For those who don’t know, Scott Abel (http://www.scottabel.com/)?is a physique training legend. More than perhaps any other, Scott has immersed himself into the complex science of physique enhancement, physical conditioning, personal training, and more. And his results are impressive. Even approaching his mid-40’s Scott looks like he could arm-wrestle Arnold during his prime, and he has trained over 300 fitness competitors to varying degrees of success as a coach – including many National champions.
His resume aside, which establishes his ability to help others build commanding, muscular physiques and outstanding well-rounded fitness, what lessons does Abel have, if any, for those in pursuit of a fun, relaxing, enjoyable, sustainable lifestyle accompanied by graceful aging and freedom from chronic illness? (I’m not convinced that hardcore exercise and dieting such as that used to enter fitness competitions is the ticket)
As you know, the focus at 180DegreeHealth is raising the metabolism as you can read about in DIET RECOVERY, so it is perfectly fitting that Scott Abel pioneered a form of training called ?Metabolic Enhancement Training. With this name going for it, it was impossible for me not to explore his work to see what he was getting at, and to see if very specific and scientifically-generated exercise really could be a part of an overall strategy for great health.
While Metabolic Enhancement Training (MET) is no doubt outstanding for creating a freakish physique, its overall application to the average Joe is extremely limited. The training itself requires excruciating suffering from the participant, huge allotments of time (75-90 minutes 5 times per week), and involves very complex movements and a great deal of equipment to follow it with precision.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ?lessons? to be learned from the training itself, and the how’s and why’s it was developed. There are.
The 3 basic Fundamental rules of MET are:
2) Range of Motion
3) Stable to Unstable positions
And it goes without saying that intensity is a big part of the program as well which can be measured by the degree of ?oxygen debt,? which could be fundamental #4 of the training.
Abel, while gasping for air in his MET videos, is quoted as saying, ?MET is a culmination of everything ? strength training, resistance training, interval cardio training, interval strength training ? all under 1 umbrella.
Abel also happens to be fiercely opposed to slow, steady-state cardio training on your typical cardio machine. He feels it ruins physiques and metabolism ? and I would agree that is true IF it is taken to extremes of duration and intensity such as that seen in marathon running that we discussed in the LAST POST.
He also has plenty of negative things to say about traditional resistance exercise without complementary athletic movements and conditioning:
?Furthermore, the bodybuilding paradigm myth of program design also delineates certain amount of rest between training protocols based on muscles used. Simply put, what I have noticed is that over time following the bodybuilding training model does not enhance metabolism but somehow slows it down. While muscle burns more calories at rest, these type of workouts do less to enhance the training affect on metabolism than do more movements based protocols.
MET is really a form of exercise that is designed to mimic those ?metabolically ideal? types of exercise in a gym setting, designed specifically for generating power, conditioning, activating all the muscles in complex movements, balance, and a metabolism that supports high-level athletic performance ? one with a high level of muscle to fat by definition, which is a telltale sign of high levels of anabolic hormones (such as testosterone ? good whether you are a man or a woman for looking good and aging well) and low levels of catabolic hormones that break down muscle tissue and enhance fat storage (cortisol being the king).
Metabolically ideal forms of exercise would be the ones that utilize all of the above-mentioned principles of MET ? speed, range of motion, stable to unstable positions, and intensity.
In other words, ballet, sprinting, gymnastics, martial arts, wrestling, plyometrics, etc. ? the sports that are defined by the extreme athleticism required to perform them. Sprinting of course lacks some of the elements, and you see speed and power amongst sprinters but not much well-rounded athleticism. Ballet, for females, also lacks the full culmination of all training in that it lacks resistance for the upper body, whereas the males, who are constantly lifting ballerinas, have a level of full body development that is strikingly superior.
But in general, you can clearly see, in each of these sports, the themes of having to balance in unstable positions, perform within many different ranges of motion, and do so with great speed, quickness, agility, and power is the repeated theme.
Abel is simply trying to get the best metabolic enhancing effect of those sports, but by adding extra weight load, is able to build more muscle mass. He also goes for extra conditioning by making it hard as hell, and not allowing himself full recovery in between sets/circuits. This puts the body in a greater anaerobic state (oxygen-deprived) which fosters greater adaptive response and development. That’s it in a nutshell.
So if you are wondering what the most efficient form of exercising is for looking better and getting your body to undergo hormonal changes that will potentially foster better health (like decreased cortisol), it boils down to training at high-intensity levels (this converts slow-twitch muscles to fast-twitch muscles, increases body temperature, increases glucose burning over fat burning which is more efficient and fosters better insulin sensitivity, and more, including potentially lowering baseline cortisol levels despite acute rises during the high-intensity period), training all muscle groups with full range of motion, performing movements with great explosive power and speed (like jumps as in plyometrics), and, for greater muscle development ? adding strength/resistance training into the mix somehow.
You can see that many popular forms of exercise contain SOME of the elements of MET, but none of them contain all of the elements.
If you have any interest in fitness, these principles are all certainly worthy of your full consideration. If you are purely interested in health, the bigger picture view suggests that just moving your body around and not being on your butt on all day long in front of a computer like me is the route to deliver that. Researchers such as Konstantin Buteyko (as?Lisa pointed out in the Tabata video I posted on Monday)?or Ray Peat can certainly whip up some strong arguments AGAINST doing high-intensity exercise (due to hyperventilation/oxygen debt?and resultant lactic acid production), regardless of what it may deliver in terms of physique enhancement and fitness level. So the jury is definitely still out on high-intensity exercise from a health standpoint.
But just NOT running marathons or doing dumb 140-mile bike rides like I used to do is already a big step in the right direction.
Here are some of Scott Abel’s videos demonstrating some of the MET themes (range of motion, instability/balance, speed, intensity)’to better put this into perspective. Some are very advanced, but they give you an idea of what MET is getting at…
I like that "Quad blast." It looks like something that can be done anywhere. it's something I can insert anywhere into my training as a warmup or using it in sets as an interval. Increasing sets would work well for many. Nice find Matt.
Krista's stumptuous site had a mistressing the squat section. I did something like the quad blast with a broom handle for weeks. (i just did lots of regular squats and lunges) I was amazed that my first time ever in a squat cage I could squat the bar with weight added no problem. Doing squats with full range of motion is great for the legs. The little butt bumps you see at the gym sometimes are about as effective as the sled for building your quads. I started out doing squats to improve my hill running ability, now I'm sort of devoted to them.
I love Abel's videos. They've really helped me add some new–and highly effective–moves to my routine. The full MET DVD set is definitely on my "things-I-want-that-cost-$200" list.
One thing I like about many of the MET exercises is that they can be intensely powerful even without any added equipment. I think this is a selling point for folks who are sick and tired of buying "just one more" piece of gym gear.
@Jenny: Yeah, the "little bumps" crack me up too. It's amazing how many people focus on only doing those tiny little pulsing movements. Full range of motion makes much more sense to my brain.
Abel's massive collection of online videos is amazing.
His MET dvd's are really geared up for someone looking for professional grade workouts for fitness competition. I found them to be a little bit of a turn off.
Rather, the general principles are where the power lies, which can be integrated into anyone's exercise routine given their equipment, access to gym, time they have to dedicate, seriousness of their pursuits, etc.
You don't need his DVD's to get the full "lessons" of his training.
Thanks for the heads-up, Matt. The Youtube videos really are great. Do recommend any resources for learning more about the science and techinique behind MET training aside from the DVDs? I see that Abel also has some ebooks and whatnot available.
nice post. have you tried any of the workouts yet? I don't understand why you think the DVD is just for fitness competitors, this isn't true. The time and volume can be modified to individual needs. You should post a link on his forum and I bet a lot of the people doing this type of training could come and share their experiences and maybe clarify misunderstandings
Although I prefer not to join Scott under his "freakish.. umbrella", this is sort of the same stuff I do in my spin/lift class. My instructor has us do crazy stuff, pylometrics, sprints, 100 pushups etc.. the sweat if flying and I do love it. Today we held a loaded bar between our legs, in a split stance(one foot forward, one back) and touched the floor with our back knee. Repeatedly. Don't try it at home folks. ouch.
so I am freakish.
without the massive biceps and chest.
esp the chest.
I would be interested to see a comparison between exercise like this and a powerlifting-type routine. Many powerlifters and weightlifters do neither cardio nor "high intensity" conditioning, yet they are very lean (besides super heavies), and without necessarily having a great diet…
Very cool, I think Scott's work is great. But as Matt said probably a little too advanced for the average person looking to get results in the gym, his stuff is pretty intense and he uses some tricky movements. If you are young and athletic then MET looks great, for the older generation looking to get healthy it seems a little hardcore…..
Anyhow there are some cool lessons to be learnt. I think Craig Ballantyne's Turbulence Training workouts are more in line with what the majority of 180 readers are looking for. Dunno if you have had the chance to scope them out Matt?
He has a load of videos up on various workouts.
Also gotta mirror John's question. Maybe the best results are attained from a heavy/powerlifting workout once a week as well as some sort of Metabolic Conditioning work…..
I was just thinking… Not sure if it has been brought up before and everything…
How about creating a forum? There is a lot of valuable info in the comments, but not necessarily related to the article the comments are for… so it's hard to find the info when you're looking for it… I bet a lot of people would appreciate a 180 forum.
Abel's work on the actual science behind is theories is not elaborated all that well, but some of the ideas behind it are found in his book The Abel Approach, however, it's mostly a book for coaches/trainers. I was hoping his MET dvd's would talk specifically about the training, but they are just videos of him working out.
Ballantyne's videos are excellent, and his general approach to fitness fantastic as well. That's not necessarily what this post was about though.
Abel is a real pioneer in fitness, and his understanding of the complex science very vast. For a theoretical discussion of the ideal forms of training, Abel is the way to go. But yes, you're right. Ballantyne's stuff is perfect for the 180 aficionado looking for a quick and mostly bodyweight-based functional workout routine that is realistic long-term – and achieves some of the principles discussed in this post.
Powerlifting is sort of the antithesis of what Abel recommends specifically for muscle development. The exercises themselves are excellent though no doubt (stability/balance, speed/power, and chest-bursting cardio elements are all there). I did quite a bit of powerlifting in my teens at a nearby university and it was pretty cool. But again, this is not practical for a mixed crowd, risk of injury is very high, a lot of specialized equipment is needed, etc. I don't even really have a gym in the town I live in for example (there is one place, but calling it a gym is a stretch).
Yeah, Matt, where is our forum? You said you'd put up a forum by this summer, but the way I see this sing, summer has just ended. I'm very very disappointed now.
I'm gonna take a protest-nap now and will not return to this comment board until I've finished it. Now let's see how you'll handle this situation!
Please don't cry Madmuhhh and Hans.
Yes, some things are undergoing some serious remodeling right now (speaking of which, it won't be long before I contact you Madmuhhh for another round of blog re-design). The forum will no doubt exist one day. Sorry for the delay. I want it too. It's not from lack of wanting it. But you don't lay down new carpet in a room you are about to remodel.
This has nothing to do with the subject (Scott Abel) but I'd like to comment about the forum issue and this blog in general. I have no dieting issues and never in my life have I ever had any weight problems at all. I don't suffer aches and pains or sleep issues or mood swings etc…I'm doing pretty good. "BUT" through all the goodness, some of you know already that I had a heart attack. That made me very curious because I had no idea why. Even looking back at old lab work there is nothing to indicate a problem. My research led me around the net and one place was the Heart Scan blog with Dr. Davis. I still follow his blog but that is because I try to find out what I can (from many different opinions and sides) about my heart. I'm not interested in the low carb thing and I'm not trying to lose weight. I read a comment there from Matt one time and from there I made my way here. The reason I am here is for the same reason…"ideas and information." I am seeking to avoid another heart attack and live a normal life. So far I'm doing great and last weeks labs showed a decrease in triglycerides down to 43 from 67.
The point is, (finally) that on the heart scan blog I have mentioned a few times about "discussion." What a benefit it would be to discuss certain issues and have varying views. I get nowhere there because my questions never get answered. There is a one way tone there and no one wants to deal with debate. A forum could be a beneficial thing for people seeking answers or help. The way the comments work over there I find it dangerous because there are many questions that get left unanswered which leaves the person on their own with half assed info that includes drugs and alternatives etc. I think a forum opens the lines for discussion a little better. What I like about this blog is that even though it isn't a forum there is at least some discussion and answers and Matt chimes in also rather than leaving you to read and then figure the rest out for yourself.
But Matt, does the carpet match the drapes?
sorry I just had to.
Also, on a serious note. Injuries. Many of my gym buddies and yours truly have been injured in the class I mentioned in my last comment. My worst this year was in Hawaii, sprinting on a treadmill. Tore that achilles tendon UP and it is still sort of painful at times. I agree that doing all out macho HIT/MET does come with a price and some of us.. (me and other less coordinated individuals) really have to be careful with the intense, fast moves.
Yeah and here's some more TMI, Jumping Jacks after you have given birth? Not right after the baby, just forever after? Not a good idea unless you are near a bathroom. I sort of fake them. Now everyone knows.
You probably have heard about this, but in case you haven't:
It's Stephan Guyenet's newest comment on the China Study, specifically regarding the link between wheat and heart attacks. I know you listed all the different ways you pursue health, but I can't remember if avoiding wheat was one of them.
Thanks, and I agree. As usual I sort of come out with these concepts and then go back and scrutinize them from another vantage point. You'll probably see that coming in the months ahead. You know my prior stance was one that suggested high-intensity exercise as being counterproductive, hard, making one prone to injury, and absolutely 100% unnecesary for obtaining health at best.
But now it's time to question if that is really the case, or if this type of short/fast/hard training really does serve something up in terms of genuine "metabolic enhancement" in the sense that it is defined round these here parts.
Yeah, heart scan blog drives me nuts. We do have an excellent discussion group, and I'm eager to get the forum going too. With that format I have no doubt we could create the most comprehensive, thorough, and exciting health forum on the entire internet – taking this comments section to the next level, and making it a heck of a lot more organized.
Anyway, in the spirit of long-duration, low-intensity exercise as has been warned about – I'm off for a good hike with 1,500 calories in my belly. Be back this afternoon.
For metabolic enhancement training, one can choose between 75-90min in the gym 5 days a week, OR some weight training/hiking followed by a HIGH starch meal with some protein and fat. Nothing gets me warmer and feeling like a furnace than a couple pounds of potatoes with some chicken and coconut oil. Mixed meals high in starch are great metabolic enhancers. Matt, question for you. As far as enhancing the metabolism and for long term health, are you still sold on starch being better than fat? As long as calories aren't restricted and glycogen depleting exercises are limited, do you think a high starch/moderate protein/low fat diet is superior to a high fat/moderate protein/low carb diet? I'm still not sold on starch being THAT much better than fat. At least for me, fat sustains me far longer than starch. I know there are cultures out there doing either high carb or high fat and have great health, so is the verdict still out on starch vs. fat, or does it really come down to QUALITY of the starch or fat and not being too much in a calorie deficit so your metabolism isn't damaged? Thank you.
What do you mean when you say, "I'm not interested in low carb…" Some people don't do well, some people do. But, there's no denying that cultures have been seemingly free of modern degenerative diseases on low carb, moderate carb, high carb. It's perfectly possible that a ketogenic diet near-eliminates heart attack risk (I'm not claiming this, just making a point).
Markers for risk (you mentioned your trigs dropping) are generally misunderstood and inconclusive; otherwise, Kitavans wouldn't be healthy.
I actually think Ray Peat is a great source for diet "specifics" as a lot of things he has written about (sodium, gelatin, iron, calcium, etc) are not commonly discussed.
I don't consume wheat or wheat products of any kind. No sugar or products containing sugar no white rice etc.
What I mean when I say "not into low carb" is that isn't the reason I go to that blog/site. I take low carb into consideration as I do with low fat, high fat, high protein or whatever else is out there. But as always I take the info and customize it to what works for my body. My low carb is cutting out refined carbs. Just before my heart attack my Triglycerides were 87. HDL 65, LDL 109 and CRP was also good so my diet and exercise routine even then was working. I was in great shape…didn't matter for some reason.
My labs last week were triglycerides 43, HDL 46, LDL 74.
I'm gathering information, experimenting and doing the best I can. I combine info from all sources.
But I still have to deal with family history and genetics. I'm told I still have small (40-60%)blockages…go figure.
As long as extremes of low-carb and low-fat are avoided, your odds of long-term success are good just eating real food.
For me it fluctuates. When I've gone too low in carbs for too long starch is like a miracle drug.
Recently I felt my super high-starch bonanza coming to the end of its rope as well, and added back more fat with great results.
But I know for me that say, 60% fat/25% carb got me into trouble – especially when paired with exercise. I also know that roughly equal amounts of the two seemed to keep my body temp. from coming all the way up – but again, this was coming off of low-carb and going to moderate carb. Maybe a period of high-carb was needed to balance me out and I'd be fine on even amounts of starch and fat now. Who knows.
I'm super warm right now though. My house is 65F in the mornings and I can sit around in a t-shirt drinking ice water and not feel the slightest bit cold.
Just stay on your toes. What works now may not work later, but with the freedom to adjust and no fear of any macronutrient you'll be fine.
Matt, what are your ratios like now? And do you think that even with "real foods," high fat & starch is a recipe for weight gain? I have been enjoying eating some ezekiel bread with butter (not obscene amts.), peanut butter (okay PUFAs suck i know) and more starch in general like sweet potatoes, etc… but i have combined this with some high fat dairy like greek yogurt and kefir. If I avoid sugar and PUFAS do you think this is okay?
I feel more energetic than ever eating like this. Maybe high starch & relatively high fat is okay for active people?
On exercise— I think that "sport" exercise is probably the best way to get really fit and healthy. Soccer players are injury-prone but are usually really solid & versatile. Most of them could pick up and run a 10k race anytime, despite never "training" the way runners do. Maybe there's something to the stop/start & taking lots of breaks during "exercise"
Being fit doesn't simply mean having good endurance. It depends on the context: World class weightlifters are fit [very strong and powerful), yet they probably have terrible muscular and cardiovascular endurance–who's healthier? I think the common thought of "balance" being good is just some weird philosophical idea that has no factual basis whether it be in diet, exercise, or whatever.
I think that muscle types (i, iia, iix) are interesting though [as they concerns health]. Nick Lane has a couple great books, one of which talks about aging and how mitochondrial "density" is beneficial (type i has more mitochondria obviously). Endurance exercise causes mitochondrial biogenesis, but it creates a worse hormone profile. HIIT increases mitochondria some and has questionable effects on hormones. Heavy weight training increases mitochondria little but seems to be best for hormones. Which should we do?
Why is "balance" some "weird philosophical idea"? It just means you should do different kinds of training and be moderately good at all of them instead of becoming a specialist in one area. I would say MMA people have a good balance, doing some HIIT, some weight lifting, some cardio etc. Crossfit has the same underlying idea methinks.
While I disagree with a lot of what Abel says, he is definitely one of the best, if not the best, bodybuilding coaches IMO.
I'm repeatedly shown that going to extremes sucks. Mentally it sucks, physically it sucks, and pleasure-wise it sucks.
While it's up to everyone to determine what is the best ratio for them at any given time – and I believe it can fluctuate wildly throughout one's lifetime, combining either at least some fat with your starch or some starch with your fat is more likely to be a winner on a long-term basis.
While the combo. will put more weight on someone sensitive to gaining weight for the first 2 months tops, it does always eventually stop piling on except in very rare cases it seems.
But right now I'm back to the ol' bread and butter (literally) while doing a little bit of high-intensity exercise each day with a little hiking on occasion.
I feel better. I am happier. I have fewer aches and pains. My skin is way better. I am more energized. And I gained a whopping 3 pounds to achieve that from my low-fat low, which is now coming off due to the type of exercise I'm doing and generally steering clear of refined carbohydrates within reason.
I'm still going pretty high-starch/low-fat at dinner time – a concept we'll be discussing in some upcoming posts on cortisol and serotonin.
Because, balance just for the sake of balance has no basis. The main reason people praise Crossfit is because it's a balanced program. Can you explain to me, biologically, why balancing exercise types is beneficial? Why do people think there is some universal law where moderation and balance are key?
On a scale from high endurance to high power, MMA guys have pretty good balance, while weightlifters are on the right. We don't know enough about health and exercise to say which is better.
Consciously staying at the extreme one way or the other is restricting though, and since there isn't evidence to show any extreme is necessary (in diet or exercise), it's perfectly acceptable to do and eat what you like (assuming good quality).
IMO moderation is obvious. Too little and it's worthless and too much just doesn't work….diminishing returns, over training, injury etc. As far as balance I think there can be. A nice balance between resistance training and cardiovascular is always good even if the strength training portion is only bodyweight exercise. A program that keeps the strength up (maybe some hypertrophy) combined with something that works on the oxygen/cardiovascular side of things is usually good. I always find that strength training whether with weights or bodyweight using equal amounts of push and pull keeps the body balanced in strength and prevents injury from such imbalances and having one side stronger than the other. An example is a bad back from weak abs or vice versa. The same problems arise in the chest and shoulders as well as elbows and forearms. Work the flexors? Make sure to work the extensors!
Something moderate, program wise, is good for general health. More specific programs would depend on goals. Weight lifters for example are looking for muscle (generally speaking). Either the bodybuilding type or the size guys (strength training/powerlifting). MMA on the other hand has a different goal…many gopals actually… and they train their muscles anaerobically to be strong repetitively over long periods in short bursts. Long cardio sessions are counterproductive to their task (short bursts of energy over a set period of 3-5 five minute rounds). Plus they have a combination of things going on in a fight that require different strengths both aerobically and anaerobically. Boxing is close to the same training but again it is a different goal set. There is less going on in a boxing match and more rest (stalking mode) during the bout. Plus they use the legs a lot less (no kicks or grappling plus a higher stance). Again, a wrestler would have another goal…and the list goes on and on. The same principles of training methods can be taken and applied/tweaked to individual goals. Most sport related training goes to the extreme or very hard training. A notch below that is "hard" training which can be for anyone who desires to go that far. For the average person looking for just general health/heart health etc then moderate is fine or moderate to hard depending on age, health and desire. Beginners IMO should start easy with short term goals of improvement moving up to moderate and then deciding if they need or want more.
And that's my assessment of moderate and balance! lol That and $1.00 will get you a cup of coffee (if you're lucky)!
I love the idea of "Metabolic Enhancement Training!" But yes, it does sound very complex and time consuming..
Oxygen Debt, that's what Buteyko breathing is all about. You aim to create a slight "air hunger", this actually oxygenates the cells much more than if you take a deep huge breath of air. Cause that big breath in, will be followed by a big breath out – so you'll loose CO2. It's the CO2 that makes oxygenation of cells possible. So, increasing your CO2 levels means you'll increase your oxygenation ability. When the body feels "oxygen deprived" it actually is able to accept higher levels of CO2 in the system. This is super great for overall health.
Bueyko is totally for exercise so long as its done with the mouth closed. Mouth breathe during any exercise and it will lower the positive effects of the workout and will likely make you hyperventilate to some degree. If you nose breathe though, it will increase oxygenation and be super great for you! :)
As anyone knows it's VERY difficult to go running with your mouth closed the whole time, but those who can pull it off are in excellent condition!!!!
RE: Oxygen Debt
Some MMA fighters use what is called hypoxia training. While training, they wear a snorkle that is attached to sort of a helmet to keep it in place and the nose is taped closed. Sort of a different oxygen deprivation. This type is supposed to mimic high altitude training.
As far as breathing through the nose, fighters are generally encouraged to train wearing their mouth piece. During a fight you need to really bite down on the mouth piece because a slack jaw can lead to an easy KO and a busted jaw. With the teeth clamped breathing through the mouth is hindered and you must breath through the nose. Obviously it is beneficial to train that way also. For many reasons I honestly believe fighters, especially MMA, are the best conditioned athletes. Such training can be easily modified for the average person. Actually I think that lately it has been crossing over into the mainstream workout methods.
Oh man Tommy, that image of the snorkel brings to mind Dennis Hopper's character in Blue Velvet.. huffing oxygen or god knows what..
I will try nose breathing.. when I do hard core sprints I do tend to mouth breath.
And Matt, thank you for providing this blog and for chiming in and actually responding to people. It makes it so much more valuable. It's what I strive for on my blogs.. feels nice for people to get a holla from the boss man. IMHO forums can make a person feel like a minnow in the ocean.. lost and alone.. unless there are great members who will fill in for the fearless leader, the knower of all things worth knowing.
have a groovy weekend with your gal,
PS so far so good on my no fruit adventure, using more starchy carbs and fats.. time will tell xo I was tempted to eat something sweet after two hours on the bike/run deal.. but I did not do it. gold star for me!
There is no evidence to suggest "A program that keeps the strength up (maybe some hypertrophy) combined with something that works on the oxygen/cardiovascular side of things is usually good."
The idea of "cardiovascular" exercise is tricky. Every exercise increases heart rate and works the cardiovascular system; a max squat causes a large increase in heart rate, but few consider that cardio. How do we know that Crossfit is better than low volume powerlifting/weightlifting*? The long term studies don't exist. We should discuss and try to explain why/how certain exercise may have health benefits before saying, "Do a little of everything."
Personally, I think the best/healthiest exercise is that which encourages the most muscle growth (in large part because of the hormonal influence). That's mostly based on personal observations, but there are some studies that can help a little. Mice that over express AKT1 have abnormal [type iib] muscle growth with health benefits that come along**. But, there are studies that show high type iia muscle proportion is good (at least at preventing obesity and insulin resistance). Neither are very telling…
*When I say weightlifting, I am referring to the Olympic sport.
It's not so easy breathing through the nose though, especially if you have an allergy or you get punched in the nose…
Personally I think that for general health, any exercise is good. Whether it be weight training only or walking only or bodyweight whatever. The balance between resistance and cardiovascular isn't a necessity (IMO) however I do think it is beneficial. Years ago I spent a lot of time on strength but that was a personal thing as strength has little to do with fighting. The last few years I haven't paid much mind to strength and my lifting was more high rep. So again without a specific goal requirement (sport), the balance may not be necessary. But in many other endeavors some strength may be needed and at least a couple of compound lifts would be in order. On the flip side, just increasing the heart rate via weights, doesn't equate to cardiovascular training equal to what may be needed to play soccer! Believe me….I've done a few years of 20 rep squat routines in the past (ala Randall J. Strossen) years ago. 20 reps with as high a weight as you can manage no matter how long it takes. Talk about breathing like a freight train!! So I know how hard it pushes the heart rate and breathing. But that does nothing for my wind when it comes to making it through an event that entails running or even working the bag. For that I need a balance. But again…that is specifics or sports related. For general fitness, one or the other is fine; just do "something." But a balance isn't a bad thing. Strength and flexibility.
Olympic lifting is fantastic but not anything I would recommend to anyone for general fitness. It takes too much learning of form and proper lifting and is too dangerous for the inexperienced. I'm not implying you don't know this (or maybe you disagree), I'm just making the point. But yea, Olympic lifts are great workouts.
Yea, it's a great sport and my favorite way to train, but it's too difficult to find proper equipment and instruction. I learned almost exclusively from videos. I've added kettlebell snatches and jerks over the last year, and my shoulders & elbows & wrists feel stronger/more stable.
Here's a nice little kettlebell routine I like to do when I lack time or as a finisher to other workouts. I do this when I need something not so intense but that still gives a nice workout. I usually do a few sets each arm/body side.
The exercise starts at 2:35
Yeah, Matt, where is our forum? You said you'd put up a forum by this summer, but the way I see this sing, summer has just ended. I'm very very disappointed now.
I'm gonna take a protest-nap now and will not return to this comment board until I've finished it. Now let's see how you'll handle this situation!
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Glad to see you referencing Steve Maxwell in this conversation. I think he has a lot to add in any discussion on strength, fitness, and exercise.
Quote from a recent blog post of his: "Extremely prolonged endurance training certainly has a catabolic effect on the body. Frequently, endurance athletes overtrain and beat their bodies into a twisted mess. Observe any group of marathoners or triathletes, even elite ones, and you’ll see a horrific parade of postural abnormalities and imbalances, not to mention the tightest bodies imaginable. My advice to anyone attracted to endurance sports: weight train twice a week with heavy weights; do joint mobility on a daily basis and attend a proper yoga class three times a week".
tried nose breathing while biking.
did not realize I had my mouth open so much and I guess I am lucky I do not eat more bugs doing that.
Matt or anyone
I have been doing pretty ok eating more carbs including fruit but this morning, 2 hours after a breakfast of very buttery scrambled eggs, 2 nectarines and a cup of tea, I suffered a horrible low blood sugar episode which I am still feeling the effects of (at 6pm ish). I had hoped my increase in carbs would prevent this from happening but it didn't – I have no idea why this happened. I'm thinking maybe fruit first thing for me in the morning is a bad idea although I have had no problem with oranges in the morning. Anyway, my specific question is what is the best way to recover from a hypo episode? Should I have drunk orange juice/milk/eaten candy or should I do what I did this morning and eat potatoes and salmon and salad dressing (last night's leftovers for a quick 'complete' meal) and banana and yogurt ie. less fast delivery of glucose through the more complex carbs. It took me at least half an hour of eating this to feel less shaky and irritable and for the rest of the day I haven't been feeling good – no energy so I'm wondering if I had used oj or milk to get my blood sugar back up I might have recovered more quickly. Does anyone have any experience with this and ideas and suggestions. Matt I'm hoping with all your reading you have an answer. I'm feeling a bit fed up as I thought I was doing well – my temps have been going up and I haven't had any low blood sugar episodes until now.
"Glad to see you referencing Steve Maxwell in this conversation. I think he has a lot to add in any discussion on strength, fitness, and exercise."
I was lucky enough to have trained with him. He is also a black belt in Brazilian jujitsu and I belonged a club headed by him. He is in fantastic shape and in his 50's.
Totally off topic, but I've noticed a lot of bloggers doing e-courses that teach people how to cook real food. I bet you would make bank if you did one centered around weight loss! Just a thought ;)
I agree that Steve Maxwell is one smart (and tough) cookie. But if you are talking Steve, you can't leave out Pavel Tsatsouline either! ;-)
It should be noted that Abel most likely uses PED's. Someone on hormones can gain muscles by coughing.
True Gabriel. Abel's been no stranger to muscle building enhancers. In all fairness though, Kevin "the machine" Weiss in the videos is totally drug free and competes in the natural bodybuilding circuit where they have multiple drug tests and must pass polygraphs to compete. He is an animal, with a phenomenal level of fitness. There's even one video where he is busting out suicides like a teenager. Championship bodybuilder running suicides out in a parking lot – now that is what makes Abel more awesomer.
Definitely. Abel is great. I found his stuff through your blog here when you posted that starch video. It affirmed a lot of my ideas about body building. So thanks for that.
No doubt about Abel's fitness, he was terrific and the videos just support the post and comments.