Exercise and health in the elderly

Do we automatically have to get weak, frail, and prone to injury as we get older? Do we have to succumb to the diseases and vulnerability of old age? Is it inevitable?

That’s what conventional wisdom will have you believe. The entire system is built around this idea. It has to be, because that’s where the money is. Managing old age and degenerative diseases is a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s in their best interest to keep you dumb, weak, and sick.

It’s in your best interest to do something about it. And it’s never too late.

You are never too old to start making changes in your health. Despite how difficult it might be for you already, it’s worth the effort. Yes, even the elderly are capable of building muscle and getting stronger. I’ve taken the liberty of finding a few clinica trials for you to peruse:

Jumping combined exercise programs reduce fall risk and improve balance and life quality of elderly people who live in a long-term care facility.

Basically they had old people jump around, you know, exercise. They improved balance and quality of life. I take that to mean they got stronger and were more able to move around. No way! For realz?! Yup.

Bone Density, Structure and Strength and Their Determinants in Aging Sprint Athletes.

The study looked at the bone density of old sprinters versus that of old active people. The results of this study suggest that regular sprint training has positive effects on bone strength and structure in middle- and older-aged athletes. So it’s in your best interest to sprint every once in a while, while you still can! It makes your bones and your muscles stronger for life!

Protein Supplementation Increases Muscle Mass Gain During Prolonged Resistance-Type Exercise Training in Frail Elderly People: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.

I’m not as interested in this one for the protein supplementation, as I am about the fact that after they got old folks to exercise, they gained strength. No crap!

Just for good measure, heres a few more [1, 2, 3].

The last one, number 3, is pretty nice, cus it shows even if you’re and old person, you can exercise AND decrease cardiovascular risk factors! Now that’s always good.

Now, this stuff only shows that it’s possible to get stronger and healthier if you’re already an old person. Well, if that’s true, then it’s definitely possible to MAINTAIN health and strength throughout your entire life through old age, which as I see it, is a MUCH better way to go about it.

It’s so much easier to establish and continue a healthy lifestyle when you are young, and never, EVER, stop what you are doing. I think the cost/benefit ratio weighs out here, don’t you?

And the only diet I see as being healthy and sustainable throughout your entire life is an ancestral type diet of real whole foods: animals, eggs, veggies, fruit, nuts. A nutrient dense Paleo diet that prevents over eating and promotes healthy strong bodies free of disease.

On top of that, lift heavy once in a while, and sprint too.

It’s super easy if you try, then once the habit is established, you’re good for life. Congratulations! You’ve set yourself up for a lifetime of success!

Otherwise, get ready to welcome the wheelchair, prescriptions, and diabetes. That sounds like fun…

~ Dan

Time to jump off the conventional diet bandwagon. Then burn the wagon!

I talk to a lot of people about food and working out. It comes up all the time, no matter where you are.

And I’m not afraid to give people crap for feeding themselves poison.

I’m also not afraid to tell people what I think about conventional dieting or traditional “womens workouts” versus “mens workouts”. I don’t bullshit.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE food. I love eating (see? link, link). I love the food I cook. It’s delicious. It makes me feel really good. And I don’t have to eat all the time to enjoy myself. So I save money too!

Now to the meat of the issue (mmmm. meat!)

Conventional dieting doesn’t produce the right results. It doesn’t optimize health quite like a nutrient dense Paleo diet does. Conventional dieting also, for the most part especially where women are concerned (and I think they are the biggest victims of this) doesn’t advocate heavy weight lifting or the importance of lean muscle mass for long term health. Just. Look. Around.

To demonstrate what I mean I need pictures. So here’s some before/afters.

Well, they lost weight. That’s all well and good if your aim is to be nothing but skinny

For comparison, here’s a couple of examples of the proper way to do things. 

Ah, much better. Not only do these gals have great body composition and shape through attaining more muscle, but they set themselves up to maintan the good looks and optimal health for the long haul, as I’ve written about before, [here] and [here].

Note: I’m not advocating that a six pack for women is necessary. On the contrary, once women go below a certain BF% it can have deleterious health consequences, like no period or thyroid problems. 

It’s the overall picture we’re looking at, including the ability to lift heavy shit over your head! That’s phat! (and functional). Not just for the mechanical advantage it provides, but for the massive health advantage it provides.

In the first photo of the conventional calorie-cutters you’ll notice a few things right off the bat. There’s no definition. No real “figure”. Just kind of “stick figure”. Their skin kind of hangs there with no supporting background. No sense of that person being a strong, capable human being for a long long time. They have successfully attained a lower level of obesity.

If losing weight per se is your goal, you performed perfectly in this scenario. It’s a shame that this is the mainstream goal for women stuck following the conventional weight loss guidelines.

Why do women get treated so much differently in this regard? It puts them at such a disadvantage right from the get-go. The magazine bodies they oh-so hope to attain are unattainable via the conventional methods!

You see, we need to get away from the weight loss convention, and change the way we think. We need to think in terms of muscle first, in order to get rid of the excess fat, and keep it off.

Let’s do a Google image search for Weight Watchers results. Go ahead, click on it. Yes, there are a lot of good looking folks who made a lot of difference. But they just aren’t completely there yet. And chances are, since cutting calories per se, and starving yourself isn’t sustainable, ever, most of these folks will bounce back after they stop dieting. A compounding factor to that bounce-back is their lack of lean muscle, which, as I’ve written about before, [here] and [here] is vitally important to maintaining healthy weight, and providing the foundation for long term health and human ability.

How did the gals in the bottom photo do it?

A combination of eating only nutrient dense real food (i.e. Paleo diet) and lifting heavy weights (Crossfit for example). A quick Google image search reveals many many good looking people who crossfit. Everyone improves composition from the intense heavy lifting, but you see a combination effect as soon as Paleo diet is followed concurrently.

And a site I like to frequent, Mark’s Daily Apple. Here’s a plethora of success stories of Paleo dieters who lift heavy things. Even those people who chose not to lift heavy things have a better body composition than those conventional calorie-cutters above. Know why? 80% of body composition is determined by diet! Want more icing on the cake? Look how many of them are over the age of 50! Then look how many of them also cured their chronic health problems! I don’t know about you, but I fail to see an equivalent track record from Weight Watchers or anything similar.

A few seconds of looking at those photos, and you quickly realize that almost everyone else has been doing it all wrong.

For the love of Paleo! we gotta stop treating men’s and women’s health as different entities. We should all train equally hard and eat real nutrient dense food! It’s the only way.

If you care about your long term health, and want to optimize your life, don’t sell yourself short by looking for a quick-fix. Paleo is for life, because it’s sustainable for life. Same goes for lifting heavy weights. Muscle mass does not decline as a function of aging, it declines as a function of dis-use! THINK ABOUT IT!

~ Dan

Low reps and heavy weight is best

Some more great research I just came across. They are looking into two types of fatigue that occurr during training, peripheral and central fatigue.

Here’s how it was described at Conditioning Research

What I thought was neat about the study was the distinction between “peripheral” and “central” fatigue: the former is the reduced ability of your muscle itself to contract, and the latter is a reduction in the signal from your brain to your muscle demanding contraction. If you pick up a heavy (above critical torque) dumbbell and lift it until you can’t anymore, the limiting factor appears to be peripheral fatigue. Your muscles are simply no longer capable of contracting powerfully enough to lift the weight.In contrast, if you lift a lighter (below critical torque) dumbbell to failure, your muscles themselves fatigue to a much lesser extent, suggesting that fatigue somewhere in your brain or central nervous system is the problem.

AH HAH! As I’ve said before, and I will say again, lifting heavy weights at a handfull of reps, is the best and fastest way to make progress. It allows us to fatigue the muscle itself, “peripheral” fatigue, which triggers an adaptive change, forcing muscle growth.

If you don’t fatigue the muscle to the max in a short enough time, you aren’t actually hitting the “wall” of your strength. You aren’t actually hitting the physical limit of your muscle’s ability to lift that weight.

High reps causes the “central” fatigue, that of the CNS and the brain. Your muscles can’t lift the weight any more, not because you have hit the physical limit of the muscle’s strength, but because your brain is stopping it from contracting. This does not cause the same “stressor” or adaptation as “peripheral” fatigue, therefore, once you have healed and try the lift next week, your threshold to lift a heavier weight is diminished.

This has been my experience in real life too. Max muscle damage, by reaching actual limits of the muscle’s strength, causes larger adaptations.

The Wrong Way

Lot’s of folks still get it wrong. Which amazes me, because we have the interwebs, an immense, wonderful, easy-to-access plethora of information. It makes it amazingly easy to make sense of things.

Don’t worry, this entire post isn’t a rant, just the top half. At the end I’ll discuss “The Right Way”, and how to put it all together. Everything I’ve learned in a nice group of bullet points.

And it is easy. Just take a little time out of your busy day from watching television or stuffing your face, and read a few arguments, from both sides of the field, on whatever topic you think is controversial or just doesn’t make a whole lotta sense to you. Most people with a shred of common sense should have the ability to figure out the stronger argument, without getting caught up in the argumentum ad verecundiam.

I take it upon myself to be better than. I like to learn from my own mistakes, but I also learn a lot from everyone elses mistakes. To pay attention to certain things, tells you a lot about people.

Let me explain what I mean.

At my gym, Planet Fitness, (I know I know, why the hell do I go there? It’s cheap) there are lots of folks who, day after day, like (I use the word like lightly) to get up on the cardio torture devices and trudge away for hours, sweating and panting. Then after they go home and stuff themselves with carbs, or whatever. And they come back, dragging themselves into the gym, and do it all again. They’ve been told that they are doing it right, and despite the total lack of results (just look at most of ’em.) they keep telling themselves it’s right. But they’ll never touch a set of free-weights. And they’ll never change their crap diet. Why not? Are they scared that they’ll blow up and look like a body builder over night? Are they scared that they’ll look inexperienced? Look at the folks who are doing free weights, and clearly have been doing them for a while. There’s even some chicks doing heavy lifting in there, and they definitely have got it working for them, and they are not huge bulky body builders.

My biggest problem with those treadmill junkies is not that they’re out of shape or whatever. It’s that they haven’t asked themselves the difficult question: “WHY IS THIS NOT WORKING FOR ME?”

The answer, is simple: “YOU HAVE TO USE THE INTERWEBS!” See? Learning is fun!

Then hopefully you might come across this blog, or the blog of one my comrades. It might raise questions, and cause you to ask even more questions. And then, holy cow, we’re learning something new!

Then the other morning, driving to work, I see a woman power walking. She’s pregnant too, very pregnant. And in shape. I said to myself, “now there’s someone who’s getting it right.” Who clearly isn’t listening to conventional wisdom, sitting around, chugging gallons of chocolate and ice cream. But it made me think about the 20-something pregnant girl at my work. She is also very pregnant. She can barely walk, she actually waddles, can’t take the stairs, and complains about it, or actually celebrates it with her little group of girls, as if being fat and weak is a normal part of being pregnant? She even started waddling around after only a few months of pregnancy, which is even more odd. Is it all mental??

And she put on weight too, I mean extra. Used to be actually good-looking and in shape too. Always talking about how she’s “eating for two”. Yah, if you’re putting on lots of excess body fat, you’re eating too much. Period. And it’s all junk, chocolate candies, donuts, Fruity Pebbles!! WTF!!?? You aren’t eating for two full-grown adults! You should be eating for a fetus and one sedentary lazy weak girl who spends life at a desk! Do you honestly think “cravings” and actually being hungry are the same thing? Or is it just an excuse to poison yourself and your fetus, and get wicked out of shape? Good luck losing that “baby weight”, or I-binged-and-gorged-on-junk-food ‘cus I had “cravings” weight.

Perhaps you might want to think about how what you put into your body affects your body, and what is growing inside it?

Again, the answer to this conundrum is simple: “Use the interwebs” and ask the tough questions. Maybe you’ll come across Chris Kresser’s The Healthy Baby Code, and you (god forbid) might just learn something!

Science isn’t that scary, and it isn’t difficult to understand. We all had statistics in high school right? Its pretty easy to figure out if we’re looking at a study, whether or not the analysis makes sense. Even if stats isn’t your thing, from a common sense standpoint, the truth always floats to the surface, and some arguments just make more sense.

It’s also easy to figure out if what you are doing is actually working. How long have you been doing it? How do you feel? How do your clothes fit? Are you strong enough to lift your own body weight? Have you reached your goals or are you progressing consistently towards that goal? Has progress stalled or is it time to change something up? At a certain point, science isn’t all you need in order to successfully apply something to your life. Many times self experimentation and common sense, (with an idea of biology helps) will be your best friends.

The Right Way. Putting it all together.

Do you ask the tough questions? How has self-experimentation worked for you? Have you actually done everything you can? Discuss!

Missing Link(s)

Happy Friday all you paleoists! Here’s some fun links to help you enjoy your nice long weekend!

Power hash browns from Fast Paleo. Perfect for your Sunday post-sprint meal!

Coffee and happiness

Orangutans play with iPads 

Grains are a poor triathlon fuel

Delicious looking grilled salmon and asparagus frittata

The Poliquin Protein Primer (produced by Charles Poliquin) quotes Jack Weatherford’s book “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World”, saying “The Chinese noted with surprise and disgust the ability of the Mongol warriors to survive on little food and water for long periods….  The Mongols consumed a steady diet of meat, milk, yogurt, and other dairy products and they fought men who lived on gruel made from various grains. The grain diet of the peasant warriors stunted their bones, rotted their teeth, and left them weak and prone to disease.”

More about gut health and gut flora related to obesity

How I eat and move on a typical day

I received this special e-mail request from a reader.

They wanted to see my typical menu (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and if I ever fast, or when. Of course, I’m happy to oblige.

Keep in mind, this routine is what I’ve customized for my own goals, which is to lose a few body-fat percentage points, and put on some lean mass.

Every day I wake up and eat nothing until noon roughly. I typically make my way to work early in the morning, grabbing coffee on the way. I’ll have plenty of water too. Not sure why, but it helps me wake up when I have plenty of ice cold water.

Usually around noon I start to get a bit hungry.

Most often if the weather allows, I’ll use my lunch hour to take a leisurely stroll around my beautiful downtown area, and more than likely grab another coffee (I really like coffee). My walk also allows me to get some much needed sunshine.

After my walk I make sure I have enough time to heat up my first meal, which I usually prepared the night before. (Leftovers are my best friend).

Today I ate 2 half racks (not entirely half racks, they weren’t that big really) of grass-fed spare ribs that I cooked up last night. They were dry rubbed with cajun seasoning, wrapped in foil, and cooked in the oven for 2 hours roughly. I paired this with some microwaved summer squash and butter, and finished with some grass-fed full-fat yogurt. Oh yah, and a baby spinach salad with dried cranberries and walnuts, too. I also had a small piece of 85% dark chocolate today.

Fish is always an option if I cooked it for dinner the previous night. I’m also partial to sardines and other canned fishes.

So far today (as of 4pm) I haven’t eaten anything else.

If this were a rest day, I would fast until dinner, which is uaually around 7pm.

But since I’m working out today, I’m actually going to go eat something in a few minutes. I have a grass-fed burger patty waiting for me, and another cup of grass-fed yogurt. That should do just fine.

I’m going to hit the gym at about 6pm

I will lift heavy and hard for about 30 – 45 minutes. I’m lifting to failure, and I’m doing a lower rep routine right now for fat loss and muscle gains. Check out the “tools” section of the site (under “references”) for the workout-logs I’m using.

After the gym I have a protein shake. Once I get home, I have 2 veal rib chops I want to grill up. They have been marinating in olive oil and spices for 2 days. I’ll probably also bake up some spicy spiced french fries in olive oil. Those are one of my favorite post-workout dinner side dishes. I’ll make some steamed broccoli too. Boy this is making me hungry!

I always make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night. It’s the best way to manage stress and let your body heal itself after a brutal lifting session.

On rest weekdays, I usually only eat twice.

Since I don’t go to the gym on these days, I don’t get as hungry. So I eat my first meal at noon or 1pm, then again around 7pm. These are good size meals that keep me from getting hungry most of the day.

Last week I had a bunch of grass-fed liver cooked up. I’ll tell you what, that is one of the most sating meals you will ever eat. I was not hungry and didn’t even think about food all day, and almost forgot to eat dinner! That’s after eating 6 ounces of liver roughly.

On weekends I usually sleep in

I’ll wake up around 1 or 2, and eat a bunch of pastured eggs and bacon, and sometimes include macadamia nuts. If I have oranges or apples, I’ll have one of those, too. We get this really awesome thick cut local patured bacon. It’s literally at least 1/4″ thick, and cooks up real nice! Later in the day I’ll have whatever leftovers are kicking around, and make sure I get plenty of veggies.

Most Sundays I wake up, drink some water and coffee, then go to the gym and do some high intensity interval training. This really gets you worn out. So I come home and nap. Once I wake up I eat. Usually leftovers, or eggs and bacon if nothing else is around. I’ll usually include a protien shake with some berries blended in. It’s super tasty!

I don’t supplement for vitamins. The only thing I regularly use for that purpose is Green Pasture butter oil capsules, and that’s only because i don’t always have liver cooked up. The best part about eating Paleo is you should never need to supplement for health reasons. As long as you are eating lots of healthy animals, and veggies too, you should be getting all the nutrients you need.

So there you go, my typical daily diet and fasting routine.

Right now my schedule has me lifting weights every monday-wednesday-friday, and doing HIIT on Sundays. All other days are rest days. I make sure to walk and stay active on all days, because being sedentary is just bad news. I keep myself busy with projects, like woking on my car, playing in a band, or just enjoying the outdoors.

As you can see, my fasts usually last from dinner (8pm) to my first meal (noon). That’s at least a 16 hour fast every day. Keeping a range between 14 and 16 hours is good. IF has a lot of health benefits, so it’s good to do it every once in a while.

Fasting is not for everyone. If you are really overweight or you have metabolic issues, it may be best to just keep the carbs low for a while, and wait until your body resets itself. For healthy individuals, fasting is a very powerful tool for losing stubborn fat, increasing health and longevity, and basically feeling great!

Keep it caveman!

~Dan

Missing Link(s)

Government tries to shut down paleo diet blogger

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”

The Declaration of Independence

This I have to blog about.

CHARLOTTE — The North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition is threatening to send a blogger to jail for recounting publicly his battle against diabetes and encouraging others to follow his lifestyle. 

Chapter 90, Article 25 of the North Carolina General Statutes makes it a misdemeanor to “practice dietetics or nutrition” without a license. According to the law, “practicing” nutrition includes “assessing the nutritional needs of individuals and groups” and “providing nutrition counseling.”

Steve Cooksey has learned that the definition, at least in the eyes of the state board, is expansive.

When he was hospitalized with diabetes in February 2009, he decided to avoid the fate of his grandmother, who eventually died of the disease. He embraced the low-carb, high-protein Paleo diet, also known as the “caveman” or “hunter-gatherer” diet. The diet, he said, made him drug- and insulin-free within 30 days. By May of that year, he had lost 45 pounds and decided to start a blog about his success.”

College vegetarian goes Primal, gets healthier

Is fortification of food dangerous?

Sweet potato: marathon fuel secret weapon.

5 Movements essential for long term health

The relationship between exercise and food intake

Decode lottery tickets (may not make you rich, but it’s fun)

Burger King goes cage free. Step in the right direction, or gimmick?

So BK has vowed to now only use cage free eggs and pork.

I think “cage-free” is now going to explode into the next big buzz-word. Much like “Certified Organic”, “All Natural”, “RBST free”, “No Antibiotics”, and the list goes on.

Originally these words meant something. They served a purpose, to inform the consumer that this product was better in some way, but as all things go, the politics win out in the end. For example, in order for a product to obtain an “all natural” certification, it must only contain carbon. Lots of things contain carbon, but that does not make them healthy or beneficial ,does it?

Cage Free doesn’t really mean much in terms of food quality or living conditions for the animal. Cage free literally just means that it wasn’t confined to a small cage. It has no bearing on the animal’s diet, treatment, health, or wellbeing in any other aspect.

You can bet the pork and chicken will still be grain fed, which means the meat and eggs will be sub-par, poor products as they have always been. The animals will still be sick and unhappy. Because as we all know, to have a happy healthy animal you need to feed it what it would normally eat in the wild.

For chickens, that means not grains, but allowing them to forage for grubs, bugs, worms, snails, small rodents, and even each other. Pigs also do better on a free range fed diet, not grains. The meat will have a better nutition profile on a non-grain diet.

Anyway you look at it, this is pretty much just a PR stunt. As always, BK is looking to improve its image and bottom line. Hoping to gain better ground with public opinion. Watch for the other fast food peddlers to follow suit.

The food is still shit.

Is high-rep weight training a waste of time?

Nice study just came across. Looks like gains in strength and size can be similar, whether you lift light weights to failure, or heavy weights to failure.

Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young men

“We have reported that the acute post-exercise increases in muscle protein synthesis rates, with differing nutritional support, are predictive of longer-term training-induced muscle hypertrophy. Here, we aimed to test whether the same was true with acute exercise-mediated changes in muscle protein synthesis. Eighteen men (21±1 yr, 22.6±2.1 kg∙m-2 means±SE) had their legs randomly assigned to two of three training conditions that differed in contraction intensity (% of maximal strength [1RM]) or contraction volume (1 or 3 sets of repetitions): 30%-3, 80%-1 and, 80%-3. Subjects trained each leg with their assigned regime for a period of 10wk, 3 times/wk. We made pre- and post-training measures of strength, muscle volume by magnetic resonance (MR) scans, as well as pre- and post-training biopsies of the vastus lateralis, and a single post-exercise (1h) biopsy following the first bout of exercise, to measure signalling proteins. Training-induced increases in MR-measured muscle volume were significant (P<0.01), with no difference between groups: 30%-3 = 6.8±1.8%, 80%-1 = 3.2±0.8%, and 80%-3= 7.2±1.9%, P=0.18. Isotonic maximal strength gains were not different between 80%-1 and 80%-3, but were greater than 30% -3 (P=0.04), whereas training-induced isometric strength gains were significant but not different between conditions (P =0.92). Biopsies taken 1h following the initial resistance exercise bout showed increased phosphorylation (P<0.05) of p70S6K only in the 80%-1 and 80%-3 conditions. There was no correlation between phosphorylation of any signalling protein and hypertrophy. In accordance with our previous acute measurements of muscle protein synthetic rates a lower load lifted to failure resulted in similar hypertrophy as a heavy load lifted to failure.”

Seems to me if this is true, there would be no reason to lift light little weights for high reps. It just takes too long! (unless you like sitting there, wasting your time…)

Since the point-of-failure (where you can’t possibly physically do one more rep) is where muscular growth is initiated, the best choice of action is to hit that failure point as quickly as possible, and just get it over with! Lift heavy. Lift for a handfull of reps. Make sure you hit failure!

I find it interesting when I see folks (mostly women) in the gym lifting puny little 5 pound weights, bicep curls or whatever. They sit there for minutes, repping these weights out, and not even going to failure, but just stopping short of tiredness (or boredom!).

They are wasting so much time.

They are not hitting failure, therefore progress is slowed.

They are more or less doing “cardio”, further hindering progress through hightened cortisol and overuse of the aerobic pathway. [Read my post on the usefulness of cardio]

We need to stop looking at fitness from a man’s way vs. a woman’s way, and start looking at it from a practical standpoint. Men and women should not train that much differently. We all have the same goals, to lose fat, get shaped, and look good naked.

The fastest way to do that is to give up your stigma against heavy weight training, and just go for it. It’s the fastest way (with the proper diet, of course) to burn fat and shape your body the way you want. Muscle is the most metabolically expensive thing in your body, and is responsible for burning the most fat. It also provides a metabolic reserve, which keeps you resistant to disease and illness long into old age, and it keeps you from “bouncing back” to your previous body weight (see metabolic reserve). Plus it just looks good! Because let’s face it, Which would you rather have?

This?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or THIS?

 

 

Fix your shin splints

Most of this has to do with running, but it’ll help with your walking shin splints also.

 
I think the first thing you’d want to try, and the easiest, is to go with minimal shoes, like I wear, so they don’t interfere with natural movement.
 
1. Learn to not be a heel striker when running. land midfoot to forefoot.
 
2. Therefore, wearing minimalist shoes or barefoot is best, as “running shoes” and anything with a heel or too much cushion enables an artificially wider gait, enabling you to heel strike = BAD.
 
Minimalist shoes makes natural movement possible and strengthens your arch, and the other foot muscles. (Think about it. An arch support is like a cast. What happens to your arm muscle after it’s been in a cast for a whole month? It atrophies. When your arch isn’t asked to do it’s job by supporting your body, it will atrophy. What a great gig DR Scholls has set up, he sells products that perpetuate the symptoms they claim to fix!)
 
3. Don’t over-stride. Land with your feet closer to underneath your hips, not with your feet landing ahead of your hips.
 
4. Don’t push off with the toes. Learn to move at the hips.
 
Look into pose running technique. (far right image)
HMGS: Strike a Pose
 
 
 

Guest post: The importance of pull-ups.

DSC 0424This is a guest post from Al Kavadlo of AlKavadlo.com.

If you’re like me, part of the appeal of Primal living is the simplicity of it all. Modern society has a funny way of making things more complicated than they need to be. In studying the intricacies of healthy eating and proper exercise, we often get lost in the details and miss the big picture. You don’t need to know about antioxidants in order to know that blueberries are good for you. Likewise, you don’t need a degree in anatomy or kinesiology in order to implement a safe and effective fitness program. Unfortunately, much of the fitness industry is designed to make you feel like being healthy is a complicated and difficult objective. Modern gyms are equipped with lots of expensive, high-tech machinery in order to give the illusion that complicated exercise contraptions are more effective than timeless bodyweight movements requiring only minimal equipment. The irony is that many of these facilities, in spite of having three different types of elliptical trainers, dozens of different selectorized strength training stations and (my favorite in terms of the dollars-to-dumbness ratio) the vibrating power plate, lack the one piece of fitness equipment that I actually deem essential: the humble pull-up bar.

 

Pull-ups work your entire upper body, especially the muscles of your back, as well as your abs and your biceps. Thanks to pull-ups, I haven’t felt the need for crunches or bicep curls in years and I don’t expect to ever again. In spite of this, my abs and biceps are strong and well developed. Pull-up bar training is essential for the simple reason that gravity only works in one direction. If all you do for your upper body is push-ups and other floor work, you may develop a muscular imbalance, which can lead to poor posture, shoulder pain or worse. You need to pull against resistance as well to avoid these pitfalls.

Whether or not you are strong enough to do a pull-up, a pull-up bar is still the best piece of fitness equipment you could ever own. If you aren’t ready for pull-ups yet, there are three primary exercises that you can do on an overhead bar to help you get there: flex hangs, negative pull-ups and dead hangs.

Flex Hangs

DSC 0626

A flex hang involves holding yourself at the top of a pull-up with your chin over the bar. It is best to start by using an underhand (chin-up) grip. Use a bench or a partner to help you get in position and then simply try to stay up. Think about squeezing every muscle in your entire body. If you can hold this position for even a second on your initial attempt, you are off to a good start.

Negative Pull-ups

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Once you can hold the flex hang for several seconds, you’re ready to start working on negative pull-ups, which just means lowering yourself down slowly from the top position. In the beginning, it might be very difficult to perform a controlled negative, but with time you will be able to make your negative last for ten seconds or longer. Once you can do this, a full pull-up will be within reach.

Dead Hangs

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If you are not strong enough to do a flex hang or a negative yet, your first objective is simply to get a feel for hanging from the bar. This will build grip strength and work your muscles isometrically. With some practice, you should be able to work to a flex hang fairly quickly. Even once you can perform flex hangs and controlled negatives, it is still helpful to practice dead hangs at the end of your training session when your arms have gotten too fatigued to do more negatives. When performing a dead hang, think about keeping your chest up and pulling your shoulder blades down in order to fully engage your back muscles.

Australian Pull-ups

The Australian pull-up (also known as a horizontal pull-up or bodyweight row) is another great exercise for anyone who is working their way up to a standard pull-up. The Australian involves getting “down under” a bar that is a little above waist height, with your feet resting on the ground. Keep a straight line from your heels to the back of your head as you squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your chest to the bar. Novices may choose to bend their knees and push gently with their heels in order to give their arms assistance if needed. When you get a little more comfortable with this exercise you can angle your heels to the floor with your feet pointed up and your legs straight. Just like the dead hang, be sure that you are not shrugging your shoulders up when performing Australians. You want to pull your shoulder blades down and back – never up. This is the case for all pull-ups. Start getting in the habit of doing this right away – it’s the most common error I see people make when performing these moves.

Pull-ups and Beyond

When you’re ready to go for the full Monty, it’s generally best to start with an underhand (chin-up) grip. Chin-ups put more emphasis on your biceps, while an overhand grip will recruit your back musculature to a greater degree. Though the muscles of your back can potentially become bigger, stronger muscles than the biceps, deconditioned individuals are more likely to have some bicep strength from everyday activities, while their back muscles will be nowhere near their full potential. With practice and patience, the disparity in difficulty between different hand positions should begin to even out. It can also be worthwhile to practice a neutral grip pull-up, which involves gripping two parallel bars with your palms facing each other. This can be a nice intermediate step between the underhand and overhand grips. The neutral grip may also be less stressful on the shoulder joints of people who’ve had injuries to that area.

 

Once you get the hang of full overhand pull-ups, there are still many challenges ahead, including the muscle-up, which involves pulling (and then pushing) your entire upper body up and over the bar, as well as the elusive one arm pull-up. In fact, there is much more that can be done a pull-up bar than just pull-ups. The bar can be used for dips, hanging leg raises and countless other variations on these moves.

For more information, pick up a copy of my new book, Raising The Bar: The Definitive Guide to Pull-up Bar Training.

My Progress

Where is my progress?

I haven’t posted about it in a while. It’s because I’m trying something different.

I’ve got my body fat down to lower levels, the point where additional fat loss is very difficult and slow. I’m beginning to take a minimalist approach to my lifting and training regimen, which will inevitably slow my muscle growth a bit, so it’s not as impressive for me to post my workout logs at this point.

The reason for my minimalist approach is mainly just for those final percentages of body fat to come off. It will take maybe a couple months if I stick to it properly. But ultimately working out only 3 days a week, for less time than usual, and doing less volume with heavier weights. This is to keep stress, and cortisol levels down. It also makes it easier to eat less. Lower stress, slightly less activity, slightly less hunger.

Hopefully this will supplement my intermittent fasting and fasted training regimen, and I’ll see that six pack slowly develop and become more defined without losing any muscle mass.

I’m also doing some carb-refeeds at precise times in order to control leptin. This is another trick for us low body fat-ers. Since lower fat mass means leptin is low, and hunger is then higher, the only unique way to deter this and speed fat loss is to have intermittent re-feeds that make it seem to your body that you are “overeating”. This brings up leptin for a time, suppressing hunger and speeding fat loss temporarily. Carbs have a unique way of stimulating leptin.

Anyway, we’ll see how this goes. More updates in the coming weeks….

What it takes: Survival of the fittest.

Written by Paleo blogger, Jamie Scott. Here is an excerpt.

From the Christshurch experience (and seen similarly in subsequent events such as the Japanese tsunami and UK riots,) many  people required the stamina to walk 3–4 hours, often over hills and dodging rock falls, to get home. If they were required to run, they were required to run fast, as was seen in 9/11 as people ran from the World Trade Centre. If you need to get out of a building under threat of collapse or need to escape an angry mob, you are not going to jog your way out of the situation. You require strength that is functional – not the ability to simply lift a nicely balanced bar that is set at just the right height – but often awkward objects with little grip.

You might require the ability to pull yourself up over a high fence and scale the side of a building to escape an impending wall of water, as was witnessed by a film crew escaping the Japanese tsunami. You may be required to belay large people down the side of a building as was seen in Christchurch. You might need to push a car, barge a door in or drag a body. You will require enough hip mobility to get into a low squat position, to move in that position, to crawl through small and narrow spaces that have been formed, either for you to get into or out of a building.

You may also require the ability to exert yourself for many hours without the opportunity to stop and refuel. My following of a high-fat, hunter-gatherer-type diet has given me that capacity. My energy levels do not rise and fall with a wildly fluctuating blood sugar level, nor do I have to stuff my pockets with energy bars to get me through. During the Christchurch earthquake, whilst everyone was stocking up on bread, cereal, and milk, my survival kit contained eggs, bananas, coconut cream, and dark chocolate. how long one might have to

With no idea how long one might have to stand in the face of disaster, you may also require a degree of mental stamina – a mentality that allows you to manage your thoughts, and asserts that you can rather than you can’t. Knowing you have the skills and capacity in your body allows you to have a similar capacity in your mind. At the point at which I decided to dig through large amounts of silt with a plank of wood to rescue my car and get out before the road collapsed, there was no requirement for me to question whether my body could dig for three hours. I didn’t need to convince my mind. I knew I had the physical capacity and the mind followed.

As you prepare for disaster, you wouldn’t prepare an emergency kit with supplies that were old, broken and not up to the task that you would expect them to be able to perform. So why would one expect a slow, tired and weak body to get them through when put to the test? Strength and conditioning will take you so far, but without skills you really only have capacity and health without useful ability.

In Interesting Times, the most important thing in your emergency response kit is you – your physical capacity and your ability to turn that capacity to the useful skills those times will inevitably require.

Read the whole article by downloading the magazine [here] Article is on pages 44 – 47

Guest post: The importance of stress management for perfect health

In my 9 Steps to Perfect Health series, I argued that stress management may be the most important of all of the steps.

Why? Because no matter what diet you follow, how much you exercise and what supplements you take, if you’re not managing your stress you will still be at risk for modern degenerative conditions like heart disease, diabetes, hypothyroidism and autoimmunity.

Read the rest [here]

Missing Link(s)

Paleo uses for a neolithic appliance (I only suggest making the hash browns)

Best time to nap for cognitive benefits

Hunter-Gatherer Wiki

The diet and lifestyle of the Vanuatu people. “They have no concept of carbs, proteins, and fats – they just eat food”.

Why hunting and gathering makes us smarter and thinner.

Hunter gatherer brains make men and women see things differently

How to smash a coconut

Smashing a coconut takes a lot of mental and physical preparation. The proper tools are crucial. And deciding how to hold it still can be difficult. But with the right mindset and know-how, enjoying your coconut can be an exciting food experience.

  1. Once you have located your coconut, take it home and locate your tools. You should have a chisel and a hammer handy, as well as a large bowl or a brave friend to help hold the sucker still. If you decided to use a machete, all bets are off. I take no responsibility for the missing limbs or any other outcome.
  2. Place your coconut in front of you. We will have to prepare the coconut for the initial attack. You will have to assert your alpha-dominance by staring the coconut down prior to smashing. You need to let it know you mean business. This will cause the coconut to submit and lie dormant, allowing you to sneak up on it with your chisel.
  3. Quickly take the chisel and hammer and drive a hole into the top, before the coconut has time to react. ejoy the coconut water as is, or pour into a glass and chill for later. Yum!

Next we want to get to the meat of the coconut, because that is the best part. Now that you have incapacitated the coconut and enjoyed it’s juice, you will have an easier tme handling the coconut for smashing, which can be a difficult and dangerous task.

  1. Bring your coconut outside to a suitable location. The concrete steps work wonderfully, but a large rock will do.
  2. The proper stance is crucial. Stand with feet wider than shoulder width. You need to bend at the knees slightly, and straddle your coconut-smashing object.
  3. Bring the coconut overhead with both hands. Prepare yourself. Quckly bring the coconut down on the sharp edge of the steps or rock, being careful not to completely release the coconut so as to not lose any pieces, but also so as to not smash any fingers.
  • If you are at a Crossfit box doing your WOD, a handy barbell or kettlebell should work as well. Do your overhead press or other olympic lift with coconut on the ground in front of you. Bring the barbel down squarely on top of the coconut, and enjoy!
  • Once your coconut has been successfully smashed, you can scrape out the insides with a tool of your chosing, or just use your teeth. Yum! Have fun and enjoy your coconut.
  • If broken properly so that you have a coconut-bowl, you can leave the water inside and add rum. This makes a great treat to sip in the sun. It’s like a mini vacation! All right!

 

Let me know about your coconut experiences. Post your results to comments!

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

Why grass fed? Because it really does matter what your food eats!

Something I have been meaning to get to recently, but just haven’t had in the forefront of my mind until now. Since we are trying to attain optimal health and “look-good-naked” status, [wink] it makes sense to consider not only what you are eating, but where it came from and how it was grown or raised.

Not only is factory farming cruel and dirty, but it raises sick animals by feeding them cheap grains and feed, and it commoditizes our food making it lower quality, sacrificing our health for their bottom line ($$$).

Only healthy happy animals make happy healthy Paleo food for us!

Yes it does matter. Just as you would (or should) choose organic pesticide free fruits and vegetables, locally and sustainably grown, you should also ask “where did this animal come from? How was it raised?  What did my food eat before I ate it?

Residues that accumulate as a result of the factory farming system (pesticides, antibiotics) are fat-soluble, and stored in the animal’s fatty tissues. Consuming the fat from these animals causes us to accumulate these toxins as well. These toxins are also dose-dependent, meaning the more you consume, the more your health is at risk.

Bacon, for example, is one of the fattiest cuts. Bacon from the factory farming system contains some of the highest doses of these toxins. In addition, pigs are arguably the most abused, poorly fed, sick animals in the factory farming system. Therefore, to enjoy bacon and maintain your long-term health in the Paleo context, it should always come from local farms that allow their pigs free range pasture, with a diet free from grains or other commodity feeds.

The fatty acid ratio in factory farmed animals is also pretty bad. There is a total lack of omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed to balance out the omega-6 content. The omega-6 content also sky-rockets from grain-feeding, making the nutrient profile even uglier.

Grain fed animals also suffer many of the same health problems as people who follow the Standard American Diet. Being fed a steady diet of mostly grains results in systemic inflammation, intramuscular fat accumulation, poor nutrient profile, and sick animals who are shipped off to slaughter just before becoming ill or dead from it.

What should my food eat?

Your food should eat what would normally be available to it in the wild. For cows, that’s wild grasses. But, to say grass-fed cows eat grass isn’t telling the entire story. It’s more accurate to say they eat graminoids, which comprise hundreds of different species of sedges (found in wild marshes and grasslands; a famous sedge includes papyrus), rushes (a small but plucky family of herbaceous and rhizomatous plants), and true grasses (cereals, lawn grass, bamboo, grassland grass – the type of grass that produces the leaves Walt Whitman writes about). And that’s just the graminoid. Cows will also nibble on shrubs, clovers, and random leaves if they can get to them. Basically, they’ll eat whatever’s in reach, green, and leafy. Legally, grass-fed cows may also eat cereal grain crops in the “pre-grain stage,” hay, silage, and non-grain crop byproducts

You need to be careful, though, because sometimes beef may say “pastured” on the label, even though many pastures contain supplemented feed bins with grains. The same goes for chickens. Chickens and eggs will often be labeled as “free range” or “vegetarian fed” or some such nonsense. Chickens are not vegetarians, and should eat grubs and bugs to make the healthiest tastiest eggs and chicken wings for us Paleoists!

Grass fed beef is higher in necessary B-vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin K, and trace minerals like magnesium, calcium, and selenium. Studies show that grass feeding results in higher levels of CLA, a healthy naturally occurring trans fat. Grass fed dairy also has more of the beneficial trans fats. Grass fed beef has plenty of healthy fats, distributed more evenly throughout the animal’s subcutaneous tissue, where it belongs (Fat accumulation in muscle tissue is not a sign of a healthy animal).

Grass-fed truly shines in the micronutrient profile for one reason. Grass-fed cows get more nutritious food. Remember: they aren’t munching on monoculture lawn cuttings (let alone soy and corn). They’re eating a wide variety of (often wild) grasses, sedges, rushes, shrubs, and herbs, each with its own nutrient profile.

Plus, it just tastes better!

The clearly superior version of beef, chicken, eggs, or pork comes from grass-fed and finished, or pastured and free-range-fed. Animals that are raised by ranchers committed to providing excellent stewardship of both soil quality (for our food’s food quality), and animal quality. Plus it’s the more responsible thing to do. I know I feel better eating animals that were treated with care, and were happy and healthy up until slaughter, and the point where it became food to sustain me as a healthy animal.

YUM I am hungry.

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

Thoughts on high intensity interval training (HIIT)

[Shared from Matt Metzgar’s blog]

Following up on the last post, I think there are many ways to get the benefits of sprinting.  I thought it was interesting that in the video associated with the last post, Mercola stated that he only did Sprint 8 once per week instead of the recommended 3 times per week.

Along those same lines, Clarence Bass recently wrote about interval training.  He writes:

“My concern, however, is that three hard interval sessions a week is too much for most people to sustain; they’ll do it—even enjoy it—under supervision (as in the Little study), but they’re not likely to keep doing it on their own. Hard training every workout is asking for trouble; it is neither fun nor productive. My own experience is that one or at most two hard interval workouts a week is all I can tolerate effectively, especially in the context of a balanced program of strength and aerobic training.”

Clarence has been doing intervals for decades, and I put a lot of stock into what he has to say.

My own experience mirrors this point of view.  When I’ve tried to do the full Sprint 8 programs 3 times per week, I can do it for a month or so, but then I burn out.  Conversely, I can do hard intervals once a week and continue month after month.

So we know sprinting once a week is sustainable, but what are the other options?  Chris over at Conditioning Research (who by the way just released a new book titled Hillfit) pointed to a study the other month about a minimalist sprinting routine.

Here is an interesting part of the study:

“Several recent studies have suggested that high-intensity interval training (HIT), a training model involving a series of 30-second ‘all-out’ cycling sprints (i.e. Wingate sprints) with 4 minutes of rest/recovery between each bout, may provide a time-efficient strategy for inducing adaptations that are similar to traditional cardiorespiratory training (Gibala et al. 2006; Burgomaster et al. 2005; Burgomaster et al. 2008; Rakobowchuk et al. 2008; Burgomaster et al. 2007; Trilk et al. 2010).

Furthermore, we have recently demonstrated the beneficial effects of HIT on insulin sensitivity (Babraj et al. 2009), a finding that has since been confirmed by others (Little et al. 2011; Richards et al. 2010; Whyte et al. 2010). However, whilst these observations are interesting from a human physiological perspective, their translation into physical activity recommendations for the general population is uncertain for two reasons. Firstly, the relatively high exertion associated with ‘classic’ HIT sessions requires strong motivation and may be perceived as too strenuous for many sedentary individuals (Hawley and Gibala 2009). Secondly, although a typical HIT session requires only 2-3 minutes of actual sprint exercise, when considered as a feasible exercise session including a warm-up, recovery intervals and cool-down, the total time commitment is more than 20 minutes, reducing the time efficiency(Garber et al. 2011). Thus, there is scope for further research to determine whether the current HIT protocol can be modified to reduce levels of exertion and time-commitment whilemaintaining the associated health benefits.”

In short, they suggest that the benefits of sprinting could be obtained with a reduced workload.

Here is their formulation:

It has consistently been shown that a single 30-second Wingate sprint can reduce muscle glycogen stores in the vastus lateralis by 20-30% (Esbjornsson-Liljedahl et al. 1999; Parolin et al. 1999; Esbjornsson-Liljedahl et al. 2002; Gibala et al. 2009). What is intriguing, however, is that glycogenolysis is only activated during the first 15 seconds of the sprint and is then strongly attenuated during the final 15 seconds (Parolin et al. 1999). Moreover, activation of glycogenolysis is inhibited in subsequent repeated sprints (Parolin et al. 1999). This suggests that the traditional HIT protocol (4-6×30 seconds) may be unnecessarily strenuous as similar glycogen depletion may be achieved using 1-2 sprints of shorter duration (15-20 seconds). In turn, this would make the training sessions more time-efficient, less strenuous and more applicable to the largely sedentary general population.”

Thus, they are saying that traditional sprinting programs may be overkill in a way, and that you could deplete glycogen just as well by doing 1-2 sprints of 15 to 20 seconds.

This I think leads to a real insight: if you cut the number and duration of sprints (but keep the intensity), then I could see how you could be able to do this workout more frequently.  So while 3 days per week of 6 to 8 30-second sprints may be too much for many people, 3 days per week of 1 to 2 15-second sprints may produce similar benefits and be more appealing to people.

Stretching is for dummies

Stretching won’t prevent injury or sore muscles before or after exercise. Stretching won’t even help you “warm up”. So what is stretching good for?

People like to stretch. It feels good. It makes you feel like you are doing something good for your body. If you look around the gym and pay attention – where most people have no idea what the heck they are doing – you see people stretch as if it’s expected of them. It has been programmed into us from a young age throughout school gymnasiums.

Everyone assumes that stretching is the right thing to do. But how useful is it really? Well, it just so turns out….

 

Stretching won’t prevent muscle soreness:

Researchers looked at 10 relevant randomised trials looking at the effect of stretching before or after physical activity on muscle soreness. The studies produced very consistent findings – there was minimal or no effect on the muscle soreness experienced between half a day and three days after the physical activity.

The best available evidence indicates stretching does not reduce muscle soreness. However there are other justifications for stretching,” they wrote. “Some evidence suggests that once muscle soreness has developed stretching may provide a transient relief of soreness: some people stretch to reduce risk of injury, others stretch to enhance athletic or sporting performance, and yet others stretch because it gives them a sense of well-being. The current review does not provide any evidence of an effect or otherwise of stretching on risk of injury, performance, or well-being.

Authors’ conclusions:
The evidence derived from mainly laboratory-based studies of stretching indicate that muscle stretching does not reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness in young healthy adults.

[Here’s more about stretching and reducing muscle soreness]

[Even more: Link, ]

Stretching won’t prevent injury. Stretching actually promotes injury:

Most of the studies that show increased flexibility and range of motion with stretching fail to address one thing: The problem with stretching is that muscles become too loose, and weaker, allowing the associated joint to move in a wider range of motion.

That’s extremely bad, since heavy lifting usually employs your full range of motion, you need your muscles to be able to stabilize the joint in place, not give it more range. I can see now how easy it would be for many lifters who stretch to get rotator cuff damage from heavy bench presses. Increased range of motion puts more stress on the joint, increasing the risk of injury.

Damaging the muscle through stretching can also have an adverse affect on an athlete’s gait. The loss of smooth efficient movement puts stress on virtually all structures – ligaments, tendons, joints and bones. They body tries to compensate for this irregular movement, and in doing so uses up more energy, reducing ones performance.

A recent study showed how stretching can result in poor running economy. increasing energy consumption during an endurance event, and decreasing performance.

Stretching will reduce muscular power:

In this study, acute bouts of static stretching have been shown to impair performance. Most published studies have incorporated static stretching that stressed the muscle(s) to the point of discomfort (POD). There are very few studies that have examined the effects of submaximal intensity (less than POD) static stretching on subsequent performance.

Ten participants were pre-tested by performing two repetitions of three different stretches to assess range of motion (ROM) and two repetitions each of five different types of jumps. Following pre-testing, participants were stretched four times for 30 s each with 30 s recovery for the quadriceps, hamstrings and plantar flexors at 100% (POD), 75% and 50% of POD or a control condition. Five minutes following the stretch or control conditions, they were tested post-stretch with the same stretches and jumps as the pre-test. All three stretching intensities adversely affected jump heights.

With data collapsed over stretching intensities, there were significant decreases in jump height of 4.6% (P = 0.01), 5.7% (P < 0.0001), 5.4% (P = 0.002), 3.8% (P = 0.009) and 3.6% (P = 0.008) for the drop jump, squat jump, countermovement jump (CMJ) to a knee flexion of 70 degrees , CMJ using a preferred jump strategy and short amplitude CMJ respectively. An acute bout of maximal or submaximal intensity stretching can impair a variety of jumping styles and based on previous research, it is hypothesized that changes in muscle compliance may play a role.

[Here’s more about stretching and how it reduces muscular performance Link, Link, Link, Link, Link]

[More reasons not to stretch before exercise]

So, when is stretching beneficial, if at all?

One thing some studies do show, is that stretching with no other exercise following is able to significantly improve performance.

Note: Statistical significance – means the likelihood that a finding or a result is caused by something other than just chance. (i.e. not a large amount, but just enough to matter) Just sayin’…

This study showed that, in the ascence of any other exercise, stretching has some benefit. Simply stretching the muscles had a training effect. The trainees got faster, stronger, and more flexible. The article suggests that stretching may be a good introduction for those who are out of shape or just beginning an exercise routine, or for those not yet fit enough to do other types of training.

[Article: Static stretching improves exerxcise performance]

Conclusion: “This study suggests that chronic static stretching exercises by themselves can improve specific exercise performances”

My opinion is that stretching should be done only by those in rehab or those who are unable to do regular training. If you are able to train, however, you probably should train, since results will likely be much greater than just static stretching. Plus, stretching just sucks!

Just sayin’….

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them