Cris LaBossiere

Cris LaBossiere
Strength training and mountain biking. My two favorites

Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 report card - A Perfect Storm - Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

2010 report card - A Perfect Storm - Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

I'd love to hear a report that says Canadians are getting more fit and less fat. Maybe we can turn it around this year.

According to a report released by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada we're heading into a "perfect storm" of risks for cardiovascular disease.

Diet and exercise are the way to turn the trend around and avoid the storm, but we still hold on too tightly to believing that eating big high fat, high calorie meals is a treat or reward, and we still feel exercise interferes with other things in our lives. With these beliefs being so prevalent it's no wonder those aged 35 to 49 years have seen a 127% increase in blood pressure from 1995 to 2005.

The three big risk factors referred to in the report are diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. Type II diabetes brought on by poor health habits is preventable, and so is obesity and high blood pressure. Eat less, eat healthy, and get moving every day.

Even those in their 20's and 30's are seeing these risk factors increase.

What's alarming is that this isn't so much a warning of bad things to come as it is a report on what is happening right now.  We are more overweight with high blood pressure and type II diabetes is rising rapidly.  This isn't a forecast, it's a live report.

If we can get as excited about eating healthy as we do about chowing down calorie bombs; if we can see benefit in exercise the same way we do in making a permanent dent in the couch, then we can turn it around.

We know that regular exercise increases not only life span but quality of life as well.  I remember when I was a couch sitting smoker..  Runners.  Bunch of weirdo's.  Look at those fools out there getting all sweaty and tired!  And for what? And what do they follow that up with?  Eating rabbit food and goofy nuts and berries.

What about those gym freaks?  What's the point in lifting those weights?  The weights are heavy, you get tired doing it, and at the end you haven't accomplished anything useful- if you want to be productive at lifting things get a job in a warehouse!

As I took a long drag on my smoke and sat back in front of the TV I would think, yep they sure a bunch of nuts (sic).

Of course lifting weights increases bone density, muscle strength, and helps to preserve these precious commodities as we age.  I didn't know it at the time, but when I was out of shape I didn't realise how good it felt to eat healthy and exercise.

In fact I was so out of shape there was no way I could relax as effectively as someone who is more fit.

That's right, when you're fit you're not only better at moving, but better at sitting still.  When we're overweight and out of shape our bodies are quite inefficient.  It's hard for our breathing muscles to push against fat and hard for our heart to pump blood through our bodies.  Even sleeping is not as effective at resting us when we're overweight and out of shape.

So if you really want to get the most out of your R and R time, eat healthy and get fit.  You'll decrease stress, decrease blood pressure, decrease breathing effort, and increase sleep quality.

It really does feel great to eat healthy and be fit.

Let's get out of this "perfect storm" scenario.  I want to read reports that tell us we're the most fit and healthy generation ever.

Wouldn't it feel great to hear that?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Years Resolutions Already Dying Off

By now half to more than half of those who made healthy living (losing weight and getting fit) their New Years Resolution have either quit or have cut back on their new habits. Before the year is out only about 10% will keep going with their new vibrant lives.


The initial excitement of changing for the better has worn off and people realize they miss their old habits of inactivity and unhealthy eating.

The healthy habits were never truly embraced; seen only as temporary means to end, and that end poorly defined to begin with.

When risk and reward are misappropriated between healthy and unhealthy choices we’re doomed to failure.

What does this mean exactly?

A strong sense of reward is connected to eating large meals and to physical inactivity, euphemistically referred to as chilling out or being a couch potato. At the same time the health risks and harm of these actions is not completely front and center in a persons mind.

A strong sense of resentment is associated with eating healthy and exercise. Exercise is seen as time consuming and arduous, something that interferes with other priorities. Eating healthy is seen as a personal affront that interferes with otherwise more rewarding unhealthy food choices.

When we think like this we set ourselves up for failure.

An interesting thing about sense of reward and harm in those who made it though the challenging transition: Exercise makes them feel really good and they look forward to it. Eating healthy feels rewarding and eating unhealthy is a turn off.

Eat healthy foods that taste great and remind yourself how good it is for your health as well- make that connection stick.

Avoid exercise that feels like a military drill Sargent is forcing you against your will and leaves you feeling tired and sore. Do exercise that makes you feel good so you look forward to doing it again next time. Avoid the most common error of going hard when starting out as this leads to burn out most of the time. Instead build yourself up over long periods. You can go hard later when you're more fit :-)

There’s no rush, you’ll be doing this for the rest of your life. Can’t get your head around that last sentence? You will fail.

You will succeed though, if you take it one step at a time, gradually build your fitness, build your own personal menu of healthy foods that you like, and gradually work through the divorce from your old habits.

Keep it up, think positive, and work on making the emotional reward connections with healthy choices: everyone can succeed

Sedentary TV time may cut life short

Sedentary TV time may cut life short

You may remember news from a few years ago warning about sitting for long periods in long overseas flights to prevent DVT. Deep Vein Thrombosis occurs when blood clots form in the lower extremities. The bad news is if these clots make it to the lungs a person could suffer a pulmonary embolism, which can kill.

Turns out IT workers who sit for than 3 to 4 hours at a time also show increased occurrences of DVT.

Those who watch TV for 4 hours a day compared to 2 hours a day had a 46% increase risk of death from all causes and an 80% increase risk of cardiovascular disease regardless of other risk factors like smoking and being overweight. Regular exercise did not seem to offer any protection, although highly active people were not studied.

Researchers indicate that the genes that regulate blood sugar and fat levels begin to shut down after about 4 hours of remaining seated.

Turns out we were born to move. The researchers point out we have recommendations for exercise, but not strong recommendations on how long not to remain inactive while seated.

That’s not totally true.. we do have health and fitness authorities recommending that during a typical office day we find ways to introduce activity such as taking the stairs, sending print jobs to a printer further away from our desk, and simply standing up and moving about every 20 to 45 minutes.

But these recommendations are based on promoting physical activity and preventing muscle tightness and soreness.

The new recommendation is include frequent physical activity to prevent death, a little more difficult to deal with than a sore muscle.

We know that a dose of exercise before work or at lunch increases cognitive function and alertness for a few hours more effectively than drinking coffee does, and reduces long term risk to illness and disease, but it turns out this one hit of exercise during the day might not be enough to protect us from the negative effects of sitting for long periods.

More research is needed to more accurately define the amount of risk that is associated with the amount of time being seated, but the current research suggests that risk increases a lot after 2 hours of sitting and gets worse for each additional hour.

Get off your butts and move!

Check out this article as well

Sunday, January 17, 2010

National Non-Smoking Week January 18–24, 2009

National Non-Smoking Week January 18–24, 2009

Above link takes you to Cancer Society of Canada quit smoking page

Go to the library with the "geeks", or step out back behind the school with the more cool crowd. In hindsight my teen years probably would have fared better if I followed my instincts and went to the library. With a not so completely developed self esteem I felt like a dose of coolness would do me good.

While the geeks were busy doing their nerdy intellectual stuff, I was about to get a lesson in socialization that ultimately was one of the most stupid decisions I have made in life. One of the bad-boy cool guys was appeasing his flock by handing out smokes, and I was at the end of the receiving line.

Each person who accepted a smoke seemed to be more accepted by Mr. Cool and as he got closer to me my nervousness increased. I don’t smoke. I tried it before and threw up. I hate smoking. I hide my grandmothers cigarettes because I know smoking hurts her.

“How ‘bout you? Smoke?” The subliminal message was, “if you don’t take this smoke you are weak.” “Oh yeah, I smoke all the time, give me one of those.”

The first puff was disgusting and made me cough. “Are you sure you smoke; ‘cause you don’t look like you do.” “Oh yeah, I just have a bit of sore throat today.. no big deal.” After a few more puffs and a world of willpower to suppress coughing I started feeling dizzy and ill, but at least I was cool.

It all made sense now, the Marlborough Man, Joe Camel, various movie stars.. If you have a smooth and confident technique when you take a drag, especially if you can pull off the advanced and uber-cool “French inhale” where you let a fine whisper of smoke escape your mouth and direct it up your nose- you were tough, sophisticated and cool all at once.

Of course now you look like a jackass who’s stinking out the joint. The socialization of smoking has evolved; you’re no longer part of the in-crowd if you smoke. Now you’re outcast, banned, and shunned. Good thing I sold my shares when I did. There is a problem with the shaming of smokers though, aside from being a little on the inhumane side, it has also led to more closet smokers. Closet smokers can feel embarrassed or ashamed about their habit and are less likely to tell their doctors about their habit, and less likely to seek help with quitting for fear of being shamed. Shaming someone who smokes doesn't work, encouraging to quit by emphasising health benefits may. Nagging doesn't work either, as nagging is offensive.

Even though there is greater social pressure than ever to quit smoking, nearly 20% of the population still smokes. This should be zero as purposefully inhaling smoke from something that is burning is just plain stupid, no matter how you look at it.

Nevertheless, I do understand and fully comprehend the inner pull to smoke and how difficult it can be to quit. I remember prior to quitting the more people told me to quit and about the negative effects, the more I rebelled. It took a long time to accept that these people were not selfish or na├»ve, they were not hapless do-gooders, they were not control freak conformists trying to control me. They were not trying to push me into something I needed to do on my own terms. They knew I was harming myself and knew my life would be better if I didn’t smoke. They also knew something I didn’t; I had the power to quit any time I wanted; and the sooner the better.

I remember all my denial strategies:

You can’t tell me what to do, It’s my life and if I want to smoke then that’s the way it will be. (Control and authority issue)

I’m “addicted” and addiction is beyond my control, what can I do about it? (Just plain denial)

I’ll quit on my terms, don’t bug me! (Control and authority again)

I like smoking, it calms me. (Yes, sometimes I liked smoking and felt it calmed me, but in the back of my mind I knew this was a lie to myself- it was denial)

There were other things I told myself and others who smoke will have their own ways of justifying smoking and although I don’t believe it, some people claim to enjoy each and every smoke they have, even the ones that make them go into a coughing fit where they hack up gooey phlegm.

What I really believe is that on different levels, from those ready to quit today to those who’s desire to stop is more deeply suppressed, no one who smokes actually wants’ to keep smoking. That may sound patronizing to some, but I really do believe it.

It was the fear of death and disease that drove me to stop smoking, but it was the health benefits of not smoking that kept me from starting up again. I had failed at quitting smoking several times before.

The strength of my will and my personal convictions were strongest on my last attempt, which is why I succeeded. I quit on my own, but studies show that being part of a group that quits or having peer support can increase your chance of success by 50%. What really helped on the last day was crushing my last pack of smokes, then tearing it up and trash-canning it. I also threw out lighters, matches, ashtrays; anything to do with smoking I threw out. I swore out loud at the cigarettes and declared victory, then went for a long and hard bike ride. These emotional and physical actions helped me seal the deal

Whatever path to quit smoking one takes the end result is the same; you will make the decision to not light up despite having a desire to do so. Every smoker has this ability, although some will deny this until the day they quit. Funny how that works.

I replaced smoking with exercise. I did so unwittingly, I didn’t know what we know now: exercise reduces the responsiveness to smoking related cues. Of course exercise makes you feel better than smoking does, but at the time I used exercise to divert me from smoking. Some use eating, and gain weight.

We know now that quitting smoking does not cause weight gain; only eating more does. So when you quit be aware of feeling tempted to occupy yourself with something to overcome the craving to smoke. If you suppress smoking cravings by eating more, you’ll get fat.

Some positive effects of quitting smoking:

You get rid of that damn ball and chain that has been eating away at your inner self

Within 8 hours of not smoking carbon dioxide levels in your blood reduce and oxygen levels increase

Over the next two days to two weeks sense of smell and taste improve and lungs work better making it easier to breath.

1 year smoke free reduces risk of smoking related heart attack is cut in half.

I know there is challenge involved with quitting, I also know every smoker can do it and will experience immediate benefits.

The Cancer Society of Canada has helpful info for smokers who want to quit and for non-smokers who want to help smokers quit.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Study examines calorie information from restaurants, packaged foods

Study examines calorie information from restaurants, packaged foods

One of the first bits of advice I give to people who are looking to lose weight and live healthy is stop eating at restaurants or least dramatically cut it down.

If you do go out to eat make your standards high and look for restaurants that serve healthy food.

I still go out to a restaurant every now and then but I'm almost always disgusted or at least disappointed by the slop I'm served.  I now limit my eating out to health food style restaurants, with very few exceptions.

The first response to this advice is that I'm a killjoy, I'm a "health nut" extremist, and eating in restaurants is a significant personal reward that no one is going to give up, and asking to do so is just weird.

One look at the dietary analysis of most restaurant food though, to those in the know, reveals how insanely grotesque most restaurant meals are.

When you're not that familiar with what calorie counts and sodium levels really mean to your health then learning that your meal was 3000 calories with 3000 mg of sodium doesn't seem to matter much.

The result of overeating and lack of exercise is making more of our population overweight and obese each year, and the magnitude of being overweight and obese also increases. It's not only that more people are overweight, but those who are overweight are more overweight than overweight people of a decade ago.

Mega calorie bomb restaurant meals contribute to this.

We've adapted to the way restaurants serve us food.  So much so that most of the population will be disappointed if they don't get a huge fat bomb meal.  Demand for overeating is driving what is served at restaurants as much as restaurants creating and enticing us with obesogenic meals is.

Sit down restaurant meals have more calories and sodium than fast food joints.

Now we have new research that suggests when restaurants do post calorie counts for their plates they under report by 18% on average and some meals have as much as 200% more calories than claimed.

Moreover I don't get the impression that anyone working in a restaurant from the servers to the owners to the chef give a rats rear end about calories or your health.

Recently I went out for dinner and ordered a salmon dish.  I asked the server if I could have it minus the cheese sauce knowing full well that the sauce will have hundreds of calories from fat and most likely 1000mg of sodium.  The server told me I can't order that way because the cheese sauce is where all the flavor is.

I asked, "you mean you think salmon has no flavor at all and the only way to for this meal to taste good is to smother it in fat"?

The server looked confused.  I told her that I would like a salmon dish but I want to avoid a calorie bomb meal.  This made the server a little cranky.

No the restaurant was not busy, the server was not under any pressure to move on.

Restaurant foods is a frequent topic for a coach.  "Hey Cris, do you have any tips on how to order healthy when I eat out?"  Yeah.  Don't eat out.  It really is that bad and those who can't wrap their head around that fact have blinders on or just don't realize how bad the situation actually is.

More and more research year after year supports this.  In fact it's this research that lead me to cut out almost all restaurant eating for myself.

The more I read about how chefs don't care about calories or sodium and about how huge the calorie counts are the more disgusted I became with the idea of eating out.  Which is too bad because I really liked eating out.

Ignorance is bliss though.  When I was feeling satisfied from a great tasting meal but not realizing I had just downed a entire days worth of calories and two days worth of sodium in one sitting all was good.

It did surprise me that despite training for an endurance sport and burning off thousands of calorie per week I would still notice gradual weight gain.  "How'd that happen?  Guess I'll cut down on calories for a few weeks".  Most people don't make a correction though and continue to gain weight.  Further to that point.. why should we need to go on a diet to counteract eating out?  Shouldn't the food be healthy to start with?

To be fair there are a few restaurants around that do have healthy serving sizes and nutrient dense food that tastes great.  My hope is that consumer demand will eventually pressure restaurants into making nutritional value just as much a priority as plate presentation is.

From the research I've read and from my personal experience I'll say the vast majority of restaurant menu items are calorie bomb - sodium bomb plates of utter garbage.. that just happen to taste good.

I don't think I could get more harsh than what I've written here, but from where I sit this is the way it is and my story is a hard one to sell because I sound like a negative nabob with a chip on my shoulder.  Hard to gain someones ear that way.

Trouble is there isn't a nice way to communicate this.  It's simply a fact:  most restaurant food is crap.  Even the $100.00 plates.  taste good?  No argument there, that's not where I'm going.  "Crap" in this context means an abomination of calories and sodium with low nutrient density.

It's analogous to the gradual progression of smoking being seen as disgusting, stinky, and really bad for your health. 30 or 40 years ago you were a nut if you spoke out against smoking the way I'm speaking out against restaurant food now.

I know the position I'm putting myself in, but I won't change my tune because there is too much research to show what I'm saying is true.

Think about it:  If you're not a smoker do you see smoking as a reward? No?  Why?  Because now it's common knowledge; we've accepted how terribly unhealthy smoking is.

We haven't yet accepted how terribly unhealthy eating fat bomb - sodium bomb meals is, and most don't completely get that the vast majority of restaurant meals are well in excess of 1000 calories, excessively high in sodium, and many meals being greater than 2000 calories.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Moms drop pounds with a four-minute workout - The Globe and Mail

Moms drop pounds with a four-minute workout - The Globe and Mail

Warning! Another armchair expert hacks an article on fat loss.

You can read in this (click link above) Globe and Mail article about a woman who had recently given birth dropped the last 10lbs of a 20lb 15 month postpartum weight gain by doing ultra intensive intervals for merely four minutes.

Apparently this is a new way of using athlete derived intense intervals referred to as “Tabata’s” (one set of 8 intense 20 second intervals with only 10 seconds rest between) to help mom’s lose body fat they gained through pregnancy.

Of course, this isn’t really possible, but since when do the facts matter? Hype up another implausible weight loss story and try to make it sound legit with some reference to science. I simply love the way this story turns out. Ah science. Quoting science can make people feel really smart. Misquote it though and you’re a slack jawed yokel.

Tabata intervals, which originated in the early 1990’s (and so are not actually “new”) offered no advantage to fat loss in this case, so it’s misleading to place the credit to the brief yet intense intervals.


Four minutes of interval training only burns off about 80 calories. That’s why. No matter what claims are made about fat burning or increased metabolism 80 calories just doesn’t cut it.

And no, there isn’t a special metabolic response to four minutes of hammering that results in hundreds of extra calories burned off after exercise; the elevated metabolism that has been measured post exercise only adds up to about 40 to 50 calories, and this is after longer bouts of intense exercise lasting 30 minutes or more, not 4 minutes.

It is true that this after effect, called EPOC: Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption is nearly double following intense exercise compared to easy exercise. The nugget of truth that is usually left out (on purpose) is that the doubling of oxygen consumption post exercise lasts mere minutes. Very quickly EPOC slides back down to nearly exactly what normal resting oxygen consumption rates are having not exercised.

Don’t be fooled by how this comparison is usually framed; “Burn 100% more calories after HIT (high intensity training) compared to low intensity training!  The time spent at this elevated rate is very short, it is in fact the amount of time you spend breathing hard after you stop.  Yep, that's it.  As your breathing rate returns to normal so does EPOC.  There is a tiny EPOC affect remaining after your breathing is back down to normal, but you're looking at 40 calories or so over a 24 hour period.  Yes, that is the total calories that EPOC burns, not even an oranges worth of calories.

Doesn’t sound as special when it’s explained this way compared to the “100% more calories burned!” con. Successful fat loss occurs when there is a calorie deficit of around 10 to 20% less than a persons daily intake requirements. On average that’s about a 500 to 800 calorie deficit per day.

You may think to yourself, ok fine, EPOC doesn’t really account for a lot of extra calories, but hey every little bit counts right? Maybe. I guess someone would have to study this in real life conditions, say measure the total caloric expenditure over 24 hours for people who workout hard compared to those who workout easy.  I am being totally facetious when I say that..

Here’s a nice bit of irony. Izumi Tabata, the internationally respected researcher who’s namesake is pinned to the now popular Tabata intervals, has also researched whether over a 24 hour period significant extra calories are burned via EPOC when a person trains hard or moderately.

Looking at a 24 hour period is more realistic as it measures the real life affect, if any, on fat loss, EPOC, and regular daily living, which includes eating. The result? No exercise group 2228 calories, moderate exercise group 2816 calories, and the HIT group 2813 calories expended for the day. No significant difference between the exercise groups, but of course the exercisers burned more calories than the non exercisers. EPOC did not contribute significantly to the total energy expenditure over 24 hrs.

Isn’t that wonderful? The goofballs that are misappropriating the purpose and confusing the methodology of the original Tabata interval protocol are also claiming it has extra fat loss benefits due to the EPOC effect.

In fact, Tabata himself was concerned about such claims, researched it and concluded there is no merit to such claims.  2816 calories were expended on a day with moderate exercise compared to 2813 calories for the day that had short intensive intervals.  The study conclusions were that the exercise was the significant contributor to total daily caloric expenditure and that the post exercise calorie expenditure  was insignificant.   Tabata abstract

Great for science, not so great for the untold number of people who fell for the yokels story in the Globe and Mail. It’s good to be able to write, but perhaps being able to read might also be an asset so you can check your facts first.

Here’s the details on Tabata intervals, if you’re interested

The purpose was to compare the effectiveness of steady state cardio to short intensive intervals

Results; short extremely intensive intervals increased aerobic and anaerobic capacity more than moderate intensity steady state over 6 weeks of exercise 5 to 6 days per week. Tabata abstract

The latest interval training; Proven by science!

Izumi Tabata et al submitted the research in 1994, it was accepted for publication in 1995. Anyone who presents Tabata intervals as the latest thing, or even relatively new, has overtly displayed their gross ignorance regarding the history of Tabata’s intervals.

This training protocol is over 18 years old! Get with the times all you charlatans who wax people with your BS claims of being in the know with the latest and greatest exercise.

The Tabata "protocol" reproduced an interval protocol used by the Japanese national speed skating team. Actually the credit for the interval protocol should go to Kouichi Irisawa, the coach who came up with idea and used the protocol for many years before Izumi Tabata put it to the test of science. Izumi and Kouichi are friends and collaborated on other research as well.

"Tabata" ("Irisawa"?) intervals do not include bridges, core work, or throwing medicine balls. In fact, it is biologically impossible to do Tabata's with core work or other smaller muscle groups. Why? Because the essence of the 20 sec on 10 sec off protocol is to challenge the cardiorespiratory system sufficiently to drive VO2 max (total body oxygen use) during the work phase. The core muscles are simply too small to drive VO2 to the level that skating, cycling, or running can as the legs muscle mass is huge by comparison. You can do 20/10's with circuit training, but it wont be "Tabata's", it will simply be intense circuit training.

Is this what Tabata's were designed to do (be part of base training)? Nope. Were these intensive intervals meant for postpartum exercise? Now way in hell. Did the woman in the Globe and Mail article do actual "Tabata" intervals or even close? No chance.

She most likely did intervals at a high intensity 20 on 10 off, but be sure.. she did not achieve the same biological state of intensity that the study participants did with Tabata back in early 1990's.

Also, the hormone relaxin is elevated during pregnancy which increases ligament laxity which allows for an easier birth (is "easier birth" an oxymoron?). Relaxin may be back to pre-pregnancy levels within a week or so after giving birth, but ligament laxity needs a few months to return to normal or close to normal, and progressively more challenging exercise that matches the bodies condition ought to be part of addressing this. Intensive intervals is not part of the recommendation.

It is simply wretchedly dishonest and misleading to attach the scientific merits of Izumi Tabata's research to some goof balls whack job phony fat loss program, boot camp program, or any interval program that isn't closely related to the original protocol and purpose. Do these trainers test your VO2 max? Do they monitor your power output stability and watch for the fatigue cut off described in the Tabata study? No and no. Rather they push you hard and when you slow down they push you more.. the exact opposite of what the study called for.

Just what exactly are Tabata intervals anyway?

10 minute warm up at 50% of VO2 max followed by 20 seconds at 170% of VO2 max power followed by 10 seconds of complete rest. The 20 on 10 off is repeated 7 to 8 times.

This is done 5 days per week, with the 5th day completing 30 minutes at 70% of VO2 max followed by a shortened set of the 20/10's (4 intervals instead of 7 to 8).

If they became too fatigued the interval was stopped. You have to go through specific testing to discover what your VO2 power is; without knowing this you will not be able set the correct pace for the intervals that are designed to achieve the published results.

If you're not a trained athlete or least a seriously hard core fitness enthusiast, it is unlikely that you'll be able to produce the effort required to complete Tabata's and you'll fatigue before completing the set.

Sound complicated? It is. This isn't simple intervals for quick fat loss (which doesn't exist anyway).

In order to get the published results of 23% in anaerobic capacity and approximate 13% increase in VO2 max, you have to do the protocol for 6 weeks, pretty much exactly as was done in the study.

How do I know all this? Because I read the damn study! A lot can be learned by reading the abstract, but to get to the details you have to read the whole study. And no, amending the intensity and specific exercises dramatically but staying with the 20/10's does not give you a piece of the same benefit, although pundits may play on this simple Simon intuition to sell you that very idea.

Can you get some benefit with 20/10's done any which way? Maybe, but doing so is virtually meaningless without measuring what you are doing, and is totally senseless if done too hard too soon.

How do I know how many calories Tabata’s burn off? Unlike the pedestrian nano-brained punk rip off artists (let me tell you how I really feel :-) ) that put themselves on a pedestal of guruness, I actually measure what I do with precise instruments, and so do other coaches and trainers who are not on the dark side.

Tabata intervals done on bike. About 84 calories burned.

The measurement shows 80kj (kilojoules) which is 336 Kilocalories (Calories). The human body has about a 18-25% efficiency converting food energy into mechanical work: 336X0.25=84

For more info on energy in food and human work (exercise) read this Wikipedia

Tabata's are extremely intense. I've prescribed them to athletes I train and done them myself; believe me when done correctly they are beyond extreme.

The truth is the majority of the population can't do Tabata's because they're not fit enough. But that doesn’t matter because for weight loss you don’t have to push through pain to be successful. You can lose fat with simple walking and dropping your food portion sizes appropriately.

Non-athletes can't do athlete training. It's impossible. You have to build yourself up the same way an athlete does.

For the rest of us we can only do that portion of an athlete program that is suited to our level of development, we simply don't have the horsepower or oxygen efficiency to do more. For many wanna be's that's a sad fact, for everyone else it's simply the way it is.

Want to lose fat? I have other posts on the subject and my website is full of detailed articles on how do so the right way, which takes personal commitment to change. D'oh! two C words in a row.

Glad I could get this off my chest. I've been lamenting the hype on Tabata's for a few years now and this Globe and Mail article debacle was what pushed me over the edge.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

How to keep your New Year’s resolution « 59 Seconds#more-281

How to keep your New Year’s resolution « 59 Seconds#more-281

If you've pinned up a photo of your ideal physique on the fridge as a motivator, become really excited about losing weight, or jumped into a hyped up fitness class without preparation or careful thought, chances are you will not achieve your New Year's resolution goal.

According to Richard Wisemans research, only 12% of people achieve their New Year's goals.

Wiseman followed 700 people to track their success in achieving New Years resolutions.  Research has shown us that only 5 to 10% of people achieve their diet and exercise goals so Wisemans results of only 12% of New Years resolutions being met supports similar research.

Turns out that typical "guru" advice that is pumped up with hype to get you excited about achieving super goals in a short time is one of the most effective ways to fail.  Why?  It sounds so good at the time; how could something that makes you feel excited and positive be wrong?

It's Superficial.  Short term, hyped, overly enthusiastic goals are not deeply rooted in our psyche.  Without a concrete reason and long term personal commitment we're doomed to failure.

Don't feel blue though; while only 12% succeed at achieving their weight loss and fitness New Years resolutions you can do it.  Just do what those who have succeeded do:

Here are some of the tips Dr. Richard Wiseman put together based on his research:

Break your goals into small steps that are easy to achieve, and back those up with a small reward each time you achieve them.  Be careful though..  avoid making a "reward" something that is unhealthy as that will only bolster your attachment to unhealthy habits..

Tell friends and family.  This can make you feel accountable as well as develop a support group for you.

Expect to revert to old habits a few times before you make the permanent changes required to be successful long term.  It's natural to feel pulled by the sense of reward that is attached to unhealthy habits.  When you do revert look at it as an opportunity to challenge your reward association:  "No, this isn't healthy or rewarding, I'll do better next time"..

Keep records.  Seeing your progress in writing on a chart keeps you motivated.  Nothing motivates like success!

Wondering if you have what it takes to succeed?  Dr. Wiseman has quick questionnaire that can help you find out.

My advice?  Be honest with yourself and think long term.  Realise that the only way to achieve your goals is to make permanent changes to your lifestyle.  This means getting rid of old values and reward associations and making new ones that support healthy living. Example:  If you think that eating less all week ought to be rewarded by overeating extra crap calories on the weekend you will fail long term.

Instead turn that around and feel rewarded by making healthy exercise and eating choices and see the overeating as a step backwards.  Practice this association and eventually you won't be attracted or as attracted to unhealthy habits.

Really!  :-)