More Random Thoughts

By November 30, 2010 Random Thoughts

I’ve got a bunch of these ready to go so I’ll just keep cranking them out several at a time.

1. Vitamin D

As a former math teacher, I like to break things down mathematically. According to most authorities on Vitamin D, you’ll get around 10,000 iu’s of Vitamin D production in around 10 minutes of summer sun exposure if you’re wearing a bathing suit. This breaks down to around 17 iu’s/second, or 1,000 iu’s/minute.

The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies has established the following adequate intake levels of Vitamin D.

  • Birth to 50 years, 5 µg (200 IU)
  • 51–70 years, 10 µg (400 IU)
  • 71+ years, 15 µg (600 IU)

Most nutrition experts believe these levels to be far below the optimal level and recommend around 1,000 to 2,000 iu’s per day. Bottom line, get some sun from time to time! If you’re never in the sun then take some Vitamin D supplements! Vitamin D is extremely important!

2. Don’t Forget About Insulin

Hypocaloric diets are great for fat loss, but taking insulin dynamics into account and manipulating carbohydrate intake accordingly will yield better results according to this study.  Many people are severely insulin resistant because they consume too many carbohydrates or they have poor genetics. We saw from the “Twinkie Diet” that just reducing calories led to considerable weight loss and surprisingly favorable effects on cholesterol. But for optimal health you need to consider things like insulin sensitivity, protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols, in addition to caloric intake.

3. Loadless Training (Flexing)

When I was a teenager, I used to stand in front of the mirror and practice “posing.” I would take my shirt off and flex my muscles in the mirror. I remember finding it very hard to contract certain muscles such as my lats and hamstrings. I probably flexed my muscles in the mirror for around five minutes several days per week. Within a few months I was able to contract all of my major muscle groups really well.

When I get new clients, I’ll often ask them to contract a certain muscle or muscle group and I find that they don’t know how to contract it. Bodybuilders talk about forming an intense “mind-muscle connection.” Strength coaches and physical therapists talk about “activating” dormant muscles. In Supertraining, Mel Siff defined flexing or posing as a viable training method called “loadless training” and postulated that it had certain benefits. I’ll tell you one thing; if more people practiced flexing their muscles we wouldn’t have all of these dormant muscles and we wouldn’t have to coin certain terms such as “gluteal amnesia.”

Bottom line – don’t be afraid to practice flexing your muscles. I still try to do it a few times per week in the mirror for around 60 seconds or so. I’ll roll through several different poses and make sure that I maximally contract all the major muscle groups – the calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, abs, lats, pecs, delts, bi’s, and tri’s.

4. Text Message from My Client Kellie Davis

A couple of weeks ago I received a text message from one of my online clients. This is what she said:

“I was screwing around (I shouldn’t be) and tried the whole stack on the glute press. Did 170 lbs each side for 6 reps ;)”

Leave it to one of my clients to have stronger glutes than most males! How could I be mad at her for not “sticking with the program?”

5. Chalk One Up for Eccentrics!

Here’s a cool study I stumbled upon that shows the benefits of eccentric training:

Short-term strength training and the expression of myostatin and IGF-I isoforms in rat muscle and tendon: differential effects of specific contraction types

Here’s a quote from the authors:

“In conclusion, we have demonstrated that short-term training increases tendon levels of both IGF-IEa and MGF mRNA, indicating a possible role for these growth factors in the adaptation of tendon to training. Furthermore, we found that eccentric training was more effective in downregulating myostatin expression than other loading types, and in combination with the effect of eccentric loading on IGF-IEa and MGF expression, this may well explain the strong contributions of eccentric actions in resistance training-induced muscle hypertrophy.”

That’s all folks!


  • David Shulim says:

    Hey Bret,

    I felt the need to give you this video.

    Women are going to listen to her

  • Mike says:

    Hey Brett,

    What are your thoughts on the Institute of Medicine’s recent pronouncement that we already get enough Vitamin D? Do you recommend a Vit D supplement to those of us leaving in the Northeast during the winter months?

    • Kellie says:

      Sorry for reposting this. For some reason your comment wasn’t coming up earlier. I found this same report in my email this morning.

  • Good stuff man!

    1) Most people are VERY low in Vit D, even people you would not expect. One of the presentations at last years ISSN conf was about Vit D and the presenter (Rikki Keen) stated that sprinters even in FL were low in Vit D since their practice was not during the high sun angle times. The number quoted is most likely an optimal condition, which most people will not seen; esp on a daily basis.

    In short, get a Vit D test which is normally covered as part of a physical now. I paid to have mine tested and it was very low. It took me months of 50,000 IUs (taken only ONCE per week) to get them back up. Each person will vary though.

    2) Yes, insulin does matter, but not as much as calories.

    I like to think of insulin as the “fuel selector switch”

    High insulin = burn carbs
    Low insulin = burn fat

    You can also spike insulin PRE training to shift the body into carb usage and provide a nice pump too (insulin is extremely good vasodilator, dump the NO products). Vitargo and whey protein works great. If you can’t afford Vitargo, you can use dextrose (although the insulin spike will be a bit less).

    3) I am not convinced that flex is beneficial for most ATHLETES. If you are a bodybuilder and have to pose for a contest, then yes of course.

    We spend tons of time getting our clients to be more coordinated (better form), why would we want to spend time to isolate out certain muscles?

    Keep up the good work man!
    rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

  • H says:

    When I stand in front of the mirror and squeeze my glutes hard I can literally see my butt shrinking… I hope that’s not what I’m doing to my butt by working it out… I don’t want it to shrink like a raisin… May I find my answers soon 🙂

  • Kellie says:

    Haha! Thanks for the shout out. I guess I have to watch what I text you now. 🙂

  • Kellie says:

    Oh, and in regards to #1, have you seen this?

    It’s a new report that recants the originals belief on Vitamin D published in 1997. Researchers and doctors state they were being overly caution when making recommendations.

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