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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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”

The couch can make you fit.

No matter how badly or poorly you have run, jogged, or staggered  20 meters plus,  there will always be a fitness motivator screaming “good job, you lapped the guy on the couch”

Its sort of true, but  at the same time they lapped everyone doing a static exercise: they lapped the  person doing pull ups, deadlifts, the olympic lifts, bicep curls and hundreds of other stationary exercises: they lapped the guy doing burpees and tuck jumps, they  lapped everyone on a concept 2 rower or an assault bike.

During fits of depression, or good old fashioned laziness, it super easy to crawl onto a couch and crash out. This means that deciding to get up, change, walk out the door and start jogging can be a super barrier.

I remember lying on the couch staring at the floor being unable to roll off and do one push up.

To build new habits and behaviours, they really need to be modelled on existing habits and behaviours. It’s very difficult to abandon bad behaviours, so its best to use them if you can.

If it’s a racing certainty that you will throw yourself onto the couch in the next few hours, connecting the couch with exercise could be the most effective exercise improvement you can make. This is crucial if you find yourself locked down.

As a quick example I’ll  use  the curl up abdominal exercise. Its fairly easy to change from a couch slump

slumping on the couch

into something fairly near a therapeutic curl up!

do the therapeutic curl up on the couch

Over the next few months, I’ll be showing you how you can get fit on your couch. moving from a slump into an effective exercise.

Obviously this is a great stand alone (lie alone) exercise.  You don’t have to get on the couch to do it!

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A healthy gut microbiome, watching your waist size and getting enough sleep

Eating a diet that encourages a healthy gut microbiome, avoiding central obesity (fat in the stomach region) and getting enough sleep are among the many dietary and lifestyle factors that may help to protect against heart disease and stroke, according to findings of a new Task Force report from the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), entitled Cardiovascular Disease: Diet, Nutrition and Emerging Risk Factors: 2nd Edition. The evidence for other emerging risk factors that may increase risk – such as being sedentary for long periods, and poor diet in pregnancy – were presented at a conference for academics and health professionals to launch the Task Force report in London today.

In the UK, the death rate from cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes heart disease and stroke has been falling but it is still one of the leading causes of death. There are a number of treatments available, which have contributed to reducing mortality, but ill health associated with CVD (morbidity) remains high and could even be rising in older age groups.

Professor Keith Frayn Emeritus, Professor of Human Metabolism, University of Oxford and Chair of the Task Force, said: “Conventional lifestyle-related risk factors for cardiovascular disease include smoking, raised cholesterol and blood pressure, lack of physical activity, obesity and diabetes. However, these ‘classical’ risk factors cannot fully explain differences in cardiovascular disease risk and emerging evidence suggests that other novel risk factors may play an important role.”

The Task Force report explores some of the emerging and novel risk factors and how they can affect our risk of heart disease and stroke.

Gut health

Scientific research shows that eating plenty of wholegrains and other fibre rich foods is important for a healthy gut, but the Task Force report highlights that the fermentation of fibre by our gut bacteria may also influence our risk of heart disease.

Sara Stanner, Science Director at the BNF and editor of the Task Force report said: “As a nation we’re consuming well below the recommended intake for fibre. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, choosing high-fibre or wholegrain varieties of starchy carbohydrates, and eating plenty of pulses, like beans, peas and lentils, will contribute to fibre intakes and can help to keep your gut healthy and decrease your risk of heart disease.”

Central fat

It’s known that being overweight increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, but where you carry any excess fat is also important in determining the risk of heart disease and stroke. The new Task Force report explains that people who have excess fat around the stomach are at increased risk because the cells secrete a number of substances that can contribute to risk.

Stanner said: “Regardless of height or BMI, people should try to lose weight if their waist measures more than 94cm (37ins) for men and 80cm (31.5ins) for women.”

Minerals

There is a well-established link between sodium in salt and risk of high blood pressure but other minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium may play a role in preventing high blood pressure and have positive effects on other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

Stanner said: “Eating a varied diet will help to ensure you get all the essential minerals you need; potassium is found in foods like bananas, potatoes and fish, magnesium in lentils and wholegrains and calcium in dairy foods and some green leafy vegetables.”

Sleep

Evidence in the Task Force report suggests that it is not just a lack of sleep but also poor quality and interrupted sleep that may be linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.

Stanner said: “There is emerging evidence that inadequate sleep is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. For general health, adults should aim for between seven and nine hours sleep a night.”

Workplace stress

Many scientific studies have linked stress with ill-health but the link between job-related stress and increased risk of heart disease and stroke is becoming more widely recognised. The report suggests that exposure to stress activates specific regions of the brain, leading to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which can affect blood vessel walls and damage the functioning of the blood vessel lining.

Stanner said: “If you’re exposed to stress in the workplace it’s a good idea to find relaxation techniques that suit you, and actively work at managing your stress levels.”

Other risk factors

Other significant risk factors identified by the Task Force report include birthweight (both high and low birthweights are associated with increased risk of heart disease in later life), excessive consumption of alcohol and sedentary behaviour, even if interspersed with physical activity.
Here is  BNF’s “Helping to protect yourself from heart disease and stroke chart “Helping to protect yourself from heart disease and stroke