“Study shows if you exercise more than an hour a day you increase the risk of heart disease”
As a personal trainer and a good human, I have a responsibility to my clients to provide them with the best advice, based on up-to-date science. I recently saw a post on facebook which generated a storm of comments about different approaches to fitness and health. I wanted to share some of my experience and insights as a 52 year old professional not only with significant qualifications but also experience in both health, fitness and life. I fully respect the comments on the page of one of the younger very accomplished runners Josh Maisey but he did not pick up that I was talking about not running the fastest marathon but about long term life health and weight loss. Let me explain just part of my comments here and I do hope it helps many of you struggling with what to believe.
The balance between food exercise stress and life – Just one aspect
My first meal of the day is often never before 11AM. So if I have dinner at 6.30 I will often engage in a 17.5 hour fast most days of the week. This requires no special commitment or restraint: it has simply become a way of life, it helps me with anti-aging, cellular repair and metabolic benefits. I’m rarely hungry, and I can quite easily get on with my hours of training most mornings in a fasted state. I also make a point to often fast for 1-2 hours after my training in many cases especially after my occasional high intensity workouts, to maximize the impact of the anabolic hormones that flood my bloodstream. If i were to quickly eat a high carbohydrate meal after such a session like most people as per what I call conventional stupidity then the insulin spike would clear the testosterone and human growth hormone out of my bloodstream and we don’t want that.
Some of you will say but we have to restock our glycogen supplies fast! Two things to consider, I have trained my body to require less glucose, even at high intensity because of a sustained pattern of what we call primal eating (Primal Eating is a Low Carb Healthy Fat approach) and sensible (not chronic) exercise patterns. My compressed eating window, low insulin producing approach to nutrition, and training patterns means I require fewer carbs which helps improve my insulin sensitivity.
So what does this mean? It means whenever I eat good quality non processed Carbohydrates they are readily accepted into my liver and muscle glycogen storage depots without my pancreas having to kill it self producing insulin (remember insulin is the thing that makes us FAT) The cells are highly aware of the signals of insulin knocking at the door asking to deliver the precious cargo of carbohydrates, amino acids or fat into the cells for storage, Secondly my high intensity workouts which happen only every 4-6 weeks depending on what stage of training I am in rarely last longer than 30-45 minutes and they are planned with appropriate recovery, so i never run my glycogen stores down to the state were I am dying for a pizza or pasta (PS I have not eaten pasta for 4 years and could not think of anything worse)
My abundant intake of vegetables every time I eat with great grass feed meats, some seasonal fruits, moderate starchy tubers provide all I need to keep my liver and muscle glycogen levels optimal and I train 18 hours a week. I don’t need to refuel my glycogen stores every day after every workout because I burn fat as fuel not sugar. For me there is plenty of time to recover completely before my next aerobic or high intensity session. One way to do this is to use a process called gluconeogeneisis the conversion of ingested amino acids proteins into glucose on a moderate or as needed basis. This means that if I burn a large amount of carbs (remember good vegetables) in a workout and don’t shovel down the replacement amount right away, my body will adapt to make glucose internally and it will prioritize other fuel sources like fat and ketone bodies. (This is what our body was made to do before we had supermarkets and 2 minute noodles and protein shakes)
1. Ask yourself the question is what you are currently doing working for you? If not then continue reading the dot points.
2. Stop eating anything with wheat in it and replace with more vegetables and salads
3. Drink more water, make this a focus everyday. 2-3 Lt per day is the minimum
4. Plan your weekly meals, shop in advance with a list, cook when you have time
5. Significantly reduce dairy, caffeine, alcohol, sleep more
But I love my high intensity every day if I stop I will get FAT or not lose weight! – Well tell me how is that working for you?
In contrast 95% of the public have been fooled into the wrong approach and in most cases it just does not work. Thank you to the fitness industry and big processed food companies. The chronic exerciser (high intensity) and obsessive eater will probably experience something different than the way I live. It is highly likely that over fueling will occur often due to severe disturbance of appetite hormones caused by excessive carbohydrate intake and chronic training patterns. The result love you guessed it love handles, belly fat, big bottoms and man boobs. The numbers do not lie the average Australia puts on .5kg per year from the age of 35 and they lose muscle mass. But remember it is not their fault they are general following the advice of the experts and they are not generally lazy, like tell me do any of you like being FAT and not being able to see your toes? For me 4 years ago i hated having a small belly it was horrible. You can read my story here.
If you are training hard and your are overfeeding yourself on carbs you may not pack on weight every year but you will experience as you get older difficulty in removing unwanted fat from your body especially that last 2-4 kgs. If you are not sure if you are over eating, simply monitor your body composition not just your weight. Look in the mirror. If you are not trending to were you want to be despite your devoted efforts to smash yourself in the gym or the running track then you are probably consuming to many carbohydrates and training to much to hard, and you are likely to be on your way to T2DM. It is not normal to be overweight it is unhealthy.
1. If your Personal Trainer is telling you to do more and more High Intensity Sessions and it is not helping you sack them
2. Reduce the amount of high heart rate training and train more in your Maximum Aerobic Function Range 180-Age
3. Do some maximum effort sprinting for about a 30min workout every 4-6 weeks if you are already reasonably fit
4. Lift heavy things often with good form and quality of movement
5. Just do push ups, chin ups, squats and planks for 15mins each day. This has a huge pay off.
So what do I do?
In my opinion there is not enough people that are prepared to challenge what I call “conventional stupidity” and provide real advice to the general public who has had weight problems for years. Because of this, the advice provided can actually do more damage than good. This includes, injuries through high intensity workouts that often lack appropriate techniques; and elevated cortisol (stress hormone) levels day-after-day, session-after-session, which often leads to adrenal fatigue, weight gain, self-doubt, depression, anxiety, and binge eating due to the false belief that we need to refuel straight after training.
As a fully qualified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Advanced Level 1 Les Mills RPM Instructor, Spin Coach, a USA and Australian Triathlon Coach, and currently ranked number 4 in my age group 50-54 in the AWA Ironman 70.3 rankings, I do know a little about exercise and nutrition (About me).
- Make a decision about where will you get your advice.
- Ask yourself the question “Is what I am doing working for me”?
- Subscribe to my website (there should be a pop up that allows you to join my once a month email)
- Read my article here
- Subscribe to my youtube page
- Watch this 1 minute video
- Book some time to talk with me
- Above all enjoy all the free content and I hope for some of you it changes your life..
About the Author
Andre Obradovic is a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach, Triathlon Australia Development Coach, ICF Leadership and Personal Coach, Certified Low Carb Healthy Fat Coach and Certified Personal Trainer. He is a passionate triathlete and marathoner in the 50-54 age group. As at November 2017 he was ranked 4th in Australia within his age group. He works with his wife who a certified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, helping clients optimize their life.