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´╗┐Sanpaku Eyes

It is often said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Certainly, many people feel uncomfortable looking directly into another persons eyes and the recipient of such a stare can feel equally uncomfortable. This has led to striking differences between societies. In the West, being able to look someone in the eyes is taken as a sign of honesty. In the East however, this is seen as a challenge and regarded as intimidatory.

But there can be good medical reasons for looking someone in the eyes. There are indicators in the eyes that can, it is said, show the mental and physical wellbeing of the subject.

The Japanese have a word for one such condition, sanpakugan or three whites eyes, often shortened to Sanpaku. The amount of white, or sclera, that is visible when someone is looking straight ahead can say a lot. When a baby is born the coloured part of the eye, the iris, is neatly centred between the upper and lower eyelids with the sclera only visible at the sides. This indicates that the baby is unstressed and in good physical condition.

But there are states of illhealth that may cause the lower or upper sclera to become visible. Traditional Chinese medicine and homeopathy relies heavily on assessing visible often seemingly unrelated symptoms. When the lower sclera is visible, this is called Yin Sanpaku and is attributed to physical imbalances in the body. Drug addicts, alcoholics and people who eat too much sugar or grain may exhibit Yin Sanpaku. Yang Sanpaku is where the upper sclera is visible and is sometimes indicative of mental imbalance. Psychotics, murderers, and people generally filled with rage are said to be liable to exhibit Yang Sanpaku. However, stress and fatigue may also cause this symptom.

Famous people who exhibited Sanpaku eyes at various points in their lives were John F Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and particularly Abraham Lincoln, who can be seen exhibiting Yin Sanpaku in this famous postcard.

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´╗┐Resistance Band Workout

The resistance feels manageable at first, but by the 20th second Im curling in painful slow motion. He then commands me to immediately do 30 seconds of speed extensions, which are triceps presses done at the same pace with a suspended band. When Im finished, my arms feel blasted but also big.

Cruelly, this feeling can be replicated for every muscle group. For instance, by standing on the same band and wrapping it over your shoulders or stretching it overhead, you can do fullbody squats until your legs are in knots. By wedging the band in a door or hooking it around a doorknob or other stationary object, you can do standing crunches until youre crying for absolution from not exercising enough. Indeed, just about any exercise done with conventional weights can be done with bands.

Besides building strength, band training boosts cardiovascular endurance and calorie combustion. To prove this, Santana had me wear a heartrate monitor. The highest I can usually peg my ticker is the mid to upper 140s, when Im cranking uphill on a mountain bike. This phenomenon is called EPOC, or excess postexercise oxygen consumption. Its a great benefit of resistance training your body can burn calories up to 48 hours after a workout. The fact that bands can produce the same effect as traditional weights is a testament to their value.

Another advantage I immediately noticed was that bands are infinitely variable in direction as well as resistance. Unlike Nautilus machines and traditional cables, these elastic bands can be used in any plane of movement to mimic tennis, golf, and baseball swings, or even swimming and poling strokes. If youre creative enough, any key sports movement can be replicated with bands.

Learning a painful lesson

Enlightened, inspired, and armed with a specific training program see Take Your Workout Anywhere in this months workout poster, I headed home for 8 weeks of workouts. The plan was to spend the first 4 weeks building a foundation and then the next 4 the socalled metabolic stage focusing on explosiveness. I cut back dramatically on my running and biking. Instead, I took my bands into the basement every other day. At first I had trouble climbing back up those stairs after the workouts my legs were quivering like Nanas JellO but eventually I began to feel a kind of strength I had never felt before. It seemed more inherently core, like I was becoming powerful.

My family was intrigued by my somewhat unorthodox experiment. My 23yearold son, who was home from college, ridiculed me at first. Then he joined me for a few sets and became addicted. My wife and 19yearold daughter were also curious, largely because it looked like a more accessible, less testosteronecharged form of strength training. They, too, gave it a try.

But then something horrible happened. In fact, Im fortunate to be here today with my manhood still intact. I thought I had adequately wedged one end into a door frame, but just as I stretched the band to its fullest it broke free and snapped into my thighs, inches from my groin. I doubled over, screaming. There was no blood, but over the next few days my thighs changed color from red to purple to yellow, and I was seriously hobbled. Neither my daughter nor my wife ever picked up a band again. But I learned a valuable lesson: These things can be lethal. You need to secure them properly, as I had foolishly failed to do.

Nonetheless, after a brief respite, I resumed training. After the prescribed 2 months, I had added 5 pounds of muscle and noticeable definition. I was feeling stronger while running, biking, driving golf balls, and jumping for rebounds. Whats more, when I got a lastminute story assignment and had to hop a plane, all I needed to throw in my suitcase were a few pieces of elastic. Suddenly, even a cheap motor lodge had a pretty nice gym.

Although Santana admits that band training isnt the best way to add lots of bulk classic freeweight training is still tops for that, Ive found it to be a solid option for maintaining and building muscle and endurance when I dont have access to my normal equipment, or simply want to change pace or train a specific sports movement. In fact, bands are a great addition to any workout, even if you already pump iron the oldfashioned way.