Search

Archive for December, 2014

Why not all research, or rather, not all interpretation of the research, is created equal.

This article is going to outline why you also have to use your own head, no matter how much of a supposed expert the person you are dealing with is.

I’m not into dogma, because it results in anything from lack of progression/innovation to downright incompetence. I always encourage people to write their own notes on any material and get their own experience. I think my writings are very well researched and tested, and they do get great results, but that’s not the point.

Every system has to evolve, get better and more accurate. Furthermore, each person who wants to master a subject can get a shortcut to the gold, but they won’t have any mastery until they’ve put their own perception and stamp on it.

For one thing you’ll have to tweak it to your own needs, goals, body, personality, capabilities and lifestyle. I really want to teach people to be their own coach.

Another big reason I do that is because that’s where the real progress and understanding comes from. When you really know the picture of things first hand you gain an extra level of motivation and vision for just how far you can get. It will also safeguard you against dogma that is inaccurate. You get a lot of experts who just rehash stuff, often information that was incorrect to begin with.

Some degree courses are teaching health and fitness information that is actually based on a business model and not science. In conventional medicine, for example, you have a setup where Doctors are taught to treat symptoms and not root causes. Plus they are using allopathic medicine, because it is the only licensed treatment. That was a policy made by government lobbies. Law was passed that you had to pay $20 million to get ‘official’ research. You can’t patent healing, natural substances the drugs are usually based on (without the side effects), penny on the dollar medicines or any other processes by which the body is aided in healing itself. Without the patent you can’t corner the market and make the $20 million back, so no one is going to do that. Also only large corporations can afford to outlay the initial $20 million anyway.

Therefore the system is not setup for the best results and science, it is setup for a monopoly and one particular type of medicine, which as it happens is very ineffective at curing people, 90% of the time. I’m not totally against pharmaceutical drugs because they can be useful, and in emergencies can save lives. However, with chronic illness they are largely a business con. They are very expensive, usually ineffective at curing, just treat the symptoms, have a lot of side effects (sometimes even causing death) and create repeat customers. I don’t want to be having a go at Doctors because in emergencies they save lives. This dogma is pushed on Doctors and they are a generally speaking a conservative bunch by nature, highly technical, strong at passing tests and carrying out the current system very well, for better or worse. There’s a lot of the worse around at the minute, unfortunately.

And not many of them are doing anything about it, but there are of course some doctors out there too who are brilliant at curing chronic illnesses as well.

We also have issues with independent research because it’s usually anything but. In 2002, the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most respected journals of medicine, made a startling announcement. The editors declared that they were dropping their policy stipulating that authors of review articles of medical studies could not have financial ties to drug companies whose medicines were being analyzed. The reason? The journal could no longer find enough independent experts. Drug company gifts and consulting fees are so pervasive that in any given field, you cannot find an expert who has not been paid off in some way by the industry. So the journal settled for a new standard: Their reviewers can have received no more than $10,000 from companies whose work they judge.

So all the money coming into research, grants, education, medical seminars, FDA is all tied to big pharma. Plus the doctors are overwhelmingly being given this drug treatment picture in their training, a business model masquerading as good science.

Let’s get into the practicalities.

This is a typical situation: Take cholesterol issues, for example. A man goes to the doctor. The tests come back and his cholesterol is not in such good shape. The doctor tells him the only proven way to reduce his cholesterol is to go on a statin drug. This happened to a guy I know recently. I told him there was plenty of research that you could sort cholesterol issues out completely by reducing body fat, inflammation and improving fitness.  You do this with a decent diet plan, a supplement or two like omega 3 fish oil and a good workout plan. He said ‘sure I did that the last time I had high cholesterol, because the statin drugs made me feel awful before that and I went back and my tests were fine, plus I never felt better’. ‘There you go’ I said to him, I’ve seen that plenty of times myself as well.

Essentially the doctor had him on a dangerous drug proven to actually block the CoQ10 pathway, which is an important muscular energy nutrient. And guess which muscle requires it the most? Yes, the heart! Statin drugs might treat the symptoms of high cholesterol, but it’s not addressing the cause, which is inflammation (which causes arterial damage which is then repaired by cholesterol glueing it up). Inflammation is usually caused by stress, excessive adipose tissue (body fat), magnesium deficiency or a lack omega 3 in the diet.

So getting to the title of this article, not all research is created equal. The research says statins reduce cholesterol. Blood thinner medication thins blood. But they are addressing the symptom, not the cause. And they have many bad side effects. Blood thinning medication is similar in make up to rat poison, I lie you not. They actually use rat poison in the army at times during emergencies, which is fine, I mean you use what you have at the time. However, someone taking that everyday, that’s BAD science.

It’s completely missing the big picture. Conventional medicine and the west is obsessed with details (left brained) to the point that it is easily duped by business. The big picture (using the right brain) and other important details are completely missed. The Chinese and other Eastern medical doctors find this laughable, and rightly so.

You have to get to why the person has high blood pressure and address that. Otherwise, just giving a drug is going to leave the problem unabated and health degrades. Often people end up on 2-8 different drugs per day and in a nightmare situation with their health. The result of all of the above is that illness is increasing at all ages in the most ‘developed’ countries in the world (WHO statistics). It’s absolute madness, not to mention the costs involved, which is just more money going directly from the taxpayers pocket to the rich corporate owner’s coffers.

This ignorance helps the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

It’s a total nonsense. And it all starts with dogma.

Regarding fitness, there was a study published about interval training being nine times more effective than steady state (jogging or similar) for fat loss. Turns out the reality in the study and not the notes, was that the participants had lost 1mm extra at nine different points of the body. That’s a minor amount better, overall, nowhere near the claimed amount.

When we look at what the research really says and test things out for ourselves we start to work out the big picture and the details. We have first hand mastery, not dogma from someone else, who may have their own inaccurate conclusions or even an agenda. Intervals are not nine times more effective, they are slightly more effective for fat loss. Overall, however, both together is even better because you can’t do intervals too often or you burn out.

So you can have research that is twisted up or ignoring other large factors, or not taking the big picture into account and more. Also, no one can fully understand you, your life, your circumstances, health, personality etc. like you can.

Listen to people who get results and speak sense, but also be your own coach! It’s a guard against the epic fail and it’s the only way to great success!

Why most vegetable oils are not good for you

We have a diet that is imbalanced to omega 6 fatty acids, instead of omega 3. Nearly all vegetable oils are rich in omega 6. We need that too, but we already get plenty of it from food. We don’t get enough omega 3 and they are anti-inflammatory. Too much omega 6 is pro-inflammatory. Inflammation causes problems with cholesterol, cardiovascular issues, pain, joint issues and all sorts of other goodies.

That’s why fish oil is recommended so often, because it gives you plenty of omega 3’s in the direct form of DHA (which doesn’t have to be broken down).

You should also try to limit any other oils you take, because they are probably omega 6. Olive oil in a small amount is good, because it is omega 9 and those help the cell membranes, but we tend to be okay for omega 9 anyway.

Also, vegetable oils that are omega 3, like Flax seed oil, are basically useless because the enzymes needed to break them down are usually tied up with all the other fats we assimilate.

That’s why it is best to supplement with fish oil.

A good vegetable oil to use is coconut oil. It doesn’t need to be broken down and although it’s not addressing the omega fatty acid balance either way, it is a great source of energy. It enters the system straight away and actually aids fat burning. It helps the body to use fat for fuel, and especially in the first half of the day, it can also aid the body in mobilising and burning body fat (by processes described in the book).

It also contains stearic acid, as does bacon, which is very good for cell membranes.

Granma knew best when she gave you bacon and eggs.

Despite the publicity, the real science says animal fat is good for you and vegetable fats are often a problem creator. I wouldn’t go crazy on the saturated fat because although it is good for you (also good for cell membranes), too much of it can cause cell membranes to get too rigid, but that’s at a crazy amount. It’s not a huge worry. However, fish or chicken without skin is sometimes better than beef.

There are also warnings about dietary cholesterol, but blood cholesterol gets high from inflammation and not directly not from diet.

Diet does play a large role, but indirectly.

The main cause of inflammation is excess body fat and an imbalance of too much omega 6 in the diet (not enough omega 3). Plus, excess body fat is ironically not caused by too much fat in the diet, but too many carbs. Body fat is stored via insulin, which is stimulated by carbs. Carbohydrates are bad if not used correctly. They are what we need to watch and the omega 6 vegetable fat, not the animal fat.

The best diet for health and fat loss is described very well at www.precisionphysique.com/carbbackloading.html

The best heavy resistance exercise for running speed

First of all, heavy resistance training helps speed. Every sprint trainer will know this. The stronger your sprinters, all things being equal, the faster they will be.

But what’s the best way to do it?

For pure sprinting you probably want to focus on deadlifts.

You need strength in certain areas, and you want no more bodyweight than is necessary.

So if you do strength without size training you are going to build a lot of ability to produce force, without extra bodyweight reducing your speed.

With regard to running it is the force you can put into the ground that will make a huge difference. This is proven to have a direct effect on stride turnover and even stride length, which is how speed is created.

Of course there are ballistic, agility, bodyweight, cardio conditioning, flexibility etc that each play a part as well, but in terms of strength and resistance, the force you can put in the ground is king.

And the best exercise for that is half deadlifts in low rep ranges with lots of rest between sets. Half deadlifts are where you pick the barbell off the ground, lift it to knee height and then drop it onto a cushioned mat or grass.

You want to be doing 3-5 reps per set with a weight that you could lift for a few more reps (if you had to) and have 4 minutes rest between sets.

One of the best speed trainers in the world, Barry Ross, swears by this type of training. It is the gold standard. It hits all the right muscles for producing force into the ground and thus running fast. Progressively lifting more weight with this exercise over months and years will make you a LOT faster.

How to build dense muscle

First of all, why would you want to?

If you aren’t very familiar with bodybuilding or physique training, have you ever wondered why some people have really dense hard looking muscle and how that is different to what is normally associated with muscular?

Well, a dense muscle is a very strong muscle. The density or hardness is showing a lot of fibres. Muscular endurance will build more tissue and fluid in a muscle, but it won’t build great density.

For maximising health, appearance and performance you need the density first and foremost. Have you ever seen a bodybuilder that just looked like a lump of cheese (even with very low body fat), who couldn’t run or do a push up to save his life?

Well, that’s a guy that has built balloon muscles on gym machines that are useless in real life.

He’s stayed in only muscle mass rep ranges and also has used weights that are balanced on a machine or on cables. That doesn’t translate to the real world.

You need to be using a variation of rep ranges, cycling your training and using free weights and bodyweight. That is how you master your health, physique and performance in this area.

There’s an Irish UFC fighter that is making a few waves at the moment called Conor McGregor. He’s a great example of muscle density. He has one hell of a physique. He has some size, but more importantly that physique is tip top in density.

That’s a guy with great hormone health, looks the part and has all the strength, speed and agility he needs.
Go for that physique, not the one that can’t get into nice pants anymore. Don’t end up with joint problems, cheesy muscles and poor performance outside the gym. Why do we workout? Is it to feel great, look the business and perform at sport or lifting things or what ever else? Or is it to just ‘get big’?

I’ve a chapter in my book, Precision Physique about measurements and how many people are teaching lads to get way too big and girls to get way too skinny. We actually have great data now on when people are in their best health and best appearance for their height and gender and how to get there.

It’s not an obsessive guide, but actually the opposite. The problems are created from unattainable and actually undesirable physiques that are being plastered all over magazines.

We need to change our goals to healthy ones to do with physical conditioning, athleticism, health, sound aesthetics and performance, not extremes that involve bad health, overtraining, distorted images and quite often drug use.

Why building the mind-muscle connection is important to any sportsperson, bodybuilder or gym goer

It’s important because this unseen aspect of training will increase your results.

What is the mind-muscle connection? It’s basically how many nerves are going between your brain and your muscles, and how well grooved the pathways are.

If there are more neurons and connections in your brain for handling certain muscles, then they will function better, contract with more force, fire faster, with more control, coordination etc.

A lot of this is built simply by regular training. If you lift weight you are building the mind-muscle connection to make it stronger. You are building the physical structure in muscle fibre, but you are also building the skill of strength. Your brain is also adapting to get better.

The same goes for any type of training. You have to perform technique a certain amount of times before it is second nature. That’s all neuromuscular adaptation, the neurons getting a blueprint for how to do a movement (using muscles). Anyone who’s trained for a decent amount of time, eventually gains a supra awareness of their body, ‘the mind is more in the body’. It may be noticed as simply feeling muscles contract, but it is a powerful perception and a sign of increased ability.

Furthermore, we can amplify the connection with certain exercises, and it adds a lot to results.

For example, using ballistic exercises not just builds more speed, but it is also very helpful to strength training and general performance. This is because deliberately firing muscles faster is a mental focus that builds the mind-muscle connection. It’s not uncommon for people to increase their bench press 100lbs from adding ballistic training for the chest and shoulders. A lot of this is due to engaging and growing fibres not hit in heavy resistance training, but it is also largely to do with neuromuscular adaptations.

We know it is also nerve power increase because using a different focus during strength workouts also increases lifts quite a bit.

Long term, these practises will make a very noticeable difference. We outline exactly how to put this in a program in our book, Precision Physique: Training (module 2).

How to grow a body part

This might seem like a strange title. Why not just say ‘how to build muscle mass?’

Well, that’s too general for some people’s purposes. Some people only want to grow certain body parts for sporting or aesthetic reasons.

So, can it be done? Yes, absolutely. You use exercises that target a certain body part and follow the rules of of mass building.

In building muscle size it is all about using high resistance and fatiguing the muscle. There is quite a bit of debate as to exactly how to do that, but the generally accepted wisdom is that you need to use 8-20 repetitions and not a lot of rest in between; 40 seconds to 2.5 minutes.

What we generally advise is to start with a weight where you can do 12 reps to failure (after a warm up set of 10 with a weight 50% or so lighter), take 40 seconds rest and do 4 sets with the same weight. You’ll probably end up at about 8 reps on the 4th set. Over a few weeks you will be able to do more reps. When you can do 20 reps on the first set with that weight, that’s when we advise going up to a weight you can do 12 reps with and start the process again.

This will keep the sets in the 8-20 repetition bracket, at a challenging and progressive resistance for you and will provide a lot of muscular fatigue. Any body part you do this with will start to grow and increase in size.
Other body parts can be exercised in the same way or differently. Muscle building is specific in that way, it’s about what is being hit and how.

What are good body measurements?

There are actually body measurements that are ideal for your height and gender.

And they are attainable long term for anybody with the right training and diet.

They are also not the stereotypes you often see on the front of a bodybuilding or fashionista magazine. Those dudes are often too big and the girls are often too skinny.

That’s not just what I am saying, that is what the maths is saying as well. There is a number throughout nature called Phi, or the perfect ratio. It is the design number. It is in everything from seashells, to plants, to animals, to humans. It is also used in roads, buildings, credit cards, cars, cereal boxes and lots of other things to make them structurally sounder, more visually appealing and to sell more.

Nearly all the great physique statues are on these numbers as well. We discuss the numbers in depth in our book, Precision Physique.

The extremes don’t look right, it is commercialism to try to get people after the unattainable (and actually undesirable), so they will keep buying magazines, the supplements they own, the clothes they advertise and so on.

The young people who are hell bent on getting the drug induced physiques in the pictures end up shooting steroids or with eating disorders. Not good.

So it is not just interesting information to talk about the correct health and physique goals, but it is actually very important information.

There’s nothing worse than a lean girl thinking she would look better if she was skin and bone. Her health, life and even appearance will end up in bits.

The idiots who perpetuate this madness (in the images and articles they write) need to be called out. Hopefully then eventually everyone will be aware of it and then no younger people will want to buy the stupid mags anymore (until they start publishing good material).

Is High Intensity HIIT Cardio Better For Fat Loss Than Steady State Cardio (Like Jogging)?

It is better for fat loss, but not as good as using both.

They both have pluses and minuses when it comes to burning body fat.

High intensity is great at releasing body fat and steady state is great for burning it off so that it doesn’t go back to fat storage.

Either type of cardio will burn body fat, under the right circumstances.

However, from the research and our experience HIIT is superior for fat loss because it encourages sugar to be converted into glycogen and put into carbohydrate storage in muscles. It encourages this more than sugar being converted into fat and put into fat stores. It also does this more than steady state cardio.

That’s not to say steady state exercise encourages fat storage. That’s not true either, it’s just not as effective for changing body composition.

But using both will give you the best results. HIIT is better for teaching the body to mobilise fat, and steady state is better at teaching the body to use fat for fuel. You can also do more steady state than HIIT, which means you can train more by using both, leading to greater results.

A lot of people are trying to suggest that steady state is bad for you. It’s not. Any bad results are due to overtraining, plain and simple. Too much of anything, too often, is bad for you. With steady state, overdoing it just takes longer to show up and does so in a more subtle fashion than usual, and that’s where the confusion comes from. Problems that arise from steady state overtraining are also nearly always accompanied by a lack of resistance training and excessive prolonged calorie restriction.

Using a well designed program and good tests to see when you need rest, will avoid this problem. We have a top quality cardio program in our book Precision Physique: Module 2 training, which covers all types of cardio in the one program. We also make sure you don’t overtrain.

If you do cardio correctly it is a very good fat loss strategy. And if you are strategic in using all types of cardio, then the results are even better.