Monthly Archives: April 2010

What Do I Eat?

I thought you all might like to see what a typical eating day in the life of Fred might be like. Do I really walk the paleo walk? Well, here’s a typical day:

Breakfast
4 poached eggs, a dash of hot sauce, 3 butter patties, salt
Bacon (4 strips)
Coffee with heavy cream

Snack
One or two tins of sardines or mackerel (I strayed from this for a while but am getting back into this habit. These fish are a wonderful source of quality protein and omega 3s. Here are the ones I eat. Very yummy!)

Lunch
Assorted sashimi
Seaweed salad or other green salad

Snack
Whey protein shake with water, 2 raw whole eggs, coconut butter, fish oil or
Tin of sardines, mackerel

Dinner
4 grass fed lamb chops (or other organic grass fed meats or wild fish)
Green salad
Red wine

Desert
Nothing – ever. Well, maybe a touch of something like flan. But it is RARE.

Nope, no bread, pasta, rice, or any grain product whatsoever. I rarely eat fruit – I generally only eat the wild berries and other fruits we planted in our backyard when in season. In the winter I eat no fruit at all.

So do I qualify as a caveman or what?

The NYC Dept. of Health Has Its Facts Screwed Up

On nutrition that is.

The NYC department of health’s bulletin on fats is a complete nightmare. Just about everything it says on the subject is wrong.

As an example, it states:

Eat as little saturated fat as possible.
• Saturated fat is found mostly in animal products such as cheese,
whole milk and beef.
• For a healthier heart,whenever you can, replace foods high
in saturated fat with those that contain unsaturated fat.
(See Small Changes Add Up.)

Well the fact is there has never been a shred of evidence that saturated fat is heart unhealthy. None at all. A recent paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that:

…there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.

In a court of law, you can’t be found innocent. But that is precisely what so many nutritionists and doctors argue when discussing the issue of saturated fats. They routinely ask to see the evidence that saturated fat is not causative in CVD and CHD. But this is like asking someone to prove they’re innocent of a crime. If you’re not guilty you are innocent.

In fact, several other papers have shown the opposite – that a lack of saturated fats in the diet is unhealthy.

And the misinformation continues.

What about cholesterol?
• While cholesterol in food can raise blood cholesterol, most high blood
cholesterol comes from eating food with saturated and trans fat.
• Food labeled “cholesterol-free” may still contain saturated and trans fat.

Wrong. There is no evidence that eating cholesterol raises the level of cholesterol in your blood. In fact, there is no cholesterol in your blood AT ALL. Cholesterol rides inside a lipoprotein which is in your blood. There is no such thing as a blood cholesterol level. And the more cholesterol you eat, the less your body makes. Neither does saturated fat raise your level of cholesterol.

The NYC Dept. of Health has some serious reading to do.

Bear in mind that any diet research paper that shows deleterious health effects always has carbohydrate, not fat, as the primary macronutrient. I challenge anyone to find a diet study where fat is high and carbohydrate is low (under 100 grams per day) with deleterious health effects. In fact what you will find is the exact opposite.

Yes – you can have your fat and eat it too!

For more information, visit the Nutrition and Metabolism Society.

Fat

“Eating fat doesn’t make you fat. Storing fat makes you fat. Carbohydrates play a major role in storing fat. So the level of dietary carbohydrate is really the most important factor to control because it dictates what happens to fat. Carbohydrates are dominant and fat is passive. When carbohydrates are low, fat tends to be burned, and when carbohydrates are high dietary fat tends to be stored.”

Wise words form Dr. Jeff Volek.

Let them ruminate in your mind. (And by the way, only ruminants need to eat carbohydrate.)

Weight Training Injuries

I saw this article today on weight training injuries. It appears that there is a booming rise in the number of weight room related injures due to the growing popularity of resistance training. Thankfully more people are getting into the weight room these days. Resistance training is without question the single most potent form of exercise for any adult for staying healthy, lean and vital as the years roll on. And it’s exceptionally healthful for kids too.

Information from emergency/hospital data suggests that most of the injuries appear to be caused by free weights dropping on people – children especially. Some appear to be caused by exercise machine use, primarily in women. It’s a short article so take a gander if you’re interested.

To the point – inanimate objects don’t hurt anyone. People’s behavior is what causes harm. Guns don’t kill – people do.

Let’s look at the list of safety suggestions this article (and quite frankly, every article I have ever read on the subject) recommends. It always amuses me to read these recommendations as most of them don’t actually help anyone learn how to stay safe in the weight room. So let’s begin!

Find an instructor who can help you learn how to do the exercises correctly using the proper form.

OK but, how does one know that an instructor knows what he or she is talking about? I know many trainers with multiple certifications who train people at major health clubs who haven’t a clue. Worse, they put their clients in harms way. (This is true even for doctors. For example, there are doctors who recommend that a diabetic eat bread, rice and whole wheat pasta!) I guess you’ll just have to walk around your gym and look for the instructor with the glowing halo.

Take a look-see at this:

squats on a ball

Do any of you think this is smart? What in the world is this trainer doing? What if the ball was to burst? (And indeed they do!) What if the trainee slipped and violently rocked to one side? Do you think the trainer could catch him? What, pray tell, is the purpose of this dangerous act? And by the way, most, if not all professional personal trainer certification organizations endorse this sort of shenanigan. God’s honest!

For kids, a high school coach or athletic trainer can help.

Don’t you bet on that. While most mean well, high school coaches and AT’s (as they are called in the biz) the vast majority I have met have no idea how to implement a safe and effective resistance training program. In fact, AT’s are not strength coaches at all. They are on the field pros who help athletes when injured. It would have been better to suggest a strength and conditioning coach. But they can be a bit wacky too.

For adults, take advantage of the orientation session that most gyms offer when you join or hire a personal trainer until you feel you can perform the moves safety.

Well obviously this person can’t write too well. But that aside, how do you know that the information you are listening to is valid or even dangerous?

Warm up and cool down for each session. The warm-up should include stretching and a short cardiovascular workout to warm the muscles. Stretching is also important during the cool-down.

First of all, stretching has been shown to offer little to no safety benefit. Stretching can also cause harm. If the writer of this article was up on her reading, she’d have learned this.

From “A systematic review into the efficacy of static stretching as part of a warm-up for the prevention of exercise-related injury. Small K, Mc Naughton L, Matthews M. Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, University of Hull, Hull, England.

There is moderate to strong evidence that routine application of static stretching does not reduce overall injury rates.

Warming up is fairly benign, but what warms you up for the warm up? Usually the warm up is designed to mentally prepare an athlete for a forceful and violent event. Weight lifting should not be a forceful and violent affair. And besides, research indicates that the traditional warm up offers little safety benefits. And if you are weight lifting properly (which we will discuss later), the warm up is built right in.

When starting a new workout, use a small amount of weight at first and set a goal for the ACSM recommended minimum of eight to twelve repetitions.

Now here is a perfect example of how to be vague. What is ‘small?’ What means ‘at first?’ The ACSM does not recommend a minimum of 8 to 12 repetitions necessarily.

Use only an amount of weight that you can lift while still maintaining proper form.

And that is…?

Once you build strength, you can progress in both the amount of weight and the number of reps.

You’ll build strength after the first workout. What does this mean exactly?

Don’t continue to lift if you feel pain.

What kind of pain? Joint pain? Muscle pain? There are differences. Pain in the muscles that is caused by deeply fatiguing the muscles is perfectly OK to feel and in fact, desirable.

Wear the appropriate foot wear. Ensure that your shoes have good traction to prevent slipping.

Should we wear cleats? (Just joking.) OK fine.

Remember to breathe. Some people have a tendency to hold their breath while lifting a heavy load. Failure to breathe properly may cause increases in blood pressure that could be harmful. It is recommended to exhale through the mouth as you lift.

Alrighty then! Finally a recommdation worth a darn. But what’s with the exhaling through the mouth tip? Just breathe. It makes no difference how so long as you do.

Get plenty of rest between workouts. It is recommended to give each muscle at least one to two days rest between sessions to allow for recovery, healing, and building.

Also a good recommendation but not for safety reasons per se. Fact is that you should give your body at least 2-3 days of rest in between weight lifting workouts.

But the bottom line on safety is this: Lift and lower an appropriate weight s l o w l y. An appropriate weight is a weight that is light enough for you to perform at least 40 seconds of continuous work through a full range of joint(s) motion and a maximum of 120 seconds before reaching complete muscle fatigue a.k.a muscular failure.

What is slowly? Take about 1-2 seconds to initiate the first inch of movement. In other words, overcome inertia carefully. Don’t heave, yank, jerk or thrust at the start of the set. Pretend you are picking up a newborn infant that doesn’t even belong to you. Then continue to lift until the rep is completed. Reverse carefully and lower in the same fashion. Only speed up, meaning work harder, when you feel you are slowing down due to fatigue. A good basic rule is 5 seconds minimum to lift and lower even more slowly.

Remember – safety first. You are not an Olympic lifter trying to toss as much weight as possible over your head. You are not a power lifter trying to discover your maximum single repetition poundage. You are using weights to dupe the body into thinking you need more lean mass and strength. This can be done without the bravado and ‘pump-and-circumstance’ you see being used in most gyms.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Contact Information

NYC Location
169 West 78th Street
New York, NY 10024

212.579.9320
info@seriousstrength.com

Montclair, NJ Location
25 Watchung Plaza
Montclair, NJ 07042

973.233.1013
infomontclair@seriousstrength.com

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