January 2012

You all know that person.  The one who diets and loses weight, but inevitably puts it back on and then goes back on the diet plan to lose the weight.  They seemingly spend their entire lives up and down and up and down, and you wonder why.  Well here’s the thing.  What that person is doing is called Yo-Yo Dieting.  And whereas it may seem harmless, it’s not.  Every body has, in their basic DNA, a given “Set Pointe”.  This is the control mechanism that dictates that person’s body weight, shape and fat stores.  Everyone’s set pointe is different, thusly why we all look different.  Now, the set pointe IS adjustable.  However, the dieting has the opposite effect that we would like.  Here’s what happens.  Someone cuts lots of calories to lose weight.  But they also increase their activity level.  Thusly creating a caloric deficit (burning more than you eat).  This is good and promotes weight loss….to a point.  If that deficit becomes too large, the body sort of freaks out a little bit and releases LESS of a hormone known as Leptin.  Leptin is the fat controller.  More leptin means a satisfied feel and less fat storage.  Less means more.  So you see the rub, here.  What people perceive as good, actually turns bad, and your body ends up fighting itself and storing more fat than it burns.  Bad news.  The best way to lose weight and lower a Set Pointe is to go about it gradually.  About 1-2lbs per week.  That is a good rate.  “But Biggest Loser does more!!”  I know and it’s wrong in all facets and I’ve been over this.  95% of Loser contestants put weight back on and start the yo-yo cycle.  Anyway, in order to do this we are looking at a caloric deficit of about 500-1000 kcal per day.  You can learn to estimate your needs here.  More than that and the body starts its defense mechanisms and you are in trouble.  So eat well, balanced and be active!

Well, as usual, here we go.  The fitness industry is finally making mainstream recommendations, only a couple of years late.  As many of you know, the smartest people in the industry have been recommending what we call “functional movements” for a long, long time.  Functional movements are movements/exercises that do NOT isolate single muscle groups away from each other.  Rather, they include multiple joints, muscles and systems simultaneously.  These movements have much more applicable value to daily life and athletics than movements like bicep curls and leg extensions that isolate single muscle groups and have virtually no real world application.  Ask yourself this…”When was the last time that I did something around the house that required me to isolate a single muscle?”  Or in sports?  Or in life?  Your answer is probably never, because we never do that sort of thing.  Even the simplest movements require very complex interactions between many of the body’s systems.  Single joint exercises are for bodybuilders and rehabilitation of an injury.  That’s about it.  But mainstream media is just recognizing this in 2012 and acting like it’s a new discovery.  Always behind.  So, in your own routines, eliminate the single joint exercises.  Get more value out of your workout.  More presses, less curls.  More squats, lunges, etc.  Bear crawl, crab walk and inch worm your way to better health and a better body!

So, many of you have probably started to see commercials on TV talking about “Corn Sugar”.  More specifically what they are talking about is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).     The manufacturers of HFCS have petitioned the USDA to rename their product as “Corn Sugar”.  The premise being that HFCS has come under a lot of fire in the last few years as a contributing factor to obesity.  Their claim is that sugar is sugar and that your body cannot recognize the difference and processes them all the same.  If that were the case, then why the name change?  Why the secrecy?  Foods changing names is nothing new.  When was the last time you remember buying prunes?  They lost their negative stigma in 2000 when they officially became dried plums.  Or how many of you know that the Canola oil in your pantry comes from a little seed known as the rapeseed?  Not nearly as appetizing, right?  Anyway, here we go.  The sugar that we eat on a daily basis is known as sucrose.  Basic table sugar that is extracted from either sugar cane or sugar beets (yes, beets).  Anyway, the sugar in these things is a basic 50/50 mix of Glucose and Fructose.  HFCS, on the other hand, is manufactured to be about 20/80 respectively.  Now the problem is that the fructose is NOW absorbed much more quickly into the bloodstream.  Therefore, your body cannot utilize as much at any given time, and it doesn’t hurt that fructose is the sugar most easily converted into fat.  Now, don’t let that steer you away from fruit, which is our main source of fructose.  The fructose in fruit is bound by fiber and other stuff to slow the absorption.  So that stuff is OK.  But HFCS is not.  Plus, glucose can be processed by any cell in the body, whereas fructose must be processed in the liver.  In lab tests, animals that were fed high doses of fructose in their diets developed livers that looked like those of alcoholics with fatty, cirrhotic deposits.  Scary.  Now, the USDA may take up to 2 years to decide the naming fate of HFCS, but regardless of how it turns out, know this.  Your body does know the difference and  you can’t outsmart nature.  HFCS is NOT good for you, and that’s why many high profile companies have very publicly taken it out of their products in recent years.  Keep an eye and avoid wherever possible.

Many of my followers being trainers can attest to a lot, if not most of this.  Pretty funny, sent from a friend of mine.  To be fair, I will scour for Stuff MEN say to Trainers, too.

Many of you may be familiar with JA Konrath.  He is a respected and well sold author.  He sells mainly ebooks these days, as you can self-publish.  Anyway, Mr. Konrath is a client of a former student of mine and for whatever reason, had decided to embark on a 30-day beer and water diet.  The basic premise being both weight-loss and experiment to see how much weight he could lose on basically a liquid fast and what, if anything, it would do to the body.  You can follow his trek here.  Anyway, Mr. Konrath interviewed me as a field expert (I know, can you believe it?).  We sat down last week and discussed the possible things that could happen to his body and what a bad idea this was for him.  I told him of not only the tissue loss and dehydration issues (which would be the least of his concerns), but also of increased triglyceride levels, fatty deposits around the liver and higher acid contents in the blood.  Well, turns out, we have a winner.  One thing that beer/alcohol does to the body long term is increase uric acid levels.  You may be familiar because uric acid is what leads to attacks of gout (or THE gout, as we like to call it).  Unfortunately for Mr. Konrath, it is also associated with the development of kidney stones.  One of which he passed the other day.  If any of you have ever had kidney stones, you know that they are just about the most painful thing on Earth.  Imagine trying to piss out a rock.  That’s what you’re doing.  Luckily enough, his was small, but if it keeps up, they could get bigger.  Fasting is bad.  Should not be done.  Too much can go wrong if the body is not consistently fed, especially over long term periods of time.

First off, welcome back to The Truth About Exercise.  Happy New Year to everyone out there, and I’d like to apologize for my somewhat lengthy absence.  With the holidays finishing and us having a new class starting here at school, the past couple of weeks have just been a seriously dizzy tizzy.  Anyway, here’s to a busy and productive 2012.  Thanks so much to everyone who read in 2011.  I’m surprised that I’m still with this.  On that note, here we go in 2012.  Have you taken the opportunity, in the business, to update your fitness resolutions along with all of the other resolutions that you made?  I know that no one REALLY tries to keep their resolutions for an extended period of time, but try to do this one…make the committment to make ONE small change to your diet and/or activity routine.  Personally, I am trying to to be better about not talking myself out of workout when I’m tired.  Making the time and taking my own advice, I suppose.  Also, I’d like to make a small plug.  I will be interviewed for a documentary this afternoon (which I will try to get on here), by award-winning author JA Konrath.  He has decided to undertake a 30-day beer and water diet, and supposedly it’s my job to provide the voice of reason as to why he’s nuts.  You can follow his 30-day trek here.  Good luck to you all in 2012 and PLEASE keep reading.