Wednesday, November 04, 2009


This morning was my weekly session with the PT who shall be known as Xena (as in Warrior Princess, because she can kick arse and holds world records in her weight grade for powerlifting). I made the mistake of mentioning that I was in the gym yesterday doing a weights session. Uh oh, bad mistake given the look I was getting ie the death glare. Seems I had broken one of her cardinal rules, "Thou shalt not do a weights session the day before her session". Ouch! No amount of justifying on my part (eg that it was a holiday so I would have time to do the session without being rushed, etc) was going to change her mind on this and by the end of the session I was going to regret even mentioning yesterday's session.

First off, deadlifts. Easy, I thought, as I squatted down, grabbed the bar, chest out, head up and….oh my god, where are my thighs? My quads, glutes and hammies were in revolt after yesterday's session of squats, lunges and one legged leg presses. And it didn't get any better. And there was no sympathy to be had from PT Xena. Though, thankfully she decided against any further leg work and focused instead on upper body sets. I sweated, grunted and gritted (not painting a pretty picture I know) my way through supersets of chest presses, shoulder presses, lat pulldowns, an exercise involving lifting, extending and lowering a weight plate, pec deck flys, trips pushdowns and biceps curls. And last but not least, decline reverse crunches and incline crunches with a weight plate. By the end I had problems even clutching my drink bottle - I had dead arms. Hey, at least I know I am alive!

Did you know?

Now, depending on who you talk to, or what you read, late night eating either leads to weight gain, has no effect on our weight or is dependent on the types of food you eat eg no carbs after 6pm, having a protein and carb snack will promote sleep, calories from chocolate bars after 8pm don't count if you're standing in the pantry (alright, I made that one up) etc. Following is an interesting item about meal timing and weight gain in the November issue of GI news, the Official Glycaemic Index newsletter published by GI News, Human Nutrition Unit, University of Sydney.

Meal timing and weight gain
A new study published in 'Obesity' (in mice) suggests that it’s not just how much you eat, but when you eat it, that influences weight gain. ‘How or why a person gains weight is very complicated, but it clearly is not just calories in and calories out,’ said Prof Fred Turek, director of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology at Northwestern University. ‘We think some factors are under circadian control. Better timing of meals … could be a critical element in slowing the ever-increasing incidence of obesity.’

To test whether ‘when you eat’ can affect body weight, the researchers studied two groups of mice and found simply modifying their feeding time alone greatly affected their body weight. Over the six-week study period, the group of mice that ate as much as they liked of a high-fat diet during their normal sleeping hours (our day time) gained significantly more weight than the mice eating the same type and amount of food during their naturally wakeful hours (our night time) although both groups of mice had actually consumed about the same amount of calories and performed the same amount of exercise over the six weeks.

Of course human studies are needed to determine if timing of food intake influences our body weight, but this study suggests that late-night eating may be worse, in terms of weight gain, than eating during normal waking hours says Fred Turek.

GI Group says: This study, while only in mice, may also have implications for shift workers.

CJ says: If you don't want overweight mice, don't feed them late at night!

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