In this episode of 20-Minute Fitness, we explore some effective fat-fighting techniques such as supplementing your diet with Vitamin D3. We find out more about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, a new treatment for depression and we discuss our Fit-Tech Feature, Peloton.
Ever wondered why you gain weight when lounging on a sofa? Interestingly enough, it is not just due to inactivity and it actually involves your cells. So what about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS, a sustainable solution to depression? Patients are connected to a series of wires and magnetic pulses are beamed inside them to change the way depression symptoms are perceived.
All this and more, in the 20-Minute Fitness Podcast.
Shape starts a Podcast! The 20-Minute Fitness podcast. We decided to begin our Podcast journey because we want to deliver as much valuable content to our listeners as possible from as many different mediums as we can. Due to the huge popularity rise of podcasts, we decided this would be a great channel for people to get their weekly dose of health & fitness news.
Almost 20% of U.S. adults aged between 18 to 49 years old listen to podcasts at least once a month and so podcasting is a great way to reach as many people as possible.
The reason for making our podcast 20 minutes in length is because according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average commute time is 25.4 minutes. Therefore, you can squeeze in the 20-Minute Fitness podcast on your way to and from work and hopefully incorporate some of the advice we include into your daily lives.
This episode covers the latest headlines in health and fitness. We discuss how brown fat cells can help mobilize fat and we look into Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. TMS is a new therapy designed to help treat depression as a traditional medication is largely proving ineffective.
We also introduce Peloton which allows you to partake in a spinning class from the comfort of your own home. You will be able to experience all the energy generated from the environment without the need to make your way to a studio. After working up a sweat, check out your performance analysis and see metrics such as output, cadence and resistance.
All this and more inside the 20-Minute Fitness podcast – Enjoy!
Hello and welcome to the first audio edition of the Shape Digest. Our mission is to bring you the latest and most interesting news, advice and gadgets in fitness and digital health.
Every week we feature one interesting fitness-technology product, that we really believe will help you progress with your fitness goals. For example, we featured the website MuscleWiki and Peloton, the exercise bike. We call this our Fit-Tech Feature Of The Week.
We also curate articles to do with nutrition and wearables and supplementation and so forth, that we also believe will bring value to you. The Shape Digest is also available as email and can be subscribed to by searching newsletter.shapescale.com
I am your host Charlie and this week we will be talking about the Misfit Vapor which is a new smartwatch that is being released on October 31st. We will also be looking into some surprising methods that can help you fat fight. And we will also be exploring whether flexible dieting, otherwise known as If It Fits your Macros is really an effective and sustainable approach to your nutrition.
So without further a due lets discuss the first article.
So this was in Fitness Magazine and was entitled: “Slim for Life: 10 Strategies to Lose Fat and Keep It Off” and having just returned from a holiday myself, where I have to admit I was rather glutinous and didn’t really stick to my dietary goals, I decided this was worth looking into.
So the first point I found very interesting, was the fact that certain fat cells can actually help you burn body fat, which obviously sounds crazy.
Similar to how there are more than one kind of fat in food, there’s also more than one type of fat in our bodies. White fat cells are plentiful and they store energy and produce hormones that are secreted into the bloodstream. They also provide a cushion for our internal organs and act as a thermal insulator.
White Fat has less mitochondria and blood vessels than brown fat which we will be discussing in a minute, which results in its lighter white or yellowish appearance.
White fat is generally known as “bad fat” due to it’s energy storing ability and we generate white fat cells through eating an excess of calories or expending too few calories. So that is obviously why white fat is so bad because it is associated with weight-gain
Brown fat on the other hand, is the holy grail, it helps you burn calories. According to, and I am sorry if I get his name wrong but Mr. Aaron Cypess an assistant professor of medicine at the Joslin diabetes center and harvard medical school, brown fat is stuffed with mitochondria which are the part of cells that generate heat.
SO when fully activated, brown fat generates three hundred times more heat than any other tissue in the body.
So obviously, the question is how do we increase these brown fat cells that are actually helping us metabolise fat. It’s simple- exercising. Exercising can convert white fat cells to a sort-of white-yellowly beige colour which is more similar to the metabolically active brown fat.
So what else can you do, you can also ensure you are getting enough high quality sleep and exercising outdoors, particularly in the morning when it is cold, or alternatively, turn down the temperature or thermostat in your office or at work and work in a colder environment.
Fitness magazine also quote increasing your levels of Vitamin D as an effective way to help lose weight. A study from the University of Minnesota found that people who started a weight-loss program with higher levels of Vitamin D lost more than those who were deficient in the nutrient.
Other research also suggests that vitamin D boosts the effectiveness of leptin which is a hormone that signals to the brain that you’re full. Because it’s difficult to get Vitamin D from food in the adequate amounts, they suggest taking a vitamin D3 supplement. or alternatively, you could make sure you get out in the fresh air and get some sunlight on you.
So, everyone knows that staying sedentary all day and lying down can be associated with weight-gain, if you are doing that all day and not exercising. But lack of exercise is not the only reason that sitting down and being sedentary all day is causing people to gain weight.
Richard Atkinson, a clinical professor of pathology at Virginia Commonwealth University explains that lying down actually exerts forces on our cells causing them to become stretched out and this leads to the body’s production of fat. He advises getting up and walking around the office for atleast 5 minutes every hour.
And then there are also some tips he advises on how to do this. So if you are sitting at a desk all day, potentially, set a timer on your phone, just so you know when you should get up and stretch your legs a little bit. Or if you are taking a phone call, maybe strut around the office a little bit. Or alternatively, look into getting a new desk.
There’s these sit-stand desks where you can alternate the height of the desk. Or try a treadmill desk where you can get some incline walking in whilst doing your work.
The Fitness Magazine also delve into some potentially more well known ways to fight fat such as chewing your food more slowly. They do also cite a recent study that showed that people who chewed their food 40 times as opposed to people that chewed their food 15 times ate almost 12% less on average. And they then moved onto discuss other things such as the effects of green tea and how to react in social situations when you are being pressured to eat foods that go against your dietary needs.
So if anyone is looking to start their weight loss journey, definitely recommend reading this.
The next featured article we will consider is more about Misfit and the smartwatch we talked about earlier. So Misfit Vapor is coming out on October 31st. And the real question is…will it be able to compete against the wearable powerhouses such as Apple, Fitbit and Garmin. It is quite a crowded market for Misfit to move into, but Misfit do have some loyal followers.
So it will be very interesting to see how they progress.
So let’s go into some of the features and the price and stuff like that. The vapor will cost $199.99 making it actually very reasonably priced in this market. The screen actually has a very good resolution and reaches an impressively high 326 pixels per inch.
If you previously owned a Misfit Phaze the straps will actually work with your Vapor and the Vapor, much-like the Fitbit Ionic is actually swim-proof.
Misfit have chosen to avoid Android Wear software which will limit the app selection but they have revealed they have done this decision to create their own software, to bring all the useful features from other competitors into the Vapor.
Some other nifty features that the misfit Vapor has are, if you tap on the clock on the home screen you get to see your goal for the day and whether you have completed it or not. And if you have completed it you will get a congratulatory animation.
There are all sorts of shortcuts on the home screen like for the weather and the fitness and heart rate trackers. It also comes with sleep and sports tracking.
Perhaps the only downside that we can see at the moment of the Misfit Vapor is the thickness of the watch which might not be favored by some big Misfit advocates who love the brand for what it is known for really which is its fashionable designs.
But as I said, it will be interesting to see how the Misfit Vapor does in this market.
For our science/health post, we looked into a post by Fox News, where we learnt about a new method to treat depression.
So according to recent studies, anti-depression medication can be ineffective in up to 40% of people. Around 16 million US citizens suffer from depressive episodes throughout the year. So as you can imagine that is a huge proportion of people that actually say the medicine they have been prescribed is not working at all.
And due to the lack of effective medication, Doctors at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA Health, are connecting wires to patients brains and beaming magnetic pulses deep inside them to change the way depression symptoms are perceived.
This is called transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS and it’s currently FDA approved to treat depression.
And again apologies if I get his name wrong but Dr. Andrew Leuchter, director of the Semel Insitute’s TMS clinical and research service said “The idea is that by using non-chemical means we can change the brain and how it functions,” “By pulsing the brain with energy repeatedly, we’re changing the way that area works, but also changing the way the whole brain network works.”
They have also said that this treatment could prove helpful in a wide range of conditions like schizophrenia, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and chronic pain, by rewiring a network of signals in the brain. So my question is, What are your thoughts on this sort of treatment? For many people that do suffer from depression this could be revolutionary for them but what are your thoughts on this?
We then considered for our nutrition and supplementation post, a podcast by Mike Matthews, who is the founder of Muscle for life and Legion Supplements.
So this one is going to be quite difficult to talk about because they went into a very in-depth discussion about nutrition and it is actually an hour long podcast that we are trying to briefly summarise in a much shorter podcast today. Nonetheless, I will give it my best shot to give you a brief summary of what it is like.
In the Podcast Mike interviews Dr.Cate Shanahan the author of “Deep nutrition”. Dr. Shanahan is also a physician and a nutritional consultant for various professional sports teams such as the los Angeles Lakers.
They explore how people have started to perceive ‘flexible dieting’ as like a diet or life hack. People are realising they can eat whatever processed junk food they want as long as they stay in their macronutrient numbers and this will actually allow them to still remain lean. Again this is why people call it, if it fits your macros.
Mike and Dr. Shanahan, actually discuss this. yes you can stay lean but long-term health benefits from this….there are none. You are damaging your body by not giving it the adequate nutrition that it needs. It is not just about macronutrients and calories. there are all sorts of micronutrients and vitamins that are being neglected by supplying your body with fuel from bankrupt foods, like processed foods.
If you are interested in getting a very granular, in-depth idea about nutrition and really going deep into it (see what I did there, the title of the book is deep nutrition) I highly recommended listening to this podcast.
And now it is time for our Fit-Tech Feature This Week.
So This week we featured Peloton, and they are a company that brings people an immersive indoor cycling or spinning class experience from the comfort of your own home.
In their own words “The Peloton bike brings you the most convenient and immersive indoor cycling experience, streaming daily live classes from our NYC studio directly into your home. You’ll have 24-hour access to studio cycling classes available to your entire household.”
so that is what Peloton offer, they offer an exercise bike that comes with a touchscreen. Which is a sweatproof monitor that allows you to partake in any 14 live classes during a day or alternatively, if you miss any of those, you can choose a pre-recorded class from the data base of over 4000 classes.
The coaches are all very professional and highly energetic and motivate you along the way. You will receive an array of performance metrics such as your wattage and cadence and things like that, after each class so you can compare your results with your friends or even the global leaderboard.
If you want to you can hook up your heart rate monitors to the app and on-screen you will be able to see your heart rate as it moves up through heart rate zones. So as you pedal and push faster and harder you will be able to see the amount of effort your having to put in.
And they also have an app which allows you to start a class from any where and use any bike. So if you are in a hotel gym for example and you don’t have your Peloton with you, simply set the app up and follow the class on one of those bikes.
We have covered Peloton in more depth on our blog where we feature every fit-tech feature. Our blog can be found by heading to our website: www.shapescale.com, clicking the icon in the top left hand corner on the landing page and selecting blog. Feel free obviously to scroll through past and present blogs. There is all sorts of interesting and valuable information from different Shape authors on the blog.
Yeah, so thank you for tuning in to the first audio edition of the Shape Digest and I hope you have enjoyed it. This is something we are looking to start for the long-term, if it is well received. Please do not hesitate to send us your feedback to [email protected] or tweet us @shape_scale and give us your feedback on what I have been like as your host, (hopefully not too terrible) what sort of articles you might want to see, whether you appreciated having an audio edition.
And if you enjoyed this podcast please do us a favor and give us a rating on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app so that others can also discover the Weekly Shape Fitness & Health Digest.
Thank you very much for listening, I have been your host Charlie.