Resistance Training

Resistance or weight training boosts your resting metabolic rate, protects you from type II diabetes and prevents osteoarthritis.

Anti-Oxidants

Anti-oxidants are found in spices and herbs, deep colored berries and several tree nuts. Anti-oxidants protect us from free radical damage which is the main culprit in accelerated aging and many age related mental disorders.

Omega-3 Fats

Most modern lifestyle diseases (heart disease, diabetes) are a result of chronic inflammation which is a result of over consumption of Omega-6 fats from vegetable oils which are highly pro-inflammatory. These fats have to be balanced with increased consumption of Omega-3 fats which are anti-inflammatory for protection from these diseases.

Stress reduction

Stress trumps everything when it comes to disease and accelerated aging. Stress increases the production of stress hormones (cortisol) that increases blood sugar, promotes belly fat and increases free radical damage. Stress also inhibits natural killer cell (NKC) activity that is involved in targeting and killing cancer cells. So practicing daily stress reduction techniques (like breathing exercises, meditation etc.) goes a long way in ensuring our health and longevity.

Healthy Carbs

Anti-oxidant rich healthy carbs from vegetables are rich in fiber which is harder to digest and prevents insulin spikes that are the primary culprit in weight gain. Replacing easy to digest carbs from white potatoes, enriched flour, white rice and sugars, with vegetables will help manage our weight.

 

10K Kettlebell Challenge: My Impressions

10K KB Challenge Very few of you might have heard of the 10K kettlebell challenge. It’s basically a one month program to do a cumulative total of 10,000 kettlebell swings. It was started by Dan John of TNation. Some do it for weight loss (more about it later) while some do it for the challenge and some do it because they want to improve their metabolic conditioning. I did it for the challenge and conditioning. Men are advised to use 53lb bell and women should use a 35lb bell. You have the flexibility to choose the reps/day scheme. Some people do 333 swings/day for 30 days. Some do 500 swings/day for 5 days a week with 2 rest days. I chose to do 400 swings/day for 6 days with one day of rest per week. So I did 25 days of swings with 4 days of rest. Started on the 15th Sept and ended on the 13th Oct.

Here are some of my impressions on this challenge: First and foremost this challenge is more about mental toughness than physical toughness. Now don’t get me wrong physically this is no walk in the park….

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Is Sugar The New Tobacco?

sugar-vs-cocaine-in-brain

Everyone who is serious about health should watch this movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCUbvOwwfWM

Finally a movie that acknowledges that simply eating less and exercising more will not solve the obesity epidemic unless we change what we eat. While this movie lays the blame squarely on sugar, I would go a step further and blame all easily digested and processed carbs in our diet. Once these carbs enter our system the body doesn’t distinguish between these carbs and sugar. They all end up as blood sugar and eventually as fat. Not only that, they are addictive and make us hungry to have more; a win-win for the processed food industry!

See how these carbs activate the same centers in our brain that are responsible for drug addiction (like cocaine). Furthermore they activate parts of the brain that are responsible for processing pain and emotion. So our connection to these simple carbs is not just physiological but also emotional. This is why you reach for the candy bar…

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Exercise Doesn’t Cause Weight Loss

Eat less exercise more

That’s right, exercise alone won’t cause any weight loss. Exercising for weight loss is akin to sweating for water loss. The human body likes to be in a state of equilibrium (homeostasis) and when you burn calories during exercise, the body wants to regain the lost calories. This stimulates hunger and if you were to follow your “usual” diet and eat till you were satisfied you would have eaten about the same number of extra calories that you burned exercising. No weight loss would occur. This is similar to drinking more water after sweating outside in the summer.

The reason most people see weight loss from exercise is because they simultaneously give up other “unhealthy” eating habits. For example after a 1 hr jog you will turn down that donut or candy bar and eat a celery stick or a carrot or a salad instead. And in most instances you will conscientiously limit the amount of calories eaten. In other words you will start exerting more will power and cultivate healthy eating habit…

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Coffee Before Exercise Will Burn Additional Fat

coffee

A study (http://jap.physiology.org/content/117/7/745)  published last week in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that drinking a cup of coffee 90 minutes before exercise (60 min biking) burned 60 additional calories plus about 10.5 grams of extra fat compared to exercise alone.  This would mean about 17 grams of extra fat burned per exercise bout. While it may not sound much, over a period of 1 year it would mean an extra 10 pounds of additional fat loss (exercising 5 hours/week) on top of the usual weight loss. Pretty impressive I think. An additional benefit was that caffeine also made the exercise less difficult and more enjoyable. That’s icing on the cake! But all you late evening exercisers beware if you are caffeine sensitive. It might keep you up all night.

Accelerated Fat Loss: The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

intermittent-fasting infographic

 

I have often told people that you need to eat several small meals per day to regulate your blood sugar levels and to lose weight. I have also put that in practice in my own life…until a short while ago. I recently started reading about intermittent fasting (IF) and its rejuvenating benefits. Turns out, IF has shown enormous benefits in pretty much all walks of life. To name a few IF has shown to:

  • Improve mental clarity
  • Reduce fasting sugar levels
  • Accelerate fat burning
  • Improve muscle building
  • Increase insulin sensitivity
  • Prolong age
  • Fight cancer cells
  • Regenerate stem cells
  • Improve immunity
  • Improve sleep, and much more

But then, you ask, most conventional wisdom states that when your body doesn’t have calories it lowers metabolism and destroys muscle in order to provide energy. True and false! Let me clarify.

When you are eating the standard USDA low-fat/high-carb diet your body has abundant carbs to burn for easy energy (and store). This switch…

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