While this is far from the final word on the subject of nutrition, it is an important one. We continue to fixate on finding a magic bullet cure all, instead of looking at nutrition in relation to lifestyle.
Science is constantly re-examining its own conclusions. That doesn’t mean individual scientists or practitioners don’t become wedded to preconceived ideas or conclusions based on the best evidence at the time, but other scientists and researchers will challenge and sometimes upend the most fervently held beliefs. That’s science. The low fat dogma needs to die, the low carb dogma needs to die, too. What we need is long term examinations of different diets based on lifestyle. Real athletic coaches and competent experienced trainers already have a pretty good understanding of some of this, even without the controlled studies. Put a competitive marathon runner on a low carb diet and we can predict the disaster awaiting their performance. Put a power lifter on a low protein diet and we can predict that failure too. Most people are neither. Most people are sedentary for 20 out of 24 hours every day, if you do the math. What’s best for them? Anything that keeps their weight low, since according to the Harvard School of Public Health, the single biggest risk factor for cardiovascular disease is not cholesterol or even arterial plaque, but simply being overweight. Being too fat is the single biggest risk factor, so instead if putting the cart before the horse, let’s tackle that problem up front. And then, let’s discuss why shopping for healthy food is so expensive.
A recent article in the health section of the NYTimes highlights how important high impact exercise can be for improving bone density. This goes hand in hand with the overwhelming evidence that weight bearing exercise can dramatically improve and restore, or at least minimize the loss, of bone density.
Th article goes on to point out how difficult applying these protocols are to the populations most at risk, since this is the same population most likely to sustain injuries from these very activities. Here’s the article, followed by my advice to older populations who want to safely follow the research in their personal workouts:
If you are over 50 and have been warned about your bone density, start a traditional strength training/ muscular conditioning program. Minimize cardiovascular exercise to the minimum necessary to insure heart health, because too much aerobic training can reduce your body’s ability to build muscle.
Train 3 times per week, doing two or three exercises per body part for the legs and torso, and two exercises for biceps and triceps. Each exercise should consist of three sets of 10-15 reps each set, for 2 weeks. Each week thereafter attempt to increase weights incrementally; don’t over-expose yourself to injury; as long as you can complete a minimum of 6 reps. For the next three months your goal is to train 3 times per week on non consecutive days with weights that pose a significant challenge between 6-8 reps each set.
After the 3rd month, begin adding some small jumping movements into your routine, in small doses (box jumps, jump ropes, etc.) gradually adding more jumps over a period of months, not days or weeks, and always on non consecutive days!
If you experience joint pain during or after any session, take 3-5 days off before resuming any jumping, and start your jumping type activities over from the beginning.
I’ve been arguing with my doctors for years that the cholesterol guidelines were either arbitrary or handwritten by the pharmaceutical industry to ensure as many people as possible were given prescriptions.
The relationship between cholesterol and heart disease is tenuous, and highly anecdotal, and I’ve watched the “acceptable” number continuously drop over the years, all while other criteria were constantly added to the mix of excuses to add more people to the prescription drug rolls. Now we’re told the number isn’t so important after all.
We need a truly independent FDA that funds it’s own health research and then commissions big pharma after the fact. Read on.
Nutritional supplements can be a tremendous aid for a variety of people seeking better health, weight loss, muscle gains, and performance enhancement during athletic activities. But the reality is disconcerting. I can fill a gel cap full of powdered ragweed and call it purified echinacea and you’d have no way to know. There is no regulations. There is no “governing body” ensuring quality control, and your congress stripped the FDA of the power to regulate even the validity of the ingredients decades ago.
There is so much misinformation and mythology passed along as true simply because it’s been repeated by so many for so long. But nobody checks the sources, and when someone finally does check it’s always the same result: conventional wisdom leads to moronic decisions.
Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or improve athletic performance what and how much you eat is of critical importance.
If you’re interested in building muscle you have to over eat tremendously. You also have to lift tremendously heavy weights (relative to your personal ability). If you eat a lot, but don’t lift a lot, you will not build muscle. You will get fat instead. It’s the exercise, or lack of it that determines how your body uses the excess calories.
If you’re interested in athletic performance you have to eat a lot more than normal to be able to fuel that performance (marathon runners carbo load before race days).
If you’re trying to lose weight you must eat less than you burn off .
The interesting NYT article below, about recent studies on the efficacy of intense interval training for weight loss and weight management, is well written. It clearly states that this study is preliminary, used a small sample of young males only, and so no long term conclusions for the general population should be assumed.
It also pointed out that these intense intervals (which many people erroneously conclude last 4 minutes or 7 minutes only) actually last 30 minutes alternating between short bursts of 100% intensity with longer intervals of low intensity activity in-between.
These conclusions are not new or earth shaking. Any track and field athlete or coach engaged in sprinting events could have told you most of what this study says. Read on.
Strenuous exercise seems to dull the urge to eat afterward better than gentler workouts, several new studies show, adding to a growing body of science suggesting that intense exercise may have unique benefits.
and all its derivatives*. These encourage you to workout at extreme intensities with no real specific goal in mind beyond getting better at doing those specific workouts, unpredictable body shaping results (maybe you’ll bulk up or maybe get skinny), no transferable improvements for sports or other athletic activities, and an extremely high risk of injuries.
Michael Boyle is one of the most highly respected strength and Conditioning coaches in the world of NCAA collegiate athletics and professional sports, with dozens of published books to his credit. This is what he has to say about CrossFit.
Members and inexperienced trainers often fail to understand that the chronically out of shape civilian has no concept of what exercise intensity means. They actually believe that coming to the gym 2 hours a week is a lot of work. They believe pushing 50 lb. on a leg press is tremendous, even though they might weigh 180 lbs themselves. It’s not their fault. They have no reference points at all. Also, they’re really not that interested in whatever goals they might tell you and themselves, they have. Anyone who really cared about fitness and athletics would likely have been engaging in fitness and athletic activities most of their lives to begin with. And then there is belief. Most of our clients don’t reallybelieve they can get in shape. They don’t really have goals. They have fantasies that deep down they believe are impossible to achieve, and so undermine their own efforts every chance they get by consuming junk food or too much food or exercising without consistency or jumping from fad diet to fad workout to discouragement and abandonment of any effort.
Many believe it is just strictly the luck of good genetics or bad, and there is some truth in that. But good genetics that get you by when your 20 will fail you when you’re in your 30’s unless you take action. The sooner you start the better, but it’s never too late.
First, I’d like to thank Monica for the kind praise, as it was all her hard work and willingness to follow my slightly sadistic advice to the letter.
Monica isn’t an actress or professional model. She’s a “real” woman with a real job and has a real commitment to her workouts and getting the results that she wants. She doesn’t live in the gym 4 hours a day, and she knows that when it’s time to work out you work out damn hard and real smart (or hire a real smart trainer like me) and then you go home. I won’t be specific about her age, but she wasn’t a child when we started, and 10 years later she looks better than she ever did. Period.
Forget the trends. This isn’t rocket science. I’ve been at this for 29 years and the fundamentals haven’t changed. Do what I say you need to do in order to achieve your goals (or whatever shorter term measures I deem more appropriate for each individual) and you will.
Train smart. Train hard. Don’t be a mark for every con game that comes around.
SCHAGHTICOKE, N.Y. (AP) – Justine and Brian Denison say they adhere to all the growing practices required for organic certification, yet if they label their beans and tomatoes “organic” at the farmer’s market, they could face federal charges and $20,000 or more in fines.
Because the Denisons chose not to seek organic certification by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Denison Farm, which has…