Category Archives: Myth-busting

Should rehabilitation exercises be painful?

There seems to be two, somewhat group-specific although not equally wrong – general opinions on this:

The “Crossfit”-group, for the people who proudly wear the “No Pain No Gain”- tshirts and think that it has to hurt to work. All that nonsense; you are either one of those or you have heard it. The former is obviously worse and this view undoubtedly represents the “most wrong” opinion.

The “Personal Trainer”-group, for the people who have attended at least one expensive course/workshop/coffee meeting. Mantras such as “do not move into pain” and “pain is bad, mkay” rule the atmosphere of beliefs, and – not unlike the CF-group, they take pride in being part of this… better-knowing group of educated individuals. Once upon a time I too probably belonged somewhat to this group, so – because of social “reasoning” – that makes it okay for me to say it.


If you noticed the SP-ref and the sarcasm at the end there, there might be hope for you yet.


Now to the point. Both groups are most likely wrong.
Here´s why:

A 2017 meta-analysis titled “Should exercises be painful in the management of chronic musculoskeletal pain?” looked at both the acute and long-term effect of exercises where pain is allowed/encouraged compared with non-painful exercises. Based on the conclusion shown below, it would appear that both groups are wrong and that a moderate and controlled (in time) level of pain during (rehabilitation) exercises is okay, and perhaps even something to strive for. Good news for the sadists and masochists out there.

Conclusion: Protocols using painful exercises offer a small but significant benefit over pain-free exercises in the short term, with moderate quality of evidence. In the medium and long term there is no clear superiority of one treatment over another. Pain during therapeutic exercise for chronic musculoskeletal pain need not be a barrier to successful outcomes.


Low-carb or low-fat for weight loss?


Ah yes, the most asked question in all weight loss-groups known to man. The equivalent of to crossfit or not to crossfit, and the closest most nutrition people come to being part of a science-denying cult. For some reason, there is no middle way on this one; you´re either for or against, and if you are too smart/chickenshit not to choose, you know nothing.

Luckily, a newly published meta-analysis of 32 controlled feeding studies seems to have settled the case. This effectively means that, in 5-10 years, the majority of people in the fitness/nutrition industry will know and talk proudly about this.

In short, low-fat diets showed to elicit the greatest increases in fat loss.

Below is the abstract and a forest-plot of the included studies and their results.


Weight changes are accompanied by imbalances between calorie intake and expenditure. This fact is often misinterpreted to suggest that obesity is caused by gluttony and sloth and can be treated by simply advising people to eat less and move more. Rather various components of energy balance are dynamically interrelated and weight loss is resisted by counterbalancing physiological processes. While low-carbohydrate diets have been suggested to partially subvert these processes by increasing energy expenditure and promoting fat loss, our meta-analysis of 32 controlled feeding studies with isocaloric substitution of carbohydrate for fat found that both energy expenditure (26 kcal/d; P <.0001) and fat loss (16 g/d; P <.0001) were greater with lower fat diets. We review the components of energy balance and the mechanisms acting to resist weight loss in the context of static, settling point, and set-point models of body weight regulation, with the set-point model being most commensurate with current data.



How much sleep do you really need?

The National Sleep Foundation gathered a 18 person- multidisciplinary expert panel to evaluate scientific literature regarding sleep requirements for different age groups. The evaluation is published in the journal “Sleep Health” and nicely illustrated in the infographic below.

Of note, the conclude that individual sleep requirements should be considered, but that these (should) rarely deviate far from the normal range. If done so consistently, over time this will most likely compromise health and well-being.

Alongside the CF-idoms/nonsense-phrases that somehow became popular due to plain stupidity, the “you can sleep when you are old”- phrase should be disregarded and the person stating it publicly ridiculed. That is, of course, only if you are interested in optimising health, memory, mental and physical performance, recovery, lean body mass, pain reduction etc etc.*




* (Thomas et al., 2000; Alhola et al., 2007; Taheri et al., 2004; Knutson et al., 2007; Afflect et al., 1996; Kundermann et al., 2004; Moldofsky et al., 2001)

The “surprising” problem with calorie counting – part 2

As promised, here is part 2 of the nice little two-story infographic on calorie counting by Precision Nutrition.

Whereas the first one nicely illustrated 5 reasons as to why trying to count the calories that goes in is a waste of time, the one below shows why “calories out” also is close- to- impossible to determine somewhat precisely.

In short; you’re not your neighbour!



The “surprising” problem with calorie counting – part 1

Another nice infographic by Precision Nutrition.

In short, you should know that you have absolutely no idea about how many calories you are really absorbing; mainly because of individuality, imprecise calorie-descriptions and food preparation. That is good news! If anything, it´s an argument to save you the never-ending trouble of counting and weighing your food.

Part 2 is a nice read as well!


Science rocks, but…

People will be people, and most people suck.


Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.

- Dr. Richard Horton, Editor-in-chief of the Lancet


It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.

- Dr. Marcia Angell

Neuroplasticity 101 – infographic

Neuroplasticity is one of the more important buzz-words these years. It´s well established that our brains are plastic until our last day, meaning that the capacity for change is always there.

This is good news in the sense that it means that your 10y+ pain isn’t necessarily chronic/permanent, and that your bad habits can indeed be changed. That said; plasticity is neither only good nor bad. – with practice, you can become very good at something very bad, so make sure to chose your skill set wisely.



Source: Alta Mira

Superfoods – the word that leads to empty wallets


Folk putter hvad som helst i munden nu til dags. Nogle mere underlige ting end andre.
Oftest, skal der ikke mere til end en “ekspert” på tv eller noget så irriterende som en reklame, før x eller y er det nye superfood of the week!

Nedenstående infograf viser hvad der reelt er evidens for (samt i hvilken sammenhæng), og giver en idé om hvad man evt. kan vælge at bruge sine penge på, istedet for firkantede t-shirts med grimme by-henvisninger.


Interactive version & dataSnake-oil-Superfoods1


Lene skal selvfølgelig krediteres for linket, da hun er en haj med sin rødglødende iphone og endda har lært, at “Woman” ikke er en ok kildehenvisning.

WHY is the weekend making you fat?!

Fade in…:



Afhængig af graden af din religiøsitet, er der gået 7 eller 14 dage siden sidst. Du hopper* på vægten igen.

Det er uforståeligt! Du har prøvet alverdens diæter; den ene mere stringent, lav-kcal og nederen end den anden. Du bliver ved, i håbet om at den næste, eller den næste igen (hhv. nr. 17 og 18), må være anderledes. Hvorfor virker de ikke?!


Over halvdelen af befolkningen kender sandsynligvis til ovennævnte scenarie. Det er oftest lettere sagt end gjort at tabe sig, og frustrationen over udeblivende resultater fører ofte til nyttesløse og til tider idiotiske alternativer. Tidligere indlæg kommer med en række forslag til, hvordan en mere videnskabelig tilgang til vægttabs-problemet kunne se ud.

Nedenstående er to bud på, hvorfor den fatty fat mass lader til at være mere genstridig end godt er:


  • Weekenden gør dig tyk! Et studie fra 2014, med 80 forsøgspersoner mellem 25 og 62 år, undersøgte om eventuelle fluktuationer i kropsvægten var afhængig af ugedagene. Personerne blev bedt om at veje sig hver morgen inden morgenmad. Overordnet, vejede de mere efter weekenden (søndag og mandag), med en faldende vægt i løbet af hverdagene og havde den laveste vægt om fredagen.
    Hvad var yderligere interessant, var at de som tabte sig over tid havde et mere udtalt kompensations-mønster. Dette vil sige, at kropsvægten begyndte at falde umiddelbart efter endt weekend, hvilket ikke var tilfældet hos de som tog på over tid (Orsama et al., 2014)

“There are sleep cycles and there are also weight loss cycles. Almost everyone loses weight on weekdays and gains weight on weekends. What separates the slim from the heavy isn’t how much more they gain on weekends. It’s how much they lose during the weekdays.


  • Du sover for lidt! Udeblivende søvn, som primært sker i hhv. weekenden eller ugedagene afhængig af alder og tendenser, øger risikoen for at gøre dig til en tyksak. Ved søvnmangel, ses nedsat aktivitet af appetit-regulerende centre i hjernen når udsat for attraktive fødevaremuligheder. Samtidig ses en øget aktivitet af det limbiske system som bl.a. regulerer følelser.
    Resultatet er en større tendens til at vælge høj-kcal fødevarer. Desto mere søvnmangel, desto større indtag af kcal. (Greer et al., 2013).

These findings provide an explanatory brain mechanism by which insufficient sleep may lead to the development/maintenance of obesity through diminished activity in higher-order cortical evaluation regions, combined with excess subcortical limbic responsivity, resulting in the selection of foods most capable of triggering weight-gain.



Konkluderende kan det derfor anbefales at undgå søvnmangel, samt at være mere opmærksom på eventuelle ugedags-tendenser. At tage uplanlagt og uhensigtsmæssigt for meget på er noget rod, da overvægt/fedme i sig selv er en risikofaktor for diverse livsstilssygdomme.
“Erotisk buttet” er et term tykke mennesker har opfundet i søgen efter coitus.




* Jeg er klar over at ordet “hopper” kan være misvisende.



Orsama et al., 2014

Greer et al., 2013




Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger?

Videoen har været på FB-siden et par uger, men efter et re-visit fortjener den også en plads her.


Tanken er interessant. Den almene holdning er at vores fysiske kapacitet/præstation er øget gennem årtierne, som resultat af en større/klogere træningsindsats. Nedenstående påpeger ganske overbevisende, at dette sandsynligvis ikke er hele historien. Langt fra.

I forlængelse kan det diskuteres om det er fair at diverse verdensrekorder (gang på gang) bliver slået, i takt med (og hovedsageligt pga.) at teknologien udvikler sig. Bør man forsøge at ligestille forudsætningerne yderligere?