Fundamentals of Fitness Series by Myoflex


Fundamentals of Fitness- Free training advice prepared by Myoflex Human Development

*NEW* Lesson 7 and 8

Fundamentals of Fitness: Lesson 7

The Cardio Reality Check!

If you ask anyone at the gym on the treadmill, stationary bike or cross- trainer, most people would tell you the same thing. ‘I’m doing it to lose fat.’ Today we will look at why this is fundamentally flawed. The problem is most people believe that to shed a lot of excess body fat, you have to restrict calorie intake and burn more and more. Most people from this school of thought are also usually yoyo dieters, and would all agree that they get results for the first few weeks of training, and then get no extra benefit thereafter. The reason this system doesn’t work is that your body has a survival mechanism. As you plug away day after day, spending a substantial amount more calories than you are taking in your body is thinking ‘oh crap if this keeps happening, I’m going to die!’ So what your body does is down regulates your metabolism and thyroid activity so that it doesn’t die of starvation. This is usually accompanied by lethargy, low energy and motivation levels and increased appetite. At this point our cardio bunny will probably fall off the wagon and pig out, and then skip the gym for a couple of weeks. Due to their lowered metabolism, their body is primed to store their pig outs as fat to replenish what your body interprets as dying, and whala, you go right back to where you were before if not worse. The cycle then begins again when you feel bad enough to want to come back into the gym. Many times I have seen this cycle result in gym goers actually becoming worse than what they originally were. On top of that, the amount of cardiovascular fitness you get from steady paced cardio is limited. In fact you will reach a ceiling in about 3-4 weeks of doing steady state cardio, and your cardio vascular fitness will not improve above what you reach in this time. Other drawbacks to over doing traditional cardio exercises include teaching your body to burn fat more efficiently. I.e. your body learns to do more work whilst burning less fuel which is the opposite of what we want to achieve.   Also as most cardio exercise is lower body dominant, your body learns to store fat (fuel) closer to the working muscles which is great if you feel like your hips, bum and thighs are a bit bony and need plumping. To cap it all off the more steady state cardio you do, the more oxidative stress you put your body under. Oxidative stress increases Cortisol (as stress hormone which tells your body to store fat), and damages all tissues in the body, especially in your brain. Science tells us that cancers in our body form from cells which the DNA has been damaged by oxidative stress! So the take home version: The more steady cardio you do, the less fat you will burn. Just because 90% of the gym going population is doing it, doesn’t make it right!

Fundamentals of Fitness: Lesson 8

The Cardio Reality Check; Volume 2

Ok, so last time we gave Cardio training a bit of a serve, and for good reason. The gym going population has been brainwashed into believing that cardio is the most effective way to shed excess body fat and improve the health of our heart. So what is the most effective way to lose body fat and improve cardiovascular fitness at the same time? The answer is resistance training, yep good old weights! What’s most important is the way you structure your workouts. I will go into that a little later. Today I will show you some effective ways to do cardio, just in case you still think you need to do some. Here is a sample workout for some interval training which you could perform on a bike, a cross trainer or outdoors running hills or stairs. I don’t recommend sprinting on a treadmill as it does not mimic running in real life. The Biomechanics of running on a treadmill is all backwards compared to running on the ground. This is particularly important if you play a sport or take part in any running activities as running on a treadmill long enough and hard enough will actually decrease your ability to run on stable ground.   Sample H.I.I.T. (High intensity interval training) program: For this program, Work intensity is sprinting as hard and as fast as you can, Rest is active recovery which is performed with little to no resistance i.e. Peddaling slowly with a low resistance, or walking around whilst catching your breath. NB. You should always thoroughly warm up before performing H.I.I.T

Duration Action: Notes:
60 secs Rest Easy pace, Low Resistance
30 secs Work Sprinting pace, high resistance
90 sec Rest Easy pace, Low Resistance
30 secs Work Sprinting pace, high resistance
90 secs Rest Easy pace, Low Resistance
30 secs Work Sprinting pace, high resistance
90 secs Rest Easy pace, Low Resistance
30 secs Work Sprinting pace, high resistance
90 secs Rest Easy pace, Low Resistance
30 secs Work Sprinting pace, high resistance
90 secs Rest Easy pace, Low Resistance

Build up the total time over a few sessions to 20 minutes total. Once your reach this level change the intervals so that you sprint for 30 seconds and rest only 1 minute instead of 1 ½ minutes. During regular moderate paced cardio (which we don’t do anymore) will elevate your metabolic rate for the time you are exercising plus up to 3 hours post exercise. If you push yourself during H.I.I.T, you can elevate you metabolic rate for between 12 and 36 hours post work out! Therefore teaching your body to burn more fat all the time, not just when you are training! On top of that, H.I.I.T has been shown to drastically improve your cardiovascular fitness much better than regular steady state cardio! So start sprinting….then rest for a bit….then sprint again!

Lesson 5 and 6

Fundamentals of Fitness: Lesson 5

Fat is not the enemy.

Last time we had a brief overview on some of the misconceptions of what eating healthy really is. Here is the take home version:

  • Not all fats are bad for you, and limiting all fats can lead to severe health problems
  • Don’t believe the media hype about fat free foods being healthy for you (they never seem to mention that fat free normally is associated with either high sugar or high artificial sweeteners)
  • Get the majority of your nutrients from good quality lean meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds and fruits

Today we will look at good fats and how to get more of them into your diet. Your body requires omega 3’s and omega 6’s in your diet to function correctly. That’s why they are called ‘essential fats’. If you restrict your essential fatty acid intake (EFA’s) I personally guarantee that you will halt or even regress your results from your training whether your goal is increased muscle mass, decreased body fat or improved sporting performance. We know to maximise results and keep our metabolism firing, we should try to consume some food every 2 – 3 hours. We know that each time we eat we should try to consume some protein. Each time we eat we should also try to take in a healthy amount of EFA’s. The following list provides you with some easy ways to increase your ‘good fat’ intake:

  • Nuts and seeds (be careful not to overdo these guys as they contain large amounts of calories, especially macadamias and cashews. I like to stick with about 2 decent handfuls per day. It can be easy to overindulge but this amount is fine)
  • Avocado – ¼ to ½ of 1 avo one or two times a day can be a great source of EFA’s
  • Lean Red Meats and Fish – Both are great sources of omega 3’s, but be careful not to buy poor quality meats as the EFA content will be lower, and the saturated fat will be higher!

Fish oil – A good quality fish oil can be an easy way to supplement your diet to bring your EFA intake up to par. Fish oil has been shown to benefit almost every aliment known to man. Don’t believe me? Go to www.pubmed.gov and type in any disease you can think of, then human, then fish oil and you will find multiple research studies showing just that!

Fundamentals of Fitness: Lesson 6

Training: Make your body work for you, not the other way around!

Look in any gym and you will see a variety of different people using a variety of different training techniques. There are some fundamentally flawed training techniques out there, and again a lot of it is due to generalisation in the media due to their lack of explanation. Let’s try to clear up some of that now! Firstly let’s go through some common terms and try to dissipate some of the jargon and misunderstanding: Cardio – Aerobic work used to increase your cardiovascular fitness. Cardio is not necessarily accompanied with any body fat reduction, yet it remains the exercise of choice for those trying to lose fat and tone up! Flexibility – The ability to take a joint through a full range of motion. If a joint cannot go through a full range of motion, the joint integrity becomes compromised and can lead to pain and injury. Flexibility is not simply the ability to be able to touch your toes, and is individual to each joint and direction. You may be able to touch your toes, but you might also have poor hip flexibility which could lead to problems Resistance Training – Training with a load that is quantifiable and adjustable. It is important to note that with all training, especially resistance training, you must overload your body each workout (i.e. Do more than you did last time) to continue to get results. Lifting the same weights on the same program for months or even years on end will give you no more results than the first time you completed them! Resistance training is one of the most misunderstood types of training of all. Most people associate it only with increasing muscle bulk; however it can be your most effective tool in improving not only your strength but your cardiovascular fitness, your flexibility, and in reducing body fat when used correctly. The problem is it is rarely used correctly. So there are the basics when it comes to exercise. Over the next few instalments we will break this down even more to give you an understanding of how to achieve great results!

Fundamentals of Fitness: Lesson 3

When to eat, what to eat and why.

Today we will talk about some general eating guidelines. Everybody is individual, and each person has their own requirements, but here are some basic principles I use to get results for myself and my clients.

  1. When to eat:

You should eat as close to waking up as possible. If your metabolism is working the way it is supposed to, you should feel hungry upon awakening.

  1. What to eat:

When thinking about what to eat, you should build your meal around your protein source. In Greek, the word protein means “of first importance” so protein always comes first. The best sources of protein are lean meats and fish. Each meal you have (ps. I call snacks meals as well), you should also include some good fats, and something green. Something Green will help to keep your body more alkaline as acidity is the killer of both health and progress.

  1. How Often:

You should eat upon awakening, and then you should proceed to eat something about every 2 to 3 hours thereafter. This will help keep your metabolism firing on all 8 cylinders, and help to keep Cortisol (a stress hormone) low.

  1. Eating and exercise:

You should eat a meal between 1 and 2 hours before exercising. If your digestion is working correctly, you should be able to eat within an hour of a hard session, and not get any reflux or ill feeling. You should then proceed to take in nutrients as soon as possible after finishing your session. Intake of protein within 10 minutes halves the recovery time, compared to having protein within 20 mins. If it takes your body 2 full days to recover instead of 4, you will get your results twice as fast! This is where a post workout shake can be of benefit as it will be quickly absorbed by the body. There are various different types of protein, so speak to your trainer to find out which one are right for you. Don’t rely on advice from health food and supplement stores as they will generally recommend the product that they need to get rid of instead of the one which is right for you! I am slightly intolerant to dairy so I find if I have Whey protein I get fat, but plain amino acids and rice/pea proteins help keep me lean.

  1. Supplementation:

Unfortunately as our quality of food gets worse and worse, we receive less and less on the nutrients we need through our food. It for this reason that I personally will take a good quality Multivitamin every day for the rest of my life to ensure my body has what it needs to function correctly. So there are the basics. Now it’s time to eat for success!

Fundamentals of Fitness: Lesson 4

Eat Like a Caveman

In this instalment, you will learn the truths about fat intake in your diet, and what role the media has played in destroying the health and fitness of our society, again through generalization. In the late 80’s as incidents of heart disease, type II diabetes, obesity and Certain types of cancers were on the rise there was a general consensus within the medical community that high levels of saturated and trans fats were the problem. Somehow the media spin on this was that all fats were bad, and the low fat craze was born. You could get everything low fat, and the average diet of the health conscious individual was down to less than 10g/day. How did we go? In 2005 58.3% of males and 39.9% of females were morbidly obese, which has more than doubled since the 70’s. Even more alarming is that obesity rates among adolescents has more than tripled in this time, and Australia now has the largest percentage in the world of childhood obesity! Did we win? Again it’s the generalised statement of “fat is bad” which has brought us here. Yes, excessive amounts of saturated and Tran’s fats have serious health consequences, however cutting all fat out of our diet has equally serious problems. Considering that man evolved eating between 300-400grams of omega 3’s per week, and that the human genome has remained virtually unchanged over the last couple of million years, we need to adjust our diets to fit. Although we don’t behave like cavemen and cavewomen anymore, well most of the time, we still need to fuel our bodies like they did. If you eat like a caveman, you will not only feel better, but your results will come faster and they will last! “If your food didn’t at one stage swim, fly run or crawl, and if it didn’t grow on a plant, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.” I.e. You should get the bulk of your nutrition from lean meats and fish (low saturated fat, but high in omega 3’s and 6’s, good fats), vegetables, fruits and nuts. Avoid processed and manufactured products like grains and canned/tinned/artificial products like the plague! A book I would highly recommend reading is “The Paleo Diet”. Happy hunting!

Lessons 1 and 2

Fundamentals of Fitness: Lesson 1

Getting your body Functioning

Welcome to the first lesson in the fundamentals of fitness series.  You are here because you have particular health and fitness goals, and MYOFLEX Human Development is dedicated to helping you achieve this.  MYOFLEX was developed through necessity, as there is an abundance of misinformation in the health and fitness industry.  Pick up any popular health magazine and you can pick out at least a dozen articles that only present you with half the truth, and another dozen that are completely and utterly wrong and misleading.  The purpose of this series is to shed light on some truths, and dispel some common misconceptions. The first thing I want to share with you is the one fundamental rule which will never change.  Your external appearance is a reflection of what is happening internally.  Whether your goals are to burn some fat, build some muscle or to improve general well being, you must first get your body functioning properly from the inside out.  Your body is regulated by a series of chemical messengers called hormones.  If these messengers are delivering the wrong message, then progress with your results may be slow, nonexistent, or even go backwards depending on how strong those signals are.  That’s why everyone knows someone who has tried and tried to get the results they want, but never seem to get anywhere…. They are going about it all the wrong way! Stay tuned for the next instalment to find out the right way to go about things to get long lasting results!

Fundamentals of Fitness: Lesson 2

Water – The most basic yet overlooked element of fitness

Welcome to the second lesson in the fundamentals of fitness series. Last time we talked about getting your body functioning correctly. Today you will learn about water, and why it is so important to your health and fitness goals. Getting your water right is the first step in allowing your body to function correctly. The majority of your body is made up of water, everyone knows this!  (About 85% of your brain, 80% of your blood, and 70% of your muscle, in fact). Every single cell in your body requires water to survive, so it is little wonder why when you are dehydrated, you feel foggy and physically tired…. your killing cells! Within the fitness industry there is a lot of generalisation. A lot of magazines and their “experts” take a topic and generalise it to try to cover everybody in an attempt to appeal to everybody. Next time you are at the gym, take a look around…. Look at the closest 20 people to you, and I guarantee you will see 20 different sizes and shapes, and just as many different types of exercises.  Your body is individual, and requires individual attention. The Statement “Drink 2 litres of water per day” is a gross generalisation.  People write this because it’s quicker than writing what I am about to.  The amount of water you consume depends on your bodyweight, and level of activity.  To stay adequately hydrated, you need to drink 1 litre of water per 25 kg’s of bodyweight.  In addition to that, for every hour of exercise you perform, you should drink 1 additional litre. For example: If your weight is 75kg and your train for 1 hour/day, you need to drink about 4 litres of water per day to stay hydrated. So generalising the issue and saying “you need to drink 2 litres of water/day” is fine so long as you weigh 50kg and do zero exercise.  If you weigh 100kg, and train 2 hours/day, you would only be getting about one third of your required 6 litres for the day!