Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Upside to Stress: An Eastern Perspective

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

Stress is neither right or wrong, it is a response. It is how our bodies and minds react to challenges. Just as perceptions and opinions shape narratives, they also shape our responses to stress. Managing stress begins with changing our perceptions of stress.

If we consider stress a negative and try to avoid it whenever possible, it will consume us. Just as when we lie in bed trying not to think about insomnia, it will be all we think about. We know this feeling, whenever we try to get over an ex, is when we have the hardest time. In A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle put it so eloquently when he wrote:
“Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”
With internal responses, it's sometimes best to let it take its course.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Sweat Is Not Fat Crying

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

Just as it would be inappropriate to gauge a therapy session on how much you've cried, the same rule applies to sweat and working out. Sometimes tears are a necessary part of the therapeutic process; it may be something you need to do to heal. Whether you cry or not, however, is not an indicator of progress. The same goes for sweat and physical improvements.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How Exercise Builds Character

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

Physical exertion was and still is the first form of character building. As a child, movement was the initial way we learned to assert ourselves. Our physical behavior was the only window to know what kind of character we had. Early on, the only way for parents to influence our character was to influence our movements: explore, play, run, touch this, don't touch that, and childhood.

“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.”
— Seneca

Physical culture and eventually exercise became a tangible and easily understood way to modify ourselves. Prior to all the industrial and technological revolutions, we didn't dissociate ourselves from our bodies. They were one and the same, and changing our bodies also meant changing our being.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Calorie and Low-Fat Debate Is Pretty Much Dead

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
David Ludwig, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and of nutrition at the School of Public Health, who specializes in endocrinology and obesity, rejects the popular belief that overeating causes weight gain. Instead, he asserts, the process of getting fatter causes people to overeat. Even though many biological factors—genetics, levels of physical activity, sleep, and stress—affect the storage of calories in fat cells, he points out that only one has a dominant role: the hormone insulin. “We know that excess insulin treatment for diabetes causes weight gain, and insulin deficiency causes weight loss,” he says. “And of everything we eat, highly refined and rapidly digestible carbohydrates produce the most insulin.”
Ludwig argues that eating a diet high in refined sugars and processed carbohydrates leads to a yo-yo metabolism. When people eat high-glycemic processed fare such as baked goods and white bread, he says, insulin levels spike, causing hormone-sensitive lipase—an enzyme needed for the transfer of triglycerides from blood lipoproteins into tissues—to be turned off. This causes more calories to be stored in fat cells as opposed to the blood, leading the brain to think that the body is hungry.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Global Obesity Is on the Rise

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

According to Bloomberg:
Humanity is putting on weight. Across the globe, in wealthy countries and developing nations, among children and adults, an increasing number of people are overweight or obese. Today, nearly 40 percent of the world’s adults fall into one of those categories, according to new estimates by a global network of researchers called the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration.

Economic forces are conspiring to cause the great global weight gain. Countries grow wealthier and increase consumption. People move from rural areas to cities, where they have ready access to inexpensive, processed foods. Machines do work that humans once did, decreasing the amount of energy people use. And global trade means the reach of junk food has never been greater. Up against these trends, no country has figured out how to reverse the rise of obesity.

In 2014, there were 114 countries where more than half the adult population was considered overweight, including much of the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East, according to World Health Organization data. In small Pacific Island nations and Persian Gulf states, more than two-thirds of the population is considered overweight or obese, a higher prevalence than in the United States.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Study That Could Have Changed the American Diet

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

A 40-year-old study on saturated fat went missing in a dusty basement. The findings could have reshaped the American diet.
Several years ago, Christopher E. Ramsden, a medical investigator at the National Institutes of Health, learned about the long-overlooked study. Intrigued, he contacted the University of Minnesota in hopes of reviewing the unpublished data. Dr. Frantz, who died in 2009, had been a prominent scientist at the university, where he studied the link between saturated fat and heart disease. One of his closest colleagues was Ancel Keys, an influential scientist whose research in the 1950s helped establish saturated fat as public health enemy No. 1, prompting the federal government to recommend low-fat diets to the entire nation.

“My father definitely believed in reducing saturated fats, and I grew up that way,” said Dr. Robert Frantz, the lead researcher’s son and a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic. “We followed a relatively low-fat diet at home, and on Sundays or special occasions, we’d have bacon and eggs.”

The younger Dr. Frantz made three trips to the family home, finally discovering the dusty box marked “Minnesota Coronary Survey,” in his father’s basement. He turned it over to Dr. Ramsden for analysis.

The results were a surprise. Participants who ate a diet low in saturated fat and enriched with corn oil reduced their cholesterol by an average of 14 percent, compared with a change of just 1 percent in the control group. But the low-saturated fat diet did not reduce mortality. In fact, the study found that the greater the drop in cholesterol, the higher the risk of death during the trial.
Source: NY Times

My name is Sam Yang. I'm a martial artist, entrepreneur, fitness nerd, information geek, and productivity nut. For more useful information, join my newsletter. You can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter. For more philosophical posts, check out Must Triumph

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

How Fitness Misses the Point

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
"The narcissistic atmosphere of the fitness industry and the focus on the aesthetic has combined with our lack of understanding of human psychology and motivation to destroy our ability to improve people’s health and fitness... What actually happens when we post half naked selfies, constantly promote health as a specific body image (almost always young and very low fat), and talk about how much hard work and sacrifice people will have to make to be healthy and fit? We turn [clients] off."
Source: Taylor Simon

My name is Sam Yang. I'm a martial artist, entrepreneur, fitness nerd, information geek, and productivity nut. For more useful information, join my newsletter. You can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter. For more philosophical posts, check out Must Triumph

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Why Diet Books and Doctors Lie

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

A lot of what I talk to clients about is covered in this fantastic article by Julia Belluz of Vox. Being healthy is really complicated. We want neat little answers that are the equivalent to a magic pill, but that is not reality. Not now and not in the foreseeable future. What I try to do is guide people through the complexities and remove a lot of uncertainties. It's all about irrational behaviors. Irrational does not mean "stupid," it means a belief you hold or a behavior you have, that is not based on reason, but more a default automatic response. More motivation will not make you more rational. To become healthy, you must become a more rational actor. No diet book or bootcamp trainer can help you with this. There is a reason we have no definitive diet or exercise program for Americans. Even with people volunteering for the experiment, we have never gotten enough volunteers to stick with anything long enough for us to know anything. So we look at preexisting data from other countries or from our past. Food isn't the only thing that has changed, so has our social and work environments, so has our psychologies, so has society. All these things factor into our inability to change as adults.

People want to know it will be easy. When they ask about nutrition, they want to know about what foods to eat that will burn away all their fat. They want to know what workout will wash away every other damage they do to themselves. What I am going to say is, none of these wants or beliefs are rational. They are convenient but not aligned with truth, evidence or even critical thinking. Shallow-thinking comes to these conclusions. Your body isn't what needs improving, it is our minds, it is our brains, for our brain will be what facilitates any change. This involves lot of education, perception changes, thinking, and behavior change methods.

Here are excerpts from the Vox article:
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