The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #109 – Vitamin D3 From Mushrooms, The Benefits of Interval Training & Fasting, and Possible Flaws in a Recent Anti-Meat Study

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Here’s a recap of the best health and fitness articles I’ve read over the past week.



Mushrooms can provide as much vitamin D as supplements

Vitamin D is good for bones, muscle strength and strengthening the immune system, so it’s something everyone should be getting plenty of. This study shows that mushrooms grown under UVB lights can produce Vitamins D2, D3, and D4. I’m not sure what the best mushrooms are to get these benefits, but from some quick research I see that wild mushrooms have 400-500 IU of Vitamin D per serving. If you don’t have access to wild mushrooms, you can set store bought mushrooms in the sun or under a UV light for 5 to 10 minutes to increase vitamin D levels. It works both pre and post harvest.



System allows multitasking runners to read on a treadmill

I don’t do much cardio these days, but I have in the past and yes, I’ve tried reading while running on the treadmill, because treadmill running is BORING! If you’ve tried reading while running, you know that it’s not easy. Well it looks like a new device called the ReadingMate might be the answer. The ReadingMate can account for the runner’s motion and will move the text in unison with head movement. Cool!



Interval Training and Intermittent Fasting: A Winning Combo

HIIT training and intermittent fasting is really popular these days and you get more benefits if you do both. The idea is to fast for 12-18 hours – stop eating 3 hours before bed and try not to eat for the next 12+ hours after your last meal. You want to workout in a fasted state and eat a recovery meal 30 minutes after working out. For HIIT training, you want to warmup for 3 minutes, exercise as hard as you possibly can for 30 seconds and recover for 90 seconds at a slower pace. You repeat this for up to 7 more times if you can. Check out the video on this page to see an example. He does it on treadmill, but there are lots of other HIIT workouts you can do. Just search Google.



Blood, Berries or Butter: Maverick Wellness Highways

This is a crowdsource campaign to raise funds to create a documentary featuring people like Dave Asprey, Rich Roll, Nicholas Perricone, Abel James, Steven Fowkes, Justin Mager, Jim Kean, Chris Berka, Patrick Drake, James Hardt, Sarma Melngailis and a bunch of other biohackers. This is going to be one amazing documentary!



Cold Thermogenesis Easy Start Guide

I can do the face dunking and I can probably do 20-40 lbs of ice on my chest with a compression shirt on, but I’m not sure how I feel about cold water immersion. Who knows though, I just might end up trying it sometime this summer.



The Red Meat Scapegoat: The New York Times, Carnitine, Heart Disease and Science

You might have heard all the news recently about red meat causing increased risk of stroke, at least according to sensationalist journalism on sites like Forbes and the New York Times. I’m not saying that the study is wrong, but here’s a write-up from Dave Asprey on where the scientists who performed this study might have made some mistakes. Dave makes some interesting observations, but at this point his theories are still only theories and they don’t prove that red meat doesn’t cause increased risk of heart disease. I definitely think another study needs to be done though.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #108 – Why Vegetable Oils Suck, New Uses for Creatine and Why You Should Reduce Fiber Intake

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Here’s a recap of the best health and fitness articles I’ve read over the past week. I might as well have called this the Ben Greenfield edition because I’ve linked to several of his articles this week. He just consistently puts out awesome content.



Why Vegetable and Nut Oils Suck

According to this article, it sounds like the only good plant-based oils worth consuming are MCT oil and coconut oil. He also mentions one of the benefits of coconut butter, which is that it contains stearic acid, which helps prevent cells from collapsing.



Ben Greenfield’s Macronutrient Green Smoothie

Ben Greenfield posted this awesome green smoothie recipe on his Facebook page. I’ve already made this a couple times. I should warn you, it’s a very “green” smoothie that some people might not have the taste buds for yet. I’ve been making green juices and green smoothies for two years now, so it’s not a big deal to me. I’m all about it for the health benefits.



New Uses For Creatine

According to the latest research, there are many reasons to use creatine daily, outside of its typical use as a bodybuilding supplement. I wonder if daily use would result in it becoming less Effective for bodybuilding.



Turmeric equals exercise in its ability to prevent aging

Studies show that consuming turmeric can be just as good as working out in terms of preventing aging. And if you do both, you’ll get even better results! Ahh, the miracles of plants.



How Much Fiber To Eat

Konstantin Monastyrsky seems to be quite the expert in fiber, although there are some skeptics online, which you can find by searching his name in Google. If what Konstantin is saying is true, we definitely shouldn’t be consuming foods that are intentionally fortified with bran and fiber. He also recommends peeling all fruits and vegetables before eating them, not only because of fiber but because the skins are what protect foods from bugs and the environment and we shouldn’t put that into our bodies. This is one of the most interesting podcasts I’ve heard in a while. Konstantin also answers everyone’s questions in the comment section too, where you can get all sorts of great additional info.



NEW P90X HOST!!! THIS GUY’S NUTS!! – YouTube

Has Tony Horton been replaced? Now way! It’s too hard to match the awesomeness and funniness of Tony Horton.



What Are The Best Biohacks?

The tips here kinda suck, not because they aren’t good but because they aren’t anything special. But I’m linking to this post anyway because these are people in the bio hacking community worth following.

Form Check and Workout Review โ€“ April 15, 2013

This is the workout performed in the video:

  • Bench Squat – 210 lbs. (5 sets, 5 reps)
  • Bench Press – 135 lbs. (5 sets, 5 reps)
  • Barbell Row – 130 lbs. (5 sets, 5 reps)

Form Check

Squats: Bench squats are new for me and I need to work on positioning. I don’t like my hip hinge in this video and I think the bench might be too close. I was especially disappointed in the very last rep of the last set because I dropped down onto the bench with all of my weight instead leaning back and slowly coming down.

Bench Press: I paid much closer attention to where I was lifting the bar this time, because they last time I did bench I caught myself raising the weight close to my head instead of chest.

Barbell Row: I also paid more attention to how far up I was pulling the weight. I tried to pull as close to my body as I could and hold the weight for a second or so to make sure it wasn’t all momentum.

If you have any thoughts on my form or workout, please share. I’m always open to learning more.

Additional Notes

I switched up my routine to do some bench squats instead regular squats for a week, possibly more. I just want to change things up a bit. I wish I had a shorter box to squat to, but the bench is all I have at the moment.

I had a much longer workout planned, but I wasn’t able to finish it because a large gash opened up on my hand right after my last set of barbell rows. I got the cut earlier in the day when a glass desk shattered in my hands while carrying it. I actually did one set of Incline DB press, but I got blood everywhere. I cut that part out of the video ๐Ÿ˜‰

Below are the additional exercices that I had planned to do. I probably should have done some alternate exercises, now that I think about it. I could have done no-weight calf raises for high reps, leg raises on my Captain’s Chair, and crunches in place of the other ab exercises.

  • Incline DB Press
  • Dips
  • Calf Raises
  • Hanging Leg Raise
  • DB Ab Twist
  • Plank

I’m not sure yet if I’ll post all of my videos on my website, but I do post them all on my YouTube channel, if you wanna check ’em out there ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #107 – Xylitol Research, The Litinov Workout Method and Making Coconut Butter

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Here’s a recap of the best health and fitness articles I’ve read over the past week.



Xylitol Research

Xylitol is a great alternative sweetener but what’s really interesting about the information from this study is that the damage caused by sugars can be stopped just by consuming xylitol, such as in a xylitol-based chewing gum. It also mentions that the digestive issues some people have with xylitol go away after a period of adaptation, usually about 4 weeks. I have a coworker that won’t consume xylitol because of digestive issues. I’ll make sure to let her know about this.



How to Use Up Almond Pulp

These all sound like awesome ideas. I hate throwing away pulp after making almond milk do I will definitely be trying all of these out.



My 5 Favorite Exercises…right now

These are no replacements for heavy traditional lifts but they are great additions to an already solid program. I actually don’t do any of these, but I have done most in the past and can vouch for their effectiveness.



Verifying that sorghum is a new safe grain for people with celiac disease

This is probably welcomed news to celiacs since it won’t cause a reaction to their immune system, but I still wonder about the other possible negative aspects of sorghum, such as high carbohydrate content and all of things Dr. William Davis says about it, like that it causes teeth decay and iron deficiency. Dr. Davis uses extreme examples, but it’s still worth being cautious.



Litvinov Workout

I heard the Litinov method quickly mentioned in a podcast with no explanation given about what it was, so I looked it up. The original Litinov Workout, created by olympic hammer thrower Sergey Litinov, consisted of doing fronts squats of 405 lbs. eight times and immediately sprinting a 75-second 400-meter run and repeating two more times. Obviously we can’t all front squat 405 lbs. but the idea here is to lift really heavy. This article takes Litinov’s method a little further with various alternatives. I would really like to try this in the park with a sandbag sometime this Spring.



Ankle Mobility and one of the Big Ten

Here are two ankle mobility exercises you can do to help get deeper squats. One really cool thing I learned from this video is that it takes a minimum of two minutes to cause change in soft tissue.



Your Hidden Source Of Strength: 3 Steps To Better Breathing

I’ve performed the Vasalva breathing technique during lifts before but I didn’t know that was its name. It works but I’ve always been cautious about it because of how fitness professionals always warn against holding breath during lifts.



Monsantoโ€™s Dirty Dozen

Do you consume sweeteners that contain saccharin or aspartame, such as Sweet’N Low, NutraSweet or Equal? Do you consume foods packaged in polystyrene plastics? Do you eat non-organic meat or vegetables? If you do any of those things, you’re poisoning yourself with cancer-causing chemicals manufactured by Monsanto. Monsanto is the most disgusting business ever. How they haven’t been shut down is a mystery to me. Damn our corrupt government and money-hungry businessman who keep these evil people in business. Stop buying GMO foods!



10 Tips for Making the Best Coconut Butter Ever

I’ve made coconut butter in my vitamix before and it really is delicious. I did it entirely from scratch though. I scraped a fresh coconut, dehydrated it and then turned it into butter. Wayyyy too much work. I definitely recommend buying shreds from the store ๐Ÿ˜‰

Form Check and Workout Review – April 10, 2013

I did this workout yesterday but reviewed it this morning and took notes.

Bench Press – 130 lbs. (5 sets, 5 reps)
Barbell Row – 125 lbs. (5 sets, 5 reps)
Incline DB Press – 55 lb. dumbbells (5 sets, 5 reps)
Dips – Bodyweight only (173 lbs.) – (5 sets, 5 reps)
Calf Raises – 50 lb. dumbbells (5 sets, 10 reps)
Hanging Leg Raises, bent knees – (5 sets, 10 reps)
Dumbbell Ab Twists – 15 lbs. (4 sets, 25 reps)
Plank, for time (1 min. and 10 sec.)

Notes:

Bench Press – Looking at the video, I think I may not be bringing the weight up to the right position. It looks like I’m lifting at an angle and bringing it back behind my head. I’ll pay more attention to that next time. I’ve also noticed that I’m finally hitting weights here that are making me sore.

Barbell Row: I’m not happy with the distance I’m leaving between my body and the bar when it’s all the way pulled up.

It might be time to increase the reps of my dips or add weight. I hesitate because dips have given me a lot of shoulder issues in the past, but I feel like I might be ok to progress slowly.

I’ve also decided to do more work on my core, so I’ve incorporated hanging leg raises, ab twists and planks to my routine. I haven’t decided how often yet to do these, but I’m thinking once or twice a week.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #106 – Vitamins Are a Waste of Money, Fixing Your Hip Hinge and Fixing Weak Hamstrings

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Here’s a recap of the best health and fitness articles I’ve read over the past week. I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently, so my update is bit long. I hope you can make some time to at least check out a few of these.



Most Vitamins Are a Waste of Money

Great post on why we need to research the supplements we take before taking them. The author of this article mentions one of my favorite supplement researchers, which is ConsumerLab.com. Most of my supplement decisions have come from the research they’ve done.



Five Ways to Fix Your Deadlift Today

If you want some tips on doing the deadlift from a coach who knows real weight training and physiology, this is a post for you. This post explains a little about fixing hip hinge, performing rack pulls to perfect form, improving hip mobility, improving spine mobility and learning how to breathe properly. I need to work on every single one of these things.



Hips Don’t Lie: 3 Drills To Nail The Hip Hinge

Just as I was reading about the hip hinge in the article above, I came across this. The hip hinge is something I’ve never tried to work on, although I wouldn’t doubt if it needs some adjusting.



Build Your Own Self-Watering Planter – Step by Step

Garden season is right around the corner and now is the time to start getting everything together. A planter box is nice, but a self-watering planter is even better. I don’t have the money to build one of these this year, but I really wish I did.



Yoga For Starters Infographic

I knew there were several yoga styles but I didn’t realize there were as many as are listed on this infographic. This handy chart tells you which types of yoga are best for things like stress relief, energy, meditation, and even vegetarians. I don’t know how they determine which type of yoga is best for vegetarians, but I guess I’ll just have to trust them.



The Cortisol Challenge

DH Kiefer suggests working out at night when cortisol levels are low and skipping breakfast, since early morning is when cortisol levels are high. According to this article, cortisol levels are highest around 6-8 a.m and begin to drop from 8-11 a.m., so you probably want to hold off eating your first meal as close to 11 a.m as you can. I can do the skipping breakfast part, but I just can’t stick to a routine when I try to workout at night. If I don’t workout in the morning, I don’t workout at all.



It’s getting science-y in here: Everything you need to know about sugar

This really is the all-you-need-to-know guide to sugars and sweeteners. Get the rundown on the best and worst sweeteners around and how they effect our bodies. Looks like the safest sugar is xylitol, which is actually what I use most based on Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof diet.



So You Want to Start Sprinting?

I wanted to incorporate sprinting into my routine last year, but I never did. I’m definitely going to do it this year and I’m starting with the information here. The foam rolling drills and mobility exercises are great too, and not just for sprinting.



Dynamic Effort Training: BS or Legit?

Ready to geek out on exercise science? This one is about determining whether speed work is beneficial towards powerlifting efforts. The topic remains up for debate but according to the original author of the article, powerlifter Mike Tuscherer, from which this article from Bret Contreras stems, it sounds like speed work is best for beginners to lifting. Bret doesn’t provide an opinion on the matter but does go into some science that could help you make a decision on whether you should be doing speed work or not.



Kettlebell Training Manifesto: A Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training

This article provides a short history lesson of the kettlebell, a basic understanding of how kettlebells work, the different types of grips, and some exercises you can do. This is a great guide and goes into quite a bit of detail. Very well put together.



An Alternative to Willpower for Losing Weight

Alex Lickerman, MD is a physician that has found a way to get his patients to stick with the slow-carb diet, despite the fact that most people who go on diets and successfully lose weight, end up gaining a lot of it back later. The key is psychology. Check out Dr. Lickerman’s seven point plan to not only remove bad foods from your diet, but any other vice you might have.



7 Ways to Fix Weak Hamstrings

I just started working on my hamstrings about 4 months ago after reading an article similar to this one, explaining all the reasons why strong hamstrings are important. I haven’t incorporated a whole lot into my routine that focuses on the hamstrings but I probably will now.



11 Reasons to Ditch Processed Foods

This is everything I’ve been learning from the book, Rich Food Poor Food. Here are just a few takeaways – dont eat foods with phosphates as an ingredient, don’t consume foods containing dyes and be careful of foods labeled as “natural.” The FDA has far too many loopholes for food manufacturers and destructive businesses like Monsanto. If you don’t want to poison your body or pass down busted genes to your children, avoid GMO and buy organic.