3

votes

Exercise hacking.

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created October 16, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Summary for context. 6'7" 43 yr old recently diagnosed diabetic. Down 8% body weight in about five weeks mostly paleo. Blood sugars went down from 250-280 and leveled off around 120-160. Trying to avoid meds if possible.

Up until today, I have been doing 30-120 minutes of very low intensity exercise (walking, elliptical , swimming) several times a week, and have avoided any sort of resistance or high intensity or high impact exercise since I dont want to injure myself. My bodyweight at this point is beyond my ability to control effectively, and running is completely out of the question, so crossfit is out for now.

But today I started reading body by science and Im wondering if that is a mistake. Perhaps I should be looking at safe but high intensity alternatives to running and free weights (elliptical/swimming sprints, and HIT machine weight training).

Two questions.

  1. Is the consensus that high intensity weight training and cardio is superior to long super low intensity (heart rate under 120) training for stripping fat and returning insulin sensitivity, or is it only more useful for general conditioning and fitness?

  2. Assuming you implement a high intensity training regimen (say 2 days a week weights split between upper and lower body and 4 days a week cardio, split between elliptical sprints and swim sprints), is there any further advantage to fat burning/insulin resistance recovery by adding more low intensity exercise and activity, or am I just causing unnecessary inflammation at that point?

Medium avatar

(19469)

on October 17, 2011
at 07:03 PM

Well said! The only time I've actually thrown up while exercising (technically it was "after" exercising, but I digress) was after a HIT session on the leg press. I agree with the "perfect form" point, going to complete muscle failure is unwise without it and also how it is better to do some resistance exercise than none at all. The best exercise is always the one that you will do consistently!

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 16, 2011
at 02:09 PM

Thanks Steve! This post by Chris Kresser has good info too: http://chriskresser.com/how-to-lose-weight-and-prevent-diabetes-in-6-minutes-a-week

Cdee7454bccdc4ac14ec23b9657eb573

(1229)

on October 16, 2011
at 12:53 PM

Good idea, Beth. I saw a great free online video by Sisson that shows you what his program is like. What I remember makes me think of "body weight training," like push-ups, chin-ups, etc.

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8 Answers

6
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 16, 2011
at 12:39 PM

Do yourself a favor and head over to Mark's Daily Apple and get his free fitness e-book. I think a good weight loss plan involves all three: weights, intervals, and lots of low and slow. Four days of elliptical and swim sprints sounds like overdoing it to me.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 16, 2011
at 02:09 PM

Thanks Steve! This post by Chris Kresser has good info too: http://chriskresser.com/how-to-lose-weight-and-prevent-diabetes-in-6-minutes-a-week

Cdee7454bccdc4ac14ec23b9657eb573

(1229)

on October 16, 2011
at 12:53 PM

Good idea, Beth. I saw a great free online video by Sisson that shows you what his program is like. What I remember makes me think of "body weight training," like push-ups, chin-ups, etc.

2
F1edc54a7fb4b84764aa7db05518c0ca

(285)

on October 16, 2011
at 01:55 PM

HIIT (high intensity interval training) has been shown to improve vo2 max, and burn far more calories than regular training. If you do it right it is pretty difficult actually. My first week of HIIT I vomited from going a bit too hard.

Additionally, not doing resistance training is going to limit your gains / health improvements significantly. It is important to realize where injury comes from in weight training - and that is a lack of proper form. This can be limited by working out with a personal trainer a few times, or by simply eliminating some of the resistance training that is form dependent.

Training that involves compound groups of muscles (deadlifts, squats) come to mind as form dependent as these target groups of muscles, and while providing a lot of benefit are typically based around heavy weights. Doing a low weight targeted dumbell routine starting out, and focusing on perfecting form initially however before stepping up in weight is not really going to cause injury (unless you drop one on your foot or something).

There's also plenty of bodyweight exercises you can do without much injury risk. Pushups, situps, chinups, pull ups, etc. can be utilized pretty effectively to add muscle.

There are a few more novel methods as well, resistance bands etc.

I would not recommend HIT weight training to someone without perfect form, and without a properly developed core/stabilizer muscles. Take some time, perfect the various exercises and get your muscles used to working out properly before trying to jump into some program that you won't stick with. At my gym, I repeatedly see middle aged folks, coming in, jumping into some ridiculous program, and never coming back after a few weeks. All the while, the elderly folks who come in for their weight training classes, which focus on slow lifting, tend to show much greater strength and health improvements. ANY form or resistance training is going to help you out, don't be in a huge rush, you will see improvements.

Anyway for your questions

1 - Yes resistance training / HIIT cardio is superior to low intensity cardio.

2 - Daily cardio is a requirement to live a healthy life. Starting resistance training 2 days a week on top of a daily cardio routine is great, but its not a substitute. There is a definite benefit to Aerobic activity for the rest of the week.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on October 17, 2011
at 07:03 PM

Well said! The only time I've actually thrown up while exercising (technically it was "after" exercising, but I digress) was after a HIT session on the leg press. I agree with the "perfect form" point, going to complete muscle failure is unwise without it and also how it is better to do some resistance exercise than none at all. The best exercise is always the one that you will do consistently!

2
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on October 16, 2011
at 01:31 PM

Is the consensus that high intensity weight training and cardio is superior to long super low intensity (heart rate under 120) training for stripping fat and returning insulin sensitivity, or is it only more useful for general conditioning and fitness?

Yes. Or, rather, it'll provide at least, if not better than, the same benefits, in a much much shorter time. High intensity exercise actually forces your body to adapt and improve, allowing you to do more work in the future, whereas exercise that doesn't raise your heart rate above 120 won't really require any significant adaptation from your body.

is there any further advantage to fat burning/insulin resistance recovery by adding more low intensity exercise and activity, or am I just causing unnecessary inflammation at that point?

I would say that optimally one should add as much low intensity activity as possible, even if it's just standing up and moving around very, very slightly. Only if you were doing moderate levels of exercise would there be a risk of counter-productively raising cortisol.

For what it's worth, also I'm convinced that high intensity exercise is the most important and efficacious form of exercise, in my own case I've found that long sessions (an hour or so +) of low-moderate exercise seems to make more of a difference to weight loss than high intensity stuff. Maybe this is because I'm always doing high intensity exercise and only occasionally doing lengthier exercise, but suffice to say, that adding the long, slowish exercise makes a big difference.

2
Cdee7454bccdc4ac14ec23b9657eb573

on October 16, 2011
at 12:51 PM

Judging from improvement in hemoglobin A1c, the combination of aerobic and strength training is needed to improve diabetic blood sugar levels. Both types of exercise???when considered alone???did not improve diabetes control, according to the latest research in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

If you???re trying to lose excess fat weight, resistance training appears to win over aerobic exercise. It's still debatable, however.

Doing either aerobic execise or resistance exercise for an average of 20 minutes a day will not improve hemoglobin A1c levels in most type 2 diabetics. We can assume blood sugars aren???t lower either. It takes a combination of both types of exercise to lower hemoglobin A1c.

Monkey Scribe, you sound like an excellent candidate for a personal trainer, at least to get you started on strength training for a couple months.

-Steve

Disclaimer: All matters regarding your health require supervision by a personal physician or other appropriate health professional familiar with your current health status. Always consult your personal physician before making any dietary or exercise changes.

Reference: Church, T., Blair, S., Cocreham, S., Johannsen, N., Johnson, W., Kramer, K., Mikus, C., Myers, V., Nauta, M., Rodarte, R., Sparks, L., Thompson, A., & Earnest, C. (2010). Effects of Aerobic and Resistance Training on Hemoglobin A1c Levels in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 304 (20), 2253-2262 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.1710

1
6dd4c92d9c24c53c5c2fdbb12f79d08d

(128)

on October 16, 2011
at 01:29 PM

If I had to choose one exercise to recommend, it would be the front squat. I find it incredibly stimulative and can quite literally feel my body improving in strength, posture and vitality after each session. Combined with a paleo diet, some moderate walking, I've made great strides in under 2 months.

No special equipment is needed, you could start right now, (pending medical advice).

I use a large holdall that I fill with sand-filled bags (or books) and I hold it tightly under my chin with both arms underneath it. It's important to keep your head up and focus on holding your torso as upright as you can, sticking you butt out, with your weight through your heels. There are numerous articles and videos online showing good form.

Add in some overhead presses with a lighter weight and that is literally all you need to get started.

Well done for taking responsibility for you own health!

0
072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on October 17, 2011
at 10:03 PM

Also in the vein of MDA, Sisson explains the move slowly concept here: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/health-benefits-moderate-exercise/

His blog post today (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/dear-mark-bad-supplements-bad-simple-mitochondrial-biogenesis-and-a-big-day-tomorrow/#more-24224) simply recommends sprinting once a week, lifting heavy 2-3 times, and walking a lot.

I don't personally follow this prescription as I am a non-primal CF junkie, but it looks great for fitness longevity.

0
13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on October 16, 2011
at 10:02 PM

I would suggest a visit to the Bernstein Diabetes Forum. Bernstein and Paleo are compatible, but Bernstein has some specific suggestions about exercise (type and timing) that may be helpful.

http://www.diabetes-book.com/

-3
80f8f6171ea8ab0574b2b4dba1b76427

on October 17, 2011
at 02:06 PM

Vibration plates assist to improve blood circulation, and improve bone density. You can combine 1hrs gym training in just 10 minutes.

Reduce if not eradicate any diseases that may arise in the future.

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