Random Friday

This was a post from a year ago I believe:

Another random friday for you. I will most likely expand on a couple of these topics in the next couple of weeks. Enjoy!

CNN released an article last week, in which a man lost 27 pounds in two months eating mostly junk food. Not only did he shed of those pounds, he also lowered his LDL (bad cholesterol), raised his HDL (good cholesterol) and lowered his triglyceride levels. It was also revealed that he had a protein shake and a few types of veggies along with his diet.

Personally, I think it’s an interesting test. However, he was in a caloric deficit of about 800 calories per day. So yes, he is going to lose weight with such a large caloric deficit. The article doesn’t say anything about his change in body composition. Did he lose 27 pounds of fat? No way, he would’ve lost some lean mass as well, due to his low protein intake. It’s also common for people to lower LDL and triglycerides as well as raise HDL as a byproduct of fat loss. So it would’ve been interesting to see how his cholesterol and triglyceride levels would change the longer he was on the diet. I’d imagine his HDL would lower, LDL and triglycerides would go back up, but who knows.

I think all ladies and most men should be doing Hip Thrusts. This exercise will hypertrophy your ass (literally) as well as provide strength across the board in lower body exercises. The glutes are a sleeping giant in most individuals, so strengthening them will not only make you more aesthetic but can improve anterior pelvic tilt. Bret Contreras is the Glute Guy and you can check his blog out here.

I’d like to make a point to some of my female readers. Training heavy won’t turn you into a she-male! Bret Contreras and Tony Gentilcore are two great coaches who are on a mission to help the ladies get the bodies they want through lifting hard and heavy. Here is a clip of one of Bret’s clients, I’d say she’s got a great body AND is strong. Look at female sprinters, I don’t think they’re chubby or soft. These athletes have a combination of strength and aesthetics that isn’t seen in the general populace. Why is this? They train hard, heavy and consistently.

I’d like to share something with you that has me vexed. I see personal trainers with their clients on treadmills and bikes etc. way too often. I’m not hating on running, but there are so many other low impact exercise options that can be used to burn fat and get your heart rate up. Besides, do you need to be paying a personal trainer 75$ of your hard earned money to talk to you while you’re on a treadmill? If a client is obese, than treadmills, recumbent bikes etc. can be used. Just do yourself a favour: if you’re unsure how to use the equipment ask your trainer. After that, save your money and do it on your own time.

Check out the abstract of this study. The point of the study was to observe the effects of feeding during watching television on boys. The boys were given a drink containing artificially sweetener or carbohydrates (most likely some form of juice) 2 hours after eating breakfast. They then had the boys eat pizza while watching TV and not watching TV. The boys who watched TV ate an average of 228 kcal more than the no TV group. The conclusion from the study: “TVV* while eating a meal contributes to increased energy intake by delaying normal mealtime satiation and reducing satiety signals from previously consumed foods.” So eating while not distracted by TV or other distractions may reduce caloric intake. Interesting…

*TVV = Television Viewing

A year after reading this my stance is pretty much the same on these topics. With one slight exception. I’m going to start working at a new gym and they emphasize a lot more cardio. The way they look at things, if a client is training for a marathon or some such thing, that they may need time in the gym to actually work on their cardio because they won’t perform is on their own. I would have to agree with them on that point. Any trainer with experience trying to get their clients to do things at home knows how hard this can be. I still think that time could be be partitioned better by taking out aerobic training out of a one our session (if you aren’t competing or it isn’t a goal). Anaerobic cardio can be used to increase both anaerobic and aerobic energy systems and it’s much easier on the joints.

I still think people need glute work as stated above. ‘Reciprocal inhibition describes muscles on one side of a joint relaxing to accommodate contraction on the other side of that joint.’ You may be asking why I put that definition up and what it has to do with the glutes. People sit A LOT, this means that their hip flexors are constantly contracting. Their antagonist, the glutei maximi, therefore must relax to accomodate this contractions. Due the constant relaxation of the muscle it: loses strength; loses tone; and lengthens.

Luckily, we can do our best to keep the glutes strong, toned (a term used in a sense that you probably aren’t familiar with), and short. Exercises such as deadlifts, squats, hip thrusts, hip bridges all do a great job of recruiting the glutei maximi. I always include hip extension exercises in my programs for the reasons stated above.

Enjoy your weekend!

CLA For Fat Loss

In today’s post I will be covering the effects of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) for fat loss in humans. I’m sure many of you have heard of CLA, supplemented with it, or taken XYZ supplement that contains CLA as an ingredient. I will be going over a meta-analysis titled ‘Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans.’ Let’s dig in and see how effective CLA is.

First, let me briefly describe what CLA is. CLA is a a group of linoleic acid isomers found in meat and dairy products found in ruminants. CLA has numerous positive and negative effects on health, I will touch on this later. ‘In nature, the most abundant isomer is cis-9,trans-11 (c9,t11), wheras in supplement forms CLA is typically sold as an equal mix of the 2 predominant isomers c9,t11 and t10,c12.‘ Supplementing with the c9, t11 isomer has resulted in massive reductions in body fat in various animals. For instance Azain et al discovered mice were able to reduce fat mass by 50-60%. Human trials have showed much less dramatic results.

The meta-analysis that I refer to throughout this post covered how CLA effects fat loss as well as the ability to keep fat off after a low-calorie diet. The data from the meta-analysis concluded that supplementing with CLA resulted in a a fat loss of .09kg/wk compared to a placebo. This results in a yearly fat loss of 4.7 kg (10.3 lbs). This is pretty paltry, but I suppose it is something.

In one study a greater loss in fat mass was noted when supplementing with 3.4g/day CLA compared to 6.8g/day. This is a pretty big hole and shows a pretty big weakness in that particular study. It may also show how widely the results may vary when humans supplement with CLA.

As the meta-analysis mentions, the average gain in bodyweight for Americans is currently .4kg/year or .0009kg/wk. So perhaps this supplement may work in the long term to curb weight gain. However, long-term studies on the effects of CLA on humans is rather sparse. Larsen et al studied the effects of CLA supplementation on obese subjects after they had undergone a low calorie diet for 8 weeks. The studies participants who lost >8% of their initial bodyweight were further studied. One groupe received 3.4 g/day of CLA while the placebo group received olive oil. After one year there were no differences in the weight regain between the CLA and the placebo group. Both groups regained ~ 4.0kg of bodyweight.

All-in-all I feel that CLA does work a little bit to lose weight. I personally would keep my money and spend it on something else like food. No supplement will allow you to eat whatever you want! All the studies on CLA had participants on a low calorie diet while supplementing with CLA. Just keep that in mind next time you go spending hundreds of dollars on supps you probably don’t need.