SAFE AND EFFECTIVE STRETCHING

A primary function of muscles is to create tension and produce force for movement of the body's skeletal system. The intrinsic property of muscles and joints to go through a full or optimal range of motion (ROM) is referred to as flexibility. Flexibility is developed through the use of various stretching procedures. Stretching aids in reducing post-exercise muscle soreness, improves, performance, reduces muscle tension, minimizes your risk of injury and increases physical and mental relaxation. There are several types of stretching techniques, each offering different benefits.

STATIC STRETCHING is the most common type of stretching and involves reaching the point of muscle limitation and holding the stretch. This form of stretching allows for relaxation and concomitant elongation of muscles. To properly perform static stretching, hold the stretch at the first point of tension or resistance barrier for 15- 30 seconds. Best used for: tight or over active muscles at conclusion of workout. Example; Leg crossover stretch.

DYNAMIC STRETCHING consists of functional based exercise, which uses sport specific movements to prepare the body for activity. Dynamic stretching provides a rehearsal effect that may increase coordination and provide specific benefit to involved muscles. Dynamic stretching consists of performing 3-10 active ROM movements for 10 repetitions. Best used for: before playing sports, and usually replicates the movements about to be performed in exercise. Example; Torso Twists.

PNF STRETCHING or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation is the contract-relax method. PNF involves contracting the target muscle, then relaxing and stretching it with an assist from a trainer or an applied force (i.e., towel or rope). PNF was originally developed for rehabilitation purposes. Best used for; achieving maximum flexibility and rehabilitation. Example; lying hamstring stretch with trainer assist.

Basic Guidelines For Stretching:

  •    Warm up to elevate core body temperature before stretching.
  •    Focus special attention on muscle groups or joints that have limited range of motion.
  •    Do stretching exercises a minimum of 2-3 days per week and ideally 5-7 days per week

  •    Stretch after each vigorous workout to encourage mind and body relaxation.

Choose the right type of stretching according to whether you are warming up, cooling down, preparing for a sport, or just trying to improve your flexibility. Stretching is vital to become more flexible, but it has to be done at the right time and for the right reasons. Maximizing the benefits of stretching boils down to a matter of when you do it and how!

FIBER - FOR WEIGHT CONTROL

One of the biggest challenges for people trying to lose weight is the restriction of calories. Increasing bulk by adding more fiber to your diet is one strategy that will help you feel full. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you're no longer hungry, so you are less likely to overeat. Fiber is commonly classified into two categories: those that don't dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber).

Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk. Sources of insoluble fibers are; whole-grain products, brans, nuts, seeds and skins of some fruits and vegetables.

Soluble fiber. This type of fiber attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Sources of soluble fibers are; oats, legumes, barley, fruits and vegetables.

Some tips for increasing fiber intake:

  •    Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices.
  •    Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products.
  •    Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips or energy bars.
  •    Substitute legumes as an alternative to meats one or twice a week.

It's best that you get your dietary fiber requirements from foods rather than supplements. Most people need between 20 and 35 grams of fiber each day. Recent studies show that the average American is not getting enough. "Bulking up" on fiber could lead to slimming down!







THE THREE ENERGY SYSTEMS OF EXERCISE

The body converts food to fuel by relying upon different energy pathways.

Sports nutrition is built upon understanding how nutrients-carbohydrates, fat, and protein-contribute to the fuel supply needed to perform exercise. These nutrients are converted to energy in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). The energy released by the breakdown of ATP helps muscle cells contract.

Because the body cannot easily store ATP (what is stored gets used within a few seconds), ATP must be continually created during exercise. Essentially, the two major ways the body converts nutrients to energy are:

  •    Aerobic metabolism (with oxygen)
  •    Anaerobic metabolism (without oxygen)

These two pathways can be further divided. Typically, a combination of energy systems supplies the fuel for exercise. The intensity and duration of the exercise determines which method gets used when.

The ATP-CP Anaerobic Energy Pathway supplies about 10 seconds worth of energy and is used for short bursts of exercise (eg.100 meter sprint.) This pathway doesn't require oxygen to create ATP. It first uses up any ATP stored in the muscle (2-3 seconds worth) and then uses creatine phosphate (CP) to re-synthesize ATP until the CP runs out (6-8 seconds). After the ATP and CP are used, the body moves on to either aerobic or anaerobic metabolism (Glycolysis) to continue to create ATP to fuel exercise.

The Anaerobic Energy Pathway, Glycolysis, creates ATP exclusively from carbohydrates. Lactic Acid is a by-product of this process. Anaerobic glycolysis provides energy by the (partial) breakdown of glucose without using oxygen. Anaerobic metabolism produces energy for short, highintensity bursts of activity lasting no more than several minutes. The lactic acid build-up reaches the Lactate Threshold and muscle pain, burning, and fatigue make it difficult to maintain such intensity.

Aerobic Metabolism fuels most of the energy needed for long-duration activity. Using oxygen to convert nutrients to ATP, it's slower than the anaerobic systems, because it relies on the circulatory system to transport oxygen to the working muscles before creating ATP. Aerobic metabolism is used primarily during endurance exercise (generally less intense, can continue for long periods).

Fueling the Energy Systems

Each nutrient's unique properties determine how it gets converted to ATP.

Carbohydrate:the main nutrient that fuels moderate to high-intensity exercise.

Fat: can fuel low-intensity exercise for long periods.

Protein: generally used to maintain and repair body tissues, not to powermuscle activity.

The production of ATP to fuel exercise is NEVER achieved by the exclusive use of one energy system, but rather by the coordinated response of all energy systems contributing to different degrees. With appropriate training and nutrients, these systems adapt and become more efficient, allowing for greater exercise duration at higher intensity.







FITNESS TRUMPS WEIGHT FOR LONGEVITY

Great news! Here's yet more evidence that should help persuade deconditioned people to get active. New research shows that if you maintain or improve your fitness level-even if your body-weight does not change or increase-you are more likely to live longer.

There's little doubt that dropping excess weight can positively impact your health. But this study suggests that when it comes to living longer, fitness trumps fat.

It's hard to lose weight and maintain that loss. This study points to increased fitness level as a potentially more attainable goal with even greater dividends. Many people worry about their weight and weight gain, but based on this research, weight change is less important than fitness changes. After more than 11 years of follow-up, those who improved their fitness levels lived longer, regardless of whether the numbers on the scale stayed the same or even went up.

The findings:

  •    Maintaining or improving fitness was associated with lower death risks even after controlling for Body Mass Index (BMI) change.

  •    Every unit of increased fitness (measured as MET, metabolic equivalent of task) over six years was associated with a 19% lower risk of heart disease and stroke-related deaths and a 15% lower risk of death from any cause.

  •    Becoming less fit was linked to higher death risks, regardless of BMI changes.

  •    BMI change was not associated with death risk


Given the great difficulties of losing weight and maintaining a reduced weight over the long term, this study underscores the benefits of maintaining and improving fitness to reduce mortality risk independent of weight change - Thin or Obese, Fit Is It

Speak to a fitness professional and develop an appropriate program so you don't injure yourself before you reap any of the benefits, . As for people who are thin, don't fool yourself into thinking, 'I am skinny and will be fine if I don't do any exercise.' You won't be! . Being inactive is not OK, even if you are skinny. Ultimately, it is preferable to be fit and not fat; that is the ideal.







FASCIAL FITNESS

Much energy and thought has been dedicated to the training of muscles for athletic performance and personal training. Less attention has been paid to the tensional fibrous fascial system in which the muscles live, which allows them to exert a pull on the bones to shift the joints.

Fascia is the biological fabric that surrounds every structure in the body and invests most. Because fascia had not been seen as a whole system until recently, we have long been ignorant of its overall role in bio mechanics. Fascia forms the biological container and connector for every organ, including muscles.

Magically extracted in its entirety, the fascial web would be one big net with muscles and organs hanging in it. Every system, organ, and cell lives embedded within a unitary fascial net. Fascia is the essential structure that suspends our structure from the inside out, tethering into every other aspect of our physiology. Balanced fascia makes for a healthier and happier body; unbalanced fascia sends us into the domino effect of a compensatory pattern.

Many consider fascia a glorified body stocking- a seamless piece of tissue that Saran Wraps you just underneath the skin. While this is true of the superficial fascia, it's important to understand that it is a richly multi-dimensional tissue that forms your internal soft tissue architecture as well. In fact, its everywhere-ness is one of the reasons it was overlooked for so long.

How To Train The Fascial Web

  •    Bouncing. When you land on the ball of your foot, you decelerate and accelerate in such a way that you not only use, but actually build elasticity into, the tendons and fascial system.
  •    Preparatory Counter-movement Preparing for a movement by making a counter-movement (eg. flexing down before extending to standing, winding up before a pitch, moving the kettlebell toward the body before moving it away) makes maximum use of the power of fascial elasticity.
  •    Whole-Body Movements. Engage long myo-fascial chains and whole-body movements to train the fascial system.
  •    Proximal Initiation. Start movements with a dynamic pre-stretch (distal extension), but include a proximal initiation in the desired direction, letting the more distal parts of the body follow in sequence, like an elastic pendulum.
  •    Adaptive Movement. Complex movement requiring adaptation and tempo variation. (i.e Parkour)Varying the tempo of exercises allows for different fascial structures to build strength and elasticity.

Fascia is our richest and largest sensory organ, containing ten times the amount of sensory nerve receptors than the muscles. In fact, it may be equal or superior to the retina, which has thus far been considered the richest human sensory organ. Fortunately, research is catching up to what turns out to be a remarkably communicative sensory and proprioceptive tissue. Fascia is the one structure that connects to every aspect of human physiology.

So you could say that the fascial system is responsible for our morphostasis, or that fascia is our ”organ system of form.”






EXPLAINING PLANES OF MOTION

Life is three-dimensional. People reach, bend, lean, turn, twist, stoop and change directions constantly. If your body moved in only one dimension, you wouldn't be able to move your leg away from, toward, in front of, or behind you. Physical activities are made possible by various movements and motions which take place in one of three planes-Sagittal, Frontal, Transverse.

THE THREE PLANES OF MOTION

In each plane, different movements occur at the joints.

Sagittal: Moving from front to back (basic squat, bicep curl, lunge)

Dividing the body into left and right halves using an imaginary line gives us the sagittal plane. Any forward and backward movement parallel to this line occurs in the sagittal plane

  •    Flexion: Decreasing the angle between two bones (eg.bending knee)
  •    Extension: Increasing the angle between two bones (eg.straightening leg)
  •    Dorsiflexion: Moving top of foot toward shin (only at ankle)
  •    Plantar flexion: moving sole of foot downward (pointing toes)

Frontal: Moving side to side (side lunge, lateral shoulder raise)

Dividing the body into front/back halves gives us the frontal plane. Any lateral (side) movement parallel to the line will occur in the frontal plane

  •    Adduction: Motion toward the midline of the body
  •    Abduction: Motion away from the midline
  •    Elevation: Only at scapula (shrugging shoulders to ears)
  •    Depression: Only at scapula (moving shoulders away from ears)
  •    Inversion: Lifting medial border (inside arch) of foot
  •    Eversion: Lifting lateral border (outside edge) of foot

Transverse: (Cable Wood Chop)

The transverse plane is often overlooked in training. It divides the body into top and bottom halves. Movement parallel to the waistline, a.k.a. rotational movement, occurs in the transverse plane

  •    Rotation- Internal or external turning about the vertical axis of the bone
  •    Pronation- Rotating hand/wrist inward
  •    Supination- Rotating hand/wrist outward
  •    Horizontal Flexion (adduction) - Flexion (adduction) of humerus (upper arm bone) from the 90-degree abducted arm position in toward the midline of body.
  •    Horizontal Extension (abduction) - Return of humerus from horizontal flexion (Reverse above movement.)

When reviewing the sagittal plane - stand with your nose against the door frame so your feet straddle the threshold- dividing your body into right and left sides. When reviewing the frontal plane- stand with your back against the wall and pretend it divides you in half (front half/back half.) For the transverse plane - remember rotation.

Movements through every plane of motion are essential to any exercise regimen. The muscular anatomy required for most athletics proves that the human body is designed to be challenged in all three planes. A well-created, scientifically-sound program will incorporate elements of each plane into different exercises and elevations, preparing your body for the rigors of everyday life and accelerating muscle growth and fat loss!


FIGHT OFF THE FLU WITH FIVE FOOD


If you're looking to strengthen your immune system naturally this flu season, consider the foods you eat. Fruits and vegetables contain plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can boost your immune health while providing your body with nutrients. Many people don't use the right foods or food combinations to fortify their immune system, which increases their risk of catching colds, or worse- the flu.

1. Mushrooms (Exotic)

Exotic varieties (shitake, maitake) contain Vitamin D, Selenium- which helps white blood cells produce cytokines that clear sickness, and Beta-Glucan, an antimicrobial type of fiber.

2. Fresh Garlic

Garlic can stink out sickness with the phytochemical Allicin, an antimicrobial compound. Two fresh cloves a day can help protect you from foreign viruses and bacteria.

3. Broccoli

Packed full of Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, Zinc, and Selenium, broccoli is filled with good health and nutrition and not to be missed.

4. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of Beta-Carotene, which is instrumental in the growth and development of immune system cells.The vitamin A in sweet potatoes has been shown to protect mucus membranes, which could aid at fighting off bacteria and viruses.

5. Chia Seeds.

Chia seeds are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, making them one of the more potent foods on this list. They have a better ratio of omega-3 fats to omega-6 fats which improve inflammation levels and offset potential damage caused by free radicals.

If you want to stay healthy and fit and not succumb to the dreaded flu, include these foods in your nutrition plan.






MOBILITY VS FLEXIBILITY: WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?

The terms mobility and flexibility are often used interchangeably. While related, they're different, and the differences are worth considering. While many athletes, runners, and fitness enthusiasts work actively to increase their flexibility, they often overlook the issue of joint mobility.

Flexibility is the ability to flex, extend, or circumduct a joint through its intended full range of motion. When using the term properly, we're talking about the length of the tissues, nothing more. Mobility, or joint mobility, is the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion, with control. So mobility is based on active movement while flexibility involves static holds, and is dependent upon gravity or passive forces. Mobility also requires strength to produce full-range movement, whereas flexibility is passive, and does not require any strength.

Flexibility Example (Hamstring) - Lie on your back and lift leg straight up. Grasp behind thigh and pull leg close to chest.

Mobility Example (Hamstring) - Stand Upright holding onto wall, swing leg front to back, repeat other leg.

Many individuals prepare for their training by performing routine stretches prior to their workout. And while stretching helps to improve static (non-moving) flexibility, it's important to remember that it may not do such a good job at preparing your body to move quickly and efficiently. Dynamic mobility exercises prepare your body for the vigorous movements that make up the more demanding part of the workout.

Joint mobility exercises work by circulating the synovial fluid in the bursa, which "washes" the joint. Since the joints have no direct blood supply, they are nourished by this synovial fluid, which simultaneously removes waste products. When performed correctly, joint mobility exercises can restore complete freedom of movement to the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, spine, neck, elbows, wrists and fingers. By doing mobility work we are communicating with the nervous system to enable optimally efficient movement

Mobility exercises should be used for your warm-up. Flexibility exercises are best performed after the workout as part of the cool-down to restore tissue length and prevent long term injury. Flexibility work helps bring the body back to a state of rest and recovery and allows you to focus on relaxing and lengthening the muscles that you put under stress while working out.

Simply put, the primary distinction between mobility and flexibility training is the percentage likelihood of injury. Possessing good flexibility without good mobility predisposes you to injury! Physiologically, you'll be much safer slightly tight with good mobility than very loose with inadequate mobility.

Mobility practice is a daily requirement, flexibility training is not.


BENEFITS OF KEEPING A FOOD DIARY

A food diary can be extremely beneficial. Tracking what you eat and drink can keep you focused on your diet, motivate you, increase your efficacy, help you attain and maintain your goals. A recent study showed that individuals who kept food diaries lost TWICE as much weight as those who didn't.

By recording every bite you eat in a daily journal, you'll get an eye-opening, accurate view of exactly how many calories and what types of foods you're consuming. You will see seemingly hidden calories seeping into your diet, and you may discover why you are either gaining weight or unable to lose it.

ACCOUNTABILITY
Most people consume far more calories than they think. If you only rely on your memory, you're doing yourself a huge disservice. Recording every bite in a journal provides regulation and accountability for your consumption.

EATING BALANCED MEALS
Journaling will show if you need more variety (eg. you may need to eat more vegetables or protein and less processed food.) Beyond monitoring calorie consumption, a food journal helps you compose a meal balanced with healthy proportions of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber.

CONNECT FOOD TO FEELINGS
Make a column in your diary that notes how the foods you eat affect you. You will find revealing connections.

A food diary is one of the best tools you can use in your weight loss or weight maintenance efforts! To begin, figure out what best fits into your lifestyle. Some people prefer the electronic versions (accessible online), while others prefer simply writing down their meals in a notepad. Choose which works best for you.






EXERCISE AND THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM

One of the most overlooked benefits of exercise is the affect it has on our endocrine system, which controls many physiological functions of our body.

The endocrine system stabilizes the body's internal environment by releasing hormones. Hormones are substances secreted from a tissue (mainly endocrine glands) that exert a biologic response on themselves or other cells, and affect almost all aspects of human function. They regulate growth, development, and reproduction.

Overview Of Endocrine System:

Pituitary Gland
Releases Human Growth Hormone, which tells the body to increase bone, muscle, and tissue production.

Thyroid Gland
Releases hormones that regulate the body's temperature, heart rate, blood pressure. Also regulates the focus needed to work at a high intensity.

Adrenal Gland
Releases Cortisol (which controls blood pressure and glucose) into bloodstream. Cortisol also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and turns stored carbohydrates into energy.

Pancreas
Two main functions: an exocrine function that helps in digestion, and an endocrine function that regulates blood sugar.

Hormones And Their Functions

Cortisol
"The stress hormone." Secreted by the adrenal gland; stores fat, converts muscle mass to fat, breaks down muscle tissue, suppresses immune function. Levels may rise from caffeine, inadequate sleep, stress, trauma, improper nutrition.

Growth Hormone
Secreted by the pituitary gland, helps strengthen bones and connective tissue, increases muscular strength and metabolizes fat. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) can be triggered by sleep and high-intensity exercise. Despite the bad press HGH gets (many pro athletes take a synthetic version to gain advantage in competition), it is a natural hormone we produce in our bodies.

Testosterone
Testosterone increases muscle strength and decreases body fat. Both men and women produce Testosterone. Women have approximately 1/10 the amount that men have.

Estrogen
Beneficial effects: fat mobilization for fuel (energy), mood elevation, and increased basal metabolic rate (BMR.) But excessive levels can cause weight gain by causing increased size of adipose (fat) tissue.

Thyroxin
Secreted in thyroid gland; elevates body's metabolic rate, making it significant for weight-loss; levels increase in blood about 30% during high intensity exercise, remain elevated up to 6 hours after.

Insulin
Utilizes glucose (form of blood sugar); metabolizes fat. Excessive insulin responses cause fat to accumulate within cells. Over time, this accumulation can cause Diabetes.

Endorphins
Released by Pituitary gland as a response to certain stimuli (stress, fear, pain.) Endorphins block pain, decrease appetite, create a feeling of euphoria, reduce tension/anxiety. Exercise is indisputably beneficial regarding endorphin release.

Studies have shown that exercise helps our body secrete and receive hormones more efficiently. But the effects of exercise on the endocrine system are also psychological: exercise-induced Testosterone can increase an individual's libido and confidence. Endorphins can help reduce tension and anxiety and facilitate the proverbial "runner's high."


AVOID PACKING ON THE POUNDS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

The Holidays are just a few DAYS so don't indulge for two months. It's okay to cheat a little, but you don't want to deal with the consequences for months to come!

LAY OFF THE BOOZE
Alcohol is the biggest waste of caloric intake! Drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol. That should help slow you down.

USE SMALL PLATES
Practice Portion Control. The smaller the plate the larger your portion will seem. You may find yourself feeling full. Stay on track by really thinking about what you are eating before you stick it in your mouth.

FILL UP ON FRUITS & VEGGIES
Be sure to reach for filling, fiber rich fruits and veggies first, but skip the fatty dips and dressings

STAY FOCUSED ON FITNESS
If you do gain a pound or two don't let it snow ball. Get back to your fitness routine and consider asking for some personal training sessions as a holiday gift.






KAT NYC | Newsletters


SAFE AND EFFECTIVE STRETCHING

A primary function of muscles is to create tension and produce force for movement of the body's skeletal system. The intrinsic property of muscles and joints to go through a full or optimal range of motion (ROM) is referred to as flexibility. Flexibility is developed through the use of various stretching procedures. Stretching aids in reducing post-exercise muscle soreness, improves, performance, reduces muscle tension, minimizes your risk of injury and increases physical and mental relaxation. There are several types of stretching techniques, each offering different benefits.

STATIC STRETCHING is the most common type of stretching and involves reaching the point of muscle limitation and holding the stretch. This form of stretching allows for relaxation and concomitant elongation of muscles. To properly perform static stretching, hold the stretch at the first point of tension or resistance barrier for 15- 30 seconds. Best used for: tight or over active muscles at conclusion of workout. Example; Leg crossover stretch.

DYNAMIC STRETCHING consists of functional based exercise, which uses sport specific movements to prepare the body for activity. Dynamic stretching provides a rehearsal effect that may increase coordination and provide specific benefit to involved muscles. Dynamic stretching consists of performing 3-10 active ROM movements for 10 repetitions. Best used for: before playing sports, and usually replicates the movements about to be performed in exercise. Example; Torso Twists.

PNF STRETCHING or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation is the contract-relax method. PNF involves contracting the target muscle, then relaxing and stretching it with an assist from a trainer or an applied force (i.e., towel or rope). PNF was originally developed for rehabilitation purposes. Best used for; achieving maximum flexibility and rehabilitation. Example; lying hamstring stretch with trainer assist.

Basic Guidelines For Stretching:

  •    Warm up to elevate core body temperature before stretching.
  •    Focus special attention on muscle groups or joints that have limited range of motion.
  •    Do stretching exercises a minimum of 2-3 days per week and ideally 5-7 days per week

  •    Stretch after each vigorous workout to encourage mind and body relaxation.

Choose the right type of stretching according to whether you are warming up, cooling down, preparing for a sport, or just trying to improve your flexibility. Stretching is vital to become more flexible, but it has to be done at the right time and for the right reasons. Maximizing the benefits of stretching boils down to a matter of when you do it and how!

FIBER - FOR WEIGHT CONTROL

One of the biggest challenges for people trying to lose weight is the restriction of calories. Increasing bulk by adding more fiber to your diet is one strategy that will help you feel full. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you're no longer hungry, so you are less likely to overeat. Fiber is commonly classified into two categories: those that don't dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber).

Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk. Sources of insoluble fibers are; whole-grain products, brans, nuts, seeds and skins of some fruits and vegetables.

Soluble fiber. This type of fiber attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Sources of soluble fibers are; oats, legumes, barley, fruits and vegetables.

Some tips for increasing fiber intake:

  •    Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices.
  •    Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products.
  •    Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips or energy bars.
  •    Substitute legumes as an alternative to meats one or twice a week.

It's best that you get your dietary fiber requirements from foods rather than supplements. Most people need between 20 and 35 grams of fiber each day. Recent studies show that the average American is not getting enough. "Bulking up" on fiber could lead to slimming down!







KAT NYC | Newsletters


SAFE AND EFFECTIVE STRETCHING

A primary function of muscles is to create tension and produce force for movement of the body's skeletal system. The intrinsic property of muscles and joints to go through a full or optimal range of motion (ROM) is referred to as flexibility. Flexibility is developed through the use of various stretching procedures. Stretching aids in reducing post-exercise muscle soreness, improves, performance, reduces muscle tension, minimizes your risk of injury and increases physical and mental relaxation. There are several types of stretching techniques, each offering different benefits.

STATIC STRETCHING is the most common type of stretching and involves reaching the point of muscle limitation and holding the stretch. This form of stretching allows for relaxation and concomitant elongation of muscles. To properly perform static stretching, hold the stretch at the first point of tension or resistance barrier for 15- 30 seconds. Best used for: tight or over active muscles at conclusion of workout. Example; Leg crossover stretch.

DYNAMIC STRETCHING consists of functional based exercise, which uses sport specific movements to prepare the body for activity. Dynamic stretching provides a rehearsal effect that may increase coordination and provide specific benefit to involved muscles. Dynamic stretching consists of performing 3-10 active ROM movements for 10 repetitions. Best used for: before playing sports, and usually replicates the movements about to be performed in exercise. Example; Torso Twists.

PNF STRETCHING or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation is the contract-relax method. PNF involves contracting the target muscle, then relaxing and stretching it with an assist from a trainer or an applied force (i.e., towel or rope). PNF was originally developed for rehabilitation purposes. Best used for; achieving maximum flexibility and rehabilitation. Example; lying hamstring stretch with trainer assist.

Basic Guidelines For Stretching:

  •    Warm up to elevate core body temperature before stretching.
  •    Focus special attention on muscle groups or joints that have limited range of motion.
  •    Do stretching exercises a minimum of 2-3 days per week and ideally 5-7 days per week

  •    Stretch after each vigorous workout to encourage mind and body relaxation.

Choose the right type of stretching according to whether you are warming up, cooling down, preparing for a sport, or just trying to improve your flexibility. Stretching is vital to become more flexible, but it has to be done at the right time and for the right reasons. Maximizing the benefits of stretching boils down to a matter of when you do it and how!

FIBER - FOR WEIGHT CONTROL

One of the biggest challenges for people trying to lose weight is the restriction of calories. Increasing bulk by adding more fiber to your diet is one strategy that will help you feel full. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you're no longer hungry, so you are less likely to overeat. Fiber is commonly classified into two categories: those that don't dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber).

Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk. Sources of insoluble fibers are; whole-grain products, brans, nuts, seeds and skins of some fruits and vegetables.

Soluble fiber. This type of fiber attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Sources of soluble fibers are; oats, legumes, barley, fruits and vegetables.

Some tips for increasing fiber intake:

  •    Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices.
  •    Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products.
  •    Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips or energy bars.
  •    Substitute legumes as an alternative to meats one or twice a week.

It's best that you get your dietary fiber requirements from foods rather than supplements. Most people need between 20 and 35 grams of fiber each day. Recent studies show that the average American is not getting enough. "Bulking up" on fiber could lead to slimming down!







THE THREE ENERGY SYSTEMS OF EXERCISE

The body converts food to fuel by relying upon different energy pathways.

Sports nutrition is built upon understanding how nutrients-carbohydrates, fat, and protein-contribute to the fuel supply needed to perform exercise. These nutrients are converted to energy in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). The energy released by the breakdown of ATP helps muscle cells contract.

Because the body cannot easily store ATP (what is stored gets used within a few seconds), ATP must be continually created during exercise. Essentially, the two major ways the body converts nutrients to energy are:

  •    Aerobic metabolism (with oxygen)
  •    Anaerobic metabolism (without oxygen)

These two pathways can be further divided. Typically, a combination of energy systems supplies the fuel for exercise. The intensity and duration of the exercise determines which method gets used when.

The ATP-CP Anaerobic Energy Pathway supplies about 10 seconds worth of energy and is used for short bursts of exercise (eg.100 meter sprint.) This pathway doesn't require oxygen to create ATP. It first uses up any ATP stored in the muscle (2-3 seconds worth) and then uses creatine phosphate (CP) to re-synthesize ATP until the CP runs out (6-8 seconds). After the ATP and CP are used, the body moves on to either aerobic or anaerobic metabolism (Glycolysis) to continue to create ATP to fuel exercise.

The Anaerobic Energy Pathway, Glycolysis, creates ATP exclusively from carbohydrates. Lactic Acid is a by-product of this process. Anaerobic glycolysis provides energy by the (partial) breakdown of glucose without using oxygen. Anaerobic metabolism produces energy for short, highintensity bursts of activity lasting no more than several minutes. The lactic acid build-up reaches the Lactate Threshold and muscle pain, burning, and fatigue make it difficult to maintain such intensity.

Aerobic Metabolism fuels most of the energy needed for long-duration activity. Using oxygen to convert nutrients to ATP, it's slower than the anaerobic systems, because it relies on the circulatory system to transport oxygen to the working muscles before creating ATP. Aerobic metabolism is used primarily during endurance exercise (generally less intense, can continue for long periods).

Fueling the Energy Systems

Each nutrient's unique properties determine how it gets converted to ATP.

Carbohydrate:the main nutrient that fuels moderate to high-intensity exercise.

Fat: can fuel low-intensity exercise for long periods.

Protein: generally used to maintain and repair body tissues, not to powermuscle activity.

The production of ATP to fuel exercise is NEVER achieved by the exclusive use of one energy system, but rather by the coordinated response of all energy systems contributing to different degrees. With appropriate training and nutrients, these systems adapt and become more efficient, allowing for greater exercise duration at higher intensity.







FITNESS TRUMPS WEIGHT FOR LONGEVITY

Great news! Here's yet more evidence that should help persuade deconditioned people to get active. New research shows that if you maintain or improve your fitness level-even if your body-weight does not change or increase-you are more likely to live longer.

There's little doubt that dropping excess weight can positively impact your health. But this study suggests that when it comes to living longer, fitness trumps fat.

It's hard to lose weight and maintain that loss. This study points to increased fitness level as a potentially more attainable goal with even greater dividends. Many people worry about their weight and weight gain, but based on this research, weight change is less important than fitness changes. After more than 11 years of follow-up, those who improved their fitness levels lived longer, regardless of whether the numbers on the scale stayed the same or even went up.

The findings:

  •    Maintaining or improving fitness was associated with lower death risks even after controlling for Body Mass Index (BMI) change.

  •    Every unit of increased fitness (measured as MET, metabolic equivalent of task) over six years was associated with a 19% lower risk of heart disease and stroke-related deaths and a 15% lower risk of death from any cause.

  •    Becoming less fit was linked to higher death risks, regardless of BMI changes.

  •    BMI change was not associated with death risk


Given the great difficulties of losing weight and maintaining a reduced weight over the long term, this study underscores the benefits of maintaining and improving fitness to reduce mortality risk independent of weight change - Thin or Obese, Fit Is It

Speak to a fitness professional and develop an appropriate program so you don't injure yourself before you reap any of the benefits, . As for people who are thin, don't fool yourself into thinking, 'I am skinny and will be fine if I don't do any exercise.' You won't be! . Being inactive is not OK, even if you are skinny. Ultimately, it is preferable to be fit and not fat; that is the ideal.







FASCIAL FITNESS

Much energy and thought has been dedicated to the training of muscles for athletic performance and personal training. Less attention has been paid to the tensional fibrous fascial system in which the muscles live, which allows them to exert a pull on the bones to shift the joints.

Fascia is the biological fabric that surrounds every structure in the body and invests most. Because fascia had not been seen as a whole system until recently, we have long been ignorant of its overall role in bio mechanics. Fascia forms the biological container and connector for every organ, including muscles.

Magically extracted in its entirety, the fascial web would be one big net with muscles and organs hanging in it. Every system, organ, and cell lives embedded within a unitary fascial net. Fascia is the essential structure that suspends our structure from the inside out, tethering into every other aspect of our physiology. Balanced fascia makes for a healthier and happier body; unbalanced fascia sends us into the domino effect of a compensatory pattern.

Many consider fascia a glorified body stocking- a seamless piece of tissue that Saran Wraps you just underneath the skin. While this is true of the superficial fascia, it's important to understand that it is a richly multi-dimensional tissue that forms your internal soft tissue architecture as well. In fact, its everywhere-ness is one of the reasons it was overlooked for so long.

How To Train The Fascial Web

  •    Bouncing. When you land on the ball of your foot, you decelerate and accelerate in such a way that you not only use, but actually build elasticity into, the tendons and fascial system.
  •    Preparatory Counter-movement Preparing for a movement by making a counter-movement (eg. flexing down before extending to standing, winding up before a pitch, moving the kettlebell toward the body before moving it away) makes maximum use of the power of fascial elasticity.
  •    Whole-Body Movements. Engage long myo-fascial chains and whole-body movements to train the fascial system.
  •    Proximal Initiation. Start movements with a dynamic pre-stretch (distal extension), but include a proximal initiation in the desired direction, letting the more distal parts of the body follow in sequence, like an elastic pendulum.
  •    Adaptive Movement. Complex movement requiring adaptation and tempo variation. (i.e Parkour)Varying the tempo of exercises allows for different fascial structures to build strength and elasticity.

Fascia is our richest and largest sensory organ, containing ten times the amount of sensory nerve receptors than the muscles. In fact, it may be equal or superior to the retina, which has thus far been considered the richest human sensory organ. Fortunately, research is catching up to what turns out to be a remarkably communicative sensory and proprioceptive tissue. Fascia is the one structure that connects to every aspect of human physiology.

So you could say that the fascial system is responsible for our morphostasis, or that fascia is our ”organ system of form.”






EXPLAINING PLANES OF MOTION

Life is three-dimensional. People reach, bend, lean, turn, twist, stoop and change directions constantly. If your body moved in only one dimension, you wouldn't be able to move your leg away from, toward, in front of, or behind you. Physical activities are made possible by various movements and motions which take place in one of three planes-Sagittal, Frontal, Transverse.

THE THREE PLANES OF MOTION

In each plane, different movements occur at the joints.

Sagittal: Moving from front to back (basic squat, bicep curl, lunge)

Dividing the body into left and right halves using an imaginary line gives us the sagittal plane. Any forward and backward movement parallel to this line occurs in the sagittal plane

  •    Flexion: Decreasing the angle between two bones (eg.bending knee)
  •    Extension: Increasing the angle between two bones (eg.straightening leg)
  •    Dorsiflexion: Moving top of foot toward shin (only at ankle)
  •    Plantar flexion: moving sole of foot downward (pointing toes)

Frontal: Moving side to side (side lunge, lateral shoulder raise)

Dividing the body into front/back halves gives us the frontal plane. Any lateral (side) movement parallel to the line will occur in the frontal plane

  •    Adduction: Motion toward the midline of the body
  •    Abduction: Motion away from the midline
  •    Elevation: Only at scapula (shrugging shoulders to ears)
  •    Depression: Only at scapula (moving shoulders away from ears)
  •    Inversion: Lifting medial border (inside arch) of foot
  •    Eversion: Lifting lateral border (outside edge) of foot

Transverse: (Cable Wood Chop)

The transverse plane is often overlooked in training. It divides the body into top and bottom halves. Movement parallel to the waistline, a.k.a. rotational movement, occurs in the transverse plane

  •    Rotation- Internal or external turning about the vertical axis of the bone
  •    Pronation- Rotating hand/wrist inward
  •    Supination- Rotating hand/wrist outward
  •    Horizontal Flexion (adduction) - Flexion (adduction) of humerus (upper arm bone) from the 90-degree abducted arm position in toward the midline of body.
  •    Horizontal Extension (abduction) - Return of humerus from horizontal flexion (Reverse above movement.)

When reviewing the sagittal plane - stand with your nose against the door frame so your feet straddle the threshold- dividing your body into right and left sides. When reviewing the frontal plane- stand with your back against the wall and pretend it divides you in half (front half/back half.) For the transverse plane - remember rotation.

Movements through every plane of motion are essential to any exercise regimen. The muscular anatomy required for most athletics proves that the human body is designed to be challenged in all three planes. A well-created, scientifically-sound program will incorporate elements of each plane into different exercises and elevations, preparing your body for the rigors of everyday life and accelerating muscle growth and fat loss!


FIGHT OFF THE FLU WITH FIVE FOOD


If you're looking to strengthen your immune system naturally this flu season, consider the foods you eat. Fruits and vegetables contain plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can boost your immune health while providing your body with nutrients. Many people don't use the right foods or food combinations to fortify their immune system, which increases their risk of catching colds, or worse- the flu.

1. Mushrooms (Exotic)

Exotic varieties (shitake, maitake) contain Vitamin D, Selenium- which helps white blood cells produce cytokines that clear sickness, and Beta-Glucan, an antimicrobial type of fiber.

2. Fresh Garlic

Garlic can stink out sickness with the phytochemical Allicin, an antimicrobial compound. Two fresh cloves a day can help protect you from foreign viruses and bacteria.

3. Broccoli

Packed full of Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, Zinc, and Selenium, broccoli is filled with good health and nutrition and not to be missed.

4. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of Beta-Carotene, which is instrumental in the growth and development of immune system cells.The vitamin A in sweet potatoes has been shown to protect mucus membranes, which could aid at fighting off bacteria and viruses.

5. Chia Seeds.

Chia seeds are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, making them one of the more potent foods on this list. They have a better ratio of omega-3 fats to omega-6 fats which improve inflammation levels and offset potential damage caused by free radicals.

If you want to stay healthy and fit and not succumb to the dreaded flu, include these foods in your nutrition plan.






MOBILITY VS FLEXIBILITY: WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?

The terms mobility and flexibility are often used interchangeably. While related, they're different, and the differences are worth considering. While many athletes, runners, and fitness enthusiasts work actively to increase their flexibility, they often overlook the issue of joint mobility.

Flexibility is the ability to flex, extend, or circumduct a joint through its intended full range of motion. When using the term properly, we're talking about the length of the tissues, nothing more. Mobility, or joint mobility, is the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion, with control. So mobility is based on active movement while flexibility involves static holds, and is dependent upon gravity or passive forces. Mobility also requires strength to produce full-range movement, whereas flexibility is passive, and does not require any strength.

Flexibility Example (Hamstring) - Lie on your back and lift leg straight up. Grasp behind thigh and pull leg close to chest.

Mobility Example (Hamstring) - Stand Upright holding onto wall, swing leg front to back, repeat other leg.

Many individuals prepare for their training by performing routine stretches prior to their workout. And while stretching helps to improve static (non-moving) flexibility, it's important to remember that it may not do such a good job at preparing your body to move quickly and efficiently. Dynamic mobility exercises prepare your body for the vigorous movements that make up the more demanding part of the workout.

Joint mobility exercises work by circulating the synovial fluid in the bursa, which "washes" the joint. Since the joints have no direct blood supply, they are nourished by this synovial fluid, which simultaneously removes waste products. When performed correctly, joint mobility exercises can restore complete freedom of movement to the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, spine, neck, elbows, wrists and fingers. By doing mobility work we are communicating with the nervous system to enable optimally efficient movement

Mobility exercises should be used for your warm-up. Flexibility exercises are best performed after the workout as part of the cool-down to restore tissue length and prevent long term injury. Flexibility work helps bring the body back to a state of rest and recovery and allows you to focus on relaxing and lengthening the muscles that you put under stress while working out.

Simply put, the primary distinction between mobility and flexibility training is the percentage likelihood of injury. Possessing good flexibility without good mobility predisposes you to injury! Physiologically, you'll be much safer slightly tight with good mobility than very loose with inadequate mobility.

Mobility practice is a daily requirement, flexibility training is not.


BENEFITS OF KEEPING A FOOD DIARY

A food diary can be extremely beneficial. Tracking what you eat and drink can keep you focused on your diet, motivate you, increase your efficacy, help you attain and maintain your goals. A recent study showed that individuals who kept food diaries lost TWICE as much weight as those who didn't.

By recording every bite you eat in a daily journal, you'll get an eye-opening, accurate view of exactly how many calories and what types of foods you're consuming. You will see seemingly hidden calories seeping into your diet, and you may discover why you are either gaining weight or unable to lose it.

ACCOUNTABILITY
Most people consume far more calories than they think. If you only rely on your memory, you're doing yourself a huge disservice. Recording every bite in a journal provides regulation and accountability for your consumption.

EATING BALANCED MEALS
Journaling will show if you need more variety (eg. you may need to eat more vegetables or protein and less processed food.) Beyond monitoring calorie consumption, a food journal helps you compose a meal balanced with healthy proportions of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber.

CONNECT FOOD TO FEELINGS
Make a column in your diary that notes how the foods you eat affect you. You will find revealing connections.

A food diary is one of the best tools you can use in your weight loss or weight maintenance efforts! To begin, figure out what best fits into your lifestyle. Some people prefer the electronic versions (accessible online), while others prefer simply writing down their meals in a notepad. Choose which works best for you.






EXERCISE AND THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM

One of the most overlooked benefits of exercise is the affect it has on our endocrine system, which controls many physiological functions of our body.

The endocrine system stabilizes the body's internal environment by releasing hormones. Hormones are substances secreted from a tissue (mainly endocrine glands) that exert a biologic response on themselves or other cells, and affect almost all aspects of human function. They regulate growth, development, and reproduction.

Overview Of Endocrine System:

Pituitary Gland
Releases Human Growth Hormone, which tells the body to increase bone, muscle, and tissue production.

Thyroid Gland
Releases hormones that regulate the body's temperature, heart rate, blood pressure. Also regulates the focus needed to work at a high intensity.

Adrenal Gland
Releases Cortisol (which controls blood pressure and glucose) into bloodstream. Cortisol also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and turns stored carbohydrates into energy.

Pancreas
Two main functions: an exocrine function that helps in digestion, and an endocrine function that regulates blood sugar.

Hormones And Their Functions

Cortisol
"The stress hormone." Secreted by the adrenal gland; stores fat, converts muscle mass to fat, breaks down muscle tissue, suppresses immune function. Levels may rise from caffeine, inadequate sleep, stress, trauma, improper nutrition.

Growth Hormone
Secreted by the pituitary gland, helps strengthen bones and connective tissue, increases muscular strength and metabolizes fat. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) can be triggered by sleep and high-intensity exercise. Despite the bad press HGH gets (many pro athletes take a synthetic version to gain advantage in competition), it is a natural hormone we produce in our bodies.

Testosterone
Testosterone increases muscle strength and decreases body fat. Both men and women produce Testosterone. Women have approximately 1/10 the amount that men have.

Estrogen
Beneficial effects: fat mobilization for fuel (energy), mood elevation, and increased basal metabolic rate (BMR.) But excessive levels can cause weight gain by causing increased size of adipose (fat) tissue.

Thyroxin
Secreted in thyroid gland; elevates body's metabolic rate, making it significant for weight-loss; levels increase in blood about 30% during high intensity exercise, remain elevated up to 6 hours after.

Insulin
Utilizes glucose (form of blood sugar); metabolizes fat. Excessive insulin responses cause fat to accumulate within cells. Over time, this accumulation can cause Diabetes.

Endorphins
Released by Pituitary gland as a response to certain stimuli (stress, fear, pain.) Endorphins block pain, decrease appetite, create a feeling of euphoria, reduce tension/anxiety. Exercise is indisputably beneficial regarding endorphin release.

Studies have shown that exercise helps our body secrete and receive hormones more efficiently. But the effects of exercise on the endocrine system are also psychological: exercise-induced Testosterone can increase an individual's libido and confidence. Endorphins can help reduce tension and anxiety and facilitate the proverbial "runner's high."


AVOID PACKING ON THE POUNDS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

The Holidays are just a few DAYS so don't indulge for two months. It's okay to cheat a little, but you don't want to deal with the consequences for months to come!

LAY OFF THE BOOZE
Alcohol is the biggest waste of caloric intake! Drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol. That should help slow you down.

USE SMALL PLATES
Practice Portion Control. The smaller the plate the larger your portion will seem. You may find yourself feeling full. Stay on track by really thinking about what you are eating before you stick it in your mouth.

FILL UP ON FRUITS & VEGGIES
Be sure to reach for filling, fiber rich fruits and veggies first, but skip the fatty dips and dressings

STAY FOCUSED ON FITNESS
If you do gain a pound or two don't let it snow ball. Get back to your fitness routine and consider asking for some personal training sessions as a holiday gift.






TOP 5 CORRECTIVE EXERCISES TO RELIEVE CHRONIC PAIN?

Corrective exercises restore postural alignment and alleviate recurrent pain by eliminating muscle imbalances and movement compensations. With prolonged misuse (incorrect body positioning), muscles become weak in certain areas and tight in others, causing chronic body pain. Muscular imbalances are systemic-the more you have, the more you will develop.

These exercises reduce chronic pain and improve function.

1. Golf Ball Roll (SMR self-myofascial)

Over-pronation (rolling in of the feet): causes painful irritation of connective tissue on underside of foot (plantar fascia.) Overuse, imbalances, pain, can also occur in ankles, knees and hips as they are forced to compensate.

Exercise: Place golf ball on underside of foot. Roll it back and forth on sore spots (30 seconds-1 min. 1-2x day.)

2. Foam Roller Iliotibial Band (SMR)

Iliotibial (IT) band: runs from top of hip to knee on outside of leg; attaches gluteals to lower leg. Excessive inward rotation of leg can cause inflammation of IT band.

Exercise: Place roller perpendicular to side of thigh. Lie over it. Hold body weight on sore spots until tissues release. Roll each leg from side of hip down to knee (1-2 min. 1-2X/day)

3. Tennis Balls on Upper Back (SMR)

Thoracic Kyphosis (rounding of upper back): caused by extended periods of sitting or chronic stress; causes misalignment of neck, head, shoulders; lower back must arch in order to pull the spine erect when standing. Pain may be felt in all the above areas.

Exercise: Lie on back with bent knees, feet flat, pillow under head. Place two tennis balls (in a sock) on either side of spine at mid/upper-back height. Gradually tilt pelvis, flattening lower back to ground. Stay on sore spots 20-30 seconds. Move balls up spine toward neck and shoulders, pausing where tender.

4. Baseball/Tennis Ball on Gluteals (SMR)

Today's environment necessitates excessive sitting. Gluteal muscles easily become dysfunctional and weak; hips tighten from constant flexion.

Exercise: Same position as #3. Place baseball/tennis ball under butt/sore spots in area. Hold ball still for 10-20 seconds (total of 1-2 minutes a day.)
5. Hip Flexor Stretch

Hip flexors:
originate at lower/lumbar spine, cross pelvis, and attach to the top of femur (thighbone); often become chronically shortened from constant hip flexion (prolonged sitting), causing pain in lower back/hips.

Exercise: Kneel on one knee, placing other foot in front of you. Lift torso upright, tucking pelvis, contracting gluteals. Raise arm on kneeling leg side for deeper stretch. Feel stretch in front of hip and leg of kneeling side. Do at least 1X/day (30 seconds-1 min per side.)

When done consistently, corrective exercises based on improved strength, flexibility, You will move better, feel better, live better.


DO JUICE CLEANSES REALLY WORK AND ARE THEY SAFE?

uice cleanses have been around for over 100 years and have been touted to cure everything from tuberculosis to constipation. The herbal cleansing market is a growing multi-million dollar industry worldwide. But: are cleanses really necessary? Do they work? Are they safe?

WHAT IS A JUICE CLEANSE/FAST?

A Juice Cleanse is a detoxification diet where you consume only freshly juiced fruits and vegetables for a short period of time in order to remove "toxins" (preservatives, contaminants from processed foods) from the body.

THE CLAIMS

People try cleanses to lose weight, stop overeating, curtail bad nutrition habits, free themselves from caffeine addiction, etc. Some use them as "cures" for arthritis, cancers, infections, and other severe medical problems.

TO JUICE OR NOT TO JUICE

If you complete a cleanse, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment, because you'll have learned to resist cravings and broken unhealthy habits. You'll also be getting the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables (though you will be sacrificing fiber you'd get from eating that fruit or vegetable whole)

SAFETY CONCERNS/COMPLICATIONS

Any cleanse that lasts more than a week will lead the body to think it's starving, and cause possibly permanent health problems. Prolonged fasting can also aggravate pre-existing conditions. Choose a program that is colorful (different colors ensure adequate nutrients), be sure to include nut-based milks for protein and nutrients, and drink plenty of water.

CONCLUSION

A juice cleanse can be used to jump-start a permanent lifestyle change. However, to lose weight and keep it off, make healthy changes you can maintain throughout your life. Yo-yo dieting (returning to unhealthy habits after a cleanse) has long-lasting damaging effects. So formulate an entire health plan to stay on track after your cleanse is done.






IS THERE A FAT BURNING ZONE & DOES IT MATTER?

"There are countless myths in the fitness industry. One of the most widespread and damaging is the mythical "Fat Burning Zone." The Fat Burning zone is promoted by equipment manufacturers and the uninformed masses as a fictional zone of exercise intensity that allows for a steady state of movement at low to moderate intensity.

Fat Burning Zone supposedly describes a level of exercise that results in a larger number of the calories burned during exercise being derived from fat. This does not mean that stored body fat is the selective source. It only describes the relative percentage of utilization of three substrates: fat, carbohydrate and protein.The highest percentage of fat utilization actually occurs at rest. The more intense the exercise becomes, the more carbohydrate is used as a source.

The Fat Burning Zone does exist, but it has been grossly misinterpreted! The concept is that the body burns a greater amount of fat at lower-intensity aerobic exercise than it does at higher intensities. The truth is, the body burns a greater percentage of fat at lower intensities than at higher intensities. At lower intensities the body may burn 50 percent of the calories from fat, while at higher intensities it may only burn 35 percent. At higher intensities you burn way more total calories and more fat calories overall than you do at lower intensities.If the Fat Burning Zone idea actually worked we could get extremely lean by simply sitting still.

Here's an example of two identical people exercising for 20 minutes:

Exerciser 1 is doing a slow walk to stay in the "Fat Burning Zone." At 3 mph, Exerciser 1 covers one mile in 20 minutes and burns 100 calories with 50 of them coming from fat. That's 50% of total calories coming from fat.

Exerciser 2 is running at 7.5 mph for twenty minutes, moving out of the "Fat Burning Zone." Exerciser 2 covers 2.5 miles in twenty minutes, burning 250 calories with 87.5 of them coming from fat. That's 35% of total calories coming from fat.

Although Exerciser 1 stayed in the "Fat Burning Zone" fewer total calories and fewer calories from fat were actually burned in the same amount of time as Exerciser 2! (the same results can be expected using any type of cardio equipment)

When it comes to weight loss it is not the proportion or percentage of each fuel metabolized but the total calorie expenditure that is crucial. Instead of focusing on things like the mythical Fat Burning Zone...start focusing on working harder.


DON'T LET MISLEADING FOOD LABELS FOOL YOU

Food manufactures have come up with clever ways to trick you into buying supposed healthier foods. From non-fat, low sodium, sugar free and many other misleading labels, you may be getting more than you bargained for.

Even the most health-conscious shoppers can be misled by crafty nutrition facts, medical claims, and ingredients labels.

Here are 4 of the Top Misleading Labels:

1. Light

Generally speaking, when you think of "light' you may think that it has less calories and fat. However, some companies use "light" in reference to the flavor of the product not "light" in calories. The difference in calories from the "regular" product is marginal at best.

2. Organic

Just because a product says organic, doesn't mean that it is healthier for you. Organic is a term that is used when 95% or more of the ingredients were grown without pesticides or synthetic forms of fertilizer. Many products labeled "organic" may still contain high amounts of fat, sugar, and calories

3. Gluten Free

Gluten is a protein found in foods that are processed from wheat or other related grain products. Gluten-free products are especially good for people who suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, but may not be for people without these sensitivities. Gluten-free products have less fiber and some contain higher amounts of fat and sugar.

4. Serving Size

A "'serving size'" may bear little resemblance to the amount of the food most people actually eat! Nutrition information provided is for the serving size identified on the label. However, the serving on the food label may not be the same as the serving size in your food plan or the serving you normally eat.

Don't be fooled into thinking products are better for you than they actually are. By carefully reading food labels, you can decipher what is healthy and what is not.






RETHINKING "CORE TRAINING"

"Core Training" is one of the most popular and misused phrases in the fitness world. For some, core training means doing crunches until their abs cramp. For others, it means doing all sorts of complicated moves on various pieces of equipment that appear better suited for a circus than a gym.

Several years ago, "Core" emerged as a buzzword in sports and fitness training. Article after article appeared in journals and magazines touting the core as the area to focus on the most to lead healthier and "pain-free" lives.The media picked up on the buzzword. With so much exposure "targeting the core " became the miraculous cure for just about every issue or injury from low back pain to poor sports performance(which we had previously attributed to other issues).

Any time a "new" thing becomes a fad it gets overemphasized at first until it naturally falls into its place of worth. That seems to be the case with core training.

The 'core muscles" have been incorrectly identified by the average person. Most people think of the core as a nice six-pack or strong and toned abs, but the truth is that the abdominal muscles are a very small part of the core. The abs have very limited and specific action, and what experts refer to as the "core" actually consists of many different muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis, and run the entire length of the torso. When these muscles contract, they stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle and create a solid base of support. When this happens, we are able to generate powerful movements of the extremities.

The actual purpose of our core muscles is to work effectively and efficiently while the body is in an upright, vertical position. The core is the part of the body responsible for transferring forces from the ground, through the legs and trunk and all through the upper extremities.

Effective core training requires using exercises that integrate the hips, trunk and shoulders to efficiently distribute the forces (gravity, ground reaction and momentum) caused by upright movement.

For integrated core strength:

  •    Medicine ball chops and lifts
  •    Lunge with rotation
  •    Single leg deadlift
  •    Standing knee crunches

It is necessary to do some ground-based exercises to create initial core stability; but if we truly want to train the core the way it is designed to work, we need to get off the floor and train the muscles from a standing position so they learn how to stabilize the body in a field of gravity.

Fitness should be achieved by working to develop the entire body...From the Ground Up!


WHAT ARE YOU LACKING? PROBABLY VITAMIN D

Vitamin D has been a hot topic lately as its deficiency is widespread and seems to be related to many health concerns: osteoporosis, depression, heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, parathyroid problems, immune function -even weight loss. This essential nutrient is called a vitamin, but dietary vitamin D is actually a precursor hormone. Every tissue in the body, including the brain, heart, muscles and immune system, has receptors for vitamin D. This means the nutrient is needed at proper levels for these tissues to function well.

Major Vitamin D functions

  •    Supports key mineral absorption and metabolism (especially calcium and phosphorus).
  •    Regulates normal cell differentiation and proliferation (e.g., prevention of cancer).
  •    Promotes insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation
  •    Regulates over 200 genes in the body

Vitamin D Requirements

Growing awareness of how much our bodies rely on vitamin D has raised concern that dietary recommended daily values (DRI's) are obsolete-- 200IU a day adults 19-50, 400IU 51-70, and 600IU over 70. Some studies show that adults need 3000-5000 IU per day. Others indicate healthy adults can readily metabolize up to 10,000 IU per day without harmful side effects.

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms

Vitamin D deficiency may be characterized by muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, symptoms of depression and, sleep irregularities.

To prevent vitamin D deficiency

  •    Allow yourself limited, unprotected sun exposure in the early morning and late afternoon (no more than 15 minutes for light-skinned individuals, 40 minutes for darker skin)
  •    Eat a diet rich in whole foods. Nutrient-dense, oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, egg yolks, fortified milk and other dairy products, as well as some organ meats (like liver).
  •    Take a vitamin D supplement.

It may turn out that vitamin D is the key everyone's been looking for, or more likely an important part of a far greater whole-health picture. Investigate your personal vitamin D levels with your medical practitioner as part of a comprehensive approach to your whole health.






FAST TWITCH VS. SLOW TWITCH MUSCLE FIBERS

Skeletal muscle is made up of bundles of individual muscle fibers called myocytes. Each myocyte contains many myofibrils, which are strands of proteins (actin and myosin) that can grab on to each other and pull. This shortens the muscle and causes muscle contraction. It is generally accepted that muscle fibers can be broken down into two main types: slow twitch (Type I) and fast twitch (Type II).

Fast Twitch (FT) fibers are best suited for anaerobic and explosive activities such as weight training, sprinting, and jumping. These fibers have a lower capacity for oxygen utilization in the production of energy within the muscle. FT fibers create energy anaerobically, that is, without oxygen. This system uses glucose as a primary energy source. The bi-products of this anaerobic energy production are heat and lactic acid. Lactic acid accumulation in the muscle causes fatigue and soreness and the anaerobic energy system is a limited system for energy production.

Slow Twitch (ST) muscle fibers are used for aerobic endurance type activities such as long distance running, cycling, and swimming. These fibers are capable of utilizing oxygen for the production of energy within the muscle. This system uses glucose in combination with oxygen to produce energy. The bi-products of this system are carbon dioxide, water, and heat.

These distinctions seem to influence how muscles respond to training and physical activity, and each fiber type is unique in its ability to contract in a certain way. That's why certain sports or activities seem to come more "naturally" to some than others. (Think sprinter versus marathon runner).

To further understand the difference, consider the muscle fiber make up of chickens. Chicken legs are mainly made up of ST fibers. Chicken wings and breasts are largely made up of FT muscle fibers. Chickens use their legs for walking and standing, which they do most of the time. This doesn't use much energy. They use their wings for brief bursts of flight. This requires lots of energy and the muscles involved tire very quickly.

Lastly, there is a third type of muscle fiber that exists only in humans. It is considered a FT fiber type (IIA), but really acts as a hybrid type because they can adapt somewhat to aerobic activities. These fibers also provide the capability to alter original genetic FT/ST ratios.

There are significant benefits to mixing high-and low-intensity workouts (and in the process working fast and slow twitch muscle fibers!). A well-rounded workout routine includes a combination of intense and endurance exercises and can help the body adapt and perform in a variety of scenarios.


GREEN TEA: A DIETER'S SECRET WEAPON

Need another healthy reason to drink green tea? Aside from fighting heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, recent research shows that drinking green tea can also fight fat!

Green tea contains high concentrations of catechins polyphenol. These compounds work with other chemicals to intensify levels of fat oxidation and thermogenesis.

The most active form of catechins in green tea is epigallocatechingallate (EGCG). Green tea also contains caffeine, which appears to act synergistically with EGCG to assist metabolism. This thermogenic effect was originally attributed to the caffeine content. However, green tea stimulates brown fat thermogenesis far greater than a comparable amount of pure caffeine. It has been shown to increase 24-hour energy expenditure in fat oxidation, caffeine only increases metabolism during the time you take it.

Experts also tell us that the catechins in green tea help to inhibit the movement of glucose into fat cells. So, green tea may also act as a glucose regulator. It helps to slow the rise in blood sugar after a meal. This prevents high insulin spikes and the subsequent fat storage that goes with too much insulin in the body.

Green tea should be treated as a dietary supplement, not a magic bullet. Green tea helps weight loss by boosting your metabolic rate, regulating blood sugar, and suppressing appetite. Incorporating green tea into a healthy diet and exercise routine can assist with weight management and overall health.





WHO ARE THE "FITTEST" ATHLETES?

Ever wonder which sport has the "fittest" athletes? Sports physiologists don't have a system for ranking this and due to different criteria and skill sets there are no scientifically valid studies on the subject.

magine there is a super-Olympics, in which athletes from every conceivable sport are judged by the same standard. Who would win? Lance Armstrong? Manny Pacquiao? Lebron James? Lionel Messi? Michael Phelps?

For the average gym-goer or recreational athlete fitness is a combination of four components: cardiorespiratory endurance (VO2max), muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility.

A team of experts from ACE (American Council on Exercise) conducted a survey ranking the fittest athletes using a broader definition; The sum of cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, balance, power, flexibility, agility and physical skills.

Using that criteria, they ranked the following athletes the "fittest."

Decathletes participate in 10 track-and-field events over a two-day span and therefore have a broad range of aptitudes. They can run 1500 meters in 4 minutes and 100 meters in 10 seconds. The shot put,discus and javelin require power and the high jump and long jump call for agility. Balance, coordination and "skills" are needed for the pole vault and 110-meter hurdles. And they need flexibility for every event!

Boxers and Mixed Marital Artists (MMA) are very strong, powerful, quick and have a high level of cardiorespiratory fitness. MMA artists literally may have a leg up on boxers though, since their sport employs a wide range of fitness attributes at high intensity including the leg speed for kicking.

Football "Skilled Position" Players have to master a wider array of athletic abilities and be able to take a hit. Cornerbacks, wide receivers and running backs are some of the fittest athletes possible. They can train at extremely high intensity for a prolonged period of 60 to 90 minutes. They apply speed, power, endurance, coordination, quickness, rhythm and strength to many skills and tasks. And they have very low body fat.

Hockey Players come in a package that melds strength, agility, power, speed and flexibility. Because they are on skates, less effort is required but a high degree of skill and balance are necessary. They don't have the endurance of other "fittest" athletes,hockey players go all out in bursts of 30-60 second shifts then get a break.

The athleticism in professional sports is evolving every year. Athletes are getting bigger, stronger and faster as benchmarks and records fall. It's exciting to ponder what will happen next. What "fittest" athlete will take sports and athleticism to new levels?


ARE YOU DRINKING ENOUGH WATER?

FACT: Next to air, water is the element most necessary for survival. We can go without food for almost two months, but without water only a few days.

Adequate water intake prevents dehydration, cleans out the body, aids in digestion, metabolism, kidney function and promotes healing processes among other things. Water is the body's principle chemical component and makes up about 65% of body weight. Every system in the body depends on water!

Staying Safely Hydrated

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. Many people live in a dehydrated state. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and cause fatigue. The easiest way to know if you are drinking enough water is to look at the color of you urine. A deeper yellow means drink more water, lighter yellow or clear means you're on the right track.

The International Sports Medicine Institute recommends the following formula for daily water intake:

    • 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight if you are not active (that's ten eight ounce glasses if you weigh 160 pounds)
    • 2/3 ounce per pound if you're athletic (13 to 14 glasses a day at 160 pounds).
    • Intake should be spread though out the day and evening.

Being dehydrated can be a significant obstacle to feeling motivated to exercise. To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice.





THE METABOLISM MYSTERY

Metabolism is almost a mythical word that few actually understand. Is it a magical force that determines whether or not individuals stay slim or pack on the pounds? A special energy bestowed upon a chosen few to allow them to eat whatever they want and not gain weight? Questions like these demonstrate that there is significant confusion surrounding metabolism.

Metabolism can be defined as the speed at which the body burns through fuel. It deals with how quickly and efficiently the body processes food and stored fuels (body fat). This process produces energy and heat. In fact, a calorie is actually a measure of heat. Consider metabolism as your inner furnace.

Tips to jump-start your metabolism:
    • Strength Train/Muscle Tissue: Muscle tissue uses more calories than fat tissue because it has a higher metabolic rate. Muscle tissue is the exact physical site where fat is "burned off".
    • Meal Frequency: Eat four to six small meals a day to keep your body fuel supply (i.e., blood sugar levels) consistent and your metabolism revved up; but be careful not to exceed your calorie allotment for the day. DON'T skip breakfast, DO skip late night eating.
    • Include protein with each meal: Metabolizing protein is a little more "difficult" for the body, consequently increasing number of calories burned. When cells need energy they will break down carbohydrates first, then fat, and finally protein.
    • Herbs and spices: Cayenne pepper, ginger, turmeric, and cumin can increase your metabolism and fat burning ability by up to 20%. Spicy condiments like mustard and hot pepper sauce can also raise your metabolic rate.

You can jump-start a sluggish metabolism through exercise and diet, which will have lasting health benefits. Build that metabolic fire within you, make it burn long, make it burn hot: YOU are in control!


BOOZE BUILDS BELLIES

Alcohol is part of many social occasions. From family dinners to parties, sporting events, and dates, alcohol plays a role in everyday life.

Once alcohol is consumed, the body makes metabolizing it a priority. This means that the body stops metabolizing fat, carbs, and protein in order to first get the alcohol converted to energy since the body has no place to store it. This "interference" with how your body processes and stores nutrients means healthy foods you eat don't get to do their job. Aside from perhaps red wine, alcohol is devoid of nutrients and doesn't do the body any favors.

Alcohol stimulates food intake and can increase feelings of hunger as well. When you're trying to follow a weight loss program, having your judgment impaired and stimulating your appetite is a recipe for failure.

Check out these long-term effects:

Two 6 oz. glasses of red wine 5 x week = 1250 calories x 52 weeks in a year = 65,000 calories per year!

It takes 3,500 calories to lose or gain one pound of fat!

Remember this, if you take the time to improve your fitness level and overall health, excess consumption of alcohol is a MAJOR step backwards and IMPEDES your progress.





PHA CIRCUIT TRAINING FOR STRENGTH AND FAT LOSS

Peripheral Heart Action circuit training is an efficient and challenging form of conditioning. PHA training consists of performing multiple exercises in rapid succession, alternating between upper and lower body exercises. This forces the blood flow into different parts of the body as you change exercises, creating a demanding cardiovascular workout while training for strength.

How to perform PHA

A PHA circuit consists of 3 to 6 compound/multi joint movements that are completed one exercise after another with minimal rest. An example is going from squats to pull-ups to lunges. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a set time before moving on to the next exercise. The exercises within each circuit are separated by a short rest period, and each circuit is separated by a longer rest period. The total number of circuits performed will vary from 2 to 6 depending on your fitness level and training objectives.

Benefits


    • Easy to hit every muscle group
    • Creates variety to avoid plateaus and boredom
    • Improves coordination, mobility and balance
    • Torches fat in record time while preserving lean muscle mass
    • Stimulates (HGH) Human Growth Hormone response, providing youth rejuvenating properties
    • Complete more work in less time.
    • Strength + Cardiovascular = A stronger more efficient heart.

The results come in loud and clear! PHA equates to the greatest energy expenditure and subsequently unparalleled fat loss. PHA will be enlightening, effective and often empowering. It will be well worth the effort!


SIX NUTRIENT DENSE SUPER FOODS THAT EVERYONE NEEDS

Super foods are by definition - calorie sparse and nutrient dense-meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of antioxidants and essential nutrients - nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves.

Blueberries are among the highest anti-oxidant valued fruits. They contain good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin and riboflavin, which act as co-factors in metabolizing fat. Blueberries are also high in fiber and function as anti-inflammatory compounds.

Eggs The protein in eggs is the highest-quality protein found in any food. One egg contains 6 grams of protein and healthy unsaturated fats. Eggs contain 18 essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of life. Eggs are also a good source of choline, which has been linked with preserving memory.

Greek Yogurt is a 'bone healthy' calcium filled super food that carries probiotics (healthy bacteria). Plain Greek yogurt is high in protein and low in sugar and fat, which will fill you up longer.

Walnuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidant Vitamin E. Walnuts, in particular have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts.

Salmon is low in calories, high in protein and loaded with 'heart healthy' omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon is loaded with essential vitamins B12, niacin, selenium, B6 and magnesium. A 4 oz. serving of salmon also provides a full day's requirement of vitamin D.

Broccoli packs the most nutritional punch of any vegetable. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K and good source of iron, folate, fiber and calcium. Broccoli also contains some very important cancer fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Super foods are nutritional powerhouses! A healthy diet incorporating a variety of theses filling super foods will help you maintain your weight, fight disease, and live longer.





EXERCISE AND THE BRAIN

Endurance and resistance training are proving to be the dynamic duo that build and rejuvenate the body from head to toe. Studies have shown that improving your physical fitness can help to improve your mental fitness.

Aerobic exercise has been shown many times to improve cognitive function, but a recent study shows that strength training can improve executive functions. Executive functions are important because they are a mental ability that helps us make decisions and do several things at once (like driving). They are associated with how quickly you perform mental tasks such as flexible thinking, decision- making, and problem solving.

Regular exercise has been proven to be more effective than brain games, super foods, supplements or any other method used to keep the brain sparking on all cylinders.

Consistent exercise doesn't just reshape you muscles but helps reshape your mind. It appears to be one of the best ways to trigger "neurogenesis," the growth of new brain cells, something that, until recently, wasn't thought possible in the adult brain. Physical exertion causes new brain cells to sprout, possibly by increasing the capacity of capillaries serving the brain so there is better blood flow. More blood flow means more oxygen, increased oxygen leads to new cell growth. Increased blood volume also helps promote the growth of new connections between brain cells and facilitate the delivery of an assortment of other beneficial chemicals.

The human brain is able to continually adapt and rewire itself. It's NEVER too late. Even in old age, it can grow new neurons. Severe mental decline is usually caused by disease, whereas most age-related losses in memory or motor skills simply result from inactivity and a lack of mental exercise and stimulation. Inactive individuals were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's, compared to those with the highest levels of activity (exercised vigorously at least three times a week). In other words, use it or lose it! No matter what your fitness goals, your brain is the 3 lbs. you never want to lose.


PROTEIN BARS; STILL CANDY BARS IN DISGUISE?

Though there has been some improvement on these bars, several of the best sellers are nothing more than ordinary candy bars with protein powder added in. It's challenging for manufactures to create an all- natural bar with whole food ingredients that's also low in calories and sugar.

If you read the slick advertisement and not the ingredients you can be easily fooled. You must read the labels! Keep a careful eye on ingredients, especially high amounts of sweeteners, artificial flavors, processed transfats, preservatives and hydrogenated oils. In general the lower down the sweeteners are on the ingredients list the better the bar is for you. Most of these bars lack dietary fiber and are just 'overly engineered ' food.

All bars that come in wrappers are processed foods. Some may be less processed than others, but you haven't seen a protein bar hanging from a tree branch lately, have you? Try to make whole food choices daily and eat things you don't have to 'unwrap'.

These types of bars are useful for emergencies of convenience, like eating while driving or flying, rushing about between meetings/classes, and so on. But when this happens more than once or twice a week it becomes an issue of improper meal planning. Improper meal planning is a sure fire way to sabotage your fitness and health goals, so take the time to think it through.





December 2011 Newsletter

SUPER CHARGE YOUR FITNESS AND FAT LOSS WITH HIIT

HIIT, short for high intensity interval training, is a very efficient type of cardio workout! It can help you combat monotony, improve your overall fitness, and turn your body into a more efficient metabolic machine in half the time of a regular workout.

HIIT is a type of cardio workout that consists of alternating short periods of very vigorous activity and longer periods of active recovery. The intervals of high intensity are brief but very challenging. A typical HIIT workout usually lasts about 20-30 minutes and involves a 2:1 ratio, meaning your recovery intervals are twice as long as the work intervals. Your cardio should be a shorter roller coaster ride vs. a long walk in the park. Higher intensity equals greater caloric expenditure per minute.

HIIT can be applied to any form of cardio. An example is:

STEP 1: Start your workout with a 5-minute warm up to make sure your body is ready for intense exercise. (50-60% of Heart Rate).

STEP 2: Choose the length of your work/recovery intervals - Experts generally recommend a 1:2 work to rest ratio, which means your rest interval is twice as long as your work interval. An example would be sprinting for 30 seconds (85-90% of Heart Rate) and walking to recover for 1 minute. If you work at maximum effort, you may need even longer to recover. Repeat 6-10 times.

STEP 3: COOL DOWN by bringing your heart rate back to a resting state. This will help prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

HIIT results in increased HGH levels. HGH is a hormone that helps preserve valuable lean muscle mass. This is key to RMR (resting metabolic rate) and reducing body fat. Last but definitely not least, HIIT's results in EPOC or Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption. EPOC is an after-burn effect, which causes you to burn calories up to 48 hours after your workout. It's like burning calories with interest.


AVOID PACKING ON THE POUNDS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

The Holidays are just a few DAYS so don't indulge for two months. It's okay to cheat a little, but you don't want to deal with the consequences for months to come!

LAY OFF THE BOOZE Alcohol is the biggest waste of caloric intake! Drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol. That should help slow you down.

USE SMALL PLATES Practice Portion Control. The smaller the plate the larger your portion will seem. You may find yourself feeling full. Stay on track by really thinking about what you are eating before you stick it in your mouth.

FILL UP ON FRUITS & VEGGIES Be sure to reach for filling, fiber rich fruits and veggies first, but skip the fatty dips and dressings

STAY FOCUSED ON FITNESS If you do gain a pound or two don't let it snow ball. Get back to your fitness routine and consider asking for some personal training sessions as a holiday gift.


For more information or to schedule a consultation please call 212.721.3459 or email at info@katnyc.com.

THE THREE ENERGY SYSTEMS OF EXERCISE

The body converts food to fuel by relying upon different energy pathways.

Sports nutrition is built upon understanding how nutrients-carbohydrates, fat, and protein-contribute to the fuel supply needed to perform exercise. These nutrients are converted to energy in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). The energy released by the breakdown of ATP helps muscle cells contract.

Because the body cannot easily store ATP (what is stored gets used within a few seconds), ATP must be continually created during exercise. Essentially, the two major ways the body converts nutrients to energy are:

  •    Aerobic metabolism (with oxygen)
  •    Anaerobic metabolism (without oxygen)

These two pathways can be further divided. Typically, a combination of energy systems supplies the fuel for exercise. The intensity and duration of the exercise determines which method gets used when.

The ATP-CP Anaerobic Energy Pathway supplies about 10 seconds worth of energy and is used for short bursts of exercise (eg.100 meter sprint.) This pathway doesn't require oxygen to create ATP. It first uses up any ATP stored in the muscle (2-3 seconds worth) and then uses creatine phosphate (CP) to re-synthesize ATP until the CP runs out (6-8 seconds). After the ATP and CP are used, the body moves on to either aerobic or anaerobic metabolism (Glycolysis) to continue to create ATP to fuel exercise.

The Anaerobic Energy Pathway, Glycolysis, creates ATP exclusively from carbohydrates. Lactic Acid is a by-product of this process. Anaerobic glycolysis provides energy by the (partial) breakdown of glucose without using oxygen. Anaerobic metabolism produces energy for short, highintensity bursts of activity lasting no more than several minutes. The lactic acid build-up reaches the Lactate Threshold and muscle pain, burning, and fatigue make it difficult to maintain such intensity.

Aerobic Metabolism fuels most of the energy needed for long-duration activity. Using oxygen to convert nutrients to ATP, it's slower than the anaerobic systems, because it relies on the circulatory system to transport oxygen to the working muscles before creating ATP. Aerobic metabolism is used primarily during endurance exercise (generally less intense, can continue for long periods).

Fueling the Energy Systems

Each nutrient's unique properties determine how it gets converted to ATP.

Carbohydrate:the main nutrient that fuels moderate to high-intensity exercise.

Fat: can fuel low-intensity exercise for long periods.

Protein: generally used to maintain and repair body tissues, not to powermuscle activity.

The production of ATP to fuel exercise is NEVER achieved by the exclusive use of one energy system, but rather by the coordinated response of all energy systems contributing to different degrees. With appropriate training and nutrients, these systems adapt and become more efficient, allowing for greater exercise duration at higher intensity.







KAT NYC | Newsletters


SAFE AND EFFECTIVE STRETCHING

A primary function of muscles is to create tension and produce force for movement of the body's skeletal system. The intrinsic property of muscles and joints to go through a full or optimal range of motion (ROM) is referred to as flexibility. Flexibility is developed through the use of various stretching procedures. Stretching aids in reducing post-exercise muscle soreness, improves, performance, reduces muscle tension, minimizes your risk of injury and increases physical and mental relaxation. There are several types of stretching techniques, each offering different benefits.

STATIC STRETCHING is the most common type of stretching and involves reaching the point of muscle limitation and holding the stretch. This form of stretching allows for relaxation and concomitant elongation of muscles. To properly perform static stretching, hold the stretch at the first point of tension or resistance barrier for 15- 30 seconds. Best used for: tight or over active muscles at conclusion of workout. Example; Leg crossover stretch.

DYNAMIC STRETCHING consists of functional based exercise, which uses sport specific movements to prepare the body for activity. Dynamic stretching provides a rehearsal effect that may increase coordination and provide specific benefit to involved muscles. Dynamic stretching consists of performing 3-10 active ROM movements for 10 repetitions. Best used for: before playing sports, and usually replicates the movements about to be performed in exercise. Example; Torso Twists.

PNF STRETCHING or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation is the contract-relax method. PNF involves contracting the target muscle, then relaxing and stretching it with an assist from a trainer or an applied force (i.e., towel or rope). PNF was originally developed for rehabilitation purposes. Best used for; achieving maximum flexibility and rehabilitation. Example; lying hamstring stretch with trainer assist.

Basic Guidelines For Stretching:

  •    Warm up to elevate core body temperature before stretching.
  •    Focus special attention on muscle groups or joints that have limited range of motion.
  •    Do stretching exercises a minimum of 2-3 days per week and ideally 5-7 days per week

  •    Stretch after each vigorous workout to encourage mind and body relaxation.

Choose the right type of stretching according to whether you are warming up, cooling down, preparing for a sport, or just trying to improve your flexibility. Stretching is vital to become more flexible, but it has to be done at the right time and for the right reasons. Maximizing the benefits of stretching boils down to a matter of when you do it and how!

FIBER - FOR WEIGHT CONTROL

One of the biggest challenges for people trying to lose weight is the restriction of calories. Increasing bulk by adding more fiber to your diet is one strategy that will help you feel full. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you're no longer hungry, so you are less likely to overeat. Fiber is commonly classified into two categories: those that don't dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber).

Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk. Sources of insoluble fibers are; whole-grain products, brans, nuts, seeds and skins of some fruits and vegetables.

Soluble fiber. This type of fiber attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Sources of soluble fibers are; oats, legumes, barley, fruits and vegetables.

Some tips for increasing fiber intake:

  •    Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices.
  •    Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products.
  •    Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips or energy bars.
  •    Substitute legumes as an alternative to meats one or twice a week.

It's best that you get your dietary fiber requirements from foods rather than supplements. Most people need between 20 and 35 grams of fiber each day. Recent studies show that the average American is not getting enough. "Bulking up" on fiber could lead to slimming down!







THE THREE ENERGY SYSTEMS OF EXERCISE

The body converts food to fuel by relying upon different energy pathways.

Sports nutrition is built upon understanding how nutrients-carbohydrates, fat, and protein-contribute to the fuel supply needed to perform exercise. These nutrients are converted to energy in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). The energy released by the breakdown of ATP helps muscle cells contract.

Because the body cannot easily store ATP (what is stored gets used within a few seconds), ATP must be continually created during exercise. Essentially, the two major ways the body converts nutrients to energy are:

  •    Aerobic metabolism (with oxygen)
  •    Anaerobic metabolism (without oxygen)

These two pathways can be further divided. Typically, a combination of energy systems supplies the fuel for exercise. The intensity and duration of the exercise determines which method gets used when.

The ATP-CP Anaerobic Energy Pathway supplies about 10 seconds worth of energy and is used for short bursts of exercise (eg.100 meter sprint.) This pathway doesn't require oxygen to create ATP. It first uses up any ATP stored in the muscle (2-3 seconds worth) and then uses creatine phosphate (CP) to re-synthesize ATP until the CP runs out (6-8 seconds). After the ATP and CP are used, the body moves on to either aerobic or anaerobic metabolism (Glycolysis) to continue to create ATP to fuel exercise.

The Anaerobic Energy Pathway, Glycolysis, creates ATP exclusively from carbohydrates. Lactic Acid is a by-product of this process. Anaerobic glycolysis provides energy by the (partial) breakdown of glucose without using oxygen. Anaerobic metabolism produces energy for short, highintensity bursts of activity lasting no more than several minutes. The lactic acid build-up reaches the Lactate Threshold and muscle pain, burning, and fatigue make it difficult to maintain such intensity.

Aerobic Metabolism fuels most of the energy needed for long-duration activity. Using oxygen to convert nutrients to ATP, it's slower than the anaerobic systems, because it relies on the circulatory system to transport oxygen to the working muscles before creating ATP. Aerobic metabolism is used primarily during endurance exercise (generally less intense, can continue for long periods).

Fueling the Energy Systems

Each nutrient's unique properties determine how it gets converted to ATP.

Carbohydrate:the main nutrient that fuels moderate to high-intensity exercise.

Fat: can fuel low-intensity exercise for long periods.

Protein: generally used to maintain and repair body tissues, not to powermuscle activity.

The production of ATP to fuel exercise is NEVER achieved by the exclusive use of one energy system, but rather by the coordinated response of all energy systems contributing to different degrees. With appropriate training and nutrients, these systems adapt and become more efficient, allowing for greater exercise duration at higher intensity.







FITNESS TRUMPS WEIGHT FOR LONGEVITY

Great news! Here's yet more evidence that should help persuade deconditioned people to get active. New research shows that if you maintain or improve your fitness level-even if your body-weight does not change or increase-you are more likely to live longer.

There's little doubt that dropping excess weight can positively impact your health. But this study suggests that when it comes to living longer, fitness trumps fat.

It's hard to lose weight and maintain that loss. This study points to increased fitness level as a potentially more attainable goal with even greater dividends. Many people worry about their weight and weight gain, but based on this research, weight change is less important than fitness changes. After more than 11 years of follow-up, those who improved their fitness levels lived longer, regardless of whether the numbers on the scale stayed the same or even went up.

The findings:

  •    Maintaining or improving fitness was associated with lower death risks even after controlling for Body Mass Index (BMI) change.

  •    Every unit of increased fitness (measured as MET, metabolic equivalent of task) over six years was associated with a 19% lower risk of heart disease and stroke-related deaths and a 15% lower risk of death from any cause.

  •    Becoming less fit was linked to higher death risks, regardless of BMI changes.

  •    BMI change was not associated with death risk


Given the great difficulties of losing weight and maintaining a reduced weight over the long term, this study underscores the benefits of maintaining and improving fitness to reduce mortality risk independent of weight change - Thin or Obese, Fit Is It

Speak to a fitness professional and develop an appropriate program so you don't injure yourself before you reap any of the benefits, . As for people who are thin, don't fool yourself into thinking, 'I am skinny and will be fine if I don't do any exercise.' You won't be! . Being inactive is not OK, even if you are skinny. Ultimately, it is preferable to be fit and not fat; that is the ideal.







FASCIAL FITNESS

Much energy and thought has been dedicated to the training of muscles for athletic performance and personal training. Less attention has been paid to the tensional fibrous fascial system in which the muscles live, which allows them to exert a pull on the bones to shift the joints.

Fascia is the biological fabric that surrounds every structure in the body and invests most. Because fascia had not been seen as a whole system until recently, we have long been ignorant of its overall role in bio mechanics. Fascia forms the biological container and connector for every organ, including muscles.

Magically extracted in its entirety, the fascial web would be one big net with muscles and organs hanging in it. Every system, organ, and cell lives embedded within a unitary fascial net. Fascia is the essential structure that suspends our structure from the inside out, tethering into every other aspect of our physiology. Balanced fascia makes for a healthier and happier body; unbalanced fascia sends us into the domino effect of a compensatory pattern.

Many consider fascia a glorified body stocking- a seamless piece of tissue that Saran Wraps you just underneath the skin. While this is true of the superficial fascia, it's important to understand that it is a richly multi-dimensional tissue that forms your internal soft tissue architecture as well. In fact, its everywhere-ness is one of the reasons it was overlooked for so long.

How To Train The Fascial Web

  •    Bouncing. When you land on the ball of your foot, you decelerate and accelerate in such a way that you not only use, but actually build elasticity into, the tendons and fascial system.
  •    Preparatory Counter-movement Preparing for a movement by making a counter-movement (eg. flexing down before extending to standing, winding up before a pitch, moving the kettlebell toward the body before moving it away) makes maximum use of the power of fascial elasticity.
  •    Whole-Body Movements. Engage long myo-fascial chains and whole-body movements to train the fascial system.
  •    Proximal Initiation. Start movements with a dynamic pre-stretch (distal extension), but include a proximal initiation in the desired direction, letting the more distal parts of the body follow in sequence, like an elastic pendulum.
  •    Adaptive Movement. Complex movement requiring adaptation and tempo variation. (i.e Parkour)Varying the tempo of exercises allows for different fascial structures to build strength and elasticity.

Fascia is our richest and largest sensory organ, containing ten times the amount of sensory nerve receptors than the muscles. In fact, it may be equal or superior to the retina, which has thus far been considered the richest human sensory organ. Fortunately, research is catching up to what turns out to be a remarkably communicative sensory and proprioceptive tissue. Fascia is the one structure that connects to every aspect of human physiology.

So you could say that the fascial system is responsible for our morphostasis, or that fascia is our ”organ system of form.”






EXPLAINING PLANES OF MOTION

Life is three-dimensional. People reach, bend, lean, turn, twist, stoop and change directions constantly. If your body moved in only one dimension, you wouldn't be able to move your leg away from, toward, in front of, or behind you. Physical activities are made possible by various movements and motions which take place in one of three planes-Sagittal, Frontal, Transverse.

THE THREE PLANES OF MOTION

In each plane, different movements occur at the joints.

Sagittal: Moving from front to back (basic squat, bicep curl, lunge)

Dividing the body into left and right halves using an imaginary line gives us the sagittal plane. Any forward and backward movement parallel to this line occurs in the sagittal plane

  •    Flexion: Decreasing the angle between two bones (eg.bending knee)
  •    Extension: Increasing the angle between two bones (eg.straightening leg)
  •    Dorsiflexion: Moving top of foot toward shin (only at ankle)
  •    Plantar flexion: moving sole of foot downward (pointing toes)

Frontal: Moving side to side (side lunge, lateral shoulder raise)

Dividing the body into front/back halves gives us the frontal plane. Any lateral (side) movement parallel to the line will occur in the frontal plane

  •    Adduction: Motion toward the midline of the body
  •    Abduction: Motion away from the midline
  •    Elevation: Only at scapula (shrugging shoulders to ears)
  •    Depression: Only at scapula (moving shoulders away from ears)
  •    Inversion: Lifting medial border (inside arch) of foot
  •    Eversion: Lifting lateral border (outside edge) of foot

Transverse: (Cable Wood Chop)

The transverse plane is often overlooked in training. It divides the body into top and bottom halves. Movement parallel to the waistline, a.k.a. rotational movement, occurs in the transverse plane

  •    Rotation- Internal or external turning about the vertical axis of the bone
  •    Pronation- Rotating hand/wrist inward
  •    Supination- Rotating hand/wrist outward
  •    Horizontal Flexion (adduction) - Flexion (adduction) of humerus (upper arm bone) from the 90-degree abducted arm position in toward the midline of body.
  •    Horizontal Extension (abduction) - Return of humerus from horizontal flexion (Reverse above movement.)

When reviewing the sagittal plane - stand with your nose against the door frame so your feet straddle the threshold- dividing your body into right and left sides. When reviewing the frontal plane- stand with your back against the wall and pretend it divides you in half (front half/back half.) For the transverse plane - remember rotation.

Movements through every plane of motion are essential to any exercise regimen. The muscular anatomy required for most athletics proves that the human body is designed to be challenged in all three planes. A well-created, scientifically-sound program will incorporate elements of each plane into different exercises and elevations, preparing your body for the rigors of everyday life and accelerating muscle growth and fat loss!


FIGHT OFF THE FLU WITH FIVE FOOD


If you're looking to strengthen your immune system naturally this flu season, consider the foods you eat. Fruits and vegetables contain plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can boost your immune health while providing your body with nutrients. Many people don't use the right foods or food combinations to fortify their immune system, which increases their risk of catching colds, or worse- the flu.

1. Mushrooms (Exotic)

Exotic varieties (shitake, maitake) contain Vitamin D, Selenium- which helps white blood cells produce cytokines that clear sickness, and Beta-Glucan, an antimicrobial type of fiber.

2. Fresh Garlic

Garlic can stink out sickness with the phytochemical Allicin, an antimicrobial compound. Two fresh cloves a day can help protect you from foreign viruses and bacteria.

3. Broccoli

Packed full of Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, Zinc, and Selenium, broccoli is filled with good health and nutrition and not to be missed.

4. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of Beta-Carotene, which is instrumental in the growth and development of immune system cells.The vitamin A in sweet potatoes has been shown to protect mucus membranes, which could aid at fighting off bacteria and viruses.

5. Chia Seeds.

Chia seeds are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, making them one of the more potent foods on this list. They have a better ratio of omega-3 fats to omega-6 fats which improve inflammation levels and offset potential damage caused by free radicals.

If you want to stay healthy and fit and not succumb to the dreaded flu, include these foods in your nutrition plan.






MOBILITY VS FLEXIBILITY: WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?

The terms mobility and flexibility are often used interchangeably. While related, they're different, and the differences are worth considering. While many athletes, runners, and fitness enthusiasts work actively to increase their flexibility, they often overlook the issue of joint mobility.

Flexibility is the ability to flex, extend, or circumduct a joint through its intended full range of motion. When using the term properly, we're talking about the length of the tissues, nothing more. Mobility, or joint mobility, is the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion, with control. So mobility is based on active movement while flexibility involves static holds, and is dependent upon gravity or passive forces. Mobility also requires strength to produce full-range movement, whereas flexibility is passive, and does not require any strength.

Flexibility Example (Hamstring) - Lie on your back and lift leg straight up. Grasp behind thigh and pull leg close to chest.

Mobility Example (Hamstring) - Stand Upright holding onto wall, swing leg front to back, repeat other leg.

Many individuals prepare for their training by performing routine stretches prior to their workout. And while stretching helps to improve static (non-moving) flexibility, it's important to remember that it may not do such a good job at preparing your body to move quickly and efficiently. Dynamic mobility exercises prepare your body for the vigorous movements that make up the more demanding part of the workout.

Joint mobility exercises work by circulating the synovial fluid in the bursa, which "washes" the joint. Since the joints have no direct blood supply, they are nourished by this synovial fluid, which simultaneously removes waste products. When performed correctly, joint mobility exercises can restore complete freedom of movement to the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, spine, neck, elbows, wrists and fingers. By doing mobility work we are communicating with the nervous system to enable optimally efficient movement

Mobility exercises should be used for your warm-up. Flexibility exercises are best performed after the workout as part of the cool-down to restore tissue length and prevent long term injury. Flexibility work helps bring the body back to a state of rest and recovery and allows you to focus on relaxing and lengthening the muscles that you put under stress while working out.

Simply put, the primary distinction between mobility and flexibility training is the percentage likelihood of injury. Possessing good flexibility without good mobility predisposes you to injury! Physiologically, you'll be much safer slightly tight with good mobility than very loose with inadequate mobility.

Mobility practice is a daily requirement, flexibility training is not.


BENEFITS OF KEEPING A FOOD DIARY

A food diary can be extremely beneficial. Tracking what you eat and drink can keep you focused on your diet, motivate you, increase your efficacy, help you attain and maintain your goals. A recent study showed that individuals who kept food diaries lost TWICE as much weight as those who didn't.

By recording every bite you eat in a daily journal, you'll get an eye-opening, accurate view of exactly how many calories and what types of foods you're consuming. You will see seemingly hidden calories seeping into your diet, and you may discover why you are either gaining weight or unable to lose it.

ACCOUNTABILITY
Most people consume far more calories than they think. If you only rely on your memory, you're doing yourself a huge disservice. Recording every bite in a journal provides regulation and accountability for your consumption.

EATING BALANCED MEALS
Journaling will show if you need more variety (eg. you may need to eat more vegetables or protein and less processed food.) Beyond monitoring calorie consumption, a food journal helps you compose a meal balanced with healthy proportions of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber.

CONNECT FOOD TO FEELINGS
Make a column in your diary that notes how the foods you eat affect you. You will find revealing connections.

A food diary is one of the best tools you can use in your weight loss or weight maintenance efforts! To begin, figure out what best fits into your lifestyle. Some people prefer the electronic versions (accessible online), while others prefer simply writing down their meals in a notepad. Choose which works best for you.






EXERCISE AND THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM

One of the most overlooked benefits of exercise is the affect it has on our endocrine system, which controls many physiological functions of our body.

The endocrine system stabilizes the body's internal environment by releasing hormones. Hormones are substances secreted from a tissue (mainly endocrine glands) that exert a biologic response on themselves or other cells, and affect almost all aspects of human function. They regulate growth, development, and reproduction.

Overview Of Endocrine System:

Pituitary Gland
Releases Human Growth Hormone, which tells the body to increase bone, muscle, and tissue production.

Thyroid Gland
Releases hormones that regulate the body's temperature, heart rate, blood pressure. Also regulates the focus needed to work at a high intensity.

Adrenal Gland
Releases Cortisol (which controls blood pressure and glucose) into bloodstream. Cortisol also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and turns stored carbohydrates into energy.

Pancreas
Two main functions: an exocrine function that helps in digestion, and an endocrine function that regulates blood sugar.

Hormones And Their Functions

Cortisol
"The stress hormone." Secreted by the adrenal gland; stores fat, converts muscle mass to fat, breaks down muscle tissue, suppresses immune function. Levels may rise from caffeine, inadequate sleep, stress, trauma, improper nutrition.

Growth Hormone
Secreted by the pituitary gland, helps strengthen bones and connective tissue, increases muscular strength and metabolizes fat. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) can be triggered by sleep and high-intensity exercise. Despite the bad press HGH gets (many pro athletes take a synthetic version to gain advantage in competition), it is a natural hormone we produce in our bodies.

Testosterone
Testosterone increases muscle strength and decreases body fat. Both men and women produce Testosterone. Women have approximately 1/10 the amount that men have.

Estrogen
Beneficial effects: fat mobilization for fuel (energy), mood elevation, and increased basal metabolic rate (BMR.) But excessive levels can cause weight gain by causing increased size of adipose (fat) tissue.

Thyroxin
Secreted in thyroid gland; elevates body's metabolic rate, making it significant for weight-loss; levels increase in blood about 30% during high intensity exercise, remain elevated up to 6 hours after.

Insulin
Utilizes glucose (form of blood sugar); metabolizes fat. Excessive insulin responses cause fat to accumulate within cells. Over time, this accumulation can cause Diabetes.

Endorphins
Released by Pituitary gland as a response to certain stimuli (stress, fear, pain.) Endorphins block pain, decrease appetite, create a feeling of euphoria, reduce tension/anxiety. Exercise is indisputably beneficial regarding endorphin release.

Studies have shown that exercise helps our body secrete and receive hormones more efficiently. But the effects of exercise on the endocrine system are also psychological: exercise-induced Testosterone can increase an individual's libido and confidence. Endorphins can help reduce tension and anxiety and facilitate the proverbial "runner's high."


AVOID PACKING ON THE POUNDS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

The Holidays are just a few DAYS so don't indulge for two months. It's okay to cheat a little, but you don't want to deal with the consequences for months to come!

LAY OFF THE BOOZE
Alcohol is the biggest waste of caloric intake! Drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol. That should help slow you down.

USE SMALL PLATES
Practice Portion Control. The smaller the plate the larger your portion will seem. You may find yourself feeling full. Stay on track by really thinking about what you are eating before you stick it in your mouth.

FILL UP ON FRUITS & VEGGIES
Be sure to reach for filling, fiber rich fruits and veggies first, but skip the fatty dips and dressings

STAY FOCUSED ON FITNESS
If you do gain a pound or two don't let it snow ball. Get back to your fitness routine and consider asking for some personal training sessions as a holiday gift.






TOP 5 CORRECTIVE EXERCISES TO RELIEVE CHRONIC PAIN?

Corrective exercises restore postural alignment and alleviate recurrent pain by eliminating muscle imbalances and movement compensations. With prolonged misuse (incorrect body positioning), muscles become weak in certain areas and tight in others, causing chronic body pain. Muscular imbalances are systemic-the more you have, the more you will develop.

These exercises reduce chronic pain and improve function.

1. Golf Ball Roll (SMR self-myofascial)

Over-pronation (rolling in of the feet): causes painful irritation of connective tissue on underside of foot (plantar fascia.) Overuse, imbalances, pain, can also occur in ankles, knees and hips as they are forced to compensate.

Exercise: Place golf ball on underside of foot. Roll it back and forth on sore spots (30 seconds-1 min. 1-2x day.)

2. Foam Roller Iliotibial Band (SMR)

Iliotibial (IT) band: runs from top of hip to knee on outside of leg; attaches gluteals to lower leg. Excessive inward rotation of leg can cause inflammation of IT band.

Exercise: Place roller perpendicular to side of thigh. Lie over it. Hold body weight on sore spots until tissues release. Roll each leg from side of hip down to knee (1-2 min. 1-2X/day)

3. Tennis Balls on Upper Back (SMR)

Thoracic Kyphosis (rounding of upper back): caused by extended periods of sitting or chronic stress; causes misalignment of neck, head, shoulders; lower back must arch in order to pull the spine erect when standing. Pain may be felt in all the above areas.

Exercise: Lie on back with bent knees, feet flat, pillow under head. Place two tennis balls (in a sock) on either side of spine at mid/upper-back height. Gradually tilt pelvis, flattening lower back to ground. Stay on sore spots 20-30 seconds. Move balls up spine toward neck and shoulders, pausing where tender.

4. Baseball/Tennis Ball on Gluteals (SMR)

Today's environment necessitates excessive sitting. Gluteal muscles easily become dysfunctional and weak; hips tighten from constant flexion.

Exercise: Same position as #3. Place baseball/tennis ball under butt/sore spots in area. Hold ball still for 10-20 seconds (total of 1-2 minutes a day.)
5. Hip Flexor Stretch

Hip flexors:
originate at lower/lumbar spine, cross pelvis, and attach to the top of femur (thighbone); often become chronically shortened from constant hip flexion (prolonged sitting), causing pain in lower back/hips.

Exercise: Kneel on one knee, placing other foot in front of you. Lift torso upright, tucking pelvis, contracting gluteals. Raise arm on kneeling leg side for deeper stretch. Feel stretch in front of hip and leg of kneeling side. Do at least 1X/day (30 seconds-1 min per side.)

When done consistently, corrective exercises based on improved strength, flexibility, You will move better, feel better, live better.


DO JUICE CLEANSES REALLY WORK AND ARE THEY SAFE?

uice cleanses have been around for over 100 years and have been touted to cure everything from tuberculosis to constipation. The herbal cleansing market is a growing multi-million dollar industry worldwide. But: are cleanses really necessary? Do they work? Are they safe?

WHAT IS A JUICE CLEANSE/FAST?

A Juice Cleanse is a detoxification diet where you consume only freshly juiced fruits and vegetables for a short period of time in order to remove "toxins" (preservatives, contaminants from processed foods) from the body.

THE CLAIMS

People try cleanses to lose weight, stop overeating, curtail bad nutrition habits, free themselves from caffeine addiction, etc. Some use them as "cures" for arthritis, cancers, infections, and other severe medical problems.

TO JUICE OR NOT TO JUICE

If you complete a cleanse, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment, because you'll have learned to resist cravings and broken unhealthy habits. You'll also be getting the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables (though you will be sacrificing fiber you'd get from eating that fruit or vegetable whole)

SAFETY CONCERNS/COMPLICATIONS

Any cleanse that lasts more than a week will lead the body to think it's starving, and cause possibly permanent health problems. Prolonged fasting can also aggravate pre-existing conditions. Choose a program that is colorful (different colors ensure adequate nutrients), be sure to include nut-based milks for protein and nutrients, and drink plenty of water.

CONCLUSION

A juice cleanse can be used to jump-start a permanent lifestyle change. However, to lose weight and keep it off, make healthy changes you can maintain throughout your life. Yo-yo dieting (returning to unhealthy habits after a cleanse) has long-lasting damaging effects. So formulate an entire health plan to stay on track after your cleanse is done.






IS THERE A FAT BURNING ZONE & DOES IT MATTER?

"There are countless myths in the fitness industry. One of the most widespread and damaging is the mythical "Fat Burning Zone." The Fat Burning zone is promoted by equipment manufacturers and the uninformed masses as a fictional zone of exercise intensity that allows for a steady state of movement at low to moderate intensity.

Fat Burning Zone supposedly describes a level of exercise that results in a larger number of the calories burned during exercise being derived from fat. This does not mean that stored body fat is the selective source. It only describes the relative percentage of utilization of three substrates: fat, carbohydrate and protein.The highest percentage of fat utilization actually occurs at rest. The more intense the exercise becomes, the more carbohydrate is used as a source.

The Fat Burning Zone does exist, but it has been grossly misinterpreted! The concept is that the body burns a greater amount of fat at lower-intensity aerobic exercise than it does at higher intensities. The truth is, the body burns a greater percentage of fat at lower intensities than at higher intensities. At lower intensities the body may burn 50 percent of the calories from fat, while at higher intensities it may only burn 35 percent. At higher intensities you burn way more total calories and more fat calories overall than you do at lower intensities.If the Fat Burning Zone idea actually worked we could get extremely lean by simply sitting still.

Here's an example of two identical people exercising for 20 minutes:

Exerciser 1 is doing a slow walk to stay in the "Fat Burning Zone." At 3 mph, Exerciser 1 covers one mile in 20 minutes and burns 100 calories with 50 of them coming from fat. That's 50% of total calories coming from fat.

Exerciser 2 is running at 7.5 mph for twenty minutes, moving out of the "Fat Burning Zone." Exerciser 2 covers 2.5 miles in twenty minutes, burning 250 calories with 87.5 of them coming from fat. That's 35% of total calories coming from fat.

Although Exerciser 1 stayed in the "Fat Burning Zone" fewer total calories and fewer calories from fat were actually burned in the same amount of time as Exerciser 2! (the same results can be expected using any type of cardio equipment)

When it comes to weight loss it is not the proportion or percentage of each fuel metabolized but the total calorie expenditure that is crucial. Instead of focusing on things like the mythical Fat Burning Zone...start focusing on working harder.


DON'T LET MISLEADING FOOD LABELS FOOL YOU

Food manufactures have come up with clever ways to trick you into buying supposed healthier foods. From non-fat, low sodium, sugar free and many other misleading labels, you may be getting more than you bargained for.

Even the most health-conscious shoppers can be misled by crafty nutrition facts, medical claims, and ingredients labels.

Here are 4 of the Top Misleading Labels:

1. Light

Generally speaking, when you think of "light' you may think that it has less calories and fat. However, some companies use "light" in reference to the flavor of the product not "light" in calories. The difference in calories from the "regular" product is marginal at best.

2. Organic

Just because a product says organic, doesn't mean that it is healthier for you. Organic is a term that is used when 95% or more of the ingredients were grown without pesticides or synthetic forms of fertilizer. Many products labeled "organic" may still contain high amounts of fat, sugar, and calories

3. Gluten Free

Gluten is a protein found in foods that are processed from wheat or other related grain products. Gluten-free products are especially good for people who suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, but may not be for people without these sensitivities. Gluten-free products have less fiber and some contain higher amounts of fat and sugar.

4. Serving Size

A "'serving size'" may bear little resemblance to the amount of the food most people actually eat! Nutrition information provided is for the serving size identified on the label. However, the serving on the food label may not be the same as the serving size in your food plan or the serving you normally eat.

Don't be fooled into thinking products are better for you than they actually are. By carefully reading food labels, you can decipher what is healthy and what is not.






RETHINKING "CORE TRAINING"

"Core Training" is one of the most popular and misused phrases in the fitness world. For some, core training means doing crunches until their abs cramp. For others, it means doing all sorts of complicated moves on various pieces of equipment that appear better suited for a circus than a gym.

Several years ago, "Core" emerged as a buzzword in sports and fitness training. Article after article appeared in journals and magazines touting the core as the area to focus on the most to lead healthier and "pain-free" lives.The media picked up on the buzzword. With so much exposure "targeting the core " became the miraculous cure for just about every issue or injury from low back pain to poor sports performance(which we had previously attributed to other issues).

Any time a "new" thing becomes a fad it gets overemphasized at first until it naturally falls into its place of worth. That seems to be the case with core training.

The 'core muscles" have been incorrectly identified by the average person. Most people think of the core as a nice six-pack or strong and toned abs, but the truth is that the abdominal muscles are a very small part of the core. The abs have very limited and specific action, and what experts refer to as the "core" actually consists of many different muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis, and run the entire length of the torso. When these muscles contract, they stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle and create a solid base of support. When this happens, we are able to generate powerful movements of the extremities.

The actual purpose of our core muscles is to work effectively and efficiently while the body is in an upright, vertical position. The core is the part of the body responsible for transferring forces from the ground, through the legs and trunk and all through the upper extremities.

Effective core training requires using exercises that integrate the hips, trunk and shoulders to efficiently distribute the forces (gravity, ground reaction and momentum) caused by upright movement.

For integrated core strength:

  •    Medicine ball chops and lifts
  •    Lunge with rotation
  •    Single leg deadlift
  •    Standing knee crunches

It is necessary to do some ground-based exercises to create initial core stability; but if we truly want to train the core the way it is designed to work, we need to get off the floor and train the muscles from a standing position so they learn how to stabilize the body in a field of gravity.

Fitness should be achieved by working to develop the entire body...From the Ground Up!


WHAT ARE YOU LACKING? PROBABLY VITAMIN D

Vitamin D has been a hot topic lately as its deficiency is widespread and seems to be related to many health concerns: osteoporosis, depression, heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, parathyroid problems, immune function -even weight loss. This essential nutrient is called a vitamin, but dietary vitamin D is actually a precursor hormone. Every tissue in the body, including the brain, heart, muscles and immune system, has receptors for vitamin D. This means the nutrient is needed at proper levels for these tissues to function well.

Major Vitamin D functions

  •    Supports key mineral absorption and metabolism (especially calcium and phosphorus).
  •    Regulates normal cell differentiation and proliferation (e.g., prevention of cancer).
  •    Promotes insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation
  •    Regulates over 200 genes in the body

Vitamin D Requirements

Growing awareness of how much our bodies rely on vitamin D has raised concern that dietary recommended daily values (DRI's) are obsolete-- 200IU a day adults 19-50, 400IU 51-70, and 600IU over 70. Some studies show that adults need 3000-5000 IU per day. Others indicate healthy adults can readily metabolize up to 10,000 IU per day without harmful side effects.

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms

Vitamin D deficiency may be characterized by muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, symptoms of depression and, sleep irregularities.

To prevent vitamin D deficiency

  •    Allow yourself limited, unprotected sun exposure in the early morning and late afternoon (no more than 15 minutes for light-skinned individuals, 40 minutes for darker skin)
  •    Eat a diet rich in whole foods. Nutrient-dense, oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, egg yolks, fortified milk and other dairy products, as well as some organ meats (like liver).
  •    Take a vitamin D supplement.

It may turn out that vitamin D is the key everyone's been looking for, or more likely an important part of a far greater whole-health picture. Investigate your personal vitamin D levels with your medical practitioner as part of a comprehensive approach to your whole health.






FAST TWITCH VS. SLOW TWITCH MUSCLE FIBERS

Skeletal muscle is made up of bundles of individual muscle fibers called myocytes. Each myocyte contains many myofibrils, which are strands of proteins (actin and myosin) that can grab on to each other and pull. This shortens the muscle and causes muscle contraction. It is generally accepted that muscle fibers can be broken down into two main types: slow twitch (Type I) and fast twitch (Type II).

Fast Twitch (FT) fibers are best suited for anaerobic and explosive activities such as weight training, sprinting, and jumping. These fibers have a lower capacity for oxygen utilization in the production of energy within the muscle. FT fibers create energy anaerobically, that is, without oxygen. This system uses glucose as a primary energy source. The bi-products of this anaerobic energy production are heat and lactic acid. Lactic acid accumulation in the muscle causes fatigue and soreness and the anaerobic energy system is a limited system for energy production.

Slow Twitch (ST) muscle fibers are used for aerobic endurance type activities such as long distance running, cycling, and swimming. These fibers are capable of utilizing oxygen for the production of energy within the muscle. This system uses glucose in combination with oxygen to produce energy. The bi-products of this system are carbon dioxide, water, and heat.

These distinctions seem to influence how muscles respond to training and physical activity, and each fiber type is unique in its ability to contract in a certain way. That's why certain sports or activities seem to come more "naturally" to some than others. (Think sprinter versus marathon runner).

To further understand the difference, consider the muscle fiber make up of chickens. Chicken legs are mainly made up of ST fibers. Chicken wings and breasts are largely made up of FT muscle fibers. Chickens use their legs for walking and standing, which they do most of the time. This doesn't use much energy. They use their wings for brief bursts of flight. This requires lots of energy and the muscles involved tire very quickly.

Lastly, there is a third type of muscle fiber that exists only in humans. It is considered a FT fiber type (IIA), but really acts as a hybrid type because they can adapt somewhat to aerobic activities. These fibers also provide the capability to alter original genetic FT/ST ratios.

There are significant benefits to mixing high-and low-intensity workouts (and in the process working fast and slow twitch muscle fibers!). A well-rounded workout routine includes a combination of intense and endurance exercises and can help the body adapt and perform in a variety of scenarios.


GREEN TEA: A DIETER'S SECRET WEAPON

Need another healthy reason to drink green tea? Aside from fighting heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, recent research shows that drinking green tea can also fight fat!

Green tea contains high concentrations of catechins polyphenol. These compounds work with other chemicals to intensify levels of fat oxidation and thermogenesis.

The most active form of catechins in green tea is epigallocatechingallate (EGCG). Green tea also contains caffeine, which appears to act synergistically with EGCG to assist metabolism. This thermogenic effect was originally attributed to the caffeine content. However, green tea stimulates brown fat thermogenesis far greater than a comparable amount of pure caffeine. It has been shown to increase 24-hour energy expenditure in fat oxidation, caffeine only increases metabolism during the time you take it.

Experts also tell us that the catechins in green tea help to inhibit the movement of glucose into fat cells. So, green tea may also act as a glucose regulator. It helps to slow the rise in blood sugar after a meal. This prevents high insulin spikes and the subsequent fat storage that goes with too much insulin in the body.

Green tea should be treated as a dietary supplement, not a magic bullet. Green tea helps weight loss by boosting your metabolic rate, regulating blood sugar, and suppressing appetite. Incorporating green tea into a healthy diet and exercise routine can assist with weight management and overall health.





WHO ARE THE "FITTEST" ATHLETES?

Ever wonder which sport has the "fittest" athletes? Sports physiologists don't have a system for ranking this and due to different criteria and skill sets there are no scientifically valid studies on the subject.

magine there is a super-Olympics, in which athletes from every conceivable sport are judged by the same standard. Who would win? Lance Armstrong? Manny Pacquiao? Lebron James? Lionel Messi? Michael Phelps?

For the average gym-goer or recreational athlete fitness is a combination of four components: cardiorespiratory endurance (VO2max), muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility.

A team of experts from ACE (American Council on Exercise) conducted a survey ranking the fittest athletes using a broader definition; The sum of cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, balance, power, flexibility, agility and physical skills.

Using that criteria, they ranked the following athletes the "fittest."

Decathletes participate in 10 track-and-field events over a two-day span and therefore have a broad range of aptitudes. They can run 1500 meters in 4 minutes and 100 meters in 10 seconds. The shot put,discus and javelin require power and the high jump and long jump call for agility. Balance, coordination and "skills" are needed for the pole vault and 110-meter hurdles. And they need flexibility for every event!

Boxers and Mixed Marital Artists (MMA) are very strong, powerful, quick and have a high level of cardiorespiratory fitness. MMA artists literally may have a leg up on boxers though, since their sport employs a wide range of fitness attributes at high intensity including the leg speed for kicking.

Football "Skilled Position" Players have to master a wider array of athletic abilities and be able to take a hit. Cornerbacks, wide receivers and running backs are some of the fittest athletes possible. They can train at extremely high intensity for a prolonged period of 60 to 90 minutes. They apply speed, power, endurance, coordination, quickness, rhythm and strength to many skills and tasks. And they have very low body fat.

Hockey Players come in a package that melds strength, agility, power, speed and flexibility. Because they are on skates, less effort is required but a high degree of skill and balance are necessary. They don't have the endurance of other "fittest" athletes,hockey players go all out in bursts of 30-60 second shifts then get a break.

The athleticism in professional sports is evolving every year. Athletes are getting bigger, stronger and faster as benchmarks and records fall. It's exciting to ponder what will happen next. What "fittest" athlete will take sports and athleticism to new levels?


ARE YOU DRINKING ENOUGH WATER?

FACT: Next to air, water is the element most necessary for survival. We can go without food for almost two months, but without water only a few days.

Adequate water intake prevents dehydration, cleans out the body, aids in digestion, metabolism, kidney function and promotes healing processes among other things. Water is the body's principle chemical component and makes up about 65% of body weight. Every system in the body depends on water!

Staying Safely Hydrated

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. Many people live in a dehydrated state. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and cause fatigue. The easiest way to know if you are drinking enough water is to look at the color of you urine. A deeper yellow means drink more water, lighter yellow or clear means you're on the right track.

The International Sports Medicine Institute recommends the following formula for daily water intake:

    • 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight if you are not active (that's ten eight ounce glasses if you weigh 160 pounds)
    • 2/3 ounce per pound if you're athletic (13 to 14 glasses a day at 160 pounds).
    • Intake should be spread though out the day and evening.

Being dehydrated can be a significant obstacle to feeling motivated to exercise. To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice.





THE METABOLISM MYSTERY

Metabolism is almost a mythical word that few actually understand. Is it a magical force that determines whether or not individuals stay slim or pack on the pounds? A special energy bestowed upon a chosen few to allow them to eat whatever they want and not gain weight? Questions like these demonstrate that there is significant confusion surrounding metabolism.

Metabolism can be defined as the speed at which the body burns through fuel. It deals with how quickly and efficiently the body processes food and stored fuels (body fat). This process produces energy and heat. In fact, a calorie is actually a measure of heat. Consider metabolism as your inner furnace.

Tips to jump-start your metabolism:
    • Strength Train/Muscle Tissue: Muscle tissue uses more calories than fat tissue because it has a higher metabolic rate. Muscle tissue is the exact physical site where fat is "burned off".
    • Meal Frequency: Eat four to six small meals a day to keep your body fuel supply (i.e., blood sugar levels) consistent and your metabolism revved up; but be careful not to exceed your calorie allotment for the day. DON'T skip breakfast, DO skip late night eating.
    • Include protein with each meal: Metabolizing protein is a little more "difficult" for the body, consequently increasing number of calories burned. When cells need energy they will break down carbohydrates first, then fat, and finally protein.
    • Herbs and spices: Cayenne pepper, ginger, turmeric, and cumin can increase your metabolism and fat burning ability by up to 20%. Spicy condiments like mustard and hot pepper sauce can also raise your metabolic rate.

You can jump-start a sluggish metabolism through exercise and diet, which will have lasting health benefits. Build that metabolic fire within you, make it burn long, make it burn hot: YOU are in control!


BOOZE BUILDS BELLIES

Alcohol is part of many social occasions. From family dinners to parties, sporting events, and dates, alcohol plays a role in everyday life.

Once alcohol is consumed, the body makes metabolizing it a priority. This means that the body stops metabolizing fat, carbs, and protein in order to first get the alcohol converted to energy since the body has no place to store it. This "interference" with how your body processes and stores nutrients means healthy foods you eat don't get to do their job. Aside from perhaps red wine, alcohol is devoid of nutrients and doesn't do the body any favors.

Alcohol stimulates food intake and can increase feelings of hunger as well. When you're trying to follow a weight loss program, having your judgment impaired and stimulating your appetite is a recipe for failure.

Check out these long-term effects:

Two 6 oz. glasses of red wine 5 x week = 1250 calories x 52 weeks in a year = 65,000 calories per year!

It takes 3,500 calories to lose or gain one pound of fat!

Remember this, if you take the time to improve your fitness level and overall health, excess consumption of alcohol is a MAJOR step backwards and IMPEDES your progress.





PHA CIRCUIT TRAINING FOR STRENGTH AND FAT LOSS

Peripheral Heart Action circuit training is an efficient and challenging form of conditioning. PHA training consists of performing multiple exercises in rapid succession, alternating between upper and lower body exercises. This forces the blood flow into different parts of the body as you change exercises, creating a demanding cardiovascular workout while training for strength.

How to perform PHA

A PHA circuit consists of 3 to 6 compound/multi joint movements that are completed one exercise after another with minimal rest. An example is going from squats to pull-ups to lunges. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a set time before moving on to the next exercise. The exercises within each circuit are separated by a short rest period, and each circuit is separated by a longer rest period. The total number of circuits performed will vary from 2 to 6 depending on your fitness level and training objectives.

Benefits


    • Easy to hit every muscle group
    • Creates variety to avoid plateaus and boredom
    • Improves coordination, mobility and balance
    • Torches fat in record time while preserving lean muscle mass
    • Stimulates (HGH) Human Growth Hormone response, providing youth rejuvenating properties
    • Complete more work in less time.
    • Strength + Cardiovascular = A stronger more efficient heart.

The results come in loud and clear! PHA equates to the greatest energy expenditure and subsequently unparalleled fat loss. PHA will be enlightening, effective and often empowering. It will be well worth the effort!


SIX NUTRIENT DENSE SUPER FOODS THAT EVERYONE NEEDS

Super foods are by definition - calorie sparse and nutrient dense-meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of antioxidants and essential nutrients - nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves.

Blueberries are among the highest anti-oxidant valued fruits. They contain good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin and riboflavin, which act as co-factors in metabolizing fat. Blueberries are also high in fiber and function as anti-inflammatory compounds.

Eggs The protein in eggs is the highest-quality protein found in any food. One egg contains 6 grams of protein and healthy unsaturated fats. Eggs contain 18 essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of life. Eggs are also a good source of choline, which has been linked with preserving memory.

Greek Yogurt is a 'bone healthy' calcium filled super food that carries probiotics (healthy bacteria). Plain Greek yogurt is high in protein and low in sugar and fat, which will fill you up longer.

Walnuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidant Vitamin E. Walnuts, in particular have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts.

Salmon is low in calories, high in protein and loaded with 'heart healthy' omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon is loaded with essential vitamins B12, niacin, selenium, B6 and magnesium. A 4 oz. serving of salmon also provides a full day's requirement of vitamin D.

Broccoli packs the most nutritional punch of any vegetable. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K and good source of iron, folate, fiber and calcium. Broccoli also contains some very important cancer fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Super foods are nutritional powerhouses! A healthy diet incorporating a variety of theses filling super foods will help you maintain your weight, fight disease, and live longer.





EXERCISE AND THE BRAIN

Endurance and resistance training are proving to be the dynamic duo that build and rejuvenate the body from head to toe. Studies have shown that improving your physical fitness can help to improve your mental fitness.

Aerobic exercise has been shown many times to improve cognitive function, but a recent study shows that strength training can improve executive functions. Executive functions are important because they are a mental ability that helps us make decisions and do several things at once (like driving). They are associated with how quickly you perform mental tasks such as flexible thinking, decision- making, and problem solving.

Regular exercise has been proven to be more effective than brain games, super foods, supplements or any other method used to keep the brain sparking on all cylinders.

Consistent exercise doesn't just reshape you muscles but helps reshape your mind. It appears to be one of the best ways to trigger "neurogenesis," the growth of new brain cells, something that, until recently, wasn't thought possible in the adult brain. Physical exertion causes new brain cells to sprout, possibly by increasing the capacity of capillaries serving the brain so there is better blood flow. More blood flow means more oxygen, increased oxygen leads to new cell growth. Increased blood volume also helps promote the growth of new connections between brain cells and facilitate the delivery of an assortment of other beneficial chemicals.

The human brain is able to continually adapt and rewire itself. It's NEVER too late. Even in old age, it can grow new neurons. Severe mental decline is usually caused by disease, whereas most age-related losses in memory or motor skills simply result from inactivity and a lack of mental exercise and stimulation. Inactive individuals were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's, compared to those with the highest levels of activity (exercised vigorously at least three times a week). In other words, use it or lose it! No matter what your fitness goals, your brain is the 3 lbs. you never want to lose.


PROTEIN BARS; STILL CANDY BARS IN DISGUISE?

Though there has been some improvement on these bars, several of the best sellers are nothing more than ordinary candy bars with protein powder added in. It's challenging for manufactures to create an all- natural bar with whole food ingredients that's also low in calories and sugar.

If you read the slick advertisement and not the ingredients you can be easily fooled. You must read the labels! Keep a careful eye on ingredients, especially high amounts of sweeteners, artificial flavors, processed transfats, preservatives and hydrogenated oils. In general the lower down the sweeteners are on the ingredients list the better the bar is for you. Most of these bars lack dietary fiber and are just 'overly engineered ' food.

All bars that come in wrappers are processed foods. Some may be less processed than others, but you haven't seen a protein bar hanging from a tree branch lately, have you? Try to make whole food choices daily and eat things you don't have to 'unwrap'.

These types of bars are useful for emergencies of convenience, like eating while driving or flying, rushing about between meetings/classes, and so on. But when this happens more than once or twice a week it becomes an issue of improper meal planning. Improper meal planning is a sure fire way to sabotage your fitness and health goals, so take the time to think it through.





December 2011 Newsletter

SUPER CHARGE YOUR FITNESS AND FAT LOSS WITH HIIT

HIIT, short for high intensity interval training, is a very efficient type of cardio workout! It can help you combat monotony, improve your overall fitness, and turn your body into a more efficient metabolic machine in half the time of a regular workout.

HIIT is a type of cardio workout that consists of alternating short periods of very vigorous activity and longer periods of active recovery. The intervals of high intensity are brief but very challenging. A typical HIIT workout usually lasts about 20-30 minutes and involves a 2:1 ratio, meaning your recovery intervals are twice as long as the work intervals. Your cardio should be a shorter roller coaster ride vs. a long walk in the park. Higher intensity equals greater caloric expenditure per minute.

HIIT can be applied to any form of cardio. An example is:

STEP 1: Start your workout with a 5-minute warm up to make sure your body is ready for intense exercise. (50-60% of Heart Rate).

STEP 2: Choose the length of your work/recovery intervals - Experts generally recommend a 1:2 work to rest ratio, which means your rest interval is twice as long as your work interval. An example would be sprinting for 30 seconds (85-90% of Heart Rate) and walking to recover for 1 minute. If you work at maximum effort, you may need even longer to recover. Repeat 6-10 times.

STEP 3: COOL DOWN by bringing your heart rate back to a resting state. This will help prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

HIIT results in increased HGH levels. HGH is a hormone that helps preserve valuable lean muscle mass. This is key to RMR (resting metabolic rate) and reducing body fat. Last but definitely not least, HIIT's results in EPOC or Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption. EPOC is an after-burn effect, which causes you to burn calories up to 48 hours after your workout. It's like burning calories with interest.


AVOID PACKING ON THE POUNDS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

The Holidays are just a few DAYS so don't indulge for two months. It's okay to cheat a little, but you don't want to deal with the consequences for months to come!

LAY OFF THE BOOZE Alcohol is the biggest waste of caloric intake! Drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol. That should help slow you down.

USE SMALL PLATES Practice Portion Control. The smaller the plate the larger your portion will seem. You may find yourself feeling full. Stay on track by really thinking about what you are eating before you stick it in your mouth.

FILL UP ON FRUITS & VEGGIES Be sure to reach for filling, fiber rich fruits and veggies first, but skip the fatty dips and dressings

STAY FOCUSED ON FITNESS If you do gain a pound or two don't let it snow ball. Get back to your fitness routine and consider asking for some personal training sessions as a holiday gift.


For more information or to schedule a consultation please call 212.721.3459 or email at info@katnyc.com.

FITNESS TRUMPS WEIGHT FOR LONGEVITY

Great news! Here's yet more evidence that should help persuade deconditioned people to get active. New research shows that if you maintain or improve your fitness level-even if your body-weight does not change or increase-you are more likely to live longer.

There's little doubt that dropping excess weight can positively impact your health. But this study suggests that when it comes to living longer, fitness trumps fat.

It's hard to lose weight and maintain that loss. This study points to increased fitness level as a potentially more attainable goal with even greater dividends. Many people worry about their weight and weight gain, but based on this research, weight change is less important than fitness changes. After more than 11 years of follow-up, those who improved their fitness levels lived longer, regardless of whether the numbers on the scale stayed the same or even went up.

The findings:

  •    Maintaining or improving fitness was associated with lower death risks even after controlling for Body Mass Index (BMI) change.

  •    Every unit of increased fitness (measured as MET, metabolic equivalent of task) over six years was associated with a 19% lower risk of heart disease and stroke-related deaths and a 15% lower risk of death from any cause.

  •    Becoming less fit was linked to higher death risks, regardless of BMI changes.

  •    BMI change was not associated with death risk


Given the great difficulties of losing weight and maintaining a reduced weight over the long term, this study underscores the benefits of maintaining and improving fitness to reduce mortality risk independent of weight change - Thin or Obese, Fit Is It

Speak to a fitness professional and develop an appropriate program so you don't injure yourself before you reap any of the benefits, . As for people who are thin, don't fool yourself into thinking, 'I am skinny and will be fine if I don't do any exercise.' You won't be! . Being inactive is not OK, even if you are skinny. Ultimately, it is preferable to be fit and not fat; that is the ideal.







FASCIAL FITNESS

Much energy and thought has been dedicated to the training of muscles for athletic performance and personal training. Less attention has been paid to the tensional fibrous fascial system in which the muscles live, which allows them to exert a pull on the bones to shift the joints.

Fascia is the biological fabric that surrounds every structure in the body and invests most. Because fascia had not been seen as a whole system until recently, we have long been ignorant of its overall role in bio mechanics. Fascia forms the biological container and connector for every organ, including muscles.

Magically extracted in its entirety, the fascial web would be one big net with muscles and organs hanging in it. Every system, organ, and cell lives embedded within a unitary fascial net. Fascia is the essential structure that suspends our structure from the inside out, tethering into every other aspect of our physiology. Balanced fascia makes for a healthier and happier body; unbalanced fascia sends us into the domino effect of a compensatory pattern.

Many consider fascia a glorified body stocking- a seamless piece of tissue that Saran Wraps you just underneath the skin. While this is true of the superficial fascia, it's important to understand that it is a richly multi-dimensional tissue that forms your internal soft tissue architecture as well. In fact, its everywhere-ness is one of the reasons it was overlooked for so long.

How To Train The Fascial Web

  •    Bouncing. When you land on the ball of your foot, you decelerate and accelerate in such a way that you not only use, but actually build elasticity into, the tendons and fascial system.
  •    Preparatory Counter-movement Preparing for a movement by making a counter-movement (eg. flexing down before extending to standing, winding up before a pitch, moving the kettlebell toward the body before moving it away) makes maximum use of the power of fascial elasticity.
  •    Whole-Body Movements. Engage long myo-fascial chains and whole-body movements to train the fascial system.
  •    Proximal Initiation. Start movements with a dynamic pre-stretch (distal extension), but include a proximal initiation in the desired direction, letting the more distal parts of the body follow in sequence, like an elastic pendulum.
  •    Adaptive Movement. Complex movement requiring adaptation and tempo variation. (i.e Parkour)Varying the tempo of exercises allows for different fascial structures to build strength and elasticity.

Fascia is our richest and largest sensory organ, containing ten times the amount of sensory nerve receptors than the muscles. In fact, it may be equal or superior to the retina, which has thus far been considered the richest human sensory organ. Fortunately, research is catching up to what turns out to be a remarkably communicative sensory and proprioceptive tissue. Fascia is the one structure that connects to every aspect of human physiology.

So you could say that the fascial system is responsible for our morphostasis, or that fascia is our ”organ system of form.”






EXPLAINING PLANES OF MOTION

Life is three-dimensional. People reach, bend, lean, turn, twist, stoop and change directions constantly. If your body moved in only one dimension, you wouldn't be able to move your leg away from, toward, in front of, or behind you. Physical activities are made possible by various movements and motions which take place in one of three planes-Sagittal, Frontal, Transverse.

THE THREE PLANES OF MOTION

In each plane, different movements occur at the joints.

Sagittal: Moving from front to back (basic squat, bicep curl, lunge)

Dividing the body into left and right halves using an imaginary line gives us the sagittal plane. Any forward and backward movement parallel to this line occurs in the sagittal plane

  •    Flexion: Decreasing the angle between two bones (eg.bending knee)
  •    Extension: Increasing the angle between two bones (eg.straightening leg)
  •    Dorsiflexion: Moving top of foot toward shin (only at ankle)
  •    Plantar flexion: moving sole of foot downward (pointing toes)

Frontal: Moving side to side (side lunge, lateral shoulder raise)

Dividing the body into front/back halves gives us the frontal plane. Any lateral (side) movement parallel to the line will occur in the frontal plane

  •    Adduction: Motion toward the midline of the body
  •    Abduction: Motion away from the midline
  •    Elevation: Only at scapula (shrugging shoulders to ears)
  •    Depression: Only at scapula (moving shoulders away from ears)
  •    Inversion: Lifting medial border (inside arch) of foot
  •    Eversion: Lifting lateral border (outside edge) of foot

Transverse: (Cable Wood Chop)

The transverse plane is often overlooked in training. It divides the body into top and bottom halves. Movement parallel to the waistline, a.k.a. rotational movement, occurs in the transverse plane

  •    Rotation- Internal or external turning about the vertical axis of the bone
  •    Pronation- Rotating hand/wrist inward
  •    Supination- Rotating hand/wrist outward
  •    Horizontal Flexion (adduction) - Flexion (adduction) of humerus (upper arm bone) from the 90-degree abducted arm position in toward the midline of body.
  •    Horizontal Extension (abduction) - Return of humerus from horizontal flexion (Reverse above movement.)

When reviewing the sagittal plane - stand with your nose against the door frame so your feet straddle the threshold- dividing your body into right and left sides. When reviewing the frontal plane- stand with your back against the wall and pretend it divides you in half (front half/back half.) For the transverse plane - remember rotation.

Movements through every plane of motion are essential to any exercise regimen. The muscular anatomy required for most athletics proves that the human body is designed to be challenged in all three planes. A well-created, scientifically-sound program will incorporate elements of each plane into different exercises and elevations, preparing your body for the rigors of everyday life and accelerating muscle growth and fat loss!


FIGHT OFF THE FLU WITH FIVE FOOD


If you're looking to strengthen your immune system naturally this flu season, consider the foods you eat. Fruits and vegetables contain plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can boost your immune health while providing your body with nutrients. Many people don't use the right foods or food combinations to fortify their immune system, which increases their risk of catching colds, or worse- the flu.

1. Mushrooms (Exotic)

Exotic varieties (shitake, maitake) contain Vitamin D, Selenium- which helps white blood cells produce cytokines that clear sickness, and Beta-Glucan, an antimicrobial type of fiber.

2. Fresh Garlic

Garlic can stink out sickness with the phytochemical Allicin, an antimicrobial compound. Two fresh cloves a day can help protect you from foreign viruses and bacteria.

3. Broccoli

Packed full of Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, Zinc, and Selenium, broccoli is filled with good health and nutrition and not to be missed.

4. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of Beta-Carotene, which is instrumental in the growth and development of immune system cells.The vitamin A in sweet potatoes has been shown to protect mucus membranes, which could aid at fighting off bacteria and viruses.

5. Chia Seeds.

Chia seeds are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, making them one of the more potent foods on this list. They have a better ratio of omega-3 fats to omega-6 fats which improve inflammation levels and offset potential damage caused by free radicals.

If you want to stay healthy and fit and not succumb to the dreaded flu, include these foods in your nutrition plan.






MOBILITY VS FLEXIBILITY: WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?

The terms mobility and flexibility are often used interchangeably. While related, they're different, and the differences are worth considering. While many athletes, runners, and fitness enthusiasts work actively to increase their flexibility, they often overlook the issue of joint mobility.

Flexibility is the ability to flex, extend, or circumduct a joint through its intended full range of motion. When using the term properly, we're talking about the length of the tissues, nothing more. Mobility, or joint mobility, is the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion, with control. So mobility is based on active movement while flexibility involves static holds, and is dependent upon gravity or passive forces. Mobility also requires strength to produce full-range movement, whereas flexibility is passive, and does not require any strength.

Flexibility Example (Hamstring) - Lie on your back and lift leg straight up. Grasp behind thigh and pull leg close to chest.

Mobility Example (Hamstring) - Stand Upright holding onto wall, swing leg front to back, repeat other leg.

Many individuals prepare for their training by performing routine stretches prior to their workout. And while stretching helps to improve static (non-moving) flexibility, it's important to remember that it may not do such a good job at preparing your body to move quickly and efficiently. Dynamic mobility exercises prepare your body for the vigorous movements that make up the more demanding part of the workout.

Joint mobility exercises work by circulating the synovial fluid in the bursa, which "washes" the joint. Since the joints have no direct blood supply, they are nourished by this synovial fluid, which simultaneously removes waste products. When performed correctly, joint mobility exercises can restore complete freedom of movement to the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, spine, neck, elbows, wrists and fingers. By doing mobility work we are communicating with the nervous system to enable optimally efficient movement

Mobility exercises should be used for your warm-up. Flexibility exercises are best performed after the workout as part of the cool-down to restore tissue length and prevent long term injury. Flexibility work helps bring the body back to a state of rest and recovery and allows you to focus on relaxing and lengthening the muscles that you put under stress while working out.

Simply put, the primary distinction between mobility and flexibility training is the percentage likelihood of injury. Possessing good flexibility without good mobility predisposes you to injury! Physiologically, you'll be much safer slightly tight with good mobility than very loose with inadequate mobility.

Mobility practice is a daily requirement, flexibility training is not.


BENEFITS OF KEEPING A FOOD DIARY

A food diary can be extremely beneficial. Tracking what you eat and drink can keep you focused on your diet, motivate you, increase your efficacy, help you attain and maintain your goals. A recent study showed that individuals who kept food diaries lost TWICE as much weight as those who didn't.

By recording every bite you eat in a daily journal, you'll get an eye-opening, accurate view of exactly how many calories and what types of foods you're consuming. You will see seemingly hidden calories seeping into your diet, and you may discover why you are either gaining weight or unable to lose it.

ACCOUNTABILITY
Most people consume far more calories than they think. If you only rely on your memory, you're doing yourself a huge disservice. Recording every bite in a journal provides regulation and accountability for your consumption.

EATING BALANCED MEALS
Journaling will show if you need more variety (eg. you may need to eat more vegetables or protein and less processed food.) Beyond monitoring calorie consumption, a food journal helps you compose a meal balanced with healthy proportions of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber.

CONNECT FOOD TO FEELINGS
Make a column in your diary that notes how the foods you eat affect you. You will find revealing connections.

A food diary is one of the best tools you can use in your weight loss or weight maintenance efforts! To begin, figure out what best fits into your lifestyle. Some people prefer the electronic versions (accessible online), while others prefer simply writing down their meals in a notepad. Choose which works best for you.






EXERCISE AND THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM

One of the most overlooked benefits of exercise is the affect it has on our endocrine system, which controls many physiological functions of our body.

The endocrine system stabilizes the body's internal environment by releasing hormones. Hormones are substances secreted from a tissue (mainly endocrine glands) that exert a biologic response on themselves or other cells, and affect almost all aspects of human function. They regulate growth, development, and reproduction.

Overview Of Endocrine System:

Pituitary Gland
Releases Human Growth Hormone, which tells the body to increase bone, muscle, and tissue production.

Thyroid Gland
Releases hormones that regulate the body's temperature, heart rate, blood pressure. Also regulates the focus needed to work at a high intensity.

Adrenal Gland
Releases Cortisol (which controls blood pressure and glucose) into bloodstream. Cortisol also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and turns stored carbohydrates into energy.

Pancreas
Two main functions: an exocrine function that helps in digestion, and an endocrine function that regulates blood sugar.

Hormones And Their Functions

Cortisol
"The stress hormone." Secreted by the adrenal gland; stores fat, converts muscle mass to fat, breaks down muscle tissue, suppresses immune function. Levels may rise from caffeine, inadequate sleep, stress, trauma, improper nutrition.

Growth Hormone
Secreted by the pituitary gland, helps strengthen bones and connective tissue, increases muscular strength and metabolizes fat. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) can be triggered by sleep and high-intensity exercise. Despite the bad press HGH gets (many pro athletes take a synthetic version to gain advantage in competition), it is a natural hormone we produce in our bodies.

Testosterone
Testosterone increases muscle strength and decreases body fat. Both men and women produce Testosterone. Women have approximately 1/10 the amount that men have.

Estrogen
Beneficial effects: fat mobilization for fuel (energy), mood elevation, and increased basal metabolic rate (BMR.) But excessive levels can cause weight gain by causing increased size of adipose (fat) tissue.

Thyroxin
Secreted in thyroid gland; elevates body's metabolic rate, making it significant for weight-loss; levels increase in blood about 30% during high intensity exercise, remain elevated up to 6 hours after.

Insulin
Utilizes glucose (form of blood sugar); metabolizes fat. Excessive insulin responses cause fat to accumulate within cells. Over time, this accumulation can cause Diabetes.

Endorphins
Released by Pituitary gland as a response to certain stimuli (stress, fear, pain.) Endorphins block pain, decrease appetite, create a feeling of euphoria, reduce tension/anxiety. Exercise is indisputably beneficial regarding endorphin release.

Studies have shown that exercise helps our body secrete and receive hormones more efficiently. But the effects of exercise on the endocrine system are also psychological: exercise-induced Testosterone can increase an individual's libido and confidence. Endorphins can help reduce tension and anxiety and facilitate the proverbial "runner's high."


AVOID PACKING ON THE POUNDS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

The Holidays are just a few DAYS so don't indulge for two months. It's okay to cheat a little, but you don't want to deal with the consequences for months to come!

LAY OFF THE BOOZE
Alcohol is the biggest waste of caloric intake! Drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol. That should help slow you down.

USE SMALL PLATES
Practice Portion Control. The smaller the plate the larger your portion will seem. You may find yourself feeling full. Stay on track by really thinking about what you are eating before you stick it in your mouth.

FILL UP ON FRUITS & VEGGIES
Be sure to reach for filling, fiber rich fruits and veggies first, but skip the fatty dips and dressings

STAY FOCUSED ON FITNESS
If you do gain a pound or two don't let it snow ball. Get back to your fitness routine and consider asking for some personal training sessions as a holiday gift.






TOP 5 CORRECTIVE EXERCISES TO RELIEVE CHRONIC PAIN?

Corrective exercises restore postural alignment and alleviate recurrent pain by eliminating muscle imbalances and movement compensations. With prolonged misuse (incorrect body positioning), muscles become weak in certain areas and tight in others, causing chronic body pain. Muscular imbalances are systemic-the more you have, the more you will develop.

These exercises reduce chronic pain and improve function.

1. Golf Ball Roll (SMR self-myofascial)

Over-pronation (rolling in of the feet): causes painful irritation of connective tissue on underside of foot (plantar fascia.) Overuse, imbalances, pain, can also occur in ankles, knees and hips as they are forced to compensate.

Exercise: Place golf ball on underside of foot. Roll it back and forth on sore spots (30 seconds-1 min. 1-2x day.)

2. Foam Roller Iliotibial Band (SMR)

Iliotibial (IT) band: runs from top of hip to knee on outside of leg; attaches gluteals to lower leg. Excessive inward rotation of leg can cause inflammation of IT band.

Exercise: Place roller perpendicular to side of thigh. Lie over it. Hold body weight on sore spots until tissues release. Roll each leg from side of hip down to knee (1-2 min. 1-2X/day)

3. Tennis Balls on Upper Back (SMR)

Thoracic Kyphosis (rounding of upper back): caused by extended periods of sitting or chronic stress; causes misalignment of neck, head, shoulders; lower back must arch in order to pull the spine erect when standing. Pain may be felt in all the above areas.

Exercise: Lie on back with bent knees, feet flat, pillow under head. Place two tennis balls (in a sock) on either side of spine at mid/upper-back height. Gradually tilt pelvis, flattening lower back to ground. Stay on sore spots 20-30 seconds. Move balls up spine toward neck and shoulders, pausing where tender.

4. Baseball/Tennis Ball on Gluteals (SMR)

Today's environment necessitates excessive sitting. Gluteal muscles easily become dysfunctional and weak; hips tighten from constant flexion.

Exercise: Same position as #3. Place baseball/tennis ball under butt/sore spots in area. Hold ball still for 10-20 seconds (total of 1-2 minutes a day.)
5. Hip Flexor Stretch

Hip flexors:
originate at lower/lumbar spine, cross pelvis, and attach to the top of femur (thighbone); often become chronically shortened from constant hip flexion (prolonged sitting), causing pain in lower back/hips.

Exercise: Kneel on one knee, placing other foot in front of you. Lift torso upright, tucking pelvis, contracting gluteals. Raise arm on kneeling leg side for deeper stretch. Feel stretch in front of hip and leg of kneeling side. Do at least 1X/day (30 seconds-1 min per side.)

When done consistently, corrective exercises based on improved strength, flexibility, You will move better, feel better, live better.


DO JUICE CLEANSES REALLY WORK AND ARE THEY SAFE?

uice cleanses have been around for over 100 years and have been touted to cure everything from tuberculosis to constipation. The herbal cleansing market is a growing multi-million dollar industry worldwide. But: are cleanses really necessary? Do they work? Are they safe?

WHAT IS A JUICE CLEANSE/FAST?

A Juice Cleanse is a detoxification diet where you consume only freshly juiced fruits and vegetables for a short period of time in order to remove "toxins" (preservatives, contaminants from processed foods) from the body.

THE CLAIMS

People try cleanses to lose weight, stop overeating, curtail bad nutrition habits, free themselves from caffeine addiction, etc. Some use them as "cures" for arthritis, cancers, infections, and other severe medical problems.

TO JUICE OR NOT TO JUICE

If you complete a cleanse, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment, because you'll have learned to resist cravings and broken unhealthy habits. You'll also be getting the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables (though you will be sacrificing fiber you'd get from eating that fruit or vegetable whole)

SAFETY CONCERNS/COMPLICATIONS

Any cleanse that lasts more than a week will lead the body to think it's starving, and cause possibly permanent health problems. Prolonged fasting can also aggravate pre-existing conditions. Choose a program that is colorful (different colors ensure adequate nutrients), be sure to include nut-based milks for protein and nutrients, and drink plenty of water.

CONCLUSION

A juice cleanse can be used to jump-start a permanent lifestyle change. However, to lose weight and keep it off, make healthy changes you can maintain throughout your life. Yo-yo dieting (returning to unhealthy habits after a cleanse) has long-lasting damaging effects. So formulate an entire health plan to stay on track after your cleanse is done.






IS THERE A FAT BURNING ZONE & DOES IT MATTER?

"There are countless myths in the fitness industry. One of the most widespread and damaging is the mythical "Fat Burning Zone." The Fat Burning zone is promoted by equipment manufacturers and the uninformed masses as a fictional zone of exercise intensity that allows for a steady state of movement at low to moderate intensity.

Fat Burning Zone supposedly describes a level of exercise that results in a larger number of the calories burned during exercise being derived from fat. This does not mean that stored body fat is the selective source. It only describes the relative percentage of utilization of three substrates: fat, carbohydrate and protein.The highest percentage of fat utilization actually occurs at rest. The more intense the exercise becomes, the more carbohydrate is used as a source.

The Fat Burning Zone does exist, but it has been grossly misinterpreted! The concept is that the body burns a greater amount of fat at lower-intensity aerobic exercise than it does at higher intensities. The truth is, the body burns a greater percentage of fat at lower intensities than at higher intensities. At lower intensities the body may burn 50 percent of the calories from fat, while at higher intensities it may only burn 35 percent. At higher intensities you burn way more total calories and more fat calories overall than you do at lower intensities.If the Fat Burning Zone idea actually worked we could get extremely lean by simply sitting still.

Here's an example of two identical people exercising for 20 minutes:

Exerciser 1 is doing a slow walk to stay in the "Fat Burning Zone." At 3 mph, Exerciser 1 covers one mile in 20 minutes and burns 100 calories with 50 of them coming from fat. That's 50% of total calories coming from fat.

Exerciser 2 is running at 7.5 mph for twenty minutes, moving out of the "Fat Burning Zone." Exerciser 2 covers 2.5 miles in twenty minutes, burning 250 calories with 87.5 of them coming from fat. That's 35% of total calories coming from fat.

Although Exerciser 1 stayed in the "Fat Burning Zone" fewer total calories and fewer calories from fat were actually burned in the same amount of time as Exerciser 2! (the same results can be expected using any type of cardio equipment)

When it comes to weight loss it is not the proportion or percentage of each fuel metabolized but the total calorie expenditure that is crucial. Instead of focusing on things like the mythical Fat Burning Zone...start focusing on working harder.


DON'T LET MISLEADING FOOD LABELS FOOL YOU

Food manufactures have come up with clever ways to trick you into buying supposed healthier foods. From non-fat, low sodium, sugar free and many other misleading labels, you may be getting more than you bargained for.

Even the most health-conscious shoppers can be misled by crafty nutrition facts, medical claims, and ingredients labels.

Here are 4 of the Top Misleading Labels:

1. Light

Generally speaking, when you think of "light' you may think that it has less calories and fat. However, some companies use "light" in reference to the flavor of the product not "light" in calories. The difference in calories from the "regular" product is marginal at best.

2. Organic

Just because a product says organic, doesn't mean that it is healthier for you. Organic is a term that is used when 95% or more of the ingredients were grown without pesticides or synthetic forms of fertilizer. Many products labeled "organic" may still contain high amounts of fat, sugar, and calories

3. Gluten Free

Gluten is a protein found in foods that are processed from wheat or other related grain products. Gluten-free products are especially good for people who suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, but may not be for people without these sensitivities. Gluten-free products have less fiber and some contain higher amounts of fat and sugar.

4. Serving Size

A "'serving size'" may bear little resemblance to the amount of the food most people actually eat! Nutrition information provided is for the serving size identified on the label. However, the serving on the food label may not be the same as the serving size in your food plan or the serving you normally eat.

Don't be fooled into thinking products are better for you than they actually are. By carefully reading food labels, you can decipher what is healthy and what is not.






RETHINKING "CORE TRAINING"

"Core Training" is one of the most popular and misused phrases in the fitness world. For some, core training means doing crunches until their abs cramp. For others, it means doing all sorts of complicated moves on various pieces of equipment that appear better suited for a circus than a gym.

Several years ago, "Core" emerged as a buzzword in sports and fitness training. Article after article appeared in journals and magazines touting the core as the area to focus on the most to lead healthier and "pain-free" lives.The media picked up on the buzzword. With so much exposure "targeting the core " became the miraculous cure for just about every issue or injury from low back pain to poor sports performance(which we had previously attributed to other issues).

Any time a "new" thing becomes a fad it gets overemphasized at first until it naturally falls into its place of worth. That seems to be the case with core training.

The 'core muscles" have been incorrectly identified by the average person. Most people think of the core as a nice six-pack or strong and toned abs, but the truth is that the abdominal muscles are a very small part of the core. The abs have very limited and specific action, and what experts refer to as the "core" actually consists of many different muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis, and run the entire length of the torso. When these muscles contract, they stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle and create a solid base of support. When this happens, we are able to generate powerful movements of the extremities.

The actual purpose of our core muscles is to work effectively and efficiently while the body is in an upright, vertical position. The core is the part of the body responsible for transferring forces from the ground, through the legs and trunk and all through the upper extremities.

Effective core training requires using exercises that integrate the hips, trunk and shoulders to efficiently distribute the forces (gravity, ground reaction and momentum) caused by upright movement.

For integrated core strength:

  •    Medicine ball chops and lifts
  •    Lunge with rotation
  •    Single leg deadlift
  •    Standing knee crunches

It is necessary to do some ground-based exercises to create initial core stability; but if we truly want to train the core the way it is designed to work, we need to get off the floor and train the muscles from a standing position so they learn how to stabilize the body in a field of gravity.

Fitness should be achieved by working to develop the entire body...From the Ground Up!


WHAT ARE YOU LACKING? PROBABLY VITAMIN D

Vitamin D has been a hot topic lately as its deficiency is widespread and seems to be related to many health concerns: osteoporosis, depression, heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, parathyroid problems, immune function -even weight loss. This essential nutrient is called a vitamin, but dietary vitamin D is actually a precursor hormone. Every tissue in the body, including the brain, heart, muscles and immune system, has receptors for vitamin D. This means the nutrient is needed at proper levels for these tissues to function well.

Major Vitamin D functions

  •    Supports key mineral absorption and metabolism (especially calcium and phosphorus).
  •    Regulates normal cell differentiation and proliferation (e.g., prevention of cancer).
  •    Promotes insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation
  •    Regulates over 200 genes in the body

Vitamin D Requirements

Growing awareness of how much our bodies rely on vitamin D has raised concern that dietary recommended daily values (DRI's) are obsolete-- 200IU a day adults 19-50, 400IU 51-70, and 600IU over 70. Some studies show that adults need 3000-5000 IU per day. Others indicate healthy adults can readily metabolize up to 10,000 IU per day without harmful side effects.

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms

Vitamin D deficiency may be characterized by muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, symptoms of depression and, sleep irregularities.

To prevent vitamin D deficiency

  •    Allow yourself limited, unprotected sun exposure in the early morning and late afternoon (no more than 15 minutes for light-skinned individuals, 40 minutes for darker skin)
  •    Eat a diet rich in whole foods. Nutrient-dense, oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, egg yolks, fortified milk and other dairy products, as well as some organ meats (like liver).
  •    Take a vitamin D supplement.

It may turn out that vitamin D is the key everyone's been looking for, or more likely an important part of a far greater whole-health picture. Investigate your personal vitamin D levels with your medical practitioner as part of a comprehensive approach to your whole health.






FAST TWITCH VS. SLOW TWITCH MUSCLE FIBERS

Skeletal muscle is made up of bundles of individual muscle fibers called myocytes. Each myocyte contains many myofibrils, which are strands of proteins (actin and myosin) that can grab on to each other and pull. This shortens the muscle and causes muscle contraction. It is generally accepted that muscle fibers can be broken down into two main types: slow twitch (Type I) and fast twitch (Type II).

Fast Twitch (FT) fibers are best suited for anaerobic and explosive activities such as weight training, sprinting, and jumping. These fibers have a lower capacity for oxygen utilization in the production of energy within the muscle. FT fibers create energy anaerobically, that is, without oxygen. This system uses glucose as a primary energy source. The bi-products of this anaerobic energy production are heat and lactic acid. Lactic acid accumulation in the muscle causes fatigue and soreness and the anaerobic energy system is a limited system for energy production.

Slow Twitch (ST) muscle fibers are used for aerobic endurance type activities such as long distance running, cycling, and swimming. These fibers are capable of utilizing oxygen for the production of energy within the muscle. This system uses glucose in combination with oxygen to produce energy. The bi-products of this system are carbon dioxide, water, and heat.

These distinctions seem to influence how muscles respond to training and physical activity, and each fiber type is unique in its ability to contract in a certain way. That's why certain sports or activities seem to come more "naturally" to some than others. (Think sprinter versus marathon runner).

To further understand the difference, consider the muscle fiber make up of chickens. Chicken legs are mainly made up of ST fibers. Chicken wings and breasts are largely made up of FT muscle fibers. Chickens use their legs for walking and standing, which they do most of the time. This doesn't use much energy. They use their wings for brief bursts of flight. This requires lots of energy and the muscles involved tire very quickly.

Lastly, there is a third type of muscle fiber that exists only in humans. It is considered a FT fiber type (IIA), but really acts as a hybrid type because they can adapt somewhat to aerobic activities. These fibers also provide the capability to alter original genetic FT/ST ratios.

There are significant benefits to mixing high-and low-intensity workouts (and in the process working fast and slow twitch muscle fibers!). A well-rounded workout routine includes a combination of intense and endurance exercises and can help the body adapt and perform in a variety of scenarios.


GREEN TEA: A DIETER'S SECRET WEAPON

Need another healthy reason to drink green tea? Aside from fighting heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, recent research shows that drinking green tea can also fight fat!

Green tea contains high concentrations of catechins polyphenol. These compounds work with other chemicals to intensify levels of fat oxidation and thermogenesis.

The most active form of catechins in green tea is epigallocatechingallate (EGCG). Green tea also contains caffeine, which appears to act synergistically with EGCG to assist metabolism. This thermogenic effect was originally attributed to the caffeine content. However, green tea stimulates brown fat thermogenesis far greater than a comparable amount of pure caffeine. It has been shown to increase 24-hour energy expenditure in fat oxidation, caffeine only increases metabolism during the time you take it.

Experts also tell us that the catechins in green tea help to inhibit the movement of glucose into fat cells. So, green tea may also act as a glucose regulator. It helps to slow the rise in blood sugar after a meal. This prevents high insulin spikes and the subsequent fat storage that goes with too much insulin in the body.

Green tea should be treated as a dietary supplement, not a magic bullet. Green tea helps weight loss by boosting your metabolic rate, regulating blood sugar, and suppressing appetite. Incorporating green tea into a healthy diet and exercise routine can assist with weight management and overall health.





WHO ARE THE "FITTEST" ATHLETES?

Ever wonder which sport has the "fittest" athletes? Sports physiologists don't have a system for ranking this and due to different criteria and skill sets there are no scientifically valid studies on the subject.

magine there is a super-Olympics, in which athletes from every conceivable sport are judged by the same standard. Who would win? Lance Armstrong? Manny Pacquiao? Lebron James? Lionel Messi? Michael Phelps?

For the average gym-goer or recreational athlete fitness is a combination of four components: cardiorespiratory endurance (VO2max), muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility.

A team of experts from ACE (American Council on Exercise) conducted a survey ranking the fittest athletes using a broader definition; The sum of cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, balance, power, flexibility, agility and physical skills.

Using that criteria, they ranked the following athletes the "fittest."

Decathletes participate in 10 track-and-field events over a two-day span and therefore have a broad range of aptitudes. They can run 1500 meters in 4 minutes and 100 meters in 10 seconds. The shot put,discus and javelin require power and the high jump and long jump call for agility. Balance, coordination and "skills" are needed for the pole vault and 110-meter hurdles. And they need flexibility for every event!

Boxers and Mixed Marital Artists (MMA) are very strong, powerful, quick and have a high level of cardiorespiratory fitness. MMA artists literally may have a leg up on boxers though, since their sport employs a wide range of fitness attributes at high intensity including the leg speed for kicking.

Football "Skilled Position" Players have to master a wider array of athletic abilities and be able to take a hit. Cornerbacks, wide receivers and running backs are some of the fittest athletes possible. They can train at extremely high intensity for a prolonged period of 60 to 90 minutes. They apply speed, power, endurance, coordination, quickness, rhythm and strength to many skills and tasks. And they have very low body fat.

Hockey Players come in a package that melds strength, agility, power, speed and flexibility. Because they are on skates, less effort is required but a high degree of skill and balance are necessary. They don't have the endurance of other "fittest" athletes,hockey players go all out in bursts of 30-60 second shifts then get a break.

The athleticism in professional sports is evolving every year. Athletes are getting bigger, stronger and faster as benchmarks and records fall. It's exciting to ponder what will happen next. What "fittest" athlete will take sports and athleticism to new levels?


ARE YOU DRINKING ENOUGH WATER?

FACT: Next to air, water is the element most necessary for survival. We can go without food for almost two months, but without water only a few days.

Adequate water intake prevents dehydration, cleans out the body, aids in digestion, metabolism, kidney function and promotes healing processes among other things. Water is the body's principle chemical component and makes up about 65% of body weight. Every system in the body depends on water!

Staying Safely Hydrated

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. Many people live in a dehydrated state. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and cause fatigue. The easiest way to know if you are drinking enough water is to look at the color of you urine. A deeper yellow means drink more water, lighter yellow or clear means you're on the right track.

The International Sports Medicine Institute recommends the following formula for daily water intake:

    • 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight if you are not active (that's ten eight ounce glasses if you weigh 160 pounds)
    • 2/3 ounce per pound if you're athletic (13 to 14 glasses a day at 160 pounds).
    • Intake should be spread though out the day and evening.

Being dehydrated can be a significant obstacle to feeling motivated to exercise. To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice.





THE METABOLISM MYSTERY

Metabolism is almost a mythical word that few actually understand. Is it a magical force that determines whether or not individuals stay slim or pack on the pounds? A special energy bestowed upon a chosen few to allow them to eat whatever they want and not gain weight? Questions like these demonstrate that there is significant confusion surrounding metabolism.

Metabolism can be defined as the speed at which the body burns through fuel. It deals with how quickly and efficiently the body processes food and stored fuels (body fat). This process produces energy and heat. In fact, a calorie is actually a measure of heat. Consider metabolism as your inner furnace.

Tips to jump-start your metabolism:
    • Strength Train/Muscle Tissue: Muscle tissue uses more calories than fat tissue because it has a higher metabolic rate. Muscle tissue is the exact physical site where fat is "burned off".
    • Meal Frequency: Eat four to six small meals a day to keep your body fuel supply (i.e., blood sugar levels) consistent and your metabolism revved up; but be careful not to exceed your calorie allotment for the day. DON'T skip breakfast, DO skip late night eating.
    • Include protein with each meal: Metabolizing protein is a little more "difficult" for the body, consequently increasing number of calories burned. When cells need energy they will break down carbohydrates first, then fat, and finally protein.
    • Herbs and spices: Cayenne pepper, ginger, turmeric, and cumin can increase your metabolism and fat burning ability by up to 20%. Spicy condiments like mustard and hot pepper sauce can also raise your metabolic rate.

You can jump-start a sluggish metabolism through exercise and diet, which will have lasting health benefits. Build that metabolic fire within you, make it burn long, make it burn hot: YOU are in control!


BOOZE BUILDS BELLIES

Alcohol is part of many social occasions. From family dinners to parties, sporting events, and dates, alcohol plays a role in everyday life.

Once alcohol is consumed, the body makes metabolizing it a priority. This means that the body stops metabolizing fat, carbs, and protein in order to first get the alcohol converted to energy since the body has no place to store it. This "interference" with how your body processes and stores nutrients means healthy foods you eat don't get to do their job. Aside from perhaps red wine, alcohol is devoid of nutrients and doesn't do the body any favors.

Alcohol stimulates food intake and can increase feelings of hunger as well. When you're trying to follow a weight loss program, having your judgment impaired and stimulating your appetite is a recipe for failure.

Check out these long-term effects:

Two 6 oz. glasses of red wine 5 x week = 1250 calories x 52 weeks in a year = 65,000 calories per year!

It takes 3,500 calories to lose or gain one pound of fat!

Remember this, if you take the time to improve your fitness level and overall health, excess consumption of alcohol is a MAJOR step backwards and IMPEDES your progress.





PHA CIRCUIT TRAINING FOR STRENGTH AND FAT LOSS

Peripheral Heart Action circuit training is an efficient and challenging form of conditioning. PHA training consists of performing multiple exercises in rapid succession, alternating between upper and lower body exercises. This forces the blood flow into different parts of the body as you change exercises, creating a demanding cardiovascular workout while training for strength.

How to perform PHA

A PHA circuit consists of 3 to 6 compound/multi joint movements that are completed one exercise after another with minimal rest. An example is going from squats to pull-ups to lunges. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a set time before moving on to the next exercise. The exercises within each circuit are separated by a short rest period, and each circuit is separated by a longer rest period. The total number of circuits performed will vary from 2 to 6 depending on your fitness level and training objectives.

Benefits


    • Easy to hit every muscle group
    • Creates variety to avoid plateaus and boredom
    • Improves coordination, mobility and balance
    • Torches fat in record time while preserving lean muscle mass
    • Stimulates (HGH) Human Growth Hormone response, providing youth rejuvenating properties
    • Complete more work in less time.
    • Strength + Cardiovascular = A stronger more efficient heart.

The results come in loud and clear! PHA equates to the greatest energy expenditure and subsequently unparalleled fat loss. PHA will be enlightening, effective and often empowering. It will be well worth the effort!


SIX NUTRIENT DENSE SUPER FOODS THAT EVERYONE NEEDS

Super foods are by definition - calorie sparse and nutrient dense-meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of antioxidants and essential nutrients - nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves.

Blueberries are among the highest anti-oxidant valued fruits. They contain good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin and riboflavin, which act as co-factors in metabolizing fat. Blueberries are also high in fiber and function as anti-inflammatory compounds.

Eggs The protein in eggs is the highest-quality protein found in any food. One egg contains 6 grams of protein and healthy unsaturated fats. Eggs contain 18 essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of life. Eggs are also a good source of choline, which has been linked with preserving memory.

Greek Yogurt is a 'bone healthy' calcium filled super food that carries probiotics (healthy bacteria). Plain Greek yogurt is high in protein and low in sugar and fat, which will fill you up longer.

Walnuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidant Vitamin E. Walnuts, in particular have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts.

Salmon is low in calories, high in protein and loaded with 'heart healthy' omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon is loaded with essential vitamins B12, niacin, selenium, B6 and magnesium. A 4 oz. serving of salmon also provides a full day's requirement of vitamin D.

Broccoli packs the most nutritional punch of any vegetable. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K and good source of iron, folate, fiber and calcium. Broccoli also contains some very important cancer fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Super foods are nutritional powerhouses! A healthy diet incorporating a variety of theses filling super foods will help you maintain your weight, fight disease, and live longer.





EXERCISE AND THE BRAIN

Endurance and resistance training are proving to be the dynamic duo that build and rejuvenate the body from head to toe. Studies have shown that improving your physical fitness can help to improve your mental fitness.

Aerobic exercise has been shown many times to improve cognitive function, but a recent study shows that strength training can improve executive functions. Executive functions are important because they are a mental ability that helps us make decisions and do several things at once (like driving). They are associated with how quickly you perform mental tasks such as flexible thinking, decision- making, and problem solving.

Regular exercise has been proven to be more effective than brain games, super foods, supplements or any other method used to keep the brain sparking on all cylinders.

Consistent exercise doesn't just reshape you muscles but helps reshape your mind. It appears to be one of the best ways to trigger "neurogenesis," the growth of new brain cells, something that, until recently, wasn't thought possible in the adult brain. Physical exertion causes new brain cells to sprout, possibly by increasing the capacity of capillaries serving the brain so there is better blood flow. More blood flow means more oxygen, increased oxygen leads to new cell growth. Increased blood volume also helps promote the growth of new connections between brain cells and facilitate the delivery of an assortment of other beneficial chemicals.

The human brain is able to continually adapt and rewire itself. It's NEVER too late. Even in old age, it can grow new neurons. Severe mental decline is usually caused by disease, whereas most age-related losses in memory or motor skills simply result from inactivity and a lack of mental exercise and stimulation. Inactive individuals were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's, compared to those with the highest levels of activity (exercised vigorously at least three times a week). In other words, use it or lose it! No matter what your fitness goals, your brain is the 3 lbs. you never want to lose.


PROTEIN BARS; STILL CANDY BARS IN DISGUISE?

Though there has been some improvement on these bars, several of the best sellers are nothing more than ordinary candy bars with protein powder added in. It's challenging for manufactures to create an all- natural bar with whole food ingredients that's also low in calories and sugar.

If you read the slick advertisement and not the ingredients you can be easily fooled. You must read the labels! Keep a careful eye on ingredients, especially high amounts of sweeteners, artificial flavors, processed transfats, preservatives and hydrogenated oils. In general the lower down the sweeteners are on the ingredients list the better the bar is for you. Most of these bars lack dietary fiber and are just 'overly engineered ' food.

All bars that come in wrappers are processed foods. Some may be less processed than others, but you haven't seen a protein bar hanging from a tree branch lately, have you? Try to make whole food choices daily and eat things you don't have to 'unwrap'.

These types of bars are useful for emergencies of convenience, like eating while driving or flying, rushing about between meetings/classes, and so on. But when this happens more than once or twice a week it becomes an issue of improper meal planning. Improper meal planning is a sure fire way to sabotage your fitness and health goals, so take the time to think it through.





December 2011 Newsletter

SUPER CHARGE YOUR FITNESS AND FAT LOSS WITH HIIT

HIIT, short for high intensity interval training, is a very efficient type of cardio workout! It can help you combat monotony, improve your overall fitness, and turn your body into a more efficient metabolic machine in half the time of a regular workout.

HIIT is a type of cardio workout that consists of alternating short periods of very vigorous activity and longer periods of active recovery. The intervals of high intensity are brief but very challenging. A typical HIIT workout usually lasts about 20-30 minutes and involves a 2:1 ratio, meaning your recovery intervals are twice as long as the work intervals. Your cardio should be a shorter roller coaster ride vs. a long walk in the park. Higher intensity equals greater caloric expenditure per minute.

HIIT can be applied to any form of cardio. An example is:

STEP 1: Start your workout with a 5-minute warm up to make sure your body is ready for intense exercise. (50-60% of Heart Rate).

STEP 2: Choose the length of your work/recovery intervals - Experts generally recommend a 1:2 work to rest ratio, which means your rest interval is twice as long as your work interval. An example would be sprinting for 30 seconds (85-90% of Heart Rate) and walking to recover for 1 minute. If you work at maximum effort, you may need even longer to recover. Repeat 6-10 times.

STEP 3: COOL DOWN by bringing your heart rate back to a resting state. This will help prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

HIIT results in increased HGH levels. HGH is a hormone that helps preserve valuable lean muscle mass. This is key to RMR (resting metabolic rate) and reducing body fat. Last but definitely not least, HIIT's results in EPOC or Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption. EPOC is an after-burn effect, which causes you to burn calories up to 48 hours after your workout. It's like burning calories with interest.


AVOID PACKING ON THE POUNDS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

The Holidays are just a few DAYS so don't indulge for two months. It's okay to cheat a little, but you don't want to deal with the consequences for months to come!

LAY OFF THE BOOZE Alcohol is the biggest waste of caloric intake! Drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol. That should help slow you down.

USE SMALL PLATES Practice Portion Control. The smaller the plate the larger your portion will seem. You may find yourself feeling full. Stay on track by really thinking about what you are eating before you stick it in your mouth.

FILL UP ON FRUITS & VEGGIES Be sure to reach for filling, fiber rich fruits and veggies first, but skip the fatty dips and dressings

STAY FOCUSED ON FITNESS If you do gain a pound or two don't let it snow ball. Get back to your fitness routine and consider asking for some personal training sessions as a holiday gift.


For more information or to schedule a consultation please call 212.721.3459 or email at info@katnyc.com.

TOP 5 CORRECTIVE EXERCISES TO RELIEVE CHRONIC PAIN?

Corrective exercises restore postural alignment and alleviate recurrent pain by eliminating muscle imbalances and movement compensations. With prolonged misuse (incorrect body positioning), muscles become weak in certain areas and tight in others, causing chronic body pain. Muscular imbalances are systemic-the more you have, the more you will develop.

These exercises reduce chronic pain and improve function.

1. Golf Ball Roll (SMR self-myofascial)

Over-pronation (rolling in of the feet): causes painful irritation of connective tissue on underside of foot (plantar fascia.) Overuse, imbalances, pain, can also occur in ankles, knees and hips as they are forced to compensate.

Exercise: Place golf ball on underside of foot. Roll it back and forth on sore spots (30 seconds-1 min. 1-2x day.)

2. Foam Roller Iliotibial Band (SMR)

Iliotibial (IT) band: runs from top of hip to knee on outside of leg; attaches gluteals to lower leg. Excessive inward rotation of leg can cause inflammation of IT band.

Exercise: Place roller perpendicular to side of thigh. Lie over it. Hold body weight on sore spots until tissues release. Roll each leg from side of hip down to knee (1-2 min. 1-2X/day)

3. Tennis Balls on Upper Back (SMR)

Thoracic Kyphosis (rounding of upper back): caused by extended periods of sitting or chronic stress; causes misalignment of neck, head, shoulders; lower back must arch in order to pull the spine erect when standing. Pain may be felt in all the above areas.

Exercise: Lie on back with bent knees, feet flat, pillow under head. Place two tennis balls (in a sock) on either side of spine at mid/upper-back height. Gradually tilt pelvis, flattening lower back to ground. Stay on sore spots 20-30 seconds. Move balls up spine toward neck and shoulders, pausing where tender.

4. Baseball/Tennis Ball on Gluteals (SMR)

Today's environment necessitates excessive sitting. Gluteal muscles easily become dysfunctional and weak; hips tighten from constant flexion.

Exercise: Same position as #3. Place baseball/tennis ball under butt/sore spots in area. Hold ball still for 10-20 seconds (total of 1-2 minutes a day.)
5. Hip Flexor Stretch

Hip flexors:
originate at lower/lumbar spine, cross pelvis, and attach to the top of femur (thighbone); often become chronically shortened from constant hip flexion (prolonged sitting), causing pain in lower back/hips.

Exercise: Kneel on one knee, placing other foot in front of you. Lift torso upright, tucking pelvis, contracting gluteals. Raise arm on kneeling leg side for deeper stretch. Feel stretch in front of hip and leg of kneeling side. Do at least 1X/day (30 seconds-1 min per side.)

When done consistently, corrective exercises based on improved strength, flexibility, You will move better, feel better, live better.


DO JUICE CLEANSES REALLY WORK AND ARE THEY SAFE?

uice cleanses have been around for over 100 years and have been touted to cure everything from tuberculosis to constipation. The herbal cleansing market is a growing multi-million dollar industry worldwide. But: are cleanses really necessary? Do they work? Are they safe?

WHAT IS A JUICE CLEANSE/FAST?

A Juice Cleanse is a detoxification diet where you consume only freshly juiced fruits and vegetables for a short period of time in order to remove "toxins" (preservatives, contaminants from processed foods) from the body.

THE CLAIMS

People try cleanses to lose weight, stop overeating, curtail bad nutrition habits, free themselves from caffeine addiction, etc. Some use them as "cures" for arthritis, cancers, infections, and other severe medical problems.

TO JUICE OR NOT TO JUICE

If you complete a cleanse, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment, because you'll have learned to resist cravings and broken unhealthy habits. You'll also be getting the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables (though you will be sacrificing fiber you'd get from eating that fruit or vegetable whole)

SAFETY CONCERNS/COMPLICATIONS

Any cleanse that lasts more than a week will lead the body to think it's starving, and cause possibly permanent health problems. Prolonged fasting can also aggravate pre-existing conditions. Choose a program that is colorful (different colors ensure adequate nutrients), be sure to include nut-based milks for protein and nutrients, and drink plenty of water.

CONCLUSION

A juice cleanse can be used to jump-start a permanent lifestyle change. However, to lose weight and keep it off, make healthy changes you can maintain throughout your life. Yo-yo dieting (returning to unhealthy habits after a cleanse) has long-lasting damaging effects. So formulate an entire health plan to stay on track after your cleanse is done.






IS THERE A FAT BURNING ZONE & DOES IT MATTER?

"There are countless myths in the fitness industry. One of the most widespread and damaging is the mythical "Fat Burning Zone." The Fat Burning zone is promoted by equipment manufacturers and the uninformed masses as a fictional zone of exercise intensity that allows for a steady state of movement at low to moderate intensity.

Fat Burning Zone supposedly describes a level of exercise that results in a larger number of the calories burned during exercise being derived from fat. This does not mean that stored body fat is the selective source. It only describes the relative percentage of utilization of three substrates: fat, carbohydrate and protein.The highest percentage of fat utilization actually occurs at rest. The more intense the exercise becomes, the more carbohydrate is used as a source.

The Fat Burning Zone does exist, but it has been grossly misinterpreted! The concept is that the body burns a greater amount of fat at lower-intensity aerobic exercise than it does at higher intensities. The truth is, the body burns a greater percentage of fat at lower intensities than at higher intensities. At lower intensities the body may burn 50 percent of the calories from fat, while at higher intensities it may only burn 35 percent. At higher intensities you burn way more total calories and more fat calories overall than you do at lower intensities.If the Fat Burning Zone idea actually worked we could get extremely lean by simply sitting still.

Here's an example of two identical people exercising for 20 minutes:

Exerciser 1 is doing a slow walk to stay in the "Fat Burning Zone." At 3 mph, Exerciser 1 covers one mile in 20 minutes and burns 100 calories with 50 of them coming from fat. That's 50% of total calories coming from fat.

Exerciser 2 is running at 7.5 mph for twenty minutes, moving out of the "Fat Burning Zone." Exerciser 2 covers 2.5 miles in twenty minutes, burning 250 calories with 87.5 of them coming from fat. That's 35% of total calories coming from fat.

Although Exerciser 1 stayed in the "Fat Burning Zone" fewer total calories and fewer calories from fat were actually burned in the same amount of time as Exerciser 2! (the same results can be expected using any type of cardio equipment)

When it comes to weight loss it is not the proportion or percentage of each fuel metabolized but the total calorie expenditure that is crucial. Instead of focusing on things like the mythical Fat Burning Zone...start focusing on working harder.


DON'T LET MISLEADING FOOD LABELS FOOL YOU

Food manufactures have come up with clever ways to trick you into buying supposed healthier foods. From non-fat, low sodium, sugar free and many other misleading labels, you may be getting more than you bargained for.

Even the most health-conscious shoppers can be misled by crafty nutrition facts, medical claims, and ingredients labels.

Here are 4 of the Top Misleading Labels:

1. Light

Generally speaking, when you think of "light' you may think that it has less calories and fat. However, some companies use "light" in reference to the flavor of the product not "light" in calories. The difference in calories from the "regular" product is marginal at best.

2. Organic

Just because a product says organic, doesn't mean that it is healthier for you. Organic is a term that is used when 95% or more of the ingredients were grown without pesticides or synthetic forms of fertilizer. Many products labeled "organic" may still contain high amounts of fat, sugar, and calories

3. Gluten Free

Gluten is a protein found in foods that are processed from wheat or other related grain products. Gluten-free products are especially good for people who suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, but may not be for people without these sensitivities. Gluten-free products have less fiber and some contain higher amounts of fat and sugar.

4. Serving Size

A "'serving size'" may bear little resemblance to the amount of the food most people actually eat! Nutrition information provided is for the serving size identified on the label. However, the serving on the food label may not be the same as the serving size in your food plan or the serving you normally eat.

Don't be fooled into thinking products are better for you than they actually are. By carefully reading food labels, you can decipher what is healthy and what is not.






RETHINKING "CORE TRAINING"

"Core Training" is one of the most popular and misused phrases in the fitness world. For some, core training means doing crunches until their abs cramp. For others, it means doing all sorts of complicated moves on various pieces of equipment that appear better suited for a circus than a gym.

Several years ago, "Core" emerged as a buzzword in sports and fitness training. Article after article appeared in journals and magazines touting the core as the area to focus on the most to lead healthier and "pain-free" lives.The media picked up on the buzzword. With so much exposure "targeting the core " became the miraculous cure for just about every issue or injury from low back pain to poor sports performance(which we had previously attributed to other issues).

Any time a "new" thing becomes a fad it gets overemphasized at first until it naturally falls into its place of worth. That seems to be the case with core training.

The 'core muscles" have been incorrectly identified by the average person. Most people think of the core as a nice six-pack or strong and toned abs, but the truth is that the abdominal muscles are a very small part of the core. The abs have very limited and specific action, and what experts refer to as the "core" actually consists of many different muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis, and run the entire length of the torso. When these muscles contract, they stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle and create a solid base of support. When this happens, we are able to generate powerful movements of the extremities.

The actual purpose of our core muscles is to work effectively and efficiently while the body is in an upright, vertical position. The core is the part of the body responsible for transferring forces from the ground, through the legs and trunk and all through the upper extremities.

Effective core training requires using exercises that integrate the hips, trunk and shoulders to efficiently distribute the forces (gravity, ground reaction and momentum) caused by upright movement.

For integrated core strength:

  •    Medicine ball chops and lifts
  •    Lunge with rotation
  •    Single leg deadlift
  •    Standing knee crunches

It is necessary to do some ground-based exercises to create initial core stability; but if we truly want to train the core the way it is designed to work, we need to get off the floor and train the muscles from a standing position so they learn how to stabilize the body in a field of gravity.

Fitness should be achieved by working to develop the entire body...From the Ground Up!


WHAT ARE YOU LACKING? PROBABLY VITAMIN D

Vitamin D has been a hot topic lately as its deficiency is widespread and seems to be related to many health concerns: osteoporosis, depression, heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, parathyroid problems, immune function -even weight loss. This essential nutrient is called a vitamin, but dietary vitamin D is actually a precursor hormone. Every tissue in the body, including the brain, heart, muscles and immune system, has receptors for vitamin D. This means the nutrient is needed at proper levels for these tissues to function well.

Major Vitamin D functions

  •    Supports key mineral absorption and metabolism (especially calcium and phosphorus).
  •    Regulates normal cell differentiation and proliferation (e.g., prevention of cancer).
  •    Promotes insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation
  •    Regulates over 200 genes in the body

Vitamin D Requirements

Growing awareness of how much our bodies rely on vitamin D has raised concern that dietary recommended daily values (DRI's) are obsolete-- 200IU a day adults 19-50, 400IU 51-70, and 600IU over 70. Some studies show that adults need 3000-5000 IU per day. Others indicate healthy adults can readily metabolize up to 10,000 IU per day without harmful side effects.

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms

Vitamin D deficiency may be characterized by muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, symptoms of depression and, sleep irregularities.

To prevent vitamin D deficiency

  •    Allow yourself limited, unprotected sun exposure in the early morning and late afternoon (no more than 15 minutes for light-skinned individuals, 40 minutes for darker skin)
  •    Eat a diet rich in whole foods. Nutrient-dense, oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, egg yolks, fortified milk and other dairy products, as well as some organ meats (like liver).
  •    Take a vitamin D supplement.

It may turn out that vitamin D is the key everyone's been looking for, or more likely an important part of a far greater whole-health picture. Investigate your personal vitamin D levels with your medical practitioner as part of a comprehensive approach to your whole health.






FAST TWITCH VS. SLOW TWITCH MUSCLE FIBERS

Skeletal muscle is made up of bundles of individual muscle fibers called myocytes. Each myocyte contains many myofibrils, which are strands of proteins (actin and myosin) that can grab on to each other and pull. This shortens the muscle and causes muscle contraction. It is generally accepted that muscle fibers can be broken down into two main types: slow twitch (Type I) and fast twitch (Type II).

Fast Twitch (FT) fibers are best suited for anaerobic and explosive activities such as weight training, sprinting, and jumping. These fibers have a lower capacity for oxygen utilization in the production of energy within the muscle. FT fibers create energy anaerobically, that is, without oxygen. This system uses glucose as a primary energy source. The bi-products of this anaerobic energy production are heat and lactic acid. Lactic acid accumulation in the muscle causes fatigue and soreness and the anaerobic energy system is a limited system for energy production.

Slow Twitch (ST) muscle fibers are used for aerobic endurance type activities such as long distance running, cycling, and swimming. These fibers are capable of utilizing oxygen for the production of energy within the muscle. This system uses glucose in combination with oxygen to produce energy. The bi-products of this system are carbon dioxide, water, and heat.

These distinctions seem to influence how muscles respond to training and physical activity, and each fiber type is unique in its ability to contract in a certain way. That's why certain sports or activities seem to come more "naturally" to some than others. (Think sprinter versus marathon runner).

To further understand the difference, consider the muscle fiber make up of chickens. Chicken legs are mainly made up of ST fibers. Chicken wings and breasts are largely made up of FT muscle fibers. Chickens use their legs for walking and standing, which they do most of the time. This doesn't use much energy. They use their wings for brief bursts of flight. This requires lots of energy and the muscles involved tire very quickly.

Lastly, there is a third type of muscle fiber that exists only in humans. It is considered a FT fiber type (IIA), but really acts as a hybrid type because they can adapt somewhat to aerobic activities. These fibers also provide the capability to alter original genetic FT/ST ratios.

There are significant benefits to mixing high-and low-intensity workouts (and in the process working fast and slow twitch muscle fibers!). A well-rounded workout routine includes a combination of intense and endurance exercises and can help the body adapt and perform in a variety of scenarios.


GREEN TEA: A DIETER'S SECRET WEAPON

Need another healthy reason to drink green tea? Aside from fighting heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, recent research shows that drinking green tea can also fight fat!

Green tea contains high concentrations of catechins polyphenol. These compounds work with other chemicals to intensify levels of fat oxidation and thermogenesis.

The most active form of catechins in green tea is epigallocatechingallate (EGCG). Green tea also contains caffeine, which appears to act synergistically with EGCG to assist metabolism. This thermogenic effect was originally attributed to the caffeine content. However, green tea stimulates brown fat thermogenesis far greater than a comparable amount of pure caffeine. It has been shown to increase 24-hour energy expenditure in fat oxidation, caffeine only increases metabolism during the time you take it.

Experts also tell us that the catechins in green tea help to inhibit the movement of glucose into fat cells. So, green tea may also act as a glucose regulator. It helps to slow the rise in blood sugar after a meal. This prevents high insulin spikes and the subsequent fat storage that goes with too much insulin in the body.

Green tea should be treated as a dietary supplement, not a magic bullet. Green tea helps weight loss by boosting your metabolic rate, regulating blood sugar, and suppressing appetite. Incorporating green tea into a healthy diet and exercise routine can assist with weight management and overall health.





WHO ARE THE "FITTEST" ATHLETES?

Ever wonder which sport has the "fittest" athletes? Sports physiologists don't have a system for ranking this and due to different criteria and skill sets there are no scientifically valid studies on the subject.

magine there is a super-Olympics, in which athletes from every conceivable sport are judged by the same standard. Who would win? Lance Armstrong? Manny Pacquiao? Lebron James? Lionel Messi? Michael Phelps?

For the average gym-goer or recreational athlete fitness is a combination of four components: cardiorespiratory endurance (VO2max), muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility.

A team of experts from ACE (American Council on Exercise) conducted a survey ranking the fittest athletes using a broader definition; The sum of cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, balance, power, flexibility, agility and physical skills.

Using that criteria, they ranked the following athletes the "fittest."

Decathletes participate in 10 track-and-field events over a two-day span and therefore have a broad range of aptitudes. They can run 1500 meters in 4 minutes and 100 meters in 10 seconds. The shot put,discus and javelin require power and the high jump and long jump call for agility. Balance, coordination and "skills" are needed for the pole vault and 110-meter hurdles. And they need flexibility for every event!

Boxers and Mixed Marital Artists (MMA) are very strong, powerful, quick and have a high level of cardiorespiratory fitness. MMA artists literally may have a leg up on boxers though, since their sport employs a wide range of fitness attributes at high intensity including the leg speed for kicking.

Football "Skilled Position" Players have to master a wider array of athletic abilities and be able to take a hit. Cornerbacks, wide receivers and running backs are some of the fittest athletes possible. They can train at extremely high intensity for a prolonged period of 60 to 90 minutes. They apply speed, power, endurance, coordination, quickness, rhythm and strength to many skills and tasks. And they have very low body fat.

Hockey Players come in a package that melds strength, agility, power, speed and flexibility. Because they are on skates, less effort is required but a high degree of skill and balance are necessary. They don't have the endurance of other "fittest" athletes,hockey players go all out in bursts of 30-60 second shifts then get a break.

The athleticism in professional sports is evolving every year. Athletes are getting bigger, stronger and faster as benchmarks and records fall. It's exciting to ponder what will happen next. What "fittest" athlete will take sports and athleticism to new levels?


ARE YOU DRINKING ENOUGH WATER?

FACT: Next to air, water is the element most necessary for survival. We can go without food for almost two months, but without water only a few days.

Adequate water intake prevents dehydration, cleans out the body, aids in digestion, metabolism, kidney function and promotes healing processes among other things. Water is the body's principle chemical component and makes up about 65% of body weight. Every system in the body depends on water!

Staying Safely Hydrated

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. Many people live in a dehydrated state. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and cause fatigue. The easiest way to know if you are drinking enough water is to look at the color of you urine. A deeper yellow means drink more water, lighter yellow or clear means you're on the right track.

The International Sports Medicine Institute recommends the following formula for daily water intake:

    • 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight if you are not active (that's ten eight ounce glasses if you weigh 160 pounds)
    • 2/3 ounce per pound if you're athletic (13 to 14 glasses a day at 160 pounds).
    • Intake should be spread though out the day and evening.

Being dehydrated can be a significant obstacle to feeling motivated to exercise. To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice.





THE METABOLISM MYSTERY

Metabolism is almost a mythical word that few actually understand. Is it a magical force that determines whether or not individuals stay slim or pack on the pounds? A special energy bestowed upon a chosen few to allow them to eat whatever they want and not gain weight? Questions like these demonstrate that there is significant confusion surrounding metabolism.

Metabolism can be defined as the speed at which the body burns through fuel. It deals with how quickly and efficiently the body processes food and stored fuels (body fat). This process produces energy and heat. In fact, a calorie is actually a measure of heat. Consider metabolism as your inner furnace.

Tips to jump-start your metabolism:
    • Strength Train/Muscle Tissue: Muscle tissue uses more calories than fat tissue because it has a higher metabolic rate. Muscle tissue is the exact physical site where fat is "burned off".
    • Meal Frequency: Eat four to six small meals a day to keep your body fuel supply (i.e., blood sugar levels) consistent and your metabolism revved up; but be careful not to exceed your calorie allotment for the day. DON'T skip breakfast, DO skip late night eating.
    • Include protein with each meal: Metabolizing protein is a little more "difficult" for the body, consequently increasing number of calories burned. When cells need energy they will break down carbohydrates first, then fat, and finally protein.
    • Herbs and spices: Cayenne pepper, ginger, turmeric, and cumin can increase your metabolism and fat burning ability by up to 20%. Spicy condiments like mustard and hot pepper sauce can also raise your metabolic rate.

You can jump-start a sluggish metabolism through exercise and diet, which will have lasting health benefits. Build that metabolic fire within you, make it burn long, make it burn hot: YOU are in control!


BOOZE BUILDS BELLIES

Alcohol is part of many social occasions. From family dinners to parties, sporting events, and dates, alcohol plays a role in everyday life.

Once alcohol is consumed, the body makes metabolizing it a priority. This means that the body stops metabolizing fat, carbs, and protein in order to first get the alcohol converted to energy since the body has no place to store it. This "interference" with how your body processes and stores nutrients means healthy foods you eat don't get to do their job. Aside from perhaps red wine, alcohol is devoid of nutrients and doesn't do the body any favors.

Alcohol stimulates food intake and can increase feelings of hunger as well. When you're trying to follow a weight loss program, having your judgment impaired and stimulating your appetite is a recipe for failure.

Check out these long-term effects:

Two 6 oz. glasses of red wine 5 x week = 1250 calories x 52 weeks in a year = 65,000 calories per year!

It takes 3,500 calories to lose or gain one pound of fat!

Remember this, if you take the time to improve your fitness level and overall health, excess consumption of alcohol is a MAJOR step backwards and IMPEDES your progress.





PHA CIRCUIT TRAINING FOR STRENGTH AND FAT LOSS

Peripheral Heart Action circuit training is an efficient and challenging form of conditioning. PHA training consists of performing multiple exercises in rapid succession, alternating between upper and lower body exercises. This forces the blood flow into different parts of the body as you change exercises, creating a demanding cardiovascular workout while training for strength.

How to perform PHA

A PHA circuit consists of 3 to 6 compound/multi joint movements that are completed one exercise after another with minimal rest. An example is going from squats to pull-ups to lunges. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a set time before moving on to the next exercise. The exercises within each circuit are separated by a short rest period, and each circuit is separated by a longer rest period. The total number of circuits performed will vary from 2 to 6 depending on your fitness level and training objectives.

Benefits


    • Easy to hit every muscle group
    • Creates variety to avoid plateaus and boredom
    • Improves coordination, mobility and balance
    • Torches fat in record time while preserving lean muscle mass
    • Stimulates (HGH) Human Growth Hormone response, providing youth rejuvenating properties
    • Complete more work in less time.
    • Strength + Cardiovascular = A stronger more efficient heart.

The results come in loud and clear! PHA equates to the greatest energy expenditure and subsequently unparalleled fat loss. PHA will be enlightening, effective and often empowering. It will be well worth the effort!


SIX NUTRIENT DENSE SUPER FOODS THAT EVERYONE NEEDS

Super foods are by definition - calorie sparse and nutrient dense-meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of antioxidants and essential nutrients - nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves.

Blueberries are among the highest anti-oxidant valued fruits. They contain good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin and riboflavin, which act as co-factors in metabolizing fat. Blueberries are also high in fiber and function as anti-inflammatory compounds.

Eggs The protein in eggs is the highest-quality protein found in any food. One egg contains 6 grams of protein and healthy unsaturated fats. Eggs contain 18 essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of life. Eggs are also a good source of choline, which has been linked with preserving memory.

Greek Yogurt is a 'bone healthy' calcium filled super food that carries probiotics (healthy bacteria). Plain Greek yogurt is high in protein and low in sugar and fat, which will fill you up longer.

Walnuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidant Vitamin E. Walnuts, in particular have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts.

Salmon is low in calories, high in protein and loaded with 'heart healthy' omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon is loaded with essential vitamins B12, niacin, selenium, B6 and magnesium. A 4 oz. serving of salmon also provides a full day's requirement of vitamin D.

Broccoli packs the most nutritional punch of any vegetable. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K and good source of iron, folate, fiber and calcium. Broccoli also contains some very important cancer fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Super foods are nutritional powerhouses! A healthy diet incorporating a variety of theses filling super foods will help you maintain your weight, fight disease, and live longer.





EXERCISE AND THE BRAIN

Endurance and resistance training are proving to be the dynamic duo that build and rejuvenate the body from head to toe. Studies have shown that improving your physical fitness can help to improve your mental fitness.

Aerobic exercise has been shown many times to improve cognitive function, but a recent study shows that strength training can improve executive functions. Executive functions are important because they are a mental ability that helps us make decisions and do several things at once (like driving). They are associated with how quickly you perform mental tasks such as flexible thinking, decision- making, and problem solving.

Regular exercise has been proven to be more effective than brain games, super foods, supplements or any other method used to keep the brain sparking on all cylinders.

Consistent exercise doesn't just reshape you muscles but helps reshape your mind. It appears to be one of the best ways to trigger "neurogenesis," the growth of new brain cells, something that, until recently, wasn't thought possible in the adult brain. Physical exertion causes new brain cells to sprout, possibly by increasing the capacity of capillaries serving the brain so there is better blood flow. More blood flow means more oxygen, increased oxygen leads to new cell growth. Increased blood volume also helps promote the growth of new connections between brain cells and facilitate the delivery of an assortment of other beneficial chemicals.

The human brain is able to continually adapt and rewire itself. It's NEVER too late. Even in old age, it can grow new neurons. Severe mental decline is usually caused by disease, whereas most age-related losses in memory or motor skills simply result from inactivity and a lack of mental exercise and stimulation. Inactive individuals were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's, compared to those with the highest levels of activity (exercised vigorously at least three times a week). In other words, use it or lose it! No matter what your fitness goals, your brain is the 3 lbs. you never want to lose.


PROTEIN BARS; STILL CANDY BARS IN DISGUISE?

Though there has been some improvement on these bars, several of the best sellers are nothing more than ordinary candy bars with protein powder added in. It's challenging for manufactures to create an all- natural bar with whole food ingredients that's also low in calories and sugar.

If you read the slick advertisement and not the ingredients you can be easily fooled. You must read the labels! Keep a careful eye on ingredients, especially high amounts of sweeteners, artificial flavors, processed transfats, preservatives and hydrogenated oils. In general the lower down the sweeteners are on the ingredients list the better the bar is for you. Most of these bars lack dietary fiber and are just 'overly engineered ' food.

All bars that come in wrappers are processed foods. Some may be less processed than others, but you haven't seen a protein bar hanging from a tree branch lately, have you? Try to make whole food choices daily and eat things you don't have to 'unwrap'.

These types of bars are useful for emergencies of convenience, like eating while driving or flying, rushing about between meetings/classes, and so on. But when this happens more than once or twice a week it becomes an issue of improper meal planning. Improper meal planning is a sure fire way to sabotage your fitness and health goals, so take the time to think it through.





December 2011 Newsletter

SUPER CHARGE YOUR FITNESS AND FAT LOSS WITH HIIT

HIIT, short for high intensity interval training, is a very efficient type of cardio workout! It can help you combat monotony, improve your overall fitness, and turn your body into a more efficient metabolic machine in half the time of a regular workout.

HIIT is a type of cardio workout that consists of alternating short periods of very vigorous activity and longer periods of active recovery. The intervals of high intensity are brief but very challenging. A typical HIIT workout usually lasts about 20-30 minutes and involves a 2:1 ratio, meaning your recovery intervals are twice as long as the work intervals. Your cardio should be a shorter roller coaster ride vs. a long walk in the park. Higher intensity equals greater caloric expenditure per minute.

HIIT can be applied to any form of cardio. An example is:

STEP 1: Start your workout with a 5-minute warm up to make sure your body is ready for intense exercise. (50-60% of Heart Rate).

STEP 2: Choose the length of your work/recovery intervals - Experts generally recommend a 1:2 work to rest ratio, which means your rest interval is twice as long as your work interval. An example would be sprinting for 30 seconds (85-90% of Heart Rate) and walking to recover for 1 minute. If you work at maximum effort, you may need even longer to recover. Repeat 6-10 times.

STEP 3: COOL DOWN by bringing your heart rate back to a resting state. This will help prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

HIIT results in increased HGH levels. HGH is a hormone that helps preserve valuable lean muscle mass. This is key to RMR (resting metabolic rate) and reducing body fat. Last but definitely not least, HIIT's results in EPOC or Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption. EPOC is an after-burn effect, which causes you to burn calories up to 48 hours after your workout. It's like burning calories with interest.


AVOID PACKING ON THE POUNDS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

The Holidays are just a few DAYS so don't indulge for two months. It's okay to cheat a little, but you don't want to deal with the consequences for months to come!

LAY OFF THE BOOZE Alcohol is the biggest waste of caloric intake! Drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol. That should help slow you down.

USE SMALL PLATES Practice Portion Control. The smaller the plate the larger your portion will seem. You may find yourself feeling full. Stay on track by really thinking about what you are eating before you stick it in your mouth.

FILL UP ON FRUITS & VEGGIES Be sure to reach for filling, fiber rich fruits and veggies first, but skip the fatty dips and dressings

STAY FOCUSED ON FITNESS If you do gain a pound or two don't let it snow ball. Get back to your fitness routine and consider asking for some personal training sessions as a holiday gift.


For more information or to schedule a consultation please call 212.721.3459 or email at info@katnyc.com.