AtA: So I’ve got these dumbbells, see

Posted May 19th, 2010 in Ask the Author by Clint

I’ve got a pair of dumbbells, up to 7.5kg on each (or more like 15kg if you put all the weights onto one bar.) I’ve read the section about doing hip and shoulder pull and push exercise, and I was wondering if you could recommend any exercises I could do with those weights that involve the areas mentioned in the book?

Although you can certainly abuse physics to some extent by using unilateral movements such as split-squats, single-hand OH push or lawnmowers, honestly that’s just not enough weight. You’ll quickly outgrow it (if you haven’t already), and more importantly you won’t get the crucial loading-stimulus on your frame or spine that hoisting a heavier weight will do.

But this is a wide world full of heavy stuff. 50lb bags of pea gravel are $3USD at a hardware store, and an engineer bag will fit in any corner. Or if the engineer bag doesn’t suit you, make due with what’s around (I’ve done a full workout with a mini-fridge before). One guy I train with from time to time has a workout based around his wheel barrow. Fill it up with the shovel, leverage squats, walking deadlifts, press, etc. You can also use crates, kegs, just about anything you’ve got. And the more cumbersome and unwieldy, generally the less weight you need since leverage and torque works against you (which is the sort of physics you can abuse without cheating yourself out of the benefits).

I regularly receive inquiries along the lines of  ”Well, I already have [miscellaneous piece of equipment], how can I use that?” If it’s a piece of gimmicky equipment like an ab circle lounger antelope strider pro plus, don’t bother unless you have fun using it. If you enjoy it, go for it, but bear in mind that almost none of them will provide a high enough intensity to count as an Interval Exercise; you’ll still benefit from the General Movement but don’t expect it to fulfill your exercise requirements. If it’s a home gym setup with tracks or rails, you’re better off (and safer) doing free-standing lifts with a heavy object. Sell the machine, buy a canvas sack and some pea gravel, and spend the rest on meat.

AtA: The Carby Nature of Breakfast Foods

Posted May 17th, 2010 in Ask the Author, Foods by Clint

I love the book, the whole concept of base and peak meals makes a lot of sense to me so I started with it today. The problem is, I love my breakfast oats, and I only exercise in the evening. Can I keep the oatmeal and still make my breakfast a base meal?

Though oats are typically a superior carbohydrate (especially compared to cereal, muffins or other breakfast-type carbs), that’s what they are. Can’t really will them into something else.

However, though one person might see this as a threat to your way of life, another might well see this as an opportunity. If you were to get up even 5-10 minutes earlier, put your oats in the pot or microwave, and then crush out an Interval Exercise, you can earn those delicious carbs and just roll with a Peak Meal. As a personal example, there’s an awesome hill less than a block from my house that I visit a couple times a week for sprints. Though I feel like yarfing as I finish, with the walk home to wind down, by the time I’m here I can usually be ready to eat.

Or jumping rope, doing thrusters, working the heavy bag, or whatever it is you’d enjoy doing (or can tolerate best). Putting your body in an active state early in the morning is something you can do in under 15 minutes, you can enjoy your breakfast oats, and likewise have an improved metabolic profile and higher energy levels throughout the day (I myself am sluggish if I wake up alarm clock style, but an IE sets that right).

AtA: Intermittent Fasting

Posted April 30th, 2010 in Ask the Author by Clint

I actually had one question for you: how do you feel about intermittent fasting? Your book talks about eating once every three hours; is this because you felt:

a) The scientific evidence on fasting isn’t there yet

b) Fasting is too counterintuitive/difficult for most people to handle, and you’re shooting sustainable, easy advice

c) Intermittent fasting just wasn’t known when you started writing it

?

Just curious.

dshack of ShackAttack (via reddit)

I’m not opposed to the concept of fasting; though not with any regularity, I’ve fasted myself from time to time–for example, with the intent of cleaning out and resetting the systems between trials of dietary plans or prescriptions. I wouldn’t necessarily say the research isn’t there yet, but that it focuses primarily on the comparison of intermittent fasting with the ‘typical’ (i.e. garbage-laden) western diet rather than placing it against other types of healthy consumption.

While a big part of is as you mentioned–that compliance with a fasting regimen can be difficult to maintain–still more of a concern is that even in environments where compliance is maintained at a very high level (such as with camps, athletes, or other committed individuals), the results are inconsistent. I’ve seen people adhere strictly to IF diets such as the Warrior Diet and falter or even experience negative results compared to their previous ‘healthy’ intakes.

But ultimately, along with ease-of-compliance, it was my goal to provide a system that is applicable and proven for the greatest number of individuals in the greatest number of situations. Frequent macro-oriented feedings have been consistently successful for a large number of people for many years now and are the staple of numerous successful nutrition plans, even those that incorporate only light or no exercise for whatever reason (rehab, etc). It’s also among the easiest to incorporate and customize for individuals, and my focus was for something equally useful for parents feeding their families, students eating in the dorm cafeteria, and individuals without the time or desire to create or follow complicated meal plans.

The long and short was something useful for the greatest number of humans in the greatest number of circumstances. It is doubtless that some individuals and their internal chemistry or situation would benefit more from an IF-style diet than from what I recommend, but I also specifically began the chapter stating that if you have something that works great for you, stick with it. And likewise if you don’t see the results you want, feel free to experiment with something else.

New! Ask the Author section

Posted April 28th, 2010 in Ask the Author, Site Update by Clint

Over these past few months following the release of Brain Over Brawn, I’ve kept myself active answering questions via email and on various forums and threads online (most notably in my thread in the W&W forum on somethingawful). However, the difference between creating content and making it easily accessible to potential readers is one I will now attempt to address. So I’ll be creating new (and frequent) posts on my blog for “Ask the Author”, wherein I take questions from readers and my answers to them; this will not only provide additional content of interest for the site, but also may very well answer questions a visitor might have without them having to ask it themselves.

You may submit your own questions by posting in one of the threads I follow, by emailing to clint at brain over brawn dot com, by posting a reply, or pretty much anything else you can think of. I’ll figure it out. I’m going to see about getting a nice, easy little form too.

Posts to follow. Enjoy. (Considering the raw amount of text I hurf-blurf out in a given day, I’d like to think I can be a little less negligent toward this our lovely site).