What have you been smoking, Charles Poliquin?!?!

The reason for writing this post stems from me reading a blog post by Charles Poliquin on his personal blog. Poliquin’s post is a commentary on a recent study on endurance athletes (la Gerche et al, 2011) and a more or less generic assault on endurance training per se. Yes – this man actually claims that endurance training, cardio, is bad for you….

This is very, very problematic for two reasons: 1) because there is an overwhelming likelihood that his claims are wrong, and 2) because Charles Poliquin is an international fitness guru and the owner of one the strongest fitness communication and certification brands in the world, making him extremely influential. When someone this influential makes claims like these, this will almost certainly push some individuals towards making some very poor decisions regarding their health and training and therefore most likely result in a net negative effect on public health. Therefore it crucial that claims like these are met with qualified resistance, even though mine probably won’t generate the same impact with my few thousand readers compared to his (probably) ranging from the hundred thousands to millions of readers ;o)

Before i get to my rebuttal, let me state that I think a training approach where multiple fitness parameters are stimulated is favorable to any approach just including “classic” cardiovascular endurance training. ACSM has defined fitness to include strength, muscular endurance, cardiorespiratory fitness, flexibility and motor skills – which I think of as a very decent definition and that ideally one should aim to target all of these. Furthermore, I fully acknowledgde that a lot of people use cardio in a wrong way considering the existing stress factors in their lives, e.g. putting spinning in a tightly packed schedule in a body with existing sympathetic overstimulation. But this does not justify making false claims against a physical activity that everything indicates is very healthy.

Take a deep breath…

Who the f*** is Charles Poliquin?

I’ve been getting more and more readers in the last couple of months and as I’m not really sure who you are out there, I think It’d be best to present Charles before we do this. He’s a Canadian exercise physiologist, personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach, whose track record as a trainer includes several world champions and Olympics competitors, primarily in hockey and track and field. He rose to fame in part through him writing for Muscle Media and later testosterone magazine, that turned into t-nation as we know it today. He’s developed his own trainer certification brand, PICP and the very succesful (and controversial) nutrition coaching concept Biosignature. In the beginning of his career as a writer he was quite progressive, yet in respect of the academic consensus, but in the last 5-10 years he’s been turning progressively faster towards a standpoint embracing “alternative” viewpoints and in some cases directly opposing the opinion of established academia especially on the topic of nutrition. Of course he claims that everything he says is back by rock hard science, but especially in the later years those claims contrast what most individuals training in nutrition, sport or health science consider a very selective and sometimes just wrong use of scientific literature.

Charles Poliquin

Charles Poliquin

The way I see it, he’s been getting very good at saying the right stuff to make money. That should leave reasonable space for interpretation without getting overly explicit.

What is he saying, really?

In his blog post, he comments on a recent study in which different endurance and ultra endurance athletes had their cardiac function assessed directly post-competitive events. The researchers found that endurance athletes had impaired function of the right ventricle, the part of the heart pumping blood into the lungs.

In his post, he makes a number of rather controversial points/comments:

“Beware of cardiovascular damage from intense endurance training.”

Actually this is not news. It has previously been shown that ultra endurance event may cause a degree of temporary damage to the heart muscle. However, it has not been shown to accumulate in general and not been shown to contribute excessively to net mortality in endurance athletes…

“providing additional data that endurance training may not provide health benefits”

Erm…. Let me get that straight. Because an acute study shows temporary damage to the heart, endurance exercise provides no health benefits? What happened to lower blood pressure, improved glucose uptake, metabolic fitness, insulin sensitivity and reduced peripheral vascular resistance and vasoreactivity?

“Take away from this study the understanding that long duration, intense endurance exercise is unlikely to be beneficial for health.”

Read the previous comment… and i will comment more further down…

“Shorter duration endurance or “aerobic” exercise has not been shown to cause the same damage, but it does produce oxidative stress, which will lead to chronic inflammation and may impair organ function.”

I will deal with that later on..

At the end of the post he naturally accounts for what his answer is to the scourge of endurance cardio is:

“But, I suggest that the ideal exercise for health, well being, and cardiovascular health is a resistance training program that includes intense energy system training for conditioning and weight management. “

Followed by a reference to a previous post of his with the flattering title  “The (Many) Negatives of Aerobic Training”, in which he elaborates on his criticism of aerobic exercise (and ultimately links to another article in which he prescribes his treatment for scourge of aerobic, which primarily consists of not doing it (aerobics ;o) and/or a supplementation regime of antioxidants

Lower mortality and morbidity in former elite endurance athletes

I want to initiate my rebuttal by rejecting that the literature supports that aerobic exercise is unhealthy or that endurance athletes put their very health at risk. The available literature on mortality and morbidity of former elite athletes across disciplines, indicates that former elite athletes in endurance sports has longer active and absolute life expectancies than other groups of athletes and the background population (e.g. Sarna et, 1994; Sarna et al, 1997 og Kujala et al, 2003). Of course the very definition of “healthy” is subjective, but my point is that life expectancy is a harder endpoint than acute responses to (ultra)-endurance events like ejection fraction, inflammatory markers and so on.

I fully acknowledge that these studies on mortality are correlative, but they represent the best estimate of health in endurance athletes and the healthiness of their training and they strongly contradict the postulates put forth by Charles Poliquin.

So what does poliquiin claim is unhealthy about aerobic exercise?

In the la Gerche study (2011), the researchers report an impairment of heart function in the right ventricle, the part of the heart pumping deoxygenated blood into the lungs and they also find elevated markers of myocardial damage. This impairment subsides almost totally within two weeks, but the researchers speculated whether continued training and competitive activity could cause chronic myocardial scarring or other types of damage. Some studies do indicate that this happens, although this is only documented in world elite athletes and it has not been documented to result in a these athletes having higher mortalities than background populations.

The most obvious interpretation seems to be that although there may be weak evidence for the prevalence of myocardial damage in a small subset of world elite ultra endurance athletes, the negative effects are countered by the beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity, oxidative defences, lipid profile, peripheral vascular resistance, vasoreactivity and so on.

Rasmus Henning, danish world elite triathlete, immune suppressed, hypogonadal, prematurely aged and overwhelmed by free radicals and glucocorticoids, according to Charles Poliquin

Normally, we think of the heart as an unstoppable machine, that never stops, never gets fatigues and whose function is incredible stable. Therefore, when cardiologists, used to working with dysfunctional hearts, looks at a heart whose function is impaired following extreme competitive endurance events, they assume it is a sign of pathology. If one looked the same way at skeletal muscle following the same events or extreme or unaccustomed resistance training, the skeletal muscle tissue would appear to suffer from some sort of myopathy, suffering from loss of structural integrity, reduction of strength and leaking creatine kinase and myoglobin. All of these could also be signs of dangerous muscle ailments, but with skeletal muscle, these are considered “natural physiological” signs, rather than something pathological. Even after repeated muscle damage following intense exercise, we see no discernible scarring or fibrosis in young healthy individuals. Considering how close cardiac muscle and skeletal muscle are related to each another, I can’t help thinking that the observed changes in cardiac muscle are physiological rather than pathophysiological, considering that the impairment of right ventricle function seems to be fairly consistent, whereas the prevalence of proposed training-induced actual cardiac scarring or chronic damage is quite rare.

Poliquin’s really got a stick up his arse about cardio

In the previous post that Poliquin links to in his post, he extends on his criticism on aerobic exercise. In that post he arranges his points of criticism in different point, that I’ll divide a little further, as most of his point actually contains two points. He claims, that aerobic exercise:

  1. increases cortisol (implied to an extent in which i damages health)
  2. promotes aging
  3. causes increased inflammation
  4. increases oxidative stress
  5. reduces levels of circulating sex hormones
  6. reduces size of primary and secondary sex organs (!?)
  7. compromises immune function

Claims 1 and 2 are derived from a study in which the researchers measured levels of cortisol in hair from endurance athletes (Skoluda et al, 2011) and found that endurance athletes have elevated levels of cortisol. This is not a mystery by any means – all intense training causes increases in cortisol and given this circumstance it’s no big deal that endurance athletes that usually trains for longer time than e.g. strength athletes also has more cortisol in their hair. Cortisol is amongst other uses, used for mobilizing energy reservoirs in the body (including muscle protein), especially when glycogen stores are depleted, which happens frequently when endurance athletes train. This however, does not imply that the observed exercise-induced increases in cortisol are unhealthy.

So the point where Poliquin’s pushing it, is where he claims that increased cortisol is unanimously bad and not a part of the primary training response. There’s pretty substantial evidence that cortisol reduces fatigue perception through direct effects on the central nervous system and also some evidence that i actually increases fatigue tolerance peripherally by increasing ion transporters that helps maintain membrane potential, which is a known factor in momentary muscle fatigue. Finally it must be said that endurance athletes seem to develop a resistance to cortisol which once again should reduce the physiological impact of the fact that they have net higher cortisol..

Claims 3 and 4 stems from another study, where the investigators measured the levels of free radicals and peroxidized lipids, which are markers for oxidative stress, in controls, sprinters and long-distance runners (Marzatico et al, 1997). In their paper, they report higher levels of these compounds in the long-distance runners. Free radicals and peroxidized lipids are produced during regular metabolism and sometimes these compounds escape the metabolic clockwork and escape or overcome the built-in defenses. This can lead to DNA and cell membrane damage, which is obviously not good. Besides that, they generally contribute to inappropriate inflammatory cascade activation.

As these compounds are byproducts of metabolism it makes sense that more are produced in long-term sustained activity, relative to short-term or no activity. After all, it does require more metabolizing to rung 42 km that 200 m. And again, where Poliquin logic fails is when he extrapolates from the acute situation to the chronic. As already discussed, it is not surprising that more byproducts of oxidation can be found in endurance athletes, but it cannot be used to claim that these athletes are overwhelmed by oxidative stress in general, causing increased inflammation and even accelerated aging. There is overwhelming evidence that endurance athletes have better oxidative defences, likely enabling them to cope better with everyday stresses, and lower so called low-grade inflammation than non-endurance trained individuals (Teixeira-Lemos et al, 2011). Also it is interesting that the tissues that are particularly subject to oxidative stress, i.e. skeletal muscle and endothelial cells, generally do not develop cancer (consequence of DNA damage) and have amazing regenerative potential. I particular muscle has the ability to renew myonuclei from the resident muscle stem cells, satellite cells and thus cope well with DNA damage. I suspect it works like that for a reason…..

Claims 5 and 6 are about the sexual hormones and function. They stem from an animal study in which rats were subjected to swimming 3 hours a day 5 days a week and found large decreases in circulating hormones and even sexual organ size (Manna et al, 2004). Unfortunately I have not been able to access the original study, so I can’t comment as qualified as I’d liked to. initially I can safely state it is done in growing rats, so one could speculate that the development of their sexual organs is not complete and they could be more susceptible to oxidative stress. Besides that there are numerous ways to perform swimming experiments with rats and I know from experience that some are quite hardcore in that they often bring the rats quite close to drowning, which could probably easily suppress hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Another fact that may make this even more relevant is that while rats are excellent swimmers, they are not natural endurance athletes, which could stress them even more and possibly make their muscles and systemic environments more susceptible to this kind of exercise’s effects. Summarizing, I have a very hard time believing that the effects on genital size have any implications for human biology and furthermore I also have a hard time assessing what the exercise intervention used would translate to i terms of human exercise (I’m pretty sure “race across America” also messes seriously with every single organ system in the body)

The last claim, that exercise compromises immune function is also in stark contrast to the scientific consensus. There is absolutely no doubt that intense exercise acutely suppresses immune function, no matter if its endurance or resistance exercise, but there are absolutely no indications of a general impaired immune function. International Society of Exercise and Immunology (ISEI) recently published a position stand covering this field nicely (Walsh et al, 2011).

Why Is he saying these things?

At the basic level there can be only two explanations: 1) he doesn’t know any better and simply fails physiology literature, or 2) he knows these claims are false and has some kind of agenda.

If the answer i 1), I guess that’s okay. Everyone makes mistakes, but if that is the case he should do his research better prior to making statements this controversial. I do find it very hard to believe that this should be the case.

If, on the other hand it is option 2), the most obvious explanation is that his agenda is about branding through i) validating the exercise interventions he usually recommends, by saying that the alternative is dangerous, ii) he want to assume a position in opposition to that of the scientific consensus in order to establish or reinforce an “us-versus-them” attitude in his disciples, creating or reinforcing follower coherency, or iii) he’s doing it to sell supplements (or any combination of the three).

There could really be any reason or combination of reasons that Poliquin is doing things the way he is, and saying the stuff he’s saying, but no matter what it doesn’t justify saying things that are quite simply untrue. Intentional or not.

conclusion

Poliquin is first and foremost a strength and then a nutrition specialist, not unlike myself and when he says that for maximal impact on health and body composition, people should focus on resistance training and high intensity (mostly anaerobic) cardio training, I agree. But I most certainly do not agree that lower intensity, endurance-type cardio is unhealthy. Even if it may cause myocardial damage to a few elite ultra endurance athletes, it is most likely that the beneficial effects on other parts of the body fully offsets this. The Ironic part is that the very few whose hearts could possibly be damaged by this kind of exercise couldn’t care less about Poliquin, whereas those who could benefit from endurance training are a lot more likely to get to know of his “warnings” and acting (poorly) from them… Put in another way, for every single person whose heart have been damaged by endurance exercise, hundreds or thousands would benefit from it (especially those people most likely to be compliant with this exercise modality), underscoring what a magnificent dick move this is on Poliquins behalf…

References

George, K., Spence, A., Naylor, L. H., Whyte, G. P., & Green, D. J. (2011). Cardiac adaptation to acute and chronic participation in endurance sports. Heart (British Cardiac Society), 97(24), 1999–2004. doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2011-300536

La Gerche, A., Burns, A. T., Mooney, D. J., Inder, W. J., Taylor, A. J., Bogaert, J., Macisaac, A. I., et al. (2011). Exercise-induced right ventricular dysfunction and structural remodelling in endurance athletes. Eur Heart J. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehr397

Kujala, U., Marti, P., Kaprio, J., Hernelahti, M., Tikkanen, H., & Sarna, S. (2003). Occurrence of Chronic Disease in Former Top-Level Athletes: Predominance of Benefits, Risks or Selection Effects? Sports Medicine, 33(8), 553–561. Adis International.

Manna, I., Jana, K., & Samanta, P. K. (2004). Intensive swimming exercise-induced oxidative stress and reproductive dysfunction in male wistar rats: protective role of alpha-tocopherol succinate. Can.J Appl Physiol, 29(2), 172–185.

Marzatico, F., Pansarasa, O., Bertorelli, L., Somenzini, L., & Valle, Della, G. (1997). Blood free radical antioxidant enzymes and lipid peroxides following long-distance and lactacidemic performances in highly trained aerobic and sprint athletes. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 37(4), 235–239.

Sarna, S., Kaprio, J., Kujala, U. M., & Koskenvuo, M. (1997). Health status of former elite athletes. The Finnish experience. Aging (Milan, Italy), 9(1-2), 35–41.

Sarna, S., & Kaprio, J. (1994). Life expectancy of former elite athletes. Sports medicine (Auckland, NZ), 17(3), 149–151.

Skoluda, N., Dettenborn, L., Stalder, T., & Kirschbaum, C. (2011). Elevated hair cortisol concentrations in endurance athletes. Psychoneuroendocrinology. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.09.001

Teixeira-Lemos, E., Nunes, S., Teixeira, F., & Reis, F. (2011). Regular physical exercise training assists in preventing type 2 diabetes development: focus on its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cardiovascular diabetology, 10, 12. doi:10.1186/1475-2840-10-12

Walsh, N. P., Gleeson, M., Shephard, R. J., Gleeson, M., Woods, J. A., Bishop, N. C., Fleshner, M., et al. (2011). Position statement. Part one: Immune function and exercise. Exerc Immunol Rev, 17, 6–63.

Wilson, M., O’Hanlon, R., Prasad, S., Deighan, A., Macmillan, P., Oxborough, D., Godfrey, R., et al. (2011). Diverse patterns of myocardial fibrosis in lifelong, veteran endurance athletes. Journal of Applied Physiology, 110(6), 1622–1626. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01280.2010

21 Comments

  1. james sebastian on 17. February 2012 at 10:00

    Hi there, just finished reading your post on Poliquin stating the most common debate in recent times about endurance cardio being
    a negative step in staying optimal and anabolic.

    Your case is very thorough and found it refreshing to see a well researched reply to this common asked question.
    I myself am a chek practioner and bio sig consultant and tend to favour the argument against endurance based cardio from
    a 2 different areas, one being the long term effect to the condition of the spine and the common pelvic issues caused by running
    long distance. Now, i myself like spriniting but will dabble in some long distnace runnning once in a while, i think a key problem is
    that if you look at runners youll notice that a very very high majority of these runners have really bad form, ie, serious bilateral valgus of the kness and seriousy bad stride and footfall position, just because we can run doesnt mean that many do it right, sounds silly but
    peole really learn how to do it properly, its like the argument that a child can perfectly squat and demonstrate olympic prowess but as we age
    honestly ask most 20-30 year olds to squat and it look horrendous. its because alot of people cannot do it properly anymore thanks to
    having to adapt to city life etc

    from the anabolic side runners need to understand more about their own immune system to balance out the wastage that can come from long
    term running, because we can agree that it can leave your muscular system in a catabolic state effecting your ability to grow optimally.

    I wont go into further detail but like i said i like your argument and i think if you understand your body and nutrition and understand the effects you can do both cardio endurance and keep muscle mass if you have good protocols.

    unfortunately i have seen to many people with desk jobs with really bad postures buy a new pair of trainers then just out and about running leading to alot of issues which i then need to look at, crazy but true.

    • incognitodk on 17. February 2012 at 10:40

      hi james
      thanks for your comment. The situation you're describing is really no different from regular fitness training or sprinting, is it? All kinds of physical activity require correction of serious postural deficiencies before starting, but i agree that regular people may be more prone to thinking they "know running" than with resistance training or HIIT. And i perfectly agree that that for the regular 3×45-60 minutes/week fitness customer, resistance training and HIIT will most likely provide better cosmetic, health and performance benefits than endurance-type training. Yet, if you look at "voluntary trainees", recreational runners or cyclists have way better health markers than recreational weight trainee or even the recreational HIIT fanatic. No matter what, the specific points poliquin makes about the unhealthiness of endurance training are point by point very likely very close to lying, which is a huge problem for a guru like Poliquin and more people need to adress this.
      Once again thank you for you comment ;o)

      Anders

  2. jeremysmith89 on 14. April 2012 at 22:02

    Mate, I love how how I just stumbled upon your blog. 90-95% of what Poliquin does/says I agree with, but then he takes a stance like this and I can't help but get furious with him. Personally, I think Poliquin knows what he is doing and I think it is his attempt at standing out from the mainstream belief. Paul Chek has done the EXACT same thing..I would not say Paul Chek is as reputable a fellow as Poliquin, but I think the stance they both have taken is strategic. They are trying to stir things up and come from an opposing side – that is often beneficial when the alternate perspective(s) is/are legitimate..but not in this case! Poliquin is dead wrong and he manipulates studies like the one on cortisol release/prevalence to try and hammer his point home. I really appreciate how you've called Poliquin out..it infuriates me and drives me to question his true motives, not to mention how he loses respect in my mind.

    • incognitodk on 16. April 2012 at 9:32

      Thank you very much for your kind words. While I cannot claim as appreciative an attitude towards Poliquin as you, I still think he did some awesome stuff until he started doing Biosig and going very high-tech on his training advice. I never cared much for Chek as I never thought he made truly valuable contributions to the fitness community. Unfortunately, mankind is designed to care more for apperance and selfbranding than for content and substance, creating a market for bullshit. People want to given magical, individualized cures for their ailments rather than the generic advice that fits 95% of people (eat carbs as dictated by activity levels, eat at least a pound of vegetables per day, eat more quality protein, be physically active at a level at least corresponding to 30 minutes of brisk walking per day). But thank you once againfor your kind words ;o)

      anders

  3. Dan on 25. May 2012 at 22:14

    This is one of the best articles I have read in a long time.

    I think in this day and age people tend to forget to think for themselves, and Poliquin and Chek understand this; enough to use this to to their own individual means to enhance their own corporate image. Becuase of his reputation, it is rather easy to just accept it being gospel, without question. Being controversial will always get you more attention. But to the point of lying like you said is seriously tarnishing the hard work good quality trainers out there are doing. They should be held more accountable and with a post like this, maybe more people will will start question professionals and sift through the fact versus fiction.

    Cheers. Dan

    • incognitodk on 28. May 2012 at 8:36

      Hi, dan
      Thank you very much for your very kind response.

      Anders

  4. Steve on 28. May 2012 at 20:43

    Hi
    I was directed here from your comment on Bret Contreras's blog about Poliquin. I really enjoyed your post, nicely written and thought out, actually thought it was better than what Contreras wrote! Its worth pointing out that in the Le Gerches et al study the athletes had completed events lasting 3 to 11 hours, hardly typical of the average person doing some cardio in the gym. Just another case of a person taking a study and then using it to make blanket statements. Though I don't think Poliquin is alone amongst strength coaches with his view that all endurance exercise is evil.

    • incognitodk on 1. June 2012 at 7:58

      Hi Steve
      Thank you for your comment. You're right about the La Gerche study, I may write that into the post later. Cheers
      Anders

  5. Concerned on 15. June 2012 at 10:17

    Hi Anders, a great read, thankyou. Read my first (and probably last) CP blog yesterday:
    http://www.charlespoliquin.com/Blog/tabid/130/Ent

    It's a cavalier approach, and whether by design or by accident, (on this occasion) he 'references' a study and makes conclusions not found in the original paper. Encouraging strength training over 'cardio' based on IVD compression. The study abstact he 'referenced' certainly did NOT match the conclusions he made.

    When I (respectfully) raised the same concerns on his facebook page, my comments were deleted within the day. His blogs are not really worth anymore of my time, but the concerns remain! And I agree, with a 'reach' of 30,000 facebook followers, and 15,000 twitter followers, it is cause for concern…

    Regards, 'concerned'
    BExSc

    • incognitodk on 18. June 2012 at 15:03

      Thank you very much for your kind words. I've seen this blog post already and agree fully. Loliquin is on some weird crusade against running, picking whatever literature suits his purpose. Sucks ass, if you ask me.

      Anders

  6. Andreas on 14. November 2012 at 0:33

    This piece of writting is priceless ! Keep up the great work.

    Best regards from Germany

    Andreas

  7. George on 29. December 2012 at 15:08

    Great response. nice to see a well thought out and logical argument to what has to be one of the most ludicrous claims i have ever seen in the field of exercise. i think your point about the immediate reductions in strength, and increases in circulating indicators of muscle damage post-resistance training is excellent, particularly because it discredits his argument philosophically, by creating a situation whereby If 1 is true, then 2 must be true also. if 1 is not true, then 2 must not be true also.

    being an exercise physiologist myself, it angers me to think that people with such a following deem it OK to promote such drivel. Particularly when you hear personal trainers and the lay public following his logic. You can hardly blame them for not knowing any better, they aren't equipped with the relevant knowledge or skills to form a well balanced opinion.

    i would however not argue that any detriments to right sided ventricular failure is offset by improvements in metabolic health and insulin sensitivity etc. Right sided heart failure (chronically), will cause health problems that are independent to those benefits that you mention. most notably fatigue due to heart failure, and perihperal edema resulting from a back-up of blood within the venous system.

    Perhaps someone should ask him his opinion regarding the potential relationship between resistance training and increases in arterial stiffness (1), a known predictor of future cardiovascular mortality (2)

    1. Miyachi M. Effects of resistance training on arterial stiffness: a meta-analysis. 2012. Br J Sports Med

    2. Vlachopoulos C, Aznaouridis K, Stefanadis C. Prediction of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality with arterial stiffness: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2010 Mar 30;55(13):1318-27.

    that is not to say i believe resistance training is dangerous, nor should anyone think that this is the case. it is just an interesting observation, and one i think he would conveniently overlook given his agenda.

    given he is a man obsessed with resistance training, it is possible that his bias against any form of aerobic exercise stems from its inhibitory effects on strength gains and hypertrophy. it is well documented that aerobic training impedes optimal adaptations to RT. but it is hardly hazardous.

    just consult the multitude of research that tells you otherwise

    • incognitodk on 2. January 2013 at 9:16

      thank you very much ;o)

      Anders

  8. Wendy on 19. July 2013 at 12:09

    I read your article with great interest, as recently I've been hearing "Poliquin" being bandied around at my gym, and I had no idea about who or what he represented. At my Fitness First gym, there are several PTs now, who actually tell new gym members that "cardio is bad for you and all you need for health and weight loss is resistance training and flexibility." This sort of thing makes me furious. I am not an exercise scientist, but I've been a very regular exerciser (6 days a week) for 26 years (joined age 25, now 51). Over those years, I have combined cardio (different types and intensities) with weights and yoga/Body balance. This has proved an effective mix for me. My weight has remained stable at 58-60 Kg (except during my two pregnancies) for the entire time period, and my blood chemistry is excellent (high HDL, low HDL, low trigs, no probs with thyroid or impaired glucose tolerance). My intention is not to blow my trumpet, but rather to suggest that for most of us mere mortals (non elite athletes), who just want to remain healthy, active and maintain a normal weight, we need a bit of everything, I.e. strength, stamina and flexibility. Why does Poliquin what to complicate what is already a difficult challenge for many people? PTs telling members not to do cardio seems wrong to me – Poliquin needs to be more responsible about what he's saying – he is influencing PTs, who, in turn, are influencing regular gym members to do no cardiovascukar exercise. Meanwhile, the obesity epidemic continues unabated.

    • incognitodk on 22. July 2013 at 9:01

      Hi Wendy and thank you for your contribution. Maintaining fitness is not rocket science. Unfortunately, selling oneself as a personal trainer is easier when one presents a gimmick, and preferably a controversial one at that and i think that is one of the driving forces behind CP's point on cardio – it's a marketing stunt. But it should be noted that in this day and age, where everyone is too busy and supposed to look like a million, while being a good parent, a strong man/woman, keep a tidy house and so on, short intense exercise bouts is the only practical solution. Unless, of course, that one i willing to step down the pace and ;o)

      Anders

  9. Jay on 30. October 2013 at 23:15

    This is fantastic! I am so glad to see that people are finally 'wising up' to Poliquin.
    I took his BioSignature course around 4 years ago and from day 1 of that course I never liked the man, he was completely arrogant and claimed that only his way was the right way! I admit, I bought into the whole supplement thing for a while. I proceeded to buy his supplements and sell them on to my clients for maybe a year after that, then I started to actually question their effectiveness. I also stopped using his forum when I realised that most of his disciples were a complete bunch of idiots, they all believed every word he said and would rip people apart for questioning any of his methods.
    The reason nobody challenges him is because he is aggressive and most us normal folk cant even read scientific research.
    I have since discovered some very highly regarded people in the fitness industry who do not support anything that Poliquin says.

    • incognitodk on 31. October 2013 at 9:09

      Hi Jay
      I'd be lying if I said that your story was the only of of its kind i have heard about Poliquin. Thanks for your comments ;o)

      Anders

  10. fitnesstep1 on 7. March 2016 at 8:53

    This article is so good and inspiring. Thank you so much.

  11. Damien on 26. January 2017 at 22:16

    Someone should write an article, ‘Who the f**k is Anders Nedergaard?’

    “In some cases (Poliquin) directly opposing the opinion of established academia especially on the topic of nutrition.”

    Like established academia that sold out to the grain companies that pushed seed oils and transfats on us, and now it turns out butter isn’t a baddie and coconut oil is perfectly healthy and polyunsaturated seed oils are the real culprit ? If you’re gonna rip the guy at least have the balls or intelligence to take him to task on Biosignature or whatever else you disagree with, but you pull him up because he ‘disagrees with the current consensus’, then the dietary advice changes and you look like a fool, because Charles, Mary Enig and many others were light years ahead of you, whatever your name was again…

    • Anders Nedergaard on 12. February 2017 at 21:30

      Hi, Damien.
      You are completely right that scientific concensus may change, when new evidence presents. Thats exactly the difference between scientists and Poliquin. He doesn’t give a flying fuck about evidence.
      The majority of this post is about Poliquin’s ramblings about why cardio is bad. I can say with a fairly high degree of certainty that the idea that cardio is on pretty much all accounts good for life expectancy and overall health is very unlikely to change.

      You can have all the ideas you like about Big Grain, Big Farm, Big Pharma and so on, and I’m willing to discuss those, provided you have actual arguments. But I’m really looking forward to your Big Cardio conspiracy idea ;o)
      Anders

  12. Fitness Caw on 27. April 2017 at 8:59

    Thanks for sharing a nice article on it. It was worth reading.

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