July 10, 2017

Ketogenic Diets

Ketogenic diets are kind of a hot thing right now. Yes, I am very familiar with all the ins and outs of it, having used this strategy consistently for a number of years. Here’s what people are getting right and wrong about this approach currently:


Reducing blood sugar and body fat by cutting out the sugar and eliminating processed carbohydrate. Carbs are an “elective” macronutrient. Your body can run on fats and protein after an adjustment period. It may or may not run its best (depending on who you are), but it will run just fine if you do it right and get through the transition period.

If humans didn’t have this “metabolic flexibility” we wouldn’t have survived. The vast majority of people in today’s society overdo their carbs. You have to earn them, or they are just going to be stored as fat.


Using supplements and eating low-quality, inflammatory foods and man-made oils.

A keto diet can be very healthy if you are getting lots of fatty wild fish, fatty pastured meats, grass-fed butter, low-carb veggies, etc. But, if you are getting your fats from nothing but supplements (yes, even coconut oil and MCT oil are meant to be limited), and are eating pounds of bacon and sausage per day, you are not going to do well.

So basically, what we are looking at is a very low-carb version of a paleo or primal diet, if one is to do this in a healthy way. Like it or not, that is what we’re talking about, or something about 95% there. It may be marketed as something different, but it is likely just a knockoff of a very basic ancestral diet.

April 12, 2014

On “Tabatas.”

A true 4-minute Tabata set is pretty much to metabolic failure. You should be absolutely done at the end of it, and need at least a 3 minute rest before doing a new set.

A guideline I like to use is that if I feel rested enough to do another set at anything less than 3 minutes, I didn’t push it hard enough. I usually use a 4 minute rest interval after a set, with 4 sets per workout.

Also, to really benefit from doing Tabatas, doing them multiple days per week for a matter of weeks is the way to go about it.

Try doing them about 4 intervals per day, 5 days per week for about a month and see where you get.

April 2, 2014

Hill Sprints

Ajax Hill Sprint

You all know I recommend hill sprints once a week to compliment strength training.

How to start?

Here is the simplest “program” I can think of:

Find a hill, steep or not. Walk UP the hill for about 45 seconds or about 100 steps.

Walk back to the start. Set a timer or stopwatch for 15-20 minutes.

Run up the hill to the spot you reached before. Walk slowly back to the start. Repeat for 20 minutes. Done. That’s it. No, this isn’t true max-speed “sprints” but they will be just fine for most people. You want to rest enough between efforts that you can run as fast as possible, but the hill will reduce the stride length and add enough resistance that the risk of injury is minimized.

For best results, do this on an empty stomach.

And, take your dog or dogs. They’ll love this!

Simplicy and Consistency

One of the biggest frustrations in the fitness world (from a trainer’s perspective) is the perception by many trainees that they need to do lots of “busy work” and sweat a lot every day in order to get things accomplished.

To accommodate this, many programs are catered to what the clients’ perceived need is, rather than what they actually need. This is usually done just to placate the client, not just because it is actually what is needed.

What is really needed is simple progression, consistency, and strict attention to nutrition.

Simple progression: You have to be progressively moving more weight, and challenging different energy systems.

Consistency: You pretty much have to train something almost every day. “3 days a week” is great for in-season athletes, or for someone trying to barely maintain where they are. To improve, plan on 5-6 days a week. Some days hard, some days easy, but never long breaks between training.

Strict Nutrition: That means logging and accounting for EVERY bite that goes in your mouth.

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