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4 nervous system "hacks" for better results

Uncategorized Sep 15, 2021

This blog is going to be a bit nerdy. We’re talking about 4 cool nervous system “hacks” that can improve the results of your workouts. 

We implement these things in my classes, which is one of the more unseen or unrealized reasons my classes are so effective. I also hear often from the members that this is the first program they look forward to and enjoy, and they may not know why. I think these are some of the reasons why - because we are using their nervous system to create an environment that doesn’t feel like a threat. When your brain thinks something is a threat, it will avoid it. And we know consistency is super important in your workouts, so we have to train our nervous system that our workouts aren’t a threat to our safety. 

Your nervous system is extremely important in driving results from your workouts because it will dictate how easily you will recover and lay down new muscle. Because of this, we have to work WITH our nervous...

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Why aren't my muscles growing?

This week, I want to talk about overtraining, undertraining, and how you can have both simultaneously. All three of these cases will frustrate you and can be a big reason you’re training consistently but you’re not seeing muscle growth.

We tend to believe that if some is good, more is better. And that’s just not true when it comes to most things, including exercise. 

I know I’m a broken record with this, but I think it sometimes needs to be said in many different ways for you to understand and let it sink in fully. 

There is a dose-response relationship with exercise. A certain dose will yield positive results, but too little or too much will either do nothing or yield negative results. 

Exercise is medicine, yes. And any medicine can be overdosed and see adverse side effects, or underdosed and see no changes. Exercise is no exception. 

Let’s talk about the signs and symptoms of overtraining, undertraining, and undertraining...

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Exercise and Cortisol

Exercise is a stress to the body. It is disrupting the equilibrium of your body, which your body interprets as stress. This means exercise will spike cortisol.

Chronically elevated cortisol will result in problems in your body, as I discussed earlier. However, studies show that regular exercise can improve your stress response, even though it acutely spikes cortisol acutely or right away. 

So the answer is not to stop exercising all together. The answer is to figure out how to dose exercise so that your body responds favorably. 

A common thing I've been told from my Evlo members is that they work out less frequently and intensely with my program, and yet they see more desirable changes in their bodies. 

This change happens partly because of the exercise selection we are choosing - we are intentionally choosing exercises that load the muscles in the most effective ways with minimal joint stress. That results in better muscle adaptation with less painful joints. But it...

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The Hormone that is holding you back at the Gym

Hormones are incredibly complex, and it's difficult to talk about one hormone without talking about other cascading hormones. Today, I want to break down what cortisol is, what can happen if you have too much of it and how to tell, and my recommendations on how to keep it in check. 

Before we begin, remember that this is not medical advice, and to seek advice from your doctor or functional medicine practitioner if you are having severe issues. This post is for informational purposes only. 

If you feel like you're doing everything right - putting in work at the gym, you're trying to eat less, and still not seeing results - it could be because of cortisol imbalance. Often, too much exercise and too little eating can have the reverse effects that you're hoping for because they can mess with your cortisol and hormonal balance. 

One of my goals, which I hope is evident by my content, is to encourage people to get away from the damaging "grind yourself into the ground if...

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Steady state cardio vs. HIIT: how much of it do you do?

Now that we've covered both HIIT and steady-state cardio, let's go over the main differences between the two.

The difference between steady-state and HIIT is that a HIIT workout is where the individual exerts their max effort , which can't be sustained for a long time. Whereas steady-state cardio is a low-to-moderate effort that can be maintained for a longer period of time.

During HIIT, your heart rate is close to its max, maybe around 160 bpm, depending on who you are, and sustained for a brief amount of time, maybe 15-30 seconds. 

After that brief, intense bout, you recover for a short period of time and repeat. HIIT is pretty brutal, but the good part is, it's brief and time-effective. It has benefits, as I talked about in the last podcast. But it's not for everyone. If you are new to exercise, have cranky joints, hormone imbalances, etc., HIIT might not be your exercise of choice until you get those things under control. 

Additionally, if you HATE that type of...

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Steady state cardio: how much should you do for the best fitness results?

Today I want to piggyback on last week's blog post about HIIT and dive into steady-state cardio. If you haven't read either of last weeks' blog posts, I'd highly recommend you read it because it has excellent information about the mitochondria, blood sugar, and how too much HIIT can harm you.

Over the next week, I will break down the difference between steady-state and HIIT cardio, the positives, and negatives of both, and provide a general framework of how you can incorporate both into your training. 

First, I want to talk about how the body adapts to exercise. It's essential to understand every individual's body will react differently, and that will determine if they are getting positive or negative results from their training. 

Adaptation is ultimately what we are looking for in our training. We want our muscles to be stronger, our heart to pump more effectively, and to be less out of breath when we walk up a flight of stairs. Exercise, in the proper dosages for your...

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How too much HIIT can kill your progress

Many medical and sports groups suggest intense interval training shouldn’t be completed more than three times/week to avoid these negative metabolic side effects. And from a joint health perspective, I agree that HIIT should not be used more than a few times/week, if at all. 

So if we can only gain the benefits of HIIT 2 to 3 days a week, are we just sedentary on the other days? Should we train in different ways on the days where we aren’t working out intensely? 

Another study that looked at the benefits of short, intense exercise vs. longer, more gentle workouts provides us with another interesting finding. 

The study took overweight men, divided them into groups, and had them exercise on a bike for a different amount of time and intensity. 

Group 1 performed short, all-out workouts on the bike such as 30-second sprints with minimal rest in between. This group only exercised 3 days/week. 

Group 2 exercised more moderately: 30-40 min on the bike...

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How to exercise to improve insulin sensitivity

HIITing the Books

Over the next two weeks, I want to talk about cardio: what it is, how much you need, and, most importantly, how much is overkill and could be setting you back. 

Most people agree that cardio is anything where you elevate your heart rate. When I was looking at the formal definitions, most will say that this requires rhythmic, repetitive movement of your limbs. 

Because most people consider cardio as repetitive/rhythmic moments, when most people think of cardio, they think of activities such as running, cycling, and swimming. This is also why most people don’t include weight lifting when they think of cardio. 

Therefore, it’s commonly thought that you need to do both: lift the weights and add on the running or biking. 

But do you really? And if so, exactly how much should you do? 

These are the questions I want to address over the next couple of weeks. We’re going to talk about the benefits and risks of different dosages of...

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My Favorite Modifications

Uncategorized Jun 18, 2021

On Tuesday, we talked about the importance of finding the right exercises for your body, and the importance of acknowledging pain and its root cause, and not pushing past our body’s signals. Today, I want to break down some of the most popular exercises I hear are painful for many individuals, and offer some equally as effective substitutes.

Burpees

Let’s start with burpees. I know this is a hot take, but I’m with you guys that burpees are not my favorite exercise. They can place a lot of force throughout the spine in both the jump back and the jump forward. 

I simply think there are lots of better ways to strengthen the legs, arms, and abdominals without the unnecessary compression through the spine, feet, and wrists. You really won’t see any burpees in my classes - if we do them in cardio we use a chair to really elevate your body. And even then, we do them very sparingly. 

So if you hate burpees, I’m giving you full permission to never do...

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Why you can stop doing Exercises you Hate

It’s a norm in the fitness industry to try to fit your body to fit a certain exercise. I often get asked “Can you help me with my deadlifts?” or “How can I do planks without shoulder pain?” or “How can I strengthen my core so squats don’t hurt my back?”

And there are so many fitness professionals and PTs out there who will help you achieve these goals. And there absolutely are ways to improve your form and strengthen and stabilize these muscles to feel more effective and safe in an exercise. I think if your goal is to do that one exercise, KEEP ON KEEPIN ON!

Before we dive in, I want to caveat with something. I’m not saying that there isn’t a time and place to learn and hone in on a new skill or movement. Sometimes you have to learn a specific movement for a sport or job. So perhaps your fitness program should be tailored for that.

But I think if overall fitness is your goal, there’s another perspective that I’d...

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