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Some newbie questions re coconut and exercise/cortisol

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 08, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Hi

I posted yesterday re not liking fatty meats-thanks for the useful responses. However I have a few more newbie questions....

  1. Is there such a thing as too much coconut butter? I am absolutely craving it like crazy (didn't before starting paleo ~2 weeks ago). I am eating c3 tbsp per day in addition to other fats eg avocado, spray olive oil, handful of nuts.

  2. For the last ~5 years (I'm 24) i've exercised hard for 45m-1hr 5-6 days per week and have eaten a fairly strict weekday diet - still lowish carbs but not much fat so definitely not paleo or near it. Also counted calories and stuck between 1600-2000 for those years (which ironically might have made my metabolism slower since i havent lose ANY weight on that number). Basically I'm way flabbier than i feel i 'should' be for how much effort I put in. Could cortisol be a problem? I have a medium stress job but always try to sleep between 7 and 8 hours/night. I'm trying to dial back on the exercise and do 3 x week 45m circuit training with heavy weights (supersets), then 1 day of sprints (20-30minutes) and 1 day of bodyweight cardio (20-30minutes), maybe with an hour of pilates thrown in there. I walk 45minutes three times/week too. IS THIS TOO MUCH?

I'm only in my second week and I feel happier and (I think) a bit leaner, but I am aware of my intense fat cravings and the possibility that i am raising my cortisol and preventing fat loss by still exercising this much.....am still stuck in that 'more is more' mindset re exercise...

Sorry for length - any thoughts MUCH appreciated!

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on August 08, 2012
at 08:57 PM

Everything is about recovery when you enter into a strength training program. Walking is low impact. Sprints are eccentric work and do not effect recovery even though they are considered an intense workout. Nutrition is key. You will not gain lean mass if you do not eat enough. Consider that tendons and ligaments are the slowest to recover (has to do with less blood flow). An intense yoga or pilates workout could effect your recovery. If you kept it light (no power yoga or equivalent), I don't see an issue but someone with more experience should probably chime in. Listen to your body.

F039021ad0e901216b786781a7836193

(20)

on August 08, 2012
at 08:10 PM

I don't know why but I am skeptical that just those key 4 or 5 lifts will actually get me the body I want (i just want to look good naked - yes, vain, i know but just being honest - along with being healthy). So I'd be doing SS 3 days per week and two days of cardio (sprints or high intensity). Is there any place for yoga, pilates in a Paleo regime? Thank you so much for all your help :)

F039021ad0e901216b786781a7836193

(20)

on August 08, 2012
at 08:08 PM

Thanks heaps Mark that's very useful. Up until about 2 months ago I was doing 'proper' training with heavy weights (3x8-10 usually) but have experimented with 5x5 in the past, it just hasn't seemed to get me leaner (perhaps b/c my diet hasn't been dialled in?). The circuits are from Metabolic Effect - their diet and exercise is close to Paleo but doesn't eschew grains or dairy just limits them, and is less friendly to fat.

F039021ad0e901216b786781a7836193

(20)

on August 08, 2012
at 08:07 PM

thanks FanofSunshine - what should I cut out though? Or rather - I cannot find a definition of 'once in a while' on Primal Blueprint...(i have looked, i'm not just being lazy!)

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 08, 2012
at 06:34 PM

Oh Good!!! And here I was feeling bad for 86ing my intense exercise! I have not read this book but this is EXACTLY what I do - EVERY DAY. Thanks FanofSunshine.

F039021ad0e901216b786781a7836193

(20)

on August 08, 2012
at 04:46 PM

thanks Brad. so its not like seeing me write 3tbsp makes you go 'woah holy hell stop that now' - i should just see how i feel? i don't know why i am craving it so much, it's quite weird.

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3 Answers

2
E8bf28bd28f5be7c34d4a1a97e7c1353

(253)

on August 08, 2012
at 03:35 PM

I no longer buy coconut butter. I enjoy eating it so much that I can't control myself. If exerting no will power could eat a whole jar in a day. It was causing some undesirable weight gain, so I cut it out completely. There's no moderation with me and coconut butter. It just had to go.

If will power and weight gain aren't an issue, then by all means enjoy. I never experienced any other negative effects. Large amounts can be a bit tough on digestion. It's incredibly dense and coconut fiber is a bit of a challenge to break down.

F039021ad0e901216b786781a7836193

(20)

on August 08, 2012
at 04:46 PM

thanks Brad. so its not like seeing me write 3tbsp makes you go 'woah holy hell stop that now' - i should just see how i feel? i don't know why i am craving it so much, it's quite weird.

1
04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

on August 08, 2012
at 06:16 PM

Yes, I think you are exercising too much. I like Mark Sisson's book, "The Primal Blueprint," where he says: Move about frequently at a slow pace, Lift heavy things & sprint once in a while.

And Primal Blueprint Law # 7: Play

Wouldn't hurt to give yourself a break every other day.

F039021ad0e901216b786781a7836193

(20)

on August 08, 2012
at 08:07 PM

thanks FanofSunshine - what should I cut out though? Or rather - I cannot find a definition of 'once in a while' on Primal Blueprint...(i have looked, i'm not just being lazy!)

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 08, 2012
at 06:34 PM

Oh Good!!! And here I was feeling bad for 86ing my intense exercise! I have not read this book but this is EXACTLY what I do - EVERY DAY. Thanks FanofSunshine.

0
81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on August 08, 2012
at 06:03 PM

As far as your second point goes, it sounds like you engaged in cardio training for several years. Yes, that will make you the infamous 'skinny fat'. More is not better. Strength training will provide stress that forces your body to develop lean mass. Your body develops this lean mass during recovery. Recovery is all about rest and nutrition.

I would be careful of the 45 minutes of circuit training with 'heavy weights'. I question any program that allows for supersets and circuit training that uses heavy weight. Either you are going to injure yourself or the weight is not truly heavy. Strength training utilizes weights between 80-90% of your 1 Rep Max (1RM) in sets of 3-8 (5 being the most common) with some kind of linear progression. If done correctly, 3X5 and 5X5 sets of heavy squats, a press, and a pull can take an hour in the gym (takes 3-5 minutes of rest between sets). I suggest you ditch the circuit training and adopt a strength training program (I am a huge fan of Starting Strength by Mark Rippitoe...just Google it).

If you adopt a strength training routine like Starting Strength as your core programming, I would trade out the 1 day of BW cardio and just do 2 days of sprints.

My program is 3 days of strength training (Texas Method: an intermediate strength program), kettlebell metcons after my strength workouts (I keep these under 10 minutes), 2 days of sprints, and 2 days of hiking.

Strength training will eliminate the 'skinny fat' issue by developing lean mass. Make sure you are getting enough protein and rest as well (these are essential to developing lean mass).

F039021ad0e901216b786781a7836193

(20)

on August 08, 2012
at 08:08 PM

Thanks heaps Mark that's very useful. Up until about 2 months ago I was doing 'proper' training with heavy weights (3x8-10 usually) but have experimented with 5x5 in the past, it just hasn't seemed to get me leaner (perhaps b/c my diet hasn't been dialled in?). The circuits are from Metabolic Effect - their diet and exercise is close to Paleo but doesn't eschew grains or dairy just limits them, and is less friendly to fat.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on August 08, 2012
at 08:57 PM

Everything is about recovery when you enter into a strength training program. Walking is low impact. Sprints are eccentric work and do not effect recovery even though they are considered an intense workout. Nutrition is key. You will not gain lean mass if you do not eat enough. Consider that tendons and ligaments are the slowest to recover (has to do with less blood flow). An intense yoga or pilates workout could effect your recovery. If you kept it light (no power yoga or equivalent), I don't see an issue but someone with more experience should probably chime in. Listen to your body.

F039021ad0e901216b786781a7836193

(20)

on August 08, 2012
at 08:10 PM

I don't know why but I am skeptical that just those key 4 or 5 lifts will actually get me the body I want (i just want to look good naked - yes, vain, i know but just being honest - along with being healthy). So I'd be doing SS 3 days per week and two days of cardio (sprints or high intensity). Is there any place for yoga, pilates in a Paleo regime? Thank you so much for all your help :)

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