Women (and everyone) Should Lift Weights!

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There is a fitness myth that just won’t seem to die. And that myth is that lifting weights is only good for making muscles bigger and stronger and that it will make your muscles short, thick bulky and tight.

Women are especially sensitive to this silly wives tale and often choose less effective types of exercise to improve themselves like yoga, spinning or running for fear of turning their body into a man’s body.

People who have thick, bulky, short muscles are born that way. People who have long, lean looking muscles are also born that way.  Training cannot change your genetic makeup. It’s no different than other animals like dogs and horses.

horses

Here’s a fact of fitness: Strength training is the single most effective form of exercise to age gracefully. No other single form of exercise can simultaneously:

And so much more.

Think of it this way – strength training is a necessity – like food and water.  It’s not a luxury item like getting your nails done or fancy shoes. It’s not a pastime activity like tennis or golf. It’s a staple – a mainstay – and must be budgeted for and incorporated into your life.

Here’s an example of SlowBurn strength training on the Today Show a few months ago. A very safe and effective way to lift weights – in my humble opinion – and supported in research.

And if you’d like to try a complimentary SlowBurn session, please fill out the pop-up on my website (takes about 5 seconds to appear).

 

SlowBurn Exercise and a Low Carb Diet

The sections represent the amount of calories from each food source, not the actual size of the food. There will be a greater amount of plant matter on your plate than animal matter.

Do you want good health, lowered inflammation and protection from autoimmune disorders? Don’t juice or carb up – do just the opposite! Back in 2015, researchers at Yale School of Medicine revealed a compound that appears to inhibit inflammation in our bodies. The substance is known as β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). 

In their study, published in the Feb. 16 online issue of Nature Medicine, the researchers described how the compound β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) directly inhibits NLRP3, which is part of a complex set of proteins called the inflammasome. The inflammasome drives the inflammatory response in several disorders including autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, and autoinflammatory disorders.
“BHB is a metabolite produced by the body in response to fasting, high-intensity exercise, caloric restriction, or consumption of the low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet.”
So instead of taking anti-inflammatory meds like Advil, instead consider SlowBurn high intensity strength training and a low carb diet with a touch of intermittent fasting tossed in is a match made in heaven for your health and well-being! It’s the combo we use at all our SlowBurn personal training studios. You should try it too!
slow-burn-cover

 

Whey to Go!

As many of you know, protein is a vital nutrient for improving and increasing skeletal muscle mass, especially after exercise. And eating too little of it on a day to day basis can accelerate the normal rate of muscle loss. What you may not know however is how important the particular amino acid leucine is for repairing and building muscle.

Dr. Stuart Phillips is a top-notch nutrition and exercise research scientist at McMaster University in Canada who in 2014 penned a paper titled A Brief Review of Critical Processes in Exercise-Induced Muscular Hypertrophy. In it he points out the importance of leucine for muscle protein synthesis/repair/growth:

“Dietary protein appears to be most effective when consumed after exercise, to take advantage of the ‘receptive state’ of the muscle, for mounting a robust MPS response. This would appear to be a guideline that athletes engaging in resistance and endurance training should follow to allow the synthesis of new proteins specific to their activity, and also to promote adaptive remodeling and repair of any cellular damage. The dose of protein that appears most effective following resistance exercise, and possibly endurance exercise, is approximately 0.25–0.30 g protein/kg BM/meal, at least when consuming isolated proteins. Leucine is a key amino acid in stimulating MPS and its content in, for example, whey protein is probably a primary reason why whey protein is so effective at stimulating MPS as opposed to isolated soy and casein proteins.”

To understand how much protein you should eat on a daily basis, I like to keep it simple. Eat/drink about 20-30 grams of protein directly after your workout and per meal. If you’re lean, try to ingest 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight by the end of the evening.

If you are over fat, think about what you should weigh when lean and eat for that weight. As an example, if you weigh 200 pounds but should weigh 150, try to get about 150 grams of protein per day especially if you are strength training (which you should be).

Animal based proteins are a superior choice over plant proteins to get your leucine. Take a look at this chart:

Whey protein offers a whopping amount of leucine per calorie gram! The chart below supports this.

So, if you want to maximize your recovery and strength/muscle/endurance gains, consider drinking a whey shake mixed with coconut milk or water after your strength workout or endurance workouts (if you bother with endurance workouts that is). You might also want to buy some leucine powder and add this to your shake. My co-authors of The SlowBurn Fitness Revolution Dr. Mike and MaryDan Eades discusses how to concoct a muscle building, fat melting cocktail shake in their book The 6 Week Cure for the Middle Aged Middle.  It’s a very good book to read if you’re struggling with age-related fat gain and muscle loss. The Eades’ are super smart physicians.

A good, pure source of whey is David Aspery’s product.  (I do not make a dime endorsing his product by the by.)

Enjoy! And as always, comments are welcomed.

 

 

 

My High Fat Diet and My Heart

I was having some erratic PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) while I was away on vacation this past month. I’ve had PVCs for well over 30 years now, but the frequency and length of them became worrisome. Many people experience PVCs from time to time, and in most people, they are normal and not a sign of underlying heart disease.

But I was getting about 5-10 per minute and they lasted for hours. If I was active they stopped. Which is a good sign. Still, it worried me that I was having so many so frequently. They seemed to come out of nowhere. I was sitting an the airport going from Riga to Berlin and while I was sitting and having my usual high fat, adequate protein, low carb meal, they began and kept on going. This continued for days and only subsided with activity or lying down and resting. Sitting an eating or talking was almost unbearable. It felt like my heart was going to pop out of my neck.

I called my doctor from Berlin, Germany and she said not to worry but if they persisted to come in to see her when I returned. She agreed that this was not normal and required investigation.

So, upon return to the states, I saw a cardiologist, really nice fella, who did a sonogram of my heart. After all the tests and exams he did, I asked him his opinion of my heart. He said my heart was absolutely perfect – very strong and solid. Said he’d never seen a better specimen in a 52 year old – not even in a young heart. (My BP was 117/70. He praised this as well.)

So I asked him, “In your experience doc given my EKG, sonogram, bloods and your examinations, what is the likelihood that I have underlying heart disease of any kind including clogged arteries? “Nil” he said. “Practically zero.”

So much for my high fat, artery clogging diet and complete lack of aerobic exercise.

I do have to wear a heart monitor for 24 hours so that they can see how the PVCs come and go. The rug I’m wearing doesn’t help so they needed to tape me up.

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I suspect that several things may have contributed to the increase in PVCs:

1. Lack of my usual mug of bone broth which is loaded with minerals resulting in an electrolyte imbalance

2. Too much stronger and lower quality coffee

3. Too much alcohol (ah, Paris!)

4. Reintroducing foods that contain gluten – beer, bread and some sauces. This definitely messed my skin up big time.

Since I’ve returned, I have cut back on caffeine, alcohol and am drinking my wonder fluid broth and the PVCs have definitely gotten much better, meaning, lessened greatly. So all seems well at this point.

One thing I noticed when he showed me the sonogram of my perfect heart, the interior beating heart valves look like a beautiful dancer. It literally looked like a person dancing and beating on two drums. Take a looksee:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XiTRNaU8_NA#t=0

The Olde Timers Knew

molding cover

This little gem  Molding a Mighty Arm (copyright 1930) is part of my library collection of old and rare strengthening books. The author, George F. Jowett, was a turn of the century strength and physique guru.

As many of you know all too well, I often argue with other experts in the field of personal training and strength exercise. These passive and friendly FRED talks cover a myriad of issues but mainly over repetition speed or tempo.

Many experts belittle slow rep tempo training. Their main beef with it is that they think it cannot build much beef. This error in thinking is usually due to their misinterpretations of certain physiological principles of exercise.

Most of these arguments revolve around the misguided idea that lifting weights rapidly selectively recruits the so-called fast twitch muscle fibers and that slow reps don’t. The fast twitch fibers are the fibers most responsible for hypertrophy (muscle growth) and strength.

But the idea that slow reps don’t tap into or recruit the FT fibers is untrue. Muscular contractions obey what is known as Henneman’s Size Principle. From Wiki:

Henneman’s size principle states that under load, motor units are recruited from smallest to largest. In practice, this means that slow-twitch, low-force, fatigue-resistant muscle fibers are activated before fast-twitch, high-force, less fatigue-resistant muscle fibers.

The speed with which you lift a weight is not a factor in determining what fibers are called upon to contract. What matters is the amount of force and the degree of effort one generates. In other words, the greater the effort you put forth and the harder the effort becomes, the more likely you are to engage the fast twitch fibers.

As en example, pushing your bicycle with a flat tire off the road as fast as you can does NOT recruit more fast twitch fibers than trying to push your Hummer that has a flat tire off the road as fast as you can. The former results in very rapid muscular contractions and the latter very, very slow muscular contractions. But the latter require much more physical effort.

Another example: A sprinter running as fast as he can in the 100 meter race will NOT recruit more fast twitch fibers than if he tried to run as fast as he can in the 100 meter race with a 50 pound vest on. With the vest on, he will run much slower but the effort will be much greater thus recruiting more fast fibers.

When a set of any exercise is taken to complete fatigue, the effort is the greatest. All types of fibers – both fast and slow twitch – are recruited. If you train to complete fatigue using ANY rep tempo, you will recruit the fast fibers. But explosive reps have the unfortunate side effect of screwing up your joints but good.

This is a snippet from inside the Jowett booklet. Look at the LAST sentence. Ancient wisdom:

molding text

He means six times to fatigue to begin with and build from there.

Now, what does he mean by “fairly slow”? We just don’t know. But he didn’t say to perform the lift explosively as many experts suggest today. You’ll also notice if you read the whole snippet that he ain’t too keen on cheating.

Much of the information you hear today on weight training is dangerous fast-speed nonsense that will leave you injured (Crossfit, Parkour, plyometrics, etc.) and with less total strength and muscle mass than you might otherwise enjoy. F=ma peeps.

If you find yourself talking to a trainer who tells you to lift weights quickly and explosively or tells you that you have to move rapidly and violently in order to build and develop strength and muscle mass, smile and walk away. You are talking to a very misinformed individual or, as my grandfather would have said, “a schmuck.”


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