THE NUTRI-SPEC LETTER
Volume 16, Number 7
FAILING TO GET ENOUGH EXERCISE
CAN KILL US!
Even the most lethargic couch potato will admit this truth. Beginning with Cooper’s Poopers back in the 1960’s, the fitness industry has overwhelmed us with a tsunami of propaganda to sell us on the need for exercise --- and there is much truth in their propaganda. Human beings are designed to move; designed to move vigorously; designed to move with productive intensity; designed to move with joy and satisfaction. Failure to meet our exercise needs is no different than failure to meet our nutrition needs; our bodies, our minds, and our spirits will deteriorate.
But after reading our series of Letters on exercise physiology, we also know that ...
EXERCISE CAN KILL US!
Every step we run beyond what our body needs is a step closer to death. Every pound we lift beyond what it takes to make us strong adds to the cumulative burden of oxidative damage. Somewhere between the deficiency of exercise that causes our health to deteriorate and the excess of exercise that accelerates the aging process is just the right quality and quantity of exercise. That has been the topic of our discussion for these many months. There is a fine line between beneficial exercise and damaging exercise, and, that line is drawn much closer to zero exercise than it is to high volume training.
Quantity? As NUTRI-SPEC practitioners you know that mega doses of nutrients weaken us, both by depleting us of other nutrients and by creating metabolic imbalances. Mega doses of exercise are every bit as harmful. Ultra low volume but ultra high quality is the winning combination in exercise. Quality? Grizzly Bear Intervals and Grunt and Growl strength training are not only the best, but the only (non-damaging) way to go.
In our discussion of exercise physiology you have learned just how far off the truth are the recommendations of the exercise establishment. You have also learned that the training of even the highest level competitive athletes is terribly inefficient. We have seen exposed nearly every exercise myth:
We know that the flingers are never going to reach their exercise goals. Since spot reducing is the number one exercise myth of all, they are destined to give up in failure and frustration.
We know that sit-ups and crunches do exactly the opposite of what the exercise gurus say they do.
We know that even a slight bit of excess exercise causes oxidative damage and decreases life span.
We know that all low intensity high volume exercise creates fatigue by a devastating pathological mechanism involving loss of calcium and magnesium regulation in the heart, blood vessels, muscles, and nerves.
We know that high volume exercise actually makes us store a higher percentage of our calories as fat, thus making it much more difficult to lose weight.
We know that high intensity short duration exercise, on the other hand, revs up our metabolic engines, allowing our efficient metabolism to burn thousands of calories weekly, even at rest. Furthermore, just the act of building a pound of muscle consumes 45,000 calories.
We know that exercising when in a post-absorptive state causes the most catabolic damage of all.
We know that low body temperature is a sign that our bodies are not equipped to handle the catabolic stress of exercise.
We know that four workouts per week is ideal. Five workouts per week may be OK, but that is pushing the limit of our anabolic capacity. We must carefully monitor body temperature and oxidative index to determine the ideal volume of exercise. Three workouts weekly is acceptable; less than three and we start to lose the benefits.
All strength training exercises must be done full range of motion or they will create an inefficient and injury-prone muscular system.
Multiple sets strength training is another myth that we have totally invalidated. Grunt and Growl strength training gives us maximum gains with minimum catabolic damage.
“Cardio” “Aerobic” workouts that involve endless plodding at a ludicrous “target heart rate” will never achieve exercise goals. Rather, such a high volume low intensity regimen will make us tired, grouchy, hungry, and weak. Beyond that, we have seen the startling truth that even a slight bit of over training with this kind of regimen leads to heart and blood vessel damage.
We know that not only is “cardio” “aerobic” exercise potentially dangerous for the cardiovascular system, it is not even the most efficient way to improve cardiovascular endurance. Strength training is actually superior to long duration endurance training for improving VO2 peak and left ventricular strength, as well as work capacity, muscle strength, and muscle endurance.
We know that high intensity training is 2˝ times as effective in improving cardiovascular function as medium intensity training.
We know that athletes and others striving for optimal performance are being crippled by their high volume training methods. When those who train seriously further increase workout volume, their speed decreases, their endurance decreases, their heart rate decreases, and their energy metabolism decreases, all the while stress hormones such as catacholamines increase. When, however, these athletes decrease volume but increase intensity the exact reverse occurs.
We know that intense interval training results in an increase in both glycolytic and oxidative enzyme activity, maximum short-term power output, and VO2 max. No low intensity, long duration exercise regimen can begin to match Grizzly Bear Intervals.
We know that recreationally active subjects can double their endurance capacity in just two weeks of sprint interval training. We can only feel remorse for the hapless plodders who plateau after comparatively miniscule gains in endurance, all the while they suffer the ravages of accelerated exercise-induced aging.
You have just read an impressive summary of all you now know that flies in the face of establishment thinking on exercise. You know the truth about how to get maximum gains from exercise with minimum time and energy invested, and most importantly, with minimum catabolic damage.
The studies demonstrating the amazing endurance benefits of interval training remind me of the case study I wrote up in The NUTRI-SPEC Letter many years ago regarding a high school girl entering her senior year who had never run cross-country, but wanted to give it a try. Over the last two months of the summer I designed an interval training regimen for her. None of the intervals were longer than 800 meters. When she showed up for the first day of cross-country practice ...
SHE WAS THE BEST RUNNER ON THE TEAM.
What track or cross country coach could believe it possible that a girl could run a 2˝ mile race, though never having run farther than 800 meters in her life, and not only finish the race but win it, against athletes who had been training (though improperly, as you now realize) for long distance running for years? For the first few weeks of the cross country season this girl finished in the top three in every dual meet. She was beaten only by athletes who had achieved years of success as distance runners.
That, however, is not the end of the story. She maintained her number one standing on the team for but a few weeks. Since she was now training as all cross-country runners do (long slow distances), her competitive advantage was rapidly lost. Her times improved very little. Her competition (also training with inefficient high-volume methods, but likely genetically better equipped for distance running) improved slightly more. By the end of the season, runners from other schools that she had defeated in early season meets were beating her easily. --- A sad ending to a potentially very happy story.
The message is clear. Whether you are an athlete, a fitness fanatic, a plodder, or a flinger ...
INCREASING THE QUALITY AND
DECREASING THE QUANTITY OF YOUR WORKOUTS ...
is the only way to achieve exercise goals.
I have enjoyed writing this series of Letters on how ...
WE CAN EITHER ENRICH OR
DESTROY OUR LIVES WITH EXERCISE.
The feedback you have given me these many months shows that you have enjoyed it, too. Now the question is,
HOW ARE YOU USING THIS VALUABLE INFORMATION ...
to enrich your patients and build your practice? You have been given a golden opportunity here to deliver to your patients interested in exercise (and --- you have dozens and dozens of them, and they have dozens and dozens of friends to refer) a service that no one else can provide. You can save them hundreds or thousands of dollars in wasted money on aerobics classes, and worthless health club memberships. More importantly, you can save them countless hours engaged in self-destructive plodding, flinging, or sets and reps.
INSTEAD OF DRAGGING THEIR BODIES
EVER CLOSER TO THE GRAVE,
THEY CAN CELEBRATE THE JOYS
OF LOOKING & FEELING GREAT ---
all because of your unique services.
ACTION TO TAKE IMMEDIATELY: Include a question in your case history about exercise. Then, every time patients mention exercising, or even thinking about exercising, what do you do?
Commend them for being wise enough and dedicated enough to make a commitment to a longer, healthier, happier life.
Explain that most people waste a tremendous amount of time, energy, and money on popular but unscientific exercise methods that rarely achieve exercise goals, and often do more harm than good.
Explain further that you can give them high intensity, short duration exercises that will assure maximum gains with minimum time and energy invested. The key, you must make clear, is to work extremely hard, but only for less than a minute.
Give your patients the descriptions of Grizzly Bear Intervals and Grunt and Growl Strength Training that you have copied from your Volume 15 Number 11 NUTRI-SPEC Letter. (As needed, use as patient handouts the portions of other Letters giving the references from the literature backing up your methods.)
Start your patients on either NUTRI-SPEC Metabolic Balancing or the NUTRI-SPEC Diphasic Nutrition Plan. (Consider recommending Glutamine and/or Oxy Power, and a period of rest for those who are already suffering the effects of over-training such as slow pulse 1, or low body temperature.)
Your exercise knowledge truly gives you a golden opportunity --- make the most of it.
Guy R. Schenker, D.C.
PS: How about a more recent runner story --- one that for the moment at least has a much happier ending? A perfectly delightful young lady came to my office last winter looking every bit the part of an athlete broken down by over-training. She complained of general fatigue, extreme leg fatigue after running, and painful legs associated with shin splints (or, perhaps stress fractures). She, and her teams, had been very successful in both field hockey and track. As a freshman sprinter she was part of a four by one hundred relay team that had gone far in year-end tournament competition.
Now as a sophomore, she had finished a winning field hockey season, yet knew she was in no shape to enter track season with any hope of living up to her potential. The cause of her symptoms was nothing more complicated than over-training. She had coaches who deserved to be respected for their commitment and for their success. Yet, these coaches employed the high volume training techniques common to many scholastic, collegiate, and even professional coaches. Her field hockey workouts consisted of miles and miles and miles of running. Her track workouts would have been more appropriate for a distance runner, not a sprinter.
What were the clinical findings on this patient? Like so many who over-train, she was locked into the anaerobic/incomplete anabolic metabolic phase. Chiropractically, she showed an extreme lateral pelvic translation, as well as leg muscles that were loaded with myofascitis. The presence of one or more stress fractures was not unlikely. With a little supplementation and a bit of a reprieve from training in the few weeks before track practice began in earnest, the patient’s metabolic imbalances responded as expected. Chiropractic Distortion Release Technique improved her biomechanics significantly. Soft tissue work enhanced her recovery from myofascitis.
Though still in pain, the patient progressed satisfactorily through the first few weeks of track season. She kept her work-out volume to the minimum her coach would allow, and refused to let the trainer treat her legs with ice. Then, sadly, it was determined that she definitely did have stress fractures. It appeared she was finished for the season. Knowing a golden opportunity when I see one, I told the patient that she need not give up on the season, and in fact, could look forward to her best times ever in the 100. You see, now that she had an excuse for not following the prescribed high volume training regimen, she could follow my advice to do nothing more each day than a few light sprints alternating with stretching. She would experience some pain during training and certainly during meets, but no more than she had already experienced.
So now this story becomes very much analogous to the girl who aspired to be a cross country runner. Just as that girl with nothing that resembled conventional training for cross country emerged as the fastest runner on her team, now this sprinter who did (by the standards of most track coaches) no training whatsoever, shattered her personal best time by something like a ˝ second, and set a new school record. The less work she did, the faster she became.