Monthly Archives: January 2007

How To Get Fat

This is how they fatten cows:

Cow_eating_grain

This is how to fatten your child:

Kid_cereal

Upside Down Nutrition

Below is a list of 6 nutritional guidelines that the experts say you should follow when in fact for optimal health, you should do the exact opposite (medical exceptions aside):

  1. Stay away from saturated fats (butter, lard, egg yolks, etc.)
  2. Eat lots of whole grains
  3. Eat meat sparingly
  4. Eat only leanest cuts of meat
  5. Drink milk
  6. Eat low cholesterol foods

There is no such thing as ‘Balance,’ or ‘Coordination’

A reader of my last blog asked me a very good question:

"But there is a lot more to physical fitness than the strength and aerobic capacity I get from Slow Burn. What about balance? What about coordination of muscles? What about timing? If I was 45 or even 55, I might be tempted to agree that Slow Burn is all you need. I would feel very fit. But at 67 I can tell you that balance, coordination, and timing skills quickly drop away if I do not train them. The clumsiness of age comes back quickly, despite having strong muscles and aerobic fitness."

Not knowing if he means his sports skills degrade if he doesn’t practice them, it’s hard to answer. But I’ll assume, for the moment, that this is what he means.

Answer: You bet your boots you’ll lose skill at your given physical activity if you don’t practice and only do Slow Burn.  No question about it.

But here’s the thing – there is no such thing as ‘balance.’ Balance is specific unto a skill itself. There is no such thing as ‘coordination.’ Coordination is specific to the skill or activity itself.

Being skilled at badminton does not mean that you are skilled at tennis – or that you can even play tennis well even though the two sports look similar. Same goes for any other sport or activity. Similar doesn’t mean same.

The following is from the book: Motor Learning and Performance: From Principles to Practice by Dr. Richard A. Schmidt a renowned expert in motor leanring principles:

(Note: The comments in parenthesis are my additions.)

"A common misconception is that fundamental abilities (running, gymnastics, etc.) can be trained through various drills or other activities. The thinking is that, with some stronger ability, the athlete

will see gains in performance for tasks with this underlying ability.

For example, athletes are often given various "quickening" exercises, with the hope that these exercises would train some fundamental ability to be quick, allowing quicker response in their particular sports.

Coaches (as well as physical therapists) often use various balancing drills to increase general balancing ability, eye movement exercises to improve vision, and many others. Such attempts to train fundamental abilities may sound fine, but usually they simply do not work. Time, and often money, would be better spent practicing the eventual goal skills.

There are two correct ways to think of these principles. First, there is no general ability to be quick, to balance, or to use vision. Rather, quickness, balance, and vision are each based on many diverse abilities, so there is no single quickness or balance ability, for example, that can be trained. Second, even if there were such general abilities, these are, by definition, genetic and not subject to modification through practice. Therefore, attempts to modify an ability with a nonspecific drill are ineffective. A learner may acquire additional skill at the drill which is, after all, a skill itself, but this learning does not transfer to the main skill of interest."

What Slow Burn does is keep your body ready, willing and able to perform and practice your given sport or activity with more vim and vigor and less chance of injury. But the two are separate and distinct.

What people believe and what is true

Here is a list of what people believe to be true about weight lifting and what is scientifically proven to be true beyond a shadow of a doubt:

Belief

Truth

Decreases flexibility

Bad for blood pressure    

Doesn’t improve cardio health       

Makes you bulky                         

Dangerous                                  

Needs to be done at least 3X a week 

Requires constant variation          

Requires fancy equipment                           

Enhances flexibility

Good for blood pressure

Greatly improves cardio health   

Makes you toned and leaner

One of the safest modalities

Needs to be done at most 2X a week

Requires no variation

Often simple tools work wonders      

Fact: Strength training, if done twice weekly and correctly, absolves you of any other formal exercising. It also enhances your overall ability to perform your favorite pastime activities (if you have any) with less chance of injury.

Slight modifications don’t cut the mustard

I was discussing and debating the issue of fat loss and improved health with Teri Evans Teri_th

(one of our amazing instructors at Serious Strength) and I held fast to my position that small modifications in the diet just don’t cut the mustard.

I believe that for fat loss to be achieved and sustained and, for noticeable improvements to be made in a person’s overall health, dramatic changes in how a person eats need to be undertaken – at least for most of us.

Teri was right however – little changes or modifications can be beneficial. Changing from cola to water or switching from Wonder bread to whole spelt can absolutely help a person lose fat and have better health.

A little.

But most people want (and need) a lot.

Cutting down from a pack of cigs a day to smoking only 9 is certainly better. It will improve your lung health – comparatively. But it ain’t gonna work in the long run to get you to quit or to allow your lungs to heal.

To quit, you have to quit, period. And the folks I know who did  quit successfully did it cold turkey. The ‘patch’ almost always fails – although it is a small modification in the right direction.

However, if you want swift and sustained fat loss and ‘optimal’ health (or as close as you can get to it), and most of us do, you’ve got to:

  1. Overhaul your entire kitchen (out with the bad, in with the good)
  2. A good radio or CD player in the kitchen to make the environment pleasant
  3. Cook and plan every meal and brown bag it – except on rare occasions
  4. Buy the stuff you need to make the cooking environment comfortable and easy (good pots and pans, utensils, etc.)
  5. Cook books on a shelf at the ready
  6. Favorite recipes in a folder on your desktop computer for easy printing
  7. Notes on your bulletin board chock full of positive reinforcement statements
  8. Shopping list with the food items you must never run out of (for me it’s Red Devil hot sauce  – yum!).

And mustard, Mustard

by the by, is a great low cal, low carb condiment! (Just avoid the ones with corn syrup).

Are you ready for the BIG change? Your body is!


Contact Information

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169 West 78th Street
New York, NY 10024

212.579.9320
info@seriousstrength.com

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25 Watchung Plaza
Montclair, NJ 07042

973.233.1013
infomontclair@seriousstrength.com

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