Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why Women Should Not Run...Long Distances

I know this is probably going to step on some toes but lets dive right into it as its for your good :)

Lets take for instance our friend Jill who runs on the treadmill—day after day, year after year—like she's on a mission. Her body seems to get softer with every mile, and the softer she gets, the more she runs. For her, I feel sympathy, because the world has convinced her that running is the way to stay “slim and toned.”

There’s a Jill in every gym. Spotting them is easy. They’re the women who run for an hour or more every day on the treadmill, setting new distance and/or time goals every week and month. Maybe they’re just interested in their treadmill workouts, maybe they’re training for their fifth fund-raising marathon, or maybe they’re even competing against runners in Finland via some Nike device. Years of running like this has exposed the results, which I’m not going to sugarcoat:

She’s still fat. Actually, she’s gotten fatter.

I’ve tried to rescue her from the clutches of cardio in the past, but my efforts didn’t work until a month ago, when she called to tell me that a blood test had confirmed her doctor’s suspicion: She had hypothyroidism, meaning her body no longer made enough thyroid hormone.

Her metabolism had slowed to a snail’s pace, and the fat was accumulating. This was her body rebelling. When Jill asked for my advice, I told her to do two things: To schedule a second test for two weeks later, and to stop all running until then.

Running with Everything in You

I’m not here to pick on women or make fun of them. There are men out there who do the same thing, thinking cardio will wipe away the effects of their regular weekend beer binges. It’s more of a problem with women, though, and I’m targeting them for three very good reasons:

1.  They’re often intensely recruited for fund-raisers like Team-In-Training, lured by the promises of slim, trim bodies and good health resulting from the months of cardio training leading to marathons—in addition to doing something for charity.

2.  Some physique coaches prescribe 20-plus hours per week of pre-contest cardio for women, which essentially amounts to a part-time job.

3.  Steady-state activities like this devastate the female metabolism. This happens with men, too, but in different ways.

One of the things that the fitness industry is doing wrong is over-prescribing cardio. I’m not talking about walking here, nor am I referring to appropriate HIIT cardio. This is about running, cycling, stair-climbing, or elliptical cardio done for hours at or above 65 percent of your max heart rate. The anaerobic threshold factors into this, but I’m painting gym cardio in very broad strokes here so everyone will understand what I mean.

Science Wants You to Stop Running

Studies—both clinical and observational—make a compelling case that too much cardio can impair the production of the thyroid hormone T3, its effectiveness and metabolism[1-11], particularly when accompanied by caloric restriction, an all too common practice. This is why many first or second-time figure and bikini competitors explode in weight when they return to their normal diets, and it’s why the Jills of the world can run for hours every week with negative results.
T3 is the body’s preeminent regulator of metabolism, by the way it throttles the efficiency of cells[12-19]. It also acts in various ways to increase heat production[20-21]. As I pointed out in previous articles, this is one reason why using static equations to perform calories-in, calories-out weight loss calculations doesn’t work.

When T3 levels are normal, the body burns enough energy to stay warm, and muscles function at moderate efficiency. When there’s too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), the body goes into a state where weight gain is almost impossible. Too little T3 (hypothyroidism), and the body accumulates body fat with ease, almost regardless of physical activity level. Women inadvertently put themselves into a hypothyroid condition when they perform so much steady-state cardio.

In the quest to lose body fat, T3 levels can offer both success and miserable failure because of the way it influences other fat-regulating hormones[22-31]. Women additionally get all the other negative effects of this, which I’ll cover below. Don’t be surprised here. This is a simple, sensible adaptation of a body that’s equipped to bear the full brunt of reproduction.

We Were Not Designed For This

Think about it this way: Your body is a responsive, adaptive machine that has evolved for survival. If you’re running on a regular basis, your body senses this excessive energy expenditure, and adjusts to compensate. Remember, no matter which way we hope the body works, its endgame is always survival. If you waste energy running, your body will react by slowing your metabolism to conserve energy. Decreasing energy output is biologically savvy for your body. Your body wants to survive longer while you do what it views as a stressful, useless activity. Decreasing T3 production increases efficiency and adjusts your metabolism to preserve energy immediately.

Nothing exemplifies this increasing efficiency better than the way the body starts burning fuel. Training consistently at 65 percent or more of your max heart rate adapts your body to save as much body fat as possible. After regular training, fat cells stop releasing fat the way they once did during moderate-intensity activities[32-33]. Energy from body fat stores also decreases by 30 percent[34-35]. To this end, your body sets into motion a series of reactions that make it difficult for muscle to burn fat at all[36-41]. Instead of burning body fat, your body takes extraordinary measures to retain it.

Still believe cardio is the fast track to fat loss?

That’s not all. You can still lose muscle mass. Too much steady-state cardio actually triggers the loss of muscle[42-45]. This seems to be a twofold mechanism, with heightened and sustained cortisol levels triggering muscle loss[46-56], which upregulates myostatin, a potent destroyer of muscle tissue[57]. Say goodbye to bone density, too, because it declines with that decreasing muscle mass and strength[58-64].

And long term health? Out the window, as well. Your percentage of muscle mass is an independent indicator of health[65]. You’ll lose muscle, lose bone, and lose health. Awesome, right?

When sewn together, these phenomena coordinate a symphony of fat gain for most female competitors after figure contests. After a month—or three—of 20-plus hours of cardio per week, fat burning hits astonishing lows, and fat cells await an onslaught of calories to store[66-72]. The worst thing imaginable in this state would be to eat whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. The combination of elevated insulin and cortisol would make you fat, and it would also create new fat cells so you could become even fatter[73-80].

Seriously, Lets Cut Out the Long Distance Cardio

I won’t name names, but I’ve seen amazing displays of gluttony from some small, trim women. Entire pizzas disappear, leaving only the flotsam of toppings that fell during the feeding frenzy. Appetizers, meals, cocktails and desserts—4000 calories worth—vanish at the Cheesecake Factory. There are no leftovers, and there are no crumbs. Some women catch this in time and stop the devastation, but others quickly swell, realizing that this supposed off-season look has become their every-season look.

And guess what they do to fix it? Double sessions of cardio.

The right way to train

This “cardio craze” is a form of insanity. There are better ways to lose fat, and there are better ways to look good. Your beach body is not at the end of a marathon, and you won’t find it on a treadmill. In fact, it’s quite the opposite if you’re using steady-state cardio to get there. The show may be over, and the finish line crossed, but the damage to your metabolism has just begun.

Don’t want to stop running? It's OK. Just keep in mind though that the fat won’t come off your hips, thighs, etc. following that approach. You’re keeping it there.

And as for Jill, my friend whose dilemma sparked this article? She took my suggestion and cut out the cardio. Two weeks later, her T3 count was normal ;).

DH Kiefer
After graduating magna cum laude in three years with degrees in mathematics and physics, then becoming a Ph.D. candidate in physics at the University of Florida in just one year, Kiefer knows the value of academic research. These credentials, however, aren’t some fitness industry gimmick designed to hook you in. Kiefer’s been researching, testing, and verifying what hard science proves as fact for over two decades. And as his clients and readers of The Carb Nite Solution and Carb Back-Loading will attest, his results are the absolute best in the business.


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Friday, April 12, 2013

Girl Power: Why Lifting Heavier Can Be a Life Changer

I want to give you real, relatable rationale as to why women should be training big movements with relatively heavy weights.

Reason 1: It's Empowering.
There is nothing that can compare to deadlifting 200-pounds, bench pressing your bodyweight, or reaching any other strength goal you set for yourself. Not only will you feel stronger in the gym, you'll be stronger in every other aspect of your life. It may be hard to imagine how a heavy squat can translate over to a happier relationship or better performance at work, but I've seen it happen time and time again. There is something transformative about being able to do something that seemed impossible a few short weeks before. And once you realize achieving those milestones is possible, everything else in life seems possible. And I guarantee you that belief is much more appealing to women than having to train with pink dumbbells in the "Women's Only" section of their gym because they're afraid of getting stared at on the main floor.

Reason 2: It Will Improve Body Composition.
Katlyn was probably the best female lifter (and maybe the best lifter, period) I have ever had the pleasure of training. She was also the sweetest person you could ever meet. She would bop into the gym, a huge smile on her face, and ask me about my weekend. But when it was time to lift, she would get pretty darn intense. One second she'd be asking me if I'd seen such-and-such a movie, and the next second, she'd step up to the bar and totally transform. But once the barbell hit the ground she would go back to being all sunshine and rainbows. It was something to watch.

In our time together Katlyn worked up to a 296-pound deadlift and set a PR of 23 pull-ups. When she would bang out reps, jaws would drop to the floor - not only because she had the strength to move that type of weight, but because she had the toned, lean look female clients were sweating their butts off on the treadmill trying to attain.

The fact Katlyn took her strength training seriously and also had the best body composition of any female client I have trained is not a coincidence. In fact, I would say there is a direct correlation between the number of pounds my clients can squat, pull, and press, and what they look like in a strapless dress. And since so many female clients are training to improve body composition, I always like to mention that.

Reason 3: It's Not the Same Old, Same Old
It stands to reason that if you do the same thing over and over (and over) again, you will probably get very, very good at that thing. And that's great if you want to become a chess master or play the clarinet. When it comes to fitness, repeating the same exercise protocols ad nauseam also leads to getting very efficient at those programs. Unfortunately, exercise efficiency is the enemy of adaptation and body composition improvements. To put it simply, if you get very comfortable with your workout routine, you are not challenging your body to produce change. There is a famous saying that the definition of the term "crazy" is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So if you've been banging out 20 reps of incline press with 7-pound dumbbells for the past six months, chances are your body's not responding to that anymore.

Plus, lifting heavy and challenging yourself every time you step in the gym will get you excited (and maybe even a little nervous) for your training sessions. And, truthfully, when was the last time you were really psyched to work out?

Reason 4: You'll Be Part of a Community.
When anyone in our gym goes for a personal best lift (meaning they are trying to lift a weight that is greater than they've ever lifted before) something amazing happens. Rather spontaneously, a group will form around that person, trying to psych her up for the lift. Words of encouragement will be shouted. Cheers will be heard. It's as if everyone in the gym is part of the effort. And whether she hits the deadlift or locks out the bench press is almost irrelevant. She will be applauded for the effort and congratulated for the attempt. Discussions will occur as to what she did right, or how to nail it next time. Maybe someone grabbed a quick video on their iPhone so she can now relive and celebrate her success. Interestingly enough, when I've gone to other gyms, I've seen this same type of camaraderie.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You probably don't want all eyes on you when working out. You might prefer to anonymously sweat out your 40 minutes on the elliptical trainer while reading about the latest escapades of your favorite reality television stars. But I cannot encourage you enough to break out of your fortress of solitude and become part of your gym's community. Having people root for you and celebrate with you when you've achieved something you've never done before, something that may have not even seemed possible a few short weeks before, is not only awesome, it's addictive.

Reason 5: You Can Use It.
Whether you want to pick your nieces up off the floor or carry a couple of bottles of apple juice home from the store, getting stronger will help you in more ways than you realize throughout your day. Obviously women hold big positions of power in today's society, and yet on my morning commute I see women who can't generate enough power to hoist their computer bags up to their shoulders.

Last time I checked, no one really had to go to train at the gym to pick up a small stack of paper, yet if that's the amount of weight you are training with, that's about all you'll be able to do.

Reason 6: It's Healthy.
The loss of bone density, specifically in post-menopausal women, is a growing concern in the population. By lifting heavier loads you can reduce this risk and make it less likely that you'll crack in half when you reach your "golden years." Also, the ability to generate power and strength (and this is true for men and women) are the fitness qualities that decline most rapidly when we age. This is why we see more 55-year-olds competing in the marathon and not at a local power lifting meet. So think of adding serious strength training now - kind of like you think of your 401K. Even if you don't plan on using it for the next 20 years, you'll be glad it's there down the road.

So break out of your comfort zone and discover the true benefits of lifting heavier weight and you'll see body transforms. And, I promise, you won't end up looking anything like me :)

This guest post was written by Dan Trink, CSCS and Director of Personal Training Operations at Peak Performance in NYC. To learn more about Dan, follow him on Facebook and Twitter, or at his website


PS. On a side note, we have a Pre-Warm-up Board installed at the gym so we encourage all members to arrive 10-15 minutes early to go through the key pre-warm-up items listed on it. Here's what it is:

CrossFit Pre-Warm-up
Foam Roll Tight Spots: Quads, Hip Flexors, Glutes, Calves, Lats, etc.
10 Shoulder Pass-through
60 sec Couch Stretch with 10 Mobilizations
25 Squats
3 min Skip, Run or Row
25 KB Swings
10 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
Work On Weaknesses

PPS. Just a friendly reminder about our 10 Burpee Penalty at the gym for those that don't know. For each piece of equipment you leave out, there's a 10 burpee penalty next time you come to the gym :)  It's all in good fun. We just want to prevent our coaches from having to clean up after everyone. You all rock! Thanks for being the greatest group to coach!

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Friday, January 11, 2013

How to Counter The Many Negatives of Aerobic Training

Aerobic training has many negative health effects, and being as more than 45,000 people ran the 2011 New York City Marathon, this topic is more important than ever. Aerobic training stresses the adrenals, chronically raises cortisol, may lower testosterone, may hinder reproduction, can shrink reproductive organs, causes oxidative stress, and results in persistent inflammation. It lowers peak power output, makes you slower, and leads to a catabolic state in the body if you perform it regularly without any resistance training.

Research scientists and athletic coaches have begun to express concern about the negative health effects of aerobic training, particularly for aerobic endurance athletes who put themselves under high daily physiological stress for prolonged periods. In fact, they’ve started to look for strategies to minimize the many negatives of aerobic training, and luckily there are some things that work! Adding strength training to an aerobic program, practicing martial arts, and supplementing with specific antioxidants and nutrients can actually do wonders to counteract the negatives of aerobic exercise.
Of course, it would be easier to just stop the aerobic exercise and substitute it with strength and anaerobic system training for better results and fewer negative health effects. But, since doctors and health professionals continue to recommend aerobic exercise, and even Apolo Ohno has taken up endurance running and competed in the New York City Marathon, this trend towards aerobic exercise doesn’t seem to be diminishing. And there are still some common misconceptions about aerobic exercise about why aerobic training is bad.

In this article, I will address the confusing aspects of the negatives of aerobic training, and provide some simple things aerobic endurance trainees can do to minimize the negative health effects and improve performance. Coaches and trainers who work with elite aerobic athletes should take note because these are research-proven ways to better performance and wellness for your athletes.

Short Review of the Bad News About Aerobic Training
Long-term aerobic training, both at an elite level and at a recreational intensity, has been shown to lead to chronic inflammation and elevated cortisol. Chronic inflammation is bad because it results in premature aging of tissues and has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. For the recreational population that may perform anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes of aerobic training a few days a week, aerobic training typically leads to elevated cortisol, lower androgen hormones, increased inflammation, and does little to help with fat or weight loss. “The effect of regular aerobic exercise on body fat is negligible,” writes researcher Stephen H. Boutcher in his article “High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss.” ?

Aerobic training doesn’t help with fat loss because it creates a hormonal environment that degrades muscle, spikes cortisol, and even though you’re burning calories, the deficit is rarely enough to offset the catabolic hormonal environment. Plus, if you’re doing aerobic training on exercise machines, you may suffer from lower insulin sensitivity from exposure to “dirty electricity” or the electromagnetic frequency bands that are generated by cardio machines and other forms of electrical power.

The situation is slightly different for elite or long distance aerobic endurance athletes. Research shows they suffer from an even greater catabolic hormonal state with significantly high cortisol levels from the intense physiological stress of training. They also have lower testosterone and androgens. High cortisol and exposure to inflammatory biomarkers has researchers and coaches concerned about the residual health effects for endurance athletes and they have started to look for ways to counter the negatives.

Body Fat and Elite Aerobic Athletes
Elite aerobic athletes do tend to have lower body fat compared to the rest of the population, but research shows that anaerobic athletes such as sprinters have even lower body fat than long distance runners. This is because they have more muscle, which helps burn fat, and because they do sprints that also burn fat. Also, studies show endurance athletes who perform strength training as part of the program have lower body fat than those who don’t. 

Benefits of Aerobic Training for Sedentary People
There are some benefits of aerobic exercise for sedentary people and specific populations, but there are also negatives that can be avoided if you just choose a different mode of exercise—strength and anaerobic system training. The key here is that it is better to do aerobic training than to do absolutely nothing and be sedentary. So, if you only have two options, of being sedentary and not moving, or doing 30 minutes of aerobic training, by all means, do the aerobic training. But, you’ll get better results if you do strength training instead, or in addition to the aerobic training.

To review, the bad news about aerobic training is that it doesn’t help the everyday person lose fat; it elevates cortisol, lowers androgens, degrades muscle, lowers power, and increases inflammation if done for a prolonged period. Now for the good news!

Take Antioxidants to Reduce Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
Get as many antioxidants in your diet as possible to fight inflammation and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when the body produces free radicals in response to the oxygen-rich environment created by increased respiration that goes with aerobic training. The free radicals need to be neutralized; otherwise, they damage cells and cause premature aging, which leads to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been termed “the silent killer” and is caused by a lot of “unhealthy” behaviors, such as having a diet high in trans fats or gluten, and being sedentary. People are often surprised to hear that a “healthy” behavior such as aerobic exercise can cause chronic inflammation, but it does.

Research performed on rats has shown that the negative effects of intense aerobic training can be mitigated by taking antioxidants, specifically vitamin E, selenium, and zinc. A study in the journal Free Radical Research found that vitamin E has a protective effect against oxidative stress in rats that performed intense aerobic swimming. In contrast, the control group rats that did not receive the vitamin E supplement had decreased size of the reproductive organs (testes and accessory sex organs), lower testosterone and related androgen markers, and inflammation and dysfunction of the reproductive organs. Researchers suggest that vitamin E elevates scavenger enzyme activity and gets rid of free radicals, effectively detoxifying the reproductive system of oxidative chemicals.

Take note that the rats performed intense amounts of aerobic swimming—three hours a day, five days a week for four weeks, which is in line with what someone might perform running-wise to prepare for a marathon. And, elite aerobic athletes do this quantity of exercise regularly for many years.

A second study using zinc and selenium for the antioxidants supports these findings. The same intense aerobic exercise protocol was used and the rats who received no supplement had the same harmful effects on their reproductive systems, and they were also found to be significantly less fertile due to the low testosterone and fewer fertile sperm. Their cortisol was also very high. Researchers suggest the antioxidants had a strong stimulatory effect on production of sperm and the androgen hormones, supporting fertility. Zinc and selenium also fought the free radical attack, effectively lowering the inflammatory response.

A 2001 Sports Medicine review of antioxidant use to counter oxidative stress from aerobic training supports the use of antioxidants, of which vitamin E is most commonly tested and most effective. Antioxidant mixtures of beta carotene and the vitamins C and E also appear to be protective. Results from human studies haven’t been as conclusive as those performed on rats because with animal studies the experiment can be more closely controlled and the animals are forced to complete very intense long duration  aerobic exercise, whereas with humans there are more unknown factors. Also, diet, genetic disposition, and exercise history can result in a significant variation in the inflammatory effects of aerobic exercise.

For aerobic athletes, the potential for protection from antioxidant supplementation is “tremendous” and “consumption of a diet rich in different antioxidants is a prudent course of action,” conclude researchers from the 2001 Sports Medicine review. In addition to the nutrients already mentioned, it is possible magnesium, probiotics, gotu kola, and vitamin D will also help counter oxidative stress from training. Eating fruits high in antioxidants, such as berries, particularly raspberries, strawberries, and tart cherries is recommended because they have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in athletes.

Perform Strength Training
Everybody should perform strength training. Naturally, the type and protocol of the training will vary according to goals, age, and health complications, but everyone will benefit from exercises that improve strength, especially endurance athletes and aerobic devotees. Researchers have suggested that because strength training lowers chronic inflammation and provides protection against oxidative stress, it is an ideal solution for coaches and athletes who are concerned about free radical-mediated damage from exercise. This means that simply adding strength training to an aerobic exercise program may counter many of the negatives of aerobics

One recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared the inflammatory response of two resistance training protocols after six weeks. Both a hypertrophy and strength protocol were effective at reducing oxidative stress and lowering inflammatory biomarkers over pre-training levels. Researchers found that both protocols resulted in lower inflammation, and they suggest that endurance athletes perform resistance training rather than supplement with antioxidants to decrease oxidative stress.

Aerobic Athletes Will Lose Body Fat & Improve Performance by Strength Training
Another new study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports shows how adding a strength protocol into aerobic training programs will improve performance and lead to a better body composition for elite aerobic athletes. The study didn’t directly test for oxidative stress or cortisol but it measured body fat, muscle cross sectional area, and short- and long-term endurance capacity in two groups of elite aerobic cyclists: an aerobic-only group that just performed their normal training and an aerobic/strength group that performed normal training with a strength program for 16 weeks.

Researchers found that the aerobic/strength group decreased body fat significantly by an average of two percent from 12 to 10 percent, while body fat remained unchanged in the aerobic-only group.

Other significant improvements in the aerobics/strength group that weren’t seen in the aerobics-only group were increased quadriceps strengths by 12 percent, better performance in a 45-minute time trial, and slightly better performance in a 5-minute time trial. There were no negative effects of strength training for the aerobic/strength group, such as increased body weight or hypertrophy—both common concerns because elite aerobic athletes mistakenly believe that gaining strength will make them slower.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research provides potent evidence for never doing aerobic training without also performing strength training. The article is a review of all previously published evidence on the effects of combining aerobic and strength training. The study found that adding strength training to aerobic programs increased performance, strength, and power.

In contrast, the main negative was that aerobic training alone compromised power output. It’s especially critical that athletes in sports such as basketball, football, tennis, ice hockey, and volleyball be able to produce peak power, meaning they should never do aerobic training. Rather, interval sprints are ideal for conditioning and will produce less oxidative stress and a better hormonal response. Sprints have been shown to raise growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1, and produce a favorable testosterone to cortisol ratio.

Obviously, if you plan to run 26 miles in a marathon, sprint training alone will not be effective. Instead, add strength training to your regular aerobic training and you’ll have a better hormonal response, and less body fat, according to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research review mentioned above. Aerobic athletes who added strength training to their programs lost body fat, while aerobic training alone did not lead to fat loss.

Practice Judo or Martial Arts
Start practicing judo or a similar martial art to increase antioxidant capacity and decrease oxidative stress. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that practicing judo can increase resting antioxidant levels that counteract the oxidative stress produced during strenuous exercise.  Researchers compared the effects of a mixed exercise protocol that included an all-out sprint Wingate test followed by 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at 60 percent of maximal aerobic power in judokas and sedentary subjects.

Both groups had similarly elevated free radical levels after the exercise test, but the judokas had much greater total antioxidant status at all time points before and after the test than the sedentary group. The judokas’ elevated antioxidant levels indicate a protective effect against the oxidative stress of aerobic exercise. This is the same positive health effect that strength training provides for aerobic trainees, and it’s likely that yoga or other martial arts, such as tae kwon do, will also elevate antioxidants to counteract the many negatives of aerobic training. Such practices may also lower cortisol if they have a calming effect on the body

Take Creatine to Lower Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
Take creatine to lower inflammatory biomarkers and oxidative stress from aerobic training. There are all kinds of benefits from supplementing with creatine because it is the first energy source called on by the body—it’s been shown to increase work capacity and power, elevate protein synthesis after strength training, improve skill execution when tired, and lower oxidative stress from aerobic training.

Recent research shows creatine can inhibit oxidative stress markers following acute aerobic exercise in rats. A study in Amino Acids found that giving creatine to rats that performed moderate aerobic exercise raised antioxidant levels in the blood, which resulted in lower oxidative stress and less lipid peroxidation than a control group that got no creatine. A second study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology tested different inflammatory biomarkers and found similarly protective effects from creatine supplementation after aerobic exercise. In both cases, researchers think that creatine increased antioxidant capacity that was able to scavenge the free radicals.

Although these studies showed creatine to be effective to counter the inflammatory response of acute training, it is applicable to the longer term negative effects of aerobic training as well. Evidence into the role of creatine on chronic inflammation without aerobic training supports this. One study in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that adding creatine to the diet of rats resulted in greater blood antioxidant content and lower inflammatory biomarkers than a control group that did not consume additional creatine.

Supplement With Omega-3s to Reduce Inflammation
Omega-3s are a well accepted supplement to fight inflammation from many sources, and they have been shown to significantly lower oxidative stress markers from aerobic endurance exercise. There are at least 40 studies in the last two years supporting the protective effect of omega-3s on oxidative stress. In fact, the New York City Marathon organizers should give all runners a bottle of omega-3s to combat the damage they are doing to their bodies by running 26 miles.

A 2009 study in Lipids in Health and Disease measured the effect of omega-3 supplementation on inflammatory biomarkers in men with a history of performing aerobic training. Researchers note that the oxidative stress caused by training can overwhelm the body’s available antioxidant defenses and damage tissues—especially reproductive organs. The subjects in this study were males who exercised at least three days a week for 30 minutes. They were given a total of 4000 mg of omega-3s daily for six weeks, while continuing to perform their regular aerobic exercise.

The group that took the omega-3s had lower resting levels of inflammation after six weeks than a control group that did not supplement. Researchers suggest the protective effects of the omega-3s may have been greater if participants had regularly done more intense aerobic training—in this study their training wasn’t monitored, it just had to be three days a week for thirty minutes.

[A product that I use that provides high quality omega-3 fats is IsaOmega Supreme by Isagenix. I take 2 capules per day that come in their Ageless Essentials with Product B packs (you can also get IsaOmega seperately on its own). For more info on Ageless Essentials with Product B click here and for info on IsaOmega Supreme click here].

Top Five Ways To Protect Yourself From the Negatives of Aerobic Training
1)    Do strength and anaerobic training instead.
2)    Do strength training in addition to your aerobic training.
3)    Get lots of antioxidants: vitamin E, selenium, zinc, red raspberries, tart cherries, etc.
4)    Take creatine.
5)    Take omega-3s.

PS. Come join us at The Maker's Body CrossFit for a free class tryout by visiting

Charles Poliquin is one of the most accomplished strength coaches in the world. He has designed workouts for Olympic medalists in 17 different sports, world record holders in 10 different sports, and professional athletes in the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, and UK Premier League. He has lectured or consulted for a variety of high-profile organizations such as the US Secret Service, Walt Disney Corporation and the World Swimming Congress. More info visit his website at

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