Misery, suffering, and confusion: to carb or not to carb?

Of all the existential questions humans have faced throughoutthinking manhistory, some questions are more existentialer than others. What is the purpose of life? Is there a god? What is the origin of life? Can we derive values from facts? Is there an afterlife? Does the Snyder Cut exist? All of these are questions that have preoccupied the neuronal space of great and formidable minds. From Plato, Aristotle, and Hume to Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Jordan Peterson; philosophical giants have wrestled with and sparred over these deep and fundamental queries that touch upon the most elemental foundations of the human condition and question the very fabric of reality. However, one must then ask, did/do they even lift? Bro? For as deep and ever-pressing a question as “where do we come from” or “are we alone in the universe”, perhaps no question has plagued and tortured, mentally and physically, and elicited more confusion in the minds of earnest truth-seeking, selfie-centered humans than “should I cut carbs?”

Indeed, this question has inflicted pain, misery, suffering, and richter scale-registering confusion on masses of weight loss-, hypertrophy-, and spring break-minded individuals. No other macronutrient in history has tortured and taunted the lean-seeking, cut-obsessed, and recently single like the (CH2O)n. The sight of a slice a bread to the carb-cutting can bring a grown adult to tears; a strawberry short cake, PTSD. Meanwhile, to the carb-loading, every meal is the 4th of July Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest, where they channel their inner Kobyashi and replace the hot dog with another bun filled with another bun filled with pasta, in a bowl of Quaker Oats, and wash it docarb loading michellewn with waxy maize until every single muscle fiber atop their skeleton lies on the brink of rupture from glycogen supercompensation. So much glycogen. So much, I can’t even. Every workout becomes something like tactical airstrike with minute-by-minute carb replenishing strategies to replace every oxidized glucose molecule and stave off the ever-menacing glycogen depletion. This ultimately manifests into carrying around over-priced Hawaiian Punch you bought at a supplement shop in an old water gallon jug, sipping between each rep or stride, and downing 117 bananas or three liters of chocolate milk post-workout. Somehow a Zumba class has been confused for the Tour De France.

Now, one can be forgiven for embracing such extreme and, at times, ridiculous nutritional practices; there is bad and conflicting information everywhere.

“They” say carb up and carb down. Which one is it?

Carbohydrate intake within the context of fitness and health, particularly, with respect to body composition (fat loss, muscle mass gain) and for exercise (fueling, recovery) is a snake pit of a topic, with no apparent consensus on whether or not carbs are “good” or “bad”. Moreover, in the realm of fitness and exercise nutrition, the topic seems to have confusedbecome an ideological one, where one is fervently “pro-low carb and anti-high carb” or “pro-high carb and anti-low carb” and demonizes the opposing diet. Additionally, in this debate, anecdotal evidence reigns supreme; especially on social media. Claims of incredible and rapid fat loss, newfound, endless energy, insane muscle gains, and, finally getting the six pack you’ve always wanted can be seen on Instagram, YouTube, and magazine covers for both low carb and high carb diets. Ask any gym-goer or trainer about carbs and you’ll get a wide range of random shit to eat, not eat, do, don’t do such as: eat a carb every meal, don’t ever eat carbs, don’t eat carbs after 8 pm, don’t eat potatoes, eat carbs immediately before your workout, eat carbs immediately after your workout, eat carbs during your workout, don’t eat bananas, don’t eat leafy vegetables, don’t eat onions, only eat whole grains, don’t eat carrots, eat simple carbs only after your workout, don’t eat babies; the list is virtually endless and increasingly enraging. throw computer

Traditional sports/training nutrition guidelines recommend a fairly high daily carbohydrate intake of around 60 – 70% to fuel training and make gains [1]. At the same time, low carb diets, ranging from 10 – 40% of caloric intake, have gained notoriety and found their way into the sport and exercise nutrition realm. Paleo, keto, the Zone diet, to name a few, are diets have been touted as efficacious means to promote fat loss, increase muscle mass, and even enhance exercise performance and training outcomes (i.e. get shredded/cut/hella jacked). Which of these propositions are true?

Well, there is a technical problem arising here. When looking at dietary recommendations, one must ask, do these recommendations technically pertain to me?

Fueling exercise: how much and how to refill

When reading the literature on training and nutrition, one will find that many of the guidelines pertain to athletes, or at least seriously training individuals. These guidelines typically don’t pertain to the average, mere-mortal gym-goer; they are aimed for sport and sport training performance. Moreover, many of these recommendations have to do with endurance-based exercise (i.e. long-distance, long-duration exercise). Very little literature exists examining carbohydrate needs for, say, resistance training (I have published a review on this very topic), CrossFit, or interval training and none exist for runningrecreational fitness programs like boot camp fitness, spin classes, or Bar Method.

If one looks at some main carbohydrate guidelines, one will find that they are a bit more nuanced then “eat a lot of carbs” or “eat zero carbs”. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommend 3 – 5 grams/kg of body weight per day for low-intensity or skill-based activities and 8 – 12 g/kg for very high training demands [2]. The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) recommends a daily intake of 5 – 10 g/kg for moderate to high volumes of intense training (“upwards to 12 hours per week) [3].

While everyone that enters a gym with a “Beast Mode on”, “Go Big or Go Home”, or “I Don’t Sweat, I Sparkle” tank or tee shirt and Dre Beats thinks their spin class or box jumps were essentially Olympic-level training, most gym-goers (non-competitive athletes), objectively, just don’t train that hard; despite all the locker room selifes and #fitlife’s. Most mere mortals simply are incapable of bearing that intense of a training load, nor do they have the time to. This is not to imply one is not “working hard”. Subjectively, anyone can exercise hard; to fatigue, to exhaustion. But from an absolute standpoint, the fitness enthusiast and beach body-minded cannot train at the same level of someone who’s livelihood depenhashtageds on physical performance or appearance; populations where these high carbohydrate intakes are warranted. Sadly, a positive linear relationship between training intensity and hashtags does not exist.

This is not say, however, that a high carbohydrate diet for exercising individuals is detrimental. It is not detrimental in the least. However, in most cases, for most people, it is not necessary.

But you can.

In most cases, for most people, a normal, unspecial, unsexy, non-Instagram attention-grabbing diet is sufficient. #sorryimnotsorry

If I lift all the weights, do I eat all the carbs?

(I have written a more extensive review article on this topic here)bro resistance training

In the complex world of bros, barbells, and beta-shaming, carbs have been seen as both the messiah macronutrient, the key to amassing mass on a massive scale, as well as the Thanos of the food pyramid, destroying half of your lean muscle mass and disintegrating half of your abdominals with a single snap of the fingers (or a single bite of a Krispy Kreme doughnut). Carbohydrates have been proposed to be, at the same time, absolutely necessary and absolutely deadly for resistance training individuals trying to get their Henry Cavill-mega-ultra-alpha physique on. It has been thought that carbs are needed to build muscle for namely two reasons; 1. Carbs are needed to fuel resistance training and, 2. Carbs elicit an insulin spike, and insulin is anabolic. Bro.

Firstly, carbs are, indeed, used for fueling resistance training, but actually how much of that fuel is being used? A typical bodybuilding/strength training workout uses approximately 25 – 40% of a muscle’s glycogen stores [4-6] (think, the pecs use that much glycogen on chest day); there’s between 75 – 60% of the fuel left in that tank. Which is not zero, bro. And there are likely at least a two to three days between training that muscle group again. That is more sufficient time to replenish glycogen; even if you don’t consume any carbohydrate. Glycogen is restored at a fairly quick rate even when no carbs or food are consumed[7]. A study measured glycogen after #legday immediately post-exercise and then 2 hours post-exercise where during the 2-hour period subjects were not fed. Immediately-post, glycogen levels were 61% of pre-exercise levels, two hours later they were 79% of pre-exercise levels; an 18% restoration when no carbs or food were consumed [4]. Odds are the risk of glycogen depletion during resistance training is extremely low. Aragon and Schoenfeld, in their debunking of the “anabolic window”, state, “incomplete resynthesis of pre-training glycogen levels would not be a concern aside from the far-fetched scenario where exhaustive training bouts of the same muscles occur after recovery intervals shorter than 24 hours” [8]. Bodybuilding bros who train exclusively for right swipes, are not going to run out of glycogen if they don’t chug the overpriced Hawaiian Punch or eat eight rice cakes as soon as they put the dumbbell down.

pizza bro.gif

The other claim for carbohydrate need, particularly post-exercise, is that carbs elicit an insulin response and that insulin is an anabolic hormone. This is technically true; however, one would have to eat a whole cereal aisle of carbohydrate to elicit a strong enough insulin response to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Chocolate milk, a couple bananas, or a Snickers bar are not going promote muscle anabolism. Insulin is not an anabolic hormone; within a muscle protein synthesis (i.e. hypertrophy) context [9]. There is no difference in muscle anabolism between carb and protein ingestion vs. protein alone [10]. In fact, when protein is consumed, the anabolic machinery is turned obruised bananasn and the insulin signaling pathway is actually inhibited [11, 12]. So, slamming poorly-imitated cinnamon roll flavored hydro-mega ultra isolate whey with a Tupperware of white rice or warm, bruised bananas yield no additional anabolic benefit to slamming the poorly-imitated cinnamon roll flavored hydro-mega ultra isolate whey by itself.

But you can.

Consuming 20 – 40 grams of complete protein (a shake or real food) within 4 hours of exercise (before or after) is sufficient enough to get anabolic. So anabolic.

Carbs and body fat: cut them to cut it?

doughnuts 2

Much has been made about low or no carb diets and the need to cut carbs in order to lose body fat. So far as we can tell, this is false. Though it has become a popular idea and commonly practiced type of diet, the data do not show that low/no carb diets are superior than the recommended traditional “western” diet of moderate to moderately-high carb intake of 45 – 65% [13] in promoting fat loss. While some studies have shown low/no carb diets to produce fat loss, there have not been any studies that have compared a low/no carb diet to a traditional higher carb diet while matching for calories and for protein intake (as in both diets contained the same amounts of calories and protein so a direct comparison can be made). Claims that low/no carb diets are better than higher carb diets for fat loss are simply unsupported; except perhaps on fit bro, yoga panted Instagram pages, but PhD’s in being attractive don’t quite hinge on scientific literacy.

If the claim that carbohydrate intake was more important than calorie intake for body fat were indeed true, whoever made such discovery would win the Nobel Prize. In physics. For defying the law of thermodynamics.

In the ISSN’s position stand on diets on body composition, where all the relevant literature had been reviewed, they concluded that similar results in fat loss can be achieved using low carb diets, low fat diets, or anything in between and that the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis of obesity is simply not valid [14].

The key to promoting fat loss is reducing calories (and, sure, exercise may help some). This can be explained evolutionarily. We did not evolve in the current circumstances that we find ourselves now, where food is abundant. We evolved under food insecurity and the amazing access to food we currently have, coupled with our evolutionary-derived instinct to eat whenever food is available, has led to a species-level issue of obesity (although we should view obesity as a condition of fortune and a testament to human achievement from a species perspective). Humans are simply not wired to eat as much as we do now or would certainly like to.

evolution fat

Reducing calories is the key thing in losing body fat. That may come from cutting from any food group; carbs, fat, or protein (although maintaining or even increasing protein intake during calorie cutting will help maintain lean body mass). It is calories that are stored as fat tissue. It’s not the carb, fat, or protein, per say, but the calories contained within them that produce fat. If one consumes an excess of 400 calories, it does not matter what nutrient those excess calories come from. Further, it does not even matter what food those calories come from; whether it’s grilled chicken breast, brown rice, avocados, a bowl of organic non-GMO kale that costs $17 a pound, or chocolate cake, pizza, ColdStone Ice Cream, a stick of butter, or an In-n-Out 4×4. Your cells cannot tell where the calories are coming from, they are just energy that are used or stored. The only thing that matters is controlling calorie intake. And while a daily diet of chocolate cakecake and sticks of butter may not be ideal for overall health, from a fat loss/fat gain standpoint, they are just calories.

While there is a case to be made that proteins and fats may keep you fuller longer than carbohydrates and that higher-protein diets, in particular, are good for fat loss, this simply comes down to which “diet” leads to less calories at the end of the day. This gives one absolute freedom in choosing foods and creating a diet that one wants and can actually manage. So, if you want to lose body fat, you do not have live under the tyranny of a rigid diet, cutting carbs and never eat anything delicious like donuts and bacon again.

But you can.

Calories are calories. Count them but enjoy them.

The convenient (and delicious) of all existential questions

Unlike the other deep, universal questions that have plagued humanity, the answer to the question of “should I cut carbs?” is one of personal choice; which is rather convenient. One could imagine if the answer to “are we alone in the universe” was up to personal choice, one could answer “yes, and Cybertron is real and my car is a deadly robot. Roll out”. High carbohydrate diets are not needed to fuel most exercise or to promote muscle mass gains. Low/no carb diets are not superior for losing body fat. Those are the latest data and are the best foundation one can use to inform themselves. To improve body composition or optimize training, one can choose foods they want and like rather than creating a “diet” per se. This can be incredibly helpful in long-term success and help achieve the body composition goals one aspires to.



  1. Costill, D.L. and M. Hargreaves, Carbohydrate nutrition and fatigue. Sports Med, 1992. 13(2): p. 86-92.
  2. Thomas, D.T., K.A. Erdman, and L.M. Burke, Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. J Acad Nutr Diet, 2016. 116(3): p. 501-528.
  3. Kerksick, C.M., et al., International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2017. 14: p. 33.
  4. Robergs, R.A., et al., Muscle glycogenolysis during differing intensities of weight-resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol (1985), 1991. 70(4): p. 1700-6.
  5. Camera, D.M., et al., Early time course of Akt phosphorylation after endurance and resistance exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2010. 42(10): p. 1843-52.
  6. Roy, B.D. and M.A. Tarnopolsky, Influence of differing macronutrient intakes on muscle glycogen resynthesis after resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol (1985), 1998. 84(3): p. 890-6.
  7. Pascoe, D.D. and L.B. Gladden, Muscle glycogen resynthesis after short term, high intensity exercise and resistance exercise. Sports Med, 1996. 21(2): p. 98-118.
  8. Aragon, A.A. and B.J. Schoenfeld, Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window? J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2013. 10(1): p. 5.
  9. Abdulla, H., et al., Role of insulin in the regulation of human skeletal muscle protein synthesis and breakdown: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetologia, 2016. 59(1): p. 44-55.
  10. Staples, A.W., et al., Carbohydrate does not augment exercise-induced protein accretion versus protein alone. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2011. 43(7): p. 1154-61.
  11. Tremblay, F. and A. Marette, Amino acid and insulin signaling via the mTOR/p70 S6 kinase pathway. A negative feedback mechanism leading to insulin resistance in skeletal muscle cells. J Biol Chem, 2001. 276(41): p. 38052-60.
  12. Patti, M.E., et al., Bidirectional modulation of insulin action by amino acids. J Clin Invest, 1998. 101(7): p. 1519-29.
  13. USDA, U., 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 8th Edition: U.S. Government Printing Office. 2015.
  1. Aragon, A.A., et al., International society of sports nutrition position stand: diets and body composition. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2017. 14: p. 16.

Exercise from an evolutionary perspective: Exercise is not “medicine”


“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.


As far back as 400 B.C., the beard Hippocrates posited that exercise was key to promoting human health. Since then, our understanding of this relationship has grown and science has proved Hippocrates correct. The evidence showing that physical activity leads to improved health and longevity and decreased risk of disease is overwhelming. We currently find ourselves in a state of increasing prevalence of chronic disease due to humans engaging in too little exercise (and partaking of too much nourishment). This has led to a prescription for physical activity (150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity, weekly) (ACSM, 2014) and exercise to be presented as a “medicine” to coerce individuals to exercise (albeit to largely no avail). The term “exercise is medicine” has also been coined to persuade people into exercising. Health and fitness professionals have taken to this phrase and touted exercise as a wonderful, awe-inspiring, and miraculous godsend; warm and fuzzy feelings ensue as do an infinite number of “inspiring” and self-congratulatory hashtags when people do take their “medicine” (it didn’t happen if you don’t post it). However, is exercise really medicine? Does the body actually change in order to promote health and longevity and reduce the risk of disease? Or is this phenomenon something more mundane; something more fortuitous and accidental than miraculous and deliberate? Is the body really looking out for “you” or is it looking out for “itself” and its greater “purpose”? To address this question, one must look far into the past; past the time of Hippocrates, to the origin of our species and beyond, to the nature that governs life.

“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”

– Theodosius Dobzhansky

From an evolutionary perspective, the only perspective of which to explain human phenomena, exercise is not “medicine”. As Harvard Evolutionary Biology professor Daniel Lieberman (2015) explains in his paper titled “Is Exercise Really Medicine? An Evolutionary Perspective”, natural selection precludes exercise from functioning as an activity intended to improve health and prevent disease. In fact, while the body can respond “favorably” to physical activity, this favorable response is simply a serendipitous side effect and may actually be at odds with our own biological self-interest. And given that our biology has been shaped by ≈3.5 billion years of natural selection, the biological adaptations to physical inactivity possess an evolutionary explanation as well. Moreover, one must ask, if exercise is so good for us, why do we avoid, even loathe, it so much?  Looking at the evolutionary history of our species can provide an explanation for the physiological adaptations to physical activity and inactivity as well as the behavioral dispositions humans have toward exercise; why a session at the gym can lose out to an episode of CSI or Keeping up With the Kardashians that has been seen ≥ 7.6 times, another hour (of the already four straight hours) of SportsCenter, or just simply staring at the ceiling and/or your navel while listening to a newly realized, poorly created Pandora station.

This discussion will center around how exercise is not truly “medicine”, based upon Lieberman’s paper titled “Is Exercise Really Medicine? An Evolutionary Perspective”. (The evolutionary aspects of physical inactivity and behavior will be discussed at a later time).

Humans were not selected to be “fit”dna

It is well established that regular physical activity is a robust means to improve health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, promote longevity, and most importantly, look good at the beach and up your Tinder game. These adaptations occur in response to the metabolic and mechanical demands imposed on the body, which force the body to become more resilient to better accommodate those demands. However, the “purpose” of these adaptations are not to promote health and longevity and prevent illness (although we may surely enjoy that as a result and live longer and healthier lives). The adaptations to physical activity, both elevated and reduced (inactivity), rather, are simply a means to handle transient, episodic demands placed on the body. Adaptations to exercise are readily reversed upon removal of the demand. Why is this the case? In order to conserve the (once-)precious resource of energy. Humans evolved under high physical demands and food-insecurity, thus a premium was placed on safeguarding calories that were secured within the body. The body only maintains a level of functioning required to meet the exact demand imposed on it in order to avoid the waste of energy. Energy within an organism is divvied up between reproduction, growth, and maintenance; physical activity falls under maintenance. Engaging in physical activity and, moreover, maintaining the subsequent adaptations, increases energy expenditure; maintaining a more physically capable, or “fit”, body requires greater caloric investment. And while it may seem like the response to exercise is adaptive in that it leads to improved “health” and sickness prevention, this response is actually maladaptive from an evolutionary perspective. Supporting acute physical activity and the chronic adaptations directs unnecessary energy away from endeavors and functions that are adaptive; those that favor the single “purpose” for an organism’s existence: reproduction.

“Fields such as genetics, molecular biology, and physiology are necessary to explain the proximate mechanisms (‘‘how’’ questions) that are immediately responsible for biological phenomena, only evolutionary theory and data can explain the ultimate mechanisms (‘‘why’’ questions) that provide deeper explanations of a phenomenon’s true underlying causes.”

– Theodosius Dobzhanskydarwin

Human biology, ranging from anatomy and metabolism to psychology and our very behavior, as well as the sex differences that lie within them, can be explained by looking at the evolution of our species (which split from our last common ancestor with the chimpanzee 5 – 8 million years ago) and understanding Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection. If an adaptation has been retained, such as the ability of the body to change in response to exercise, or lack of it, it provided an advantage for species survival. However, the manner of which a species is assured to survive is not by promoting optimal health in a single, mortal member that will that will be deceased in matter of decades, but to propagate its genes into further generations. The very function and nature of our species (as well as all other animals) can be explained by the single driving force of our existence, that being reproductive success. As such, energy allocation in the body favors reproduction over other biological functions. Until recently, humans (and all our prehuman ancestors over the eons) lived in a food-insecure environment and calories were hard to come by, requiring great physical investment in food procurement. Even more disconcerting, In-n-Out would not be invented for millennia; one would think immediately upon the discovery of fire, the next logical step for the advancement of the human species would be to invent the Animal Style 4×4; however, archaeological data suggest this was not the case. With sustenance under constant question, the divvying up WP_20170519_11_46_38_Proof calories was a fine balancing act to amongst competing biological activities. And since natural selection only favors adaptations that increase reproductive success, humans are developed to divert as much energy as possible toward that end and away from functions that do not lead to increasing the number of human babies.

This diversion of energy includes the diversion away from maintenance of high capacity cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and metabolic systems; what we would consider “fitness”. For evidence of this all one has to do is stop exercising. In a matter of weeks, dawkins science worksdespite having garnered profound enhancements in fitness, the body returns back to baseline levels and all your gains are lost. Bro. From a biological standpoint, the body does not want to be “fit”, it just wants to reproduce; that is all it has been selected (or, metaphorically, “designed”) for. Per Richard Dawkins, we are indeed held hostage by the “selfish gene”.

Exercise does lead to great increases in physical capacity, or fitness, including improved cardiovascular power and endurance, stronger muscles and bones, enhancements in nervous and metabolic function, and the thorough filling out of size “smedium” V-necks. This is the “why” one exercises; to improve some aspect(s) of physical capacity, whether they be for health, fitness, or performance reasons or out of pure hedonistic vanity. However, these improvements are costly; directing energy away from functions that lead to reproduction, and the body will avoid this as much as possible. Thus, life has evolved to require a stimulus to increase its physical capacities; its fitness. This is the very essence of exercise. If one wants to increase aerobic endurance, one must begin endurance training. If one wants to increase muscle mass, one must begin resistance training. And to maintain these enhancements, the stimulus must continue to be applied; you have to keep training. For as soon as the stimulus is removed, the body will revert back to baseline levels in order to prevent excess energy investment into non-reproductive endeavors (although an argument can be made that the thorough filling out size smedium V-necks may qualify as a reproductive endeavor). The body only improves fitness in order to meet the increased demand placed upon it, once the demand is removed, there is no need to maintain those adaptations. If possessing high performing bodily systems were indeed adaptive, then it follows that these changes in response to exercise would not be so swiftly reversed; sadly, this is not reflected in our biology and Monday will be chest day for the rest of your life.

Adaptation to exercise is essentially your body saying “G*******t, we have to deal with this horse***t”

This explains the “use it or lose” principle. After a period of regular training (i.e. weeks, months, years), despite having garnered profound enhancements in fitness as a result of your whey, sweat, and tears, upon cessation, the body loses what it gained and returns back to the untrained state. After all of the miles ran, after all of the weights lifted (How many weights? So many. So many weights, I can’t even), the gains are not retained. Increased VO2max, improved marathon time, 1RM preacher curl PR, and finally rocking that bro tank without not exhaling for several hours at a time; all reversed. One is left preacher curlagain winded walking up a flight of stairs, crawling across the finish line, not being so impressed by your own elbow flexion strength that you no longer feel compelled to inundate social media with not-so-subtle (or at all) “look how alpha I am/you would like to have my babies” -related hashtags, and, the greatest of all tragedies, back to sleeves.

You should still exercise

So, while the adaptations to exercise do lead to improved health, and lack of it can lead to degenerative disease, this response, again, did not evolve for that reason. Exercise adaptations are not elicited to promote health or prevent illness, but rather as a means to temporarily meet the exact, ephemeral physical demands on the body, while not wasting energy by increasing fitness over what is required; hence the dose-response relationship. Further, not all diseases are prevented with physical activity. And, excessive exercise can lead to negative consequences. This is not to say, one should not exercise or that physical activity should not be used to promote health and longevity and reduce the risk of disease, not by any means. However, exercise is, indeed, not medicine, but a form of a transient physiological insult that elicits changes in the body that provide “medicinal” side effects at the right amounts that are readily sequestered upon cessation of the demand. This may be a distinction without a difference, but its an interesting paradigm challenge and discussion, nonetheless. With this understood, however, it implies that no minimum dose or ideal dose of exercise exists. No optimal prescription or mode exists in order to promote optimal human function (moreover, what is optimal human function?) Our evolutionary history shows us that the response to physical activity does not represent a therapy intended to promote health and prevent sickness; these are just enjoyable side effects. The response to exercise, rather, is a means to adjust physical capacity in the face of physiological stress in order to fulfill the sole “purpose” of our individual and collective existence, propagate our genes. Perhaps then, the only dose of physical activity that can be prescribed with confidence is that of which allows us the ability to propagate our genes.

Data to be collected on the “Thorough Filling Out of Size Smedium V-necks” hypothesis.

keep calm and test your hypothesis


Lieberman, D. E. (2015). Is Exercise Really Medicine? An Evolutionary Perspective. Curr Sports Med Rep, 14(4), 313-319. doi:10.1249/JSR.0000000000000168

Pescatello, L., & Medicine, A. C. o. S. (2014). ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription (9th ed.). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Health.


Atypical Female

Wisdoms, rants and anecdotes from an atypical woman