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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer!

See schedule here.

Lego Workout Format

Brian the Trainer was kind enough to meet up with me yesterday and helped brainstorm the final details of tomorrow's Lego Theme Workout. Here's what we came up with:

Split group into teams of two.

There are four phases of Lego building:

  • Load-bearing (building a base)
  • Execution (following the directions)
  • Gift-wrapped (passing the set to someone else)
  • Out the door (letting your imagination run wild)

Each team gets four minutes at each phase of the workout to complete as many reps as possible. The more reps a team completes, the more Lego blocks from our stash they accumulate. After the final phase, each team will have 5 minutes to build the highest structure possible out of the Legos they have.

Winning team is solely determined by the highest Lego structure, not the reps completed.

You guys should know by now that any workout Brian is involved in creating is never this simple; there always needs to be rules in place to help Brian gain an advantage. So for this workout, there will be four "cards" available for teams to play on someone. They are:

  • Missing piece
  • Glued together
  • Angry sibling
  • Leg-oh! (don't step on the Lego)

Details will be revealed on the cards handed out during the workout.

Tomorrow. 9 am. This should be a good one!

Thinking Out Loud: Published Paper Politics pt. 2

by, VJ Tocco


“In God we trust; all others bring data”

-W. Edwards Deming 

In 2006, my classmate Louis Eakins introduced me to Wikipedia during an assignment in Mr. Swanson's anatomy class. My world was transformed as we finished our lab in about 15 minutes by quickly finding our answers on the online encyclopedia. Wikipedia became my go-to website for looking up anything from chemistry to NBA trivia. Sadly, teachers began banning Wikipedia on assignments (especially essays) soon afterwards.

To this day, I still use Wikipedia judiciously to learn about unfamiliar topics. Wikipedia excels at educating the inexperienced to indisputable facts. However, for as informative as Wikipedia is, it suffers a critical flaw: its entries have not sustained peer-review.

Peer Review: What is it?

Peer review is the quality-control system to ensure the integrity and validity of scientific publications. After a scientist has finished writing a manuscript, he or she will submit it to a journal. The editor of the journal will quickly consider the suitability of the manuscript for the journal. If it passes, the editor sends the manuscript to several (usually three) experts in the particular area of science, who are instructed to objectively scrutinize the article. If the reviewers approve the work, the manuscript becomes published.

Very little journalism and media targeting the public is peer-reviewed.  For example, Dr. Oz advertises  miracle weight-loss solutions under the guise that scientific research has demonstrated their effectiveness. While the original research he references might have been peer review, his commentary has not. For this reason alone, I hope you will re-think your trust in anything that has not been peer-reviewed.  By the end of this post, I hope that you would also re-think your trust everything that has been peer-reviewed as well.

Who are the peer-reviewers?

Most fields of science are sufficiently specialized such that only a handful of people on the planet are recognized as "experts". Accordingly, the experts in any particular field are highly likely to know each other. Most peer-review is single-blind, meaning the reviewers are anonymous, although they know who authored a manuscript. Thus, peer review is problematic if any of the following relationships apply to the reviewer and author:

  1. Competitors: Funding in science is limited, and as I asserted in part I, those who publish the most high-quality work are usually first in line to receive said funding. Validating the work of a competitor can be harmful to one's own career.
  2. Enemies: The fragile egos of some scientists can possibly be attributed to the fact that most of them are males. Reviewers are less likely to validate the work of those they don't like.
  3. Allies: Perhaps the most dangerous of relationships between reviewer and author in terms of integrity during the review process. Reviewers who have a personal relationship with the author have a conflict of interest; although these types of relationships should be disclosed, it is not always the case.

Assuming that these relationships don't cause problems, the reviewers need to find the motivation to evaluate the manuscript. Being asked to review is a bit like jury duty; it can be a major inconvenience with no incentives except a fulfillment of your civil duties. Most academics are too busy to devote the appropriate amount of time and effort to give a proper review.

How in-depth does the review go? There are surprisingly little guidelines for reviewers, and they are able to use their discretion. No study is bulletproof, if questions for long enough, something questionable is bound to appear any research study. Surprisingly, most papers only speculate on the results, not the methods. That is, there is no rationale for how they chose their subjects (or how many), how they designed their experiment or survey, or why they chose their control experiments.

All of these nuances present valid reasons to be skeptical of peer-reviewed literature.  Although peer-reviewed papers are held to higher standards than non-peer reviewed papers, they should not be considered gospel.

In the third and final installment of this mini-series, I'll discuss some strategies that non-experts can make the literature more accessible.

Beast Mode: Jennifer, Elle, and Erika

Be on the lookout for VJ's new Published Paper Politics post tonight.

On Tuesday the workout was set up so we could go for intensity, unless there were a few trip-ups on the jump ropes. The 9 am session did a great job on keeping the intensity high except for the last run, which I can understand. Jennifer, Elle, and Erika are all fresh off their spring sports where their training was not as consistent as I was hoping. Luckily, their form has held up pretty well. Also, Jennifer ran track for me and Shannon this spring and it kinda showed in the workout. Check it out.

Quote of the Week vol. 197 + New Graduate

“These boys were born to go pro. Your mom’s a P.E. teacher, I’m a personal trainer, your last name is Ball. How much more lined up can you be?”

- LaVarr Ball, father of NBA prospect Lonzo Ball

NBA Draft tomorrow night!

In more relevant news, Elle Laurencelle made her return to the Champions Club this week after a good season on Varsity softball at Bishop Foley. Yesterday during the warmup, she got her first pistol.

Great job Elle! Let's have a good Summer!

New Graduate: Finegan

Evan Finegan finished his final Fundamentals session on Monday afternoon and is now good to go with the group.

Finegan did a modified version of Helen (200m run, 16k kettlebell, and ring rows) in 8:20 to close things out. Over the course of our Fundamentals sessions we condensed a few days in order to get as many Summer sessions in as possible. Still, he picked up on everything except unweighting very quickly - highlighted by his first ever rope climb at the end of Day 3.

Evan will mostly be hitting the morning sessions with a few evening ones sprinkled in to work out alongside Jacob. Be on the lookout for this one to have a good Summer. Welcome to the Champions Club!

Ghosts of Champions Club Past: Alex Faust in body-type and kicker qualities, Jack Clouse in demeanor.

New Graduate: Lindsey

Our first graduation of Summer 2017 comes from new kid Lindsey Eason. Yesterday at the 5:30pm session her and Kasey strolled in barely on time and began going through the warmup. After making Kasey do a rope climb, I wanted to check up on how much progress Lindsey made from Fundamentals. She got about two climbs up before she had to come down, but I had a feeling there was more in the tank.

So I waited until after the workout and put her on the spot in front of everyone. Here's how it turned out.

Great job Lindsey!

Theme Workout Announcement: Lego

This Saturday at 9 am, the first theme workout of the Summer 2017 will be...

The format of the workout is pretty set, but the exact details are still up in the air. I hope to have it planned out by Wednesday and will post them up here. But either way, it looks to be a very interesting one, culminating with a building contest at the end of the workout.

This Saturday. 9 am. Clear your schedule!