I came across an interesting article that suggested that a certain type of exercise could make you as thin as our other ape colleagues.
Im sure you have all mused on the fact that we are fatter than our chimp ape brothers.
Its the number one topic of conversation in our gym!
Unfairly, primates have less than 9% body fat, a healthy range for humans is anywhere from 14% to 31%. Even for those super fit skinny people with amazing muscles.
Despite having nearly identical DNA sequences, chimps and early humans underwent critical shifts in how DNA is packaged inside their fat cells, As a result, the researchers say, this decreased the human body’s ability to turn “bad” calorie-storing fat into the “good” calorie-burning kind. basically we needed to store more fat to fee our growing brains.
Normally most of the DNA within a cell is condensed into coils and loops and tightly wound around proteins, such that only certain DNA regions are loosely packed enough to be accessible to the cellular machinery that turns genes on and off.
The researchers identified roughly 780 DNA regions that were accessible in chimps and macaques, but had become more bunched up in humans. Examining these regions in detail, the team also noticed a recurring snippet of DNA that helps convert fat from one cell type to another.
But, we need to back track.
There are 2 types of fat. White fat that stores calories, and beige and brown fat which can burn calories rather than store them to generate heat and keep us warm.
“We’ve lost some of the ability to shunt fat cells toward beige or brown fat, and we’re stuck down the white fat pathway,” Swain-Lenz said. It’s still possible to activate the body’s limited brown fat by doing things like exposing people to cold temperatures, she explained, “but we need to work for it.” This accounts for the cold shower crazes and the insane idea of “thermal loading” which I had to test.
In the six to eight million years since humans and chimps went their separate ways, human brains have roughly tripled in size. Chimpanzee brains haven’t budged.
The human brain uses more energy, pound for pound, than any other tissue. Steering fat cells toward calorie-storing white fat rather than calorie-burning brown fat, the thinking goes, would have given our ancestors a survival advantage.
This raises the remote possibility that in the future we could find a way of manipulating and switching genes on and off and magically have 9% body fat.
In the future.
In fact in an interview the lead researcher Swain-Lenz said, a question she gets a lot is: “Are you going to make me skinny?”
If you hate exercise, according to online Pt’s, you need to build a positive mindset !
Having chatted to a few (too many ) people, here are some strategies you will be sold to help you develop a positive exercise mindset:
1. Set realistic goals: Start with small, achievable goals that align with your fitness level and interests. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you progress.
2. Find enjoyable activities: Explore different types of exercises to find activities that you genuinely enjoy. It could be dancing, hiking, swimming, or any other physical activity that brings you pleasure.
3. Focus on the benefits: Remind yourself of the numerous benefits exercise offers, such as improved mood, increased energy levels, better sleep, and overall health. Concentrating on these positive outcomes can help motivate you.
4. Create a routine: Establish a consistent exercise routine that fits into your schedule. Consistency is key to developing a positive mindset and making exercise a habit.
5. Find a workout buddy or support system: Exercising with a friend or joining a fitness community can provide accountability, motivation, and make the experience more enjoyable.
6. Celebrate small victories: Acknowledge and celebrate your progress, no matter how small. Recognizing your achievements can boost your confidence and reinforce a positive mindset.
7. Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and avoid self-criticism. Understand that everyone has different fitness levels and progress at their own pace. Focus on your own journey rather than comparing yourself to others.
Remember, building a positive mindset takes time and effort. By incorporating these strategies into your routine, you can gradually develop a more positive attitude towards exercise.
The problem with these totally worthy, helpful, handy hints, is they don’t really take into account the core of your objection.
You don’t like exercise.
So, if you don’t like exercise, why would you even embark on any of these things?
There is a massive and diverse list of things I don’t like. They have one thing in common. I don’t do them. Nor do I spend any time thinking about doing them.
To give a concrete example, I don’t want to eat poo. Guess how much time I spend creating a poo-eating routine.
Go on, I dare you. I double dare you Gosh. You are psychic. Zero!
I also don’t: set any sort of poo-eating goals, nor do I celebrate any poo-eating I may accidentally do, nor do I “forgive myself” for not liking poo-eating.
I do however have a big list of stuff that I know I should do and will have to do, but don’t really like or relish. My tax return is a good example.
So, to begin to build a positive mindset, to do the thing you don’t really want to, you need to know or believe that there is a compulsion to the activity. You must exercise “or else”
If you are struggling with the idea of exercise, your very 1st step is, not to make schedules, or think happy thoughts, it is to put exercise (or activity) on your agenda and accept it as something you ought to do, “or else”.
Without this stage, everything else you will do will probably fail!
Belly fat, aka Abdominal visceral fat or intra-abdominal fat, is the fat that surrounds the internal organs in the abdominal cavity. Excessive accumulation of visceral fat can pose several health risks. Here are some potential dangers associated with abdominal visceral fat:
1. Increased risk of chronic diseases: Excess visceral fat is strongly linked to an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. This is because visceral fat releases inflammatory substances and hormones that can disrupt normal metabolic processes and contribute to insulin resistance, elevated blood sugar levels, and abnormal lipid profiles.
2. Metabolic syndrome: Visceral fat is a key component of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels, and excess abdominal fat. Having metabolic syndrome significantly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.
3. Insulin resistance: Visceral fat is associated with insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells become less responsive to the effects of insulin. Insulin resistance can lead to elevated blood sugar levels, which can progress to prediabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes.
4. Hormonal imbalances: Visceral fat can disrupt the balance of hormones in the body, including those involved in appetite regulation, metabolism, and inflammation. This can contribute to weight gain, difficulty losing weight, and an increased risk of hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women.
5. Cardiovascular complications: Excess visceral fat is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Visceral fat releases fatty acids into the bloodstream, which can lead to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries and impair their function.
6. Reduced lung function: Visceral fat can compress the diaphragm and restrict lung expansion, leading to decreased lung function and increased risk of respiratory problems.
It is important to note that everyone’s body composition and health risks are unique. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and managing stress levels, can help reduce abdominal visceral fat and mitigate the associated health risks.
Willpower: Unveiling its Muscle-like Nature In our pursuit of personal growth and success, willpower often plays a crucial role. It is commonly believed that willpower is a skill that can be honed through practice and discipline. However, recent research suggests that willpower is more akin to a muscle that can be strengthened and fatigued. This blog post aims to explore the concept of willpower as a muscle, supported by academic references.
Understanding Willpower as a Muscle: Willpower can be defined as the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to achieve long-term goals. Just like a muscle, it can be trained, depleted, and strengthened over time. This muscle analogy provides a useful framework for understanding the dynamics of willpower.
1. Baumeister and Heatherton (1996): Baumeister and Heatherton conducted a seminal study that compared willpower to a muscle. They found that individuals who exerted self-control in one task experienced a subsequent decrease in self-control in a subsequent task. This depletion effect suggests that willpower, like a muscle, can become fatigued with use.
2. Muraven, Baumeister, and Tice (1999): In another study, Muraven, Baumeister, and Tice explored the concept of willpower depletion further. They found that participants who resisted eating tempting chocolates performed worse on subsequent cognitive tasks compared to those who did not exert self-control. This study provides evidence that willpower depletion can extend beyond the specific domain of self-control.
3. Job, Dweck, and Walton (2010): Job, Dweck, and Walton investigated the malleability of willpower through a series of experiments. They found that individuals who believed willpower was a limited resource experienced more self-control failures compared to those who believed it was a flexible and trainable trait. This study highlights the importance of mindset in developing and maintaining willpower.
Building Willpower Muscle: Similar to building physical muscles, there are strategies to enhance and strengthen our willpower:
1. Gradual Progression: Start with small, manageable challenges and gradually increase the difficulty. This approach allows the willpower muscle to adapt and grow stronger over time.
2. Rest and Recovery: Just as muscles need rest to recover and grow, willpower also requires adequate rest. Engaging in activities that replenish mental energy, such as relaxation techniques or hobbies, can help restore willpower.
3. Mindfulness and Self-awareness: Developing mindfulness and self-awareness can help individuals recognize their triggers for self-control depletion. By identifying these triggers, individuals can proactively manage their willpower resources.
Conclusion: Willpower, often considered a skill, is better understood as a muscle that can be trained and strengthened. Academic research supports the notion that willpower can be depleted and restored, similar to the dynamics of a muscle. By adopting strategies to build and maintain this muscle, individuals can enhance their self-control and achieve their long-term goals.
References: 1. Baumeister, R. F., & Heatherton, T. F. (1996). Self-regulation failure: An overview. Psychological Inquiry, 7(1), 1-15. 2. Muraven, M., Baumeister, R. F., & Tice, D. M. (1999). Longitudinal improvement of self-regulation through practice: Building self-control strength through repeated exercise. Journal of Social Psychology, 139(4), 446-457. 3. Job, V., Dweck, C. S., & Walton, G. M. (2010). Ego depletion—Is it all in your head? Implicit theories about willpower affect self-regulation. Psychological Science, 21(11), 1686-1693.
Introduction: In our modern, fast-paced lives, it’s easy to overlook the simple yet powerful benefits of sunlight exposure. Beyond its role in providing warmth and light, sunlight plays a crucial role in building fitness and promoting overall health. In this article, we will explore the various ways in which sunlight exposure positively impacts our well-being and discuss the importance of incorporating it into our daily routines.
1. Vitamin D Synthesis: One of the primary benefits of sunlight exposure is its ability to stimulate the production of vitamin D in our bodies. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, as it aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Regular exposure to sunlight can help prevent conditions like osteoporosis and rickets, particularly in regions with limited sunlight during certain seasons.
2. Mood Enhancement: Have you ever noticed how a sunny day instantly lifts your spirits? Sunlight exposure triggers the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood. Increased serotonin levels can help alleviate symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and improve overall mental well-being. Spending time outdoors in the sunlight can be an effective natural remedy for boosting your mood and combating seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
3. Sleep Regulation: Sunlight exposure also plays a crucial role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm. Exposure to natural light during the day helps synchronize our internal body clock, promoting better sleep quality at night. By getting enough sunlight during the day, you can improve your sleep patterns, enhance alertness during the day, and reduce the risk of sleep disorders.
4. Immune System Support: Did you know that sunlight exposure can strengthen your immune system? Sunlight stimulates the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections and diseases. Additionally, sunlight exposure has been linked to a reduction in autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, it’s important to strike a balance and avoid excessive sun exposure, as it can lead to sunburn and increase the risk of skin cancer.
5. Physical Fitness and Performance: Regular exposure to sunlight can have a positive impact on physical fitness and performance. Sunlight stimulates the production of nitric oxide in the body, which helps improve blood circulation and oxygen delivery to muscles. This can enhance athletic performance, increase endurance, and aid in post-workout recovery. Additionally, spending time outdoors in natural light can motivate individuals to engage in physical activities such as walking, jogging, or cycling, leading to improved overall fitness levels.
In practical terms, Parikh et al. found that skin exposure to afternoon sunlight for about 30 minutes (such as by wearing shorts and short-sleeved t-shirts) increased testosterone, estrogen, mood, and libido in both men and women. To follow their protocol, get outside in shorts/t-shirts for ~20-30 minutes in the afternoon, 2-3x per week minimum. (Don’t sunburn!). Arguably, that’s the best time to do your sun salutation
Conclusion: Sunlight exposure is not just about enjoying the great outdoors; it is a vital component of building fitness and maintaining good health. From promoting vitamin D synthesis and mood enhancement to regulating sleep patterns and supporting the immune system, the benefits of sunlight are numerous. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance and practice sun safety measures to avoid overexposure. So, make it a point to step outside, soak up some sunlight, and reap the incredible benefits it offers for your fitness and well-being.
In the realm of fitness and strength training, there’s a hidden gem that’s been gaining traction for its remarkable benefits – isometric training. If you’re on a journey to enhance your physical prowess and overall health, integrating isometric exercises into your routine might be the missing piece you’ve been searching for. In this article, we’ll delve into the advantages of including an isometric regime into your training, and how it can help you reach your fitness goals faster than you ever imagined.
Understanding Isometric Training
Before we dive into the benefits, let’s clarify what isometric training is all about. Unlike traditional resistance exercises that involve moving a weight, isometric exercises involve holding a static position without any visible movement. This might include planks, wall sits, or even pushing against an immovable object. The key here is the contraction of muscles without changing the muscle length.
Efficient Use of Time
In our fast-paced lives, time is of the essence. Isometric training offers a solution by providing efficient workouts that yield impressive results. Since isometric exercises can be done anywhere and require minimal to no equipment, you can integrate them seamlessly into your daily routine. Spending just 10-15 minutes on isometric exercises can target multiple muscle groups, making your workout time highly productive.
Increased Muscle Endurance
Isometric exercises challenge your muscles to maintain a contraction for an extended period. This prolonged muscle engagement leads to increased muscle endurance. Improved muscle endurance not only helps you power through your workouts but also enhances your overall physical performance in various activities, from running to sports.
Joint Stability and Injury Prevention
Isometric training focuses on stabilizing muscles and joints. By holding static positions, you engage smaller, stabilizing muscles that are often neglected in traditional exercises. This contributes to better joint stability and reduces the risk of injuries. Stronger stabilizers mean a more balanced physique, which can have a positive impact on your posture and daily movements.
If you’ve hit a plateau in your strength gains, isometric training can be a game-changer. The unique nature of isometric exercises challenges your muscles in a different way compared to traditional dynamic movements. This variety can help break through plateaus and spark new muscle growth.
Time-Under-Tension for Muscle Growth
Isometric exercises create prolonged time-under-tension for your muscles, which is a key factor in muscle growth. The sustained contractions recruit more muscle fibers and increase metabolic stress, promoting hypertrophy (muscle growth). Incorporating isometric exercises alongside your regular routine can lead to well-rounded muscle development.
Convenience and Minimal Equipment
One of the most enticing aspects of isometric training is its versatility. You can perform these exercises virtually anywhere – at home, in the office, or even during travel. The need for minimal to no equipment means you’re not dependent on a gym, making it an accessible option for all fitness levels.
Conclusion: Elevate Your Fitness Journey with Isometric Training
Incorporating isometric exercises into your training regimen can open up a world of benefits that traditional exercises might not offer. From increased muscle endurance and joint stability to breaking plateaus and convenient workouts, isometric training is a powerful tool that deserves a place in your fitness routine. As you embark on this exciting journey of strength and balance, remember to start slowly, focus on proper form, and gradually challenge yourself to reach new heights of fitness.
The Tiny Habits process, developed by BJ Fogg, is a method for behavior change that focuses on making small, sustainable adjustments to our daily routines. It operates on the principle that by starting with tiny, easily achievable actions, we can create lasting habits.
However, the new habit has to be something you want to do, not something you are obliged to do and shockingly, you have to celebrate after each performance!!
The process consists of several steps:
1. Identify the target behavior you want to do: often flossing your teeth is used as an example.
2. Define a tiny version of the behavior: Break down the behavior into a small, simple action that takes less than 30 seconds to complete. Using flossing your teeth, you would floss one tooth only.
3. Anchor the new behavior to an existing habit: Find an existing habit or routine that you already do consistently. Use this habit as a trigger or cue to remind yourself to perform the tiny behavior. thinking about flossing your teeth, its logical to anchor this to brushing your teeth
4. You need to look carefully at your anchor process and ask yourself what is the last part of brushing your teeth. This is called the trailing edge. Some spit then put their toothbrush down. It makes sense to have your floss right by where you put your toothbrush which is super easy to immediately pick up.
5. You now floss one tooth! You now celebrate! Maybe you punch the air, go “yaay”, or maybe you give yourself a pat!
6. To set up the habit you basically say, when I put my toothbrush down I’ll pick up my floss, floss one tooth, then celebrate.
7. Once you have flossed one tooth and celebrated, obviously you can go on to floss them all if you want to, BUT to develop the habit, all you NEED to do, and MUST do is the tiny habit.
Weirdly you’ll find this process can help you unlock many benefits beyond just the habit you have targeted. The mistakes you will make are: not identifying the trailing edge of your anchor habit, you’ll make the habit way too big, and because you are shy, you’ll think that celebrating is silly.
As part of my work with Crossfit London I recently wrote this outline of what I consider to be the most effective methods of helping people manage their weight.
The weight management industry is huge yet unregulated, and its advice is contradictory and confusing. We thought it ethical to clearly outline the strategy our team will use to help you build the capacity in managing what you eat.
OBJECTIVE 1 Restore normal eating
The last 30 years have proven beyond doubt that simply manipulating food – be it by calorie counting, playing with macros, bingeing on a specific type of food, banning others and playing with time slots – has little lasting positive effect.Apart from not working, attempts to deploy starvation and deprivation methods merely result in disordered eating.Stop dieting and start eating normally. Basically, that means the plate method. A highly validated, effective nutritious method harking back to the “good old days” of “meat and two veg”
If you click here, you may do the 6 day mini course for free.
Objective 2 :Master your mind
Most people have no idea how to master their own minds. Our thinking is wrong, we do not recognise the influence our bad habits have, are often too inflexible in our approach to life, and have little to no idea as to how to change our behaviour.Our aim – using cutting-edge business, elite sport, and combat techniques – is to put you in control of your mindDon’t commit to goals, commit to processes.Treat goals with contempt. Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are the processes that lead to those results.Goals are fine for the general direction of travel, but systems give you progress. Problems arise when you use your energy to focus on your goals rather than perfecting your system. Every sports person, and competitor wants to win. The winners are those who optimise their system.
Goals destroy your happiness. Your belief that joy and success appear only when your goal is achieved means you are never happy. Instead of tormenting yourself with goals, fall in love with the process.Goals are at odds with long-term processes. If you have a specific goal, what happens when you reach it? The purpose of setting goals is to win. The process of building systems is to continue playing the game.Setting up your system and processes is not a euphoria moment where you revel in positivity. Effective plans anticipate the barriers you may encounter and help you plan in advance about solving them. Otherwise, you can fall at the first fence. These barriers are known as inflection points. We help you imagine unpleasant situations in advance and write out a plan for responding. This strategy isn’t speculation, it’s taken from the Starbucks playbook. This is how willpower becomes a habit. By choosing a response to an issue in advance, that becomes the behaviour when that inflection point arises.
Objective 3 Build Better Habits.
We get you to understand habits. We guide you to identify the bad or unhelpful habits you’ve acquired, and how to transform them into better, more helpful habits. It’s certainly unhelpful to harangue people with generic exhortations to “meditate,” or “drink water”.Increasingly research has shown that those struggling with weight management often have certain habits in common. The more flexible you become in your daily life, the easier it is to manage what you eat.
Objective 4 Understand Will power
.For years people have been made to feel like failures when their willpower faded and their diet collapsed. It was thought that willpower was a skill to be learned, like riding a bike. This is a useful analogy. If you ride your bike on Monday, you don’t expect to be unable to ride it on Tuesday. So, if you have the skill to eat healthily on Monday, then Tuesday should be a breeze! We now view willpower as a muscle that needs both exercise and practice, but can equally end in failure. Willpower is a finite resource that needs to be managed. We will help you build your willpower.Some find the concept of willpower unhelpful, so we also explore the idea of “grit”. To make you more “gritty” we need to engage your interest, develop your ability to practice, discover your real (higher) purpose and build your hope. Researchers like Angela Duckworth have popularised and validated this approach.Little winsLittle wins have been shown to be crucial in redesigning how you think and feel about situations. By using simple daily tasks, we will get you some early successes.The underpinning theme is to help you find out how the mind works.We support you in studying powerful mind management models that can help you become a more happy, confident, healthier, and more successful person. We will help you understand the struggles that happen within your mind and know how to apply this insight to every area of your life. You have to changeTo manage your weight, you must change. At a fundamental level, you need to change your beliefs and values. This may sound drastic, but as the British cycling team found out, change is successful when made in 1% increments.
Objective 5. RECONNECT WITH YOUR EMOTIONS. Practicing healthy eating, building better habits, and understanding your mind is helpful. It’s also found that building your emotional resilience is equally important. However, secure within our relative wealth and comfort, much of our lives to date have ignored the need to attend to our emotional health. The overused phrase “How do you feel?” Is hackneyed, but the question remains essential. If you follow the work of Julie M Simon, you may quickly trace many issues as being created by a failure to manage your emotions. In its simplest form, people need to recognise, identify and accept their emotions.Once this is done, you can move forward to finding a solution.Emotions are too often either ignored or discounted. In other words, you are taught to ignore your emotional state. What can you do? You still have the emotions, you still feel them, fear sadness, and anger (more choice here!).How do you deal with them? You haven’t been taught how to cope with emotions so you need to soothe yourself. The number one choice of self-medication is food, although later on it could be drugs, booze, or pornography. Every time you feel joy, sadness, happiness, or failure, you go straight to food. Essentially, food becomes the only thing that means you can control your emotions. Where does this get you? If you cannot identify or control your emotions, then realistically you cannot control your food. It seems that food is the only thing that keeps you sane. For years you have used it to smother emotions, so it makes sense that you won’t allow it to be restricted or measured. If you do restrict, then it makes sense that you’ll binge later on during the day.Our program guides you through the emotional maze and helps you reconnect with your emotions, dealing with them in a better way than binging on cake
Objective 6 . Understand Trauma. One of the last pieces of the puzzle is trauma. Today this is an overused word. In this program, we use it to describe a “failed freeze” response.In simple terms, if you are attacked, most people think you have two options: fight or flight. Actually, you have four: fight, flight, a search for social support, or “the freeze” response. On a primal level, predators don’t like eating “dead meat”, so often creatures that freeze stand a higher chance of escaping. The mouse feigns death while the cat is staring, but when the cat loses interest the mouse runs like hell! The full freeze response is freeze THEN run.You may not have experienced a war zone or been mugged in the street; but what if your boss walks up and shouts at you, and you sit there and take it? Once your madcap boss wanders off, if you stay put, the chances are that you are accumulating micro traumas.. You froze, but you didn’t run. This leaves you feeling very unsafe. You do not need to be shot in a war zone to feel trauma (more here). Using drills developed for the military, our program gets to restore the safety you need and teaches you how to stop it from happening again.How does this all work?We start you off with a quick 6 day virtual crash course on the Plate Method. It’s easy to learn the basics. We drip-feed you the skills you need by email over the 6 days. You’ll get feedback if you submit 1 photo of a meal you have prepared each day You are welcome to do this course free of charge and obligation. Click here to begin.
Each weekday you’ll send us a photo of your best meal and we will feedback and get you to nudge it to a better composition. We will be tweaking and optimising it throughout the course.Each weekday, we will also set you a task that helps you build emotional resilience, deal with trauma, develop effective processes, build better habits, loosen or convert unwanted habits, and clean up your mental management game.Each week you’ll get a reading that forms the basis of a weekly class.Each week we will have a class that reviews the previous week, gets an overview of the following week and discusses the weekly reading.If you would like to explore these ideas in more depth, sign up for the free course, or email Andrew@crossfitlondonuk.com