Saturday, January 23

Slow Burn: Burn Fat Faster by Exercising Slower - Stu Mittleman

I found this tome, by "a much sought-after fitness educator whose secrets of endurance have helped people from all walks of life" by accident while looking on the fitness shelves of my local library. The cover, front and back, gave me the impression that it was about improving the quality and results of exercise by working out smarter rather than harder - the training program promises to provide information on creating a work out plan that's flexible and comfortable, with nutritional information and advice on finding "your fat-burning zone" so that "the movement - not the outcome - is the reward."
I have never liked exercise but have vowed to this year embrace a more active, less chocolatey lifestyle. I was really drawn to the possibility of finding enjoyment in the exertion as an ends in itself, and the idea of getting better result in the process was an added bonus.
The cover includes a red-hued photo of a woman running, which perhaps should have warned me - Stu's program is about running. His basic premise is that you get better results focusing on how you feel when you run and then tailoring your style to fit the exertion where you feel energised and at one with your environment will get you better results that focusing on moving as quickly as you can.
Listen to your body, says Stu, and it will tell you what it needs. I'm not a runner - the last time I ran anywhere for longer than a couple of seconds I fell and fractured two bones in my dominant hand, a memory that becomes vivid whenever I use my right hand, which is often. I was, however, moving above this dislike of the sport. I could not, sadly, move past Mittleman's advice on how to chose the most energy-giving foods, which involves
Enter[ing] the food into the "circuitry of the system" by holding the food (against the jaw, of over the thymus gland, about where the second button of a shirt would be), tasting, smelling, or even thinking about the food. Place the first two fingers of the tester's free hand around the back of the subject's neck, just off the spine, under the base of the skull. (This asks the body if any system in the body will be stressed by the consumption of this particular food.)
This approach builds on similar bio-feedback testing designed to check if muscles are blocked, if supplements will be useful, which workout shoes are most appropriate, how well a piece of sports equipment suits the athlete, and what kinds of topical applications (from sunscreen to cosmetics) works with the body.
It's also where I decide enough pseudoscience was enough. I will take from Slow Burn the idea of focusing more on how I feel during exercise than on my destination, and aim for that zone of environmental awareness that sounds akin to meditation, but pick my food (and equipment and toiletries) based on non-Mittleman approved approaches. - Alex

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