Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
March 5, 2017
Nearly three years ago, I gave up the very idea of television. I was barely watching any television at all, so the cost of paying 170 bucks a month for my landline, cable and internet seemed pretty insane at the time. I tried working with my cable provider, but even without the landline and just a basic barebones package, I would only reduce my billing by 30 bucks. I pulled the plug, mainly because the early termination fee was far cheaper than paying some five months of fees for services I really didn’t want. I mean, it was 175 bucks versus five months of usage! Who is not gonna pull the plug early!? Anyway, I am extremely behind when it come to all shows. The revolution of Netflix and Amazon and the kitchen sink making all sorts of television shows ready to go for audiences to suck up is a strange phenomenon to me. I mean, binge watching a television show all day is pretty weird. Maybe as a bit of nostalgia when you have the DVD collections, but to do it constantly for all the shows you supposedly hold dear? I don’t know, I thought watching a few weeks of missed shows with the on demand option was pretty weird. Anyway, as more and more people watch television and somewhat waste their lives away, I stay behind the curve. Oddly enough, I feel like I never even have time for any of that stuff to begin with, like how would I even find time to fit any of this in? Fitness certainly keeps me at bay, taking up my travel time and actual usage time. And throw in the fact I have been working a lot of overtime the last month and it feels like my time is on an even harder constraint. It seems weird that my time is working against me, mainly because it is just a few hours a week…but then you see the real reason why. All of the driving is killing me. The traffic near my house just makes things insanely difficult, and it will be that way for the foreseeable future. So it is a good thing that I don’t watch any television.
Now I will have my moments of weakness, and this week I discovered the channel The Film Theorists on Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/user/FilmTheorists When you discover a good Youtube channel, you start watching it like crazy because you feel nostalgia not only for the subject but for the idea of parking your rear end in front of a screen. Needless to say, I stumbled onto this series and it got me hooked the last couple nights. So yes, I have been binge watching the series. They had some pretty awesome stuff, like the fact they theorize that Springfield in The Simpsons is actually in Oregon, or that Wall-E from the eponymous film was a cannibal. And it is completely believable when you think about. I especially like how they pontificated that Skynet from the Terminator movies is coming (though there is a Skynet traffic cam system here in Tucson) or how Luke from the new Star Wars movie is evil. Pretty compelling stuff. Some of the really cool videos is when they start getting into mathematical formulas and other other formulas. One thing I found really cool was the they figured out the surefire way to win The Hunger Games. Rather than spend your time training, turning your body into a metabolizing machine that needs nourishment, focus on elusiveness, stealth killing and eat just about everything in sight at the food spread. The reason for this is the fact the longer you go without a steady source of food, the more your body is going start eating itself from the inside. Hence, if you gain some weight it will give your body a better chance to stave off the weakness of starvation while out in the arena. Hiding and doing stealth killings (setting elaborate traps and night kills) will also spare energy as opposed to the more movie friendly trope of doing mano-o-mano battles with an opponent that is seriously stronger than you (and also impervious to starvation or dehydration). When you think logically on the subject, it makes sense.
Now this is all about movies so to speak, and the suspension of disbelief is typically something you need to consider when you are looking at the set universes of the said films. I think this is why the film The Thin Red Line (my fav film of all time) is derided by so many people, for the sub-genre of the World War II movie cannot have any dissent or ambiguity or disassociation with the supposed world that was the 1940s America. So no, showing soldiers discontent with the incompetence of their warmongering, medal seeking superiors while being disillusioned with life in general cannot be possible accurate. It must be “ra-ra” and pro-American speeches to the backdrop of deep cellos or brassy trumpets with any dissenting voice to the contrary being a coward. Hmmm, maybe I should start my own film critiquing channel. My Youtube channel has been pretty bare lately. Anyway, these arguments about film are really interesting to me, because even though I am falling behind o the times, I am merely replacing these ideas with fitness related arguments. A week or so ago, I overheard Christa and one of her clients talking about which type of diet would be best to go into moving forward. It was a very spirited discussion, one that I could not help listening to. Apparently, the client was trying to find a happy medium between two dieting philosophies. Much like me, he was struggling to bring down what was left of his spare tire, which was significantly smaller than mine. It is obvious he was interested in going on a Ketogenic Diet, which has promptly been labeled the Atkins Diet on Steroids. However, he was also trying to mix in more carbs than what was necessary, and needless to say was struggling with the results of mixing the two philosophies.
Now for the uninitiated, the “Keto” Diet has been around for a while now, for the revolution has seemingly replaced the Atkins Diet of old by reducing your amount of carbohydrates to roughly 50 grams a day or less and eating nothing but high fat foods consisting mostly of animal based fats and some plant fats like coconut and avocado. Of course, much like the other incantations of a fat based dieting regime, the idea is to reduce the amount of carbohydrates and plants, forcing your body into ketosis. The theory behind the idea is that humans are more efficient at producing energy when they train their body to use their fat stores. Researchers put it this way, that you can obviously use more available calories in your fat as opposed to the glycogen stores that are in your body. You could consume up to 2,000 calories of carbs and that would be the extent of your glycogen stores. Ultimately, your body would hit “the wall” and that is when you would start to use your stored fat to get you through the rest of the workout or the race (let’s just say we’re running a marathon here). Even if you have minimal body fat, according to some researchers, each pound of fat could store as much 3500 to 4100 calories of available energy to use. Now the numbers are not very accurate due to the growing disagreement with the figures, but the idea is this…why use carbs when you can use the more available and higher yielding fat stores within your body?
Now this all sounds very intriguing, because as a relatively overweight looking guy as myself that has a fat belt around my mid section, the findings of the philosophy might make me jump ship and start eating nothing but avocados, nuts and coconut milk. But that of course, would be the ultimate problem for me due to my own ethical stance toward eating (no animal products…plus I like grains and plants). Of course, the caveat to the acceptance of this diet does have a pretty hard downside…you will feel some real harsh pains and lose a lot of gains for some while. You see, when the body is extremely used to one way of doing things (using all your glycogen stores to power your body) switching to another method is going to exhibit some growing pains. It’s like basically have a major tune-up on your car that was falling apart and then it is working differently again…it will take some time to get used to the changes (much like it was for me moving from my Mercury Tracer to my Lexus ES300). You might experience some head grogginess and especially lose some gains in the process. Those who prescribe to this diet have some good examples to boast about, one being the “leaning” down of basketball superstar LeBron James, who has looked much leaner the last couple years when he adopted a similar diet. And now there is some indication that it might help some diabetes patients by showing not only improvement in their HbA1C levels, but also improvements in weight. http://www.pharmacytimes.com/resource-centers/diabetes/ketogenic-diet-for-diabetes-recent-research-shows-good-results The biggest selling point that the lovers of this eating style is the idea that no matter what you do with your body YOU WILL get diabetes due to the fact that all carbohydrates are bad and will make you fat and kill you. Seriously, Men’s Fitness went all nuts on the subject (of course, this is a magazine that routinely alters their male models).
Now I will not completely denounce the idea of putting my body in a ketogenic state, for this has been something that I have thought about entertaining in relation to my future weight goals. But I have also thought about raw veganism, juicing and will most likely start with a lower calorie regimen within the next few weeks. The problem I always come across with this sort of thing is fear, and I will tell you why. First of all, this would take a lot of dedication, and considering my dietary needs and ethical stances, it would be insanely difficult. I doubt I could keep up with the fat needs to keep my body running at such a high rate of velocity. Now this brought up the other side of the argument that Christa and her client were having. Would a high carb diet be just as good? Now there are plenty of people out there that continue to illustrate the effectiveness of a high carb diet, maintaining a good body weight and shape while also avoiding all of the supposed pratfalls that pro-ketogenic advocates always waggle their finger about. Like the constantly triggered Alex Jones of the looney bin sketch show called Info Wars (can’t believe I actually cited that website a few years ago before I knew what it was! So dumb!), the pro-ketogenic crowd will throw their love of bacon and sausage and eggs at you profusely in a fiery rage that will be both intimidating and may even go the sexual route (you can get more girls!!) Here is the thing that you might run into with the ketogenic diet though….lots of bad fat and an increase of risk for cardiovascular disease. Not to mention no one really knows the long term status of what being on this diet would do to you, which is why you have to generally assume you will end up like a former Atkins advocate. So look at it this way, go ketogenic and you might stop your heart. Go high carb and you might get diabetes. Much like the people that are constantly paranoid and offended by everything (and this goes for conservatives too…I mean, seriously, look at Alex Jones), you have to make sure whatever diet philosophy you take on is not something you are doing alone. Don’t get all your advice from the bro in the gym or the blogger in the second tier fitness magazine. Every side of the coin is going to have its success stories, for even though it works for some people, there is no way I could survive off 30 bananas a day try to consume 4,000 calories before 4 p.m.! (the still mentioned Raw Til 4 diet plan which is still popular amongst vegans). Heck, I have a friend that was in great shape when he adopted the five small meals day eating plan, even if he did get the sweats when he was running late for one of his set meals.
Now the problem I am running into is the fact my body is just not working hard enough, mainly due to the static nature of my job. First of all, I need to figure out a way to keep my body healthier and looser so I can get out of the chair and get moving easily when the time is here. Ultimately that is the key to the situation…you have to do something that is good for you and something you can monitor over a period of time. So yes, when I get better health insurance someday, I will seriously need to weight my options.
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About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.