Sedentary because fat; not the other way around

“[When insulin is high because of refined carbohydrates in the diet,] fat synthesis and storage exceed the mobilization of fat and its subsequent oxidation. …  By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in physical activity. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and use it for fuel.” – Gary Taubes, Good Calories, Bad Calories, Anchor Books, p. 454

Ever since Robb Wolf’s nutrition seminar last March, I’ve been reading everything I can find on lower-carb / “paleo” ways of eating, and I’ve been talking about food choices with anyone who will listen. Today I met a friend (let’s call him Steve) of a friend when a few of us met up for lunch. He exactly described the conscious-experience aspect of the above process and I was thrilled by this. This is the gist of what Steve said. I’m paraphrasing:

“Some people seem to want to exercise and look forward to it. I’ve hardly ever felt that way. Fat people find exercise a big chore and want to know exactly how much they have to do. When I was at, say, fifteen percent body fat, I knew I should eat less and exercise more, but I didn’t want to. When I managed to get down to maybe eleven percent body fat, I finally got a taste of what it was like to look forward to exercising.”

High insulin had probably been driving excess fat storage at the expense of his ability to feel energetic, but then he broke the cycle. When his diet allowed his body to release stored fat, he was conscious of being more willing to exercise (or wanting to). His body suddenly had energy to burn because his metabolism wasn’t hoarding it any more.

Release fat by eating more of it, and protein, and give up the manufactured, refined-carb food and sugar. That’s the upshot.

Kettlebells and RKC

I worked as an assistant instructor at the Level 1 RKC in San Diego at the end of August and renewed my certification that way. I had to pass the new snatch test (100 snatches in five minutes with a 16-kg kettlebell for women over 123.5 pounds), as well as pass technique tests in the swing, clean, press, get-up, and squat. I learned that my technique on the get-up needs updating now that they are using a high bridge method and requiring more specific hand and foot placement than they used to; and that I need to brush up on the power breathing that they advocate. This involves inhaling, hard, into the groin through the nostrils to get “set” (for instance, right before changing direction out of the bottom of the swing or snatch), and exhaling with a sort of pinched hiss in order to pressurize the diaphragm as much as possible. For me the basic Valsalva has worked pretty well, but on the other hand my squat and DL are stalled at heavy but not really exceptional levels, so maybe a change in breathing technique (or just strengthening the diaphragm through practicing it) can help me.

I went to a training session with RKC team leader Franz Snideman after the workshop was over and I was on vacation. He coached me on the technique points I need. I designed some workouts for myself based on these, and on the lifts required in the Level 2 RKC, which I’d like to do in 2011.

I was pleased with myself because I kept my eating very close to Paleo style and close to 100 percent whole foods high in protein and fat during the three-day event, even though the days were so long and we had little choice where to eat. I could have saved money but I chose to eat the way I knew would be best instead of cheapest. I continued that for the most part during the vacation and came home down slightly in body weight.

Today’s workout: warm up with the usual mobility plus 10 x 10 push-ups and squats. Practiced a method of teaching pistols by starting from the bottom up per Franz (see video below). Then I did the reverse ladder goblet squat/swings workout that team leader Joana Snideman led during the RKC, which I did not have to do as a staffer, but wanted to: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of goblet squat at 16 kg alt. with swings, same weight. For sets 3-2-1 I switched to 24 kg. The 16 kg had felt heavy on my upper back to hold the “goblet” in front of me in the bottom of the squat, but not at all heavy as a squat lift.
Then I stretched my shoulders and quads for about 15 minutes.