RR 3, Box 384
Mifflintown, PA 17059


Volume 15, Number 7

Guy R. Schenker, D.C.
July, 2004

Dear Doctor,

     You’ve certainly got dozens of patients in your practice who (even though they may be repulsed by the idea) admit they must begin to exercise. Most of these slugs have made one or more feeble attempts in the past to begin an exercise regimen, only to experience exercise as painful, inconvenient, and (most frustrating of all) nonproductive. These perplexed couch potatoes ...


at those of us who claim exercise to be exhilarating at the moment of exertion, plus physically and emotionally satisfying over the long term. What is the problem here? Why the extreme divergence of perception?

     The exercise averse are suffering from two negative forces --- inertia and propaganda. By inertia I mean that once stuck in a lethargic rut, the habitually sedentary must generate a seemingly impossible amount of physical and mental energy to get up and move, let alone move with intensity.


     These poor souls that are missing out on the joy of exercise have also been devastated by the negative influence of propaganda. By propaganda I mean that their information about how, when, and why to exercise comes from one of two sources:

  • muscle heads
  • quacks

     The muscle heads are those who believe in exercise mythology, and the quacks are those who fabricate the mythology for their own gain. If your out of shape patient finally comes up with the motivation to exercise and takes the advice of a muscle head friend or magazine, what is the likely result? We went into some depth last month on the problems encountered by muscle heads --- most particularly over-training. If a novice gets into a muscle head exercise regimen he is going to very quickly become totally exhausted, and justifiably question why he is killing himself when he sees little benefit.

     It is those who begin an exercise regimen under the guidance of quacks for whom you must have real pity. These people can be led astray for months or even years by one or even a long series ignoramuses who, either for fame or fortune, promote the most inane nonsense. So, for the benefit of your patients who have tried exercise and given up ...


so that you can save them from another frustrating failure.

     Perhaps the most common myth you will need to refute is the one believed by your women patients who express to you their desire for exercise with a statement such as, “I want an exercise to flatten my tummy, one to reduce my thighs and hips, and one to tone up my flabby arms.” It is no wonder your patients are so misguided, since this myth is promoted everywhere they look. From exercise magazines to women’s magazines, billions and billions of dollars have been spent over the last several decades promoting the fallacy that exercise for a body part will replace the fat on that body part with muscle. Every one of your patients who has fallen for this myth must be told in no uncertain terms ...


     A proper resistance exercise for the tricep will improve the size and shape of the tricep muscle but has absolutely no effect on the flab over top of the tricep muscle; heavy resistance exercises such as squats and leg presses will build very nice thigh muscles, but will not do a thing to the flab overlying those muscles. The building of strong, shapely muscles and the reduction of fat are two processes not directly related. Yes, resistance exercises for specific body parts are an essential part of anyone’s fitness regimen, but the fat over top of those muscles must be lost metabolically. The metabolic changes required to lose that fat come from a combination of the NUTRI-SPEC Fundamental Diet, NUTRI-SPEC supplementation, and the sustained metabolic effects of a proper exercise regimen.

Now that you know the truth about the spot reducing myth, what can you say about more than 90% of the exercises done by over 90% of the people who exercise? They are worse than worthless. As I explain to my patients who are following spot reducing exercise programs,


     Do you have women patients doing upper body workouts with those cute little 5 pound dumbbells? Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Hee! Hee! Hee! With less time invested each week, these women could do two or three real upper body workouts, each consisting of nothing more than two or three real upper body resistance exercises, and achieve tremendous results. The arms, shoulders, and back would immediately begin to develop an aesthetic contour, while ...


     Are your dainty dumbbell dancers also doing exercises for the lower body? I’ll bet anything they’re doing one of the popular combinations of leg flinging exercises in a futile attempt to tone the thighs and hips. What do they really need? Nothing more than one or two serious resistance exercises for the lower body done two or three times weekly. The metabolic and emotional stimulus from such powerfully intense exercise is enough to keep people looking and feeling 10 years younger than their chronological age for a lifetime.

     Likely you have other patients who have been led astray into an “aerobics” studio. These poor wretches are not only tired and hungry as a result of their exercise routines, they are hurting as well. If you want to ensure that someone gets the maximum damage from exercise, with as little benefit as possible, for a huge investment of time and energy, recommend an “aerobics” routine. (Note: why do I keep putting the word “aerobics” in quotes? Simply because there is absolutely nothing aerobic about these exercise routines.)

     You are beginning to understand from your last few NUTRI-SPEC Letters that high intensity, short duration exercise is the most productive (not to mention the most time and energy efficient) way to exercise and that low intensity, long duration exercise is of very little benefit, certainly in regard to the amount of time and energy that must be invested. Now, in “aerobics” classes or tapes we see medium intensity, medium duration exercise routines. These will produce some benefits, but at a huge cost. The body takes ...


     The lucky ones are those who give up on this approach to exercise after a month or two. Regrettably, there a millions out there who simply miss workouts on a frequent enough basis to achieve just enough recovery that they can continue to participate for years in this act of slow self-destruction. Why put up with fatigue, hunger and pain, when for a fraction of the time and energy invested, a combination of strength training and interval training could yield tremendous physical, mental, (and spiritual) benefits. Instead of dragging through life and workouts ...


     Here is another point of information you must pass along particularly to your female patients who have fallen for the spot reducing myth. As soon as you begin talking about high intensity, short duration exercise most of these women are going to say something like, “Oh, I don’t want to build muscle, I just want to tone,” to which you must reply, “I’m sorry that you’ve been so badly mislead, but the truth is there is no such thing as toning a muscle. There are only different degrees of building that muscle. Dainty dumbbells don’t do anything differently for a muscle than big dumbbells do; they just do much less of it.

     “Intense resistance exercises will very quickly cause the muscle to grow into the shapely contour you are looking for, while flinging little dumbbells around will do almost nothing. Meanwhile, the heavier strength training exercises have the all-important additional benefit of stimulating your metabolism so that you will lose the fat that you are so anxious to get rid of. The light weight exercises will do absolutely nothing to metabolize fat, but will stimulate your appetite for the sugars and starches that will make you put on more fat.”

     You can go on to explain to these women that you understand they are concerned about building huge Mr. Universe type muscles. Tell them they can relax and have no fear; there isn’t one woman in a hundred that has the hormonal makeup to build that kind of muscle. Explain further that if the high intensity, short duration exercise regimen including both strength training and interval training is followed, along with the NUTRI-SPEC Fundamental Diet and proper supplementation ...


     Then, you will occasionally go on to say, “If, after significant fat has been lost, you are still “bigger” than you would like to be, it has nothing to do with the muscle you built; it is strictly due to your bone structure, which is beyond your control. It is certainly better to be big boned and have those bones covered with shapely muscle, than to be big boned and carrying around a mountain of fat. With proper exercise and NUTRI-SPEC you will look your best and feel your best for a lifetime, but we cannot make you into a high-fashion model.” This spiel, obviously, only applies to your larger boned female patients. You will not have to explain this very often. It is just that you will encounter an occasional woman who enters an exercise regimen with unrealistic expectations, and you have to have a firm, logical, yet kind way to explain reality.

     One more piece of information you must understand to properly deal with not only those who believe in the spot reducing myth but also really all your exercise enthusiasts all the way up to the elite athletes. This golden nugget of truth concerns abdominal exercises. Everyone from Beer Belly Bob to Marathon Maniac Matt believes that abdominal exercises are essential, and, that sit-ups and crunches are the way to go.  Wrong, wrong, wrong, disastrously wrong!


     Those exercises do exactly the opposite of what is intended.

     Isn’t the goal of abdominal exercises to flatten the abdomen? Pass it along to everyone you know --- sit-ups and crunches actually make the stomach protrude. No I’m not kidding. The rectus abdominus muscle (the muscle that is supposedly but not really being worked during these exercises) could be thought of as a rope connecting the pubic bone to the xyphoid. Since sit-ups and crunches do not exercise the rectus abdominus through a range of motion, but merely hold the rectus abdominus in an isometric contraction while the hip flexors move the torso with respect to the legs, all these exercises do is shorten the rectus abdominus.

     Now, imagine yourself standing with a rope connecting your xyphoid to your symphysis, and that rope is suddenly shortened --- what happens? Your xyphoid is pulled down toward your pubic bone. In the process your belly plops out over your symphysis, your chest caves in, your shoulders round forward, and your chin protrudes. Pretty picture isn’t it? Consider also that these exercises also shorten the iliopsoas muscle (causing a hyperlordotic lumbar spine), and you’ve got a doubly protruding abdomen along with the sunken chest, rounded shoulders and protruding chin. No sit-ups, no crunches!

     “But,” the believers in mythology say, “I need an exercise to help hold my tummy in.” Even if sit-ups and crunches did develop your rectus abdominus (which they do not), you are not achieving your goal anyway because the rectus abdominus does not actively hold your tummy in; it is the transverse and oblique abdominal muscles that do that. If you want an exercise for the entire group of abdominal muscles, then your only choice is a Roman chair workout. The Roman chair exercises your abdominals through their entire range of motion, which is from a fully hyper-extended spine to a point of about 25 degrees flexion. This is achieved by sitting on a seat with the feet hooked under a bar and hyper-extending back beyond the horizontal position, then flexing up to just about the 25 degree point above horizontal, and then extending back down again. To fully incorporate the transverse and oblique muscles, do it with a twist at the top and bottom of the full range of motion. This exercise will not only strengthen the whole abdominal group, but has a tremendous beneficial effect on the functional strength of the spine as well.

     You will be getting much more of what you and your patients need to know about working out for maximum gains and maximum enjoyment in Letters to come. Meanwhile, when patients express an interest in exercise, get them started on a regimen that gives them everything they want --- a weekly regimen that includes 2 or 3 days of strength training and 2 or 3 days of interval training. ( --- I know I haven’t given you a lot of detail on specific exercises yet, but you’ve got enough to get started --- just remember the grizzly bear that goes along to all interval workouts, and the principle of high intensity, short duration for strength workouts.

     Most importantly, remember that everyone beginning to exercise needs the benefit of NUTRI-SPEC metabolic balancing, or at least the protective effects of your Diphasic Nutrition Plan. Exercise with inadequate nutrition...


     Exercise with NUTRI-SPEC is as close as you will come to the Fountain of Youth.

     To Life!


Guy R. Schenker, D.C.