The popular story of how low-carb diets work goes something like this: Reducing your carbohydrate...
Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...Tell Me More
Everything in the world is conspiring to make you fall over. The ground can be slippery, slick, and studded with protrusions. The earth can move under your feet. The discarded banana peel is an ever present threat. Gravity itself exerts a constant downward pull, and any tissue straying from perpendicularity with the ground feels the pull that much more. That we manage to stay upright at all is impressive.
Not all of us do.
For youngsters, balance is something you actively practice in certain situations: it’s what you do when walking along the top of the monkey bars or ride a surfboard/skateboard/snowboard. You only think about balance when you decide to test it. Good balance enhances your ability to move through and interact with the world. It’s essential for all of us—and especially for athletes whose feats put them at regular odds with the forces that threaten to throw us off balance.
Today’s guest post is by Katy Bowman, biomechanist and author of the bestselling Move Your DNA and a new release, Movement Matters, which examines our sedentary culture, our personal relationship to movement, and some of the global effects of outsourcing movement. I’m happy to welcome her back to Mark’s Daily Apple.
Ancestral health models have begun reaching beyond diet and have expanded to include sleep, stress, parenting practices, and movement. This leads to the question, “Can we better incorporate the ideas of ‘natural health’ into our holidays?”
Most health and fitness writers don’t spend a lot of time on cartilage. As tissues go, it’s fairly isolated. It doesn’t contain blood vessels, so we can’t deliver blood-borne nutrients to heal and grow it. Cartilage has no nerve cells, so we can’t “feel” what’s going on. Doctors usually consider it to be functionally inert, a sort of passive lubricant for our joints. If it breaks down, you’re out of luck, they say.
But that’s what people used to think about bone, body fat, and other “structural” tissues: that they are inert rather than metabolically active. The truth is that bone is incredibly plastic, responding to activity and nutrition, and that body fat is an endocrine organ in its own right, secreting hormones and shaping the way our metabolism works. What about cartilage? Can we do anything to improve its strength and function?
For over a dozen years, I’ve railed against what I call “chronic cardio“—the excessive, unrelenting endurance training I did for the better part of three decades. Most of my health issues cleared up when I stopped stopped running and training for marathons and triathlons, removed the refined grains and sugar I ate to support my endurance training, and began taking it easy. Explore the MDA archives and you’ll read all about the downsides of chronic endurance training, as well as my experiences in that world. Next to Primal living, most people probably know me best for being against “chronic cardio.” It’s kinda my thing.
As a result, a lot of people have this idea that any type of endurance training is verboten and totally antithetical to the Primal way of life.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. First, what’s the deal with IGF-1, growth hormone, and intermittent fasting? Some people say fasting increases growth hormones, while others say it decreases them. Who’s right? And what’s it all mean for our health? Next, how can a former CrossFitter ensure she’s maintaining her former fitness levels? And finally, what’s my take on Barre training and other “feminine” training schools?
A few weeks back, I explored the potential benefits using fat as your primary fuel can have on cognitive function. While the strongest research centers on people dealing with age-related cognitive decline and other neurodegenerative diseases, and whether burning fat and ketones can boost cognitive function in healthy adults remains unconfirmed, the totality of the evidence suggests it can provide a benefit. Today, I’ll be discussing a related topic with more solid scientific footing: the effects of fat-adaptation on athletic performance.