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Saturday, September 7, 2013

the gospel according to Bitty Bro

In our last installment, I said "I have this issue where I will initially believe whoever the latest internet guru is, then start questioning why their advice is any better than any of the past internet gurus' (contradictory) advice, then I just end up doing what the fuck ever I want to do anyway."  (Quoting oneself--first sign of being a douche?)

This got me thinking. I do however have a few firm beliefs about diet/exercise/the human body that I have stuck with for at least a few years and from which I cannot be swayed, evidence or not to the contrary. Want to know what they are?

1.) Stretching your fascia is much more important than stretching your muscles. Think about it. Your muscles are shrink-wrapped in fascia. You can stretch them all you like, but if the fascia around them is restricted, they ain't going anywhere. This is why I am such a big proponent of stuff like myofascial massage, yin yoga, and foam rolling. Happy fascia means a more pain-free body.

2.) As topical anti-inflammatories go, arnica is the shiz.

3.) NEAT--or rather lack thereof--is why Americans are fat.  I have a friend, a powerlifter, who has a physical job that requires a great deal of walking.  She usually records over 20,000 steps a day on her bodymedia fit and has hit 30,000.  (The average American takes around 5000 a day.)  She also requires well over 3000 calories a day to maintain her weight.  Her always-dieting friends drool with jealousy when she posts up pictures of the, like, entire pizzas she eats, but the fact is, if we were all taking 20,000+ steps a day, we could be eating a lot more calories without weight gain or health consequences.  Unfortunately, a lot of people by necessity or choice or a combination of both live lives where they drive to work, sit at their desks for 8 or 10 hours, drive home, then collapse in exhaustion in front of the tv or computer, lives where they don't have the opportunity to walk for transportation, or would never think of it. Meanwhile, they live in an environment where there is delicious, high-calorie food everywhere. So they are either miserably dieting all the time or they are putting on weight. A lot of public health campaigning seems to hinge on eliminating or resisting the delicious high calorie food. Fuck that. Delicious food (and beer) is delicious. We'd all be better off, physically and mentally, if we were burning enough calories a day that we could eat delicious food unscathed. It's not food that's the enemy, it's the sedentary lifestyles we are either forced into or choose.

4.) However, since most Americans are sedentary, the easiest way to lose weight is to cut the hell out of your carbs.  Carbs are not the devil. When you work out a lot, carbs are actually really necessary and helpful. But if you don't need them to fuel your workouts, you can cut out all/most of the grain-type carbs and lose weight pretty painlessly. Hell, if you actually go keto, you won't even be hungry. And if you're sedentary, fat, and insulin-resistant, it'll even be good for you.

5.) Whatever you do for exercise/fitness is better than doing nothing. You will never see me sneering at "cardio bunnies."  I have mad respect for the 70-something aqua aerobics ladies and the little old guys at the Y who sit on the exercise bikes occasionally pedalling but mostly talking.  I don't mock crossfitters and their kipping.  Run, jog, walk, hike, bike, swim, play soccer, play tennis, play basketball, do Jillian Michaels vids, go to Pilates, go to vinyasa yoga, do Bikram, do MMA...whether or not it's anything I do or would ever do, if you are a physically active person, I respect your efforts to take care of your body in ways that give *you* pleasure.  Anyone who thinks their way is the only way needs to bite me.

And thus spake Bitty Bro.



  1. Andrea, I SO agree that physical activity/training/exercise has to be appealing in order to become part of someone's routine. I believe, however, that lots of people will have to "bite you" because it is their way or...their way.
    For a very brief period of time, I saw a chiropractor who was also a nutrition and training specialist, TO THE BIG NAME ATHLETES!!! No, seriously, their photos LINED HIS WALL! Shit like that does not impress me. Been there done that. Anyway, this guy did not want to hear a single thing I had to say about anything. He wanted to reduce or eliminate the one activity that kept me sane (walking), then, when he saw THAT was not happening, he argued with me about the length, time of day and tempo of my walks, as well as the time of my meal as it related to my walking. He wanted me to do yoga and meditate (missing the freakin' POINT of my NEED to walk, entirely). Incidentally, I did NOT go to him for any issue related to the above.
    I believe he probably had some really great information to impart and it is not that I am an (entirely) resistant person, but he had a "one size fits all intervention" and nothing about me, as an individual mattered to him. There was no "tailoring" the program (THAT I DID NOT REQUEST) to my needs, likes, schedule, idiosyncrasies, nothing. Just gave me a sheet with an eating plan and activity.
    Incidentally, I went to him due to results of preop tests that were problematic due to dehydration. He repeated the tests some 36 hrs. later and they came back just fine but he wanted to..."fix me".
    The point of all this is that if a particular type of activity is so noxious to somebody that s/he dreads it, as opposed to incorporating activities and scheduling them when the person is most likely to complete them, it is unlikely for them to become routine. Sorry for the diatribe. A lot of food for thought in your posts.

  2. I agree with everything you said and love the way you put it all. Well, except I don't know what the heck arnica is. But I'm sure it's lovely.

    This whole fascia thing is something I need to learn more about and probably start DOING something about because my calves are really f--cking sore all the time, despite stretching, and when I've gotten a massage it seems like there are all kinds of interesting little tender places throughout my body that I don't tend to notice on a daily basis but probably need attending to. The foam roller thing seems kinda grim but it might be time to suck it up and try it, as well as figure out other ways to poke around at sensitive spots. I'm not sure I've ever experienced the whole dramatic "trigger point release" thing that people rave about though, so I may be poking around in the wrong places.

    Do you know of any reputable DIY resource for troubleshooting this stuff or does one need to consult some sort of professional?

  3. Crabby! With the disclaimer that I myself do not own it and have not read it, this is supposed to be an excellent book for the layperson re trigger points:

    1. THANK YOU!!! Wishful thinking by itself does not seem to be doing a damn thing for my calves, go figure. This looks like it might be way more helpful.

  4. 1) I love foam rolling, the delicious pain but I think most research shows there is no real evidence it works. But hell I don't care.

    2)Let's agree NEVER to talk arnica

    3)Yeah I wish we could get over this stupid obsession with weight and change the conversation towards health. Stop counting calories and start counting steps.

    4) hmm.

    5) HELL YEAH. WHATEVER gets you moving is a good thing. Fuck this competition between sports. Some people never want to run and others never want to pick up a weight, yes it would be better for them to do both, but you know what AS LONG AS THEY ARE DOING SOMETHING that is a GOOD THING.