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Two Hours Per Week Is Key Dose of Nature For Health & Wellbeing

While the Japanese martial arts are better known for their dojos, Chinese martial arts, like the one I practice, are more known for being practiced outdoors in local parks or secluded in nature.

Spending time outdoors has been known for a long time to improve overall health and wellbeing, and that’s one of the reasons I prefer to run all my classes outdoors in the local parks, but until now, there was no clear idea of what the minimum effective dose was.

paddle boarding in OR
Enjoying the outdoors paddleboarding at Applegate Lake in OR

A researcher from the UK looked at the issue recently and found that 120 minutes outdoors every week was the minimum needed to see improvements in health and wellness.

The good news is it doesn’t matter whether you get all 120 minutes in one shot, or broken up into a short walk in the local park several days a week, as long as your weekly total adds up to 120 minutes or more every week.

What can you do today to spend just a little more time outside?

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Can drinking coffee help us burn more body fat?

New research has shown that drinking coffee can help us burn body fat.  A recent study by researchers at the University of Nottingham showed that coffee helps increase metabolism by activating brown fat, aka brown adipose tissue or “BAT”.

When babies are born, they don’t have much muscle mass, and they can’t shiver to generate heat, so in order to stay warm, they’re born with thick layers of brown fat instead.

“Normal” fat (like belly fat) is yellow-white, but brown fat has a beige or muddy tint to it due to the presence of mitochondria, the little power houses in our cells that make ATP, our basic unit of cellular energy. As a result, brown fat is metabolically active, whereas white fat is not. In other words, brown fat burns calories!

What Is Brown Fat?

As babies grow, the amount of brown fat steadily decreases until adulthood, where you find some mostly around the upper back and neck.

Scientists thought BAT didn’t play much role in adult health and metabolism until recently, where newer research has shown that exposure to cold, like Wim Hof method, can help increase the activity of brown fat, or even help to “beige” white fat as does a low carb, ketogenic diet.


Wim Hof demonstrates his technique for becoming super human, which has been shown to moderately increase the activity of brown fat.


The researchers are now going to look into whether or not caffeine supplements can get the same results, but I suspect they will find that caffeine by itself is less effective, or not effective at all without the other compounds, like polyphenols, found in coffee as a whole package.

Coffee: A Silver Bullet?

If coffee can  help us burn more fat, does this mean you can get the body of your dreams by drinking more coffee?

Doubtful.

Although drinking coffee has been shown to reduce risk of diabetes, probably due at least in part to this increase in metabolic activity of BAT, it’s a “1% strategy” in terms of body composition.

You’re not going to significantly shift your body composition just by drinking coffee without making more basic adjustments in your diet like cutting calories, and eating more protein and whole foods, especially when that “coffee” is double caramel macchiato with an extra shot of chocolate syrup and whip cream. For instance, according to Starbucks website, their Chocolate Cookie Crumble Crème Frappuccino® weighs in at a heft 425 calories! That’s almost 25% of the calorie needs of your average woman for the day.  No matter what some people will tell you, you can’t eat more calories than you’re burning and be able to lose weight.  You can’t escape the first law of thermodynamics.  Although not all calories are equal, at some point, it’s all going to come back to energy balance. You must consistently eat less than you’re burning over weeks and months to lose fat.

Are you ready?

Tired of going it alone and not seeing the results you really want? Are you ready to get lean, strong and healthy for life? If you’d like to find out more about how we can work together, no matter where you are in the world, drop us a message below and we’ll get back to you ASAP!

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𝗜𝗦 𝗦𝗢𝗗𝗔 𝗧𝗔𝗞𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗬𝗘𝗔𝗥𝗦 𝗢𝗙𝗙 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗟𝗜𝗙𝗘?

I used to be a hardcore Coca-cola drinker. I LOVED the stuff (I still do if I’m being honest), even though I knew it wasn’t good for me. I had a HARD time kicking the habit, until I went keto. I still occasionally indulge in a Coke Zero on a hot day…

If you’re a regular soda drinker, here’s some info you might want to consider: recent research by Dr. Elissa Epel has shown that drinking just 12 oz of sugar sweetened sodas per day (that’s just one can) shortens your telomeres.

Telomeres are like little genetic candles at the end of your DNA, and once the candle burns all the way down, it’s lights out…

Dr. Epel’s research showed that regular soda drinking shortened your telomeres by the equivalent of aging almost five years!

Excerpt from Dr. Epel's research on soda drinking and aging.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that diet sodas didn’t seem to impact telomere length, so if you drink a lot of sugary soda’s now, you can do just little bit better by switching to diet versions.

There’s also some natural, zero calories soda’s on the market these days like @zevia and @drinkvirgils, that are sweetened with stevia or erithritol, so you don’t have to give up drinking soda completely if you don’t want to, and still protect the health of your DNA (and your waistline if we’re being honest).

It’s an example of how you don’t have to approach these kinds of changes with and “all or nothing” mindset.

Are you Ready?

Tired of going it alone and not seeing the results you really want? Are you ready to get lean, strong and healthy for life? If you’d like to find out more about how we can work together, no matter where you are in the world, drop us a message below and we’ll get back to you ASAP!

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Just How Much Exercise Do We Need To Be Healthy?

As human beings, we need to move, and move often as a biological necessity.Our ancestors moved A LOT.

They had to in order to find and prepare food, start fires and build shelters. If you watch videos of people preparing foods in traditional manner, the first thing you notice is how much damn work it is! It ain’t just popping something prepared into the microwave.

In fact, even around just 70 years ago, 65% of people were directly involved in agriculture and the production of food. Even with modern technology, farming is still a lot of dang work.

I used to work on a dairy farm, and just feeding the cows was a workout. We used to use a two wheelbarrow system; you took a full wheelbarrow of silage and ran with it to the nearest cows and started dumping out the feed to each cow (and the dang cows are sticking their faces into the wheel barrow trying to knock it over so they get more feed), you need to feed the right amount to each cow and get back to the second wheelbarrow before it overfills and then repeat.

My point is that going to the gym is not the only way to get exercise. In fact, even if you DO go to the gym, but spend the rest of the day sitting on your ass, the time you spend in the gym is probably not enough to avoid the negative effects on your health.

Yes, this is another one of those LAME suggestions to park further away, take the stairs, etc. The truth may be boring, but it’s still the truth. Find ways to add simple activity to your life on a daily basis. Little hinges can swing big doors. All those little activities add up over time.

Our ancestors stood for more than half the day. House cleaning, yard work, manual labor, cooking, gardening, these are all examples of what scientists call “non-exercise activity” and the energy expended from that activity is often referred to as NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenisis).

I like to grind spices and salt in my mortar and pestle, and hand grind my coffee every morning for example.

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Who Should (& Shouldn’t) Watch ‘Fasting’ on Amazon Video…

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I recently watched the documentary “Fasting”, available on Amazon Video (free if you’re a Prime member).

In their recent debate on the Joe Rogan podcast, virtually one of the only things guests Chris Kresser and Joel Khan, MD agreed on was the benefit of fasting to the overall health and wellness of nearly everyone on the planet.

If you haven’t been following the news regarding fasting in recent years, here’s just a few of the health benefits you might see:[1]

  • better blood sugar / insulin sensitivity
  • reduced blood pressure
  • reduced cholesterol
  • less body fat
  • improved cognitive performance
  • possibly lower rates of all cancers
  • reversal of diabetes

There’s been additional research that shows the power of fasting extends to improving outcomes from chemotherapy if you’re undergoing treatment for cancer. It appears that a 72 hour fast in advance of treatment, strengthens healthy cells, yet pushes cancer cells closer to cell death.[2]


Thrive Market

Much of the benefit of fasting appears to revolve exactly around this increase in apoptosis and autophogy (cell death, and breakdown / recycling of junk or damaged proteins in the body).

In a fat loss / weight management application, I find that fasting two days a week is the easiest, most sustainable way to create a caloric deficit for the week.

Coming from a martial arts background, I also find immense spiritual benefit from fasting. Similar to the Japanese practices of shugyo, which involve meditation, time in nature, cold water immersion, fasting, other hardships to discipline the mind and purify the body.

This was one of the big stumbling points in the film for me. Instead of talking to members of various faiths, and their practice of fasting, the film focuses solely on the Mormon church, and two of their representatives. Fine if you’re Mormon, but maybe not so much for everyone else who don’t identify with the Mormon faith.

The film brings together some of today’s most vocal research scientists and health care providers like Dr. Jason Fung, Dr. Satchin Panda and Valter Longo.

As much as I am a proponent of regular fasting, I have to say that overall I was disappointed with this piece. It was high on production value, and low on substance.

With the exception of the well known doctors mentioned previously, in the end, you never really know whether or not anyone on screen is a paid actor, which, in my opinion greatly reduced the impact of their testimonies. Is this person for real, or is this a paid testimony?

If you’re completely unfamiliar with the practice of fasting, and some of it’s benefits, then this could be a good entryway for you, but if you’re already familiar with fasting at all, this film would largely be a waste of time, unless you’re looking for something to tickle your confirmation bias.


I think overall, the piece does the most disservice to those at risk, or with a history of, eating disorders.

Fasting, at it’s heart is simply a practice of restriction and control; the hallmarks of anorexia and bulimia.

Although they did have a lone dissenting opinion, they instead follow two individuals who claim that the practice of fasting has instead, helped them overcome their eating disorders.

The cycle of “binge and restrict” is also common among overweight individuals accustomed to yo-yo dieting and those who tend to stress eat, etc. (often referred to as “disordered eating”), and these people would be far better served by first developing a more healthy relationship with food and eating, before any kind regular fasting. Like most ardent proponents of any method though, the messengers are over zealous in their delivery of the message.

If you’re interested in something more substantial, I’d recommend you instead spend the time watching the interviews Dr. Rhonda Patrick has done with all three of the previously mentioned doctors, on her podcast Found My Fitness.

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References

  1. Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan
    Author links open overlay panelValter D.Longo12SatchidanandaPanda3
    Show more
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001
  2. Safety and feasibility of fasting in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy
    Tanya B. Dorff, Susan Groshen, Agustin Garcia, Manali Shah, Denice Tsao-Wei, Huyen Pham, Chia-Wei Cheng, Sebastian Brandhorst, Pinchas Cohen, Min Wei, Valter LongoEmail author and David I. QuinnEmail author
    BMC Cancer201616:360
    https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-016-2370-6