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Measure Everything

I’m amazed that people spend so much time going to the gym, yet fail to take the extra minute or two to incorporate practices that help them get the most out of their time there. One thing that people tend push to the side is keeping a thorough log of their gym routines.

In order to truly get the most out of each workout, its important to establish a measurement system. This can be done by logging the details of each workout. Why is it important? For starters, it helps you remember the exercises you did last time you were at the gym. More importantly, it enables you to track your progress. Tracking progress is important for assessing the effectiveness of routines as well as serving as an indicator for when components of a workout or specific exercise should be adjusted. Some examples of adjustments are increasing the weight for a lifting exercise or speed on the treadmill.

In terms of what to measure, you should attempt to record the necessary details of each exercise that facilitate a consistent baseline from workout to workout. I’ve outlined two examples below to gain a better understanding of what I mean.

Weightlifting measurement:

  • Name of exercise
  • Number of repetitions
  • Number of sets
  • Rest time between each set
  • Machine setting (seat height etc)

Treadmill measurement:

  • Incline
  • Speed
  • Time elapsed

Although it may seem tedious to measure these things, the returns you receive are worth it. Without this information, its hard for us to determine whether our training is effective and when we should increase resistance (which comes in many forms). Both of these are necessary for achieving maximum effectiveness in the gym. Bottom line: if you want the most out of your workouts, a good place to start is keeping a comprehensive log.

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Paleo Chicken Wings

Just wanted to give a shout out to Dr. Paul Jaminet’s Paleo Chicken Wings, they look amazing:

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=4666

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High Intensity Exercise recommended for longer life

A study in Denmark showed that the relative intensity of cycling is the most important factor in the life extension benefits of the exercise.  The higher intensity the people cycled, the more benefit they received (please keep in mind it does not mean that they cycled longer…typically when intensity is increased, the duration is decreased).

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110829070507.htm

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Studies confirm Cocoa’s benefits

More studies have confirmed something most of us already knew, that cocoa, the main ingredient in dark chocolate is quite good for you, being an antioxidant, antiinflammatory, and direct benefits such as a reduction in stroke potential.

The easiest way to get these benefits is to eat a square of 85% or 90% dark chocolate (about 50 calories) every couple of days.  Raw cocoa powder can be added to shakes, smoothies etc, however, be aware it’s very concentrated and bitter, so you don’t need a lot, probably a teaspoon to a tablespoon.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110829070555.htm

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Low Polyunsaturated fat diet still has high Omega 3

This is actually a really interesting finding and again goes to show that the body can manufacture various nutrients.

The Maasai eat a diet that’s mostly saturated fat, and very low in polyunsaturated fat, meaning they don’t get a lot of Omega 3 or Omega 6.  However, their cells are comprised of a small but decent percentage of Omega 3:

The study indicates the Maasai diet is rich in SFA and low in PUFA. Nevertheless, red blood cells are composed of comparable proportions of long-chain n-3 PUFA to populations consuming higher amounts of this fatty acid group.

http://www.lipidworld.com/content/10/1/141/abstract

This shows that for long term health, it’s more important to have the right balance of essential fatty acids vs. having more of them.  Meaning, it would be better to have a 1:1 ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 at say 1g per day vs. having to take 5g of Omega 3’s to match your Omega 6 intake.

Stop consuming vegetable oils and high Omega 6 nuts!