Exercise is important, But diet is critical.

New Years Wishes

Hello Facebook Users! As everyone is posting something ecstatically brilliant with Abundant Spirits about 2013, I thought I would post a few words (Humour me)… I am not one for the conventional New Year’s mantra. For most people Success is defined in different ways for many of us, but more, and more it becomes synonymous with money and status.  However real SUCCESS is less about results, or a bottom line, and more about the process of achieving goals and dreams…

Jim Carrey once said “I hope everybody could get rich and famous and will have everything they ever dreamed of, so they will know that it`s not the answer”

If I have you attention for just a little more time… You know that you should exercise, and eat lots of veggies and less… well quite brutal and characteristic honesty “Crap, shit and filth” But knowing something and actually doing it are two very different things.

We all should stop procrastinating. We know we should watch less TV or go to go online less often, like facebook, twitter, youtube – you name it and quite ironically this status is even procrastinating. Knowing isn’t the problem. It’s the doing that gets us every time.

Why is implementing New Year resolutions so hard? How do we put knowledge into action? What’s stopping us, and how do we overcome it? The answers are both simple, and difficult.

It’s not knowledge of what to do that’s stopping us. That’s usually fairly simple:

If you want to lose weight, eat fewer calories and move more. If you want to be healthier, eat more veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and whole grains. If you want to be in better shape, exercise. If you want to write a book, fucking write it. But that’s not what we do. Here’s what we do instead:We talk about it a lot. We put off doing it and go do something else. We feel guilty about it, and then push it to the back of our minds. We finally decide to take action, so we read and talk about it some more. Reading isn’t doing (unless what you want to do is read more books). Talking isn’t doing (unless you’re learning to communicate better or become a public speaker).

Plain and simple: Doing is doing.

So what’s stopping us from doing the doing? It’s fairly simple. The Little Thing That Stops Us There’s something going on here that stops us from doing what we know. It’s hidden, it’s a mystery. We all have it, but rarely know what to do about it, and worse, rarely acknowledge it.

The answer:  FEAR!

Therefore, on 2013 to really respect the year, and make positive and progressive change, do not say, and say DO! – This is why people have much animosity with 2013 Facebook status, because they are the same thing every year. I urge everyone to really reflect and think, and put your words into action, and really make 2013 a year to remember.  Accept the Truth! Speak the Truth! Breathe through the Truth! Process the Truth! Create a plan Based on the Truth! Don’t be afraid to stand for what you believe in, even if that means standing alone. Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish it Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason that it will.


Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for reading!

“A successful life is one that is lived through understanding and pursuing one’s own path, not chasing after the dreams of others.” 


Reasons Why Ladies Shouldn’t Be Terrified of Gaining Muscle

First, let’s address a few of the misconceptions regarding training, muscles, and women. Let’s review the key aspect in changing body composition: hormone response to training. It’s physiologically impossible for women to gain muscle in the same way as a man because women don’t have enough testosterone unless they ingest it on purpose…  If men train hard and lift heavy loads, they will experience a large boost in testosterone post-workout. This doesn’t happen to women. Women have 15 to 20 times less testosterone than men, and studies have failed to demonstrate any significant change in testosterone response in women from training.

The good thing about resistance training for females of all ages is that if you train hard, you will elevate the hormone Growth Hormone (HGH), which burns fat in the body.  HGH will also help you build muscle, but it has a much greater effect on fat burning.  What a lot of women don’t realize is that if they resistance train, they will build a little bit of muscle, get stronger, and most rewarding, lose the fat that covers up the muscles they have. This will make them look strong and fit—and those muscles are great ammunition against the fat gain that happens with age.

Resistance training will not “turn fat into muscle,” nor will muscle that has been built turn into fat. It you train intelligently hard, fat will be lost and muscle will be gained. You will increase your metabolism and with proper nutrition, you will keep that fat off. If you quit training, muscle will be lost, and fat will probably be gained depending on your energy intake.  Also, a pound of muscle doesn’t “weigh less” than a pound of fat. They both weigh a pound, but if you have 10 pounds of muscle you will look a lot leaner than if that same 10 pounds was all fat.

How to Get Stronger

The only way to get stronger is to progressively increase the amount of weight you lift. It is possible to build muscle with moderate loads, but the definition of moderate is not 5 pounds. Rather, a standard fat loss training program would use anywhere between 60 and 85 percent loads (that refers to a weight that is 60 to 85 percent of the maximal amount you can lift for a given exercise). Where a lot of women and uneducated trainers go wrong is that they take “moderate” to mean “light” and then they drop that weight in half. Loads of 10 or 20 percent are a waste of time. They won’t help you be able to pick a child up off the floor or put a heavy box up on a shelf overhead.

In fact, high rep, light load training won’t do anything for you, except it may lead you to lose the small amount of muscle you already have! High rep, light load training is a variation of aerobic exercise and it may raise cortisol. One study found that embarking on a light load aerobic-style resistance program led to the loss of 5 pounds of muscle and a reduction in resting metabolic rate of 3 percent over a 10 year period!. You’ll be left with less muscle and possibly more fat—sounds like a Fat Trap to me!

The belief that high repetition, light load training will give women develop muscle tone is a misconception. The scientific definition of muscle “tone” has nothing to do with the popular definition, which seems to be the level of visibility of muscles. To achieve better muscle tone by the popular definition, all you need to do is lose fat, and high rep, light load training will not help you do this.
The better solution is to a “periodized” program focused on body composition such as many periodized training programs you can fine online without too much difficulty, which will progressively allow you to reach your goals.

Reasons Why Ladies Shouldn’t Be Terrified of Gaining Muscle

You’ll Have Less Body Fat

Muscle mass is the best defence against getting fat. For example, one study compared a 12-week periodized resistance training protocol using loads ranging from 60 to 80 percent of maximal with a muscular endurance protocol using light loads with 15 to 30 reps on body composition in women. The women that did the periodized program lost nearly 5 kg of body fat, gained about 3 kg of muscle, and had dramatic increases in strength. The women who did the high rep, light load muscular endurance program lost NO fat and gained no muscle. They didn’t get stronger either!

It’s okay to start getting strong at a young age. Studies show that girls from age 7 on up can develop equal strength as boys of the same age. Plus, in young girls, having a stronger handgrip, and more lower and upper body strength are all associated with better body composition, lower BMI, and greater functional ability as measured by vertical jump. By developing strength at a young age, you’ll set yourself or your kids up for a lean and strong future!

You’ll Look Better in Clothes and Without Them (Cough… Cough…)

Strong, developed muscles can give women curves—glutes and abs with muscle development are much more aesthetically pleasing to the male eye—and you’ll look better in clothes and perhaps more important than conforming to the male gaze is research that suggests that building strength by training is an effective way for women to take control of their body image. Once you have a tool to help you get the body you desire, you’ll feel empowered. I guarantee that achieving personal records and squatting or deadlifting more than you weigh will make you feel and look awesome.

 You’ll Have Less Disease Risk: Cancer, Diabetes, etc.

The more muscle and bone you have, the greater the acid buffering power your body has, which correlates with a better immune system and higher levels of the endogenous antioxidant, glutathione. Lower glutathione is a primary predictor of fatal disease risk, especially cancer.  A new study has linked lower handgrip strength, which is correlated with low muscle mass in women, with poor health and a much greater risk of developing a number of chronic diseases. In women, stroke, poor posture (kyphosis), history of a fall, hyperthyroidism, and anaemia were associated with a weak handgrip.

You’ll Have Better Posture

If you lift smart, you will develop structural balance, which basically means your muscles will be coordinated to help you move well and have better posture.  A strong lower back and core will help you stand up tall, keep your abdomen tight, and avoid back pain. A stronger upper back will give you the ability to roll your shoulders back by retracting your shoulder blades.  More strength will help you develop better body awareness so that you keep your head in line with your spine (not sticking forward), and your movement patterns will be smoother. You’ll look and feel more confident, and people will have more respect for you!

You’ll Have Better Balance and Flexibility

A study of untrained women who participated in a 10-week resistance training program showed that they improved their balance by doubling the amount of time they could stand on one foot with outstretched arms from 43 seconds to 85 seconds. These women increased lower body strength by 32 percent and gained an average of 20 kilos on their leg press 1RM. The also decreased body fat by 2.2 percent! Better flexibility isn’t a given because it depends on a variety of factors including whether you stretch or get body work on a regular basis. But, studies do indicate that women who perform better on tests of lower body strength have better flexibility. Naturally, a more active lifestyle will help you maintain flexibility and avoid immobilizing injuries, such as injury to the rotator cuff, hip, or knee.

You’ll Have A Better Mental Outlook

The 10-week study of women also found positive changes in the participants’ mental outlook from strength training. These women demonstrated greater physical confidence, much fewer mood disturbances and feelings of depression, and they had less fatigue by the end of the study.

You’ll have a Stronger Immune System

Lifting weights improves gene activity and enhances the body’s natural antioxidant system so that it is ready to launch an assault when exposed to viruses. Research shows that people who do moderate to vigorous training get sick much less often than those who are inactive—one study found a 43 percent lower incidence of getting a cold during the winter months.

You’ll Age Better

Greater muscle mass percentage in older women is strongly associated with better mobility, faster gait speed, lower body weight, and lower fat mass. Gaining muscle now will help you stay leaner, maintain stronger bones, and avoid pain as you age.

You’ll Live Longer (Saving the best for last)

At least six studies have shown that women who have more muscle mass will live longer. Being stronger means you’ll have better mobility and muscle power as you get older, which is another primary indicator of longevity.  A related bonus is that by getting strong, lean, and muscular at a young age, you’ll avoid what is being called sarcopenic-obesity or being fat and having low muscle mass when you are old. Although it’s unclear whether older people gain fat first or lose muscle first, these two physiological actions go hand in hand. Once you start losing muscle, you are just about guaranteed to get fat if you don’t take action by lifting some iron!


  • Cheung, C., Nguyen, U., et al. Association of Handgrip Strength with Chronic Diseases and Multimorbidity. Age. 2012. Published ahead of Print.
  • Van Geel, T., Geusens, P., et al. Measures of Bioavailable Serum Testosterone and Estradiol and their Relationships with Muscle Mass, Muscle Strength and Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal
  • Women. European Journal of Endocrinology. 2009. 160, 681-687.
  • Scafoglieri, A., Porovyn, S., et al. Direct Relationship of Body Mass Index and Waist Circumference with Body Tissue Distribution in Elderly Persons. The Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging. 2011. 15(10), 924-931.
  • FitzGerald, S., Barlow, C., et al. Muscular Fitness and all-Cause Mortality. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 2004. 1, 7-18.
  • Westcott, W., Winett, R., et al. Prescribing Physical Activity: Applying the ACSM Protocols for Exercise Type, Intensity, and Duration across Three Training Frequencies. Physician and Sportsmedicine. 2009. 37(2), 51-58.
  • Patil, R., Uusi-Rasi, K., et al. Sarcopenia and Osteopenia Among 70-80-year-old Home-Dwelling Finnish Women. Osteoporosis International. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.
  • Annesi, J., Gann, S., et al. Preliminary Evaluation of a 10-Week Resistance and Cardiovascular Exercise Protocol on Physiological and Psychological Measures for a sample of Older Women. Perceptual Motor Skills. 2004. 98(1), 163-170.
  • Milliken, L., Faigenbaum, A., et al. Correlates of Upper and Lower Body Muscular Strength in Children. Journal of Strength and conditioning Research. 2008. 22(4), 1339-1346.
  • Andreoli, A., Celi, M., et al. Lon-Term Effect of Exercise on Bone Mineral Density and body Composition in Post-Menopausal Ex-Elite Athletes. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2012. 66(1), 69-74.
  • Beavers, K., Lyles, M., et al. Is Lost Lean Mass from Intentional Weight Loss Recovered during Weight Regain in Postmenopausal Women? American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011. 94(3), 767-774.
  • Cussler, E., Lohman, T., et al. Weight Lifted in Strength Training Predicts Bone Change in Postmenopausal Women. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2003. 35(1), 10-17.
  • Consitt, L., Copeland, J., et al. Endogenous Anabolic Hormone Responses to Endurance Versus Resistance Exercise and training in Women. Sports Medicine. 2002. 32(1), 1-22.
  • Chen, B., Shih, T., et al. Thigh Muscle Volume Predicted by Anthropometric Measurements and Correlated with Physical Function in the Older Adults. Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging. 2011. 15(6), 433-438.
  • Enea, C., Boisseau, N., et al. Circulating Androgens in Women: Exercise-Induced Changes. Sports Medicine. 2011. 41(1), 1-15.

The Hormonal Effects of food

Many see food as simply energy.  They remain unaware of the direct and indirect information both macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) and micronutrients have on physiology. Similar to the effect high intensity exercise has on the body, food can either elevate fat burning or induce a powerful fat storing effect. Food is able to regulate powerful hormones that predict hunger, energy, mood, and fat burning from one meal to the next.

When the proper dietary influences on your hormones are reached the process of sustained loss becomes much easier. It is known that protein and fiber together blunt the hunger response and decrease cravings. This is because they each generate a unique hormone response. Fiber drastically decreases the hunger hormone ghrelin and also lowers the fat storing hormone insulin. Protein on the other hand raises the fat burning hormone glucagon and increases the motivating and craving reducing neurotransmitter dopamine. Taken together, protein and fiber intake leads to decreased appetite, lower cravings, and improved fat usage between meals. The most interesting thing about these outcomes is that for many, they lead to effortless restriction of calories without the use of willpower. The body automatically regulates calories because it no longer has the constant urge and desire for food. Unlike the starvation effect induced by the calorie model, the hormonal approach to food sends signals that tell the body there is plenty of food and it does not have to worry about conserving fat.

Dietary studies comparing caloric vs. hormonal signals

In the 2003, May 22nd issue of the New England Journal of Medicine two different approaches to diet were analyzed. One approach was a traditional low fat and low calorie diet (LC) and the other was a diet where carbohydrate was replaced with higher amounts of protein (HP). In the high protein group dieters were allowed to eat as much food as they liked as long as they kept their carbohydrate intake low. The low calorie group limited their food intake to between 1200 and 1500 calories for women and between 1500 and 1800 calories for men. These two approaches directly compare the old method of calorie reduction versus the new method of hormonal approaches to weight loss. It turns out that the high protein group lost weight more quickly, voluntarily consumed fewer calories, and had improved blood chemistry tests over the calorie restricted group.

Another study published the same year in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (Vol. 88 # 4) found the same results. A high protein diet without calorie restriction yielded better results than the standard calorie reduction approach weight loss experts usually prescribe. This research like the study described above is noteworthy because it shows that the body has the ability to naturally regulate energy consumption. The studies above did not bother to find the underlying mechanism behind this response, but understanding hormonal influences on metabolism would enable you to predict this response.

One final study printed in the Journal Nutrition and Metabolism in 2004 looked at 28 overweight men and women. One group was given a low fat, high carbohydrate diet and the other a high protein and low carbohydrate diet. As we have pointed out these two diets will have very different hormonal effects. In this particular study the higher carbohydrate group took in 300 calories less on average than the high protein group (1855 Kcal/day for the high protein group and 1562 Kcal/day for the high carbohydrate group). Even with the consumption of more food daily, the high protein group lost more weight and fat with a greater proportion coming from the midsection.

It is important to point out here that self-reported food logs are inaccurate in terms of predicting calories.  Many who read research on nutrition use this as an argument against negative results.  In other words they will say, since catching calories is inaccurate, the other group must have eaten less and it just wasn’t captured.  I feel this phenomenon, the fact that individuals consistently under report their food intake, is more evidence against the calorie model.  We should be teaching people to make the right choices with food not expecting them to eat the right amount which they are incapable of calculating or controlling.  Controlling the physiological sensations that lead to food intake in the first place (hunger, cravings, energy lows, etc), is a much smarter strategy. Eating foods that reduce these sensations will lead to less food intake automatically.  It is the reason why a doughnut and a chicken breast, which have the same number of calories, will result in a very different outcome.  I know plenty of people who can sit down and eat 5 doughnuts.  I don’t know many who would be able to do the same with 5 chicken breasts.

Caffeine the right dose improves Power & Strength

A new study in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that a dose of caffeine equal to about three cups of coffee can support significant maximal power gains, but one cup won’t do the trick. This study used individuals who are very light coffee drinkers—getting less than 60 mg of caffeine a day—and many of us may need a larger dose to see a difference.

We must identify the optimal dose to suit our goals and tolerance. A cluster of new evidence provides insight into what that may be. Let’s start with that study mentioned above. Two groups of active individuals drank either 1 mg or 3 mg per kg of body weight of caffeine and then performed half squat and bench press power tests using a diversity of loads ranging from 10 to 100 percent of the 1 RM. For a 80 kg man, those doses would equal 80 mg or 240 mg of caffeine, respectively. For reference, one serving of the energy drink Red Bull which my friend keeps drinking without cause – contains 80 mg of caffeine and the average 8 ounce coffee contains 90 to 100 mg.

Results in the bench and squat tests found no increase in power output from the 1 mg/kg/bw dose or from a placebo. The larger 3 mg/kg/bw caffeine dose allowed the individuals to produce significantly more power (an average of 170 watts more in the squat and 30 watts more in the bench press) at all loads above 30 percent of the 1 RM.

A second recent study used a much higher dose to test the effect of caffeine on recovery using two high-intensity exhausting exercise trials in one day. This study used trained athletes and had them perform a glycogen(carb)-depleting exercise trial to exhaustion. One group drank a placebo, a second drank a carbohydrate drink, and a third took the same carb drink with 8 mg/kg/bw of caffeine. 

They then rested for four hours and performed a sprint interval test to exhaustion. The group that took the caffeine performed significantly better than both other groups—they went for 48 minutes compared to only 19 minutes by the placebo group and 32 minutes in the group that only drank carbs. That’s a remarkable difference in high-intensity performance by just getting the right caffeine dose, which can aid sporting or training performance in numerous of ways.  Researchers suggest the caffeine may improve muscle glycogen resynthesis post-workout – all pluses!

Of course, 8 mg/kg/bw is a much larger dose than was tested in the first study, equalling 540 mg for a 70 kg man. For comparison, studies that have looked at health benefits from coffee drinking have found lower cancer risk and better endothelial function (indicates better heart health) from between one and four cups of caffeinated coffee a day, equal to about 100 to 400 mg of caffeine daily.

Take away from these studies the understanding that you’ll get best results from caffeine by being precise about your dose rather than by gobbling caffeine pills (pro plus) or ingesting a pot of coffee (Sumatra coffee…) At the same time, too little won’t provide any performance benefit.

If you want to get the caffeine boost but are concerned you will be too on “the edge” or jittery post-workout, consider taking 2 grams of vitamin C or adding the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine (they will support the adrenals to prevent a “crashing feeling”) to your caffeine dose. Vitamin C will help you metabolize the caffeine quickly and may be best if you are training in the evening—take the vitamin C post-workout and the caffeine before.


Taylor, C., Higham, D., et al. The Effect of Adding Caffeine to Postexercise Carbohydrate Feeding on Subsequent High-Intensity Interval-Running Capacity Compared with Carbohydrate Alone. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2011. 21(5), 410-416.

Del Coso, J., Salinero, J., et al. Dose Response Effects of a Caffeine-Containing Energy Drink on Muscle Performance: A Repeated Measures Design. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2012. 9(21).

Fat Burning Zone – L.I.T or H.I.I.T?

The body’s relative use of fat for fuel during exercise is dependent upon training intensity. The lower the intensity, the greater the proportion of stored fat is used for fuel. The higher the intensity, the greater relative use of glycogen and/or the phosphate system. But this is where the misunderstanding begins. Although I’m burning a greater proportion of stored fat typing this sentence ad this post, getting up and sprinting would have a greater impact on fat reduction despite its lesser proportional use of fat to power the increased intensity. Plenty examination of the intensity threshold of maximal fat oxidation has been done. Achten & Jeukendrup found peak fat oxidation to occur during exercise at 63% VO2 max. This peak level got progressively less beyond that point, and was minimal at 82% VO2 max, near the lactate threshold of 87%.

Misunderstanding is perpetuated in fitness circles

It has been widely misconstrued that a greater net amount of fat is burned through lower to moderate intensity work, regardless of study duration and endpoints assessed. In addition the confusion of net fat oxidation with proportional fat oxidation, the post exercise period is critically overlooked. No difference is ever made between during-exercise fat oxidation, recovery period fat oxidation, total fat oxidation by the end of a 24-hr period, and most importantly, a longer term of several weeks. The superiority of lower intensity cardio continues to be touted over the more precise stuff that takes half the time to do. Fortunately, there is enough research data to gain a clear understanding. Let’s begin!

Data Munching the Research

Mixed study protocols + mixed results = plenty of mixed-up trainees

As with all research involving applied physiology, the highly mixed set of results is due to a wide variation of study designs in terms subject profile, dietary strategy, energetic balance, and actual intensities used. The body of exercise-induced fat oxidation research can be easily deciphered by stratifying it into 3 subgroups: Acute effect (during exercise & immediately after), 24-hour effect, & chronic effect (results over several weeks).

Acute effects generate ideas for further research

Measuring fat oxidation during exercise, most acute effect trials look at fat oxidation at the 3 to 6 hour mark post exercise. Fat oxidation during exercise tends to be higher in low-intensity treatments, but post exercise fat oxidation tends to be higher in high-intensity treatments. For example, Phelain’s team compared fat oxidation in at 3hourrs post exercise of 75% VO2 max versus the same kcals burned at 50% (see reference). Fat oxidation was insignificantly higher during exercise for the 50% group, but was significantly higher for the 75% group 3 hours post exercise. Lee’s team compared, in college males, the thermogenic and lipolytic effects of exercise pre-fueled with milk + glucose on high versus low-intensity training. Predictably, pre-exercise intake of the milk/glucose solution increased excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC, aka residual thermogenesis) significantly more than the fasted control group in both cases. The high-intensity treatment had fatter oxidation during the recovery period than the low intensity treatment. This implicates pre-fueled high-intensity training’s potential role in optimizing fat reduction while simultaneously setting the stage for quicker recovery.

24-hour effects come closer to reality

Murphy’s Law, the promise of greater fat oxidation seen during and in the early post exercise periods of lower intensity cardio disappears when the effects are measured over 24 hours. Melanson’s research team was perhaps the first to break the severance of studies that only compared effects within a few hours postexercise. In a design involving an even mix of lean, healthy men & women aged 20-45, identical caloric expenditures of 40% VO2 max was compared with 70% VO2 max. Result? No difference in net fat oxidation between the low & high-intensity groups at the 24 hour mark.

Saris & Schrauwen conducted a similar study on obese males using a high-intensity interval protocol versus a low-intensity linear one. There was no difference in fat oxidation between high & low intensity treatments at 24 hours. In addition, the high-intensity group actually maintained a lower respiratory quotient in post exercise. This means that their fat oxidation was higher than the low-intensity group the rest of the day following the training bout, thus the evening out the end results at 24 hours.

Chronic effects getting warmer

Long-term/Chronic effect studies are the true tests of whatever hints and clues we might get from acute studies. The results of trials carried out over several weeks have obvious advantages over shorter ones. They also afford the opportunity to measure changes in body composition, versus mere substrate use proximal to exercise. The common thread running through these trials is that when caloric expenditure during exercise is matched, negligible fat loss differences are seen. The fact relevant to bodybuilding is that high-intensity groups either gain or maintain LBM, whereas the low-intensity groups tend to lose lean mass, hence the high intensity groups experience less net losses in weight.

The body of research strongly favours high-intensity interval training (HIIT see my blog for H.I.I.T: for both fat loss and lean mass gain/maintenance, even across a broad range of study populations. An outstanding example of this is work by Tremblay’s team, observing the effect of 20 weeks of HIIT versus endurance training on young adults. When energy expenditure between groups was corrected, HIIT group showed a gigantic 9 times the fat loss as the Endurance training group. In the HIIT group, biopsies showed an increase of glycolytic enzymes, as well as an increase of 3-hydroxyacyl coenzyme A dehydrogenase (HADH) activity, a marker of fat oxidation. Researchers concluded that the metabolic adaptations in muscle in response to HIIT favour the process of fat oxidation. The mechanisms for these results are still under investigation, but they’re centered on residual thermic and lipolytic effects mediated by enzymatic, morphologic, and beta-adrenergic adaptations in muscle. Linear/steady state comparisons of the 2 types tends to find no difference, except for better cardiovascular fitness gains in the high-intensity groups

What the Research Findings mean

• In acute trials, fat oxidation during exercise tends to be higher in low-intensity treatments, but post exercise fat oxidation and/or energy expenditure tends to be higher in high-intensity treatments.
• Fed subjects consistently experience a greater thermic effect postexercise in both intensity ranges.
• In 24-hour trials, there is no difference in fat oxidation between the 2 types, pointing to a delayed rise in fat oxidation in the high-intensity groups which evens out the field.
• In long-term studies, both linear high-intensity and HIIT training is superior to lower intensities on the whole for maintaining and/or increasing cardiovascular fitness & lean mass, and are at least as effective, and according to some research, far better at reducing bodyfat.

Check out my post on: H.I.I.T:

Bogus faith

Many trainees weight training as an activity exclusively for building muscle, and cardio exclusively for burning fat. Weight training can yield very similar results to cardio of similar intensity when 24-hour energy expenditure and macronutrient oxidation is measured. The obvious advantage of weight training is the higher potential for lean mass and strength gains. In the bodybuilding context, cardio should be viewed as merely an adjunctive training mode to further energy expenditure and cross-complement the adaptations specific to weight training. As far as cardio being absolutely necessary for cardiovascular health, well, that depends upon the overall volume and magnitude of your weight training – another topic for another time.

Chaos strikes again

on the surface, it seems logical to separate carbs from cardio if you want a maximal degree of fat oxidation to occur during training. But, there’s the underlying mistake – focusing on stored fuel usage during training instead of focusing on optimally partitioning exogenous fuel for maximal lipolytic effect around the clock. Put another way, it’s a better objective to coincide your carb intake with your day’s thermic peaks, where insulin sensitivity & lean tissue reception to carbs is highest. For some reason, this logic is not easily accepted, nor understood. As we know, human physiology doesn’t always cooperate with logic or popular opinion, so let’s scrutinize the science behind the claims.

Let the Research Speak

Carbohydrate ingestion during low-intensity exercise reduces fat oxidation

As far as 3 decades back, Ahlborg’s team observed that carb ingestion during low-intensity exercise (25-45% VO2 max) reduced fat oxidation compared to fasted levels. More recently, De Glisezinski’s team observed similar results in trained men at 50% VO2 max. Efforts to determine the mechanism behind this phenomenon have been made. Coyle’s team observed that at 50% VO2 max, carbohydrate availability can directly regulate fat oxidation by coordinating hyperinsulinemia to inhibit long-chain fatty acid transport into mitochondria.

Carbohydrate’s effect on fat oxidation during moderate-intensity exercise depends on conditioning level – Civitarese’s team found glucose ingestion during exercise to blunt lipolysis via decreasing the gene expression involved in fat oxidation in untrained men. Wallis’ team saw suppressed fat oxidation in moderately trained men & women when glucose was ingested during exercise.

In contrast to the above trials on beginning and intermediate trainees, Coyle’s team repeatedly showed that carb ingestion during moderate-intensity (65-75% VO2 max) does not reduce fat oxidation during the first 120 min of exercise in trained men. Interestingly, the intensity margin proximal to where fat oxidation is highest was unaffected by carb ingestion, and remained so for the first 2 hours of exercise.

Horowitz’ team examined the effect of a during-training solution of high-glycemic carbs on moderately trained men undergoing either low intensity exercise (25% VO2 max) or high-moderate intensity (68% VO2 max). Similar results to Coyle’s work were seen. Subjects completed a 2-hour cycling bout, and ingested the carb solution at 30, 60, and 90 minutes in. In the low-intensity treatment, fat oxidation was not reduced below fasted-state control group’s levels until 80-90 min of exercise. In the 68% group, no difference in fat oxidation was seen whether subjects were fasted or fed throughout the trial.

Further supporting the evidence in favour of fed cardio in trained men, Febbraio’s team investigated the effects of carb ingestion pre & during training in easily one of the best-designed trials on this topic. Subjects exercised for 2 hours at an intensity level of 63% VO2 max, which is now known as the point of maximal fat oxidation during exercise. Result? Pre & during-training carbs increased performance – and there was no difference in total fat oxidation between the fasted and fed subjects. Despite the elevated insulin levels in the carb-fueled groups, there was no difference in fat availability or fat utilization.

Overall the Research Findings

• At low intensities (25-50% VO2 max), carbs during exercise reduce fat oxidation compared to fasted trainees.
• At moderate intensities (63-68% VO2 max) carbs during exercise may reduce fat oxidation in untrained subjects, but do not reduce fat oxidation in trained subjects for at least the first 80-120 minutes of exercise.
• Carbohydrate during exercise spares liver glycogen, which is among the most critical factors for anticatabolism during hypocaloric & other conditions of metabolic stress. This protective hepatic effect is absent in fasted cardio.
• At the established intensity level of peak fat oxidation (~63% VO2 max), carbohydrate increases performance without any suppression of fat oxidation in trained subjects.

The issue

The current facts have been presented and the bases for conclusion should be self-evident. Let me clarify that HIIT and linear high-intensity cardio are not the best and only ways to go. Many folks have perfectly legitimate orthopedic, cardiac, and even psychological reasons to avoid them. Not only that, I sincerely believe that both low and high-intensity cardio have unique benefits unto themselves. Optimally, both types should be done, since each has specifically different effects. Saying that one is bottom-line superior to the other for improvement in body composition is as false as blanketly saying 5 reps per set is superior to 15. On the contrary, there is well-established benefit in periodizing training variables, or as they say in the trenches, “mixing it up”.

Too Much of the Same?

I’ve heard it mentioned that high-intensity cardio shouldn’t be done concurrently with high-intensity weight training due to excessive stress on the central nervous system. Perfect excuse. My primary response is, there’s no solid proof of that danger. It’s true that some folks regard a precociously low carb intake as a legit reason to keep intensity low. However, if your nutritional program doesn’t adequately support productive training, then you’ve designed it ass-backwards, painting yourself into a corner of compromised adaptation.

The Options

Options can be broken down in the following ways: If you’re pressed for time, and you can do HIIT without any delayed onset muscle soreness overlap (by virtue of doing a low frequency of HIIT), and you can tolerate it joint-wise & heart-wise, and you hate spending time doing cardio to begin with, then do HIIT. On the other hand, if you have the time to allot for low-intensity steady state (LISS), and you do a particularly high volume & magnitude of resistance training which raises potential recovery conflicts posed by a high frequency of HIIT, and then do LISS. If you’re somewhere in between the aforementioned 2 camps and you don’t have a specific preference or tolerance limit, do both types on either a cyclical, rotational, or even combined basis. Also, it can’t be overstated that unless you undergo a very gradual progression towards the musculoskeletal tolerance for something like sprinting, you can get hurt pretty bad & there goes your productive training for several weeks.

Fasted = Suboptimal

Fasted cardio is not optimal for reasons spanning beyond its questionable track record in research. There’s unavoidable positive metabolic synergy in fed (read: properly fueled) training, regardless of sport. This effect increases with intensity of training; even in untrained subjects, whatever fat oxidation is suppressed during training is compensated for in the recovery period by multiple mechanisms, many of which are not yet identified.

Athletes are known for their gravitation towards self-sacrifice, but some rely on hearsay, while others rely on science. Did you know that way back in the 60’s, it wasn’t uncommon for coaches to tell athletes in various sports to avoid drinking water before and during training? No comment needed. Good thing researchers questioned it, and enough data surfaced to validate claims of the skeptics. Sometimes counterproductive dogma indeed dies, thank goodness. However, the myths addressed here are admittedly more subtle than the water example. Even on suboptimal protocols, athletes all over the world still inch along, although not at optimal rates, and not necessarily to optimal levels.

I see the bottom line like this. Do the type you have a personal preference for, and also respect your physical limits. HIIT is quicker but riskier. LISS is safer but takes twice as long to accomplish the same thing. Again, do what you prefer & can tolerate, but do NOT make the mistake of assuming that LISS burns more fat. That’s misunderstanding the physiology of the matter.

I’ll end off by challenging you to diligently review the facts before blindly latching onto the myths.
Check out my H.I.I.T post: H.I.I.T:


Achten J, Jeukendrup AE. Relation between plasma lactate concentration and fat oxidation rates over a wide range of exercise intensities. Int J Sports Med. 2004 Jan;25(1):32-7.
Thompson DL, et al. Substrate use during and following moderate- and low-intensity exercise: implications for weight control. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1998 Jun;78(1):43-9.
Phelain JF, et al. Postexercise energy expenditure and substrate oxidation in young women resulting from exercise bouts of different intensity.J Am Coll Nutr. 1997 Apr;16(2):140-6.
Lee YS. Et al. The effects of various intensities and durations of exercise with and without glucose in milk ingestion on postexercise oxygen consumption. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1999 Dec;39(4):341-7.
Melanson EL, et al. Effect of exercise intensity on 24-h energy expenditure and nutrient oxidation. J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;92(3):1045-52.
Saris WH, Schrauwen P. Substrate oxidation differences between high- and low-intensity exercise are compensated over 24 hours in obese men. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. June; 28 (6): 759-65.
Grediagin A, et al. Exercise intensity does not affect body composition change in untrained, moderately overfat women. J Am Diet Assoc. 1995 Jun;95(6):661-5.
Mougios V, et al. Does the intensity of an exercise programme modulate body composition changes? Int J Sports Med. 2006 Mar;27(3):178-81.
Okura T, et al. Effects of exercise intensity on physical fitness and risk factors for coronary heart disease. Obes Res. 2003 Sep;11(9):1131-9.
Tremblay, et al. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism. 1994 Jul;43(7):814-8.
Yoshioka M, et al. Impact of high-intensity exercise on energy expenditure, lipid oxidation and body fatness. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001 Mar;25(3):332-9.
Broeder CE, et al. The effects of either high-intensity resistance or endurance training on resting metabolic rate. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992 Apr;55(4):802-10.
Gutin B, et al. Effects of exercise intensity on cardiovascular fitness, total body composition, and visceral adiposity of obese adolescents. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 May;75(5):818-26.
Melanson EL, et al. Resistance and aerobic exercise have similar effects on 24-h nutrient oxidation.. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002 Nov;34(11):1793-800.
Ahlborg, G., and P. Felig. Influence of glucose ingestion on fuel-hormone response during prolonged exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 1976;41:683-688.
De Glisezinski I, et al. Effect of carbohydrate ingestion on adipose tissue lipolysis during long-lasting exercise in trained men. J Appl Physiol. 1998 May;84(5):1627-32.
Coyle EF, et al. Fatty acid oxidation is directly regulated by carbohydrate metabolism during exercise. Am J Physiol. 1997 Aug;273(2 Pt 1):E268-75.
Civitarese AE, et al. Glucose ingestion during exercise blunts exercise-induced gene expression of skeletal muscle fat oxidative genes. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Dec;289(6):E1023-9.
Wallis GA, et al. Metabolic response to carbohydrate ingestion during exercise in males and females. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Apr;290(4):E708-15.
Coyle, et al. Muscle glycogen utilization during prolonged strenuous exercise when fed carbohydrate. J. Appl. Physiol. 1986;6:165-172.
Coyle, et al.. Carbohydrates during prolonged strenuous exercise can delay fatigue. J. Appl. Physiol. 59: 429-433, 1983.
Horowitz JF, et al. Substrate metabolism when subjects are fed carbohydrate during exercise. Am J Physiol. 1999 May;276(5 Pt 1):E828-35.
Febbraio MA, et al. Effects of carbohydrate ingestion before and during exercise on glucose kinetics and exercise performance. J Appl Physiol. 2000 Dec;89(6):2220-6.

Psychology and physiology – Training

Psychology impacts on physiology and physiology impacts on psychology and the days of pretending the body and mind are separate non-interacting entities are long, long gone.  However, keep in mind that it’s an artificial and non-existent separation in reality.

Modern science, for example the field of psychoneuroimmunology, recognizes that the brain and body are in a constant state of interaction and involvement with one another. This is sort of the foundation for the idea that you can think yourself sick. “99 percent of illness comes from being stressed” Sophie (Feel Good Tribe) or for the idea that people with a more positive attitude are more likely to survive certain diseases (such as cancer) – Lance Armstrong? Your thought processes can impact on such workings of your body as immune function.

I want you to start thinking about something that really makes you angry. Now stop for a second and pay attention to your body: odds are that your heart rate is up, if we measured blood pressure it would be increased too, you might be breathing a little bit harder, you get the idea. The mere act of thinking about something that upset you had a strong physiological effect throughout your body. A good example of this was in physiology class being told we are going to be performing aerobic training, then we were told to take our heart rate – It was up (before we checked our heart rates also)

Everybody knows how they get really lethargic and lazy when they are sick with something like the flu or a bad cold. It’s as if when you are sick your body is deliberately trying to get you to lie around all day and rest, may be watch some TV. This turns out to basically be the case.

When you are sick, your body releases short-lived chemicals called cytokines, some of which are inflammatory. Inflammatory cytokines, in addition to making you feel like warmed over crap when you have the flu or something, they also directly impact on the brain and your motivation to move around.  A similar mechanism has been suggested as a primary cause of overtraining; called the cytokine hypothesis of overtraining I think it ties together a lot of conflicting and contradictory issues and explains changes in performance along with behaviour; and ties together the previous held (but wrong idea) of local versus central overtraining. It turns out that they are the same thing and local effects (tissue damage) are causing central effects (behaviour and motivation changes).

Essentially constant/chronic/excessive inflammation locally (in the muscles you’re training) causes an increase in inflammatory cytokines and this is responsible for the lack of motivation to train and lethargy that often sets in. Essentially, your body (your muscles) are trying to ‘tell’ your brain to give it a rest and take some down-time. Of course, humans, being the stubborn people in whom we are, often choose to ignore or over-ride these signals.


Fitness Not Just for Healthy People (Guest Post)

Guest post by David Haas – Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Many people mistakenly believe that exercise only makes you more tired. But the opposite is actually true. Exercise generates more energy in your body. Your body reacts to exercise by getting stronger and increasing energy over time. Your physical fitness level will have a direct impact on your overall health, and response to cancer treatment, even mesothelioma treatment.

This can be seen at the cellular level, where our bodily energy production begins. Mitochondria are tiny organs located in cells that function as little power plants, producing energy in the form of ATP energy. Some of that energy has its source in your diet, but the total number of mitochondria you have is related to how active you are. So, for example, if you are swimming more, your body to match the increased energy demand will produce more mitochondria.

A University of Georgia study found that regular exercise plays a vital role in reducing fatigue and increasing energy levels. The study of 70 controlled trials found that over 90 percent of them showed that sedentary people who exercised reported significantly lower levels of fatigue than those who did not exercise at all.

It is important to recognize that there are two basic energy states that people can experience. One is a tense state fueled by nervousness, competitiveness, and many cups of coffee. This makes people wired and jittery, but energetic. However, it comes at a cost. It is bad on your health and leads to crashing later, and possibly depression and anxiety. It is a roller coaster of energy.

Calm energy, on the other hand, is more evenly distributed and associated with good health, proper diet, and physical fitness. This is energy that lasts and does not crash. This is healthy, positive, healing energy- the type of energy best suited to cancer patients.

When you exercise, you will see an improvement in the functioning of your immune system. Cancer treatment can not only leave you feeling fatigued, it can weaken your immune system. Exercise can counteract that effect and help support your immune system by stimulating it.

It is important to realize that the exercise should be moderate. A little bit goes a long way. Just make it regular and moderate and you’ll be fine. If you overdo it, the opposite effect can happen. You can weaken your immune system.

Some of the earliest studies of the effects of exercise on the immune system found that people who engaged in recreational sports had fewer colds when they exercised regularly. Moderate exercise is correlated with an enhanced immune system and an increase in the number of macrophages- cells that attack and kill pathogens in the body.

The caveat is that too much exercise that is very intense can lower your immunity. Some studies found that extreme exercise lowered immunity for up to 72 hours afterwards. That’s why it is so important to maintain a moderate exercise schedule. Cancer patients should check with their oncologist if they have any questions.

How to learn – Passionately

I am an avid learner and fear hunter, and I’m passionate about both.

I’m a lifelong learner and am always obsessively studying something, whether that’s philosophy, physiology nutrition, training, Cross fit or people’s biographies, chess, religion, life and adventure.

What I’ve learned about learning, is almost everything I’ve learned, I didn’t learn in school; it has improved me physically, mentally, academically and spiritually too.

Learning is Independent

You take responsibility for your learning, and do it because you`re interested in something, not because you were told you should learn it. This is exactly how I learn, and so I know it works.

When teachers (wonderful people that they  are and were – at times) tried to teach me something in school, I often became bored, and just did what I needed to do to do well on the test. Not because the subject or the teacher was boring, but because it wasn’t something I cared about. They wanted me to learn it because they thought I should, but that’s not why I find people learn something. They learn it because they care about it — because they find it incredibly interesting, or because they need it to do something they really want to do. Look at this blog site, I wanted to know about nutrition and publish what I have learned and have some where to look back at and keep that flame interested in nutrition.

When teachers succeeded in getting me to learn, it was only because they made something seem so interesting that I started to care about it. But then I learned on my own, either in class while ignoring everyone else, or more likely after class in the library or at home. You’re learning when you try to do that something — putting it into action. “Actions speak louder than words” That’s when the real learning begins and the superficial learning ends — when you try something and fail, and adjust and try again, and solve countless little problems as you do so.

I’ve learned a lot on my own. The stuff I’ve just read, I’ve mostly forgotten. But the stuff I’ve put into action by playing with it, by practicing, by creating and sharing with others — that stuff has stuck with me. I truly learned it such as training, nutrition, the mind, and wisdom!

I learned about blogging when I started blogging, and kept doing it and improved — not by reading blogs about blogging. This is where the real learning happens — when the fingers start moving, the feet start dancing, not when you hear or read something. “Knowledge is power but only when it is applied”

Here’s how to learn

Get fascinated.  You are you own teacher; you should fascinate the inner student by rediscovering with all the things that originally fascinated you about the topic. If you can’t get fascinated, you won’t care enough to really learn something. You’ll just go through the motions. How do you get fascinated? Often doing something with or for other people helps to motivate me to look more deeply into something, and reading about other people who have been successful/legendary at it also fascinates me. – Lance Armstrong anyone?

Pour yourself into it. I will read every website and book I can get my hands on. Google and the library are my first stops. They’re free. The used bookstore will be next. There are always an amazing amount of online resources to learn anything. If there isn’t, create one such as paradoxnutrition.

Do it, in small steps. Actually doing whatever you want to do will be scary. You can learn as much as you like, but until you start having conversations or setting it into practise, you won’t really know it. You can read as much about Crossfit as you like, but you have to put the theory into action, and play the game. Start with small, non-scary steps, with as little risk as possible, focusing on fun, easy skills. Learning isn’t work. It’s fun. If you’re learning because you think you should, not because you’re having fun with it, you will not really stick with it for long, or you’ll hate it and not care about it. So make it play. Make games out of it. Sing and dance while you do it. Show off your new skills to people, with a smile on your face. – Let your smile change the world, don`t let the world change your smile.

Do it with others. I believe most learning is done on your own, but doing it with others makes it fun. I like to work out with my friends and with Matthew or Crossfit buddies. That motivates me to learn, because I want to do well when I do it with others. Feel free to move around. That’s OK. That’s how passion for more works. Sometimes it will last for a long time; sometimes it’s a short intense burst. You can’t control it. Allow yourself to wander if that’s where things lead you – test yourself. You can learn a lot of information quickly by studying something, testing yourself, studying again to fill in the holes in your knowledge, testing again, and repeating until you have it by heart. That’s not always the most fun way to learn, but it can work well. Alternatively, you can learn by playing, and when you play, allow that to be your test.

Disagree. Don’t just agree that everything you’re reading or hearing from others on a topic is correct, even if they are foremost experts. First, experts are often wrong, and it’s not until they are challenged that new knowledge is found. Second, even if they are right and you are wrong by disagreeing, you learn by disagreeing. By disagreeing, you have already not only considered what you’ve been given, but formulated an alternative theory. Then you have to try to test to see which is right, and even if you find that the first information or theory was right and you were wrong, now you know that much better than if you just agreed. I’m not saying to disagree with everything, but the more you do, the better you’ll learn. Don’t disagree in a disagreeable way, and don’t hold onto your theories too tightly and be defensive about them.

Teach it. There is no better way to fortify your knowledge than to teach it to others. It’s OK if you don’t really know it that well — as long as you’re honest about that when you’re teaching it to someone. Learning can be subliminal. We think we’re in control of our minds and we’re like programmers telling our minds what to learn, how to learn, and what data to retain. No. Our minds work in mysterious ways, and cannot be tightly controlled. They wander, latch onto the weirdest things, and soak up more than we know. Later, you can come back to what you’ve absorbed, and test yourself, and find you knew something you didn’t realize you knew. The lesson is to expose yourself to as much as possible on a topic, and allow yourself to absorb it. Sometimes your mind will pick up patterns you didn’t consciously realize were there, but then can use those patterns later when you put the learning into action.

Reflect on your learning by blogging. You soak up a ton of information and patterns, and you can put that into action, but when you sit down and reflect on what you’ve learned, and try to share that with others, you force yourself to think deeply, to synthesize the knowledge and to organize it, much as you do when you teach it to others. Blogging is a great tool for reflection and sharing what you’ve learned, even if you don’t hope to make a living at it. And it’s free.

All the best everyone!

‘The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.’ ~Albert Einstein

Optimal body composition – Lose weight & Build muscle

Hey everybody, sorry for the long delay been enjoying my Easter doing various activities. Everyone wants to look good and lose some weight for the summer right? Be aware that correct nutrition is essential in order to achieve significant fat loss. It’s near impossible to out-train a bad crappy diet. If so, you would undoubtedly compromise your health in the short- and long-term. Beware (Emphasis added)

The goal

The first goal of training for fat loss and getting into shape for the summer is to elevate your resting metabolic rate (RMR) by increasing muscle mass because this means you will burn more energy every day. The RMR makes up the majority of energy you burn. Burning energy in addition to the RMR when working out is great, but the impact on total energy burned is fairly small compared to the total RMR.

You’re workout time needs to include both strength training and anaerobic conditioning because both contribute to muscle building and they burn significant energy (calories). The magic of strength and anaerobic training is that they boost your overall metabolic rate, burn a lot of energy in a short period of time, and elevate the RMR by increasing the amount of lean mass you have. Strength training and anaerobic conditioning affect the body differently than aerobic training, regardless of the intensity of that aerobic exercise, which means they will always be the priority for fat loss and body composition aka looking sexy.

Train A High Volume, Short Rest Periods & Moderate Loads

Strength train with a high volume of work, short rest periods (45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest), and moderate to heavy loads using multi-joint exercises. Squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, bench press, lunges, and rows should make up the core of your training, also known as your compound movements too. A hypertrophy-type program that generally includes 8 to 12 reps of more than 3 sets is ideal, but can be manipulated for a greater muscle building effect. More sets will accelerate results, but the 8 to 12 rep, 3 set schemes is a good place to start training for fat loss.

Use weights in the 70 to 85 percent of maximum range with short rest periods of 60 seconds or shorter (starting). This will provide a significant anabolic response by elevating testosterone and growth hormone. High reps and short rest intervals will make your body a high-powered energy burning machine.

Circuit training and super set schemes are ideal, as are descending sets in which you finish with very high reps (25 reps of squats or 2 minutes of leg presses, for example) for an extra fat burning burst. Supersets with 10 seconds rest when switching from the agonist to the antagonist exercise and 60 seconds between sets is one option. Or a “death circuit” of heavy, high volume deadlifts followed by split squats followed by lighter high volume squats with 10 seconds rest between exercises is another. Or some sand bags, box jump burpees, rope, crab craws and wall balls. (Thanks Crossfit)

Strength Train to Build Muscle and Create an Anabolic Response 

Strength training – The obvious benefit of burning a massive amount of energy quickly, working every muscle group hard, frequently, and at a very high intensity will elevate anabolic hormones that increase protein synthesis and fat burning.
Growth hormone (GH) is lipolytic, meaning it increases fat breakdown and the metabolism of glucose and amino acids. It increases protein synthesis, which is essential because you do not want to create a catabolic state that causes lean tissue loss (muscle) when you are trying to lose weight. GH is released by the body in greater quantities in response to physical stress above the lactate threshold, which is the reason heavy, high volume total body training with short rest periods (30 to 60 seconds) is necessary.

GH is produced in bursts by the pituitary gland at night during rest, and women get the body comp benefit by elevating GH just as much as men. The effect of exercise on testosterone for women is much, much smaller. GH is also involved in the release of another anabolic hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which is important for protein synthesis. Manipulating time under tension with a varied lifting tempo or inter-repetition pauses is one of the best ways to boost IGF-1.

Testosterone is the number one anabolic hormone. You will get the greatest elevations in Testosterone with slightly longer rest periods than the 30 to 60 seconds suggested for GH and weights on the heavier end of the range. Research shows that Testosterone is elevated more with rest periods in the 2 to 3 minute range with very heavy lifts and a fairly large number of sets. You will still boost Testosterone with a very intense fat burning, GH-type protocol, making a variety of training protocols best.

Scientists are not yet clear on the perfect number of sets to elevate Testosterone, which is partly due to the fact that individual Testosterone response varies greatly, even among the elite athletes who have similar training experience and background. More than 3 sets and as many as 8 have been found to significantly elevate Testosterone.

Perform Strength Training Instead of Aerobic Exercise

Strength training that is anaerobic, uses a high volume and intensity, and is made up primarily by traditional multi-joint lifts is always superior to aerobic exercise for fat loss. The evidence is VERY clear on this, but because some studies have used inadequate resistance training protocols (single-joint exercises at a low intensity) to compare resistance and aerobic training, the fat loss outcome has not always favored strength training.

For some profound reason, the media and many public health professionals suggest aerobic training, especially continuous, slow exercise, will help you lose fat, which is one of the most drastic misconceptions about weight loss and exercise. Strength training is anaerobic by nature—the opposite of aerobic—meaning it elevates fat burning hormones and burns energy, as mentioned above. I see it day in and day out girls doing chronic cardio…

A study in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise compared fat loss in three groups of overweight subjects. All groups were on a fat-loss diet and one group only did the diet with no exercise, whereas a second group did the diet with aerobic training, and a third group was on the diet and did strength training. The diet group lost 14 pounds of fat, while the aerobic group lost 15 pounds of fat—only one pound more, which was not statistically significant. The strength training group lost 21 pounds of fat, which was 34 percent more than the aerobic group

Do High Intensity Anaerobic Training to Burn Fat

Avoid Continuous Low-Intensity Aerobics! Perform high-intensity anaerobic training (HIAT or H.I.I.T) to burn fat and avoid aerobics. There’s a mountain of evidence that anaerobic conditioning is effective for fat loss. HIAT is much more effective than aerobic training, whether it be steady-state aerobic activity or higher intensity aerobic exercise. HIAT works on the same principle as strength training for fat loss. It increases protein synthesis and can build muscle, although not as much as strength training.

A study in the journal Metabolism is indicative of the research supporting the superiority of HIAT over aerobics for fat loss. This study compared 20 weeks of aerobic training with only 15 weeks of HIAT in which participants did 15 sprints for 30 seconds and lost nine times more body fat than the aerobic group. They also lost 12 percent more visceral belly fat than the aerobic group.

What is so interesting about this study is that the energy cost of the aerobic program over the whole study period was 28,661 calories, whereas for HIAT it was less than half, at 13,614 calories. In less time, the HIAT group lost much more weight—nine times more weight. How do researchers explain it? HIAT also boosts GH and T much more than aerobic training, which we’ve already seen helps create an anabolic environment and burn fat. H

Emerging research provides additional insight into why HIAT works and steady-state aerobic exercise doesn’t. A study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology showed that a HIAT program elevates the expression of gene activity by nearly 75 percent over aerobic exercise. A 15-minute HIAT protocol enhanced the activity of 69 genes that were not activated by a 30-minute aerobic trial. The genes that were upregulated were involved in energy metabolism and hormone growth factors such as GH and IGF-1. Basically, greater gene activity from anaerobic training explains what is going on “behind the scenes” in the body to build muscle and burn fat.

The one possible drawback to HIAT is that it is mentally challenging to push through an all-out workout even if it is short. There is an upside: research shows that near-maximal intensity sprints (greater than 90 percent of max oxygen uptake) can be completed in 10 to 20 minutes depending on the number of sprints and interval lengths.

Be Active in Daily Life to Improve Metabolism and Lose Fat

A sedentary lifestyle – you know sitting on your ass watching TV, maybe on Facebook or clicking a certain link and reading this; even if you are already training at a high volume and intensity, will compromise metabolism and may lead to fat gain. Long periods of inactivity, even a few hours during the day, will lower the body’s glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. This puts you at risk for diabetes and poor body comp.

a recent study tested the effect of decreasing daily activity for three days in a group of lean, active individual with training experience. They normally averaged 12,956 steps a day and reduced their activity to 4,319 steps a day (they were told to take less than 5,000 day as measured by a pedometer and confirmed with an accelerometer), which resulted in a 30 percent drop in insulin sensitivity.

Blood sugar imbalances are another side effect of long periods in which you don’t move. The result is a slower metabolism, a lower resting metabolic rate (remember RMR from the beginning of this post?), and ultimately fat gain.

Take regular brisk walks—even a five to ten minute vigorous walk will make a difference. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. Avoid plopping down in front of the TV or computer for hours after work. Extra physical activity can take the form of recreational sports participation, playing Crossfit, martial arts practice, bike riding, or whatever you enjoy?

Want the best place to try what I have mentioned?

Rapid-Fire MMA

University Of Ulster Coleraine Mixed Martial Arts

Check it out!


  • Sakharov, D., Maltseva, D., et al. Passing the Anaerobic Threshold is Associated with Substantial Changes in eh Gene Expression Profile in White Blood Cells. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2011. Published Ahead of Print.
  • Mikus, C, Oberlin, D., et al. Lowering Physical Activity Impairs Glycemic Control in Healthy Volunteers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2012. 44(2), 225-231.??
  • Finni, T., Haakana, P., et al. Exercise for Fitness Does not Decrease the Muscular Inactivity Time During Normal Daily Life. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.
  • Cabrera de Leon, A., Rodriguez-Perez, C., et al. Sedentary Lifestyle: Physical activity Duration Versus Percentage of Energy Expenditure. Revista Espanola Cardiologa. 2007. 60(3), 244-250.
  • Boutcher, Stephen. High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss. Journal of Obesity. 2011. Published Ahead of Print.
  • Kraemer, W., Volek, J., et al. Influence of Exercise Training on Physiological and Performance Changes with Weight Loss in Men. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 1999. 31(9), 1320-1329.
  • Schuenke, M., Mikat, R., et al. Effect of an Acute Period of Resistance Exercise on EPOC Implications for Body Mass Management. 2002. 86, 411-417.
  • Tremblay, A., Simoneau, J., et al. Impact of Exercise Intensity on Body Fatness and Skeletal Muscle Metabolism. Metabolism. 1994. 43(7), 814-818.
  • Trapp, E., Chisholm, D., et al. The Effects of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise Training on Fat Loss and Fasting Insulin Levels of Young Women. International Journal of Obestiy. 2008. 32(4), 684-691

Fear to Freedom – Lets do it!

Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility, to give something back. ~ Anthony Robbins

Every path to success has been tormented with doubt, fear, and uncertainty, as well as persistence, calculated risks and repeated action. The difference between someone who fails and someone who succeeds is the courage to act, repeatedly. We see others every single day and wonder why they succeeding and you are not? Well this is because they try, they believe and stop thinking about it and saying “I am going to do this and that” they just go out and do it. Actions speak louder than words.

What fear is holding you back? Where do you feel incapable? What daunting task can you complete, one step at a time?

Action step

Make the decision to succeed. Once you decide on success you rarely allow doubt to enter your mind. Your persistence, dedication, and resilience are strengthened. You free yourself to do the uncommon and the impossible.

Take risks. Chase your fear. Do what scares you every single day – no comfort zones. Make the dreaded phone call or talk with your friends. Ask for what you want. When you experience rejection, ask someone else. Be bold and brave. Defy the odds. Be awesome!

Be prepared. Expect your own needs. Don’t live in fear, create solutions in advance. Know how you will get out, over, around, and through what could go wrong.

Let go of insistence and fear. Learn to relax and go with the flow. Our anxiety and stress are caused by living in the pain of the past or the fear of the future. Life happens in the present moment. You went light tomorrow? Then light today by living in the moment – now!

Focus on the benefits of your success. Become focused on what you will gain. Is your benefit travelling (japan), saving the lives of others (A trip to Africa or Close protection, doctor, nurse, police officer or fireman?), or leaving a legacy you can be proud of? When the going gets tough, focus on your why and excels forward in indomitable force.

Calm your body. Find a quiet place and bring your attention inward, notice where your fear resides in your body. Notice if you have a tense forehead, shallow breathing, or aching shoulders. Relax the area of your body that’s being affected. Learn to calm and centre yourself. Trying mediation.

Create your own social fan group. Believe that most people have good “beautiful” hearts. They want to see you succeed. Believe people are cheering for you. When you are scared out of your mind, imagine everyone you know in one place rooting wildly for you. I am always there at my friends side-lines or beside them ready to help them or be there for whatever they choose in their lives.

Participate in life. Turn off your TV, internet, and the negative media. Take a guitar lesson, a spin class or Zumba lesson. Swim in the ocean, hike in the mountains, or go for a morning walk or run.

You are enough. Accept who you are and where you are today. When you compare yourself to others you create your own suffering. You should be comparing yourself with yourself everyday trying to improve yourself to beat yesterday’s self of yourself. What others think of you is none of your business.

“Learn how to work hard, work long hours, find something you love, and then excel at it. Above all else, learn how to create, learn how to invent. That’s your only hope, really.”

This statement you could concur. However — unless you can learn how to move through your fear, you’ll continue to hold yourself back. You’ll never learn to risk, to excel, to create, to invent or to experience true freedom.

Time to be wild and free people -Have a wonderful Easter!