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Use It or Lose It

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Use It or Lose It.” That applies to so many aspects of our lives.

I came face to face with that fact when I was prevented from exercising for close to 5-6 months. The first 3 months – from doing almost anything. The next 2-3 months from being super cautious.

Now they are telling me – I also got stupider. Check out this article entitled
Use it or lose it: Study shows that stopping exercise decreases brain blood flow.

Dr. J. Carson Smith, associate professor of kinesiology and lead author of the study, which is published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience in August 2016. “In rodents, the hippocampus responds to exercise training by increasing the growth of new blood vessels and new neurons, and in older people, exercise can help protect the hippocampus from shrinking. So, it is significant that people who stopped exercising for only 10 days showed a decrease in in brain regions that are important for maintaining brain health.”

Unlike me – the study used Master Athletes, “defined as people between the ages of 50 and 80 (average age was 61) who have at least 15 years history of participating in and who have recently competed in an endurance event.”

At least in this highly selective group “if you do stop exercising for 10 days, just as you will quickly lose your cardiovascular fitness, you will also experience a decrease in blood brain flow.”

I do not doubt that exercise helps keep our bodies – including our brains in top condition. I also do not doubt that individuals who are dependent upon (addicted to) high intensity exercise show a significant loss when they stop for even 10 days.

Their must have entailed at least four hours of high intensity endurance training each week. On average, they were running ~36 miles (59 km) each week or the equivalent of a 10K run a day!

What I would be more interested in knowing is the impact on the rest of us. How much of what kind of exercise do we need to do to keep our brains functioning? 

Lifting Heavy Weights vs Light Weights

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There is a constant argument between those that believe in lifting Heavy Weights versus those that believe in lifting Lighter Weights. Their Goal is the same – build strength and muscle mass.

There are times that I feel like I have the Devil (heavy) on one shoulder and the Angel (light) on the other. My head is in between these two opposites – it gives me a head ache.

Then – of course – there is the big bad – Ego. You look around the gym and the “Guys” with big guns are always lifting heavy weights. Am I being shamed by lifting lighter weights.

Spotted this Article Lifting Lighter Weights Is Just As Effective As Heavy Weights.

A new study from McMaster University in Canada has shown that lifting lighter weights is just as effective for building muscle as lifting heavy ones.

Researchers say the key is to get your muscles just as tired as they would with heavier weights by lifting lighter weights for more repetitions.

“Fatigue is the great equaliser here,” said Stuart Phillips, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University. “Lift to the point of exhaustion, and it doesn’t matter whether the weights are heavy or light.

Then there is the question – How light is light? – How heavy is heavy?

The first group lifted lighter weights (30-50 per cent of the maximum weight the individuals could lift), for 20-25 repetitions per set for three sets. The second group lifted heavier weights (between 75-90 per cent of the maximum weight people could lift) for 8-12 repetitions per set.

So we define lighter weights as the weight which brings you to exhaustion between 20-25 reps – and – heavier weights as the weight which brings you to exhaustion between 8-12 reps. Assuming that each rep – no matter what the weight – takes the same amount of time to complete – the lighter workout is going to take 2-3 times longer than the heavier workout.

Since most of us are time limited when we walk into the gym – then stick with heavier weights. Maybe – when you have time on your hands – switch it up with lighter weights.

At least now, I have a standard to follow.

But – if I should “Lift to the point of exhaustion” what happened to the rule about “leaving one in the tank.”😉

Tomorrow starts the Fall 52 Day Challenge

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The Fall 52 Day Challenge starts Tomorrow – Wednesday, August 17th. Time to join the fun and sign up.

Click on these Links and become a Challenger.

Announcement

FAQs – Everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

Sign-up – This is were you make it happen!

Weight-Loss Challenge Sign-up – A sub-challenge for Challengers who are trying to take off or put on weight.

See you at the Starting Line.

Am I repeating myself?

Count Down to the 52DC Starting Line!

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The Fall 52 Day Challenge starts Wednesday, August 17th. Time to join the fun and sign up.

Click on these Links and become a Challenger.

Announcement

FAQs – Everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

Sign-up – This is were you make it happen!

Weight-Loss Challenge Sign-up – A sub-challenge for Challengers who are trying to take off or put on weight.

See you at the Starting Line.

The “New” Endurance Fuel

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On page 64 of the July/August 2016 issue of Men’s Health is an article entitled The New Endurance Fuel by Brett Israel. It is not on line yet – but – is worth reading.

The article tells the story of Zach Bitter, an endurance athlete who sought a way around the “Bonking” which commonly occurs after two hours of intense exercise when a person’s glycogen stores are depleted. It is a tale of finding and adapting to a Ketogenic Diet and becoming fat adapted. Zach Bitter found significant success once he was Fat Adapted.

Absolutely nothing new in this Article – other than it is sandwiched in between lots of carb heavy recipes and stories. 

In research from Ohio State, elite ultramarathoners and Ironman distance triathletes who consumed very few carbs burned more than twice as much fat during prolonged exercise as high-carb athletes did.

“Research from Ohio State” referenced without footnoting. Guess whose research – Dr. Jeff Volek. I’ve previously written about his books:

  1. Jeff Volek, Stephen Phinney. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. Beyond Obesity, April 2012. 162 pages.
  2. Jeff Volek, Stephen Phinney. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living. Beyond Obesity, May 2011. 302 pages.
  3. Westman, E.C., S.D. Phinney, and J.S. Volek. The New Atkins for a New You. Fireside, New York, NY, March 2, 2010.
  4. Volek, J. and Campbell A. The Men’s Health TNT Diet. Targeted Nutrition Tactics. Rodale Books, Rodale Books Emmaus, PA, Oct 2, 2007.

Since one of his books was a Men’s Health publication, I’m surprised they didn’t reference him. 

Another book that sings the same song is: What The Fat? Sports Performance: Leaner, Fitter, Faster on Low-Carb Healthy Fat. Schofield, Grant; Zinn, Caryn; Rodger, Craig. The Real Food Publishing Company Limited, 2015. 

This Article defines a Ketogenic Diet as 80% fat, 15% protein and  5% Carbs. Men’s Heath Nutrition advisor, Mike Roussell, Ph.D. recommends that an endurance athlete allow for an eight week period to become fully fat adapted prior to entering an event. No quarrel there.

The article also credits a Ketogenic Diet with enhancing weight loss, helping to fight cancer and improving memory in the elderly.

In attempting to be fair, the author included this quote:

I haven’t yet seen evidence that the ketogenic diet provides a superior approach,” says Louise Burke, Ph.D., of the Australian Sports Commission.

Still, Zach Bitter remains supportive. “I believe a ketogenic diet has allowed me to train harder.”

NOW THE FLIP SIDE

I found this on one of the news gathering services: Can You Trick Your Body into Burning More Fat? By Tia Ghose, Senior Writer | August 11, 2016 11:20am, published on the Live Science site.

I am not going to provide a synopsis of the article – only to say that it is the expected flip side. I did find it interesting that both articles quoted Louise Burke.

In some of the most definitive work on this subject, Louise Burke, an exercise physiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport, and her colleagues conducted a study of low-carbohydrate and high-carbohydrate diets for elite race walkers. Her work has found that low-carb diets reduced performance.

Elite Race Walkers – the operative word is “race.” Check out the book – What The Fat? Sports Performance: Leaner, Fitter, Faster on Low-Carb Healthy Fat, referenced above. The authors present a significant argument for integrating a ketogenic diet with a carb boost for races. Their thesis presents one of the most balance approaches on this subject.

Beyond that, low-carb diets are often difficult to follow. Consuming no carbs means no fruits, veggies or whole grains, Manore said. One of the competitive race walkers in Burke’s study took to eating sticks of butter, according to a recent interview.

Yep – no whole grains – or at least very limited amounts – but no veggies  – huh? I’ve never eaten more veggies since starting to eat this way. No fruit – a half truth – limited fruits – intelligently eaten.

“Most athletes hate it. They can’t stay on it. They don’t feel good,” Manore said. “It’s just not practical.”

Hmmm – I can stay on it, feel great and find it a very practical way to eat my veggies and selective fruits. 

 

Cuban Press

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Years ago, I managed to mess up my right Rotator Cuff. Did that from a wide, palms forward pull down trying to work my way up to a pull-up. That ended any attempt at pull-ups and chin-ups along with a lot of other movements.

I came across the Cuban Press as a method of rehabing the right shoulder and strengthening both shoulders for a time I could get back to focusing on pull-ups. Started out with 2 pound weights – yes – almost air – but damn necessary starting point. I am now at 15 pounds – will not go higher – at least not at this point. Took years. Now I am doing pull-ups mixed in with my chin-up sets. No pain in the shoulder.🙂

I also have my wife doing them as part of her continuing rehabilitation from a severe stroke.

Did them this morning. I just sat down at the computer and came across this Cuban Press Facebook post from Men’s Health. Check it out. Add this to your program.

 

Fall 2016 52 Day Challenge Starts August 17th

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I’ve completed 8 years as part of the the 52 Day Challenge. 5 Challenges a year – 40 Challenges completed. Heading into number 42 – and not getting tired or bored.

These Challenges keep me focused on my fitness and health. Even when sidelined for injury – I’m there rooting on the other Challengers. An ever changing great group of people from all corners of the world.

You don’t need to follow any specific fitness regime or diet. It is up to you to set your own path. The experience of others guides you along journey.

My goals this Challenge are a bit less than the last time – since I will be away for a week with little if any chance to exercise.

Clean Eating: 96/104

Resistance Training: 15 sessions

Cardio Training: 15 sessions

PG1: 2,600 push ups –  50/day

PG2: 520 Chin/pull ups – 10 a day – this is gonna be tough – since I will not be able to do any for the week I’m away. Just have to double up on days I’ve got a bar.

Check out the Men’s Health 52DC Forum. Read the Announcement, the FAQs and then Sign-up.

Hope to see you at the Starting Line – let me know if you sign-up.

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