Check this out: Lack of education is not the reason people are
overweight! GAAASSPPP! What did I say? What? Controversy!
If you haven't noticed, the amount of overweight people in the
United States has dramatically increased in the last two decades.
Hmm. Why? Is it because they haven't gotten on the bandwagon of the
paleo diet because they're still scared of the high fat and
cholesterol consumption? Do they just have bad information about
diets? Or is it something more?
Most people assume people just need to be more "educated" to
become healthy or lose fat or build muscle--a belief that's so
deeply held, it's become an invisible script in society. "Ah, if we
just educate these fat people and show them a calorie chart,
they'll wake up from their uncontrolled and overzealous binging and
realize the critical importance of eating less!"
Wrong, wrong, wrong!
As Clotaire Rapaille wrote in his terrific book, The Culture
Code: "Years ago, Tufts University invited me to lecture
during a symposium on obesity… Lecturer after lecturer offered
solutions for America's obesity problem, all of which revolved
around education. Americans would be thinner if only they knew
about good nutrition and the benefits of exercise, they told us.
Slimming down the entire country was possible through an aggressive
public awareness campaign…
"When it was my turn to speak, I couldn't help beginning with an
observation. 'I think it is fascinating that the other speakers
today have suggested that education is the answer to our country's
obesity problem,' I said. I slowly gestured around the room. 'If
education is the answer, then why hasn't it helped more of
"There were audible gasps in the auditorium when I said this,
quite a few snickers, and five times as many sneers.
Unsurprisingly, Tufts never invited me to lecture again."
We already "know" we need to exercise more, eat healthier,
control our sugar intake, and maintain our hydration. So why don't
That matrix--the difference between what we KNOW and what we
actually DO--is where I think the true questions of change need to
be asked and answered.
Short answer: When it comes to changing human behavior and
getting results, implementation trumps information.
Stay tuned for next week's blog as we explore topics I've
coined: Age of Implementation and Habitual Evolution and how they
can help us change our health care problems in the country.
I propose a goal for myself: By the time I graduate to interview
extremely healthy and successful people and study what habits they
implemented into their lives to 'build in' health without even
thinking about it.
Lose 14 lbs. in 10 days. Lose that Waist. Burn the Fat. The Fat
Loss Secret. The Fat Miracle, Bla Bla Bla...Don't they sound
ridiculous? Granted, they aren't real titles (well maybe) but
nearly every month there's a new 'DIET' promising the new 'SECRET /
DISCOVERY / INNOVATION' to those stuffed white adipocytes (fat
cells). Melt Fat Away! Get those Sexy Abs! Tone that Beautiful
What the heck? And the weirdest thing, PEOPLE BUY THESE.
Seriously, look at the top 100 best sellers. Why do people fall for
this stuff? First guess, they need to lose weight and the other
books didn't work. Second guess, because they have BAD
information/education on how/why weight gain happens.
I've read A LOT of health books, a scary number of them, which
is why I can make a claim like, "How to read all of B&N in 5
So... how do you reduce the irreducible? First, start compiling
the similarities. Cut out the hundreds of pages that are basically
retold in a different enlightening voice. (Note: you should read a
couple, but after the first few you realize most of the new books
are rehashing the same stuff in a new way--in order to sell books.
They don't call it best writers or best researchers; they call them
best SELLERS.) Then, test out what works and what doesn't. This
last option is tricky if you haven't self-experimented or
researched as much as I have, but that's why I'm here!
The Top 5 Health Tips
Pretty standard, huh? I saved you 1,000 hours of reading. You're
Welcome. Of course, if you're interested in learning more I would
be remiss in not telling you the biggest book bang for your reading
Biggest Book Bang
Those will cost you about 30 bucks and will give you more
information per page/time invested than any nutrition class I've
From National: Not too much on the class front this week as we
enjoy that awkward week between the end of midterms and the start
Peace Out Cub Scout,
Recently, I attended a seminar given by a DC and a PhD who
specializes in behavioral breathing therapy. The seminar was ultra
cheap ($25) so my friends and I thought it would be good info.
The first hour and a half was great as we learned about
hypocapnia and its many "hidden" clinical manifestations.
Essentially, it's a fancy word for over-breathing or
hyperventilation and the physiologic ramifications of not having
enough CO2 in your blood.
Not enough CO2? But oxygen is the gas of life and carbon dioxide
is poison! Why would you want MORE? Well, for all our sakes I'm
going to skip the lung physiology because it's both dry and boring.
What you need to know is that not having enough CO2 in the blood
can alter the pH balance of the blood and actually DECREASE the
amount of oxygen that gets to the tissues. Despite commonly held
wisdom, the number of breaths you take has nothing to do with the
CO2 levels in your blood. In fact, at the seminar we measured all
sorts of people on this special CO2 machine and found that
sometimes 20 breaths per minute can be better than 5 breaths per
minute--it all depends on the person.
So how do you know if you're doing it correctly? More often than
not, you'll feel like you can't get enough air, you get headaches
easily, feel dizzy or nauseous, and fatigue easily. Those are the
most common complaints. Other clinical complaints that have ties
with hyperventilation are chronic asthma, migraines,
So what does this have to do with chiropractic? To be honest, a
little more than I had thought. However, we probably won't have one
of those machines in our office and we probably won't be doing
breathing behavioral assessments but when it comes to restoring
proper breathing mechanics we can do a world of good. Activating
proper diaphragmatic breathing will greatly improve your breathing
habits so that you breathe more into your core (belly breathing),
instead of using your secondary breathing muscles (SCM, scalene,
upper trap), and breathe into your chest.
I worked with my intern a couple of trimesters ago on engaging
more belly breathing and activating my diaphragm (often overlooked)
and I totally changed my breathing pattern and mechanics. I didn't
have a quantitative way to measure it until this seminar. After
watching doctor after doctor hook up to this machine and
continually register below normal physiologic CO2 levels (35-45)
with most hovering right at or under the 35 level, I registered at
a consistent 42-44. It was the highest by far in the seminar and I
was told that was extremely good.
I do believe I owe my exceptional levels to one other Russian
breathing technique I had learned long ago called the Buteyko
Method, originally developed in the 1950s by physiologist
Konstantin Buteyko in Russia. I stumbled upon it years ago and it
basically trains your body to get used to higher levels of CO2 that
improve human physiology and oxygen to the tissues. The basic
premise being: without CO2, hemoglobin doesn't release O2. So if
your carbon dioxide levels are low, your tissues won't get as much
O2 as you might think. What were the results? Well, I felt less
tired and apparently my numbers were off the charts!
So moral of the story? The Russians had it right. And if you
have any symptoms of hypocapnia, you should Google "Buteyko Method"
and see if it's worth a try. All you need is a timer.
I'll admit this title is a bit outrageous but will become
clearer as I go along. One day I was researching for any evidence
of people who had achieved outstanding increases in lean muscle
mass when it dawned on me...the local high school!
Me: Who puts on more muscle and size faster than a teenager
going through puberty? Think about it! Nobody!
So, I ask the ridiculous follow-up question, "What
can teenage boys teach us about getting huge fast?" The answers
will surprise you since they can't tell you a single thing about
hypertrophy 1, rep maxes, burnout sets, or how to isolate a given
So, why the heck do I mention them? Well, It isn't uncommon for
teenagers to put on the same amount of muscle in a summer
that it takes an adult male 2-4 consistent years to
achieve. See where I'm going with this? If we can pick out some of
the things they do differently than the rest of the world, then we
might be able to replicate their once in a lifetime growth spurt
at Tri Games on campus.
Case Study Time!
So what do they do differently?
I know what you're thinking... DUH! But, last time I checked my
'goods' already dropped and my voice doesn't squeak like a
mouse! So this case study warrants a further breakdown on how to
grow like a teenager...again!
Observation 1: Eat Like Machines
There's a reason why every mother of a teenage boy has a story
about doubling her food bills, mysteriously 'disappearing'
food items from the pantry, and never having any milk left in the
fridge. Teenagers are growing and that growth is accompanied by
lots of food.
Guiding Teenager Principle To Body Building:
If you want to get bigger you have to EAT for a BIGGER
YOU. Want to Gain 10 lbs? Eat for a person 10lbs bigger than
My Twist on Optimizing this Principle:
While increasing your food sounds easy, it's not. It
takes a few days (on average 5) of feeling 'uncomfortably'
full before your digestive enzymes, stomach acid, and gut flora
adapt to the increase in caloric intake. Once they do, you will
become a food-processing machine. However, make sure you keep it
low carb, higher fat/protein to optimize how much insulin your body
secretes and therefore how much muscle/fat you pack on.
When I gained 20 lbs of muscle and lost 7 lbs of fat during my
one-month experiment, I ate 60% fat, 23% protein, 17% carbs. While
the ratios don't have to be exact, the simple rule is the more
carbs, the fatter you'll get. The more protein and fat, the more
muscle you'll put on. It's not much more complicated than that.
Observation 2: Favorable Increases in 'Male
When teenagers go through puberty their hypothalamus produces
GnRH (gonadotrophin-releasing hormones), which triggers the
anterior pituitary to release LH (luteinizing hormone), which then
travels in the blood and tells the cells in the testes (males) to
produce testosterone via the Leydig cells. In some studies they've
recorded puberty levels of testosterone surge 50x higher than the
minute amounts pre-puberty. The effects of testosterone, such as
increased lean muscle mass, increased bone density and decreased
fat mass are largely responsible for the incredible growth many
male teenagers experience. Other hormones such as growth hormone,
IGF-1 (insulin like growth factor 1), and DHEA also elevate in this
phase of development and no doubt play a role as well.
Guiding Teenager Principle To Body
To get bigger, you should optimize (and likely increase) your
testosterone levels. Think that's impossible? Read on.
My Twist on Optimizing this Principle:
DISCLAIMER: First of all you should to go to your doctor and
get your blood tested. Messing with hormone levels can be a serious
thing and if you have a medical condition you should discuss it
with your doctor.
Luckily, I don't recommend doing anything crazy like steroid
injections or topical creams. My testosterone levels started
at 615 and after a month plummeted to 298. Hardly someone you
should take advice from! However, I was overeating flax seed oil,
thinking the omega 3s would increase protein synthesis and decrease
recovery time as a number of reputable studies suggest. Little did
I realize the estrogenic effects of flax have been grossly under
reported. Three weeks of no flax and the recommendations below
later: I doubled my testosterone back to 612. Happy days for my
Observation 3: They are Usually Active
This is the easiest of all of the principles to understand.
Teenagers are usually extremely active despite numerous eyewitness
accounts of Mountain Dew fueled Halo 2 all-nighters. Between
sports, friends, and chasing girls without a game plan, teenage
boys get enough exercise to support their growth spurts.
Guiding Teenager Principle To Body Building:
Get exercise. Duh!
My Twist on Optimizing this Principle:
After reading plenty of research, 'broscience,' and my
own experiences, I can confidently conclude that you can do more to
optimize your lean mass growth than simply exercising.
What is the best type of exercise for inducing teenager-like
growth? High Intensity, Short Duration Workouts. This will increase
both a hormonal and neurologic adaptation that studies have shown
to increase testosterone levels and muscle mass better than longer
duration 75% of max type workouts. In other words, do 1-2 sets of 4
multi-joint exercises (squat, bench, etc.) with the heaviest
weights you can lift. After that go home, eat, rest, and
Hope you enjoyed it!
What is Self-Experimentation?
Self-Experimentation is the unique act of single-subject
scientific experimentation where the experimenter hypothesizes and
performs the experiment on him or herself. In this article I want
to show the value of self-experimentation as a tool to improve your
life, without sacrificing your safety. One of my long-term goals is
to level the playing field of well-funded modern research and speed
up the time it takes the average person to get cutting-edge
information that will meaningfully impact their lives.
Take John Paul Stapp. He was known by many as the fastest man on
earth. When John started his research back in 1947, most physicians
believed that the body could withstand 18g of thrust before
suffering fatal trauma. John Stapp shattered this belief and proved
the body could withstand 40g of thrust--in one daring
How did he do it? Like any reasonable man would. Jumped in a
rocket sled, revved it up to 421 mph, and preceded to slam on the
brakes! (Johnny Knoxville would have been proud!) Remarkably, he
survived and through his continued testing and research he suffered
two broken wrists, retinal hemorrhaging, and broken ribs. Was he
sent to the loony bin? No. He changed his field and helped science
understand how the body reacts to extreme forces--research that has
undoubtedly saved human lives.
Human history is full of these jaw-dropping stories with
everything from a doctor catheterizing his own right arm to men
creating their own vaccines against snakebites by injecting
themselves with pure venom from several species of mambas and
cobras. While those examples are of the extreme variety, and I
highly disapprove you trying those sorts of things, you don't in
fact need to put your life on the line to self-experiment and
improve your life. There are many examples, including my own, where
you don't necessarily accept the 'status quo' and decide to modify
things in a responsible, yet fun way.
I was in middle school the first time I came home to my Mom
complaining of horrible stomach aches. She thought I had a 'bug'
and asked how long I had been having them. I replied, "for a
while." Not one to settle for a vague answer from her children, Mom
repeated, "How long is a while?" With a shrug I replied, "a couple
months?" The answer caught her off-guard as she tried to hide her
shocked face by going to the fridge to flatten some ginger ale, the
only thing that seemed to settle my stomach those days. (I hated
soda, so flat was the only way it was going down).
My mom, fortunately for my future career, was ahead of her time
as far as nutritional awareness goes. Instead of giving me the
nasty pink stomach syrup or chalky antacids or the usual modern
medicine band-aid approach, she brainstormed much like any natural
doctor would, "Why do you think that's happening?" "Are any of your
friends getting sick?" "Did you eat something different?" The
answers weren't so clear at first and thus a few weeks went by.
Given it was around 10 years ago, I couldn't recall how Mom
arrived at the conclusion that I might be lactose intolerant. I
think it was because I used to tell her I loved getting
cheeseburgers for my school lunches! See, somehow she must have
noticed a correlation between when she packed my lunch (no dairy /
no stomach complaints) and when she gave me a special treat (let me
buy school lunch / stomach aches). Sherlock Holmes would have been
Given the nutritional status of school lunches (horrendous) we
could not completely show I was lactose intolerant from that
finding in my 'history.' Plus, when I went to my pediatrician he
said it was normal to have stomach aches (whaaat?) and I was
probably just working through a bug. (For months??)
Alas, there was only one thing left to do! Self-experiment! I
cut out dairy (with help from mom of course) and any source of
lactose from my diet and noticed an IMMEDIATE reduction in stomach
aches from an average of once daily to once every other week. Not a
perfect cure, but then again (when mom wasn't looking) my diet
wasn't exactly perfect either! That, my friends, was my first
real-life experience in how foods can affect human performance, and
more importantly, taught me the valuable lesson of "you are what
I quietly fostered a level of curiosity about the human body for
years while tracking and completing self-experiments on noticeable
changes in my weight, muscle, acne, sleep cycles, gallstones,
digestive issues, energy levels, and immunity to name a few. I
mainly did it by challenging commonly held belief systems and
modified and attempted to optimize everything in my diet,
lifestyle, sleeping habits, supplements, detoxing, etc.
While I've had plenty of setbacks--thinking whole grains were
good for me (they're not), and believing multi-week juice fasting
was the cure for anything (I turned orange for 2 days!)--I've also
had plenty of successes (gained 20 lbs of muscle in 30 days,
cleared most of my acne naturally, eliminated my gallstones without
surgery, no longer have stomach aches, went a year without getting
Enjoying part of the
weekend with NUHS friends.
My journey is still developing and while the story has a much
longer (and sometimes comical) tale I will leave you with this: If
there is something in your life that you'd like to
change/improve/eliminate, I encourage you to do some research. The
internet has allowed for the transaction of information in ways
never known to the human race and has leveled the playing field for
the average Joes unable to afford 'personal coaches,' 'expensive
treatments' and the like. If you have a problem, there's always a
solution, and usually someone has already figured it out. Find
like-minded people and figure out how they got their results. You
might just learn a neat trick that will help you change your body
(and your life) for the better!
"All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make
the better." --Ralph Waldo Emerson
• MPI Gait Seminar
• Trimester Wind Down
• Chiro Games
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