Do your own epidemiological studies

Take a look around where you are.

Next time you’re at they gym on a busy day, take a look at the cardio area. You know, the zone cordoned off that is full of silly machines where people slave away for hours, sweating and generally looking miserable. Trudging through their workout, trying desperately to lose that belly. Do they look happy? Do they look relaxed? Do they look lean and in shape? Or are most of them muscle-less, weak, tired, zombies?

Then, take a look at the free-weight area of the gym. There are a couple types of people you should notice:

The first type will be running around, vigorously high-repping out a few sets of this, then running to the next machine or set of weights to do another high-repping set of that. They’re trying to keep their HR elevated in the futile persuit of fat-burning. What’s their body composition look like? Do they look relaxed? Are they in great shape? Or do they look a lot like the people in the cardio area?

The second type of person I want to you look for are the ones who are hanging out talking to each other. Casually conversing as they rest in between sets. When they feel ready, they get a heavy weight, and do a handfull of reps. These people look like they are working really hard to push that weight to failure. They usually have the best body composition. They are relatively lean. These are men AND women. They spend less time running around sweating, and a little more time relaxing and having a good time, trying to beat one another’s best lift, or beat a personal record. These are the people I respect, because they got it right, whether they know it or not.

I don’t know about you, but I know where I want to be.

When it comes right down to it

Most people have no idea what they are doing in terms of eating right or working out right. They just blindly follow the conventional wisdom in the hopes that “Eat less. Move more” is actually all it takes. They avoid fat and salt, snack all day on grains, and don’t get enough complete proteins. Then they slave away on the treadmill for hours a day…

I don’t see this working for anyone in my little corner of the world. How long does it take ’til you realize, “this isn’t working”?

Then there are the few that understand. That’s us.

[Strethcing is for dummies], [cardio is for dummies], [high-rep weight training a waste of time], [heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health for everybody!]

 

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?

 

 

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

Missing Link(s) 2/16/2012

A letter to convince any “authority figure” to start supplying real food!

Sugar and wheat are as addictive as opiates and amphetamines?

..Most of their intellectual arguments are just half-baked rationalizations of their existing eating habits..

Our data suggest that the specific combination of saturated fat and a 30% sugar solution results in hyperphagia-induced obesity and alters hypothalamic neuropeptide expression

(Although I respect this guy’s research and all, I have to poke fun (especially since my recent calories posts [1][2])) Now you can figure out EXACTLY how many brownies you have to eat to build muscle! Calories to build muscle calculator.

Protein for lean mass, (DUH!)

Paleo for one year: My results thus far & Understanding the Paleo concept.

It’s been exactly one full year since I stumbled across my first learnings of Paleo ideas and lifestyle. Many things have changed since then, all of them for the better.

First off, understand that paleo is not a “diet” or a “fad”, it’s more of a way of integrating our knowledge of human evolution and biology into a modern context, so that we can improve our quality of life. This integrates knowledge of biochemistry, human biology, fitness, evolutionary psychology and general health, in order to make us healthier, stronger, better looking, and longer-living.

My personal experience has given me the following benefits as I’ve progressed through the past year:

  • Decreased body fat
  • Increased mental clarity and focus
  • Increased muscle mass and recovery **(this is a huge one!)
  • cured chronic heartburn
  • cured ambiguous gastric issues
  • Less illness
  • cured eczema
  • cured bad acne
  • Better sleep
  • Boundless energy

And the list goes on. Needless to say, I feel as though I’ve found the fountain of youth. And I will continue to do this as long as I live, Paleo that is, because of what it has allowed me to accomplish over the course of just one year, especially the ability to put on muscle pretty much effortlessly!

Edit 2/9/12: One more thing I’d like to mention: my teeth and gum health have drastically improved. My dentist made a comment last visit that my gums look “much better than they did 6 months ago“. I used to have pretty inflamed painful, bleedy gums at the dentist, and sometimes when I brushed my teeth. Now my dentist will tell you my gums got better because “I started to brush and floss more”, but the truth is, I lied. I actually brush once a day, if I brush at all. And hardly floss. I don’t have bad breath anymore so it’s really not necessary. See? Emulating a hunter-gatherer diet lets your body take care of itself!

Now there’s a new buzzword floating around recently. It’s an idea that encompasses everything we do relating to Paleo, and combines it with modern ideas to improve ourselves beyond just “Paleolithic” nutrition and fitness, and surpass everything from the Neolithic environment that holds us back: Hyperlithic. Sounds cool right?

Here’s the post from Evolify:

Think Like a Geek.

Intelligence is sexy. It confers both survival and reproductive advantage, and was certainly selected for in our paleolithic ancestors. It’s woven throughout so many levels of our evolutionary past that it’s hard to reduce it to one thing. In this context, it carries the implication of the very word paleolithic itself — the reference to tools. Thinking like a geek helps us choose tools and develop tools.

Eat Like a Hunter.

The fuel we provide to our biological systems has effects that ripple through every aspect of our individual life. From mental acuity to mood to structure to disease, our choice of fuels is crucial. Thinking about food from the angle of a paleolithic hunter quickly provides answers to questions science is unable to efficiently adjudicate. This is not about pure carnivory, but a nod to optimal foraging theory. Once we understand something about the strategies of a paleolithic hunter we can begin to merge our ancient food system with our modern food system. If we lose either perspective, we will quickly go astray.

Train Like a Fighter.

This gets into a mess of words and concepts. Ignoring the “hunter-gatherers don’t train” bit for a moment… This is about training as a fighter fights, and not training to be a fighter per se. It is also about adopting modern tools with the intent of unlocking parts of our DNA that lay dormant within sedentary humans anesthetized by economically abstracted violence. Humans fought their own battles prior to the rise of agriculture. Being able to pay for violence to be conducted on our behalf appears to be a moral and physical benefit, but the signals and interaction between our genes and our environment are not easily faked and not easily replaced. Our physical and mental potential as individuals is not always aligned with those of industrial agricultural civilization.

Look Like a Model.

Because “look” embodies multiple tenses in the English language, this one is open to much ambiguity. My meaning is primarily in a passive sense. If you think like a geek, eat like a hunter, and train like a fighter, then you will [more or less] automatically “look like a model” in terms of phenotypic expression. It is also important to note that “model” means many things. There are many inputs for advertisers deciding on models, but I’m specifically not talking about three types of models. 1) Men as advertised in men’s magazines. 2) Women as advertised in women’s magazines. 3) Fashion models of either sex. Without going into too much detail today, it has been shown that men pictured in men’s magazines tend to be more muscular than the ideal women find attractive, and women in women’s magazines tend to be thinner than men find attractive. Advertisers manipulate us according to evolved heuristic biases.

I use “model” to imply something closer to an ideal attractiveness influenced by Darwinian sexual selection (inter-sexual). The intent is to get at things that are relatively generally attractive to the opposite sex. This is contrasted to the use by advertisers of intra-sexual selection… or… competition with others of the same sex. Our brains do not analyze these questions in a rational way, but in a way that tracks markers of health in the context of evolutionary time. “Look good naked” is a great goal. Unfortunately, our intuitive self-assessments of looking good are likely biased to the point of being counterproductive.

Common Threads

All of the above are related to the ecological context of us as individuals. The interaction between our genes and our environment is implied in each level. The association with gyms and training with the active physical components of health is similar to synthetic and isolated components being packaged and sold to us as “food”. Real food is not enough. We need real life as well.

The impact on our psychology is entwined in each of these concepts as well. We know that points of attractiveness shift depending on the ecological context of the beholder. Some use this as a refutation of attractiveness as an evolved psychological component. However, this represents a fundamental misunderstanding of human ethology. I am not interested in mimicking the optimal attractiveness ratings of people influenced by sub-optimal (resource depleted, etc.) environments. A better question is this: What is optimal for humans in an optimal environment? We need to answer other questions to say what environments are optimal, and they are not easy questions. They are also not so difficult that we should be flummoxed by those who descend into relativist or quasi-relativist arguments representative of myopia.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Heavy strength training IS a required aspect of long term health. For EVERYBODY.

Lifting heavy things every once in a while IS absolutely necessary to longevity, health, and “taking care of your body”. No matter your age or your gender.

Only lifting heavy things creates structural adaptations in muscle and bones to keep us strong and resistant to injury for our entire lives. You may not be thinking the same thing when I say “intense strength training”, but my routine is far from intense. I spend between 30-45 minutes, M-F lifting weights. I see progression each week. Consistently. But the only intense part is that it’s hard work, and I train to failure. There are many ways to train, but you need to realize that taking care of your body the right way is not ever going to be easy. If you want to be lazy and not work hard, your goals will be severely hampered.

If you’re a woman, and you are concerned about “getting bulky” or looking “too intense”, take a gander at these videos of natural women lifters. It’s their livelyhood to lift weights, yet in the absence of steroids, they just look like they are in great shape. You wouldn’t even look twice if you saw them on the street ( I would, but for reasons I won’t say 😉 ).

2007 American Open.

108 lb woman clean-and-jerks twice her bodyweight

Woman Lifter

Notice how all these lifts are functional, meaning that they assist your every day life and ability.

For comparison, here’s a couple videos of “jacked up” women bodybuilders. The movements they are doing are not as functional, and are focused on “getting big”.

Lisa Moordigian

Brenda Smith

Notice how there is no agile athleticism involved in these movements. These two are focusing on individual muscles for size, and not utilizing skill techniques that would actually be useful in real life.

Now why is lean muscle mass so important?

Our ultimate goal in eating a functional Paleo diet and moving around a lot is to achieve positive gene expression, functional strength, optimal health, and extended life expectancy.

Lean body mass is healthier than adipose tissue. Generally, the more lean mass a person has, the longer and better they live. But to simply increase lean mass to get “bulky” at the expense of agility and function is counterproductive. That’s not what we’re talking about here. We are talking about functional, sexy, lean mass.

Have you ever heard the phrase “died of old age” or “died of natural causes”? Basically that means the person died as a result of the end of the logical aging process, the diminishment of organ reserve and muscle mass that once supported their functional life.

Muscle provides a metabolic reserve!

Muscle produces proteins and metabolites in response to physical trauma. This response is essential to the body’s efforts to achieve recovery and resume homeostasis. With the loss of muscle mass, we lose this metabolic reservoir. Lifting heavy things also causes a poitive adaptation in bone tissue. Heavy loading causes your body to react, depositing more calcium where you need it most. If you want to prevent osteoperosis and bone fractures, especially if you are a woman, heavy lifting early in life will help you reach that goal of stronger bones and a life resistant to injury.

Organ reseve refers to the functional capacity of our organs to support life. Interestingly, lean muscle mass and organ reserve have a correlation: skeletal muscle mass and organ reserve tend to correspond throughout life.

The diminishment of organ reserve and lean muscle mass is somewhat genetically influenced, but the expression of your genes depends on the interaction between your genetic blueprint and your personal environment and lifestyle. This means that our efforts throughout life to build and maintain muscle mass tend to improve or retain not just muscle mass but the function of other tissue as well, including the function of vital organs like the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver. And vice-versa. It’s a widely accepted assertion that 75 percent of our health and life expectancy after age 40 is determined by environmental factors, including the impact of our daily lifestyle choices. Now there’s a reason to get off the couch.

 

What are the best ways to maintain lean body mass throughout life?

Men and women should work out the same way,

as long as you have the same goals: functional strength, promoting lean body mass over fat mass, and improving overall health. Hormonal differences between men and women, as well as diet, will change how your body reacts to heavy lifting, but the end result is the same: increased strength to body weight ratio that is crucial to long term health and fitness, muscle that makes sense, fat burning muscle that fits you. Muscle that will preserve your good looks and shape for your entire life!

Check out these older-age CrossFitters. They are all over 50! And they will continue to feel and look great for a long time following Paleo diet and lifting heavy things!

Carrie Gym

You can also check out these really amazing success stories at Marks Daily Apple. There are a ton of men and women of all ages (many over 50) who have made drastic changes in health and body composition. I can tell you one thing…they look a lot better than those “Weight Watchers success stories”.

They do basic strength exercises that focus on function and aesthetics. Those women do not look “bulky”. And those guys look like they are in pretty damn good shape. I think they are setting themselves up for long term health and resistance to injury, don’t you?

Got more questions? Something I missed? Let me know below!

Muscle mass and strength decline as a function of aging. NOT!

Muscle aging does not ocurr simply as a function of age, but as a function of chronic disuse. Considering that total lean mass has major health implications through our entire life, it seems prudent for all of us to lift heavy shit every once in a while, even into old age.

Progress 1/20/2012

Here’s my latest progress report. My logs below are from 12/5/11 to 1/19/12. I decided out of boredom to change it up a little early, rather than waiting the entire 10 week cycle. So I am beginning today on a lower rep range-higher weight cycle (6-8 reps for most lifts). I also started to hit a little plateau with my gains, either due to boredom or the fact that I just switched gyms. So I’m hoping the change will help me blast through.

Things happen in the process of moving. I missed a couple workouts. Although I have to say my new place is a huge improvement. 10 car garage, nice lake views, and plenty of room in the basement to lift heavy things (really for Thursdays, since Planet Fitness *cough gay cough* doesn’t allow big weights hitting the floor). So I’m doing deadlifts at home. It’s better this way. I get really noisy doing deads, and I wouldn’t want to scare off all the little girls on the eliptical machines… 😉

So here we go.

Workout Log 12-5-11 to 1-19-12

Yep, lots of numbers. But I do weigh 171lbs now. I think that’s a great improvement in muscle mass for me. Last time I checked I was 165. I also didn’t put on any fat. Good job brah!

I’ve also been taking an herbal testosterone booster called Endotest by San. It’s primary ingredient is Trubulus terrestris, and Vitus Agnus. On top of that I have been supplementing with D-Aspartic Acid, another natural test booster. It’s an amino acid that acts as a precurser. 1.5g daily. It’s been 2 weeks, which is the point you are supposed to start noticing changes. I already feel more drive, if you know what I mean 😉

Also, for the past 2 weeks all of my workouts have been fasted. And I have been intermittent fasting successfully. I’m really trying to get down to single digit bodyfat numbers for summer. My fasts have been from 8PM to 12 noon. I have also been eating less frequently, with about 2 large meals per day, protein directly after workout, and an occasional small meal of eggs with almonds or maybe some whole yogurt mid day. My largest meal is after my workout in the evening. So far so good!

To keep energy up at the gym I have been supplementing with caffeine, arginine, BCAA powder, beet powder, carnitine, beta alanine, and creatine before each workout. I know some of this stuff isn’t “Paleo”, but it’s also not harmful, either, and really helps me get the most out of my fasted training sessions.

Last Sunday I started interval training again. I’m using the Tabata Method, which is really hard core, but you feel like a million bucks after, and it only takes 4 minutes! Damn son! I’ll begin doing this once every weekend.

I’ll post up pics of my hotness as soon as I’m done triceps today

Drop the Pink Weights! Women Should Deadlift!

Here is what proper heavy lifting, and deadlifts, can do for your butt.

Please, stop with the fluffy pink weights! Do something USEFUL!

This woman doesn’t look “bulky”, she looks HOT.

It’s time everyone started getting it right!

Picture Credit

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles!

Deadlift technique

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.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol.

Get More Jacked! Eat This Stuff on Workout Days.

Check out these little tricks to boost HGH production after workout, or reduce body fat percentage, a.k.a. adipose tissue.

  • Mango

A little bit of freeze dried mango mixed into the diet helped to reduce body fat and glucose concentration in mice. The reasoning behind this is because mangos boost the production of adiponectin which raises the glucose uptake of muscle cells. Look at the HF + 1 bar in each graph, which had the best response overall. These mice were fed a 1% composition of freeze dried mango. All mice were fed a “high-fat” diet that was designed to fatten them up. I’m wondering what type of fat was in the diet…..

  • Fruit and Veggies

Lots of other fruits have been shown to reduce body fat and increase results at the gym. Cherries can increase muscle mass and let you put on less fat. Blueberries can also help you put on more muscle without gaining fat. And getting more vitamin K-2 from the right foods increases testosterone.

  • Caffeine and Carnitine

Caffeine and Carnitine Increase your endurance, so you can do more HARD WORK!

  • Milk

A type of choline contained in milk, Alpha-glyceryl-phosphoryl-choline (Alpha-GPC), helps boost HGH production post workout. The researchers in this study gave 600mg Alpha GPC to subjects about an hour and 30 minutes pre-workout, and had them do one-leg-presses. The below graph shows HGH production post-workout. The lower line shows baseline HGH (what occurred with placebo).

That’s a pretty significant HGH boost! Another great study found that consuming milk post-workout reduced muscle soreness, reduced decrements in isokinetic muscle performance, and limited increases in creatine kinase.

  • Creatine and Tarragon

This nice study looked at the insulinogenic and creatine-uptake effect of combining creatine and tarragon supplements. This abstract describes a study in which creatine disappears faster from the bloodstream and into muscle tissue after ingestion, when human subjects took 1000 mg Artemisia dracunculus (tarragon) extract along with the creatine. The dark black line is the one we are looking at. It shows the creatine leaving the blood and entering the muscle faster.

This study shows that the extract caused the muscle cells to produce more of pretty much all the proteins that make the insulin receptor work. Possibly because the extract boosts activity of Phosphatase enzymes, which separate phosphate groups from molecules, which in turn may stimulate the insulin receptor. This makes the muscles more insulin-sensitive, allowing more stuff like nutrients and creatine to enter and do their job. Bigger muscles dude! Check the protein response in the graph below.

The researchers also found that “Skeletal muscle from animals randomized to PMI 5011 was demonstrated to have decreased 20S proteasome activity and reduced gene expression of specific proteins as part of the ubiquitin–proteasome system in skeletal muscle”. In laymen terms, this means that proteolysis (the breakdown of muscle tissue into glucose) was slowed down. That’s pretty nice!

  • Water

Drinking water before meals has a slimming effect

There’s some good info, now go put it to use! Let me know how it works!

On a Diet to Lose Weight? Most of What You’re Losing isn’t Fat.

A new study (referenced below) attempts to reveal the relationship between protein and weight. A number of indibiduals were fed very specific diets in a controlled environment for 8 weeks. They were fed what was considered “40 per cent more calories than estimated to be required for weight maintenance. This equated to overfeeding of an average of about 950 calories a day”. Here’s what the calorie percentages for each diet looked like:

                       Protein       Carbohydrate       Fat

Low Protein:     6%                 42%              52%

Med Protein      14%               41%              44%

High Protein      26%              41%              33%

Notice how high the carbohydrate % is for each diet. Without knowing what type of foods the carbs came from, we should assume each diet used the same type of carb-food, (most likely cheap processed carbs). The measurements after the 8 week study can be seen below:

  weight change lean mass change fat mass change
low protein +3.61 -0.70 +3.66
medium protein +6.05 +2.87 +3.45
high protein +6.51 +3.18 +3.44

Notice that each of the groups put on “weight”. Also, each group put on approximately equal fat mass. Considering the amount of carbohydrates between groups is relatively similar (around 40% of calories), it’s my opinion that the high % carbohydrate contribution had the most influence on overall fat gain. 

Also important, is the high-protein diet put on the most lean mass. Had the carb count been lower, or from whole food sources and not cheap processed carbs, We might see a reduction in the fat mass change for this diet

What’s most interesting to me, is that the diet that most resembles the USDA recommended guidelines (low protein-low fat) resulted in the least lean mass gain, and the most fat mass gain. In fact, the low protein diet actually resulted in NEGATIVE lean mass change!

Now, the USDA and common wisdom villify saturated fats. The best protein rich foods contain saturated fats (animals!), so it stands to reason that people on a conventional-calorie-counting-low-fat-diet will be avoiding protein rich foods, in order to avoid the fat (dummies). This diet had a calorie EXCESS. Imagine how much you would lose on a calorie deficit! It’s all lean mass!

It should be obvious to you now that a combination of low-protein, low-fat and low-calorie dieting will lead to a loss in mostly LEAN MASS. Not only will you be weak, but you will become skinny-fat. There’s no beauty in frail weakness.

Reference:

Bray GA, et al. Effect of Dietary Protein Content on Weight Gain, Energy Expenditure, and Body Composition During Overeating – A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA 2012;307(1):47-55

 

How (not) To FAIL At The Gym. (Get Muscles, Burn Fat Faster) III

 

This is part III. Make sure you read part I and part II.

Muscle growth is a defense mechanism. To speed growth you must force change.

Given the proper diet, your body will make more muscle as a result of certain environmental “threats” or stressors. To create the fastest muscle growth, you need to work your mucles to failure (I mean motherfucking cruel, unforgiving, uncomfortale, 100% absolute FAILURE) within a certain timeframe, or “time under tension”. Usually this is no longer than 60 seconds, and between 6-12 reps. That is why heavy weights are required! This ensures that all your muscle fibers are recruited before lactic acid buildup causes premature muscle failure.

Performing sets for too long with high reps does not allow you to reach the actual limit of your strength. With high reps, we are forced to stop, as lactic acid becomes too much for the muscle to handle, and ATP production becomes limited. Your muscles simply run out of energy before the limit of their strength is reached. There will be growth, but it is slower, and recovery takes longer. Therefore, high reps are a WASTE OF TIME, mang!

So, we lift heavy, and lay the foundation for muscle growth through adaptation.

We also eat right, to speed recovery and promote positive gene expression, while maximizing cognitive ability and testosterone production. We get sun (Vitamin D baby!), and we get plenty of rest.

Recovery is just as important as lifting heavy things

Rest between each set allows ATP to recover, and lactic acid to leave the muscle. If you aren’t resting for a few minutes between sets, you may as well be doing one of those stupid high-rep workouts like everybody else!

Rest days are just as important, because once you kick your own ass in the gym, you gotta heal up, baby! During a lifting session, you are actually in a catabolic state, but you are triggering something that comes after: the anabolic state! Adaptation can only happen if you give your body time to build new tissues and recover.

If you keep picking a scab, does it ever heal?

Don’t get confused by magazine programs and other useless crap.

Strength, power, size, mass, toning. Whatever you call it, IT IS ALL THE SAME. Building muscle and burning fat happen SIMULTANEOUSLY given a proper diet. I seriously hate anyone who says “I don’t want big muscles, I just want to tone”. Give.me.a.fucking.break! It is all the same, the only thing that matters is how fast you get there. Anyone with an elementary education should say “I want to change my body as fast as possible, and not waste hours in the gym every day”. If that’s not you, why are you reading this? 

I wrote this in “How To FAIL At The Gym pt II”.

Now ladies, don’t get all worried about “blowing up” or “looking like a dude”. Women naturally have less testosterone than men, so it’s naturally more difficult for them to build muscle and burn fat. That means women (for the most part) who train just as hard as men, given a similar amount of work, will see less results than men. Why would you want to fuck around wasting time at the gym, when you can do it faster and better with HARD WORK? Once you reach your desired body composition, you can maintain! Trust me, you won’t just wake up one morning looking like the Hulk. Progress takes time, but it takes less time when you follow the right method!

Over time, our goal is to overload the muscle by increasing the weight a little bit each week. Basically, once you reach about 12 reps for a certain exercise, add a little weight the next week. This keeps you within the anabolic threshold, while making sure you get measurably stronger. And if you’re getting stronger, you’re making PROGRESS. (fun fact, muscle strength is directly proportional to muscle size. Stronger IS bigger).

Strong is the new skinny.

How does this all relate to burning fat?

With a clean Paleo/Primal diet and lifting heavy, our muscles grow, and our metabolism gets better at burning fat. More muscle = more mitochondria, and more mitochondrial adaptation to fat burning. A common misconception is that we go to the gym to get big or burn fat. What actually happens at the gym? We are causing an adaptation, so that our muscles grow later on (recovery), and we burn fat all day long instead of glucose (#Winning).

Cardio has limited potential for changing body composition and burning fat, because it does not push your body to it’s limit and force adaptation. What we do in the gym should cause positive adaptations and changes LATER ON. Doing intense lifting workouts, along with high intensity interval training, or Tabata Sprints every once in a while, is going to give us more fat burning. Sprints rapidly deplpete your glycogen stores. The rapid glycogen depletion makes your body realize that your need for energy (ATP) has become much greater, and forces your body to create more mitochondria. This also forces the mitochondria to learn to burn fat for energy rather than glycogen. THIS is the outcome we are looking for: fat burning ALL DAY LONG, not just in the gym.

The side effect of this is greater stamina. A marathon runner who trains their body to burn fat will find it more difficult to “hit the wall”, or “bonk”. This is a good thing.

A good method for intervals or sprints is a quick warm up sprint, at about 80% effort. Once you feel ready, you will have to go ALL OUT with 100% effort. Pretend you are running for your life away from a hungry lion, or whatever.

You will sprint with all your soul and effort for about 20 seconds, then rest for 3-4 minutes. Do it like this a handfull of times, between 4 and 6 reps. You can do this on machines too set on high resistance, just don’t try it on the treadmill!

Ask me how I’m so awersome! yup!

I follow the free MuscleHack Gym Routines. Scientifically proven to work, dammit! (I’ll never promote name brands or anything that costs money. I don’t have anything to gain from promoting things. If it friggin works, I’m gonna friggin tell you about it! Because I’m that cool).

Tell me what you thunk about my post! And then? Go lift heavy shit brah!

How To FAIL At The Gym (There Are No Shortcuts) II

This is Part II. Make sure you read Part I and Part III.

The sooner you understand this one simple concept, the sooner you can thank me.

I see this every time I go to the gym. The people that HALF-ASSEDLY do any “workout”, incomplete, poor form, partial range of movement. They don’t track their progress. They don’t follow a consistent routine. They don’t fucking lift anything heavy. Explain to me how that can POSSIBLY do you any good? How can you PROGRESS without pushing your limits? You have no idea where you are going or what you are tryng to do, picking up random weights and swinging things around as if you’re actually working your muscles properly.

It goes the other way too. Huge guys come in, who got huge by eating everything in sight. They may have made progress, but their body composition is in the shitter. Yah, sure you can bench 220 for few reps, but your fat ass still hangs out of your shorts. Then there’s another guy, with a 55 pund dumbbell in each hand, swinging his body back and forth violently, as he completes half-assed reps, barely working his full range of motion, and definitely NOT really lifting that 55 lbs. These guys might be big (looking), but its mostly fat on top of muscle, and I don’t see them losing it any time soon.

It might be easy to blame the rag-mags, or the media for the mis-information. The conventional wisdom promoted by the “professional”. You want the real culprit? YOU are at fault for your laziness. Yah, the truth hurts. Now do something about it! Educate yourself, get some biology in ya! I consider it my duty to my body to understand how it works, reacts, grows, heals, and thrives. Besides that, it should be COMMON SENSE that the only shortcut to better body composition is HARD WORK.

Hard work creates progress that you can see and feel. Hard work is the only shortcut.

Hard work means pushing your limits to make your body adapt. Hard work means following a consistent routine that causes measurable growth and fat loss (including diet). Hard work means good form, heavy weights, and pushing yourself to 100% failure.

Hard work does NOT mean doing endless reps with little weights. Your body is a reactionary mechanism. It adapts and heals as a reaction of the stressors you place on it. (Your immune system is a perfect example). Lifting light weight does not create functional strength, because you are not forcing an adaptation. Doing 100 bicep curls with a 5lb weight will do nothing more than reinforce your ability to lift……can you guess?………FIVE POUNDS! Holyfuckamoly Batman! What use is that in your everyday life? What use is that in an emergency situation? (It is really useful for wasting a lot of time at the gym, though).

Hard work does NOT mean lousy form. If you have to use swinging momentum to curl that 50 pounder, you aren’t doing work, YOU ARE CHEATING. Don’t be a wuss! Stop trying to show off. You’re not impressing anyone. (I’ll get into gym etiquette with another post). Find a weight that allows you to use proper form, and you’ll find out how strong you actually are. Push yourself to failure within the anabolic rep range. Eventually you WILL grow and be able to curl that 50 punder the right way!

Hard work allows you to minimize your time at the gym, so you have more time for the fun stuff; sex, playing music, fixing your car, or writing a blog….

Women AND men should focus on functional strength. Strength is sexy.

It’s attractive. Muscle ALWAYS looks better than fat. (Muscle forms the foundation of your outward appearance, and you can control which aspects you change. Muscle enhances your metabolic flexibility, immune system, endurance, and resistance to injury). Now, I’m not saying that I’m attracted to women who are jacked like bodybuilders. I’m talking about natural shape, aesthetically pleasing form, that can deadlift AT LEAST their own bodyweight, or perform a handfull of decent pull-ups. That’s not asking too much, is it?

Now ladies, don’t get all worried about “blowing up” or “looking like a dude”. Women naturally have less testosterone than men, so it’s naturally more difficult for them to build muscle and burn fat. That means women (for the most part) who train just as hard as men, given a similar amount of work, will see less results than men. Why would you want to fuck around wasting time at the gym, when you can do it faster and better with HARD WORK? Once you reach your desired body composition, you can maintain! Trust me, you won’t just wake up one morning looking like the Hulk. Progress takes time, but it takes less time when you follow the right method!

Ah, the perfect example. Stacie Tovar, CrossFit champ. She lifts heavy and pushes her limits. This shows her change after going CrossFit.

Take a look at Lauren Plumey. She’s a good lookin’ CrossFitter too.

Now leave some love! In the form of comments. I also accept other forms of love. heh.

This is Part II. Make sure you read Part I and Part III.

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.

How To FAIL At The Gym. (Health Is Common Sense)

This is Part I. Make sure you read Part II and Part III

I have a complaint.

Is it the media, a lack of information, or just plain LAZINESS that makes people run on a treadmill for an hour and a half, every day, and STILL they can’t manage to change their body composition?

I see them every day, at the YMCA. They run with terrible form, heel slamming, joint killing form. They jump up and down on the elliptical (terrible machines), only doing about 50% of the work they THINK they are actually doing. They pedal carelessly on a bike, while their guts spill over into their laps and they read “Food and Wine” or “People” or some other God-awful publication that’s bound to be contributing to their utter useless lifestyle.

I’ve managed to motivate myself to change permanently for the better, with no other forces at work other than pure determination, and the knowledge that I will not spend, I REFUSE to spend the last 10 to 15 years of my life in decrepitude. The problem with society is that we’ve been programmed, BRAINWASHED into thinking this is normal. Apparently, even though we are still genetically identical to our wild ancestors, we have to accept the fact that we are different, that we can not live without disease and degenerative disorers that render us utterly useless to ourselves, left in the care of our offspring as we lose the ability to MOVE and ACT and have FUN.

BULLSHIT I say. You can change your falsely pre-determined future. Its so friggin easy people, all you have to do is realize that you are poisoning your body slowly over the entire course of your life by feeding yourself food toxins [1] [2], by being lazy, by hiding from the sun, and by listening to the government tell you what is healthy. These problems largely do not exist in the wild! Paloelithic human beings didn’t have to deal with cavities, heart attack, obesity, cancer, etc. Know why? They hunted, sprinted, lifted heavy things, ate animals, vegetables, and fruit. They didn’t sit around playing Halo on Xbox 360. They didnt eat 7-11 servings of birdseed (grains) every day! They didnt have soy. They didnt have veggie oils. They fasted. They didn’t eat every 2-3 hours trying to “keep blood glucose elevated” (fuckingstupid). They were lean, fit and HEALTHY throughout their lives. Don’t believe me? Modern anthropology continues to find evidence of this. GO TO A MUSEUM you fool.

Health is common sense. Most, if not at least 80% of body composition and total health, is determined by what you EAT. Movement only constitutes about 10%. The rest is lifestyle. If you don’t change what you eat to REAL FOOD (animals, vegetables, fruits), you will never know true health.

However, if you realize that there is no science behind the FAT-PHOBIA, CHOLESTEROL, FOOD PYRAMID, HEARTHEALTHY WHOLE GRAINS, you will live largely sickness and disease free, and you will change your body composition. You will lean out and gain more muscle. You will become more attractive naked. You will emit a positive attitude. To everyone around you, you will appear to be unstoppable, full of energy, immune to whatever virus is floating around the office.

Your brain will fucntion at optimum efficiency, soaking up all the information and beauty around you. You will feel ultimate clarity. It’s like a permanent high. Engergy on-tap, whenever it is needed. Power to have explosive workouts at the gym. Speed to spint to your car after work. Drive to make-your-bed-rock (ooooh yeaaaah). Recovery to do it all again. Your immune system will function at top efficiency because you will not have chronic inflammation, you will not get sick, you will recover from your brutal lifting sessions faster. You won’t waste time consuming fillers made of grain or soy, so there will be more room for amino-acids and fatty-acids to build and construct new tissues, bigger muslces. You will train your body to burn fat for energy by promoting mitochondial adaptaion. You will be a FUCKING SUPER HUMAN!!!11 YUP!

Did I mention I feel really really good today?

This is Part I. Make sure you read Part II and Part III

Meal Frequency, and Getting Enough Protein?

Tired of counting grams of protein? I was. Then I found a simple way to make sure my intake was adequate for muscle growth, without having to go online and account for every bite of food I ate.

Yum

Eat one pound of beef a day. One pound of beef, coupled with eggs at breakfast and possibly one protein shake, contains enough protein to meet your basic lean mass needs for the day.

One pound of 90% lean ground beef contains 118 grams of protein. That makes it so easy! 1/2 a pound at lunch, 1/2 a pound at dinner. A few eggs at breakfast and a protein shake somewhere in there, I’m golden!

I’m an average size guy, at 165 lbs, so if I get lazy and don’t eat enough, my protein count can go way down. I used to get worried in the middle of the day, have to log on to Paleo Track, and check what I ate to make sure I didn’t have to fill myself to the breaking point all at dinner. So much easier now to just portion out my meal, and know what I have to eat at each sitting.

Cook it up with some broccoli, make it extra spicy if you want. I know I like it to melt my face off! Mmmmm spicyyyyy.

I’d also like to talk about my meal frequency. A lot of bodybuilding and fitness people say you need to eat 6 times a day “to keep the meabolic fires burning”. This is total hogwash. There is no science to support the claim. There is no metabolic advantage to eating many times per day, and in fact, it actually hinders your body from burning fat for energy, and reduces satiety.

I eat a maximum of 4 times per day. I do not snack because I do not get hungry between meals, not in the least. On non-workout days I sometimes fast until 11AM, and eat dinner no later than 7PM. This practice of Intermittent Fasting keeps up your metabolic flexability, and has a number of other advantages.

Numerous animal and human studies done over the past 15 years suggest that periodic fasting can have dramatic results not only in areas of weight (fat) loss, but in overall health and longevity as well.

I think that’s a good introduction into IF (intermittent fasting). It’s a topic I will keep bringing up, because it serves a purpose not only for fat loss, but it has it’s place in bodybuilding too.

Progress

This is my progress so far. I don’t concern myself with body measurements. I know I am making progress when my biggest lifts at the gym go up. I can see the way my clothes fit. I notice when my suit needs to be re-tailored because the shoulder area is now way too small.

Compared to 3 weeks ago…..

Not the same picture angle, but I can see a definite difference in ab definition, shoulder striation, and chest size.

I added 10 lbs to my bench.

I added 10 lbs to my squat.

I added 10 lbs to my deadlift.

I added 5 lbs to my press.

Added a couple lbs or so to all other isolation and compound lifts.

Special note: I always, ALWAYS lift to absolute 100% muscle failure within 8-12 reps. EVERY set, EVERY time. Then I lower the weight slightly, and do it again. It’s the key principal to making your body grow, it is a reactionary mechanism, btw.

If you want to see the logs I have been using for the past year or so, check out MuscleHack! Download the freeTHT version 4.0. Killer program!

Eating for Muscle Growth and Avoiding Catabolism

First, a primer on insulin. This is especially important for you low-carb guys who think insulin is bad:
 
In a nutshell, your insulin will spike from protein or carbohydrate. Insulin suppresses hunger and prevents overeating. Insulin spikes are actually higher from protein, this is why eating protein is way more satiating than eating a meal without it. This is also why those silly protein diets work, because they make you eat less later in the day.

Insulin response. High protein vs high carb

Effect on hunger Effect on fullness

Glucose resonpse. High Protein vs High Carb

Now, we must understand that insulin is necessary for protein synthesis. That is how we grow our muscles! The question is; how do we utilize insulin properly to reach our goals? Here are the key processes that are stimulated or stopped by the release of insulin:

Actions of Insulin

Notice proteolysis. This is what your body does when you don’t eat enough protein and insulin levels are very low. It is the action of breaking down muscle tissue to get the amino acids your body needs. It also occurs during long periods of fasting. Normally, insuluin stops this breakdown process. But, if you consume a high volume of carbohydrates without protein, your glucose response will be very high. When this happens, insulin actually stimulates proteolysis.

“Previous studies from our laboratory have indicated that the effect of insulin on suppressing proteolysis is highly dependent on the availability of plasma amino acids. […] At maximal insulin levels…protein breakdown was suppressed by approximately 90% when amino acids were available compared with 45% when hypoaminoacidemia was allowed to develop. These studies were performed with glucose fixed at euglycemic levels.”

So, with an insulin response, when protein is available, muscle breakdown was decreased by 90%. When protein was not available, breakdown was decreased by only 45%.

The influence of hyperinsulinemic-hyperglycemia on protein and carbohydrate homeostasis was assessed using L-[1-13C]-leucine and [3-3H]glucose combined with open-circuit indirect calorimetry. After a 30-min basal period, healthy human volunteers were subjected to two sequential experimental periods (150 min each) during which insulin was continuously infused at a rate to elicit maximal effects (10.0 mU.kg-1 x min-1, resulting in 220-fold basal levels) in conjunction with an infusion of L-amino acids to maintain euleucinemia. Plasma glucose was maintained near basal (94 +/- 2 mg/dl) during period I and at twofold basal (191 +/- 4 mg/dl) during period II. The endogenous rate of leucine appearance (index of proteolysis in mumol.kg-1 x h-1) dropped by 80% from basal during period I (P < 0.01) but only by 44% during period II. […] The present study demonstrates that, during hyperinsulinemia, acute elevations of plasma glucose to two times basal levels result in a marked stimulation of whole body proteolysis during hyperinsulinemia

And, with normal blood glucose and maximum insulin response, breakdown was reduced by 80%. With high blood glucose and maximum insulin response, breakdown was only reduced by 44%.

  • Every time you eat carbohydrate and secrete insulin, you must, absolutely MUST, consume a complete protein source.
  • If protein is unavailable in the blood stream, insulin only halfway stops proteolysis.
  • If your blood sugar is elevated from grains or junk food, insulin will stimulate whole body proteolysis, no matter what.
  • Higher blood sugar spikes = Higher catabolism.

So, how do we limit catabolism and maximize anabolism? DON”T SNACK! Eat only a few meals per day. Eat complete protein at every meal. That means free range eggs, grass fed beef, and fish. (Chicken and pork is ok too, but they do not have an optimal omega 3/6 ratio.) You must also limit blood glucose spikes, because this is what causes insulin to stimulate catabolism. That means not eating sugar, grains, or excess starches. You must also avoid eating fruit by itself.

Think about that next time you pick up that mid-afternoon soda, or gaze at that vending machnie, or mindlesly munch on those apple slices while you read, or bite into that hearthealthywholegrain bagel. What are you really doing to your progress as a bodybuilder? You are breaking down that hard earned mass and pissing away your muscles.

Snack foods based in grains and sugar contain little protein, and the protein they do include is incomplete. Corn and wheat are deficient in lysine, an essential amino acid. If your body is short on any essential amino acid, it will have to disassemble your muscles to get it. 

Still want to follow the USDA food pyramid? Sill think you can eat like Homer Simpson, while looking like your favorite models on the cover of “Muscle and Fitness”? Think again, lame-brain. Those “complex carbs” are nothing more than a hyped up sugar rush. No doubt, carbs are good for fueling powerful lifting sessions, but only when they come from healthy tubers, fruit and vegetables. Don’t be fooled by easy carbs in a shiny plastic bottle. That Gator-fade aint doin you no good, boi.

Tonight, I’m fueling my workout with eggs and home-made-spicy-grilled-taters! Tonight, I’m looking for PROGRESS! woot!

New Cycle Begins

I am starting a new lifting cycle today. Here is the program I have been followng since February. It has given me the most results of any program I have ever tried.

MuscleHack THT

Its designed with science in mind, and uses only proven techniques for maximum muscle hypertrophy. His diet regimes are also geared towards gaining lean mucle mass without putting on additional fat. It’s perfect if you are tired of the endless “bulking” and “cutting” that just ruins your body.

I have personally put on decent lean mass, and actually lost fat without doing cardio. I do not follow his diet regimes because I prefer to follow a Paleo/Primal diet. I began using the MuscleHack diets, but found Paleo to provide a more complete sense of health and lean mass potential. It also just makes more sense.

On that note, here is what I ate this morning….

 

America Runs on Drunken Gonuts

 

Sinning before I even get to work…

 

I know, it’s a sacrilege, but I get to fuck myself up about once every 10 weeks. If it makes any consolation, I feel like I’ve been slightly drugged, and my head is spinning. But hey, at least I don’t feel like this EVERY day like all you SAD fuckers (Standard American Diet). Of course, I can’t blame any of you because you are only programmed and conditioned to believe it’s NORMAL. GO BACK TO SLEEP, SHEEP, WE WILL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO EAT AND HOW TO FEEL. WE WILL MAKE YOU FAT BECAUSE IT’S NORMAL.

I’m done fucking around now. I have to go back to work with the rest of these zoo animals called “co-workers”.

I will be day dreaming of lifting heavy things, and getting that satisfying “pump”.