It’s the month when gym memberships spike and fitness equipment flies off store shelves. I think most of us begin the year wanting to be healthier, and fitness stands as an essential element of that endeavor. Logical. Reasonable. Commendable. Yet, the common interpretation of what it will take to get there suddenly veers off in a white knuckle, nonsensical detour. Yes, let’s hear it for the chronic cardio model. As a former cardio king, I rack my brain questioning why so many people still subscribe to the “exhaustion or bust” mentality. (It’s unfortunately one of the reasons many said memberships will go unused by the middle of next month and the aforementioned equipment will begin gathering dust in a corner.) As with so many aspects of healthy living, the conventional fitness culture often misleads because it ignores what can and should be its ultimate guide – the nuanced role of physical activity in evolution and the simple but rather elegant connections that movement has to overall vitality.
In today’s edition of Dear Mark, I cover six reader questions, starting with one on superfoods. Next is branched chain amino acid supplementation before a “fasted” workout, and whether taking them negates the benefits. Then I discuss whether hot sauce is healthy and Primal, assuming it’s otherwise free of sugary ingredients. Lactase supplementation for lactose-intolerants is next, followed by my advice for someone with a pretty bad leg injury who wants to stay fit while staying off their feet. And finally, I explore the myth of animal protein dissolving your skeletal system as you eat it.
Let’s get to it:
Today’s edition of Dear Mark is a bit of a grab-bag. First, I give advice on how to loosen up after strength training. Being able to deadlift however many pounds is nice and all, but what if you’re too stiff on your days off to do anything with the strength? Next, I briefly discuss the effect of heat on protein powder and raw cocoa powder. Raw fans will try to scare you away from anything heated, but are they exaggerating (or outright getting it wrong)? Find out below. After that, I sort of try to convince a reader not to embark on his planned week-long fast. Or, at the very least, to reconsider the week duration and try something a little shorter first. And finally, I discuss whether or not dietary oxalates are a toxic substance that should be avoided at all costs.
In this edition of Dear Mark, I provide rapid fire answers to five of your questions. First, I discuss another situation where the deload week(s) make(s) sense and may even have to be extended: when exercise starts taking away from the quality of your life. Next I explain why for some people raw milk is a highly-coveted food, and then whether or not a banana should be breakfast. After that, I discuss the potential impact of ketosis on breastfeeding. Finally, I discuss the benefits and potential downsides of Bikram yoga.
Last week, I went over a few ways Primal Blueprinters experiencing a weight loss plateau (or fast approaching one) might be inadvertently sabotaging their own weight loss efforts. This week, I thought I’d do a similar post on how we tend to sabotage our pursuit of fitness. What do I mean by inadvertently sabotaging your fitness routine? For a PBer, they do this a little different than the average person. You’re probably not wasting your time with endless amounts of bicep curls. You’ve probably seen the light and avoid excessive amounts of Chronic Cardio. You’ve got the basics down pat, you’ve got calluses from holding barbells, and you know the difference between Olympic lifting and powerlifting. All that said, you’re not perfect. Mistakes can be – and almost certainly are being – made. By identifying some of these common, sneaky mistakes, and hopefully identifying with a few of them, you’ll be able to make real strides toward improving your fitness.
Let’s take a look at what I’m talking about, shall we?
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