Monday, March 31, 2014

The One Exercise You Must Never Do! And Other Marketing Scams

The One Exercise You Must Never Do!

Come on, I know someone has sent an email to you with that headline. Maybe one of the Facebook Pages you follow or liked? Maybe on an ad-supported blog? I've written here and on a few other blogs about how our poor minds are assaulted by:

  • Bad Math
  • Bad Statistics
  • Bad Medicine
  • Bad Science

This is a perfect example.

Running will kill you and make you fat and make your heart explode and cause world terrorism and an outbreak of hot yoga.

Trail Running in Winter at Altitude - training for Mountaineering

Seriously though, I've mentioned before that there is a disproportionate number of runners with a high bodyfat percentage. Not a high BMI. They're well within the limits established by the FDA, the government organization in charge of selling prescription drugs and agricultural products.

Yes, if you run to the exclusion of weight or strength training (yoga and pilates are neither) then your muscles will become very efficient and streamlined. You will lose muscle that is not being used for running. You will even lose leg and core muscle, those actually used in running. You will become weak. You might have a very low bodyweight but still be 30% fat. Now, if you have half a brain and can do rudimentary logic, you'll notice that at no time did running cause this person to get fat. They probably always had 30 pounds of fat to carry around, and when they weighed 160 this was only 19%, which while not great, is at least reasonably "healthy" - but at 100 pounds of bodyweight it's an appalling percentage. It's the actual percentage that is most likely attributable to disease and demise, and not the actual pounds.

READ THIS - Steady State Cardio Debunked

But there are some amazing articles out there based on bad science, math and medicine, similar to the Vitamin E article I recently wrote. Here are a few headline examples:

  • Ultra-runners die younger from all diseases than any other group.
  • Marathon runners die younger from all diseases than any other group.
  • 5k runners die younger from all diseases than any other group.
  • People who run once a year die younger from all diseases than any other group.

I'm not sure how all four of those groups could simultaneously be the worst of any other group, including each other. What I do know though is that it makes for great support materials when you're writing ad copy for your products. When a company starts promoting and using these articles and using them in inflammatory advertising you know that something is up.

You probably hate running and the idea of running an hour a day is totally not going to work for your weak and fragile emotional stability. That's useful when someone tries to sell you something like:

"get buffer than buff in only 15 minutes a day on our HIIT program!"

Usually these ads will find some poster boy who is more often than not a genetic freak and looks amazing all the time and probably doesn't do the exercises they're selling except maybe for the illustrations or DVD. They might try to appeal to some macho element of manliness or some hot body female fantasy. Since you don't want to run anyway, they are reinforcing your weakness and appealing to your baser desires. They agree with you so you totally will say "Yes" to the first suggestion, never run. A common sales tactic is to try to get a potential client to say "Yes" to anything even once, then fork from there to various ideas until you get 6 "Yes" answers and at that point they're ready to sign anything. This is a core idea of many of the "How To Sell" programs from the self-help dudes.

Putting on my socks and running shoes

Beware of these sales pitches based on bad science, bad math, and bad medicine.

When and Why Should You Run?

If you don't know that then you are probably susceptible to these scammers. I know lots of runners of various types. I run for training and also train for running. It's a subtle distinction. Many people start out running for training and then suddenly get the idea they're runners and before long they get consumed with mileage and time and the rest of their life disappears into the dust from their heels on the road.

If you don't know how many miles and for how long you should run, depending on your goals and other sports activities, then you should find out ASAP. If you're training for a 5k you might never have to go more than 8 miles in a week, totaling an hour or less each week. If you're training for a marathon you might have to run 40 miles a week, and since it would be at a slower pace, probably take up 5 to 7 hours. That's still manageable in the context of a well rounded program. If you're not going to Place in an Age Group (meaning that if you're not going to be the top 3 in your decade of age - 40's, 50's etc.) you have no reason to do more than that.

Incline Treadmmill at 24% training for mountaineering
If your sport of choice is not running than what is your sport? Tennis? Maybe you need to run 20 minutes a day and not even worry about distance or speed. You're trying to build up endurance to be strong at the end of a match. You do run in tennis in brief bursts of energy, so sprinting would be a great addition to your running training.

I'm not going to go through all the sports and relate them to running. Hopefully you get the idea that marketing speak that forces you to switch gears needlessly might do more harm than good. All to sell you something you probably don't need.

Bottom Line:

  • Know why you run, and relate it to a realistic program
  • Add in the appropriate amount of strength and weight training
  • Eat the best fuel available to support your training but not unhealthy fat

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weight Training Secret Manual: 8 Hacks to Beat the Plateau

It's awesome to write my first training program manual, publishing it on Amazon, and in that same week rise to the top of the ranks in two categories that are completely relevant and somewhat competitive. I want to thank everyone who took advantage of the two free days of celebration with free downloads on Amazon [CLICK HERE].

#1 for Kindle->Short->22-32 Pages->Sports & Outdoors
#2 for Kindle->eBooks->Nonfiction->Sports->Training

I wrote the training manual to address a need common among those who train with weights. The Plateau.

"A Plateau is generally described as a steep ramp with a flat section at the top. Think of the old Western movies. Imagine the cowboy riding his horse up the switchbacks to the top and being met by an endless expanse of sage and tumbleweed plain stretching off to the horizon. When you get to a Plateau in your training that's what it feels like. You can spend months spinning your gears and not make any progress." from the book

The training manual outlines 8 training cycles to insert into your current program to get you back on track with your training goals. Get bigger stronger faster with these training cycles. Be sure to go get your copy now. Amazon restricts how many times a year I can use their promotions, so if you miss this one, there are still two more ways to get the Kindle eBook for FREE.

  • Kindle Matchbook (Free with Paperback purchase)
  • Kindle Prime Lending Library (free with Prime Membership)

Thank you everyone who contributed to my rank with the purchase of this Kindle eBook!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Training to Climb Kilimanjaro

In one of the Social Media sites recently I saw a link to this great statement about training to climb Kilimanjaro.

Preparing for a Kilimanjaro Climb:
Most people prepare for Kilimanjaro with fitness training .. getting reasonably fit makes sense, the gym work outs or sprinting up flights stairs etc will not prepare your body for the demands of a Kili Climb. You need to get your body used to walking for several hours for several days, but any fitness training beyond that will not increase your chances to .. summit. It is the altitude that will get you, not your lack of fitness.
This sounded interesting to me for a number of reasons.
  • Get used to walking for several hours for several days
  • Gym workouts do no good
  • Sprinting up stairs do no good
  • Lack of fitness will not get you
Steep rugged trail on Kilimanjaro
In this excellent book that I highly recommend to all climbers: Going Higher: Oxygen Man and Mountains, by Charles Houston a great deal is made of the physiological response to altitude and how greater fitness can help with acclimatization, with enhanced vascularization. This is how the body responds to strength endurance training, like running at 75% capacity. You can get some of the same benefits in less time by sprinting up flights of stairs, etc.

Strength training is essential for most sedentary people who seek to climb Kili. Your glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads are probably not in good enough shape to get you up that hill. Sometimes this results in poor sleep at night as you recover from your trek, and eventually leads to AMS.

The article I mentioned above stated that you need to walk several hours each day for several days in a row. I think most people would be walking too slowly to have any reasonable chance of increasing fitness. Most people probably don't have several hours each day every day to wander the hills of home, if there are any. In that case, a trainer would probably recommend sprinting up stairs to save time and simulate the steep final day on Kili.

The article goes on after the quote to recommend that you take a safari in the plains of Tanzania to acclimatize. Of course, there is that angle. Don't train. Any acclimatizing you do at home will be lost on the plane. Just come and do a week long safari and then you'll be ready for the summit. I should mention too that I've seen climbers being carried by the porters.

Just minutes away from the Kilimanjaro summit

Training to Climb Kilimanjaro

When I read that article I suddenly realized that my Couch to Colorado 14er Training Program actually can be done as training for Kilimanjaro with no alterations at all. When I was at the Roof of Africa I thought of it as a multi-day Fourteener hike. Summit day up to the crater rim was much like the final steep ridgeline on Quandary, just a bit longer.

If you're doing Kilimanjaro, do yourself a favor and get in shape, in spite of what the guide companies tell you. My 16 week program is perfect training to climb Kilimanjaro. CLICK HERE to register to be notified when it is released in early April of 2014. I'll let you have a FREE COPY of my book "Planning Your Home Cardio Theater" that outlines my own strategies that I've used everywhere I've lived in the past 7 years to achieve my own fat loss transformation and success in climbing.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fun with statistics

Have you heard the news? People who take any dosage, any amount, for any duration, of Vitamin E are twice as likely to die from any and all causes. I've posted about this hilariously scary statistic a time or two. Imagining the horror of someone popping open a bottle of Vitamin E and just as the pill touches their tongue an airplane engine comes crashing into their bedroom and wipes out the house and takes them out in a flaming ball of doom.

Yeah. I'm terrified. Let's clean the shelves and get rid of that stuff. Not. 

Home made rice pudding - healthy eating

Here's how these funny statistics devolve. You're doing a research study on dead people looking for something, anything, that they have in common. Apparently 2/3 of them had taken Vitamin E in some portion of the years previous. The data doesn't say how much, how often, or for how long they've been taking it. But that's statistically significant. Approximately 2:1 ratio. Twice as likely to die. No matter how much or for how long. Vitamin E. Then we look to see how they died. Every way imaginable. Stabbing, shooting, heart attack, old age, scabies, mad cow disease. Yeah. Any and all causes.

So apparently any dose of Vitamin E means you are twice as likely to die from any and all causes. Got it? Scared yet? 

If you take a step away from academia for just a second, you know this is utter nonsense. Correlation and causation having nothing to do with each other, especially in a study as flawed as that. Yet I'm sure it was peer-reviewed, and it was all over the news. Scary stuff sells Happy Meals I suppose. By the way - did you know that over 98% of people who died last year in the USA had eaten ketchup? Yeah. Be warned.

Where we run into conflicts with this is in the industry I'm most familiar with - diet, nutrition, and fitness.

Believe it not. Up to you really. Many, if not most, of the most cherished of fitness, diet, and nutrition principles are based on flawed studies like the above. Here are a few examples, and if you have half a brain to remember these in an objective manner, you'll see the flip-flop of science over time.

  • Fat is good/bad for you
  • Meat is good/bad for you
  • Organic is good/bad for you
  • Vitamins are good/bad for you
  • Carbs are good/bad for you
  • Weight training is good/bad for you
  • Stretching is good/bad for you
  • Running is good/bad for you

Get the picture yet? Remember reading the articles about sound, peer-reviewed scientific studies that prove all of those points? You might have noticed that I don't really jump all up and down and get really excited for either reason. If a study proves something I'm doing works, or doesn't work, I don't much care.

Upper Back development at 180 pounds and 12% bodyfat

I am my own laboratory!

While working my way down from 238 pounds to 180 pounds over two years I learned a lot about how my body works. I learned about training and about eating. I went from being barely able to stay on an elliptical at the lowest level for 20 minutes to taking 5th place in Elbrus Race 2013.

I am currently sharing this info in a number of ways. For less than a dollar you can get the ebook The 100 Calorie Diet Plan - instruction manual for a new way of eating. I love the controversy surrounding this book already. People who haven't read it at all are using the same logic as the Vitamin E study to claim it doesn't work for them. Read it and decide for yourself ARTICLE.


I finished publication of my magnum opus, Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging and in the first two weeks that it was listed I sold more paperback editions than I had anticipated. I was shipping books out left and right. You can get it on Amazon HERE for a spectacular price right now, so be sure to check it out. If you have Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited you can even get it free (be sure to follow the directions for Prime or you will be charged).