I checked several different sources, and the most common and consistent New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier and get more exercise. That resolution is way too generalized. Just eating more organic foods and parking farther away will accomplish that resolution, but not much else. It definitely will not make you significantly healthier. This is my recommendation. Eat to burn fat and exercise to burn sugar. On the surface, it may still sound too generalized. But there is a very specific way to accomplish that outcome. And doing so will profoundly change your life. First, let’s cover the best way to eat to burn fat. Then we will discuss the best way to exercise to burn sugar.
Due to inherent metabolic patterns, some people cannot and should not do a ketogenic or intermittent fasting or Atkins or any number of these diet plans. Fortunately our body is smart enough to work with these diet changes and often times produce a good result, at least for a while. But knowing your specific imbalance would still help with the journey. That is why I like to test a person’s biological individuality. In the absence of this knowledge, I suggest going with the P:C ratio approach. It is an excellent way to gradually balance your macro-nutrients and fine tune your fat burning. The other method I really like is the Fat Burning plan. This is where you cycle the macro-nutrients so that you get to experience a relatively low carbohydrate baseline diet, cycled with carbohydrate loading. Carbohydrate loading is essentially eating anything you want, just not anytime you want, and it is healthy. It will seem like you’re cheating. I can provide you the details, just ask.
Regarding exercise, your biggest obstacle is your own mind, the brainwashing you have been told. What if I told you you could spend a total of 5 ½ hours working out in 2019 and significantly improve your health in these primary areas: Detox the body of waste materials, optimize aerobic capacity, control insulin levels, enhance bone-mineral density, reduce body fat, increase metabolic rate, improve flexibility, reduce your chances of getting an injury, and increase muscle? The mind says it can’t be done. But if you are curious, keep reading, because the science says it is being done.
I still have to occasionally re-read the literature to re-open my eyes. There was a study published in the Applied Journal of Physiology in 2005 that is credited as the first documented research study showing that intense sprint training can dramatically increase aerobic endurance. This study provided the basis of all the HIIT (high intensity interval training) craze in the exercise culture. In the early stages it was not called HIIT, but rather SIT (sprint interval training). This published study, dispelled the concept that if you wanted to exercise to burn fat, you had to do aerobics or a cardio-type exercise. Why is that important? Because up until these findings, it was common knowledge that if you wanted to exercise to help your heart, or to burn fat burn, you were condemned to doing aerobic exercise like jogging or treadmill for long periods of time, several times a week. You're probably thinking, “But that is still what the industry is telling us!” That’s correct, you are still being told the myth. And as a result, we have a generation of people with bad knees because they believed the experts. Many others never benefited from exercise because they could not commit that much time, and when they did, it did not yield the results they expected. Here is the link. https://www.dropbox.com/s/2nfvqmykgacpf9e/japplphysiol.01095.2004.pdf?dl=0
You can read the study, or this CNN report that same year which did a pretty good job of summarizing the finding. Check it out: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ghdql99anl0wrxl/CNN.pdf?dl=0 Now you see where I got the crazy 5 ½ hours for a year. You do the math: 6 minutes x 52 weeks = 312 minutes / 60 = 5 ½ hours a year.
The fitness world, and much of the medical world still did not believe. They criticized the findings of the study saying that it did not contrast the results to that of a traditional “cardio” training group. Surely everyone would see that the traditional cardio training group would out perform the sprint interval training group. So the original researchers performed another study and designed it to do just that. Published in the Applied Journal of Physiology in 2006. Here it is: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3ywm245l5g6o0lu/Gibala_et_al-2006-The_Journal_of_Physiology.pdf?dl=0
You could do a phenomenal work out in the time it takes to read it, so instead, here is a summary of their findings. A workout consisting of 6 to 9 minutes a week, produced the same health improvements as a work out doing 4.5 to 6 hours a week. Stated another way, the traditional endurance type work out group exercised 97.5 % more and received zero additional benefit. But we can go a step further and say all that additional wear-and-tear is pointless and leads to chronic arthritic issues later in life. This evidence was introduced over 12 years ago and has yet to appreciably change the exercise culture. Although this aerobic exercise myth does help the manufacturers of aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen...and opioid analgesics. Also benefited are many orthopedics, physical therapists... and chiropractors.
Let’s recap, because it is difficult to grasp the implication of these studies. The traditional cardio training group exercised in a way as to put their metabolism into an aerobic fat burning mode. They did this by cycling for 90 to 120 minutes, 3x/week, for 2 weeks. Does this look like something you currently do? What I see many people do is a similar formula by doing 30 minutes treadmill, 3x/week. As with the traditional cardio group, you have to go at a slower rate, or you would burn out and not go the distance. But as you will see, you should not go the distance.
The sprint training group cycled for 30 seconds, rested for 4 minutes, then repeated that pattern three to four times. Like the other group, it was done 3x/week, for 2 weeks. Their intensity was very high because they only needed to perform for 30 seconds. So instead of extending their expenditure out over 90 or more minutes, they just bunched it all together into 30 seconds bursts. Again, these results produced the same exercise benefits in minutes instead of hours. Also, the shortened training time avoided the unnecessary wear-and-tear on their joints.
How could there be such a dramatic difference? It defies logic until you look at the science. To do that we have to introduce a new player, pyruvate. Similar to the full moon transforming a man into a werewolf. Glucose goes through about 20 chemical reactions and turns into pyruvate. We start with food energy, primarily carbohydrates that break down into glucose and enter the cell. This starts the transformation of glucose into pyruvate and is called anaerobic metabolism. Up until this point no oxygen or fats have been used, only sugar.
Pyruvate is the special chemical compound that is the gateway between anaerobic and aerobic metabolism. You see, only pyruvate can enter the mitochondria where Krebs cycle occurs. Krebs cycle, the holy grail of aerobics. Here, pyruvate goes through more complex reactions to produce ATP molecules. ATP is often referred to as the molecular unit of currency because it is the energy that drives all our cellular processes. This is called aerobic metabolism. Here you are using oxygen and fats.
Is your exercise burning sugars or fats? Which is better? Many will say fats and continue to do their 30 minute treadmill, 3x/week aerobic/cardio regimen. Don’t be that guy or gal. The answer is both. Yes we want aerobic fat burning, but the best way to accomplish it is to push the aerobic pathway indirectly by hyper stimulating the anaerobic pathway. To better explain this, we have to introduce another important player, pyruvate dehydrogenase enzyme. Actually a complex of enzymes with the task of chaperoning pyruvate into the mitochondria to be processed through the Kreb’s cycle. The speed to which pyruvate can be metabolized into ATP is limited by how quick pyruvate is brought to the dance. That is determined by the pyruvate dehydrogenase enzymes and thus they are called the rate limiting enzyme. In effect, the reaction is restricted and will always go slower than all the other steps in the cycle.
From the perspective of this limiting process, you can see why aerobic exercise is set up to go slower and over a longer period of time. That’s why you are told to find your fat burning aerobic zone, and stay there. Your speed zone is determined by the rate limiting enzyme. But I say break the law and speed.
In order to perform sprints as described in the study, your muscles require energy faster than Kreb's cycle can produce, because the rate limiting enzyme is restricting it’s output. So your metabolism will continue to crank the anaerobic pathway (with glucose) until you fatigue. Remember the end product of glucose metabolism is pyruvate?
So during your sprint, you burned glucose (sugars) and created, but did not use pyruvate. Now at the end of your sprint, you have lots of pyruvate stacked up, and waiting at the mitochondria wall. If enough gets stacked up, they will be converted to lactic acid. The “burn” often referred to during extreme exertion is due to this lactic acid build up. As soon as you rest, the waiting pyruvate try to catch up by continuing the aerobic metabolism for many days. The lactic acid build up will also be used to convert back into pyruvate for Kreb’s cycle processing. So in conclusion, your aerobic metabolism will perform at it’s highest capability when recovering from this lactic acid buildup. In other words, if you want lots of aerobic metabolism, then do anaerobic stimulating exercise.
All this discussion probably brought up at least two considerations: 1. If I reduce dietary carbohydrates in order to burn fats, where am I going to get the fuel source to feed my anaerobic metabolism to burn sugars when I exercise? 2. What if I can’t do intense sprints due to my current physical aliments?
Next time I will go into the details that will explain #1. The solution to #2 is ARX.
The ARX technology optimizes your exercise effort to, in effect, maximize anaerobic metabolism and secondarily push aerobic metabolism for many more days. Using the ARX technology works way beyond the positive effects seen with sprint intervals. Not only does it further minimize wear-and-tear joint stress, but probably even more important...builds muscle.
I know I spent lots of time discussing the aerobic – anaerobic differences. But it is important to realize that things are not as they seem. Before making a New Year’s resolution, at least get the facts.
If you’re lucky, next time I will introduce a new player, cholesteryl ester hydrolase.
More commonly referred to as hormone sensitive lipase.