Exercise and Nutrition Simplified
Here are general recommendations I give most patients regarding exercise and nutrition.
High Intensity or Burst Training
High intensity interval training induces hormonal responses not seen with standard aerobic exercises. These hormonal responses facilitate weight loss. Also, greater improvement in VO2max can be seen with high intensity interval training than can with aerobics leading to better cardiovascular fitness.
Below is a sample high intensity interval training program. If you have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease be cleared by your physician before starting a high intensity interval training program.
Week 1: Perform three 20-second bursts with 2-minute recovery between bursts 3 times a week.
Week 2: Perform four 20-second bursts with 2-minute recovery between bursts 3 times a week.
Week 3: Perform five 20-second bursts with 2-minute recovery between bursts 3 times a week.
Week 4: Perform six 20-second bursts with 2-minute recovery between bursts 3 times a week.
Week 5: Perform seven 20-second bursts with 2-minute recovery between bursts 3 times a week.
Week 6+: Perform eight 20-second bursts with 2-minute recovery between bursts 3 times a week.
This is just an example. You can design your own program changing the length of the bursts and recovery period. You want just enough recovery that you can give a near maximal effort on the next burst.
There are many ways to perform resistance training and how you go about it depends on your access to equipment. Perform resistance training a minimum of twice a week (preferably 3 days a week) exercising specific muscle groups with each session. For example on Monday exercise back and biceps, on Wednesday exercise legs and shoulders, and on Friday exercise chest and triceps.
The goal is to lift enough volume to cause muscle fatigue or burning performing 2-3 different exercises for each muscle group. You can perform low reps (6-8 reps) with high weight, moderate reps (10-12 reps) with moderate reps, or high reps (>15 reps) with low weight. Three sets of each exercise are usually sufficient. For beginners performing high reps with low weight is advisable to avoid injury. Change the exercises you perform every 4-6 weeks.
1. Eat 5-6 times a day: 3 meals and 2-3 snacks. No carbohydrates after 7 PM. See snack suggestions.
2. On workout days make one snack a protein shake containing some fruit (berries).
3. For the first 2 weeks only eat fruits and vegetables for carbohydrates. No starchy carbs like pasta, bread, rice, or potatoes.
4. Never eat a carb by itself. Always pair with a healthy source of fat or protein.
5. After first 2 weeks eat carbs with glycemic index less than 55 (Consider Sugar Busters or New Glucose Revolution for glycemic index plus online sources). If you need to lose weight avoid the white starches until you’re at your target weight.
6. Have one cheat day a week if you want. Eat what you want and as much as you want.
7. One alcohol drink a day is permissible. Consume with evening meal, not before bedtime.
8. Recommend a multivitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D as supplements.
9. Most individuals do not get enough protein. Yet, the body is mostly protein and protein is needed for hormone and neurotransmitter production. Consume around 25 grams of protein with each meal and 15- to 20 grams with each snack.
10. Know all the names of sugar. As much as possible do not anything from a bag, box, can, or jar. They contain sugar in one form or another. Sugar is your enemy more so than fat or cholesterol.
Weight Loss Principles
2. Understand these following principles:
- When we speak of weight loss we mean fat loss.
- We do not get fat because we overeat; we overeat because we get fat. (Why We Get Fat)
- You cannot lose weight if you have elevated insulin levels (that’s why we get fat).
- Obesity is not an imbalance in calories; it is an imbalance in hormones. (Fat Chance)
- Weight loss is far more complicated than calories-in and calories-out.
- Focus on calorie deficit for the week not each day. This preserves metabolism.
- Weight loss is not possible in the face of elevated insulin levels.
- The purpose of exercise for weight loss is not to burn calories so much as it is to trigger hormonal responses.
The role of exercise and nutrition on the impact on our health should be obvious. Putting it into practice takes works and hopefully we have simplified what needs to be one.
A pound of fat takes up three to four times as much volume as a pound of muscle. Therefore, you can lose 10 pounds of fat and gain 10 pounds of muscle (resistance training) and look and feel entirely different even though you have not lost weight. Don’t worry about the scale – pay attention to how your clothes fit.
Muscle is two to three times more metabolically active than fat. This means it burns more calories. Muscles contain an abundance of insulin receptors. This helps lower insulin levels.The more muscle you have the easier it is to control insulin and blood sugar. Muscle is your friend.
Remember: Sugar is your enemy. Muscle is your friend. That’s exercise and nutrition in a nutshell.