Diabetes May Be Even Bigger Threat Than Feared

Diabetes May Be Even Bigger Threat Than Feared

THURSDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) — By last year, the number of people with diabetes in Ontario, Canada, had already surpassed the rate predicted for 2030 by the World Health Organization. The news is bad enough for Canada, but augurs even more ill for the world, which can now expect many more people to succumb to this chronic disease than originally anticipated, researchers report.

Great job Canada, we’re 27 years ahead of schedule! This isn’t a good thing, given that in most instances diabetes is a preventable disease.

The relationship between obesity and diabetes is as real as the relationship between obesity and a lack of exercise. People are choosing to engage in a lifestyle that leads to their eventual illness. While I am always going to advocate for more physical activity, people can eliminate a lot of the diabetes risk by changing their eating habits to lower their body fat level.

Birds Don’t Say “What is in the way IS the way”

About a year ago, one of my friends sent out a mass email to everyone he knew with the following quote “What is in the way IS the way”. I smiled when I read it. He was one of the few people who replied to my mass friend email with the “Who Are You Not To Be” quote. Today I happened across the quote “If a Bird Can’t Fly, It Walks”. Just fantastic.

I’ve seen my share of injured animals. The one thing most injured animals have in common is an intense desire to keep living. They will fight predators viciously, they will attack food rivals violently and they will engage the world using whatever powers they have left. Birds with broken wings keep looking for food, dogs with three legs keep looking for other dogs to run with and beavers that live in streams during droughts go looking for water somewhere else. They keep doing what they do, regardless of the hardships that my befall them.

I doubt the experience of consciousness for an animal is anything like that of a human, and that is one thing that makes them remarkably stronger in the survival sense. Maybe they have moments of feeling that they were unfairly victimize but the only thing that directs their behavior is a desire to survive. They’ll keep trying to attract mates, hunt and find food and seek out a safe shelter for protection. They are not going to become socialist victims looking for a handout and to be taken care of because something extremely challenging happened to them.

I don’t know the statistics for human beings that suffer equivalent injury to a bird losing its ability to fly but unfortunately it happens a lot. But if you pay close attention to it, you’ll notice more and more of these people interacting in society, living a life that is different, but rich and rewarding. It would seem that many who do find hardship falling into their life will do what the bird who can’t fly does and start to walk, using whatever abilities they have left to continue living. Once acceptance occurs, human beings have a remarkable ability to continue living and having a rich life.

The bird quote isn’t a direct comparison to a physical injury that a human can sustain, it’s a metaphoric equivalent to not having the ability to do something a particular way.

There is no doubt that the life of a now flightless bird is going to be different. It may have to adjust to eating different foods, particularly if it relied on flying to hunt, but it doesn’t mean that there is no food to eat, just that it’s going to be different food. Its shelter may not be the same, if, for example, it nested in a tree because it can’t fly to it, but it will find something that offers some protection and affords that bird the opportunity to rest in relative safety. It makes do and it keeps on trying to live.

The same is not true for most human beings. Many of them will see not having a particular ability as an insurmountable roadblock in the path to something they want and never consider the possibility that they may have other skills that would make it possible. We all know someone who wants something better than what they have but when you ask them what they are doing to achieve it they give you reasons why they aren’t actively pursuing it right now. For example, the friend who wants to be a manager but sees not having any management experience as the reason to not try, the female friend who wants to date a particular coworker but sees her height as a reason why he wouldn’t want to go out with her, the male friend who wants to have a better body but doesn’t know how to workout so doesn’t bother going to the gym because he doesn’t want to look or feel like stupid.

The lessons from “what is in the way IS the way” and “if a bird can’t fly, it walks” are exactly the same here. These people are defining the path they need to take to achieve their goal in terms of their limitations and therefore the only way to achieve a particular goal. If they were flightless birds they would have defined the path in terms of what they can do and come up with a second possible path, one that is passable based on their present abilities.

If you want to make life easier, you need to start thinking about challenges in terms of what you can do instead of what you cannot do. When you give reasons for why you can’t do something instead of coming up with solutions to address these deficits or ways to bi-pass them completely, you’re basically admitting that animals have more ambition and a stronger will than you do.

Hacking Knowledge: 77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better

This great article Hacking Knowledge: 77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better by Online Education Database is a must read for anyone who wants to get a little bit more out of their brain. It’s a fantastic list of tips and I’ll draw your attention to number 38:

Every skill is learned. With the exception of bodily functions, every skill in life is learned. Generally speaking, if one person can learn something, so can you. It may take you more effort, but if you’ve set a believable goal, it’s likely an achievable goal.

I think maybe we forget that the ability to learn is an innate survival skill for us and that the abstract ways that we use this ability are just adaptations in human thinking and not new skills in themselves. Even if you didn’t forget, seeing that someone else was able to learn something really does mean that you can learn to do it too.

My First Bulk

I got pretty sick at the beginning of November 2006 and when I went to the doctor, their preliminary test indicated that there was protein in my urine – a bad sign and an indication of kidney dysfunction. I got a second test a week later. I went to Toronto to see my doctor and when I left his office with the “all clear”, I sort of floated along College Street to Union station in a blurry happy fog. I was going to have the time to do all the things I thought I would be going without. It was a fantastic feeling.

That night I started planning my first bulk. For those who are not familiar with a bulk, it’s a body building term use to describe a period of deliberate over eating to force the body into a more anabolic state allowing it to create more muscle. It’s an approach with a long history and it is generally accepted that you need to hold your body in a caloric surplus state to facilitate growth.

At the beginning:
Before I started, my weight was 168 pounds and my body fat level was 10.4. My weight has been around 168 for the last 3 years, basically since I started mountain bike riding. There is a seasonal fluctuation in body fat, with it bottoming out at around 9% at the end of the summer. My goal was bulk for 3 or 4 months to try and get to 190 pounds with little consideration being given to my level of leanness.

It was going to be a clean bulk, which meant that I wasn’t going to be eating everything that I wanted. A lot of lifters will treat their bulk as a period of non-stop gorging and will eat foods that are very high in calories but not very high in nutrients. The goal of a clean bulk is to limit the amount of body fat that you gain while providing enough nutrients and energy to build dry lean body mass (actual muscle vs. water and glycogen stores).
I needed to create and maintain a caloric surplus. That meant that I had to drastically limit the amount of cardiovascular exercise that I did. This turned out to be the toughest part of it because I LOVE cardio – I race a mountain bike and love indoor cycling classes and find my bliss state when my heart rate hits 150. Unfortunately for me, I had to limit both the volume and intensity of my cardiovascular work. I did one or two sessions a week trying to keep my heart rate below 140 and my usual high intensity warm-up was scaled back to the same level.

The diet and food management:
I followed all of the rules that I have outline in the Newstasis.com weight management program with very few deviations. I would occasionally eat when I wasn’t hungry because I needed to ingest the calories. My daily calorie count went from about 2000 per day to about 3000 per day and my daily meal count went from 4 to 7 or 8, a meal every 2 to 3 hours usually right after my stomach emptied into my intestines.

My breakfast was always the same, 150 grams of oatmeal, 50 grams of whey protein powder, 50 grams of dextrose and 5 grams of creatine, all mixed with water and eaten within 15 minutes of waking up.

My post workout shake was always the same, 80 grams of sugar (dextrose and maltodextrin combination), 50 grams of whey protein and 5 grams of creatine, all mixed with water and I would start to drink it within 10 minutes of finishing my workout. It was the same regardless of the number of workouts I did in a day.

My first whole food meal after the gym was usually the same for my first workout of the day, whole-wheat toast with a smear of margarine, and scrambled eggs with sliced turkey. I would use 250 ml of egg whites and 1 whole egg. I would drink water with this meal.

The rest of the meals would contain either lots of carbohydrates or lots of essential fats, but NEVER both because the body will use carbohydrates for energy if they are available and, when fats are also present, the body will just store the fat. Fats consumed in the absence of carbohydrates will be utilized for immediate energy.

I drank 2-4 liters of water a day.

I consumed no alcohol for most of the bulk because alcohol suppresses growth hormone release. I was sacrificing so much that it didn’t seem to make any sense to me to slow my progress because of a couple of beers.

I would eat 150 grams of cottage cheese before bed to make sure my body had a long acting protein available throughout the night and I made Venom’s Protein bars to make sure I didn’t go to sleep hungry. I’m one of the few people I know who admits to eating in bed before falling asleep. Venom’s recipe offered a low GI carb option that tasted fairly good.

The workouts:
This was an over reaching program, one that had me doing way more volume than my normal routine. In hindsight this was too much work. It burned a lot of calories that could have gone to repair and muscle building but at the time, I didn’t feel like sacrificing workout time and enjoyment. I just replaced my cardio with resistance training. Some days have me working out three times and I was more than happy to do it most of the time although there were a couple of times when I got to the gym and knew I needed to skip the workout.

The workouts were shorter than usual, each about 45 minutes, and I did a lot of high intensity training methods to completely fatigue the muscles, like retraining a muscle group later on in the day and it was during this time that I discovered the concept of training movements and not body parts. All I all, it was an amazing program and I felt stronger and bigger with each workout – I bench pressed over 200 pounds for the first time in my life and finally broken the 20 rep mark with wide grip pull-ups (something I haven’t done since university). I learned a lot of biomechanics and how my body responds to exercise stress and movements. I also introduced plyometrics training and added skipping as a warm-up exercise.

The results:

They were fantastic! I broke the 180-pound mark on January 21st with a body fat level of 11.4%; 50 days after starting the bulk. I gained about 9.5 pounds of lean body mass and a little over 2 pounds of body fat. I was very pleased with the results.

When I weighed myself today (March 6, 2007) I was 176 @ 10.6% body fat. That means that I have lost just less than 3 pounds of lean mass and almost 2 pounds of body fat.

Here are the numbers:

Nov 3, 06 Jan 21, 07 March 6, 07

Weight: 168.6 181 176

Body Fat: 10.5 11.4 10.6

Lean Mass: 150.9 160.3 157.3

Body Fat: 17.7 20.6 18.7

The toughest parts were not being able to do as much cardiovascular exercise as I wanted and all the extra eating I had to do. Human beings are state dependent creatures, so my body had adjusted to function effectively on ~2000 calories a day with 4 or 5 intense cardio sessions per week. When I started cramming in an extra 1000 calories of nutritionally sound foods, the body wasn’t used to them and it didn’t need them as it had found stasis with 2000 a day and some cardio, now it had to adjust to find stasis on 3000 with almost no cardio. I was forcing a caloric surplus of ~1500 calories through increased eating and decreased exercise. There were some digestive consequences to it and elimination frequency increased.

The best part of it was the feeling of gaining weight – I actually felt like there was more of me and that I was taking up more space on the planet. The workouts were awesome as well. They were both fun and all the volume I was doing meant that I needed to come up with some creative exercises to find new ways to attack the muscles. My favorite exercises to do were ISO leg press shrugs and wide grip platform dead lifts, two movements I had never done before.

I don’t think I’ll go on another bulk again because I don’t see the need for it. As a learning experience goes, I would recommend it, providing you are in good health and have your doctor’s approval. As a lifestyle, and that is what you have to make it to get the most out of it, I’d have a very hard time keeping up with it. There were times when I didn’t feel like eating and I have to force myself to eat. Plus, I missed working out the way I like, with intensity and my heart rate soaring.

What Is Karma?

Karma is the consequence of an action. It is neither good nor bad. However, since you have very little impact on what the consequences are you are best to try and limit the amount of karma that you create or allow to be created because there is always the potential that the outcome will be negative.

The concept of karma is misunderstood because people want to believe that the world is a fair and just place so that those who create suffering in others will get what’s coming to them – you get what you give. It’s an understandable desire because we do seem to be exposed to extreme cruelty and uncaring, but the world doesn’t work like that.

If you act according to your nature, you will create the least amount of karma. If your nature is positive, as most people’s true nature is, you and others will enjoy the consequence to your actions. If you act in a way that is different from your true nature, for example looking at the world with yourself as the center of everything, others may suffer as a result of your actions. Also, in the long run, any enjoyments you experience may dissipate and fade away completely. Very often these actions will create a feeling of cognitive dissonance within you that will be immediately experienced as a negative feeling such as anxiety, tension or sadness. If your nature is not positive, all of your actions will come from a place were you are the center of them and others will not enjoy the consequences of these actions.

Karma is minimized when someone is fulfilling their life purpose because they will be taking fewer actions that deviated from their natural tendencies; you will create only intended consequences.

One goal should be to create as little karma as possible through living the life that reflects your nature. This is why it is important to figure out what your nature and your life purpose are. Steve Pavlina outlines how to uncover your life purpose with his simple and effect method – it worked very well for me and I found the experience to be very powerful.

An example here may be useful. My life purpose has something to do with trying to empower people to achieve their goals and potential. While this has always been my purpose, I haven’t always known it and in fact it only became evident to me after a training seminar early in February of 2007. Before it was uncovered, when I would try to fill this guide role for others I would either feel shame for trying to change them, incomplete because I felt I needed others to change in order for me to be useful or just completely creepy for talking to people about what I saw in their essence. Try and tell a complete stranger at the gym that you see that they could be an excellent personal trainer because of the way they engage the front desk staff or that the person who pumped my gas should be a motivational speaker because of the clarity of their observations about whatever. People aren’t used to this kind of honesty or insight and they tend to be very suspicious of anyone who brings it to them. So before it was clear to me why I do what I do, I would suffer from the dissonant feeling that I was acting weirdly. Worse was the often-hurt feeling I would get when people would respond poorly through lashing out or just ignore what I had said. I have alienated a number of people through voicing my observations in a genuine attempt to help them.

To draw this back to karma, I was actualizing my life purpose through these interactions. The consequences to these actions were, for the most part, non-existent because very few people are receptive to what I said such that my talking to them created very little karma – any karma that results from their continuing down the same path is their creation. However, in the odd case where someone buys into what I tell them, they take some strength from it and begin to move towards their potential, a lot of karma is eliminated – their path through life has been changed or reset to a path that more closely represents their true nature. My actions were the result of my nature and they serve only to decrease the amount of karma that is created. In fact, if I had kept my mouth shut and said nothing I am, in essence, knowingly creating karma through willfully allowing others to continue down the wrong path.

The moment of enlightenment when I uncovered my purpose was very liberating because it allowed me for the first time to see my actions as appropriate and independent of the outcome. I am following my nature by TRYING to help others find empowerment to grow and not by GETTING them to find the empowerment to grow. The result is not as important as the effort. The result is only important for me. I MUST become empowered and TRY to help others but others actions are not even a consideration in the karmic equations that defines me. When it comes right down to it, I create more karma when I do not take an action that I feel I should. If my pure actions are inhibited it is because I am putting myself as the center of everything because I want to avoid shame. This is the recipe for Karma so I work to avoid it.

I’m recommending that people take the time to figure out who they are and what they need to do on the planet to have a meaningful life. Then go out and do it. Stop living a life that doesn’t complete you because you are creating a lot of needless Karma.

25 Years, 25 Mistakes

25 Years, 25 Mistakes by Mike Boyle from T-nation

Most of the mistakes deal with weight lifting and physical training, but there are a few very good general life lessons in the list:

Mistake #14: Confusing disagree with dislike
I think it’s great to disagree. The field would be boring if we all agreed. What I realize now is that I’ve met very few people in this field I don’t like and many I disagree with. I probably enjoy life more now that I don’t feel compelled to ignore those who don’t agree with me.

Mistake #15: Confusing reading with believing
This concept came to me by way of strength coach Martin Rooney. It’s great to read. We just need to remember that in spite of the best efforts of editors, what we read may not always be true.

If the book is more than two years old, there’s a good chance even the author no longer agrees with all the information in it. Read often, but read analytically.

Mistake #16: Listening to paid experts
Early on, many of us were duped by the people from companies like Cybex or Nautilus. Their experts proclaimed their systems to be the future, but now the cam and isokinetics are the past. Just as in any other field, people will say things for money.

You don’t think his post applies to you? Read mistake 25.

6 Dumb Training Mistakes

Christian Thibaudeau from T-nation talks about 6 Dumb Training Mistakes

Dumb Thing #5: Misunderstanding “Overtraining”

If you ask me, “overtraining” is the most abused and misunderstood concept in the entire strength training community! Perform more than twelve sets for a muscle during a workout and you’ll undoubtedly be accused of overtraining. Train a muscle group more often than two times per week? Overtraining! Relying on set extending methods such as drop sets, pre or post-fatigue, or rest-pause? What are you doing? Don’t you know that’s overtraining and you’ll shrink faster than your masculine pride on a snowy Canadian winter night?!

Yes, overtraining can eventually become a problem when it comes to your training performance, injury risks, and growth. However, it’s far from being as common as most people would have you believe.

The problem stems from the term itself, which is composed of “over” and “training.” Because of that term, individuals are quick to equate it to “training too much.” So every time someone thinks that a routine has too much volume, frequency, or advanced methods, they’re quick to pull the “overtraining” trigger. When someone is tired and has a few bad workouts he’ll also automatically assume that he’s “overtraining.” In both cases this shows a misunderstanding of what overtraining really is.

In the post, he has a full description of the states of physiological fatigue associated with training too much and it includes an image outlining the type and amount of recovery time needed to return to a normal state. For this one item alone it is a fantastic article, but there are a few other mind opening ideas that make it a must read.

Resistance Training – Think Movements, Not Body Parts

This article is for you if you resistance train in splits with different body parts being worked during different workout.

Ask yourself, do you have a shoulder day when you will work each of the three heads of the deltoid muscle group? If so, why do you do this?

I used to and I didn’t like it very much. As a consequence my shoulders suffered. It wasn’t that they lagged very far behind the rest of my body, it was that I didn’t train with enough intensity to get to know how to work them correctly – I never felt the muscles working the way I could feel my biceps when I train arms.

What I did find was that my rear deltoid muscles would be fatigued and pumped on back day, particularly when I finished off with a narrow rowing movement (reverse grip barbell row, seated row, cable row).

I found that my front deltoid muscles were slightly fatigued on chest day, particularly when I would focus on the upper chest (incline barbell press, incline dumbbell press).

I found that the medial deltoid muscles would be well rested on back and chest day because they were hardly used at all.

What did this all mean? I started to think about it and after a while I saw the movements in my head in a new way. It turned out that the rear deltoids have more movement in common with the muscles of the back than they do with the muscles of the chest, which have more movement in common with the front deltoid muscles. The medial head of the deltoid muscle has little movement in common with either the chest or the back, but lots in common with the trap muscles.

This was good news for me because I didn’t like doing the shoulder workout I was doing. This new understanding about the supporting role the front and rear deltoids played in chest and back movements meant that I could gut the the shoulder workout of exercises that isolated either of these two heads and instead focus all of my energies on the medial head. It meant that my shoulder workout got a lot shorter, which was perfect for me because it wasn’t fun to do.

It was easy to put this to work for me. I started off adding rear machine laterals to the later part of my back workout when I knew the joint and deltoid muscles had been well warmed up. I would do three or four back exercises and I would just slide laterals in after the 3rd or 4th back movement. My only consideration was to make sure that they would have enough energy left in them to play a supporting role in any remaining back exercises that I would do. For example, bent over reverse grip rows recruit a lot of rear deltoid muscle fibers, so they must be done before rear laterals. Front lat pull-downs do not rely so heavily on the rear deltoid muscles so I can do them after rear lateral movements. The shoulder pump I get from doing rear laterals on back day is awesome, arguable the best pump I’m able to get out of any muscle.

Concerning the front deltoids, I now do front dumbbell laterals towards the end of my chest day when the join and muscles are well warmed-up. But I’ve changed the way that I do them. I used to just raise the weights up to the front trying to use only my shoulder muscles. Now I also focus on squeezing the pectorals on the way up because engaging the upper pectoral region during this movement will shift some of the work on to them to help to more fully fatigue them. And the movement of the weight is slightly changed too, the line they follow is more of a “)(” shape. My goal with this is to improve the appearance of the pectoral deltoid tie in area.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a shoulder day, but I call it medial deltoid day and that is exactly what it is. I’ll do an overhead pressing motion (dumbbell shoulder press, machine shoulder press) and lots of medial laterals. Occasionally I may do a single arm dumbbell press before medial laterals to ensure symmetrical strength and development. As you can imagine, the these workouts do not take very long to complete, maybe 25 minutes to work through a max of about 12-14 sets. I’m now able to add a couple of trapezius exercises to the end of the work out, or train abs, or do some plyometrics training during the same workout. By eliminating direct training of the front and rear deltoid muscles on shoulder day I’m able to engage in movements that compliment the medial deltoids or are completely unrelated and therefore on fresh muscles.

This small change of training movements vs. body parts has really made a big difference in the overall appearance of my shoulder and neck. It has also allowed me to better manage the demands of a complex split training regime along with making resistance training a lot more fun. It has also allowed me to experience some mind blowing pumps that leave me laughing at what I see in the mirror after my workout – sometimes I can’t believe that my shoulder muscles could look so bloated.

I am presently experimenting with training gluts and hamstrings as the same body part and training them separately from the front of the leg. While the anatomy and planes of movement are a lot more complicated than that of the shoulders, I have found that stiff legged dead lifts have more in common with glut raises than they do with leg press. I’ll just leave it at that until I have a more complete understanding of what is actually going on and how to best put it to work for you.

Try gutting your shoulder workout and move front deltoid training to chest day and rear deltoid training to back day. Shoulder day should be about the medial head of the deltoid because that is what is going to give you the massive width. Give it a try and see how well it works for you.

People Who Get It

As a reformed bitter person I take some pride when people say that I “get it” because I never used to.

What do I mean by “getting it?” Well, very simply, you get it when you figure out what the world is all about and when act accordingly.

What is it that they get? Basically that the world is a tough place for most people and that you have a choice to make when it comes to how you engage it. You get it when you realize that other people have a similar experience of reality that you do and that your actions impact their experience of this reality. You get it when you realize life is about the journey and not about the destination. The destination is what motivates us, but the living occurs along the way.

  • Those who get it tend to work hard at their jobs because they like doing a good job and not because they are paid to do the work. Payment is required for them to agree to the work, but they will work to their potential at EVERYTHING they attempt to do because that is what gives them satisfaction.
  • Those who get it tend to have a work ethic that helps them deliver quality results with little managerial intervention. They thrive in an independent work environment when they have clearly defined expectations.
  • Those who get it tend not to view themselves in adversarial relationships with other people. They tend to view others as partners in tasks or as people to avoid due to the negative attitudes they hold.
  • Those who get it tend always to be to be involved in some sort of personal development project. It can be further education, reading, exercise or an artistic pursuit. They see themselves as a work in progress and are very open to new experiences and to change.
  • Those who get it tend to welcome and embrace new information because it improves their understanding of the world.
  • Those who get it tend to be people that others like to be around because they make you feel good. Their view of the world is enriching or enlightening and their optimism about things is a fresh change from the glut of bitterness that modern living seems to nurture.
  • Those who get it tend to improve group synergy because they foster an atmosphere of caring and non-judgment that gives other the permission to speak freely and express more creative solutions.
  • Those who get it tend to laugh freely because it feels good and because they view things in a more positive light.

We all know a few people who get it and we find that we engage these people more frequently for assistance or help because we know that they will offer their service to us without attitude or with any attempt to make us feel like we are inconveniencing them. We identify these people because we can see their passion for their activities and we’ll often believe that they would be doing the same thing anyway, even if they were not getting paid to do it. They make things happen without creating bad feelings or a sense of obligation, and they smile and say thank you.