“All he wants is his Leila’s love,” professor Daemon says disappointedly.
In a Twilight Zone episode adapted from John Collier’s short story, “The Chaser,” Roger Shackleforth is head-over-heels in love with the aforementioned female, but she feels nothing for him — except contempt. So Roger takes the advice of an eavesdropping stranger and visits Daemon.
The professor prescribes a potion guaranteed to make Leila as loving and devoted as a dog.
Roger sneaks the potion into Leila’s champagne, but before it takes affect, she declares that she will never love him and that “I don’t even like you very much right now.” Then she kisses him as aggressively as television censors in the 60s would allow.
“What’s happening to me?” she asks. Roger answers with a question of his own.
So true, Mr. Shackleforth. Whether it’s winning someone’s love or losing 25 pounds, we don’t really care how it happens, just that it does.
But certain professionals can’t operate that way. Doctors can’t prescribe drugs, let alone authorize a course of action, without years of stringent and successful testing beforehand.
But are you willing to wait years for help with your health?
Recently, I read David Ludwig’s “Always Hungry?” (Grand Central Publishing, 2016), a diet book that advises an eating strategy that should work for just about anyone (except an exercise fanatic) despite the fact that the so-called “cutting-edge medicine” revealed in it isn’t really cutting-edge.
Ludwig can be forgiven for that, though, because the abbreviations after his name — the MD and the PhD — are an albatross around his neck. A medical professional can’t publish a prescribed course of action and remain in good medical standing until it has been proven to be successful repeatedly in a laboratory or clinical setting.
This takes years. Years you don’t have.
But in a column like this one, health and fitness help — with the appropriate caveats —can be offered immediately.
So if your health’s in dire straits and you critically assess the offered help, carefully apply it to your specific circumstance, intelligently experiment with it and make subtle adjustments to it, you can steer yourself into safer waters.
If you’re already fit and in fair waters, the help enables you to seek out waves, ride them successfully, and take your health to a higher level.
Something akin to the second scenario should occur if you stop snacking before ambitious aerobic exercise.
Because research has failed to create consensus, nutritional advice about how to eat before you run 10 miles, hike for four hours, or bike 50 miles tends to be general: Consume something high in carbohydrates that’s easy to digest about an hour beforehand.
Until the summer of 1999, that’s the way I would eat before bicycle races and training rides of more than two hours. But sometimes I would encounter a “power outage,” a five-, 10-, or 15-minute span where I would feel weak, the riding would get harder, and my speed would get slower.
After a “power outage,” the rest of a training ride would go well — but if it occurred at the wrong time during a race, I was skunked.
Fortunately that summer, I interviewed Dr. Bill Misner for an article about glucagon and insulin that Muscle Mag International published. Since we shared a love of cycling, we kept kabitizing afterwards. Because of those “power outages,” I asked Misner how he ate before races.
He told me he didn’t, that he made sure he consumed no calories three hours before his warmup. Forty minutes later, he would have a serving or two of Hammer Gel (he worked in their R&D department at that time) and possibly another serving just before the race began.
He explained that if you begin exercise with your blood sugar at base level, the body burns a higher percentage of fat for fuel initially. If that happens, you keep more of your most efficient fuel, glycogen, for later.
Moreover, if you begin this way and then consume a sports drink or a gel midway through the race, those carbs last longer because they get burned in conjunction with fat.
My “power outages,” he said, occurred once I was out of glycogen and using purely fat and protein as fuel. My body would acclimate eventually, but until that time, my performance would suffer.
I tried what Misner suggested and immediately noticed a difference.
To this day, I avoid eating three hours before any exercise.
Why did I share this story today?
In the February issue of Environmental Nutrition — under the “Just In” banner ironically — appear the results of a study of 30 overweight or obese men that was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. In essence, those results validate what Misner suggested 21 years ago.
You may think that following advice before research bears it out is a risk. You’re right.
But if you do so intelligently it is well worth it.