My regular thoughts and musings can be found by looking for Frankston Paleo on Facebook. New updates are generally available each Wednesday. Sample postings can be found below.
"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect" - Mark Twain"
Sticks and stones may break my bones but sugar and vegetable oils will kill me" - Bill Allars
09 February 2014 - Some Recent Criticisms of Paleo Dieting & This Week's Training Log
It was interesting to read this week some criticisms of the Paleo diet, particularly a review from Dieticians who ranked it 29th in a list of diets due to its exclusions of entire food groups.
Interestingly enough, the criticism seems to be focus on only a small number of issues.
The first is that we have no way of knowing exactly what Paleolithic Man ate, despite the fossil and anthropological records that have been examined.
The second is the exclusion of grains and dairy and the third is due to the low carbohydrate, high fat nature of the diet.
While it may be true that we don't know exactly what they ate, we have a pretty good idea of what they ate and they were in pretty good health from what we can see of modern hunter gatherers and from the recordings of Weston Price during his travels.
We can also be confident that these people didn't each processed food, they didn't eat vegetables oils, they didn't eat trans fats and they didn't eat large amounts of grains as they didn't have the tools to mill grains on any large scale.
We also know that they ate meat and fish in preference to most other things (from tip to tail), ate diets that were reasonably high in fat and low in carbohydrates as they were much more subject to the vagaries of the seasons.
As for dairy, cattle weren't domesticated so good luck in milking them. LOL.
At any rate, I can't see the problem and why we should have a problem with diet that is free of preservatives and processing. Organic meat, clean fish and organic vegetables.
Thus endeth the sermon.
01/02/2014 - One Month into the Year, How are our Commitments Going? Book news, Training around Injuries and Training Log
Scary though it may be we are now 1/12 of the way through 2014. One month in, how are our commitments for the year... going. If you are still on track, that's excellent - keep pushing and persisting. If you fell of the wagon, don't become disillusioned, recommit, tell someone to add an element of accountability and get back on track. There is no crime in getting knocked down but it is a crime against yourself to not get back up and battle on.
Having trained consistently for thirty years I often have people tell me that I am dedicated to training. I prefer to look at it as being disciplined in my training. If today is a training day, I discipline myself to get in the gym or get to the park and knock out a session. If it is a rest day, I discipline myself not to train (weird I know but sometimes I feel the urge to train on a rest day). The upshot of this - don't focus on being determined, focus on being disciplined. If it is a training day, get on with it. Same thing at the table - be disciplined. If today is not a cheat day, be disciplined. Oddly enough, one of the key places to be disciplined is in the supermarket. Avoid the aisles that contain nothing but processed food and stick to the fresh, wholesome food sections. Be disciplined in your eating, shopping and training and watch the results flow.
On the publishing front, Ty Menzies and I have finally published our book on Amazon. Years in the making it provides a gentle introduction to improving your health and fitness based on our experiences. If you are interested, the link is below.
Another topic for today - Training around Injuries
This can be a difficult one depending on the injury but an injury doesn't necessarily mean all your training has to stop. Earlier this week I injured my foot doing sprints. When the next training day rocked around what did I do? I did a heavy deadlift session instead of sprints. When sprints were scheduled on the next day as well and my foot was still sore, what did I do? Intervals on an exercise bike. Don't let injuries be an excuse. Work with your trainer to identify what you can do. Unless you have a debilitating and acute injury you may still be able to do something.
24 January 2014 - Another Nugget on Intermittent Fasting & Training Log
As I noted last week I finished reading the excellent book for Denise Minger "Death by Food Pyramid". Today was a fasting day for me and it reminded me of a nugget in Denise's book. When Ancel Keys was conducting the 7 Countries Study which produced the original food pyramid and helped start the whole low fat, low cholesterol crusade, he spent a particular amount of time studying some villagers in Crete whose life expectancy was well beyond the norm. Keys noted their larger than normal intake of seafood, olive oil, fresh vegetables and pasta. He then used this as the basis of the Mediterranean Diet that he heavily promoted from that time forward due to it being low in saturated fat. One point that Keys overlooked however, and one that many researchers now consider important, was that most of the long-lived villagers were also members of the Greek Orthodox religion. So what? The Greek Orthodox religion as practiced by these villagers had regular fasts of varying durations. In any given 7 day period, these villagers would fast for at least one day, sometimes more. While this factor was overlooked by Keys, researchers have noted the correlation (not necessarily causation, that is the two events may be related but one doesn't necessarily cause the other) between low caloric intakes and extended lifespans.
Intermittent fasts can be an excellent way of reducing your overall food intake, improving your human growth hormone release, reducing your reliance on eating by the clock, allow you to better control hunger and, ultimately, lose weight.
Training Log for the Week
Monday - Deadlift Day
Warm Up Kneeling Hip Mobility Advanced Hip Mobility Warm Up
Deadlifts - 5 Warm Up Sets leading up to 1x7@300 (pounds) Squats - 5x10@136 Good Mornings - 5x10@88 (Protecting a bit of tightness in a hamstring)
Tuesday - Rest Day
Wednesday - Bench Press Day
Warm Up Standing Hip Mobility Advanced Hip Mobility Warm Up
Bench Press - 5 Warm Up Sets leading up to 1x5@209 Military Press - 5x10@77 Chins - 5x6 Close Grip Bench - 3x10@110 EZ Curls - 3x12@66
Thursday - Sprint Day
Warm Up Kneeling Hip Mobility Advanced Hip Mobility Warm Up
Sprints - 5x100 on the minute (A sprint must be undertaken every sixty seconds - if the sprint takes 20 seconds, you have 40 seconds rest before your next sprint)
Friday - Sprint Day
Advanced Hip Mobility Warm Up Sprints - 20x50 on the 30 seconds
Saturday & Sunday - Rest Days
17January 2014 - A Must Read Book & Training Log
Over the last few days I have the pleasure of reading "Death by Food Pyramid" by Denise Minger. The book deals with how the best interests of our health have been compromised by a food pyramid that represented more the interests of lobby groups than good science and sound nutritional advice.
In the book Denise looks at Paleo, Mediterranean and Raw Food diets all of which have offered health benefits to some people (though not all) and father that focus on what makes them different, looks at the similarities. They key similarities were an avoidance of:
- Refined flour - Refined sugar - Industrially processed vegetable oils - Chemical preservatives and lab-produced anythings - Nearly any creation coming in a crinkly tinfoil package, a microwavable tray or a takeout bag.
All of this is great, sound advice for which there is a range of scientific support. A couple of other key takeaways I took from the book:
- Meat consumption should focus on moving from the tip to the tail of the animal, that is, don't limit yourself to just the muscle meat (Tribal societies universally considered the organ meat of most animals to be a delicacy and the things to be consumed first) - While there a some benefits to a vegetarian diet, there is no anthropological evidence available of any group following a purely vegetarian diet and thriving (this from Denise who is a former vegetarian).
I would advise anyone with an interest in nutrition and their own health to give this book a read. A link to the book on Amazon is below.
Denise also wrote a series of articles based on her review (and subsequent correspondence with the author) of The China Study. This study is well known in nutrition circles and often cited by vegetarians as a reason why we should all follow their lifestyle choice. The articles are a little more scientific than the book but are an excellent read if you are interested. You can find the articles at the link below.
Anyway, moving on from nutrition to training, this weeks training log.
Monday - Squat Day
Warm Up Kneeling Hip Mobility & Advanced Hip Warm Up
Squats - 5 Warm Up Sets followed by 1x5@245 (pounds) Deadlifts - 5x10@ 165 Good Mornings - 3x10@132, 2x10@88
Wednesday - Shoulder Press Day
Warm Up Standing Hip Mobility & Advanced Hip Warm Up
Shoulder Press - 5 Warm Up Sets followed by 1x6@132 Bench Press - 5x10@132 Barbell Bent Over Rows - 5x10@110 EZ Bar Bicep Curls - 1x20@88 EZ Bar Triceps Extensions - 1x20@88
The last two exercises were a late addition - Suns Out, Guns Out
Friday - Sprints
Warm Up Kneeling Hip Mobility & Advanced Hip Warm Up
Sprints - 20x50m
Friday - Sprints
Warm Up Standing Hip Mobility & Advanced Hip Warm Up
Sprints - 20x100m
Tuesday, Thursday & Sunday are rest days
Enjoy this last day of heat.
Eat Well, Train Hard, Hydrate Fully
10January 2014 - Welcome to the New Year & An Amazing Story
Greetings to all and welcome to 2014 - The year where we finally get it all together and get it right. I hope you have all made your commitments for the year and shared them with what will become your accountability police. If you haven't, you need to. No meaningful change will occur without action. Take the first step today.
I came across an article this week from a young lady who is a recovering anorexic who has captured her transformation via a series of pictures on a log. A link to the article is below and I am in awe of the young lady for not only addressing her eating dysfunction but for having the courage to document it and now make it available to the world. What really struck me was the young ladies recognition that she had serious issues and the steps she took to address them. What disturbed me, and her, was people asking her how to lose weight! Fortunately she has the good sense to refuse to help them as she seems quite determined never to disappear down that rabbit hole again.
A couple of other things that struck me were her interest in regaining her health and her undertaking resistance training. It is interesting how many people want to lose weight and frame their efforts in these terms. Maybe we be focusing on why we want to lose weight in the first place - to regain our health and vitality. We are obsessing about our weight and losing sight of the real goal - our health. Maybe the time has come to reframe the debate around weight loss to a debate around reclaiming our health and vitality. Resistance training has a multitude of benefits, particularly for those wishing to reclaim their health as it not only improves our appearance but also impacts on our hormones and how we process sugars. A study has identified that heavy weight training is effective in increasing the insulin sensitivity of diabetics, but only heavy weight training has this effect. If you are not already, you need to hit the weights. If you don't know how to hit the weights, contact me and lets get you started!
An a completely unrelated topic, I will be making a presentation on the Paleo Diet at the Urban Fitness Club in Blackburn on the 19th and 26th of February. If you are interested in coming along, I imagine you will be more than welcome. Once I have some more details to hand, I will let you know how to register for the event.
I have also decided that I will make a weekly post on Facebook that addresses my training sessions for the week to give you some idea of the work I do. While it may not suit many of you, it will give you some insights into how simple a training program can be yet still be effective.
31 December 2013 - Make a New Year's Commitment & Share It
I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas and are eagerly looking forward to what 2014 will bring for us all. For those of us that have over-indulged over the holiday period, now is your chance to do the first thing to redressing it, making a commitment to yourself. Don't make a New Years Resolution as research suggests these rarely work and are generally broken by the end of January. Make a commitment to yourself to change a small number of things that will help you to achieve your health and fitness objectives then put a plan in place that requires you to take some small action each day. If you plan to get up and walk each morning, your first action is to set the alarm the night before. A simple action, absolutely, and an effective first step in getting you out walking. If you plan to workout four days per week, a first action might be to mark them on the calendar for the first week of January. Commitments plus actions equals results. Keep the actions simple and easily achievable to help you build successes as you move towards your goals.
If you think you might struggle to meet your commitments, share them with someone and ask them to help keep you on track. Ask them to remind you of your commitments, harass you to complete your actions - whatever it takes!
My commitments for 2014:
Lift at least three days per week and complete at least one conditioning session each week
Finish my Certificate IV in Training & Assessment
Bench Press 150 Kilograms
Now it is up to me to take the required actions and make sure I keep my commitments to myself. Note that I control entirely the achievement of these commitments - I am not relying on anyone else to do anything. Make sure you are entirely responsible for achieving your commitments.
First action for you - Identify your commitments. Second action - identify the steps you will complete today / tomorrow to keep them.
21 December 2013 - Programs that Work & Paleo Café Mornington
As noted earlier, I submitted a program to Elitefts for consideration as part of their Programs That Work Manual for 2013. I am pleased to note that the manual has now been published and my submission has again been included (this makes it three years in a row if memory doesn't let me down). This years article relates to a simple training session that I use regularly to improve hip and shoulder stability and single limb control.
All of the proceeds from the sale of this manual goes to the Make A Wish foundation to grant the wishes of seriously ill children. If you want to gain some serious training knowledge (and some programs that work), then you can get a copy from the link below. (Note the manual is in two parts, my article is in the second but if you can afford it, go for the lot.).
Today my wife and I gave the new Paleo Café in Main Street Mornington a go. I had the Grok Burger while the wife had the Chicken & Macadamia Salad. Both meals were absolutely superb and as healthy as can be. If you are interested in the possibilities of Paleo food and want to taste some first class examples, please give the café a go.
You can find out a little more about the café by following the link below.
Mobility and Flexibility are both important concepts for your overall health and well-being. While there are many confusing definitions of flexibility and mobility I subscribe to this very simple view - Mobility relates to the movement around joints, flexibility relates to the elasticity of muscles. Mobility - joints, Flexibility - muscles.
It is important that you include work to address both mobility and flexibility in your training program. Any program that I design for clients begins with mobility work, moves through resistance and cardio work before ending with flexibility work.
While stretching and foam rolling work for muscle flexibility, it is movement that is important for mobility. This is why I have client perform such things as leg raise, hip crossovers, scorpions and shoulder rotations as part of the warm-up. It lubricates the joints and prepares them for the movements to come. Some of the older ladies I have worked with at EFM have all commented how beneficial this mobility work has been for them. Indeed, one client has noted that since commencing a program of regular mobility work, the bursitis problems that made travelling in a car for more than an hour an ordeal can now travel for hours without problem.
I have long had problems with tightness through the hips that makes it extremely difficult for me to complete full squats. I am now working studiously to improve my hip mobility to address this annoying problem. I have obtained a program from a renown martial artist and am following it studiously to see if it can help address this issue. The goal of improving my hip mobility - a butt to the ground single-leg squat. I'm pretty sure I have the strength in the legs to do but not the mobility. I hope I'm about to find out if this is the case.
11 October 2013 - Balancing your Body & Why Single Limb Work is Important
Two posts in one day - will wonders never cease? When you involve yourself in resistance training of any sort it is important that you "balance" your work across all the major muscle groups and limbs of the body. This means paying as much attention to the muscles at the back of the body as well as those on the front that you can much more easily see in the mirror. This means doing rows and chins as well as benches. It means working the muscles at the back of the shoulders with rear deltoid flyes or face pulls as well as those at the front. This means working the hamstrings with bridges and deadlifts as well as the quadriceps at the front of the thigh.
It also means balancing work on the upper body with work on the lower body to maintain a sense of proportion and symmetry.
Most importantly, symmetry means maintaining balance between one side of the body and the other. This is where single limb work comes into focus. It is important that you work one limb at a time as part of your program to ensure that your non-dominant side doesn't wilt in comparison to your dominant side. For this reason, please include dumbbell and kettlebell work in your routines to ensure you work one limb at a time. This can cover a whole range of exercises for each of the major muscle groups as you can also alternate arms when pressing and rowing.
For those of you looking for a real challenge, get yourself started on doing single leg squats. I have incorporated these into my training and they seem to have addressed a hip issue that I was encountering when doing barbell squats and deadlifts. While I still can manage a "pistol", I'm still working on it.
Key take away - A body with a balanced musculature from side-to-side, top-to-bottom and limb-to-limb is more stable and less likely to be injured.
11 October 2013 - Introduction to Paleo
Ella Stening of "The Urban List" has put together an excellent high-level of summary of Paleo dieting. While the article identifies places in the heart of Melbourne where you can source organic meat and produce, Balnarring Village on the Mornington Peninsula has an organic butcher and produce store. You can also look in the weekend newspapers for Farmers Markets as they can also be an excellent source of fresh meat and produce.
22 September 2013 - Intermittent Fasting is Again in the News
"The Age" have posted an article on their website regarding health myths as explained by Dr Michael Mosley, a BBC commentator, doctor and relentless self-experimenter. It appears that Dr Mosley, a self-confessed sugar addict was diabetic or on the verge of being diagnosed as diabetic when he introduced intermittent fasting, increased his consumption of greens and modified his exercise patterns. The result - he no longer has to worry about diabetes.
While many of us have known the benefits of intermittent fasting for a while now, it is always pleasing to see it gain more mainstream acceptance, with excellent results being produced. I continue to fast for at least one twenty-four period per week and love the challenge it presents. While forcing the body to burn fat, particularly if you exercise during your fast, it also stimulates the production of Human Growth Hormone, which apart from being linked to increased muscle mass, has also been linked with keeping us looking young (now I've got the interest of the ladies). I have included multiple postings below on how to commence intermittent fasting if you are interested.
I should also note that I have submitted a program to Elitefts.com for inclusion in their Programs That Work 3 manual that will be published in time for Christmas. The manual contains programs from some of the biggest names in strength training with all proceeds going to the Make a Wish Foundation. I will let you know more about the manual when it comes to hand.
13 September 2013 - I'm Back & The Importance of Foam Rolling
Sorry for such a delay between posts - things have been pretty hectic of late. At any rate, no more excuses, I will try and get together a post at least once each week.
What is Foam Rolling?
As the name implies, Foam Rolling involves rolling the muscles of the body on a cylindrical piece of foam. (Follow this link to see what a foam roller looks like - http://www.gymandfitness.com.au/fitness-accessories/foam-rollers.html). Why would anyone want to do this? There are numerous benefits associated with foam rolling. These include: - Loosening muscles that have become tight; - Removing the "knots" that can develop in muscles; - Relaxation (despite the initial discomfort); and - Rehabilitate and prevent injuries.
Foam Rolling can be of great importance in rehabilitating and preventing injuries. I currently have a couple of clients who have patella-femoral syndrome that is the result of weakened quadriceps muscles (the big muscles on the front of the thigh) and a tight iliotibial band (or IT Band). The IT Band is a fibrous band that stretches from the top of the hip to below the knee. If this band is tight, which it is for many of us, it can "pull" the kneecap out of alignment resulting in patella-femoral syndrome. Foam rolling along the length of the IT Band can reduce this tension and allow the kneecap to resume its normal position and tracking. While the foam roller can be quite painful at the start, the body adjusts to it quite quickly.
How often should you foam roll? If you are rehabilitating an injury I would roll at least once a day. If you are in a maintenance phase, every couple of days is fine. A good way to incorporate foam rolling is to use it as part of your warm-up for resistance training. If you are training the lower body you can roll the upper and lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and (with a little bit of practice) the groin muscles. If you are working the upper body you can roll the upper and lower back then switch to a spiky ball (or any time of solid ball) to roll the chest, triceps, forearms and shoulders.
Please note, start with the basic, short, cylindrical foam roller and then progress to the spiked rollers (if you wish to). The basic, smooth roller is more than enough to get you moving well.
2 August 2013 - You only get one Back so you Best look After It
In reading the works of Dr Stuart McGill, one thing becomes crystal clear - we only get one back so we should do everything we can to look after it. To this end, here are some simple tips for you:
Avoid positions that place the spine, particularly the lower back in extreme flexion or extension;
Avoid exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, leg raises and prone cobras as the stress the spine
Avoid exercising first thing in the morning - give it an hour to allow fluid in the discs to reduce
Avoid motions that cause pain in your back (obvious but still worth saying)
Avoid lifting and twisting - extreme tension at the end of motions is hell on discs
Build your spinal stability through such exercises as abdominal holds and side holds
Strengthen all of your abdominal muscles through performing McGill Curls (Google it)
Strengthen your back muscles through performing Bird Dogs (Again, Google it)
Build muscular endurance for spinal muscles in preference to strength
When lifting anything heavy, maintain a neutral spine and brace your abdominals before you lift
Nothing here is rocket science, but I'm sure there is at least one thing in this list that we have all forgotten or avoid. Look after your back and an active lifestyle is yours for the taking.
21 July 2013 - Sometimes life gets in the way & Tips for Intermittent Fasting
Firstly, let me lead off with an apology for not posting more regularly over the past month. As I said in the heading, sometimes life gets in the way. I have been earnestly reading a book on Lower Back Disorders from Dr Stuart McGill and, as with all Dr McGill's writings, there is some excellent information in terms of protecting and rehabilitating your spine. The first three steps in the rehabilitation process are critical:
Correct the defective movement patterns that are causing you pain;
Build stability through the spine; and
Build endurance of the spinal muscles.
Note the one thing that is missing - strengthening your spinal muscles. This is Phase 4 with Phase 5 relating to developing explosive power (if required for sporting or employment activities). Sports-based training and muscle hypertrophy (bodybuilding) style training are not your friends when rehabilitating spinal injuries.
Some other key insights from Dr McGill include:
Try to avoid spinal compression activities first thing in the morning as your discs are full and are more likely to press on, and irritate, spinal tissue.
The "Cat to Camel" stretch is an excellent way to warm-up the spine.
Avoid twisting the lumbar spine when under load, particularly at the extremities of motion.
Intermittent Fasting Tips
Brad Pilon, the godfather of Intermittent Fasting has new version of Eat Stop Eat ready for publication. This is an excellent e-book on the science and practicalities of Intermittent Fasting. As part of the promotional material for the book, Dan Go (a colleague of Brad's) has provided some excellent tips for getting in to Intermittent Fasting as follows:
1. Drink water....lots of water. Drinking water staves off your hunger response, facilitates the fat loss process in your body and helps with digestion. I'd aim for 4 litres a day guys and 2 litres a day women.
2. Drink bulletproof coffee to keep your appetite at bay. You can read about what it is and why over here The main idea is to use the caffeine/high fat coffee concoction to keep your appetite at bay and keep your energy levels optimal.
3. Keep yourself busy. I schedule my fasts on the busiest days of my schedule just like I did with my Thursday fast. These are days that I train my clients and generally get sh*t done. The truth is that the best intermittent fast is the one you didn't have to think about.
4. Do your fast right after a very filling meal. I talk more about this the 7th tip but I have a go-to "fasting" meal of a chicken cobb salad and a chili from a local whole foods restaurant. The meal is high fiber, protein and fat which is a perfect meal to start a fast with. More on this in #7.
5. Make it flexible for you. Create your own schedule and have Intermittent Fasting work for you instead of the other way around. This diet plan was made to create freedom. Not inhibit it.
6. Give it a good go for at least 3 weeks. This is the amount of time you can determine if IF is for you. You didn't "try" IF until you have given your body the time it needs to adapt and that usually takes anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks.
7. Use Trigger Meals "Triggers" are needed in everyone's life. I have a trigger for consistently getting my butt into the gym and I havea trigger for fasting too. The chicken cobb meal I mentioned in #4 is an example of a trigger meal that, when I eat it, I know that the fast is "on". Find your own trigger. What can you do to consistently trigger you into a fast on a given day?
8. You don't have to fast. Some days you just don't want to follow through on your fast. I'm telling you that it's okay to break them. Remember: that fasting is still a stress on the body and mind. You gotta be smart in listening to your body and knowing when enough is enough.
9. Best way to integrate Intermittent Fasting into your lifestyle is to slowly delay your breakfast. It's all about baby steps. If you're having trouble getting through a full fast then go slowly by delaying your first meal of the day. Take an hour here. And hour there. Slowly delay it to gently work it into your life until you reach a time you can live with. For me it is around 2pm.
10. Only do ONE fast a week.
28 June 2013 - Specialised Eating Advice and Core Training
If you are really struggling with your eating are looking for some guidance, support, recipes and good ideas can I suggest you get in touch with one of my training clients, Samantha Baird, who has set up a nutrition advice business. Sam is absolutely committed to eating well and helping others to do the same. You can get in touch with via her website - www.fftbysamanthabaird.com. You can also find her on Facebook by searching for hunter gatherer health nut.
Core training is something most obsess about, particularly those trying to lose weight and get "in shape". It seems that most everyone who decides to improve their diet, lose weight and get fit embarks on an endless series of sit-up, crunches and leg raises. While people seem to think this will take inches of their waistline (hint - it doesn't) they may also be setting themselves up for a serious back injury. Dr Stuart McGill is probably the world's foremost expert on rehabilitating back injuries and protecting your spine. His advice on these exercises - avoid them at all costs as they place excessive compressive strain on the vertebral discs and can result in disc herniation. A disk herniation will see you out of action for a period of months if you manage to avoid the need for surgery to repair it.
So if these exercises are out, what does Dr McGill recommend? Stability work in the form of abdominal holds, push-ups, and side holds. McGill crunches which support the lumbar spine and limit the involvement of the hip flexors and fitball stir-the-pots. You can Google these exercises to find out exactly how to do them. The key takeaway from all this - avoid exercises that involve spinal flexion and extension (sit ups, crunches, etc.) and move to exercises that build stability and endurance with the spine in a neutral position (ab holds, side holds and stir-the-pots). You should also avoid exercises that involve twisting the spine under load to avoid the shearing forces these exercises place on the spine. Spinal stability and muscular endurance are keys to a strong spine and should be the focus of your core training.
14 June 2013 - What have I been reading?
One of the advantages, some would say the only advantage, of taking the train to the city each day is that I get the opportunity to read for at least an hour an day. I always read on the train coming home from the city and I sometimes read on the way in (when I'm not dozing off). Anyway, this hour provides me with some time to learn things that help me train better and things that I can apply to help other train better and, more importantly, feel better.
So what have I been reading? The most recently completed books are Maximum Strength from Eric Cressey and Intervention by Dan Johns. Eric Cressey is an excellent trainer and his ideas on building strength without damaging the body are excellent. I picked up some new exercises in the book so expect to see some changes in upcoming programs. Dan Johns is a guru in the fitness industry for his simple, no-nonsense approach to training. Intervention should be a must-read for all trainers as it explains how to simplify training and keep people healthy. The key takeaway for me was building core stability through kettlebells and weighted walks. These will definitely be in upcoming programs.
I'm currently working my way through Squat Every Day which, I think (I haven't finished it yet so like any great mystery novel I'm not entirely sure where it ends) advocates lifting heavy weights (not maximal weights) as often as you can (six or seven sessions a week is fine). I'm reserving judgement until I get to the end as this flies in the face of many advocates of structured training and recovery but it's something I seriously considering giving a go.
I have also ordered Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance for Dr Stuart McGill. Dr McGill is probably THE preeminent authority on spinal fitness and recovery from injury. He is the man who advocates that no one do crunches or sit-ups due to the compressive forces they put on the spine. He also advocates that you be able to hold a plank for at least two minutes before you progress your training in any way. Hint as to what you have to look forward in programs. I can't wait to get this from Canada and get into it.
If you want to improve your training knowledge, any of the books from Dan Johns will be of benefit.
07 June 2013 - Gluten in Gluten Free Foods - Really?
Food companies in Australia have applied for a relaxing of the rules governing gluten-free foods such that, wait for it, gluten-free foods can contain - Gluten. You didn't read that wrong - if food companies have their way you will be able to buy gluten-free foods that contain gluten. By definition this should be impossible and the health consequences for the gluten intolerant are, apparently, not a great concern. What next?
31 May 2013 - Who controls the food coming into your house?
I had a great conversation with a client earlier this week about a habit that was frustrating her and sabotaging her efforts to improve her health. What was it? Buying "junk" food for the kids as an after school treat and then finding herself unable to resist the temptation of having some herself. Happily she hit upon an excellent solution. As she does the grocery shopping each week, she is going to stop buying them. No junk food in the house means no temptation to eat it. Here's hoping that the kids also benefit from consuming healthy and nutritious snacks as things progress. The one thing I love about the solution is its simplicity - rather than just doing the grocery shopping, take control of the food shopping.
Who controls the shopping and food that comes into your house? How good are the choices you are making in protecting the health of both you and your family? Take control and don't look back!
24 May 2013 - Having Trouble finding Paleo Foods? Let me help
I have recently been approached by, and joined with, Oz Wellness to enable access to a range of Paleo style foods that you may otherwise have difficulty getting access to. In the interests of full disclosure, I have joined as an affiliate and receive commissions from Oz Wellness for any sales I direct their way. If you interested in having a look at what they have to offer, click below.
19 May 2013 - Ladies, another reason to cut down on your sugar consumption
"Excess processed sugar in your diet, even in small amounts can cause dark circles, wrinkles, dehydrate skin and can fast track the aging process". So begins an article published in The Age this week. The article then goes on to explain some of the other ageing affects of sugar and ways to reduce it (things we have already discussed but it's nice to see others getting on board). A link to the article is below.
12 May 2013 - A Simple Way to Get Started on the path to Better Health and How I am Training
I thought I would give my readers a chance to catch up on some simple things that are often overlooked in our quest for good health. First off, how do I get started on improving my health? I generally advocate people start with five simple guidelines:
1. Remove as much sugar from your diet as you can (this means kissing goodbye to soft drinks, cakes, biscuits and anything that has sugar added to it - we will worry about the sugar that is naturally in it later);
2. Drink more water to give your cells one of the key nutrients they need to reproduce and remain healthy;
3. Get more sleep (we should all aim for at least eight hours per night, with the goal of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day - oddly enough, kids can help with the getting up at the same time each day, it's generally the getting to bed at the same time each night that we struggle with);
4. Increase your consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids which are found in oily fish (think salmon and trout) or through fish oil capsules to reduce systemic inflammation and balance out our unhealthy consumption of Omega-6 fatty acids; and
5. Each as much natural produce as you can (this extends to grass fed meat, free range poultry and organic fruit and vegetables).
When following these rules you don't have to be perfect but you need to be aiming for 90+ percent compliance.
How am I currently training? I am currently following a protocol called "The Cube Method" which comes from a powerlifter named Brandon Lilly. While it is geared towards powerlifters, it has elements that we should all be looking to apply. It focuses on the "big" exercises of squats, bench press, deadlift and military press and it works across a range of repetitions each week, with one session focused on maximum strength, one of explosive power and one on repetitions. It is a great protocol and one that I will begin to share with clients. Loving it. For those that may be interested in buying the e-book and reading more, please click on the link below.
I am also fasting at least one day per week at the moment. The thing I love about this - the mental challenge. The thrill of denying yourself food to unlock the benefits of weight loss, appetite control, improved insulin regulation and greater release of human growth hormones. If you want to challenge yourself and give intermittent fasting a go, let me know and I will send you some information on how to go about it.
27 April 2013 - Nothing like a bit of (inadvertent) Celebrity Endorsement
Please find a link below to an article on Eva Longoria who noted a marked improvement in her energy levels and palate following a sugar-free diet after she divorced from Tony Parker. While I'm not sure Eva intended it, yet another endorsement for pursuing a low-sugar, heathly diet.
19 April 2013 - I've Returned (with a link to the Paleo Presentation)
After a wonderful holiday with the family, I'm back - refreshed and ready for a big year. As promised, please find below a link to You Tube and the presentation that I gave at EFM Frankston on Paleo dieting. It runs for just over an hour and contains a wealth of information on Paleo, how to introduce it, what to expect and how it can benefit you. Enjoy.
15 March 2013 - It's called a Squat Rack for a Reason
Possibly my greatest training frustration of all time is getting ready to do squats, rack pulls or overhead presses in the squat rack only to find that someone is using it to bicep curls, a variation of bicep curls or some other exercise that can just as easily be done outside of the rack. It's called a squat rack for a reason. It is not, and never will be, called a curl rack. Thus endeth the rant.
07 March 2013 - EFM Paleo Seminar
The EFM Paleo seminar which involved your truly talking about the history and applications of the Paleo Diet was a great success last night with about 80 people getting to hear my dulcet tones for about an hour. Some great questions from the audience at the end and some very positive feedback on the EFM Frankston facebook page.
The whole ensemble was taped and I believe Ty is putting it on You Tube sometime in the next couple of days (scary thought). I will post the link once it is uploaded.
I will also be doing the seminar again at Urban Fitness in Blackburn some time in April. I will let you know the exact date once it is locked in.
05 March 2013 - Don't Major in the Minors has been published on Elitefts
My article on not majoring in the minors has been published on Elitefts. While I thought I did well, some of the comments are hilarious.
This has yet to be printed in any of the mainstream Australian media as far as I am aware but an article published in the New York Time this week reported on a study in PLos One that links sugar consumption to diabetes with the same level of certainty that tobacco is linked with lung cancer. Most of already knew this right? I'm sure we all probably did but now there is signficant scientific proof that shows a causal link between sugar consumption and diabetes. I have extracted a key section of the article below:
:A study published in the Feb. 27 issue of the journal PLoS One links increased consumption of sugar with increased rates of diabetes by examining the data on sugar availability and the rate of diabetes in 175 countries over the past decade. And after accounting for many other factors, the researchers found that increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher diabetes rates independent of rates of obesity.
In other words, according to this study, it’s not just obesity that can cause diabetes: sugar can cause it, too, irrespective of obesity. And obesity does not always lead to diabetes.
The study demonstrates this with the same level of confidence that linked cigarettes and lung cancer in the 1960s. As Rob Lustig, one of the study’s authors and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said to me, “You could not enact a real-world study that would be more conclusive than this one.”
The article also contains a link to an article discussing the campaign that has been run by the sugar industry in the past to discredit research identifying the dangers of sugar consumption. The study publishhed in PLoS One will now that campaign a lot harder to propogate. Clink on the following link to access the article. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/10/sugar-industry-lies-campaign
It also contains a link to an article written on the dangers of sugar consumption by Gary Taubes, a science journalist whose works I have referenced before. Many of the points raised in this article are now closer to being considered facts rather than just information. The link to this article follows. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?pagewanted=all
The wheel is continuing to slowly turn towards a recognition of the danger sugar represents to our health. A low carbohydrate, low sugar diet may just be the key to a long and healthy life.
22 February 2013 - Come and hear me speak on Paleo Dieting
If anyone is interested, I will be speaking on Paleo Dieting at the EFM Frankston Paleo Nutrition Seminar on 6 March 2013 at 7.30 p.m. For further details, please see the link below.
22 February 2013 - Some more mainstream media coverage in support of Paleo Dieting
Over the past week there has been a series of articles in the media discussing such things as the increase in tooth decay as the release of updated nutrtional standards for Australia. Of particular interest in the updated nutritional standards is the recommendation to reduce sugar intake and reduce processed food intake. While there is still a recommendation to eat grains, it is at least encouraging that the focus is beginning to move to the perils associated with our excessive sugar consumption.
13 February 2013 - PED's, AFL and HGH
It has been interesting to see the controversy stirred up by the revelations from Essendon Football Club that some of their players may have inadvertently taken performance enhancing drugs. One of the drugs that has been referenced is a peptide that increases the production of human growth hormone in the body (HgH). HgH occurs naturally in the body and declines as we age. It is thought that it keeps us looking young as well as increasing our muscle mass. This is also the drug that Sylvester Stallone was caught trying to bring into Australia a couple of years back. The amazing thing about all of this is that there is a very simple way to naturally increase your production of HgH - intermittent fasting. Research documented by Brad Pilon in Eat Stop Eat (see www.eatstopeat.com) shows that HgH productions increases while fasting and peaks after around eighteen hours (which is part of the reason it is advocated that fasts extend no longer than 24 hours). No one is sure why fasting increases HgH - it could be a reaction to the "stress" placed on the body, it could be the body is freed from other tasks so can produce HgH. What is known, however, is that fasting improves HgH levels in the body. Who needs expensive Peptides when we can get the benefit for free!
2 February 2013 - Don't Major in the Minors
"Don't major in the minors" is a regular piece of advice provided to lifters by Jim Wendler at www.eliftefts.com and on other websites to which he contributes. The advice is generally doled out to someone who is focused on the most minute of details or the most advanced of techniques without having a solid grounding in the basics.
How do you avoid majoring in the minors? Think big picture. When it comes to lifting weights, focus on the main exercises (squat, bench press, military press, row, deadlift, chin-up and plank), keep the repetitions low and the weights high. When it comes to cardiovascular fitness, get in some sprints (10 x 100 metres, 20 x 50 metres, 5 x 400 metres). When it comes to eating, focus on getting the main things right. Eat your meat for protein, your vegetables for fibre and your nuts for fat. Supplement with protein shakes after training heavy and take a fish oil supplement to better protect your health and joints.
Those are the majors - the key things to focus on. Once you have these right you can contemplate some of the minors, but don't focus on the minors at the expense of the majors.
Keep it simple and stay focused.
EFM Frankston have another leaning challenge commencing on Monday, 4 February 2013. For those of you looking for a novel way to kiss goodbye the Christmas kilograms, give it a try.
25 January 2013 - More Media on Carbohydrates and Functional Movement
I have included below a link to an article that appeared in "The Age" this week that discusses on of the great myths of our time - you shouldn't eat carbohydrates after 5pm if you want to lose weight. While I would advocate that you don't need to eat much in the way of carbohydrates at all, irrespective of the time of day, it was nonetheless an interesting for one reason. The article moved from when you should eat carbohydrates to the type of carbohydrates you should eat (if you are going to eat them). Could this be a first measure of progress? Are we beginning to recognise the inherent dangers of simple carbohydrates and their effects on the body? Might this be the start of a dawning of a new age? Time will tell as with most things.
On to a separate topic, that being functional movement. I have recently acquired "Movement" by Carlton Grey - a more than 400 page opus on functional movement, screening exercises for functional movement and, most importantly, corrective exercises for incorrect or sub-standard functional movement. I dare say this will keep me occupied for the next little while.
21 January 2013 - Something We Should Support
A movement has sprung up to tax sugary soft-drinks and limit their marketing to children. This sounds to me like something we should be getting behind. When some soft drinks contain sugar levels that can be measured by the tablespoon, something is wrong. Sugar consumption, weight gain, obesity and diabetes are all problems of modern living so if this tax can get people to reduce their sugar intake (or at least seriously consider reducing their sugar intake), I'm all for it.
2 January 2013 - Happy New Year, Goal Planning & Notes on Fructose
Greetings readers, this blog entry will cover a range of topics that may be of interest. First off, let me wish you all a wonderful 2013, full of good things that improve your health, wealth and well-being.
While I am not a big fan of New Years Resolutions, I am a firm believer in setting goals and the start of the new year is an opportune time to do this. In mapping out goals for the year, make sure that you don't set to many - you build a wall brick by brick not all at once. When developing your goals, make sure that resonate with you and what you want to become. Make sure that they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevent and Time-bound). If you need help with accountability for your goal achievement during the year, share them with someone you trust and ask that they check-in with you periodically on your progress.
A couple of my goals for this year are:
Complete my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment by 31 October 2013; and
Provide a relevant blog post each week on this site and facebook for the entire year.
Now you understand some of my goals, get cracking on getting your own goals documented - and be sure to review them on a daily basis so each day you can take the next action towards achieving them.
The Age published an article today detailing the results of a study that indicated that Fructose may be part of the reason that we overeat as MRI images indicated that consuming Fructose did not stimulate the part of the brain that signalled we had consumed enough food. This, if true, and the report contained a number of caveats could point further towards sugar (50% glucose, 50% fructose) and high fructose corn syrup (45% glucose, 55% fructose) as contributing factors to obesity and overeating.
It is also worth remembering that Fructose does not increase blood sugar levels and does not impact on the release of Insulin, it is sent straight to the liver for processing. It should also be remembered that Fructose is the major "sugar" contained in fruit and may suggest that we continue to consume fruit but be wary of its overconsumption and rtecognise may not signal to us the need to stop eating. Perhaps we should look to earlier times when certain fruits could only be consumed "in season" rather than year round as is now possible.
More research in this area would appear to be warranted and something to keep an eye on. The link to the article is below.
To all of the readers of this site, my thanks to you for allowing me to provide you with my thoughts and some information on Paleo dieting and weight loss. I hope that each of you has a wonderful Christmas and may 2013 be your best year yet.
I saw in the new earlier this week that celebrity chefs took a pasting for the "fat promoting" properties of their recipes, particularly in books being released in time for Christmas. As always, the negatives that were highlight were a high fat content, a high saturated fat content, low carbohydrate content and a lack of fiber. Regular readers would note that this parameters seem to be just what we are looking for (as long as sugar has not been added).
Hopefully 2013 will see the continuation of an increasing focus on the role of sugar, processed food and high carbohydate consumption in the obesity debate rather than focusing solely on fat as we have done for the last thirty years with such poor results.
To you and yours, celebrate Christmas with your family and loved ones and keep yourselves safe over the holiday period.
15 December - An Interesting Few Weeks on the Obesity Front & Other News
First off, my apologies for not posting any updates last week, some times life just gets in the way. Anyway, let's move right along to some things of interest that have crossed my path in the last fortnight.
First off, a respected Australian Medico came out in the popular press and stated that our current approach to the "War on Obesity" and we needed to change it. Finally, I thought, we will get some informed debate around diet, the dangers of our increasing sugar and carbohydrate consumption and strategies to improve the national diet. Let's go. Boy was I was disappointed as the medico went on to suggest that answer to the problem was gastric banding. That's right folks, pay no attention to what you are eating, pay a quick visit to the surgeon, get a gastric band and continue on your merry way, irrespective of whether you could have avoided surgery through improved dietary practices. There was a further suggestion a couple of days later that funding for gastric banding needed to be reviewed as those from lower incomes were unable to afford this solution. While gastric banding may a solution for some, and can be effective in conjunction with dietary revisions, I would have thought it should be close to the last option for dealing with obesity, not the first.
On the news this morning there was an item on how deaths from obesity related diseases has overtaken deaths from malnutrition for the first time in recorded history. On this basis, we are now more likely to kill ourselves from an abundance of sugar and carbohydrates than an absence of food. What have we done to ourselves? We have achieved another unique "first" in recorded human history. The need to get back to simple, structured eating is more important than ever but sadly, as noted from our medico friends, is getting less and less attention.
On a personal note, the program I wrote for Elitefts as part of the "Programs that Work" e-book has been published. All proceeds from the sale of the e-book go to the Make-A-Wish foundation. If you are interested is some training programs to get seriously strong (Elitefts is a powerlifting site at heart) this e-book will point you in the right direction. Check the link below for the e-book.
Please note, that they got my name wrong in the index, the program I contributed is "Bill Wallers—A 12 Week Quicky for the Older Gentleman".
30 November 2012 - Eating Out without Breaking Out
I received an email this week from a lady whose boyfriend has been transferred to HMAS Cerberus at Stony Point and she was enquiring as to whether there were any good Paleo restaurants in Frankston or on the Mornington Peninsula. While I had to respond that I was unaware of there being any such establishments down this way, I did provide some advice on how to eat restaurant food without kissing your Paleo diet goodbye. Listed below are some of the key points to keep in mind when eating out:
Let's start with the obvious - Nothing good can come from even perusing the dessert menu;
Don't be afraid to ask for what you want, most restaurants will simplify meals if asked;
Avoid any meal that is features an extravagent sauce (hollandaise, bernaise, etc);
Avoid chips and potatoes (most restaurants are happy to not put them on the plate if asked);
Stick to the basics - beef, fish, lamb and chicken and eat it grilled or baked;
If you really need a sauce, go with garlic in olive oil or similar;
Go nuts at the salad bar if they have one but go easy on the dressing;
Eat up your vegetables, just like your mum told you;
Ignore the bread rolls, if temptation is getting to you ask the staff to remove them;
Garlic bread is to be avoided at all costs; and
Drink wine in preference to beer if you are consuming alcohol.
Golden Rule: Don't ever forget you are the customer. Ask for what you want. Do be afraid to send it back if you don't get it. Eating what you want is more important than eating what they wish to serve.
The above does, of course, assume that you are at something a little better than the golden arches. One thing that I think I need to investigate a little further is the organic beef burgers that Hungry Jacks are promoting. I'm wondering if we can get away with eating them after first tossing away the sugar laden hunk of baked dough that it is served between. I'll be sure to let you know what I find out.
25 November 2012 - Elitefts and the Make A Wish Foundation
Each year Elitefts.com publish an e-book full of training programs submitted by their readers. The proceeds from this e-book go to the Make A Wish Foundation to help children suffering from life threatening diseases achieve a dream. This years manual is currently being developed and I have submitted a program for consideration. Once the e-book is released I will provide a link on the website and Facebook page so you can obtain a copy and help put a smile on the face of a child. Who knows, maybe the program from yours truly will be included.
16 November 2012 - Sugar Replacements
It has been interesting to note the rise in advertising levels for products that are based on Stevia, which is marketed as a natural replacement for sugar. Stevia is indeed a natural product, coming from a plant and, from all reports, is far sweeter than sugar. The question that arises in my mind is this - is this suitable for consumption as part of a Paleo based diet. As with most things the opinions and research results vary widely. Given that sugar the cause of so many of our current weight and health issues, anything that removes it from the diet is probably a good thing. There is a sting in the tail with Stevia based products and something you will need to be mindful of it you are going to try it. Stevia is much sweeter than sugar and, as such, should be used in very small quantities. If you look at many of the Stevia based products available on the market they are advertised as being "spoon for spoon" equivalents of sugar on the basis that is you had two sugars in your coffee you would replace it with two teaspoons of the replacement product. It appears, however, that simpler sugars are being used to reduce the sweetness of these products to allow them to be "spoon for spoon" and, as such, these will elicit an Insulin response if they are consumed. If you are going to try Stevia products, which I personally would avoid as part of the aim of Paleo is to move away from being obsessed with the sweet things, carefully check the label to see what the carbohydrate and sugar content of the product is before you buy it. There are some Stevia products on the market that have no sugars in them, but a lot of them do. As with all purchases, Caveat Emptor (Let the buyer beware).
Taking this discussion a level higher, however, is it just possible that the large food companies are preparing themselves for a significant backlash against sugar and sugar-based products as our national health continues to decline and our weight continues to rise. This, to me, is a development that bears watching over the longer term. Remember that for the majority of these companies, profits are paramount.
11 November 2012 - Trigger Foods & Reset Switches
We all have foods that we eat that "trigger" us to go crazy and consume pretty much anything that is not nailed down. For me, it's hop chips. Something about them sends the brain into overdrive and can put me on a search and destroy mission for food. I know this, and every so often, I confirm this for myself. How do we deal with it? First off, avoid your trigger foods wherever possible. As we discussed last week, disciple it critical to achieving your desired appearance and weight. If you can't (or don't) avoid your trigger food, what can you do? There are two strategies that I like to pursue. The first one is to only eat trigger foods (if I can't avoid them) as part of my last meal for the day. This minimises the time before bed in which I can search and destroy food. The second strategy, and one I more commonly employ, it to fast until dinner time on the day after I consume my trigger food. Yesterday I ate hot chips and had a couple of other snacks. Today, I will not consume any food until dinner. Why not? In simple terms, this fast allows the body to process and clear away the sugar from the chips and snacks. It also reinforces a "break" between consuming sub-standard food and resuming the consumption of wholesome, nutritious foods. Fasting stems the flow of Insulin in the body as there are no sugars entering the body for it to process. Sin and repent, the way it has been since the beginning of time.
4 November 2012 - You need to have or develop Discipline
I have had many people comment to me over the years how they can't dedicate themselves to training and eating properly. While I understand it can be hard to find the time to train, it is also easy to come up with a multitude of excuses not to do the things you know you should be doing. What most people see as a problem of dedication, I see as a problem with discipline.
It is discipline that will get you up an hour earlier to hit the gym in the morning, even when you don't feel like. It is discipline that will allow you to walk past a cake shop with detouring inside. It is discipline that allows you to eat steak and vegetables at a restaurant while other eat steak and chips then follow it up with a massive desert.
Nothing you want in life will come without you first disciplining yourself to do the things that you need to do to achieve it. If you remember nothing else from this post take this away with you - It is discipline that triumphs temptation.
27 October 2012 - Some Things that are not Controversial from a Scientific Viewpoint but are from a Dietary Viewpoint
The fact that the intake of carbohydrates, particularly in the form of simple and starchy carbohydrates results in an increase in Insulin levels is not disputed within the scientific community. The fact that the release of Insulin stops the burning of fat is also not disputed by the scientific community. Using this science as a basis, therefore, it should be reasonable to conclude that reducing the intake of carbohydrates, particularly those that are simple (sugar) or starchy (potatoes) in nature should be of benefit in the battle to lose weight.
Grains that can be broken down by the body into simple sugars should be limited for the same reason. In addition, many grains contain elements that bind with the beneficial minerals they contain and prevent their release to the body. This is why Paleo dieters tend to avoid them. Again, the presence of these elements in grains and their impacts in preventing the release of minerals is not controversial in the scientific arena.
So why is it, then, that it is controversial in the nutrition world? Is it because grains, sugar and starches are such a large part of the recommended diet plan for most Western nations? Is it because government bodies would need to admit they got it wrong? I don't know the answer, but I know there is science on the side of Paleo dieting. If you want any further proof of how the recommended diet has let us down, look at how obesity rates have soared since it was adopted, at the same time as activity rates and gym memberships soared. Something is very wrong somewhere and a Paleo diet is my way of dealing to it, losing weight and keeping fit and healthy.
20 October 2012 - Follow Up on Improvement Measures
It was only last week that I was writing about the importance of having multiple measures of success in achieving your fat loss goals and this week it was really brought home to me, again, as to why it is so important. I caught up with a client this week for our monthly weigh in, measurements and dietary review. The client first got on the scales and noted that they had lost 300 grams in the last 30 days. If the only measure of success you had was the scales, this outcome could be devastating. As we progressed onto the measurements, we quickly saw the improvements in body shape and composition. Centimeters were lost from the chest and waist, with more than 10 centimeters being lost from the hips. A great outcome and something my client was incredibly proud of - as indeed they should be. So how do I explain the lack of weight loss but the significantly improved body shape. Simple - as the fat is being burned away, it is being replaced with the muscle that was being developed through exercise. If you are going to rely on scales as a measure of progress you best make sure that the scales can give you a percentage bodyfat measure otherwise, in the absence of other measures, you will have no idea if you are losing fat, gaining muscle, both or neither. While you can rely on measures, you can also use something as simple as a dress, shirt or pair of trousers. Open up your options and allow yourself to measure your improvement.
14 October 2012 - Book Update and Improvement Measures
First off, some hopefully exciting news. I have completed the first draft of my new book "Losing weight with me will cost you a fortune (In new clothes)". It is currently with some close friends for review and comment before I make it available more widely. It will certainly be something that I provide to all my clients and will part of the introduction pack for new clients. I'm excited, I hope are too.
On to more important matters. Most people rely on the tale of the scales to measure the success of their weight / fat loss efforts. While the scales are a useful mechanism for keeping score, they should not be the only mechanism. If you can afford to buy scales that are capable of measuring your percentage body fat, you should look at buying them. Why? It is entirely possible that if you improve your eating habits and start exercising you will build muscle while also losing fat. If you rely on the scales, your weight may not change much, resulting is people becoming discouraged and quitting. If, however, you can see you percentage bodyfat falling then you know that you are making improvements to your health, body composition and appearance. This should encourage you to continue with your journey rather than giving up.
What do you do if you don't have scales that can measure bodyfat? Find yourself an alternate measure of your weight / fat loss. I have clients that use their favorite dress, a belt and their appearance in the mirror as this "second guide". I have a client who has noticed that her favorite black dress now fits better and that has spurred her to continue her efforts. Great stuff.
This is why with all my clients we measure not only weight at each assessment, we also measure the circumference of the body at key points. The loss of centimeters from the waist or arms is a positive indication that fat is being burnt, muscle is being built and good things are happening.
5 October 2012 - The Big Exercises
It seems to me that every time I view a mainstream exercise magazine or newspaper they have people doing also sorts of fancy workouts with all sorts of fancy exercises and why they do it is beyond me. To my way of thinking there is a very small set of exercises that you can do with bodyweight and another set that you can do with weights that, if you did nothing else, would see you maintain or improve your strength levels, build some muscle and improve your appearance. Time and again I see people doing strange exercises with Bosu balls and I have no idea why. Balancing on one leg on an unstable surface while carrying weights in each hand is not something I do everyday so it is beyond me how people can call this functional.
Anyone, enough of the rant, on to the basic, but critical exercises. Using your own bodyweight, the basic exercises are: Squats, Push Up, Chin Ups, Bridges (starting with a supine bridge and building to a full bridge), Leg Raises, and Inverted Rows. There are a multitude of variations of these exercises that you can do and if you don't believe me Google Bodyweight Squat Variations or Push Up variations.
If you have access to a gym, the basic exercises are similar: Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Military Press, Chin Ups (with weight), Rows and Leg Raises. Nothing fancy at all but all of these exercises utilise multiple joints, involve more muscles and give you more bang for your buck. Again, there are a multitude of variations you can do with these exercises.
Your resistance exercise programs should be built around these exercises. Lift weights or do bodyweight circuits twice a week, walk twice a week, do any rehabilitation exercises that have been prescribed to you every day and watch your health improve.
30 September 2012 - Short, Sharp Exercise Sessions
I very rarely train for more than 30 minutes during any single training session as I am a firm believer in getting in, getting the work done and getting on with life. I do, however, spend more than 30 minutes on my health in a given day as I stretch and rumble roll my muscles to deal with specific muscular problems that I have. When training clients, while each session lasts an hour, we generally only do thirty minutes of "work". A typical session for my client involves a ten minute warm-up, ten minutes of joint mobility exercises that are specific to existing injuries or geared toward preventing future injuries, thirty minutes of "work" and a ten minute cool down.
Why am I highlighting the thirty minutes of "work"? Intuitively I have always known that this works best for me, and is effective for weight loss. Now their is proof to support this contention. A recent study published in the American Journal of Physiology showed that clients who trained for 30 minutes per session lost 8.4 pounds of fat while those who trained for 60 minutes per session lost 8.8 pounds of fat, i.e. for training twice as long they lost only 0.4 of a pound!
Short, infrequent and intense is the way to go for fat loss and now there is some science to support it. It also highlights that in the exercise field, science is often a lagging indicator rather than a leading indicator. That is, people come up with something that works and science then explains why. This is why some of the most successful fitness gurus are at the periphery of what is accepted - science is yet to catch up with what they are doing.
21 September 2012 - Sugar Free September and are we moving into the mainstream
On Monday, 17 September 2012 there was an article in the Herald Sun in Melbourne discussing Sugar Free September. The article quoted from several well known nutritionists who both advocated avoid refined sugar and carbohydrates. Preaching to the converted in our case as this is one of the foundation stones on which paleo is built. While they didn't explicitly mention paleo maybe, just maybe, we are moving away from the fringe and into the mainstream. The obvious point they made in the article was that despite 30 years of advice to increase carbohydrates and reduce fat we are now fatter and less healthy that we have ever been. Paleo eaters have known this for a long time but for those who are coming to the party late, welcome.
For the paleo regulars amongst us, enjoy your sugar free September, October, November.....
16 September 2012 - Nutrition Science Initiative
This doesn't happen very often dear readers but the news I am about to share is so important that I have added a second entry today.
Gary Taubes (a man I have spoken of in previous postings) has joined with others...to form the Nutrition Science Initiative or NuSI with the intent of implementing the science required to determine what we should eat to improve our health and beat the obesity epidemic. You can "join" NuSI for free and obtain regular updates from them on their work. I would suggest that you do this as this involves some of the foremost researchers in the world at this time. You can find NuSI at http://nusi.org/
16 September 2012 - Junk Food & Alzheimers?
I came across an interesting article in "The Age" this week which had been republished from "The Guardian" newspaper in the United Kingdom. The article discussed some recent research that shows a link between the excess consumption of junk food (read sugar) and the development of Alzheimers Disease. While further research is required to confirm the link (and prove it is a cause rather than just an association) it again validates why those of us who have done our absolute best to eliminate sugar from our diet may just be on the right track - despite the naysayers. If you want to review the full article, clink the following link. http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/growing-catastrophe-of-junk-food-and-alzheimers-20120911-25qes.html
07 September 2012 - The Mysteries of Cholesterol Explained
Many people are fearful of cholesterol and their cholesterol levels without really understanding why. Some people can happily discuss "Good" and "Bad" cholesterol without really knowing what they are or why they are different. Cholesterol, and what it means for our health, is a mystery to many. But fear not because Dr Peter Attia of "The Eating Academy" has written a wonderful two-part article "The Straight Dope on Cholesterol: 10 Things You Need to Know".
The key takeaways from the article for me are:
Cholesterol is critical to the health and survival of our cells; without it we're dead;
The cholesterol we eat has very little to do with the cholesterol measured in our bloodstream;
The cholesterol in our bloodstream has little to do with the cholesterol attached to our arteries;
Cholesterol can only attach to the arteries with the help of a lipoprotein particle;
The number of these particles is more important that any measure of cholesterol;
The size of these particles is irrelevant to the damage they can do;
Reducing the sugar intake in your diet reduces the number of particles required by the body;
The lower the number of particles, the lower the risk of arterial plaque.
While the article contains much more science and scientific reference than this, it is an excellent discussion of what we should be concerned about. The full article can be found using the links below.
All of us who are trying to be healthy and lose weight know we should eat less sugar and simple carbohydrates such as lollies but do we understand why? The reason for recommending people reduce their sugar intake has to do with the effects of the King of Hormones - Insulin. When the body ingests sugar, the level of sugar in the blood rises and the body releases Insulin to spirit the sugar to the muscles or liver for storages, to working muscles for immediate use or to allow the body to convert the sugar to fat to store for later use. This is a commonly understood role of Insulin. There is one other thing, however, that Insulin does - It immediately signals the body to stop burning fat for energy as it has an alternative source that is easier to utilise and is readily available. It is this "double whammy" that causes us a multitude of problems with our weight. Avoiding this effect is why Paleo dieters only obtain carbohydrates from vegetables. Remember that simple and starchy carbohydrates are easily converted to their constituent sugars and spike insulin.
19 August 2012 - EFM Frankston Leaning Challenge
I caught up this week with some of the EFM Frankston members who completed the 30 day leaning challenge. To say that each of them was happy with what they achieved is an understatement. One gentlemen lost over six kilograms in the thirty days, another has lost more than 8 kilograms in the last seven weeks. A female member has dropped four kilograms in the first two weeks of her challenge. Each of these members is living proof of the effectiveness of a paleo-based diet and regular exercise. The best part from my perspective, however, is that most of them were surprised with how easy the challenge was to complete and they are continuing to apply the lessons they learned - No grains, no dairy, lots of meat, fresh vegetables, some fruits and nuts. Excellent. Congratulations to each of the members involved for their sterling efforts and excellent results.
5 August 2012 - The Book is finally Finished
The book that I have been working on with Ty Menzies of Frankston EFM is finally finished. If you want a simple overview of how to improve your health and fitness through a sound nutrition and exercise regime, this is the book for you. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this literary classic, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will let you know how to go about it.
27 July 2012 - Diploma of Fitness
On 20 July 2012 I was awarded my Diploma of Fitness by FIA FitNation. As a result of this I am now recognised as an Exercise Specialist by Fitness Australia. Thanks to Ty @ EFM and Simone & Billy @ Energym for supporting me through this process. Now the dilemma - Do I start on a Bachelor of Exercise Science? Time will tell.
22 July 2012 - Required Reading: "The Obesity Epidemic" by Zoe Harcombe
If you ever wanted a single text that definitively explains why obesity is running rampant in our society (and what we can do about it) this is the book for you. The book provides a blow-by-blow deconstruction of the carbohydrate based "healthy eating" information that has become the dogma of multiple government organisations around the world. By reading the book you will come to know how little science there is behind such statements as "A calories is a calorie", "Calories in equals calories out" and "Saturated fat causes increased cholesterol causes increased heart disease". In simple terms, there has never been a study done that shows that saturated fat consumption increases cholesterol which causes heart disease. While this contradicts most of what we "know" it is not scientifically valid. Interestingly enough, in many of the studies that have been done on saturated fat they have classified cakes and cookies as saturated fats rather than the carbohydrates that they overwhelmingly are.
If you want a more accurate view as to the cause of the obesity epidemic, watch Zoe Harcombe match the rise of obesity with the increase in the consumption of carbohydrates and processed foods - the more likely cause of obesity.
The solution is simple - eat real foods all the time! If it you can't shoot it, catch it or pick it you probably shouldn't be eating it.
15 July 2012 - Paleo Dieting @ EFM Frankston
EFM Frankston have kicked off a thirty day leaning challenge which involves clients following a paleo like diet while also engaging in intense interval training on most days of the week. The results in the fi...rst week have been outstanding with some clients reporting weight losses of up to four kilograms and one client losing eight centimeters off her waist measurement in a week. Yesterday I had a client comment how much better she felt from following a paleo style diet. For the first time in her life she feels in control of her eating and no longer has constant hunger pains. It's great to see that these clients are quickly realising the benefits of improved diets and short, but intense, bouts of exercise. I look forward to seeing the final results as I am sure they will be impressive.
7 July 2012 - Thank-you to Simone & Billy Manne at Energym Frankston
Over the past two weeks I have completed a professional placement at Energym Frankston as part of the studies required for my Diploma of Fitness. Simone and Billy could not have made ...me feel more welcome anbd I am grateful for their instruction and for allowing me to work with their clients. If you are looking for a serious martial arts and training venue on the Mornington Peninsula I can heartily recommend Energym. If you train early in the morning, you may see me there! www.energym.com.au
29 June 2012 - Kettlebells & Powerbands Presentation
I will be giving a presentation to a group of coaches tomorrow on the use of powerbands and kettlebells as part of training programs. The will be the first time I have given this presentation. If all goes well, I will update it based on feedback and make it available to the public. The presentation will be given to EFM casual trainers in Victoria. www.efm.net.au
The older I get the more I realise that most people overtrain, that is, they complete far more exercise than they need to achieve their goals. The end result of all this is generally injuries, loss of interest and a moving away from a healthy lifestyle.
So how much exercise do we need? I train four times per week, no more than thirty minutes at a time. Two sessions are weight training the other two are conditioning sessions. The weight sessions are split between upper body and lower body, strength and power. Repetitions are low, sets are high and rests are minimal. The conditioning sessions focus on running sprints or rowing. A sample running session would be ten sprints of two hundred metres with two minutes rest between sets. Rowing would involve a 1500 metre time trial or four sprints of five hundred metres with two minutes rest. Intensity wins out over duration every time.
3 June 2012 - Newspaper Article Published
The article for which I was interviewed has been published in today's Sunday Age. While I didn't get quoted directly some of the information I provided is in the article.
The article gives a nice introduction to the paleo concept and some of the benefits that can come from following it.
While running sprints this morning I once again injured my calf. Back to rehab I go. I've managed to spend most of the day icing it, keeping it elevated and wearing a compression bandage. This will continue tomorrow before I get into some heat treatment and stretching. With a bit of luck I will be back running this time next week - see how it goes.
28 May 2012 - POSE Running
I am currently experimenting the the POSE Method of Running as developed by Nicholas Romanov PhD. The method is built around simplifying your running style to increase efficiency and prevent injury. I am currently doing the recommended exercises and process steps in the book as well as sessions involving 200 metre and 400 metre repeats. So far, so good.
18 May 2012 - Mother's Day Classic and other happenings this week
Once again the family took part in the Mother's Day Classic - a fun time was had by all particularly as it was followed up with a magnificent lunch at Lygon Street.
After completing the Run for the Kids and Mother's Day Classics this year I've decided to include more running in my training program this year. I'm looking to improve my running style and complete next year's runs in much better times.
I believe the article for which I was interviewed will be published this week. As I said, I will publish a link to it once it is released.
12 May 2012 - Media Interview
I was fortunate enough this week to speak with a journalist from a large Melbourne newspaper on Paleo style dieting and how it can benefit people in losing weight and improving their health. The article will be published shortly and I will provide a link to it once it is published.
5 May 2012 - Half Price Initial Consultation Offer extended to 31 May 2012
Our special offer for new clients has been extended until 31 Mayl 2012. Until this time you can get an initial 90-minute assessment for $50. The assessment includes a review of your current diet and exercise program, a full postural assessment and recommendations for improving your diet and exercise programs based on your goals.
I received notification from the good folks at Elitefts that they have accepted an article I wrote for publication on their site. I will update you when it is published.
5 May 2012 - Work on a new book has started
Having completed a draft of my first book with Ty Menzies of EFM Frankston, I have started on the outline for another book. This book will deal with the weight loss and exercise strategies that I employed to go from 103 to 75 kilograms (see the difference in the photos pasted on this page). I plan to have it completed by the end of 2012 with a view to publishing on Amazon as a Kindle e-book.
5 May 2012 - Simplify & Eliminate
I have been reading some excellents books from Leo Babauta on simplifying life and improving productivity. Leo runs the www.zenhabits.com website and blog. I can recommend both Zen to Done and The Power of Less to all those interested in getting more done and honing a laser like focus on the tasks that need to be completed.
27 April 2012 - Back to Sprint Training
Today is the first day in three weeks I have been able to complete a planned sprint training session. A calf strain followed by a hamstring strain put paid to my last three sprint sessions. After an extended warm-up and wearing my new 2XU compression tights I was able to complete the session. Particular attention was paid to ensuring that my foot placement was spot on to avoid injury as I suspect running too much on the balls of my feet caused my previous problems. Anyway, I got through the planned session with no discomfort, so let's see what tomorrow brings after a nights sleep.
27 April 2012 - Why you get Fat: And What to do About It by Gary Taubes
This book is a follow-up to "The Diet Delusion" but is much simpler in style and content and is far more approachable for the average person. The key topics of Diet Delusion do, however, get covered in detail in this book - the need to avoid simple carbohydrates and starches to the maximum degree possible. Reducing simple carbohydrates (sugar) and starches are the key to losing weight, keeping weight off and protecting yourself against the diseases of civilisation.
18 April 2012 - The Diet Delusion by Gary Taubes
This book was recommended to me as an excellent text on low carbohydrate diets versus the convention wisdom of low fat, low calorie and high carbohydrate diets. This book is more than excellent. To me this is the quinessential text on the subject. Gary Taube reviews all of the research available in support of both viewpoints and recommends that trials be conduct...ed to confirm the efficiacy and effectiveness of both low carbohydrate diets and the conventional dietary wisdom. The ten conclusions that Gary draws in the Epilogue are an excellent summary of the findings of his review of the research. Remembering that Paleo nutrition is definitionally a low carbohydrate diet, the points made in this book around the effectiveness of low carbohydrate diets for reducing weight, regulating insulin and avoiding the "diseases of civilisation" are well worth remembering.
17 April 2012 - Watch this space for further announcements
Without giving too much away, the first draft of a book that introduces people to health and fitness is nearing completion. The book is a joint effort between Ty Menzies of EFM Frankston and myself. We are planning to publish the book online so keep an eye out for it. I will update this page when it becomes available.
13 April 2012 - Where Can I find Bill?
Every Saturday morning I run a fitness session at EFM Frankston from 7.30 am until 10.30. EFM Frankston can be found at John Paul College, McMahons Road, Frankston.
Each Wednesday evening from 6.30 until 7.30 I run a bootcamp session for Boot Camps Australia - Frankston. The sessions are held at Frankston Primary School, Davey Street, Frankston.
Feel free to drop by, get in some training and set up further appointments at either of these locations.
6 April 2012 - I'm Still Reading
This week I finished two nutrition related books. The first was "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living" by Steven Phinney and Jeff Volek. This book, while being a little more technical than many of the other books in the field, is an excellent discussion of the many reasons why one should pursue a low-carbohydrate diet and leave behind all of those "yummy" but dangerous sugars. The book references a large number of studies in support of its contentions and is well worth a read.
The second book was "Big Fat Lies" by David Gillespie. The essence of this book is that sugar and polyunsaturated oils should be avoided as much as possible if one wants to lose weight and stay healthy. David presents a logical arguments and references multiple studies in his book. This book is easy to read and well worth the trouble. As you can see from the quote above, I strongly endorse the views put forward by David.
This week I also received the updated version of "Eat Stop Eat" from Brad Pilon. This e-book is, to me, the gold standard on Intermittent Fasting. If you have any interest at all in Intermittent Fasting - what it is, how it works, the benefits you can get from it - then this e-book should be part of your research. It is worth remembering that Intermittent Fasting and Paleo-style diets go hand-in-hand as when food wasn't available, early man fasted. In addition, many of the worlds religions include fasting as part of their rituals. You can get Brad's book by following this link - http://eatstopeat.com/
1 April 2012 - Royal Children's Hospital Run for the Kids
Today the whole family took part in the Run for the Kids to raise money for the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. This is a great event and one that we are proud to be part of. Half of the family ran the 5 kilometres, the other half walked but a good time was had by all. The runners both finished in the same time - that's what happens when you chase a child around a course!
27 March 2012 - Dieticians Association of Australia Sponsorships & Paleo
Last week I commented on an article on www.paleo.com.au that dealt with a push for us to eat more gluten ( http://paleo.com.au/2012/02/eat-more-gluten/ ). In my comment I noted that the Dieticians Association of Australia did not advocate following a Paleo based diet as it excluded two food groups, grains and dairy. In another section of the DAA site, however, they recommended vegetarian and vegan diets, with supplementation, despite these diets also excluding two food groups (meat and dairy). Suz, the moderator of www.paleo.com.au checked into the DAA further ( http://paleo.com.au/2012/03/biased-dietary-advice/ ) and discovered that it was sponsored by Kelloggs, Nestle, Unilever, Dairy Australia and the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council. So a group that is sponsored by companies and organisations with a vested interest in the consumption of grains condemns a diet that excludes grains and dairy but doesn't condemn a diet that excludes meat and dairy. I leave you to draw you own conclusions from this.
24 March 2012 - April Special Offer for New Members
A special offer has been introduced for new clients. Until 30 April 2012 you can get an initial 90-minute assessment for $50. The assessment includes a review of your current diet and exercise program, a full postural assessment and recommendations for improving your diet and exercise programs based on your goals.
23 March 2012 - Further Recommended Reading
This week I finished reading "Beyond Bodybuilding" by Pavel Tsatsouline and "Body by Science" by John Little and Doug McGuff. These are two excellent books on training. "Beyond Bodybuilding" is built around training routines for each major bodypart and brings an Eastern Bloc viewpoint to training. The key for me from this book is the need to for brief, intense workouts that stimulate muscle growth. Pavel is one of the people that introduced the whole kettlebell concept to the Western World and if you have any interest in training with kettlebells, which I recommend you do, his texts in this area are first rate. "Body by Science" is another book that advocates brief, intense and infrequent workouts build around a High Intensity Training protocol. The authors recommend a single set of the five key exercises as a basic program for all people wanting to train for health rather than endurance or bodybuilding. An excellent read and certainly challenges a lot of the convetional wisdom around training with references to a multitude of studies that support their contentions.
19 March 2012 - Suggested Readings
The following are some of the excellent references available on reducing your sugar intake, improving your diet and living a healthy life:
Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
The Paleo Diet by Dr Loren Cordain
Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas
The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf
The Paleo Solution will provide you with the best introduction to how you can eat in the same way as your ancestors to improve your health. Robb is a former student of Dr Cordain and has an easy to follow writing style.
19 March 2012 - Suffering from a back, neck or other joint injury?
If you are suffering from an injury to your back, neck or any other joint of the body can I suggest you visit Frankston Osteopathy. Alasdair, Anita and the team have worked wonders for me and my family. You can contact them on (03) 8772 2099. They are located at 8 Heatherhill Road, Frankston.
19 March 2012 - Looking for a quality butcher on the Mornington Peninsula?
If you are looking for an organic butcher on the Mornington Peninsula you can't go past Balnarring Village Meats. The friendly team will provide you with all the healthy beef, pork, lamb, chicken and eggs you can eat. While it costs a little more, your taste buds and digestive system will thank you. They can be found at Shop 16, Balnarring Village Shopping Centre and can be contacted on (03) 5983 1310.
18 March 2012 - Moving into my fourth decade of training
In April, 2012 I will celebrate my birthday. This birthday is a milestone for me (not because it is a number than ends in 0) as it will represent thirty years since I first joined a gym and commenced the amazing journey that has been my health and fitness odyssey.
18 March 2012 - Training with Scheurmanns Disease
I am one of the multitude of people on this earth that has Scheurmmans Disease. Scheurmanns is characted by an abnormal curvature of the thoracic spine (middle back) due to vertebrae that are not the standard "block" shape. In my case, I have four vertebrae that are "wedge" shaped, leading to abnormal curvature.
If anyone else out there with Scheurmanns wishes to discuss how to arrange exercise programs around this disease, please contact me at email@example.com and I will be happy to correspond with you on the subject.
18 March 2012 - Articles Published on Elitefts.com
One of the things I have started doing of recent times is developing articles for Elitefts.com, a leading training website. Thus far, Elitefts have published the following articles:
Retreating to the Cave - A gentle introduction to a paleo-style diet that stirred up some controversy among the readers at Elitefts. While many doubted the strategies presented were effective for powerlifters (the core constituency of Elitefts) or had "tired of paleo", I still believe the article provides a nice, simple overview of the things we should all be trying to do to improve our health. Whether you call it Paleo-style or simply "eating well" is of no real consequence, after all they are nothing more than labels. Eating well and training effectively will push you down the path to rude good health. While the strategies I utilise may not suit elite athletes, powerlifters or bodybuilders they work very impressively for the vast majority of us - the average person on the street.
Fast Tips for Intermittent Fasting - A primer for those that may be interested in including Intermittent Fasting as part of their nutritional regime. There are some excellent reasons to fast and these are discussed in the article.
Italian Economists & Training - This articles applies the Pareto Principle (or 80/20 rule) to training and discusses how most of your gains (and injuries) from the twenty-percent of the causes.
Drinking the Weight Loss Kool-ADE - Attitude, Diet & Exercise are the three key elements to good health. Losing weight is simple, but it isn't easy. Read this article to find out why and what you can do about it.
You've got to Swing them Bells - Kettlebells are an often misunderstood but nonetheless effective tool for training. This articles discusses mechanisms I have used for incorporating kettlebells into my training, particularly for conditioning rather than for muscle building.