Stop Heart Disease with HIIT?

  • HIIT workouts are great for fat loss
  • HIIT workouts save your time
  • HIIT workouts are way more fun than slogging away the miles on a treadmill
  • HIIT workouts make you fitter faster

But…they sometimes scare the crap out of newbies….who wonder if such high intensity workouts are going to cause their de-conditioned hearts to explode inside their chest cavities.

And since I am not a cutting-edge cardiologist, I find it best to check with the experts before shooting my mouth off about the awesomeness of HIIT.

Luckily for us, some of the big brains at the Montreal Heart Institute have just published another study extolling the virtues of HIIT workouts for the rehabilitation of their patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction.

In this study, they compared the circulatory (hemodynamic) respones to:

  1. a 8 min HIIT workout
  2. 22 minute moderate-intensity continuous exercise (aka cardio) style of workout

Their findings?

  1. The HIIT workout was well tolerated by the test subjects and produced no significant ventricular arrhythmias and (or) abnormal blood pressure responses
  2. Compared with the cardio workout, the HIIT workout produced a similar circulatory response (blood pressure, stroke volume, etc) to the cardio workout
  3. Both workouts also produced similar C(a-v)O2 responses. This is a measurement of how much oxygen is absorbed from the arteries into the rest of the body.

Their Conclusion

HIIT may be an efficient exercise training modality in patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction.

What does this mean to you?

If the leading edge cardio researchers are looking at HIIT as an effective treatment for HEART DISEASE patients, then it might just be good for you too.


Researchers Discover an Enzymatic Ignition Switch to Fat Loss

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have discovered a unique enzymatic ignition switch which allowed them to supercharge our fat-burning enzymes… and triple the working hours of our lipase enzymes from a lazy 15 percent of the time to a much more respectable 45 percent of the time.

And by making the enzymes work longer hours, the theory is that we “should” be able to burn three times as much body-fat per 24 hours.

And if that wasn’t cool enough…. not only could this mean the end to obesity and other fat-related diseases like diabetes, cardio-vascular disease and stroke…but the researchers believe that this switch may be a common characteristic of many more enzymes.

And since enzymes are vital to every chemical reaction that occurs in your body, the impact of this discovery is potentially MASSIVE.

If it turns out that many different types of enzymes can be switched on and off using this Enzymatic Ignition Switch, it could be applied to a wide range of diseases, environmental problems, industrial applications, etc…

It’s kind of a big deal.

Of course, this research is in the preliminary stages and may (probably will) turn out to be a dead-end, but you never know… fingers crossed



Exercise Is Medicine

I am a big believer in the power of social media as a tool to share information, affect public opinion and empower the little guy.

I am also a big believer in the power of daily exercise as a tool to keep you healthy, fit and looking super-sexy.

To that end, I would like to suggest that we all begin using the hashtag #ExerciseIsMedicine whenever we’re tweeting or re-tweeting a story about exercise.

Thanks in advance.


Childhood Obesity : A Primer for Parents

Having an obese child doesn’t make you a bad parent.

  • Uninformed : MAYBE
  • Bad : NO
  1. Processed food producers spend an ungodly amount of money learning what type of foods encourage overeating…and over-purchasing. Sugars, fats, processing techniques, flavor enhancing chemicals, etc.
  2. In addition to the bio-chemsitry, then spend big bucks on neuro-psychology to determine how your eyes and brain can be manipulated while you shop. Believe it or not, there is a lot of science behind product placement and purchasing decisions.
  3. Moving on to the science of manipulation, our food producers also spend huge amounts of money creating and delivering marketing campaigns aimed directly at your kids….knowing that if they get them while they’re young, they will have them for life. Creepy – YES…but also very effective.
  4. And if that wasn’t enough, they also spend a lot of money employing lobbyists to protect their interests within government, generate massive food subsidies and to block any legislation limiting their influence over our kids.

Put it all together and it’s not too surprising that our kids keep getting fatter and fatter.

Luckily, there are solutions.

  • Informed parents can make better food and activity choices for their kids.
  • Informed parents can tell their government that they don’t like advertising directed at their pre-pubescent children.
  • Informed parents can bring attention (thank you social media) to the political manipulation that makes a mockery of the Free Market.
  • Informed parents can talk to other parents and local government to improve access to healthy foods in their neighborhood.
  • Informed parents can take advantage of existing grants and support organizations to improve the walkability and “playability” of their neighborhoods

And how does a parent get informed?

Here’s a good place to start.

Other Resources

The reason why big government "healthy lifestyle" programs don't work is…

…because they think education is the answer.

And while I am a big fan of education, I am pretty sure that the majority of us know that:

  • Exercise is healthier than watching tv
  • Vegetables are healthier than pizza
  • Meditation is healthier than obsessing over that idiot who cut you off in traffic
  • Drinking a glass of wine with dinner is healthier than downing a bottle by yourself
  • Socializing with friends is healthier than being a loner
  • Stretching tight muscles is healthier than sitting all night after sitting all day at work

We already know this stuff…..and yet, we eat junk food, watch too much tv and barely get any exercise.


Education by itself didn’t reduce the number of smokers.

It took education + higher taxes + municipal bylaws restricting public smoking + a whole lot of shaming from non-smokers who finally felt empowered enough to tell someone to butt out.

And if we want to reduce the healthcare costs attributable to poor lifestyle choices – obesity, diabetes, heart disease, alzheimers, cancer, etc…. we need to do more than education.



Big Pharma are Big Cheaters

Trust plays a big part in our healthcare system.

  • You trust that your doctor cares about you.
  • You trust that your doctor is prescribing the correct drug/treatment/procedure
  • You trust that your doctor is constantly learning about the latest breakthroughs & treatments by studying the most up to date research
  • You also trust that the people doing that research are being completely honest about their work.

And that’s why researchers from Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital and McGill University were shocked to find that financial ties between researchers and pharmaceutical manufacturers weren’t being declared in a majority of meta-analysis studies.

“Patients want their doctors to make their drug choices or treatment decisions based on unbiased evidence,” said Michelle Roseman, the lead author of the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “But we found that a lot of these studies that combine results from a number of different drug trials might have findings that are biased due to drug company sponsorship.”

The Study

Researchers reviewed 29 meta-analyses on a range of drug treatments published in major medical jounals – JAMA, Lancet and BMJ. Those 29 meta-analyses included results from 509 individual drug trials.

The researchers found that only 2 of the 29 meta-analyses mentioned the funding sources of the original 509 drug trials.

In fact, when the researchers identified 7 meta-analyses in which every single drug trial was paid for by the maker of the drug – they found that only one of those studies mentioned who funded the trials.

  • And there goes the trust.
  • And if your doctor can’t trust the research being given to him by drug reps, how can you trust your doctor?
  • And if you can’t trust your doctor, the whole healthcare system starts to fall apart….doesn’t it?


  • National Post
  • JAMA

Mainstream Medicine is Insane

Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

If this definition is true, then I have to conclude that mainstream medicine is insane.

Insane because even though our modern lifestyle is the single biggest threat to our health and vitality…our medical experts keep dispensing the same tired lifestyle advice.

  • Low intensity cardio 2-3 x per week
  • Reduce your calories
  • Eat less fat

And yet, as a species, we keep getting fatter and weaker and sicker.

All the while, there are outlier theories producing amazing results….while being ignored and/or disparaged by the  “experts”.

  • New dietary theories
  • New psychological theories
  • New pharmacological theories
  • New exercise theories
  • New spiritual theories

And while most of these new theories will most likely turn out to be just as ineffective as our love affair with everything fat free, aren’t we doing ourselves a disservice by not investigating each of them with an open yet critical mind?



British Government Sells Out to the Fast Food Industry

As part of it’s continuing effort to destroy it’s healthcare system, the British government has invited fast food companies including McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken to help write government policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease.

In addition to Ronald and the Colonel, representatives from PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Mars and Diageo are also among the businesses that have been asked to contribute to the five ‘responsibility deal’ networks set up by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

And while the details aren’t expected to be released until the government presents it’s public health white paper in the next few weeks, it’s believed that:

  • the Food Responsibility Deal Network will be chaired by one of the above mentioned companies, while the
  • the Food sub-group on calories is to be chaired by PepsiCo
  • the Behavior Change Responsibility Deal Network is to be chaired by the National Heart Forum
  • the Physical Activity Responsibility Deal Network is to be chaired by the Fitness Industry Association, and
  • the Alcohol Responsibility Deal Network is chaired by the head of the lobby group Wine and Spirit Trade Association


In America, they’re banning the sale of Happy Meals.

In the U.K., they’re asking Ronald McDonald to design national policy on food consumption and obesity.


Is it any wonder why nobody trusts politicians any more?


Note – If any of my U.K. readers would like to express their displeasure over this decision to the british Secretary of Health, Andrew Lansley, here is his contact info.

Constituency Office
153 St Neots Road
CB23 7QJ
Tel: 01954 212 707
Fax: 01954 211 625


I’m Fat and I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore

In a recent study, researchers forecast that by 2030, 86.3% of American adults will be overweight or obese.

By 2048, all American adults would become overweight or obese. Total health-care costs attributable to obesity would rise to 860.7–956.9 billion US dollars by 2030, accounting for 16–18% of total US health-care costs.

By 2048, that number would swell to 3.8276 trillion US dollars. Or if you prefer $3, 827, 600, 000, 000 USD.

Yikes. Obviously, there is a problem.

So what is to be done?

How about something like this:

David Conn of the Guardian reports that, “In unfeasibly hot sunshine on the banks of the lake in Helsinki’s Central Park 100 or so women of all ages and sizes – and two sheepish men – are throwing themselves into an aerobics session, music and the instructor’s commands blasting from speakers in a Transit van parked on the grass”.

“Laid on by the city council’s sports department for a decade now, summer outdoor aerobics is free and the Finns seem to be natural joiners-in”.

“This flow of exercise, and the diverse range of people taking part, represents pure satisfaction for the Helsinki Sports Department, which has as its declared mission: “To improve the quality of life and fitness of people in Helsinki through sports and physical recreation.”

And they are doing a heck of a job.

  • 55% of Finns engage in some form of moderate intensity exercise 3 days a week.
  • They have also seen a 60 % decline in heart disease mortality since 1970.

I can’t even guess what percentage of Americans, Canadians, Brits, Aussies, Poles, Russians, etc… can make the same claim.

Why Finland?

In Finland, the government recognized some of modern life’s health hazards with a landmark initiative in 1972. The eastern region of Finland had made international headlines for the world’s highest rate of heart disease..

The most profound lesson by the Finns was that there was no instant remedy. “The real innovation was understanding that ill-health was a question of general lifestyle. People had a very fatty, meaty diet but their habits were deeply rooted in the physical and social environment. They had to work at a very local level to gradually change people’s way of life, working with health centers, schools, community organizations”.

After five years the results were good and the program went national.

Concern that people were not exercising enough came in the 90s, when the Finns realized that sedentary, urban life was cutting them off from sport and their traditional closeness to nature – the woods and lakes to which many still decamp in the summer.

“They applied the same principle, working with many organizations including sports clubs, investing in facilities, educating people that exercising more makes you well and happy.”

In Helsinki, the investment in sports facilities has gone uninterrupted for decades. In a city of 570,000, there are 550 health facilities, including swimming pools. In addition, they have 200km of ski tracks, 160km of cycle and walkways.

Because the sports centers are modern, well-maintained and close to where people live, Finland does not have a fitness class divide, between plush private gyms for the relatively wealthy and dog-eared municipal sites for everybody else.

This access to quality health facilities may have something to do with why affluent Americans are more likely than lower income Americans to exercise regularly.

“The government strongly recognizes the need to promote good health, there is good co-operation between authorities and the changes are based on hard work since the 1970s.”

So what am I supposed to do?

Glad you asked…..You can write/call/email/visit/stalk all of your various government representatives and ask them why can they do this in Finland and not here?

You can take the bull by the horns and set up your own ad hoc neighborhood fitness club. Head down to the local playground at put up some flyers to arouse interest.

If you have no idea how to begin setting up an exercise class, find yourself a good (ask around, word of mouth is key) personal trainer and get them to set it up. $100 a class to the trainer is pretty cheap if you can find 20 other participants.

Contact the local newspaper or t.v. station and see if they would give you some publicity. Obesity is a big story these days. People taking charge of a situation that their government is doing nothing about may just be newsworthy. At least, it’s a feel good story.

Contact businesses involved in fitness. Beg for donations. Sponsors can be rewarded with free publicity. And, you can always ask little ole’ me for advice.

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