The Past Weekend’s Workout Happenings

Saturday, 5/15/10
So the local farmers’ market is located about a hard 15-minute fixie burst from my house.  Soon after rolling out of bed on Saturday, splashing some water on my face and, after savoring a few cups of joe, I saddled-up and headed out for some provisions.  15-minutes later and without a hitch, I’m picking up 3 lbs of beef sausage and a couple of pounds of ground beef (all locally raised, grass-fed).  Life is great!  I saddle back up and hit the road, and 10 minutes into the return blitz I’m met with the pop/pffffft! and squiggly rear-end that all riders dread.  Damn.  Ok, time for some quick roadside (the parking lot of the Rocky Mount Telegram, to be precise) triage/tire swap — made a tad more urgent, now, due to the 5 lbs of frozen steer in my backpack.  No blood, no foul, as they say (that’ll come later), and in a few minutes I’m back on the road, rockin’ out a good, leg-burning pace.  The culprit, BTW?  A V-bent hunk of wire (clothes hanger wire?) that found its way into my sidewall.  What are the odds of that?  Oh well, shit happens.

OK, so I made it home, chucked the meat in the freezer, and headed back out with the intent of doing one of my favorite “endurance” workouts, the 15 x 15 in 15 — that’s 15 x 100 yrd sprints, each completed in 15 seconds or less, with all 15 sprints completed in a total time of 15 minutes.  In other words, 15 sec’s “on”, 45 sec’s rest x 15 rounds.  Sounds easy, huh?  Uhh, yeah…anyway, like a friggin’ dumb-ass, I decide not to don the ol’ Vibrams, opting instead to attack these au natural over the brick-hard ground.  Why, you ask, would I do such a stupid-ass thing?  I don’t know…the sparse grass felt good between my toes?  Who knows why I do some of the things I do.  Now sometimes this quirkiness pays big dividends in that I find a new wrinkle to add to my exercise tool box, and sometimes, well, it leads to something like this —

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On a brighter note, the placement of these blisters indicates a proper sprinting foot-strike.  Hey, when life hurls lemons your way, go fetch the tequila and lime  🙂

Yeah, so I cut the sprint session short at 10 rounds.  Oh well, what to do but saddle-up and head to the gym, right?  You bet.  After fixie-ing around a good bit more (Weather’s too nice to be inside just yet), that is.  Once I finally did make it to the gym, though, I did this nifty little superset:

btn push-press: 135 x 5; 155 x 3; 165 x 3; 185 x 2, 2
straight bar muscle-ups: x 3, each round

Then it was back on the bike for more riding.  I’d guess that by the time it was all said and done, I’d put in a good 2-and-a-half hours of combined saddle time.

Oh yeah, I began all of this madness in a 15+ hour fasted state, with the post-workout re-feed not occurring until after hour 20 (ish).  Any detrimental effects?  None.  If I were a sugar-burner, though, I’d have been a drooling, blithering, palsying spectacle — and that would have been even before I started my barefooted sprints.  Hmmm, maybe I can blame my non-Vibram wearing, abject stupidity on being in a fasted state?  Nice try, but I don’t think so.  About IF’ing: the bottom line is that IF can definitely help in eliminating those last few stubborn pounds, while at the same time contributing to improved, overall health.  However, IF does present an additional stress to the body.  As such, you need to first get your other dietary and lifestyle ducks in a row prior to dabbling with IF; to do otherwise is simply to add suction to the stressor/cortisol death-vortex.  There’s a place for radical and a place for reason — the key is realize the right time for each approach.  By the way, if you’ve got a membership to the Crossfit Journal, check out trainer E.C. Synkowski’s recent take on IF, here.

From the Crossfit Journal site:
HQ trainer and athlete E.C. Synkowski is no slouch in the gym and has had great success using intermittent fasting as an approach to insulin regulation and recovery. In this video interview by Patrick Cummings, E.C. takes us through the process of getting used to fasting and explains why she does it and how her body has responded over the last few years.

Sunday, 5/16/10
It’s gonna rain, it’s not gonna rain, it’s gonna rain, it’s not gonna rain…
So the plan today was to saddle-up the mountain bike and hit the trails, but the rain situation scared me off.  I don’t do fickle.  And yeah, I’m a fair-weather mountain bike kinda guy; I steer free of the rain and muck if I can avoid it.  Anyway, on to plan B —

More fixie riding — about an hour-and-a half worth today (and I can tell my legs are getting zorched) — broken-up by a 45-minute iron session, that went a little something like this:

Cuban press (very strict form): 3 sets of 10, fat Oly Bar.  Note: no need to press the bar to full lock-out from the intermediate position (as in the demo clip); in fact, this motion allows for unneeded rest between the “meat” reps.

whip snatch to overhead squat: 115 x 5 sets of 5.  Each rep as fast as possible without sacrificing form.  Very little rest between sets.  115 pounds feels like a 300 pound slosh tube by the 5th set.

Then this superset —

clean grip high pull, from the floor: 185 x 3, each round
weighted dips: 45 x 7; 70 x 3; 90 x 3; 100 x 3; 105 x 3

Note: I used standard 35 lb plates for the high pull set-up so as to force a lower starting position in the pull from the floor.  Just another way to change things up.

The take home message
Ok, so shit happens, and your workouts plans will get mucked-up at times.  Don’t let that be an excuse to wuss-out, hit the couch and nurse a cold one.  Think on the fly, and pull out another trick from the bag.  Maybe even try something totally off the wall.  Do you think your body really cares, in the grand scheme of things, that you substituted X workout for Y?

And a public service announcement about this weekend’s heavy volume —
I do a heavy volume “something” like this every now and then, but only when I feel like it — never do I force it.  It’s a random, chaotic thing, and when I feel it, I go with it.  Keep a pace like this for long, though, and an injury of some sort will see to it that you take it easy for a while.

3/30/10; Another Workout From the “Simple in Design, Brutal in Execution” Grab Bag

Another workout from the “simple in design, brutal in execution” files.  Today I opted for a lower-body push, upper-body pull set-up; tomorrow I’ll switch it up with a lower-body pull, upper-body push.  The volume here is relatively low; the intensity, though, is sky-high.  Tomorrow’s workout will be followed by 5 or 6 days off — quite a long time for me.

rear foot elevated split squats (each leg): 95 x 6; 115 x 6; 135 x 5; 155 x 4, 4, 4

reverse-grip pull-ups:45 x 7; 70 x 5; 80 x 4, 4, 4, 4

The RFESS is a imparts a totally different feel in the legs than does, say pistols, single-leg box squats and such.  Also, the RFESS motion hits the glutes in a different way than does other hip extension work.  And I just can’t give enough positive kudos to single-leg work — both for athleticism and for overall health.

An RFESS example, from Mike Boyle and the boys –

Intermittent Fasting
As readers of TTP are undoubtedly aware, I practice infrequent bouts of prolonged fasting (i.e, roughly 24-hours between feed states), and it is my usual routine to workout in the mornings in an approximately 10-hours fasted state.  Am I worried about this practice affecting my musculature, performance, or level of hypertrophy?  Hardly.   Empirically, I know that combining the Paleo lifestyle with bouts of prolonged fasting and exercising in a mini-fasted state has carved me into a much leaner athlete at roughly the same body weight as I was in my pre-paleo days.  What I lost in retained water and body fat has been made up in lean mass.

For an in-depth discussion of this subject, check out Carl Lanore’s interview of DR. Stuart Phillips in this Super Human Radio Show podcast.  And here’s a link to Dr. Phillips’ study, the subject of much of the interview discussion.  The direction the interview takes is mostly physique-centric; it is interesting, though, and if you’re fairly Paleo adept, you can, at the appropriate moments, fill-in the underlying health benefits yourself.

DeVany, Interviewed on EconTalk –

I really appreciate Art DeVany’s intelligence, and all the wonderful information he’s bequeathed over the years to the “Paleo nation”; sometimes, though…sometimes I just have to ask, WTF?  Sports-enhancing drugs don’t “enhance” sporting performance?  I don’t care how you deconstruct the data, the proof is, as they say, in the puddin’.  Technique?  Sure, that remains unaltered by whatever (name your poison) pixie dust is utilized — and we have to have great athletic talent to begin with, and the positive pay-off leans heavier toward some sports than others (track & field vs baseball, for instance) –but, well, let’s just say I have to respectfully disagree with ADV on this one.  Otherwise, this interview is worth the listen.  No new ground being broken here (a good primer if you’re new to the game, though), but solid stuff none the less.

And thanks goes to Shaun, by the way, for the head’s up on this one.

Uneven Ground, and More on Explosiveness and Elasticity

First off, let me bore you with today’s workout.  Again, we here in eastern NC were blessed with a beautiful spring day, and again I took advantage of it with a good bit of fixie huckin’ about town, and the following workout.  Come Monday, I’ll be back to being sequestered within my sunless, work-a-day “cave”.  Ugh…anyway, here we go:

7-second sprints for distance. Hit my predetermined drop-off (2 misses) on the 14th sprint (i.e., the 13th and 14th sprints were near-misses).  A little bit on drop-offs here.
Followed that up with some slosh tube lunges. About 30 total reps each leg, broken-up in sets of 6 or so.  Kinda hard to quantify these in a “sets” and “reps” way; I did 6 or so, short break, another 6, break, etc.  Kept the pauses to a minimum — just long enough to recoup to the point at which I thought I could get the next 6.  Remember, primal doesn’t ascribe to a fixed sets and reps schemes — be creative!

The field I’m sprinting on now is rather uneven — plenty of rises, falls and divots — and this adds a whole other element to the barefooted sprint; a whole other level of required proprioception.

Then, I went inside for some Creds and straight bar muscle-ups.  More muscle-ups?  Sure, exercise such as this (explosive, limited time-under-tension, low volume) can be done at a much greater frequency without fear over overtraing — either in that particular movement, or in a holistic sense.

3 Creds + 2 single-arm push-presses + 1 single-arm jerk (each arm): 70, 80, 85, 85, 85
straight bar muscle-ups: 3, 3, 3, 3, 3

Performed this workout at 15-hours fasted.  Post workout meal (about 2 hours later, i.e., 17-hours+ fasted) was a grilled rib-eye and some boiled, organic beets.  Poured some Tropical Traditions coconut vinegar over the beets after chilling them.  Fabulous!

More on Explosiveness and Elasticity
A quick dissection of Usain Bolt’s 100 meter gold medal performance reveals some interesting facts vis-a-vis explosiveness and elasticity.

First up, young Mr. Bolt was second to last out of the blocks.  Now this probably has some to do with the fact that he was (at that time) relatively inexperienced at the 100 meter (and shorter distance) start; longer distance starts being more forgiving — but, too, I think this is telling of just how much more explosive his competitors were.  Of course, we’re dealing with relatives here — a comparison of freaks to freaks — and I’m using this solely as a dramatic example, and am in no way implying that Bolt is not an explosive athlete as well.  He’s just not as explosive as those other 10 freaks-of-nature he’s running against.   It is interesting to note here that the first two sprinters out of the blocks — Richard Thomson (Trinidad and Tobago) and Walter Dix (USA) — came in 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in this race.   Also of note here is that on top of a “slow” burst from the blocks, Bolt also drags his trail-leg foot over the track in his initial stride recovery, and it so happens that that shoe is untied.  Could Bolt have done anything more wrong at the start of this race?  Probably not — but hell, it just didn’t matter in the end.

Now, at 2.4 seconds into the race — deep into the “drive” phase — Bolt is in 4th place.  At 4 seconds into the race — now into the “acceleration” phase — Bolt’s superior elasticity (and, to be sure, stride length) begins to showcase.  At 50 meters he has caught up with Thomson; at sixty meters he has clearly pulled away, and beyond that we enter the the realm of super-human.

I’m throwing out rough numbers here, but somewhere close to the 60 meter mark, most elite athletes have reached their full acceleration and top-end speed — the name of the game from here on out is who can decelerate the least.  I believe, though, that Bolt was still accelerating at this point and, having realized that he wasn’t going to be challenged by lane 7’s Asafa Powell (he’d tapped Powell earlier as his only true competition), never reached his full accelerative potential.  Scary.   This coupling of stride length with superior elasticity it truly an amazing thing to behold.

It is commonly known that Olympic-level Oly lifters are as explosive out of the blocks (if not more so) — and, in some cases, exhibit better vertical jumps — than elite sprinters.  What the Oly lifters lack, though, is the elasticity — the ability to absorb, store, and subsequently release energy.  Some discussion on that, here.

We know that explosiveness (instantaneous power production) is a highly neurological dependent function, having little to do with muscle mass.  This is why enlightened athletes don’t train like bodybuilders, but rather, train explosive attributes (speed-strength and strength-speed).

But what is elasticity, exactly?  Essentially (and in the context of sprinting), it’s the ability of the Achilles tendon complex to absorb, store and release energy.  No small thing, either, since any energy lost must be manufactured by the supporting musculature.  Not only that, but the elastic release of energy occurs much more quickly than the same amount of energy that must be produced, and then released. Check out this graphic representation of elasticity from Wired magazine.

Points to ponder: notice how elastic types posses higher/smaller calves (and, therefore, a longer Achilles tendon) than their more explosive, thick-calved brethren?  More later.

Fresh from the “what a friggin’ great idea” file — TTP reader Beck Anstee has started a Chicago-land sprinter’s meet-up group.  Sprinting is the most primal of fitness activities, and Beck has put social media to work in a way that will enable all you Chicago-land primals out there to get your “sprint on” in the company of like-minded paleo peeps.  Dang, makes me want to transfer to Chicago.  Is it really true that Chicago only has two seasons — winter, and 4th of July?  Hmmm, if only it were a bit warmer….  🙂

You’ll notice that I’ve added Diana Hsieh  Modern Paleo blog to the TTP blogroll.  Objectivist-leaning, Paleo lifestyle — Ayn Rand meets the hunter-gatherer.  Bring your A-intellect to this one, folks — Objectivists don’t suffer fools easily; I for one can appreciate that sentiment.  I’ll be spending quite a bit of time here, to be sure.

In health,

Re-Thinking the Pre-Game Meal

“I think people don’t place a high enough value on how much they are nurtured by doing whatever it is that totally absorbs them.”

Jean Shinoda Bolen

In case you might have missed it, TTP reader/commenter Dexter had this to say in relation to CNS priming:

“…Could it be that IF is a CNS stimulator? That IF creates an actual threat to the organism? I find that when I exercise at the end of a 36 hr fast, I usually achieve that zone of invincibility…that zone where reps at higher and higher weights come effortlessly…”

Absolutely.  In fact, a Paleo athlete would be much better off going into a competition in the fasted state; 18 to 24 hours fasted, I believe, would be optimal.  Of course, this is just my opinion, and is not substantiated by any evidence whatsoever — outside of my own, that is.  My experiences and results with my own demanding workouts while in a fasted state, are sufficient enough to serve as positive n=1 evidence of this notion’s efficacy.  So much so, in fact, that I’d have no qualms whatsoever in advising a properly adjusted athlete to do the same.  Properly adjusted is key here, though.  The athlete must be fully adapted to the Paleo lifestyle for this method to be effective.  I think we all know what the results would be otherwise.  Bonk city, severe cramping, the shakes/trembles, debilitating weakness, nausea; the list goes on.  Contrast this to the added boost the Paleo athlete would garner from the added CNS stimulation/adrenaline rush, not to mention the added energy available from the body’s not having to deal with digestion issues, and the edge of not having to deal with that “fullness” in the gut.  The team-building ritual should be that of the post-game feast — a nice fatted calf offered up in a “spoils-of-victory” fashion (i.e., the post-hunt feast).  Unfortunately, though, this scenario is a long, long way off.  To wit (from the NAU Football Blog, 10/3/09):

“…The players have their pre-game meal on campus. Today’s menu was rice, stir fry, lasagna, and breadsticks. After this each position will meet and then the game countdown begins…”  (emphasis mine).

I don’t offer this up as a slam against anybody’s program, but simply to illustrate a point.  Eating a pre-game meal of this fashion is the only way possible to survive if an athlete is a sugar burner.  I ate the same manner of pre-game meal myself back in the day(admittedly, this was back in the dark ages).  What I’d love to see, though,  is a few of these kids make the transition to a full-on Paleo lifestyle, and reap all the performance enhancement that comes part-and-parcel with primal eating patterns.  Their success and stellar results from doing so would have the Paleo way spread unabated through the collegiate and professional ranks.  Really, it is just a matter of time before an already successful athlete takes the leap of faith.  That almighty sought-after edge is there to be had; and no anti-doping agency has yet to put the Paleo lifestyle on any banned substance list…yet.

In health,


The Anatomy of an Impromptu Workout

“We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

Louis Brandeis

The View from College Hill

The View from College Hill

I started out on my trusted fixie Saturday, 14-hours into an intermittent fast, with the idea of doing a quick barefooted sprint session at the ECU athletic complex before coming home and setting in to watch Lance defend his 3rd-place position in the TdF.  As I approached Dowdy-Ficklen stadium however, I thought I might rather hit some stadium sprints instead.

As luck would have it, the stadium was in fact open; lots of action going on, with football recruits moving in and out of the training complex.  August is fast approaching, which means the kick-off of football season is a mere 5 weeks or so away.  Damn I miss that game.  But anyway, I digress…

I eased on through the gates, circled around through the concourse to the ramps, and had

Decisions, Decisions.  In the end, I took the easy way out.
Decisions, Decisions. In the end, I took the easy way out.

just begun my ascent when I spied a new stash of tractor tires and bumper plates staged for a little outdoor fun for the football recruits.  Change number two to the day’s plan came about when I decided that performing overhead lunges up the entire stadium ramp complex, with a 20kg bumper plate,seemed like a fabulous idea.

Now there are 20 ramp segments from the Dowdy-Ficklen concourse to the stadium’s upper deck, and I managed between 11 and 15 lunges per segment…so let’s see, that’s — I dunno, a whole hell of a lot of damn lunges.  Performed on a steep incline.  And with 20kgs straight-armed overhead.

Madness, right?  Well, I did rest approximately 20 seconds between ramp segments; does that count for anything?

Eventually, I stumbled out onto the upper deck, recomposed myself, then hit a few rounds of step sprints while holding the bumper plate in front of me in a position somewhat similar to say, performing curls with an EZ curl bar.  On each descent, I again straight-armed the plate overhead.

On the way back down the ramps (walking, not lunging), I did a combination of single-arm presses (as if I were “shot putting” the plate) and straight-arm overhead lockouts.

You're gonna do what?...Where?
You’re gonna do what?…Where?
A tad heavier, and more cumbersome, too, than the Travelocity nome.
A tad heavier, and more cumbersome, too, than the Travelocity gnome.
Again, the nome would've been more managable...
Again, the gnome would’ve been more manageable…

Now I’ve had sketchier fixie rides on the way home after a tough workout, but I think this one won the “endeavor to persevere with toasted legs” prize.  Not to mention that holding my head up with fried traps took a bit of doing.

So as many of you are undoubtedly aware, a tough workout in the middle of a fast will put the squelch on your appetite for a good while following.  I rode this wave for all it was worth (about 4 hours, post workout), and finally ate about 6 PM that evening — eggs, ham, raw milk and a smattering of fruit and berries — purposely holding the carbs to a minimum.  I grazed the rest of the evening on raw cheese, salami (a poor choice, I know — it was situational), pork roast and a little bit of sweet potato with raw butter.  And I made sure to down plenty of fish oil as well.

Hey, if Lance can dust it up with the youngsters in the TdF, I can give the football recruits at ECU a little something to talk about.  “Yo, you see that crazy  mo’ fo’ over at the stadium…?

In health,


Polishing the Phyique, and Improving Health, with Intermittant Fasting

“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”

~ Publisher William Feather

These aren’t exactly the best two pictures in the world to convey the point I’d like to make in this post, but we’ll just have to roll with what we’ve got.



The preceding picture was taken in the spring of ’08, after having roughly a year’s worth of Paleo lifestyle under my belt. Not too bad from a body composition point of view, especially considering this was an “all the time look”. In other words, there was no “diet down” or dehydration measures taken before the photo. And, more importantly, no post-photo “photoshopping” to “nicen” things up. I chose this particular view, though, so that you could look closely at my lower back and oblique area from the rear. What you’ll see is the “last to go” remnants of stubborn fat retention and a bit of water accumulation. For most guys, this is body composition “ground zero”, where the war of “first on and last off” is waged. For females, this would be analogous to the notorious hips and thighs region. This is generalizing, of course. Everyone has their own, special, battlegrounds to contend with.

The following shot was taken just last week, and captures the oblique and intercostals region from another angle.


After 10 Months of Approximately 5, 24-Hour Fasts per Month

Now, I don’t know what difference in body fat level is represented between the two pictures – it’s not really all that much, whatever it is — though I do feel much tighter in the lower back/oblique/intercostals area currently as opposed to back in the spring of ‘08. What I can tell you this: Intermittent fasting (IF) is the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to stripping off the last of that stubborn fat from those “first on, last off”, problem areas; the perfect adjunct to the Paleo lifestyle.

And I should point out as well, that the second shot is representative of the way I look all the time; I can’t reiterate this enough. I don’t make this point to boast, but in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of this lifestyle and of appropriate use of the IF tool. Any other “after” shot you’re likely to see in a physique-related advertisement, or, for instance, a physique celebrity photo shoot, will be taken subsequent to a painstakingly elaborate (and miserable) diet-down and dehydration regimen, concocted specifically to better showcase the “ripped to shreds” look. It’s all an illusion, though, that doesn’t last more than a day or two past the shoot or the physique contest itself – the photos, however, live on in perpetuity, thus projecting the illusion of this being the subject’s year-round condition. One can only imagine the damage done to the subject’s metabolism and overall health by repeating this nonsense time and again.

But hey, that’s the vanity side of things. Lookin’ good “nekkid” is all fine and well – and, truth be told, it is a pretty good indicator of overall health (the above mentioned scenario not withstanding) — But what about the real, unseen and ultimately important underlying health related issues? Is IF really Paleo?  Is yin to yang, as Paleo is to IF?

Well, this is how I see it: Our pre-agricultural revolution ancestors lived their existence with varying periods of feast and famine. And every bit of current research on the subject of calorie restriction and/or intermittent fasting that I’ve come across indicates that these methodologies (calorie restriction and IF) improve overall health – everything from blood pressure control to inflammation reduction (C-reactive protein as a marker) to positive management of existing conditions, including, I might add, cancer. And I’m talking remission of the “big C”, here.

Note: Please, if anyone has run across studies contrary to what I’ve stated above, please, please, please clue me in. I’m much more concerned with being fully informed (and passing that along) than in being “right”.

Of course, chronic fasting (more properly termed here, extended low calorie consumption) – albeit healthy in and of the fact that it’ll put more years in the ol’ life reserves – is just an out-and-out miserable existance. Could this be the chief reason behind so many diet failures? Hmmmm. Me thinks it so. The good news is, though, that the positive health-related results obtained via the miserable chronic underfeeding route can be matched with an intermittent fasting regimen. Uh, let’s use the term “methodology” here, instead.

And why “methodology” vice “regimen”? Because I suggest going about IF in a totally random and organic fashion, the easy way. Never, never chronically; quite simply, your mind and body will not accept chronic IF and you’ll wind-up losing that hard-earned lean body (muscle and organ) mass. There’s a much, much better way to go about this. Easy intermittent fasting is simply skipping meals randomly and eating to fill later. Not much more to it than that. I like to skip random meals now and then – other times I’ll not eat for 24-hours or longer. Got a very busy day planned? A long day’s worth of travel ahead? Eat a hardy breakfast, then fast the balance of the day. It is best to be active when you fast so as to (1) keep your mind occupied (at least in the IF newbie stage – not so much a concern for the “experienced), and (2) signal your genes to conserve protein (muscle mass). Being active also deepens the temporary negative energy balance of the intermittent fast. For instance, I like to fast on sprint days, as the empty stomach makes me feel fleeter afoot. Everything I’ve studied thus far leads me to believe that it’s the transitory alternations between positive and negative energy balance, that accounts for the underlying mechanism – the silver bullet,if you will — for the positive effects attributed to IF. And for some individuals, this is the final tool required to bring down that stubborn, fasting insulin level. A personal observation of mine is that it is much easier to fast during the summer months, as opposed to the winter. I’d guess that this is due to an increase in the metabolism required to keep warm. It must have also served to keep northern climate Paleolithic man constantly on the move in the winter, hunting animals that had acquired thick layers of fat to carry them through the same period.  Something else that I’ve experienced in a fasted state is a heightened awareness and mental accuity.  You won’t ever get to this point, though, until you’ve successfully scaled the wall of carbohydrate addiction.

Essentially, we are designed to be intermittent eaters, but continuous metabolizers. We operate in a slight energy surplus during the day, followed by a negative energy balance during the night. In a healthy, lean individual, energy pool stores are constantly turning over; individuals whose insulin level is chronically high, however, cannot adequately access fat stores and, therefore, for them, the fat continues to accumulate, unabated. Insulin resistance can therefore be considered a survival mechanism, in the fact that it develops as a result of the body’s cells’ requiring protection against the continual onslaught of excess nutrients; a protection triggered due to the cells being already stressed from excessive nutrient content. The excess nutrient intake also serves to shut down autophagy, the consumption of damaged tissues within the muscle cell which fuels repair and regeneration. Growth Hormone release is stunted, and muscle gene expression is down regulated. The ancestral environment did not support chronic, elevated nutrient ingestion, nor was there ever  “a window of feeding opportunity” subsequent to a bout of energy expenditure (exercise, for us modern-day Paleolithics) to shovel in carbohydrate replacement drinks and protein powders.

Ideally, we’d eat only when the energy substrates in the blood fall to the point of triggering a need for replenishment. The true hunger signal is an elegantly simple energy management system, and one that you would, in fact, expect from evolution. Contrary to the continual drumbeat of mainstream “experts”, there is no “set point” level for body fat, body mass or metabolism. What evolution has endowed us with is a simple feeding strategy that endeavors to keep us on a random energy intake-to-expenditure path that favors the survival (and thriving, if conditions are right) of the organism. Now, if we’d only get out of the way and let this fabulous mechanism take its course.

In Health,