The Fat/Carbohydrate Hypothesis…Myth, or Fact?

I just read Stephan Guyenet’s review of Gary Taubes’ hypothesis that excess carbohydrate (and especially “refined” carbohydrate”) causes obesity.

All I can say is, take the time to read Stephan’s post.

It’s the most well-thought-out, thorough writing on the subject that I’ve ever seen.

Sour grapes, Crossfit, tabatas, and an exercise program that really helps you

I posted some articles on Facebook recently dealing with Crossfit (in particular this one, this one, and this one), and just yesterday posted an article asking “What the #$%^ is MetCon?!

Met-Con is a term frequently used by Crossfit and people who do Crossfit to describe the Crossfit-style workout. It’s also occasionally used as a blanket term for what could better be described as “General Physical Preparedness” – a program that achieves a general level of aerobic endurance, muscular strength, and some muscular power.

As mentioned in the post above, the term is actually useless, since literally anything and everything a person does qualifies as “metabolic conditioning.” That’s the definition of metabolism. “Met-Con” sounds cool, but doesn’t help anyone to understand what is being described or promoted.

I also recently re-posted this article by a fitness guru about Tabata training. He doesn’t go into much depth, so let me explain.

Tabata (named after Japanese researcher Izumi Tabata) intervals consist of 20 seconds of maximal effort work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for 7-10 total sets. Tabata developed this working on highly trained athletes, who would get close to total failure in that 20 second period.

The results are amazing. Over time the Tabata athletes’ VO2max (max oxygen volume/uptake) increased to levels beyond those achieved through any other recorded training protocol.

Crossfit began using Tabata intervals, and then a lot of other trainers jumped on board. Here’s the problem – Tabata intervals demand 7+ rounds of 20-second effort to exhaustion.

Most trainees do not have the capacity to exert an all-out effort period, let alone for multiple rounds of 20-second stints. This is not a knock against the average trainee, it’s simply a fact. New trainees don’t have the neuromuscular coordination or power-endurance to perform this protocol in any meaningful way, let alone to adequately control complex movements (like Olympic lifts) in this fatigued state.

Will it exhaust you? Yes. Will it make you feel like you are experiencing “tabata death?” Yes. Will it improve your performance over time? Maybe. As long as you don’t fry your central nervous system, or experience some sort of acute or repetitive-strain injury. And as long as your body can adapt between “Tabata” workouts.

That said, the reason for this post is something slightly different.

One of the people who commented on my Facebook posting of the articles above said that it seemed like “sour grapes.”

She’s an amateur competitive runner. She’s invested in her health and fitness. And I’m sure she knows at least one person who does Crossfit.

So I understand her reaction.

And that reaction itself is the reason for this post.

As long as the lay-public has no way to discern the deeper aspects of physical conditioning – as long as health and fitness experts continue to post articles that simply praise or blame, but offer no true education – those types of articles and posts are just sour grapes.

It is up to the competent health and fitness professionals out there to begin to educate their public about the principles of physical health (as far as we can understand them) in concrete and useful terms, that rely on accepted standards of reproducibility and logic (“science”).

Our technology has advanced to the point where – now more than ever before – it is possible for anyone to understand and interact with the deepest structures and functions of their bodies in ways that allow for feedback and meaningful correction over time.

This is the method that I use in my training, and seek to refine, constantly, and I call for all of the other health and fitness professionals out there to use the same principles in their programming – to tailor their work to each individual based on the principles of life – and to become proper educators of their client base, rather than just fad-producers or -promoters, cool-name-slingers, and/or disconnected, herd-mentality “workout” generators.

I’ve hit my limit on this post. I’ll post the best workout for you in the next entry!

What the #$%^ is “met-con?”

Met-Con – Metabolic Conditioning

Metabolic – having to do with metabolism, which is the sum-total of chemical actions that take place within the body at any given moment.

Conditioning – the state of something, or the process of changing that state.

Okay, so that’s it eh?

Well…yes, that IS it.

Sit on the couch and eat potato chips and watch TV/play video games/wait for the paleocalypse = MetCon.

Workout till you puke = MetCon.

Go on vacation and hike/bike/swim/have fun every day = MetCon.

So can I ask a favor of you folks out there in the reading-world?

Please stop calling your workout session or methodology MET-CON!

We know it’s MetCon.


If someone is selling you “Met-Con,” and they’re not telling you specifically what aspect of your MET their going to CON (other than you wall-met…eh…alright that’s bad, but you get my point), take your money elsewhere!