Strength training is like retirement investment. Regular contributions reap huge rewards. I call it the compounded interest of physiology. Sometimes you can make bigger contributions. Sometimes you make smaller ones. Broad skill practice has broad return. Narrow focus has higher possible yield with higher risk. Regularity creates solid portfolios.
You have one temple. Though we can 3D print new organs for you, some respect should be taken with some sort of regularity.
That said, don’t expect to see linear growth even with linear contributions. Some days you’ll be underrested. Some days you’ll be distracted. Some days you don’t want to show up. Some days the DOW is down. Some days the S&P is up. Sometimes max strength is good for a PR. Sometimes low intensity endurance work is the order of the day. Sometimes commodities are peaked. Some days the dollar is down and aluminum futures are peaked.
There are so many different facets to what we call “fitness” and “health” that it’s immaterial how great you’re doing on any given day. It can’t be linear. The portfolio can’t always outperform. However, on average, as long as you make regular contributions, there will always be a reliable return over the long term.
The majority of studies on resistance training show acute and/or long term reduction of inflammation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933442/
At least two mechanisms within this are partially understood: myokine expression and interleukin-10. However, like any complex biological system, inflammation is complex. Each lifestyle behavior sends a signal. And resistance training, by itself, cannot completely overcome lack of sleep (pro-inflammatory), detrimental eating (pro-inflammatory), and overall stress mismanagement (also pro-inflammatory).
Nonetheless, a strong body is more resilient than a weak one... against everything. And when all of these factors are put together to balance inflammation, the status is no longer fear but readiness.
Many studies have echoed this sentiment; but now the underlying mechanisms are increasingly understood: https://www.salk.edu/news-release/eat-less-live-longer/. In the actual research paper, the authors noted that that caloric restriction “reversed” a lot of the processes which we refer to as aging: https://www.sciencedirect.com/…/arti…/pii/S0092867420301525…
Supercentenarian research has long shown that anyone over the age of 110 years of age eats small meals 1-2 times per day. National Geographic’s Blue Zones confirmed that there doesn’t even exist a single long-lived and outlier-healthy populace on Earth who eats lots of big meals.
In a conversation with a client the other day, I heard a phrase, “we had to have something, because, ya know, we gotta eat.” It kept ringing in my ears. “Gotta”? For adults? Multiple times every day? Where is the research supporting that?
People know I’ve fasted for six days in a row with improved blood profiles and metabolic markers. If they’ve been following me or Elev8 Wellness for any amount of time, they know many people who’ve done intelligent fasting to incredible beneficial outcomes. George Cahill had hundreds of studies on people performing 6 WEEK fasts. There are case studies on fasting for MORE THAN A CALENDAR YEAR: https://www.elev8wellness.com/…/just-a-reminder-you-could-a…
People keep trying to use epidemiological data to figure out what it is that makes SARS-CoV-2 fatal. So far, the only known cause is “inflammatory cellular infiltration” (ie - your own body rampantly laying down unnecessary tissue in the lungs) and the only linear connection on average is age. But what is age? Age is cumulative effects of inflammation. People are more inflamed as they age, by definition. People age as they are more inflamed, by definition.
I know people keep joking about weight gain during the pandemic. But that could very well be the opposite of a joking matter. Fast, if you can. Global shutdown or not, it’ll help us live longer.
Researchers published a study in Cell in January 2020 which showed that “WHEN we eat is just as important as WHAT we eat”: https://www.cell.com/current-biology/…/S0960-9822(19)31468-X. That is, the exact same number of calories has different (worse) outcomes when it’s doled out through continuous snacking instead of standardized meal times (less frequent meal times, which help better regulate dopamine and circadian rhythm). Again, the complexity of fat gain and loss signaling has more to do with endocrine and neurotransmitter cascades: https://news.virginia.edu/…/when-you-eat-might-be-important…
Complex systems confuse people. When a solution requires more than two if-then statements, you can see people get lost really quickly, leading to all kinds of crazy oversimplifications and distractions.
I run into this a lot with nutrition coaching and wellness strategy. At the outset, I tell everyone “you must manage stress,” because the body can gain additional fat in any caloric equation (including “burning more than ingested”) with mismanaged stress; and it can get leaner in any caloric equation (including “eating more calories than ingested”) with well managed stress. We have incontrovertible scientific evidence for both of these scenarios. In the first, sleep/weight loss studies have concluded definitively that there is no way to out-diet chronic stress: https://www.elev8wellness.com/…/chronic-stress-will-build-b…. The math doesn’t work. And for the second scenario, watch a child grow. My kids keep “eating more than they burn,” gaining more body mass and getting LEANER.
Everyone nods approvingly. They intellectually sort of grasp this. I repeatedly reinforce that this will be a lifelong journey. I consider a minimum effort of at least two years of high compliance the beginning of that process. Then, they proceed to mismanage stress and get frustrated that the calories-in/calories-out model is failing them at two-to-six months into 50-70% compliance. Um. Yep. I said that at the beginning. Manage stress. For. A. Long. Time.
Recently, I’ve also run into this difficulty in understanding complexity for the danger of rampant infection. People seem to think the debate is about how fatal it is, confusing this with “dangerous,” or how concerned we need to be. “Danger” is a complex series of systems, mostly unrelated to the fatality rate. It’s not just whether we agree the fatality rate is 0.5 percent or 4.0 percent. Both the deniers and the panickers get confused as soon as you try to walk them through the three if-then statements to explain. The inherent fatality rate isn’t the issue. It could be 0.1 percent. It could be 6.0 percent. That isn’t the issue. That was never the issue. The issue is that what we currently face is outrageously infectious (#1), 15-20% of people will require hospitalization (#2) and around 5% will require ICUs (#3), and we don’t have that capacity if even some of this happens at the same time (#4). So, if you don’t slow the infection, the hospitals WILL BE (not an opinion) overrun (#5 - oh drats: I lost everyone on #2), and all of the other reasons people go to the hospital or ICU (#6 - I realize that no one is paying attention now: but, just a reminder that all other injuries and diseases still exist) won’t be treated.
Unlike some peers of mine, I don’t believe everyone is too stupid to understand this. I think people are smart enough. I think humans can grasp ripple effects, exponential growth, compounded interest, statistical models, unintended consequences, and complex systems. I know they can. I just don’t think they want to. It’s harder than normal linear thinking. It requires more energy, not more intellect. And most importantly, it is equally unkind to sides.
I mean, I get it: there are things we all WANT to be true. I want calories-in/calories-out to be true. In fact, it is true as a hindsight description, just not as a foresight explanation. I too want economic trends to be pinned on one factor; but innumerable factors play a role. Complex reality doesn’t care what we want to be true.
It’s challenging to stay focused for three or more if-then statements. It’s mind-numbing to walk through the complexity of reality when that requires more than a single consideration. It’s easier to go, “if scary, then ‘fake news’.” Or, “if too hard to understand, then conspiracy.” Or, “if not highly fatal, then deny the danger.” Or, “if calories low, then lose weight.” Or, “if calories high, then gain weight.” Or, “if it can’t fit in a soundbyte/hashtag/logo, I don’t have time for it.” No. Complex systems require more than one if-then statement.
There are a lot of compounds in nature which exert effects we hope to get from our own modern laboratories. From anti-malarials, to antibiotics, to pain medication/anxiolytics/antihypertensives, to nasal decongestants, and everything in between, many substrates already existed before modern science. In this case, broccoli contained chemotherapy:
The implications are interesting. Are malignant cells controlling your brain when you refuse to eat broccoli and thus protect the malignant cells? There are other instances wherein this type of activity occurs. Bacteria, for example, influence the brain: https://www.elev8wellness.com/…/no-seriously-you-are-not-in…
It’s sad to see beliefs diverge on this. A good percent of the population believes that food and supplements can have no medicinal properties, despite the fact that we derive medicines and even ideas of how to make medicine from already-existing foods, plants, symbiotic relationships, and extracts. Another portion of the populace believes that lab-created drugs are all a scheme, despite the fact that they are borne out of attempts to make natural compounds more targeted and therefore hopefully more effective.
People always feel they have to pick a team, pick a side, dig heels in, pit tactics against one another. But that thinking leaves people without half of the available opportunities, ignoring numerous problem-solving strategies simply because “they don’t fit my label”. Economic system debates are a good example. Why is it so challenging to accept benefits from “both sides”? Why did we even invent that there are two sides?
So it is with “approved drugs” versus “not approved compounds.”
There can be beneficial drugs, in spite of the fact that pharmaceutical lobbies work against our access to free compounds which are effective. Insulin is a good example where there isn’t a known “natural” alternative. Unlike the consumption of other organs, eating pancreases won’t get a significant amount of insulin into a type I diabetic’s system (none, as far as we can tell). So there's no good natural alternative to insulin injections. But I’d add to that, we didn’t just come up with this idea in a lab of pure elements. People studied the cells of a pancreas, already existing within nature, to arrive at this therapy. We studied the natural workings of insulin in nature to uncover how to make synthetic insulin.
On the other end of the spectrum, FDA approval is not God's thumbs up. There can be medicinal teas in spite of no FDA approval. Aspirin is a perfect example of this, whose known benefit has been around for at least 4,000 years, and prescribed by pre-modern doctors as far back as 2,400 years ago. Aspirin was a "quack tea" before it became an everyday approved medicine. Can you imagine skeptically awaiting many series of drug trials and FDA approvals for aspirin, because “supplements are quackery”? Now take that sentiment, and apply it toward any herbal remedy, any naturopathic recommendation, any supplement claim. Some are effective, long before the hallowed halls of authority approve.
Listen. I’m as appalled at overblown claims and pseudoscientific profiteering as anyone. I’m as frustrated at monopolies that legislate their own industry’s unrivaled success. Letting that anger deny a whole category of inquiry isn’t the answer. Because sometimes the answer is only sitting firmly in the place you refuse to look.
Piles and piles of studies have abjectly failed to support and substantiate the hollow and archaic claim that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease. It was an interesting hypothesis in the quasi-almost-modern scientific era early last century. That hypothesis died in the subsequent one-hundred-plus years, as scientists continued to unravel cholesterol’s important role in cell formation, hormone synthesis, etc., and especially how the culprit is inflammation, and that inflammation creates atherosclerotic plaque buildup regardless of blood serum values of lipoproteins.
In spite of understanding exactly HOW heart disease evolves (thank you, science), this hasn’t dissuaded people from hoping to make statistical and epidemiological cases for the ancient belief in cholesterol-makes-heart-disease. But even there, the antiquated belief gets destroyed. In yet another recent study at Harvard, moderate egg consumption is not associated with heart disease risk: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/…/moderate-egg-consumption-no…/
People have written about this ad nauseam, but for some reason the errant understanding of biology won’t seem to die. My wife and I were at a bed and breakfast weekend not long ago, and another visitor insisted on eating a stack of whole grain waffles with syrup (“doctor’s orders”) because partaking in the eggs or bacon would be a “bad idea” for his “high cholesterol.” We shook our heads.
Let’s just say for a moment that you don’t want to study the biochemistry. Can we all at least agree that rampant inflammation isn’t a great idea? Insulin is inflammatory. Glucose spikes WILL drive insulin and inflammatory cascades. Don’t believe me. Don’t believe some anachronistic “expert.” Don’t believe the biology textbooks. Don’t believe the Wikipedia entries on atherosclerotic plaque formation. Don’t believe Harvard. Just get a glucometer and see. Test before and after consuming cholesterol-free waffles or a liter of cholesterol-free orange juice. Test before and after eating a stick of butter.
And, in fact, everyone actually already knows the truth intuitively. If you’ve ever known someone or personally tried very high fat/zero carb dieting, they or you lost 5-10lbs in a day or two because the body sheds inflammation rapidly in those circumstances. If you’ve ever eaten a heap of starch or sugar, you gain pounds in minutes. Anti-inflammation in one. Pro-inflammation in another. Do you think a swollen body with constant blood volume increases has a better or worse chance at damaging blood vessels?
Dietary cholesterol cannot cause heart disease.
Two people take $10,000 each. One buys ten-thousand dollars worth of marshmallows. The other puts 2,500 into mortgage payment, 2,500 into a 529 for his kids, 2,500 into a stock index retirement fund, and another 2,500 into a real estate investment course. The marshmallow-buyer stole his money. The investor earned it at his business. They both have zero dollars left in their pockets. Dollars-in versus dollars-out explains all, right? Same difference, right? Quit overcomplicating things, right? It all boils down to dollars, right? It all boils down to calories, right?
Obviously, HOW calories are acquired, metabolized, and distributed matters far more than the amount going in and out. The implications are different. The consequences are different. The transfer is unrelated, in fact.
It’s remarkable that there are still people out there preaching on health and fitness who don’t understand epigenetics and endocrine cascades.
Not long, depending on the severity, of course. Not at all, depending on how you define "rest." For moderate-to-severe trauma, resting the affected tissue for an excess of one week is often contraindicated. Most of the initial repair is over at that point. Contraction is what stimulates growth thereafter: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3940509/?fbclid=IwAR1VK3lKLYvdGKUMStkgLB8SF8U8IgzWh78oSOEY3yKNNQMsFL_Wk9DmQIw
There was a time when broken arms and legs were cast for six to nine months. Now, seldom is anything set for more than about four to eight weeks, even on the structural damage side of the equation. Brain surgery patients are encouraged to walk the same day if tolerated. Sprains, which we once thought needed total immobilization, we now know need movement as soon as can be done without pain. In astronaut studies, we find that young people begin getting osteoporosis with just a few weeks of weightlessness.
There's no need to push through or increase damage. But lack of movement is not the answer.
“This must be how it is, because that’s how it’s been.” False. It gets used a lot, especially by people who consider themselves logical. What an irony, given that they’re employing a logical fallacy. They’re confusing induction with deduction. Permanent objective properties will allow us to DEDUCE with certainty. Pulling from your life’s subjective observations for expectations is INDUCTION, which does not carry the weight of certainty. Every time you think that it does, you’re committing a logical fallacy.
A good example is, “don’t worry; the sun will rise tomorrow because it’s risen every day before.” That sounds sensible. But the supporting reason is exactly wrong. The sun will rise tomorrow based on a series of physical laws, which, as long as a force doesn’t perturb our terrestrial rotation and trajectory of revolution around the sun, will most likely lead to the sun rising tomorrow.
In health and fitness I hear it all the time: X can’t work for me because it never has; Y is best because it used to always work for me. Then, people get confused when the always-reliable tactics no longer work. Or, they get confused when “such-and-such was never a problem before.” Newly-noticed achy knees and backs are usually cumulative damage and imbalance from years of unproductive patterns. But because we don’t tend to address anything until it becomes bad enough to notice, we assign to it some recent acute cause.
That’s all induction fallacy. The prior dice rolls in no way impact the outcome of the next dice roll. And then we add to this fallacy our rounding errors. That is, we tend to round up or down to simplify a narrative (ie - I’ve ALWAYS been a depressed person; I’ve ALWAYS been upbeat; this has NEVER been a problem before; I’ve NEVER seen it, heard of it, encountered it). Well, no. Life is impermanent. The only status which you can ALWAYS count on is change. The only status which NEVER changes is the fact that things don’t stay the same. Your perception has absolutely nothing to do with what biochemical laws must do.
And induction fallacies aren’t relegated to our victim narratives, or our health and fitness beliefs. We can see induction fallacies widespread in how people wrestle with the Covid pandemic. People say, “it’s just like fill-in-the-blank-with-something-during-my-life-time.” Or, if they accept that it isn’t like something during their life time, then it’s a conspiracy. Well, no. We enjoyed 102 years of no pandemic plagues. But actually, prior to 1918, plague was the norm. We’ve been overdue. The entire history of mankind was mostly dealing with plagues, and contagion, and threats which regularly wiped out 5-90% of the population in each generation or more regularly than that. Viral mutation makes this obligatory. It’s a physical law. Our experience from 1919 to 2019 was a momentary aberration, not the law.
That’s why it took so long to build up the world populace. Prior to the Enlightenment, industrialization, and modern sciences, people would have 12 children so that 2 to 8 might survive. That got us to about a 1 billion person population in the 1800s. In the past century, as people have had fewer and fewer children, the population is nearing 8 billion. Think about that.
Referencing our tiny sliver of life experience to determine pathogenic realities isn’t just a fallacy. It’s delusional. Especially when we factor in how much more international travel there is today, there is no way to induct from prior time periods, let alone the past 102 years.
That said, we can utilize fundamental tools from overcoming one challenge to inform how we may face the next one. Mankind has come to understand many “impossible” things, like flight, space travel, transmission of thoughts at a distance (radio, phones, internet). Indeed, right now many teams are working overtime to combat this threat from multiple vantages.
Likewise, you can pull from your other successes to identify fundamental tactics which likely help you better troubleshoot your own health and fitness. Notice I said “identify” and “likely”. We cannot DEDUCE from a past subjective observation what MUST BE in the present, or what WILL HAPPEN in the future. We don’t know. All we can do is increasingly reduce uncertainty, removing ineffective tactics. Over time, we close in on the effective ones.