For the past decade I have intermittently written about the effects of exercise on health and body composition (primarily weight loss). My own descent and resurrection from Obesity is well detailed in graphic fashion. At that time I also obtained my CPT (Personal Trainer) certificate and began what would amount to a biannual sojourn to Boca Raton and the Institute of Human Performance to visit then Guru now Guru and dear friend Juan Carlos Santana.

I have learned an awful lot from Carlos and it has spurred my continued study of Exercise Physiology, something I obtained a Masters Degree in many years ago.

Along with over a decade of medical practice and another decade in supplement design all interspersed with tons of public speaking teaching normal people and doctors, I distilled one of the most common questions I get asked about exercise into the title of this blog.

“Doc what is the best kind of exercise?!”

I must get asked that 100 times a year from all kinds of people in all kinds of places.  I often give them JC’s answer: The best exercise is the one YOU do!

While this may sound like I am running from the issue it is not. JC has captured the central conundrum of exercise- We can’t get people to do enough of it regularly! Now that is a whole ‘nother lecture so I’ll save that and give my next most common answer:

It depends.

It depends very much on what you want. So then I have to go down that garden pathway with the person and find out what level of motivation, starting fitness and health and realistically what they are likely to stick with.

No mean feat.

The answer I most commonly get is…

“Doc I want to lose this excess body fat!  But I also want to have a great body be healthy and still feel attractive. I want fat loss strength and flexibility. I want to be sexy and have a high level of endurance. I want a six pack (guys) and a nice butt (girls). I don’t want to be muscle bound but I want to have muscles. I want to get rid of this belly (guys) and the muffin top (girls).  Oh yeah and I don’t want to be tired all the time. I don’t want to spend much money or invest much time either because I am super busy with all the other stuff that I have somehow decided is far more important than my health. I still need to watch my favorite TV shows and eat out 5 times a week at least. By the way will I have to diet to get to where I want? I hope not. Can’t I just exercise 20 minutes 3x a week like it says on ?” (Not a real link!)

In other words they want everything.

Not once has anyone ever said, “I want to do the exercise that helps me age most gracefully!” And rarely does anyone say “I want to learn to move better.”

There was this guy named Hans Seyle back in the 1930’s who coined the term adaptation as it applies to the body’s response to exercise. If you keep his principle of adaptation in mind you will understand the body becomes a mirror of the stimulus you give it. Power lifters get powerful and strong. They don’t always look that aesthetically pleasing.  Body builders get less strong significantly bigger (steroids aside) and much more aesthetically pleasing as long as they don’t go overboard. Runners tend to get scrawny in weak looking but they can go forever. And so on and so forth. Ultimately and this is just my opinion Gymnasts for men and skaters for women have the best overall aesthetically pleasing looks.

The point is you become a mirror of the kind of stimulus you give your body so chose wisely and don’t expect running to make you big by itself or power lifting to make you ultra lean by itself.

When I wrote my portion of our book “The Immortality Edge” I had had a lot of exposure to people who advocated Sprint or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).Two of the biggest pioneers were Matt Furey and Phil Campbell in that order and were among the first to fuel the fires of what would become the modern HIIT craze.

In our book we wrote that HIIT was the most efficient way to get in shape, maintain health and body weight. We also wrote about its effects on telomere length which is actually shared by Long Slow Distance (LSD).

I chose HIIT type training for the following reasons:

  1. It required only 30 min or so to get a great workout
  2. It can be done as almost zero impact in the pool
  3. It seems to be the fastest way to increase your cardiovascular fitness rapidly at least to a point.
  4. There is less of a tendency to stimulate the monstrous appetite that seems to follow really Long LSD exercise
  5. Bottom line this is a very efficient way to get in shape
  6. The contribution of EPOC Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption was supposed to be enough to add hundreds of calories to the overall calorie burn well beyond the time spent exercising. I had read some early studies that noted up to 600 calories more above and beyond whatever was burned during the exercise bout itself.

So EPOC became the buzz word for fat loss, sexy body composition and spiritual transformation and EPOC became the ‘secret’ to all good things that was defended by its faithful legion.But during my observations of how this type training affected my body I found I did not agree with the last point..  As per my usual approach of, “Gee this is pretty important since the whole premise is built on it. If I can I need to be sure that it is true or not true”, I found a simple way to do some research.

I found a device that accurately measures RMR and MR under other circumstances several years ago called Body Gem.  I initially used this device to evaluate 2 things:  The effects of exercise on me and a few willing “guinea pigs”, and the effects of what was then new, Energy X Maxx to the mix.

What I found was I did not lose weight on interval training alone.

In addition I did not have the “getting ripped effect” where body composition changed and body fat melted off me*. This was important because advocates of HIIT defended and marketed both of things like crazy.  Moreover I did not find the Effect of EPOC to be all that earth shattering.  Even with Tabata type intervals I only burned around 220 calories above resting and in me at least the level of increased metabolism lasted far less than the 24 to 36 hours that were originally touted. If you think about it in terms of weight loss and body composition you would want more calories burned than you take in and you would somehow like to shunt those calories away from muscle and into fat. Both were purported benefits of HIIT.

When I added the Energy X Maxx I was able to document on myself and several others around about 600 calories total excess burned (including the 200 from exercise) and see the effect lasting almost a full 24 hours although the level of burn fell off progressively from the time of exercise.

What I ultimately concluded was:

  1. In a well trained middle aged man trying to lose weight HIIT alone when adjusted for the progressive loss of effect over several hours probably was good for 100 calories of extra energy burned. My volunteers (all 4 of them!) had similar results.
  2. By adding a thermogenic supplement and adjusting for progressive loss of effect over time (although a 2 or 3X a day dose routine mitigated this somewhat) I could account for about 400 calories more. Again this is above and beyond the calorie burn of the HIIT session which was usually a 30 minute session with 90 to 92% heart rate for 30 second intervals repeated 8 times. That accounted for another 250 calories or so.
  3. HIIT alone was not going to help with weight loss although it was effective for weight maintenance. Adding a thermogenic definitely made weight loss easier and rather dramatic because 600 calories extra everyday for 6 weeks adds up to serious weight loss!
  4. EPOC was at least in me way overestimated even when different lengths and times of intervals were used. I started with traditional Tabata type intervals on a treadmill or stationary bike at first.
  5. To get the kind of fitness level and body I wanted I had to use more or less standard resistance training and some LSD as well. If the LSD could integrate some intervals (brutally hard to do!) it had even more benefit!
  6. Contrary to what the Gurus had written, LSD also had some EPOC, in some cases more than HIIT!

It turns out that several years after my little personal study several bona fide scientific studies were done and they showed the following.

The maximum EPOC from HIIT training was only 10% of the actual total calorie burn, was long gone after less than 6 hours, maxed out at 220 Cal which again was a spot measurement and fell of the further you went out from the actual exercise. It was long gone the same day and lasted nowhere near the purported 24 hours.

Stated another way HIIT calories come mainly from the actual bout of exercise not the EPOC- something I found to be true years earlier in my own case.

Now here is the thing. I still stand by our recommendations in the Immortality Edge because HIIT may actually work better for out of shape people to get them in shape than any other type of exercise.  It certainly works faster!  Depending on what type of HIIT you do you will get some different results. When I was doing my personal study I eventually settled on 4 minute intervals at 85% heart rate max ( and this was controlled by using a HR monitor) with anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes recovery depending on where my fitness level was.  Repeats were 6 to 8 and I did these on a Schwinn Airdyne cycle which remains my favorite low impact device.  I did my Tabata’s (30 seconds on full and 30 to 60 seconds off) with a flotation vest in deep water at the pool.

When you do the longer lower intensity intervals

It has been shown to improve your heart rate and “cardio” conditioning more than the really short super high intensity ones which develop explosive strength more.  As you go longer the contribution of aerobic (burning oxygen) metabolism goes up so this makes sense.

All HIIT had very positive benefits on metabolic parameters like insulin; blood lipids etc so from a health perspective it seems you can get the same benefits as LSD in less time.

What did I learn?

HIIT is very efficient and very useful. It is a great way to “get” in shape or get to the next level of fitness.  It has great metabolic effects. It is not, at least for me and my co-crazies, a way of losing weight or changing body composition by itself. It requires support from other forms of exercise including LSD.

So HIIT is slowly coming down off its high horse and LSD is resuming its rightful place among exercise.  This upsets a lot of people.  I can recall a Gynecologist publically ridiculing me and humiliating himself by angrily telling me I was FOS when I said we are always in the fat burning zone except when we are doing HIIT! He insisted incorrectly that you only burn fat when you hit 90% of your Heart Rate and that this was the “Fat Burning Zone”. This is what happens when people get their information from the internet and believe people who “look” credible but are themselves FOS.

HIIT burns more fat after in its EPOC phase but as we see that was way over estimated. During your HIIT session you are actually using the glycolytic (sugar burning lactate producing) pathways. The angry Gynecologist had done something I see all to commonly these days. He let an internet site or Guru make him forget his education in favor of popular public opinion. Destroying a myth is not a great way to win friends and influence people!

And what happened to all the HIIT gurus?

They are still out there quoting the old studies done with old inaccurate methodology and study design.  The courses and books touting “Get Ripped”  “Afterburn” and “Destroying the Fat Loss Dogma” are still referenced as gospel truth. The information is still quoted as factual, and their devoted legions are still angrily lashing out at me.  I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if I get some comments on this blog that way even though I have had very positive things to say about HIIT.

In the meantime I still stand by my original answer to the question, “Doc what is the best form of exercise?”

It depends.


All the Best,

Dr Dave


*There are several well known videos and highly respected trainers who have shown wonderful transformations in their athletes by adding HIIT training and decreasing other forms of training during this time. Tabata the Japanese speed skating coach had great results with his speed skaters in competition and noted remarkable increases in their aerobic capacity. Here’s the thing. These people were all Olympic level athletes. They were already at a super human level of fitness and probably needed one tweak to their training to change their outcomes. That tweak was the metabolic boost given by HIIT but it was contingent on a couple of things: They were quite YOUNG like under 30. They were already in tremendous shape and could tolerate maximal or even “supra” maximal stimulus without whining or getting injured. Their training environment and nutrition were strictly controlled and they did not do other things like try to earn a living. And I guarantee you they did a ton of other stuff besides just HIIT, including some LSD and weight training.

When these principles were applied to even the average active young person the results were less stellar. In the middle aged about to get sick group, you know the 50 something fat  metabolic early diabetic men, the calorie burns were flat out disappointing even though they were at 85% max heart rate. They stayed kinda fat middle aged and frumpy!  But, they got healthier in a big way quick. In other words it not only depends on what YOU want but WHERE you are starting from and how far you can actually go!



Because there is so much misinformation on the internet, I occasionally engage in Yahoo! answers.  This one, by yours truly, was chosen as the best description of epigenetics.  While I probably just did someone’s term paper for them, it may be useful to you as well, especially in keeping with my prior blogs on the topic.

The literal definition of the epigenetics is “around or on top of the genome”. It refers to the structural and functional complex of proteins and non-coding mRNA that activates and deactivates areas of the genome (DNA), suppressing or permitting transcription of specific genes. The science of epigenetics is the study of what results from that interaction – both heritable and mutable.

A simple analogy I use in lay public lectures is: your genome as the big library building, with all the books and blueprints you need for life and more – epigenetics is the books you check out and read.
The statement you refer to, concerning what your ancestors ate, means that while epigenetics is not really “genetic”, e.g. it is not the creation of new genes, or the changing of old ones.  It is heritable and does carry on, from generation to generation, in the form of epigenetic markers, or more simply, “marks”. Your ancestors’ dietary habits determine a fair degree of the epigenetic marks they passed on to you. This means, you get patterns of histone proteins (and their activation and inactivation) from your parents and other ancestors that are less likely to change from generation to generation. It is a misconception, however, to think that they cannot change at all. As a matter of fact, they can be changed in weeks to months, in many cases. And from the moment you are born, you begin to forge your own epigenetic patterns. No one is 100% sure, if there are unchangeable epigenetic patterns that are inherited, but it is not likely, for most of what matters to us. Things like body composition, specifically obesity, muscularity, tendencies towards diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, etc are known to be changeable and not set in stone. The end result is, for most of what matters, you have at least 80% control, by lifestyle choices and environmental exposures, rather than being 100% limited by your genetics.
The processes that are involved in epigenetic expression and change are primarily the attachment of simple molecules like methyl groups, acetyl groups and a series of lesser known molecular changes, to the histone proteins that interpolate the DNA. Things like diet, exercise, sleep, meditation and much to the chagrin of traditional medical doctors, supplementation have major effects on epigenetic expression by providing these simple molecules, or effecting the enzymes involved in their placement. Said molecules, then attach to the protein structures that interpolate and give structure to the DNA (known as histones) and change the conformation of the histone-DNA complex, by folding or unfolding it, thus making it more or less likely that the genes, in this area, will be transcribed and the proteins products that result will be made and go out and “do what they do”, good or bad.
Some research examples are Milner, J.A. (2004) Molecular targets for bioactive food components. J. Nutrition 134, 2492S-2498S.

Egger, G Liang,G Epigenetics in Human disease and the prospects for epigenetic therapy. Nature 429,457-463.
Robertson ,K.D. Wolfe.A.P. (2000) DNA methylation in health and disease. Nat. Rev. Genetics. 1, 11-19

It is important to know that epigenetics, much like telomere science, is not new. It has been around for decades. It just so happens that now it’s hit the news media because there is enough intriguing info to catch the public eye. Stay tuned for more!

Dr Dave

Vitamin D is in the news a lot, over the past few years.  Thanks to the efforts of some savvy internet marketers, it has become a “thing” that alternative medicine doctors use, to gather audiences to their sides. While I am not alone, I am among just a few people, who are a little more reserved about Vitamin D and its effects, and, particularly its doses.  I rarely venture into this territory any more, finding it a fruitless thing to say anything that could be remotely construed as “different” about Vitamin D, than what has permeated the internet. Saying something that might be construed as negative or cautionary, about Vitamin D, is tantamount to insulting someone’s religion, which I never do!

I have seen one case of Vitamin D toxicity and several cases of Vitamin D deficiency, in my 25 years in medicine. That is a lot more than most people, even most doctors, but it has not stopped folks from writing in snide comments.  Invariably, these are people with no clinical experience at all- they are simply “followers” of someone who has convinced them that Vitamin D is the be all and end all of everything good.

The area where I have and continue to urge caution is in Vitamin D dosage. I have read the eminent Dr. Holick’s tome on Vitamin D, twice over now and am convinced his message is misrepresented by the usual gurus out there.  I do not think a one-size-fits-all dose of 10,000 IU daily, works for everyone, though I admit, it is unlikely to cause toxicity.  I am still a bit uncomfortable with the “U shaped curve” of plasma Vitamin D levels, which suggests that, while lots of good things happen, when people hit plasma Vitamin D (as 25OH Vitamin D) of 45 to 70 ng/dl levels- above that, begin to yield diminishing returns and substantially higher levels, have potentially negative consequences, including mortality.

Bottom line, if you are supplementing with high levels of D, get your levels checked!  This is exactly what I say about Omega 3 levels – test them to be sure you are getting the levels to where they will actually give you the much vaunted benefits I have been telling you about for 12 years!

OK, now finally, on to weight loss (and the inches you’ll loose per pound) and Vitamin D.

Two very interesting things have popped up.  First, there is a general association of Vitamin D levels and body weight.  The lower the level generally, the higher the body weight.  Next, pre-diet Vitamin D levels seem to predict dietary success, with higher levels resulting in statistically significant increases, versus lower levels.

So, does that make Vitamin D an indispensible weight loss aid?  Not at all, but let’s put it this way- it couldn’t hurt!  May as well benefit, from the many other good things Vitamin D seems to do for you and if it helps along the way to a thinner “waste” line, great!

How much?  Again, I recommend checking levels every 6 to 12 months, but you are certainly safe with 5000 IU a day, in supplement form and then get some sun and count on your food for the rest. Ultimately, you’d want your 25 OHD levels to be in the 45 to 70 range.

Please remember this.  Vitamin D requires transport into the cell, then into the nucleus of the cell, where it influences your epigenetics (ha, I get to use the word, in its correct fashion, unlike so many others) and reads some good genes and suppresses some bad ones.  That process, of getting into the cell, requires healthy cell and intracellular membranes. That means healthy, beneficial levels of Omega 3 fish oil in your membranes, since this a major influence on membrane fluidity and receptor biology. May as well make sure that D gets where it needs to and oh, by the way… there are a bunch of studies on fish oil and fat loss as well!

Enjoy the sunshine!


Calorie restriction is quite intriguing, but in the end run, we will find a few things that make it of limited value, including the fact that we now have 68% obesity and overweight, in this country. We can’t even get to near ideal weight and now we are to tell people to restrict well below their needs, for that?

So first, it is nearly impossible for most people to do. That does not make it “wrong”, it simply makes it impractical. You might think the promise of health and longevity would be enough, to get people to do some things on a habitual basis, to extend those qualities. Generally speaking, those promises are not enough. In point of fact, food is one of the main entertainments people have and entertainment seems to be far more important, to most people, than health and longevity, as witnessed by the fact they will spend thousands on cell phone apps, cable TV channels they never watch and countless non-productive hours on “social” networking, where no one actually meets face to face!

Second, as nearly we can tell from nutritional anthropology, our Paleolithic ancestors were not, as a whole, calorie restricted. Clearly, there were some lean times and survival issues, but when we evaluate what they ate and how they ate, their overall calorie intake was actually greater than ours today, but far more nutritionally dense, per volume of food. Simply put, they pretty much made a career out of finding food and eating it. Since our genetics haven’t changed much at all since then, this would seem to make the most sense. I highly doubt our ancestors willingly practiced calorie restriction, although I admit, I was not around 50,000 years ago, so I say what I say with that caveat.

Third, the most calorie restricted (and protein restricted) populations, on the planet, are generally the unhealthiest. The largest example of this is our elderly. It is a little unfair to lump Western elderly into this group, I realize, since they are the victims of Western diets. Protein calorie supplementation, in this group, generally improve their health and longevity, albeit not by much, since the “cat is probably out of the bag” at that point.

Fourth, much has been made about higher primates and calorie restriction, citing chimps that are calorie restricted live longer. If you use percentages, it is impressive, less so if you look at absolute longevity in years. And if you look at the two most famous examples “Canto” and “Owen”, for restricted and unrestricted ( I think the clips are still somewhere on youtube) you will see the behavioral differences between calorie restricted and non-calorie restricted higher primates and you will clearly not want to be the restricted one!

Calorie restriction in mice, extends the absolute longevity (the oldest mice are restricted), but does not change mean (average total) longevity.

Next, while there are clear cut genetic similarities between us and higher apes, there are still differences. One of them is the tiny matter of epigenetics, which will eventually prove to be central to all of our research.

I could go on, but here is the most important point for me anyway. CR (calorie restriction) has been intimately linked to the sirtuin pathway. This pathway is linked to p 53 and PPar gamma in humans. I have called these, the cellular gatekeepers. Ultimately, they seem to be under the control of their interactions with telomeres (as we recently found viz mitochondria-telomere length and function seems to control mitochondrial health and biogenesis, not vice versa). I think, whatever benefits on aging CR may have, will be far outweighed by focusing on telomere health. And finally, the effects of cellular regeneration and somatic (body) repair of calorie restriction are, at best, all over the place. Not so with telomerase activation. When the CR society does a mouse (or better yet a human study), that shows the kinds of AGE REVERSAL that DePinho and earlier researchers showed with mice, I will stand up and take notice. Until then, I personally practice a Paleo diet, which to a large extent, mimics the nutritionally dense, but relatively low calorie per unit of food patterns that fit our genetics.

Eventually, we may have a functional calorie mimetic (pterostilbene/resveratrol are not going to be the answer!).

My final point for today on this is CR may actually work (or not), but it will have no more success in an obese population, that loves to eat and we are far from understanding how to mimic CR at levels of the cell, in humans.

All of the above and much more, I have written and said/written, have made me unpopular with the CR people. I am open, to learn more, if I am missing something! I should end by saying that, NO DIET plan has been studied, with regards to human longevity and, given the difficulties involved, probably never will be, in a classic basic research fashion.

Dr Telomere

Since I train year round, I cannot help but notice the huge increase in people on “my” trails and “my” equipment, at the gym.  I have been spoiled by having them all to myself. While it’s been 5 years since I wrote “Six Weeks to Super Fitness” and 2 years since our last fitness boot camp, the questions never cease to come in.

Lots of people want to know what the best way to get in shape fast is. The danger in answering that lies in the question: what do you mean by getting in shape?

I am going to assume you want some combination of improved leanness and muscle mass, with more energy and more ability to move through life, doing what you want to do.  I am also going to assume you want to improve your health in the process.  In truth, “in shape” for most people, means losing weight, particularly, in the form of body fat.

So what is “best”?

In terms of aesthetics, I think the gymnast’s body says it all and that body is gotten primarily by moving body weight through land, sea and air in just about every angle possible.  Body weight exercises are also easy to do on the road and unless you are on the rings or bars, they tend to be safer than trying to move weights at odd angles, in weird directions.  A great modern variation on the theme, that integrates weights as well, is Cross Fit. A 6 to 8 week course, coupled with improved diet, will do wonders.

This is great circuit training, but there are a lot of people who would not hold up to that kind of stress. Not doing an exercise is the best way to not get in shape!

So, here is a milder alternative.  Walking. Walking, particularly up hills and really, particularly with a weighted pack, or vest, or belt, up hills, is a great low impact way to get cardio and burn calories. Couple that with deep water sprints and water bell resistance exercises and you’ve got something most people can do without harm.

So, climb, my friend! Up a tree, a bar, or a rope if you are up to it.  If not, a hill will do!  And into a pool, for the stuff that would be too high impact on the land.


As you may have guessed from the phrase “the current thinking”, this stuff is subject to change.  Much like diets, the actual testing of exercise routines is based far more on “personal experience”, than science.  Even when science gets involved, it gets difficult to find a series of studies that support one thing or another, repeatedly. People basically cherry pick the study that suits their inclination and use that, to the exclusion of anything that refutes that study. I read everything and I try just about everything!

Two years ago, we released our wonderful book, The Immortality Edge.   In that book, we spent a lot of time detailing the effects of interval training and EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption or calorie burn). Interval training, invented back in the 1930’s, enjoyed a significant resurgence and became the routine of the day, in many lay press publications as well.

While I stand by what we said in the book – interval training is the MOST EFFICIENT use of one’s time in exercise – it appears that the whole EPOC equation may have been way overblown, in terms of actual extra calorie burn. This has not stopped the big guns of the MD internet marketing, from launching books, courses and entire web sites devoted to this form of exercise. Not to worry though, it still has huge metabolic and health benefits.

But before we launch into that, let’s look at what else has had its day in the sun.  Basically, that is weight training and “cardio” also known as Aerobics or LSD (long slow distance at low to moderate intensity).

For a while, weight training also enjoyed a heyday, with muscle mags and fitness rags touting its benefits as a primary weight loss tool.  The main reason for the attention was, the “fat burns in the muscle” concept, and of course that it was good for business! The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn when you are at rest or exercising.  Once again, it sounds simple, but it appears the estimates of just how much more fat you burn were grossly exaggerated. Add to that, most hard core weight lifters also set aside days for “cardio”, purely for the health benefits.

Perhaps the longest reigning champion of fitness and weight loss was aerobics, defined as any exercise that gets your heart rate into the 65 to 72% range of your maximum and keeps it there for a minimum of 30 minutes.  Notably, most cardio routines are 60 minutes to give you the extra calorie burn.

Now comes the fun part. What is real and what isn’t, what should you do, and what has been my personal experience after 25 years of medical practice and a certificate as a personal trainer?

Here it is:

1)      Interval type training is the most efficient use of your time.  If you only have 30 minutes a day, this is what you should do.  But, you can’t do it every day or you’ll burn out fast! In addition, I have seen far more disabling injuries from high intensity interval training, especially in middle aged people who are not starting out in good shape.  The safest way to do it is deep water sprinting with a flotation vest.  This is the lowest impact and should spare your joints as well as giving you some of the much touted “Michael Phelps Effect” e.g. you burn more calories in water because you lose calories as body heat, in addition to your exercise.

2)      That said, I have never personally had any success losing weight and inches with ONLY this type of training, unless I do it in circuit fashion with minimal rest (30 to 60 seconds) in between and do it for a full hour.  This is a real grind and here you are again with a one hour time commitment, at least 2-3 times a week, so in many ways it defeats the purpose.

3)      As far as EPOC is concerned, I only ever documented it using a Bodygem device, while taking my Ultra Strength Fat Furnace.  In this case, I was able to show 300 to 500 calories extra fat burn per day, but again much of this could have been from the supplement, not the exercise-induced EPOC.

4)      Weight training or some type of strength training is essential.  It could be with bands, body weight or weights, but in terms of safety and portability I love bands.  That said, I still do traditional weight lifting 2x a week for an hour. For many, it was a huge disappointment to see the lack of calorie burn from extra muscle. Estimates of hundreds of calories a day, for 10 pounds of muscle gain, appear to be completely unfounded. That said, there are all kinds of hormonal reasons why progressive resistance exercise is essential to your health, hormones and metabolism.  The other thing is, it’s probably the ONLY way to preserve fat free mass, while you are losing weight. In other words, it’s the only way to ensure you don’t become what I called “skinny fat”, in my emails a decade ago.

On a personal note, this type of training is also the only way I have personally been able to get the last few pounds off!

5)      Long slow distance aerobics or cardio, seems to be making a return as the best way to burn calories, now that we know that there is no free lunch with exercise. In other words, you still burn the bulk of your calories while you exercise, not while you recover. As you know, I am a sometime ultra runner.  Spending hours in the woods and dales and mud bogs running and struggling, burns a huge amount of calories. But few have, or are even willing to commit the time investment. The other thing, and this is a personal observation, is this kind of exercise tends to create a mountainous appetite when it exceeds one hour in duration.

6)      The fact that it often takes more than an hour of this type of exercise to really burn a significant amount of calories and it is not a free pass to eat whatever you want, led to the misconception best stated as follows.

“For years we have been telling people to exercise like this and all those years we have been watching them get fatter and fatter! So, it must be wrong!”

Um, what you put in your mouth still counts, people!

Confusing, isn’t it!  Actually, no! Where the confusion comes in is when we try to “mix metaphors” by losing sight of our goals.  As the title of this blog implies, the goal is weight loss and if you keep that in mind, the path becomes clear.

The first 6 to 12 weeks of any weight loss program should be spent in circuit training that uses body weight, iron weights, bands, etc in an interval fashion — 30 reps, 1 minute, whatever way you want to define the endpoint, followed by a similar rest period.  You should be breathless most of the time you are exercising and partially recovered when you are in between your sets. You should do this for 1 hour 2 to 3 times a week. You should feel exhausted and unable to think about any other form of exercise when you are done. As you progress through the weeks, you will notice just how fast you get into shape and how much harder you are capable of working out.  And of course, your body will change!

The main caveats are: don’t work out so hard you hurt yourself or cannot get “up” for the next session, and you still have to reduce your calorie intake.  That, my friend, is the hard part.  That is why I make all those supplements!


P.S.  No matter how many times I say it, someone always writes in and says “you neglected to mention the benefits of my favorite exercise”!  The above is not necessarily the best lifelong exercise plan, it may not have the most health benefits and it may not make you look ripped and shredded! But based on the current literature and my considerable experience, it is the most effective at weight loss.  For the best “anti-aging” effects, keep in mind a program that addresses our weaknesses as we age, such as loss of power and strength, is very important, and we should try to use all of our muscle fibers, fast, slow and medium twitch.

A few years ago I sent you several emails about a new (it was new then!) weight loss drug called Rimonabant.  Developed by French drug giant Rhone-Roher, this drug was supposed to cure everything from smoking to overeating and alcoholism.  The problem was it didn’t work that well and it came along at a  time when another American drug company was removing a weight loss drug known as Xenical and focusing on its weaker version known as Alli. 
Of course we would never suspect the FDA of blocking a French drug from our market so an American one could recoup lost revenues (prescription Xenical was pretty much a flop).
The truth is, Rimonabant was not very successful in U.S. trials, failing to deliver meaningful results and was eventually pulled from the market due to mental status changes.  But it did open up a whole new area of research for pharmacists and drug companies called the “endocannabinoid system”. 
You may recognize the word “cannabis” from its other name, marijuana.
It turns out that Mother Nature has endowed us with naturally occurring “cannabinoid” like chemicals in our brain.  The problem, as always with pharmaceutical drugs, is that they are not natural and don’t work well in the “natural environment” of our brains.  Hence the broad and extensive side effects profiles of most drugs designed to work on our brains.
Well Mother Nature put something else here for us to use.  It turns out that omega 3 fish oil has been studied extensively in depression and for mild to moderate depression is just as effective as the SSRI (Prozac) class of drugs without the suicidal tendencies!

As a matter of fact, if you have read any of my emails, you know how effective fish oil is for so many things because it is a building block, a hormone, and immune modulator and anti-fat compound and more.
But let’s stay focused on the brain.  Fish oil’s effects on the mood and its improvement in depression were thought to be solely due to improved levels of serotonin, a natural brain chemical that blocks depression.
But recently it was discovered that fish oil works via the endocannabinoid system as well to elevate mood and relieve anxiety among other symptoms.
How does it work?  Here is a quote: “It corrects the deficit in the signaling of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This protein — the CB1 cannabinoid receptor — has been linked, over the last decade and in various studies, to depressive disorders.”
Well you did ask!
Actually restoring the balance to brain signals is just one way fish oil works; it also is an important building block that can affect memory, intelligence, hand eye coordination and many other brain functions.
For now, suffice it to say, you should be taking it every day!
I recommend a minimum of 3 grams and prefer most people to be on 6 grams. That should keep you naturally high!

Just a few short weeks ago our host Greta Blackburn held one of her fabulous FITCAMP events in Cancun, Mexico.  If you missed it, you missed a great one!

At that event several presenters, including top Scientist Bill Andrews — co-discoverer of the HTERT gene and leading scientist at Sierra Sciences LLC — and top trainer Phil Campbell (whose book  “Ready Set Go Synergy Fitness” revolutionized the field of high intensity interval training over a decade ago) both gave phenomenal presentations on the how’s and why’s of everything from sprint training to ultra-running.

A recurring theme emerged: exercise is not only good for you in terms of how you look and how you feel but it also is good for longevity, especially for telomere length.

Remember the telomeres are those biological time clocks AND health clocks that live at the end of your chromosomes.  Every time your cells divide to make a new set of cells the time clock ticks and your absolute life span gets shorter.

But a study in well-conditioned German middle distance runners whose average age was about 45 showed you can indeed slow down those time clocks with exercise.

Researchers found that at age 25 most everyone had a free pass which equated to long telomeres although there were some outliers who had already started to age faster probably from too much partying!

But in the folks who did not exercise at all the telomere length shortened dramatically over the next 2 decades.  In the runners, however, there was almost no distinguishable difference between telomere length at 25 and at 45.

Now a couple of things are important here.  These runners were high level former collegiate athletes in most cases.  They had been running steadily for 2 decades and were putting in over 40 miles a week.  That is lot of miles for most people.

Also most high level runners don’t just run they strength train and do interval training programs similar to Phil Campbell’s Sprint 8 as their speed work.

So what is it about this kind of training that helps keep telomeres long?

Well most like it has to do with the body’s ability to handle oxidative stress.  Runners tend to develop the mechanisms needed to handle the increased oxidative load of exercise to a high degree.

Even ultra-runners whose oxidative stress levels go through the roof in the first 24 hours after a long race return to baseline soon after.

We Telonauts are convinced that the best exercise is one that develops the ability to handle free radical oxidative stress without actually putting all that much long term oxidative stress on the body.  That is why we favor Phil Campbell’s Sprint 8 programs as detailed in his book  “Ready Set Go Synergy Fitness” as well as our book “The Immortality Edge” which is coming out in January 2011.

Using these programs you can really crank up you oxidative capacity (as measured by VO2 max and lactate threshold for you exercise buffs) without having a lot of damaging stuff hanging around for days on end.

Another study done in Canada showed you could reverse years of exercise neglect with just a year of high intensity training for a total of 9 hours a week and reverse the age related decline in your functional lung capacity by up to twelve years.

Here’s a quick note on weight lifting. We think strength training is absolutely essential for balanced physical being.  There is only one tiny study in weight lifters specifically power lifters.  In this group the average telomere length and the shortest telomere lengths both were longer than in non-weight trained individuals suggesting at the very least that weight lifting may be good for your telomeres as well.

So what should you do?

Train hard and fast at least some of the time and take those anti-oxidants, specifically fish oil, co Q 10, Carnosine, Vitamin D and a good multivite to keep those free radicals at bay.

Odds are you’ll live a longer and healthier life because of it. And make sure you get a copy of Phil Campbell’s great book “Ready Set Go Synergy Fitness” and watch for our book “The Immortality Edge” coming soon.

Is there any one of us who doesn’t wish we could get away with “cheating” once in a while?  I have hung out with the top scientists, researchers, and
nutritionists on the planet and I can tell you even they cheat!  So how do you get away with it?

Is there any one of us who doesn’t wish we could get away with “cheating” once in a while? I have hung out with the top scientists, researchers, and nutritionists on the planet and I can tell you even they cheat! So how do you get away with it?

Well, first they enlist the 80/20 rule. That means that 80% of the time they are behaving and doing what really does come naturally and habitually to them, eating and working out in healthy fashion.

Many of them got it off the ground the same way I did. Small incremental steps. I kid you not! My current decade of exercise started with 5 minutes a day for one month. I did not allow myself more than this, because I wanted to create the tension necessary to want to do more. A lot more. I also could not convince myself that no matter how tough my day was I could not find 5 minutes to work out. In this phase of things, bodyweight was the easiest and most efficient tool.

Walking, chair squats, push-ups, pull-ups, etc can all be harnessed to perfect effect, even in short bits of time, especially if you do them with intensity.

Here is a tip: the less time you have, the more intense your workouts should be.

Next, eating right and working out really is a lifestyle that is “missed” if it’s not there. You’ll know you’ve achieved body health Nirvana when you don’t feel right missing your routines.

Third, they don’t let travel or holidays interfere all that much. Nuts are a handy travel snack. Most cities have a natural food or health store that is easily found, especially with today’s technology. A hotel room and a super band is all you need for a great workout!

They have a low tolerance for variance. What does that mean? That means that once in shape, they tolerate getting out of shape or gaining weight poorly and do something about it earlier rather than later. And believe me, these people live hectic lives full of stress and work, just like you and I.

The final tip… They take their Omega 3 Fish Oils for the metabolic fat burning effects and I’m not supposed to tell you, but a few of them even cheat with Ultra Strength Fat Furnace.

Changing is not all that hard. You just need to set small incremental goals and stick to them; pretty soon they will snowball. The holidays are a great time to employ these rules for great success!

To ask questions or find out more about Dr. Dave’s physician-developed,
pharmaceutical-grade health and anti-aging solutions,
just contact Dr. Dave at:

GENERAL INQUIRY E-MAIL: [email protected]




FAX: (610) 916-3931

If there is one question that pops up over and over again its,”Doc, what’s the best diet to lose weight on?”

The simple answer: use a Paleo type diet with my fish oil and an exercise program as detailed in Fab Fat Loss for Everyone.

The complex answer? Well that could take days to answer and many emails so…I may as well start right now!

Today I am going to take a scientific look at two diets that are representative of two very different viewpoints.

The first diet, the diet touted by the National Cholesterol Education Program (you know, those lovely folks who think the entire nation should be on statin drugs, and think that cholesterol levels are the be all and end all of health!) stresses higher carbohydrate levels and lower fat levels.

For simplicity’s sake we’ll call this diet the NCEP diet for National Cholesterol Education Program Diet.

The Challenger we’ll call the “Modified Low Carbohydrate diet”. This diet is closer to Atkins and South Beach in that it stresses higher fat levels, higher protein levels, and lower carb levels (with the important diet?

It has been said that “Dieting is the price we pay for too little exercise and too much mass-produced food!”

Well, diets still hold the promise of better health, lower incidence of heart disease, stroke and cancer.


Truthfully when I ask people what they are dieting for, the bottom line is many of them say “I want to look better!” first and then “I want to feel better!” Second.

Actually that holds true for a large number of folks but I know from reading your emails most of you are focused on felling better and living longer and healthier first!

Which brings me to a point: A lot of times looking better is a short term goal. People have a certain event they want to get svelte for like a marriage or a reunion, and then they forgeddaboutit!

Clearly the long term motivations work better to keep weight and inches off.

That said who wins this diet war?

Ironically an article published recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a rag that would be considered ultra traditional, admitted that the higher fat higher protein diet fared a lot better in both the weight loss and cholesterol lowering department.

Put another way, the “officially sanctioned” diet of the NCEP was just not as good at achieving either of the aims of the NCEP as the MLC diet.

People did not lose as much weight and there was no change in their cholesterol levels!!!

Given that these folks represent the government, the FDA, Big Pharmacy, and Traditional Medicine none of us should be too surprised.

Have any of these agencies proven even once that they know or will tell any real useful functional information about nutrition or health.


So why should we trust them on this.

Yet this is the diet they would give you when you left the hospital with the heart attack they could have prevented!

This is the diet you would be given by a hospital or community based dietician (there are some exceptions to this but how to find them!) when you paid to see them because your insurance company does not recognize the value of preventative medicine via diet.

This is the diet so many “Health Publications” continue to print.

What do these diets say about Fish Oil?

Universally they recommend it. Even the Government is finally getting into the act when the “Dietary Recommendations for Americans” is released in early 2005.

Adkins and South Beach both recommend some form of Fish Oil.

The biggest mistake all of these bodies make is being too timid about the dosage!

You should be taking at least 3 grams a day for basic health, and 6 to 8 grams a day if you want to see moods, memory and wrinkles improve!

So don’t be timid about the health of your brain and body. Swallow those capsules with meals everyday and watch life get better and better, independent of the Government, the FDA and the rest of Traditional Medicine.

Here are a few more tools for your “Anti-Flab Holiday Campaign”.

Fab Fat Burning for EveryoneFish oilUltra Strength Fat Furnace

To ask questions or find out more about Dr. Dave’s physician-developed,
pharmaceutical-grade health and anti-aging solutions,
just contact Dr. Dave at:

GENERAL INQUIRY E-MAIL: [email protected]




FAX: (610) 916-3931