I recently finished reading the book,
Weight Lifting is a Waste of Time: So Is Cardio, and There’s a Better Way to Have the Body You Want
by John Jaquish and Henry Alkire. I found the title to be controversial but I
would be lying if it didn’t grab my interest. I was curious to see what made the
author give his book that title. Here is what I found interesting in the book Optimizing Nutrition #
The author states that carbohydrates are not need for human survival. The only
two macronutrients that matter are protein and fat. He quotes from the U.S. Food
and Nutrition Board 2005 textbook which states that “The lower limit of dietary
carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero”. Like sugar, carbohydrates
keep you hungry all the time
The author continues to say that when performing a given exercise, muscle can
only be created if all essential amino acids are available in sufficient
quantities for growth. If just one is missing, this anabolic process cannot be
completed. If one is in short supply, then the less lean mass can be created.
He proceeds to state that not all protein is created the same and the eggs have
been found to be among the best protein sources followed by meat, cheese and
lastly vegetable sources. Eggs have being shown to have an anabolism of 48%
which means that 48% of the amino acids in eggs is utilized in muscle repair and
building. Meat has being shown to have 38% anabolism.
The author states that it has been proven in multiple studies that a calorie
surplus is not what enables muscle growth. Instead, the appropriate level of
higher quality protein does. Stated differently, a person can be at a caloric
deficit and trigger body fat loss while at the same time growing muscle, given
the proper level of protein.
The bottom line: if you’re looking to increase your body fat, eat carbohydrates.
If you’re looking for optimal health, focus on fats and proteins
It usually takes around 24 or even 72 hours for individuals to go into a
Within 24 hours, the body will begin the process of autophagy which is where old
cells are recycled and replaced and used in making new cell. At the 48 hour
mark, the growth hormone is 5 times the baseline level hence why you preserve
during a fast and not lose it. Also, the body produces ketones which are the
primary fuel source in the fast.
The ketones come from the fat in the body so essentially your body is eating
itself. This is in my opinion, the fastest and most optimal way of fat loss as
you’re losing fat the way your body is supposed to and not through caloric
restriction. Insulin, which is a fat storing hormone, is at its lowest during
fasting and this further leads to fat loss. You cannot lose fat when you’re
eating all the time as insulin levels will always remain high.
At the 72 hour mark, the insulin go their minimum levels.
Breakfast in the morning is not the most important meal. Actually, Breakfast
means Break a fast which is when you break the fast. It was popularized by
cereal companies in order to convince the masses that eating cereal in the
morning was the most ideal way to start the day.
The author states that perhaps the most egregious nutritional recommendation
most of us will remember is “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
This idea was invented in the nineteenth century by Seventh Day Adventists’
James Caleb Jackson and John Harvey Kellogg to sell their newly invented
breakfast cereal. He then goes on to say there is not a single study that
supports this idea. Absolutely none.
Everytime you’re eating, you are diminishing cognitive function. It is actually
recommended that you work or exercise in a fasted state. Getting lean and having
lower levels of body fat has being shown to lead to a longer life span.
Excess consumption of dietary fats and carbs leads to fat gain but excess
consumption of protein only triggers thermogenesis which is essentially when the
body increases its body temperature and enables you to use the energy while
Falsehoods of Fitness #
The author went ahead to dispel the various myths in the Fitness industry. Here
are some that I found very interesting.
1. Cardio is better than strength training #
All exercises are actually cardiovascular in nature and “cardio” i.e
running,walking is not the only one for representing that term. It’s a misused
term. Strength training provides more benefits than standard running, walking as
it not only preserves muscles but enhances it. Also, the cardiovascular
functions of the body are improved.
Cardio only workouts especially the long ones, have being to actually lead to
weight gain to triggering the cortisol hormone which is a stress hormone. This
hormone signals the body to preserve fat as it perceives the body is going
through crazy amount of stress and kicks it into survival mode. This also leads
to muscle tissue breakdown. Strength training on the other hands down regulates
cortisol, increases growth hormone and leads to fat loss and preservation of
lean muscle tissue.
Cardio shouldn’t be more than 20 mins and it should be HIIT (High Intensity
Interval Training) based. This is why 100 metres runners are very muscular and
lean as compared to long distance runners. Also, your cardiovascular endurance
declines 7 days after you stop doing cardio. I always hated this part as it
means you can’t take a break from and you must continue doing it to preserve the
2. Muscle confusion theory is nonsense #
Soreness is not a good sign that you worked out well. It actually means that
there is significant muscle damage. Mixing up your workout will actually do more
damage than good in the long run. Consistent workouts have proven to be more
efficient and leads to better results. Mixing for the sake of preventing boredom
is a bad approach to working out. Just like the same way you don’t mix up
brushing your teeth is the same approach you should take to exercise. It may be
boring but it leads to great results in the long run and prevents injury as
you’re not jumping up and down from one exercise to the next..
3. Caloric Restriction is the best way to lose body fat #
Caloric restriction forces our body to reach homeostasis i.e a balance within
the body. So no matter how high the deficit is, the body will eventually reach
homeostasis. This homeostasis is reached by sacrificing muscle and other lean
tissue in order to be on par with the body fat. This also leads to a lower
metabolism as they less muscle mass on the body. In short, it’s just a very BAD
way to lose fat.
But the fitness industry likes this approach as most of their products are lined
with caloric restriction. If we were to do away with caloric restriction, it
would do away with most things like suppliments, gyms, diets. Time restricted
eating is far superior, protein is the most important macronutrient and exercise
is overrated as most of your fat loss and muscle comes from your diet.
Go Heavy or Go Home #
There is no way of going around it but if you want to build muscle as fast and
as much as possible, you have to go heavy. Light weights serve no purpose unless
its a warm up set. The muscles adapt very quickly so if you aren’t doing
progressive overload every week or every time you’re lifting, you’re not
challenging your muscles enough.