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Thread: HEALTH is WEALTH: Health and Wellness

  1. #1

    HEALTH is WEALTH: Health and Wellness

    Lets post our health and wellness articles, advice, tips, and everything health-related right here.

    To start, from the Straights Times online ...

    Diabetes: The rice you eat is worse than sugary drinks

    White rice is even more potent than sweet soda drinks in causing diabetes.

    May 6, 2016, 5:00 am SGT

    The health authorities have identified one of their top concerns as they wage war on diabetes: white rice. It is even more potent than sweet soda drinks in causing the disease.

    Sharing his battle plan to reduce the risk of diabetes, Health Promotion Board chief executive Zee Yoong Kang said that obesity and sugary drinks are the major causes of the condition in the West.

    But Asians are more predisposed to diabetes than Caucasians, so people do not have to be obese to be at risk. Starchy white rice can overload their bodies with blood sugar and heighten their risk of diabetes.

    Mr Zee is armed with data. A meta- analysis of four major studies, involving more than 350,000 people followed for four to 20 years, by the Harvard School of Public Health - published in the British Medical Journal - threw up some sobering findings.

    One, it showed each plate of white rice eaten in a day - on a regular basis - raises the risk of diabetes by 11 per cent in the overall population.

    Two, it showed that while Asians, like the Chinese, had four servings a day of cooked rice, Americans and Australians ate just five a week.

    But Mr Zee does not plan to ask Singaporeans to stop eating rice, a popular feature of meals here. What he would like is to see more people turn to healthier varieties.

    Long grain white rice is also better than short grain when it comes to how it spikes blood sugar - a rise in sugar levels causes the pancreas to produce more insulin, and frequent spikes can lead to diabetes.

    He would also like people to try adding 20 per cent of brown rice to their white rice. This amount is enough to reduce their risk of diabetes by 16 per cent."There is no need to fully replace what they now eat. Just increase the quantity of whole grain and brown rice."

    Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said last month that this disease is already costing the country more than $1 billion a year. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure and amputations in Singapore.

    Dr Stanley Liew, a diabetes expert at Raffles Hospital, advised people to eat less rice. He added that most junk food and sodas are just as bad and should be discouraged.

  2. #2
    From ...

    What Happens If I Switch to a Plant-Based Protein Powder?

    If you're ready to leave your trusty old whey supplement behind, here's what to look for.

    By Alex Shultz
    September 28, 2019

    There are plenty of valid reasons to transition from a tried-and-true whey protein supplement to a plant-based option. Maybe you recently learned you’re lactose intolerant. (Whey is a liquid that separates from milk during the production of cheese.) Maybe you want to consume less dairy. Maybe you’re a newfound vegan who wants to reduce your carbon footprint because global temperatures are spiking, natural disasters are growing more frequent and powerful, and sea levels are rising at terrifying rates! Whatever the case, I am here to help answer the most pressing question involved in this protein-sipping switchover: Can you still enjoy the same gains with a plant-based protein powder that you would with a whey protein powder?

    These days, plant-based proteins are readily available from all sorts of sources: soy, peas, nuts, hemp, brown rice, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and so on. There is still a limited body of research out there on the effects of plant-based protein supplements, but the science that is available—with a few important caveats—indicates only a small difference between whey and some of the better plant-based sources.

    “Whey may be faster-acting and have some minor additional benefits,” says Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., an associate professor in nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University who previously helped GQ solve the mystery of the absolute best time to drink a protein shake. “But are you really going to see those benefits directly? I don’t know if you will.”

    Whey owes its historical dominance of the protein powder world to its generous helpings of the essential amino acids you need to repair muscle and bulk up. But plant-based proteins contain essential amino acids, too—just not necessarily in the same quantities. A 2019 study compared the weightlifting feats of two groups of people—one group that stuck to whey protein, while the other tried pea protein—over an eight-week period. The study concluded that “whey and pea proteins promote similar strength, performance, body composition, and muscular adaptations.” Put differently: Your one-rep maxes are highly unlikely to suffer after moving from whey to pea protein.

    Pritchett identified soy and pea protein powders as two of the trustier plant-based protein sources. (Soy-based supplements have been around for a while, and pea-based supplements are the most recent, most popular vegan addition to the market.) But it’s probably in your best interests to look for a hybrid powder that uses more than only soy or pea proteins. Fortunately, many powders mash together all sorts of veggies and grains, delivering the sort of well-rounded, high-quantity amino acid profile that all gym enthusiasts should be seeking out.

    Before you go looking for a powder that features every crushed-up plant under the sun, though, Pritchett advises turning to the experts for guidance. “My biggest worry as a dietician is whether people are using products that are third-party tested,” she says. There are a lot of plant-based products out there, and the people selling them make all sorts of claims about their efficacy. Whey protein, for all of its tummy ache-inducing issues, has been thoroughly researched, and the biggest whey protein powder brands use ingredients tested by independent third parties, meaning they’ve proven their worth to consumers for years. We aren’t there yet with plant-based choices.

    To filter out the market’s more dubious offerings, make sure any plant-based protein selection has ingredients examined in some capacity by someone who isn’t the product’s manufacturer. The USDA’s organic designation, and NSF’s “Certified for Sport” certification, for example, are good places to start. Once you find a winner that fits your particular dietary needs, don’t be afraid to leave whey behind. “Plant-based protein powders can get the job done,” Pritchett says. No chocolate milk required.

  3. #3
    From ...

    The Real-Life Diet of Tacko Fall, 7'7" NBA Prospect

    He's been trying to cut down on the Chick-fil-A.

    By Alex Shultz
    June 21, 2019

    The first pick in the 2019 NBA Draft was unofficially decided months ago, and officially decided on June 20: It's Zion Williamson, a truly freakish athlete who makes other freak athletes look like they’re playing with a weighted vest underneath their jerseys. But there was one man in college that even Williamson could not eclipse en route to the rim for a dunk: Tacko Fall, the 7’7” center from the University of Central Florida.

    Fall’s Knights nearly upset the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils in the second round of this year’s NCAA Tournament, and Fall concluded his career at UCF as the men’s basketball Division I record holder for field-goal percentage (74 percent). Yes, most of those attempts were the easiest-looking dunks you’ve ever seen; no, Fall is not a marksman from long range. But considering that his basketball career didn’t begin until he was 16—when he left his home in Dakar, Senegal, and flew to America for the first time—his shooting percentage is an impressive accomplishment all the same.

    Fall’s path to the NBA is complicated by the reality that ultra-tall bigs are not valued like they used to be. But when we spoke by phone the week before the draft, Fall was not all that nervous about what’s next. There are a few seven-plus footers still roaming the paint, including soup-loving Philadelphia 76ers center Boban Marjanovic. Not even Marjanovic can measure up to Fall’s unthinkable 10-foot, 2.5-inch standing reach, which is an NBA combine record. Though Fall was not ultimately selected in the 2019 draft, he’ll likely get an opportunity to crack the pros soon enough. And in a conversation with GQ, he broke down how he’s been prepping for his post-collegiate playing days.

    GQ: I saw that when you first got to Liberty Christian High School, you could do four pushups. Do you remember that first time trying to do pushups?

    Tacko Fall: No, but I do remember the first time I tried to do bench press. I couldn’t even lift the bar with no weights on it.

    If you’ve never tried it before, it’s not easy! I think something like that happened to Kevin Durant, too.

    Yeah, I was probably 16 when that happened. I started working out a bit that first year of high school, and then that summer when I played AAU, I was on a really good team and we had a good weightlifting program. That’s when the competition picked up, and hanging out in that environment helped me too.

    At one point in high school, I read you were eating north of 7,000 calories a day. Is that true?

    [Laughs] 7,000 is an exaggeration, but I was eating a lot. Definitely more than I do now.

    What calorie intake are you aiming for now?

    The recommendation is 6,000, which is obviously still a lot of food. With the traveling lately while prepping for the draft, it’s been really hard to meet that and maintain a good diet. It’s difficult to not just grab whatever you can.

    Before all the pre-draft travel, what did an average day look like for you?

    I was never really big on breakfast, but lately I’ve been trying to eat something in the mornings. I don’t eat pork, so whenever I can, I grab some turkey sausage or turkey bacon. A lot of fruits—grapes and bananas especially. For lunch, when I came to LA to train, we had a chef that would cook up some food. I’d just take whatever he has. He’d bring in different boxes and I’d eat whatever was inside the box. One box for lunch, and then a couple hours later, I’d eat again, and then do the same thing again.

    Are you more of a morning or evening person?

    Most days, I like to work out in the morning. I don’t get much sleep in general.

    What kind of morning wakeup time are we talking about? Like, 5 a.m.?

    No, no, no! Some days I will definitely sleep in. And it’s not that early.

    Has there been anything you’ve tried to limit or cut out from your diet of late?

    Yeah, I was never really huge on fast food, but throughout this process, I’ve really cut down on that. I do love Chick-fil-A. I can’t remember the last time I had it, and I’ve been trying to eat a lot healthier than I used to. I’m avoiding fried food and things like that. But I’m not going to lie, I might have my cheat day soon and grab some. It’s been too long.

    You first declared for the NBA Draft two years ago, but learned from NBA feedback that they wanted you to increase your stamina. How did you work on that in recent years after you returned to UCF?

    I was fortunate that UCF has a great staff, and they knew specifically what to do. They helped me understand my body more. Everything I used to do was a little different than my teammates, including my conditioning regimen. I did a lot of injury prevention. And I don’t do deadlifts to avoid putting too much pressure on my back. My last year, everything was about hip strength, balance, my core, and lower body stuff. Just nothing heavy.

    Speaking of precautions, I read you use two full-size mattresses pushed together to make a bed long enough to comfortably sleep.

    Back at school, yeah, I did that all four years of college. Right now, I’ve been staying at an Airbnb in L.A. so I can’t do that.

    What kind of bed is at this Airbnb? Is it at least king-sized?

    I think it is, yeah! In a few weeks, I’ll get a way bigger bed once I’m settled and everything. But I’m not really picky.

    What is your least favorite question about your height?

    It’s a lot of questions and bad jokes. “How’s the weather up there? Do you play basketball?” Most of the time, I don’t mind, but when I’m in a rush and have to be somewhere, it can be a problem. Once you stop once, everybody wants to talk and take pictures. I get it to some degree, but at the time, I don’t want to be a freak show. I’m still human.

    When you first came to America, what was the weirdest or strangest food you encountered?

    It was definitely the first time I tried barbecue wings. It was my first night in the States, and we went to a Buffalo Wild Wings or something like that. I had never had barbecue in my life. It’s so sweet, and I tried these wings and was like what the? But now, I love barbecue.

    Do you have a favorite dish from Senegal?

    Yeah, I love going to New York because they have good Senegalese restaurants. I went not too long ago and found a place with a main dish of rice and fish, basically. Whenever I go to New York, I try and grab it. In Orlando, we didn’t have a Senegalese restaurant, but my senior year, I was fortunate enough to meet a few friends from Senegal who invited me to their house and cooked for me.

    Do you have a playing weight target for pro basketball?

    Somewhere in the 300 to 305 range. The heaviest I’ve been was 315, and I didn’t like that as much. So I’ve trimmed down.

    We’re talking less than a week out from the NBA Draft. How are your nerves right now?

    Not as nervous as people think I should be. Honestly, I’m already living my dream. I’ve made it so far from where I started. All the opportunities that have come my way, I’m just thankful for them. I haven’t had time to feel nervous. I’ve been enjoying it, and it’s been fun playing basketball all over the place. This will work out the way it’s supposed to.

  4. #4
    From ...

    Meet Joe Holder, Creative Director of Your Better Self

    Introducing GQ's new fitness columnist and wellness guru: super-trainer Joe Holder. What makes Joe special—and why his roster of clients grows increasingly star-studded—is his holistic philosophy. Instead of killing yourself every day at the gym, why not save some energy to eat right, recover completely, and meditate? For his first column Joe gives us a look at the approach that powers his own life.

    By Joe Holder

    July 25, 2019

    Looking at Joe Holder, you might be surprised to learn that he doesn't love hitting the gym. “I'm not like The Rock, God bless his soul,” he says. “It's rare that I'm super pumped to work out—it's like an accountant having to do his own taxes.”

    With all due respect to accountants, Holder has a bit more clout. In the seven years since his football-playing days at Penn, he has developed a wellness philosophy that has made him a highly sought-after (and Instagram-followed) personal trainer. He consults for brands like smartwater, leads private Nike training sessions in Northern Italy, and whips into shape a client list that includes Naomi Campbell and Virgil Abloh.

    All that influence goes back to his refreshingly practical vision for a more holistic kind of wellness. “With the body, everything adds up over time,” he says. “People spend all this time at the gym but don't really care about what they eat or how much they sleep. If you just do a little better in every aspect of your day, the body loves that. That's better than ‘I crush workouts.’ I don't think that's the future.” For example: Instead of burning every last ounce of energy at the squat rack, save some juice so that when you get home you still have the fortitude to avoid ice cream.

    That type of cutting-edge insight is exactly why we've anointed Joe our new guide to the wide world of wellness and tapped him to help us develop some fitness routines that make a little more sense. In the coming months, he'll be posting across all our platforms. Tune in for custom workout routines on and IG takeovers with his A-list clients at the gym.

    Until then, here are seven pearls of Joe wisdom that show how he approaches health—and why his philosophy is worth emulating.—Clay Skipper

    1. We were born to run—literally.

    “Human bodies are made to move. So for me, being able to run—moving my body as one unit, without pain—is the best indicator of physical proficiency. We've gotten so far from what our bodies are meant for. When you had to start running from a lion, you weren't like, ‘All right, guys, let me warm up my hammies.’ Obviously we're not worrying about predators much anymore, but you should be able to run down a cab without hurting yourself. That's what being in shape is. It's not just about body composition or how you look. It's: Can you move? That's why I believe everyone should have a base level of running. It will help you be in the world.”

    2. Why are you even lifting, bro?

    “People design artificial workouts that don't tie back to the purpose of the human body: to move as an integrated unit. I schedule two workouts a week—90 minutes to two hours, usually at night—that will push me outside my comfort zone. You don't want to just get stronger. You should be getting stronger for a purpose. I'll do strength training. But people think all of your workouts have to be hard. They shouldn't be. My other workouts are typically condensed to 30 to 45 minutes, when I have some flex time. They're what I'd call an ‘exercise snack’: a light mix of stretching, jump roping, and light strength-training work. When things are crazy, I keep my focus on the old hierarchy of a push exercise, a pull exercise, a hinge, a squat, a walk, and a glute bridge.”

    Simple routine: Hit the battle ropes for 20 seconds. Rest. Then push a sled 40 yards, rest, and bike for a minute. Repeat eight times.

    3. Eat food for a reason.

    “I went to a plant-based diet five years ago. I noticed eating more fruits and vegetables made me feel better and less tired. So I'll have juices (celery, cucumber, apple, or grapefruit) and shakes (dark leafy greens, plant-based protein powder, blueberries, and half a banana) in the morning and then hearty salads or macro bowls for lunch and dinner. For snacks, I stick to fruits and nuts. Every now and then I'll give in and have pizza or apple pie. I really miss jerk chicken, but for me, saying no to meat is about two things: integrity—I said I'm not going to eat meat, so I need to do it—and having a ritual that keeps me in tune with my body. Each time I make the choice not to eat meat, it makes me more conscious of how my body is moving and feeling. It's a reminder of my commitment to treating it well.”

    4. Don't let urgent things get in the way of important things.

    “At the end of the day, you just can't get everything done, and so we often prioritize urgent things over important things. Urgent things are e-mails or texts that feel like they need a response immediately—and sometimes they're actual emergencies. Important things are the things that are less immediately consequential. When they're neglected you lose something vital: calling your parents, taking the time to read or write down your thoughts, making sure you know what you want from life. Those are the first things that go when you get busy. Sleep is one of these things—it's crucial. I try to get between five and eight hours of sleep. And I remember: It's one of those important things that will help me get the urgent things done at a higher level.”

    5. Mental health is health, too.

    “I try to find a little time in the morning to literally just breathe. Deeply. A lot of people pick up their phones first thing, have coffee, so already they're up-regulated, and then it's easy to fall into a spin cycle of responding, responding, responding. That shit is nerve-racking. You're constantly worried about the next thing. I take a moment and focus on breathing deeply, and I find that it helps me avoid feeling overwhelmed. Breathing can ground you in your immediate activity. People often think ‘mindfulness’ is a practice, but it's just a way of living. It's just being fully present. Maybe that's in conversation, or maybe it's just noticing condensation on a glass.”

    6. Forget doing your best—elevate your worst.

    “You need to keep the base level of your health high. I'm not in great shape all the time. I'm never in bad or average shape, though. I could get ready for something—a race, a photo shoot—in two to four weeks. But I'm not always going to be killing myself. That's not a sustainable practice. Most people only start putting in the effort when they want to make a huge transformation. Instead, I have consistent doses here and there so that I never have to have my back against the wall. That's the key for anything in life: Never have your back against the wall.”

    Three days this week, run for 30 minutes. Next week, try 40. Doesn’t seem like much, but that’s a 30 percent increase.

    7. Success isn't about willpower.

    “Achievement is about structure. Most people think they can will their way to good decisions. But you're never going to get anything done if you depend exclusively on the power of sheer will. It's important to establish good habits. For me, I always try to move in the morning: Maybe it's 40 to 100 push-ups, a light stretch, and some sit-ups. It's just about getting my body used to moving well, even when I'm tired. If you can figure out how to use each hour just a little bit more effectively, you've won. Only have 15 minutes free for a workout? Great, knock out some push-ups and do some stretching. Do that three times in a week, and that's 45 more minutes you banked. It's finding minimum effective dosages for maximum results."

  5. #5
    From Esquire Philippines ...

    Doctor Explains Why Families Should Immunize Their Children Now

    He emphasized the importance of vaccination and why we have no room for anti-vaxxers.

    By Mario Alvaro Limos | 5 days ago

    This year, the Philippines saw one of its worst years in terms of disease control, further highlighting the importance of vaccination, especially for children. Dr. Ruben Macapinlac, pediatrics specialist, explains why.

    “Children are most vulnerable to diseases, especially the most serious ones, because their immunity during their first year of life is still under development,” said Macapinlac. In most deaths cited in cases of measles, dengue, and polio, majority are children. “These diseases can be easily prevented through vaccination.”

    According to Macapinlac, there are serious and specific diseases to which children are vulnerable, such as measles, polio, dengue, and diphtheria, which is also the reason why they pose the greatest threats.

    “These diseases are precisely the reasons why vaccines were created. Vaccines aid children’s relatively weak immune systems to speed up their bodies’ development of protection against these deadly diseases,” said Macapinlac.

    According to the Department of Health, the Philippines has one of the lowest vaccination coverage for polio, which stands at 66 percent, way below the international standard of 95 percent. Macapinlac thinks that massive public misinformation seriously affected Filipinos’ trust in vaccines, resulting in very high vaccine hesitancy among the public. Vaccine hesitancy is the reluctance or refusal to be vaccinated or have your children vaccinated.

    “I think the reason why there is very high vaccine hesitancy among the public now is because of the massive misinformation campaign in 2017 about the Dengvaxia issue,” said Macapinlac. “False reports were peddled, which frightened people and gave them the general idea that all vaccines are unsafe. Vaccines remain the safest and most effective way of preventing these diseases.”

    He is right. In a study conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, it was revealed that Filipinos’ trust in vaccines plummeted from 93 percent in 2015 to just 32 percent in 2018 after the Dengvaxia scare.

    “The immunization program here in the Philippines is free and easily accessible. I very strongly advise parents to have their children immunized and not just rely on the protection of herd immunity,” said Macapinlac.

    Herd immunity is a population’s resistance to the spread of diseases, achieved through a very high vaccination coverage among the population. It works by interrupting chains of infection when a large portion of the population is vaccinated. As a result, unvaccinated members of the community are protected by the “herd” because the herd is immune.

    “Herd immunity reduces the risk of transferring specific infectious diseases,” said Macapinlac. “We still advise parents to immunize their children and not just depend on 'herd immunity' protection.

    Asked about the chances of mumps and pertussis emerging as epidemics, Macapinlac admits that it is unlikely, but possible. “Actually, we physicians are always prepared in managing and treating these diseases. Mumps and pertussis can still be seen in the clinical setting but it is very rare,” said Macapinlac.

    There is one other infectious disease that we should be cautious of. According to Macapinlac, chickenpox is more difficult to prevent because it is easily transmitted through particles in the air inhaled by the patient. You can catch this disease simply by entering the room of an infected person.

    According to Macapinlac, children should be vaccinated even at the time of birth, but it should follow a strict schedule. In a report by CNN Philippines, it was revealed that the caretakers of the 5-year-old boy who contracted polio did not follow the prescribed schedule of vaccination, leading to the child’s illness.

  6. #6
    From Esquire Philippines ...

    Being Hungry Leads to Bad Decisions, According to New Study

    It's more serious than it sounds.

    By Paolo Chua | 6 days ago

    It comes as no surprise that making important decisions on an empty stomach isn't exactly ideal.

    Dr. Benjamin Vincent from the University of Dundee has found that being hungry significantly alters people's decision-making. Doing so has even more consequences when it comes to deciding for the future.

    Dr. Vincent, however, found that those hungry were likely to settle for smaller food incentives that arrived sooner during the study—confirming that hunger changes preferences.

    According to the study, those at risk are those living in poverty. "We found there was a large effect, people's preferences shifted dramatically from the long to short term when hungry," Dr. Vincent said. "This is an aspect of human behavior which could potentially be exploited by marketers so people need to know their preferences may change when hungry."

    Participants were ultimately made to choose between unrelated rewards such as money and other incentives. Think instant gratification vs. larger ones that would arrive later.

    "People generally know that when they are hungry they shouldn't really go food shopping because they are more likely to make choices that are either unhealthy or indulgent. Our research suggests this could have an impact on other kinds of decisions as well. Say you were going to speak with a pensions or mortgage advisor—doing so while hungry might make you care a bit more about immediate gratification at the expense of a potentially more rosy future.

    Having an empty stomach does have its benefits. So, just don't make life-altering decisions before eating.

  7. #7
    From The Atlantic Monthly ...

    Lift Weight, Not Too Much, Most of the Days

    Have you ever tried to grease the groove?

    Olga Khazan

    Sep 26, 2019

    A few years ago, haunted by vague memories of being a weak middle-schooler, Brett McKay decided he wanted to be able to do more pull-ups. McKay, who runs the website and podcast The Art of Manliness, had in the past tried doing a traditional, twice-weekly regimen, gradually building up his reps. But this time, he turned to a training technique from Pavel Tsatsouline, a former Soviet trainer who is credited with getting Americans into kettlebells, the rounded weights with handles for swinging or lifting.

    After reading a book by Tsatsouline, McKay decided he needed a radical approach to his fitness routine. He needed to grease the groove.

    Greasing the groove, as Tsatsouline explains it, means not working your muscles to the point of failure. A common idea in weightlifting is that you should lift until you can’t do another rep, purposely damaging muscle tissues so they grow back bigger. But muscle failure, Tsatsouline writes in his 1999 book, Power to the People! Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American, “is more than unnecessary—it is counterproductive!”

    Instead, Tsatsouline advocates lifting weights for no more than five repetitions, resting for a bit between sets and reps, and not doing too many sets. For a runner, this would be like going for a four-mile jog, but taking a break to drink water and stretch every mile. Tsatsouline’s book suggests spending 20 minutes at the gym, tops, five days a week. In this way, he claims, you grease the neurological “groove,” or pathway, between your brain and the exercises your body performs. It’s not exactly the brutal routine you’d expect from someone billed as a Soviet weight lifter. But Tsatsouline contends this is the most effective way to build strength.

    Over time, greasing the groove has trickled down through the fitness realm, with each lifter and CrossFit champ who practices it slightly changing its meaning. In The Complete Guide to Bodyweight Training, the sports therapist Kesh Patel defines it as lifting weights in “smaller, but frequent chunks, rather than one large one.” On Instagram, people tag everything from yoga poses to 100-pound deadlifts with #greasethegroove. (The term is, helpfully, both sciencey and sexy sounding.)

    “I can’t say for certain why it has gained popularity,” said Christopher J. Lundstrom, a professor of exercise science at the University of Minnesota, in an email, “but I suspect it has to do with the simplicity of the idea, and the fact that it does not require a particularly hard effort (i.e., it doesn’t hurt) and often requires little to no equipment.”

    In fact, greasing the groove has become something of a catchphrase for people who don’t have the time or ability to do a full workout, but still want to squeeze in a little exercise. “Some days your daily routine is better than others but the key is consistency and #greasingthegroove,” one yogi’s Instagram caption says. The practice appears to have taken on a Michael Pollan–esque definition: Lift weight, not too much, most of the days. For busy people who just want to squeeze in fitness however they can, that might be just the right mantra.

    One way to grease the groove is to just do the exercise whenever you think of it. Ben Greenfield, in Beyond Training, describes how he would do three to five pull-ups every time he walked under a pull-up bar installed in his office doorway. By the end of the day, he’d have performed 30 to 50 pull-ups with minimal effort.

    McKay opted for something similar: He set up a pull-up bar in his door frame, and every time he walked under it, he would do one. “You’re allowing yourself to practice more without going to fatigue,” he says. “If you’re constantly thrashing your body, doing max sets every time you do a pull-up, you’re gonna have a bad time.” Anyone who has tried to climb the stairs to their apartment on achy quads after an ambitious leg day knows the risks of overexertion. Within a month, McKay says, he went from being able to do about five pull-ups to about 15.

    Kevin Weaver, a professor of physical therapy at New York University, told me that training by greasing the groove can help your body increase the number of muscle fibers it uses to perform a certain action. Brad Schoenfeld, an associate professor of exercise science at CUNY’s Lehman College, also sees a potential benefit. Because of how the brain learns, he says, doing four sets of an exercise over five days rather than 20 sets in one day, for instance, might be a way to improve technique or form, which could result in getting stronger even if you don’t add additional weight. This would be especially helpful for more complex exercises, like certain kettlebell moves.

    Schoenfeld cautions that a deliberately patient approach to lifting is not the same as “just doing a pull-up now and then,” though. As with most of life’s good, easy things, there’s not much evidence that haphazardly greasing your groove will make you much stronger. While lifting lighter weights for more repetitions can increase strength and muscle-building, strength improvements are still slightly better if you lift heavier weights, says Mike Roberts, an associate professor at Auburn University’s School of Kinesiology. He recommends switching up your workout regimen so that occasionally you perform workouts with heavy loads and separate workouts with light loads. And contra Tsatsouline, he says performing the exercises to the point of exertion is what’s most important.

    Greasing the groove, in other words, might not actually be a secret Spetsnaz shortcut to getting ripped. But the loose way many people are interpreting the practice—try to get stronger in small bursts, whenever the opportunity presents—could offer something more valuable. Ria Heaton, a stay-at-home mom, started greasing the groove in the last year to increase the number of pull-ups she could do. Within about a month, she went from one to five—not as many as the most hardcore gym rats, maybe, but still a high number for a woman. Heaton’s explanation for why greasing the groove works is simpler than muscle fibers or perfecting technique. “The more you practice something, even a little bit at a time, the better you become at it,” she told me via email.

    This more relaxed “greasing the groove light”—call it “spritzing the groove with Pam”—might still be a strategy for people who want to get stronger, but don’t have the time to get swole. In the approach’s slow simplicity, it could be a more sustainable way to exercise. Though it’s almost certainly not what Tsatsouline intended, doing whatever physical activity you can whenever it’s convenient is still a decent way to burn a few calories and feel less sedentary. An exercise strategy intended for Navy SEALs is actually perfect for everyday cubicle dwellers.

    I, for instance, have been told I should lift weights. Every time I plummet out of crow pose in a yoga class, my teacher says I need to work on my upper body strength. (Well, that and “be less afraid,” which there’s no workout for.) Such admonitions would have motivated me in high school, when I would cut out weight exercises from Seventeen magazine and peer down at them while I grunted away in my town’s tiny community-college gym. But these days, life has eclipsed my desire for abs. I’m happy if I can drag my increasingly jiggly butt to the elliptical before 9 p.m. on a weeknight. Realistically, the only way I would have time for upper-body work is by doing the occasional push-up between folding the laundry, sending that email, making that phone call, and chopping up that stuff for the slow cooker.

    The bodybuilders out there might criticize this softer way of greasing the groove as lazy or ineffective. But in a way, it fits with a broader cultural trend of embracing imperfection and simply trying one’s best. Americans’ stressed-out lives have given rise to a new philosophy in which we are, essentially, encouraged to admit defeat on certain things (spotless kitchens, impeccable pecs, and so forth). Our schedules won’t ease up on us, the thinking goes, so maybe we should ease up on ourselves.

    If you wake up in the middle of the night and are stressed because you can’t fall back asleep, you’re supposed to tell yourself that’s fine; you’ll fall asleep eventually. Similarly, if you can’t lift a ton of weights, maybe that’s fine, too. You’ll lift them gradually.

  8. #8
    From The Atlantic Monthly ...

    The Actual Harms of Vaping

    In a moment of national panic, what is the safest way forward?

    James Hamblin

    Oct 1, 2019

    When a deadly virus swept the U.S. in 2009, killing thousands of people, panic felt especially necessary. A variant of the influenza that spreads every year, the “swine flu” made headlines as new reports of deaths rolled in. Graphic, tragic tales of lives lost spread fear.

    Many Americans still remember that winter as particularly treacherous. But swine flu ultimately did no more damage in the country than any typical flu virus. In fact, the year that swine flu struck was one of the lightest flu seasons in recent history. Influenza killed about 12,500 Americans that year. The average annual death toll over the past decade has been closer to 50,000.

    Social scientists have since explained the panic as a matter of “risk acceptability.” What made that flu stand out in people’s minds? In part, who it killed. Unlike most years, swine flu hospitalized many young adults. Cases involved people who are not supposed to die of the flu—not just the grandparent with emphysema, but the high-school athlete. Despite any ongoing plague of death and destruction, this sort of new, unanticipated danger invariably captures national attention.

    Anxiety is a powerful motivator, but by definition it exists around risks that are not deemed acceptable. Anxiety can mobilize people to swift and decisive action, of the sort no longer considered for more dangerous threats that society does accept. Smoking tobacco, for instance, kills some 480,000 Americans every year. But it does so gradually with cancers and heart disease that strike after decades of use. The annual death toll is now so expected that it does not constitute news. Similarly accepted are the fatal effects of inhaling chemicals in air pollution, which kills about 7 million people around the world annually.

    At the moment, the leading public-health issue in the news is vaping. Push alerts mark incremental tallies in people hospitalized with serious respiratory illnesses related to vaping. So far this year the number is 805—with a median age of 23—according to a widely discussed report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week. The week prior, 530 hospitalizations had been reported. The number of deaths related to vaping has grown to 12.

    In September, President Donald Trump announced a commitment to ending the vaping scourge: “We can’t allow people to get sick, and we can’t have our youth be so affected.” In addition to the youth of the victims, uncertainty about exactly what’s causing this spike in sickness has fueled an emotional public response. A mix of political momentum and genuine will to protect kids has led to calls for bans and absolute avoidance of vapes. Massachusetts temporarily banned the sale of all vaping products. Walmart announced it would stop selling all vaping products. California allocated $20 million for a “vaping-awareness campaign.”

    There appears to be a unanimous consensus that something should be done to better understand and prevent this vaping-related harm. The message from many in the public-health community simply has been to avoid vaping. Last week the CDC told Americans as much. But as bans are actually being implemented, some experts are realizing the potentially dangerous effects of misplacing collective anxiety.

    “What we’ve seen in the past several months is unique,” says Brian King, the CDC’s deputy director for research translation on smoking and health. After the recent, jarring uptick in serious cases of vaping-related lung illness, he has been trying to discern the exact extent of the harm. He believes that the agency is close to having a full accounting. “It’s possible there is an influence of stories in the media—that people may be more likely to report or to suspect vaping was the cause of lung disease,” King says. “Even so, the rates are markedly higher than in past years, so it’s likely something new is going on.”

    Abigail Friedman, who studies tobacco use at the Yale School of Public Health, points out that the majority of the most popular vaping products have been on the market for at least a few years. The question is not whether vaping itself is safe or unsafe, she emphasizes, but what elements of the practice are causing these acute diseases: “An e-cigarette is fundamentally a device, not a substance. One thing that I think is really confusing people is that vaping just means using an e-cigarette. It doesn’t tell you what people put in it. You could put water in an e-cigarette, right?”

  9. #9
    ^ (Continued from above)

    Vaping water should be a harmless, if curious, thing to do. Adding nicotine to that vapor, on the other hand, noticeably affects the cardiovascular system and brain. The addictive properties of nicotine can alter neural functioning permanently, especially in younger people—that’s why every medical institution advises against vaping. But nicotine alone should not acutely cause the sort of severe inflammatory lung disease that is being seen.

    Identifying the actual compounds that are causing people’s lungs to shut down is the real challenge for researchers and doctors. For those unacquainted with vaping, this means the “juice” that’s in the cartridges. These can be filled with anything at all, technically, if not legally. Some people concoct their own juice, or buy it by the gallon and refill old cartridges. Some cartridges are sold legally, and others on the black market. “People are modifying cartridges to accommodate other substances,” King says.

    The lung diseases are especially common in people who have vaped THC-containing products, both manufactured and modified. (THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis.) But he says the CDC has not ruled out harms from nicotine-only products. In all cases, some element (or elements) in the liquid is getting into people’s lungs and causing a severe inflammatory reaction. Some have been traced to a vitamin E compound. Other cases have involved vegetable glycerin, a common ingredient in skin-care products. Friedman notes that just because an ingredient is “natural” or is safe to smear on one’s face, or to eat, does not make it safe to inhale.

    To broadly condemn vaping for these illnesses may be akin to blaming injections instead of heroin, or coffee cups instead of arsenic-laden coffee. Damage to the lungs is technically a result of a person’s immune system attempting to eradicate the foreign invader. Identifying which compound triggered any given reaction involves the variability of individual immune systems, meaning some people have severe illnesses after inhaling something that others tolerated—like gluten in the bowels of a person with celiac disease. This could make illnesses harder to trace than if the problem were due to a single, universally poisonous contaminant (like bootleggers cutting their THC with cyanide). While regulatory agencies have a general sense of what compounds are safe to eat and drink, there is no such historic repository of wisdom or data on what compounds are safe to vape.

    Amid so much uncertainty and harm coming from the mushrooming market for novel, unregulated products, some researchers raise the concern that banning legal vapes would make the problem worse, not better. Some nicotine-addicted people would be driven to the black market. Others could switch from vaping to smoking cigarettes. In a 2015 study, Friedman and colleagues found that vaping bans increased rates of teenage smoking. “Electronic and conventional cigarettes are economic substitutes,” Friedman says. “If the price of one product goes up, demand for a substitute is expected to increase.”

    Friedman uses Diet Coke drinkers as an analogy: If Diet Coke were banned, people would likely switch to Coke or Coke Zero or Diet Pepsi, not water. This replacement principle would be especially true for nicotine users, because the substance is even more addictive than Diet Coke.

    Sunny Shin, who studies tobacco use at Virginia Commonwealth University, says his colleagues are seeing cases of young people switching to cigarettes because they are scared of vaping, a sort of warped perception of overall harms. “Some e-cigarette companies targeted young people [with marketing], and people in low-income communities, and many in those targeted groups started to think they should avoid smoking because it causes cancer, but they thought vaping was harmless,” Shin says. Now that trend could be reversing, and people who got addicted to nicotine because of marketing by vaping companies stand to suffer yet more if they transition to smoking or vaping homemade products.

    For years, vaping products were rolled out with essentially no oversight. Not until 2016 did vaping devices come under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration. While the big vaping companies face distinct controversies over targeted marketing, flavored products, and drawing countless people into long-term nicotine addiction, mainstream products might be the least likely to be the source of recent spikes in disease.

    The most radical solution could also be the most responsible and careful. If you ban it, you can’t regulate it. At least metaphorically speaking, the juice cannot be put back into the cartridge.

    “This is a good moment to establish the regulatory structure for these vaping products that should have been in place since the beginning,” Shin says. He emphasizes that ideally no one would be using nicotine regularly, and that the emotional impulsivity that underlies tobacco use is an effective target if a society truly wants to stop people from abusing substances. But short of that sort of meaningful preventive approach, substances can at least be made as safe as possible.

    When nicotine is delivered to people’s brains by way of regulated and thoroughly tested products, at least the risks become more predictable. As in the food system, contaminated or especially dangerous products can be traced, and individual products recalled or manufacturing practices banned. This would mean funding the FDA and state health departments to test and ensure the purity and safety of products. It could also involve an industry-driven approach. “You want a device that’s tamper-proof,” Friedman says. “You want a device where people can’t inject vanilla extract, or whatever they have at home to make a flavor, because they can’t buy flavored products.”

    As the nebulous long-term health consequences of vaping reveal themselves, it will remain the goal of public health to minimize nicotine use altogether. Doing this will involve the common public-health approach known as harm reduction: working to make a dangerous practice as safe as possible. Drawing on the failures of approaches like abstinence-only sex education and prohibition of alcohol, harm reduction is considered whenever total elimination from society does not seem to be an option. People around the world throughout history have ingested tobacco, and the capitalist American spirit of autonomy has never had the political will to ban it altogether. If the past is any indication, the last humans on Earth will be ingesting tobacco and alcohol as the waters rise around their ankles in their survival bunkers.

    In the meantime, the impulse to discontinue all sales and outright ban all vaping products may be a case of applying one big hammer to a job that requires a belt full of small screwdrivers. Meanwhile, in the mission to prevent fatal lung disease, that big hammer could be squarely aimed at cigarettes and air pollution.

  10. #10
    What to Eat, Read, and Do This Month, According to Superstar Trainer Joe Holder

    GQ's fitness and wellness columnist Joe Holder on the benefits of prebiotics, the books that help keep him healthy, and why one his favorite running workout involves minimal running.

    By Joe Holder

    October 3, 2019

    Joe Holder is GQ’s fitness and wellness columnist. This is the first installation of “Eating, Reading, Doing,” a diary of everything happening health-wise in Joe’s life, broken down by—you guessed it—what he’s eating, reading, and doing. Good news for you: it comes with practical tips and advice that’ll help you level up your own everyday routines.


    As I mentioned in my first piece, I’m a big believer in running. And despite being 6’3” and 200 pounds—not exactly standard size for a runner—I’ve opted to run my third marathon in Chicago in a couple of weeks. (I did L.A. and N.Y. last year.) I like the challenge of having to get in shape, and enjoy finding creative ways to make sure it gets done by the set deadline. But one important and probably counterintuitive thing I’ve learned: running is not the only way to get better at running. Weird, I know. But when you’re beginning any new training regimen—it could be running a race or getting prepared for the upcoming basketball season—it’s important to get a base level of fitness that may not actually involve doing the activity you’re preparing for, in order to prevent injury. This is known as the “general preparation phase.”

    This is why for the marathon I’m mixing in “prehab” components that will get my fitness and conditioning level up without me actually having to do too much running. For other runners out there that find themselves getting injured often, or for beginners who want to get into running but don’t feel like they have the “lungs” just yet, here’s a workout to try:

    30 seconds of battle rope
    60 seconds of jump rope or Prowler pushing
    90 seconds of treadmill running

    The intensity for this should be about a 6 or 7, on a scale of 10. Do this three times through and take a 2-minute break. Repeat that for 3-5 rounds, and then progressively increase the number of rounds over the course of a few weeks, aiming to do it two times a week. The general prep phrase usually takes 3-4 weeks.

    The thinking here is: can I improve my resting heart rate by doing work that is difficult but not super intense for a 30- to 60-minute period? This allows you to build a quality aerobic foundation, lowering your resting heart rate so that your ticker can pump blood without working too hard. This sets the stage for the body to recover more efficiently down the line when you do start doing longer, more intense runs. (Keep in mind: You can also run during this time, but this allows you to work on your heart while doing less running, if you’re still building up your base.)


    First things first: I eat a plant-based diet. (If you follow me, you’re probably familiar with the "Plant Based Gang.”) And though this is a no-judgment zone, plant-based diets have been shown to boost life spans and reduce carbon emissions. If you’re interested in going plant-based, but cutting out meat altogether seems too daunting, maybe you try just one day of meat-free eating per week, or per month. People are often too black-and-white: “I eat meat” or “I don’t eat meat.” Find the happiest medium for you. And all that being said, even if you’re committed to a meat-heavy diet, it’s still useful to understand the benefits that unprocessed (or minimally processed) foods like plants can have for your health.

    Here’s something I’ve been using on my plant-based diet that may also help you: prebiotics. Prebiotics are plant fibers that can “feed” the healthy bacteria lining your gut. (Probiotics, on the other hand, are live healthy bacteria that you can find in things like yogurt or miso.) Taking prebiotics may allow you to more efficiently absorb the nutrients of the food you consume. Think: fertilizer for your intestines. An easy way to start incorporating prebiotics into your diet? Dandelion greens. (Yes, believe it or not, dandelions are more than just magical wish-granting plants whose seeds are fun to blow off.) A good source of prebiotic fiber, I generally add them to smoothies and salads.


    I’m a big reader, reading everything from short stories to nutrition textbooks. I try to read at least a chapter a day. Sure, reading is just plain fun, but I also think of it as problem-solving. Many—maybe even all—of the issues we deal with, other people have faced before us. And, in some cases, those people even went on to write very long books about how best to deal with those problems. So if you can use a book, or an article, to learn and avoid making future mistakes, that’s a value add. (Sort of like a prebiotic for life.)

    What I’m reading now:

    What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

    As a runner (see above), I haven’t found another book that so accurately encapsulates the random streams of consciousness that creep up during a run. Drawing on years and years of running for six days a week, Murakami is able to use running as a way to weave together his disparate thoughts on everything from why he decided to be an author to meditations on leaves during season-changing jogs at Harvard. Even if you’re not a runner, it’s a great read—and even made me laugh out loud, which is not easy to do.

    Virgil Abloh and the New Wave of Men’s Wellness (GQ)

    Virgil is a friend and mentor of mine, and I admire that he’s taking three months off to focus on getting his health right after a period of being overworked. He’s just another example that it’s time to reevaluate the proliferation of the “always on the grind” mentality. As this piece points out, men have largely been left behind by the self-care movement, and Virgil’s commitment to taking some time off may signal to other men (after all, he is, literally, a trendsetter) that it’s okay to take a break.

    The Power of Negative Thinking via 99u

    The title is a bit of a misnomer: it’s not so much about the power of negative thinking as it is about the pitfalls of positive thinking. Instead of “you can do it!”ing yourself to a stated goal, this article lays out one of my favorite techniques, called mental contrasting: instead of always picturing your goals as realized (which, research shows, can lead to a lack of motivation when we run into unforeseen challenges), what if we pictured the obstacles we might encounter on the way to success? It can leave you more prepared and confident.

    Dynamic Duos: How To Get More Nutrition By Pairing Food via NPR

    We already talked about prebiotics helping you maximize the nutritional benefit you get from your food—but you can also maximize it by pairing certain foods whose chemicals react in a way that increases your nutrient absorption. Things like: black beans and red bell peppers; hummus and whole wheat bread; a cooked egg and salad; and yogurt and sunshine (seriously: Vitamin D from the sun helps with calcium absorption). If you’re going to eat well, then make sure you’re doing everything to get the most out of your meals!

    Bonus: Listening

    One album and two podcasts that’ll get you through any commute or workout.

    “So Much Fun” by Young Thug

    This album definitely has more than a few tracks on my current workout playlist.

    The Tartare Project, Episode 12

    Shameless plug alert: I was interviewed on this podcast—but it is worth a listen, especially since we’re still getting to know each other. I explain in more depth why health is important to me, how I’ve come to study it, and how my time at the University of Pennsylvania was pivotal in my maturation.

    The surprisingly charming science of your gut

    “The intestines are totally charming.” I love this simple quote from Giulia Enders, whose cheery TED Health Talk takes a closer look at the stomach, which has become known as the “second brain” for the role it plays in everything from bodily health to mood. Enders lays it all out in a way that is both funny and easy to understand. This is a valuable launchpad if you’ve been looking for a way into the wide world of gut health.

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