Still haven’t lost any weight since New Year’s?

Imagine this… what if you could cut half on the time spent in the gym and get the same or better results with your weight loss? That’s right, no more jogging or cycling for hours on end. You can become ultra lean, and have that butt that you envy so much from your fit friend on facebook in half the time! The secret is metabolic training, a effective way to utilize the proper energy systems and release the fat burning hormones that give you that hardened look. To utilize this type of training and activate the fat burning capability of the body, the work-out needs to be performed with minimal rests in between each exercise and the exercises needs to be performed with great speed.

Here is a quick, metabolic training infused workout:

10 x push-ups

10 x burpees

20 x mountain climbers

10 x DB shoulder presses

Rest for 30 seconds and repeat 5 rounds

This workout would only be needed to performed once a day. Start looking like a fit model in no time!

I hope you didn’t take anything I just said too seriously…

Because this is quite similar to what the other trainers are presenting to the edge-seeking people who want to lose weight. Though there is some truth to metabolic training, most of it is exaggerated to fit marketing gimmicks.

Let’s go ahead and talk about what metabolic training is and is not…

Metabolic Training

The definition itself is not as defined than most claim it to be. But in essences, it is training the metabolic energy systems within the body. There is three different systems within the body: Phosphate Creatine system, lactate system, and beta-oxidative system.  What separates these systems is how the fuel is derived from substrates and whether or not oxygen is present or not.

Phosphate Creatine system is the first energy system that is utilized because it is immediately available. The source of energy that our bodies use is ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) and when it is broken down you are left with usable energy and ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate) which is considered to be spent fuel in this context. This spent fuel or ADP can be converted back to ATP when phosphate creatine is available within the body. There is nothing needed other than another phosphate to be reattached to make ATP again. But the availability of PC is very, very small and only lasts less than 10 seconds in untrained individuals. After that, the body starts focusing on using its glycogen stores and glucose that is available in the cells.

The glycolytic system or lactate system uses glucose as a substrate in energy production. Though it doesn’t need oxygen to produce energy, the products sent to produce ATP can use oxygen if it is around. Most of the time, this system will produce the byproduct lactic acid so energy can be produced without oxygen. We are all aware of the consequence of lactic acid build-up, but believe or not it isn’t lactic acid that causes the burn but the hydrogen that separates itself from latacte that creates the burning sensation. Though, there is plenty glucose to use as a  fuel source, the means of converting energy runs out quickly because of the build-up of lactate and hydrogen as a by-product.

Beta-oxidative system or better known as the aerobic cycle is the only system that uses oxygen when converting energy. It also has the greatest yield of energy and last the longest compared to the rest of the energy systems. Its only draw back is that it takes time to “tool-up” because of the amount of time it takes to break down glucose in its entirety.

So where does metabolic training play into this?

This type of training is highly anaerobic, it involves short to medium bouts (30-90 seconds) with very high intensity followed by a very short to none rest intervals. By doing this you’re stressing the lactate system because the work the muscles is doing is so great that there is not enough time for oxygen to be used. Hence forth why you get the burning sensation in your muscles and if you are really working, the metallic taste at the back of your mouth not mention how much your lungs feel like they’re on fire.

When  it comes to what exercises to do:

  • multi-jointed exercises
    • When more than one joint is being used
    • Examples
      • push-ups
      • squats
      • overhead presses
      • overhead press with squat
      • bench press
  • Single modality exercises
    • These are your cardio exercises.
    • Examples
      • running and sprinting
      • rope skipping
      • cycling
      • car pushing
      • rowing

Benefits

“Dan, cut right to the chase, why should I even consider doing shorter workouts over my longer hour long sessions on the track or treadmill?”

That is a great question, and I’ll explain the suppose benefits that it offers. Anytime one does a highly anaerobic conditioning session, they are doing more than what the body can recover from. What I mean by that is the amount of oxygen consumption needed to recover the body (buffer hydrogen ions, stabilize o2 levels in the blood, etc.) is elevated after a workout. This is called Excessive Post Oxygen Consumption (E.P.O.C.)

EPOC

When the body does more work then what the aerobic system can handle, the body must catch up and have a higher O2 consumption rate after exercise

The concept about EPOC has been passed around as something where the body is burning more calories throughout the day instead of what it normally burns. On the other hand, researchers quickly take the marketing gimmick magnifying glass off of this benefit. Australian researchers roughly a decade ago, determined that the highest that E.P.O.C. can contribute to the net burn of calories is 14% which is not very high (1) and that this percentage actually lowers to 1% the better in shape you are (2)

So what other reason that people do metabolic training when in fact the increase caloric burn is not significant?

Anytime the body has a increased presences of lactic acid, more precisely the hydrogen ions within the blood,there is a higher release of growth hormone (3). This hormone increases lipolysis or the breakdown of adipose tissue.  This is certainly nice when you are a bodybuilder trying to gain mass but minimize fat gain as you inch closer to competition.

Conclusion

Metabolic training is a type of training that stresses the lactic acid energy system. In a nutshell, it is the type of training that the duration is short but the intensity is high. For those who are time strapped, this a perfect way to get a great workout and still fit it in your cramped schedule if you can handle it. Although, this training being a more effective weight loss regime would be far fetch and the more traditional model of longer duration, lower intensity would be a better option based on current research.

Although, no one should be knocked for doing this line of training for weight loss or for any reason for that matter. The hormonal profiles proves its worth, since the blood profile definitely shows the body is in lipolysis. And let us not forget to mention the challenge this type of training presents. Most individuals desire to push their bodies to the limit and take great pleasure taking such undertaking, that is why crossfit has such a cult following.

Regardless, treat each day of training as forward progress. The most important thing is that you are doing physical activity.

References

1.) Gore, CJ, J Laforgia, and RT Withers. “Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption..” PubMed.gov. 24.12 (2006): n. page. Web. 23 Jan. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17101527&gt;.

2.)Gore, CJ, and RT Withers. “Effect of exercise intensity and duration on postexercise metabolism.” Journal of Applied Physiology . 68.6 (1990): n. page. Web. 23 Jan. 2014. <http://jap.physiology.org/content/68/6/2362.abstract&gt;.

3.)Buckley, J, RJ Godfrey, R Quinlivan, and GP Whyte. “The role of lactate in the exercise-induced human growth hormone response: evidence from McArdle disease..” PubMed.gov. 43.7 (2009): n. page. Web. 23 Jan. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18184755&gt;.

4.)Anaerobic Metaboliam during exercise. N.d. Infographic. utpb.eduWeb. 23 Jan 2014. <http://general.utpb.edu/fac/eldridge_j/kine3350/ch04_Plowman_files/v3_document.htm&gt;.

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As we pick up from our last article “Its okay to be fat” we explored society’s view on health and beauty and how it effects our attempts at fat loss. We understand now that it leaves a external motivation that doesn’t last long and slowly chips away at our psyche as well as our health. But when we can filter the constant bombardment of messaging from society and everybody else, we can make a logical decision to lose weight and it gives us that internal motivation for us to stick to our work out plans all the way to success.

Even the best fitness training program can be bogus if the trainee does not adhere to all the required sessions. Thus consistency is something that should be practiced first before we go about designing the best training plan around.

 

 

Consistency

Regardless if you’re winning or losing, you must keep your feet moving. That is consistency.

 

We all want to be efficient as possible, that is part of human nature. But the problem with striving to be efficient at what we do to get the most results is most things we take on are new to us. We take pleasure in thinking about the end result and take for granted how long it will take to achieve it. Take for instances blogging. Everyone has the most original idea and think they will bring in the crowd with what they think is a awesome blog but after about 4-6 posts, the idea of reaching fame on the net seems to lose its luster quite fast. Losing 100lbs of fat and getting a six pack is no different when it comes to thinking about the end result and the pleasure it brings at the start begins to lack its luster as well.

The media fast in the previous article really puts things into perspective because those visual cues are not there to distract us from what we really want (or need). Though there is no harm in emulating a role model, somebody who was in the same or worse situation then you have been and managed to become very successful with their weight-loss program. Because we are paying attention to one person and not the massive fitness tidal wave the media summoned upon us, we can focus a lot better on ourselves.

Most of you are probably thinking “Dan, why are we talking about consistency, role models, and other cheesy stuff I find on motivational posters at the office? when am I going to get the program?”  The answer, about 9% of you will have success with the workout program I tailored for you, the rest would probably fail the program because their adherence will start dropping by the 4th week. With the obesity rates increasing at an embarrassing rate, the amount of successes of obese folks getting down to a healthy weight would be like comparing a pea to a elephant. This is why I think the most important basic skill to teach is consistency before even considering the variables to the workout program. Yes it takes more time, and some may consider it unnecessary micromanagement but has there been any success to lowering the obesity epidemic with the current programs out there? If there is then I would love to read the literature on it.

But I digress, let me explain the three factors that determine consistency:

  •  Do not find time, you must make time
    • If you are like the average american (or any citizen of a developed nation) the most common excuse is there never enough time for exercise or cooking meals. I won’t argue with this, because there is only 24 hours in a day and most people work 40 hour weeks plus overtime. But I disagree that no one can make time. The workplace is a perfect scenario because there is so many opportunities for exercise. During break, you could easily fit 10 minutes of walking in a 15 minute break. Consider you work 8 hours a day if you work full-time, you’re allotted 2 15-minute breaks plus a 30 minute lunch. There is enough time for 3 10- minute walking sessions with enough time to eat your lunch and take 5-minute breather before heading back the grind.
  • Are your goals concrete? Do they exist in the real world?
    • I am not a big fan of in-depth goal setting, but some out there, they must be prefect preparers and that is procrastination in itself. Although, the goal has to exist in some form or another. Write it down on a expensive piece of paper and put it somewhere where you will see it everyday. Since most of us spend most of our time on the computer, place a sticky note on your monitor to let yourself know you have a objective to exercise after work or personal time. A even better idea is making a dream board, which has photos that relate to your goal. Find a successful person who has lost a lot of weight or somebody doing a impressive physical feat that you want to do. It doesn’t have to be captioned with your goal since the visual image is stimulating enough.
    • Don’t spend more than 15 minutes on your goal. Any more and it is just mental masturbation on the end result.
  • Start 20% less than what you can handle
    • This may sound counter productive but too many people bite off more than what they can chew. For instances, if starting out for 3 times a week you do a workout of 25 push-ups for 4 sets and run 2 milers then take 20% away from the volume. So instead, do 20-push-ups for 4 sets and just one mile. Why? because most people do more than what they are able to sustain over a long period of time. Most people think over a month when in fact they should be thinking what they will be doing over several years. Any goal worth doing whatever it is massive fat-loss or significant strength gain takes time. You are in no rush to get your results so we might as well as tailor our workouts for the long haul.

As you can see, all of these factors has its function in determining how consistent you are. If just by taking 20-30 minutes out of your day to re-evaluate the measures you are taking to make changes to your body, you’ll be surprised how many opportunities you can find to exercise and ways to keep you going towards your goal. But the most important thing I want you to take away from this article is what you will be doing in the next 3-4 years. When you can think in the long term, not everyday that things can be perfect. You can anticipate the unexpected.  With this article being published around New Years, this sets the starting point for your fitness journey.

What are some ways that help you stay consistent on your exercise program? Is there anything else you would add as being a factor for being consistent?

I wish you all luck on your fitness journeys!

Happy Holidays!

Posted: December 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

Wishing y’all a merry Christmas and happy new year!

And remember folks you worked all year strengthening and toning your bodies. Now reward yourself with Aunt May’s homemade cookies and Christmas ham.

Because we go back to our workout schedules for a new year!

Until next year…

As New Years approaches, we make the common type of resolution: Lose weight. Sure, we could lose a couple of pounds and knock off  several inches off our waistlines. We can impress our spouses some, or shed off the dreaded freshman 15 so we can get half-naked during spring break and not feel embarrassed about it. It is seen on television, in internet advertisment boasting “Learn one weird trick, to lose 28lbs!” or looking through a Victoria Secret catalog with all the beautiful and fit models flashing the newest trends in lingerie. And I want to stress the fit aspects of these models indefinitely.

 

Society has been changing it’s message to the masses about what being fit is. It is transitioning from being beautiful and thin to being gorgeous and athletic. This can be seen through numerous mediums such as Victoria Secret and Cosmopolitan. But another such medium that seems to be setting the new standard is Crossfit. The trainers and entrepreneurs under that sphere of philosophy have been using their fit athletes and trainees as impressive displays of the new ideal physique. It creates that perfect image in our minds, that drives our superegos to achieve that is much stronger than what we see in magazines and The View.

http://if-fit.com/the-benefits-of-crossfit-for-girls/

As you can see, the view of beauty is changing from thin and petite to a athletic look.
http://if-fit.com/the-benefits-of-crossfit-for-girls/

But I am here to tell you that this has no effect on the population whatsoever and is inversely driving more people into obesity.

How? The transition from the view of thin being beautiful to the athletic look being beautiful doesn’t change the fact that overweight and obese individuals will not change their habits. That is because, the message is still forcing the idea of health and fitness on individuals. If anything, we as a society have driven overweight and obese individuals into their addictions of food. And the gallup.com statistics shows that obesity has risen by 1% which is huge. It is the largest jump in rates since 2009 (1) and this vicious cycle has a large part of it.

If you truly think that you are never going to look as good as the Victoria Secret models or as lean, strong, and athletic as Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter or even just lose enough pounds so you can bring your cholesterol in control then I would like you to try this before ever setting foot on a treadmill or a gym for that matter:

The recently famous author and entrepreneur Tim Ferris published a book called The Four Work Week, and elaborated on the importance of elimination. The exercise he demonstrates in that particular chapter is called a media fast. Here is how it works.

For one week, you will refrain from:

  • Newspapers, magazines, audiobooks, or nonmusic radio
  • News websites as well as social media
  • Television but can watch one hour of pleasure viewing in the evening
  • Web surfing unless it is for a task that is work related or has to be done now ( i.e. paying a bill online, answering work email, etc.)
  • Reading books except for one hour of fiction before bedtime

The exercise described in the book stresses the importance of selective ignorance, or focusing on media that matters to us. This fast was modified to completely block out society’s relentless messaging and influence so we can decide if we truly want to commit to losing weight. If you ever decide to take this fast, the further you go with this, the more clear and concise your reasoning behind your decision to lose weight.

Which brings up another point that many will find unusual and that is… it is okay to be fat.

Being fat,  regardless of the factors you have or don’t have much control over,  is still a choice. Metabolic diseases can be controlled, genetic factors only have so much sway, and there is a million modification exercises for the morbidly obese.  But when the haters are silenced, the glimpses of bikini clad super models, and movie stars with rock hard abs strolling around on Venice Beach are faded into a blackness void you are left with what makes you happy. Why should we let others dictate how we live our lives?

If there is more to love and you have important people in your life that admire who you are regardless, then be happy. No one should tell you otherwise, even the ones you love.

But if the complications and inconveniences of being overweight and obese is making you UNHAPPY, then if you are a sane human being you would go after something that will make you happy and that would be putting the effort into the losing the weight.

Before you make your new years resolution, I would do what is consider wrong and not do what the rest of society is doing by making a resolution at all. Instead, celebrate New Years Eve and forget about everything you read on this article. Then when the good cheer of the holidays wears off, you will start the media fast during the weeks of January. That way when you make the decision, the constant bombardment of media trying to convince you to get fit and follow uniform will be at a all time low.

The masses idea of beauty, health, and fitness will take on many forms but an individual will never change unless they make the commitment internally. Once someone comes up with the idea on their own, they are more than likely to get it and consistently workout longer than someone who just workouts because they feel obligated to do so by some external influence.

What are the reasons why you workout? Do you think that blocking out the majority of media long enough to make a decision to become healthier necessary? And if you ever tried doing this type of fasting, what are your thoughts after successfully performing this?


References

1.) Sharpe, Lindsey. “U.S. Obesity Rate Climbing in 2013.”Gallup Well-Being. N.p., 1 Nov 2013. Web. 20 Dec 2013. <http://www.gallup.com/poll/165671/obesity-rate-climbing-2013.asp&xgt;.

I’m kind of into genealogy and a few years ago I decided I would delve into my family’s past. After all, I was curious, what does it mean to be a Stockham? Sure, we had doctors and engineers, some lawyers and businessmen, and some unique family members. One had won a Medal of Honor and one had even been a part of creating the Compact Disk. Like many ancestries, we were held together mostly in name and had gone our separate ways left to be familiar with only our direct family members.

One thing stuck out to me, though, where were all of the flexible people? There weren’t any gymnasts, skaters, dancers, or cat burglars. Why? I took notice of my immediate family and myself and noticed one genetic difference: we all had problems with flexibility.

In fact, I am about as inflexible as a sheet of metal. You might think this is rather trivial problem, but consider that in my youth I experienced great back pain and had to seek the help of a physical therapist.

The therapy was quite simple, stretch the malign muscles using static stretching. And for you folks out there who don’t know what static stretching is, it is a form of stretching where the muscle is stretched to a certain length and held into position for a period of time. Opposite of that is dynamic stretching, where the joint is moved through out full range of motion. A good example would be swinging your arms in large circles clockwise and counterclockwise.

I would stretch them but I only did enough to keep the medical professionals happy so I could get back into training. And the only reason that I only did just the minimal was because I feared that static stretching for long periods of time would diminish my strength gains. In my line of thinking as long as I do the exercise throughout full range of motion, the flexibility will come to me eventually for that exercise and that would be enough. I was very convinced that static stretching was very evil and it would only hurt me if I kept doing them.

Even research studies shown that static stretching had its drawbacks as it decreased exercise performance if it is done before the session started as a warm-up. Not only is it believed that the joint becomes unstable (1) The mechanisms within the belly of the muscle act as protective measures when the muscle is sudden stretched to prevent injury of the muscle. The problem with this is when a individual stretches the muscle and holds it into position, it reinforces the muscle to contract to prevent it from being stretched too quickly. Essentially, you are tighter after doing a quick static stretch. Defeats the whole purpose of stretching in the first place.

So does this make stretching evil and destructive? Not entirely as I came to realize.

The issue is that we are looking at stretching at one particular angle. It isn’t so much that stretching is bad than it is counter productive when used improperly. Take for instances examining when static stretching is done relative to the workout as this team of researchers demonstrates that stretching on your off days, particularly resistance training, can actually increase your  gains significantly compared to individuals who do a higher workload with no stretching involved. Stretching was done in 40 minute sessions and the lower body was stretched extensively 2-3 times a week. This approach to training is great for beginners as they can accelerate their gains immediately during the early stages (2)

And the sessions do not have to be 40 minutes long either. They can be broken up throughout the day. Stretch the lower body for 10 minutes in the morning after getting up, the upper body during the workday for 15 minutes during your break, then the last 15 minutes with the whole body before bedtime.

After having this revelation, I became much more proactive about stretching during my off days. The pain associated with tight muscles located in my hips and legs have certainly subsided, though I am no Jean Claude Van Dam with leg splits on gymnastic rings. My best advice for everyone, is be to open minded about stretching and make it a frequent thing throughout your day. You don’t necessarily have to do the warrior pose in the middle of the office, but doing simple hamstring stretches at your chair while sitting in it can certainly enhance or augment your gains in the gym. And last but not least,  refrain from doing static stretching right before your workout as it decreases performance and increases chances of injury.

References

1.) Gregley, Jeffery. “Acute Effect of Passive Static Stretching on Lower-Body Strength in Moderately Trained Men.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 27.4 (2013): 973-977. Print.

2.) Kokkonen, Joke, Arnold Nelson, Tina Tarawhiti, and Paul Buckingham. “Early-Phase Resistance Training Strength Gains in Novice Lifters are Enhanced by Doing Static Stretching.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 24.2 (2010): 502-506. Print.

It was an ordinary day approaching one in the afternoon. My work shift would begin in half an hour and I always arrived at work early to eat lunch. I had noticed something unusual while I was driving to work. The closer it got to lunch time the hungrier I became. By the time I was seated and readying my fork to eat, I was starving. Why was I so hungry? Sure, you’re hungry because you need to eat and need to eat to live. However, the pattern continued and I was always hungry around one o’clock. So the simple answer I provided, did not fully satisfy my curiosity. I began to recall my college physiology classes, hopeful for a scientific explanation. Luckily I found it in a hormone called leptin.

As someone hoping to help overweight people achieve their goals of a healthy lifestyle, leptin is a very important thing to understand.

Leptin is a hormone secreted by adipose (fat) tissue that regulates hunger. When fat cells in the adipose tissue release this hormone in the blood, it eventually reaches its destination within the brain, more specifically the hypothalamus, which latches on receptors that are responsible for signalling molecules for appetite. This signalling molecule, neuropeptide Y is the culprit for appetite or the sensation for hunger, and when leptin has a large presences in the brain, it decreases appetite. Essentially, leptin is a regulation hormone just like insulin with glucose in the blood only it keeps adipose tissue from growing too fast or shrinking too much.

But what doesn’t make sense is that bigger folk or the obese have more leptin circulating through their blood than a normal person. Clearly, if leptin is not doing its job then there has to be some kind of pathology behind this. But that is not the case, as other factors such as insulin and metabolic hormones can manipulate how well leptin can respond to excess adipose tissue (2)  For instance, some researchers are speculating that we can actually develop leptin resistance within the body based on insulin sensitivity (4) Although, what intelligent analytic consumers that we are do not take into account is regardless of what physiological reasons that explain why people are so overweight or obese, is that folks can ignore what their body tells them. An obese man can have all the signals in his body tell him that he needs to stop eating and the body is doing everything it can to burn off the excess fat but he cannot shake the habits and cues he developed throughout his lifetime. A well known youtuber that goes by the name Boogie2988(3) explains it well in this video…

Can you understand what he means about the vicious cycle he goes through? When people shun him for his weight, and plead to him to stop eating so much and start working out he simply copes by eating more. The physiological problems he has such as leptin and insulin resistance are only a piece to the puzzle as to why he is so big. If we want to really solve this puzzle, we have to start with our habits and quirks by identifying them and then ask what rational changes can we make?

What we can gather from this is the fact that eating a well balanced diet and making gradual changes in our caloric intake will help us more with controlling our leptin levels and maintain weight gain or loss. It simply drives home the point that taking medication to lower ones body weight is least effective compared to actually changing one’s environment and lifestyle to lose weight. It also explains that extreme weight loss (>2lbs a week) is not sustainable because the drop of leptin concentrations will create a higher sensation of hunger or appetite.

Does this make the folks with genetic defects the exception? Yes and no, There is folks out there that do have the genetic factors for decreased leptin concentrations but on the flip side, these folks typically are more active and burn more calories to boot (1)

The more we start controlling our eating and our inactivity, the more control we will have over our leptin levels let alone our entire physiological state.

References

1.) Angelopoulos, T.J, P.M Clarkson, P.M. Gordon, C.J. Haddad, M.A. Kostek, N.M. Moyna, et al. “Leptin and leptin receptor genetic variants associate with habitual physical activity and the arm body composition response to resistance training.” Gene. 510.1 (2012): 66-70. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.

2.) Bell, Lauren, and Robert Considine. “Leptin and Obesity.” Trans. Array. Boston: Springer USA, 2006. 33-51. Print. 16 Nov. 2013.

3.) Boogie2988 “Fat Shaming and Making Fun of Fat People.” Online video clip. Youtube. Youtube, 8 May 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2013

4.) Dai, Yue, Akhtar Hussain, Zumin Shi, Gaolin Wu, Baojun Yuan, and Hui Zuo. “Association between Serum Leptin Concentrations and Insulin Resistance: A Population-Based Study from China.” PLoS ONE. 8.1 (2013): 1-7. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.