Study suggests that, for optimal fat loss, the best thing to eat before exercise is nothing at all

(Part 11 of 14 in series, John Briffa's "A Good Look at Good Health")

The concept of endurance athletes stocking up on carbs has, I think, fuelled the notion that we should ideally have some sort of fuel inside of us prior to exercise. However, as I explain here, there is an argument for avoiding spikes in blood sugar is seeking to maximise one’s capacity to utilise fat as a fuel during exercise. I think there’s an argument for consuming little or nothing before exercise unless, perhaps, exercise is to be very prolonged.

~ John Briffa from, http://www.drbriffa.com/2012/11/13/study-suggests-that-for-optimal-fat-loss-the-best-thing-to-eat-before-exercise-is-nothing-at-all/

Sometimes people don’t believe me when, around 11am in the middle of some crazy physical activity, it comes up that I haven’t yet eaten anything. I usually ask them why they think they must eat every waking hour? Why is “breakfast the most important meal of the day”? Why do you eat what you generally eat? And then I ask them to consider looking into the notions they have about nutrition…

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How often should we eat?

(Part 12 of 14 in series, John Briffa's "A Good Look at Good Health")

When I started experimenting with intermittent fasting a year or so ago, it occurred to me that my previous beliefs about our ‘need’ to eat three times a day were just wide of the mark for me and, as it turns out, a lot of other people now. I now encourage a much more fluid approach based on the two guidelines above. One thing it’s done for me and others is to liberate us from the supposed need to eat by the clock. The benefits can be huge. In general, taking a more fluid approach seems to lead to people eating less, having more time, and being less preoccupied with food. These are usually big pluses for people.

~ John Briffa from, http://www.drbriffa.com/2012/08/31/how-often-should-we-eat-2/

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Vitamin D improves energy production in muscles of vitamin D-deficient people

(Part 13 of 14 in series, John Briffa's "A Good Look at Good Health")

In this study, muscle function was assessed in a group of 12 individuals with known vitamin D deficiency. The assessment centred around timing the replenishment in the muscle of a substance known as phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine is a key molecule in the production of energy (in the form of what is known as ATP) by tiny ‘powerhouses’ in the cells of our body known as mitochondria (pronounced my-toe-con-dree-ah). Shorter phosphocreatine replenishment times after activity are a sign of better mitochondrial function.

Vitamin D supplementation was found to lead to a significant reduction in phosphocreatine replenishment times, signalling an improvement in mitochondrial functioning. Fatigue ratings improved in all the study participants too.

~ John Briffa from, http://www.drbriffa.com/2013/03/18/vitamin-d-improves-energy-production-in-muscles-of-vitamin-d-deficient-people/

The more I read, the more I believe that Vitamin D is a keystone for my health and progress. I believe that getting more sun exposure (walking, running, and Parkour outside), combined with taking vitamin D supplements has enabled a lot of other successes: Better sleep, better immune system functioning, better mood (ever hear of “Seasonal Affliction Disorder”?) and now, some evidence that it really does affect the performance of your mitochondria — your cells little power-houses.

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How our beliefs about what controls our weight may actually affect our weight

(Part 14 of 14 in series, John Briffa's "A Good Look at Good Health")

http://www.drbriffa.com/2013/06/20/how-our-beliefs-about-what-controls-our-weight-may-actually-affect-our-weight/

Another finding of this recent research was that those who believed weight is primarily determined by activity generally ate more than those who believed diet is more important. I am wondering if this observation is, at least in part, a reflection of a belief some have that they can eat relatively freely as long as they ‘exercise it off’. For the reasons I’ve listed above, I’m not sure this strategy is likely to work out too well. And on top of this, sometimes the issue can be compounded by individuals ‘rewarding’ themselves after exercise with food or drink.

~ John Briffa

Exercise is a huge part of my health (my goals, my reasons for success, etc). But it has, basically, nothing to do with my loss of weight.

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