onto her position at Merck in the Vaccine Division. Dr. Hooker has published the unadulterated finding here.

As parents around the world have known for 7 decades, and basic science has supported,  vaccines do cause autism. Despite the defiance of the CDC in its refusal to conduct that most basic of studies, a retrospective case-control investigation of autism rates in vaccinated versus unvaccinated children, science has been supporting the connection for years. In a transparent effort to paralyze the conversation, the Institute of Medicine has handily dismissed a causal relationship between vaccination and autism, referencing 4 studies, including the very study in question, and another by now fugitive Paul Thorsen, and one that actually did demonstrate over 50% regression after MMR. Analyses that have been done, outside of Pharma’s pocket book, have demonstrated statistically significant correlations between vaccination and autism and suggested that prevention involves less-to-no vaccination.

It is time for us to acknowledge the heinous nature of this  one-size-fits-all pharmaceutical assault. There are no green vaccines, no room for a “slowed or alternate schedule”  because vaccination itself is predicated on an antiquated misapprehension of individualized immunity. Metals, antibiotics, chemical preservatives, and manipulated animal and human tissues have no place in human ecology. This mismatch is particularly egregious in our current state as a species, hovering on the brink of devolution, in an age of profound transgenerational compromise of mitochondrial dysfunction, detox capacity, and microbiota-supported immunity.

 Are We Surprised?

A veritable body-bomb, the MMR contains recombinant human albumin, fetal bovine serum, and chick embryo fibroblasts, and the potential for interspecies activation of unknown retroviruses, molecular mimicry, and reactivation of the virulence of the infectious virus itself – a completely unstudied and medically unacknowledged risk. Conventional medicine, particularly the field of infectious disease, has yet to adopt the new science, which has demonstrated the imperative of individualized risk assessment. There is no effort to screen for, identify, or personalize this intervention based on genetics, lifestyle, or markers of altered immunity. This is the equivalent of hammering a one-sized-helmet on to each child’s head, in full knowledge that some fraction of those children will be injured or even killed in this barbaric process. Add to this co-exposures such as nutrient depleted maternal diets, surgical births, formula feeding, ultrasoundpesticides, and pharmaceuticals like Tylenol, and there is only so long we can defend a model of toxicology that ignores the synergy of these risks.

A novel diagnosis, Measles-Induced Neuroautistic Encephalopathy (MINE) appears to be a variant of the most severe complication of measles, Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis, which develops when the body is unable to clear the measles virus. MINE has only been reported in children who have received MMR vaccines. An immature or otherwise compromised immune system appears to be a necessary risk factor for the development of MINE and SSPE. Who is assessing vaccine recipients for this risk factor? Do we even know how?

Autism is the emblem for modern human health. These children are the canaries in the coalmine. Those whose buckets were full-to-overflowing until the final uninvited drops spill over the edge. They suffer from oxidative damagemitochondrial dysfunctiondysbiosis, and brain-based inflammation and autoimmunity. In the era of vaccine design, it was not even known that the brain had immune function, let alone that our gut microbiome is the mastermind of of our immune response, and that we must cooperate with the bacteria and viruses in our midst. There is no free lunch, no slaughter of bugs, no offensive attack that does not also undermine our own health.

 The Flood

Parents are taking back the truth. It is my expectation that this crack in the dam will serve to sound an alarm. To wake women up. To show them that they have relinquished their maternal wisdom, and that it is time to wrest it back. As Dan Olmsted states:

More broadly, these “leaks” in the bulwark of conventional wisdom have been coming for a long time, and not just from people on the inside with information to share.

I’m talking about leaks like all the parents of children on the other side of the elevated-risk stats – MMR shots at 12 months, illness, regression, autism.

Leaks like parents who saw it with other vaccines, at other times  — parents who were willing to share what happened to try to keep it from happening again.

Leaks like the original Verstraeten study at the CDC that found a high risk of autism for infants who got the most ethyl mercury by the first month of life, as opposed to the least.

Leaks like the CDC coverup of the soaring autism rate in Brick Township, N.J.

Leaks like all the evidence from low-and-no-vaccine populations with low-to-no autism. Leaks like the unwillingness of the public health authorities to even study the issue.

Leaks like the Hannah Poling case, which the government conceded was triggered by autism, but buried by obfuscation. Leaks like the Unanswered Questions study showing autism all over the place in unacknowledged vaccine “court” rulings.

Leaks like the SafeMinds parents identifying autism as a “novel form of mercury poisoning” more than a decade ago.

Leaks like the Merck scientists who came forward to say the company faked data to make its mumps vaccine look effective.

Leaks like the connection between the first cases of autism reported in the medical literature, in 1943, and the families’ exposure to the new ethyl mercury vaccines and fungicides.

Leaks like the whole catastrophic half-a-millennium love affair between the medical industry and mercury, one that should have ended long before the autism tidal wave started carrying away America’s children.

Leaks like the most obvious one of all – the explosion of autism and the vaccine schedule at the same time Congress gave the nation’s corrupt drug makers a free ride in court, a ride on the backs of America’s vaccine-injured children and their stumbling families.

These leaks are becoming a flood, and the flood a tidal wave, just like the autism tidal wave, and the wave is washing away the whole wall of denial built by the same people who just about now are running out of fingers and toes to plug them with.

Deeply ingrained in our most primitive impulses, mothers are wired to protect their children. This protection no longer takes the form of sheltering them from wild animals, warming their bodies from the elements, and procuring foraged food. Today, our charge is to access a fearlessness. To shed a “medicate it, kill it, suppress it!” reflex, and to adopt a deep respect for our coevolution with the natural world, and a powerful rejection of a broken healthcare model that is making us sicker by the minute. If we stand together, our feminine wisdom will cast a shadow so dark that Pharma will run scared. Dig deep for that fearlessness, and let emerging truths like Thompson’s support your journey back to self.


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Training Think Tank Upgrades Your Understanding

I wish I could go back in time and count the number of times I have heard a cliché generalization like “no pain, no gain” in my tenure as an athlete, a member of a seminar, or an observer of a group fitness class. If the fitness world was personified it would be a drunk abusive militarized patriarchal figure. He would be constantly screaming at you, telling you that you’re not good enough and you failed because you were a pu$$y, and that the people better than you are just tougher. This lie that your body can be shaped and adapted purely by the power of will causes many problems.

I think the biggest problem is that the people who are actually superior in fitness believe the lie they’ve been told. They think they are actually supremely tougher than the less talented and everything that they ‘have’ they’ve earned by working harder than the rest. The flip side to trusting our heroes is that people who look up to those role models in fitness think that way of pushing the body constantly past its limits will result in a perpetual adaptation machine capable of becoming the best in the world. People actually believe if they put themselves into the pain zone more frequently and throw up more in workouts, they will attain greatness.

The reality, like most things, is much more complex. When things get really complex people have a tendency to want to make generalizations because it makes it easy to try to be in control of the massively complex nature of all things. The human body is a complex and intricate system. It’s a disservice to humanity and the uniqueness of each one of our physical beings to simplify all physical development into a brute force “beat down” system. People who achieve greatness with their physical bodies may all share the common bond of ability to suffer. But, correlation is not causation and that is not what we should be looking at trying or trying to mimic. Elite athletes of any discipline were given a unique subset of DNA that allow them to succeed. They can often lose their perspective of humanity and sense of humility as they develop. And if you’ve spent enough time around professional athletes or celebrities you know that often people meet superstars and feel a sense of disappointment after coming to the realization that the human being behind the performance and public image does not line up to their dreams.

I believe success is a hard thing with which to cope. We all share our humanity whether we want to admit our interconnectedness or not, and sometimes other people’s resentment of success, their envy of bodies, or their lack of understanding of the work of others, leads them to some erroneous conclusions. It’s much easier to think that everything we have earned was due to our hard work, determination, and grit. Pointing at the lesser genetically gifted or circumstanced individuals and say things like “…I’m just comfortable going to that dark place,” or “I’m willing to work harder than everyone else so it doesn’t matter what the training looks like,” or “I was willing to do whatever it took.” These statements, which generalize what really goes into the success of athletic development, only scratch the surface.   What most coaches and only some athletes realize is that the genetically talented have unique muscle physiologies, endocrine systems, and anatomical configurations. As proud of themselves as they should be for their hard work, they should be equally grateful to their parents for giving them phenomenal bodies that adapt to training (or their drug suppliers for those who are seemingly genetically gifted and rely on some scientific assistance).

Normally I would not mind that this seemingly small belief structure is continuing to expand at a virus like rate, but I believe each person has a right to optimize his or her experience in this world. I’ve met many people with dreams and ambitions to be the best versions of themselves buying into this over generalization. They work hard day in and day out, measure all their food, work on their technique, but they constantly think they are doing something wrong because they are not seeing the gains. Generally, elite athletes coach the less gifted by saying things like “yes, you need to compete more,” or “you need to work on your movement,” or “you need a new coach,” or “you need to try ‘this’ diet,” or any number of things. This comes from the simple lie that we can all be the best if we work hard. We can’t. The best and luckiest can become the best.

But, we can become the best versions of ourselves and there is an extreme amount of peace and serenity being able to walk around in this world confident that your body is as good as it can be, mobile, strong, explosive, enduring, and pain free. While that might not be impressive for photo shoots, product sales and Instagram likes, it will be something you value when you start to see people lose their physical health. I’ve watched too many “experts”, happy to tell people they’re mentally weak, causing them to destroy their physical health. If you own a gym, if you are an athlete, if you want to be an athlete – you need to understand that pain tolerance is one component of the athletic development spectrum. The likelihood that your mental willingness to suffer in training is your biggest overall athletic limitation is quite low. It is more likely your lifestyle, your recovery habits, your technique, your movement, your hating of your job, your lacking self-confidence, or a variety of other things is the largest restriction.

Before we get into a discussion of pain though we must first decide what it is people are referring to when they say ‘pain’ or the ‘dark place.’ Pain is a very complex and deeply researched field. Going into the biological mechanisms that create the sensation of pain would be something I am both incapable of doing off the top of my head and unwilling to research to create a blog topic that would go over almost everyone’s head (including mine). However, when it comes to exercise, I try to remove the word ‘pain’ from my vocabulary and discuss the limitations that stop people from progressing faster in training. There are many types of limitations in exercise including the ability to disperse heat, fuel supply, cardio-respiratory limitations, and psychological limitations. I won’t discuss them all in this blog, but the ‘pain’ most people refer to are psychological limitations within the training session.

It is true, I believe, that these are the one subset of limitations that most people should learn to push through. Because we live in a very ‘easy’ society (in relation to perhaps our farming or hunting ancestors) there are many people who have no tolerance for physical discomfort. However, after your first 1-3 years of training most people break through their initial psychological limitations. These psychological limitations morph at each stage of develop and resurface as the primary priority for elite athletes. This is why there is a premium on sports psychologists, flow states, and why so many high level athletes have a hard time winning in spite of world-class training talent. However, there are many people who take this too far and train through massive amounts of ‘pain’ when it won’t make them better. There are two major types of pain I commonly see people pushing past causing stunted progress for their goals; joint pain and energy system pain.

Before I go into those two limitations further, I want to make clear that if you take on any physical quest to improve, you are likely to deal with some chronic aches and pains. I firmly believe that optimal levels of performance start where optimal levels of health end. You must be willing to accept that if you want to be great at something physically demanding. But, the scale has been shifted so far to turning training into an abusive relationship that I feel comfortable making the generalization on the opposite side of the scale to reel people in from their self torturous training. Joint pain is a simple one.

You should not be hurting every single day from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed except when you get your adrenaline pumping from training. It shouldn’t take you 2 hours to warm up for a 30 min skill session with the barbell because your knees are so sore you can’t sit in the car for ten minutes. There are a few elite athletes that are decades into their training that I might say this is ok for, but that is just pure stupidity if you have a life. Energy system induced pain is a little bit more complicated to explain. It’s often associated with increasing lactate levels (a fuel source) and the associated acidity that rises from one of the byproducts of that energy pathway.

To understand this huge overgeneralization, you must understand that there are two major systems which provide energy when you do something that is breathing intensive. The first is the aerobic system and the second is the anaerobic lactic system. While both of these are operating in conjunction with one another all the time, one is the predominant player in the game depending on the duration, effort, muscle physiology of the athlete, and ability to tolerate discomfort. The aerobic system is the less powerful more sustainable fuel system that creates much less fatigue substrates. The anaerobic system is the more powerful, less sustainable, highly fatiguing system that causes most of the agony of hard breathing training. Again, this is a HUGE over-simplification of a complex topic, but it is enough to gain an understanding of what you’re seeing when people are going “hard.”

When you tax the body, the body picks the least energetically demanding way to supply the energy. Think of your body as extremely lazy and systematically designed for efficiency. It is going to do whatever it can to avoid working harder than it needs to work, which is why you constantly need to call on your willpower (or something in your ‘mind’) to do something difficult. In a test like a one-mile run for time, your body’s preference would be to supply all the energy with the aerobic system. However, in trained individuals, much of what determines actual fuel utilization is based on two major things; genetic make up and your training background. If you are lucky enough to have relatively powerful slow twitch fibers, the oxidative form of fast twitch fibers, high capillary density, large lung volume, and great adrenal capacity, you are likely to be able to produce a lot of power using the aerobic system. This would allow you to go fast without getting TOO much into the ‘pain cave.’ So, people with this profile can actually beat you in workouts while dealing with less ‘pain.’

Ironically as these athletes develop they can start accessing greater amounts of power and the training protocols that they used to use start beating them down. Which is why you see many athletes with a higher training history start talking about lowering their volume or adding in more recovery work or ‘getting old,’ when in fact they may have just been training poorly and it’s finally catching up to them. If you have poor physiology for aerobic power you can fall into one of two categories. The anaerobically powerful athletes who generally trend toward excelling at field sports, power sports, put on muscle mass really easily, and hate endurance work OR the lower end of the physical gene pool that has both low aerobic potential and low anaerobic potential. Both of the people in this second group must train with a smarter understanding of ‘pain’ in order to succeed long term in training, which I will discuss a bit later. The second determinant of the energy system used for a test like the mile run is an athlete’s training background.

There is a huge shift away from doing long slow distance training in the fitness community. I think this stems from the fact that our attention spans as a society have diminished to the level of 3 month old puppies. It is boring, so many people are rushed for time, and there is much less of a neurochemical high after a long easy row at 130 beats per minute than there is after fifty nine thousand Tabata intervals on the rower at max effort while eating three grams of carbs every 29 months. However, if you talk to almost any HIGH LEVEL athlete in the sport of fitness (or any sport), they almost always had very high low intensity activity levels. That easy work could have been in the form of organized sports as a kid (or all the way to collegiate level), being an outdoors person, jogging, swimming, hiking, farm work, etc. That low intensity work often lays the foundations for the high intensity work that follows later on in the life cycle of a high intensity athlete. So, knowing that different physiologies are going to create different types of ‘pain’/fatigue allows you to know that we all can’t think of pain as the same thing.

IF you are one of those genetic freaks who can constantly improve at everything and constantly go hard all the time, then you are probably ok to think of pain as something to acquaint yourself with frequently. Eventually, you will have to smarten up or you will be burnt out, beat up, need drugs, or forced into retirement from maladaptation; but for now, you might be able to get away with it. If you aren’t one of those lucky genetic freaks who I discussed AND you haven’t put a huge background into long slow work, skill development, and basic strength work, you probably should avoid constantly seeking pain in your training.

I feel like the major misconception that causes people to destroy themselves day in and day out is the belief that pain is synonymous with intensity. This is NOT true. Say I asked two athletes to run a mile run for time, but gave different instructions to both. The first athlete I tell to sprint the first 400m as fast as they possibly could and then finish the rest of the mile for time. The second athlete I have work hard, but distribute the speed equally over the course of the mile working on sustainability. The first would likely result in more pain and the other in more intensity. If you’ve watched enough of the CrossFit Games, you know that they constantly mention how methodical and paced Rich Froning Jr is in the beginning of workouts, not chasing the rabbits. This is his way of doing his work like the second miler explained above. The first way (sprint out of the gate) is almost guaranteed to result in a worse score but more pain. The second is going to result in less overall pain throughout the work interval and more intensity. This is because intensity is a time dependent variable.

What is intense for 30 seconds is not the same as what is intense for 3 minutes, which are both not the same as what is intense for 10 minutes. More aerobically talented people naturally work closer to a mile paced like the first instructions with linear pacing. Likely, in their beginning years they actually don’t have access to the power that is required to push through their anaerobic threshold and so are always praised for working hard and being able to repeat efforts. Whereas someone with a more powerful energy system profile (even if they are weak and just have low aerobic potential) need to build volume at less hard intensities over long periods of time to be able to improve long term. If you ask someone who has a very large discrepancy between their maximal work rate and their maximal aerobic work rate, then telling them to ‘GO HARDER’ is likely a recipe for killing their long-term training progress if you intend to improve their long term fitness.

There are many people in the market that have this low intensity higher volume training need. It’s hard for some of them to accept because they are also weak and not explosive. So learning to suffer well becomes a mark of valor for people with nothing exceptional they can do with their bodies. Training people like this towards pain therefore does not lead to progress and in fact challenges their low resilience bodies to adapt to even greater levels of stress. I do believe we should work towards creating more ‘intensity’ in training. In order to create more intensity for people we MUST be striving for progression, not pain.

That long term progression is laid on a foundation of optimal movement, a polarized distribution of energy system work much of which comes in low intensity format and a small amount in the ‘pain zone’, structural integrity, proper nutritional fueling as opposed to aesthetic management, and a long term plan. The seeking of pain as a form of intensity will create shorter term results that people like, but longer term damage from which one cannot recover. I’ve met with high level athletes in the sport who are broken beyond repair, dealing with injuries 24/7, and never going to reach their potential because of their stubbornness to constantly think they can do more and go harder. This is a recipe for disaster in almost every field and the human body is no exception. Our adaptations at the elite levels of performance take a long time to develop and you must be patient if you expect to improve long term.

For some strange reason in the human condition, it is easy to become addicted to pain. People can get trapped in abusive relationships, enjoy the pleasure of cutting oneself, or get sexually aroused by the sensation of pain. It doesn’t surprise me then that there is a tremendous desire to hold on to the concept that one must be on the verge of death in their training to succeed. I’ve had so many conversations with people where they justified to me all of their training past practices in spite of their empirical data showing clearly that they have stopped getting closer to their goals. Letting go of this unhealthy relationship with training pain and understanding when you should be suffering, when you should be mastering a skill, when you should be going lighter, and when you should be operating at low intensities is the key to long-term progress.

The best athletes in the world have this intuitive understanding, but sometimes are paid to say different things OR are unaware of their own superior physical intuition. If you are someone who is constantly tired, constantly in joint pain, barely making PRs anymore, and emotionally burnt out from your training load, it’s probably time to upgrade your understanding of pain and energy system development. Internalizing the negative mind state that causes you to suffer will likely turn into you loathing your time in the gym or being dependent on something that does nothing but cause you to break down and move backwards in the gym. Pain is something you should use with caution as a way to increase intensity over time, not something you should walk around with as a badge of honor to give you a sense of accomplishment to support your ego. Be tough, not dumb!

Max El-Hag

Founder  |  Training Think Tank

Live and Learn.  We All Do.

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