Get some sleep, grow some muscle

Great article on the importance to your training of getting a good night’s rest.

Sleep and Building Muscle Go Together
Where does muscle-building take place—in the weight room or in the bedroom? The answer may surprise you. Strength training is actually a stimulus—not the end result—for building muscle. After you’ve worked out, your recovery and muscle building occurs during periods of deep sleep. This is when human growth hormone (HGH) is released in the body.

Diabetics benefit a little bit more from strength training than from aerobic, but both show considerable gains

Conclusion:  “Both exercise regimens have positive impact on health status that correlated well with clinical improvement in patients with [Type 2 diabetes]. [Progressive resistance training] may have some additional benefits as there were significant changes in more domains of the SF-36 than that observed for the [aerobic training] group.”


Running fast has more to do with the force one applies to the ground, not how fast the legs move

“Think of the legs as springs. The more force they can push against the ground, the further they can propel the body forward, thus maximizing the output of each individual step. In a full sprint, the average person applies about 500 to 600 pounds of force. An Olympic sprinter can apply more than 1,000 pounds.”

Bulking Up Can Help Prevent Diabetes

Study shows building muscle can lower person’s risk of insulin resistance

The Cortisol Confusion

I’m a little disturbed at all the cortisol blocking products and misinformation out there. It’s not that they are unnecessary, I used a cortisol blocker from VRP during a time of enormous stress, and it was a lifesaver. The problem is that cortisol blockers are the new thing, and are marketed as yet another panacea of weight loss products.  
Coritsol is a really important lifesaving hormone that enables you to respond to highly stressful situations with energy and clarity of mind.  It’s not the quick response that adrenaline is (if you have to pick the car up off the child), but rather the hormone released in a slightly longer stressful situation.  
 The problem arises when throughout the day you go from one cortisol releasing stressor to another, and you never allow for hormonal balance to return.  The adrenal glands which secrete cortisol can sort of get stuck in the on position.
The most apparent side effect of cortisol is belly fat. So there you have it.  And the marketers cry, “Don’t worry about bringing some balance into your life, just scarf down a bunch of cortisol blocking drugs and full steam ahead.”
So those of you that know me, know I have issues with this approach.  Not only is the market being flooded with dozens of cheap rip-offs of good quality cortisol blockers, it’s being misrepresented as being the only solution to fatness. 
In fact, if you have prolonged stress, and therefore high cortisol levels,  you have more to worry about than just belly fat.  Prolonged high cortisol has been shown to impair cognitive function, suppress thyroid function, effect blood sugar, decrease bone density and muscle tissue, lower immunity and increase inflammatory response, and much more.  
This is a little personal for me because I have dealt with wacked out cortisol levels.  The upshot is that I’ve learned to tell the signs that I’ve released too much cortisol.  I get very sluggish and slow, my voice gets very hoarse, my arthritis flairs, and mostly I can’t remember words.  And yes, I cannot button the top button of my jeans for no overeating reason.  
But I don’t run out and take a cortisol blocker.  The real solution to this problem is shutting down and allowing your blood hormone levels to return to normal.  By the time you see outward signs, however, it usually means that you need to invest a few days of diligently unwinding.  Remember hobbies?   Engaging in a hobby is actually a very good way to unwind and turn on the relaxation response. 
For me, that means waking up in the morning for the few weeks and doing a relatively short and easy yoga routine called the Five Tibetan Rites (more on that later).  In addition, I try to take a few minute mental time out throughout the day just relaxing to allow my body to come back to normal.  That’s really all it takes.  My memory clears up and I get my vocabulary back, my voice sounds normal again, my thyroid function comes back, I stop hurting, and yes, my jeans button again.  
Now a smart person would commit to a relaxation routine on a regular basis.  But sometimes I’m just too busy to be smart.  I doubt that I am alone in that.  However, when I hear cortisol knocking, I run to that door pretty quickly, because I know the end of that story, and it isn’t pretty.
Now I have a friend who has been suffering with back pain for the last year and a half.  It’s no joke.  He’s had several procedures done, and he’s in a fair amount of pain every day.  He is also starting to see the effects of cortisol overproduction (naturally).  He has practiced yoga for years, but his level of pain prohibits him from his practice.  This guy needs the help of a cortisol blocker.  
For most of the rest of us, we just need to stop and take some time to allow the our relaxation response to balance things out.   You have the ruby slippers, Dorothy, you can get back to Kansas whenever you want.  You don’t need the Wizard’s help.  Just close your eyes, click your heels together and repeat …
For those of you who want to learn more about the effects of cortisol on the body, here is a short, concise article.  Read Here
I am preparing a post on why I use high intensity training as an exercise protocol, specifically to combat the cortisol flood gates.  I hope you will read it and give me your thoughts.

Eggs Vindicated

Don’t you hate it when microscope-managers try to convince you that important food that humans were pretty much raised on, is a killer?  And then, don’t you love it when they end up with egg on their faces?

Unfortunately, it will take a generation to undue the bad press eggs have gotten over the last twenty-five years.  So do your part to undue the damage and pass this on.

And by the way, this is just one of at least dozens of articles that has come out vindicating the noble egg over the last couple of years.  Feel free to do your own research.

Read Article

Effect of exercise intensity on abdominal visceral fat (AVF) and body composition

Interesting study from the University of Virginia that compares high intensity exercise to low intensity exercise to determine the effect on abdominal visceral fat (AVF).
“Results:  HIET (high intensity exercise training) significantly reduced total abdominal fat (p<0.001), abdominal subcutaneous fat (p=0.034) and AVF (p=0.010). There were no significant changes observed in any of these parameters within the Control or LIET (low intensity exercise training) conditions.”

“Conclusions:  The present data indicate that body composition changes are affected by intensity of exercise training with HIET more effective for reducing total abdominal fat, subcutaneous abdominal fat and AVF in obese women with the metabolic syndrome.”

Diet Tips

Diet Tip #1:
Don’t do it.  They don’t seem to work. You know it.  You’ve been on them a thousand times.  If they did work, you would  not be reading this post.  Dieting results only in frustrating you and making bigger than ever.  
Diet Tip #2:
Eat every meal as if it is not your last.  You will have lots of opportunity to eat many, many meals throughout your lifetime.  Some will be better than others.  But the truth is you don’t have to sit and consume them all at once.  It’s not a race, people!
Diet Tip #3:
Eat less.  If you are full, throw it away.  It really, really won’t help starving children in China or anywhere else.  Organic matter in garbage will, however, help to break down the garbage in landfills.  Some of it anyway.  So do your part and throw away your uneaten food.  In fact leave food on your plate so you can throw it away and save the planet.
Diet Tip #4:
Eat food.  The stuff you get in the meat, dairy and produce sections of the grocery store.  And there’s this thing called cooking that is really fantastic!  I’m not talking about popping something from a cardboard box into a stainless steel box and clicking the on button.  I’m talking about creating something delicious, the act of which can be relaxing and equally nourishing to your worn out mind.  It can be pretty easy, it takes way less time than you would think, and in the long run, can save you a bundle on drugs and doctor visits that are sometimes the result of eating a cup o’crap for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Diet Tip #5:
Don’t read any more articles about dieting.  Especially if, like so many people, you’re really only reading the headline or a soundbite and think you get the gist.  Diets are and should be pretty complicated since our stomachs are veritable chemistry labs.  You can’t pick that stuff up in a soundbite.
Diet Tip #6:
DO invest in an education about nutrition (and perhaps even chemistry).  Since you will, in fact, need to eat many, many meals throughout your lifetime, you may want to invest a little time and energy, perhaps the time and energy you would otherwise spend chastising yourself for eating that piece of cake, learning how to choose the right food for you.  
I would highly recommend the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.
Now go away, and don’t ask me about diet stuff again.  You know you won’t listen anyway.  I doubt you even made it to the bottom of this post.

Weight resistance training has benefits beyond just bulking up

Strength training does more than bulk up muscles

It may reduce depression, give older people better cognitive function, boost good cholesterol and more.

February 13, 2011|By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times
A growing body of research shows that working out with weights has health benefits beyond simply bulking up one’s muscles and strengthening bones. Studies are finding that more lean muscle mass may allow kidney dialysis patients to live longer, give older people better cognitive function, reduce depression, boost good cholesterol, lessen the swelling and discomfort of lymphedema after breast cancer and help lower the risk of diabetes. 
“Muscle is our largest metabolically active organ, and that’s the backdrop that people usually forget,” said Kent Adams, director of the exercise physiology lab at Cal State Monterey Bay. Strengthening the muscles “has a ripple effect throughout the body on things like metabolic syndrome and obesity.”

Women should weight train

Finally, twenty-five years of lifting weights, and my routine is FINALLY validated by Yahoo.  

More people will probably respond to this than to the thousands of things written over the years in the sports and scientific arenas about the superior benefits of weight resistance exercise.  Sad but true. 

Read it here:

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