3/25/10; The 20-minute Workout, and When Will is an Illusion

Can you really get a decent workout in 20 minutes?  Hell, yeah — but you have to be willing to be pretty creative.  Of course, I much prefer the “luxury” of having a full hour or so to go from sluggish blood and tight limbs to grinding out that very last rep; however, we all know that life (and usually friggin’ working life) oftentimes intervenes.  This is why I try to workout first thing in the morning, prior to giving the day’s work-related events from mucking things up.  But sometimes even that’s not enough.

Today was another one of those days, as I had to go from a dead-start to hittin’ the shower in 30 minutes.  Add to this the fact that I spent about 45 minutes in the fixie saddle yesterday (spring fixie fever is kickin’ in!), so I woke up fairly tight in the hips and legs.

So following 10 minutes of abbreviated (though intense) hip/lower body mobility work, I hit 20 minutes worth of this:

elevated feet ring flyes: 30lb vest x 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, 5

GHR: 30 lb vest x 6, 30 lb vest + 15lb db x 4, 4, 4, 4, 3

I performed 1 primer round before I dove into the real McCoy rounds.

Elevated feet ring flyes are, in my opinion, the king of flat flye/pressing movements, turning a mundane movement into one in which the entire body must be fully engaged.

Recent Findings: Will Power and Fluctuating Blood Glucose

This study is illuminating to say the least, if viewed through a Paleo prism.  What’s the best way to control blood glucose levels?  Simple — become a fat metabolizer.   But to do that, you’ve got to break on through to the other side…

Now with that in mind, check out these two clips from Dr. Daniel Amen.  Part 1 here, and then Part 2.   Again, you’ll have to suffer a fair amount of “old skool” thought (eat many times a day to control blood glucose levels, eat carbs at night, blah, blah, blah…) — but again, look at these ideas from a Paleo point-of-view, and with an eye toward helping folks scale the carb jones wall.  Remember, it ain’t always easy for some during those initial Paleo weeks.

Controlling blood sugar?  Well hell yeah, that’s what we in the Paleo community have primed our bodies to do — and we do it on a daily basis, quite naturally, and without a moment’s thought.  And since we’re fat-burnin’, ketosis machines, we don’t have to fiddle with eating all the time to control those glucose levels.  Anyway, check out what the good doc has to say – and focus on what he says are the consequences of poor glucose control, not his ideas on how to control those levels.  Take what is useful, discard what is not.

Of course, it’s easy to Paleo-parody the above study, and Dr. Amens’ clips, too — but again, let’s step back for a moment and sift this material for the hidden gold nuggets – show this to a non-Paleo friend, colleague or loved one as a “bridge” into the full-on Paleo way.

SAD to Paleo is quite a drastic leap for most of the population.  I’ve written about the Paleo transition before (here, for instance), and the huge part that overcoming the initial carb jones is to ultimate Paleo success.  And what is carb jones, if not the body reacting to a low blood glucose level?  Maybe this can be of some help to newcomers to the Paleo way.

And remember kids, no matter what the hollow-eyed, carb-jonesin’ ghouls may tell you, Stevia is not the answer!  The body still responds the same to the taste of sweet — it matters not whether that sweet is sugar, HFCS, or an artificial sweetener like Stevia.  Leave the sugar methadone alone.

11 responses to “3/25/10; The 20-minute Workout, and When Will is an Illusion

    • Greg Glassman (the CrossFit founder we all love to hate) makes the point of the proper progression in any exercise being from eccentric to isokinetic to concentric. Maybe this will be my next mini-goal.

      • I perform the “flag” portion with all of my clients using blast straps. Moving from lat/shoulder stability to bicep/chest stability is quite eye opening. I suspect the exercise would eliminate “throwers shoulder.”

  1. Keith,
    A good concise double whammy post with a good workout routine and a good roundup of looking for the useful in the imperfect.

    Robb Wolf had a good point about Stevia a few podcasts back basically saying if you’re going to have a rare mojito on a hot party day and you’re going to put Stevia in there instead of sugar, what’s the point! Just have the darn drink on that day, don’t think that Stevia daily though is the answer.

    I’d rather overeat eat an apple or a banana or berries regarding of the glucose spike than drink tea sweetened with Stevia (or sugar for that matter). I’d rather have the “natural” occurring sugar/fructose from an unprocessed decent portion of fruit (once every couple/few days)) than an artificial sweetener.

  2. One thing about Stevia, it is a herb, not a sugar/starch. There is no glucose/fructose/any-tose. Therefore, it won’t raise blood sugar levels. But since it is so sweet, the body may still release insulin in anticipation for what is perceived as incoming sugars.

    But here’s the kicker, from my understanding, this is only a problem with carb-ivores. Once you’re adapted to a full-on paleo lifestyle (and have completely eliminated all starches/refined sugars/even fruit intake for a substantial period of time), your body doesn’t misinterpret the strong sweetness from the Stevia and doesn’t release insulin.

    So the problem with Stevia isn’t that it’s going to affect your blood sugar levels, it’s that it will induce an insulin response in the body (which we will still want to avoid).

    Two nutritional gurus that I have come to respect greatly (Joseph Mercola and Nora Gedgaudas) both seem to have Stevia as their choice of sweetener (if they choose a sweetener at all, mind you). But does this mean that we can substitute Stevia for refined sugars/HFCS and put it in everything? No. This means that if you have a desire for the occasional paleo-dessert, than Stevia would be the best sweetener to use if you used anything at all.

    So, while I would definitely agree with you to stay away from sweet things in general, I believe a constricted use of Stevia is perfectly fine, and something that shouldn’t be completely avoided like HFCS, etc…


    • “Once you’re adapted to a full-on paleo lifestyle (and have completely eliminated all starches/refined sugars/even fruit intake for a substantial period of time), your body doesn’t misinterpret the strong sweetness from the Stevia and doesn’t release insulin.”

      Trying to rectify how this can be. It would have been advantageous for primal man to retain the ability to deal with a sweet taste, i.e., impending sugar/glucose consumption. Can you elaborate on the downgrade mechanism?

  3. E.M.R.,
    Awesome comment, thanks for the thorough analysis there. I had read somewhere (perhaps heard it in an interview with Jimmy Moore) about the insulin response kicking in at the taste by the tongue of something to sweet to “prime” your pancreas’s pump so there’s already insulin present in your blood stream shortly before the onset of a blood glucose spike.

    I agree with your take on it, no doubt about it, Stevia in moderation for something sweet. My issue is that Stevia would be like a “gateway” sweetness for me (that’s just me though) and I would continue on using it quite a bit, and perhaps indulging in the real thing afterward. Again, that’s just me.

    Every month or so, I’ll have something with sugar in it, whether it be a bit of ketchup, a mix alcoholic drink with some cane sugar… and when I do that, I just go for the real deal sugar… knowing me, if I had Stevia in my mojito I’d justify having many more than 1!

    Thanks for the reminder though about the insulin response for something sweet, totally forgot about that. I like Mercola, as well. I subscribe to his newsletter. I’m a bit stumped on his take on metabolic typing, meaning I don’t really agree with it, but as Keith notes aptly “take what’s useful, leave the rest aside” or something like that.

    Boy, I wish more of the folks in our community could just say that from time to time rather than zeroing in on the 5% we disagree with one of these higher profile guys. Ok, out here, going home. Cheers.

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