Evolutionary Health Now Has a Certification

Personal trainers — indeed most fitness professionals — align themselves with particular supplements, a diet, or a lifestyle at some point. Most of us believe in the one we choose and promote because we’ve seen it work for us and our clients.

There are many options, many companies offering quality plans and ingredients. I’ve been approached by nearly a dozen. I’ve never aligned myself.

As a trainer, I’ve supported what works for my clients, and that varies. For some that’s a meal-planning program with supplements. For others, that’s meal-replacement shakes. For me, it’s a lifestyle focusing on nutrient dense whole foods, functional exercise, sleep, and play. For me, success was and is found within the Paleo lifestyle.

I’ve referred and linked on this blog to my favorite Paleo guru, Mark Sisson, and his website Mark’s Daily Apple. He examines the evidence, links to the science, and allows the variety of taste and experience to inform his program. His version of paleo is called “primal.” And he’s created a certification program that covers all the bases:

  1. Yes, You Really Can Reprogram Your Genes: Genes are more than fixed heritable traits; they direct cellular function at all times. You signal genes to switch on or off based on your food choices, workouts, sleeping habits, etc.
  2. The Clues to Optimal Gene Expression are Found in Evolution: Our genes expect us to be lean, fit and healthy by modeling the diet, exercise and lifestyle behaviors of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
  3. Your Body Prefers Burning Fat to Carbohydrate: A carbohydrate-based diet creates a dependency on external sources of energy from regular meals. Ditching grains and sugars will moderate insulin production and enable efficient burning of stored body fat.
  4. 80 Percent of Your Body Composition Success is Determined by How You Eat: Losing fat is not about portion control or strenuous exercise. Your average daily intake of carbohydrates and consequent insulin production is the deciding factor in losing weight and keeping it off.
  5. Grains are Totally Unnecessary: The centerpiece of the Standard American Diet (SAD) offers minimal nutritional value, promote fat storage by raising insulin, and contain anti-nutrients that destroy health. Grains—even vaunted whole grains—are just “cheap, beige glop that quickly convert to sugar.”
  6. Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Are Not Your Enemy…: The Conventional Wisdom story about heart disease is only validated when you produce excessive insulin from a SAD diet. Cholesterol is one of the body’s most vital molecules. Saturated fat is our preferred fuel. The true heart disease risk factors—oxidation and inflammation—are driven strongly by polyunsaturated fats, simple sugars, excess insulin production and stress.
  7. Exercise is Ineffective for Weight Management: Exercise offers numerous health benefits, but calories burned are offset by increases in appetite. Insulin defines your physique more than your workout log. Focus on the benefits of comfortably paced everyday movement and aerobic workouts, and avoid chronic workout patterns.
  8. Maximum Fitness Gains Can Be Made In Minimal Time With High-Intensity Training: Regular brief, intense strength training sessions and occasional all-out sprints promote optimal gene expression and broad athletic competency. You enjoy more benefits in a fraction of the time spent doing the chronic exercise advocated by Conventional Wisdom.

I’ll complete this certification in the next few months. My interest is to fill in any holes that may still exist in my knowledge of ancestral health and also access to continuing education.

I support other diet and lifestyle choices that I don’t choose for myself. But if you’re interested in the ancestral health and the Paleo lifestyle, hit me up for information and training.



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A Month of Workouts – Beauty & Power



New clients often wonder what, exactly, we do. Well, that’s simple. What we DO is get you moving. It’s the HOW that is complicated. Shannon and I have different kinds of workouts available. What I thought I’d do is share a month’s worth of workouts I use with my clients (and myself). If you’re curious or just need some inspiration for your own routines, take a look.


For the web, I’ve given these routines names, but when clients show up, I usually just say, “Start rowing…” Extra time is always given to added cardio.


The “Sweet 6″ is a comprehensive full-body strength routine. Legs are first, followed by back, chest/shoulders, then a metabolic exercise, then arms, and core. The beauty is the simplicity — just 6 exercises. The power is the VARIETY of exercises and equipment. A mere 30 minutes, and I guarantee you’ll feel great!


The “Big 4″ is a strength routine intensely focused on your biggest muscle groups. The beauty is the weakness you’ll feel when you fail your final set. Failure is glorious here at NMF! Nothing beats knowing you’ve left it all on the Studio floor. The power is, well, the POWER. This is your old-school hour of seeing just how much heavy stuff you can pick up and put down.


The “HIIT” is a metabolic shredder. The beauty is the exhaustion high. No kidding. You’ll feel euphoric and a little wobbly when you leave. The power is the fat-burning, metabolic boost that will burn through you for 24 hours.

The schedule is set up for five days of workouts every week. The Sweet 6 you can do every day. The Big 4 requires a few recovery days (sometimes more). HIIT can be done twice each week, even with other workouts, if you like. This list is set up for our Studio, so you may not have access to all the equipment listed. We don’t use machines! That means most every exercise can be adjusted for other kinds of loads — dumbbells to barbells, weight vest to body weight, etc. Instead of a stability ball, you can use a bench or floor, etc. Changing equipment will change the exercise somewhat, but IT’S ALL GOOD.

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New Personal Training Times Available

We’re getting ready; are you? Start that good habit today before the indoor weather and holidays have you spending all your time on the couch! We have openings for personal training with Shannon (319.621.7421) on Wednesdays 11:15am, Thursdays Noon-2pm and at 4:30pm on both Thursdays and Fridays. Teresa (319-325-4000) has openings on Mondays 6pm & Tuesdays 5pm-7pm.

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New Schedule for Fall – Focus on Stay-at-Home Moms and Retirees

School starting, days growing shorter and colder, and here at New Moon we’re changing up some of our group and personal training times.

Our weekday evening hours are full. If you want to train after work, consider joining our Small Group Training. Train one or more times per week for a low monthly price. You can join us on whatever day works for you — and you’re not locked in to a particular day or group. Purchasing the Unlimited Group means you can come to any and every group offered by Teresa and Shannon.

We would like to reach out to those who can and would like to train weekday mornings, weekday afternoons, or weekend mornings. We both enjoy working with older clients and stay-at-home moms and dads. We even have an area for your child(ren) to entertain themselves in the studio if you wish to bring them along.

Contact Teresa for weekend one-on-one training or Shannon for all weekday one-on-one training.


Prefer training right after work?

We offer small group training every day. Our focus is always strength training, but we also include cardio in the mix, which can make a moderate intensity workout a high intensity workout! So take a look at what the fall offers here.


HIIT (Teresa)

Sundays 11:30-12 Noon


Strength Squad (Teresa)
Wednesdays 5:15-6pm
Saturdays 11-12 Noon

Body By Shannon (Shannon)
Thursdays & Fridays 5:30-6:30pm

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Steady State or HIIT — Or Both!

ACE Fitness has a nice post about the differences, advantages, and disadvantages between steady state (SS) workouts and high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.

SS are moderate intensity one-hour workouts. They’re most of the classes at box gyms. They’re also the strength, body-building type workouts we do with our small groups. Teresa does three classes a week and Shannon’s vary. You sweat, you strain, but you’re not wrecked.

HIIT are high intensity half-hour workouts. Some box gyms offer them as Les Mills GRIT or Tabata, for example. They’re a feature of an hour at a Crossfit box (the WOD). Teresa runs HIIT every Sunday and Shannon does them occasionally during the week. 

Both SS and HIIT increase strength, improve aerobic capacity, and reduce fat. SS targets more type 1 muscle, endurance type training. HIIT targets more type 2 muscle, power type training. 

Doing both regularly will give you the best fitness of your life. But the best workout is the one you like, because it’s the one you’ll stick with. If you prefer one and/or dislike the other, focus on the one you like. It’s all part of our philosophy of GOOD – BETTER – BEST.

See more about these different workouts at ACE Fitness

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How to Keep Your Muscles Young – New Study

Interesting new study from the Skeletal Muscle Journal (“The endogenous molecular clock orchestrates the temporal separation of substrate metabolism in skeletal muscle”) found a protein that has some responsibility for the aging of our muscles and that may be affected by how we manage our circadian rhythms.

Losing Muscle as We Age

women strength coralville personal trainingYou may already know that we lose muscle naturally as we age. We call that “sarcopenia.” Research has found that sarcopenia is due as much to lifestyle as sheer age, so that with strength training you can hold on to more muscle fiber as you age. Why does that matter? Because more muscle means better mobility, greater functional abilities, better hormone regulation, faster recoveries, and increased bone density as we age. It also means higher metabolism and hence, greater lean mass. However, what do we mean when we say “we lose muscle”? We mean our quick type muscle fibers (described variously as white, type 2, fast-twitch) transform into slow type muscle fibers (red, type 1, slow-twitch) by neighboring type 1 fibers innervating atrophied type 2 neighbors.

The Study’s Conclusions

Researchers knew the protein Bmal1 regulated the circadian feeding rhythm of muscle. Now they think it regulates the aging of muscle. The study looked at mice without Bmal1, which is known to be responsible for metabolic processes. They found two things:

  1. This protein affects the circadian rhythm of muscle metabolism (how and when the muscles feed).
  2. There is more transition from type 2 to type 1 fibers where this protein is absent.

The study focused on the circadian rhythm of the metabolic processes in muscle fiber. That is, there is a regular daily cycle to what muscle utilizes for energy. Muscle uses glucose–a carbohydrate–more when it’s actively feeding (during the day)  and lipids–fatty acids–when fasting (when we’re sleeping). During the transition period from active to sleep (often described as an hour after our daily activity has stopped, though not specifically mentioned in this study), our muscles begin to store the glucose or lipids it gets rather than utilize them.

They extrapolate that Bmal1 is involved in the aging process and that we can control our aging to some extent by maintaining consistent sleep and eating routines — activities that, when absent, have been found in other studies to disrupt our circadian rhythms.

Conclusion from the study:

Here, we report that the intrinsic molecular clock regulates the timing of genes involved in substrate catabolic and anabolic processes in skeletal muscle. We have identified the mid-inactive period as the time of peak expression of genes involved in fatty-acid breakdown, possibly serving as the main energy source to skeletal muscle during the overnight fasting period. The temporal expression pattern of genes that regulate glycolysis and glycolytic flux into the Kreb’s cycle suggests a shift in substrate utilization during the early active period from lipids to carbohydrates, which has previously been documented in other muscle-specific Bmal1 knockout models [43].

Genes involved in glucose and lipid storage were observed as reaching peak expression toward the end of the active phase, where we predict excess energy is stored for usage during the postabsorptive phase. Expression analysis of time-course data from iMS-Bmal1−/− skeletal muscle revealed the differential expression of a number of key circadian metabolic genes in the absence of BMAL1. These finding suggests that the temporal regulation and circadian rhythmicity of these genes is directly downstream of the intrinsic skeletal muscle molecular clock mechanism.

Lastly, we observe a gene expression profile that is indicative of a glycolytic to oxidative fiber type shift with loss of Bmal1 in adult muscle tissue. These findings suggest a potential unidentified role of Bmal1 in the maintenance of fast-type muscle fibers, possibly via direct transcriptional regulation of glucose handling. It is widely reported that aging is associated with a selective loss of fast-type skeletal muscle fibers [137],[138]. In addition, aging is also associated with decreases in the robustness of the molecular clock [139],[140]. These observations raise the possibility that fast to slow fiber-type shifts may be a result of dampening of the molecular clock with age.

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