Miscellaneous Miscellany Monday: Thanksgiving Review, Wedding Shenanigans, ACL Rehab, and More.

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1. I’m back!  Did you miss me?  Even just a little bit?

All I have to say is that the past five days have been a whirlwind.  Going back home to upstate New York for Thanksgiving was amazing, of course.  Although we made the mistake of leaving Boston at around 2:30 on Wednesday afternoon (along with everyone else apparently) and it took us roughly 2.5 hours just to drive 50 miles to the Turnpike I-84 split.  It was awful – and I was thiiiiiiiiis close to sniper rolling out of the driver seat and throwing myself in front of a Mack truck.

A ride that normally takes five and a half hours, took eight. Nevertheless we eventually made it home, and it was great to see family, friends, and to crush my mom’s apple pie.

To top everything off, Lisa shot her first gun, like ever.  Both my brother and step father were gearing up to go hunting the next day and wanted to head out to the back yard to shoot their guns.  Lisa was on that like white on rice!

2. It was a quick turnaround, however, because Lisa and I had to head back to Beantown for my good friend’s (and business partner) Pete Dupuis’ wedding, which was epic in its own right.

Leaving sooner than we wanted had its advantages though, since traffic wasn’t nearly as much of a clusterf*** on the way back.  We made it in record time and both Friday (rehearsal dinner) and Saturday (the big event) were amazing.

Hell, I even wore a suit and tie for the occasion and might have given 007 a run for his money.

The pic below is the original four CP staff (Pete Dupuis, Eric Cressey, myself, and Brian St. Pierre).

3.  I know the last thing people want to read given I haven’t posted anything in a while are details about my personal life (even though it does parallel Batman at times), but here’s the last nugget….promise.

As is customary each year during Thanksgiving, after my seventh serving of turkey and stuffing, and after my insulin induced power nap, I like to cap everything off by heading to the movie theater to catch a flick.  This year’s pick was Life of Pi, director Ang Lee’s latest masterpiece based off the novel of the same name by Yann Martel.

Having read pieces of the book myself, I honestly had no idea how this was going to be made into a movie. From what I’ve read many directors have tried in the past to adapt it onto screen, but failed due to the complicated plot and storyline.

However, given Lee’s history of taking “unconventional” material (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain, to name a few) and knocking it out of the ballpark, I wasn’t too worried.  What’s more, Lee has a knack for making visually stunning movies, and Life of Pi certainly didn’t disappoint in this regard.

I’d rank it right up there as one of the more beautiful movies I have ever watched – right on par with films like Amelie – and the CGI/3D was spectacular.  I consider Avatar the litmus test for any film made in 3D, and there really has been no other film that has impressed me in recent years – other than Hugo – where I felt it was justified to spend the extra dough or where the 3D enhanced the experience.

Life of Pi was STUNNING!!!!!!!!

And yes, I got a little teary eyed.  Take that for what it’s worth.

4. Okay, I lied – I have another Thanksgiving related point to make.  But it’s something that you’ll be able to use.

Brussels Sprouts

If I’m being honest, up until this past year, I had a very poor relationship with brussels sprouts.  Back in the day, when I was a kid, my mom used to serve them to us for dinner on occasion, and it was just horrendous (sorry mom).

She used to buy the frozen variety and then just pop them in the microwave and serve them in a bowl.  If I had to liken it to anything, it was like eating soggy balls of fart.

Yes, it was that bad.

Anyways, my girlfriend is literally obsessed with brussels spouts – and for good reason.  They’re freakin ROCKSTARS in the nutritional world.

Funnily enough, brussels sprouts aren’t really sprouts at all, but members of the cabbage family, which makes since that’s exactly what they look like.

I’m not going to attempt to delve into all the nutritional reasons why you should include them in your diet because other peeps have done an awesome job in explaining it already.

In his phenomenal book, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth (required reading if you ask me), Dr. Jonny Bowden states:

Brussels sprouts contain a chemical called sinigrin which suppresses the development of precancerous cells.  The breakdown of sinigrin (allyl isothiocyanate) is the active ingredient in brussel sprouts and is responsible for the characteristic smell of sprouts.  It works by persuading the precancerous cells to commit suicide – a natural process called apoptosis – and so powerful is the effect that it’s entirely possible that the occasional meal of brussels sprouts could help reduce the incidence of colon cancer.

Including more sulfur-rich vegetables is actually kind of a big deal, and something that Mark Sisson has written on several times, including THIS gem.

But how to prepare and cook them is the key.  As I noted above, Lisa is obsessed with brussels sprouts, and I was never a fan until I tried them the way that she makes them.

I’ve been converted for a while, but it took a little convincing for my family to try them.  Here’s how she prepared them last week to rave reviews.

First off, do yourself a favor and DO NOT buy the frozen variety.  They taste like frozen balls of cyanide, and you’re not doing yourself any favors by going that route.

Instead, try to buy them fresh, or better yet, still in the stalk!

We’re lucky in that the Trader Joe’s right down the street sells them on the stalk, and it makes all the difference in the world.

Regardless, whether you pluck them of the stalk, or pick them out of a bag – DO NOT buy them frozen.

– Wash them off, and then cut each sprout into halves.

– Throw into a bowl and then add seasoning.  We like to keep it simple:  salt, pepper, and oregano work wonders.  Add olive oil (extra virgin preferably) and if you’d like some apple cider vinegar to give it a little kick.

– OPTIONAL (but it really isn’t): on the side, cook up like 3-4 strips of bacon.  Once the bacon is done, crumble them up and add into the bowl.  Then, spread the bacon fat onto the sheet where you’ll place the brussel sprouts.

– Place each sprout face down onto a shallow cooking sheet.  Keep your paws off the bacon bits!!!!  For now, anyways.

– Cook in oven at like 325-350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Once the 20 minutes are up, stir the sprouts around, and cook for another 20.

– Chow down.  Thank me later.

5.  Driving home the other day, we happened to tune into some random classic rock station and Pearl Jam came on. Since when in the hell is Pearl Jam considered classic rock??????????

6.  I received an interesting email last week from a college student detailing to me a conversation she was eavesdropping on between one of the head strength coaches at her school and a handful of his practicum students. To quote her:

They were talking about how he teaches the squat to his athletes. The coach said that because so many athletes are stronger in their posterior chain compared to their quads, he strongly discourages his athletes from “sitting back” or having any type of hip hinge movement while squatting to minimize glute and hamstring involvement and target the quads.

He said the box squat or squat to a box was a pointless exercise due to the hip hinge requirement and the nearly vertical tibia – he wants his athletes squatting by dropping straight down, staying relatively upright and getting the knees a fair ways beyond the toes. He emphasizes developing quad strength over posterior chain strength in all of his young athletes.

Also, he said that prevention of ACL injuries would be enhanced if there was less emphasis on hip hinging and more emphasis on quad strengthening, especially in female athletes.

I don’t think I have ever heard anything so asinine in my life – and this is including EVERYTHING that Tracy Anderson has ever said.

The last point – prevention of ACL injuries would be enhanced if there was less emphasis on hip hinging and more emphasis on quad strengthening , especially in female athletes – is what really dumbfounded me, and pretty much made me want to throw my face onto an ax.

If you look at the mechanism(s) which cause the bulk of (non-contact) ACL injuries in female athletes – pronation, adduction, and hip internal rotation – one would clearly see (at least if they know anything about functional anatomy) that training the posterior chain would be kind of important.

Sure, most anatomy texts will note that the glutes do nothing but abduct and extend the hip.  Clap clap clap.  You just passed anatomy 101.

Digging a little deeper, and what most anatomy texts don’t account for, is the eccentric component, or what the glutes PREVENT……

……Pronation, adduction, and hip internal rotation.  Otherwise known as “the big 3” when it comes to ACL injuries.

How a coach would say that placing more emphasis on the quads is the best way to go about preventing these injuries from happening in the first place is beyond my comprehension.  I guess every coach who’s ever lived is wrong, and that this guy has it all figured out.

Suffice it to say, I really feel sorry for his athletes.

I sent along the email I received to my good friend, Bret Contreras, to see what his reaction would be and he responded with:

“What the holy hell!?!?!?!  That’s one of the most illogical things I’ve heard a strength coach say. Just wow.”

And then I’m pretty sure this is what happened:

Needless to say, Bret wasn’t too happy.

Apparently Bret is working on a detailed response – complete with charts, graphs, and I hope a massive middle finger – that I’m going to use as a guest post in a week or so.  Stay tuned……..it’s going to be awesome.

And that’s it for today.  I hope everyone else reading had a nice relaxing holiday.  Be sure to check back during the week as I’ll be back to my normal blogging badassness.

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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  • Mike Anderson

    Dude, your back yard has a flat bed truck full of timber in it??

    • TonyGentilcore

      Ha! Yeah, I grew up on a lumber mill, so there was a lot of heavy machinery in my back yard.

      • Mike Anderson

        that’s sick. i would’ve gotten myself into quite a bit of trouble on a place like that.

      • Weird coincidence. My grandparent’s owned a saw mill down in the Ozarks that I grew up playing around and working in… How many sawyer’s kids you thing are working in S&C? don’t ask how I ended up in Seattle. Long road from there to here.

  • Sprouts: turn up the awesomeness on these by mixing up a simple vinaigrette: Tsp of mustard (I like creole, Dijon will work) some apple cider vinegar, and whisk in olive oil till it gets creamy, throw in your bacon bits (and a couple doses if hot sauce if you like), and toss the whole thing right after roasting.. It is the goods.

    FWIW, I have heard some folks argue (I think it’s bogus, but I have heard the argument) that ACL injuries occur during deceleration, and the quads are responsible for decelerating someone running forward, ergo: strong quads prevent knee injuries. If further examined I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that would be the case this gentleman makes.
    I think it’s bogus as I have never seen someone running in a straight line try to stop and blow a knee, They are mistaking deceleration with changing directions (which SHOULD all happen at the hip) but there you go.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Yeah, I don’t buy the whole “quads decelerate” argument either. I mean, they do, but it’s an awfully shortsighted way to look at things if you ask me.

      • It’s the “fat burning zone” of bio-mechanics. Works on paper, but in practice it falls apart..

  • Jennifer Blake

    I LOVE BRUSSELL SPROUTS!!!!!!!! Not that you asked or anything but. . .this is how I cook ’em:
    Take your sprouts and toss in a pot of boiling water for about 1 minute until they turn bright green.
    Dump them in a strainer and run under cold water to stop them from cooking further and getting mushy.
    Cut each sprout in half and place them cut side down in the pan containing THE BACON FAT YOU JUST COOKED 5 PEICES OF BACON IN.
    Cook on low/med heat 5-10 minutes depending on how hot your stovetop runs. Brussells are done when the cut side is golden and slightly crispy.
    Toss with crumbled bacon, salt and pepper. BOOM.
    So good.
    P.S. That strength coach sounds like a real douche-canoe. His poor athletes, sheesh.

    • TonyGentilcore

      WOW – it seems brussel sprouts are a big hit around here. Thanks for the recipe Jennifer – I’ll have to see if Lisa would be willing to try that one out. I’m sure she will. I mean, bacon is involved….;o)

  • Brussels sprouts are a favorite here too. These were a hit! You guys should try them 🙂 http://www.carascravings.com/contact

    • TonyGentilcore

      I should have known you had a recipe for brussel sprouts! Thanks Cara.

  • Nick

    Halve or quarter some Brussle sprouts, sautee them up (lightly) and them simmer in a little bit of orange juice. It is amazing.Just DO NOT overcook them, that’s where the nasty ball-of-fart taste comes in.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Thanks NIck! I’ll have to definitely give that a try.

  • Jen

    I agree with your Pearl Jam comment. My husband and I were on a vacation a few years ago and found a radio station playing great music: AC/DC, Van Halen, Motley Crue, GnR and the like. Then they did their call letter requirement thing and it was like “blah, blah station: your home for classic rock”. I think my husband nearly drove off the road. I guess this means we are getting old. LOL!

    • TonyGentilcore

      Hahahahaha. Indeed. Crazy to think, though, right?

      • Jen

        It is very crazy to think about. I guess this is how our parents felt when their music was considered “classic rock” .

  • BC

    Find me a college where the majority of their incoming freshmen athletes are stronger in their posterior chain than their quads. Let’s be real – most high school athletes have not been exposed to good strength and conditioning programs and are typically quad-dominant (or bench press dominant!). What is that dude talking about?

    • TonyGentilcore

      Your guess is as good as mine! I can’t wait for Bret’s response. From what he’s alluding to, it’s going to be one massive pwnage on this coach (who will remain nameless).

  • AlexB

    1. Wish I’d watched that video before deadlifting today, time to put Rage Against the Machine back in the gym rotation.
    2. We love brussel sprouts in our house as well, usually boiled in the biggest pot we have, salted to about 3% by weight (of the water), then dumped in an ice back as soon as they go bright green, then dried on a kitchen towel and sauted with and possibly some nutmeg or chili flakes depending on how we’re feeling. Seasoning the water well makes all the difference, it’ll look like a lot of salt when you dump it in but it there is a lot of water volume to dilute it.

    • AlexB

      Note to self, hard angled brackets aren’t a good plan on a webform. Should have known that.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Chili flakes????? Now that sounds interesting!

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  • Michelle Kania

    Randomly found this post while I was searching for something and I identify strongly with your feelings on brussel sprouts. I am still afraid of them as an adult after being forced to eat the frozen variety as a child. I have heard that cooking them in bacon like you noted above makes them very yummy but I cannot get myself to buy them and cook them this way. I have offered to have friends do this for me and I will try them (give them one good shot as an adult) but no one has decided to make them for me. 🙁

    • TonyGentilcore

      Trust me Michelle: buying FRESH sprouts and cooking them (not boiling them) makes all the difference in the world.

      Plus. bacon.

      How can you go wrong?