Nutrition Advice: Exercise

Weighted vest push-up

An interesting article from the "Food, We Need To Talk" podcast.

The podcast's co-host asked every eating expert she interviewed the same question: "If you could tell people to change only one thing that would have the biggest impact on their health for the rest of their lives, what would it be?"

The answer: exercise. Remember, these are food experts. And it wasn't just a few of them saying this, it was all of them. And several of them specifically recommended strength exercise (also known as "resistance training").

It's worth reading. One quibble I have is the emphasis on calories and fat loss. As readers of this blog know, I'm much more interested in what exercise can help us do -- now and as we age -- than how it affects our weight. Improved body composition is a happy (and not at all surprising) side effect. (There are many others.)

Give the article a read and get moving!

Be seeing you.


Granola Isn’t Dessert

Granola is generally considered a "healthy" food...and it can be! I like to have granola with yogurt (Siggi's plain 4%) and blueberries for breakfast. I usually get my granola from the local co-op bulk section. The first thing I look for is the ingredients list to see how much sugar is used. (There are no nutrition labels showing sugar per serving, so this is the next best thing as ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance.)

Whilst traveling, I went shopping for some granola at local grocery stores. It wasn't pretty.

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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: . 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


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