Editorializing Studies: An Example

side view of scientists looking at a colorful grapefruit in a laboratoryThe internet is jam-packed with sources of "news." Most of these sources don't produce news themselves; rather they re-post articles, press releases, etc. And so it came to pass that a post I saw this week referenced a press release from March that prompted this post. End backstory.

The post from March (which showed up in lots of places...see previous paragraph) looked like this one: http://www.sciencenewsline.com/news/2017030718000015.html . It's about a study that showed exercise--especially High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)--"...caused cells to make more proteins for their energy-producing mitochondria and their protein-building ribosomes, effectively stopping aging at the cellular level."

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RPE for Resistance Training

You can use your Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) to measure and adapt the intensity level of your strength workouts. At StrongFast, we use a modified version of Michael Tuchscherer's RPE scale as follows:

  • 10 - Max effort
  • 9 - Could you have MAYBE done 1 more rep?
  • 8 - Could you have DEFINITELY done 1 more rep?
  • 7 - Weight is too heavy to maintain fast bar speed but isn’t a struggle; 2–4 reps left
  • 6 - Did the bar speed slow down only on the last rep?
  • 5 - Weight moves quickly when maximal force is applied to the weight; “speed weight
  • 4 - Was the bar speed on the last rep the same as the first?
  • 3 - Light speed work; moves quickly with moderate force
  • 2 - Most warm-up weights

It takes some experience to make this work: most beginners tend to underestimate how much they can lift, and some overestimate. Experienced lifters generally know their limits and reach (and exceed) them regularly, making this a useful measure of intensity. Of course, there are always some who will overestimate how much more they had left; for them, this is useless. But that's not us, right?

RPE For Resistance Training

Determining the intensity of a workout can help make it more effective and easier to scale. For example, asking someone to run for five minutes is physically different than asking them to run hard for five minutes. The same concept applies to strength training.

But while there are some straightforward ways to measure intensity of cardiovascular or aerobic training, strength training is a bit more challenging. Yet knowing how hard you’re lifting can help you structure your workout programs more effectively. For example, you can vary workout intensity to prevent overtraining while still getting sufficient volume and working hard enough to get results.

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Live Long, Travel Strong: Costa Rica Edition

Whether you're retired, nearing retirement, or decades away, recreational travel should be on your mind. Exploring the world has been a time-honored tradition since...forever. While some people might prefer to see the world from a bus or deck chair, there are plenty of adventurous things to do while you travel.

Being fit opens more recreational travel opportunities. Here are some examples from a recent trip to Costa Rica.

Zip-lining is fun, but it's also easy. You don't need to be great (or even good) shape to do it. But it does involve climbing stairs. Being fit makes that part easier.

Ziplining travel in Costa Rica

Ziplining

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Secret to Fitness Success

(This article originally appeared in the October 9, 2012 issue of The StrongFast Planet newsletter.)

old training treadmillLots of people go to the gym. Lots of people have exercise equipment at home. Lots of people buy fitness videos, books, clothes, and junk. Lots of people don't get any fitter.

Why do some people have success with a fitness or nutrition program while others don't? While there are several possible factors, there is one "secret" that every success story shares:

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Recovery, Rest, Repair, and Rebuilding

recovery walk on the beachThere's an adage that strength gains aren't made in the gym; they're made during the recovery from workouts when muscles repair and rebuild (making you "better, stronger, faster..."). This has led (not "lead" ... words have meaning!) to the concept of the "off" day or "rest" day.

We can do better. "Recovery" day is a start. Or how about "muscle repair" day? That can change the way we approach our training schedule.

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Spot Reduction Is Still A Myth

Spot reduction refers to the concept of reducing fat in specific area of the body through exercise. Spot reduction claims have been around a very long time...and have remained popular despite the lack of results. It seems like it should work, right? But then, it seems like the earth is flat. ("Look! There's the edge!") So why is there still so much confusion about this?

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