Saturday, June 9, 2012

Branching Out: Reading, Writing, and Hitting the Road

As some who is in the fitness industry, you'd think I'd have heard of The First Twenty Minutes by Gretchen Reynolds, but I first learned of it yesterday when a coworker mentioned it while expressing his curiosity of what I'd think of it. Seeing as it is supposed to be a book that offers specific recommendations backed by scientific studies in exercise physiology, naturally, I am intrigued.
The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can: Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer

What the reviews say (positive and negative):
Who would have thought that Pickle Juice and Chocolate milk could be key training aids? In the First Twenty Minutes Reynolds covers a lot of dry and scientific material in an engaging and entertaining way.
The First Twenty Minutes dives in to many of my favorite topics, from interval training, to endurance work and to nutrition for lay and athletics alike.
... it appeared that the author either tends to cherry pick research results to prove her point (or worse to sensationalize her writings) or that her conclusions involve a leap of logic the quoted research does not necessarily support.
It would be interesting to read someone's take on how they think recent research in the field of exercise science should change and shape perhaps some more outdated approaches to fitness (like that whole "slow burn" thing I talked about a couple weeks ago). I've been reviewing and studying a lot of my old materials in preparation for the American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer Certification, but the writing is less than entertaining. And I have yet to really learn how to take a lot of the knowledge I'm gaining and turn into something future clients can grasp. Sure, most of us have a basic grasp on human anatomy, but you tend to lose them when you start talking about origins, insertions, the saggital plane, or the Krebs Cycle. I may even get the audio book for our road trip, provided I can get the Little Miss engaged in her own entertainment (in other words, I need to get a portable DVD player and put "Rio" on repeat).

Some basic truths I currently maintain about fitness and nutrition that I hope the author will touch upon include:
  • We should not prescribe to any sort of quick fix, miracle-promising, or all-or-nothing approach to diet or exercise.
  • You will not get the dramatic changes you are seeking if you can't first embrace being sweaty and sore.
  • One will be more successful if focused on gaining strength and increasing endurance rather than just losing weight.
  • McD's, Burger King, and Taco Bell do NOT play a roll in ANY healthy lifestyle, no exceptions. Even 400m Olympic Gold Medalist Jeremy Wariner, despite his successful race just hours after a Big Mac, admitted he needed cut back on the junk to see continued improvement.
  • If you're going to indulge, let it be natural food created by real hands with real ingredients. I'll take fried chicken over mechanically separated, ammonia-drenched chicken bi-product any day.
  • We often over-estimate how many calories we burn and under-estimate how many we consume.
In one line, what do you think is the most important health advice to follow?

Onto a completely different topic, I've talked about this mother-daughter road trip next week...

Crazy? Yes, but I'm really looking forward to this, especially since flying is less-than-economical, from a financial standpoint right now. The time we'd save would be difficult to enjoy with the cost of an extra plane seat (she's too old and big now to be a lap passenger), checked baggage, and a rented vehicle. Honestly, I'm really looking forward to this trip and I know to plan on many stops along the way. The tricky part, I think, will be getting any kind of workout in besides situps and pushups, but I will cram in some runs this weekend and early next week!

Any road trip survival strategies to share? We have an Innotab for which I will buy her a couple more games and we'll also look at *cheap* portable DVD players - one that I won't get upset if it gets sticky from fruit squeezes or winds up smelling like Goldfish.

Lastly, as I'm pretty sure there are laws against Blogging while driving, I'm looking for topics for next weeks' posts that I can get started on ahead of time. Find me at or on Twitter @ConcreteNCoffee to send me your ideas for post topics.

In an effort to grow my audience, I will be looking for post contributors. Mostly, I want to learn what has worked for YOU in your life journeys to live happier and healthier, so be especially sure to follow me on Twitter as that is where I will be posting questions and looking for answers that I can quote in a future post. I have a lot to share about my own gains in fitness and running, but I am just one person. It would be great for me to learn different approaches that have worked best for others!


hiker mom said...

I would say my best advice would also be that to lose weight for life, you have to implement exercise. I get so sick of people who only diet and wonder why they either can't lose weight or wonder why they can't keep it off. Exercise is key. Have a great time on your road trip!

ConcreteNCoffee said...

You're so right. Our bodies were designed to MOVE. I wonder what shifted peoples' mentalities to work so hard to avoid all sweat!