Leave my DDP Yoga DVDs alone while I’m in Mexico… Get your own!
It’s less “booyakasha” when you see the twenty takes where I didn’t nail it, but I am on the right path, and I am a step farther than I was yesterday!
I love doing experiments. I love DDP Yoga. I LOVE combining the two!
My ribbing of Ashtanga Yoga is all in good fun. I have taken classical yoga classes of a number of branches (Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, hybrid form), and with the exception of Bikram yoga, which made me feel like I was going to do a hybrid vomit-pass out maneuver, I have enjoyed them very much.
That said, DPD Yoga is simply superior in the number and diversity of benefits it offers:
What do you want from DDP Yoga?
One of Diamond Dallas Page’s favorite sayings is “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” He has a hour-long motivational talk dedicated to the concept!
Normally, as a scholar of DDP Yoga, I am very adherent to this philosophy, but a recent article from Men’s Journal completely derailed that effort. Adam Bluestein wrote a piece called, “DDP Yoga Is Everywhere, But Does It Deliver?“.
Were I to have written an article with that title, the main body would have read as follows:
Granted, it wouldn’t earn me much if I were paid per word. But what it lacked in financial gain, it would have made up in accuracy.
Mr Bluestein, on the other hand, didn’t let economically worthless ideas like accuracy stand in his way of smearing words onto a page. I’m not going to be exhaustive, but I will rebut the most egregious arguments he makes:
The promised cardio- and fat-burning benefits are less certain. A 2006 study found that performing vigorous ashtanga-style yoga only increased heart rate by about 30 beats per minute over resting, comparable to walking, but nowhere near running, swimming, or spinning.
A 2006 study of Ashtanga yoga? Interesting factoid if we were actually talking about Ashtanga yoga. A wildly misleading point to make when you’re talking about DDP Yoga. It would be comparable to saying, “Jeremy Clarkson says that the Ford F150 is the worst vehicle he’s ever driven, so that proves Cadillac CTS is a shoddy piece of junk.” Different products, different manufacturers.
I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Bluestein (okay, so I got into a brief fight with him on Twitter, but we’re twisting facts to fit our narratives now, right?), and asked him if he had actually tried DDP Yoga, given the article read as if he hadn’t.
“Yes I’ve done it and think it’s a great workout, as I said.”
he replied, adding:
Not saying there’s no cardio benefit. Depends how hard you’re working…”
Hmm, seems he softened his views about the cardio potential since declaring:
Don’t rely on it as a stand-alone cardio… routine.
Rather than talking in circles, I decided to switch gears to the Ashtanga v. DDP Yoga issue. I showed him data I produced demonstrating the difference between Ashtanga/Power Yoga, and DDP Yoga:
I didn’t get a reply to that one. But then I remembered that someone who compared scientific data from a study of one branch of yoga to a completely unrelated hybrid yoga probably doesn’t have the scientific literacy required to read graphed data. So, I set up my laptop in the closet of my yoga room, and gave a live demonstration:
I didn’t get any replies to that one as of yet. While we wait for Mr. Bluestein to publicly and without reservation admit that he was, in fact, wrong to use Ashtanga data to dispute the merits of DDP Yoga, I will move to my next point of contention.
In both the article and our interview/Twitter fight, he held firm to the “it’s nowhere near as good as running” argument, asserting that it would only raise your heart rate by 30 bpm over resting. Really? Here’s my heart rate monitor data from a 1 hour DDP Yoga workout (including warm-up and cool-down), and a 4.5 mile run I went on (excluding cool-down).
Granted, the running is a little higher (136 bpm v. 157 bpm), but it’s a far cry from the NINETY-EIGHT BEATS PER MINUTE at which Mr. Bluestein believes I would max out doing DDP Yoga. Like I said, I stopped my HRM during the cool-down, so the two cardio forms may be even closer than I show here. In addition, I like to sprint the last half-mile of a run. This drives my heart rate up to about 180 bpm (and thus the overall average heart rate too). Tougher cardio? Sure. Healthier? Absolutely not. DDP Yoga teaches us to get from resting into our fat-burning zones, but also, not to exceed it. DDP likens this to driving in the red. You’ll certainly get there faster, but there’s a good chance you’ll be junking that car before too long. And unlike a car, you can’t simply junk your cardiopulmonary system and buy a new one.
I’ll close this rebuttal with a little history lesson. Another point of contention that cropped up over this article was whether or not DDP Yoga promises ripped abs and shredded bodies, or massive weight loss. First, the quotes Mr. Bluestein used came from the program guide that comes with the DVDs, so that isn’t really a marketing device (you already own the DVDs if you’re reading that guide*). Second, the actual quotes he’s referencing are:
Ripped abs require a Red Hot Core workout!
Commit to three times a week and you won’t believe the results! Kick it up to four or five times a week and you’re on your way to that highly energetic, jacked, stacked, and shredded body that you’ve always wanted!
Make sure to take a look at the Nutrition Guide and learn how to complement your fitness routine with a simple weight loss plan that will maximize your results.
Certainly, it took Mr. Bluestein’s patented information-twisting skills to interpret these quotes as a claim of being a total fitness solution. But the really bizarre part of this argument was everyone leaping to DDP Yoga’s defense by pointing out that these weren’t marketing tools employed by DDP Yoga, and that DDP Yoga had not historically been designed to be a weight loss system. In fact, the most successful weight loss story associated with DDP Yoga, Arthur Boorman, didn’t take up DDP Yoga to lose weight; he tried it to relieve back pain. The weight loss was just a happy surprise.
But whether or not DDP intended to create a phenomenal weight loss system doesn’t negate the fact that he did create a phenomenal weight loss system. His original goal for DDP Yoga cannot detract from Stacey, Arthur, Terri, Doug, Kevin, Christina or my weight loss, nor that of all the other people at the DDP Yoga Transformation page that have lost 100s and 100s of pounds.
The same goes for getting ripped muscles and crazy washboard abs. I don’t understand why everyone leapt to pointing out that DDP Yoga didn’t directly make these claims rather than pointing out that it actually DELIVERS on those claims (whether or not they were made). I could draw your attention to Stacy, Sparky and Motown on the Transformation page. I could also invite you to come gaze at pictures of Chad’s abs with me for a couple of hours. But every workout system has carefully selected examples of success stories they present as proof of their delivering on promises. Granted DDP Yoga has more examples of success stories than all the other systems put together, and those pictures are user-submitted (not the usual photoshopped smoke and mirrors), but DDP Yoga also has infinite numbers of people who aren’t on the transformation page who also have amazing results.
I put out a request for Before & After pictures of people who are not featured success stories on the DDP Yoga Facebook group, and here is what I got in under 24 hours:
I’d say these people think that DDP Yoga delivers, wouldn’t you, Mr. Bluestein?
Of course, this wouldn’t be a lizDDPyoga post without a little shameless self-promotion, so I will throw my (admittedly Transformation page-documented) results into the mix too:
Because I am trying to live at 90% as DDP teaches, I will end on a positive note. If you want to read a well-written and accurate review of DDP Yoga at the Men’s Journal website, I highly recommend you read this one!
* a distinction that completely eluded Mr. Bluestein.
DDP Yoga has been around longer than you’d think!
The haters of gluten-free living have been having a great month!
First, everyone reveled in showing those of us who have self-diagnosed as gluten-intolerant the following Jimmy Kimmel video:
Following the logic of this piece, if you don’t know what a carcinogen is, you would be immune to the cancer-causing effects of asbestos or plutonium! Ignorance truly would be bliss!! For the record, I DO know what gluten is (a composite protein of gliadin and glutenin that makes up the endosperm of grains in the family Triticeae, including wheat, barley, rye, and spelt).
A reason for the spike in gluten intolerance, and the rising numbers of people who choose to live gluten free may result form the fact that modern grains have been bred with much larger endosperms containing higher levels of gluten, and, thanks to the Farm Deal, we are being inundated with gluten in baked good, salad dressing, soy sauce, toothpaste and lipstick! I remember a woman who worked at the animal facility in grad school telling me that anyone who works there long enough will develop allergies to animal dander. In other words, anyone -ANYONE- who is exposed to artificially high levels of a potential allergen will develop an allergy to it. And when it comes to gluten, we are all that “anyone”. We are exposed to levels of gluten not seen in nature that we are just not meant to be consuming.
Also this week, the media picked up on a publication where it was shown that “gluten intolerance” may actually result from FODMAPS or “nocebos*.” In a nutshell, a scientist who had previously shown that non-celiac gluten insensitivity is responsible for certain digestive issues redesigned the study and determined that Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols, or FODMAPs may be the real culprit. I’m a little science-d out having worked overtime this weekend, so I’ll let wikipedia elaborate on what a FODMAP actually is.
The media jumped all over this report, and in its sadly characteristic modus operandi, distilled the report down into a simplistic talking point without doing any actual journalism, or having someone who understands science explain the study to them in the monosyllabic words to which they appear to be restricted. First, I do want to reject the point that a lot of my friends on the gluten-is-evil team are saying. This study was well-designed, independently executed and properly peer-reviewed. It was not influenced by “Big Flour”.
However, there are still a couple of things to note about this study, or any scientific study you read. First, Professor Gibson is not the only person studying Gluten. The media has decided that his original paper showing gluten-sensitivity was the only paper ever demonstrating this phenomenon. It isn’t. Here’s a paper that Christina of BodyRebooted posted a couple of months ago. In this study the authors demonstrate that non-celiac subjects develop an immune response to gliadin (a component of gluten). In other words, these people were sensitive to, or intolerant of, gluten.
Another thing to note is that Professor Gibson’s study only looked at a specific set of issues related to gluten insensitivity, specifically digestive issues. He did not examine other issues such as skin health, inflammation-related pain, or longterm outcomes such as obesity, cancer, or autoimmune issues. And nor should he have. No one study can ever be expected to examine every single aspect of a complicated issue like gluten insensitivity. But the fact remains that if he didn’t look for these issues, he can’t make the claim that gluten doesn’t cause them. And to be fair to Professor Gibson, as a good scientist, he hasn’t been making these claims; it’s the media that has been overreaching and misinterpreting his data.
When we are trained in science, we are taught to scoff at people who say things like. “Well, I smoked my entire life/never wore a seatbelt/was spanked by my parents/never paid attention in science class, and I turned out fine,” because this is anecdotal evidence, and can be wildly unreliable. A good example of this is Winston Churchill, who smoked cigars every day and lived until he was 90. Based on that evidence you may think that you can smoke your way to longevity. However, if you look at a sample of 100 smokers, or 1000 smokers, or 1,000,000 smokers, you will see that the projected life expectancy for smokers is actually quite poor.
That said, here’s my N=1 anecdotal evidence:
When I came to DDP Yoga, I was absolutely certain that I would never give up gluten. I was firmly in the you-either-have-celiac-disease-or-you-don’t camp, and I knew for a fact that I was not allergic to it, and that it wasn’t causing any of the lifelong issues I had. In fact, it had never been suggested to me that gluten could cause anything other than digestive problems, so its role in skin problems and my chronic knee pain wasn’t even on my radar. In other words, there definitely weren’t any psychosomatic effects (or “nocebos”) in my case.
I cut gluten during the course of my weight loss simply as a calorie-controlling mechanism, and I wasn’t expecting anything else in terms of benefits to my health. I have written about the benefits to my knee pain before, so I will be brief here. Cutting gluten prevented a large amount of knee pain that I had suffered with for years. Doing DDP Yoga certainly had a role in resolving this issue, but I have noticed that when I accidentally consume gluten or dairy, I have flair-ups of pain. I often don’t find out that I had consumed gluten until after the pain happens, and I retroactively investigate why it happened, so we can eliminate “nocebos” as the cause.
More recently, I had a amazing revelation of the power of GF living. For my entire life, I have had nasty, scaly, dry red bumps down the back of my upper arms and on my legs. I have tried everything to get rid of them. On the (lazy) advice of a doctor, I spent months at a time religiously moisturizing them. I tried exfoliating, I tried wrapping them at night, I tried old wives’ tales. Everything. And nothing worked so I just gave up trying. I completely gave up on trying to get rid of them over a decade ago. The other day, I was working on my computer, and crossed my arms as I thought about what I wanted to type. In doing so, I felt the skin on the back of my arms, and realized that it was completely soft and smooth! I couldn’t’ believe it. Some light Googling lead me to learn that gluten may cause dry scaly issues. This is yet another example of GF living resolving an issue that I didn’t even know gluten was causing! I have also written about the role of gluten in another skin issue here.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t close by saying that as a scientist, I fully understand that FODMAPs may be responsible for the issues I had with both my skin and my knees (as well as digestive issues and weight, which I had but didn’t elaborate on in this piece). By excluding gluten from my diet, I will inadvertently remove FODMAPs from my diet too, and therefore experience the benefits of a FODMAP-free diet through GF living. If that is the case, great! I will continue to live GF, and I will continue to be healthy. I honestly don’t care which specific molecule was causing dry skin, chronic knee pain, acne, overweight and bloating/gas. I have found a healthy, whole-food diet through the DDP Yoga plan, and I am NEVER going back!
In all reality, humans are a heterogeneous bunch, and the answer may be “all of the above”. Some people may have celiac-based gluten intolerance, whereas others may have non-celiac sensitivity. Others still may be allergic to FODMAPs, and some people may have no issues with gluten or FODMAPs. I know this doesn’t fit the simplistic, one-size-fits-all talking points the media likes to use, but you shouldn’t be getting your scientific information from a journalist anymore than you should be expecting a professor of archeology to keep you up to speed on current world events!
I will make one last plug for the gluten-is-evil theory, and why I think gluten, and not FODMAPs, were responsible for my particular issues. The first time I went vegan back in 2009 (pre-DDP Yoga), I loved making Gluten Sausages. The main ingredient in these sausages is pure gluten, so we can eliminate FODMAPs as the culprit. I would make batches of 6 – 12 sausages at a time, and they never lasted very long. While they were delicious, over time I started noticing that if I ate them for more than 2 days in a row (which I often did), I became severely constipated for up to two weeks at a time and, well, this T-shirt explains the rest…
Okay, so there was nothing in this piece about my toes. I just liked that song as a kid!*This is an obnoxious neologism. We already had a term for this phenomenon; it’s called a psychosomatic response. And while you’re at it, take back “Aha moments” Oprah; the correct word for this is “epiphany”! ** Yeah, Dairy is bad too!