Category Archives: Fitness

How “Why Dieting Doesn’t Work” articles work

Being an avid reader of fitness articles that are supposed to help people lose weight, I’ve read a good number of articles all called “Why Dieting Doesn’t Work.”

Here’s one from a website called CutAndJacked.com, a site devoted to getting cut and jacked.

They generally follow this template:

Dieting doesn’t work because your body doesn’t like dieting. blah blah blah leptin blah blah insulin sensitivity blah blah metabolism blah blah cortisol.

So instead, here’s a diet that works! blah blah blah natural food and exercise!

Yes that’s right. The entire premise of the article is that dieting doesn’t work, and then they offer you a diet that does work at the end. How are they able to do this? By introducing the loophole that if you don’t call it a diet, it can work. Additionally, if it’s a diet under the guise of “being sensible” then it’ll probably work!

Examples of the diets that do work (because they’re not called “diets”):

  • Just weight train and eat more natural foods!
  • Do circuit training and eat foods with more antioxidants, good fat, and protein!
  • Just eat what a caveman would eat and do exercises that a caveman would do!

This advice is great for people who are overweight, know that they want to lose weight, and didn’t realize that eating sensibly and exercising were required, but for everyone else, you might just want to skip articles about why dieting doesn’t work!

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Stop it with all the gimmicks!

Ever notice that everywhere you look, someone’s peddling some gimmicky weigh loss program? There’s lots of programs that’ll say stuff like:

  • Here are 15 easy exercises that will absolutely TORCH fat and don’t really require much work!
  • Don’t diet. Just detox by drinking a bunch of diuretics!
  • It’s not what you eat – it’s when you eat: any time you hear Al Roker’s voice!

Actually, I guess unless you live with Al Roker, the last bullet point probably will help you lose weight, but my point is: I’m here to tell you to stop it with all the gimmicks! What you really need is:

Mike’s Gimmick Free Workout Plan

Mike’s Gimmick-Free Workout Plan guarantees weight loss with:

  • Minimal effort (most of our workouts are performed sitting down)
  • No calorie/carb counting (we don’t even know math!)
  • Unlimited cheat days (consecutively!)

And all of this WITHOUT ANY GIMMICKS

Why should you trust Mike’s Gimmick-Free Workout Plan? Because Mike is his own customer!

mikefat mikekilomanjaro
BEFORE
Mike always looked displeased when he was climbing mountains.
AFTER
Mike summits both a literal and metaphorical mountain… of gimmick-free weight loss!

How does Mike’s Gimmick Free Workout Plan Work? It’s simple. We take advantage of Muscle confusion – your muscles are going to be like, “hey wait… why aren’t you making me exercise? I r confused”

So sign up today for Mike’s Gimmick Free Workout Plan!

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A Life Lesson About Flexibility

I received an email today from my gym saying, “hey everyone, great news! We’ll be doing some construction so the weight room is going to be closed for a week.” That’s minus 5 points to my gym for inconveniencing me, but it’s plus 4 points for making it sound like good news that I’m being inconvenienced.

Anywho, I was annoyed about my missed workouts for that week when I realized that it was ridiculous that I would get so upset just because someone threw a wrench (literally???) into my plans (okay not literally). What I really needed to exercise was a little flexibility.

So while the weight room is under construction, I’ll be in the group fitness room stretching to work on my flexibility. Then I’ll make a triumphant return to the weight room when it’s re-opened to move some heavy objects and the return them to their original positions.

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In defense of the attack on red meat

IMG_9815Earlier this week, results from a study looking at the correlation of red meat consumption and mortality was released, and then we saw a bunch of articles being like “omg red meat kills you”:

All red meat is risky, a study finds

Study: Too much red meat may shorten lifespan

The Silent Killer: New Study Suggests Eating Red Meat Poses Serious Health Risks

and then of course, whenever anyone attacks red meat, butt-hole Cross Fitters feel the need to defend it with snarky articles like Will Eating Red Meat Kill You? where the main argument is “u guys r so stupid this is a correlation study that doesn’t prove causation and the study’s not perfect.”

Or you’ll just get a Facebook post from Martin Berkhan that looks like this:

Go look up the meaning of “correlation does not imply causation” before asking me to debunk the latest red meat scaremongering BS.

But can we all take a step back for a second and look at what we’re talking about? The study was led by guys like Dr. Frank Hu. I never personally met the guy, but from his picture, he looks halfway nice, and he does things like try to help people with diseases like heart disease and obesity… disease. They got a giant sample of people and noticed that there was a link between mortality and eating red meat. This is probably pretty important for people that look like this (probably also their main audience):

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Then, a bunch of people that look like this were all like, “what? I eat red meat all the time, I never got mortality! You’re a charlatan!”

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Look at them! They’re laughing when they deadlift! Do you have any idea how much weight that is??? One does not laugh when one lifts that much weight!

Yes, if you look like that and have that much weight on a barbell, you can probably eat red meat. Sorry if the honor of your meat choice was somehow sullied.

In defense of the study though – they weren’t trying to trick you. They did even say:

Men and women with higher intake of red meat were less likely to be physically active and were more likely to be current smokers, to drink alcohol, and to have a higher body mass index. In addition, a higher red meat intake was associated with a higher intake of total energy but lower intakes of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

They explain that other variables are in play here, and they are not implying that red meat alone is killing people. They’re just saying that if you look like this, then you may want to reconsider some things:

mikefat

A few last notes: I like Mark’s Daily Apple and Martin Berkhan, and I am a big fan of red meat, which I’ve been eating almost on a daily basis since my last asshole doctor told me it was bad for me. I also am a big fan of writing snarky responses to things, but since people beat me to the punch to write an article about how the news seems to be overreacting to it (which is way better than a blog post that I would’ve written), I had to write a snarky blog post about how people are overreacting to the news overreacting about it.

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The air squat challenge

I saw this photo on pinterest and loved it so much that I thought I should share it:

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What a great photo! It’s another great image from site “Lose Weight Safe” which has nothing to do with the article it’s posted for (the article was actually on building arm strength). I especially like the squat form. Let’s talk about it:

What’s good about her form

  • Keeps her knees back behind her toes (and thus extends her posterior back to engage glutes/hamstrings)
  • Maintains a slight arch in the lower back
  • Good head position keeping the cervical spine in a neutral-ish position

What can be improved

  • She can probably go a bit lower to further engage the hams/glutes and take some load off the knees.
  • She should keep her center of gravity over her heels and not half a foot behind them so as to not require the hand of God to hold her up

But other than it being physically impossible to maintain, lookin’ good! Keep it up!

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Why would anyone ever eat Good Friends?

51QKZ0Y0ZVL__SL500_AA300_ special buddies

Kashi Good Friends Cereal

Rob & Big’s Special Buddies Cereal

In 2007, I bought a box of Kashi Good Friends cereal thinking that it would be “healthy,” and it was one of the most awful experiences of my life. It didn’t taste like anything, and it was really crunchy and weird. I felt like I was being punished for something. The question I’d like to investigate in this blog post is: why would anyone subject themselves to that? And is there something better they can do? Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts!

nutritionfacts_goodfriends

I pulled the nutrition facts from Kashi’s website. A serving has ~160 calories, 5g of protein, and 42g of carbs (12 of which are from fiber). This means that if you’re eating Kashi, you’re probably doing it for one (or a combination of) the following reasons:

  1. You’re looking for a good source of fiber.
  2. You’re looking for a source of carbs (and you didn’t know that you could get this practically anywhere).
  3. You’re looking for a source of protein (and you just happened to choose a pretty crappy one).
  4. You don’t know anything about nutrition and you just kinda thought that anything Kashi makes is healthy.
  5. You’re a masochist.

If you fall in groups 4 or 5, then it sounds like your execution plan aligns well with your goals, so keep fighting the good fight.

If you fall under groups 1 or 3, I feel like there are things you can do that are less unpleasant than eating Good Friends. For example:

Quest Protein Bars

I’ve personally never tried them, but my roommate has, and he describes them as probably having crack in them because they’re so addicting. They also apparently have ridiculous macros.

nutrition_questbar

If you fall under group 2 and are just looking for carbs, everything’s got carbs and is less disgusting than Good Friends. For example:

  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Cake
  • Other cereal that isn’t as awful as Good Friends
  • Twinlab Ultrafuel – I used this when I was carb loading. It tastes like a chalky fruit punch, which I eventually learned to like, but even before that, it was significantly less foul than Good Friends.

So there you have it. No one has any reasons for eating Good Friends anymore.

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5 more Reasons to drink lemon water

Here’s another wonderful tumblr post that made its way onto pinterest:

5 Reasons to Drink Lemon Water

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Quoth the raven:

Balance pH, keep skin clear and glowing, kick start the digestive system, lose weight, control the coffee habit

The following are the sources cited:

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The following are 5 equally valid, equally scientifically supported reasons to drink lemon water:

  1. Keeps bears away. They smell the citrus in your pheromones from miles away.
  2. Provides electrolytes to your distilled water!
  3. Reduces flatulence. Lemon mixes with methane to produce sunshine and daisy smells.
  4. Detoxes your body by secreting enzymes that absorb impurities in your blood!
  5. Tones your muscles without bulking you up!

What I really mean: Drink all the lemon water you want as it’s probably fine, but don’t be under the illusion that it any way balances any pH, keeps your skin clear, affects your digestive system, helps you lose weight, or controls your coffee habit.

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A stupid article about calories

There’s an awful article about calories and weightloss that keeps getting pinned to Pinterest under “fitness.” In case you’re not familiar with Pinterest, it’s where the fitness cognoscenti go to compare notes. You can read the article here:

Calorie Definition and Weight Loss

It makes me angry for the following reasons:

  1. It shows this picture of delicious cookies but doesn’t actually talk about the cookies. I was hoping there’d be a recipe or something. LIES ALL LIES.cookie
  2. Its long detailed explanation of what calories really are is completely irrelevant to weight loss.

Yeah, sure, often we say “calories” when we mean “kilocalories,” and sure, in doing so, we lose sight of how it represents energy and how the energy is actually calculated, but unless you’re analyzing the energy content of your own food using your own home-made bomb calorimeter, none of this actually matters in terms of fitness. The calories listed on the “Nutrition Facts” on the back of food is the same unit of measure of the number on the display of your treadmill. If your treadmill is being sneaky and giving you “calories” and not “kilocalories” to make you feel better about your workout and you don’t notice it, it’s really your fault because you’re off by a factor of a thousand.

In case you don’t realize how ridiculous it is to be off by a factor of a thousand, here are some statements that are off by a factor of a thousand:

  • The United States consists of 50,000 states.
  • My commute to work in Seattle took me about 10,000 minutes, door-to-door.
  • There are 6.02 x 1026 molecules in a mole.

See? Ridiculous! Now can somebody tell me how to make those cookies????

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Comparing cost effectiveness of fish oil supplements

fish-oil-companiesA little while ago, I made a post about the cost effectiveness of protein supplements, and I found it useful enough that I thought I’d do another one that’s basically the same but looks at fish oil supplements.

Once again, I’m not really going to go into any real depth as to why I take fish oil. If you are interested, Lyle McDonald has a good article on supplements, and Martin Berkhan has one specifically about omega 3s (though it’s pretty dense).

For this post, I just took a look at a couple brands that I’ve used or read about in the past and compared how much you’re getting for your money. Here’s the table:

fishoiltable

And here’s how to make sense of the table:

  • Cost per bottle – Just like last time, since we’re talking about value, the absolute cost per bottle doesn’t mean much, but this is the cost of the bottle that I’m evaluating.
  • DHA and EPA per serving – When we talk about fish oil, we don’t actually care about the volume of the fish oil. It’s the DHA/EPA omega-3 content of each tablet that we want.
  • Serving Size – Serving size does not affect the value of the pills, but it is useful to know how many soft gels you’ll be taking per day.
  • Soft gels per 3g DHA/EPA – Once again, I’m not going to get into how much fish oil one should take per day, but a common recommendation is 3g DHA/EPA, so this is just the number of soft gels you’ll have to take on a daily basis to hit this goal.
  • Cost per g DHA/EPA – This is the cost per bottle divided by the DHA/EPA per serving divided by the servings per bottle. It tells you how much you’re paying per gram of EPA/DHA.

The two cheapest fish oils I found were both by Kirkland. I personally prefer Kirkland’s Enteric Coated Fish Oil because:

  • I don’t have to take 10 of them per day to hit 3g DHA/EPA
  • It’s got an enteric coating (which supposedly prevents fish burps)
  • It appears to be Meg-3 certified. I read the link and still don’t really know what it is, and I’m sure it’s a scam, but it sounds cool, so I refuse to use products without it.

One last thing I’ll note is that I added Nature Made to the list because it always seems to be on sale in grocery stores with 2-for-1 deals. However, it actually ends up being almost double the price (per g DHA/EPA) as Kirkland’s Enteric Coated Fish Oil (and requiring double the soft gels per serving), and I’m guessing that it’s only 2-for-1 when the original price has been marked up by 100%. So watch out.

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Dear pinterest fitness, plz post harder workouts

abs1 abs2 back1  

One of my roommates recently said to me, “you should check out pinterest’s fitness page. It’s got a lot of pictures of hot women.” That sounded pretty good to me! (He actually had me at “should”! Advice he gives is often sound!).

achieve

So I checked it out and noticed a pattern. The vast majority of content in the fitness page fall into the following 3 categories:

  1. Pictures of attractive women with amazing bodies. Just as promised, there are lots of these, and they’re generally accompanied by comments like, “my goal for my abs.”
  2. Pictures of attractive women with amazing bodies with motivational captions. They usually say things like, “Be strong! Don’t give up! Stay tough! Do it for your health! No excuses! More exclamation points!”
  3. Suggested workouts that can be done in under ten minutes with no equipment. This is my favorite part. The other two categories get you all pumped thinking that everyone pinning stuff must be highly motivated and hardcore. They’re probably doing crazy weights with barbells and then running half marathons on a daily basis! …and then you see all of these workouts that are like, “Blast fat away! Doing 500 jumping jacks in 5 minutes is like 40 minutes of running!”

5 minute workouts are way better than nothing, and I’m glad that everyone’s sharing some ideas ideas that will help people fit exercise into their daily schedules, but I’m going to go ahead and throw this out there: the women in these photos probably didn’t get to where they are by doing jumping jacks or taking the Special K challenge. Their workouts probably weren’t very convenient.

In conclusion: to everyone on pinterest, plz post harder workout suggestions. Thx!

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