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Saturday, 24 April 2021

Slow and Steady Wins Nothing

One of the most deep-seated and fiercely argued tenets of cardio work is that in order to burn fat, you should always be working in the “fat-burning zone.” If you’ve ever been on a cardio machine at a health club, you’ve seen those nifty little guides that relay the supposed effects of different heart rate zones. With words such as “Maximum Fat Burn Zone” plastered all over lower heart rates, it’s no wonder that we’ve all been seduced into thinking that the only way to burn that stubborn fat off is to keep our heart rates low and steady. This is why many of us insist on setting the treadmill at a brisk walking pace and staying on it for as long as possible.

The concept of the “fat-burning zone” is based on the premise that your body burns a greater percentage of calories from fat when it’s working at lower heart rates. If we consider this concept alone, you might choose the low-intensity workout. To complete a 30-minute workout at a low intensity, you can get 50 percent of the energy she needs from fat. If you were instead to do a high-intensity workout for 30 minutes, just 40 percent of the calories burned would come from fat.

Ok, low intensity burns more fat, right ?  WRONG !!!  Let’s compare the same 30 minute cardio session.  Low intensity burns 100 calories. 50% come from fat or 50 calories of fat. High intensity burns 150 calories, 40% come from fat or 60 calories of fat. That’s 20% more calories from fat. Plus high intensity gives you EPOC or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption otherwise known as the “afterburn”. This will allow you to burn calories for up to an hour after your session. It’s a win win situation. !

Still not convinced? Maybe this fact will get your attention: Consistently working out at a low intensity can actually train your body to store fat. You read that correctly. If you consistently perform low-intensity exercise (that is, at a low heart rate), your body will adapt by beginning to store fat so that it can complete the next bout of exer­cise more effectively. This scenario is called “metabolic efficiency,” and it’s the ultimate catch-22 of exercising.

 

Friday, 9 April 2021

Skip the Deadlifts and the Olympic Lifts

Recently, Vern Gambetta, one of the most distinguished Athletic Performance coaches of the modern era, posted a great opinion piece on Facebook this week that argued about the potential uselessness and dangers of using Olympic lifting as a means of developing athletic prowess in the athlete. And from an injury perspective I could not have agreed more.

Read on for more...                                                                                                                                                

The risks of Olympic lifting.

To set the record straight, both Vern Gambetta and I are not against the idea of Olympic lifting as a means of strength and power development in the non-Olympic lifting athlete. I just believe that sometimes Strength and Conditioning Coaches overuse the Clean and Jerk (or Power Clean) and the Snatch as a basis for the strength and conditioning programs without understanding the inherent risks involved in such technical movements.

     All training modalities come with some inherent risk. Speed and agility work can pull hamstrings, high intensity mixed interval training can lead to overuse tendinopathies, bench/dip/shoulder press can all lead to a host of shoulder problems etc... However, often what a good Strength and Conditioning coach can do is ascertain which movements are inherently "self-limiting". What this means is that if the movement/lift goes wrong, they still have a chance of pulling out without hurting themselves. A great example is barbell bench press versus dumbbell bench press. When using a barbell if things go wrong in the lift the athlete does not have a lot of wriggle room to avoid either dropping the weight on themselves or wrenching their shoulder joint. With dumbbell bench press, if things go wrong the athlete can simply drop the dumbbells off to the side.

     This holds true for Olympic lifting also, particularly the Snatch as it is not "self-limiting". If things go wrong in a Snatch, often the shoulder, neck and back will cop a hammering. Just have a look at any site that promotes "gym fails" on Facebook and you will understand what I am on about. Not a lot of wriggle room if a Snatch goes wrong.

      In my experience in rugby, I have seen a host of "Olympic lift" injuries in my time dealing with rugby and American football players. These include injuries such as ruptured Achilles tendon, torn meniscus (too deep on the catch with the clean), a ton of lumbar spine disc injuries, traction injuries to the brachial  lexus, wrenched cervical spines and a bunch of wrist impingements. Missing 2 weeks to 6 months of rugby due to a lift gone wrong can be a very frustrating and annoying issue for the coaching staff.

 

Risk vs Reward

     Therefore, this brings us to the crux of this issue - risk vs reward. What is the inherent benefit in including such technically proficient lifts into a training program if the risk of injury is potentially higher than with another "self-limiting" lift? Is a lumbar disc herniation worth the potential benefit of doing a heavy power clean? Could they get the same benefit of doing a jump squat movement instead? The Strength and Conditioning coach would need a solid basis of argument to include such movements into a program of a non-Olympic lifting athlete. I am sure countless physiotherapists and doctors who read this newsletter may philosophically agree with me on this point. As a Strength and Conditioning coach I have always used the Risk vs Reward formula to determine whether a specific lift should be used in a programme. When you use the Risk vs reward formula you quickly realise that in some cases it just not worth it. 

  

Thursday, 8 April 2021

BIG DONT'S


Don't do anything in your bare feet. Will cause stress fractures or "greentree fractures" to your foot.

Don't do behind the neck pulldowns, behind the neck shoulder presses. Nothing with your hand in the high five position.

Don't do situps, crunches or trunk twists for your core. This will damage the disk in your spine. Not if, but when.

Don't cut your carbs to lose weight. It doesn’t work.

Don't do forced reps with a spotter. This can actually hinder your strength gains.

Don't use straps when lifting. It will weaken your grip.

Don't wear a belt when lifting, unless you are doing a one rep maximum. It can lead to instability in your spine and eventually back problems.

Don't do your cardiovascular work without a heart rate monitor. .  

Don't use the old "220- your age  x your % formula". It just might kill you

 

The biggest Don’t of all…… Don’t ever, ever give up !

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Skip the Deadlifts and Olympic Lifts.

 

Recently ,Vern Gambetta, one of the most distinguished Athletic Performance coaches of the modern era, posted a great opinion piece on Facebook this week that argued about the potential uselessness and dangers of using Olympic lifting as a means of developing athletic prowess in the athlete. And from an injury perspective I could not have agreed more.

Read on for more...

The risks of Olympic lifting.

To set the record straight, both Vern Gambetta and I are not against the idea of Olympic lifting as a means of strength and power development in the non-Olympic lifting athlete. I just believe that sometimes Strength and Conditioning Coaches overuse the Clean and Jerk (or Power Clean) and the Snatch as a basis for the strength and conditioning programs without understanding the inherent risks involved in such technical movements.

     All training modalities come with some inherent risk. Speed and agility work can pull hamstrings, high intensity mixed interval training can lead to overuse tendinopathies, bench/dip/shoulder press can all lead to a host of shoulder problems etc... However, often what a good Strength and Conditioning coach can do is ascertain which movements are inherently "self-limiting". What this means is that if the movement/lift goes wrong, they still have a chance of pulling out without hurting themselves. A great example is barbell bench press versus dumbbell bench press. When using a barbell if things go wrong in the lift the athlete does not have a lot of wriggle room to avoid either dropping the weight on themselves or wrenching their shoulder joint. With dumbbell bench press, if things go wrong the athlete can simply drop the dumbbells off to the side.

     This holds true for Olympic lifting also, particularly the Snatch as it is not "self-limiting". If things go wrong in a Snatch, often the shoulder, neck and back will cop a hammering. Just have a look at any site that promotes "gym fails" on Facebook and you will understand what  I am on about. Not a lot of wriggle room if a Snatch goes wrong.

      In my experience in rugby, I have seen a host of "Olympic lift" injuries in my time dealing with rugby and American football players. These include injuries such as ruptured Achilles tendon, torn meniscus (too deep on the catch with the clean), a ton of lumbar spine disc injuries, traction injuries to the brachial  lexus, wrenched cervical spines and a bunch of wrist impingements. Missing 2 weeks to 6 months of rugby due to a lift gone wrong can be a very frustrating and annoying issue for the coaching staff.

 

Risk vs Reward

     Therefore, this brings us to the crux of this issue - risk vs reward. What is the inherent benefit in including such technically proficient lifts into a training program if the risk of injury is potentially higher than with another "self-limiting" lift? Is a lumbar disc herniation worth the potential benefit of doing a heavy power clean? Could they get the same benefit of doing a jump squat movement instead? The Strength and Conditioning coach would need a solid basis of argument to include such movements into a program of a non-Olympic lifting athlete. I am sure countless physiotherapists and doctors who read this newsletter may philosophically agree with me on this point. As a Strength and Conditioning coach I have always used the Risk vs Reward formula to determine whether a specific lift should be used in a programme.When you use the Risk vs Reward formula you quickly realise that in some case's it just not worth it. 

 


Sunday, 4 April 2021

Nutrition is not a belief system.

                            Nutrition is not a belief system.

                            Why wishful thinking won't get you results, but science might.

                                                                      Part  1 

 

Nutrition is often seen as a belief system. In other words, the answer to “What should I eat?” is often based on faith, magical thinking, emotional attachments, and/or what feels “truthy”, rather than on real evidence or the scientific method. Until we fix this, nutrition will get more confusing, not less.

 Imagine the Google search by someone who wants to eat better.      

They might want to lose weight. Or build muscle. Or stay a little healthier so they can play with their grandkids longer.

So they might look for terms like:

Healthy eating.

Healthy diet.

Good nutrition.

The result? Well…

“Healthy eating” gave me 63.6 million options.

“Healthy diet” gave me 188 million options.

And “Good nutrition” gave me a whopping 213 million options.

When I check out some of these search engine results, I notice something.

Each of these websites has a story to tell: A story about which diet, supplement, food, or nutrition practice someone believes is best.

Many of these stories completely contradict each other.

But they have one thing in common: The authors treat nutrition like it’s a set of beliefs, there for their own picking and choosing.

Unfortunately, “nutrition” is often seen as a belief system.

But beliefs don’t necessarily have anything to do with facts.

When we believe something, we choose to accept that it’s true, which may or may not have anything to do with factual certainty.

This approach of “believing” is frequently applied to nutrition.

As in:                                                                                              

“I believe that sugar is poison.”

“I don’t believe that humans were meant to eat grains.”

“I believe in only eating foods that are natural and organic.”

In other words, the answer to “What should I eat?” is often based on faith, wishful thinking, emotional attachments, and/or what feels “truthy”, rather than on science.

Yet nutrition is not a belief system.

Nutrition is a science.

My job is to use nutrition (plus strength and conditioning) to get my clients the results they want.

When your meal strategy can be the difference between success or failure, there is no room for “hoping” the nutrition will work.

I can’t go on faith alone. My clients’ success literally depend on me doing my job well. Which is why the scientific method, not beliefs, govern my practice.

That’s why I need to ensure that my nutrition recommendations are based on measurable, accurate reality. On science. On the best evidence that we have right now.

 Part 2 to follow !

 

 

 

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Eat these to promote fat loss.



Eat Your Way Slim
We’d all love a magic pill or food that makes weight loss easy and permanent. But until either one comes around, healthy eating is still your best bet. The trick is to choose foods that do three things:

  1.  Keep you full

  2.  Won’t cause major spikes in your blood sugar (too much sugar in your blood gets stored as fat)

  3. Support a healthy metabolism -- your body’s system for turning what you eat and drink into energy 

It’s Important to Eat

If the rule of weight loss is to burn more calories than you take in, not eating should make you lose weight fast, right? Wrong. Animal studies show that with less eating, the body goes into “starvation mode,” burning fewer calories to conserve energy. Also, you’ll be short on nutrients, making you tired and sluggish. To get your pep back, you might be tempted to eat sugary or fatty foods, which will pack all those skipped calories back on.

Choose Iodine-Rich Foods

The thyroid gland plays a key role in helping your metabolism burn calories and control your appetite. To do its job, your thyroid needs healthy levels of iodine. Most people in the U.S. get all the iodine they need through a regular diet, but some foods have more iodine than others. Make sure you get at least some of these common sources:
  1.  Table salt

  2.  Egg yolks

  3. Milk and dairy products

  4.  Saltwater fish, such as cod

Show Legumes Some Love

Legumes, such as beans, peas, and lentils, are rich in fiber. This makes your metabolism work harder to digest them and keeps you feeling full longer. Studies have shown that lentils can help you eat less and lower your body weight and waist measurements. Beans also have something called resistant starch, which is linked to higher rates of fat metabolism.

Water, Drink Up!

Water supports your metabolism in ways that might surprise you. The trick is to drink more than usual, or drink it instead of beverages with calories. Research suggests that water may:

  1. Help you take in fewer calories

  2.  Boost calorie burning if you’re obese

  3.  Help your body burn fat

Want to bump up the health benefits of water? Drink it very cold. Your digestive system burns extra calories -- about eight -- to get it to room temperature. Eight calories per glass isn’t much, but it adds up over the course of a day, and especially over a week.

Get Your Calcium

When you think of the role of calcium, strong bones probably come to mind. You can thank your metabolism for that, as it helps your body get calcium from food. Some studies suggest calcium can also help you shed pounds and fat, but it’s too early to know for sure. Still, you can’t go wrong with healthy, calcium-rich foods in your diet. These include low-fat dairy, broccoli, and canned sardines or salmon, which have soft, edible bones.

Don’t Be Ginger About Ginger

This funny-looking root packs all kinds of health benefits: It can soothe an upset tummy and ease arthritis pain and swelling. Research shows it may also have a powerful effect on body weight and blood sugar. One study found that drinking a hot ginger drink with breakfast lowered feelings of hunger and had a strong thermogenic (calorie-burning) effect. You can savor its spicy kick in tea and Asian dishes such as stir-fries and soups.

Be Less Refined About Grains

Love Chinese takeout? Do your metabolism a favor and ask for brown rice instead of white rice. Brown rice is a whole grain, while white rice -- which has been stripped of the brown nutrient-rich layer -- is a refined one. Some studies show that whole grains have an effect on weight loss, but the jury’s still out on that. Whole grains, unlike refined ones, support your body in key ways:

   1. Appetite control

   2. Nutrient supply

   3.  Sustained energy

Load Up on Low-Glycemic Foods

Low-glycemic index (low-GI) foods are relatively low in carbohydrates. Your body digests them more slowly than high-carb, high-glycemic index foods. That means your blood sugar doesn’t surge when you eat them. Research suggests low-GI diets can help stop diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers. Low-GI foods include green veggies, chickpeas, most fruits, beans, and bran breakfast cereals.

Steer Clear of Sugar-Sweetened Drinks

The obvious reason sugar-sweetened beverages are a no-no for your waistline: They have lots of calories. Some research suggests they can also negatively impact your metabolism beyond the “calories in, calories out” rule. Juice, regular soda, sweet tea, and other sugary drinks may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and body fat. Several studies have shown that sugar also increases cholesterol levels.

Cut Down on Alcohol

It’s easy to forget about calories in what you drink, and the ones in alcohol add up quickly. A 12-ounce beer has about 150 calories -- 100 in a light brew. There are about 100 calories in a 1½-ounce shot of rum, whiskey, or vodka, and a pina colada packs 490! Alcohol can also stimulate your appetite. The weight you gain from it tends to settle on your belly, which can cause heart disease, diabetes, and raise your breast cancer risk.

The Skinny on Fat

Your body needs some fat to work well. But fat is high in calories, and it doesn’t keep you feeling full. This can lead you to eat more later, taking in even more calories. And indulging in fatty foods for even a short time can worsen your metabolism. One study found that just 5 days of eating a high-fat diet can hurt your muscles’ ability to process glucose. This can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and other health problems.

 

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Added sugar: Where is it hiding?


      Added sugar is everywhere in the food supply. Britain take in an average of more than 17 teaspoons of sugar (about 290 calories) a day from added sugars, often in sweetened beverages, far more than the daily recommended amount
    Sugar is added to countless food products, including breads, condiments, dairy-based foods, nut butters, salad dressings, and sauces. The sugar is added not just to impart sweetness. It's also used to extend shelf life and adjust attributes like the texture, body, colour, and browning capability of food
        To start reducing added sugar in your diet, first it helps to know where it comes from. Here are the basics.
Where's the sugar?
     Unless you consume only whole, unprocessed foods, you are bound to have added sugars in your daily diet. Sugar-sweetened beverages lead the pack, but many other foods also contain added sugar—sometimes a substantial amount in a typical portion.
Sugar-sweetened beverages.
      Sugar-sweetened beverages contribute about half of the total added sugar in the U.K.food supply. The source of the sweetness in most products is high-fructose corn syrup. These sugary drinks include any of the following:
             regular soda
             juice drinks, like fruit punch and juice "cocktails" (but not whole fruit and vegetable juices)
             energy drinks
             sports drinks
             sweet tea
             sweetened coffee drinks
             sweetened water
             any other beverages with sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup added to enhance sweetness.
        It's important not to confuse sugar-sweetened juice drinks with whole fruit juices. Processed beverages like fruit punch or cranberry juice cocktail contain a fair amount of added sugar—in the case of cranberry juice cocktail, the sugar is added to counter the naturally sour taste of cranberries. This is an example of a fruit drink that is also a sugar-sweetened beverage, and therefore a source of added sugar. Whole (100% fruit) juices contain only the sugars in the juice extracted from the fruit or vegetable. However, it's a good idea to limit even whole juices in your diet.
         Sugar-sweetened drinks can pump a large amount of added sugar into your body, and quickly. These beverages are not as filling as sweet whole foods like fruit, so it's easier to consume a lot of them. On average,Britains get more than 200 calories a day from sugary drinks, about four times what we consumed in 1965.

Sweets and desserts.
Brownies, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, pastries, pies, puddings, and sweet rolls are just some of the processed foods widely understood to contain substantial amounts of added sugar.
Honey and syrups.
Sugars naturally present in honey and syrups, including maple syrup, are also considered added sugars. Although honey and syrup are sold as freestanding products, you don't eat them by themselves. They are squirted into hot drinks, drizzled on pancakes and waffles, or added during baking or making sweets.
Condiments.
Condiments are defined as spices, sauces, or other preparations that you add to food to enhance its flavor. Tomato ketchup, relish, barbecue sauce, salad dressings, and salsa are condiments, and they can contain considerable amounts of sugar per serving.
Prepared foods.
    A vast variety of prepared foods contain additional sweeteners. Breakfast cereals contain added sugar, but so do ready-to-eat meals, breads, soups, tomato sauces, snacks, and cured meats.
     Among the many processed and prepared foods with added sugar are sugar-sweetened yogurts. Plain unsweetened yogurt contains naturally occurring milk sugars, but added sugar can double or triple the total amount of sugar.
Are natural sugar alternatives healthier
      Many people are seeking out what they perceive to be healthier alternatives to refined (granulated) white sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. They may have heard that plant-based natural or organic sweeteners such as agave syrup (sometimes called nectar) or coconut sugar are less likely to trigger spikes in blood sugar. Less-processed "raw" sugars, maple syrup, or honey also may be perceived as better options simply because they are more "natural" than highly refined table sugar.
      Popular sugar alternatives do come from things in nature, such as tree sap or beehives. But the sugar in them is the same as what you'll find in a bag of "unnatural," refined white or confectioner's sugar. The same goes for sugars labeled "organic" or "raw." Though less-processed sugars may contain trace elements and minerals that refined white sugar lacks, they still end up as glucose (blood sugar) after the body breaks them down.
      In the case of agave syrup, there is a difference in the way the body processes it compared with table sugar. Agave syrup is mostly fructose, which does not directly raise blood sugar (glucose) levels. Instead, the fructose goes to the liver to be converted to glucose  
   On the other hand, consuming excess amounts of fructose can cause the liver to start making fat in the form of triglycerides. Chronically high triglycerides raise the risk for diabetes and heart disease.
 
In the end, the key message is "the dose makes the poison." Whatever type of sugar you use to sweeten your tea or oatmeal, or to cook with, the important thing is to limit the total amount of added sugar in your diet.
 
 
 
 

 
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