Sceptically Fit


The ideal food pyramid

Filed under: Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , — Sceptically Me @ 19:48


Turning a Setback into a Success

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , — Sceptically Me @ 17:47

Saturdays are my long run day – a gentle non-gylcogen-depleating long run of about 19-22km. I had the house to myself this morning, and was feeling very much in need of a coffee first thing so I decided to take my time to breakfast and then head out for the run.

Sun streamed through my window while I had my coffee, a couple of eggs and some bananas and read the news, surfed a bit – you know weekend morning stuff. Got dressed, did my warm up and headed out. Into snow and hail!

I got about a km away from home before I decided to turn back and head to the gym instead. Now there’s no way I can cope with running on a treadmill for 2 hours. I hate treadmill running so much I don’t think missing one run is motivation to force myself there. Instead I decided to up my lifts – it had been an accidental rest week due to work so now was a good time to push myself. Squat, sumo deadlift, overhead press, bench press, hip thrust all upped. Increased reps on assisted chinups, assisted pullups and standard deadlifts. Even increased the number of sprints I did at the end of the workout (that’s what treadmills are for – sprint workouts!).

  • Barbell Squat – 5×3 35kg (up 5kg!)
  • Overhead Press – 5×4 25kg
  • Sumo Deadlift – 5×1 65kg
  • Deadlift – 5×1 60kg
  • Romanian Deadlift – 4×8 35kg
  • Bench Press – 5×4 32.5kg
  • Barbell Hip Thrust 4×10 50kg
  • Assisted chinup – 5 at -7.5kg
  • Assisted pullup 5 at -15.5kg
  • plank – 120secs
  • sprints – 7 at 14km/hr

Out of all that – the Romanian/Straight-leg deadlift if the only one I didn’t increase weight or rep/time. Strength-wise I think the sumo, deadlift and hip thrust cover what the Romanian/Straightleg deadlift covers without the same risk to my back when increasing the weight. If anything I tend to be using it more as a loosening up/cardio move after theproper deadlifts.

News around the web

Filed under: Exercise, Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 12:44

Have you registered for the Paleo Summit – its being advertised as a virtual Paleo conference. I’ve signed up, it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

A look at breaking the exercise to eat cycle. Eating and Exercise are not morally loaded actions but so many treat them that way.

Realize that you do not need permission to eat. You don’t have to earn your calories. You’re a beautiful person worthy of eating just by virtue of existing. Even if you do nothing but sit on your butt, you have earned the right to eat and to eat food that is enjoyable.

Exercise is not punishment. You should find a way to move your body that you enjoy. While no exercise is 100% fun 100% of the time, I’m convinced everyone can find a way to be active that is challenging, fulfilling and mostly fun. If you hate running, please don’t run! (And to my readers who love running – you keep on running, I don’t mean you!) Dance, hike, bike or join a synchronized swim team (and then tell me how they get all that makeup to stay on in the pool!) but find something you love.


An interview with  female powerlifter, Jean Fry :

Of course! My most recent meet was about 6 weeks ago (at the Powerstation Pro-Am), marking my 4-yr anniversary at Westside. I squatted 415lbs and deadlifted 375lbs at a body-weight of 123lbs; I also scraped out a pro total with 1025lbs (despite having a terrible bench day). My best benches to date are 250lbs at a body-weight of 123lbs and 230lbs at a body-weight of 114lbs.


Mark Sisson looks at the need to eat brightly coloured vegetables and sulfur rich vegetables. While  artificial antioxidant supplementation continues to be shown as useless.

Stumptuous looks at the need to eat meat. Over at Hunt, Gather, Love – a review of Why Women Need Fat. examines why humans became smarter rather than just more numerous.

More evidence that exercise doesn’t have to be time consuming, just hard – yes its interval training!

Not Just a Man looks at a couple of studies:

Activity levels affect bone density in women.

As expected, bone density by the BUA measurement increases noticeably with the increase in activity levels.  While VOS also increases, it doesn’t seem to be a significant movement so perhaps activity levels only really impact the structure of the bone rather than its elasticity and exact mineral content?

Strength training and adiposity in Women:

Moving over to the training group there is a much bigger reduction in body fat percentage with almost double the lean mass gains seen by the control group and a statistically significant reduction in fat mass when compared to the control group.  Despite the adherence drop-off in training during year two that was so evident in the strength measurements, the lean mass mostly remained with the trainees, although body fat started to return in year two.  Despite this, the body fat did return at a slower rate than the control group were putting it on, perhaps thanks to the additional muscle the trainees were carrying in year two.

Strength training has also been linked to better cancer survival rates. Exercise also seems to trigger stem cell growth in muscles, as well as just making you feel damn good

A look at the continually changing role of marriage in human society.

A study looks at the role of compression pants in recovery. They found a statistically significant advantage but at this point can only hypothesise as why.

Rob Wolff looks at how to carb-load.

Skeptic North calls for an end to funding of CAM* in education (*psuedoscience and superstition masquerading as health care).

An account of dealing with the creepy


Primal Challenge / January Round Up

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 22:45

My 30 day Primal Challenge kind of petered out.  If anything, I really had a primal challenge of  about twenty days with about ten days of testing the 80/20 rule*. My biggest aim in the paleo challenge was to test a bit more of the grains are bad theory than my previous attempts had allowed.  What I wanted to find out is if the type of carbs really made a difference for me – and it does.

Goals Review:

Overall WellBeing

Get eight hours sleep most nights:

  • A complete fail. I have not been getting enough sleep most of the week and barely manage to catch up during the weekend.
  • I have been experimenting with taking vitamin d3 supplements and while its too early to tell I do seem to be sleeping falling asleep more quickly and sleeping better throughout the night

Complete a 30 day Paleo challenge

  • More of a 20 rather than 30 day challenge…
  • Excluding grains makes a difference. Because I’ve started training for a half-marathon, I’ve made sure I’ve been eating more carbs – I’m generally eating more carbohydrates than I did prior to starting this (mostly sweet potato). So its not the macro balance, its the absence of grains especially wheat. Trying rice made me feel more bloated but not as off as wheat. That’s good enough for me to assume I have an intolerance to gluten – although I’m happy to accept further evidence suggesting there’s something more complicated at play
  • I have more energy and despite some personal ups and downs – feel happier.
  • the advantage of failing at the challenge was seeing how well it would fit into my normal life without too much trouble.
  • Did I lose weight? No – I put on half a kilo. However, I did lose 3cm from my waistline and lost approximately 2% of body fat (I average a couple of different calculator results)

Keep my houseplants alive – I solved that one by throwing out my dead houseplants. You can’t fail to keep them alive if you don’t have any…

Fitness Goals

  • be able to do a full pull up – still working on this on. Down to a 7.5kg counterweight on the assisted pullup machine but really feel like I’ve stalled. Will be looking into more exercises to help strengthen up whatever stabilising muscles are underdeveloped.
  • run a half marathon in under two hours in May : This is coming along well. I ran 16.98 km in an 1:50 last weekend. Not fast, but that’s the point. I’m trying to do my long run at a gentle pace well below using up my glycogen reserves. Last year, I was pushing myself faster and was having a lot of trouble with recovery and a crazy appetite. This year, I’m doing pretty well – I’m keeping Friday and Sunday as a rest day (with Wed as a partial rest day), which gives my long run a nice preparation before and recovery after.

Creative/Lifestyle Goals

  • improve my paleo cooking – I’ve made a few things: butternut pumpkin soup and chocolate coconut pudding. More than that though I’ve been inspired by recipes. So that’s a good thing.
  • complete the beginners swing dancing course : three weeks and counting!
  • finish a book a month: do graphic novels count?
  • take the time to indulge my creative side at least once a week: does this count?



*Currently down for maintenance so in case the url’s change I’ll put links to Mark’s Daily Apple guide to the 80/20 principle here. Further 80/20, still further.


Day 26 and 27 of the Primal Challenge

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 00:32

My Vitamin D3 experiment is coming along interestingly – I was late to work today because I’m 99% sure I turned off my alarm without really waking up. I’m still counting that as a success because I never normally sleep that soundly.

I’m also counting as a success the fact that I managed to get to the gym yesterday and today – the lovely world of pms where things just feel so much more effort than they normally do. Except it didn’t. Normally, if I push myself I can manage the same lifts, but at a reduced workout but anything cardio is just too much intensity to push though. But this time there was definitely still the feeling of this is harder than normal. If I’d slept better on Sunday night I’m sure I’d have managed my full routine on Monday. But I did the core exercises (squats, press, romanian deadlift, bentover row, hip thrusts and the exercises my massage therapist had advised me) and was surprised that the squats and the press didn’t feel that hard. I don’t mean they were easy but they both had the feeling like, maybe I’m going to be able to increase weight soon. Today was a hill run routine on the treadmill and I was really expecting it to be hard work. I really wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get to 20minutes. Instead I finished the full 25, and contemplated whether next Tuesday I’ll be putting the speed or the incline level up. If giving up grains means pms becomes so much less of a hindrance – its worth it to me!

Last and final success is one I’m not sure about. I’d been resisting the allure of chocolate for the last two days. I even looked on line while dinner was cooking to see if there was some kind of paleo chocolate dessert I could whip up quickly and easily. In the end I’m pretty sure laziness won rather than self restraint. Trouble with laziness … So I ended up having a dark chocolate bar (85%). I’m not considering having it a problem – a world without chocolate isn’t one for me. But it was clearly some kind of emotional urge rather than really a taste issue. And it wasn’t particularly satisfying. Not in I want more kind of way, but in a food doesn’t solve emotional needs kind of way. Which is good, now I just need to work on what does solve the emotional needs…


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