Top 10 Pitfalls to Weight Loss: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes

By Charles Poliquin

A lack of discipline may be the most harmful trait if you are trying to lose weight. But, even if you are motivated and disciplined, you need to ensure you aren’t getting sidetracked by making common errors that will halt your progress and are easy to avoid.

There are hundreds of lists on the internet of common errors people make when trying to lose weight. They are all similar, most include ten things to avoid, and you might be surprised to find out that they are mostly right on. These lists provide a useful basic guide to use when trying to lose weight, but what they don’t do is get at the harder to solve mistakes that keep you from seeing results in improving your body composition.

For example, did you know that for weight loss and health it’s much better to choose the “whole fat” version of dairy products than the “fat free” option? Almost all foods that have had the fat removed from them and are labeled “fat free” are going to be more contaminated, contain fewer nutrients, and discourage fat loss to a much greater degree than the whole fat option. This is especially true with dairy products because the whole milk version of yogurt or milk will naturally provide conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which protects against prostate and breast cancer. In contrast, fat free dairy products have what I often call a “cancer inducing” effect.

I’ve had many a client with the best of intentions for weight loss make critical but common errors, that when solved, allow them to achieve amazing results. This is my top ten list of things you can do to avoid common pitfalls that get in the way of you achieving a lean body composition. This list assumes that you aren’t doing any of the following things that are obviously going to impede weight loss and cause poor health: smoking, drinking large amounts of alcohol, taking diet pills, drinking your calories (soda, juice, sports drinks), or trying to lose weight without exercising. If you are doing any of these things, stop now, and then start making the changes on this list.

Tip 1:  Don’t Eliminate Fat
Eliminating fat or eating a very low fat diet is a common error that people are encouraged to make by food marketing. Eliminating fat intake to get rid of fat from the body may seem like a good idea at first glance, but when you understand the role of fat in the body, you realize getting too little of it is a bad idea. Of course, removing “very bad” fats, also known as  trans fats, from the diet is essential because they will make you fat and then they will kill you.

You need a decent amount of good fat in the diet because all the cells in the body are made up of two layers of lipids or fats, which will be composed of good fats or bad fats depending on the type you eat. If the cell lipid layers are made up of healthy fats, it will make them more sensitive to insulin and allow the receptors to bind more easily, which is necessary for good metabolism and energy production.

Increasing the sensitivity of your cells to insulin is important because it will allow the glucose to enter the cell and get burned as fuel. But, if you eat large amounts of trans-fats or have a severe imbalance between the omega-6 and -3 fats in your diet, your cell lipid layers will be made up of those fats. Lipid layers made of unhealthy fats lead to unhealthy cells and greater insulin resistance, which produces fat gain and puts you at risk for diabetes.

Tip 2: Do Get A Balanced Fat Intake
To get a balanced fat intake you want to get a large quantity of omega-3 fats that are balanced with omega-6 fats. Ideally, you’ll get a near equal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats. Most people get way to many omega-6 fats because they are abundantly found in our diets in the form of the most commonly used vegetable oils (corn, sesame, safflower, peanut, etc.). Omega-3 fatty acids are those that commonly come from fish oil (often referred to as DHA, EPA and ALA), but they also can be gotten from grass-fed beef and wild meats. This is why I suggest two things you can do for better insulin health and body composition are to take a high dose of omega-3s and eat meats and fish that have a high concentration of these fats.

Tip 3: Get Rid of Stress and Lower Cortisol Levels
To lose fat, it’s essential that you minimize stress to lower your cortisol levels. It is well established that chronically high cortisol results in fat gain, particularly around the middle. This means that no matter how much you exercise or eat healthy, you won’t lose weight if your cortisol is elevated because of how cortisol makes the body insensitive to insulin.

One recent study looked at the relationship between cortisol levels, insulin sensitivity, and visceral belly fat in men. Men with more belly fat produced far more cortisol throughout the day and had decreased insulin sensitivity than those with less belly fat. Interestingly, subcutaneous fat—the jiggly kind that’s right below the skin—was not related to insulin or cortisol levels. Researchers suggest both external stress and internal physiological stress (in the form of chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract) are the cause of the elevated cortisol.

Problems with the gastrointestinal tract result in altered neurotransmitter production, which makes you feel tired, unmotivated, and depressed. It can also elevate anxiety, making you over-responsive to stress. At the same time, poor gut health will produce chronic inflammation in the intestines, putting stress on them and raising cortisol. The combination means chronically high cortisol and persistent strain on the body from multiple sources. If you have any experience with fat loss, you know that the body is most agreeable about giving up its fat stores when it is calm and not stressed or overly stimulated.

Tip 4: Fix Your Gut With a Probiotic 
Fix your gut health and support digestion by taking a probiotic to lose fat, have more energy, and feel better. Probiotics are the tiny bacteria that naturally occur in the gastrointestinal tract and are commonly found in dairy products such as yogurt.

It’s very difficult to lose weight if you don’t have a healthy gut for two interrelated reasons. First, more than half of the neurotransmitters that send messages from the brain to cells and hormone receptors throughout the body are made in the gastrointestinal lining. If your gut is not healthy, it will negatively affect the production of the neurotransmitters, leading to poor cognitive function, low mood, feelings of depression, and low motivation. A bad outlook and lack of drive will make you less motivated to exercise and take the action necessary for you to make progress toward reaching your goals.

The second reason gut health is essential is that it will improve digestion and help you feel better. You will actually feel more energetic because your neurotransmitters will be firing at optimal levels, and your metabolism will be supported so that nutrients and energy sources are getting broken down, absorbed, and used by the body in the most effective manner. Additionally, research shows probiotic supplementation helps lower anxiety and stress levels, which leads to less secretion of cortisol.

Several studies have shown that poor gut health makes the body produce more cortisol, directly affecting insulin health and resulting in visceral belly fat gain. For example, in the study mentioned in Tip #3, the overweight men in the study were put on a high-protein diet with a probiotic supplement for six months, and then had their body fat, cortisol levels, and insulin sensitivity retested. The men significantly lost belly fat, improved insulin sensitivity, and had lower cortisol levels. Researchers suggest that poor gut health had caused chronic inflammation in the intestines, which led to the elevated cortisol and the belly fat gain. The probiotic supplement treated the inflammation in the intestines, helped to lower cortisol, and in conjunction with the high-protein diet, helped induce weight loss.

Tip 5: Support Digestion With HCL: Prevent Nutrient Deficiencies
Another trick for supporting digestion and fat loss is to make sure you have adequate stomach acid to break down food. Take a hydrochloric acid (HCL) supplement to improve acid levels in the stomach and allow your body to completely break down food. The increased acid levels in the stomach will improve the absorption of protein, calcium, vitamin B, magnesium, zinc, iron, and other basic nutrients.

Better digestion and absorption of protein and nutrients will support protein synthesis and the development of lean body mass, while helping you avoid deficiencies that can cause poor health and hinder weight loss attempts. For example, one study in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy found that low stomach acid hindered the digestion of codfish protein in mice. Along with less protein absorption, there was evidence of the development of protein allergies in the mice population over time.
Researchers suggest that the Western population’s overuse of antacid medications—to counter acid reflux, which is typically produced by a poor diet—results in chronically low stomach acid, which in turn hampers digestion, and the absorption of protein. They caution against the use of antacids and encourage the population to modify diet and raise stomach acid levels for better protein absorption.

I use an HCL supplement in which the HCL comes from betaine because betaine is  known to stimulate protein synthesis and support athletic performance. Additionally, my DigestForce 2.0 has pancreatic enzymes for elevated nutrient absorption.

Tip 6: Eat Breakfast With Protein In It: No Cereal Allowed
Skipping breakfast and missing meals will set you up to fail to lose weight. Eating breakfast is one of the simplest, healthiest things you can do to feel better and have more energy, but there’s one catch. You have to eat protein at breakfast. Eating cereal for breakfast is a common pitfall that is often not addressed by the media or mainstream health professionals.

Cereal is bad for breakfast because it’s typically packed with sugar and additives. In the rare case that you can find a cereal that doesn’t have added sugar, cereal tends to be low in protein. Even if you find an organic cereal that appears to contain a nice dose of protein, these high-protein cereals contain natural preservatives that wreck havoc on neurotransmitter production.

Remember, in Tip #4, I mentioned the importance of gut health and the neurotransmitters for brain function. Setting the neurotransmitters up for the day is the reason a high-quality protein breakfast is essential. The macronutrient content of the food you eat for breakfast will prime the chemicals that send messages from the brain to all your muscles and tissue throughout the whole day.

If you set your neurotransmitters up with a high-carb cereal, orange juice, and a banana, you’ll trigger a big insulin response, elevate serotonin and end up feeling low energy and foggy in the brain soon after. It’s very difficult to reverse the poor brain function and sluggishness that goes with a high-carb breakfast, and people tend to counter these feelings of tiredness and with caffeine, which raises cortisol and causes a new round of problems such as anxiety, an excited sympathetic nervous system, and poor energy production.

The answer is to get a high-quality protein that is slowly digested. A breakfast that includes meat and nuts is my favorite because it will provide a nice dose of protein and “good” fats to start the engine and keep you going throughout the day. Plus, the nuts contain almost no carbs, meaning that with the meat, you will have a very moderate insulin response, which will allow for a constant blood sugar level.

Tip #7: Take A Very Cautious Approach To The Science and Health Media
Be very cautious about what you learn from the science and health media. Health, fitness, and diet information from the media is commonly misrepresented with the facts being presented in a way that feed on our desire for intrigue and quick, easy solutions. Equally concerning, media is fueled by business interests, meaning that the information presented is influenced by those interests.

If you look back over how a number of important scientific studies were presented by the media in 2011, it becomes apparent that you have to be very cautious about what you believe. For example, in November a study about vitamin D was presented at the annual conference of the American Heart Association that showed that taking too much vitamin D produced risk of atrial fibrillation. The study provided useful information about how to achieve the ideal vitamin D status for health as well as how to avoid overdosing and reaching a possibly toxic level.

For example, you want to ensure your vitamin D levels are between 41 and 80 ng/ml and avoid going over 100 ng/ml. The only cases of individuals achieving levels over 100 ng/ml are when there has been a dispensing error such that they were taking more than ten times the recommended dose of 5,000 IUs a day.

This study was reported by many mainstream news companies including MSN, USA Today, and NBC. In the vast majority of the stories about the study, no context for the information was provided, such as details about what “excess vitamin D” means, or how an individual might achieve such levels. Rather, they tended to alarm readers with insufficient information and suggest that individuals should discontinue vitamin D supplements, or that they should only use a very low dose of vitamin D (a common recommendation is 400 IUs a day).

Another example of media misrepresentation is the issue of whether aerobic or strength training is preferred for fat loss. One study this year compared the effects of aerobic training with strength training on visceral belly fat loss. It was widely reported in the media with headlines such as “Jogging Beats Strength Training for Losing Belly Fat,” or “Aerobic Exercise the Most Effective Way to Lose Belly Fat.”

The problem is that the study design had a major flaw—the amount of volume of exercise was not equivalent or even comparable between the aerobic and strength training programs tested. Not one article that I read reported the fact that the aerobic training was performed at 80 percent of maximal for 45 minutes, while the strength training program consisted of exercises on Cybex machines and did not include a 1RM. This means the study design did not account for the amount of weight lifted in the program—a major error that makes it impossible to compare programs that are not matched for the amount of work performed.

Additionally, the media reports failed to differentiate between visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is the fat that resides deep inside the body in the abdominal trunk and surrounds the organs. It is a primary indicator of diabetes and heart disease risk. Subcutaneous fat is the jiggly fat that is right below the skin, which you can pinch with your fingers. This difference is an important element that the public should understand if they want to gain information about how to improve their health, fitness, and body composition.

To avoid having the media hamper your weight loss progress, find a source of information that you trust. It’s not that you should ignore science and health reporting, but it’s necessary to be skeptical, and occasionally you will have to do your own research, or find a source you trust that will review the research for you!

Tip 8: Do Not Trust The U.S. RDV or Nutrition Labels
The U.S. Recommended Daily Value, or what is now called Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI), is the amount of a given nutrient that the U.S. Department of Agriculture thinks you need each day. If you want to lose weight, the value is useless.

Even if you don’t want to lose weight, it is not ideal for health, and the new DRI is confusing because it gives no suggestion for fat intake, aside from suggesting that adults consume between 12 and 17 grams of omega-6 fats and 1.1 to 1.6 grams of omega-3s a day. This is an example of the skewed ratio I referred to in Tip #2. A number of research studies have shown that the skewed ratio of omega-6 to omega-3s is linked to higher rates of obesity, cancer, inflammatory and immune disorders, and cardiovascular disease. Apparently the USDA wasn’t aware of this data.

One positive thing about the new U.S. DRI is that it has lowered the carb recommendations from 300 grams per day for adults to 130 grams per day. That’s a vast amount, but it is more in line with what I would suggest for weight loss. The problem is that the DRI only increased protein recommendations by three grams a day from 53 to 56, which will likely leave most people hungry and confused.

Take note that in the U.S., nutrition labels include nutrition suggestions based on old recommendations from the USDA that assume the average American needs either 2,000 or 2,500 calories a day. Within the calorie-based framework, macronutrient suggestions are made such that for the 2,000 calorie diet, you are supposed to get 300 grams of carbs, 53 grams of protein, and 65 grams of fat. This is a whopping amount of carbs for the average person, even if they are doing large amounts of endurance or high-intensity exercise daily. The point is that nutrition labels can tell you the macronutrient content of foods, but don’t become more confused by the dietary suggestions included on the label.

Naturally, you do need a plan for what you are going to eat if you intend to lose weight. The key is to identify the macronutrient content that supports your body and does not include foods that you are intolerant of. An intolerance is a food that you are allergic to and your body is not able to digest completely. There are severe allergic reactions such as in the case of a nut allergy that is very dangerous, and there are less severe allergies that cause fat gain and poor insulin health.

For example, some people are allergic to gluten and need to avoid it, whereas others are intolerant of gluten and will feel much better and have a leaner body composition if they avoid it. Similarly, most people will be healthier and leaner if they limit carbs and avoid all wheat-based carbs, but this does not mean that everyone is intolerant to wheat-based carbs.

The best way I can suggest to identify food intolerances is to get a BioSignature Modulation. This is the method I have developed to identify the best foods for each person and determine individual detoxification and supplement needs. If you are unable to have BioSignature done, the key is to identify a dietary lifestyle that will support your weight loss goals. Research shows that generally, a high-protein, low-carb diet that is gluten and wheat free will produce the best fat loss results.

Tip 9: Focus On Detoxification
Detoxification is critical for weight loss because there are so many pollutants and endocrine-altering substances in our food and water. By detoxifying, I do not mean fasting or doing a onetime detox. Rather, you want to focus on detoxifying your body on a regular basis because you are exposed to dangerous substances daily.

The two simplest things you can do to detoxify the body are to drink a lot water daily (at the very least two liters a day) and to eat an adequate amount of fiber. In addition, there are many nutrients you can take to help the body continually eliminate heavy metals and toxins that cause oxidative stress and alter hormones. For example, green tea can help detoxify liver and it is known for preventing liver damage from alcohol. Carnitine is a powerful brain nutrient that not only supports fat burning by helping fat enter the cell to be burned for energy, but also helps detoxify the brain of heavy metals.
A little gem I’ll throw out there for you is that if you pair carnitine with adequate omega-3 fat intake, you’ll raise levels of the hormone dopamine, which will make you feel more motivated and have more self-initiative—essential for trying to lose weight.

The ginkgo plant is another excellent detoxifier and it has a great track record, having been used in traditional medicine for over 4,000 years. Ginkgo resists pollution, meaning that it will help you to detoxify contaminants from the body and resist the stress that is caused by toxins. Other potent detoxifiers include omega-3 fish oils, probiotics, and performing high levels of physical activity and exercise. The key is to focus on flushing the body regularly by doing the little things such as drinking lots of water, eating fiber and supplementing with nutrients that provide multiple benefits including detoxification. 

Tip #10 Don’t Forget To Strength Train. Be As Active As Possible
There’s no reason you should not be doing some sort of strength training if you are trying to lose weight. In fact, there’s no reason that anyone should not be doing strength training. Even people who are confined to a bed in a nursing home can perform some form of resistance training. There’s nothing bad about training as long as you learn proper form and have a reasonable plan of progression.

Strength training is essential for weight loss because it will burn fat, burn calories, improve insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake, and make you stronger. Strength training is preferred over aerobic training that is done on cardio machines such as a treadmill because it will produce a more favorable muscle building response and burn more fat.

Additionally, there’s evidence that aerobic training done on cardio machines blunts insulin sensitivity and glucose delivery into the cell, meaning that if you perform it, you may actually be putting yourself at greater risk of diabetes and inducing less fat burning. This is because the electromagnetic frequency that is produced by electrical power, as in the case of with an electrical treadmill or bike, has been found to increase plasma glucose and decrease insulin sensitivity, causing fat gain, poor metabolism, and accelerating nerve damage and cellular aging. Actually, any time you are exposed to dirty electricity or the electromagnetic field from electrical power (from TVs, appliances, cell and cordless phones, wireless routers, cell phone towers), you put yourself at risk for decreased insulin health. The point is to minimize exposure, particularly when you are exercising and need to maximize energy production.

Another reason to perform strength training instead of aerobic exercise is that research shows “the effect of regular aerobic exercise on body fat is negligible,” according to one research review. Even though aerobic exercise doesn’t cause much fat loss, anaerobic interval training at a higher intensity than steady-state aerobic training is well proven to induce significant fat loss. Similarly, strength training targets the anaerobic energy system and will help you lose fat. Plus, strength training improves lean mass and builds muscle, which in turn raises your metabolism to support a leaner body composition.

For best results, perform a periodized strength training program that changes regularly so you are not doing the same thing for longer than two months. Include anaerobic intervals and you’ll improve your conditioning, burn fat, lose weight, and improve cardiovascular and pulmonary health. Try to be as active as possible throughout the day because regular physical activity is shown to maintain insulin health, while being sedentary even if you workout once a day, causes “robust negative changes” in post-meal glucose uptake, according to one study. Less glucose uptake means that glucose or sugar that is in your blood is not getting into the cell to be used for energy. Rather, the glucose is hanging out in the blood and will be turned into fat in the body. In the meantime it will cause nerve damage and aging

Top Five Training Tips For Optimal Body Composition

By Charles Poliquin

Lose fat fast with a training program that will help you maintain body composition results for the long run. You will lose the most fat by training with a protocol that focuses on building muscle, burning fat and calories, and achieving the greatest hormone response from exercise. This article will give you my top five tips for incorporating those three strategies into a training program for fat loss.
Be aware that correct nutrition is necessary in order to achieve significant fat loss. It’s near impossible to out-train a bad diet. If were able to do so, you would undoubtedly compromise your health in the short- and long-term. Over the next two weeks, I will post my five supplement tips for fat loss followed by five nutrition tips—stay tuned!

The Run Down on Training for Fat Loss
The first goal of training for fat loss 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 bulk 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.

Your workout time needs to include both strength training and anaerobic conditioning because both contribute to muscle building and they burn energy. 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.

Tip #1: Train A High Volume, Short Rest Periods & Moderate Loads
Strength train with a high volume of work, short rest periods, 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. 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 scheme 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. This will provide a significant anabolic response by elevating testosterone and growth hormone (more on this below). 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.

Tip #2: Strength Train to Build Muscle and Create an Anabolic Response 
Strength train to build muscle and create an anabolic response to accelerate fat burning. Aside from 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 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. In contrast, 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 (T) is the number one anabolic hormone. You will get the greatest elevations in T with slightly longer rest periods than the 30 to 60 seconds suggested for GH and weights on the heavier end of the range. Research suggests that T 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 T 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 T, which is partly due to the fact that individual T response varies greatly, even among elite athletes who have similar training experience and background. More than 3 sets and as many as 8 have been found to significantly elevate T.

Tip #3: 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 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.

Plus, for some unfathomable 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.

For example, 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!

Consider the amount of time spent on aerobic exercise (36 sessions of up to 50 minutes each) for only oneextra pound of fat loss! The six extra pounds lost in the strength training group is worth it, but one pound?!

Tip #4 Do High Intensity Anaerobic Training to Burn Fat—Avoid Continuous Low-Intensity Aerobics
Perform high-intensity anaerobic training (HIAT) 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 International Journal of Obesity demonstrates this by comparing the effect of 15 weeks of HIAT (60 cycle sprints of 8 seconds each, 12 seconds rest) with aerobic exercise (60 percent of maximal oxygen uptake for 40 minutes). The HIAT resulted in significant decreases in overall fat mass of 1.5 kg, while the aerobic exercise group had a fat gain of 0.44 kg on average. The HIAT group also had a significant 9.5 percent decrease in belly fat, whereas the aerobic group increased belly fat by 10.5 percent at the end of the study. Of related interest is that the HIAT group decreased fasting insulin significantly more than the aerobic group (31 versus 9 percent), indicating better metabolism.

A second 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. HIAT results in something called post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), in which metabolism is elevated to a significant degree after training—the body is using more energy even though you’re not working out anymore. EPOC is elevated more when anaerobic training is involved—strength training and HIAT can elevate EPOC for as much as 38 hours post-workout.

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.

Tip #5: Be Active in Daily Life to Improve Metabolism and Lose Fat
A sedentary lifestyle, 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.

Desk jobs are the primary culprit for fat gain and inactivity during the day in people who train hard. Studies have shown that in people who have a lean body composition and perform regular intense exercise suffer from a significant drop in metabolism if they are inactive for even a short period of time, as measured by glucose tolerance and insulin health.

For example, 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 article?), and ultimately fat gain.
Take away a commitment to being more active and inspiring your loved ones and kids to do the same. Make sure you have incorporated tips 1 to 4 into your lifestyle and are strength training and performing high intensity intervals. Don’t forget, you can’t out-train a bad diet or overeating.

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 ball games, martial arts practice, bike riding, or whatever you enjoy.
If you have a sedentary job, always take the stairs and park farther away in the parking lot. Break the work day up with relatively brief spurts of physical movement, whether it is walking, body weight exercises, or more strenuous training. Even stretching, fidgeting, and getting an adjustable desk so you can stand as well as sit will help.

Six Incredibly Simple Nutrition Rules To Be Lean & Muscular For Life

Six Incredibly Simple Nutrition Rules To Be Lean & Muscular For Life

The year 2013 was marked by new heights of nutrition insanity. You’re not alone if you found yourself more confused than ever about what to eat in light of the obscure nutrition recommendations from the government and outrageous claims from food marketers.
What’s the solution to all this nutrition madness?
You need an individualized nutrition approach that speaks to your energy needs and genetics, but that is based on science. This article will give you six nutrition rules for a sane and simple way of eating.
Before we get to the rules, let’s look a bit closer at why good nutrition has become such a demanding endeavor. In fact, nutrition never has been especially simple.
We often get nostalgic, thinking that nutrition was easier in another era. For example, a lot of people are turning to the Paleo diet for leanness and health as seen with the fact that it was the most searched nutrition term on Google in 2013.
The Paleo diet can provide a practical, simpler approach to eating. Yet, a lot of people make the mistake of idealizing the way our ancestors ate or assuming that all cavemen had access to pure, abundant food. Not so.
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors spent the vast majority of their days searching for food to survive. Not only was finding food a huge time investment, chewing took hours because they subsisted partly on raw and extremely fibrous foods, such as uncooked root vegetables, such as potatoes.
With present-day understanding of how our genes are affected by diet and a “paleo-template,” here are six nutrition rules to be lean and muscular life.
#1: Understand Why High-Protein Diets Promote Leanness
Do you have to eat a high-protein diet to lose fat?
There are other fat-reducing methods, but high-protein, lower carb whole food diets consistently work well for the majority of people who try them. You should be familiar with the four primary reasons higher protein diets improve body composition:
•    If your goal is fat loss, preserving lean muscle mass should be a primary focus of nutrition because it is critical for maintaining your metabolism. If you lose muscle, your body burns fewer calories daily, which is a main contributor to rebound weight gain on the typical calorie-restricted diet.
For example, a recent study that compared the effect of three different protein intakes (the RDA of 0.8 g/kg, double the RDA of 1.6 g/kg, and triple the RDA of 2.4 g/kg for protein) as part of a calorie-restricted diet illustrates this.
All groups lost about the same amount of weight. The double the RDA dose of 1.6 g/kg of protein effectively protected lean muscle mass. The higher triple RDA dose of 2.4 kg didn’t have any additive effect, whereas the RDA dose of 0.8 kg led to muscle loss over the 3 week study.
•    It costs the body more calories to process protein than carbs or fat, which is referred to as thermogenesis. Quality is paramount here: A study showed that when subjects ate animal protein (meat) they had 17 percent higher increase in resting energy expenditure than a group who ate vegetable protein (beans and plant sources).
•    Protein is filling. When people eat a greater percentage of their diet from protein, they feel more satisfied and eat fewer calories overall. A review of the issue found that for every 1 percent increase in protein intake, people naturally decrease calorie intake by between 32 and 51 calories daily.
•    High-quality protein helps manage blood sugar and insulin, decreasing cravings for sugar.
The easiest way to lose fat is to eat a fairly high-protein diet. The ratios of protein, carbs, and fat are variable and based on all those unique traits that make you different from your peers: genetics, current body composition, fitness, goals, stress level, preferences, and so on.
Take Away: Increasing your protein intake is the best place to start if your goal is leanness because it protects muscle muss, increases energy use, and is sustainable because it reduces hunger.
#2: Focus On Protein Quality For Fat Loss: Get 10 Grams of EAAs Per Meal
High-quality protein is defined as a protein source that provides at least 10 grams of essential amino acids (EAAs) at every meal. The EAAs must be present in the body for muscle tissue repair to occur, and they can’t be stored in the body, which is the reason you need a steady supply of these building blocks.
Research shows that eating the 10-gram-threshold of EAAs per meal is associated with having less body fat and more muscle mass in people of all ages. For example, over the course of a 5-year study, individuals who had higher quality protein intake had the greatest reductions in waist circumference.
In another study, scientists found that those who ate the EAA “threshold” of 10 grams per meal in a 24-hour period had significantly less visceral belly fat.
In another approach, a German study identified metabolic markers that were associated with body fat percentage and found that the higher the serum level of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), the less body fat subjects had. BCAAs include three of the most important EAAs, leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
The association between higher BCAA levels and less body fat was consistent for both men and women and was independent of exercise participation. BCAA levels were also associated with greater lean muscle mass.
Eating high-quality protein is so effective at optimizing body composition because providing a consistent stream of 10 grams of EAAs will maximally stimulates protein synthesis to keep you body repairing tissue and building muscle.
Of interest, researchers believe that overweight, sedentary people have dysfunctional BCAA metabolism and an inability to stimulate fat burning. They experience a “derangement in muscle metabolism that favor the development of obesity and metabolic diseases.”
This is one reason that, although we often say “fat loss starts in the kitchen,” exercise is absolutely essential to achieve it because it optimizes metabolism for protein synthesis and the burning of fat for energy.
Take Away: For leanness, plan your diet so that you achieve the threshold 10 grams of EAAs per meal. Eggs, fish, beef, milk, and whey protein are the highest EAA containing foods.
#3: Enhance Fat Metabolism With Balanced Macros & Whole Food
In order to lose fat or simply maintain your body composition, your body must be capable of metabolizing the dietary fat you eat and the fat you’ve got stored.
First, you need your body to effectively metabolize the fat you eat so that it can be used to make hormones, optimize brain health, and absorb essential vitamins. Something as simple as a stressed out liver or chronically poor sleep will impede metabolism of dietary fat.
Second, your body must be “metabolically flexible” so that it is able to readily mobilize and burn stored body fat as well as glucose (carbs). A failure in metabolic flexibility leads to fat gain and insulin resistance.
How do you ensure healthy metabolism of the fat you eat and the ability to burn the fat you’ve got stored?
Two methods of improving fat metabolism are exercise and replacing carb intake with fat. When you reduce the percentage of your calories that come from carbs, you decrease insulin and shift the body to burn fat rather than blood sugar. However, obese people don’t respond to this strategy as effectively as lean people.
In one study, 12 lean and 10 obese men were given a high-fat diet (70 percent fat, 15 percent protein, 15 percent carb) for three days. The lean subjects increased the amount of fat their bodies burned for energy, whereas the obese subjects did not. Researchers think that over the longer term, obese people would respond to the shift in macronutrients, but the process is uncomfortable because energy levels are compromised.
Using exercise to teach the body to burn fat is more effective for obese people. In the study just mentioned, the same two groups of men went through a washout period, then did 10 days of aerobic exercise (1 hour a day at 70 percent of maximal). This time, both the lean and obese subjects increased fat burning, indicating that exercise is a catalyst for the overweight to become more metabolically flexible.
A contributing factor to optimal fat metabolism is the amino acid carnitine. Carnitine is a potent fat burner because it is responsible for the transport of fats into the cells to be used for energy in the body.
In the German study mentioned in #1, along with BCAAs, subjects with higher free carnitine levels had significantly less body fat. The researchers interpret this link between carnitine and lower body fat to be evidence that people with more muscle mass will have an enhanced ability to burn fat.
Take Away: If you’re overweight, you must exercise because this is the most effective tool you have to improve their body’s ability to burn fat for energy. Eat a higher fat, lower carb diet with high-quality protein to supply carnitine and EAAs.
#4: Don’t Get Confused By Protein Backlash
In a high-carb culture, protein backlash is understandable. Nutrition, medical professionals and the media incorrectly warn us that a high-protein diet will tax kidney function, cause kidney stones, and leech bones of calcium, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
In fact, protein intake up to 2 g/kg/body weight a day is completely safe for healthy kidneys and appears to improve bone health. A study of competitive athletes concluded that daily protein intake, as high 2.8 g/kg won’t damage the kidneys in healthy athletes. The National Kidney Foundation recommends that the one group that should not eat a high-protein diet is those who have clinical kidney dysfunction or who are on dialysis.
Meanwhile, a large-scale analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition of 31 studies found a small but significant benefit from greater protein intake on bone strength at several skeletal sites including the lumbar spine in every category of the population, from children to elderly men and women.
In addition to observational evidence that higher dietary protein benefits bone strength, we know that bone building requires a steady pool of amino acids in the body and over 50 percent of bone is made of protein. Eating more protein increases levels of insulin-like growth factor-I, which is a major regulator of bone building.
So you fully understand how it works, higher protein diets do tend to increase acid formation in the body, which leads to a loss of calcium (this is calcium that’s already been absorbed). However, calcium absorption during digestion is increased with diets higher in animal protein, which may offset that loss.
In addition, there’s a wealth of evidence that other factors such as lean mass percentage and muscle strength are more important for bone health than the calcium issue.
For example, sports scientists are well aware that the most effective way to strengthen bone is with activities that load the spine with heavy weights. Weight-bearing exercises that produce a large ground reaction force such as jumping also build bone.
Take Away: Don’t get confused by the misinformation about protein intake in a high-carb culture. Higher protein diets are safe for healthy people and they convey benefits for bone strength, muscle maintenance, and fat loss.
#5: Improve Gut Health to Optimize Protein’s Benefits For Muscularity
Do you remember the media storm that reported that carnitine and red meat were associated with heart disease? Although these reports completely missed the boat, there are some dangers to a high-protein intake that have to do with gut health.
Gut bacteria will live off of what you eat. People who eat more animal protein tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables and consume less fiber, though this tendency may not be typical in people who follow a Paleo-type diet. Low-fiber, higher animal protein diets have been found to increase inflammatory gut bacteria.
For example, a recent study from Tufts University of young (ages 18-35), normal-weight healthy people found that those who had more lean muscle mass had higher levels of biomarkers of inflammatory gut metabolism. These markers are considered metabolic toxins that have been linked with adverse health conditions, including gastric cancer, obesity, and type II diabetes.
The Tufts researchers suggest that although a high dietary protein intake is important for the optimization of muscle mass, an overconsumption of dietary protein that leads to the growth of inflammatory gut bacteria is dangerous.
A possible solution is to support the growth of beneficial anti-inflammatory gut bacteria with a diet high in vegetables, fruit, and something called resistant starch, which is found in foods such as bananas, oats, peas, maize, and potatoes. According to Mark Sisson, one of the easiest ways to improve gut flora is to consume raw unmodified potato starch.
This approach is supported by what we know about present day hunger-gatherers such as the Kitavan Islanders in Oceania who eat an ancestral diet that is high in resistant starch and other fibers that stimulate the production of anti-inflammatory bacteria in the gut. The Kitavans eat no Western foods (grains, flour, sugar, oil) and are lean and virtually free of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Take Away: Don’t let a blind spot such as lack of fiber in your higher protein diet compromise health. Support gut health with a variety of vegetables, fruit, probiotic foods, and resistant starches.

#6: Balance High-Quality Protein With Fruits and Veggies

You won’t be surprised to learn that the Tufts University study also found that higher metabolic markers of BCAAs were associated with greater lean mass and insulin sensitivity. However, the news was not consistently positive for subjects who had better body compositions.
There was strong evidence that subjects with more lean mass had more oxidative stress and inflammation. Scientists were concerned with this association and suggest that people who eat diets rich in protein should increase fruits and vegetables because they are well documented to increase blood antioxidant capacity and reduce inflammation.
A related benefit of phytonutrient-rich foods is that they support mitochondrial health, which is suppressed on a high-protein diet. You may recall from elementary biology that mitochondria turn energy from food into ATP to provide energy for cells to fuel activity. The byproduct of this process is free radicals, which bounce around, damaging everything in sight, and accelerating aging.

The best way to avoid free radical production is to not eat. No joke! This is the reason calorie restriction and fasting are beneficial for longevity since they improve mitochondrial health and prevent aging.
A more practical method is to get your carbs from plants, and eat the rest of your energy from high-quality protein and beneficial fats. The nutrients in plants eliminate free radicals that cause inflammation. Favoring fat at the expense of carbs provides a “cleaner” burning energy source, generating fewer free radicals than carbs.
Take Away: Get your carbs from protective phytonutrient-rich foods such as blueberries, grapes, kiwi, tart cherries, raspberries, blackberries, leafy greens, peppers, pomegranates, and some starches. Avocado, olives, coconut oil, whey protein are other antioxidant-rich foods to include as you go high in fat and protein.

Vingt recettes pour vous soigner avec le vinaigre de cidre

Posté par Alexandre Imbert le 19 juin 2013

Aujourd’hui, pour la plupart des gens, le vinaigre n’évoque que la sauce vinaigrette. Mais au-delà de ses qualités gustatives, sait-on encore comment cet ingrédient s’est imposé à tous dans l’alimentation d’abord et dans la trousse à pharmacie familiale ensuite ?
Trois qualités fondamentales ont imposé le vinaigre dans les foyers des nos aînés :

  • Il était indispensable à la conservation des aliments
  • Il facilite la digestion.
  • C’est un produit antiseptique de première main.

C’est à ce titre, et bien d’autres qu’il a été inscrit au codex en 1748 et vendu très longtemps chez les apothicaires.

Votre cuisine, c’est votre pharmacie

Si tout vinaigre est bon par définition, le vinaigre de cidre sort du lot. Ses particularités en font :

  • un grand tonique du système nerveux et du cœur, anti-fatigue,
  • un nettoyeur et régénérant cellulaire,
  • un reminéralisant hors-pair,
  • un stimulant digestif,
  • un immunostimulant,
  • un anti-cholestérol…

Rhume, troubles circulatoires, intestinaux, hypertension, problèmes de pieds ou de peau, douleurs articulaires ou musculaires, coups de soleils et piqûres d’insectes… le vinaigre est bon pour tout.
Et pour en tirer le meilleur, il suffit d’y associer quelques ingrédients de base comme le miel qui, tous, sont à votre portée.
Sans compter les mille recettes de beauté que vous pouvez concocter avec ce vinaigre. On n’attrape peut-être pas des mouches avec du vinaigre mais on se refait sûrement la cerise, et gratis !
Lisez ce mail jusqu’au bout, je vous livre plusieurs recettes très simples qui pourront sans doute soulager un certain nombre de vos maux quotidiens.

Le secret du vinaigre : une soupe de microbes
et trois acides

La formation du vinaigre est un phénomène naturel dû à l’oxydation de l’éthanol des boissons alcoolisées par un processus de fermentation acétique. Les Anciens savaient reproduire ce phénomène en utilisant « la mère à vinaigre », ce voile gélatineux qui se forme à la surface du vin avec le temps.
On ignorait alors que cette fermentation acétique est le fait d’une bactérie Acetobacter suboxydans. Très sociable, elle se développe ultra rapidement en s’associant avec ses consoeurs pour former un biofilm. On sait depuis peu que d’autres bactéries cousines ont ce pouvoir acétifiant.
Le résultat final se distingue par un concentré d’éléments-trace mais surtout par sa concentration en acides : acétique principalement (5 à 8%), et acides tartrique et citriqueen quantité variable.
L’acide acétique fait du vinaigre un détergent domestique mais c’est aussi, pour l’essentiel, cet acide qui lui confère ses qualités bactéricides et médicinales.

Pourquoi de cidre ?

L’acide acétique expliquant les vertus désaltérantes, désinfectantes et curatives du vinaigre, l’origine de ce dernier, me direz-vous, importe peu. Pourtant, c’est le vinaigre de cidre qui est généralement employé comme remède. Pourquoi ?
Comme d’autres, le vinaigre de cidre est très riche en phosphore, calcium, magnésium, soufre, fluor, fer, bore et silice qui, l’un dans l’autre, contribuent à son pouvoir énergisant et curatif.
Mais on aurait tort d’ignorer les particularités du vinaigre de cidre dues à la teneur en acides essentiels, enzymes et pectine de la pomme et surtout à son impressionnante teneur enpotassium (jusqu’à 1 g par litre).
Le potassium est à nos tissus mous ce que le calcium est à nos tissus durs.
Il joue un rôle-clé dans le liquide intracellulaire et pour le maintien de l’équilibre acido-basique. C’est un excellent antidote à la pollution, à l’empoisonnement médicamenteux et vaccinal et à l’alimentation déséquilibrée qui attaquent notre équilibre acido-basique au point d’entraîner de nombreux désordres, de la thrombose au cancer. Alors tant qu’à sortir 3 ou 4 euros de sa poche, autant choisir du vinaigre de cidre. Bio et non pasteurisé !

La « révélation » d’un médecin épris de nature

C’est au médecin DeForest Clinton Jarvis que l’on doit la découverte des vertus préventives et curatives du vinaigre de cidre. Cet ophtalmologiste et otorhinolaryngologiste a exercé jusqu’en 1945 au nord de New York, dans le Vermont. C’est dans cette région réputée pour ses paysages sauvages que cet observateur a longuement étudié les remèdes de la médecine populaire locale. Ses observations et expériences sont consignées dans un livre à succès : « Ces vieux remèdes qui guérissent », paru en 1958.
Or le vinaigre de cidre occupe une place centrale dans la pharmacopée du Vermont. On lui prête le pouvoir de « ralentir » le corps et de lutter contre les « maladies de l’énergie ». Entendez des « emballements » de l’organisme qui se traduisent par fatigue chronique, hypertension, accidents cardiaques, ulcères gastriques et intestinaux, obésité, arthritisme... Jarvis a su l’expliquer, de façon simplissime : si ces états pathologiques se manifestent, c’est parce que les cellules du corps sont déshydratées, tel un raisin sec. Leurs composants minéraux ne pouvant plus être rejetés, ni se dissoudre, s’agglutinent et se déposent dans les tissus. Et pour réhydrater les cellules malades, en douceur, rien de mieux que le vinaigre de cidre et son potassium. L’hydratation disperse les molécules agglutinées, permet aux minéraux et autres éléments bénéfiques de pénétrer la cellule. Bref,cette médecine est simple : elle redonne à la cellule ses capacités d’assimilation, de stockage et d’élimination.

Pourquoi les vaches « se pètent la ruche » avec des pommes à moitié pourries…

Tout a commencé dans une étable. C’est là que le Dr Jarvis avait installé son laboratoire d’observation. La vache est un excellent sujet car son alimentation, donc son état de santé, influe directement sur sa production laitière.
Jarvis aimait raconter l’histoire d’une petite vache surnommée « Paralysée ». A chaque vêlage, elle avait une attaque de fièvre de lait et de paralysie et le vétérinaire la sauvait en lui injectant du gluconate de calcium. Or Jarvis avait remarqué que les vaches laitières aiment les pommes en état avancé de fermentation. Peut-être est-ce leur moyen à elles de s’enivrer un peu, de se « péter la ruche » pour reprendre l’expression champêtre d’un ami éleveur. Mais plus sûrement, c’est leur corps qui le demande … Jarvis proposa donc de verser un demi-litre de vinaigre de cidre deux fois par jour dans la nourriture de sa vache. Trois mois plus tard, par une amélioration de l’élasticité des tissus, elle mit bas d’un veau en parfaite santé, en seulement 10 mn avant de retrouver l’appétit et la santé.
Mais Jarvis, qui avait de la suite dans les idées, fit une autre observation : sachant qu’il est difficile de sectionner les grosses artères des vaches abattues, il avait remarqué que le problème ne se présentait plus chez les animaux traités au vinaigre durant une partie de leur vie. Il en déduisit que le vinaigre de cidre favorise l’assimilation du calcium et supprime les dépôts de calcium dans les parois artérielles.

Le cocktail de Jarvis : un remontant à faire soi-même

Les médecins sportifs vous le répètent : pendant et après l’exercice, il est élémentaire de boire une solution isotonique permettant une rapide compensation des minéraux perdus par sudation. Grâce au vinaigre de cidre, il est possible d’en obtenir une excellente qui, potassium aidant, fortifie en outre la musculature.
Pour cela, on diluera 2 cuillères à café de vinaigre de cidre et 1 de miel dans 100 ml d’eau riche en sodium : c’est le cocktail dit de Jarvis dont vous verrez ci-dessous les nombreux usages possibles. 
En règle générale, pour soutenir la vitalité et la santé musculaire d’une personne active, il est conseillé d’en boire 3 verres par jour.

Une autre façon de se soigner… à la cuillère

Le vinaigre de cidre, sous forme de cocktail ou pris à la cuillère, présente bien des vertus thérapeutiques. Les indications ci-dessous montrent l’étendue de son spectre d’action :
Faiblesse, fatigue, fragilité face aux microbes et virus
Vous êtes souvent fatigués ? vous tombez malade dès qu’une personne tousse ou renifle dans votre entourage ? vous êtes allergique pour un rien… Faites des cures régulières du cocktail de Jarvis (sur environ 4 semaines et sans interruption en préventif) ou durant les périodes où vous vous sentez fragiles. Complétez cette cure en prenant de la vitamine C naturelle.
Rhumes et troubles des voies respiratoires
En cas de mal de gorge et d’enrouement, faites des gargarismes de vinaigre de cidre dilué (75 ml d’eau tiède avec 25 ml de vinaigre). Si l’inflammation est aiguë, gargarisez toutes les heures (recracher !).
En cas de toux bronchique, le vinaigre de cidre va favoriser la liquéfaction et l’expectoration des mucosités. Prenez 1 c. à café de ce sirop : 4 c. à soupe de miel liquide avec 5 c. à café de vinaigre de cidre. Buvez beaucoup de liquide (des infusions de thym très chaudes) pour aider les mucosités épaisses à se liquéfier.
Troubles cardiaques et circulatoires
Le vinaigre de cidre, on l’a vu, a la capacité de dissoudre les dépôts calcaires dans les parois artérielles (une coquille d’œuf se dissout en moins de 2 jours dans du vinaigre de cidre) et la pectine contenue dans le vinaigre de cidre stabilise le taux de cholestérol.
Si vous êtes concernés, buvez le cocktail de Jarvis plusieurs fois par jour et utilisez le plus possible le vinaigre de cidre pour cuisiner. Sa haute teneur en potassium renforcera en plus le muscle cardiaque.
Si vous souffrez de varices, imbibez un tissu de vinaigre de cidre et enveloppez vos jambes pendant 20 minutes.
En cas d’hémorroïdes, prenez des bains de siège où vous diluerez un verre de vinaigre de cidre et un verre d’infusion de sauge dans de l’eau tiède.
Troubles intestinaux
En cas de diarrhée, qu’elle soit provoquées par de méchantes bactéries ou par des médicaments, le corps perd quantité de liquide et de minéraux vitaux. Le vinaigre de cidre, bactéricide doux (il agit non par destruction mais par répulsion), reminéralisant, favorise le développement de la flore intestinale et régule le transit. Diluez 2 c. à café de vinaigre de cidre dans un verre d’eau et buvez-le avant les repas par petites gorgées jusqu’à disparition des maux.
En cas de constipation, buvez plusieurs fois par jour 2 c. à café de vinaigre de cidre diluées dans un verre d’eau et/ou prenez des bains de pieds tièdes (4 litres d’eau, un verre de vinaigre de cidre et 4 c. à café de sel).
Douleurs articulaires (arthrose, arthrite, rhumatismes, goutte)
En fluidifiant le sang épaissi par les aliments riches en protéines (comme les viandes), le vinaigre de cidre nettoie les toxines qui s’accumulent dans les jointures, les tissus et les organes. Pour prévenir les douleurs articulaires, buvez le cocktail de Jarvis dans un demi-verre d’eau avant le petit-déjeuner.
En cas de douleurs aigues, faites un enveloppement froid du membre concerné ou, si la douleur est chronique, un enveloppement chaud au vinaigre de cidre dilué.
Troubles des reins et de la vessie
Le vinaigre de cidre favorise le rinçage des reins et de la vessie et prévient la formation de calculs rénaux et vésicaux. Buvez aux repas 2 c. de vinaigre de cidre diluées dans un verre d’eau. Là aussi, buvez des infusions (de pissenlit ou d’ortie) pour mieux éliminer.
Problèmes de dents et de bouche
Le vinaigre de cidre stoppe les inflammations d’origine bactérienne, stimule l’irrigation de la gencive. Pour conserver des gencives saines, rincez-vous la bouche matin et soir après vous être brossé les dents avec du vinaigre de cidre dilué dans l’eau (1 c. à café dans un verre d’eau).
Problèmes de peau

  • Acné : les composants du vinaigre de cidre purifient la peau et empêchent les inflammations, y compris celles qui sont dues au dérèglement hormonal de la puberté. Il est conseillé de boire un verre d’eau dans lequel vous aurez dilué deux c. à café de vinaigre de cidre avant chaque repas. Vous pouvez aussi vous faire des saunas faciaux. Remplissez un grand bol avec 1 l d’eau bouillante, 4 c. à soupe de vinaigre de cidre et des fleurs de camomille. Couvrez-vous la tête d’une serviette et placez le visage au-dessus du récipient dans la vapeur.
  • Inflammations cutanées provoquées par des virus ou des bactéries : buvez un verre d’eau avec 2 c. à café de vinaigre de cidre aux repas. Appliquez des compresses de vinaigre de cidre et de farine de maïs ou de pommes de terre. En cas de virus (herpès ou le zona), tamponnez les zones concernées avec du vinaigre de cidre non dilué.
  • Piqûres de petits insectes : le vinaigre, appliqué immédiatement, arrête les démangeaisons (moustiques, aoûtats)
  • Coups de soleil : le vinaigre de cidre calme et rafraîchit la peau rouge et douloureuse et empêche les infections. Appliquez le non dilué, doucement, sur les zones rouges. Et prenez un bain d’eau fraîche dans lequel vous aurez dilué 3 c. à soupe de vinaigre de cidre.

Affections gynécologiques
Le vinaigre de cidre régule aussi la flore vaginale (pertes blanches, etc.). Diluez une dose de vinaigre pour 4 doses d’eau, le tout à la température du corps. Achetez en pharmacie une seringue de 10 ml, coupez l’embout, pompez la solution préparée avec votre seringue et injectez la prudemment dans le vagin.
Dans le cas de règles abondantes, prendre le cocktail de Jarvis le matin. Il agit contre les saignements. Vous pouvez aussi pratiquer des bains de siège avant le début des règles (diluer un demi-verre de vinaigre de cidre dans de l’eau chaude).
Soins du corps
Buvez le matin à jeun un verre du cocktail de Jarvis. Il vous fortifiera tout en stimulant l’irrigation sanguine et les fonctions de la peau. Complétez ce régime par :

  • des bains : pour détendre la peau et régénérer son film protecteur, prenez un bain dans lequel vous aurez versé 1 à 2 verres de vinaigre de cidre. Restez au moins 15 minutes et relaxez-vous.
  • des massages : après le bain ou la douche, pratiquez un massage une fois par semaine. Remplissez votre lavabo d’eau chaude et versez un verre de vinaigre de cidre. Massez-vous le corps avec cette eau vinaigrée pour qu’elle pénètre bien dans la peau. Ne vous essuyez pas.

Pour nourrir, hydrater, lisser et protéger votre peau, voici comment faire une crème de soins à partir de ce que vous pourrez trouver dans votre cuisine : 
– au yaourt et au vinaigre de cidre : mélangez 3 c. à soupe de yaourt nature, 1 c. à soupe de crème fraîche, 1 c. à soupe de miel (chauffé et bien fluide), 1 c. à café de vinaigre de cidre et 1 c. à café de jus de tomate. Remuez jusqu’à obtenir une pâte lisse. Appliquez cette crème la nuit.
– à l’avocat et au vinaigre de cidre : mélangez 3 c. à soupe d’avocat écrasé, 3 c. à café de miel, 2 c. à soupe de vinaigre de cidre et 2 c. à café de son de blé. Epaississez la pâte obtenue avec le son de blé. Etalez la préparation obtenue sur votre peau et laissez agir 30 minutes.

Cheveux : L’Oréal, Dessange et compagnie n’ont qu’à bien se tenir

Le vinaigre de cidre est à la base de soins capillaires ultra-économique et bien plus sains que ceux du commerce. Ses résultats vous surprendront. Voici quelques recettes de shampoings et lotions dont les ingrédients principaux sont aussi dans votre cuisine :

  • Cheveux blonds : faire une décoction de fleurs de camomille (20 g/l) et la mélanger dans 1 l de vinaigre de cidre. Appliquez 25 cl de cette solution sur les cheveux après le shampoing.
  • Cheveux bruns : préparez un shampoing avec 2 c. à café d’eau de rose, 2 c. à soupe de vinaigre de cidre et 2 œufs puis massez-vous les cheveux avec et laissez agir quelques minutes.
  • Cheveux brillants : faire une décoction avec 30 g d’orties dans un ½ litre d’eau. Filtrez-la et mélangez avec le vinaigre de cidre. Appliquez la préparation sur les cheveux après le shampoing.
  • Cheveux épais : placez 10 g de feuilles de bouleau, 10 g de feuilles de lavande dans une carafe puis versez dessus un litre de vinaigre de cidre. Fermez hermétiquement et laissez macérer une semaine. Massez-vous alors la chevelure avec la solution. Ne pas rincer.
  • Boucles naturelles : après le shampoing, appliquez une solution chaude de vinaigre de cidre (proportion ¼) et d’eau.
  • Cheveux gris : lavez les cheveux avec du vinaigre de cidre (proportion 1/3) dilué dans l’eau et chauffé. Ne pas rincer.
  • Cheveux gras : appliquez une solution de vinaigre de cidre dilué dans l’eau (2/3 d’eau) après le shampoing.
  • Pellicules, chutes de cheveux : appliquez du vinaigre de cidre dilué (3/4 d’eau) et chauffé, après le shampoing.

De la tête… aux pieds, de quoi faire de l’ombre aux pharmacies !

Pour les mains, la règle de la simplicité prévaut aussi. Vous avez des problèmes de peau sèche ou gercée ? Pour retrouver une peau souple et lisse, faites une cure de cocktail de Jarvis pendant 4 à 6 semaines (un verre avant le petit-déjeuner). Essayez aussi une crème composée pour moitié d’huile d’olive et pour moitié de vinaigre de cidre (très bonne pour le corps aussi).
Enfin, pour vivifier vos pieds en fin de journée, trempez les pendant 15 mn dans 5 l d’eau chaude dans lesquels vous aurez versé 3 c. à café de sel et 2 de vinaigre de cidre. Si vous avez les jambes lourdes, une friction au vinaigre de cidre pur les soulagera.
Que demander de plus simple et de plus universel ?

Dominique Vialard

PS : Un certain nombre d’entre vous, lecteurs, hésitent sans doute à se lancer dans un cure au vinaigre de cidre pour de simples raisons de goût et je vous comprend. Il n’est pas si facile de s’astreindre à une consommation quotidienne de vinaigre (même adouci avec du sucre). Cela ne me pose personnellement aucun problème mais je ne suis pas seul au monde. Il existe pour les plus réticents une solution alternative : les gélules de vinaigre de cidre. On en prend 2 ou 3 à chaque repas, l’effet est le même… sans l’acidité. On trouve ces gélules assez facilement sur internet (par exemple en suivant ce lien) mais rarement dans les boutiques bio. C’est une solution bien commode et tout aussi efficace.

Le seul antioxydant dont nous avons besoin et dont on ne nous parle jamais

Posté par Alexandre Imbert le 11 avril 2013

« On a beau avoir une santé de fer, on finit toujours par rouiller. » Jacques Prévert ne pouvait pas mieux dire. Car on le sait bien en 2013 : le stress oxydant est notre ennemi public numéro 1.
C’est cette sorte de « rouille » qui, en s’accumulant dans notre corps, nous fait vieillir plus vite. C’est elle qui nous pousse dans la maladie chronique, le cancer, Parkinson, Alzheimer… C’est elle qui finit par nous tuer.
Tout le monde a entendu parler des antioxydants et de leurs cibles préférées, les radicaux libres. Il y en a à toutes les sauces dans les publicités pour les cosmétiques et les compléments alimentaires vendus en pharmacie. Mais au fait, de quoi parle-t-on ? Sait-on encore à quoi servent exactement les antioxydants ? Faut-il vraiment en prendre à tire-larigot et lesquels ?
Tout a commencé par des bouts de fer et de caoutchouc
C’est outre-Manche qu’est née l’appellation « radicaux libres », à la fin des années 30, après que des chimistes aient observé que des atomes et des molécules instables, extrêmement réactives, étaient impliquées dans l’apparition de la rouille du fer et des fendillements du caoutchouc.
Sûrs qu’il s’agissait de sous-produits de l’oxygène de l’air, ils les baptisèrent free radikals. Libres… car il s’agit d’atomes possédant à leur périphérie un électron libre, isolé, baladeur. Pour devenir plus stables, ces atomes ou molécules donnent un électron ou arrachent un autre électron à un atome ou une molécule en possédant deux à la périphérie, la transformant à son tour en radical libre.
Le double jeu des radicaux libres
Plusieurs scientifiques allaient s’emparer de cette notion dont un médecin, ancien chimiste de la Shell, installé à Berkeley, Denham Harman. Le père de la théorie du stress oxydant imagina, dans les années 50, que ce phénomène destructeur pouvait être extrapolé à l’organisme humain (1). Et il avait raison…
Aujourd’hui, nous savons que ces radicaux libres jouent un rôle majeur à la fois positif et négatif. Lorsqu’ils sont dans un excès insupportable pour le corps, celui-ci entre dans un stress oxydatif, avec des conséquences d’une portée difficilement imaginables sur notre santé. Cet excès apparaît quand nos défenses naturelles anti-oxydantes, provenant soit de molécules que nous ingérons, soit que nous fabriquons, sont dépassées.  Ce que l’on ignore cependant, c’est que ces radicaux libres, à doses physiologiques, – tout est dans tout – ont ausssi un effet bénéfique pour l’organisme (2).
Bataille au cœur de nos cellules
D’où viennent ces radicaux libres ? Ce sont en fait des sous-produits d’un métabolisme vital qui part de l’oxygène pour aboutir à des molécules très riches en énergie, l’ATP.
Tout se passe dans des petits organites intra-cellulaires, les mitochondries. Ce sont en quelque sorte les centrales énergétiques de nos cellules. De la même façon qu’un moteur à explosion de voiture brûle de l’essence en dégageant des émanations polluantes, il y a dans notre chaîne interne de production d’énergie des sous-produits nocifs : des radicaux libres.
Et plus le kilométrage de la voiture est élevé plus la voiture pollue : en vieillissant nos mitochondries fonctionnent moins bien et accumulent aussi davantage de radicaux libres au fil des ans.
« C’est l’abus qui tue », ma grand-mère avait raison
C’est donc l’excès de radicaux libres qui est dangereux et cet excès peut provenir aussi de sources extérieures présentes dans notre environnement. C’est bien le problème aujourd’hui. Ma grand-mère avait raison, c’est l’abus qui tue !
Les radicaux libres sont produits par les polluants chimiques, par les radiations de toutes sortes, les agents infectieux, l’alimentation, les médicaments… et sans doute par le stress psychologique. En réalité, les conditions de la vie moderne regorgent de facteurs susceptibles de générer des radicaux libres. Mieux vaut le savoir car notre santé passe d’abord par celle de nos cellules.
Comment l’oxydation des cellules entraîne des dommages irréversibles
Ces molécules étant un peu à l’organisme ce que la rouille est au fer, le rancissement au beurre ou la craquelure au caoutchouc, les mécanismes de nos cellules et de nos tissus se grippent, leurs constituants « rouillent» et se transforment.
Oxydés, les composants de nos cellules subissent des dommages irréversibles. Aucun d’entre eux n’est à l’abri qu’il s’agisse des protéines, des lipides, des glucides ou de l’ADN… avec, à la clef, des cancers, du diabète, des maladies articulaires, des plaques d’athéromes sur les parois des artères, des inflammations…
Contre le stress oxydant, la « détoxification » ne sert à rien
Il ne faut pas confondre ces déchets avec les toxines que l’on a coutume d’éliminer par la dépuration en « rinçant » notre organisme, en buvant beaucoup d’eau et qui sont ensuite évacuées par l’intestin ou les reins.
Non, les molécules oxydantes, malheureusement, ne disparaissent pas en quelques gorgées : si les « éboueurs » de l’organisme ne suivent pas le rythme de leur production, elles restent sur place, se déposent souvent, non pas dans les cellules elles-mêmes mais à la surface extérieure de celles-ci.
Nous avons des défenses antioxydantes mais…
Bien qu’inégaux devant les radicaux libres (comme sur le plan immunitaire) nous sommes naturellement armés pour les neutraliser dès qu’ils commencent à présenter un danger.
Nous disposons à cet effet d’un certain nombre d’antioxydants endogènes que nous fabriquons. Ainsi, nous produisons en particulier une petite molécule faite de trois acides aminés (glycine, cystéine et glutamate), le glutathion : c’est à la fois le meilleur capteur de groupements chimiques oxydants et de surcroît un excellent détoxifiant. On l’appelle « le maître antioxydant » et vous allez le voir, ce titre n’est pas usurpé.
Bien-sûr, notre organisme fabrique d’autres antioxydants comme l’acide urique ou la superoxyde dismutase (SOD) mais aucun n’est aussi puissant ni aussi généraliste que le glutathion.
Notre source interne de glutathion se tarit à la cinquantaine
Le rôle bénéfique des antioxydants sur la durée de vie a été démontré par plusieurs expérimentations depuis la fin des années 50, époque à laquelle Denham Harman réussit à faire vivre des souris 20% plus longtemps en enrichissant leur alimentation en antioxydants.
Nous savons aussi et depuis peu, qu’à l’approche de la cinquantaine, l’homme et la femme deviennent particulièrement fragiles face aux radicaux libres. C’est la conclusion d’une très sérieuse étude américaine réalisée par Dean Jones en 2002… Cette équipe d’Atlanta a étudié certains paramètres pouvant refléter le stress oxydant, tel que la quantité de glutathion oxydé (le mauvais ou GSSG) et de glutathion réduit (le bon ou GSH) dans le plasma ou dans les globules rouges. Elle a ensuite recherché des corrélations avec les caractéristiques des sujets et n’en a trouvé aucune à l’exception, très nette, de l’âge. Effectivement, à partir de 45-50 ans commence un déclin du glutathion réduit tandis que le glutathion oxydé augmente.
C’est l’âge critique du vieillissement humain, celui où commencent à apparaître les phénomènes de dégénérescence. Stress oxydant et vieillissement sont étroitement liés et, en corollaire, il est évident qu’un stress excessif se manifeste par un vieillissement prématuré. La plupart des maladies de l’époque, celles qui nous font le plus peur, se situent précisément au croisement de ces deux phénomènes.
Le glutathion est une molécule que l’on considère comme essentielle à l’apparition de la vie humaine sur Terre. Elle contrôle la plupart des processus vitaux de nos cellules. Ce produit éminemment naturel fabriqué par notre foie, est depuis longtemps utilisé sous une forme injectable. Si vous en injectez à un malade de Parkinson, ses tremblements cessent immédiatement.
Un antioxydant immunostimulant sans équivalent
Le glutathion réduit (GSH) est l’un des compléments les plus précieux qui soient. Qu’il s’agisse de maladies sévères comme le diabète qu’il aide à prévenir de façon visible ou de petits maux (tâches de vieillesse). C’est par exemple un excellent produit contre les allergies : en particulier contre l’eczéma, qu’il guérit de façon spectaculaire en quelques jours. Mais il agit sur tant de de problème de santé qu’il serait trop long d’en établir la liste exhaustive ici.
Plus de cent années de recherches et 81 000 articles scientifiques ont établi que le glutathion est l’une des plus importantes molécules protectrices dans l’organisme, y compris au niveau immunitaire qu’elle nourrit indirectement. Une faible concentration en GSH a été impliquée dans la plupart des maladies (avec pour corollaire des améliorations avec un apport de glutathion)  :

  • neuronales (Parkinson, Alzheimer…),
  • hépatiques,
  • pancréatiques,
  • gastro-intestinales,
  • rénales,
  • pulmonaires et respiratoires (asthme),
  • cardiaques,
  • musculo-squelettiques,
  • visuelles (un faible taux est notamment associé à la DMLA et à la cataracte),
  • auditives,
  • infectieuses (3).

Dans les cancers (4) comme dans le Sida et même des maladies encore mystérieuses comme l’autisme (5) ou la thalassémie…
Tous ceux qui en ont pris, y compris moi-même, ont senti un renouveau de bien-être général en quelques jours.
Un puissant nettoyeur de métaux lourds
A partir du foie où il est stocké avant d’aller alimenter toutes nos cellules, le glutathion joue aussi un rôle majeur dans la défense de l’organisme contre les xénobiotiques (substances étrangères à l’organisme, pollution, médicaments…).
Des études ont montré que de faibles niveaux de glutathion sont synonymes d’un fonctionnement du foie affaibli avec, pour résultat, une augmentation des quantités de toxines circulant dans l’organisme.
Le glutathion a la capacité de se lier à des toxines comme les métaux lourds, les solvants et les pesticides et de les transformer en composés hydrosolubles qui seront éliminés dans la bile ou les urines.
Comment bénéficier à plein des effets du glutathion
Malgré son rôle essentiel, le glutathion est rarement prescrit par les médecins et peu commercialisé dans les pharmacies où l’on préfère vous proposer de la vitamine C ou de la vitamine E de synthèse comme antioxydants. Aux Etats-Unis, on en trouve partout, chez nous il faut chercher ! Est-ce parce que son utilisation régulière permettrait d’éviter bon nombre de pathologies dégénératives qui rapportent tant aux laboratoires pharmaceutiques ? Espérons qu’il ne s’agit pas de cela.
On en trouve heureusement sur Internet. Mais il y a tous les prix et tous les dosages. Pour un effet rapide et visible mais non nocif, il faut plutôt s’orienter vers une prise d’un 1g (maximum) par jour en deux fois et en gélules gastro résistantes. Ces dosages puissants sont finalement assez rares. Vous en trouverez en dosage 400 mg ici ou en dosage 500 mg ici.
Pour augmenter encore son assimilation, il vaut mieux prendre le glutathion en association avec de la vitamine C (naturelle), ce qui neutralise la charge du glutathion et le rend absorbable au niveau intestinal.
Par ailleurs, la régénération du glutathion (car il se régénère lui-même plusieurs fois avant de disparaître) dépend en effet d’enzymes spécifiques dont l’activité dépend elle-même de certains ions fournis par l’alimentation dont le sélénium.
Enfin, et cette dernière précision est essentielle, n’en prenez pas à tort et à travers (il ne s’agit pas d’éliminer tous les radicaux libres, ce qui serait aussi mauvais). De plus, le surdosage d’un antioxydant peut le rendre oxydant et vous donner le résultat inverse de celui escompté. Suivez donc bien les posologies journalières inscrites sur les flacons !
Au Vatican, on connaît ce secret…
Tout le monde se souvient de la papaye fermentée (excellent stimulant des défenses antioxydantes) que le Pr Montagnier avait offert au Pape en 2002 pour l’aider à lutter contre la maladie de Parkinson. Au vu du regain de forme du souverain pontif (que l’on donnait pourtant déjà mourant) dans les jours qui suivirent, regain qui se prolongea deux années de plus, il faut bien reconnaître que quelque chose s’est passé. Certains l’attribuent à ce traitement. Mais peu de gens savent qu’à la papaye fermentée, le prix Nobel avait ajouté sur sa prescription… du glutathion.

Dominique Vialard

(1)    La théorie de Denam Harmann fut publiée en 1956 dans The Journal of Gerontology.

(2)    Tout d’abord, certaines cellules spécialisées comme les globules blancs en synthétisent des dérivés destructeurs de bactéries, en particulier l’acide hypochloreux (le principe actif de l’eau de Javel). Ensuite, ces molécules oxydantes activent des facteurs de transcription des gènes impliqués dans la division cellulaire ou dans les défenses immunitaires .
(3)    Pour en savoir plus, je vous invite à aller sur le site de Nutranews, l’une des rares revues à avoir consacré au glutathion plusieurs articles fort documentés.  Vous y trouverez de nombreuses références scientifiques. Notamment des études animales et sur l’homme qui montrent des effets bénéfiques d’une supplémentation en GSH dans de nombreux cas, pour protéger du déclin lié à l’âge de la fonction immunitaire, pour stimuler la fonction des lymphocytes ou pour protéger des infections virales. (Natural Medicine Journal 3(12), February 2011).
(4)    On connaît déjà – comme je le rapporte avec Luc Montagnier dans « Les combats de la vie » (Ed. Le Livre de Poche) des cas de traitements bénéfiques par le glutathion, dans les cancer de l’ovaire ou du pancréas notamment. Son apport (comme celui de la SOD) est aussi très utile face aux dégâts collatéraux des chimiothérapies (les radiofibroses en particulier).
(5)    L’autisme selon le Pr Montagnier peut être amélioré par un traitement antioxydant associé à un traitement antibiotique de longue durée.

Burpee Equivalents: Understanding Junk Food in terms of Your Favorite Exercise

Occasionally we slip up with our diets and sneak in some junk calories. When we do, we have to pay the price…In Burpees!  At Spartan Coaching HQ we have been conducting research to quantify energy expenditure during the Burpee exercise.  Here is what we found:
Calories (kcals)
burpees for 130lb individual
burpees for 180lb individual
1 large French Fries
1 IPA beer
1 Slice of Dominos Peperoni Pizza
1 8 ounce Ted’s Bison Cheesburger
1 scoop of Ben Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream
1 12” Roast beef sub from Subway
1 Cola soft drink
1 Fried Calamari Appetizer
1 Plain Bagel
1 Slice of Cheescake
1 Egg McMuffin Sandwich
1 Cadbury Creme Egg
First we calculated the amount of work being performed during the Burpee. We calculated work as:
–  Work(w) = force (f) x distance (d)
–  f = weight of the individual in kilograms
–  d = distance from the floor to the maximal height of the head during the jump in meters.
Male Athlete A:
–  Height: 71 inches (1.80 meters)
–  Weight:  180 lbs ( 81.8 kg)
–  Average Vertical jump during 5 minute Burpee test:   5 in. ( .12 m)
–  Total vertical displacement from the floor to maximal jump height:  1.92 m (height plus jump height)
–  work = 81.8 x 1.92
–  work  = 157 kg/m
–  Given:  1kcal = 426.4 kg/m
–  Thus, 0.368 kcals of mechanical work per Burpee
External mechanical work or the work that is being performed does not equal the amount of work that is being produce internally, humans aren’t 100% efficient.  Efficiency during running and cycling is about 25%, thus for the body to perform 25 kcals of external work, it must produces 100 kcals of energy internally. That means that the body has to produce 1.47 kcals of internal energy to produce 0.368 kcals of external mechanical work per Burpee repetition.
We can also calculate energy production during the Burpee exercise by measuring oxygen consumption with metabolic cart.  We had several athletes perform the Burpee exercise at a constant rate for 3 minutes while wearing a portable metabolic measuring system that continuously measured oxygen consumption.  The average Burpee rate was 10 Burpee repetitions per minute and average oxygen consumption during the last minute of exercise was 35 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml O2/kg/min). We found the measured oxygen cost of a single Burpee repetition to be 3.5 ml O2/kg/Burpee.
To convert oxygen cost to energy expenditure we did the following:
Example same athlete as above:
–  Total oxygen consumed during a single Burpee is calculated as the product of body weight (kg) and O2 cost in ml/kg/.min
–  81.8 kg X 3.5 ml O2/kg/Burpee =  286 mlO2/Burpee or .286 liters (l) of O2/Burpee.
–  One liter of oxygen is equivalent to about 5 kcals.
–  0.286 l O2 X 5 kcals/l  = 1.43 kcals/Burpee.
As you can see , there is good agreement between the 2 methods (1.47 and 1.43 kcals/Burpee respectively).
Founders Breakfast Stout is one of my favorite beers. If this athlete had 2 beers at 250 kcals per beer he would need to perform 349 Burpees to burn off those calories.
2 slices of Domino’s pizza = 600 kcals or 419 burpees
Pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough = 980 kcals or 685 burpees.
Use the chart below to figure out your Burpee equivalent of junk food calories.
Energy Expenditure During the Burpee Exercise (kcals/Burpee)
Body Weight (lbs.)
kcals per Burpee
Example –  for a 140 lb person:
2 slices of Domino’s pizza = 600 kcals
600kcals/ 1.11 kcal per Burpee = 540 burpees
You can have your cake and eat it too, but be ready to pay in Burpees!

Healthy nuts and seeds you should eat every day

Nuts and seeds are super healthy and most of us aren’t eating enough of them. They are a great natural source of vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, and fiber. I’ve eaten tons of nuts and seeds as part of my anti-cancer diet since January 2004 and I think you should too.
Depending on whose list you read, the number one healthiest nut is either the almond or the walnut, but there’s no way to really rank them. The “healthiest nut” is the one with the nutrients your body needs most on a given day. Of course no one knows which one that is. So the best strategy is to eat a variety.

Here are the top healthiest nuts:

Almonds have as much calcium as milk, and contain magnesium, vitamin E, selenium and lots of fiber. They can lower cholesterol and help prevent cancer.
Walnuts are extremely good for your heart and brain, and contain ellagic acid a cancer-fighting antioxidant.
Pecans have tons of vitamins and minerals like Vitamins E and A, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, B vitamins, and zinc. And they help lower cholesterol.
Brazil Nuts are a good source of protein, copper, niacin, magnesium, fiber, vitamin E and selenium.
Cedar Nuts/Pine Nuts have Vitamins A, B, D, E, P and contain 70% of your body’s required amino acids.
Cashews are rich in minerals like copper, magnesium, zinc, iron and biotin. They are actually a low-fat nut, and like olive oil, they have a high concentration of oleic acid, which is good for the ticker (your heart). According to Dr. Andrew Saul, one big handful of cashews provides one to two thousand milligrams of tryptophan, which will work as well as prescription antidepressant Prozac.  
Note: Cashews are not recommended for cancer patients due to potential levels of fungus

Here are the top healthiest seeds:

Flax seeds are definitely at the top of my list. Two tbsp of ground flax seed per day is ideal and easy to add to oatmeal or smoothies. I also take Barleans Cold-Pressed Organic Flax Oil because it is the best source of parent omega-3s (better than fish oil) and Lignans, super anti-oxidants that help fight cancer. It also contains a lot of fiber and can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. 
Chia Seeds are incredibly healthy seeds rich in omega-3 oils, protein, anti-oxidants, calcium, and fiber. Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!
Hemp Seeds are a certified superfood with cancer and heart disease prevention properties. They are high in protein and fiber, with balanced omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Sunflower seeds also help prevent heart disease and cancer with phytochemicals, folate, Vitamin E, selenium and copper.
Pumpkin Seeds are great for your immune system with lots of antioxidants (carotenoids), omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.
Sesame Seeds are a good source of calcium, magnesium, zinc, fiber, iron, B1 and phosphorus.  They can lower blood pressure, and protect against liver damage. Sesame seeds have also been linked to prevention of many diseases like arthritis, asthma, migraine headaches, menopause, osteoporosis, and may even reduce PMS symptoms.
Tahini is a ground sesame seed paste that’s popular ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes we eat, like hummus.
Finally Apricot seeds (aka Apricot kernels), Apple seeds, and other bitter fruit seeds containAmygdalin aka Vitamin B17 which has incredibly powerful anti-cancer properties.  There are many cases of people who cured their cancer with Apricot kernels alone!  The pharmaceuticalLaetrile which is a concentrated form of Amygdalin has been used in cancer clinics outside the US for over 50 years. I dedicated an entire post to Apricot Kernels HERE.
Do Nut Eat This (worst pun ever, I’m sorry)
The one nut I don’t really eat much is the peanut, which is technically a bean.
Here’s why:

Peanuts can contain a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin, and they are notorious for being one of the most pesticide-contaminated crops.
Instead of peanut butter, I prefer to eat organic nut butters like Almond Butter, Sunflower Seed Butter and Walnut butter instead of peanut butter.
Embrace Your Inner Hippie
I like to go to the bulk section of Whole Foods (where the big plastic bins of nuts are) and buy a couple pounds of Raw Organic seeds and nuts. I take them home and mix them all together in my Super Trail Mix. 

Eat them straight out of the bag, throw some in a bowl for the family, or toss them on a salad. Either way, a couple handfuls of my Super Trail Mix every day will rock your body with super nutrients. So go ahead and embrace your inner hippie, throw on a pair of birkenstocks with socks, dowse yourself in patchouli, and load up on some trail mix. I like to keep a bowl out for everyone to snack on at home, and a tupperware container in the car to snack on when I’m out and about.
Notice I said “Raw Organic“.  That’s super important.  I don’t buy the fried, salted, roasted, honey-glazed, candied, or any other “special flavor” nuts. Frying and roasting nuts converts the fats into an unhealthy form, and most seasonings are made from artificial flavors, chemicals, and preservatives, contain MSG, and are high in sodium. 
If you want to maximize the nutrients you get from nuts, soak them in distilled or purified water overnight. This helps neutralize enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid both of which may affect digestion and absorption of the nutrients in seeds and nuts. It can also help reduce the amount of pesticides on them if they are not organically grown.
Simple Soaking Directions: Place 4 cups of nuts in a bowl with enough distilled water to cover the nuts completely.  Add a tablespoon of celtic sea salt.  This helps the neutralize enzyme inhibitors. Different seeds and nuts have different soaking times, but the easiest rule of thumb to remember is to let them soak 7 hours (overnight).  You many or may not like the taste of soggy nuts, so you’ll need to dehydrate them in a dehydrator or oven for 12-24 hours. If you do it in the oven, keep the temperature under 150 degrees and shift them around on the pan occasionally. You don’t want to roast the nuts, just dry them out.  Every oven is different so it might take some experimentation to get the ideal drying time figured out.  And because this is essentially a 24 hour process it makes sense to do several big batches at a time. Afterward compare the flavor of the soaked and dried nuts versus the non-soaked nuts. You might be surprised to find they taste better, depending on the nut and your taste.
One exception: Cashews should soak 6 hours or less and need to dry out quickly at 200-250 degrees or they can get funky.
The Excalibur Dehydrator is the one that all the health gurus use and recommend.
Here’s a shopping list you can copy, paste, and print out:
Brazil Nuts
Cedar Nuts
Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds
Almond, Cashew or Sunflower Seed Butter 

The rest of the seeds I mentioned don’t work very well in trail mix because they are too small and all end up at the bottom.
One of my favorite snack bars is the NutivaHempseedBar.  It’s made with organic hemp, flax, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, and sweetened with honey.  It’s a super tasty way to get some super healthy seeds in your diet.
They also have a Flax & Raisin Bar, and a Flax, Hemp & Chocolate Bar.

Paleo: The Good, Bad, and the Ugly



Here’s what you need to know…

• A diet consisting of the same foods found in pre-agricultural times will help with fat loss if your eating habits are truly awful.
• Strict paleo diets, however, shun perfectly healthy foods that allow modern strength trainers to perform at their best.
• Workout nutrition supplements aren’t paleo, but disregarding the modern science of supplementation will put unnecessary limits on your development.

It’s not a diet, they say. It’s the natural way to eat, the way humans are genetically adapted to eat. There’s no end date – you don’t get off paleo. You live it, embrace it, and eat bacon while watching your waistline shrink.
The premise? Our genes have hardly changed since the Paleolithic era. Therefore, for optimal health and body composition, we should be eating a pre-agricultural diet, one void grains, most dairy, potatoes, sugar, and of course all the modern abominations that pass as “food” these days. In short, eat like a caveman.
There are a dozen variations of “paleo” today, most stemming from the ideas of gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin in the 1970s. Some flavors of paleo are strict, not even allowing nuts, quinoa, starchy tubers and non-organic meats. Others are more lenient, allowing sweet potatoes, raw cow’s milk, some supplements, and even some dark chocolate.
If you consider yourself a healthy eater, chances are you’ve accidentally done some variation of paleo before. You cut processed food, then filled up on meat, vegetables, and the occasional fruit. Before paleo, old school bodybuilders, wrestlers, and fighters trying to make weight just called it “cutting starches.”
Since 2009 I’ve done several variations of paleo – rigid and lax – though I’d done it unofficially as a natural bodybuilder before it became “a thing.” I learned the benefits and drawbacks of strict paleo. And as a nutrition coach, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let’s discuss.

The Good

Have no doubt, if North Americans followed even a relaxed form of paleo, we’d have no obesity problem. We’d be a leaner, healthier society, one less dependent on prescription meds, Spanx, and Photoshop. Paleo, and all its ancestral varieties, taught us to question conventional wisdom that came from many doctors, dietitians, and health officials.
And while conventional wisdom told us to eschew dietary cholesterol and get plenty of whole grain bread and “heart-healthy” cereal, paleo taught overweight people that these behaviors were precisely the things making them fat. From paleo we learned that the best way to fix a serious ailment like Type-II diabetes was to trade in our pastas, breads, and junk food for things that came straight from nature: vegetables, meats, seeds, eggs, fruit, and maybe some full-fat dairy.
Paleo’s emphasis on whole food helped a multitude of people drop the garbage that has trapped them in a cycle of self-sabotage. It brought awareness to the lay masses, gave them positive upward momentum toward their fitness goals, and gave government nutrition guidelines a much-needed kick in the crotch.
Paleo protocols also exposed a major flaw in low fat and vegetarian diets: the need for saturated animal fat and dietary cholesterol. Paleo’s emphasis on meat and animal-derived foods taught many misinformed people that they will suffer in the absence of these foods. Meat and animal fat help us to produce the hormones that give us a robust sex drive, make us emotionally stable and happy, help us build muscle, enable us to fend off illness, and maintain a fired-up metabolism.
SteakThe internet has captured scores of accounts from vegetarians who turned paleo. From their accounts, we learned that a diet composed of bread, fruit juice, and soy will not only make you skinny-fat, it’ll also make you constipated, prone to depression, impotent, lethargic, and unable to build much muscle and strength.
Paleo also reignited the basic human skill of cooking. Since IHOP brags about adding pancake batter to even their omelets, it’s no wonder paleo eaters took to their own kitchens. This is a good thing.
No matter what form of paleo the average overweight person adopts, it’s likely going to be an improvement on the way they were eating before. A nation on paleo would mean less disease, longer life spans, and lower healthcare costs. I’ve recommended a paleo-ish diet to overweight clients. Of course, these clients just wanted to be not-obese.

The Bad

Eating full-on paleo is inadequate for part of the population: our part – iron lifters, strength seekers, and athletes. Here’s why: Our workouts and physique goals require more than what’s allowed on paleo – more carbs, advanced workout nutrition, and fast-digesting protein.
Paleo works well for the average person because the goal of the average person is to not be sick and fat. The average person doesn’t hit the gym day after day in preparation to get on stage, compete in a sport, hit a PR, or walk around with veins on their biceps. These are not goals of the general public. These are our goals. We don’t have average goals and we’re not average people, so why would we eat a diet best suited for them?
If proven workout nutrition supplements are prohibited in your diet, you either need to rethink your diet for the sake of your sport or your physique, or stick to that diet and realize you’re going to lose. Your competition has the leg up if they’ve been using targeted, non-paleo workout nutrition. They’ve been recovering faster, training harder, building more muscle, and even losing fat faster than you.
Non-PaleoCan you train without it? Sure. But you won’t accomplish as much as you would have with the addition of workout nutrition. Going back in time with your diet is a handicap if you’re an athlete. You’re retrograding your nutrition to stay within the bounds of staunch dietary rules.
To say that we should be eating exactly like our ancestors is on par with saying that we should be denying ourselves thousands of years worth of advancement. Granted, not all dietary advancement has been good for us. Cheetos won’t help us earn pro-cards, but other advancements have been damn good. By passing up those benefits we miss out.
A weight training workout fueled by kale smoothies and coconut oil won’t help you train harder. Fasted training, as many paleo adopters recommend intermittently (yet often do daily), will not give you the edge; it’ll only slow your progress. You’re not going to recover as quickly following paleo guidelines as you would when using workout nutrition designed specifically for workout time.
Can unprocessed plants and animals serve all of our needs as athletes? Not if we’re wanting to optimally build muscle, perform our best, and take our bodies from “not fat” to phenomenal. Avoiding advanced supplementation because it’s not caveman food is like only eating moldy bread when what you need is a non-Paleolithic shot of penicillin.
And workout nutrition isn’t the only thing prohibited. If you’re a strict paleo dieter, legumes, potatoes, and grains (even wheat-free grains) are off limits. If you’ve placed beans and oatmeal into the same category as candy bars, well, you need to relax and take a breath.
So where do your carbs come from on many paleo plans? Primarily from fruit, honey, and starchy vegetables like parsnips and squash. But since nobody has the time to bake a squash and have it ready to go after every workout, fruit and honey become a frequently-used carb component. Both are inadequate for workout recovery.
Fruit and honey aren’t inherently bad, but even staunch paleo advocates recommend keeping them to a minimum because fructose is hard to digest for a large portion of the population. Swapping all of your starches for fructose-filled foods can have nasty side effects like gas, bloating, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, weight gain, and even nonalcoholic fatty liver.
These are the side effects of excess fructose, yet rice is totally off limits? And if your dietary guru insists that bee vomit is food but protein powder isn’t, perhaps you need a new leader.
Do you think eating an apple on leg-day will help you combat muscle soreness and build muscle tissue? Do you think a yam has remotely the anabolic effects of structuralized di-/tripeptides and specialized carbohydrates? Do you think it’ll help you kill your next workout with just as much or more intensity?
Maybe you do think that, but maybe you don’t actually train as hard as you think. The most transformative workouts require workout nutrition… if you’re opening a Costco-sized can of whup-ass in the gym.

The Ugly

We like boundaries and structure. We want to hear someone say “don’t eat that.” Because then there’s certainty, no hemming and hawing about the fudge. Clear boundaries give us a sense of control because then we know what to eat and what to avoid.
But when a fit person feels guilty about “indulging” in beans there’s a problem, and it’s not the beans. It involves becoming hyper-restrictive and taking a sometimes-useful strategy too far.
Paleo can get ugly with its boundaries, especially if those boundaries make you freak out over things that never caused you problems in the first place. If you eliminate something from your diet for an extended period of time and notice no benefits, then add it back and notice no pitfalls, it’s not worth worrying about. Especially if you’re already fit.
I place legumes in this category because I remember buying a bag of lima beans and feeling guilty. I’d been denying my craving for them because a voice in the back of my head was saying, “Are the lectins in those beans going to keep me from burning fat!?” At the time I was on a staunch paleo regimen and didn’t consume any processed food, workout nutrition, potatoes, rice, or beans. I also couldn’t muster up much intensity at the gym.
So did paleo make me look or feel any better? No, but it did make me good at eating paleo.
Do you see where this is going? When you forfeit your athleticism in order to claim the paleo label, your behavior makes no more sense than that of a vegan who refuses to give up his Tofurkey even after his testosterone plummets.
Paleo also popularized intermittent fasting, which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing for many people – when done intermittently. But for those who rigidly follow paleo, chronic fasting often becomes a way to offset an indulgence in food that isn’t paleo-approved. Being so obsessed with the purity of your food that you have to repent from dietary sins borders on both orthorexia and the non-purging form of bulimia. It can be a slippery slope for those who already have issues with disordered eating.
The ugly side of paleo is when it goes from instinctive common sense to fanaticism. That fanaticism is the point at which paleo becomes a fad diet, or even quasi-religious dogma.
If you’re fat, paleo will improve your health. But if your goals include building muscle, strict paleo isn’t the way to go. Since getting off paleo I’ve traded in whole-food fanaticism for common sense and bigger biceps.
People who train hard several days per week need simple, easy to digest carbohydrates (and not just at workout time) along with science-derived supplements. Potatoes, beans, rice, and workout nutrition drinks didn’t make America fat. These are not binge-foods. And if they improve your performance, give you more energy, and make you feel satisfied at mealtime, they’re not just permissible foods you can sneak in now and then – they’re essentials.

Kick a Caveman’s Butt

Paleo undoubtedly works for junk-food addicted, overweight couch potatoes. But those folks didn’t get fat eating steel-cut oats and garbanzo beans. A paleo plan would help them, but so would simply not eating neon kiddie cereal and drive-through tacos. If they need the initial rigidity, a paleo diet would lay the foundation for never touching crap food again.
For those with bodybuilding and strength goals, paleo often throws out the cave-baby with the cave-bathwater. Too few carbs from perfectly healthy sources such as rice, oatmeal, buckwheat, potatoes, and legumes will hamper hypertrophy and performance goals. And neglecting workout nutrition and other beneficial supplements is simply choosing not to make optimal gains just because your very-great granddaddy didn’t have access to them.
Yes, eat your meat, veggies, and whole eggs. Yes, drop the junk carbs, excess sugars, and pretend-foods that breed on today’s supermarket shelves. But don’t disregard the foods and supplements that help you build muscle and perform better than any caveman ever could.

7 Rules of Conditioning



Here’s what you need to know…

• Loaded exercises can be used as part of a conditioning session to not only lose fat and build endurance, but also develop a more muscular body.
• The key is pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone with weighted or loaded exercises that challenge the whole body.
• Embrace the power of urgency, trying to complete a specific conditioning session as fast as possible, or doing as much work as possible within a determined time.

Few lifters enjoy performing conditioning or cardio. Can you blame them? Weight training builds size and strength and makes you feel invincible. Cardio on the other hand – especially slow-go, hamster cardio – feasts on lean tissue, jacks up cortisol, and leaves you looking and feeling like a depleted, shuffling, treadmill zombie.
It doesn’t have to be this way. By following just seven simple rules, you can transform your soul-sucking cardio bouts into fat-stripping conditioning sessions that crank up your T levels and actually build serious muscle.

1. Get out of your comfort zone.

Brisk walking is a fine stress reliever and can help with recovery. Just don’t expect it to have any effect on body composition or physical capacities unless you’re so out of shape that walking takes you out of your comfort zone.
If you’re comfortable during a conditioning session – even if it looks challenging on paper – you won’t get much out of it. You must force your body to adapt if you want to change quickly. That’s why the best way to get leaner and in better condition is to do higher intensity work like sprints, hill sprints, barbell complexes, Prowler pushing, farmer’s walks, and intervals.
I don’t like to go by how bad a weight training session feels to judge its efficacy, but when it comes to conditioning work, it really is true.

2. Challenge the muscles.

ProwlerThe human body is built for speed and power. Yes, we have the capacity to sustain work for longer periods of time, but dropping the speed/power aspect out of the equation is a mistake as we risk losing that lean and muscular look we all want.
That’s why conditioning work that includes loaded and explosive work as part of an endurance session is the ideal method to improve the way you look. Farmer’s walks, yoke carries, barbell complexes, box jumps, medicine ball throws, Prowler pushing, wheelbarrow walking, tire flipping, sledgehammer striking, kettlebell swings, and overhead lunges are all loaded exercises that can be used as part of a conditioning session to not only lose fat and build endurance, but also develop a more muscular body.

3. Involve the whole body.

The bigger the engine, the more fuel it burns. So if body composition is your main goal, involving more muscles (bigger engine) during your conditioning session will result in more fuel (fat) being burnt. Furthermore, involving more muscles increases the demand on the cardiovascular system, which obviously has a greater affect on improving your conditioning level and work capacity.
Finally, physically demanding work using more muscle groups at one time leads to a greater hormonal response (especially growth hormone and Testosterone), which affects both muscle gain and fat loss positively.

4. Include speed and power.

DeadliftMost coaches say that speed and power work should only be done in a fresh state. I agree, if the goal is to maximize these capacities. That said, doing speed and power work in a state of metabolic fatigue has a very powerful training effect.
I know from experience that doing speed and power work when the body is metabolically fatigued (but neurally fresh) causes a profound change in body composition, and the effect is seen very quickly. Whether it’s due to survival mechanisms or specific hormonal responses, I’m not sure. Regardless, it works!
Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:

• Explosive lifting – it could be a variation of the Olympic lifts or regular lifts like squats or bench press – done immediately after you’ve created some metabolic fatigue with an exercise like battle ropes, Prowler pushing, hill sprints, or loaded carries. For instance, you might push the Prowler 40 yards, sprint back, and then do 5 power snatches.
• Doing a ballistic movement like jumps or medicine ball throws right after having fatigued the muscles involved through higher rep/pump work for the involved muscles. For instance, doing 5 box jumps after a set of high-rep squats.
• Including explosive work as part of a metabolically-oriented circuit. For instance, 1000m on the rowing machine, 30 burpees, 20 kettlebell swings, 10 box jumps, and 5 power cleans.
• (bodybuilding-oriented): Westside-like speed work once the involved muscles are pumped. For instance, doing pump work for the chest (pec deck, 4 sets of 10 reps with a 3-second squeeze at the peak contraction) followed up by 6 sets of 3 reps of bench press done as explosively as possible with 50% of 1RM and then 1 set of as many reps as you can with 85% of 1RM.
• (sports-training related): Ending a hard lifting workout with explosive work. For example a football player might do his regular lower body workout which would involve heavy power cleans, squats, and Romanian deadlifts and then finish up the workout with lighter, but super explosive, power cleans for 5 sets of 3 reps with 30 seconds of rest between sets.

5. Embrace the power of urgency.

Every time I’ve had to finish a workout within a certain time I’ve felt more focused, which led to better workouts. I also enjoyed fewer psychological inhibitions (e.g., being intimidated by a weight) and that allowed me to perform at a much higher level.
That’s why I love things like Every Minute on the Minute Sets (doing one set every time the clock hits 1 minute), trying to complete a specific conditioning session as fast as possible, or doing as much work as possible within a determined time.
It puts you in a different mindset, one that’s much more conducive to quality workouts. This is especially true for energy system/conditioning sessions. It seems to take your mind off the pain and physical discomfort and allows you to power through, ultimately leading to much better gains.

6. Crank the music.

Overhead PressStrength is a skill. When I want to maximize my performance on a lift, I need to be able to concentrate on the task at hand and not be distracted. Music can hurt my performance as I’m not one to bang heads listening to death metal before a bench press set.
When it comes to conditioning work, however, I actually like loud music that has great rhythm as it helps me focus on maintaining a fast pace. The fact is, my performance during conditioning sessions drops by about 25% if I’m not listening to music!

7. Use slow pace cardio strategically.

I’m big on higher intensity work for conditioning but that doesn’t mean that I’m against slow pace cardio. A good cardiovascular system is the foundation for solid performance at higher intensities of work and allows you to recover between bouts of higher intensity work (in part by increasing the conversion of lactate to glucose).
For example, I like doing things like 3-4 rounds of 200-meter farmer’s walk followed by 600 meters of jogging.
If someone has a lousy cardiovascular system, jumping straight into a super high intensity GPP routine probably isn’t a good idea. For such a person, building up their cardiovascular system with lower intensity cardio is necessary. Once you have a solid base, though, it’s best to use the lower intensity cardio as the active recovery part of a harder overall session.

Get Ripped

Let’s get real. Some gifted athletes can build a muscular, lean, powerful physique without performing a lick of cardio or even conditioning work. For ordinary humans – or those who want the best results possible – a little hard, intelligent conditioning can go a long way towards building a rock-hard, formidable body that’s built for bad. Just follow the seven rules above.

CrossFit: The Good, Bad, and the Ugly



Here’s what you need to know…

• CrossFit has done an incredibly good job at popularizing tough training using barbells.
• CrossFit is fine “Exercise” but it’s not “Training”. The undoubtedly impressive CrossFit Games athletes don’t use CrossFit programming.
• There are good and bad CrossFit coaches, but the certification farm CrossFit has become often produces more bad than good.

I was associated with CrossFit for about three years beginning in 2006, providing weekend seminars and instructional videos that demonstrated technique on the five basic barbell exercises. I ended my formal association with the organization in 2009 due to ideological and personal differences, and The Aasgaard Company started our own seminar product in January of 2010.
During this seven-year period of time I’ve become quite familiar with the system and the people who developed it, I’ve watched it change significantly over these years, and I’ve come to hold several opinions regarding CrossFit. Some of them I will share with you here.

The Good

Crossfit KettlebellCrossFit is the greatest thing that has ever happened to barbell training, bar none, unequivocally and absolutely.
Since the invention of the equipment a hundred years ago, nothing has placed more hands on more barbells than CrossFit. This is what motivated my involvement with them in 2006 – I saw a huge amount of potential for the advancement of strength training.
Now, it must be said that P90X broke the ground with their infomercials, the first of their kind, showing people getting results with exercise that was actually hard. Previously, the primary criterion for exercise advertised on TV was that the DynoIsoThighMaster2000 folded up and stored under your bed. It was fun and took five minutes a week. And it was easy.
So P90X comes along and says that you have to get sweaty and tired if you want to get stronger and lose bodyfat, and it will help if you do their diet too. After a period of development that began in 2002, they started airing millions of infomercials in 2004, and within a couple of years every human being on Earth had been exposed to the idea that “hard” was productive, and that muscles needed to be “confused,” an idea first popularized by the Weider organization in the 70s. With the broad general public exposed to the ideas of “hard” and “random/muscle confusion,” the field had been plowed.
CrossFit began to get popular about this time. It has been called “P90X with barbells” – it confuses the muscles with random exposure to a variety of movements and equipment that P90X does not use, and it is very hard. CrossFit had an appeal that has subsequently ballooned into the fastest-growing business opportunity for gym owners in the history of the industry.
Each of these gyms (I’m sorry, but I cannot call them “boxes”) has bars, bumper plates, racks of some sort, and the platform space to do the basic exercises that comprise effective strength training. And each of them also offers a place to do the WOD that all the other CrossFitters around the world are doing that day. But if they’ll let you, each gym also is a place where you can do very productive strength training.
CrossFit also constitutes nothing less than a total revolution in the potential for the development of Olympic weightlifting in the United States, so far in excess of Bob Hoffman’s wildest dreams that the English language fails to describe its importance.
For example, in 2004 there was one place to do the snatch and the clean & jerk in the entire Dallas Ft. Worth Metroplex: Tom Witherspoon’s garage. Before, six million people/Tom Witherspoon’s garage. Now, 10 years later, there are no less than 40 CrossFit affiliates – probably 41, since I’ve been typing a while. USA Weightlifting has yet to capitalize on this unique opportunity, for reasons beyond the scope of this article. Nonetheless, the amazing opportunity remains in place.
So, no matter what other derogatory stuff I or anybody else says about it, CrossFit has provided more people with access to barbells and the motivation to lift them than any other single factor in the past hundred years. Our company (Aasgaard), Rogue Fitness, York Barbell, Lululemon, Robb Wolf, ten or so shoe companies and chalk and tape manufacturers, several dozen Olympic weightlifting coaches, hundreds of grass-fed beef suppliers, and tens of thousands of commercial space landlords have all benefited from the existence and phenomenal expansion of CrossFit.
We will all be forever grateful for the work.

The Bad

Crossfit SnatchCrossFit – the program on the website and the methods taught at their “certs” – is Exercise, not Training. Exercise is physical activity for its own sake, a workout done for the effect it produces today, during the workout or right after you’re through. Training is physical activity done with a longer-term goal in mind, the constituent workouts of which are specifically designed to produce that goal.
Exercise is fun today. Well, it may not be fun, but you’ve convinced yourself to do it today because you perceive that the effect you produce today is of benefit to you today. You “smashed” or “crushed” or “smoked” that workout… today. Same as the kids in front of the dumbbell rack at the gym catching an arm pump, the workout was about how it made you feel, good or bad, today.
In contrast, Training is about the process you undertake to generate a specific result later, maybe much later, the workouts of which are merely the constituents of the process. Training may even involve a light day that you perceive to be a waste of time if you only consider today.
CrossFit is a random exposure to a variety of different movements at different intensities, most of which are done for time, i.e. as many reps as possible in a stipulated time period or a stipulated number of reps done as fast as possible. As such, it is Exercise, not Training, since it is random, and Training requires that we plan what we are going to do to get ready for a specific task.
Different physical tasks require different physical adaptations; running 26.2 miles is obviously a different task than squatting 700 pounds, and the two efforts require completely different physical adaptations. If a program of physical activity is not designed to get you stronger or faster or better conditioned by producing a specific stress to which a specific desirable adaptation can occur, you don’t get to call it training. It is just exercise.
For most people, exercise is perfectly adequate – it’s certainly better than sitting on your ass. For people who perceive themselves as merely housewives, salesmen, or corporate execs, and for most personal training clients and pretty much everybody who can afford a CrossFit membership, exercise is fine. CrossFit sells itself by advertising the random part: random is not boring, and not-boring gets people to come back. Coming back while doing the diet at the same time gets you abs. CrossFit is largely about abs.
CrossFit is also about the concept of “community” – the reinforcement of behavior through group participation and group approval. I understand this quite intimately, because I have met some of the best people I have ever known through CrossFit, the vast majority of whom are still friends even though I’m no longer associated with CrossFit formally. A better-than-average group of people that likes you and helps you be better is a very powerful motivator for improvement, and CrossFit: The Community provides this in abundance.
These two very powerful motivating factors – non-boring and in-group social dynamics – working together, do the best job of reinforcing workout adherence that has ever been brought to play in the fitness industry. In fact, CrossFit operates, in this important respect, in a way that is completely opposite to the industry paradigm of sell-’em-and-run-’em-off.
But this active retainment of members actually using the gym creates a unique problem for CrossFit facilities that no one else in the standard fitness industry has to face: the post-novice trainee.
As you are obviously aware (since you have memorized my books), a novice trainee is one for whom recovery from each workout is possible within a very short timeframe – 48 hours or so. This is because untrained people are unadapted people, and for unadapted people anything that’s harder than what they’ve been doing causes an adaptation.
Crossfit Back ShotThis is why CrossFit works so well for the vast majority of the people that start it: for the first time, an exercise program causes them to experience rapid improvement… at first. Then the problem with CrossFit becomes obvious.
CrossFit is not Training. It is Exercise. And exercise – even poorly-programmed random flailing-around in the floor for time – causes progress to occur, for a while. For the novice, CrossFit Exercise mimics the effects of Training, because it’s hard and because stress causes adaptation. Then, progress slows, since the Laws of Physiology cannot be ignored. The more you adapt to physical stress, the stronger and fitter you become. And the stronger and fitter you become, the more difficult it is to get more strong and more fit, because the easy part of the process has already occurred.
This is called the Principle of Diminishing Returns, and is evident throughout nature and your own experiences, if you have paid attention. Once the low-hanging fruit have been picked, you have to get a ladder, and then you might need a helicopter – and each increase in complexity yields less fruit, dammit.
And this is precisely where CrossFit: The Methodology falls apart. Once a person has adapted beyond the ability of random stress applied frequently under time constraints to cause further improvement, progress stalls. And increasing the intensity of the random stress doesn’t work either – that just gets you hurt because you haven’t gotten stronger, and your heart and lungs can only work at about 200 BPM and about 50 RPM.
Further progress must be based on an analysis of the adaptation you want to create, and a program of Training for the purpose of causing that adaptation to occur must be correctly designed and followed. Beyond a certain point, random physical stress fails to continue to elicit a favorable adaptation.
CrossFit appeals to many people because it claims to be about doing everything well and nothing perfectly. Humans cannot excel at everything, as evidenced by the individual performances within the Decathlon as compared to the specialists’ performances in those events. But at some point, even people who don’t want to excel at anything in particular realize they aren’t really improving at anything in general. People motivated to get this far are also motivated to continue improving, and even if you want to be merely good at everything, there must be a way to continue to improve this general competence. “Mainsite CrossFit” cannot drive this improvement beyond a certain point.
This is precisely why the advanced athletes who win and place at the CrossFit Games do not use CrossFit website programming to achieve advanced levels of the strength and conditioning necessary to perform at that level. None of them. This is widely known and freely admitted by everyone not involved with the company. All athletes at advanced levels must Train intelligently to advance, and CrossFit: The Methodology doesn’t do the job.
Strength is an excellent example of a physical characteristic that drives improvement in other athletic parameters. More strength means more power, more endurance, better coordination, and better everything else. This is why, all other things being equal, the stronger athlete is the better athlete.
You can get stronger for a while doing random exercise, but everyone who has tried it knows that at some point you have to put more weight on the bar and lift it on a regular, programmed basis that obeys the rules of adaptive physiology and logic. You have to plan to get stronger by doing things that require that you be stronger, while not doing things that interfere with the process. Random WOD CrossFit is not good at making this happen – or even allowing it to happen.
So, the program that’s very good at getting people to stay involved is also very good at getting people to the point where the same random exposure to hard physical stress no longer works, and must become non-randomin order that progress continues to be made. For many CrossFitters, exercise will always be enough. But for many others, CrossFit takes them to the point where CrossFit isn’t good enough anymore. For them, Exercise leads to Training, and CrossFit is merely Exercise.
In other words, CrossFit has an inherent problem that it cannot seem to solve.

The Ugly

Crossfit Funny FaceWhy can’t CrossFit: The Business Model solve the problem? Because it doesn’t want to. Hell, it doesn’t need to: at eight to ten completely sold-out Level I “certs” every weekend, each of which may enroll 50 participants at $1000 each, it would be very difficult to convince any sane person that CrossFit has any problems at all.
Here’s one aspect of the problem: how many of these approximately 500 people failed? How many certified CF Level I “coaches” are actually qualified to coach CrossFit or anything else? How many have the experience to understand The Bad – the limitations of WOD programming – and how to correct it?
Any organization which grows this fast will have problems. Among the more serious problems that CrossFit has are the injuries. Shoulders, Achilles tendons, rhabdomyolysis, and all the other things that are the potential result of overtraining an athlete who cannot continue to adapt to randomly applied and sometimes very intense physical stress. These are potentially life-altering exposures to needless trauma that can be prevented by not doing stupid shit to people who don’t know any better than to do what they’re told.
NFL players get injured. So do almost all professional athletes. In fact, every competitive athlete faces the prospect of injury, because that is the price paid for shifting the focus from merely doing to winning. The risk/reward ratio has been calculated and allowed for.
CrossFitters get injured while exercising in the gym. Most are upset when this happens, but some of them regard these injuries as a marker of status – as though the injury itself confers some elite level of athletic accomplishment to a set of pull-ups. It may be a torn callus or a torn cuff tendon – any injury represents a setback in an actual training program, while for a CrossFitter it may be regarded as evidence that something wonderful has been achieved.
People working very hard at high-intensity high-volume physical tasks are going to get hurt, no matter why they’re doing the work. One of the reasons that Training results in long-term improvement is that it properly assesses the current state of the athlete and logically plans for improvement in a way that is sustainable, safe, specific to the goal, and therefore productive. Random exposure to varying levels of volume, intensity, rest, technical complexity, and power output cannot be sustainable, safe, specific, and productive.
You know the Hamill study, published in the JSCR that evaluates the risk of injury in various athletic activities? The one that found that “weight training” was one of the safest activities in the spectrum? CrossFit actually has the potential to change this.
The Ugly is that some freshly-minted CrossFit coaches recognize this Training/Exercise problem, even if they can’t articulate its cause, and attempt to address the situation by simply adding to the intensity. Adding weight to already fatiguing ballistic movements is dangerous, and you’re not being a pussy if you recognize the fact that this is not always a good idea.
Weighted high-rep 24-inch box jumps for time are a potentially very dangerous dose of stress, from both a metabolic and structural perspective, made even more dangerous in combination with several other high-rep movements that can fatigue the athlete in the short-term and produce high levels of tendon and muscle inflammation in the long-term.
Is everybody who passed that CF Level I Cert last weekend actually capable of evaluating which of the people in the class should do this workout, even if they can?
The Ugly is that one of the best things that has ever happened to strength and conditioning is also one of the worst things that can happen to some very good people. People who are committed to you because you have shown them progress and because they are part of your group will do things because you tell them to. This is unfortunately true, people being people, and it has gotten some of them badly hurt.
A Coach is supposed to know better than to place people in a position to get hurt by asking them to do things they can’t or shouldn’t do. The fact that everybody all over the world is doing these things today should not matter to a Coach.
There are hundreds of very good CrossFit affiliates across the country and around the world, staffed by very good coaches with more-than-adequate experience and excellent judgement about all matters regarding exercise and training, which to use, and who to use it with. I know many of these people, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that they know what they’re doing.
The Ugly is that there are many thousands of CrossFit affiliates around the world and hundreds of new “coaches” each weekend. Think about this very carefully.

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