Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Links Beyond Well -- Women And Children Lift Weights, Sleep, Training Wisdom, And More ...

Greetings!  A lot has happened over the past two months.  I moved on from my position at Ramstein, I visited home to Oregon for some excellent R&R (hiking, camping, farmers markets, beaches, parks, workouts at CrossFit Excellence, and lots of time with the family), I moved on and began my new job/assignment in the hospital at Eglin Air Force Base and have also begun studying for a C.S.C.S, working on a ton of household projects getting settled in, and am attempting to learn to garden.  Feel free to donate to my compost pile ...

I haven't written or read as much as I usually like to; however, I have a piece in the works discussing the various metabolic fuel systems, how they work during what types of exercise and why that matters.  Keep an eye out for that in the next couple weeks.  In the mean time, the articles below made it through my filter as being particularly interesting/useful and I'd like to pass them on to you.  Enjoy!

Crater Lake, Oregon
Should women lift heavy or light weights? -- Jill Coleman, Metabolic Effect
"There should be no fear of bulking up when fat-burning is being maximized."
The Big Sleep -- Stephan Guyenet, Whole Health Source
  • "Lack of sleep appears to predispose to obesity and diabetes, and probably sets us up for the Big Sleep down the line."
  • "Keep your room as dark as possible during sleep. It also helps to avoid bright light, particularly in the blue spectrum, before bed (4). "Soft white" bulbs are preferable to full spectrum in the evening. If you need to use your computer, dim the monitor and adjust it to favor warm over cool colors. For people who sleep poorly due to anxiety, meditation before bed can be highly effective."
*Also see Stephan's clarification of the data from the study, here

On a similar thread, my sister and I experimented with some de-stressing techniques while I was visiting home to Oregon last month.  Here is what we came up with:

Trainer Tells All -- What I have Learned About Health and Fitness -- Mike OD, Fitness Spotlight
"Today I just wanted to share some of the things this 36yr old has personally learned about all things health and fitness….in no certain order…
  • There is no such thing as spot reduction…but there is a great business in selling that concept (Ab-reclining chair anyone?)
  • It’s a lot easier to stay fit and strong….once you get there
  • If I had to pick one sport for a child to start with it would be gymnastics, the strength/speed/balance/body control they will learn can be applied to any sport down the road."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What do fasted training and low carb athletes have in common?

I saw this excellent blog post by Martin Berkhan over at Lean Gains and my thought-track went on a tangent which led me to writing this post.  I've been meaning to write a series of posts on our fuel systems and our carbohydrate needs for various activity levels and goals for quite some time.  Unfortunately, a perfectionist mindset held me back from tackling such a large [and somewhat ambiguous] beast.  It has to start somewhere ...

Fasted Training For Superior Insulin Sensitivity And Nutrient Partitioning -- Martin Berkhan, Lean Gains
A few highlights:
  • "When exercising at higher intensities than 65% VO2Max, fat oxidation is progressively reduced and becomes almost non-existent at 82-87% VO2Max.
  • C [fed/carbohydrate group] saw a greater increase in VO2Max ...  C improved VO2Max more as they could train harder due to providing the proper substrates for fueling the activity. On the other hand, F [fasted training group] became progressively more efficient at oxidizing fat at higher levels of intensity as evidenced by the increase in FATmax. This is, in turn, could be explained by the substantial increase in the fat burning enzymes FAT/CD36 and CPT1.
  • The fasted training group saw significant improvements in all parameters relevant to improving body composition and health [glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, GLUT4/AMPK increased, markers for fat metabolism, body composition], where as the fed training group saw comparatively lackluster results here."
My notes: There is a lot of neat stuff in that post and in the study's linked.  Read between the lines: fasted training appears to improve markers related to insulin sensitivity, health, and body composition.  However, the fed athletes appeared to be capable of a higher work output (while they also gained a little wieght).
Should I eat those potatoes?

I'd like to point a few things out:

  • At rest or low intensities, we can use fat as our primary energy source.
  • Ketogenic diets and physical performance recounts a few examples of groups and individuals who survived for a year or more on a diet mostly or entirely devoid of carbohydrates--as well as presenting a study where cyclists improved their performance after adapting to a strict protein and fat only diet.
  • On the other hand, fat is metabolized to ATP slower relative to carbohydrate and cannot be burned anaerobically.  At high intensities, we are using primarily carbohydrate for fuel.  Period.
  • With clever diet modifications and time to adapt, our body can begin to burn greater amounts of fat at various exercise intensities (which spares glycogen), however, we will still be burning some glycogen/glucose.