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Physical Training Makes You FAT?!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Training or exercise, simply put, is a stress placed on the body. Its short-term effects are catabolic, meaning that exercise, particularly in the form of resistance and endurance training, includes the breakdown of muscle fibers (micro-tears) and bone (micro-fractures). On the other hand the long-term effects, which typically occur during rest and nutrient intake or eating, are the repair and rebuilding of stronger and more efficient muscle and bone, as well as cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and in which effectiveness is dependent on the type of  training. These longer term processes of repair and re-build responses is an evolutionary adaptation to the stress that results from training.

On a different yet related note, cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which sit right atop the kidneys. It is a hormone strongly associated with fat deposition especially around the belly area or the umbilical. This means that the higher the cortisol produced the higher the tendency is to deposit fat.

Stress on the body comes in different forms and may result from many different factors that include mental, physical and even spiritual. Stress, however, is not necessarily a bad or negative thing (distress). Positive or good stress (eustress) may come in the form of feeling joy and excitement. Physical training is a form of stress that may initially seem negative at a micro-scale but its long term adaptation response is a healthier stronger body that makes one feel better and more confident.

Taking in consideration the aforementioned, one can safely deduce that the chronic stress of overtraining or excess physical training, such that the body does not have enough time to recover and starts to predominantly produce cortisol, may very well result in undesired body composition profile changes that depict lower lean muscle and increasing body fat and visceral fat (fat around the gut and organs) levels.  In essence, research supports the argument that elevated cortisol resulting from chronic excess physical training is a significant confounding factor in increased fat deposition especially around the belly area as well as lowered lean muscle mass levels especially in individuals attempting  to “lose weight” by integrating caloric restriction.

The moral of the story is simply not to overdo it with training. One needs to bear in mind that stress adds up. So the stress of training one day, even though it may be the same or even lower than that of previous training session may have negative effects, for instance, if it is coupled with lack of rest, lack of proper nutrition or extenuating life stressors such as emotional, family, occupational or financial.  The key is to listen to your body and be in tune to the patterns that work. The following is a simple step guideline that can help:

1-      Assess your current physical conditioning state and plan a training program that compliments it.

2-      Assess you current stress level, find out your main sources of stress and make managing them your priority.

3-      Re-visit you training program daily if you need to and augment it to compliment your stress level.

4-      Make sure you eat well and rest enough to recover and re-build.

5-      Your best option is to seek help from a holist practitioner or fitness professional who adopts a holistic approach in order to best guide his or her clients in achieving their desired health and wellness goals. WE CAN HELP!

Yours in health and fitness …

What is the best diet to follow?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Is it the vegan diet? The caveman diet?  The Atkins diet? The live-it diet? The smackercougarmeloncamp BS diet?

Ok, so what is the truth about diet? And why should you listen to me?

First and foremost I must clarify one important thing. I am by no means a fitness guru or do I believe that I am in a position to tell blindly what diet is best, what works and what does not. However, I know one thing for certain and that is we are all engineered differently despite us being made from the same genetic material.

So what does this mean Mr. Science you may ask? Ok, well this means that as humans we have evolved to react differently to different foods. For example: a bodybuilder or fitness model may want to adopt a diet of white fish and asparagus for 2 weeks before a competition to be ready when the time comes to get on stage. But what if that same competitor is allergic to fish? Or suffers gastrointestinal stress (inflammation in the gut) from asparagus and other green vegetables?

Another example are  those who may adopt a vegan diet so as to follow in their far east Asian  guru’s footsteps, who has been raised on a mainly vegan diet and so has his ancestors for the past few hundred years. Those individuals or groups may end up suffering from major nutrient deficiencies and issues such as erectile difficulties in men and decreased libido in women due to lack of meat proteins that promote the production of androgens in the body.

OK, so you get the picture. However, the question still stands: what do I eat and what diet works for me? The answer is: (drum roll)

There is actually no secret recipe that works for everyone. You will need to figure out what works out for your own particular body type. This is so much the case as there is just as much variation in nutrigenomics (the science of diet specific for your genetic make-up) between family members as there is between peoples of different ethnic backgrounds and geography.  

That being established, I strongly suggest one starts with the following:

  •  A full blood work and full allergy test to determine for certain what foods one should stay away from completely. 
  • The second step is to become more in tune with your body and stay away from any foods that make  you feel bloated, heavy, and lazy or even feeling down like junk food and pesticide-filled GMO foods. In addition, stick to the foods that make you feel good, energetic and alert; all in moderation of course.

We can help you design a diet that compliments your lifestyle and your health and fitness goals. Please contact one of our experts or join us for our complimentary seminars to get you started in the right direction.

How to Put on Lean Muscle Mass and Lose Body Fat at the Same Time

You are able to both put on lean muscle mass and loose body fat at the same time if you stick to the following tips:

1-      Engage in appropriate resistance training workouts that compliment your fitness level 4 to 5 times per week. Without weights/resistance your attempts to put on lean muscle mass effectively are futile.

2-      Your cardio vascular training should be done in the form of high intensity bursts with sufficient rest in between. Doing sprints is an ideal way. Need tangible proof? Check out the average sprinter’s body composition or simply the way they look.

3-      Learn the hormonal patterns and how they behave relative to the type of training that you do. It is beneficial to understand how different modes of training lead to different results.  Longer rest periods between sets for example promote the production of testosterone that helps increase lean muscle mass. Shorter rests promote increase GH (growth hormone levels) that promote increased fat loss.

4-      Your diet is, simply put, 80% of the arsenal when your desire is to change how your body looks and feels. It is vital that you adopt a diet that compliments your workouts, fitness level and macro -nutritional needs such as the amount if protein, fats and carbohydrates.

5-      The one size fits all workouts, diets and latest trend group-workouts are all a bunch of cockamamie, THEY DO NOT WORK in this particular case for the majority! And this is not just my opinion. Such endeavors lack periodization, which if you research and observe any athlete’s training, is of utmost importance in order to cater to each individual’s body type and the case-specific response to training. So in other words you may see results at the start just like you would every time you start dieting or exercising but they are again not sustainable due to lack of periodization.

Feel free to contact us to get a complementary periodization plan for your workouts designed specifically for you or join us for our complimentary seminars where we take a closer look on what periodization means and how it works.