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I’ve churned through over 150,000 emails, social media comments and messages, and blog comments in the last 6 years.

And that means I’ve fielded a ton of questions.

As you can imagine, some questions pop up more often than others, and I thought it might be helpful to take a little time every month to choose a few and record and share my answers.

So, in this round, I answer the following three questions:

  1. What is positive nitrogen balance?
  2. How bad is sitting?
  3. How can you lose muscle from specific body parts?

If you have a question you’d like me to answer, leave a comment below or if you want a faster response, send an email to [email protected].

Recommended reading for this episode:


3:36 – Can you lose fat and build muscle at the same time if you maintain a positive nitrogen balance?

14:57 – How do I lose muscle from a specific body part?

26:24 – How detrimental is sitting?

Mentioned on The Show: 

Legion VIP One-on-One Coaching

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Hey, welcome to Must For Life. I’m Mike Matthews, and in this episode I’m hitting some cues with some, a’s Imagine if I recorded an entire episode like that, that would be impressive actually. That would be a feat. It makes me think of those old ads. I think they were in the nineties, recorded by the.

World’s fastest talking guy. I think he was the fastest talking guy in the world, and he would blitz through these scripts. He would take something that might normally take three minutes to read at a normal pace and get it out in like a minute or 45 seconds. And I, I remember a couple of them were food related things, I think.

Anyway, it was a gimmick for a bit and the guy made a bunch of money. Maybe I’m onto something here, but I’m not gonna explore it here. This will not be the inaugural lightning round of Muscle for Life. This is a. Q and a episode where I answer questions that people ask me via email and Instagram dms mostly.

I also just a month or so ago, posted an Instagram post asking for questions. So I guess we can throw that into the mix now. And so what I do then is I take questions that people are asking me that I think are gonna make for good public. Discussion, usually things that I’m getting asked about fairly often and haven’t explicitly addressed already, or questions that are just interesting to me, and I’m not sure how many other people are wondering about it, but I’m just going with my gut.

So today’s questions are, Recently I’ve heard that while in positive nitrogen balance, you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. Is that true? That’s a good one. That is a claim that has been around for some time, but has definitely, I mean, I’ve been asked it more and more frequently over the last couple of years.

Next question. How do I lose muscle from a specific body part? That’s a good question. And the last question is, how detrimental is it to sit A lot? Because a lot of us are, Working desk jobs, 40 plus hours per week. Can we do that and still be healthy? And what are the downsides, especially for those of us who are into fitness as well, for those of us who do work out normally in the gym these days in our homes, but we do exercise now before we get to the show, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you wanna help me help.

More people get into the best shape of their lives, please consider checking out my v i p one-on-one coaching service. My team and I have helped people of all ages, circumstances, and needs, so no matter how complicated or hopeless you might think your situation is, don’t worry. We will figure out how to get you the results.

You want. Every diet and training program we create is 100% custom. We provide daily workout logs, we do weekly accountability calls. Our clients get priority email service, as well as discounts on supplements, and the list goes on and on. We basically do. Everything we can to help you lose fat, gain muscle, and get healthy as quickly and enjoyably, that’s an important point as possible.

So to learn more, head over to legion coaching and schedule your free consultation call Now there is usually a wait list and new slots do fill up quickly, so don’t wait. Just head over to legion Lock in your free consultation call, and let’s see if there’s a good fit.

Alrighty, let’s get to it. First question, is this nitrogen balance one, can you build muscle and lose fat at the same time if you maintain positive nitrogen balance? So let’s start with what is nitrogen balance? Well, it’s very simple. It simply refers to the total amount of nitrogen that you are consuming versus excreting out of your body, primarily in your urine.

And as proteins are the primary storage site of nitrogen in the body, and protein is also the primary source of nitrogen in your diet. This is basically a proxy for your total body protein stores. So this is similar to. Energy balance in this regard, calories in versus calories out, nitrogen in versus nitrogen out.

Another similar analogy is protein synthesis rates versus protein breakdown rates, right? So in the grand scheme of things, for those of us who want to get to more jacked, what we are trying to accomplish really is we just want our protein synthesis rates to exceed our protein breakdown rates as. Much as we can.

So that means for as much of the day as possible in terms of duration. And then we want the synthesis rates to exceed the breakdown rates as much as possible. So we want synthesis to always exceed breakdown. It’s not possible, but this would be the absolute ideal situation, right? Where synthesis rates are always exceeding breakdown rates and by a lot now, the.

Things that increase nitrogen loss. So let’s talk about nitrogen out, because nitrogen in is really just protein in, right? So as far as nitrogen out goes, what causes that are more or less the same things that you have heard? Increased muscle loss, like not eating enough protein, not training your muscles, or not training them enough, not sleeping enough, having too much stress, heavily restricting your calories, doing way too much cardio in particular, right?

Those are all things that can increase the nitrogen out part of this formula. So when. People are saying that you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. If you are in nitrogen balance or maintaining positive nitrogen balance, what they’re really saying is that you can recomp right body recomposition.

If you’re eating enough protein and you’re lifting some weights and you’re doing the other. Basic things you can do to optimize your body composition. Getting enough sleep, making sure that you are not restricting your calories too heavily, making sure that you are not doing too much cardio. It’s kind of just body composition 1 0 1, right?

And nitrogen balance is just one way of measuring whether or not all of that is working. And there are other ways to look at it, but that’s all it really is. So in a way, yeah, this is kind of true if you maintain positive nitrogen balance via the basic tactics that I just talked about and that I always talk about and that I write about my books and so forth, but what some of these gurus are not telling you, some of these guys and gals who are promoting this concept as a.

Biohack or shortcut or one weird trick for re comping is there’s no special way to maintain positive nitrogen balance. There’s no special supplement or special diet or special training routine you can do that will ensure that you’re gonna maintain positive nitrogen balance while you’re cutting and therefore gain.

Muscle. It’s really just a result of your diet, your training, your lifestyle, and your training experience. And that’s a key factor too, because what we know is this, if you are new to resistance training, so if you’re a guy who has yet to gain his first. Let’s say 15 to 20 pounds of muscle, give or take, which is like year one basically.

Or if you’re a woman who has yet to gain her first, about half of that, let’s say five-ish, maybe five to eight pounds of muscle. That’s also a year. One for a woman of average genetics who works hard in the gym, can expect to gain. Five to probably eight pounds of muscle in the first year. So if you haven’t done that yet, then you are a novice and you can benefit from newbie gains, which means that your body’s hyper responsive to training and you can accomplish a body recomp.

You can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. And you don’t have to do anything unusual to accomplish that. You just have to use an aggressive but not reckless calorie deficit. Eat enough protein, let’s say something around a gram per pound of body weight per day, or about 40% of your daily calories depending on how much you weigh.

And make sure you’re training your muscles doing resistance training anywhere from, let’s say, three to six hours per week. And if you want to maximize fat loss, While you’re gaining muscle, then it would be a good idea to add in some cardio and make it no more than probably about half of the time that you are training your muscles.

So if you are doing five hours of resistance training per week, keep your cardio at like two to two and a half hours. Make sure you sleep enough cetera, et cetera. It’s really just the fundamentals and you will. Gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. And if you could monitor your nitrogen balance throughout that process, you would see that you’re spending a lot of that time in positive nitrogen balance.

Now what if you are not the newbie, though? What if you are let. Say a guy who has already gained 25 pounds of muscle, you’re in your second year, maybe even in your third year beyond of proper training and dieting, and you want to recomp, can you do it well? People who talk about positive nitrogen balance or just nitrogen balance as the hack, like that’s the key.

That’s the gateway. They often say, well, you just eat a shit load of protein. Like make 50, 60% of your daily calories come from protein. I’m talking about upward of like, Two grams per pound of body weight per day, and you can force feed enough nitrogen in your body to offset the nitrogen that you’re losing by cutting because it becomes easier to lose muscle as you become more advanced when you’re in a calorie deficit.

So much so that usually the reasonable goal, and I’ll get to this in a second, is to maintain your muscle. When you are an advanced, an intermediate or advanced weightlifter and you’re cutting, you’re really looking to just maintain the muscle that you have. And if you are wanting to get really lean, you’re almost certainly going to lose some muscle along the way, but you should be able to keep it to a minimum.

It should be an amount that. Is almost not noticeable in the mirror. You might notice it in the gym in terms of losing some reps on your big lifts, maybe even having to drop your weights a little bit by the end of a cut. But when you look in the mirror, you should be very happy with what you see. You shouldn’t notice.

Anything smaller really, even if you did lose a little bit of muscle. And so while it sounds enticing and it’s acute theory that you can manipulate your nitrogen balance through diet or supplementation or training and recomp as an intermediate or advanced weightlifter, it simply doesn’t work. It doesn’t pan out.

And this has been investigated in a number of studies that show that the more. Muscular you are and the leaner you are when you start a cut. And the longer you remain in a calorie deficit, four, the harder it becomes to simply maintain your muscle, let alone gain muscle. And that’s why you will hear a lot of smart natural bodybuilders.

Say exactly what I’m saying, that once your newbie gains are behind you, just forget about re comping. If you can accomplish it somehow it’s gonna be so negligible that it’s actually just unproductive. It’s more productive to just cut and lean, bulk, do those things correctly. And if you’re are still trying to build your physique, that means that you should be spending a lot more time lean bulking than cutting, like ideally over the course of a year if you’re really trying to maximize the gains.

You’d probably spend eight or nine months lean bulking. So eight or nine months of the year in a slight surplus and the remaining three, four months cutting. Now those would be probably two separate cuts, right? But the point with that is the only way to do that is to take your lean bulking seriously, to watch your calories and watch your macros, and stick to your plan just as much as you would when you’re cutting so you can minimize fat gain and not have to cut your lean bulks short to.

Cut because you got too fat too fast. So don’t get suckered in by any siren songs about how you can maintain positive nitrogen balance as an intermediate or advanced weightlifter when you’re cutting and all you have to do is follow this special diet or take these special supplements or do these special workouts.

It’s not gonna happen. It is a fool’s errand. But if you are new, Through resistance training, it is going to happen, and you still don’t have to do anything special. You just apply the fundamentals, energy balance, macronutrient balance, uh, micronutrient balance, making sure you’re eating enough nutritious calories.

Particularly important when you’re cutting, right, because your calories are restricted. Training your muscles using heavy compound weightlifting, primarily limiting your cardio. So on, so forth. Oh, and one final note in case you come across someone who’s sharing studies that would suggest that I’m wrong, is many studies are looking at total body nitrogen balance, which is not exactly what we care about, right?

Cuz what we’re talking about is how much nitrogen is being added or taken from your muscle tissue. And yes, muscle tissue is the body’s primary store of nitrogen, but just because the total body nitrogen stores are changing for the better or worse does not immediately mean that your total muscle mass is changing for the better or worse, at least not in a directly correlated black and white fashion.

Hey, before we continue, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you want to help me help more people get into the best shape of their lives, please consider checking out my v i p one-on-one coaching service. Now, my team and I have helped thousands of people of all ages, circumstances, and needs.

So no matter how complicated or maybe even hopeless you might think your situation is. We will figure out how to get you the results you want. Every diet and training program we create is 100% custom. We provide daily workout logs and we do weekly accountability calls. Our clients get priority email service, as well as discounts on supplements, and the list goes on and on.

To learn more, just head over to Legion Athletics dot. Com slash coaching. And if you like what you see, schedule your free consultation call Now. There’s normally a wait list to work with our coaches and new slots do fill up very quickly. So if this sounds even remotely interesting to you, head over to legion now and schedule your free consultation call and let’s see if our program is a good fit for you.

Okay, let’s move on to the next question. How do I lose muscle from a specific body part? Well, the best ways to lose muscle are to not do any resistance training. So don’t train your muscles to heavily restrict your calories. So a large calorie deficit, or maybe even something like water fasting, right where you go for extended periods of time without any.

Food whatsoever. Um, you want to keep your protein intake low. You wanna make sure you don’t eat, eat a lot of protein and do a lot of cardio, and specifically moderate intensity cardio as opposed to higher intensity stuff or sprint. And so if you wanted to just lose muscle, then you would do all of those things.

If you woke up one day and you’re like, I’m way too jacked. I need to en feeble myself immediately, you know, funny, I know one person actually. Who had this problem? Ben Kuski, the former professional bodybuilder. So after he stopped bodybuilding professionally, he didn’t want to be that big anymore. He didn’t want to be even remotely as big as he was, and so he did basically what I just outlined.

He still trained his muscles. He didn’t completely cut out the resistance training, but he trained a lot less intensely and he restricted his calories heavily for a long period of time. Time ate very little protein. I believe he worked in longer, fast, did a lot of cardio, and it worked. It got him down to an amount, I mean, still is extremely muscular, but he looks more like a normal person now, which is I think what he wanted to accomplish.

So anyway, if that’s how you lose muscle, Everywhere. How do you then target certain areas? How do you lose muscle? Just from your legs, for example, or from your back? I’ve heard from women who, I remember one woman, she was a swimmer and her back was very muscular and she didn’t like it. I mean, it didn’t look bad of course, but she just wanted to have a less muscular back.

Uh, I have heard from women who have two muscular legs, they want their legs to be. Smaller and tighter. And it’s not just a body fat thing, you know, there are genetics involved. We all have high responding body parts. For example, my pecs and my biceps have always been high responders and have been able to get to a above average size, even for my training experience and for my overall muscularity.

And so sometimes women have that type of genetic response in their legs. And they don’t like how it looks. I don’t hear from very many guys who want to lose muscle. I haven’t heard from one maybe ever. Ben Nikolsky might be the only one that I’ve ever come across. But hey, if you’re a guy and you’re listening and you want to know how to make a body part smaller than this advice is gonna help you.

And you know, I actually just thought of myself here. There was a period a couple of years ago where I was doing six to nine. Sets of biceps per week, direct biceps sets in addition to about 15 sets of pulling per week. So that’s a lot of biceps volume. I mean, that’s 20 plus sets per week of biceps volume, right, because it is perfectly valid to count indirect.

Volume for muscle groups. So when I’m pulling, yeah, it’s not a biceps exercise per se, but it heavily involves the biceps, so it definitely qualifies as biceps volume. Some people even go as far as weighting their volume, so they would say, okay, dead lifting is not as, Stimulating for the biceps as, let’s say, barbell rowing.

So when I deadlift, I’m gonna count that as one set of volume for my back and a half a set of volume for my biceps. And when I’m rowing, I’m gonna count it as three quarters of a set. I never have taken things that far that’s. Even two O C D for me, and I’m a pretty O C D person, I just don’t think it’s necessary.

I think it’s perfectly workable to count the volume one-to-one direct and indirect. And so anyways, I was doing a lot of biceps volume and there actually was a point where I felt like my biceps were a little bit too big when I looked at my proportions. Big arms are cool, but when I compared my biceps and my triceps together, but particularly my biceps to my shoulders, which have responded well to training, but.

I would say have responded normally, which means that they’ve been a bitch, right? The shoulders, the deltoids are small, stubborn muscles. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time to build them up. And so what I found is that my biceps were just too big for my shoulders. It just looked odd, particularly when I had a pump.

When I didn’t have a pump. I think it looked okay, but if I trained biceps, it looked. Kind of goofy to me, right? So I didn’t do any direct biceps training for six months at least. It was like six to eight months, no curls whatsoever. Now, there was indirect volume, but no direct volume, and they did come down a little bit.

And then fast forward a couple, about a year or a year and a half after that, I then wanted bigger biceps again. So I went back to doing six to nine. Sets of biceps per week, and that’s what I currently do, but I don’t feel like I have the imbalance issue anymore. Maybe because my shoulders have grown a little bit or maybe my mind is just playing tricks on me.

And so anyway, getting back to the question. How do you lose muscle from a specific body part? Well, it’s basically what I just said, right? Your best bet is just to not train those muscles. So if you wanna lose size in your legs, then don’t squat, don’t do lunges, don’t do deadlifts. It does not take much volume to maintain muscle mass.

A lot of people don’t understand actually how much less volume it takes to maintain mass than to gain mass. Some research shows it could be around one fifth. Some research suggests it’s as little as one. Eighth of the volume that it takes to gain, to maintain. So let’s say, for example, to continue gaining muscle, you need to do 15 sets, 15 hard sets for that muscle group per week.

To maintain what you have, you might be able to do like two or three sets. That’s it. Per week and not really lose any muscle, maybe a little bit, maybe you lose a little bit of muscle size because your muscles aren’t gonna have as much residual pump and you’re not gonna be carrying around as much water and glycogen in the muscles from the training, but you would not see any major reduction in size with that much less volume.

That’s wild. Right. And that is also encouraging though, because it shows how easy it is to maintain a physique and. Maybe easy is not even the right frame of reference as if it doesn’t take work. Yeah, it still takes work, but what it really means is not that you can get lazy or that you shouldn’t train hard anymore if you already have a great physique.

No, it just means that you have more flexibility that you can afford to miss workouts if you have to, for example, and you don’t have to try to go outta your way to make your training the top priority. Let’s say you’re traveling for three, four weeks and you. Could work out getting into a gym every morning and getting the right meals set up and so forth, but it’d be a bit of a pain in the ass, and you’d really prefer to just go on a maintenance phase while you’re out of town and then get back to it when you’re at home.

You can do that, and it is not nearly as difficult to do as many people think. And many of us, US Intermediate plus weightlifters are experiencing that now. Right. Over the last couple of months with this quarantine, a lot of people I’ve been hearing from are surprised actually at how effectively they’ve been able to maintain their muscularity and maintain their physiques just doing home workouts.

And these aren’t people who have. Fully decked out home gyms either. I don’t have a home gym. I have a pair of Bowflex dumbbells, hashtag blessed. They go up to 90 pounds and I have some bands and I’m able to make that work quite well. Actually. I’m getting in good workouts. They’re simple. They’re kind of boring, but hey, effective volume is effective volume.

And the same thing can be said for even body weight training. Even if you don’t even have bands, you can do enough with body weight training. To maintain an outstanding physique. Now, if you’re an intermediate or advanced weightlifter and you’re trying to gain muscle and strength, of course body weight isn’t gonna cut it.

No matter how many pushups you do, and no matter how many different variations you do and handstand pushups and pistol squats and so forth, you’re just not gonna get the training stimulus that you need to continue gaining muscle and strength. To do that, you really are gonna have. To load your muscles heavily, and you can do it with dumbbells for sure, but the most effective way to do it is with the barbell.

Okay. So if the best way to lose muscle from a body part is to just not train it, how do you really do that practically? Because it’s not easy to just isolate certain muscles and not involve others, right? So let’s say your back is the muscle group that you want to shrink. You wanna lose muscle in your back.

Back, but you don’t wanna lose muscle in your biceps. If you were to do pull-ups or chin-ups, great biceps exercise, but also a back exercise, right? So in this case, you’d wanna skip the pull-ups, skip the chin-ups, and do something like biceps curls. Now, let’s say it was your legs. You wanna lose size in your legs, but you actually want to keep growing your glutes.

Well, that would mean that you need to do exercises that work your butt, but not your hamstrings and not your quads. How do you do that? Well, something like glute bridges work or something like the hip thrust would work, or cable pull throughs would work, or single leg foot elevated hip thrusts. If we’re talking about home workouts, if you don’t have the equipment to do some of the other exercises, Something also to keep in mind is if you do a lot of cycling or you do a lot of running, that actually can maintain leg size.

That’s been shown in research, and particularly if you’re doing high intensity stuff. So if you’re doing like cycle sprints or running sprints, you can maintain a lot of leg mass just with that alone. So again, if you’re wanting to shrink the size of your legs, if you’re wanting to lose muscle in your legs, but you want to keep doing cardio, then maybe rowing.

Is a better choice or swimming might be a better choice. Now, one last thing to keep in mind is something I mentioned with my little biceps story is that you might think that you need to lose muscle from a specific muscle group, but if you were actually to build. Up the other muscle groups that help even out your proportions.

You would then be happy with the former muscle group, the one that you thought that you had to shrink. And again, my biceps and shoulders relationship is a perfect example of that. A couple of years ago, my biceps, I’m. I did measure them. I wanna say they were around 17 and a half inches, and I don’t remember my shoulder circumference measurement, but again, as I said, it looked a bit funky to me.

The portions looked a bit funky to me. However, fast forward to today, my biceps are right back to where they were at that point. I haven’t measured them in the last month or so, but they were just over 17 inches a month, maybe even two months ago. And so they’re basically right back to where they were.

However, my shoulders are a bit more developed and so my proportions just look a bit better. I think also my lats have come out a little bit more, which also helps with the symmetry in the upper body. Alright, moving on to the third and final question of this Q and a episode, and that is how harmful is it to sit all day or.

Sit a lot. Can we sit a lot and be healthy? And this is something that I’ve been getting asked about for a long time, and I don’t think I’ve written an article on it or recorded a podcast on it. It probably could warrant its own deep dive. But I will give a summary here. So this is. Often a concern because there’s research that has associated sitting a lot with an increased risk of different diseases like type two diabetes and heart disease, as well as just all cause mortality, like death from all causes.

The more you sit, the more likely you are to die, period. So a good example of this is a study that was conducted by scientists at the University of Queensland, and what they did is they looked at the association between sitting and life expectancy. And what they found is that each hour of sitting per day was associated with a decrease in lifespan of about 21 minutes and 48 seconds.

And that sounds alarming and especially. When you listen to what the media had to say, right? So they love to take research like that and then create these sensationalized headlines about how sitting is killing you. And for every hour that you sit, every day, you are going to live 21. Minutes less. We also know that inactivity is associated with stuff like breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease.

There was an estimate from the W H O that said that inactivity is actually the primary cause of about 20 to 30% of those cases. Breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and. Again, stuff like that freaks people out. Now, what you have to keep in mind is that type of research can find associations, it can find correlations, relationships, but it can’t establish causation, meaning that that kind of research can tell us that there may be a problem.

That sitting may be bad. It may be increasing your risk of disease and death, but we’re not sure. We can’t say for sure because there are way too many variables involved that could be influencing these outcomes that we’re looking at that have nothing to do. With sitting. So for example, let’s just say for example, that unhealthy people tend to sit a lot more than healthy people.

People who are overweight, who don’t exercise and who eat poorly. Let’s just say that were the case, right? Well then if you were to just look at the relationship between sitting and death, you would see that. You would see a correlation. You’d be like, wow, you have these people who sit a lot and they have a lot more disease and a lot more dysfunction, and they don’t live as long as these people who don’t sit.

As much therefore sitting must be bad for you. No, not necessarily. Maybe it is just that these people are unhealthy and that’s what’s driving the disease and the death, and they also happen to sit a lot. And in the same way, you might also find that these unhealthy people also do other things in a similar fashion.

Let’s say you might find that many of them do not wake up early in the morning, but does that mean that not waking up early in the morning means you’re more likely to get. A disease and die, probably not. Right? So you have to watch out. When you hear about this epidemiological research, this observational research, it can point in the direction that science should head.

It can say, Hey, it looks like there’s something over here. We should investigate this more thoroughly. But it can’t say definitively, X causes. Why now, in the case of sitting and its relationship to disease dysfunction and death, the correlation is pretty strong. There is a lot of research that has been done.

There’s a lot of observational research, which of course then increases the effectiveness of the body of the literature on the whole, because you have a lot of. People who have been analyzed, and you have a lot of data that’s been gathered through that analysis. And scientists are able to, again, not establish causation, but are able to refine their hypotheses and increase the likelihood that they’re right.

And of course, along the way, there are other studies that are done that can get closer to establishing causation, or in the case of a clinical trial, can definitively. Establish causation. And so currently the weight of the sitting literature says that it probably does have a direct negative impact on our health.

And it’s not just a matter of inactivity. That’s what scientists thought for some time. That was the prevailing hypothesis that it wasn’t sitting that was bad, it was just not being active. And if you’re active in your lifestyle, but you sit a lot, you’re probably fine. Well, now that. Hypothesis has been refined and the current most evidence-based position is that sitting per se, if you sit too much, it’s not good for you.

It’s likely not good for you. And scientists think that this probably has to do with metabolic changes that are. Occur in our muscles when we don’t use them. So when we’re sitting, we’re not using many muscles. Maybe we can fidget around and use our leg muscles a little bit or use our arm muscles a little bit.

And an example of this is when you sit for a long period of time, your muscles produce less of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, or. L p L and l P L is responsible for removing fat from the blood and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. And when L P L levels drop, it can increase the risk of developing high cholesterol, triglycerides, atherosclerosis, and other various metabolic maladies.

And that’s been shown in clinical trials, high evidence for for that mechanism. Right. And also when your L P L levels drop, you can become less sensitive to the effects of insulin, which is not good for a number of reasons. Other research on the effects of sitting shows that it can even rob you of some of the benefits of exercise.

So, for example, there was a study that was conducted by scientists at the University of Texas, and they found that sitting for about 13 and a half hours per day for four days canceled out many of the health benefits of a one hour run in terms of insulin sens. And fat metabolism. Another study worth mentioning was conducted by scientists at the University of Sydney, and here they used accelerometers to track how much time 222,000 Australians spent sitting or exercising between the years 2006 and 2012.

And then the researchers compared how the participants physical activity level levels compared to their overall risk of dying during the course of the study. And as you’d expect, researchers found that people who exercise the most had the lowest risk of dying. That’s not su. Surprising, but they also found that the people who exercised the most, but also spent more than 11 hours per day sitting, had almost the same risk of dying as people who didn’t exercise but sat less than four hours per day.

That is the active couch. Potatoes had the same risk of dying as the people who didn’t do formal. Exercise, but also didn’t sit very much. So how bad are the effects of sitting, right? That’s the real question here. How much of the health benefits of our workouts are we canceling by sitting too much? Well, there was another study that was conducted by scientists at the University of.

Texas that also used accelerometer data from another study on about 2,200 men and women to estimate what percentage of the benefits of exercise are wiped out by sitting and after crunching numbers and doing sciencey things. The researchers estimated that an hour of exercise was required to offset every six hours.

Of sitting, or we can express that in another way and we can say that each hour of sitting negates about 16% of the health benefits of an hour of light exercise, which would be like walking right now. More intense exercise like jogging, cycling, swimming, more intense. Forms of weightlifting is gonna be slightly better in this regard.

And in terms of the study, they actually looked at brisk running, cycling, and swimming specifically. And they found that each hour of sitting only negated about 8% of the health benefits of an hour long workout doing any of those activities. And they didn’t look at strength training, but I would think the results are going to be.

Similar or they would be similar if strength training were included in that group. And so what that means then is there are two ways to look at this. Sitting negates many of the positive benefits of exercise and exercise negates many of the negative effects of sitting. Right? And both of these things are true.

You don’t lose all of the, the benefits of exercise when you sit and you don’t wipe out. All of the downsides of prolonged sitting with regular exercise, and the key there is prolonged sitting. Right? And that gets to the kind of key takeaway is what should we do about this? I think the best advice, given everything that I’ve just told you is to move.

Throughout the day, just avoid long stretches of uninterrupted sitting. Try not to just sit there in the same position, not really moving for hours on end. Make sure you’re getting up every, I mean, it could be 20 to 40 minutes or so. You might have heard of the Pomodoro technique where you were, I think it’s 20 minutes.

Then you take like a five minute break or a four minute break or something, and you pretty much just chunk your work in that way where it’s 20 minutes of focused work. And then a short break, 20 minutes of focus work, short break, and I haven’t looked into it in a while. I don’t follow it myself. I guess maybe I follow some version of it.

I’m just not going for only 20 minutes. I probably go for 45 to 90 minute. Stretches where I am focused and I’m not checking email, I’m not checking social media. I’m just doing my, usually it’s some form of deep work and then I’ll take a short break. But sometimes there are just natural breaks that occur like I have to pee, I have to get up to go get some more water.

I’m, it’s time to go have a protein shake, which it’s time to go have a protein shake right after this. And the point though is just break up your day in terms of physical. Position, make sure that you’re moving around throughout the day. So a good target, I think is, let’s say, to move around for five or 10 minutes every hour or so, maybe every hour and a half.

And of course, to make sure you’re getting in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day. That’s a great formula for avoiding the. Downsides of sitting too much and reaping many of the upsides of exercise. And as far as what to do when you are gonna get up and move around. Going for a walk is always a great idea, especially if you have any form of nature around you, because that is going to lift your mood and it’s just nice to get outside.

Especially these days, these. Quarantine days, the global pandemic life. It’s nice to get outside. So if you just go for a short walk, you could also listen to a podcast like this while you’re walking, or you could listen to an audiobook or an interview. My point is you can make that time productive too.

You don’t have to just walk around mindlessly in your apartment or in your house for five or 10 minutes, uh, every hour or so. And if you don’t want. To walk around or if you don’t want to go for a walk, then you could also do some body weight exercises. This is a simple home workout tip that I’ve shared with many people, especially women who have children, small children who just always need something and they can’t get away for four, five, or 60 minutes in one stretch to do a workout.

What they can do though, is break that workout into 10 to maybe 15 minute. Chunks and just do, let’s say they’re gonna take a 40 minute workout, break it down into four 10 minute workouts. Basically individual short workouts that they can do when they have 10 minutes, they go and they do their lunges and their knee pushups and their deficit or negative pull-ups or whatever, and they do just 10 minutes of what they are going to be doing for the whole day.

And then when they have another 10 minute block of time, they do the next round. A simple way to do that if you are following the home workouts that I have recommended in the article [email protected], over on the blog, if you haven’t seen it yet, you should go check it out. If you have any home workout questions, if you want routines that you can follow, body weight routines, band routines, dumbbell slash kettlebell routines, beginner, intermediate, advanced equipment recommendations, really everything I could.

Think of went into that article. Definitely check it out. Legion Blog pinned right at the top. But you could do, for example, let’s say you’re gonna be doing an upper body workout and you’re gonna be doing, uh, 16 sets in the workout. It’s body weight stuff, maybe some body weight in bands.

Good. Well then you might be able to do your first exercise in one blog. So you’ve just worked or done whatever you’re doing. You just sat for an hour, hour and a half, and then you want to take a, a short break. You get up and you do your first exercise, your first. Four sets maybe of the 16 sets. And it’s easy to do because it’s body weight.

You don’t even need to warm up. You just jump into it. 10 minutes, you’re moving around, get back to work, and then an hour later maybe you just go for a short walk, get back to work. An hour, hour and a half later you do the next part of your body weight workout. That has worked well for many women with small kids who, uh, I guess incidentally are, are not.

Sitting very much because small kids always need something. You’re always chasing ’em around and they’re always trying to rip your house apart and they want food and they wanna go outside and they want to terrorize animals and et cetera, et cetera. So there’s not much downtime. But for those of us who are not in that situation, for those of us who are spending most of our time working, for example, and sitting in a chair like I am now, breaking up workouts is an effective way to not just get our workouts done, but also to inject regular movement into our daily routine.

And you know, some people find that they actually enjoy their training more doing it the broken up way than the normal way. Because let’s face it, a lot of the workouts that we’re doing these days are kind of boring. They’re not as interesting or as effective as what we’re used to. I mean, they get the job done, so can’t complain.

But many people find that they enjoy their training more, their quarantine training, their limited home workout training more if they do several 10 to 15 minute workouts per day versus one longer workout. All right. Well, that’s it for today’s episode. I hope you found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, could you please leave a quick review for the podcast on iTunes or wherever you are listening from?

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New stuff that I have coming and last, if you didn’t like something about the show, then definitely shoot me an email at mike muscle for and share your thoughts. Let me know how you think I could do this better. I read every email myself and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. All right, thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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