The truth about sports, nutrition and pain!

Archive for October, 2014

Cardio or Lifting Weights, what is better for losing weight?

This is a classic question I always get asked and one where people always get surprised when hearing my answer. Which is that for losing weight I put more emphasis on weight training.

Running is great and something I love to do but I do not run to lose weight. I run for other reasons, like to improve my cardiovascular condition, to disconnect  and to prepare myself for future races. Because, like I have stated various times in my blog, the body is the best machine you will ever have. It is designed for efficiency, meaning that if you do the same thing over and over again, the process will become easier. So, this is good if your aim is to try to win a race but it is not good if your goal is to lose fat. For example, did you know marathon runners spend 30% less energy running a marathon than a normal person (1). Even do you are doing the same distance, the marathon runner is still burning or spending 30% less, how can this be? Well, it could be for various reasons like running technique and weight, but the most important one is that the metabolism has become more EFFICIENT.  So if you run everyday for 40 minutes, your body is going to get more efficient and you are going to burn fewer calories. That is why I sometimes tell people who only run to lose fat that, instead of just slogging away to lose 300 calories, they can just eat 300 fewer calories per day and get the same result.

Weight training is different because, first, you are creating muscle. Muscle will elevate your metabolism, remember, most of the calories we burn throughout the day are not thanks to the sports we do but because of our metabolism. Also, every time we do weight training we create mini-micro tears that need to be repaired. This process requires energy, meaning we are burning calories.  And let us not forget that strength training  is considered anaerobic training because it is high in intensity. Exercises high in intensity have been shown to accelerate metabolism for up to 72 hours after the workout due to the effects of excess post exercise oxygen consumption (2).

In conclusion, running is a great activity and something that I usually recommend people to do and of course it can help in losing weight but, if you ask me, weight training is even better for this task.

 

Hope you liked it.

References

  1. Hargrove T. A guide to better movement.  Better movement 2014. p 22-24.
  2. Heden R, Lox C, Rose P, reid S, Kirk EP. One-set resistance training elevates energy expenditure for 72 h similar to three sets. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011 Mar;11 (3):477-84.

Now with weight training

I will explain that later but first I want to explain some terms.

Aerobic –  meaning your body gets its energy through the use of oxygen. When you are in aerobic the body´s prefer source of energy is ¨¨. Basically during the whole day we are in ¨aerobic¨, so we are burning fat the whole day. So, technically it is a myth when you hear people say ¨to burn fat you have to run more than 40 minutes¨, because you are burning fat throught out the day.

Anaerobic- without oxygen

 

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Why does pain move?

I have already talked about pain numerous times, in fact three times (pain part 1,2,3), but this is a subject that people have a hard time understanding. So, I will do one more post to try to clarify things. The most important thing about pain that people should know is that pain is an output of the brain and that pain does NOT EQUAL TISSUE DAMAGE (1-5). It sounds almost crazy and scary but it is true. That is why sometimes you see people with lots of arthritis that have no pain and other people who have very little arthritis and have lots of pain. Pain depends on the situation, I will give an example: Imagine a soldier at war and a professional soccer player at a match, and they both experience the same devastating knee injury. For those two people the significance of their injury is going to mean two completely things. For the soldier it means he can get the hell out of there and go home, for the soccer player it means good-bye to his professional career and maybe even income. Take a wild guess and think who is going to experience more pain??

But anyway, let us get back to the topic at hand and try to clarify why pain moves. Pain is basically controlled by the nervous system, so imagine something happens to your back,  ¨nociceptors¨will send  this information to your spine and from there to the brain. Now, let us suppose this ¨injury¨ keeps bothering you for a while, and these ¨nociceptors¨ will be firing away 24/7 during this whole time. At the end, the pain becomes centralized. Now, this is where it gets interesting. Your spine is also receiving at the same time information from all the different parts of the body. Once the original pain has become ¨centralized¨, the spine can sometimes make an error and get confused with all the different types of information that it is receiving from its nerves (6). This confusion can lead to the pain moving from one place to another. Now, when this happens it doesn´t mean that you have injured yourself in a new area,  it just means that your central nervous system has made an error in its processing of the information.

 

Hope you liked it.

 

  1. Flor H, Nikolajse Li, Stachelin Jensen T. Phantom limb pain: a case of maladaptive CNS plasticity.Nat Rev Neuroscience 2006 Nov;7(11):873-81.
  2. Flor H, Braum C, Elber T, BIlbaumer N. Extensive reorganization of primary somatosensory cortex in chronic back pain patients. Neuroscience 1997: March 7.224(1)5-8.
  3. Ren K, Dubner R. Central nervous system plasticity and persistent pain. J Orofac. Pain.1999.Summer.13(3):155-63.
  4. Kim S, Lee Hoo T, Lim Mee S. Prevalence of Disc Degeneration in Asymptomatic Korean Subjects. Part 1: Lumbar Spine. Journal of Korean Neutrosurgical Society 2013 January;53(1): 31-8.
  5. Kendrick D, Fielding K, Bentler E, Kerslake R, Miller P, Pringle M. Radiography of the lumbar spine in primary care patients with low back pain: Randomized controlled trial. BMJ 2001;322:400-05.
  6. Hargrove T. A guide to better movement.  Better movement 2014. pg 101-4.

 

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