Sceptically Fit


Lots of Links

Filed under: Exercise, Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 22:32

Can running help with skin conditions? And more evidence of the less is more approach to running.

The mainstream media is picking up on the increasing evidence that its the increase of sugar in our diet that has caused the obesity crisis. Its been posted everywhere, so I won’t comment much – low-carb diet came out best for longterm weight loss. But before you get too concerned, being skinny is more of a health risk than being moderately overweight.

Keep exercising! The evidence is mounting up that regular intensive exercise can keep your body performing like a much younger person (maybe not the fittest younger person, but still!). And if you’re afraid of the chronic cardio argument (or using it as an excuse) Jason Fitzgerald takes on the arguments against running. If you can – run outside. Running outside offers mental health benefits that running in a gym doesn’t. Don’t forget to strengthen as well as stretch to prevent ITB.

A comprehensive look at the dangers of phytoestrogens and why you should limit your soy intake.

Eating lowfat salad dressing decreases your ability to absorb nutrients from your salad.

It seems getting people to reduce their meat consumptions isn’t the ecological saviour to the planet that some people have (ardently) proposed. On the subject of unverified claims – it seems the danger of drinking while pregnant has been overstated. Fetal alcohol syndrome is real, but there’s no evidence that light or moderate drinking is implicated.

And the biggest news for all those interested in scientifically verified health news – British scientific research is to be made publically available within five years!


A very prolific week of links…

Filed under: Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 22:39

Another reason to exercise – it helps your body get rid of damaged or degraded cells.  And while exercise preserves muscle – it only preserves the muscle you use so don’t stop the full body routines… and sorry to disappoint – stretching doesn’t stop the doms.

How to ensure good gut health.

A new study suggests the marathon won’t kill you (if you’ve trained for it). Mark Sisson gives some advice on combining weight training with running, and here are some more tips to run faster.

A study postulating that most of humanity evolved with carbohydrate scarcity causing a greater insulin resistance to be selected for which is now what presupposes many ethnic groups for type2 diabetes.

Looking into the wider animal kingdom – researchers have discovered predators will hunt to ensure a nutritionally balanced diet.

Morning People – that’s as good as you’re going to be. Me, my brain’s just warming up!

Conditioning Research takes a look at the importance of sleep and its effect on obesity.

Evolvify takes a look at the (lack of) evidence behind the women like alpha males theory in pickup culture.

Despite being the ready energy source of many – another study suggests avoiding carbohydrates will help you stay awake.

Lifehacker looks at the science behind a bad mood.

From Not Just a Man’s World – a look at a study on the effects of resistance training on flexibility for young women.

Loren Cordain answers a few questions on the paleo diet – its going to take me a while to get through his paper on Cereal Grains.

A good reminder of the power of the placebo.


Thoughts on trying to plan Running and Nutrition

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , — Sceptically Me @ 18:04

When I first started exercising I oscillated heavily between lots of enthusiasm and heavy procrastination. This was especially so with anything cardio related – weights are so much easy for me to force myself to do. When I first started running I continued my lazy technique of rolling out of bed, put your gym clothes on, walk the five mins it takes to get there and be halfway through your workout before you’ve really woken up. With running, I would pull on clothes, jog to the nearby park, do a few stretches and then do my 5-12km run. And this worked pretty well  for up to 12km. After that I started having to look into eating beforehand taking water/carbohydrate drinks with me.

One thing I still have problems with is eating when I get back. This morning I finished off my last paleo chocolate coconut pudding before the run to make it a bit easier. Even though I took it pretty gently (11km in 1hr 15) fighting the wind meant it was a hard run for large parts. It just seemed to take ages to cool down and stretch, and then I thought I’d wait till after my shower to make something to eat. Well, I’ll put some coffee on and then I’ll cook something. By the time I sat down with my bowl of coconut prawn soup I was feeling woozy.

Would I have been better to just get up and go and save the pudding for when I got back? As I start looking to up my mileage on the weekend should I be looking to have food ready to eat when I get back – something like paleo muffins?

On the plus side with today’s running is, despite the wind, it felt easier than last week when I barely made 6km. I still walked the steepest part of the hill (a fact I don’t care about) but I didn’t feel like I was exhausted or my legs are giving up on me. My last two days of comfort eating had meant I’d upped my carbs a bit although I had intended to try that anyway. And I think it helped. With the amount of exercise I’m aiming to be doing I think its better for me to be eating closer to the 100-150gm rather than 50-100gm. At least on the days I am actually exercising. I also measured myself this morning (during that will I run outside/go to the gym decision making) and have lost another half centimetre of my waist, hips and thighs. So its not like eating more carbs have hindered me that way either.



First Outdoor Run of the Year

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 16:19

It is freezing outside! Ok, maybe not freezing to people living in Canada, but for the UK 4C is cold (supposedly this weekend is experiencing a cold snap that might bring snow on Monday or Tuesday – yay snow!).

But it wasn’t raining, and it didn’t look icy (it wasn’t!), I have bought myself a running jacket that’s mostly been used for cycling so far,  and if my argument is I can’t stand running on a treadmill – I need to get out there. So I did – rugged up with cycling glove, running jacket (yes a sports top underneath), running tights and a headband to cover my ears.

I was warm enough – if I’d run for longer probably too warm – but the run was hard. I didn’t try to push for speed, but still it was pretty laboured.  Was it because it was cold? I understand that cold weather thickens the blood so your heart works harder to pump it (one of the reasons there are more strokes in winter). Was it because I’m terribly out of shape? Was it because I’ve dropped my carbohydrates low enough I don’t have a ready supply? Was it because I’m just not eating enough in general?

I suspect a little of all the reasons. I definitely have been slacking fitness-wise. Yes I’m tired after my weights, but I really need to start forcing myself to do some sprints afterwards. And now that I’ve signed up for two half-marathons this year, I need to get much more running in on non-weight days.

I don’t think I’m eating enough. I think I have my MyFitnessPal calorie count set too low – so even when I’ve matched what it said, its not really enough. I’ve just adjusted it so that I should be looking at 1930 calories a day before exercise. I know the point of paleo is not to monitor your calories and just listen to what your body is telling you. But that’s a difficult thing to trust. At this point, I feel comfortable noting down what I’ve eaten and compare that with how I feel and what the numbers say.

I also decided to conduct a little experiment. The other day I said that I’d gained a centimetre on my thighs while losing elsewhere. I suspected that was because of the effect of exercising before measuring. So I measured my thigh prior to running, and again afterwards – 2cm difference! So I have lost size on my thighs but they certainly do expand with use.


Link Roundup

Filed under: Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 23:16

Norway is suffering a butter shortage due to the popularity of low-carb diets.

Stevia wins European approval – in general I try to avoid artificial sweeteners but if its safe, more choice is good. Jezebel looks at the evils of pharmaceutical companies. And now another reason to doubt rice is the benign grain – arsenic!

More evidence emerges that eating fish is good for you: helping to prevent alzheimers; and the younger a baby is when it starts consuming fish, the less likely it is to suffer preschool wheeze.

Lifehacker looks at how to stop negative thoughts. Rob Wolf looks at how to identify if your cravings are due to biological, emotional or external triggers.

Evolutionary Psychology looks at depression and chemical imbalance. Wheat Belly author, Dr Davis is interviewed at Wellness Mama.

Mark’s Daily Apple looks at how to train for a marathon the healthy way – I’m hoping this will be useful at my planned half-marathon level. I’m really not wanting to go through the carb binge cycle like last time. And while I’m thinking about it, Strength Running takes a look at the real world benefits of endurance running.

The Netherlands wasn’t always a cyclist’s paradise – a look at the deliberate planning that went into improving the cycle-friendliness of Dutch cities. Lovely Bike argues against social ideas of female modesty limiting women’s ability to talk about their experiences.

Skeptic North takes aim at the poor arguments used against those sceptical of Big Nature.

Speaking of sceptical wins – the Burzynski Clinic‘s attempts to silence their critics has backfired. Now they’re  firing their thug


Months of thinking – lots of links

Due to a multitude of life stress going on I’ve really feel behind on this site. So in an attempt to catch up I’m going to just link to all the stories that have caught my eye over the last few months.

Vitamin C supplementation may aid recovery from intense exercise in the cold. Is honey even honey any more? Why do we keep messing with our food.   Are our agricultural staples trying to kill us? A look at which nutrients are essential for healthy mitochondria. Can you eat too much liquorice? Yoghurt doesn’t work the way we thought. A look at the effect of a paleo diet on testosterone. The evolution of lactose tolerance and how to use it if you have it. An interview with Dr Loren CordainWholegrain pasta offers no benefit over refined pasta. A look at preparing traditional grains. Are eggs the answer to weightloss? Here’s seven more reasons to eat them.

Meat doesn’t rot in your colon – grains do. Another study shows that grass-fed red meat is healthier. A diet high in fat is not fattening. A ted talk on using diet to stop angiogenesis. And a diet high in carbohydrates is linked to cancer. So while low carb seems better for reducing cancer and heart disease, its best to keep it high in vegetables.

However, is it just a matter of  eating whole foods that’s more important than individual nutrients. The Perfect Health Diet offers a food apple guide, and lifehacker suggests how to begin eating ancestrally

Are you always aware of what you eat – a look at how your subconscious mind affects your diet. The link between  omega3  imbalances and depression and how increasing your omega3 levels can reduce inflammation and anxiety. How to balance your omega 6 vs omega 3 ratios. A guide to cravings and what your body might actually be needing.

Mark Sisson talks about the idea of gateway foods and helpfully provides a delicious sounding recipe for pumpkin pie. How about paleo egg-cupcakes? On the low-carb front – if you’re missing burgers how about a recipe for an oopsie bun. When the winter colds hit – here’s some suggestions for healthy comfort food. And now you’re inspired – here’s a big recipe roundup.

Letting children’s playground be fun results in less accidents then those awful safety playgrounds. A look at the differences of American-European values. Interesting how a respect for individual rights plays out when the people are women. Alas offers a simple primer to evaluate the anti-women’s health arguments. Another reason to damn the development of agriculture. Sam Harris looks at how to be safe in a world with a propensity for violence.

Weightlifting for women is starting to hit the mainstream. A guide to dynamic stretching. Does muscle really burn more calories? Its important to pay attention to muscle imbalances.  Is chocolate milk the best post-exercise drink? Exercising on an empty stomach may not be a good idea. Why cardio is not the best way to lose fat. How exercise can you become more sensitive to feeling full when eating. What ever you do – just stop sitting  down!

Cycling can be dangerous – the Florida Dept of Transport says riding 4-5 ft from curb, not wearing spandex, being a woman all cause cars to move further over in the lane when passing you. And its shown to be cheaper to build cycling infrastructure than not.

Seven ideas to improve your running, and how to improve your mileage.

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