You Need To Know This – Health and Fitness 101, The Basics

I guess I should expect it given where I came from…

I get asked with great regularity about my exercise, diet and motivation. I consider it a privilege to share my knowledge and in that spirit I have put together a basic list of the things that have influenced how I think. Some are my original thoughts, some are not, but it’s all part and parcel of what made me who I am today.

First, let’s get the diet out of the way.

Most of you already know my diet is paleo. It’s what I do and it is what I recommend. Even for kids I don’t see the value in eating grains that are processed and have very little in the way of nutritional value. Eat whole foods, drink water.

Eat like a predator, not prey
What are my reasons for eating paleo? (Other than losing 65lbs?)
Why I eat paleo (By Fitbomb)
Refined Carbs are Just Plain Bad  – including the part about exorphins, or why your body craves carbs like an addict craves coke
Its Carbs not fat that are the problem
Why Paleo isn’t low carb

Now you know how to eat and why let’s quickly address the darling of the weight loss myth – Cardio.

Kettlebells Vs Cardio - The dishonour of cardio
Forget what you think you know – Why cardio is killing you (especially this: 10 reasons I don’t do aerobics)
Why do HIIT – A special nod to my gym girls

The mental game. Why it’s critical to develop mental focus, strength and have a healthy work ethic. Fear and motivation are two topics that come up a lot with my gym girls, and it’s also something I see in the faces of my bootcamp participants. Fear is good, fear is healthy, fear is there to tell you that you are about to become better.

For the kids – Some things you should know…
Fear – Face it, defeat it. Over the years I have had kids who were afraid. Most aren’t any more because they know better.
A big enough WHY? Find your reason, without it you are lost.
Stop listening to yourself – long but well worth the read. PROTECT THIS HOUSE!

So there you have it for now. Some stuff I have written, some links to very good information out there on the web and some stuff I admit I stole because I think it will help you. It’s all important, come back again and again to take what you need and as you do, learn how to coach yourself through life and be the best that you can be for you, your family and those with whom you can share the knowledge.

Refined Carbs. Why Bother?

In a nutshell, here’s how it works:

  • When you eat carbs, your blood sugar goes up. Eat gobs of carb-rich foods (bread, sugar, pasta, rice, etc. — all of which are nutrient poor, relative to meat and veggies), and your blood sugar goes up a lot.
  • In response, your body secretes insulin, a storage hormone, which takes the blood sugar out of your bloodstream and stores it for future use (in the form of glycogen in your liver and muscles), and returning you blood sugar levels to normal.
  • But your glycogen stores fill up quickly. What happens if you keep eating carbs after your tank is full? Your body senses the dangerous excess blood sugar, and pumps out a ton of extra insulin to deal with it. Your glycogen stores are still maxed out, so the extra insulin converts the carb-orific energy into body fat.
  • But now, so much insulin’s kicking around your system that it ends up driving your blood sugar too low — to the point where you experience a “blood sugar crash” (you know, like in the afternoon, after you’ve downed a big turkey sandwich and a sugary coffee drink). Your blood sugar’s low, so your body craves…(drum roll, please)…MORE CARBS. And the cycle starts again.
  • Over time, these cycles of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia wreak havoc on your metabolism, and can escalate into full-blown insulin resistance — a precursor to a parade of health horribles like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc. (We’ve previously discussed this problem — and how it escalates into full-blown insulin resistance and metabolic derangement – here.)


Text of Carbs against Cardio: More Evidence that Refined Carbohydrates, not Fats, Threaten the Heart

Copied From Scientific American.

Eat less saturated fat: that has been the take-home message from the U.S. government for the past 30 years. But while Americans have dutifully reduced the percentage of daily calories from saturated fat since 1970, the obesity rate during that time has more than doubled, diabetes has tripled, and heart disease is still the country’s biggest killer. Now a spate of new research, including a meta-analysis of nearly two dozen studies, suggests a reason why: investigators may have picked the wrong culprit. Processed carbohydrates, which many Americans eat today in place of fat, may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease more than fat does—a finding that has serious implications for new dietary guidelines expected this year.

In March the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a meta-analysis—which combines data from several studies—that compared the reported daily food intake of nearly 350,000 people against their risk of developing cardiovascular disease over a period of five to 23 years. The analysis, overseen by Ronald M. Krauss, director of atherosclerosis research at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, found no association between the amount of saturated fat consumed and the risk of heart disease.

The finding joins other conclusions of the past few years that run counter to the conventional wisdom that saturated fat is bad for the heart because it increases total cholesterol levels. That idea is “based in large measure on extrapolations, which are not supported by the data,” Krauss says.

One problem with the old logic is that “total cholesterol is not a great predictor of risk,” says Meir Stampfer, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Although saturated fat boosts blood levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, it also increases “good” HDL cholesterol. In 2008 Stampfer co-authored a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that followed 322 moderately obese individuals for two years as they adopted one of three diets: a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet based on American Heart Association guidelines; a Mediterranean, restricted-calorie diet rich in vegetables and low in red meat; and a low-carbohydrate, nonrestricted-calorie diet. Although the subjects on the low-carb diet ate the most saturated fat, they ended up with the healthiest ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol and lost twice as much weight as their low-fat-eating counterparts.

Stampfer’s findings do not merely suggest that saturated fats are not so bad; they indicate that carbohydrates could be worse. A 1997 study he co-authored in the Journal of the American Medical Association evaluated 65,000 women and found that the quintile of women who ate the most easily digestible and readily absorbed carbohydrates—that is, those with the highest glycemic index—were 47 percent more likely to acquire type 2 diabetes than those in the quintile with the lowest average glycemic-index score. (The amount of fat the women ate did not affect diabetes risk.) And a 2007 Dutch study of 15,000 women published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that women who were overweight and in the quartile that consumed meals with the highest average glycemic load, a metric that incorporates portion size, were 79 percent more likely to develop coronary vascular disease than overweight women in the lowest quartile. These trends may be explained in part by the yo-yo effects that high glycemic-index carbohydrates have on blood glucose, which can stimulate fat production and inflammation, increase overall caloric intake and lower insulin sensitivity, says David Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children’s Hospital Boston.

Will the more recent thinking on fats and carbs be reflected in the 2010 federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans, updated once every five years? It depends on the strength of the evidence, explains Robert C. Post, deputy director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Findings that “have less support are put on the list of things to do with regard to more research.” Right now, Post explains, the agency’s main message to Americans is to limit overall calorie intake, irrespective of the source. “We’re finding that messages to consumers need to be short and simple and to the point,” he says. Another issue facing regulatory agencies, notes Harvard’s Stampfer, is that “the sugared beverage industry is lobbying very hard and trying to cast doubt on all these studies.” Nobody is advocating that people start gorging themselves on saturated fats, tempting as that may sound. Some monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as those found in fish and olive oil, can protect against heart disease. What is more, some high-fiber carbohydrates are unquestionably good for the body. But saturated fats may ultimately be neutral compared with processed carbs and sugars such as those found in cereals, breads, pasta and cookies.

“If you reduce saturated fat and replace it with high glycemic-index carbohydrates, you may not only not get benefits—you might actually produce harm,” Ludwig argues. The next time you eat a piece of buttered toast, he says, consider that “butter is actually the more healthful component.”

The Low Carb Prejudice – Start By Knowing What Is Wrong


Yesterday, in my excited confusion I forgot that I hadn’t built my 24″ box yet for my box jumps. And that I don’t have a rope for double unders. So instead I struggled through RKC warmup and TGU while the baby looked at me with a stare of utter bewilderment from her jolly jumper. I also had to coach and joined in with some of the events to get me moving. Day 8, not really a success, but day 9 is looking better already. Why? Mostly because I love bench and can’t wait to do more, but also since I am not coaching, going to look at daycares or otherwise involved in leaving my house. Apart from changing the wheel on the wife’s truck, I have nothing to do but hang out with the baby and do my workout.

The Fallacy.

Whenever I talk to people about Paleo diet the most often reaction I get is “low carb”. This pisses me off. It’s kind of like someone telling me that due to the fact that I only eat 1 breakfast I am on a restrictive low breakfast diet. Here’s a newsflash… You are only supposed to eat one breakfast! But the general population seems to be caught up in some bizarre world where everything they eat is measured, judged and assigned a specific limit APART FROM THE MOST DANGEROUS THING!

It’s easy to find protein calculators on the web, most will say you need to eat between 1 and 2.5g of protein per lb of body weight if you want to maintain your muscle mass or gain lean tissue. It is equally easy to find fat calculators that will tell you how much fat you need, what kind, when to eat it and how to avoid it. You can also drown yourself with Caloric Intake calculators based on crappy BMI calculations, crappy Body Type calculations and even crappy blood type calculations. So all this being said, why is there such a stigma attached to limiting the amount of carbohydrate you take in? It seems that the food industry that is basically controlled by the commodity companies (wheat, corn and soy) is fine with ignoring the limits that need to be placed on carb intake. Of course, if you all knew that the human body should be having a maximum of 150g of carbohydrate a day the demand for these commodities would plummet along with metabolic disease rates, diabetes rates and obesity levels. However, since it seems to be that we can’t vilify carbs at the risk of being labelled as extreme, what are we to do?

It seems as though there are several solutions to the problem of humans eating too much carbohydrate and at the same time increasing our assistance to our ailing planet and our ailing animals. For example, ask yourself why we are feeding animals with human food? Shouldn’t animals be eating things that we can’t so that we can use the human feed to feed the hungry? Let the cows eat grass, it is what they were meant for. Convert some of the wheat and corn and soy hectares to pasture and let the animals eat food that will increase both the quality and the saleability of the meat. it’s not just that they are not designed to eat wheat and corn, it is actually killing them in the process. The whole notion of feeding cattle to death with human food doesn’t seem to bother too many people, mostly because they have been duped by the meat industry (yes, I am not just picking on the commodity farmers here) into turning a blind eye.

While you are at it, let’s stop eating the corn all together and use it to make biofuel that will prevent the burning of fossil fuels and remove our dependency on oil from the middle east. Although this process is shunned by those who believe it is too costly to be feasible I say it is just a case of volume. The more you produce, the better you get at it, the lower the cost of production. That is why the target date for when we will run out of oil keeps getting further away, as technology increases, efficiency increases.

Yes, I am way off on a tangent here but let’s start to wrap this up. The SAD (nice acronym by the way) or Standard American Diet is filled with carbohydrate. In fact, the SAD should be labelled as a High Carb Diet. We don’t need to defend our choices of sticking to a 150g carb a day lifestyle, we need to ensure that anyone who eats more than that realizes that they are on a High Carb Regimen that will make them sick. I remember throughout my life my father used to tell me that when he was a kid everyone smoked because they didn’t know it was bad for them. In the same way, years from now I am certain we will look back at the 80s and 90s and 00s as the time when people ate a high carb diet because they didn’t realize how bad it was for them. Just in the same way that pop is as bad as drugs, high carb diets are as bad as cigarettes. It’s about time that people realized that the standard level of carb intake for an active individual should be 150g. Problem is, with muffins running around at 50g, bagels at anywhere from 50-70g and a regular pasta dinner pulling a massive 120-150g it’s not surprising that the Average Canadian or American or Brit is overloaded with carbs every day. If we are going to change the way we eat, live and survive as a species, it’s time we started changing the way we think.