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Nov 122013

As part of a Russian campaign to make citizens healthier, riders who buy a ticket at Vystavochnaya station in western Moscow have the option of paying in squats.

At the Vystavochaya metro station in western Moscow, a woman squats in front of a vending machine that sells subway tickets for squats instead of money. (Credit: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP )

Full story on :



So here’s an idea to improve the nation’s health – scrap congestion charges and instead introduce a policy of no-entry without exercise ;)

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Nov 092013

Discovery of new ligament in human knee may revolutionize how injuries are treated, surgeries conducted

“The implications are obvious for the athletic population,”

More on this link : http://life.nationalpost.com/2013/11/06/discovery-of-new-part-of-human-knee-the-anterolateral-ligament-may-revolutionize-how-injuries-are-treated-surgeries-conducted-belgium-researchers/

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Oct 062013

Source : BBC News – Exercise ‘can be as good as pills’.


Exercise ‘can be as good as pills’

Man preparing to jogShort, regular bouts of exercise could add years to your life, say experts

Exercise can be as good a medicine as pills for people with conditions such as heart disease, a study has found.

The work in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) looked at hundreds of trials involving nearly 340,000 patients to assess the merits of exercise and drugs in preventing death.

Physical activity rivalled some heart drugs and outperformed stroke medicine.

The findings suggest exercise should be added to prescriptions, say the researchers.

Experts stressed that patients should not ditch their drugs for exercise – rather, they should use both in tandem.

Prescriptions rise

Too few adults currently get enough exercise. Only a third of people in England do the recommended 2.5 hours or more of moderate-intensity activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week.

In contrast, prescription drug rates continue to rise.

There were an average of 17.7 prescriptions for every person in England in 2010, compared with 11.2 in 2000.

For the study, scientists based at the London School of Economics, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute at Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine trawled medical literature to find any research that compared exercise with pills as a therapy.

They identified 305 trials to include in their analysis. These trials looked at managing conditions such as existing heart disease, stroke rehabilitation, heart failure and pre-diabetes.

When they studied the data as a whole, they found exercise and drugs were comparable in terms of death rates.

But there were two exceptions.

Drugs called diuretics were the clear winner for heart failure patients, while exercise was best for stroke patients in terms of life expectancy.

(for the full report, see BBC News – Exercise ‘can be as good as pills’.)

Health benefits

Doing exercise regularly:

  • Can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50%
  • Can lower your risk of early death by up to 30%
  • Can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy as well as keep weight off
  • Moderate activity, such as cycling or fast walking, gives your heart and lungs a work-out

Source: NHS Choices

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Nov 252012

From a post by ULTRAfitnessTraining’s Shaun Brassfield-Thopre on William Sichel’s blog at http://www.williamsichel.co.uk/?p=8039

There are always 101 invisible things that contribute to any top-quality sporting performance.

There is a great deal that we have changed with William Sichel’s training for ultra-distance racing as the years have gone by (recently this has included introducing maximum level loaded walking with William carrying roughly his own bodyweight for 15 mins at a time, weighted step training, advanced breathing exercises originating from the martial art of Stav, depth drops to improve his plyometric ability, drag training on a treadmill, supersets of partial range deadlifts and squats, all while running a low weekly mileage – just to name a small few).

As William gets older his training gets tougher – and so does he. At a time of life (William is now 59) when most people are starting to think that getting up off the sofa is a bit like hard training, William isn’t content to try to maintain his current performance levels. He is still always looking to improve – and then to keep improving. Obviously that’s the only way one can set a PB or break a record – you don’t get better by doing less work than you’ve done before!

One thing that has changed considerably for this race is William’s in-race nutrition.

This is the first multi-day race William has attempted while on an extremely low carbohydrate diet.

Low-carb diets are becoming increasingly popular for both overall health and sporting purposes but they still tend to raise a few eyebrows among the general public, most of whom have for many years been bombarded with the message that fats are bad for you and that carbohydrate is essential in a normal diet – and doubly so for an athlete.

It is quite commonly recommended that a runner should consume around 60gms of carbohydrate per hour (generally as simple sugars) when running.

In practical terms, in an effectively non-stop ultra-distance event of this kind that would add up to around 1440gms daily – nearly 1.5kg or about 1 and a half bags of sugar – and that is per 24hrs of running.

As this is an 8 day race, were William to have followed this kind of advice he’d have been trying to consume the equivalent of nearly 12kgs / 26.4 lbs of sugar during the event!

In reality William has never been able to consume any where near this amount of carbohydrate (doing so for an hour or two is no problem, but William cannot sustain that sort of carbohydrate intake indefinitely as it causes him gastro-intestinal problems).

Instead, William has been taking no added carbohydrate whatsoever during the entire race; the only carbs he’s been having have come in the form of a (relatively small) amount of lactose in the milk he has been drinking (lactose is naturally occurring milk-sugar), plus a fairly minimal amount from vegetables with his meals.

William has been taking a moderate – not high – amount of protein, but most of his energy has been coming from fats.

Healthy fats – and lots of them – from both natural foods including eggs, cheese, mayonnaise, olive oil, butter, cream, coconut oil etc, and as a medium chain triglyceride oil supplement (which being in liquid form is easier for him to take in a drink).

William has been “fat adapted” for a long time (partly because as he cannot consume huge amounts of carbohydrate over long periods, he has trained himself to run using his bodyfat as his major fuel source).

However, over the last couple of months he has taken this a stage further by virtually cutting out carbohydrate from his diet altogether and consuming less than 50gms of carbs per day (in simple terms that is equivalent to about 2 slices of wholemeal bread).

One of the big advantages to using dietary fat rather than dietary carbohydrate as a main fuel source during an ultra-endurance event of this kind is that gram for gram, fat has around twice as many calories as carbohydrate. Which in turn means that William can eat the same sized meal or drink the same amount of fluid, but gain twice the number of calories per portion.

Has this worked? While there will be much that we will learn from his 8-day race experience and undoubtedly much that we can improve upon for his next race, the short answer is clearly a big “yes”.

Quite obviously managing to run over 1000 kms in less than 8 days while consuming remarkably little carbohydrate is pretty clear proof that fats can fuel even the most arduous of sporting performances…

Shaun Brassfield-Thorpe – www.ULTRAfitnessTraining.com

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Jun 112012

ULTRAfitnessTraining.com’s William Sichel carrying the Olympic Torch

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Jun 112012
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Photos of William Sichel of ULTRAfitnessTraining.com carrying the Olympic Torch & lighting the Olympic Cauldron

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Jun 112012

It was a busy day for William Sicehl of ULTRAfitnessTraining.com on Sunday 10th June as he was carrying the Olympic Flame and lighting the Olympic Caulron in Kirkwall, Orkney.

There has been quite a lot of media attention for this event – some reports and videos can be found on the links below :

Media Coverage :


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18386586 (with video)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18385709 (see photo #5)

STV : http://news.stv.tv/scotland/105547-olympic-torch-visits-orkney-and-shetland-on-third-day-of-scottish-tour/





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Jan 252012


The latest issue (#4) of the new FREE ultra-running e-magazine NORDIC ULTRA is now out. Read it below.

This issue features 2 articles from the team here at ULTRAfitnessTraining.com

William Sichel gives an overview of the Monaco “No Finish Line” 8-Day Race – William was the 2011 winner, setting a new 8-Day course record and becoming the first person ever to run over 1000km at the event.

Shaun Brassfield-Thorpe has provided another in depth article on training, this time he discusses stretching, flexibility and stiffness in relation to ultra-running.

– And lots more inside!

You can read NORDIC ULTRA #4 below (click to read)

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Jan 132012

One of our current UFT clients, US ultra-runner Jarred Busen, has published an article on Quantity Vs. Quality in training based on some of our advice. Read it on his blog here


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Nov 272011

An archive article/interview in which William discusses various aspects on ultra-running


The record-breaking ultramarathon runner William Sichel reveals his inspiring achievements
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