Save your life: build an exercise habit: next challenge starts 28th September

Pretty much everyone I know can produce a good list as to why you should exercise and maintain a healthy weight.

The benefits of regular exercise are frankly beyond doubt for most people*

You know you should exercise and you probably know how , either at a basic, or a super advanced level.

The issue is that you wont or can’t.

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DWF: A lovely workout, too much curry and a nose job.

A cute little workout: 10 dumbbell snatches left, 10 right, 1 turkish get up L, 1 turkish get up R, 10 toes to bar. Amrap 12 minutes. I discovered I could use the door frame of the security gate. which added a few interesting challenges. The square shape gave my fingers and hand a “novel grip experience” and because there are bars coming off it, you have to control where your fingers go, otherwise you can smash them up.

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The L Sit is your way to defeat stress!

Whilst everyone likes a rippling physique, there  are exercises that are simply good for you, sometimes, for reasons that are not immediately obvious.

The L sit can have an impact on your stress levels. It was recently established that there is a connection between your core, your brain, your adrenal glands and thus the release of the stress hormone cortisol. It’s only been tested on Monkeys, but it’s very interesting.

Classically it was thought that most of the body systems worked top down. You think it, and the brain  sends out the memo.

Basically, the primary cortex portion of your brain (or M1 for short) contains a map of your entire body including regions like your legs, arms, face, and your core. 

To everybody’s surprise, boffins have discovered a large number of neurons in the M1 that controlled the adrenal medulla. Plus, most of these neurons were located in the axial muscle region of the M1. Stated plainly: “Well, lo and behold, core muscles have an impact on stress,” says Peter Strick, PhD, a professor and chair of the department of neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute. 

“One clear implication of this organization is that the sympathetic responses which occur during activities such as exercise, the performance of demanding cognitive tasks, and the experience of emotions are generated by neural activity from the same cortical areas that are responsible for these behaviors.” (The mind–body problem: Circuits that link the cerebral cortex to the adrenal medulla)

This isn’t that much of a surprise although as the mind body connection has been fairly known, or boringly worked to death, depending on your perspective. What we are beginning to see is the pathways for a body mind connection.

How you treat  your body has a direct impact on your emotions .

The psychologists, hippies and new age weirdos had always talked about this connection. I went to a charity fire walk in Liverpool Street, London several years ago, and we were made to power pose (stand there, legs astride, “being powerful”) o prepare us for the  rigours of the fire walk. to come  Without such preparations, we would clearly have died

Whilst power posing per se isn’t at all guaranteed (other studies found it to be utter tosh), its enough to understand  that:

  “specific multisynaptic circuits exist to link movement, cognition, and affect to the function of the adrenal medulla. This circuitry may mediate the effects of internal states like chronic stress and depression on organ function and, thus, provide a concrete neural substrate for some psychosomatic illness”.

All of which is a long winded rambling way of saying, do the L sit! ‘Cause your core sort of chats to your stress bits. Like”.

It’s OK.  I hang around with some really trashy people and have picked up some filthy phrasing habits.

To own the L sit, here are the stages! It’s vaguely abusive in places 

Stage 1. Notice the burger you are scoffing

Stage 2 put the burger down

The abusive thought behind stage 1 & 2 really is unnecessary. You can get good strong abs and still eat crap, you probably won’t be able to see them though. Although eating crap per se is bad for you.

Stage 3 grab the edge of the health and safety checked chair and push your ass off the seat, Notice how your bum is behind your hands. Find a balance. Practice for a few weeks (less if its easy)

Stage 4  Build on stage 3 , then stick one of your legs in front of you.Yikes. It’s hard for some, not so for others. You are lucky or you are not. Practice this and stage 5 together. One leg, then the other. Feel free to cry. Everyone likes people who can express emotional  weakness

Stage 5, is the other leg!

Stage 6. Hurrah, both legs out “purleez”

Stage 1-6  can be almost instant or its 6 weeks worth of work.

Then you can do it on the floor with paralletts

Then you start your disgusting journey to 2 minutes!

You’ll love the abs you get, the core control, and of course you’ll be calm and stress free!

Get L sitting, like you were born to it. It will soon become easy ( this is a lie: it will always suck. If you have Abs of steel,I can always put weight on your feet)

This is a PDF of this article  The L Sit

The sketches are from is.tatsuo@gmail.com

DWF:A feta salad and some timing issues

TODAY’S WORKOUT

You’ll need a watch in todays workout which is a fun 10 v sits, 50 meter sprint, 20 squat, rest 1 minute affair. Aim for 5 rounds. Try and keep it sharp and punchy. Sprint the sprin.

We train in our car park so we do a 30m fast run, turn around with a 30m all out sprint back to our exercise mat!

The sprint is useful as it’s short enough to actually build a different pace than the normal shuffle jogs people fall into.

TODAY’S FOOD

Thanks to Leanne for this veggie Feta salad meal: Not far off a 3 block zone meal

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DWF: Kate’s favourite and a nasty snatch session

The meal I’ll analyse today is my lovely Kate’s favourite meat which is roast lamb.

Voila

4 blocks of lamb, or 112g ( that’s the protein) , 3 blocks of potato (150g) and my hope that the odd bit of fat that I rubbed over the meat before roasting was about 4 x 1.5g . The zone diet assumes that all meat has some fat in it.

You’ll notice I’ve slung peas and green beans on my plate, but without really measuring them. I think “pile on the ( non starchy) veg”, but don’t let this take you away from measuring the more carb dense food!

POINTS TO NOTE: when you start to properly manage your weight 1) don’t hunt out weird exotic meals to make. Try and stick with stuff you know and can cook. 2) learn to portion control the important stuff. Dont obsess if you had too much spinach or 3 more fork fulls of cabbage! Learn to recognise the high calorie food. still include it! But manage it.

Todays car park workout was an ‘up down ladder”

Mark out a 10m shuttle run, get a suitably nice, or nasty dumbbell to snatch

On the way up dumbbell snatches 2-20 (2, 4, 6) , on the way down shuttle runs 10-1(10, 9, 8)

Disgusting

Ewww!

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DWF: rest day

On this basic regime, its work for 3 days, rest on the 4th: ( btw DWF means “daily workout and food”)

Repeat.

I set the workouts based on the assumption that you have some dumbbells, a kettlebell and a slipping rope. Ideally you need to add dedicated strength workouts and gymnastics to your regime, but this workout aims to sling together enough elements to do a high intensity session. Often it’s the intensity of the session that will drive fitness results.

To be obvious , this regime doesn’t include pull ups, dips , olympic or power lifts, so it’s not a complete regime, but it gives your lower half, heart and lungs a time.

Each day, I try and give you some eating guidance based on the zone diet. Today, its some general information, a lazy cut and paste, about the zone diet (from the Crossfit Journal, issue 21)

“A block is a unit of measure used to simplify the process of making balanced meals.

7 grams of protein = 1block of protein 9 grams of carbohydrate = 1 block of carbohydrate 1.5 grams of fat = 1 block of fat (There is an assumption that there is about 1.5 grams of fat in each block of protein, so the total amount of fat needed per 1 block meal is 3 grams.)

When a meal is composed of equal blocks of protein, carbohydrate, and fat, it is 40 % carbohydrate, 30 % protein and 30% fat.

Pages 3 and 4 of the attached document

lists common foods, their macronutrient category (protein, carbohydrate or fat), along with a conversion of measurements to blocks.

This “block chart” is a convenient tool for making balanced meals. Simply choose 1 item from the protein list, 1 item from the carbohydrate list, and 1 item from the fat list to compose a 1 block meal. Or choose 2 items from each column to compose a 2 block meal, etc.

Here is a sample 4 block meal:

4 oz. chicken breast 1 artichoke 1 cup of steamed vegetables w/ 24 crushed peanuts 1 sliced apple

This meals contains 28 grams of protein, 36 grams of carbohydrate, and 12 grams of fat. It is simpler, though, to think of it as 4 blocks of protein, 4 blocks of carbohydrate, and 4 blocks of fat.

Even if you are going to slop on the couch, see if you can sneak in a bit of better movement.

From bad to bridge: most positions can be tweaked so you can sneak in a bit of exercise.

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DWF: a curry and a cute workout.

Here are some action picks from todays curry task. Everything you need to make a 4 block curry meal, with a bottle of beer.

Using yesterdays pulled chicken and some stock made from the bones, it was chicken curry time. 93g of rice (3 blocks) 120 g of chicken (4 blocks) buried in a sauce of stock and tomatoes, plus tomato puree with onions, ginger, toasted and crushed cloves, coriander, garlic, curry powder and a bit of coconut milk powder.

This sort of meant there was room for an extra 9g carb block (1 block). I sneaked in a beer at 12g of carb, so 3 g over But I knew I was going to do this so I slightly cut back a previous meal.

Nice, but I should have put a bit of chilli in. For me the ginger and clove is enough of a bit, but today it would have been better with a bit of chilli.

THE WORKOUT

An escalating ladder of 1 D/B snatch L&R, 1 push up, 5/10 V sit ups. Then 2 D/B snatch left/right, 2 push ups, 5/10 V sit ups ( 5 for kate, 10 for me.) The V sit up work stays the same each round) ( next round is 3 D/B 3 push ups)

As high up the ladder as you can as you can get in 13 minutes. Depending on the stimulus, you may want a light, medium or heavy dumbbell.

It was surprisingly disgusting .

This is day 3, so tomorrow is a rest day!

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Can you be fit and fat?

 The  answer to this  seemingly obvious question is  often confused by trying to define what  fat  and fit means.

Over the years the measurement of fat and indeed its distribution has raised some interesting  questions. I’m very aware of the muscular athletic awesome looking athlete who comes back from their annual medical having been told they are obese according to their BMI. These are people, who when their body fat is checked (using callipers or some sort of science fiction machine) are down into the enviable category! 

The next interesting “quickie” fat measure came when the discussion of abdominal obesity became fashionable the waist to hip ratio measurement was quick and easy and it certainly measured the tummy fat that showed.

Today, we should all be about visceral fat. But, It’s a hard thing to measure without a CT scan . The problem with visceral fat (the fat inside your visceral cavity, or around your organs) , is that skinny people can have visceral fat and that people with a big tummy don’t necessarily have visceral fat. It can sometimes be all subcutaneous!

Basically we have obvious fat and visceral fat.

Now we need to ask what is healthy or what is metabolically unhealthy According to Ortega (2012) .  If you crave the “metabolically unhealthy” crown, you must have one or more of these readings

  • high blood pressure (≥130/85 mmHg)
  • high blood triglycerides (≥150 mg/dL)
  • low HDL “good” cholesterol (<40 and 50 mg/dL in men and women, respectively)
  • high fasting blood sugar level (≥100 mg/dL)

Since the NHS actually started recording  the prevalence of obesity it was correlated with high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low good cholesterol and poor blood sugar. So it was quickly assumed that any overweight person would have these metabolically unhealthy markers. It wasn’t difficult to imagine the step to saying obesity causes them.

However, this is a great example that causation doesn’t necessarily mean causation.  Is it possible to be visibly overweight ( I know that’s terribly subjective, but work with me) but still have metabolically healthy readings ( good blood pressure, good  blood sugar).  


Ortega et al wrote ”The intriguing metabolically healthy but obese phenotype: cardiovascular prognosis and role of fitness ” 


They ran some tests using BMI and the 4 health markers and noted (i) metabolically healthy but obese individuals have a higher fitness level than their metabolically abnormal and obese peers; (ii) after accounting for fitness, metabolically healthy but obese phenotype is a benign condition, in terms of cardiovascular disease and mortality. this led to these conclusions (i) Higher fitness should be considered a characteristic of metabolically healthy but obese phenotype. (ii) Once fitness is accounted for, the metabolically healthy but obese phenotype is a benign condition, with a better prognosis for mortality and morbidity than metabolically abnormal obese individuals.

  • “Metabolically healthy” obese participants had a better baseline fitness level on the treadmill test compared with “metabolically abnormal” obese participants (adjusting for age, sex, examination year, smoking and alcohol consumption, and when using either BMI or body fat percentage to define obesity). The difference was the same for men and women.
  • “Metabolically abnormal” obese participants had significantly increased risk of dying from any cause during follow-up compared with “metabolically healthy” obese participants (adjusting for confounders and using either BMI or body fat percentage to define obesity).
  • When looking at cardiovascular disease outcomes, “metabolically abnormal” obese participants only had increased risk of a fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular disease event compared with “metabolically healthy” obese participants when using body fat percentage to define obesity. There was no difference in risk when using standard BMI definitions.
  • “Metabolically healthy” obese participants had no difference in risk of dying from any cause, or of fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular disease events compared with “metabolically healthy” normal-weight or fat participants.

On a narrow set of  health criteria and dubious “obesity’ assessments it’s quite possible to argue that you can be fat and fit!  However, over the years more concern has been raised about where your fat is . Research has indicated,visceral fat may be doing something  far more nasty. 

 “Visceral Fat Adipokine Secretion Is Associated With Systemic Inflammation in Obese Humans” 2007 concluded “that visceral fat is an important site for IL-6 secretion ( an inflammation causing thing) and provide a potential mechanistic link between visceral fat and systemic inflammation in people with abdominal obesity”. So there is an interesting line of experiments that indicate that visceral fat could be there, releasing nasty stuff.

The interesting thing is that you can be quite skinny and still have visceral fat and you can be obese and have no visceral fat. So based on some current evidence and where you fat is  you can be both  visibly fat and fit and skinny and ill!

(Update added 4th August 2020) However, it seems that science gallops on on! There are an increasing number of reports that suggest any sort of obesity is bad for your health. The above article looked at the narrow proposition that you can have “markers” of fitness and still be overweight. The clear answer is yes.

However there are other markers. Things like Adipokines, (which can be either pro or anti inflammatory ) It seems that the fatter you are, the more pro inflammatory they become. Which is bad.

So watch out for the next article in this series that will probably be “Can you be fat and healthy”