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Digestive Exercise?

Posted by Joel Marion

Over the past few days Dr. Samhouri has been dropping knowledge bombs left and right, so much so that I wanted to get in on the action.

So today, I’ve teamed up with Dr. K to write the below article, educating you about how a strategically designed exercise program like Full Throttle Fat Loss can, believe it or not, dramatically improve digestion and lead to a plethora of other benefits that you probably never thought of.  I know you’re going to enjoy it.

Digestive Exercise

By Dr. Kareem Samhouri and Joel Marion, CISSN

We all know that both diet and exercise are important to achieve optimal fat loss results, but what you may not know is how directly related exercise and digestion are-and ultimately, how a very strategic exercise program can in fact improve digestion, causing you to assimilate more nutrients, rid yourself of gastro-intestinal problems, improve overall health and lose fat more efficiently.

Over the past few days, we’ve talked a lot about the central nervous system (CNS) and how it relates to fat loss, but what we haven’t talked about much are the two different divisions of the CNS.

Parasympathetic vs. Sympathetic Activity

You may have heard, or learned at some point, about the “fight or flight” response that our nervous systems resort to when stress is present.  Both of these responses (engaging in the stressor [fight] or running from the stressor [flight]) are stimulatory responses that come from our sympathetic nervous system (SNS).

During exercise, it is the sympathetic, or stimulatory portion of our nervous system that is most active.  This is great, because it helps us move faster, be stronger, and exercise in a much more effective way than if we were turned “off” during exercise.

The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) on the other hand is “calming” in nature and is responsible for the complete opposite response within the body.

Having said that, you can probably guess that the PNS is the system we want working for us most during digestion.  In fact, the actions of the parasympathetic nervous system are often summarized as “rest and digest” as opposed to the “fight or flight” response of the SNS.

Okay, so let’s make some sense of all this and talk about why you actually care about the above brief science lesson.

Exercise and Digestion

As mentioned, your digestive processes function best when your “calming” parasympathetic nervous system is most active.  Unfortunately, most people are almost nearly always in a heightened state of arousal (due to chronic stress), causing the SNS to continually fire and the PNS to take a back seat.

Chronic stimulation not only leads to general burn out and fatigue, but it also regularly hampers digestive activity as the PNS is constantly being overshadowed by stimulatory SNS function.

So how do we, or how can we turn “off” the stimulation in order to allow the “rest and digest” system to function at its fullest?

The answer is strategically “fatiguing” the SNS during exercise so that the PNS can reign at other times of the day.  This is done via multi-energy system training.

Within your body, three energy systems are present:

1. First, your ATP-PC system (or if you prefer the fancy terminology, your Adenosine Triphosphate Phosphocarbonate system), is the energy system at work during quick, super fast, zero to ten second energy.

2. Second, the glycolitic system, thrives on sugar and carbohydrate to produce energy.  This system is most at work during intense activity up to two minutes.

3. Third, your aerobic system, is predominately at work during relatively slower activities lasting longer than 2 minutes.

The beauty of a program like Full Throttle Fat Loss is that it is composed of exercises that fully and strategically tax ALL THREE energy systems.

By doing this, not only will you be burning your sugars and breaking down your carbs properly during exercise (instead of having them latch-on to your love handles), but the other side of this is that you’re actually going to wear out your sympathetic nervous system-stopping the stimulation and endorphin release-and ultimately turn on your parasympathetic while your not exercising.

This means:

  • Much better digestion (as the PNS is the system responsible for proper digestion taking place)
  • Better nutrient absorption (due to proper digestion cleaning out the “gunk” currently in your gastro-intestinal track)
  • Immediate weight loss (resulting from the excretion of that same “gunk”)
  • Reduced overall stress and your body being in the state that it’s naturally supposed to be in at “rest”
  • Greater gains in lean body mass (due to more nutrients being digested and assisting in recovery and repair of muscle tissue)
  • Reduced cortisol (the “stimulatory” stress hormone that results from constant SNS activation) and muscle wasting
  • Reduced belly fat (cortisol is also heavily associated with abdominal fat storage)
  • Improved GI comfort and alleviation of certain GI issues
  • Increased overall health

Can you now see that your nervous system controls literally EVERYTHING related to body transformation?  Truly, it does.

And that’s exactly why Dr. K has created Full Throttle Fat Loss, and that’s exactly why both of us are so excited to release that very program next week.

But, we’ve got even better news for you coming as early as tomorrow…  Stay tuned.

For now, if you have any questions whatsoever about today’s “Digestive Exercise” article for Kareem and I, then drop them below and we’ll be sure to answer them for you.


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62 comments - add yours
Reply  |  Quote

@ Deborah:
hey Deborah,

Very well spoken – thanks so much for your input!

Can’t wait to hear how everything goes – keep changing lives – that’s what this is all about – helping others.

have a great day,


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Will exhausting your SNS and activating your PNS decrease your afterburn?

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Dr. K. I am a researcher on coeliac disease and rigth now I am investigating the relation between cortisol levels and coeliac disease. I would like to know if you think cortisol could ever be envolved in the trigger of the disease and if you think a program exercise like this could bring benefit to coeliac patients.
I am sorry about such a technical question, since it is not the focus here, but we hardly have the oportunity to contact such an experienced specialist like you.

Anyway, about the article, its surely very good. Also important to mention how it is essential to keep a relaxed atitude towards life in order to not only loose fat but also get healthier and happyer.

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hey can you by any chance give us an example of these excercises?

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@ Lucas Biaggini:

Hey Lucas,

This is an AWESOME question – and I’m really glad that you do the work you do. Coeliac disease runs ramped in my family, and it’s of personal concern to me.

To answer your question, yes, but it won’t do it alone.

Actually, in the last year, I’ve battled with digestion issues that I should’ve resolved much more quickly – the most important 3 things I’ve found help are:

1) consistent exercise using method above (4-5 days/week, minimum + low intensity, high duration stuff on the off days – just for active fun)

2) Probiotics – this doesn’t have to be fancy. Plain yogurt works well, but daily.

3) Stress mediation paired with decreased caffeine consumption.

I’m sure you know a ton of other things people can do to eliminate some of the effects of Coeliac Disease, but my thoughts are that we want to eliminate as much inflammation as possible and let the body go to work from there.

The human body is miraculous – if we aim all of our medicine to enhancing its ability to heal itself while doing what we need to in order to reduce stress to it in the process, I think we’re always winning.

I sure hope this helps! (and I’d love to hear that you’re using Full Throttle Fat Loss with your research subjects – that would be really cool, and I’d be happy to contribute my program for that cause.)

Be well,


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@ Mary:
hey Mary,

That’s a great question!

No, it’s not going to affect your afterburn, but I love this question. Let’s talk about it, so you better understand.

‘Afterburn’ is a result of what’s called EPOC, right? (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption)

This happens as a result of muscle repair (damage is still being done while working the muscle) and pH balancing (lactic acid reduction).

Just because we don’t stay tense as long, and we don’t get quite as sore, that doesn’t mean that we haven’t created lactic acid and microtears in the muscle. These are the 2 criteria for ‘afterburn’ to take place.

Great question!


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@ Randy:

Hey Randy,

Have you checked out the 5 Day Fat Loss Accelerator yet? That’s a great example of these sorts of exercises and it’s a free download. Just click my name above and it’s yours :-)

have a great day,


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