Everytime I’m at the gym, I notice the banks of “cardio” machines. In fact, for many consumers, the number and availability of the card machines is the single most important factor in decision making when buying a guy membership (which is why gyms can get away with less-than-optimal weight areas but they can’t get away from sub-par cardio equipment.) In the winter time (in Canada) I can understand how using a cardio-machine can be useful. Personally, I abhor most forms of cardio for the sake of doing cardiovascular work. I’ve been a competitive swimmer, and a competitive rower and we never did cardio just to do cardio. We worked out because we wanted to get faster. That being said, if it’s nice outside and you can run (or bike, or climb stairs, or row), there are a number of very good reasons why you should leave the gym and the endless run/bike/stairclimb to nowhere, but I’m going to focus on the biomechanics and energetics of running/walking.
Treadmill running is very different than overground running. Treadmill _walking_ is very different than overground walking. This has been shown time and time again in numerous biomechanics studies. But when it comes to fat loss and treadmill running or even treadmill intervals (if you’re of the school that cardio, in any of its many forms, including HIIT is important for fat loss), these differences are quite important. To understand some of these differences though, we need to have a language for gait.
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There is a neat research tool that I use a lot. It’s called the Web of Science. A lot of you use PubMed to find articles. You punch in a topic and it spits out a list of studies about that topic (roughly). Web of Science is a similar database, but it’s like a reverse lookup for studies. I punch in a study and Web of Science tells me about all the studies that have citied that study (i.e. have listed it in the references). This is an extremely useful tool when looking for follow-up studies.
We’ve already talked about very recent evidence about pre-workout protein and energy expenditure, so this week, I wanted to find the most recent evidence of using pre-workout protein for muscle growth, since that’s probably the REAL reason you’re drinking protein before a workout. While there are some studies that have looked at post-workout protein as well as both pre and post-workout protein, surprisingly, there haven’t been many studies on just pre-workout protein use and muscle growth.
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There are many iterations to the famous story about some guy who fills a large jar with big rocks and asks other people if they think the jar is full. They inevitably say, “Yes” and then he puts pebbles into the jar that fall in the spaces between the rocks and asks the same question for the same answer. He then pours sand into the jar that fills all the space between the pebbles and the rocks. Same question, same answer. And then he pours a liquid (water or beer) into the jar, the moral of the story in my favorite version being, “No matter how full your life is, there’s always room for a beer.”
The very fact that you are reading this means that you are a person who is looking to improve yourself. Maybe you’re not quite started yet, or maybe you’ve been well on your way for many years; or maybe you’re trying to help other people.
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Eating protein before and after workouts has been touted to be one of the most important things you can do to decrease DOMS, increase protein synthesis, prevent protein breakdown, and in this article, increase your resting metabolic rate. The other claims…maybe I’ll tackle those another day (This post is hellishly long enough)
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